Friday, September 28, 2018

⛪ The Crowds Say


Keeping Our Faith as a Family

How do we keep our faith as a family? Do we keep it for ourselves, in our families, as a personal treasure like a bank account? Or are we able to share it by our witness, by our acceptance of others, by our openness? We all know that families, especially young families, are often "racing" from one place to another, with lots to do. But did you ever think that this "racing" could also be the race of faith? Christian families are missionary families. They are missionary also in everyday life, in their doing everyday things, as they bring to everything the salt and the leaven of faith!

—from the book The Blessing of Family


"Let us make up for lost time. Let us give to God the time that remains to us."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori

"What are we to say of the charity and compassion of the Blessed Virgin, who for nine months bore, and still carries in her heart, the only Son of God, the uncreated charity which knows no bounds? If, as often as we approach a fire, we are affected by its heat, have we not reason to believe that whoever approaches the heart of the Mother of Mercies, ever burning with her most ardent charity, must be profoundly affected in proportion to the frequency of his petitions, the humility and confidence in his heart?"
— Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, p.151
Spiritual Combat

"I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:1-3


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St. Wenceslaus
(907–935 A.D.) was the son of the Duke of Bohemia. His grandfather was converted to Christianity by the missionaries Sts. Cyril and Methodius. His mother, Dragomir, was the daughter of a pagan tribal chief who was baptized at her marriage. After the death of his father, Wenceslaus received a Christian upbringing from his grandmother, St. Ludmila, while his mother reverted to her pagan ways. Dragomir reigned as regent, had St. Ludmila killed, and worked to oppose the spread of Christianity in Bohemia. When St. Wenceslaus was 18 he took control of the government and exiled his mother. St. Wenceslaus was described as a pious, humble, and intelligent ruler who worked to established Christianity in the land that would become part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was known for his vow of virginity, his many virtues, and his life of prayer and good works. After a political dispute arose, his mother and his younger brother, called Boleslaus the Cruel, plotted his murder along with a group of disaffected nobles. Boleslaus invited his brother to celebrate the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, and arranged to have him assassinated on his way to Mass. St. Wenceslaus muttered words of forgiveness as he died, and his body was buried at the murder site. His brother succeeded him as Duke of Bohemia. Three years later Boleslaus repented of his crime, and had his brother's remains transferred to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. Wenceslaus was considered a saint by the people at the time of his death. His feast day is September 28th.


Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Eccl 3:1-11

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every thing under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task that God has appointed
for the sons of men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time,
and has put the timeless into their hearts,
without man's ever discovering,
from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 144:1b and 2abc, 3-4
R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
my mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
LORD, what is man, that you notice him;
the son of man, that you take thought of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days, like a passing shadow.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Alleluia Mk 10:45
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"
They said in reply, "John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, 'One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'"
Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Peter said in reply, "The Christ of God."
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, "The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised."


Meditation: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr (Optional Memorial)

A time to love, and a time to hate. (Ecclesiastes 3:8)

Of all the items that could be in this litany of appointed times, why would hate be included? The Bible is clear that hatred is a sin. "Whoever hates his brother is in darkness. . . . Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer" (1 John 2:11; 3:15). So how can there be a time to hate?

Actually, the writer of Ecclesiastes is reflecting on human experience as it is, not necessarily as God wants it to be. We all know what it feels like to hate someone; we may have even have hated ourselves at one point. It's a part of our fallen human nature. Hatred can stem from a hurt or injustice done to us or a loved one. It can flow from anger or envy, from self-righteousness or shame. It might even be rooted in fear, whether fear of someone who threatens us or of someone who is different from us.

So yes, unfortunately, there is a time to hate. But God asks us to take this "appointed time" to reflect on our hate and find a way, with his grace, to turn it to love (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

If you sense that you have negative feelings toward someone, stop and ask the Spirit to help you understand why. Your reactions may unveil your own sense of weakness or brokenness. Then you can ask God to help you root out this underlying cause and take another step toward love.

For instance, you may hate someone because of something hurtful they have said or done to you. Jesus wants to help you try to forgive. Perhaps you hate someone because they are embroiled in a pattern of sin that is overflowing to other people. Let Jesus remind you that we are all sinners. Sometimes, when a person is doing truly evil things, it is especially hard to love them. Maybe all you can do is pray. Even this is a step out of the darkness.

Hatred doesn't do anybody any good; it moves us to treat someone else poorly even as it keeps us locked in bitterness and resentment. So when you sense hatred rising in your heart, stop and ask the Spirit to help you identify its source. Then ask for grace to move out of the darkness of hate and into the light of God's love.

"Jesus, where there is hatred, let me show love."

Psalm 144:1-4
Luke 9:18-22


We heard today "He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts.." Everyone believes in something and I believe in the most hardened atheist believes there is something greater somehow connecting us. They make up words and beliefs to try to explain it, mostly using science, but it beats around the bush, like Moses tried to do, but God still calls, for He has set into our hearts the timeless...His Word, and His Word became flesh, and He came into the world so that we may have life, and have it more abundantly, and He created a place called eternity. Where in eternity will you be? Ahh, I love you for reading this, because you want to be with me, in Heaven. I do love you and I do want to help you be there, I do so very much, that is all I want, an eternal love with Love.

And so we pray today: "Blessed be the LORD, my rock, my mercy and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, My shield, in whom I trust." God wants us to set our faith on the rock. They called Jesus the stone that the architects rejected. Jesus calls Peter the rock on which he would set his church. Modern protestant denominations deny this. They say that God didn't come to make a church. Lies from the pit of hell. He made a church and He made Peter the rock to set its foundations on. Welcome to the universal Church Jesus formed. Don't even try to call it perfect, because you are church, I am church, and we all make up the Body of Christ, we hold the timeless in our hearts. Not in all the extremities. But in our hearts, that's where it matters.

In comes our Lord and asks a haunting and daunting question to us all : "But who do YOU say that I AM?" Forget what others are saying, they are beating around the bush! They don't know! You know... now out with it! So Peter comes out with it, "You Lord, You are the Messiah! The Savior, the one who is to come!". Yes! You are the reason for our living, our existence, our very hope we have been waiting for, the one who we can set our whole lives for, the one who we can build upon, the one who can show us the way, and lead us and deliver us from evil! You are the one who God has appointed King. You are the warrior we have been waiting for thousands of years. You are the one who will join us and deliver us. You are the one!

And yes, God fulfills all His promises through Jesus, His one and only.
Jesus came to destroy by the very weakness our weakness. He came to shatter the final say of evil....death.

The mighty warrior does so without so much as lifting a finger, effortless, He is drug around His name and all, drug to the pits of hell, and He says nothing other than "Into your Hands Father, I commend My Spirit". WOW! Who does that? NObody can do what He did, but we can follow it as closely as possible. Amen? Jesus is amazing. I'm afraid though, that in our "connected world" we are becoming more and more isolated and disconnected. I always make a joke that I used to see some family members more when they lived hundreds of miles away, and now they live in the same town and I see them less. What should be connecting us is God, Church, Faith, and Love. But you won't have true love if God is not the center focal connector.

He has set the timeless in our hearts, like faith. But, if we don't use it? We may lose it. Lose faith, lose Heaven, and all your loved ones depending on love loses sight of hope...Jesus.

I know the following story is probably not important to you, but it was to me: So I have been stressing hard over various things lately, fallen away family members from faith, tons of workload, rampant issues at church, the family festival I'm heading up coming in 2 weeks for the community, and some quirky health issues possibly taking toll probably because of stress. I used to say "Lord I want to do more for you" but now I'm like "Whoa! I'm going crazy with the little I got!". WHy in the world did I take on a retreat in the midst of all this, I'm about to drive hundreds of miles away when I got all this going on! But I said yes, and the Holy Spirit has not told me otherwise. So I'm writing as I'm about to leave, and I ask for prayers for the hearts to be converted, for a prophet is not welcome in his own home yet I'm travelling to where I was born. And so I was stressing because my sound system (I'm supposed to sing at the retreat) it didn't work when I was trying to practice last week. No sound came out. So I told others and they said they'd provide. Great, less stuff to load and worry about. Last night I started to load instruments but before so I decided to practice again. I powered on everything, messed with the sound system one more time to no avail. So I used headphones to hear the output of sound. I got into the zone with the Holy Spirit, my heart was being lost into praise and worship and BLAM! My sound system came on full blast, freaking me out a little, trying frantically to turn it down as it was squelching rattling the little room. It kind of gave me chills because it felt as if God had just allowed this to happen, the sound miraculously came back and it was good! I practiced all the songs and loaded up the whole sound system in the van, and am anxiously awaiting to set it up in Colorado tonight. I know I need this retreat, probably more than the ones that will show up. God has a way with providence. He provides the necessary, and always.
So who do I say our Lord is? Father. The greatest provider...of the greatest of loves. That's who He is. He doesn't give me everything I want, but everything I need, for a true joy and a true faith. If I had got things I had asked for, years ago, I'd be in serious trouble right now. So I've learned to let God break my heart, cry for what I didn't get, and then introduce me to something way better. A closer life with Him.

And so I am called to share this great love, and that is what gives me great joy. Less sin, more of Him.
Less more, more of Jesus.
Less darkness, more grace.
Lord, you are so amazing, please, lead us to your Salvation and help lead our loves ones there too....timeless



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Thursday, September 27, 2018

⛪ He Kept Trying

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The Gospel of the Family

Truly Christian families are known by their fidelity, their patience, their openness to life, and their respect for the elderly…the secret to this is the presence of Jesus in the family. Let us therefore propose to all people, with respect and courage, the beauty of marriage and the family illuminated by the Gospel! And in order to do this let us approach with care and affection those families who are struggling, forced to leave their homeland, broken, homeless or unemployed, or suffering for any reason; let us approach married couples in crisis or separated. Let us be close to everyone through the proclamation of this Gospel of the family, the beauty of the family.

—from the book The Blessing of Family


"All the science of the Saints is included in these two things: To do, and to suffer. And whoever has done these two things best, has made himself most saintly."
— Saint Francis de Sales

"By accepting the sufferings 'offered' by life and allowed by God for our progress and purification, we spare ourselves much harder ones. We need to develop this kind of realism and, once and for all, stop dreaming of a life without suffering or conflict. That is the life of heaven, not earth. We must take up our cross and follow Christ courageously every day; the bitterness of that cross will sooner or later be transformed into sweetness."
— Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 49
Interior Freedom

Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
John 14:23-24


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Saint Vincent de Paul

(1580 – September 27, 1660)

The deathbed confession of a dying servant opened Vincent de Paul's eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France. This seems to have been a crucial moment in the life of the man from a small farm in Gascony, France, who had become a priest with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life.

The Countess de Gondi—whose servant he had helped—persuaded her husband to endow and support a group of able and zealous missionaries who would work among poor tenant farmers and country people in general. Vincent was too humble to accept leadership at first, but after working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley slaves, he returned to be the leader of what is now known as the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians. These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages.

Later, Vincent established confraternities of charity for the spiritual and physical relief of the poor and sick of each parish. From these, with the help of Saint Louise de Marillac, came the Daughters of Charity, "whose convent is the sickroom, whose chapel is the parish church, whose cloister is the streets of the city." He organized the rich women of Paris to collect funds for his missionary projects, founded several hospitals, collected relief funds for the victims of war, and ransomed over 1,200 galley slaves from North Africa. He was zealous in conducting retreats for clergy at a time when there was great laxity, abuse, and ignorance among them. He was a pioneer in clerical training and was instrumental in establishing seminaries.

Most remarkably, Vincent was by temperament a very irascible person—even his friends admitted it. He said that except for the grace of God he would have been "hard and repulsive, rough and cross." But he became a tender and affectionate man, very sensitive to the needs of others.

Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable societies. Outstanding among these, of course, is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in 1833 by his admirer Blessed Frédéric Ozanam.

The Church is for all God's children, rich and poor, peasants and scholars, the sophisticated and the simple. But obviously the greatest concern of the Church must be for those who need the most help—those made helpless by sickness, poverty, ignorance, or cruelty. Vincent de Paul is a particularly appropriate patron for all Christians today, when hunger has become starvation, and the high living of the rich stands in more and more glaring contrast to the physical and moral degradation in which many of God's children are forced to live.

Saint Vincent de Paul is the Patron Saint of:
Charitable Societies


Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest

Reading 1 Eccl 1:2-11

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
What profit has man from all the labor
which he toils at under the sun?
One generation passes and another comes,
but the world forever stays.
The sun rises and the sun goes down;
then it presses on to the place where it rises.
Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north,
the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds.
All rivers go to the sea,
yet never does the sea become full.
To the place where they go,
the rivers keep on going.
All speech is labored;
there is nothing one can say.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing
nor is the ear satisfied with hearing.

What has been, that will be;
what has been done, that will be done.
Nothing is new under the sun.
Even the thing of which we say, "See, this is new!"
has already existed in the ages that preceded us.
There is no remembrance of the men of old;
nor of those to come will there be any remembrance
among those who come after them.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 and 17bc
R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, "Return, O children of men."
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Alleluia Jn 14:6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
"John has been raised from the dead";
others were saying, "Elijah has appeared";
still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen."
But Herod said, "John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?"
And he kept trying to see him.


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Luke 9:7-9

Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest (Memorial)

He kept trying to see him. (Luke 9:9)

Rumors were flying. Speculation was high. Who was this Jesus of Nazareth? Where did he come from, and what did he really want? Was he John the Baptist, back from the dead? A new incarnation of the prophet Elijah? Or just some rabble-rouser from Galilee?

For Herod, this was an especially perplexing predicament. He had already taken care of John the Baptist. But it seemed that Jesus' presence and his preaching pricked his conscience on the matter. Maybe God really was trying to speak to him through John—and now through this Jesus. Still, Herod's vision was clouded. Aware that he was in a sinful relationship with his wife but unwilling to make any change, he couldn't break through the fog to come to faith.

Of course, none of us are the same as Herod. But like him, we may want to see the Lord but be hampered by blurred vision. Unforgiveness, bitterness, fear, and anxiety—all of these and more can keep us in a fog. But nothing is more capable of holding us back than unrepented sin. John the Baptist brought Herod's sin to light by criticizing Herod's marriage to Herodias, his brother's wife. Herod could have repented. He could have found a way out of his immoral union, but he ended up feeling forced to silence John's voice instead.

The Holy Spirit can clear away any clouds that are obscuring your vision. Through the gift of repentance, you can cooperate with him in this work. In fact, getting into the habit of repenting at the end of every day is probably one of the best ways to sharpen your vision.

Every evening, look over your day, and ask the Spirit to help you identify anything that you may have thought or said or done that was displeasing to the Lord. Then simply ask for forgiveness and for the Spirit's help to do better tomorrow. If the sin is serious enough, resolve to bring it to Confession as soon as you can. Then end by thanking God for his mercy. Over time, your vision will become clearer, simply because you are giving the Holy Spirit room to work in your heart.

"Come, Holy Spirit, and remove the clouds that keep me from seeing clearly."

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11
Psalm 90:3-6, 12-14, 17



We heard today: "What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun?" What profit? How many dollars? Is that what matters? What are you working for? I asked kids last night a question "what is your heart set on? It wasn't one certain thing, it was several, school, family, friends, religion. I brought up the question of order. One even said gender is what they set their heart on. All these things are fleeting. But the Son remains forever. What is your heart set on?

Let us pray: "In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge. You turn man back to dust, saying, "Return, O children of men." Return to Me says our Lord. Return with what? What can you carry into the next life? A fallen brother said at a meeting "all we will take is our memories, and here, people will only lament your going away for a couple of weeks". Is that true? Men fade away, to the tune of millions and now billions. They fade, we fade. And so our only hope is in our Lord, so...again, what is your heart set on?

In the Holy Gospel, the main person talked about is Herod, but its all about Jesus. Isn't it? Herod is looking for Jesus? "He kept trying to see Him". Did he have a bit of remorse for killing Saint John the Baptist? Why was he looking out for Him? Because now he's really afraid for his life? His Kingship? His little kingdom? Ahh. Yes, when our Lord says to leave everything and follow Him, he does ask for your kingdom doesn't he? Not really. He is asking for all your love. Your life, yes. He isn't asking for your fading temporal things. When we are asked to tithe, we are being asked for a bit of our love. When we are asked to join Him for a while, it is a bit of your love, your life. Isn't it? So why are we afraid? We are afraid?

Temporal matters do matter though. We are temporarily in this world. They say Jesus is in the world among us. Are you trying to see Him? Or are you living as though you know, but it doesn't matter? He is out there. And He is coming. When you run into Him, will you take Him in? Or will you pass Him along to get tortured like King Herod? He washed his hands and Pilate washed his hands, all pretending to be neutral, but the more neutral you are, the worse things are for the poor one being passed on...this child, of God, our Father...our Savior
I believe you care. But do we love? I believe we try, but, do we love? Faith is what we are learning. To grow, to go to Heaven, right? But what good is Heaven if you don't love God wholeheartedly? That's who Heaven is for. Not for people who turn away from Him and are neutral with Him.

Take care.
Take great care.
Of your soul, yes, but of your faith all the more! I am with you
Our Lord says....



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