Wednesday, January 24, 2018

"Hear this!

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Be of Good Heart

"Be of good heart." I love that because it is true. We should be of good heart no matter what happens because we know—or we should know—that we are Mary's very own children and that she loves us beyond what words can adequately describe. We have, not only the right, but the obligation to call out to her when we are in trouble. Like all good mothers, her ears are tuned to the voices of her children. She knows each one individually and is constantly listening.

—from the book Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace by Marge Steinhage Fenelon
franciscan media


"A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love."
— St. Basil the Great

"Scattered about the entire earth, your mother the Church is tormented by the assaults of error. She is also afflicted by the laziness and indifference of so many of the children she carries around in her bosom as well as by the sight of so many of her members growing cold, while she becomes less able to help her little ones. Who then will give her the necessary help she cries for if not her children and other members to whose number you belong?"
— Saint Augustine, p. 90
Augustine Day by Day

"Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds."
Hebrews 10:23-24


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Saint Francis de Sales

(August 21, 1567 – December 28, 1622)

Francis was destined by his father to be a lawyer so that the young man could eventually take his elder's place as a senator from the province of Savoy in France. For this reason Francis was sent to Padua to study law. After receiving his doctorate, he returned home and, in due time, told his parents he wished to enter the priesthood. His father strongly opposed Francis in this, and only after much patient persuasiveness on the part of the gentle Francis did his father finally consent. Francis was ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, then a center for the Calvinists. Francis set out to convert them, especially in the district of Chablais. By preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine, he had remarkable success.

At 35, he became bishop of Geneva. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions, and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, "A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar."

Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. For his writings, he has been named patron of the Catholic Press. His writings, filled with his characteristic gentle spirit, are addressed to lay people. He wants to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. As he wrote in The Introduction to the Devout Life: "It is an error, or rather a heresy, to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman…. It has happened that many have lost perfection in the desert who had preserved it in the world. "

In spite of his busy and comparatively short life, he had time to collaborate with another saint, Jane Frances de Chantal, in the work of establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. These women were to practice the virtues exemplified in Mary's visit to Elizabeth: humility, piety, and mutual charity. They at first engaged to a limited degree in works of mercy for the poor and the sick. Today, while some communities conduct schools, others live a strictly contemplative life.

Francis de Sales took seriously the words of Christ, "Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart." As he said himself, it took him 20 years to conquer his quick temper, but no one ever suspected he had such a problem, so overflowing with good nature and kindness was his usual manner of acting. His perennial meekness and sunny disposition won for him the title of "Gentleman Saint."

Saint Francis de Sales is the Patron Saint of:


Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1 2 Sm 7:4-17

That night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
"Go, tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?
I have not dwelt in a house
from the day on which I led the children of Israel 319
out of Egypt to the present,
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
In all my wanderings everywhere among the children of Israel,
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask:
Why have you not built me a house of cedar?'

"Now then, speak thus to my servant David,
'The LORD of hosts has this to say:
It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
And if he does wrong,
I will correct him with the rod of men
and with human chastisements;
but I will not withdraw my favor from him
as I withdrew it from your predecessor Saul,
whom I removed from my presence.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'"

Nathan reported all these words and this entire vision to David.

Responsorial Psalm PS 89:4-5, 27-28, 29-30
R. (29a) For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
"I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will make your dynasty stand forever
and establish your throne through all ages."
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
"He shall cry to me, 'You are my father,
my God, the Rock that brings me victory!'
I myself make him firstborn,
Most High over the kings of the earth."
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
"Forever I will maintain my love for him;
my covenant with him stands firm.
I will establish his dynasty forever,
his throne as the days of the heavens."
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
"The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven."

Jesus said to them, "Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."


Meditation: 2 Samuel 7:4-17

Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

I will . . . establish a house for you. (2 Samuel 7:11)

In the middle of the nineteenth century, an Italian priest named John Bosco established a home and school for delinquent boys in the city of Turin. Having grown up in poverty, Bosco was no stranger to financial need. Despite the support of wealthy benefactors, he never seemed to have enough funds. But God provided for him and for his hundreds of orphans in marvelous ways. Sometimes he would multiply a small basket of rolls or a sack of chestnuts so that all four hundred boys could eat. Bosco, who was canonized in 1934, believed that God would always provide their "daily bread"—and he did.

Today's first reading focuses on God's desire to provide for his people. Rather than allowing King David to build a house for him

(a temple to the Lord), God promises, "I will . . . establish a house for you" (2 Samuel 7:11). He reminds David that he is the One who has chosen him to become king, he is the One who destroyed all of Israel's enemies, and he is the One who has brought the kingdom into an era of peace and plenty.

Just as God provided for David, so he has provided for us. It all began when he gave us the gift of life. He also brought us into his family through Baptism, offered us salvation through his Son, and now feeds us with his own Bread of Life. Wherever we go, whatever we do, our generous God is with us. He will never leave us. He will never stop providing for us.

If you were to try to tally up all the ways God has shown you his care, you might, like David, need to sit down and catch your breath (2 Samuel 7:18)! Imagine: the God of the entire universe has taken a special concern for you, down to every hair on your head.

So stop and reflect today on God's generosity to you over the past week. Did you sense his presence in prayer? Did he encourage you through the smile of a friend? Did he calm your fears with a sense of his presence? These are all ways he is building a home for you.

"Thank you, Father, for your generosity!"

Psalm 89:4-5, 27-30
Mark 4:1-20


The Holy Word began today: ""Go, tell my servant David".

This was a direct command. The prophet, the word of God spoke. David listened. We can't say David spoke direct with God like the prophet, but David obeyed. He prayed. He listened. The Word of God then became living and effective. This message is for all who have ears....for His voice. He speaks direct and indirect. What happens to the Word? Let us continue dear servant of God!

Let us pray:

"For ever I will maintain my love for my servant." God's promise of mercy endures until this day.
_ "Forever I will maintain my love for him" This is a call for your love in return.
" my covenant with him stands firm." and the covenant is reaffirmed in the Holy Sacraments to this day.
" I will establish his dynasty forever, his throne as the days of the heavens."_ This is yet to be established on earth as it is in Heaven, your will to His. God gave us a life with a calling. Most yearn to understand their place, their role in this life...for Him. Let it be known now. That yearning is His desire.

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord embarks on a boat. They say in Revelation, " before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind." He embarks on the sea to speak from His throne. God speaks. And He launches words to be forever recorded in history...the parable of the sower. The Word of God is launched into your very eyes...will they be planted in your heart this very day? Lord please, yes. I will not repeat the Words because you know them, the word lands on different soils...souls. Some are ready. Some are not. God keeps on sowing. Check this out. Yesterday, this co-worker mentioned this restaurant in town that he detests, and I said "I just took my family there last month and all the food was very good." then I asked him "how long has it been since you ate there? One year ago?" he replies "no, it's been two years!". We can't say things won't change, hearts won't change. Just because a heart is closed to the Word today, it don't mean it will be closed tomorrow. God keeps on going and sowing. His mercy is that way, tremendous. But woe to me if I stop sowing the Word of God! It would be like tying a rope to my neck with the other end a stone to be tossed over the bridge. Because I would be teaching others the same.

I serve much in His Kingdom. You serve too. What do you serve and how do you serve? I see seeds planted, and they sprout in some souls. Then...some in a month, fade away, some in a year, some in 3 or 4 or more. Some can't give fruit because they are being choked by lures of the world, lures that Jesus calls riches and anxieties. So true. Everything He says is so true. These keep so many souls trapped in weeds and can't give fruit designed by God to spread, proliferate, infiltrate and propagate. Rocks become fertile soil, like lava. Give it time. Give God more time. More of your day. More of your pocketbook. More of your diary. More of your calendar. More of your talent. Learn to be giving and learn to be like God. There is good news here. God doesn't change. He is always good.

Now, let me give you some help that I received yesterday. I hopped in my truck to do something, just drove for less than a minute and I heard on EWTN, I think Fr. Wade, saying pointers on how to discern God's will. I stopped and wrote down these things because we need them in guidance in our spiritual life, listen to God's will by applying that thought you have, if it's God will:
1. Is it in line with church teaching?
2. ‎Does it come while praying?
3.Does it ‎ask for faith?
4. Does it ‎foster interior and exterior charity?
5. ‎it is often repeated in intellect and gives peace
6. ‎idea grows stronger over time
If so, this very well may be God's will. Always not for your own betterment but for His Kingdom, right? This is a flowering effect as I look upon it. And often, it is unavoidable so long as you are open to His life, His will, His...service.

God calls David "His servant".
So often we want to know God's will, but in all places, like work, family, but what about God's will for His Kingdom? Then ask "does this job opportunity give more time to be with God?" Hmm. It's not all about the benjamins, even though you'd think "I could give more to church". Ask yourself in family matters "does this idea bring about a better faith for my children?" because so often we want answers, but are asking the wrong questions. One of the things I have to keep from my kids are distractions. While praying, keep toys away. While at Mass try to pay attention. While driving, what are we listening to? While on vacation, where do we go? No church? Ahh. We must focus every aspect of our lives on Him!

What if I told you, your anxieties are produced by focusing on temporal matters? Like your health, like your wealth, like your loves?
What if I told you that your life could be full of grace and joy? Would you take me up on it? Would you then, step onto the boat and then....step out on to the oceans of time? The waves would not affect Jesus. He is constant. I am asking you for your commitment. I am not asking you to spell out your problems. Everyone I know has problems and none more important than others. I am asking you for what God, faithfulness, faith in a faithless world, fruit in a fruitless world, light in a light-less world, love in an unloving world. The parable of the sower is one of God and you. God provides: life and seed. Seeds to multiply. It is the book of Genesis to Revelation, of the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and the end, it is all about life. This then is the Word of Life, book of life, not like Hollywood depicts it, but as God has proclaimed. Just because the seed didn't take once, doesn't mean it won't take ever. It takes constancy on our part. A constant love.
I have gone long here, I know, but, how long do you have?

For God...............................



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