Lord Jesus, as I travel through my Lenten journey, I confess that I still have far to go on the "road of reconciliation." Give me the courage I need to follow you, as Saint Teresa did, even when the road is hard. Holy Spirit, work in me so that one day I too might be a saint! Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!
-from Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta
✞ "The Divine Heart is an ocean full of all good things, wherein poor souls can cast all their needs; it is an ocean full of joy to drown all our sadness, an ocean of humility to drown our folly, an ocean of mercy to those in distress, an ocean of love in which to submerge our poverty." — St. Margaret Mary
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "If during vocal prayer your heart is drawn to mental prayer, do not restrain it, but let your devotion take that channel, omitting the vocal prayers which you intended to say: that which takes their place is more acceptable to God, and more useful to your own soul." — St. Francis de Sales, p. 63 AN EXCERPT FROM An Introduction to the Devout Life
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'" Isaiah 41:13
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Saint Salvator of Horta
Saint of the Day for March 20
(1520 – March 18, 1567)
A reputation for holiness does have some drawbacks. Public recognition can be a nuisance at times—as the confreres of Salvator found out.
Salvator was born during Spain's Golden Age. Art, politics, and wealth were flourishing. So was religion. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus in 1540.
Salvator's parents were poor. At the age of 21, he entered the Franciscans as a brother and was soon known for his asceticism, humility, and simplicity. As cook, porter, and later the official beggar for the friars in Tortosa, he became well known for his charity. He healed the sick with the Sign of the Cross. When crowds of sick people began coming to the friary to see Salvator, the friars transferred him to Horta. Again, the sick flocked to ask his intercession; one person estimated that 2,000 people a week came to see Salvator. He told them to examine their consciences, go to confession, and to receive Holy Communion worthily. He refused to pray for those who would not receive those sacraments.
The public attention given to Salvator was relentless. The crowds would sometimes tear off pieces of his habit as relics. Two years before his death, Salvator was moved again, this time to Cagliari on the island of Sardinia. He died at Cagliari saying, "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit." He was canonized in 1938.
Medical science is now seeing more clearly the relation of some diseases to one's emotional and spiritual life. In Healing Life's Hurts, Matthew and Dennis Linn report that sometimes people experience relief from illness only when they have decided to forgive others. Salvator prayed that people might be healed, and many were. Surely not all diseases can be treated this way; medical help should not be abandoned. But notice that Salvator urged his petitioners to reestablish their priorities in life before they asked for healing.
Sacred Space Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading 1 2 Sm 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16
The LORD spoke to Nathan and said: "Go, tell my servant David, 'When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name. And I will make his royal throne firm forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.'"
Responsorial Psalm Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29 R. (37) The son of David will live for ever. The promises of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness, For you have said, "My kindness is established forever"; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness. R. The son of David will live for ever. "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations." R. The son of David will live for ever. "He shall say of me, 'You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.' Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him, and my covenant with him stands firm." R. The son of David will live for ever.
Reading 2 Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22
Brothers and sisters: It was not through the law that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that comes from faith. For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us, as it is written, I have made you father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist. He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations, according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be. That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
Verse Before the Gospel Ps 84:5 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord; they never cease to praise you.
Gospel Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24a
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
or Lk 2:41-51a
Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24
Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. (Matthew 1:24)
Many craftsmen have a favorite tool. They use it often and trust that it will do the job, and do it well. It stands up to heavy use, day in and day out. It's easy—even satisfying—to operate. A craftsman might even see his favorite tool as an extension of himself, as a reflection of his skill as a worker.
Now, suppose the craftsman is the Lord, and his trade is building the kingdom, God's house. Surely Joseph was one of God's favored tools! Why? Because he was flexible, obedient, and faithful.
Did you notice that God didn't forewarn Joseph about Mary's unexpected pregnancy? God let him discover the news himself. Rather than panicking, Joseph was flexible; he trusted God and responded peaceably and discreetly. It was only later that God sent the angel to reassure Joseph in his dreams. Then, after he awoke, Joseph promptly obeyed God and brought Mary into his home. He accepted the child God entrusted to him, and raised him in humility and faithfulness to the Lord.
As God goes about plying his trade of kingdom-building on earth, he has many other favored tools—us. Like Joseph, we can be an extension of his hands and feet if we are available and obedient. He relies on us to display his love and peace in trying situations, and to obey when we're called forward. He has even entrusted the next generation of Christ's followers to us.
Tools belong near their master's side, ready for use. That's why we need to spend time with the Lord in prayer every day. Now, we can't always be praying—we do have other responsibilities, just like Joseph! So as you go about your day, keep lifting your heart up to God. Be attentive and listen for his guidance. Wherever the day carries you, maintain an attitude of availability. You may not always sense his presence. But you'll be at his side, ready to respond in faithful obedience when he nudges you.
"Lord, use me. I want to be a trusted tool in your hands."
The Lord said: "I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me".
When our Lord Jesus spoke on earth, He always said "My Father". And taught us to pray "Our Father".
Do you treat God as your Father? Or as a stranger? Strangers don't talk. Strangers don't look for on another. A stranger is someone you don't know. You are not a stranger to God our Father, but is He a stranger to you? This morning, a worker said he didn't go to college because he said he felt robbed of his childhood. I probed. Why? "Why do you say you were robbed?" He said he could never go out as a child, was always locked up. I said, "were you in jail?" He said no, his mother and aunt never let him out, and, I probed more, until he said a clue "I didn't ever have a father, I never knew him, and I never had that guidance".
Let's not be strangers to Our Father. He guides, if we let ourselves be. I said to an adult class yesterday, "we are saints...if we let ourselves be what we are...Holy".
We prayed today "The son of David will live for ever. The promises of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness, For you have said, "My kindness is established forever"; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness."
The Word of God said "For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants" and later says "I have made you father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist."
Saint Joseph had become a father to God on earth. He was chosen, and he believed. He had to have faith in the vision. He had to trust in God. He had to accept. But he chose to give, in acceptance, he gave his life to God. They say Saint Joseph was a righteous man, which means holy. This man loved God, better said: this man Loves God. They say how you spend your life on earth, it shall be spent forever. This means with God or away from Our Father. I ask you today, not yesterday, not tomorrow...do you believe? Mary cried out to Jesus when they had lost him, ""Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." Wait, they say call no one on earth your father...but Mary just said "your father". Jesus knows they are worried and replies with an answer that we are never to forget: ""Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" You see, our Father with a big F is the Father of all. He is God. He is our Father. If you lost Him, now you know where to find Him. Church. If He is a stranger, now you know where you can know Him, in the community. As much as I love the thought of solitude like a monk in a monastery, we as a majority, belong together. Jesus was never alone as a child, He was always with the Father. He was no stranger to His Father. He was always found in prayer with His Father. He was always talking about His Father as if He was right there with Him. That is a tight bond, super tight. That is the bond He wants for us with Him. People would say you're crazy if you thought and talked like Jesus did. That is why some have said "either He was a Liar, a Lunatic, or the Messiah". We can not question his existence. We can not supposed he was a lunatic because he was loved. And so, only one or the other exists: either a liar or the Savior of the world.
Now, if we say He is Savior, that's great, but do you believe? I challenge you to be faithful like Saint Joseph. We only got one life to live and I will have no regrets once having told everyone I met, "I want you to go to Church". I want you to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I want you to be holier than you think is possible. I want you to be ready, at any given moment to render to God what is His. I have come to seek the lost, and the lost don't know what they are looking for. Many times Jesus appears and is not recognized. Realize this for every day you live for the rest of your life.
adrian From RedeemedOnline:
Why Go To Church? - Fr. Dave Pivonka Thought for today: There are hundreds of reasons people will tell you why they go to church. There are also people with hundreds of reasons why they don't go to church. When it comes down to it, we only need to go to church for one reason: to encounter Jesus Christ. Do we get too caught up in focusing on the music, the preaching, the people around us, or all the things we need to do when we exit the building? Is going to mass to receive Jesus enough for us?
Action for today: Ask yourself the question, "why do I go to mass?" If your reasons are anything other than encountering Jesus, offer those reasons to God and ask Him to fix your focus on Him during mass.
Prayer for today: Lord, allow me to encounter You at mass, because its You who draws me to the liturgy.
Quote for today: "It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass." – St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Be a Hero today - #ShareJesus: Talk to a family member, friend, or coworker who you know has stopped going to mass. Ask them with kindness and mercy to tell you why. Share this video with them, and invite them to come with you to mass again next Sunday.