Monday, February 5, 2018

To Wherever They Heard He Was

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Mary Is the Answer

Mary can help you to find and attach to a solid, loving mother figure on the natural level. If you ask her, she will guide you to them. Perhaps she is a mentor, older friend, or consecrated religious. We can find that motherly love in many people. No matter what you lack from your childhood, it can be recovered with the Blessed Virgin's help. Mary is the answer.

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


No act is charitable if it is not just."
— St. Bruno


"Man threw away everything he had—his right to speak freely, his communion with God, his time in Paradise, his unclouded life—and went out naked, like a survivor from a shipwreck. But God received him and immediately clothed him, and taking him by the hand gradually led him to heaven. And yet the shipwreck was quite unforgivable. For this tempest was entirely due, not to the force of the winds, but to the carelessness of the sailor. Yet God did not look at this, but had compassion for such a great disaster. … Why? Because, when no sadness or care or labor or toil or countless waves of desire assaulted our nature, it was overturned and fell. And just as criminals who sail the sea often drill through the ship with a small iron tool, and let the whole sea into the ship from below, so when the devil saw the ship of Adam (by which I mean his soul) filled with many good things, he came and drilled through it with his voice alone, as if it were an iron tool, and stole all his wealth and sank the ship itself. But God made the gain greater than the loss, and brought our nature to the royal throne."

— St. John Chrysostom, p. 19
A Year with the Church Fathers

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:58


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Saint Agatha
(c. 230 – 251)

As in the case of Agnes, another virgin-martyr of the early Church, almost nothing is historically certain about this saint except that she was martyred in Sicily during the persecution of Emperor Decius in 251.

Legend has it that Agatha, like Agnes, was arrested as a Christian, tortured, and sent to a house of prostitution to be mistreated. She was preserved from being violated, and was later put to death.

She is claimed as the patroness of both Palermo and Catania. The year after her death, the stilling of an eruption of Mt. Etna was attributed to her intercession. As a result, apparently, people continued to ask her prayers for protection against fire.

The scientific modern mind winces at the thought of a volcano's might being contained by God because of the prayers of a Sicilian girl. Still less welcome, probably, is the notion of that saint being the patroness of such varied professions as those of foundry workers, nurses, miners and Alpine guides. Yet, in our historical precision, have we lost an essential human quality of wonder and poetry, and even our belief that we come to God by helping each other, both in action and prayer?

Saint Agatha is the Patron Saint of:
Diseases of the Breast


Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

Reading 1 1 Kgs 8:1-7, 9-13
The elders of Israel and all the leaders of the tribes,
the princes in the ancestral houses of the children of Israel,
came to King Solomon in Jerusalem,
to bring up the ark of the LORD's covenant
from the City of David, which is Zion.
All the people of Israel assembled before King Solomon
during the festival in the month of Ethanim (the seventh month).
When all the elders of Israel had arrived,
the priests took up the ark;
they carried the ark of the LORD
and the meeting tent with all the sacred vessels
that were in the tent.
(The priests and Levites carried them.)

King Solomon and the entire community of Israel
present for the occasion
sacrificed before the ark sheep and oxen
too many to number or count.
The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD
to its place beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary,
the holy of holies of the temple.
The cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the ark,
sheltering the ark and its poles from above.
There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets
which Moses had put there at Horeb,
when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel
at their departure from the land of Egypt.

When the priests left the holy place,
the cloud filled the temple of the LORD
so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud,
since the LORD's glory had filled the temple of the LORD.
Then Solomon said, "The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud;
I have truly built you a princely house,
a dwelling where you may abide forever."

Responsorial Psalm PS 132:6-7, 8-10
R. (8a) Lord, go up to the place of your rest!
Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
Let us enter into his dwelling,
let us worship at his footstool.
R. Lord, go up to the place of your rest!
Advance, O LORD, to your resting place,
you and the ark of your majesty.
May your priests be clothed with justice;
let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy.
For the sake of David your servant,
reject not the plea of your anointed.
R. Lord, go up to the place of your rest!

Alleluia See Mt 4:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 6:53-56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.


Meditation: Mark 6:53-56

Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Memorial)

And as many as touched it were healed. (Mark 6:56)

"Reach out and touch someone." This popular advertising slogan from years ago could easily be the theme for today's Gospel story. People scurried to Jesus, knowing that he had comforted and healed many in astonishing ways. They laid aside their everyday tasks and obligations for a time and rushed through the heat and dust to bring him their concerns and sicknesses and needs. They hoped to touch him—even just to touch his clothes. More than that, they hoped to be touched by him. And as many as reached out to him, who touched him, were healed.

You can do the same thing. Jesus is never stingy in offering people the comfort and healing, wisdom and guidance that they need. While you can't grab the tassels of his clothing, you can take hold of the very things that Jewish tradition says those tassels symbolize: God's word.

Lay aside your work and responsibilities for a short while. Slog through the heat and dust in your life and touch Jesus. Yes, it might mean getting up a bit earlier or going to bed a bit later or deciding that some activities can wait. Touching Jesus is worth it!

Perhaps he has already used a particular verse in Scripture to stir your heart or encourage you or

gently convict you. Stop and reread it. Perhaps you can take a verse from today's Gospel or from a beloved psalm—"The Lord is my shepherd" (Psalm 23:1). Sit quietly and listen for what Jesus wants to say to you. Ask him questions and listen for an answer. You're not wasting your time—you're touching the tassel of his cloak! Underline that verse in your Bible, copy it into a notebook, or record it somewhere so that you can remember it over the course of days and weeks.

Every time you return to that passage, you can be encouraged anew and healed more. The truth it contains will take root in your thoughts until it becomes part of you. It will become a compass that indicates direction for your days, an anchor for you in difficult times, and a marker showing how much God has done in your life. The tassel of Jesus' cloak is always at hand. Reach out and touch him today!

"Jesus, I'm reaching out to you today. Stir my heart, teach me, and heal me."

1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13
Psalm 132:6-10


"... the LORD's glory had filled the temple of the LORD." King David said "The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud". It is a consuming cloud. It fills the temple out of nothing. They say the universe is connected with "dark matter". It is what connects everything. It is a theory they are trying to prove to this day. But do you need proof that God is in everything and everywhere?

If so...I invite you to touch the tassel...

Let us pray: "May your priests be clothed with justice; let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy. For the sake of David your servant, reject not the plea of your anointed. Lord, go up to the place of your rest!" God called for faithfulness in the book of Genesis. God speaks about the faithful in Revelation. Indeed, it said "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war." A song I wrote is called "Warrior" and it speaks about the one on a white horse. It is a fighting song. What does a fire fighter do? He dives into fires to save. This warrior fights like no other. It is beyond admiration. It is beyond words. There are not enough books in the world to cover what Jesus has said and done, with a word, and a drop of blood.

In the Holy Gospel, people flock to the healer. Sometimes we'll get an exotic healer coming through a nearby city. I went once. This healer from "Australia". The church was beyond packed, it was incredible. But what little I glimpsed caught my attention from the back of the back. The "healer" was proclaiming God's word and praying, preaching, repentance and so forth. The masses had to hear the words. I remember one cousin went with a bad knee. She went to see him. The healer asked "if you have a bad knee and your name starts with an "M" stand up to be healed. She doubted. She did not stand. She was not healed. But today's Word has a multitude lining up people to be healed. And He healed every disease. We want our bodies healed don't we? But what about our souls that are connected with the body? They need healing, perhaps the MOST healing. When a soul is healed, bodies can heal. I keep asking this loved one to go to confession. Doctors don't give him healing. And every time I asked if he went to confess, he says no. How come we go to the healer and do not get healed? It's because something keeps us from it. Something deep inside. Something is keeping us from being one and united and supremely intimate with Him. So often I wonder if we want Jesus for the healing and not for the loving. We use people then. That is the modern day problem. Using people. Using people for satisfaction. To get what you "need" and then dispose of people. How can I say this as a blanket term? Easy. Ungratefulness. It is easy to see when pride is evident. It is easy to see when people are stuck in a rut. And I'm speaking directly to you! DOH!

How can you speak about my child if you don't even know them! Easy. I've never met a soul that does not need my prayer. Never. Every person I can think of I have had to pray for, or should have prayed for. Wouldn't you like to have a tassel to touch?
Wouldn't you like to go to the healer?
There is a tassel. There is a healer.
His name is Jesus. And He sends angels to heal. To touch. To send the Word of repentance. He sends the antidote to death...the Eucharist.
We were at the conference with theologians this weekend, Dr. Hahn, and Barber and Bergsman, and one line stuck out that I think had many sit quietly for a moment. One said "if you go throughout your day, all day long without really praying (omit prayer before meals etc), then it's like you told God, "I got this". In other words "I don't need you". "I didn't need you". Sadly, it is true for a vast majority. I remember Padre Pio's life telling. They said he always prayed, especially the rosary, sometimes having prayed up to 9,000 Hail Marys per day!

I have a real issue with people that comment " I said the rosary". I prefer the term "prayed the rosary". From teeth out, nothing comes in. From heart out, something pours in.
How else can you pray? Contemplate. Meditate. These things happen when considering God all day in everything you do. The rosary meditates. Vocal prayers are the easiest. But how many of us are vocal? How many?
What if I told you, you have healing touch?
What if I told you, you can touch a tassel?
It's easy. Walk on water. It's easy. Take and consume the body of Christ in total love.
Easier said than done, right?

My life changes for the Lord in many ways. Healings are one. But an outpouring is another. Lent gives ample opportunity for healing, that is, a restoration to God's will. My life is changed during lent. And I invite you to this restoration with me. If you haven't got the gist, I'm talking about touching the tassel. A tassel hangs from a faithful Jew. It hangs from a teacher. Your life is teaching others a way to live. I'm asking you about a tassel you dare to touch. The moment your finger touches the tassel, that move is faith. There is that only thing missing. My cousin went to the healer and did not move to the last step. It can happen in the Holy Sacraments. In Holy Mass. It can happen on a death bed...and beyond. Jesus says to those stuck...."Have Faith"



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