Wednesday, February 13, 2019

⛪ "...realize that everything...."

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God Designed Marriage to Be Joyful

God designed marriage to be joyful. I once believed the words of a newlywed friend, that, "things will just work themselves out." After seven years of marriage and working with couples as a therapist, I've learned that relationships succeed because we work things out. Marriages are not self-sustaining and do not survive on autopilot. They require constant attention and intentional effort. But it can be rewarding effort. It can be an adventure! And like any adventure it is not easy. There are unexpected detours, obstacles, and challenges. But there are also thrills, excitement, and happiness. God designed marriage this way. God desires for us to experience this fullness of grace and life.

—from the book What I Wish Someone Had Told Me about the First Five Years of Marriage


"Let us love God, but with the strength of our arms, in the sweat of our brow."
— St. Vincent de Paul

"Yes, my heart's dear one, Jesus, is here with His cross. Since you are one of His favorites, he wants to make you into His likeness; why be afraid that you will not have the strength to carry this cross without a struggle? On the way to Calvary, Jesus did indeed fall three times and you, poor little child, would like to be different from your spouse, would rather not fall a hundred times if necessary to prove your love to Him by getting back up with even more strength than before your fall!"
— St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 87
Meditations with the Little Flower

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers."
Psalm 1: 1-3


click to read more



St. Catherine del Ricci (1522-1590) was born with the name Alessandra in Florence, Italy, to a respectable merchant family. Her mother died while she was very young, so that from her childhood Alessandra took the Blessed Virgin Mary as her mother. She was given to prayer and religious fervor, and at the age of fourteen decided to enter a strict Third Order Dominican convent, taking Catherine as her religious name. She developed into a great mystic with an intense devotion to the Passion of Christ. For many years Catherine would go into ecstasy from noon every Thursday through 4 p.m. on Friday, experiencing in a mystical manner the sufferings of Christ during his Passion. She was also given the spiritual gift of the stigmata; Christ's wounds would appear on her body through the course of the ecstasy. After enduring much humiliation for years on account of these sufferings, she was eventually accepted as a holy woman and later became prioress. Her advice was widely sought on many spiritual and practical matters. Despite being cloistered, she kept up a loving correspondence with many relatives, friends, and her spiritual children. Among those in her correspondence were three future popes, Pope Marcellus II, Pope Clement VIII, and Pope Leo XI. Her feast day is February 13.


Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Gn 2:4b-9, 15-17

At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens --
while as yet there was no field shrub on earth
and no grass of the field had sprouted,
for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth
and there was no man to till the soil,
but a stream was welling up out of the earth
and was watering all the surface of the ground --
the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.

Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and he placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The LORD God then took the man
and settled him in the garden of Eden,
to cultivate and care for it.
The LORD God gave man this order:
"You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden
except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
From that tree you shall not eat;
the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 104:1-2a, 27-28, 29bc-30
R. (1a) O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
All creatures look to you
to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

Alleluia See Jn 17:17b, 17a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth:
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 7:14-23

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile."

When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
"Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?"
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
"But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."


Meditation: Psalm 104:1-2, 27-30

When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. (Psalm 104:30)

Not every part of our globe experiences winter as cold and snowy. But we all know what it feels like to experience "winter" in our personal lives. It may feel to our souls the way frozen landscapes and chilly temperatures feel to our bodies: dreary, desolate, and in need of warmth and renewal.

If you're feeling that way, today's psalm can give you hope. The psalmist speaks of God's work of creating and his work of renewal. God's Holy Spirit is the creative force behind everything in the universe. But it's also the Spirit who takes what has already been created and renews it. In his encyclical letter On Care for our Common Home, Pope Francis tells us that "the Spirit of God has filled the universe with possibilities," and because of all these possibilities, "something new can always emerge" (Laudato Si, 80).

In nature we know that underneath the snow and ice, beneath the dead and decomposing plants of the previous season, lie seeds that will burst forth with life at the right time. So too with us. God is particularly good at finding the seeds beneath whatever may feel dead in us and bringing them to life.

So what kind of renewal might God want to do in you? Perhaps he wants to restore a broken relationship or put new life into an old one. Or he may want to renew your heart by helping you clear out old resentments and grudges. Maybe he wants to bolster your faith or give you new insights about his love. Or perhaps he wants to give you a renewed desire to share the gospel or care for the poor.

Don't ever underestimate God's desire—or his ability—to renew what feels old and stale in your life. He is always sending forth his Spirit to create new life and new possibilities. He is always at work to bring refreshment and renewal. Every winter is temporary, even spiritual winters. God has a plan to bring life to every seed he has planted. In his perfect timing, you will see spring bursting forth in all its glory.

"Lord, renew and re-create in me whatever feels tired and used up."

Genesis 2:4-9, 15-17
Mark 7:14-23



An electric wire attached to the generator will give no light if the bulb is burned out. One of the reasons Christianity does not influence the world more is that few Christians shine more brightly than those who lack the faith. Is this not true also of many priests, in spite of the fact that the priest should be a different person from all the others because he is the Person of Christ?
—Ven. Fulton J. Sheen
from The Priest is Not His Own


"You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden
except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die." What tree are we eating from? Why did Eve get enticed into "knowing" about good and evil? They say "curiosity killed the cat". But how do we wonder off...of our faith and faithfulness? Because in the end, it wasn't a question of "knowing" but of "doubting" our knowledge. To doubt what we know. They say that statistically in tests, your first guess is usually the best. I don't know if that's true, but I'm talking about human intuition and life. We know what we are to do. But what curiosities veer us off the faithful path?


Let us pray: "Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak." They say Adam And Eve lived hundreds of years, and then, they took the fall. They deviated. Isn't that how Lucifer, the prince of lights fell from Heaven? Yet, this is all theology, the study of God and religion, isn't it? Religion, relations. Our relation with our Creator, our Father. We shall never get too comfortable. I encourage you not to get comfortable in your faith. I encourage you to be always pushing the limits of faith, to have more faith, to move mountains, to be the Holy Saint God created you to be.


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord declared all things good again. No thing that enters defiles the man, but what comes out defiles. But, there was confusion. The disciples, like us, had to have an explanation, for we are hardened at heart. "From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly."

And I would dare bet, that most people, even you and I have had a bout with one or some of these, if not all of these defilements.
Bishop Barron said:
"Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus explains that sinful behavior flows from within our hearts. How often the Bible speaks of the "heart." By that it means the core of the self, the deepest center of who we are, that place from which our thoughts and actions arise. God wants to penetrate that heart, so that he is the center of our souls.
But there is something terribly black in the human heart. We are made in the image and likeness of God, but that image can be so distorted by sin as to be barely recognizable. Our faith clearly teaches the awful truth of the fall, and we see the evidence of it in the mystery of sin, which is not to be ignored, not to be trifled with, not to be rationalized away. We are all capable of dark and evil acts. I'm not okay and neither are you.
Have our hearts become hardened, so that God cannot get in? Is there a deep resistance in us to grace?"

Eve got to know evil. She was seduced.
My friend, Eve is us. We have been introduced to evil. Seduced and tempted, lured into the trappings, the thoughts of this world penetrate your inmost being. Defiled. Molested. Abused. Haven't we? I know I now feel violated by the world. My innocence was taken from me. At a young age, older friends and cousins saw dirty pictures and I saw, and that was enough for me to enter a world that has drug me and used me. This has been the downfall of many. Is it all about sex? Not totally but a great deal is connected with it. Sufferings. Pain. Violence. An incapacity for peace was born. Until, Jesus enters and breaks the noose, the bonds of sin. Nowadays, with advanced media technologies, it is even harder to keep my children from this nudity, this "knowing". Because to "know" means to get intimate with. Mary our Blessed mother said "How can this be since I do not KNOW man?" meaning she was incapable of having relations due to her consecration of virginity and purity.

My beloved, it is time to return to innocence, to make atonement and reparation for our sin. It is time for purity and holiness. You see how the world operates, now, operate for light.
Jesus calls for a renewal, always.
So what springs forth from within will be light.
And an eternal source for the font of life is to be tapped into...For we were created for this good


I got a random audio bible verse as I wrote to you today, click to hear it


From the Imitation of Christ book:
Randomly opened to read:

"Grant that my words be true and constant, and drive far from me a sly and malicious tongue. What I am unwilling to endure, I certainly ought to use all means to avoid myself.
How good and peaceful it is to remain silent about other people's words and deeds, not to believe without reproof all that is said, nor lightly to repeat all we see or hear. We should open our own hearts to very few; for it is better to seek You, Lord, Who can see into every person's heart.
It is not for us to be wafted about by every wind of words, but rather to hope that both our interior and outward life may be lived according to Your holy will. In order to posses Heavenly grace, let us shun as far as we can all worldly conversation, not desiring what appears outwardly pleasant and agreeable, but diligently following those things which bring amendment of life and fervor"

Thank You Jesus

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