Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ranks ahead of me

O Mighty Lord We stand in the middle of the presence of God and are not afraid because Emmanuel is with us. We are set free from fear because we know

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O Mighty Lord

We stand in the middle of the presence of God and are not afraid because Emmanuel is with us. We are set free from fear because we know we are not alone. Recognizing that gift, then, we can become for one another the living Emmanuel. Our love can burn as brightly and consistently as the burning bush in which God appeared to Moses.

-from Let Us Adore Him


†"It is better to be a child of God than king of the whole world!"
— St. Aloysius Gonzaga

"It is necessary to have an absolutely sure intention in all our actions, so that the generous fulfillment of our daily duties may be directed toward the highest supernatural ideal. Thus, our life, apart from moments of prayer, will be a prayerful life. It is clear that the habit of giving an upward glance to God at the moment of action is a great assistance in aiding us to behave always with a pure intention and in freeing us from our natural impulses and fancies, so, that, retaining our self-mastery, or rather, God becoming the sole Master, all our movements become dependent upon the Holy Spirit. We see in the Gospel that whenever our Lord was about to undertake some important step, He always paused for a moment to raise His eyes to Heaven, and only after this moment of recollection did He take up the work He had to do. 'He lifted up His eyes to Heaven' is a phrase that recurs with significant frequency. And doubtless, when there was no outward sign of this prayer, there was the inward offering. The ideal is the same for us. The constant subjection of self to the guidance of the Holy Spirit is made easier from the fact of His presence in the soul, where He is asked explicitly to preside over all our doings . . . We shall not submit wholeheartedly to the invisible Guest unless He is kept in close proximity to us."
— Raoul Plus, S.J., p. 37-8
How to Pray Always


Franciscan Media


Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Mother Seton is one of the keystones of the American Catholic Church. She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity. She opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage. All this she did in the span of 46 years while raising her five children.

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is a true daughter of the American Revolution, born August 28, 1774, just two years before the Declaration of Independence. By birth and marriage, she was linked to the first families of New York and enjoyed the fruits of high society. Reared a staunch Episcopalian, she learned the value of prayer, Scripture and a nightly examination of conscience. Her father, Dr. Richard Bayley, did not have much use for churches but was a great humanitarian, teaching his daughter to love and serve others.

The early deaths of her mother in 1777 and her baby sister in 1778 gave Elizabeth a feel for eternity and the temporariness of the pilgrim life on earth. Far from being brooding and sullen, she faced each new "holocaust," as she put it, with hopeful cheerfulness.

At 19, Elizabeth was the belle of New York and married a handsome, wealthy businessman, William Magee Seton. They had five children before his business failed and he died of tuberculosis. At 30, Elizabeth was widowed, penniless, with five small children to support.

While in Italy with her dying husband, Elizabeth witnessed Catholicity in action through family friends. Three basic points led her to become a Catholic: belief in the Real Presence, devotion to the Blessed Mother and conviction that the Catholic Church led back to the apostles and to Christ. Many of her family and friends rejected her when she became a Catholic in March 1805.

To support her children, she opened a school in Baltimore. From the beginning, her group followed the lines of a religious community, which was officially founded in 1809.

The thousand or more letters of Mother Seton reveal the development of her spiritual life from ordinary goodness to heroic sanctity. She suffered great trials of sickness, misunderstanding, the death of loved ones (her husband and two young daughters) and the heartache of a wayward son. She died January 4, 1821, and became the first American-born citizen to be beatified (1963) and then canonized (1975). She is buried in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Elizabeth Seton had no extraordinary gifts. She was not a mystic or stigmatic. She did not prophesy or speak in tongues. She had two great devotions: abandonment to the will of God and an ardent love for the Blessed Sacrament. She wrote to a friend, Julia Scott, that she would prefer to exchange the world for a "cave or a desert." "But God has given me a great deal to do, and I have always and hope always to prefer his will to every wish of my own." Her brand of sanctity is open to everyone if we love God and do his will.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is the Patron Saint of:

Catholic School
Loss of Parents

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Christmas Weekday

Did you know it is still Christmas? The Church celebrates Christmas until January 9 on which we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. A simple way to evangelize is to wish people a Merry Christmas and explain why we are still celebrating the season.

During this Poverty Awareness Month, improve your poverty awareness by using the interactive map at to learn how many people in your state and county live below the poverty line. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

St. Basil, in a much-quoted homily, once declared that the bread we clutch in our hands belongs to the starving, the cloak we keep locked in our closet belongs to the naked, the shoes we are not using belong to the barefooted." Read more from a reflection on how to live a good Catholic life in this age of rampant consumption and become more mindful of distinguishing between "wants" and "needs."


Sacred Space
Daily Prayer - 2017-01-03


As I sit here, the beating of my heart,
the ebb and flow of my breathing, the movements of my mind
are all signs of God's ongoing creation of me.
I pause for a moment, and become aware
of this presence of God within me.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Mostly I take this gift for granted.
Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended,
with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You.


Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit. If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.

The Word of Go

audio link
Christmas Weekday

Reading 1 1 Jn 2:29–3:6

If you consider that God is righteous,
you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness
is begotten by him.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God's children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.

Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness,
for sin is lawlessness.
You know that he was revealed to take away sins,
and in him there is no sin.
No one who remains in him sins;
no one who sins has seen him or known him.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 3cd-4, 5-6
R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia Jn 1:14a, 12a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel."
John testified further, saying,
"I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

In today's Gospel story we are told of the moment when John the Baptist realised who Jesus was for him.
Reflecting on this scripture passage, you might hear Jesus say to you the words he says to every disciple, "And you, who do you say that I am?" Tell him how you see and feel about him, and then listen to how much he appreciates you for remaining with him as his companion.


Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words.
You can see into my heart.
You know my desires and you know my needs.
I place myself into your hands.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end.

Catholic Meditations
Meditation: John 1:29-34

The Most Holy Name of Jesus (Optional Memorial)

He is the Son of God. (John 1:34)

Parents-to-be often spend hours and hours flipping through books or searching the Internet for that perfect name for their child. They are looking for a name that not only sounds pleasant but has significance: "Claire," for example, means "brilliant," and "Drew" means "trustworthy."

Mary and Joseph didn't have to bother with all of that. An angel told them their son's name before he was even born (Luke 1:31; Matthew 1:21). He was to be called "Jesus," which means "God saves." As in most Jewish families, the name of this child was seen as a sign of what kind of a man he would grow into. And more powerfully than all others, Jesus fully embodied all that his name said he would be: he literally saved us from our sins!

So why do we still celebrate Jesus' name today if he has already fulfilled his destiny? Because his is the name by which we are saved. According to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, "The sweet name of Jesus produces in us holy thoughts, fills the soul with noble sentiments, strengthens virtue, begets good works, and nourishes pure affections. . . . This name is the cure for all diseases of the soul."

Of course, Bernard was not implying that the name of Jesus worked like a magic spell. Like John in today's Gospel, he knew that without the Holy Spirit's revelation and power, Jesus' name would be like any other name. The Catechism teaches us: "To pray 'Jesus' is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him" (CCC 2666).

So ask the Spirit to reveal Jesus to you today. Call on his name with faith and trust. Believe that the Spirit will reveal Jesus to you in a way that fills your heart with confidence and joy, no matter what situation you may face.

"Lord Jesus, your name is my salvation! May your name, Jesus, be ever in my thoughts, on my lips, and in my heart."

1 John 2:29–3:6
Psalm 98:1, 3-6


audio of 2cents
""Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" proclaims the voice in the desert. There are a few instances in the New Testament that we hear BEHOLD, here are a few:
2Cor6:2 "For he says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
John 19:5 "So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold the man!"
John 19:26 "When Jesus saw his mother* and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."n 27Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. "
Something impacting happens when the word "behold" is said by the Divine Word, the Lord Himself. He says what will be. He says His body is the consecrated sacrifice by priests on the altars across the world. He says to behold your Mother, and gives us His. He says Behold your son, and she does. Great gifts. Jesus gave you something for Christmas. Is the gift still left unopened? Forgotten? Pay attention, because it is forgettable in a "busy" world. The poor and forgotten and lost, and lonely, and possessed by worldly possessions. Watch closely what is at hand...BEHOLD!

We pray today " All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God" And those who have not seen are in sin, that is...darkness. This is to not be able to see...spiritual blindness. Those who seek will find, those who knock will be answered. God said it, and it is the truth, because HE is the truth.

In the first Holy Scripture today we heard "No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him." Sin makes you unable to see God at work. Therefore, purity, is the inverse, and you can actually see God at work. "Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure." And we make ourselves pure for HIM. People ask me "why are you losing weight? What is the reason?" As if I had to have one, I pour out the reasons, but they are not just for my own good, but for my family and work and church. I want to be able to play sports with my kids, I want to do things with them, and I want to have energy at work, and I want to be more active in the church physically. The pleasures I deny myself then, are a sacrifice, a daily sacrifice, I have to deny myself that pizza, that sweet cake, those sugar loaded drinks, and trade them for more work, more steps, I have to do what my body don't want. And it is the same for purity, and holiness, all things righteousness of God. I have to deny myself guilty pleasures, I have to stop when gossip comes around. I have to pray when I flat out don't feel like it or am just too swamped at work and at home. I have to go confess even though I don't feel like it. Me and my daughter confessed before Mass this weekend, and my daughter said how much she really enjoyed the Mass. Allbeit, it wasn't so different, and the Monsignor just went on in the Homily on the history of the, she thoroughly enjoyed it because of purity, pure joy. I want this joy for everyone. I enjoyed it too, and I was snapping pics during Mass (it's ok, I was in the back family room, with glass windows and the windows superimposed the Blessed mother's statue in the family room right over the tabernacle in the Sanctuary, as truly what she is, the ark of the covenant.


These are the things that happen, or that you see, but they would be unnoticeable and meaningless to a heart closed, no sense of wonder and awe, that is awesomeness and amazement. Where the flute is played on no on dances, or the dirge plays and no one cries. I write to you in case your heart is getting hard. And it becomes hard to do things. Like, reaching the unlovable. Or the things hard to do, like simply praying for 15 minutes or spending an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament (at the Tabernacle that holds the Body of Christ in the Eucharist). Things so hard like smiling when you are being threatened. Things so hard to do like living a pure and holy life, a whole sacrifice to God. Things hard to do like pleasing God instead of self. But they can become easy, for God says TAKE MY YOKE, MY LIFE, and things become easy, meaning, a life of Grace. A life of Him, and all about Him. A life of Good News. A life of sacrifice that brings forth fruits. A life that is real, and FOREVER