Thursday, February 21, 2019

⛪ "As Human Beings..."

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Transform Your Life into Prayer

To leave the world is to leave a false sense of independence, of disinterest in others, of abandonment of God. We see that to move beyond the static and limited understanding of prayer requires us to reimagine our relationship with God. This is what Francis and Clare did nearly eight centuries ago. It is why their lives shine as examples for people of every age and continue to capture the attention and imagination of so many. The life of the Franciscan is to live the gospel, to transform one's entire life into prayer.

—from Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis


"Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
— St. Francis of Assisi

"No one denies what everyone knows, for nature herself teaches it: that God is the Creator of the universe, and that it is good, and that it belongs to humanity by the free gift of its Creator. But there is a vast difference between the corrupted state and the state of primal purity, just as there is a vast difference between Creator and the corruptor. ... We ourselves, though we're guilty of every sin, are not just a work of God: we're image. Yet we have cut ourselves off from our Creator in both soul and body. Did we get eyes to serve lust, the tongue to speak evil, ears to hear evil, a throat for gluttony, a stomach to be gluttony's ally, hands to do violence, genitals for unchaste excesses, feet for an erring life? Was the soul put in the body to think up traps, fraud, and injustice? I don't think so."
— Tertullian, p. 11
A Year with the Church Fathers

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."
1 Peter 2:9


click to read more



St. Peter Damian (1007-1072 A.D.) was born in Ravenna, Italy, the youngest of a large and noble yet poor family. After his birth his mother initially refused to nurse him due to the strain he would put on the family, and he nearly died. He was later orphaned and suffered from extreme poverty. One brother adopted him, but neglected him and treated him like a slave. Another brother, a priest, recognizing that Peter had great intelligence, took him in and provided for his education. Peter excelled in his studies and in religious piety. By the time he was twenty-five he became a professor famous for his work in theology and canon law. Bothered by the distractions of university life, at twenty-eight he left his position to become a Benedictine monk and to lead a quiet life of fervent prayer and self-mortification. He lived during a time of great corruption in the Church, and became heavily involved in the controversies and crises of the day, advocating for reform and greater discipline in religious life. He was an influential figure, a friend and adviser to both popes and emperors, and was made a bishop and cardinal. Due to his academic prowess and prolific theological writings, St. Peter Damian was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1823. His feast day is February 21.


Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Gn 9:1-13

God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them:
"Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.
Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth
and all the birds of the air,
upon all the creatures that move about on the ground
and all the fishes of the sea;
into your power they are delivered.
Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat;
I give them all to you as I did the green plants.
Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.
For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting:
from every animal I will demand it,
and from one man in regard to his fellow man

I will demand an accounting for human life.

If anyone sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed;
For in the image of God
has man been made.

Be fertile, then, and multiply;
abound on earth and subdue it."

God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
"See, I am now establishing my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
and with every living creature that was with you:
all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals
that were with you and came out of the ark.
I will establish my covenant with you,
that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed
by the waters of a flood;
there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth."
God added:
"This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come,
of the covenant between me and you
and every living creature with you:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23
R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
"The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die."
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion,
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Alleluia See Jn 6:63c, 68c
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that I am?"
They said in reply,
"John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets."
And he asked them,
"But who do you say that I am?"
Peter said to him in reply,
"You are the Christ."

Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."


Meditation: Mark 8:27-33

Saint Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)

Who do you say that I am? (Mark 8:29)

During their journey to the district of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked this question of his close friends. The people in the crowds thought he was one of the great prophets, like John the Baptist, who challenged Herod's sinful lifestyle, or Elijah, who had humiliated five hundred false prophets in a single demonstration. But what did the Twelve say about him? It turns out that they were not very clear either.

Peter knew that Jesus was the Messiah, but to him it meant that Jesus had supernatural power, a divine purpose, and a special relationship with God. He couldn't imagine the deeper and more costly answer to this question—an answer that involved the cross.

How different are God's ways from ours! He sent his Son, not as a fiery prophet like Elijah or John the Baptist, but as a suffering servant who would offer his own life in order to atone for our sins and reconcile us to God. Through Jesus, the cross has become the fountain from which every grace and blessing flows: deliverance from sinful patterns, relief from the anxieties of legalistic observance, wisdom for living in the world, and freedom from the powers of darkness. This instrument of death has now become the way to freedom and life in a way that a worldly, powerful Messiah could never be.

Who do you say Jesus is? What does it mean for you to embrace the cross? The two questions go hand in hand, for a crucified Messiah must have crucified followers. God wants us to take up the inner battle of saying no to fallen ways of thinking and acting so that we can begin to enjoy life in his presence. The only way we will find strength for that battle is if we fix our gaze on Jesus, the crucified Messiah, in prayer and ask the Spirit to help us focus on Jesus and his love rather than on ourselves.

Today, let the Spirit lead you to the cross. Let him lead you to deeper freedom—perhaps through repentance, through greater patience, or through stronger love. Listen for his still, small voice as he whispers words of encouragement and correction. Trust that as you follow him, he will lead you from death to life.

"Jesus, I believe that you are the Messiah. Thank you for offering your life for me!"

Genesis 9:1-13
Psalm 102:16-23, 29



God makes saints as he pleases, but they are made always according to his plan, and in submission to his will. This submission is true and most perfect abandonment.
—Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J.
from Abandonment to Divine Providence


"For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting" said our Lord, and then "This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you." And a sign appears in the sky.


On my desk, before my eyes, all day, I have a notepad with a rainbow on top and a Benedictan Crucifix and below it says "DE COLORES", which to a cursillista means grace, living in grace, a salutation of cheer and joy of the Lord. We dress in rainbow colors. We claim the rainbow, God's promise, the bow in the sky. And the Word is living and effective, sharper than a double edged sword, capable of penetrating a soul, and this is good. Salvation is good, and God has made a way...Jesus.


Let us pray: "From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth. The nations shall revere your name, O LORD, and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion and appeared in his glory; When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer. " Has God rebuilt Zion? Yes. The old covenant is no more. Mount Moriah, the place Abraham would sacrifice, became the place God sacrificed His Isaac, His joy, His laughter, the love of His life, for us. For our sad faces. Why? Why would He sacrifice so much for so little? Well, that's because what we count as little, is big to Him. What we don't value, He does. What we don't see, He does. What we don't hear, He does. Thoughts, hearts, souls.


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord asks that particular question that we better watch how we answer this day: ""But who do you say that I am?". At first He asked "Who do people say that I am?". As if to say, ' who does the world say I am? And then 'BUT who do YOU say that I AM?". What's funny is that the answer is still the same. The world says Jesus was a good prophet, and the answers go on from there, depending on which religion you ask.

Forget now what everyone else is saying. Think deep. WHO do you say Jesus is? If I ask my 9th graders or 8th graders I've asked, they'll take a long time to answer, they can't get out of their comfort zone, and so softly they'll start blurting answers "son of God?", softly one says, as if insecure. Unsure. What is the right answer? I can't respond for your soul.

I can't answer that for you. What I can do is shed light on who He is in the bible and who He is in my life.

As for the bible, Jesus is everything in the bible. He is the one that breathed over the waters of creation. He breathes life into the nostrils of Adam. He is the promise. He is the lamb. He is the Holy Spirit. He is the answer to everything.

As for me, Jesus is what the bible says, but I'm not normal. I've had an eye-witness experience of Jesus in a cursillo. Perhaps this is why I've been devoted to this movement that is so harshly attacked (spiritually). It is the hardest of my ministries. But the most rewarding. Why? Because, it calls for faithfulness. What did I see? My first experience was in the year 2004, on a spring. The closing of my first lived experience of Cursillo (A course in Christianity developed by Eduardo Bonin of Spain). Pray for us Brother Eduardo. I was at a renegade cursillo that let everyone in, 100 of us men candidates were there and hundreds were in attendance at the closing Mass. The priest elevated the Eucharist, my eyes saw flesh in the hands of the priest, my eyes quickly began to water, my heart energized and burning, and my throat was choking me, a heavenly death was at hand. Keep in mind, I am attempting to explain Jesus. Another time, many years later, I was helping, serving at a cursillo, and we randomly did a divine mercy chaplet to fill time. I was kneeling with the guitar guys by the Blessed Sacrament. I became lost in prayer and swept away from this world. There, I saw Jesus, hanging on the cross, just as if it were in the real world, but I was in another. Present at His dying moments. It was so dark, but I could see His figure, suffering, I could feel in the darkness, and the strangest sensation I can remember was this...That Power on the cross was My Real Father, dying for me, so amazing, this blood covered figure, disfigured in abuse. All the lashings of our horrible deeds. I turned away, I saw people's lights, in their hearts. Some were smaller lights than others, some...not there at all. I came back. The guy next to me had been trying to get my attention. I opened my eyes only to realize they were full of tears, I didn't know I had been crying. These are my ongoing experiences of Jesus. Who He is to me, is the greatest person and being ever to be recognized, and yet to be recognized. I've attempted to explain, but only to the faithful. And you are a faithful follower, hearing a follower.
I see things that hurt Jesus. I see things that take from Jesus, instead of giving. I see an abuse of His Holy Name and most Precious Body, and it is worse than the crumbs that fall at the altar. Much worse. It's true, what comes out of man is worse, and why? Because what comes out is what is within.
I am at a complete loss on how to save a soul. But I got a hint after almost 2 decades of working at it. Seek Jesus. See Jesus.

Jesus rebukes the devil as he turns away from St. Peter who had just revealed Jesus was the Messiah. "Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
You see, your thinking has to change. What you see has to change. What you hear has to change. De Colores means grace. Grace enables hearing and seeing...Jesus. I encourage you to live a life of austerity, sacrifice, all things that simply mean giving...and this builds love. Suffering is giving. Do you give in suffering? Most reject suffering, many despise it. That is why abortion and suicide are offered at hospitals, because people demand to be freed from suffering. But God said be fertile, live, and multiply....HIS DIVINE IMAGE


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

Random Bible Verse
Philippians 2:13

13 For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Thank You Jesus

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