Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Heaven and Earth Pass

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Revelations of the Cross

What the cross of Christ reveals is that when we are so paralyzed by fear and overcome by darkness that we can no longer help ourselves, when we have reached the stage where we can no longer open the door to let light and life in, God can still come through our locked doors, stand inside our fear and paralysis, and breathe out peace. The love that is revealed in Jesus' suffering and death, a love that is so other-centered that it can fully forgive and embrace its executioners, can pass through locked doors, melt frozen hearts, penetrate the walls of fear, and descend into our private hells and, precisely there, breathe out peace.

—from the book The Passion and the Cross by Ronald Rolheiser
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"I know well that the greater and more beautiful the work is, the more terrible will be the storms that rage against it."
— St. Faustina

"Throughout Sacred Scripture, we find that when God's people fast, the power of their prayers is increased, especially when they are engaged in spiritual warfare. In the Old Testament, the Lord told Isaiah that a fast properly undertaken would 'loose the bonds of wickedness ... undo the thongs of the yoke ... let the oppressed go free' (Is. 58:6) ... In the New Testament, we find that Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the wilderness in preparation for His battle with Satan, who came to tempt Him (see Lk 4:1-2) ... If prayer is a spiritual weapon, fasting is the spiritual whetstone on which it is sharpened. It's the spiritual muscle that, when exercised regularly, strengthens the thrust of that weapon to pierce the Enemy and drive him away."
— Paul Thigpen, p. 42
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

"But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him'— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God."
1 Corinthians 2:9-10


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Saints Perpetua and Felicity

(d. 203)

"When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, 'Do you see this vessel—waterpot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?' 'No,' he replied. 'So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.'"

So writes Perpetua: young, beautiful, well-educated, a noblewoman of Carthage in North Africa, mother of an infant son and chronicler of the persecution of the Christians by Emperor Septimius Severus.

Perpetua's mother was a Christian and her father a pagan. He continually pleaded with her to deny her faith. She refused and was imprisoned at 22.

In her diary, Perpetua describes her period of captivity: "What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all, I was tormented with anxiety for my baby…. Such anxieties I suffered for many days, but I obtained leave for my baby to remain in the prison with me, and being relieved of my trouble and anxiety for him, I at once recovered my health, and my prison became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else."

Despite threats of persecution and death, Perpetua, Felicity–a slavewoman and expectant mother–and three companions, Revocatus, Secundulus and Saturninus, refused to renounce their Christian faith. For their unwillingness, all were sent to the public games in the amphitheater. There Perpetua and Felicity were beheaded, and the others killed by beasts.

Felicity gave birth to a girl a few days before the games commenced.

Perpetua's record of her trial and imprisonment ends the day before the games. "Of what was done in the games themselves, let him write who will." The diary was finished by an eyewitness.

Persecution for religious beliefs is not confined to Christians in ancient times. Consider Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who with her family, was forced into hiding and later died in Bergen-Belsen, one of Hitler's death camps during World War II. Anne, like Perpetua and Felicity, endured hardship and suffering and finally death because she committed herself to God. In her diary, Anne writes, "It's twice as hard for us young ones to hold our ground, and maintain our opinions, in a time when all ideals are being shattered and destroyed, when people are showing their worst side, and do not know whether to believe in truth and right and God."

Saint Felicity is the Patron Saint of:
Mothers of Deceased Sons


Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

Reading 1 Dt 4:1, 5-9

Moses spoke to the people and said:
"Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.'
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?

"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children's children."

Responsorial Psalm PS 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Verse Before the Gospel See Jn 6:63c, 68c
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
You have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel Mt 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."


Meditation: Matthew 5:17-19

Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)

I have come . . . to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)

Jesus clarified it for his disciples: he had not come to abolish the Law or the prophets. He did not want to get rid of anything. He came to fulfill. Let's pray today and thank Jesus for the ways he brings everything to fulfillment:

"Jesus, thank you that you came to fulfill the Law! You were flawless in the way you loved God and loved your neighbors. You loved so deeply that you offered yourself on a cross so that we could be reconciled with our Father in heaven.

"Thank you, Lord, that you didn't stop there. You also showed us how to follow the heart of the Law. Every one of your teachings showed us how we could love God and love our neighbors just as fully as you did. You healed and forgave, you reached out to the outcasts, you obeyed your Father's will. You fulfilled the Law, and you taught us how to do it too.

"Not only that, Lord, but you perfectly fulfilled the words of the prophets. You are the yes to every one of God's promises. You are Emmanuel, God with us, conceived by the Virgin. You are the Son of David, born in Bethlehem, who comes to bring an eternal kingdom of peace. You are God's chosen servant, who brings justice and healing to all!

"Jesus, you even came to fulfill me! Thank you that you made me with awesome potential. You have given me the capacity to know you; you have given me specific gifts and talents to glorify you. You help me each day to discover them, and you teach me how to develop them. You help me overcome sin so that I can see your gifts in other people. You teach me how to pray and love God so that I can grow to be the person you made me to be.

"Jesus, I give you thanks and praise! You have come to fulfill—everything. Thank you that you have gone so far as to promise to fulfill me as well. You have made me. You love me. You long for me to be all that you made me to be!"

"Lord, I want to find my fulfillment in you!"

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20


The Holy Word begins:
"Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees as the LORD, my God, has commanded me".

The Holy Word ends:

"...teach them to your children and to your children's children."
When Jesus ascended to Heaven He gave a command. When Holy Mass ends, we are ended, not only with a blessing, but with a command.

Let us pray: "Praise the Lord, Jerusalem. He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel. He has not done thus for any other nation; his ordinances he has not made known to them." The church we are in is this place that makes His statutes known. What we do with them, makes a difference. Has the nation been blessed when obeying? Yes. Has a nation fallen when they stopped obeying? Yes. Does it happen overnight? It can, but mostly, the devil has all the time in the world to fool around. With games. And in games, saints have lost their heads.

Let us turn to the Lord, the Word of Life:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill." I am listening for this Lent, to an audio book called Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin. I am about halfway through, as we are halfway through lent. It is about the fulfillment indeed...this journey to God, and of emptying oneself. Clinging less to worldly views and sinful things and more to things of God, it is to the point that is going from outwardly thoughts to interior thoughts inside. Maybe...a conversion? I hope.
Our Lord continues:

"...whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven." Misery loves company. Evil loves company. The bible tells us to stay away from the insolent. Why? There is a thing called God's Wrath. Why? Because, we hate Him first. Listen to the Word in Romans1:
"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.w
Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural,
and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.x
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper.
y They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips
and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents.
They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."
Does this not reiterate what Jesus just said? How we break a commandment and teach others to do so....leading up to a faithless, and heartless people that hates God? That is one thing I notice of homosexual agenda pushers...there breathes an evil spirit that ultimately hates our Lord. I love the sinner, but I do not love the evil spirit they breathe stinks like sulfur from the pits of hell. If evil has its way, it will shut many doors to Christian Churches. Just like lately it has almost done in Jerusalem when Christians shut the doors to the Holy Sepulchre a few days ago because government wanted to take over the land and tax the Christians, something never done before. Same thing in our country, government will tax Christians, a first attack, with more to follow. Lose tax exempt status if you do not do as we tell you. Who is "we"? It is those teaching one another not to follow God, not making God first. This is not a warning, but an everlasting prophecy from our Lord. The decision for holiness is now.
Our Lord continues:
"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven." They say St. John The Baptist was not sinful, not a sinner, but rather, was very holy. Aside from the infants that were slaughtered because of Jesus, Saint John was perhaps the first all-knowing adult that lay His life for Jesus...the Truth. I wish there were more John the Baptists that would lay their life for Jesus in holiness and truth. The kind that acknowledged the Messiah and were transformed. How was Saint John Transformed? Baptism, but not his own. He was baptizing, purifying the temple from outside. But. He was transformed by the baptism of our Lord. When the skies opened up. When a voice boomed from Heaven. "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" And From the Mount of Transfiguration "This is MY Beloved Son, LISTEN TO HIM".
All the opposite of doom and damnation is promised if we listen, obey, and love and believe in Him.

The fruit of the Spirit will grow. Jesus obeyed all the way to the cross. And from there to today, still obeys. He listens.
Do you not think He listens...?



Third Wednesday of Lent

"In confession, penitents see their sins, name
them contritely, and hear the voice of God
through the ministry of the priest."

On June 2, 2016, Pope Francis spoke to priests
making a retreat in Rome and said, "Let us go to the confessional, where the truth sets us free." He said that confessors need to be an attractive sign of an encounter. They are to be "instruments and signs that help two people join in an embrace," like the prodigal son and his father. According to Pope Francis, good confessors help penitents speak frankly, "as Jesus did with Nicodemus."

Praying with Saint Anthony

Lord, I have not always found the confessional a place where the truth sets me free. Help me seek out the freedom that you offer there.

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