Friday, September 28, 2018

⛪ The Crowds Say


Keeping Our Faith as a Family

How do we keep our faith as a family? Do we keep it for ourselves, in our families, as a personal treasure like a bank account? Or are we able to share it by our witness, by our acceptance of others, by our openness? We all know that families, especially young families, are often "racing" from one place to another, with lots to do. But did you ever think that this "racing" could also be the race of faith? Christian families are missionary families. They are missionary also in everyday life, in their doing everyday things, as they bring to everything the salt and the leaven of faith!

—from the book The Blessing of Family


"Let us make up for lost time. Let us give to God the time that remains to us."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori

"What are we to say of the charity and compassion of the Blessed Virgin, who for nine months bore, and still carries in her heart, the only Son of God, the uncreated charity which knows no bounds? If, as often as we approach a fire, we are affected by its heat, have we not reason to believe that whoever approaches the heart of the Mother of Mercies, ever burning with her most ardent charity, must be profoundly affected in proportion to the frequency of his petitions, the humility and confidence in his heart?"
— Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, p.151
Spiritual Combat

"I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:1-3


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St. Wenceslaus
(907–935 A.D.) was the son of the Duke of Bohemia. His grandfather was converted to Christianity by the missionaries Sts. Cyril and Methodius. His mother, Dragomir, was the daughter of a pagan tribal chief who was baptized at her marriage. After the death of his father, Wenceslaus received a Christian upbringing from his grandmother, St. Ludmila, while his mother reverted to her pagan ways. Dragomir reigned as regent, had St. Ludmila killed, and worked to oppose the spread of Christianity in Bohemia. When St. Wenceslaus was 18 he took control of the government and exiled his mother. St. Wenceslaus was described as a pious, humble, and intelligent ruler who worked to established Christianity in the land that would become part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was known for his vow of virginity, his many virtues, and his life of prayer and good works. After a political dispute arose, his mother and his younger brother, called Boleslaus the Cruel, plotted his murder along with a group of disaffected nobles. Boleslaus invited his brother to celebrate the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, and arranged to have him assassinated on his way to Mass. St. Wenceslaus muttered words of forgiveness as he died, and his body was buried at the murder site. His brother succeeded him as Duke of Bohemia. Three years later Boleslaus repented of his crime, and had his brother's remains transferred to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. Wenceslaus was considered a saint by the people at the time of his death. His feast day is September 28th.


Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Eccl 3:1-11

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every thing under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task that God has appointed
for the sons of men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time,
and has put the timeless into their hearts,
without man's ever discovering,
from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 144:1b and 2abc, 3-4
R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
my mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
LORD, what is man, that you notice him;
the son of man, that you take thought of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days, like a passing shadow.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Alleluia Mk 10:45
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"
They said in reply, "John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, 'One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'"
Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Peter said in reply, "The Christ of God."
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, "The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised."


Meditation: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr (Optional Memorial)

A time to love, and a time to hate. (Ecclesiastes 3:8)

Of all the items that could be in this litany of appointed times, why would hate be included? The Bible is clear that hatred is a sin. "Whoever hates his brother is in darkness. . . . Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer" (1 John 2:11; 3:15). So how can there be a time to hate?

Actually, the writer of Ecclesiastes is reflecting on human experience as it is, not necessarily as God wants it to be. We all know what it feels like to hate someone; we may have even have hated ourselves at one point. It's a part of our fallen human nature. Hatred can stem from a hurt or injustice done to us or a loved one. It can flow from anger or envy, from self-righteousness or shame. It might even be rooted in fear, whether fear of someone who threatens us or of someone who is different from us.

So yes, unfortunately, there is a time to hate. But God asks us to take this "appointed time" to reflect on our hate and find a way, with his grace, to turn it to love (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

If you sense that you have negative feelings toward someone, stop and ask the Spirit to help you understand why. Your reactions may unveil your own sense of weakness or brokenness. Then you can ask God to help you root out this underlying cause and take another step toward love.

For instance, you may hate someone because of something hurtful they have said or done to you. Jesus wants to help you try to forgive. Perhaps you hate someone because they are embroiled in a pattern of sin that is overflowing to other people. Let Jesus remind you that we are all sinners. Sometimes, when a person is doing truly evil things, it is especially hard to love them. Maybe all you can do is pray. Even this is a step out of the darkness.

Hatred doesn't do anybody any good; it moves us to treat someone else poorly even as it keeps us locked in bitterness and resentment. So when you sense hatred rising in your heart, stop and ask the Spirit to help you identify its source. Then ask for grace to move out of the darkness of hate and into the light of God's love.

"Jesus, where there is hatred, let me show love."

Psalm 144:1-4
Luke 9:18-22


We heard today "He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts.." Everyone believes in something and I believe in the most hardened atheist believes there is something greater somehow connecting us. They make up words and beliefs to try to explain it, mostly using science, but it beats around the bush, like Moses tried to do, but God still calls, for He has set into our hearts the timeless...His Word, and His Word became flesh, and He came into the world so that we may have life, and have it more abundantly, and He created a place called eternity. Where in eternity will you be? Ahh, I love you for reading this, because you want to be with me, in Heaven. I do love you and I do want to help you be there, I do so very much, that is all I want, an eternal love with Love.

And so we pray today: "Blessed be the LORD, my rock, my mercy and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, My shield, in whom I trust." God wants us to set our faith on the rock. They called Jesus the stone that the architects rejected. Jesus calls Peter the rock on which he would set his church. Modern protestant denominations deny this. They say that God didn't come to make a church. Lies from the pit of hell. He made a church and He made Peter the rock to set its foundations on. Welcome to the universal Church Jesus formed. Don't even try to call it perfect, because you are church, I am church, and we all make up the Body of Christ, we hold the timeless in our hearts. Not in all the extremities. But in our hearts, that's where it matters.

In comes our Lord and asks a haunting and daunting question to us all : "But who do YOU say that I AM?" Forget what others are saying, they are beating around the bush! They don't know! You know... now out with it! So Peter comes out with it, "You Lord, You are the Messiah! The Savior, the one who is to come!". Yes! You are the reason for our living, our existence, our very hope we have been waiting for, the one who we can set our whole lives for, the one who we can build upon, the one who can show us the way, and lead us and deliver us from evil! You are the one who God has appointed King. You are the warrior we have been waiting for thousands of years. You are the one who will join us and deliver us. You are the one!

And yes, God fulfills all His promises through Jesus, His one and only.
Jesus came to destroy by the very weakness our weakness. He came to shatter the final say of evil....death.

The mighty warrior does so without so much as lifting a finger, effortless, He is drug around His name and all, drug to the pits of hell, and He says nothing other than "Into your Hands Father, I commend My Spirit". WOW! Who does that? NObody can do what He did, but we can follow it as closely as possible. Amen? Jesus is amazing. I'm afraid though, that in our "connected world" we are becoming more and more isolated and disconnected. I always make a joke that I used to see some family members more when they lived hundreds of miles away, and now they live in the same town and I see them less. What should be connecting us is God, Church, Faith, and Love. But you won't have true love if God is not the center focal connector.

He has set the timeless in our hearts, like faith. But, if we don't use it? We may lose it. Lose faith, lose Heaven, and all your loved ones depending on love loses sight of hope...Jesus.

I know the following story is probably not important to you, but it was to me: So I have been stressing hard over various things lately, fallen away family members from faith, tons of workload, rampant issues at church, the family festival I'm heading up coming in 2 weeks for the community, and some quirky health issues possibly taking toll probably because of stress. I used to say "Lord I want to do more for you" but now I'm like "Whoa! I'm going crazy with the little I got!". WHy in the world did I take on a retreat in the midst of all this, I'm about to drive hundreds of miles away when I got all this going on! But I said yes, and the Holy Spirit has not told me otherwise. So I'm writing as I'm about to leave, and I ask for prayers for the hearts to be converted, for a prophet is not welcome in his own home yet I'm travelling to where I was born. And so I was stressing because my sound system (I'm supposed to sing at the retreat) it didn't work when I was trying to practice last week. No sound came out. So I told others and they said they'd provide. Great, less stuff to load and worry about. Last night I started to load instruments but before so I decided to practice again. I powered on everything, messed with the sound system one more time to no avail. So I used headphones to hear the output of sound. I got into the zone with the Holy Spirit, my heart was being lost into praise and worship and BLAM! My sound system came on full blast, freaking me out a little, trying frantically to turn it down as it was squelching rattling the little room. It kind of gave me chills because it felt as if God had just allowed this to happen, the sound miraculously came back and it was good! I practiced all the songs and loaded up the whole sound system in the van, and am anxiously awaiting to set it up in Colorado tonight. I know I need this retreat, probably more than the ones that will show up. God has a way with providence. He provides the necessary, and always.
So who do I say our Lord is? Father. The greatest provider...of the greatest of loves. That's who He is. He doesn't give me everything I want, but everything I need, for a true joy and a true faith. If I had got things I had asked for, years ago, I'd be in serious trouble right now. So I've learned to let God break my heart, cry for what I didn't get, and then introduce me to something way better. A closer life with Him.

And so I am called to share this great love, and that is what gives me great joy. Less sin, more of Him.
Less more, more of Jesus.
Less darkness, more grace.
Lord, you are so amazing, please, lead us to your Salvation and help lead our loves ones there too....timeless



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