Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Here With Us

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Wisdom from Mary

Our Lady said that the rosary can stop wars, and can bring world peace. We have to do what she said, and live good lives. There's no other plan from heaven that's so specific, for what we're going through now. The Blessed Mother spelled it out. Prayer, penance, the First Saturdays' devotion—and live a good, holy life. That's the answer.

–from Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's book Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions
franciscan media


"If you become Christ's you will stumble upon wonder upon wonder, and every one of them true."
— St. Brendan of Birr

"Prayer and fasting, worship and adoration, Scripture and sacraments and sacramentals all provide the weapons of our spiritual warfare. With them we go on the offensive against the Evil One. But the virtues provide our defense armor. As Blessed Pope Paul VI once observed, St. Paul 'used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable.' They are our best defense against his attacks, for they guard our minds and hearts from his deceptions and temptations. A lapse in virtue is in fact a chink in our armor that makes us vulnerable."
— Paul Thigpen, p. 57-8
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult."
Psalm 46: 1-3


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Saint John Bosco

John Bosco's theory of education could well be used in today's schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one's work, study and play.

Encouraged during his youth to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism.

After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, John opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring.

By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. His interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers.

John's preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854, he and his followers informally banded together, inspired by Saint Francis de Sales.

With Pope Pius IX's encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.

John Bosco educated the whole person—body and soul united. He believed that Christ's love and our faith in that love should pervade everything we do—work, study, play. For John Bosco, being a Christian was a full-time effort, not a once-a-week, Mass-on-Sunday experience. It is searching and finding God and Jesus in everything we do, letting their love lead us. Yet, because John realized the importance of job-training and the self-worth and pride that come with talent and ability, he trained his students in the trade crafts, too.

Saint John Bosco is the Patron Saint of:


Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest

Reading 1 2 Sm 24:2, 9-17

King David said to Joab and the leaders of the army who were with him,
"Tour all the tribes in Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba
and register the people, that I may know their number."
Joab then reported to the king the number of people registered:
in Israel, eight hundred thousand men fit for military service;
in Judah, five hundred thousand.

Afterward, however, David regretted having numbered the people,
and said to the LORD:
"I have sinned grievously in what I have done.
But now, LORD, forgive the guilt of your servant,
for I have been very foolish."
When David rose in the morning,
the LORD had spoken to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying:
"Go and say to David, 'This is what the LORD says:
I offer you three alternatives;
choose one of them, and I will inflict it on you.'"
Gad then went to David to inform him.
He asked: "Do you want a three years' famine to come upon your land,
or to flee from your enemy three months while he pursues you,
or to have a three days' pestilence in your land?
Now consider and decide what I must reply to him who sent me."
David answered Gad: "I am in very serious difficulty.
Let us fall by the hand of God, for he is most merciful;
but let me not fall by the hand of man."
Thus David chose the pestilence.
Now it was the time of the wheat harvest
when the plague broke out among the people.
The LORD then sent a pestilence over Israel
from morning until the time appointed,
and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba died.
But when the angel stretched forth his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it,
the LORD regretted the calamity
and said to the angel causing the destruction among the people,
"Enough now! Stay your hand."
The angel of the LORD was then standing
at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
When David saw the angel who was striking the people,
he said to the LORD: "It is I who have sinned;
it is I, the shepherd, who have done wrong.
But these are sheep; what have they done?
Punish me and my kindred."

Responsorial Psalm PS 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7
R. (see 5c) Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, "I confess my faults to the LORD,"
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.

Alleluia JN 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place,
accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, "Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?"
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
"A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house."
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.


Meditation: Mark 6:1-6

Saint John Bosco, Priest (Memorial)

A prophet is not without honor except in his native place. (Mark 6:4)

In today's Gospel, Mark tells us how the people of Jesus' hometown struggled to accept him because they thought they knew him. Sadly, their inability to honor him, one of their fellow townspeople, limited the miracles that he could do among them.

Their experience can teach us two lessons about honoring one another, or treating one another with respect. First, it can be challenging to honor the people closest to us. Second, if dishonor can limit what the Lord is able to do, imagine how important honoring someone must be in opening the door for the Lord to work.

What does it mean to "honor" someone (Mark 6:4)? It can mean seeing them with God's eyes, looking at their potential instead of their shortcomings, and their gifts instead of their flaws. It can mean recognizing that they are a gift to us and that they have dignity. Maybe a sibling thinks very differently from us, or a co-worker has some frustrating habits. What could happen if we chose to treat them well, to honor their gifts and talents instead of focusing on the ways we disagree with them?

When we say something encouraging instead of criticizing, when we try to build up instead of tearing down, God uses our words and our attitudes to remind people how deeply loved they are. He can use our words and actions to show that person that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. When we take the time to listen attentively instead of lecturing or nagging, it can soften both their hearts and ours. Most of all, when we try our best to love and accept others patiently, especially the ones who rub us the wrong way, we are creating an environment where the Lord can draw them closer to his heart.

Think about the people closest to you. Who bothers you the most or concerns you the most? Try to honor that person today. Offer them an encouraging word or an unexpected compliment. Think of one positive aspect of their personality, and thank God for it. Make it a point to do this every day for a week, and watch what happens—both in their life and in your own heart.

"Jesus, help me to honor the people around me."

2 Samuel 24:2, 9-17
Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7


King David messed up, and He prayed ""I have sinned grievously in what I have done. But now, LORD, forgive the guilt of your servant, for I have been very foolish." The Lord gave him 3 choices. Pestilence is what was chosen. Death came. People suffered because of his sin. Nowadays, what kind of pestilence do you choose? Sin brings about pestilence. Death. It stinks. One of the songs I wrote says sin "tastes like death...smells like death". Why did David do what he did? It was an act of distrust and disobedience to God's will and command. Today, what kind of acts do we do that are against His will? Someone told me that not voting is good. That's not ALL good. Why? Silence lets sin win. Study this lent what virtues are. I want you to be able to explain to everyone what virtues are. And you won't have a good explanation if you do not live them out and seek them out truly. God punishes. Your sin, even though forgiven, calls for a just punishment. Just means holy. You won't get away with murder. Especially if you are silent. Think of the unborn as a mere and humble example.

Let us pray: " Lord, forgive the wrong I have done. Blessed is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered. Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile." God blesses. St. John Bosco,today's saint brought everyone closer to the Lord. He admonished the sinner and showed them the way to a righteous life, and one of his boy students became a saint. God forgives. How many times do we have to be forgiven? That's a question I ask after going to Holy Confession every time.

In the Holy Gospel, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house." These are deep words. They said "Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?" We like to hear great preachers, (some of us do) from far away lands, and of saintly people, exotic. But what about the domestic? What about the domestic prophet? The ones at home? Your Holy Priest. Maybe your teacher. Maybe someone in your own home trying to lead us to God? These prophets of God are often rejected. Mostly because "you KNOW who they are". So, a retreat at your parish goes unattended. CCD teachers are ignored. And the homily on Sunday if they go to church? Ehh, about 20% of the message is accepted/retained. We often have deflectors on. We deflect the message of God "Oh I wish So-and-so was here, this would be good for them to hear". Nahh. It's for you buddy! I was pretty fired up at our company safety meeting, telling everyone to own up to their responsibilities. So often we want people to do things for us. You must do YOUR part. That's why God has us here. He is calling. Stop saying no. Sin is saying no. The prophet Gad told King David what was up. The acronym "GAD" in spanish texting world means Gracias A Dios, thanks be to God. And thank God David listened to Gad. Thank God David repented. Thank God a punishment came. It served as an important lesson we are to learn from today. Steer clear of the wide road of perdition. Too many are on that road, sadly, in silence they go. In the business world, they say to watch out for the silent customer....they leave without saying a word. And this is our Father's business....saving souls. How quiet are your loved ones? You don't know why they are quiet. When I'm teaching, the talkative ones I appreciate, but the silent ones, I worry about. I have to fill in with my testimony, they don't have one. When will you have a testimony? And when will you be a living witness? The world is watching...



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