Monday, January 28, 2019

⛪ "...That is the end..."

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Listen with Your Whole Heart

There is a whole dimension of life to which we have to listen with our whole heart, mind-fully, as we say. Mindfulness is necessary to find meaning—and the intellect is not the full mind. The intellect, one has to hasten to say, is an extremely important part of our mind, but it isn't the whole mind. What I mean here when I say "mind" is more what the Bible calls the "heart," what many religious traditions call the "heart." The heart is the whole person, not just the seat of our emotions. The kind of heart that we are talking about here is the lover's heart, which says, "I will give you my heart." That doesn't mean I give you part of myself; it means I give myself to you. So when we speak about wholeheartedness, a wholehearted approach to life, mindfulness, that alone is the attitude through which we give ourselves to meaning.

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life


"Prayer is the best preparation for Holy Communion. Prayer is the raising of the mind to God. When we pray we go to meet Christ Who is coming to us. If our Creator and Savior comes from heaven with such great love, it is only fitting that we should go to meet Him. And this is what we do when we spend some time in prayer."
– St. Bernardine of Siena

"God cannot cease to love me. That is the most startling fact that our doctrine reveals. Sinner or saint He loves and cannot well help Himself. Magdalen in her sin, Magdalen in her sainthood, was loved by God. The difference between her position made some difference also in the effect of that love on her, but the love was the same, since it was the Holy Spirit who is the love of the Father and the Son. Whatever I do, I am loved. But then, if I sin, am I unworthy of love? Yes, but I am unworthy always. Nor can God love me for what I am, since, in that case, I would compel His love, force His will by something external to Himself. In fact, really if I came to consider, I would find that I was not loved by God because I was good, but that I was good because God loved me. My improvement does not cause God to love me, but is the effect of God's having loved me."
— Fr. Bede Jarrett, p. 51
Classic Catholic Meditations

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
Ephesians 6:10-12


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Saint Thomas Aquinas

(1225 – March 7, 1274)

Saint Thomas Aquinas' Story

By universal consent, Thomas Aquinas is the preeminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and of divine revelation. He is one of the great teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, honored with the titles Doctor of the Church and Angelic Doctor.

At five he was given to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino in his parents' hopes that he would choose that way of life and eventually became abbot. In 1239, he was sent to Naples to complete his studies. It was here that he was first attracted to Aristotle's philosophy.

By 1243, Thomas abandoned his family's plans for him and joined the Dominicans, much to his mother's dismay. On her order, Thomas was captured by his brother and kept at home for over a year.

Once free, he went to Paris and then to Cologne, where he finished his studies with Albert the Great. He held two professorships at Paris, lived at the court of Pope Urban IV, directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo, combated adversaries of the mendicants, as well as the Averroists, and argued with some Franciscans about Aristotelianism.

His greatest contribution to the Catholic Church is his writings. The unity, harmony, and continuity of faith and reason, of revealed and natural human knowledge, pervades his writings. One might expect Thomas, as a man of the gospel, to be an ardent defender of revealed truth. But he was broad enough, deep enough, to see the whole natural order as coming from God the Creator, and to see reason as a divine gift to be highly cherished.

The Summa Theologiae, his last and, unfortunately, uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology. He stopped work on it after celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, "I cannot go on…. All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me." He died March 7, 1274.

We can look to Thomas Aquinas as a towering example of Catholicism in the sense of broadness, universality, and inclusiveness. We should be determined anew to exercise the divine gift of reason in us, our power to know, learn, and understand. At the same time we should thank God for the gift of his revelation, especially in Jesus Christ.
Saint Thomas Aquinas is the Patron Saint of:

Catholic Schools


Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1 Heb 9:15, 24-28

Christ is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place
for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant,
those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6
R. (1a) Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Reading 2 See 2 Tm 1:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 3:22-30

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus,
"He is possessed by Beelzebul," and
"By the prince of demons he drives out demons."

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
"How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder his house.

Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies
that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin."
For they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."


Meditation: Hebrews 9:15, 24-28

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

Christ has appeared . . . to take away sin by his sacrifice. (Hebrews 9:26)

Why did Jesus have to suffer and die for us? Couldn't God have saved us without such a heavy sacrifice?

Many have asked that question over the centuries, including St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast it is today. A Doctor of the Church, Aquinas revolutionized the Church's understanding of its teaching. His works are still studied in seminaries around the world. He is admired both for his brilliance as well as his humility, and his spiritual life has become a model for believers everywhere. Building on the work of earlier saints like Augustine and Jerome, Aquinas found a way to explain the great mysteries of our faith to people at a time when other philosophies and teachings were gaining ground.

So how did Aquinas answer the question above? By telling us that Jesus had to die not only "as a remedy for sin," but also "as an example" for us. Here is how he explained it:

"If you seek the example of love: Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends. . . . If Christ gave his life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for his sake.

"If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when we patiently suffer much, or when we suffer things we are able to avoid but don't avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently. . . .

"If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.

"If you seek an example of obedience, follow him who became obedient to the Father even unto death. . . .

"If you seek an example of despising earthly things, follow him who is the King of kings. . . . He was stripped, mocked, spat upon, struck, crowned with thorns, and given only vinegar and gall to drink."

Today, spend some time gazing at a crucifix. Think of all the ways Jesus has shown you how to live. Then ask God for the grace to give your life in service of other people—just as his Son did.

"Thank you, Jesus, for teaching me how to live in your grace."

Psalm 98:1-6
Mark 3:22-30


"Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him." Once and for all. Jesus did what He did, only once, and forever. Amazing. What did He do? He died. What's so special about that? He was sinless. Before He died. We all have to die to become sinless. Self sacrifice. That's the hard part. Nobody wants to die. Not to sin. But for those that have died to sin, we await Jesus, who could come any day, at any time. All at once or not. Judgement day comes regardless. For that reason, I write to you. To help you and for you to help me. Help be Holy. Pure, spotless, a beautiful bride for Christ. So He will enter and truly be honored.


Let us sing and pray: "Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm." They say a holy spirit lives in awe and wonder of our Lord. In contrast, a bad spirit lives having figured everything out, no wonder, no inspiration. For those poor souls, Jesus has entered as a ray of light to break the darkness, to bring back life to the vast land, that land where they see no good reason to be good or to live.

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord has been found healing people left and right (spiritual healing). To the point that some began to doubt this was good. "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "By the prince of demons he drives out demons." What a most peculiar situation and precarious one at that. Yet what they said is exactly what is said nowadays, in this "modern" age. Just because we live a few years later, we call it "modern". But it is the same. The vast majority of atheists, pagans, and even some supposed believers say that "god is not good". These folks have said something gravely evil. It is the devil talking. It is to say "I know better, therefore I am better". I've heard of ex-pastors saying they no longer believe because god is not good. If you are any type of scientist or philosopher, you should live in complete amazement on how the world works. But since you are not amazed, you have been tricked. Duped by the king of lies. You know what I find amazing? That, in life and after life we even see one single soul. How does THAT work? That is mind-boggling at best. But to see millions of souls? Either in torment, or just wandering, or to see myriads in Heaven, that in of itself speaks volumes. But, do you believe. What if an atheist doesn't want eternity? What if you don't want a God to rule over your life? What happens to them? Only God knows. So, let's not speak much on them.
Let's talk about believers of the Word incarnate.

Believers believe in every word that comes from our Lord.
Believers unite.
Believers stick together. Whoever does not gather, scatters.
Evil scatters.
There, they blamed Jesus of being, not just evil, but the PRINCE of evils, as if the LORD of evils.
They said all the good he was doing was therefore....evil.
All those healings on Sabbath...evil.
All those demons expelled and saving a life....evil.
Because all the laws they'd made up said so.

And you, my fellow believer? How can you say what is happening in your world is evil?

My beloved, the world says "suffering is evil, what God did to Jesus on the cross was evil because God created evil". As if God couldn't make something better, out of something so wretched. Poor souls, impoverished, deprived and malnourished, grace-less is the word.

I just randomly opened the book The Imitation of Christ, and I'll leave you with the findings.
"But you be prepared to suffer tribulations and to consider them the greatest comforts, saying with St. Paul: " I consider that the sufferings we presently endure are miniscule in comparison with the glory to be revealed in us". (Rom 8:18), even though you alone were able to endure it all.
11. When you reach the degree of patience that tribulation is sweet to you and even relished for Christ, then you may trust that all is well with you, for you have found paradise on earth.

But as long as sufferings plagues you and you seek to run away from it, then you will know that it is not well with you. You are a long way from perfect patience and the tribulation you flee will follow you everywhere.
12. If you resolve to do what you ought, that is, to suffer and to die to yourself, things will go better with you and you will find peace.
Even though you may have been caught up to the third heaven with St. Paul, you are not on that account free from adversity; for our Lord, speaking of St. Paul, said: "I myself will show him how much he will have to suffer for the sake of MyName" (Acts 9:16). If you would love our Lord and serve Him constantly, then suffering remains your lot.
13. Oh that you were worthy to suffer something for the Name of Jesus! What great glory would await you, what great rejoicing among all the Saints, and, moreover, what great edification to your neighbor!
All human beings commend patience, but how few there are who desire to suffer! You should be willing to suffer a little for Christ, since many suffer far greater things in the world.
14.) Be sure of this, that you must lead a dying life; and the more you die to yourself here, the more you will begin to live to God. No one is worthy to understand heavenly things unless that person has first learned to bear afflictions for Christ.

Nothing is more pleasing to God, or more profitable for you, than to suffer gladly for Christ. And if you were given your choice, you should choose adversity rather than prosperity, for then you would become more like Christ and follow the example of the Saints. Our merit and progress in the spiritual life does not consist in the enjoyment of consolations and heavenly sweetness, but rather in bearing adversities and afflictions.
Had there been a better way than suffering for the good of a person's soul, our Lord would certainly have shown it by word and example. But since there was not, He clearly urged His disciples and all those who wished to follow Him to carry the cross, saying: "Anyone who wishes to follow Me must deny self, take up the cross daily, and follow Me" (Lk 9:23)
Therefore, when we have read and searched out all things, we come to the final conclusion, that "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). And may our Lord, Jesus Christ, bring us there.


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


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