Monday, January 21, 2019

⛪ The new from the old,


Running to a God We Trust

Remember as a child the number of times you ran up to somebody, someone you trusted—a parent, a teacher, a friend? Completely trusting, full of life, you tried, with a nakedness you can never bring yourself to risk again, to share something you were excited about: a leaf you had found, a drawing you had made, your report card, a story you wanted to tell, a fall you had just taken, something that was very important to you. Try to recall the warmth, trust, and spontaneity of that moment. Try to bring that feeling into your prayers with God, a God who delights in you, a God who has no use for crippling shame. Jesus said: "Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12). The tail-end of that sentence contains the challenge. Jesus loved us by becoming vulnerable to the point of risking humiliation and rejection. We must recover our childlike trust and try to do the same.

—from Prayer: Our Deepest Longing


"The Cross is the way to Paradise, but only when it is borne willingly."
— St. Paul of the Cross

"There was much in the Magdalen that she had never used, perhaps never dreamed of, until she came to our Lord. He revealed to her the secret of true self-development, which is another word for sanctity. And she found under His guidance that everything in her had henceforth to be used, and used in a fuller and richer way than she had ever imagined possible. It was in no narrow school of self-limitation, in no morbid school of false asceticism, that this poor sinner was educated in the principles of sanctity, but in the large and merciful school of Him who has been ever since the hope of the hopeless, the friend of publicans and sinners; who knows full well that what men need is not to crush and kill their powers, but to find their true use and to use them; that holiness is not the emptying of life, but the filling; that despair has wrapped its dark cloud around many a soul because it found itself in possession of powers that it abused and could not destroy and did not know how to use. Christ taught them the great and inspiriting doctrine 'I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.'"
— Fr. Basil W. Maturin, p. 40
Christian Self-Mastery

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9


click to read more


Saint Agnes

(d. c. 258)

Almost nothing is known of this saint except that she was very young—12 or 13—when she was martyred in the last half of the third century. Various modes of death have been suggested—beheading, burning, strangling.

Legend has it that Agnes was a beautiful girl whom many young men wanted to marry. Among those she refused, one reported her to the authorities for being a Christian. She was arrested and confined to a house of prostitution. The legend continues that a man who looked upon her lustfully lost his sight and had it restored by her prayer. Agnes was condemned, executed, and buried near Rome in a catacomb that eventually was named after her. The daughter of Constantine built a basilica in her honor.

Like that of Maria Goretti in the 20th century, the martyrdom of a virginal young girl made a deep impression on a society enslaved to a materialistic outlook. Also like Agatha, who died in similar circumstances, Agnes is a symbol that holiness does not depend on length of years, experience, or human effort. It is a gift God offers to all.
Saint Agnes is the Patron Saint of:

Girl Scouts

Click on the Agnes Picture atop (banner) or here to see an interesting story video


Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Reading 1 Heb 5:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
Every high priest is taken from among men
and made their representative before God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness
and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people.
No one takes this honor upon himself
but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was.
In the same way,
it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
but rather the one who said to him:
You are my Son:
this day I have begotten you;
just as he says in another place,
You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.
In the days when he was in the Flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4
R. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
"Rule in the midst of your enemies."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia Heb 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
"Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them,
"Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."


Meditation: Mark 2:18-22

Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr (Memorial)

Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. (Mark 2:22)

Have you ever felt like an old wineskin, stiff and stuck in your old, comfortable ways? Even though God has made you a flexible, "new creation" in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), you may still be aware of habits and patterns of behavior that look more like the old, crusty ways of sin. Maybe you need to be more forgiving or to control your temper or to change a bad habit. You want to change, but when you try to stretch, the seams feel the tension, and you fall back into your old ways. You don't want to burst!

But old wineskins can be reconditioned if they are cleaned and soaked in oil. They can even get to the point where they can hold new wine—wine that is rapidly expanding and that calls for the utmost flexibility.

When it comes to our hearts, "cleaning" involves clearing out whatever debris might be blocking our ability to welcome the Lord. Suppose, for example, that you are prone to losing your temper. You could focus all your energy on bottling up your reaction. Or you could look at why you tend to react this way. Is it impatience? Stress? Fear? Get to the bottom of the reaction, and seek God's cleansing power there, at the root. Then, every time you are in a situation that makes you angry, try to replace that root cause with its opposite virtue: patience, trust, or courage.

Of course, we have to do our part to change and stretch, but ultimately, it's God who changes us. That's where the "soaking" comes in. Find a time each day to soak yourself in God's presence in prayer. Throughout the day, ask for his grace when you are feeling tempted to fall back into old patterns. Seek the help that comes from Confession and the Eucharist. Maybe ask a friend or family member to pray for you and to help keep you on track. Over time, you'll become more flexible. Your heart will expand to welcome more of the Lord in—as well as more of his people.

It's true that no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Praise God that he has sent Jesus to us so that he could make all things new!

"Jesus, help me become more flexible, just as you are."

Hebrews 5:1-10
Psalm 110:1-4


"In the days when he was in the Flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence." When did God meet us? He was in the flesh, no? Is He now? The Word became flesh. Too often we make God too far away. He offered much, and everything. I'd say, we offer very little compared to what He offered. But, here we come again, seeking His will. Is there anything better to do? He came with loud cries and tears. Does that mean anything? Did we speed read through these words of God crying and pleading with loud supplications? Why was He crying? Because He came for us, and we had no room for Him, He came for His wife and she never rejected him. How was He not to cry? Crucified, rejected and alone, like a stone, rejected to fall into an abyss of a heartless soul. But. He was heard. God hears the hearts of the faithful. Because of this priest's reverence. When a priest becomes a priest, he marries the Church, and makes children for God. Saved Souls. And who will make the souls holy and able to enter Heaven? That falls on all baptized priests.


"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor; before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek." Melchizedek is an old Canaanite name meaning "My King Is [the god] Sedek" or "My King Is Righteousness" (the meaning of the similar Hebrew cognate). Salem, of which he is said to be king, is very probably Jerusalem. King of Righteousness and peace. The King of Jerusalem. The King of the NEW Jerusalem. And Jerusalem was to be the place where God would die, and plead, and cry. One tear was too many, and the cause comes from the heart. Jesus wept. He wept several times in His precious life. Why taste bitterness? God makes beautiful things with bitterness. That's why. Suffering can make a soul holy. With Jesus all things are made new.

In the Holy Gospel today, our Lord says ""Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?". The groom is revealed. Click here to see how weddings cover the entire span of the bible, and then ponder why evil is attacking marriage today. From the beginning, Genesis, to Jesus, to Revelation, it is riddled with weddings. Creation from beginning to end. Always creating new. Just whence you believe something about Heaven, that's not what it will always be in particular...for God is creator and creationist, our imagination is limited, but His is unfathomable, universes and worlds we could never see or understand are at His disposal. But today, Jesus says something peculiar to a wondering soul "new wine is poured into fresh wineskins." If we don't understand how wine works, how will we understand what God is saying? If I am not a clothing person, how will I understand how sewing and patching clothes works? How can a simpleton like me, understand these stories and sayings? There isn't much to see in technicalities, but to hear the message of God. The new doesn't work well with the old. Oh, the old wine is good alright, but the new wine doesn't get poured there. He shall never abolish the old. But He is ushering in the new. The new covenant. The promise of old is here, the groom...ready for marriage. And this is the time of the great wedding feast, when a MAN gives His life to the WO-MAN. That means "Of Man". Get it? God's creation. Recalling and collecting and joining into what is HIS. His love. By far God's greatest Love. Who can understand love in its purity and complexity and humility? That would mean that Mary is a complex angelic vessel of God, both prophetic and servile. Most saints are a walking affliction of God...Love. One that stands out now is St.Therese of Lisieux, A.K.A., "The Little Flower". Another, Mother Mary. Another, St. Mother Teresa. All these women come to mind. The bride of Christ, the Mother, the Church, the mother of the Priest's children. Jesus will pour Himself into the bride like a man does a woman. He will create the new. What is going on in humanity is beyond comprehension, and is about other worldly things. So where do you fit in grand picture? We are the bride as the Church, but we are to be a pure and holy Church. Yes you. You are called to holiness and purity, just the way Jesus loves. So what's new about me? Holiness. I seek and desire. The more holy I think I am becoming, the more sins don't fit in my life. (Is it wrong to try to be holy and to think I am becoming Holy?). Old wine-skins, there's good there, but not all. Much suffering has happened in the old, much due to infidelity. Now, faithfulness enters the picture. You. Your heart. Jesus loves good. Jesus loves righteousness. Jesus loves Holiness. Jesus thrives in holy souls, for He is the vine, and we are the branches.

When I look to souls locked in sin, I see wilting souls. People dying right before my very eyes. I am not glad, but moved to tears for them. And my supplications are unceasing. My parents would walk suddenly for hours at 2AM or 3AM around the house, praying for my wayward sister to come back, come back to her senses. But they would not enter. Mother Mary. Jesus King Father. They can not enter your soul if you do not open your door. Has my sister come back? Not to full communion, not yet. But it seems evil has subsided for a moment. That what has penetrated within.

So when Jesus speaks of the new, and wine, and wedding, there is a feast of Love happening, in Holy Mass, and Mass is on Heaven and Earth, an eternal offering of the Father for each of us. Can we fast? Yes, we should fast much. But when Jesus comes, it is time to feast. Get you some of this. It is AMAZING. Feast on the food of complex humility. Why complex? Because, it is God. We want things fast and simple, but things of God takes millenniums and are extremely complex. My hope, is that if I enter Heaven, that I can simply have the time to meet each soul in the bible, and spend hundreds of thousands of years talking to each about the wonders God did in such short time. Yet, this will only happen when the new you is all of you.
I am heading the building committees on fundraising and building a new building for our church, much need classrooms and kitchen and hall.
I even introduced a new Church plan.
Many don't want the new church, only a handful do.
It seems right.

In all my ministries only a handful want a new Church, a New Evangelization, a New Jerusalem.

And it won't happen without giving up the old. Many are comfortable in the church, they just want to patch it and go on.

Not me, and the new deacon LOL. Our dream is a new church. We are making plans for retreats for our church. We are planning a new church regardless.

It's not a building though. It is a building of community. The new church has already begun when Jesus marries His Church in the new covenant, the new bond, the new promise.

Ok, I wrote much, thank you Jesus.
Quickly, I wrote notes many months ago and ran into it while writing to you, this one at a retreat offering for cursillo, and it said:
1,) Ingratitude is the enemy of the soul
2,) Gratefulness brings grace and virtue
3) Best things in life are free, confession and Mass
4) 1st thing to do walking into Church is to say "Hi Jesus" and "I Love You"
5) You lead by example in this Love


A random audio of a bible verse I requested, click to listen


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