Tuesday, March 13, 2018

because HE did this...

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Held in God's Love

Set aside your formal prayers today and bring before God the deepest desires and fears that you hold close in your heart. Talk to God the way you would talk to your closest friend. And then take time to sit in silence with God. Let yourself be held in God's love, listening to the divine heartbeat in the world around you and in the depths of your own heart.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
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"We are born to love, we live to love, and we will die to love still more."
— St. Joseph Cafasso

"Knock. Persevere in knocking, even to the point of rudeness, if that were possible. There is a way of forcing God and wresting his graces from him, and that way is to ask continually with a firm faith. We must think, with the Gospel: 'Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,' which he then repeats by saying, 'Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened' (Luke 11:9-10). We must, therefore, pray during the day, pray at night, and pray every time we rise. Even though God seems either not to hear us or even to reject us, we must continually knock, expecting all things from God but nevertheless also acting ourselves. We must not only ask as though God must do everything himself; we must also make our own effort to act according to his will and with the help of his grace, as all things are done with his support. We must never forget that it is always God who provides; to think thus is the very foundation of humility."
— Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, p.35
Meditations for Lent

"If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."
1 Corinthians 13: 1-3


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Saint Leander of Seville

(c. 534 – March 13, 600 or 601)

The next time you recite the Nicene Creed at Mass, think of today's saint. For it was Leander of Seville who, as bishop, introduced the practice in the sixth century. He saw it as a way to help reinforce the faith of his people and as an antidote against the heresy of Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ. By the end of his life, Leander had helped Christianity flourish in Spain at a time of political and religious upheaval.

Leander's own family was heavily influenced by Arianism, but he himself grew up to be a fervent Christian. He entered a monastery as a young man and spent three years in prayer and study. At the end of that tranquil period he was made a bishop. For the rest of his life he worked strenuously to fight against heresy. The death of the anti-Christian king in 586 helped Leander's cause. He and the new king worked hand in hand to restore orthodoxy and a renewed sense of morality. Leander succeeded in persuading many Arian bishops to change their loyalties.

Leander died around 600. In Spain, he is honored as a Doctor of the Church.

As we pray the Nicene Creed every Sunday, we might reflect on the fact that that same prayer is not only being prayed by every Catholic throughout the world, but by many other Christians as well. Saint Leander introduced its recitation as a means of uniting the faithful. Let's pray that the recitation may enhance that unity today.


Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Reading 1 Ez 47:1-9, 12

The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
Then when he had walked off to the east
with a measuring cord in his hand,
he measured off a thousand cubits
and had me wade through the water,
which was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand
and once more had me wade through the water,
which was now knee-deep.
Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
the water was up to my waist.
Once more he measured off a thousand,
but there was now a river through which I could not wade;
for the water had risen so high it had become a river
that could not be crossed except by swimming.
He asked me, "Have you seen this, son of man?"
Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
"This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
R. (8) The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Verse Before the Gospel Ps 51:12a, 14a
A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel Jn 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
"Do you want to be well?"
The sick man answered him,
"Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me."
Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk."
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
"It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat."
He answered them, "The man who made me well told me,
'Take up your mat and walk.'"
They asked him,
"Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?"
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
"Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you."
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.


Meditation: John 5:1-16

Do you want to be well? (John 5:6)

Did you know that St. John recounts only seven of Jesus' miracles? They may be few in number, but they are rich in meaning. In fact, John called them "signs" because of the way each of them led people to believe in Jesus.

Well, all except one. The sign in today's Gospel seems to have no spiritual effect on the man who receives it. If anything, he shows the exact opposite of what you would expect.

First, when Jesus asks if he wants to be healed, the man doesn't answer with an eager yes! He doesn't offer a direct answer at all. Instead, he complains, "I have no one to put me into the pool" (John 5:7).

Then, after Jesus heals him, the man picks up his mat—and walks away (John 5:9). He doesn't thank Jesus or tell anyone else what happened to him. He just moves on with his life.

Next, when some of the religious leaders confront the man for breaking the Law by carrying his mat on the Sabbath, he shirks all responsibility and blames "the man who made me well" (John 5:11). He doesn't talk about how special Jesus is. He doesn't show any awe or gratitude for his healing at all. Just enough facts to shift the blame.

Finally, after Jesus talks to him again, the man reports him to the leaders (John 5:15). As a result, they begin harassing and persecuting Jesus. Thanks to this fellow's words, in fact, they begin a long campaign against Jesus that ends with them plotting his death (11:49-53).

It seems that this fellow shows us how not to relate to Jesus:

• Don't complain to him. Cry out for help instead.

• Don't walk away. Instead, cling to him and praise him for his blessings.

• Don't treat him like just another man. Instead, acknowledge and believe that he is the Son of God.

• Don't be afraid to talk about what he has done for you. Instead, find ways to share the good news.

What about you? Do you want Jesus to make you "well" in some area of your life? Then follow these four points. They are a clear and hope-filled recipe for deeper healing and stronger faith.

"Yes, Jesus, I want to be made well! Lord, I believe in you!"

Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9


"...I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the façade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the right side of the temple, south of the altar." Listen to the Word of God. The temple is Jesus on the Holy Cross, made Holy by what is placed, who is placed on the wood. He touches it, and is made Holy. The Body is the temple...of God. His water and blood flow from His side when He was pierced with a lance. One drop of His precious blood made water Holy would've been enough to heal us. But no, he gave ALL His blood and water. Mercy. And it is meant for us to flourish and thrive from it...not being stagnant.

Let us pray: "The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High. God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed; God will help it at the break of dawn." When I tell you something, it is in hopes that you will take it and run with it, meaning expounding and expanding on it to new dimensions. I know you can, and I know you will, meaning, you have the will. Dr. Brant Pitre teaches well, and said in a study about "living waters", that living waters were moving waters, flowing waters as Jews understood, to be life giving, unlike stagnated water that builds up algae and bacterias that can be harmful rather than the soul.

And so we find our Lord by a pool. The pools were meant for holiness and for healing, and were said to be healing when they were stirred. So you can imagine the mad rush to the pools once they were being stirred. In such a frenzy and "dog eat dog" and "every man for himself" attitude, the forgotten...get forgotten. All good intentions go out the window...if there were any. Jesus sees this. A man abandoned. Crippled, nobody wants to bother carrying him, they have assumed he was "un-healable". I can make up words because you can understand with the Holy Spirit. How was the poor man "unhealable"? The people assumed him to be. No one bothered bringing this man through a roof to Jesus. So Jesus came to him. To the forgotten. To the "un-healable". And He performs a miracle, which is a sign from Heaven. Repent and Believe. But the Jews went on the attack as if police guards at the temple waiting to pounce on any offenders of their laws "who did this to you? Who told you to break our laws?" LOL. The poor man replies "the man who healed me told me!" Instead of being amazed by a miracle, a crippled man now walking, they went on a huge attack to hunt down and kill the offender. Sounds crazy right? But wait. It still happens today. We fail to see the good God does because we are blinded by the way we think things should be. An unanswered prayer to many is the perfect excuse to exclude God from life and therefore....replacing Him with some thing, or some one else.

Back to the living waters.
Jesus knows we are frail and weak, and dumb! He knows, so He provides mercy waters, forget the stagnant pools. He says "Come with Me", "Do as I say and do". Miracles should turn our whole life to God. The greatest miracle? A beating heart. A greater miracle? A beating heart for God. The devil hates this. So it kills unborn babies by stopping their hearts. Politicians high five one another after winning, defeating the "pain capable" law to protect unborns that can feel pain. See how laws trump God's will? And laws come from people...
What about what God wants?
Does it matter?

What does He want of you right now?
If He told you, you might shrivel and shriek.
So He shows you what He wants.
He lets someone pierce His heart and waters flow.
It shall never remain stagnant. You shall not be a mercy hog.
You shall learn what it means to take up your cross daily, and embrace it, and let waters flow.
I told a class last night "just let God work through you".
And for Heaven's sake, don't just do your own thing. The world says "you do you". No. Do Christ. Be Christ. We are Christ. I want to see Christ. I have faith in Christ....therefore....I have faith in you



Fourth Tuesday of Lent

"If we want to have our own way always,
aren't we really seeking our reward here
below in the things of this life?"

Your world—my world, anyone's world—doesn't
automatically become larger with the simple passing of time. It grows or shrinks through the decisions that we make each day.
Anthony's quote recognizes that insisting on
our way at all times and at all costs is, in fact, a
deliberate shrinking of our world because only one
person ultimately counts: me.

Praying with Saint Anthony

Lord, help me to accept your definition of normal,
your description of what may have to go if I am
to live in the freedom and dignity that reflect the
life of your Blessed Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy

P.S., These last prayer things area added at the end, I never look for them first. See how the Holy Spirit applies accordingly.
Want more?
check out this prayer and one minute Franciscan video:
Today's Video/Prayer

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