Saint Francis and the Cross of Christ
It is not a God who is vindictive, vengeful, sadistic, or punishing that speaks to the heart of Saint Francis and calls him forth to live more deliberately his baptismal vocation to follow the Gospel, but a God of love. It is a God who suffered on the cross precisely because of love, not despite it. And this love, this passion for humanity, touched the life of Francis in a permanent, life-altering way.
—from The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering by Daniel P. Horan, OFM
Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offense you can suffer from them is nothing compared to what God has forgiven you."
— St. Josemaria Escriva
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Like an hourglass with a certain number of grains of sand within it, God has appointed your life to last only a certain number of days, and you have absolutely no idea how many there are. ... In God's presence, consider: I have no idea when my life will end. All I know is that death will come for me eventually. Am I doing anything to prepare for the real possibility that God may call me, sooner rather than later? If he called me into eternity today, would I be ready?"
— Patrick Madrid, p. 190
AN EXCERPT FROM
A Year with the Bible
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
"For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Peter 1:5-8
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Blessed Angela Salawa
(September 9, 1881 – March 12, 1922)
Angela served Christ and Christ's little ones with all her strength.
Born in Siepraw, near Kraków, Poland, she was the 11th child of Bartlomiej and Ewa Salawa. In 1897, she moved to Kraków where her older sister Therese lived. Angela immediately began to gather together and instruct young women domestic workers. During World War I, she helped prisoners of war without regard for their nationality or religion. The writings of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross were a great comfort to her.
Angela gave great service in caring for soldiers wounded in World War I. After 1918, her health did not permit her to exercise her customary apostolate. Addressing herself to Christ, she wrote in her diary, "I want you to be adored as much as you were destroyed." In another place, she wrote, "Lord, I live by your will. I shall die when you desire; save me because you can."
At her 1991 beatification in Kraków, Pope John Paul II said: "It is in this city that she worked, that she suffered and that her holiness came to maturity. While connected to the spirituality of Saint Francis, she showed an extraordinary responsiveness to the action of the Holy Spirit" (L'Osservatore Romano, volume 34, number 4, 1991).
Humility should never be mistaken for lack of conviction, insight or energy. Angela brought the Good News and material assistance to some of Christ's "least ones." Her self-sacrifice inspired others to do the same.
Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Reading 1 Is 65:17-21
Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.
Responsorial Psalm PS 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b
R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
"Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper."
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Verse Before the Gospel Am 5:14
Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the LORD will be with you.
Gospel Jn 4:43-54
At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.
Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
"Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe."
The royal official said to him,
"Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live."
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
"The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon."
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
"Your son will live,"
and he and his whole household came to believe.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.
Meditation: Isaiah 65:17-21
The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17)
Wouldn't you love to live in a place like this? A place of rejoicing and happiness? A place of freedom and peace? A place where the future always looks bright because the past no longer haunts us?
Our memories can be filled with past hurts. We grapple to forgive people who have wronged us. We struggle to forgive ourselves. Our memories pile up and arouse painful emotions, keeping us trapped in the past.
Isaiah tells us it doesn't have to be that way. He promises that God will create a new heaven so glorious that we won't have any room left in our hearts to dwell on the past. Even today, we can begin to experience this healing of our memories. That's because, unlike us, God doesn't hold our failures in his mind. He sees everything through the lens of mercy.
God stands ready to heal your memories: both of wrongs you have done and wrongs done to you. But it doesn't happen like amnesia; painful memories don't suddenly disappear. Rather, God helps you see them through the eyes of Christ. He helps you see a bigger picture, a picture of restoration for everyone.
It doesn't happen overnight. Hurt, especially deep hurt, takes time to heal. But that's not a roadblock for God. He is infinitely patient. So here is a method you can use to help you receive his healing love.
When a painful memory arises, take it to prayer. In your mind, imagine Jesus entering the room and sitting next to you. Picture the compassion in his eyes, the care and concern he has. Go ahead and tell him all about what happened. As you do, imagine how he reacts. Perhaps you'll see him putting an arm around your shoulder. Maybe he is weeping with you or holding you close, assuring you that he has not rejected you. Whatever you imagine, know that if it is assuring and upbuilding, it's probably the Holy Spirit helping you let go of the hurt.
Every time you bring this memory to the Lord like this, he will pour out more grace. You will be able to recall the past with less pain as you look toward the future with Jesus. It's a future of joy and peace in his presence forever.
"Jesus, help me to experience your healing grace."
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
"They shall live in the houses they build, and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant." Let us turn to the New Testament on the matter:
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." And I promise, so long as you apply yourself, you will not grow weary. God renews day by day.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles"
Let us pray: "I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, his good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing."
In the Holy Gospel, our Lord speaks. Very few Words He actually says. Most of the bible is things said through people, inspired by the Holy Spirit. I was thinking, this weekend, "the greatest gift I will pass on to my children is...faith". What are you teaching your kids? Sports? Work Ethic? Morals? What to believe? What if I told you that you are teaching them, not so much by what you say...but how you live? Children are not dumb. They pick up on your lifestyle, they see what you say is important. If you are never home, work is more important than family. If you are always at the bar, socializing is more important. If you are never at church, other things are more important.
Enough of that. Enough. And then we want signs...without us so much as lifting a finger? We want proof. Proof of what? That God exists? So you want something for nothing? Faith is a gift from God and a gift to God from us. He loves faith. It is evident in the Holy Gospels. Jesus says a few parables. And that is our bread, His will is expressed. God says today that His bread is the will of the Father. Jesus said this is how we are to live and live off of. Live off of Him, His offering. He said today ""Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe." But the father, interceding, and praying for his dying son...believed the Word. Faith plays all the role between God and Believer.
I want you to believe now, the Lord of the Universes. He is almighty. He is everywhere. Last night we were driving home and my kids had to bear my audio book "The Fulfillment of All Desire" by Ralph Martin. Most of the time it puts everyone out, makes everyone go to sleep in our van. But, my oldest daughter was listening, and at one point was freaked out about what was being said, about death and purgatory. I said for her to be quiet and to listen, saying purgatory is good for us.
I will explain. I visit the nursing home about weekly. I see suffering souls. I see purgatory. I go to the prison, and I see suffering souls. I see purgatory. If I go to the hospital, I see suffering souls. I see purgatory. I go to church, I see suffering souls, I see purgatory. At the nursing home, this is their last stop, I get to witness souls come and go. A purgation is happening. God is working with souls. In prisons, people are paying for crimes that got caught. They get to pay now instead of later...after death, which is worse, because there is no time in the afterlife. Some don't repent, and wind up returning for more purgation...or worse. I see those in hospitals. A little girl suffering, born deformed because of the mom, she used to do drugs which correlates to sin. The child suffers because of the mom's (and dad's) decisions. When we don't repent, others will suffer. Suffering souls in purgatory are being cleansed to get into Heaven.
I see suffering souls in Church. Indeed. This is the best hospital for sinners. Here God accepts our sins for repentance. He is giving forgiveness away like a mad person in Love. Yes! Come! Yes!! Repent!! Then you can serve. Then you can be one with Him and eat what He eats....
Doing the Will of The Father, our Father, who loves us, who awaits us, who needs us for one thing....to fill us with HIMSELF!!!!
Fourth Monday of Lent
"When people withdraw from the turbulence of
the world and rest in quiet and solitude, tasting
the bread of tears as they think over their sins, the
Lord makes himself known to them."
Prayer can be a thin veneer or a deep cleansing that
enables us to see ourselves and others as God sees
the world. That requires breaking at least temporarily from any activities to which we may have
become overly attached.
What was the most important thing that you
did yesterday? What is the most important thing
that you intend to do today? Would God rate their
importance as you do? Solitude may be needed to
ask and answer that question.
Praying with Saint Anthony
St. Augustine lived and wrote this profound
insight: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in