Struggling with Temptation Pope Francis encourages us to recall during this Lenten season that our salvation lies in God alone. We can take comfort i
Struggling with Temptation
Pope Francis encourages us to recall during this Lenten season that our salvation lies in God alone. We can take comfort in the fact that Jesus himself was tempted by evil things. Seeing his battle with his adversary in more human and less cosmic terms can help us when we're struggling with temptation.
-from The Hope of Lent
"Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet, especially your family. Be holy."
— St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Concerning obedience as a sign of authenticity, St. Theresa is eloquent: 'Believe me, there is no better way of acquiring this treasure [of loving fire sent from heaven] than to dig and toil in order to get it from this mine of obedience. The more we dig, the more we shall find; and the more we submit to men, and have no other will than that of our superiors, the more completely we shall become masters of our wills and bring them into conformity with the will of God.'"
— Fr. Thomas Dubay, p. 239
AN EXCERPT FROM
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
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Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo
Saint of the Day for March 23
(November 16, 1538 – March 23, 1606)
Together with Rose of Lima, Turibius is the first known saint of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for 26 years.
Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events.
When the archdiocese of Lima in Peru required a new leader, Turibius was chosen to fill the post: He was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal the scandals that had infected that area.
He cited all the canons that forbade giving laymen ecclesiastical dignities, but he was overruled. Turibius was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. Abuses among the clergy were flagrant, and he devoted his energies and suffering to this area first.
He began the long and arduous visitation of an immense archdiocese, studying the language, staying two or three days in each place, often with neither bed nor food. Turibius confessed every morning to his chaplain, and celebrated Mass with intense fervor. Among those to whom he gave the Sacrament of Confirmation was the future Saint Rose of Lima, and possibly the future Saint Martin de Porres. After 1590, he had the help of another great missionary, Francis Solanus, now also a saint.
Though very poor his people were sensitive, dreading to accept public charity from others. Turibius solved the problem by helping them anonymously.
The Lord indeed writes straight with crooked lines. Against his will, and from the unlikely springboard of an Inquisition tribunal, this man became the Christlike shepherd of a poor and oppressed people. God gave him the gift of loving others as they needed it.
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Reading 1 Jer 7:23-28
Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.
But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works."
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Verse Before the Gospel Jl 2:12-13
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
for I am gracious and merciful.
Gospel Lk 11:14-23
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons."
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters."
Meditation: Luke 11:14-23
3rd Week of Lent
It is by the finger of God that I drive out demons. (Luke 11:20)
The people were amazed by the display of power that Jesus had just demonstrated. How could he drive out demons? They were strong, fearsome enemies of God and his people. So how could Jesus, who was just another man, possibly overpower one of them? The only way he could have had so much power was if he were an agent of the devil as well.
Imagine how absurd such an accusation must have sounded on a closer examination. Satan isn't in the business of healing and restoring. He's too busy dividing and destroying. No, it had to be God's power at work. Jesus affirmed this when he told them, "If it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you" (Luke 11:20).
The kingdom of God! The kingdom of One who is always good. The kingdom of One who created everything and sustains all things in love. The kingdom of One who forgives, comforts, and redeems. This is your King, and his kingdom has come!
God is not engaged in a power struggle with the devil. He is above everything, so no opposition can pose a credible threat to him or his kingdom. His strength is absolute, his intentions are pure, and his plans for us are perfect. So why should he—or any of his followers—fear the devil? Remember: all his enemies, even Satan, cringe before him (Psalm 66:3).
Today's Gospel passage demonstrates the ease with which we can be freed from the devil's temptation. But there is one condition: we need to "gather" with Jesus. We need to be connected with him in prayer, and we need to be connected with each other in fellowship, love, and respect. Jesus promised that when two or more are gathered in his name, he is present (Matthew 18:20). So if you want to know the grace and the freedom of life in the kingdom of God, seek out your fellow citizens in your parish. Get to know them. Start to share your life with them. Pray for each other, and support each other. Then watch as the devil flees.
"Thank you, Jesus, for calling me into your kingdom! I am yours, Lord, and I trust that you will shield me and guide me today."
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
The Word began today: "Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper".
Then we pray " If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts".
Our Lord says to those accusing Him of being on the side of darkness: ""Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house." A kingdom divided does not last. That is why we have to be together, because evil aims to divide. How I wish the many that have gone away saying "you are evil" and calling me a hypocrite, how I long for their return. "COME BACK" is the theme of the majority of the songs I write to the Lord. But pride gets in the way. "What people say about me" gets in the way, all things ego. If you would forget yourself, if you would means, if you will. And we must align our will with the Father, it is the cross. Bear your part of suffering, of being accused by the devil. But do not be the devil in accusations. Last night, I was in an interesting predicament, where I was being falsely accused (again). I tried to defend myself in the ugly group text message sent about me. And this morning I ask myself, "I must be careful to realize at what point I am defending the truth and the other point defending my pride". The situation was diffused, but for a moment things were heated to the point where I wanted nothing to do with these folks anymore ("tired of it"). After all the years of laboring and helping them, financially and spiritually and being with them, the gratitude seemed gone. How soon I forget that the way people pay is with ingratitude. That is our payment. We must never expect anything more if we are truly giving, because giving is a one way street! We are ok now, the situation is diffused, but I told them "the devil is in our midst". The devil aims to separate. The devil lies. And the devil does not rest and waits for an unsuspecting moment, like when you are so busy, and caught unaware.
What the Lord does is amazing, He heals, and then does not heal because they wanted "other signs". That healing was not enough as if to say "that wasn't enough, do another one, a different one" another trick, another proof, another hurdle for us to believe. We set so many walls and obstacles in faith that God can't come in. He can do anything but make you love Him and believe in Him, that comes from within. So Jesus leaves, but only because He was not welcome, and they say He is a gentleman, never forcing Himself. Good and Gracious is the Lord. Tempted He was, but temptations are just that, what we do with them, fall or not, that is in our hearts. He was tempted in the desert and throughout His missionary years. Then what can we expect until we die? The same and more. Expect trouble in the world, but take Heart, Jesus Christ has conquered the world. "Manso como cordero, astuto como serpiente", Tame as a lamb, and as astute as a serpent goes the adage. This is a gift, like faith. A gift of grace to endure and resists trials and temptations, that is what we can expect from God, to get us through it and remain together and with Him.
If you are not blind and deaf in the spirit.
I encourage you to be holy, a saint. I am inspired by saintly people I meet, even if they don't know I see them in the light....
Quote for today: "When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ, who gives you the meaning of life. When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ, who is the fulfillment of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world look to Christ." – St. John Paul II
Be a Hero today - #ShareJesus: Remember that you are a conduit of God's love! Tell your family and friends that you love them today.