Friday, January 25, 2019

⛪ "These Signs Will..."

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What Can We Learn from St. Francis de Sales?

Above all else, Francis de Sales had the heart of an apostle. True, he was intellectually gifted, he had an amiable and mild disposition that helped him make friends easily, and he was an effective writer and public speaker. But none of those advantages would have amounted to anything substantial in his mission had he not possessed a burning love for Christ and for his neighbor, a love that radiated and warmed those around him. This wellspring of charity (purely a gift of God's grace) permeated all his actions and animated his every effort to spread the kingdom of Christ.

—from the book On a Mission: Lessons from St. Francis de Sales


"We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place for those who love us."
– St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"Since all our love for God is ultimately a response to His love for us, we can never love Him in the same way He loves us, namely, gratuitously. Since we are fundamentally dependent on God and in His debt for our creation and redemption, our love is always owed to Him, a duty, a response to His love. But we can love our neighbor in the same way that He loves us, gratuitously—not because of anything the neighbor has done for us or because of anything that we owe him, but simply because love has been freely given to us. We thereby greatly please the Father. God the Father tells Catherine [of Siena]: This is why I have put you among your neighbors: so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me—that is, love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for any profit for yourself. And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me."
– Ralph Martin, p. 261
Fulfillment of all Desire


St. Paul the Apostle, originally named Saul, was an intelligent and zealous Jewish scholar and Pharisee who fiercely persecuted the first Christian converts among the Jews. While on his way to Damascus with permission to arrest Christians, he received a vision of the resurrected Christ. Jesus rebuked him for his actions and struck him blind, and through this encounter St. Paul was converted. God then used St. Paul and his zeal to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially to the Gentiles. St. Paul was martyred in Rome in the year 65 A.D. The feast day of St. Paul's conversion is celebrated on January 25.
See More About Today's Feast >

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
John 14:27


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Saint Francis de Sales

(August 21, 1567 – December 28, 1622)

Francis was destined by his father to be a lawyer so that the young man could eventually take his elder's place as a senator from the province of Savoy in France. For this reason Francis was sent to Padua to study law. After receiving his doctorate, he returned home and, in due time, told his parents he wished to enter the priesthood. His father strongly opposed Francis in this, and only after much patient persuasiveness on the part of the gentle Francis did his father finally consent. Francis was ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, then a center for the Calvinists. Francis set out to convert them, especially in the district of Chablais. By preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine, he had remarkable success.

At 35, he became bishop of Geneva. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions, and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, "A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar."

Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. For his writings, he has been named patron of the Catholic Press. His writings, filled with his characteristic gentle spirit, are addressed to lay people. He wants to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. As he wrote in The Introduction to the Devout Life: "It is an error, or rather a heresy, to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman…. It has happened that many have lost perfection in the desert who had preserved it in the world."

In spite of his busy and comparatively short life, he had time to collaborate with another saint, Jane Frances de Chantal, in the work of establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. These women were to practice the virtues exemplified in Mary's visit to Elizabeth: humility, piety, and mutual charity. They at first engaged to a limited degree in works of mercy for the poor and the sick. Today, while some communities conduct schools, others live a strictly contemplative life.

Francis de Sales took seriously the words of Christ, "Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart." As he said himself, it took him 20 years to conquer his quick temper, but no one ever suspected he had such a problem, so overflowing with good nature and kindness was his usual manner of acting. His perennial meekness and sunny disposition won for him the title of "Gentleman Saint."
Saint Francis de Sales is the Patron Saint of:



Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Acts 9:1-22

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, AAnanias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
"Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?"
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 117:1bc, 2
R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Alleluia See Jn 15:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."


Meditation: Acts 22:3-16
The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle (Feast)

I regained my sight. (Acts 22:13)

A devout Jew, Paul had been walking with God all his life. Still, he had a serious blind spot. He couldn't see that the Christians he was persecuting were his brothers and sisters. He couldn't see that this Jesus he was fighting against was the Messiah.

But then he encountered Jesus in a flash of light, and he became aware of just how blind he had been. Now he could begin the process of coming to see clearly.

It's not hard to imagine how we too can walk around with blind spots—even after years of following the Lord. We might make unwarranted assumptions about some people because of the way they look. Past hurts or old prejudices might affect how we treat people. We might reflexively categorize people into "friends" and "enemies" or into "us" and "them." And all this time, Jesus wants us to see people as he sees them, as beloved children of God.

Today, on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, we conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. From January 18–25 of each year, the Church invites us to join Christians from a variety of faith traditions around the world to pray for unity. We ask the Lord to open our spiritual eyes and help us see the face of Christ in every Christian, no matter what denomination they belong to. We ask him to remove blind spots that might be preventing us from relating to another believer as we would relate to a beloved family member.

Today, spend some time praying for Christian unity. Ask him to help you identify your blind spots in this area. But don't only pray for yourself. Pray also for church leaders, that their eyes will be opened as well. Pray for other Catholics, especially those who have a hard time with the idea of unity. And pray for other Christians who are also resistant to reconciliation and change.

Our heavenly Father longs to see all of his children living in love and unity. He longs for the day when our love for each other becomes a witness to the whole world. May we all do our part to fulfill Jesus' prayer "that they may all be one" (John 17:21)!

"Lord, open my eyes so that I see all believers as my brothers and sisters."

Psalm 117:1-2
Mark 16:15-18


One thing Jesus says changes everything: ""Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" "Oh no, I have nothing against you, it's that person that I have something against!". Well, truthfully, that Christian, that person is carrying Christ. You are willfully persecuting Him. Our sins are not personal anymore, not since Jesus enters the world. For He enters the person. He dwells in a person that seeks Him. We can not understand this truth, but it does not mean it is not truth. Today, is a day of Full Conversion. It happens in fulfilmment on the third day. After Saul eats, and is now fully, as Jesus calls him...Paul. He was once Saul which means the great one, and now, he'd be Paul, the little one. He was knocked off his high horse and saw the light. Jesus.


Let us pray: "Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples! Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News." As one reflection said today, the first thing Paul is told to do and he does, he goes out and tells the Good News. Jesus is here. Jesus is alive. Jesus calls for repentance and baptism. Jesus calls us to be cleansed. Jesus wants this for the entire world.

Now enter our Lord into our lives: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned." What is your "whole world"? Your family? Friends? Co-workers? Social media? What about this weird one that I dare say..your Church? The church needs reformation. But not in dogmas or doctrines. Those are cool and set and made in stone. No. The reformation is our conversion. We must reform our lives, and be transformed. Amen? And it is an ongoing transformation. I believe in heaven, the transformation will continue, an ever growing and ongoing life, always new. In the world, you will see believers, and you will see non-believers. But be careful. Some say they believe but live as if they do not. Wolves in sheep clothing. Let the fruits of their work speak for themselves. And there are those who do not believe. Hold the hand of hope out to them always. Always in charity. Always in giving mode. There is a peculiar wall I see between me and an unbeliever. A shield. I can not break down the wall as if when it is broken from within.

This is where Jesus comes in. For Him, He knows no barriers. He can walk through walls. He can enter a heart, but not forcefully.
So this message is for the believer.
Believe in Jesus.
Believe in transformation.
Believe that Jesus is with you.

He is with us.
He Saves.
He is in us.
He saves.
He speaks.
He saves.
I see it in prayer circles.
He saves.
He feeds like Paul, and is strengthened.
He saves.
First, cleansed.
He Saves.
Have faith.


Listen to this verse, Chosen while Writing to you, randomly TODAY


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