Remember the Words of Jesus
Remember the words of Jesus, remember all that he has done in our lives. Let us not forget his words and his works, otherwise we will lose hope and become "hopeless" Christians. Let us instead remember the Lord, his goodness and his life-giving words which have touched us. Let us remember them and make them ours, to be sentinels of the morning who know how to help others see the signs of the Risen Lord.
—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
"The devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble, because it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation, because it gives us the Author of Grace; it is the sweetest, because the Lord is Sweetness Itself."
— Pope St. Pius X
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"I've appointed the Devil to tempt and to trouble My creatures in this life [St. Catherine of Siena reports that Our Lord said to her]. I've done this, not so that My creatures will be overcome, but so that they may overcome, proving their virtue and receiving from Me the glory of victory. And no one should fear any battle or temptation of the Devil that may come to him, because I've made My creatures strong, and I've given them strength of will, fortified in the Blood of My Son. Neither the Devil nor any other creature can control this free will, because it's yours, given to you by Me. By your own choice, then, you hold it or let it go if you please. It's a weapon, and if you place it in the hands of the Devil, it right away becomes a knife that he'll use to stab and kill you. On the other hand, if you don't place this knife that is your will into the hands of the Devil—that is, if you don't consent to his temptations and harassments—you will never be injured by the guilt of sin in any temptation. Instead, you'll actually be strengthened by the temptation, as long as you open the eyes of your mind to see My love, and to understand why I allowed you to be tempted: so you could develop virtue by having it proved. My love permits these temptations, for the Devil is weak. He can do nothing by himself unless I allow him. So I let him tempt you because I love you, not because I hate you. I want you to conquer, not to be conquered, and to come to a perfect knowledge of yourself and of Me."
— St. Catherine of Siena, p. 159-60
AN EXCERPT FROM
Manual for Spiritual Warfare
TODAY'S FEAST DAY
On Holy Saturday the Church mourns in prayer and fasting, meditating on Christ's Passion and Death. There is no Mass during the day as Jesus is still in the tomb. On this day Jesus descended triumphantly into Hades (called the "harrowing of hell") and brought salvation to the righteous souls held captive there who awaited their promised Messiah, as recited in the Apostle's Creed. On the night of Holy Saturday the Church celebrates the Vigil of Easter Sunday, the celebration of Christ's resurrection from the tomb, the traditional time when the Sacraments of Initiation are given to new members of the Church.
VERSE OF THE DAY
"Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug."
click to read more
Saint Stephen of Mar Saba
(725 – 794)
A "do not disturb" sign helped today's saint find holiness and peace.
Stephen of Mar Saba was the nephew of Saint John Damascene, who introduced the young boy to monastic life beginning at age 10. When he reached 24, Stephen served the community in a variety of ways, including guest master. After some time he asked permission to live a hermit's life. The answer from the abbot was yes and no: Stephen could follow his preferred lifestyle during the week, but on weekends he was to offer his skills as a counselor. Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays."
Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide.
His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things."
Stephen died in 794.
Saint Stephen of Mar Saba knew the value of solitude. Even though he was generous and served whoever came to him, he relished his time alone. Maybe we can learn from him the value of solitude and seek it out a little more in our lives.
Easter Sunday - The Resurrection of the Lord -At the Easter Vigil in the Holy
Night of Easter
Complete Readings Click Here
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
"His mercy endures forever."
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 16:1-7
When the sabbath was over,
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Very early when the sun had risen,
on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another,
"Who will roll back the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?"
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, "Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter,
'He is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him, as he told you.'"
Meditation: Genesis 1:1–2:2
In the beginning . . . (Genesis 1:1)
Tonight we go back to the beginning. As we ponder Jesus' crucifixion and death, as we wait eagerly for his resurrection, we sense that something new is about to happen. We stand at the turning point of all history, the critical moment when Jesus passes from death to life and creates everything anew.
It was not enough to patch up the old things. In an ancient homily for Holy Saturday, Jesus is depicted as descending into hell to rescue Adam and Eve. He tells them, "The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you." No mere touch-up job, Jesus took his new creation to a whole new level!
The very liturgy of the Easter Vigil ushers us into the mystery of this new creation. A new fire is kindled, and a new Paschal candle is lit. Then the Church moves from darkness to light as we light our individual candles from that one flame. New holy water is blessed, and with it new members are brought into the Church. Yes, Jesus is making all things new!
This newness extends to our lives. Jesus has re-created and restored a world that was disordered by sin—and he re-creates each one of us. He who spoke the universe into existence now speaks healing and wholeness into our lives. He doesn't just patch us up; he gives us a whole new beginning.
So take some time today to pray about this new creation. On this day, when tabernacles are empty, join the whole Church as it waits in silence. Something new, something wonderful, something beautiful is about to burst forth. Its light will shine all over the world. Its power will rescue people from the darkness of sin. Yes, even you can be raised up in a new and exciting way. Jesus is about to rise from the dead. Let him draw you up to heaven with him.
"Lord, create me anew! Take me from death to life, from chaos to order, from darkness to light. Jesus, I believe in you!"
Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
"The right hand of the LORD has struck with power; the right hand of the LORD is exalted. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD."
In today's video from DynamicCatholic, they say today is a day of questions, as if lost disciples after Jesus is crucified. I mention this because, we heard that the LORD has struck with power. But this power is not like the power we are used to. He sided with suffering. He decided on the cross. Why? Why is there suffering? Why is there a cross?
I apologize, I should have first began with "Thank You".
Thank you for your prayers for us men yesterday. It was a retreat that took years to be led to, and 40 days of planning. We went on retreat, gathered at the church for stations of the cross with the parish. Then we left in a passenger van out of town to retreat. And I will walk you through the highlights for a reason...for the questions we have.
The first phase, was praying the rosary on our way to the field. We arrive, and we immediately get marching orders, the first exercise, I said "catch a rabbit with your bare hands, you'll get $500 if you do, think about what you could do with the money....even save a family that needs clean water" but first we had read the book of Genesis on how man was to have dominion in the world over all living creatures. And I added a second point to the challenge "also, look for your cross to carry". We split off, we were dumped in the "boneyard" a junk yard, and you could tell there were rabbits everywhere. I looked and tried to trap one, to no avail, time was running out sooner than not, and I said to myself "I can not simply catch these fleeting creatures, the only way will be to trap it or disable it...hurting it with a stick". So I grabbed a piece of wood and went at it. But missed. Perhaps I didn't want to hurt this beautiful creature. Time runs out. I climbed old pipes to call everyone's attention to gather. The old pipes were the old baptist church that was demolished, and we gathered there on top of its ruins. Impossible task, such short amount of time.
As we gather, I see one of my Godsons coming with something in his hand...it was a rabbit! Unbelievable.
We discussed our spiritual hunt. And I asked the men "Where is your cross? You will need it for the next exercise". Half had brought the cross beam. The other half had been too distracted hunting...myself included. Oh sure, I looked for one, but was more caught up in the hunt....(for souls). Apparently they had caught the rabbit by grouping (helping one another), team work. This is key to success. You can not do it alone.
He releases the rabbit.
I bless the rabbit, and thank it for being part of our day.
And to our amazement, the rabbit just hops a few feet and lays down stretched out, relaxed the whole time we discussed the exercise.
And we learned how we "find distractions and ways to hide" from our Lord, especially when He is calling us to Him in many special ways. I explained to them how the year before I was born my dad and a cousin had chased a rabbit on a farm and lifted a pipe to get it out and they accidentally struck a power line and it killed them both on the spot. One lived to tell the story after having an out of body experience. It was my dad, my father. Chasing rabbits can be costly.
We take off, make a crown of mesquite thorns as we pray the Sorrowful mysteries leading to 3PM. OUCH! Another Godson made his faster than most and some struggled to just twine one up, mine was crude, looked like a triangle, and it really hurt, as gentle as I tried to make it.
We continued. Along the way, we find the true cross. I said as we still prayed the rosary "they say Jesus was beat to death nearly and then was forced to carry the heavy beam for about a third of a mile. We too will carry it across the field for a third of a mile. And we helped each other.
We arrive after going down into the pit and up to the mount where the cross would be placed. The journey had been tough on these healthy guys, once the heavy cross bumped my crown of thorns and I hurt, the sharp thorns wanted to bury themselves into my head. tried to be quiet, but someone had noticed my pain. We were fighting the winds, sun, sand blowing into our teeth, but we plowed through, literally.
We went up the hill to what would be Calvary, Golgotha. Focused on what would be the stopping point an end to the exhaustion. And we prayed. And the experience was illuminating, the view from up there, it was different after the "suffering" we did. It made sense in a different way.
We then lay the crosses down and kissed the cross...goodbye. It had become something special it seemed. Although it was a burden. And it hurt.
On the other side of the hill, was a bag of seeds. We would have to now throw seeds on what was plowed, and even along the way, the road. And unexpectedly, my dad, my father showed up, and relays the story of his near death experience. And we listen attentively. For if a dead man comes back to witness...will anyone even listen? Or care?
We threw seeds everywhere, along the roads, the thorn bushes, the water's edge.
Mercy is thrown freely for grace to grow. You should participate in this seed throwing, it is truly, life giving, and life changing.
And then, we went fishing as we reflected on being fishers of men. We had to have faith. Even though they kept asking "are there fish here?" and "what kind of fish?" and said "I don't see any signs of fish life here". Suddenly, fishing becomes an act of faith. It becomes hope. And the common denominator after our group reflection was that "patience" was key. I said "I would love to be able to spend all day fishing".
After catching nothing, a 6 ft something tall man had been cooking on a charcoal fire for us...it was fish and bread. Oh man, it was soooo good, maybe eating outdoors is good. Indeed, Jesus after the resurrection had been found cooking on charcoal fire...a fire of restoration, a gentle heat. And we feasted as if in a heavenly banquet. A meal provided by suffering people. And we prayed for them. And we gave thanks.
Our day went into the night. At Good Friday service, I kept recalling all the events of the day even wishing I could rewind the day and live it again. I pondered: The meaning. The questions to be answered, the many that had been answered. Something transformational had transpired. We went back to the retreat. Made a fire, burned our blessed Palms from Palm Sunday and added holy water...this time, we would apply our own ashes of repentance and surrender to God, consecrating our hearts, crossing our hearts to Jesus, the most precious and sacred heart of Jesus.
As we discussed the events of the day, I gave many stories of the bible, of King David's servant, army warrior Uriah, faithfully at the doors, gates of the temple. Faithful as a dog, as someone who Depends On God solely. I said let us go to those gates of the Blessed Sacrament, the tabernacle and sleep there, and just then, a falling star crosses the sky to the amazement of my godsons. It turned blue and green and left a trail of sparks. I said "It is time to go"
"Hurry after the Lord and carry your cross for
your own salvation, as he carried the cross for
The Church shows its deep understanding of grief
by not celebrating the Eucharist until the end of
this day when we can celebrate Jesus' resurrection,
his final victory over sin and death. The readings of
the Easter Vigil trace the whole arc of God's saving
action in human history. We welcome new members into the Church and pledge that we will give
the good example that disciples of Jesus should
offer one another in easy moments and especially
in difficult times.
Praying with Saint Anthony
Good and gracious God, we thank you for enabling
us to follow Jesus so that we can share life with you
as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.