Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Went Off...

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Let Go, Let God

We often believe that we need to be in control of our lives and, oftentimes, of the lives of our family, our coworkers, and our neighbors. We build up burdens upon ourselves and when we are completely stressed, then we run to God. But God says, "come to me" and "trust in me" before you are worried and weak. He wants it all. He can handle it and he can give us the grace we need and the strength we need to follow his will. Trust in God and, above all, have faith.

—from the book Talking to God: Prayers for Catholic Women by Julie Dortch Cragon
franciscan media


"By reason of His immensity, God is present everywhere; but there are two places where He dwells in a particular manner. One is in the highest heavens, where He is present by that glory which He communicates to the blessed; the other is on earth—within the humble soul that loves Him."
— St Alphonsus Liguori

"Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God's sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father's children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ."
— St. Francis of Assisi, p. 333
Witness of the Saints

"To watch over mouth and tongue is to keep out of trouble."
Proverbs 21:23


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St. Brigid of Ireland (451–525 A.D.), also known as St. Brigit of Kildare, was born to a pagan Irish chieftain and a Christian slave mother. Being the daughter of a slave woman, she also was a slave, and worked as a dairy maid. She became known for her virtuous life and her charity to the poor. Recognizing her great piety and special graces, a Christian king convinced her father to grant Brigid her freedom. Once free to follow her own course in life, St. Brigid refused marriage, consecrated herself to Christ, and became Ireland's first nun. She also formed Ireland's first convent at Kildare and became its abbess. She went on to found many other religious communities, as well as a School of Art famous for its metal working and illuminated manuscripts. St. Brigid was known for her extraordinary spirituality, even converting her father to the faith after he witnessed her fashioning the sign of the cross from strands of rushes. She was also a contemporary and friend of St. Patrick. When she died, her sisters kept a fire burning in an enclosure at her Kildare convent. This fire burned for centuries, tended by the sisters and not burning out until the 13th century. It was later re-lit and burned for 400 more years until the Protestant revolt. St. Brigid is the patroness of Ireland and many other causes, most notably of dairy and milk maids, chicken farmers, travelers, and sailors. Her feast day is February 1st.


Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12

When the time of David's death drew near,
he gave these instructions to his son Solomon:
"I am going the way of all flesh.
Take courage and be a man.
Keep the mandate of the LORD, your God, following his ways
and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees
as they are written in the law of Moses,
that you may succeed in whatever you do,
wherever you turn, and the LORD may fulfill
the promise he made on my behalf when he said,
'If your sons so conduct themselves
that they remain faithful to me with their whole heart
and with their whole soul,
you shall always have someone of your line
on the throne of Israel.'"

David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
The length of David's reign over Israel was forty years:
he reigned seven years in Hebron
and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.

Solomon was seated on the throne of his father David,
with his sovereignty firmly established.

Responsorial Psalm 1 Chronicles 29:10, 11ab, 11d-12a, 12bcd
R. (12b) Lord, you are exalted over all.
"Blessed may you be, O LORD,
God of Israel our father,
from eternity to eternity."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
"Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,
majesty, splendor, and glory."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
"LORD, you are exalted over all.
Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty;
you are exalted as head over all.
Riches and honor are from you."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
"In your hand are power and might;
it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.

Alleluia Mk 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
"Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them."
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


Meditation: Mark 6:7-13

. . . no food, no sack, no money. (Mark 6:8)

When we think about Jesus sending the disciples out along rocky footpaths in sweltering heat without as much as a drachma to spend or a barley loaf to eat, it might seem neglectful. But that's because we are looking at this story with twenty-first-century eyes. It was a common practice in Jesus' day for people to welcome traveling preachers into their homes and care for their needs. Hospitality was one of the top virtues of ancient Israel! But we can take a spiritual lesson from this passage: God will not abandon us.

We all have days when we feel empty-handed and unprepared to do the work of the Lord. We might say to ourselves, "God hasn't given me enough patience" or "I wish I had the same compassion that so-and-so has." In these moments, we can try to consider the "no food, no sack, no money" principle. Without earthly provisions in their packs, the disciples knew for certain that whatever food or help they received would come from other godly people as an expression of God's care for them.

What may seem to us like an extreme example of "packing light" was actually Jesus' way of asking them to trust him. Not only had he given them his own authority to cast out evil spirits and heal the sick, but he also assured them that he would guide them to people who would reflect his kindness and generosity.

This passage tells us that when we try to follow the commandments by relying only on our own strength and wisdom, we will find ourselves unprepared. But when we set out trusting that God will care for us, we'll find him coming through with unexpected grace. We'll find him giving us, each day, our daily bread.

So today, ask God to fill you up with all the provisions you need for your journey. Let him relieve you of the burden of trying to provide for yourself, just as he did for the disciples. Don't be afraid to tell the Lord what you think you're missing. Ask for his help. He won't leave you empty-handed.

"Jesus, in my weakness, I rely on your strength. Give me my daily bread so that I can accomplish your work."

1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12
(Psalm) 1 Chronicles 29:10-12



The King said to his son..."Take courage and be a man. Keep the mandate of the LORD, your God, following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ...that you may succeed in whatever you do, wherever you turn, and the LORD may fulfill the promise he made....". Be a man. It is time to leave childish things. It is now time for the Lord. It is time to grow Heaven. It is now time for you to do what I have done and taught you to do. Take courage. Nothing else.

Let us pray: " Lord, you are exalted over all. "In your hand are power and might; it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all." What our Lord has done is an absolute blessing. He leaves us in His Kingdom, His vineyard, His shepherding. His....salvation. It is an absolute blessing. God, please help us lead others to your salvation!

"Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits." Just as King David left the kingdom, Jesus, in the lineage of David, would leave a new Kingdom at the hands of Peter, and summoned all twelve to teach repentance and to free people from demons, and heal the sick. His is an absolute blessing. Last night as I was driving my daughter to CCD at church, I got a phone call. It was a brother asking if I'd join him to a prison retreat. I said "let me look at my calendar" and I saw it would land on an event I'd signed up for with the Knights. But the retreat would be more, more days, and further away. I'd have to give up this event I'd planned to help at with my wife and the fun filled afternoon serving at a banquet, this means I'd have to give up a full day of work and ask the boss. This means I'd simply have to give...more. And so, I have to wonder, is it the Lord calling? A personal invitation got me to a cursillo retreat. A personal invitation I issued changed someone's life. If I don't go, this man will go alone, not two by two as the Lord asks. Consider this. We make our plans how we want to help the Lord, but what if He wants it the way HE wants, WHEN He wants, and HOW He wants! Are you ready to give? A call to duty is not a call to party, but to reach out to those locked up and with demons and preach repentance, a message most will not accept...unless, God enters. A call to duty is a blessing and an serve, no? Let me translate a sniplet of a spanish reflection I read today:

"• The French writer Charles PĆ©guy tells the story of a man who dies and goes to heaven. When he meets the angel who records the good and bad actions of the people, he asks: "Show me your wounds". And the man replies: "What wounds? I do not have any injuries. " And the angel replies: "It never crossed your mind that there might be something worth fighting for?"
For the gospel, it's worth fighting like that."
Be a man.
Take courage.
Take nothing else.



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