Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Greatest Among You

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Jesus Always Finds Us

Jesus, in his proclamation of the kingdom, told us what we could prefer to life itself. The Bible ends by telling us we are called to be a people who could say, "Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20), who could welcome something more than business as usual and live in God's Big Picture. We all have to ask for the grace to prefer something to our small lives because we have been offered the shared Life, the One Life, the eternal Life, God's Life, which became visible for us in this world as Jesus.

What we are all searching for is someone to surrender to, something we can prefer to life itself. Well here is the wonderful surprise: God is the only one we can surrender to without losing ourselves! The irony is that we actually find ourselves, but now in a whole new and much larger field of meaning

—from the book Yes, And...: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr
franciscan media


"Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women."
— St. Gianna Molla

"Jesus trembled and shuddered as He stood before the pillar, and took off His garments as quickly as He could, but His hands were bloody and swollen. The only return He made when His brutal executioners struck and abused Him was to pray for them in the most touching manner: He turned His face once toward His Mother, who was standing overcome with grief; this look quite unnerved her: she fainted, and would have fallen, had not the holy women who were there supported her. Jesus put His arms around the pillar, and when His hands were thus raised, the archers fastened them to the iron ring which was at the top of the pillar; they then dragged His arms to such a height that His feet, which were tightly bound to the base of the pillar, scarcely touched the ground. Thus was the Holy of Holies violently stretched, without a particle of clothing, on a pillar used for the punishment of criminals; and then did two furious ruffians who were thirsting for His blood begin in the most barbarous manner to scourge His sacred body from head to foot."
— Bl. Anne Cathrine Emmerich, p. 218-9
The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

"O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name."
Psalm 63:1-4


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Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

(March 1, 1838 – February 27, 1862)

Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows' Story
Born in Italy into a large family and baptized Francis, Saint Gabriel lost his mother when he was only four years old. He was educated by the Jesuits and, having been cured twice of serious illnesses, came to believe that God was calling him to the religious life. Young Francis wished to join the Jesuits but was turned down, probably because of his age, not yet 17. Following the death of a sister to cholera, his resolve to enter religious life became even stronger and he was accepted by the Passionists. Upon entering the novitiate he was given the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Ever popular and cheerful, Gabriel quickly was successful in his effort to be faithful in little things. His spirit of prayer, love for the poor, consideration of the feelings of others, exact observance of the Passionist Rule as well as his bodily penances—always subject to the will of his wise superiors— made a deep impression on everyone.

His superiors had great expectations of Gabriel as he prepared for the priesthood, but after only four years of religious life symptoms of tuberculosis appeared. Ever obedient, he patiently bore the painful effects of the disease and the restrictions it required, seeking no special notice. He died peacefully on February 27, 1862, at age 24, having been an example to both young and old.

Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was canonized in 1920.

When we think of achieving great holiness by doing little things with love and grace, Therese of Lisieux comes first to mind. Like her, Gabriel died painfully from tuberculosis. Together they urge us to tend to the small details of daily life, to be considerate of others' feelings every day. Our path to sanctity, like theirs, probably lies not in heroic doings but in performing small acts of kindness every day.

Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows is the Patron Saint of:
Young People


Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 231

Reading 1 IS 1:10, 16-20

Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!

Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow.

Come now, let us set things right,
says the LORD:
Though your sins be like scarlet,
they may become white as snow;
Though they be crimson red,
they may become white as wool.
If you are willing, and obey,
you shall eat the good things of the land;
But if you refuse and resist,
the sword shall consume you:
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!

Responsorial Psalm PS 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 AND 23
R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Verse Before The Gospel EZ 18:31
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Gospel MT 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
"The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people's shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.'
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."


Meditation: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20

Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord. (Isaiah 1:18)

Isaiah spoke the cry of God's heart. As God looked at his people, he saw "misdeeds," "evil," and the desolation that such attitudes bring upon any people (Isaiah 1:16). Moved by what he saw, he called the prophet Isaiah to speak: "Let us set things right!" (1:18). Come and be cleansed, he pleaded; come and receive healing, restoration, freedom.

Let us set things right. This was the refrain even when our first parents fell into sin. God did not give up on them. Instead, he promised salvation. And from that moment on, in human suffering and war, in faithlessness and rebellion, in exile and slavery, God's call remained constant: Return to me. Allow me to remove the walls that separate us. Let me forgive and wash you clean.

God's desire remains the same today. In fact, you don't have to wait for a special time to reconcile with the Lord. You can come to him every day and set things right. All you need to do is take time each evening to review your day and seek the Lord's forgiveness for any sins you may have committed. Before you go to bed, reflect on your thoughts and actions that day and bring to the Lord any ways in which you have missed the mark. If something serious comes up, you can tell the Lord about it and make sure you get to Confession as soon as possible. It is a freeing experience to clear the decks every evening. It can even help you get a good night's sleep!

There's no time like the present to start. Quiet your heart, and listen closely. You will hear the Lord calling you, urging you, Come, let us set things right.

Sometimes we think that Lent is all about our turning back to the Lord in repentance. But Lent is also about God reaching out to us, offering us a torrent of healing love and merciful grace. It's about God doing everything in his power to set things right with us. Remember this when you examine your conscience: God is seeking you, always ready to heal and forgive.

"Father, I stand in wonder at your desire to welcome us home! Your love truly is amazing!"

Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Matthew 23:1-12


"Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD". Now is the acceptable time. Isn't it true that at any minute we would need Him? Then now is the time. Isn't it true that at any moment we could call on Him? Then now is the time. "For he said, "I have answered you in an acceptable time and in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the acceptable time, and behold, now is the day of salvation."

"To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?" If there's one thing it seems our Lord does not like, is one with two faces. One appearance here, and another in the heart. People see this at times, but God...sees all the time. He sees what all the time? We see what sometimes? Truth.

Behold...the man...the Truth: " and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example." Bishop Barren says in his reflection today "In the fourth century, St. Augustine faced the challenge of the Donatists. They claimed that only pure and morally upright priests could legitimately dispense the sacraments. Augustine said, no, the personal evil of a minister does not compromise the validity of what he does sacramentally.
This principle is of great significance. Augustine, in imitation of Christ, says that there can be evil men who do and teach the works of God."

It can be said that it is true in the world, monkey see, monkey do. It's true in fashions, trends, ethics, and even terrorisms, shootings and so forth. Followers. We see things people do, and we do them too. Do not follow that dark crowd. Do as what is written in the law, God's law. And this law has been written in our hearts since Jesus, the Truth has come.

Our Lord says "Do not be called 'Master". You are not God. You are of God. You are His hands and feet. Jesus said today "The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." People love the humble, the childlike, those most like...Jesus. Children suffer greatly when their mother is no longer with them, or taken away. Why? Because, she poured out for them, was there servant. Was...their lover. The world now, suffers because they don't seem to have a mother: Mary. We need a servant lover in our world. Today's scripture asks...if not me, then who?
Who will wash the feet, who will tend to their needs, and who will be sent to feed...
The hungry. The forgotten. The least. Who will

It's easier than we think but we get so caught up in this " I " world, thinking "woe me, poor me". To the point of suicide. Maybe not physical, but spiritual. What does spiritual suicide look like? Not caring about God anymore. Death is glorified on TV, and baby lives are at stake. I voted yesterday locally on a question "Do you think abortion should be abolished in your state". Should this even be a question? "Do you believe a baby has a right to be born?" Do you believe a baby in the womb can breathe on its own if given a chance? Or do you believe someone else's rights is more important? I seen bickering and fighting in ministries within this last week. You know what I saw? Finger pointing. Chests puffed out. Nobody would back down. "I'm right and you're wrong". That is two faces. On one, you say you are a Christ follower. On another, you are showing animosity towards a fellow body of Christ. You want to know what else I saw? Besides evil at work, I saw a new face in the meeting quietly saying "if it's going to be like this, I am never coming back!". So who loses in this battle? Everyone. Death wins...apparently. Who died and made you king, master, rabbi, father? Why should people bow down to YOUR Rights and not the other? We live in a "me" society. Where it says "I am more important than you". The Heresy is full blown called moral relativism where it makes you the center of the universe. "Black lives matter" is touted, and "Gay rights" is shouted. And "White power" is still breathing. Meanwhile, the vote for the unborn is quietly and humbly on the ballot. Jesus asking "what about Me? The least among you".
Pretty negative things are going on. Not too long ago, there were only a handful of exorcists known in our Catholic faith, priests. Today, there are many, many times more...and are in high demand. Now they want an exorcist in every single Diocese. Why? Because, we believe in everything else in the world. Sin lets evil in. Playing around with the devil. Paying attention to evil. There are even shows on TV glorifying devils and evils. And we wonder why we need more exorcisms than ever before. There are small exorcisms performed in Holy Sacraments. Those who stick to this nutrition will fortify their souls. I am encouraging you to seek grace, especially in the Holy Sacraments, make it frequent, and often, and work the polish of virtues to shine light. When you find out what good virtues are, don't tell me, let me see! I need to see a saint.
Lent is about making saints. Lent is about turning on the lights. In my vision before the Lord a few years ago, I saw souls as lights. Some faint, some bright....some, apparently not on at all. How can darkness belong in Heaven? Your soul is a light source. Use it. Turn it on. Last night a brother said in Be My Witness community: "people love to flock to see a burning man". Why not you, burning bright for God? Today's saint is a light. He took to heart, Jesus. He was humility in person. He became a bright light to illuminate the world.
Be what you need to see in the world.
The voice of truth.
The voice of compassion.
The voice of Christ's passion.
The voice of God the Father...Love



"If our life contradicts our belief, it doesn't matter
if we shout God's praises."

In a sense, Anthony here is simply rephrasing what
Jesus says in Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who
says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of
heaven but only the one who does the will of my
father in heaven."
When we think we are not being understood,
we sometimes simply speak louder—as though
that will solve the problem.
Living with integrity shows whether the faith
we very publicly profess is deep or thin, whether it
comes from our core or is simply a veneer.

Praying with Saint Anthony

God, you have no public face and then a very different real face. You are love and mercy through
and through. Help me during this Lent to trust
that you are always enough for me.

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