Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Whoever obeys and teaches

Hearing God Speak Lent is a time to quietly examine our relationships. We examine our relationships with others as well as with the Lord. Too often w

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Hearing God Speak

Lent is a time to quietly examine our relationships. We examine our relationships with others as well as with the Lord. Too often we want to ignore, even criticize, the ones we come upon who give us the best advice. Lord, let me hear you speaking through others.

-from Sacred Silence


"We ought to speak, shout out against injustices, with confidence and without fear. We proclaim the principles of the Church, the reign of love, without forgetting that it is also a reign of justice."
— Blessed Miguel Pro

"We've been taught that God did not make the world for no reason, but for the sake of the human race. As I said before, he takes pleasure in those who imitate his attributes, and is displeased with those who embrace what is worthless, whether in word or deed."
— St. Justin Martyr, p. 324
A Year with the Church Fathers

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13

Theme: Support for Persecuted Christians
That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.


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St. Nicholas Owen (d.1606) was born in England, the son of an Oxford carpenter. He became a carpenter himself, and joined the Jesuits as a lay brother during the era when Catholicism was outlawed in England. After serving jail time for defending the martyred St. Edmund Campion, Nicholas began working for and traveling with the Jesuits, staying in Catholic houses where he made repairs during the day and secretly constructed well-disguised 'priest-holes', or hiding places for hunted priests, during the night. He was so skilled at his craft that his priest holes saved hundreds of lives over his 20 years of work. While on a trip to London with a Jesuit priest they were betrayed by a household servant, captured, and tortured. After Nicholas' release he masterminded the priest's escape from the Tower of London. Years later, after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, Nicholas was again a wanted man. He hid along with a priest in one of his priest holes, and although 100 men searched for them diligently, they were not discovered. After eight days of hiding without food, Nicholas left the hole disguised as a priest in order to protect the real priest who was still concealed. The ruse failed, and Nicholas was captured and tortured on the rack in the Tower of London. Day after day he refused to give up any information about the underground Catholic Church in England. He finally died a martyr after his entrails burst open. St. Nicholas Owen is one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. His feast day is March 22.


Nicholas was a clever builder and architect who used his skills to protect endangered priests. Without his help, hundreds of English Catholics would have been deprived of the sacraments. His gift for spotting unlikely places to hide priests was impressive, but more impressive was his habit of seeking support for his work in prayer and the Eucharist. If we follow his example, we may also discover surprising ways to put our skills to God's service.


Sacred Space
Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

Reading 1 Dt 4:1, 5-9

Moses spoke to the people and said:
"Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.'
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?

"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children's children."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Verse Before the Gospel See Jn 6:63c, 68c
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel Mt 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

Third Wednesday of Lent: Cultivate a Peaceful Heart

Francis holds his followers to the highest standards of the Gospel. He knows that if the Lesser Brothers strive for the ideal, they will be unlikely to break the more basic commandments. "And this is my advice, my counsel, and my earnest plea to my friars that, when they travel about the world, they should be gentle, peaceful, and unassuming, courteous and humble, speaking respectfully to everyone. Whenever he preached, Francis first prayed for peace for his listeners, saying: 'The Lord give you peace.'"

If we think (and pray) before we speak or act, we will save ourselves and others a great deal of misunderstanding and heartache.

Pray with Saint Francis

Where there is Love and Wisdom, there is neither Fear nor Ignorance. Where there is Patience and Humility, there is neither Anger nor Annoyance. Amen.

Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Matthew 5:17-19

3rd Week of Lent

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)

Sometimes we think that Jesus came to earth carrying a big eraser, and that when he redeemed us, he simply wiped out all the regulations of the Old Testament.

But just because he accused some of the Pharisees of being too legalistic, we shouldn't think that his approach to the Law of Moses was the exact opposite of theirs. On the contrary, Jesus told us that he came to uphold the Law and he said that the least transgression against the Law makes us "least" in his kingdom!

Jesus didn't say these words to condemn us or discourage us. He said them to save us. Jesus came to bring new life, but in order to experience that life, we need to follow his commandments. Like parents who are trying to keep their children out of trouble, Jesus warns us to be vigilant against sin. He knows that giving in to temptation will make us anything but happy.

How blessed we are that Jesus is with us in our struggles! He doesn't just issue warnings from afar; he helps us to root out sin wherever it shows up. By examining our consciences daily, we can ensure that sin doesn't gain a foothold in our hearts. As we look back at our day each evening, we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us how we may have strayed from God's truth. Then, bringing our failings into the light of God's love, we can experience his mercy, and we can get a clearer sense of how we can do better next time.

It has been said that if we want to move mountains, we have to start by carrying away small stones, and that's certainly true with sin. If we keep fighting the daily battles against little temptations, asking for God's help every time we're tested, we will soon start to make great progress. If we give every area of our lives over to him—even those hidden, dark corners—he will give us all the grace we need to live victoriously, even to become "greatest" in the kingdom of heaven!

"Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross so that I can know real freedom from sin and become the man or woman you have called me to be!"

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20


From a Spanish reflection today (I'm using google translate):

"What sense do the commandments of the Law of God have for us? To some, they are the summit and the summit of all morality; For others, narrow and outmoded regulations; And even for others, obstacles to the freedom of the Gospel.
_ For Israel they were the expression of fidelity to God and to the whole people as part of the Covenant with God. The commandments were the way to liberate themselves from all forms of slavery: from the other gods, selfishness, rancor, exploitation of one person for another ... They were the sign of the people's belonging to God, and the closeness of God to the town. And they testified that love of God and love of neighbor can not be separated.
_ In Christ, all this is fulfilled, and much more. The commandments remain, and become a fundamental step, not to salvation through concrete observances, to seek communication with God in Christ and fellowship with our neighbors; And are animated by love.

Prayer Collection
Lord our God:
You have given us your commandments
To lead us in the way of true freedom,
Freedom from all forms of alienation.
We ask we to learn to obey them
Not to save us by means of observances
Nor to do favors to you,
But for, by being free,
Give ourselves to you and your people
And live in your love,
With Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord."

The Scriptures began today with "Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe" and then we prayed "Praise the Lord, Jerusalem. He sends forth his command to the earth; swiftly runs his word!"

Our Lord speaks to us today His Word: "I have come not to abolish but to fulfill". He fulfilled all the promises of the Old Testament, and He fulfills today every promise He makes to us, namely, that of great love, His greatest commandment...Himself. When I look into the world, that's what I see, a lack of love is the onset of problems, where people's big heads get in the way, overinflated with self, with ego...with that evil pride. Why do we need more and more laws? I find myself praying too "Lord, let there be laws to protect the unborn". But we wouldn't need laws if there was love for the unborn. It's the same in any situation of division and sin and death and doom and gloom that lurks around corners.

If you look at the laws of the world, just our nation alone, nobody seems to have a real count, just millions of words and probably about 8,000 pages of words on laws. I read one writing about it: "New laws mean new crimes. From the start of 2000 through 2007, Congress had created at least 452 new crimes, so that at that time the total number of Federal crimes exceeded 4,450.

Of course, times change and laws need to be updated. But many laws detract from, rather than contribute to, our quality of life and overall well-being. It is impossible for anyone to know all of the laws that affect them and it is, therefore, impossible to not break any laws. How many of the 4,450 crimes have you broken?

God's laws are few and simple, mostly counted on our 10 fingers. But these are the most contested and refuted and ignored laws in the world. Jesus comes and says He came to fulfill the laws. What about you? Have you come to abolish or fulfill? What the world needs is love, and there is no love without God because God is love. This is the law Jesus came to fulfill and it is the hardest in a dark be able to love where no one else can nor wills. I challenge you in your sacrifices to give in the name of love. I find it hard to sacrifice at times. But sometimes it is easier, when I am in love, especially with God. Because the things of God are like this: The sign of the cross, the sacrifice, the love of God, and what He did for me, He died for me and you, to the degree of what this means to you is the degree of love of God, the love relationship you have with our Father. Because in my life, it was a perplexing issue, to see Jesus on the cross and finding it hard to affect me, like it didn't matter, not to be mean, but it just didn't mean much, they say there is a God who loves me, and it didn't matter that much and that is the kind of world we live in. His laws don't matter because He doesn't matter.

So what happened to me that it has begun to matter? I actually felt God's love. It came to start filling my life and I began to empty other things out. I will never be completely full until I am completely His. And that is where this journey of lent is leading us.

Less of me, more of HIM

I love you Lord, help us love you more and more


From Redeemedonline:

Quote for today: "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future" – Oscar Wilde

Be a Hero today - #ShareJesus: Today I challenge you to go through your contacts on your phone. Ask the Holy Spirit to highlight one or two people that you know need some encouragement or someone to talk to. Send them one of your favorite scripture verses and pray for them. If you're feeling really crazy, call them! Check in, ask for updates in life, and see if you can pray for anything specific! Be bold, you will be surprised how God will use a willing broken soul, especially one like me!