Thursday, March 15, 2018

If You Had Believed

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Wounded and Forgiven

The world contains only one thing that is truly novel: forgiveness. And this is the message of the resurrection. Everything else is like the words of an old song repeating itself endlessly over and over again. There is normally only one song that gets sung: the song of betrayal, hurt, resentment, and non-forgiveness. That pattern never changes. There is an unbroken chain of unforgiveness, resentment, and anger stretching back to Adam and Eve.

We are all part of that chain. Everyone is wounded and everyone wounds. Everyone sins and everyone is sinned against. Everyone needs to forgive and everyone needs to be forgiven.

—from the book The Passion and the Cross by Ronald Rolheiser
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"No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ."
— St. Leo the Great

"The Blessed Virgin endured a long and cruel martyrdom in her heart for our sakes, and for love of us. Frequently, and with feelings of tender love, contemplate her standing at the foot of the Cross, and join her in bewailing and weeping over sin, which, by causing the death of Jesus, rent in twain the heart of Mary. Pledge your heart to this Mother of sorrows, by some habitual act of devotion and mortification, in remembrance and in honor of her bitter sufferings. Also, endure something for love of her, imitating her patience, resignation, and silence."
— Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, p. 259
The School of Jesus Crucified

"When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was stupid and ignorant; I was like a brute beast toward you. Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me with honor. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:23-24


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Saint Louise de Marillac

(August 12, 1591 – March 15, 1660)

Born near Meux, France, Louise lost her mother when she was still a child, her beloved father when she was but 15. Her desire to become a nun was discouraged by her confessor, and a marriage was arranged. One son was born of this union. But Louise soon found herself nursing her beloved husband through a long illness that finally led to his death.

Louise was fortunate to have a wise and sympathetic counselor, Francis de Sales, and then his friend, the bishop of Belley, France. Both of these men were available to her only periodically. But from an interior illumination she understood that she was to undertake a great work under the guidance of another person she had not yet met. This was the holy priest Monsieur Vincent, later to be known as Saint Vincent de Paul.

At first, he was reluctant to be her confessor, busy as he was with his "Confraternities of Charity." Members were aristocratic ladies of charity who were helping him nurse the poor and look after neglected children, a real need of the day. But the ladies were busy with many of their own concerns and duties. His work needed many more helpers, especially ones who were peasants themselves and therefore, close to the poor and able to win their hearts. He also needed someone who could teach them and organize them.

Only over a long period of time, as Vincent de Paul became more acquainted with Louise, did he come to realize that she was the answer to his prayers. She was intelligent, self-effacing, and had physical strength and endurance that belied her continuing feeble health. The missions he sent her on eventually led to four simple young women joining her. Her rented home in Paris became the training center for those accepted for the service of the sick and poor. Growth was rapid and soon there was the need for a so-called "rule of life," which Louise herself, under the guidance of Vincent, drew up for the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

Monsieur Vincent had always been slow and prudent in his dealings with Louise and the new group. He said that he had never had any idea of starting a new community, that it was God who did everything. "Your convent," he said, "will be the house of the sick; your cell, a hired room; your chapel, the parish church; your cloister, the streets of the city or the wards of the hospital." Their dress was to be that of the peasant women. It was not until years later that Vincent de Paul would finally permit four of the women to take annual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It was still more years before the company would be formally approved by Rome and placed under the direction of Vincent's own congregation of priests.

Many of the young women were illiterate. Still it was with reluctance that the new community undertook the care of neglected children. Louise was busy helping wherever needed despite her poor health. She traveled throughout France, establishing her community members in hospitals, orphanages and other institutions. At her death on March 15, 1660, the congregation had more than 40 houses in France. Six months later Vincent de Paul followed her in death.

Louise de Marillac was canonized in 1934 and declared patroness of social workers in 1960.

In Louise's day, serving the needs of the poor was usually a luxury only fine ladies could afford. Her mentor, Saint Vincent de Paul, wisely realized that women of peasant stock could reach poor people more effectively, and the Daughters of Charity were born under her leadership. Today, that order—along with the Sisters of Charity—continues to nurse the sick and aging and provide refuge for orphans. Many of its members are social workers toiling under Louise's patronage. The rest of us must share her concern for the disadvantaged.

Saint Louise de Marillac is the Patron Saint of:
Social workers


Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Reading 1 Ex 32:7-14

The LORD said to Moses,
"Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
'This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'
The LORD said to Moses,
"I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation."

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
"Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
'With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth'?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'"
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 106:19-20, 21-22, 23
R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 3:16
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel Jn 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews:
"If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John's.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

"I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?"


Meditation: John 5:31-47

Even they testify on my behalf. (John 5:39)

Imagine you were alive in the early first century. Would you have believed that Jesus was the Son of God? You probably would have wanted some evidence.

That's precisely what Jesus gave his listeners in today's Gospel—evidence. He shared four "signs" that point to his divinity: human testimony, miracles, the Father's affirmation, and the Scriptures.

How about us? Truth be told, we often need evidence to help us in our faith. And God is more than willing to give it to us. He loves helping us believe that it's all true: that Jesus is God's Son, that he loves us and poured himself out for us on the cross, and that he's offering us eternal life.

Actually, God is constantly sending us signs. We can see them every time we attend Mass: in our fellow parishioners, in the miracle of our own love for the Lord, in the Liturgy of the Word, and in the Eucharist. But beyond Mass, God gives us signs in the ordinary routines of our day-to-day lives. We just have to open our eyes, and the Spirit will help us see them.

For instance, if you are reading the Mass readings today, and just one line or one word jumps out at you, that's evidence that the Lord is at work in you. He is sending you a message, just for you!

If you wake up with the thought that you should try to befriend a coworker who rubs you the wrong way, that's evidence that the Holy Spirit is changing your heart.

If you go out of your way to do something special for a loved one today, that's a sign of God's presence. He's making you more like Jesus, who is endlessly generous and kind.

Even your desire to pray and read this magazine today points to Jesus risen and active in your life.

Today, try to see the signs that God will be sending you. And even if you can't find anything specific, remember that he has already sent the greatest of signs—Jesus—to live with you. He has already given you the most moving of signs of his love: his cross.

"Jesus, open my eyes to see the signs that point to you."

Exodus 32:7-14
Psalm 106:19-23


Our Lord said to Moses in the opening of Holy Scripture today "Go down at once to your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, for they have become depraved." What does "depraved" mean? Surely it means grace has left, they have starved and wondered into darkness looking for food...guidance, sustenance, a purpose for life. Usually depraved nowadays means you have wondered into pornography, filth, wickedness and so making gods of pleasures and worldly offerings, like self-glory.

Let us pray: "Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people. Then he spoke of exterminating them, but Moses, his chosen one, Withstood him in the breach to turn back his destructive wrath." At one point as Jesus walked this earth in flesh and Divinity, He appeared with Moses and Elijah. Why 3? Why these 3? Moses interceded for mercy and would die before entering the promised land with those He led out of slavery (sin) and saved them from death (paschal mystery). Elijah was a lone prophet, often ousted and chased and was raised to heaven in a chariot of fire. Ascension. Could it have been Jesus all along? Surely, He is with us. Emmanuel.

In comes our Heavenly Lord, Lover, and Savior: ""I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him." Yesterday in my2cents, I said that our Lord came when love ceased to exist. When our love fails, He comes in. To show the light, the way, salvation. Why is God unheard and invisible, unseen? It is when a prophet is silenced and banished. It is when Christ is chased out, Elijah chased out, even King David chased and Joseph hated and sold. We don't hear what we want and so tune into other things...other ...gods. So, today, sports serves as a god, a distraction, a lifestyle, it sucks up all your time, money, and love. I see it. Frankly, I'm tired of it. Why? Ministries suffer. Families suffer. I've seen it destroy families. I've seen it destroy ministries. I am a prophet. I am asking the world to turn away from pornography, sports, and turn away from the mirrors the world offers so you focus only on yourself. Even last night in RCIA a student was asked this question "who do you think is holy in your life?" I had asked the question and said "don't say my name, I've had a Muslim in a previous RCIA class, he said my name, say someone else". Yet still the student said my name. So, I had to fight the praises aimed at me, aimed at striking at humility. I turned my eyes away from him and looked at the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and prayed immediately "please God help me". I should hate honors and praise for me. God deserves all honors and praise. If I receive them, my head gets swollen. The ego says "look what I DID MYSELF!" BULL. GOLDEN BULL! Golden calves, golden praises and glories of Scientology, and so I got one question to the believers of these calves that believe in auto-sufficency, and knowledge "who gave you your brain?" What's more, who gave you the mind and soul? Who can ponder these things as you can't explain what's on the other side of a black hole, for not even the depths of the oceans are known! Just because I am at church about every day of the week does not make me holy. Let's just say this: We are all made holy, in His image. We come to Him to be wiped clean, so our light can shine, because we can get dull wondering in the world.
So I am inviting you: " But you do not want to come to me to have life."
Jesus always speaks about life, doesn't He?

Life to Him is precious. We don't make life precious in our world. What do I mean?
Eternity is Life.
Jesus has words of eternal life.
It's not about me.
It's about Him in us.
Moses prophecied: " I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. "
We are baptized Catholics, as Priests, Prophets, and Kings. Offer sacrifice. Be a prophet, evangelize! Be the King's body.

Be Christ.
You may be the only Christ people will ever hear...and see



Fourth Thursday of Lent

"As the rainbow in the clouds (Gn 9:13) after the
flood was a sign of the covenant between God
and the Earth, so Mary is truly the sign of the
covenant and peace between God and the sinner."

The rainbow is a very public sign that God has
promised not to destroy the world by another
flood. Pagan gods were unlikely to make such a
promise, but God, in the Book of Genesis, does
not hesitate to make such a promise. Mary, the
mother of Jesus, points not to herself but always to
her Son, who invites us to accept the divine life we
were always meant to enjoy.

Praying with Saint Anthony

Good and gracious God, help us to remember
that Mary was your disciple before she became the
mother of Jesus. Show us how to be the best disciples that we can possibly be.

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