Tuesday, June 6, 2017

...Are You Testing Me?

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Strengthened by Pain

Natural suffering necessarily requires rest; supernatural suffering, even when rest is willfully neglected, will multiply one's strength for the glory of God, a glory which will someday delight the spirit of the suffering person. From childhood, Padre Pio had the special grace of understanding that life is pain, so he transformed it by exalting pain. He said to a spiritual son, in the confessional, "My son, life is primarily suffering and pain; we must love and appreciate it, especially because our Lord has given it to us."

–from the book: Padre Pio: A Personal Portrait


✞ "Do not be anxious: go straight on, forgetful of self, letting the spirit of God act instead of your own."
— St. Julie Billiart

"As St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only 'as harmless as doves', but also 'as wise as serpents'. He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim."
—C.S. Lewis, p. 77
Mere Christianity

"For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you."
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8


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Saint Norbert

(c. 1080 – June 6, 1134)

In the 12th century in the French region of Premontre, Saint Norbert founded a religious Order known as the Praemonstratensians or the Norbertines. His founding of the Order was a monumental task: combating rampant heresies–particularly regarding the Blessed Sacrament, revitalizing many of the faithful who had grown indifferent and dissolute, plus effecting peace and reconciliation among enemies.

Norbert entertained no pretensions about his own ability to accomplish this multiple task. Even with the aid of a goodly number of men who joined his Order, he realized that nothing could be effectively done without God's power. Finding this help especially in devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, he and his Norbertines praised God for success in converting heretics, reconciling numerous enemies, and rebuilding faith in indifferent believers. Many of them lived in central houses during the week and served in parishes on weekends.

Reluctantly, Norbert became archbishop of Magdeburg in central Germany, a territory half pagan and half Christian. In this position he zealously and courageously continued his work for the Church until his death on June 6, 1134.


A different world cannot be built by indifferent people. The same is true in regard to the Church. The indifference of vast numbers of nominal faithful to ecclesiastical authority and essential doctrines of the faith weakens the Church's witness. Unswerving loyalty to the Church and fervent devotion to the Eucharist, as practiced by Norbert, will continue immeasurably toward maintaining the people of God in accord with the heart of Christ.


Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Tb 2:9-14

On the night of Pentecost, after I had buried the dead,
I, Tobit, went into my courtyard
to sleep next to the courtyard wall.
My face was uncovered because of the heat.
I did not know there were birds perched on the wall above me,
till their warm droppings settled in my eyes, causing cataracts.
I went to see some doctors for a cure
but the more they anointed my eyes with various salves,
the worse the cataracts became,
until I could see no more.
For four years I was deprived of eyesight, and
all my kinsmen were grieved at my condition.
Ahiqar, however, took care of me for two years,
until he left for Elymais.

At that time, my wife Anna worked for hire
at weaving cloth, the kind of work women do.
When she sent back the goods to their owners, they would pay her.
Late in winter on the seventh of Dystrus,
she finished the cloth and sent it back to the owners.
They paid her the full salary
and also gave her a young goat for the table.
On entering my house the goat began to bleat.

I called to my wife and said: "Where did this goat come from?
Perhaps it was stolen! Give it back to its owners;
we have no right to eat stolen food!"
She said to me, "It was given to me as a bonus over and above my wages."
Yet I would not believe her,
and told her to give it back to its owners.
I became very angry with her over this.
So she retorted: "Where are your charitable deeds now?
Where are your virtuous acts?
See! Your true character is finally showing itself!"

Responsorial Psalm Ps 112:1-2, 7-8, 9
R. (see 7c) The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.

R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See Eph 1:17-18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 12:13-17

Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone's opinion.
You do not regard a person's status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?"
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
"Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at."
They brought one to him and he said to them,
"Whose image and inscription is this?"
They replied to him, "Caesar's."
So Jesus said to them,
"Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God."
They were utterly amazed at him.


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Mark 12:13-17

Saint Norbert, Bishop (Optional Memorial)

Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. (Mark 12:17)

It was supposed to be a trick question. The Herodians and Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus by asking something that he couldn't answer without making someone angry. "Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar?" (Mark 12:14). Jesus' answer would either alienate the crowds or antagonize the Romans. But Jesus wasn't interested in debating. Instead, he turned the conversation back to his Father.

"Whose image and inscription is this?" (Mark 12:16). By using the word "image," Jesus moves beyond the question of taxes. Obviously, the coin showing Caesar's image rightfully belongs to him. But what—or who—bears God's image? What—or who—belongs to him?

We do! God created us in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). The Jewish leaders questioning Jesus probably knew this passage well. And they were "utterly amazed" at the way Jesus had turned the tables on them (Mark 12:17). But Jesus wasn't trying to silence them. He wanted to remind them: you belong to God.

So do we. So shouldn't our lives reflect that? But what does it mean to "repay" ourselves to God?

First, it doesn't mean we're a piece of property that God has a claim on. No, we are his treasured children. He loves us; we belong to him as a child belongs to his or her father. It's a relationship based on love, not possession.

What it does mean is that we give ourselves fully to God. How? By letting him draw us closer to him. Think about how you feel when you feel close to your spouse or someone in your family. Doesn't your love for that person grow? You might feel a sense of peace. You might feel your heart softening toward him more. We know God's love, and we are moved to love him in return. We see his goodness toward us, and we want to be just as good to those around us.

Being drawn closer to God in prayer makes it a joy to "repay the Lord" for all the great good he has done for us (Psalm 116:12).

"Lord, draw me closer. I give my life to you—my past, my present, and my future."

Tobit 2:9-14
Psalm 112:1-2, 7-9


"Give it back to its owners; we have no right to eat stolen food!" Tobit was blind...or was he? Because this is how the people, Pharisees and Herodians saw Jesus...blind. Tobit's wife wanted so much to keep the added "bonus" of money worth, and Tobit said basically "I'd rather starve than to offend God". We have no right. We have no right to offend God. Give to God what is His! Our loyalty, and more importantly...our love.

We pray today " The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord." The people reproached Tobit, and even his own wife. This is how it is in the life of Christ...a cross. A cross to bear the truth. If you have not been criticized and tested for being a Christ follower, perhaps you've not inundated yourself in His passion. Your name shall be smeared upon the earth, but lifted High in Heaven. Your ego shall be smashed to pieces, but the pieces turn into thousands of seeds for God's Kingdom.

Our King speaks ""Why are you testing me?". It is the way of the world. If the Pharisees were testing God it is because that is how we are with Him. We want proof. Don't we? We want to trap and be shrewd. That is why in the world we hear critics say "the bible contradicts itself". They have surmised and criticized the Word of God. They have labeled it and thrown it away. It is funny, I've noticed that for years, the news in the world, it is in the major media outlets something generally purchased by the devil. It takes a grain of truth and good, and smashes it. Take for instance, the child molesting priests. Where the percentage is not even one percent, and in schools molesting teachers are in higher even up to 20 percent molesters. But the news smashed the priesthood. So badly, that for years we had no new priests. Decades. The devil uses the media to put make something little, very big. Even non-issues are made major issues. It is to the point that it affects me in all I do trying to help. I tried one year to take older high school students to drive their cars and meet me at the nursing home. To do this menial task, I would have to fill out forms, paperwork. To take students to feed the homeless, I would have to get more forms and paperwork and parental consent. Now, ethics classes will not allow one to hug a student. All this love has now been barred. Thanks to laws. Thanks to microscopes used for lenses in the news. Growing up, I knew of child molesting teachers, people in town, people I knew personally. And growing up as a boy traveling with priests all over the country, nothing of the sort. The world flipped. Flipping a coin, turning tables upside down.

Jesus comes into the temple. The long anticipated moment of the world and the world was not ready. Are you ready?

Jesus comes in, and instead of being accepted, His Holy Word, and His Kingdom, He finds them instead, making money. He finds them worried about themselves. He sees the poor starving at the door. He sees the unattended widow and the poor lonely orphans.

What do you see? Or are you spiritually blind?
I see a great need in our world. A great need to be with the truth and not just speak the truth. The truth is, we belong to God. My eyes now are beginning to see the poor in faith, the poor in spirit as those in most need of God's love.
I am soon going to write a song about a gray wolf. It is the most ugliest of wolves in the world. Because it is neither black nor white. It is mixed. And it is nasty.

Do you get what I'm saying? That is when you live a double life. Sin has no room in Heaven. People are burning in hell because they were devoured by the grey wolf. At this very moment, people are dying. Physically? No, more souls are dying because of impurity. The term "getting wasted" when drunk is true. It is a waste of precious moments on earth. What the Lord says today is to be remembered Give to God what rightly belongs to Him



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