Friday, January 11, 2019

⛪ Go Show Yourself

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The Spiritual Journey Is a Dynamic Adventure

Gregory of Nyssa elaborated a theory of the stages of the mystical life that had a profound impact on the future of Christian spirituality. For Gregory, the spiritual journey is a dynamic adventure of progressively deeper union with God that can never stagnate or get boring, since our created nature can never contain or comprehend the fullness of the infinite God. Since God surpasses our intellect, Gregory identifies a certain darkness that characterizes the mystical experience, a theme that would be developed by many subsequent writers over the centuries.

—from the book When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers


"Love takes up where knowledge leaves off."
— St. Thomas Aquinas

"You judge me, O Lord, for, although no one 'knows the things of a man but the spirit of man which is in him,' there is something further in man which not even that spirit of man which is in him knows. But you, Lord, who made him, know all things that are in him. Although I despise myself before your sight, and account myself but dust and ashes, yet I know something of you which I do not know about myself. In truth, 'we see now through a glass in a dark manner,' and not yet 'face to face.' ... Let me confess, then, what I know about myself. Let me confess also what I do not know about myself, since that too which I know about myself I know because you enlighten me. As to that which I am ignorant of concerning myself, I remain ignorant of it until my 'darkness shall be made as the noonday in your sight.'"
— St. Augustine, p. 197
The Confessions of Saint Augustine

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16


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Blessed William Carter

Saint of the Day for January 11
(c. 1548 – January 11, 1584)

Born in London, William Carter entered the printing business at an early age. For many years he served as apprentice to well-known Catholic printers, one of whom served a prison sentence for persisting in the Catholic faith. William himself served time in prison following his arrest for "printing lewd [i.e., Catholic] pamphlets" as well as possessing books upholding Catholicism.

But even more, he offended public officials by publishing works that aimed to keep Catholics firm in their faith. Officials who searched his house found various vestments and suspect books, and even managed to extract information from William's distraught wife. Over the next 18 months, William remained in prison, suffering torture and learning of his wife's death.

He was eventually charged with printing and publishing the Treatise of Schisme, which allegedly incited violence by Catholics and which was said to have been written by a traitor and addressed to traitors. While William calmly placed his trust in God, the jury met for only 15 minutes before reaching a verdict of guilty. William, who made his final confession to a priest who was being tried alongside him, was hanged, drawn, and quartered the following day: January 11, 1584.

He was beatified in 1987.

It didn't pay to be Catholic in Elizabeth I's realm. In an age when religious diversity did not yet seem possible, it was high treason, and practicing the faith was dangerous. William gave his life for his efforts to encourage his brothers and sisters to keep up the struggle. These days, our brothers and sisters also need encouragement—not because their lives are at risk, but because many other factors besiege their faith. They look to us.


Friday after Epiphany

Reading 1 1 Jn 5:5-13

Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three who testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the Blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within himself.
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar
by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.
And this is the testimony:
God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.
Whoever possesses the Son has life;
whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you so that you may know
that you have eternal life,
you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.

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 Lk 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
"Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean."
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
"I do will it. Be made clean."
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
"Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them."
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.


Meditation: 1 John 5:5-13

Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes? (1 John 5:5)

What is this victory "over the world" that St. John is talking about? It's not the kind of victory that a military officer might experience on the battlefield. Neither does it come by defeating a formidable opponent in some test of wits. It's not by domination of any kind that we overcome the unbelief in the world. No, John tells us, victory comes from faith.

This faith is not just a list of theological statements. That won't give us the grace and conviction we need to overcome the self-centered philosophies in the world around us. Of course, we need to understand the truths of our faith, but lasting victory comes as we embrace these truths and let them change the ways we think and act.

Let's take, for example, the renewal of our baptismal promises that we are all invited to make during the Easter season:

Do you reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises? I do. I know that the evil one wants to use lies and half-truths to tempt me to sin. I promise to be on the lookout for his influence and to run to Jesus whenever I feel he is harassing me.

Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? I do. I believe that I have a Father in heaven who created me out of love and who wants nothing but good for me. I promise to trust in him and his promises when the world tells me that I am alone and helpless.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? I do. I believe that Jesus has rescued me from sin and made me a child of God. I am in awe at his sacrifice for me, and I promise to stay close to him during my day. I promise to do everything I can to deepen my relationship with him and my trust in his love for me.

This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. It is the faith that can save us from every temptation the world throws at us.

"Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!"

Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20
Luke 5:12-16


"This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and Blood." I am going to focus on the image of two birds for a moment. One represents water, and the other blood. There is a hand that will catch them and that is the Creator. One will be sacrificed, the other will be dipped in its blood and it will live. Jesus was baptized in water, and then blood. We are dipped in His blood. Is this right? That the God of the Universe dips Himself in blood for His love? On valentine's day, we will see hearts everywhere, red hearts, full of blood, full of life. God loves you. So much. If you only knew...


Let us pray: "He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you. He sends forth his command to the earth; swiftly runs his word! Praise the Lord, Jerusalem." Why did I bring up the birds? I'll tell you in a moment. But now focus on the scripture that says "The priest shall offer the burnt offeringl and the grain offering on the altar before the LORD. Thus shall the priest make atonement for the person, and the individual will become clean. " For now, know He provides the best of wheat to fill you. I told someone yesterday that I go to Mass daily (when we have a priest) because there, the best in the world is being served, the Lord Himself in the Eucharist. The best of wheat in the world. Forget all your diet fads, this power pill packs everything a heart could ever desire...forever.

dove look

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord meets a leper, a person diseased, a person rejected, a person despised, a person that is not even welcome around homes, much less to pray in the temple. A person that wants to, he wants to be one with everyone else. A person that wants to belong. A person that wants no more rejection by God. So Jesus enters. And he comes to the Lord with the humblest of words in the softest of voices that is used to be ignored after yelling for help for years, the course voice pleads one last time ""Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean." If YOU wish. If YOU wish, YOU CAN. You CAN make me CLEAN. Remember the dead bird. Remember the cleansing at passover? And so does Jesus accept? Jesus says like a faithful and loving groom that He is: "I DO."
"I do will it. Be made clean." And He lays down His life for us. He leaves us with "Be Made Clean". Take the dip into the blood. Never sin ever again. Be Holy. Be MINE says our Lord. Be not of this world. Belong to Him. Jesus says something very odd at the moment of cleansing: " ...he ordered him not to tell anyone, but "Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them." Don't tell anyone? SAY WHAAAT? Are you serious? My life has completely changed! I no longer have to live alone, rejected, and in fear of death! Are you serious? Or as my kids like to say " WAIT...WHAT?". Go to the priest, says our Lord. Why? Why, since I am forgiven? PENANCE. You need absolution. You need to make amends. You need to be restored with the house of Israel, and the house of God. And you will need to read Leviticus chapter 14:1-20 to understand where the birds come from over water, and where the lamb offered comes in the picture and at the end, the gift of grains, that of wheat. It is the whole story of creation and the Lamb of God, Jesus, who is now the Eucharist, and lives in the Holy Spirit. And then: "...great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray." Jesus shows us to go on retreat. You need retreats, the more the better, I probably do half a dozen a year, mostly serving on retreats. But, why does Jesus go on retreat, to pray, and to be with God intimately?

Answer: So you will follow. So you will seek. So you will find. The story does not end. We must follow the Way He is teaching. If you want healing, come. If you want to learn, come. If you want to be cleansed, look for ME (our Lord). If you want to live forever with ME then find me. This is the greatest love story ever. Two love birds meet. One gives its life for the other. And the love goes on forever and ever....until time ceases to exist...and then ever more.....



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