Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What You Need

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God Forgives the Maximum

In the Our Father we say: "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." This is an equation. If you are not capable of forgiveness, how can God forgive you? The Lord wants to forgive you, but he cannot if you keep your heart closed and mercy cannot enter. One might object: "Father, I forgive, but I cannot forget that awful thing that he did to me…." The answer is to ask the Lord to help you forget. One must forgive as God forgives, and God forgives the maximum."

—Pope Francis, as quoted in the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
franciscan media


"Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
— St. Francis of Assisi

"No one denies what everyone knows, for nature herself teaches it: that God is the Creator of the universe, and that it is good, and that it belongs to humanity by the free gift of its Creator. But there is a vast difference between the corrupted state and the state of primal purity, just as there is a vast difference between Creator and the corruptor. ... We ourselves, though we're guilty of every sin, are not just a work of God: we're image. Yet we have cut ourselves off from our Creator in both soul and body. Did we get eyes to serve lust, the tongue to speak evil, ears to hear evil, a throat for gluttony, a stomach to be gluttony's ally, hands to do violence, genitals for unchaste excesses, feet for an erring life? Was the soul put in the body to think up traps, fraud, and injustice? I don't think so."
— Tertullian, p. 11
A Year with the Church Fathers

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."
1 Peter 2:9


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Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto

(Jacinta: 1910 – February 20, 1920 | Francisco: 1908 – April 14, 1919)

Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three Portuguese shepherd children from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fátima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.

At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary "to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war." They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary's final apparition on October 13, 1917.

Less than two years later, Francisco died of influenza in his family home. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fátima basilica in 1952. Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon in 1920, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world, and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fátima basilica in 1951. Their cousin Lúcia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000; she died five years later. Pope Francis canonized the younger children on his visit to Fátima to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first apparition–May 13, 2017. The shrine of Our Lady of Fátima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.

The Church is always very cautious about endorsing alleged apparitions, but it has seen benefits from people changing their lives because of the message of Our Lady of Fátima. Prayer for sinners, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and praying the rosary—all these reinforce the Good News Jesus came to preach.


Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Reading 1 Is 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19
R. (18b) From all their distress God rescues the just.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.

Verse Before the Gospel Mt 4:4b
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Gospel Mt 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
"In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

"If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."


Meditation: Matthew 6:7-15

1st Week of Lent

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. (Matthew 6:12)

There are few things more satisfying for a sports fan than watching his or her team work together to perform a well-executed play. Whether it's a touchdown pass in football, a double play in baseball, or a spectacular goal in soccer, it's gratifying to see all of the players do their part to make that play successful.

But what if your team is riddled with injuries? The play may come up short because the key players are hurting.

If we think of the Church as a team, we are all key players, and unforgiveness is one type of injury that clearly hinders our ability to make a difference in the world. Jesus tells us that we receive his forgiveness in the same measure as we forgive the people around us. If we don't forgive them, we block God's mercy from flowing into us—and out of us. So forgiveness is not just about us. It's about everyone on the team and helping all of us to move forward together in God's grace.

One way to grow in forgiveness is to take the long view. In sports, when a teammate makes you angry, you lose sight of your objective, and the whole team suffers. You can't fulfill your own role, and your teammates have one less comrade. But if you think beyond your injury and look toward your goal, your focus will shift from yourself to your team mates. You will focus more on winning than on reliving the past.

It's the same in the Christian life. Ruminating on past hurts not only distracts us, but it makes us ineffective disciples. It divides us from each other and hinders the work of the Church. We need to keep our hearts free of bitterness so that we can move together toward our goal: eternal life with Jesus.

Certainly, forgiving someone is not always easy. But your first step is to see that you are both on the same team. Then you can ask God for the grace to forgive, and choose to let go of the offense. When you relinquish your right to hold a grudge against someone, you release yourself as well. Little by little, you will be able to love more freely. Your teammate may be touched by God's mercy as well—and everybody wins.

"Lord, help me to be more forgiving."

Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm 34:4-7, 16-19


In the first Holy Scripture our Lord said "Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats, So shall my word be...". Thinking of God's word, think of Genesis, what His word accomplished. Then, think of the first line of the book of John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us". His word Shall Be. Shall be fruitful. Shall be faithful. His part is done. Always will be.

Let us pray: "When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves." One said last night in our first session of Be My Witness "I learned in a retreat, that God can only seep into a heart that is broken". That is...if we seek Him though right? For consolation. To be filled in our emptiness. John continues: " we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth".

In comes the Glory of God, in His Son, His Divinity, His Image, and to speak to us "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. "This is how you are to pray" and what follows is His Word, the whole of life explained in holiness. First thing's first, be honest. When you pray, be sincere. When you make a petition, let it be, not just for yourself. What if I told you that all the commandments where in the prayer He taught us? And the greatest is to love and hail our Father above all for that is how the prayer begins:
Our Heaven.."May your name be made Holy" as Fr. Mitch Pacwa explained from the ancient languages, 'hallowed be Thy name'.
So, how holy do you make His name? Do you keep Holy His name? Do you keep Holy the Sabbath? Do you keep Holy and honor your parents? Do you make life holy and respect life from conception to natural death? Do you honor they neighbor's goods and wife? What about honoring people with your mouth? It is an honor and holiness of God, if you have ears for the Word.

The prayer could takes books to explain, but it is obviously a prayer from a child of God to God the Father, isn't it? But not just one child, we are all in this together! At one point, the child asks to be fed "Give us this day our daily bread". In the first Holy Scripture, we read ""Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats, So shall my word be...". His Word becomes flesh and bread for His sheep. We are fed Mana from Heaven, in the Holy Catholic Church. Direct from the hands of GOD! He ordained the first disciples as priests and bishops, and He left them what to feed us. The whole of the prayers is so that we honor and make Him holy by our lives to receive this precious food. How precious is it to you?
Would you die for this food? His sacred body?
But don't think of eating flesh (meat of man), but of God Himself, imparting His wholeness to a dying give life.
His bread is daily. Across the world every day, His bread is provided. To those who seek. To those who desire Him and wholeness.
Lent offers one thing...true bread.
The devil offers a temptation, bread from stone.
Jesus makes bread from hearts.
I ask you to consider this. Our sufferings, our sacrifices, our real ones for God are noticed. He accepts them and converts them into something.

If we only knew the value.
Then we would freely give what He desires and accept what He offers.
A cross.
Love gives. Love is sacrificial. The Lord's prayer is one of love. The child and the Father. One that clings to Love. "Don't leave me alone please", Please help", "give us to eat", guide us please....



Praying with Saint Anthony

Loving God, you are proud of each one of us. Help
us to remember the true source of our richness:
our relationship with you.

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