Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Only What He sees

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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
franciscan media


"This is the great work of man: always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath."
— St. Anthony of the Desert

"My daughter, love has brought Me here, and love keeps Me here. My daughter, if you knew what great merit and reward is earned by one act of pure love for Me, you would die of joy. I am saying this that you may constantly unite yourself with Me through love, for this is the goal of the life of your soul. This act is an act of the will. Know that a pure soul is humble. When you lower and empty yourself before My majesty, I then pursue you with My graces and make use of My omnipotence to exalt you."
— St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, p.244
The Diary of St. Faustina

"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. . . . Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone."
Colossians 4:2-6


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Saint Maximilian

(274 – March 12, 295)

We have an early, almost unembellished account of the martyrdom of Saint Maximilian in modern-day Algeria.

Brought before the proconsul Dion, Maximilian refused enlistment in the Roman army saying, "I cannot serve, I cannot do evil. I am a Christian."

Dion replied: "You must serve or die."

Maximilian: "I will never serve. You can cut off my head, but I will not be a soldier of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ. My army is the army of God, and I cannot fight for this world. I tell you I am a Christian."

Dion: "There are Christian soldiers serving our rulers Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Galerius."

Maximilian: "That is their business. I also am a Christian, and I cannot serve."

Dion: "But what harm do soldiers do?"

Maximilian: "You know well enough."

Dion: "If you will not do your service I shall condemn you to death for contempt of the army."

Maximilian: "I shall not die. If I go from this earth, my soul will live with Christ my Lord."

Maximilian was 21 years old when he gladly offered his life to God. His father went home from the execution site joyful, thanking God that he had been able to offer heaven such a gift.

In this celebration we find one inspirational son and one incredible father. Both men were filled with strong faith and hope. Let's ask them to help us in our struggle to remain faithful.


Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Reading 1 Is 49:8-15

Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18
R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 11:25a, 26
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.

Gospel Jn 5:17-30

Jesus answered the Jews:
"My Father is at work until now, so I am at work."
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

"I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me."


Meditation: Isaiah 49:8-15

4th Week of Lent

He . . . guides them beside springs of water. (Isaiah 49:10)

Did you know that the earth's surface is over 70 percent water? And more than half of the people on earth live within 3 kilometers of fresh water! Not only that, but our bodies are 60 percent water. And while you can survive for weeks without food, you will only last 3-5 days without water. Clearly, water is essential for life.

The theme of water runs through the Scriptures too, especially in Lent. So far, our Lenten readings have presented multiple images of trees planted by streams of water, Moses striking the rock for water in the desert, Naaman the leper being cleansed in the river, and a Samaritan woman receiving living water from Jesus. And just yesterday, we read about Ezekiel's image of the Temple flowing with the river of life, along with the story of a man Jesus healed by the pool of Bethsaida in Jerusalem.

Through all of these stories and more, God is showing us that his life is like water for us. In fact, our spiritual lives are surrounded by water. In Baptism we were cleansed by water, and we received within ourselves a spring of living water bubbling up in our hearts. And at the end of our lives, during the Mass of Christian Burial, our bodies are sprinkled with holy water. Each Lent, we prepare for the great liturgies of the Triduum, when holy water is blessed and catechumens are baptized into the Church.

How do you need to experience God's life-giving water today? Take a moment in prayer and ask the Lord to help you come in touch with the life he has placed in you. Let the spring well up within you—a spring of hope, of joy, of cleansing, and of peace. Let that living water irrigate any "parched ground" in you—softening your heart, cleansing your conscience, healing your memories, enlivening your imagination. Let it carry away your burdens and give you the simple joy of knowing that Christ is in you and that he will never stop loving and caring for you.

"Father, I want your living waters to flow in me today. Nourish me, cleanse me, and bring me your joy."

Psalm 145:8-9, 13-14, 17-18
John 5:17-30



"In a time of favor I answer you" this is God's time. He rules.
"on the day of salvation I help you", you will know when it is time.
"and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land". The creation of God's people, is the commencement of souls. We are the promise. We shall fulfill our promise. That is something I see, a lack of, fulfilling commitments. Even a show on TV about a "bachelor" courting upwards of 20 women, all at once, has the big finale, a big empty promise, a fake proposal. Most of the "bachelors" are still unmarried. And that is what our world feeds a mentality. Big empty promises. All sentiment, and no true love. That is completely backwards of what God wants. Less sentiment and more true love, like Mother Teresa, or dare I say...Pope Francis. He is asking so much of us that some are turning away. True love, getting down and dirty with the poor, knocking on doors of hearts and souls, "do you want salvation?" Let me show you the Way of Truth, and true Life.

Let us pray: "The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works." First of all, I want to give thanks to God. For being so gracious. So merciful. So backwards to how I am so many times and sometimes daily. We have much to learn from our Lord. Compassion. True Love. Let us turn to the Lord the Word of God turned flesh, turned love, turned eternity.

In comes our Lord: ""My Father is at work until now, so I am at work." This caused then a persecution, and today still, for what? Calling God "Father". Muslims hate that, and Jews hated it too. "Call no man father" is reiterated. In other words "call no one a child of God", call no one a creation of God, don't call your children sons or daughters then! God has created with a mother something spectacular, the human soul. The mother Church. So many times I hear rants, "oh the bible is just moral stories". With a grain of truth, big lies. It is not merely what you have stereotyped and wrongly judged. God talks about justice, and judgement, but it is all about HIM. And take the word "until" again. My Father is at work UNTIL..... The Blessed Mother, our Mother, was a virgin UNTIL.... Right? It doesn't mean things changed after, it continues in Heavenly union, Jesus is still at work with the Father and Mary is still a virgin, holy, sanctified, with a covenant. God, Jesus, is bringing a new covenant, a new promise with the powerful words He proclaims after healing a broke man by the pool. A poor man nobody could save and bring into fullness of faith...into the community.

"I Am at work". This is amazing. God is working. Working with me and you, poor sinners. Always at work. Will we work with Him? Will we work for Him? What does this work mean? Love.
God works love. The reason He was rejected was because love had ceased to exist. How soon we forget this and life becomes so hard. Harsh comments about us become a source of anxiety, anger, impatience, therefore, love unraveling. What God binds shall be bound in Love. What we loose shall be loosed with love. Think sin. Think forgiveness. If God is gracious, as we prayed, I want more of God. Grace will allow love to flow, living waters.
If Mary is "Full of Grace" as Saint Elizabeth declared through the Holy Spirit", I want her to pray for me and be with me.

God said "even if a mother forget her child...I will never". I will never forget.

Think about death. Death is the forgetting. God says "I will never forget". Think about what this means...eternity. Just because you don't see it or understand it, does not mean it does not exist.
A thought persisted lately "If Heaven is one more day with God...I can't wait".

And I want everyone in Heaven.
I want what God wants.
Holy Souls
Creation has begun. It is good.
What God creates, unites, binds and promises, is filled and fulfilled.
How honored are you?



Fourth Wednesday of Lent

"When a soul lies before Christ like fertile land,
it is a Garden of Eden in which bloom the rose of
love, the violet of humility, and the lily of purity."
Shortly after he turned 21, Angelo Roncalli (the
future St. John XXIII) wrote that if he was to
become a saint, it would not be "as the dry, bloodless reproduction of a model, however perfect."

Holiness grows from dealing with the circumstances of one's life. Roncalli wrote that if St.
Aloysius Gonzaga, who died as a Jesuit seminarian, were as Roncalli was, "He would have become
holy in a different way."

Praying with Saint Anthony

God, the creator of diversity, you invite us to
become holy by responding generously to your
grace, which always leads us by slightly different
paths to the home you have prepared for us.

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