Friday, December 29, 2017

This Child Is Destined


Follow Mary's Example

We've all had experiences that have been so overwhelming that we have no words for them. We hold them close to protect them from the ordinary push and pull of everyday life. We turn them over and reflect on them until we find a way to share what can be shared. Like Mary, we need to learn to treasure all these things as gifts from a gracious God.

—from The Joy of Advent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek


✞ "The human soul has so much likeness to God its creator that I surely know of no other way by which one can more easily mount to a knowledge of God than from reflection on one's own soul."
— St. Robert Bellarmine

"Let us pass on now to the other question—namely, what you can do to strengthen your resolutions and make them succeed? There is no better mean than to put them into practice. But you say that you are still so weak that, although you often make strong resolutions not to fall into the particular imperfection of which you want to cure yourself, no sooner does the occasion present itself than down you go. Shall I tell you why we are still so weak? It is because we will not abstain from food that does not agree with us. It is as if a person who wished to be free from pains in the stomach were to ask a physician what he should do. The doctor replies, 'Do not eat such and such food, because it brings you pain'; and yet the person will not abstain from it. We do the same. For example, we should like to love reproof, and yet we obstinately cling to our own opinions. That is foolishness. You will never be strong enough to bear reproof courageously while you are nourishing yourself with the food of self-esteem. I wish to keep my soul recollected, and yet I will not restrain all sorts of idle thoughts: the two things are incompatible. Ah! How much I wish that I could be steadfast and regular in my religious exercises; at the same time I wish not to find them so trying—in fact, I want to find the work done for me. That cannot be in this life, for we shall always have to labor."
— St. Francis de Sales, p. 97
The Art of Loving God


"Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin."
James 4:17


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Saint Thomas Becket

(December 21, 1118 – December 29, 1170)

A strong man who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil, and so became a strong churchman, a martyr, and a saint—that was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.

His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. When Henry felt it advantageous to make his chancellor the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry's intrusions into Church affairs. Nevertheless, in 1162 he was made archbishop, resigned his chancellorship, and reformed his whole way of life!

Troubles began. Henry insisted upon usurping Church rights. At one time, supposing some conciliatory action possible, Thomas came close to compromise. He momentarily approved the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would have denied the clergy the right of trial by a Church court and prevented them from making direct appeal to Rome. But Thomas rejected the Constitutions, fled to France for safety, and remained in exile for seven years. When he returned to England he suspected it would mean certain death. Because Thomas refused to remit censures he had placed upon bishops favored by the king, Henry cried out in a rage, "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!" Four knights, taking his words as his wish, slew Thomas in the Canterbury cathedral.

Thomas Becket remains a hero-saint down to our own times.

No one becomes a saint without struggle, especially with himself. Thomas knew he must stand firm in defense of truth and right, even at the cost of his life. We also must take a stand in the face of pressures—against dishonesty, deceit, destruction of life—at the cost of popularity, convenience, promotion, and even greater goods.

Saint Thomas Becket is the Patron Saint of:
Roman Catholic Secular Clergy


The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Reading 1 1 Jn 2:3-11

The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 5b-6
R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia Lk 2:32
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 2:22-35

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

"Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel."

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
"Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."


Meditation: Luke 2:22-35

5th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

The parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. (Luke 2:22)

Why did Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple? The reason stretches back to the original Passover. God had told the Israelites to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts so that their firstborn sons would be spared from the plague that was going to hit Egypt. From then on, all firstborn children had to be consecrated to the Lord (Exodus 13:2). The offering of a lamb—or a turtledove or pigeon, for the poor—was given to "redeem" the child, to spare him from evil.

Of course, we may protest that Jesus didn't need to be redeemed. He is the Lamb who redeemed all of us! But true to a lamb's nature, that redemption was accomplished by submission—submission to his Father's will. And God's will included being taken to the Temple, to be presented to his heavenly Father! So the consecration of Jesus was more than symbolic. It was the beginning of a life totally given to God, a life dedicated completely to glorifying the Father.

Think about the Presentation when you go to Mass this weekend. As you see the priest consecrate the Host, think about what he is doing—offering Jesus to the Father. Joseph and Mary offered Jesus as a helpless infant. But now he appears even more helpless, in the form of a mere wafer of bread. But like Mary and Joseph, we know how much power, love, and grace are contained in that small Host: enough to cover the sins of the whole world! Enough to make every one of us a child of God!

If you have time, you may want to arrive early at Mass and pray about what you will offer to God today. It might seem very small in comparison to Jesus' offering of his whole life. But whatever it is, that offering will become something greater than anyone could ever expect. Your gift to the Lord, united in prayer to his own sacrifice, will bring him great glory and bear witness to his name. As Jesus said, a grain of wheat is just a seed, "but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (John 12:24).

"Lord, I offer you my life. Give me the faith to follow you today, knowing that you will work all things together for my good."

1 John 2:3-11
Psalm 96:1-3, 5-6


The Holy Word said: "The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments. " The word "know" meant more back in the days of our Lord. Mary our mother asked Archangel Gabriel "how can this be since I do not know man". This meant being intimate with man. She was, is, and forever will be a consecrated soul to God. So, how can we be sure to "know" Jesus? Being intimately in love with His commandments is for sure. Love the law. Love this religion. Love it because God is in it. But do not look past God in this love as the Jews did when Jesus lived on earth as a human man. Religion is meant to bring us to God. His commandments are meant to keep us intimate with Him, and if you will hear me, His Holy Sacraments sanctify this covenant, grace upon grace!
Let us pray again: " Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! Sing to the LORD a new song; Announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds." Every day we tune in don't we? Here in His holy Word. Now...let us sing the song that is new...the good new. They say in Heaven things are always new. They say depressed people like to always get new things to get a little joy. And so they fill their house with junk and it is never enough. Until...they fill their life with JESUS! I've seen this first hand. It is real, a man stopped taking 22 different anti-depressant pills when He encountered our Lord in a retreat. My loved one last week was prescribed anti-depressants. That is the world's solution. But God offers more. No need for harmful drugs that keep you doped. How can millions upon millions of people need that? Say nope to dope. Say Yes To Jesus!

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord comes the temple. He comes in through conception, life begins in the womb. He is born, from the womb, comes out of the womb, and this gift is presented to the the temple. The temple would sanctify Him, be consecrating Him as the Messiah, the savior...Good News indeed for the whole world. Simeon prophecied speaking to God outloud "... you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel." Prepared in the sight...a light, to reveal you to the nations! And Glory of your people. The most cherished gift of Israel, the Messiah. Such a perplexing dilemma. Some accepted the Messiah, and many to this day have not. Why not? Because He was not what they wanted Him to be. Isn't that why many choose not to believe? Many because "he didn't answer my prayer". He didn't do as you asked and believed. What does glory mean? Guts. Jesus poured out His on the cross. It takes guts to love the commands of God. God the Father told Jesus the Son to die on the cross, that was the way He wanted. Today's saint was slaughtered in England for refusing government mandated beliefs. Slaughtered in the temple. That's how evil works, it doesn't care where you're at, it will attack. What's more, Jesus says our bodies are a temple. What's going on inside is an inner battle. Jesus wins...if you let Him in. Let Him in and take over. Why anything or anyone else?
So it is this moment before beginning a new year that I fantasize about something (fantasy because doubts come in on making it a reality), about bringing in the new year. How awesome it would be to be at the Blessed Sacrament as the clock strikes "12:01 AM". New year's day is nothing about new year, it already started in Advent in the liturgical calendar. From
"New Year's Day was formerly the feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, then it changed to the Holy Name of Jesus, but now it is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.... Liturgically this great feast commemorates the first shedding of His blood for our redemption. On the same day, along with celebrating the giving of His Name Jesus, which means Savior, we also honor Mary's divine Motherhood. Today's Epistle bids us to circumcise our hearts, as it were, "to live soberly, justly, and godly in this world."
And so, would I choose to be sober bringing in the new year? Justly? Godly? On my knees? That would mean several things:
† I would have to choose God over family (gathering)
† I would have to go out into the cold (coldest nights in forecast)
† I would choose a dark lonely and quiet place (church at night)
♥ But this would be against the worldly current
♥ But this would bring warmth to the heart of Jesus living in Me
♥ I would be bringing light to the world by going through the darkness for God.
Think about Jesus.
Think about Mary.
Think about Joseph.
They brought Jesus after He was born, soon to flee for their lives and suffer darkness...but with Jesus now.
Jesus would now grow up and be chased again, threatened to be thrown off a cliff, enticed by the devil to jump off a cliff in the desert, He would have to suffer a darkness like no other the night He was betrayed by His chosen brother.
This darkness hurt Him tremendously, the betrayal only sealed the deal and made it real. He knew. He was already suffering an agony in the garden, the garden of Adam and Eve....JESUS suffered for the betrayal.
For all of us who like to think our sin does not hurt Jesus, think again.

"Choose Life" they say (I even got it on the back of my daily work truck).
This means Choose Jesus.
Before all else Choose Him.
Choose then...Love.
Let's pray better, for real. Let's be real. The devil dresses in fake. Let's reveal to the world who we really are....God's Child and chosen
This will be the Light Simeon spoke of, because a prophecy lasts forever and reveals the truth....



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Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Voice Was heard


We Live in the World, Not in a Bubble

The Holy Family were refugees from a corrupt political situation and an unstable ruler. No matter how much Matthew focuses on the way this flight into another country fulfilled passages in the Hebrew Scriptures, the fact is they were fleeing for their lives.

Pope Francis never misses an opportunity to remind us of this reality. We may wish that our religious experience could take place in a bubble, protected from the political divisions and ideological arguments that blare into our lives from the media. But Jesus was clearly born into a world of politics and ideology, of power struggles and armed conflicts. We can learn from him that our loyalty is ultimately to the kingdom of God and to the truth, not to any one political point of view.

—from The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections from Pope Francis
by Diane M. Houdek


✞"We must always remember that God does everything well, although we may not see the reason of what He does."
— St. Philip Neri

"Prayers are God-filled words in which our love and God's love are joined. That love embraces the people for whom we are praying, and love always changes people and situations. This doesn't mean that we will always get what we want, but Jesus does promise that we will get what we need."
— Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM, p. 14
Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Psalm 139:23-24


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Holy Innocents

Saint of the Day for December 28

Herod "the Great," king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his wife, his brother, and his sister's two husbands, to name only a few.

Matthew 2:1-18 tells this story: Herod was "greatly troubled" when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of "the newborn king of the Jews," whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report back to him so that he could also "do him homage." They found Jesus, offered him their gifts, and warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Jesus escaped to Egypt.

Herod became furious and "ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under." The horror of the massacre and the devastation of the mothers and fathers led Matthew to quote Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children…" (Matthew 2:18). Rachel was the wife of Jacob (Israel). She is pictured as weeping at the place where the Israelites were herded together by the conquering Assyrians for their march into captivity.

The Holy Innocents are few in comparison to the genocide and abortion of our day. But even if there had been only one, we recognize the greatest treasure God put on the earth—a human person, destined for eternity, and graced by Jesus' death and resurrection.

The Holy Innocents are the Patron Saints of:


Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs

Reading 1 1 Jn 1:5—2:2

This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ
and proclaim to you:
God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.
If we say, "We have fellowship with him,"
while we continue to walk in darkness,
we lie and do not act in truth.
But if we walk in the light as he is in the light,
then we have fellowship with one another,
and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
If we say, "We are without sin,"
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just
and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
If we say, "We have not sinned," we make him a liar,
and his word is not in us.

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 124:2-3, 4-5, 7cd-8
R. (7) Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Had not the LORD been with us—
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept the raging waters.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Broken was the snare,
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.

Alleluia See Te Deum
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the white robed army of martyrs praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
"Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him."
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Matthew 2:13-18

The Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Feast)

Herod became furious. (Matthew 2:16)

Anger can be a powerful and fierce emotion. If left unchecked, it can cause us to make rash decisions and lead us to hurt innocent people. Just look at Herod. He heard a king had been born in Israel and he was afraid. This child was a threat, and Herod wanted to get rid of him quickly. When the Magi didn't cooperate with his plan, he became furious. So he lashed out, ordering the deaths of all young boys in and around Bethlehem.

Such a violent act horrifies us. And it should! It seems so arbitrary and unnecessary. Herod could have taken any number of other less drastic measures to protect himself. But as terrible as his reaction is, the truth is that none of us are immune to the pitfalls of anger.

It can start small. Maybe you get annoyed because your husband eats the lunch you had packed for yourself. It was just one thoughtless action, but you start to generalize and tell yourself he's always inconsiderate or selfish. You start scolding him even when he has done nothing wrong. You might even find yourself lashing out at your children who aren't even involved. They don't deserve your wrath, but it's too late; your anger is out of hand.

Anger can snowball to the point that we strike out against anyone. But there are some practical steps we can take to keep this from happening:

• First, be attentive to what's going on in your mind. As soon as you see frustration or annoyance bubbling up, ask God to help you deal with it before it overflows into something more damaging.

• Try to think of one positive quality about the person you're angry with. It may seem like a small thing, but stopping to see their virtues can give you a better perspective. It can also help you cool down.

• Finally, pray for that person. It's hard to stay angry with someone you're lifting up to the Lord. It will help you see them from God's perspective, and you may even find yourself feeling more compassionate toward them.

Unchecked anger is destructive. But we don't have to be controlled by it. God can help us break the cycle.

"Lord, help me not to let anger grow in my heart."

1 John 1:5–2:2
Psalm 124:2-5, 7-8


The Holy Words speaks:
God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. "If we say, "We have fellowship with him," while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth...If we say, "We have not sinned," we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." We like to fool ourselves don't we? Saying we are not sinning or living in sin. This is the great dilemma of the world. In your own eyes, you are made good. Even King Herod thought this way. Excusing himself, forgiving himself, of even murdering.

Let us pray: " Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Broken was the snare, and we were freed. Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth"

In the Holy Gospel we heard: "...the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt..." The work of salvation began with conception in Nazareth, where they say Jesus was from, then His birth in Bethlehem, which means the "house of bread", laying in a feeding trough. A savage wolf is relentless, Herod. An angel speaks, a man named Joseph obeys AGAIN. It was a dog eat dog world, and this mentality was now trickled down into the temple, relentless power grabbers seeking all the power. In today's world how different are we?
Because, reading the story of a horrible man named Herod makes one feel like disgusted with the acts he committed, like commanding the killing of hundreds or thousands of innocent toddlers, babies, even newborns, and the cries filled the earth. Is it God's fault? Why can't we blame the devil instead? God came to get rid of that exact culmination. Yet, it is now secretly continuing. Only, the babies aren't allowed to be born so you can not hear them cry for help. Why do you think I practically go to Mass every day of the week? To pray for protection for the unborn. The holy innocents must be interceding, let us pray for them and with them. Power grabbing has trickled down into the home/temple. "No you don't get to live, my life is more important". Whoa! You don't hear that truth spoken do you? Here you do. That is the truth, Herod's evil spirit continues. So let's not be too quick "to judge" as the devil says. Let's say what Dr. Phil said once "I don't like in you, what I see in me". And then, get rid of what you don't like...and what you get rid of should be death, not the innocent life.

So often we hear that women shouldn't have kids or that many kids. And then the devil whispers oh so softly "you shouldn't have to suffer", "you don't have to go through that"...
Jesus stands up and takes His cross. Looking to us saying, "follow Me". There is no greater love than to lay your life for one's friend. Is Jesus your friend? The best? Life can not continue as it is. I see signs of hope in the world. China is thinking about ending the one or 2 child policy. That is good news. Let us pray it is for the good of the world. We are to be one with life, always on the side of life. Jesus says " I AM THE LIFE ". The truth. The way.
Please pray every day with me for the unborn, from conception. And move to action, and love is an action. Because it starts with a thought, a heart, and moves from there....



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