Monday, January 7, 2019

⛪ For The Kingdom

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At Home or on the Road, God Is with Us

No matter how much we try to extend the holiday with traveling and vacation time and a last party or two, there comes a time when we need to return to our daily activities and responsibilities. School starts up again, work beckons, and we have to bid farewell to Christmas once again. It can be refreshing to reclaim the space that was filled with the Christmas tree and other decorations. We forsake the Christmas cookies and boxes of candy for healthier food choices in the new year. If we've traveled to visit family, we return home, put away the suitcases, finish vacation laundry, and settle into our lives. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus traveled a great deal during the first years after the birth—back and forth to Jerusalem, a sojourn in Egypt, a return to their home in Nazareth. In later years, Luke's Gospel tells us, they traveled on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where Jesus was separated from his parents and found conversing with holy teachers in the temple. Whether we're traveling or at home, the one thing we know is that God is with us.

—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections with Pope Francis


"I know now that true charity consists in bearing all of our neighbors' defects—not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues."
— St. Therese of Lisieux

"The life of prayer calls for continuous battles. It is the most important and the longest effort in a life dedicated to God. This effort has been given a beautiful name: it is called the guard of the heart. The human heart is a city; it was meant to be a stronghold. Sin surrendered it. Henceforth it is an open city, the walls of which have to be built up again. The enemy never ceases to do all he can to prevent this. He does this with his accustomed cleverness and strength, with stratagem and fury ... he succeeds all along the line to distract us and entice us away from the divine presence. We must always be starting again. These continual recoveries, this endless beginning again, tires and disheartens us far more than the actual fighting. We would much prefer a real battle, fierce and decisive. But God, as a rule, thinks otherwise. He would rather we were in a constant state of war."
— Dom Augustin Guillerand, p. 57
The Prayer of the Presence of God

"But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me."
Micah 7:7


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St. Raymond of Penafort (1175–1275) was born in Spain to the noble family of Aragon. As a child he received an excellent education and displayed a great love for the Blessed Mother. After studying and teaching philosophy and law he entered the Order of Preachers. He preached the Crusades and encouraged the faithful to defend their civilization from foreign threats. To aid his preaching, Raymond requested that his fellow Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas, write his epic Summa Contra Gentiles for the conversion of non-Catholics, especially Muslims. It is said that at least 10,000 Muslims were converted to the Catholic faith as a result of Raymond's evangelistic labors. Together with King James of Aragon and St. Peter Nolasco he founded the Order of Our Lady of Ransom (Mercedarians), a group that worked to free Christians enslaved by the Moors. Known for his great mind and great sanctity, St. Raymond was the Pope's personal confessor and close adviser. As a trained lawyer, he was also chosen to compile the Church's legal documents into one source of canon law which was then used for centuries. He also wrote a manual of moral theology for confessors. St. Raymond is famous for the miracle of sailing from the island of Majorca to Barcelona using his cape for a raft, in protest of the King of Aragon's refusal to dismiss his mistress. St. Raymond of Penafort is the patron of lawyers and canon lawyers. His feast day is January 7.


Monday after Epiphany

Reading 1 1 Jn 3:22–4:6

We receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.

Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 2:7bc-8, 10-12a
R. (8ab) I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession."
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.

Alleluia See Mt 4:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
"Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand."

He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.


Meditation: 1 John 3:22–4:6

Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (Optional Memorial)

We should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 3:23)

In a recent study, researchers interviewed American Christian youth, both Catholic and non-Catholic. The data indicated that although they called themselves Christians, many of the young people didn't really grasp the essential truths of Christianity. They believed that God exists, but that he is far off and removed from their daily lives. They believed that God exists mainly to help them to become "better people." In short, their answers revealed great confusion about their faith—almost like a cloud over their minds.

The First Letter of John was written in a time of a similar lack of clarity. Christians from many different backgrounds held different views about the identity of Jesus. Many disputed whether he could be both fully human and fully divine. Some wanted to place more of an emphasis on Jesus' spiritual nature, hoping to avoid having to change the way they lived in this physical world. The author of 1 John wrote this letter to address these disagreements. He reminded them of the simple heart of Christianity: to believe that Jesus, the Son of God, became man for our salvation.

Similar to the first-century Christians, young people today can find themselves adrift. They may have gotten out of the habit of going to Sunday Mass. They may feel disillusioned and doubt that there is a place for them in the Church. Or perhaps their pursuit of career or family crowds out time for God. Still, God loves them, and he is always ready to welcome them and embrace them. But who will be his ambassadors?

Maybe it's you. Every one of us can help, even if it's in just a small way. You can point your children or grandchildren toward Jesus by the way you love and care for your family. You can help make arrangements for your children or grandchildren to attend Vacation Bible School. Maybe there's a teenager you know who needs a listening ear and a guiding voice. Even if you don't have much interaction with young people, you can still help. Never underestimate the power of intercessory prayer.

Who knows? You just may be the one whose prayers help part the clouds of confusion and encourage someone to take a step closer to Jesus!

"Lord, pour out your grace on all young people."

Psalm 2:7-8, 10-12
Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25


2 cents :
"Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us." Ahh, how many times has our Lord asked us to "remain" with Him? Because, afterall, He remains for us. Always for us. Always with His angels watching us. Watching to see if we will Him.


Let us pray today's Psalm: " I will give you all the nations for an inheritance. And now, O kings, give heed; take warning, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him; with trembling rejoice." Never did King Herod listen to see if this Child was of God, Jesus. His only concern was power. Such a limited and temporary power. It seems the tighter you hold something, the less it lives, as if you are choking the life out of it, so obsessed. But the inverse is true with the love of God. The tighter you hold on, the more you can, eternal. I got this from the continuation of the Psalms 7 ch.2 "Serve the LORD with fear; exult with trembling, Accept correction
lest he become angry and you perish along the way when his anger suddenly blazes up.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him!"

In the holy Gospel, we heard our Lord Jesus went off to the "region of Zebulun and Naphtali" when Saint John the Baptist was arrested. The name Naphtali seems to mean "my struggle, my strife" and Zebulun seems to mean forthcoming, a prince. This place was always the place of doom and gloom. But, they say Jesus went there to fulfill a prophecy of Isaiah which goes like this: "There is no gloom where there had been distress. Where once he degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, now he has glorified the way of the Sea, the land across the Jordan, Galilee of the Nations." I was directed from a Spanish reflection last week to a song by Libra, a young boys choir that sing in angelic voices. I kept listening until I heard a song that peaked interest, the song was called Wayfairing Stranger. You may have heard it, and if not, take heart! LOL, I recorded myself singing it. Listen to it if you wish, click. Anyhow, the song says in a verse that "I'm going home" and says before that, "I'm going over Jordan". Jesus had started His life of ministry already. He moved across the Jordan after Baptism, He would conquer the land of doom and gloom, and He would make it a City of God. Within this last week, I've been amazed by how much gloomy stuff has been going on, my cousin is in a coma in Mexico, we don't know what to do, my friend asks for prayers for his family, now they have a death in the family, and we go to another city hospital yesterday to see my brother in law who had a possible stroke, and there we met a family from our hometown who said her husband Felix is in an induced coma and having trouble with his heart after operations he had. We were all in the hospital lobby when she said this, and my brother in law was there and said immediately "let's pray". We made a huge circle in the hospital lobby and began prayers, him with half face drooping led the beautiful prayer.

Why do I say personal stories? Because, they are aimed to increase our faith. Amidst the doom and gloom, there we invoked Jesus. To fulfill once more the prophecy of Isaiah. For there to be no more gloom, but faith in whatever happens, God is with us, to heal all souls.
I ask now, that you are moved, and today, by the only words recorded from Our Lord's heavenly lips as of a most supreme Angel of Hosts: ""Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand." It's as if He is declaring "fret not! I AM Here!!". Amen? We had a visiting priest, Fr. John of The Holy Spirit, and He was filled with the Holy Spirit as he spoke in the homily. The thoughts hit me "God is to be praised in the good and in the so called bad". Praise Him, always. Whence John was arrested, The preaching began. "It is time". "It is Now". It's on.

You would be wise to consider the brevity of life and to consider God's Holy Will.

I just now randomly opened the book by Thomas Kempis "The Imitation of Christ" , just opened the book to the first thing I see, and I'll leave you with the finding:

On the contempt of All Temporal Things:

"Christ": My child, do not take it to heart if you see others honored and promoted, and yourself despised and looked down upon. Raise up your heart to Me in heaven, and the contempt of people on earth will not sadden you.
2. Disciple: Lord, we live in a blind world and are easily and quickly led astray. If I examined myself well, I would find that no creature has ever wronged me, so I have no right to complain against You. Since I have frequently committed grievous sins against You, it is only right that every creature take up arms against me.

Therefore, confusion and contempt are my just portion; while all praise, honor and glory are due to You. Unless I put myself in the frame of mind of being willing to be despised and abandoned by all creatures and to be regarded as nothing, I can be neither inwardly at peace and steadfast, nor wholly united to You.

dove look



The Next Chapter in the book:

Our Peace Must Not Depend Upon Human Beings

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