Monday, January 14, 2019

⛪ A Little Farther

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What Is Your Vocation?

While a vocation does bring us joy and should be something that we are good at, it is not primarily concerned with either of these things. As the word indicates, a vocation—from the Latin vocare, "to call"—is something that comes from outside and for the sake of something other than ourselves. Against the values of the world that tell us to never do anything we do not like and to think of our own happiness first, someone with a vocation is concerned most with the needs of the caller rather than their own, willing to sacrifice their own immediate happiness and comfort for the sake of the call. For them, there is a mission much greater than themselves at stake and they are willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill it. Sometimes, this means accepting that what we want to do and what we are good at is not what the world needs.

—from the book Called: What Happens after Saying Yes to God


"If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord's presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed."
— St. Francis de Sales

"This great power of grace over nature appears at first sight as unnatural, for which reason nature strives against it and does not even wish to hear of the necessity of penance and mortification. But the obligation of penance remains, and precisely because of nature's opposition, it cannot be emphasized often enough or earnestly enough. Softened, wounded nature, moreover, makes difficulties greater than they really are. Grace does not wish to destroy nature, but only to elevate it, that is, to drive out the evil that makes it sick and then to introduce a new and better life. By taking away all that nature loves to its own detriment, and thus wounding it in its innermost depth, it at the same time pours such a healthful balsam into this wound that it is a delight to be wounded in this way. Ask the Saints if they have ever experienced any greater delight than in those moments when they offered themselves, body and soul, as a victim to God. ... Ask yourself if you have ever enjoyed a deeper or more genuine delight than when you suppressed a violent desire of proud, angry nature, or performed any other act of heroic mortification with the help of grace. If, then, grace could give the Saints such a wonderful, superhuman and heroic courage as to elevate them above themselves and make them lead an angelic life already in the flesh, can it not enable you to live at least as a man, in harmony with your natural dignity, and not as a slave of the flesh, of the passions, of your own will and opinion?"
— Fr. Matthias J. Scheeben, p. 260
The Glories of Divine Grace: A Fervent Exhortation to All to Preserve and to Grow in Sanctifying Grace

"Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation."
Habakkuk 3:17-18


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St. Felix of Nola (d. 250 A.D.) was born in Italy near Naples, the son of a Syrian soldier. After his father's death, Felix gave his goods to the poor and entered the priesthood. He was ordained by his bishop, St. Maximus of Nola, and served as his assistant. When persecution against Christians increased under Roman Emperor Decius, St. Maximus hid in the desert while St. Felix was captured, tortured, and thrown into prison. While in prison an angel appeared to Felix and freed him from his chains, bidding him to go to the aid of his bishop, St. Maximus, who was at the point of starving to death. After assisting the bishop, Felix fled from his captors by hiding in a hole. Miraculously, a spider quickly spun a web over the hole and prevented St. Felix from being caught by his pursuers. Felix continued hiding in a dry well for six months until the persecution abated. Afterwards he declined an offer to become the bishop of Nola following the death of St. Maximus. Felix's property was confiscated in the persecutions, so he lived his remaining years farming a few acres of rented land for his own sustenance as well as alms for the poor. His feast day is January 14.


Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Heb 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways
to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he spoke to us through the Son,

whom he made heir of all things
and through whom he created the universe,

who is the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say:
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you?
Or again:
I will be a father to him, and he shall be a Son to me?
And again, when he leads the first born into the world, he says:
Let all the angels of God worship him

Responsorial Psalm Ps 97:1 and 2b, 6 and 7c, 9
R. (see 7c) Let all his angels worship him.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Let all his angels worship him.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
Let all his angels worship him.
R. Let all his angels worship him.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods.
R. Let all his angels worship him.

Alleluia Mk 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.


Meditation: Hebrews 1:1-6

1st Week in Ordinary Time

He spoke to us through the Son. (Hebrews 1:2)

As the Church begins a series of readings from the Letter to the Hebrews, let's take a broad look at this beautiful epistle.

Truth be told, Hebrews has always been somewhat of a mystery to commentators. Many early Church writers saw in it the influence of a Pharisee like St. Paul because of its numerous quotes from the Old Testament. But its style is totally different from Paul's other works. Other scholars claimed that the writer was Paul's fellow apostle and evangelist Barnabas, "son of encouragement" (Acts 4:36). And even though debate continued—others have proposed Luke, Apollos, and even the deaconess Priscilla—the letter was accepted as authentically inspired by the Holy Spirit. An early pope, Clement of Rome, even quoted from Hebrews around AD 96.

Modern study reveals Hebrews to be a well-crafted letter, dating most likely from before AD 67. Although the audience is never clearly identified, no doubt tradition is correct in pointing toward a community made up chiefly of Jewish Christians rooted in the Hebrew religious culture and language. Beyond that, we know that it is an exciting letter with a powerful, timeless message: fix your eyes on Jesus, the Son of God, and the fulfillment of God's age-old promise to save his people.

The Letter to the Hebrews is infused with an experiential knowledge of Jesus and his power to deliver us from bondage. He is our "great high priest" (Hebrews 4:14) who constantly intercedes for us (7:25) and whose blood was shed to cleanse our consciences (9:14). He is the author and perfecter of our faith (12:2) who sustains not only our lives but the entire universe as well (1:3). He is able to deal with every fear, every sin, every obstacle in our life of faith. He can give us every reason to "hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy" (10:23).

This is the Jesus we will be meeting throughout the next four weeks: a dynamic, powerful Messiah who is completely committed to rescuing us from sin and bringing us to heaven. May the Spirit open our eyes to see him more clearly.

"Jesus, thank you for embracing the cross so that I could enter into a new, eternal covenant with you!"

Psalm 97:1-2, 6-7, 9
Mark 1:14-20


" these last days, he spoke to us through the Son,

whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe..."
There used to be great prophets, great leaders of God's people, far and few in the Old Testament. Now, there are prophets in the millions. Jesus speaking through His people. If this is the case, then daily there is a prophet in your world. You would do good to pay attention to the greater good. And what it takes to do the greater good.


Let us pray: "Let all his angels worship him.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods." If angels worship God and we are little less than angels, who are we not to worship God? Can we? Yes. Will we? It would be for greater glory. If this is true, then there is a gray flock of news in recent headlines...that the population of people on earth is declining. Little less than angels, less. People afraid of life. Now they are introducing laws that will let doctors offer death in a vile, so people who are afraid of suffering and life, can take their own life. And who are we to take the life God gave us? That is not an angel of life.


Let us turn to our Lord: ""This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel."
I have a "poor man's jeep" and I had today's Gospel put on it with decals, "repent and believe" and also a light flashes the same signal. It is an army jeep (for God). It has been blessed by our priest and has the St. Benedict logo on it. It is an ongoing message for thousands of years. The Kingdom of God is here in our hearts. His people, His nation, shall be a light to all nations. You shall live for greater glory. Last night I told the people in a funeral vigil crowd, "It seems as if Jesus is always saying Follow Me". And it isn't an invitation. It is a command. And so, there are two responses with our lives "Yes" or "No", and if you say "maybe later" then it means no. A true follower knows God's will...that is a will to save souls, and a true love for souls and all for greater glory of Him who created us, just as we read earlier "... he spoke to us through the Son.....through whom he created the universe...". Jesus created the universe then. For Himself? Or to share? The Kingdom is in us. Jesus. His will is to be one with His.

"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Then they left their nets and followed him."

"Come After Me." as if to say "Let me Lead". "Trust Me". "Do as I say". "Do as I do". And you shall do even greater things.

Because He who is not of this world is in us. Think Eucharist. Think Holy Spirit. Think in every atom of the world.

They say they are finding radio signals from space, billions of light years away. They don't know where they are coming from exactly or what they mean, or what is transmitting them. We are listening for messages, seeking messages. Yet the most clear message is Jesus, for thousands of human years; He is saying "I Am Here". "Take heart".

It would do good to be a Holy Saint now.



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