Tuesday, October 2, 2018

⛪ Unless You Turn

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Thérèse of Lisieux on Meekness

"Dear Lord, Thou knowest my weakness. Each morning I resolve to be humble, and in the evening I recognize that I have often been guilty of pride. The sight of these faults tempts me to discouragement; yet I know that discouragement is itself but a form of pride. I wish, therefore, O my God, to build all my trust upon Thee. As Thou canst do all things, deign to implant in my soul this virtue which I desire, and to obtain it from Thy Infinite Mercy, I will often say to Thee: 'Jesus, Meek and Humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine.'"

—from the book Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from Our Sisters in Faith


"There is nothing the devil fears so much, or so much tries to hinder, as prayer."
— St. Philip Neri

"Now, man is afraid of death by nature, afraid of the decay of the body. But here is a really starling fact: whoever has put on the faith of the Cross despises even what is naturally dreadful, and for Christ's sake is not afraid of death. So if anyone is skeptical even now, after so many proofs, and after so many have become martyrs to Christ, and after those who are champions in Christ have shown scorn for death every day—if his mind is still doubtful about whether death has been brought to nothing and come to an end—well, he's right to wonder at such a great thing. But he should not be stubborn in his skepticism, or cynical in the face of what is so obvious. Let him who is skeptical about the victory over death receive the faith of Christ, and come over to his teaching. Then he will see how weak death is, and the triumph over it. Many who used to be skeptics and scoffers have later believed, and despised death even enough to become martyrs for Christ himself."
— St. Athanasius, p.15
A Year with the Church Fathers

"Peter said to them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.'"
Acts 2:38-39


click to read more



October 2nd is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. Although Guardian Angels have been venerated since the early days of the Church, it wasn't until the 17th century that Pope Clement X extended their feast day to the Universal Church. Although not a dogmatic article of the faith, it is a firmly established Catholic belief that each individual human being has their own Guardian Angel assigned to them by God to watch over their soul, help them avoid sin and temptation, and lead them to heaven, taken in part from Jesus' words in the Gospel of Matthew: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." The Church thanks God for our heavenly helpers, the Guardian Angels, who minister to us in our need and guide us on the path of salvation.


Memorial of the Guardian Angels

Reading 1 Jb 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23

Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.
Job spoke out and said:

Perish the day on which I was born,
the night when they said, "The child is a boy!"

Why did I not perish at birth,
come forth from the womb and expire?
Or why was I not buried away like an untimely birth,
like babes that have never seen the light?
Wherefore did the knees receive me?
or why did I suck at the breasts?

For then I should have lain down and been tranquil;
had I slept, I should then have been at rest
With kings and counselors of the earth
who built where now there are ruins
Or with princes who had gold
and filled their houses with silver.

There the wicked cease from troubling,
there the weary are at rest.

Why is light given to the toilers,
and life to the bitter in spirit?
They wait for death and it comes not;
they search for it rather than for hidden treasures,
Rejoice in it exultingly,
and are glad when they reach the grave:
Those whose path is hidden from them,
and whom God has hemmed in!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8
R. (3) Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
O LORD, my God, by day I cry out;
at night I clamor in your presence.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my call for help.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
For my soul is surfeited with troubles
and my life draws near to the nether world.
I am numbered with those who go down into the pit;
I am a man without strength.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
My couch is among the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom you remember no longer
and who are cut off from your care.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit,
into the dark abyss.
Upon me your wrath lies heavy,
and with all your billows you overwhelm me.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.

Alleluia Ps 103:21
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Bless the LORD, all you angels,
you ministers, who do his will.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 18:1-5, 10

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."


Meditation: Matthew 18:1-5, 10

The Holy Guardian Angels (Memorial)

Their angels in heaven . . . (Matthew 18:10)

St. Padre Pio called him "my friend since infancy." They were close companions from a young age and spent a lot of time together. They talked to one another before bed and stayed in touch throughout the years. Padre Pio was convinced that this friend always had his back, through all the highs and lows of his life. Who was this treasured friend? His guardian angel.

We might think Padre Pio's words are a little fanciful, but the Church teaches that every one of us has a guardian angel to accompany us throughout our lives. Even Mary and all the saints had guardian angels! Just think—God loves you so much that he has given you a heavenly being to protect you and guide you. That's how much he wants to help bring you to heaven!

If this is the case, then why don't we experience this angel speaking to us? Why don't we see him? It's like our relationship with the Lord. Developing a relationship with our guardian angel means learning how to sense his invisible, constant presence.

Just as you would speak to Jesus in your heart and try to discern his voice in your thoughts and imagination, so too can you talk with your guardian angel. If you need wisdom, you can ask your angel to pray for you or help you see the right way. You can ask your angel to guard you when you enter a difficult or unfamiliar situation. And when you sense an inspiration as you're making a decision or choosing a path, it may very well be your guardian angel at work!

"Invoke your guardian angel," Padre Pio said, and "he will guide you." Padre Pio reached out to his angel with childlike faith, and found he had a heavenly friend leading and protecting him. Today, on the day when we honor these spiritual guides, why not take a few moments to begin a conversation with your angel? You don't have to be a mystic; you just have to take a small step of faith, then another.

"Father, thank you for giving me an actual angel to protect and guide me!"

Job:3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
Psalm 88:2-8


"Job opened his mouth and cursed his day." How often are we like Job? We open our mouth to curse the day? Those who live in great depression know what I'm talking about. Those who live in extreme pain know what I'm talking about. Those who can't see very far and desire healing and reconciliation. At least Job opened his mouth! There are some that are so mad at God that they will not talk to Him any more! Those...silent ones...choose death. Job did not choose death but life. Eventually, if you remain faithful, the life comes back...reconciliation. They say a healed bone is stronger. They say adversity makes one stronger? So why do we cringe? Because it hurts. Right?

Let us open our mouths to pray: "Let my prayer come before you, Lord. O LORD, my God, by day I cry out; at night I clamor in your presence. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my call for help." I can't say I know anybody that lives without some type of suffering. But it's what we do with it that matters. I come in the name of our Lord to say, join your suffering with His. Offer your sufferings, make good of it. The secret is in the Word.

The Word made flesh speaks, Our Lord:
"unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven." Unless. What a big word. Dr. Seuss says "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." I've noticed some stop caring. About the Word. About the Lord. Job's life has taken a toll on them. We are tested by fire. Our Love.

Our Lord, our Love continues:
"Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven." I brought up humility to the youth I was teaching last week. I don't think it registered. I bring up humility to grown ups, I'm not sure it is still soaking in. It takes a whole lot of humility to crack through our hard shells. It does really. We need humility like we need air to breathe and pills for our soul's blood to thin out the pressure. It is the enemy of pride. It helps you hate pride, the root of all sin. So, to be like a child, is to be humble. More pure and more purely His.

Our Lord of Humility continues:
"And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me." Ahh, receive humility if you received the child. Will you accept humiliation? Most despise it. Nobody wants to be "humiliated". Nobody wants their pride or their ego hurt. Nobody wants their feelings hurt. It's to the point now that schools preach on it. Football teams change their names so nobody's feelings are hurt. And it's all to be "politically correct"- The world's ways.

Mother Angelica once said that no one can afford you a better chance to forgive...than your enemies. Your friends don't give you this opportunity. Only enemies. So having enemies is good? LOL. Only if you make them good. I told my youth class "for homework, pray for your enemies". And I continued "watch what happens, not so much to them, but inside yourself". That's where the real change you desire happens. How often we want others to change. How often we desire the world to change. But one inside?

Our Lord ends:
""See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."
I scolded a little one last night for not doing what I said. What happened? He accidentally, it seemed, chunked a remote control car at his brother and made him cry. I told the child as I massaged the crying one "get over here and hug your brother and say you are sorry". I wanted to comfort the crying one. But no. He didn't listen. No reconciliation. So I grabbed him and took him to his room with a quick swap to the rear. "You need to learn to listen to your father". I wanted healing for the crying child, as he had big tears rolling and I could sense where his fingers where jammed, and I knew most healing would come from reconciliation. But the other child would not offer it. The other child was stubborn. In his mind, he did nothing wrong. Or else, did not know any better. What happens when you despise the word of God? You despise God. Rejection. This is not what Job did. Job desired some healing touch, or relief from grief, but never despised our Lord. Whatever you are going through right now, desire humility to be the outcome of the situation.

If I could touch the world with humility, I would change the world.
If we have an angel representing us in Heaven, and we do, we are to make much use of this relationship. Padre Pio did all the time. One night Padre Pio was confronted by the devil, and the devil beat up Padre Pio, the next morning he had bruises on his face and such. Padre Pio asked his guardian angel "why didn't you help me?" The angel said "because God allowed it to be". What does God allow? Humility. Tests of fire. I believe the church is being tested. I believe many families are being tested. Why does God allow this to be? Why did Job have to be tested? Why did God allow the devil to run rampant and all over Job's life? I asked my child to be reconciled and he wouldn't . Perhaps a test would help. I asked my child to repent, and they wouldn't. So I allowed him to get hurt. But Job was a saint. But Padre Pio was a saint. They asked for humility. And it was granted.
There's a saying "be careful what you ask for". There is some truth to that. Because you might get what you ask for. A blessing. Or a curse.

It is better to side with Christ.
Let the onslaught begin....
Humility, show us the way



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