Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Whoever Receives Me, receives not Me

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A Brilliant Light

Jesus and his mother, Mary, await generous souls who are willing to make reparation for all those who are in danger of losing their souls to hell. Will you be a generous soul? Let us pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for all of the graces that we need to be a brilliant light and a holy comfort to others each and every day in this darkened and sometimes frightening world.

—from Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions
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"See, my children, we must reflect that we have a soul to save, and an eternity that awaits us. The world, its riches, pleasures, and honors will pass away; heaven and hell will never pass away. Let us take care, then. The saints did not all begin well; but they all ended well. We have begun badly; let us end well, and we shall go one day and meet them in heaven."
— St. John Vianney

"The greatest suffering of the souls in purgatory, it seems to me, is the awareness that something in them displeases God, that they have deliberately gone against His great goodness. I can also see that the divine essence is so pure and light-filled—much more than we can imagine—that the soul that has but the slightest imperfection would rather throw itself into a thousand hells than appear thus before the divine presence."
— St. Catherine of Genoa, p.41
Hungry Souls

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossians 3:16-17


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St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457) was born in Italy during an era of violent strife between cities and warring family tribes. As a child she repeatedly requested to enter the convent, but instead her parents arranged her marriage to a rich, ill-tempered, and violent man. He became physically abusive, yet she met his cruelty with kindness and patience. During her eighteen years of marriage she bore two sons whom she loved deeply. After many years of persistent prayer she eventually won her husband over to greater civility and kindness. When he was murdered, her sons plotted a bloody vendetta against the culprits. St. Rita labored to guide her children into forgiveness, without success. She earnestly prayed that God would change her son's murderous intentions, or allow them to die rather than commit a mortal sin. God heard St. Rita's prayers, and soon both of her sons became ill and died. St. Rita was then free to join the convent, however, she was rejected due to her family's connection with the local violence. She finally obtained entry only after much prayer, humility, patience, and perseverance. St. Rita's life in the convent was marked by heroic charity and penance as she closely united herself and her life of deep suffering to Christ. While praying before a crucifix, St. Rita mystically received a thorn in her forehead (stigmata) from Jesus' Crown of Thorns. St. Rita is the patron saint of impossible causes, difficult marriages, and abuse victims. Her feast day is May 22nd.

Saint Rita of Cascia is the Patron Saint of:
Difficult Marriages
Impossible Causes


Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Jas 4:1-10

Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly,
to spend it on your passions.
Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God?
Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world
makes himself an enemy of God.
Or do you suppose that the Scripture speaks without meaning when it says,
The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy?
But he bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

So submit yourselves to God.
Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you of two minds.
Begin to lament, to mourn, to weep.
Let your laughter be turned into mourning
and your joy into dejection.
Humble yourselves before the Lord
and he will exalt you.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 55:7-8, 9-10a, 10b-11a, 23
R. (23a) Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
And I say, "Had I but wings like a dove,
I would fly away and be at rest.
Far away I would flee;
I would lodge in the wilderness."
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
"I would wait for him who saves me
from the violent storm and the tempest."
Engulf them, O Lord; divide their counsels.
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
In the city I see violence and strife,
day and night they prowl about upon its walls.
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
Cast your care upon the LORD,
and he will support you;
never will he permit the just man to be disturbed.
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.

Alleluia Gal 6:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
"The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise."
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
"What were you arguing about on the way?"
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
"If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all."
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
"Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me."


Meditation: Mark 9:30-37

Saint Rita of Cascia, Religious (Optional Memorial)

They did not understand . . . and they were afraid to question him. (Mark 9:32)

How do you think you would have felt if you were with Jesus on the day he first told his disciples that he was going to be killed, and then rise from the dead? You probably would have reacted with shock. How could Jesus, who was so powerful, allow himself to be killed? What did he mean about rising from the dead? Only in hindsight, after the resurrection, could you look back and see how important, and necessary, his death was.

We don't understand so many things about our faith. How can there be three Persons in one God? How is Jesus truly present in the Eucharist? Why is there suffering in the world? Why did God allow this terrible thing to happen to my sister or my grandson?

It's okay to acknowledge that we don't understand. God doesn't expect us to know everything. But we shouldn't be afraid to ask God questions, as the disciples were. Just as a child has no problem asking his parents question after question, our Father wants us to feel free to ask him any question that comes to mind. Questioning is the first step toward a deeper understanding.

There's no better place than in prayer to ask questions of the Lord. We may not always hear an answer, but when we do, it will have a way of sticking to our hearts and building our faith. In fact, there will be times that you are genuinely surprised at the insight God gives you about a problem you are facing or a mystery you can't unravel.

Sometimes God will answer you in other ways than in the quiet listening of prayer. For example, a passage from Scripture might suddenly spring to life for you and shed new light on a question that has been on your mind for weeks. Or you might stumble across the story of one of the saints, and find uncanny parallels to your own life. Even a beautiful sunset or a violent rainstorm or a song on the radio might speak to you in a surprising way. Or God may even surprise you by answering you through an annoying television commercial or as you're sitting at your desk paying the bills.

Don't be afraid to ask. Always keep an open heart.

"Lord, teach me your ways."

James 4:1-10
Psalm 55:7-11, 23



"...whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God." Oddly, for the last couple weeks, I have debated with this type of scripture in my faith. I can't love the world. I can't love it. I just can't. And I'm lured and tempted to love it. My wife, my kids, my friends, my house, my grasp of a beautiful day even, I can't love it? My body? I can't love it? What is God saying here? The answer is in the very same scripture: " The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy" and "God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble." What happens when I have sentiments of great love for a beautiful day, or watching my kids play? My big smile eventually snaps down...this is God's, this is simply a gift from God, this is not mine, this is all Him, to Him be all the Glory! And suddenly, an inkling of grace begins to ebb. God's grace shows...especially through Mary, who was said not to have been seen ever laughing as we do, but at times had a slight graceful smile. A smile that speaks wonders...a simple face that says so much, and it is glory to God, and it is Jesus.

Let us pray: " Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you. Cast your care upon the LORD, and he will support you; never will he permit the just man to be disturbed. " God says some disturbing things. Jesus says He will let Himself be killed...and then rise again. This was truly disturbing. And before that He had said the Eucharist was His Body and Blood, His very being to be given to the world as our most precious food. Disturbing, to this day a cause of much dissension and division. He says one must hate his spouse and children. What? Yes. His is a jealous soul. You can paint Him as pretty as you want, but He is jealously in love with you. He desire you to love Him above all...and why? Because, it is the best thing that could ever happen to a soul. Forever.

Our Lord said ""What were you arguing about on the way?" and, a shy answer came, "we were just trying to figure out who was the greatest among us disciples". That's when a great lesson comes from our Lord. And another disturbing answer comes "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." And beyond that, He takes a child and wraps His arms around the child and tells us to receive a child in His name. They say that our country has hit an all time low in birth rate. We have not accepted children into our world, and why? Because we want to focus just on our own lives, our careers, our pleasures, our total acceptance of the world and rejection of the Lord. Homosexuality helps this, and so does pornography, and contraception. Most see a fake clinic like Planned Parenthood, and see a place for contraception, which means against conception, which in reality means complete rejection of God's gift. Taking a child in your arms means taking the world in your arms, and protecting it, serving it, and caring for it. Someone said they heard that raising a child takes one million dollars on average throughout its life. This figure scares many into sterility. And so I ask, "how do 3rd world countries have so many children?" and now we have to borrow their children to be our priests and religious! WHAT? Yes, they accept life, and we reject, and reject with animosity, hatred even, many are afraid of immigrants. One bad apple ruins the whole bunch. That's not how Mother Teresa saw the world. She saw, not another country, but another human being to serve with great love. Take a child in your arms, and show them who God is. Take a child in your arms and let them feel the warmth of God's see, there is a difference when God is involved, because love is involved.

They say a study of two newborns was made. One was fed and given water, all the scientific nutrients it would need to survive. The other child was not fed at all, but was embraced and given love. The one that was fed began to show rapid signs of detrimental conditions. Meanwhile, the child being embraced seemed to be doing well. Can you imagine how well a child that was both fed and embraced would grow up? It would grow up strong and in the wisdom of God, if fed the nutrients of the Eucharist with parents showing them the love of God! The world would be in a new dimension, a new dynamic. But, on the contrary, if you love the world and show them to love the world and to reject a child, and to focus on yourself alone, then...all the contrary happens. Children kill each other. About 90% of all recent shootings have been by someone who does not have a father, a true father. A collapse of the nucleus is causing a nuclear spiritual war. It is detrimental because the radiation it causes is despondency, dejection, and depression.
The solution?
Children are to be loved. Not abandoned. Children are to be sought out. Children need Daddy Father Jesus. Children need mommy, Mother Mary. What has happened here is a non nuclear family with a whole new spiritual DNA. A family of God. A family firstly in love with God. A family of obedience. A family that prays. A family that remains. A family that rejects the world's ways. A family that rejects the loves of the world. I'm talking to you right now my family. I love God along with you. Let us bring this love to each soul we are encountering. Let us let them see a thousand saints in action. I have experienced recently, a live demonstration of a life happening that I can only say this to our Lord:
" WOW, Lord, WOW, you don't just love, you really do go the extra mile! "



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