Wednesday, March 6, 2019

⛪ “ Father who sees "

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Ash Wednesday: A Day of Surprises

There's something about Ash Wednesday that draws us in, calls us to return to sanity, to a change of heart and mind.

Lent doesn't take us away from our ordinary lives, but rather it invites us to bring a new and holy attention to those activities. This should be the way with all of our spiritual practices. We take time apart in order to return to our daily activities with new inspiration. God will always surprise us with possibilities when we least expect them. Let this Lent be one of those surprises.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek


clickable: The Following is from MorningOffering

"Our true worth does not consist in what human beings think of us. What we really are consists in what God knows us to be."
— St. John Berchmans

"It is by endurance that you will secure possession of your souls (Luke 21:18). The possession of a soul means the undisturbed mastery of oneself, which is the secret of inner peace, as distinguished from a thousand agitations which make it fearful, unhappy, and disappointed. Only when a soul is possessed can anything else be enjoyed. Our Lord here meant patience in adversity, trial, and persecution. At the end of three hours on the Cross, He would so possess His soul that He would render it back to the Heavenly Father."
— Fulton J. Sheen, p. 322
Life of Christ


In biblical times it was common to sprinkle ashes on the head as a sign of repentance and humility. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, which is the time we contemplate our relationship with God and identify the areas in our spiritual life that need work. The ashes are a physical reminder of our Lenten journey; by receiving the ashes on our heads and keeping them on through the day, we are recognizing that life passes away on earth. Therefore we strive during Lent to turn away from sin, refocus our lives on following God's commandments, and look towards the Kingdom of Heaven.

"I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:18-19


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St. Colette (1381-1447) was born in Picardy, France, the daughter of a poor carpenter who served the local Benedictine abbey. Her parents conceived her in their old age after praying to St. Nicholas for a child, naming Colette after him. She became well known for her faith and spiritual wisdom from a young age. After the death of her parents she joined the Third Order of St. Francis and became a hermit. She led a life of asceticism and solitude until a dream revealed that God willed her to reform the Poor Clares. She obeyed and joined the Poor Clares in 1406. Her mission of reformation was sanctioned by Benedict XIII of Avignon (the anti-pope) who appointed her superior of each of the convents she reformed. Despite resistance from within the Poor Clares, she successfully reformed several existing convents and founded 17 new ones dedicated to a stricter observance of the Poor Clares, known as the Colettines. She experienced visions and ecstasies of Christ's Passion, and even prophesied her own death. Through her life's work, St. Colette's reformation breathed new life into the Poor Clares and created a lasting model of spirituality. St. Colette's feast day is March 6th.


Ash Wednesday

Reading 1 Jl 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, "Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their God?'"

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17
R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading 2 2 Cor 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel See Ps 95:8
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Gospel Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."


Meditation: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Ash Wednesday

Do not blow a trumpet before you. (Matthew 6:2)

Let's say you were an avid jogger. Every morning, rain or shine, you were out on the road, getting your three miles in. How often do you think you would tell your coworkers or neighbors that you ran that morning? Probably not very often. It's just something you do because you know how good it is to establish a healthy exercise routine.

It's this kind of attitude that Jesus is asking us to have when it comes to the traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. They should be so much a part of our everyday routine that we would see no reason to boast about doing them.

Of course, we know how challenging it can be to keep to these practices. Life tends to get in the way. But isn't that the whole purpose of Lent? To step back from the busyness of life a bit so that we can grow closer to God?

These next forty days offer us a wonderful opportunity to enter into the blessings of a routine. If we can commit to praying every day this Lent, we'll be well on our way to forming a permanent habit of spending time with God and letting his word change our hearts. If we can commit the next six weeks to fasting—from some food or activity or attitude that has too tight a grip on us—we stand the chance of becoming less attached to this world and more attached to Christ. If we can commit to giving some of our time and money to helping the poor on a regular basis, generosity and compassion will begin to flow from us more naturally.

Jesus is inviting you to "return to the Lord, your God" this Lent (Joel 2:13). Every journey begins with the smallest, most ordinary of steps. So get into the daily habit of turning to him through these three ordinary spiritual practices. Then watch to see whether something extraordinary comes of them.

"Jesus, help me embrace the everyday, ordinary practices of Lent so that I can grow closer to you."

Joel 2:12-18
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17
2 Corinthians 5:20–6:2



The Gospel tells us that this is where the King is: in the one who is hungry, who is thirsty, who is ill, who is in prison. We can see that the whole point of this Gospel is: Did you recognize me, or did you not recognize me? Let us pray it penetrates through our poor little skulls that we are doing this to Christ or withholding it from Christ.
—Mother Mary Francis P.C.C.
from A Time of Renewal: Daily Reflections for the Lenten Season


"Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he...". Our Lord cares more for hearts than sacrifice. He would love some attention. The poor need attention these 40 days. Jesus needs attention. This has been my experience with some homeless people, that they didn't want my money, or shelter, they did enjoy time. Some need the money. Some do need shelter, me getting them shelter, and all need time. Prayer, fasting, almsgiving. Prayer time. Fasting, no time for self, but for the Lord. Almsgiving, time to give when I haven't before, and where I have not before.


"Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me." Gracious and merciful is he...and me? Last night at another toddler's funeral vigil, I spoke on how we are to be Christ and how we are to be neighbor to the person next to us. If lent is all about prayer, almsgiving, and fasting, then we will see our neighbor. We will bother to see Lazarus, Jesus in disguise. Our hearts will open, just like Jesus on the cross, sacrifice.


Our Lord said ""When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites." I joked with my wife last night "you should give up Dr. Pepper" and she balked back "you wouldn't want me grouchy". We were joking, but that wasn't the first time I heard about people being grouchy in lent. We need to remember something here, 2 Cor9 "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Remember the heart part? Have you ever given someone money in need but you did so... reluctantly? Or offered to be in service or ministry but... reluctantly. You really make the people feel worse, those who you are suppose to serve! That is why very often in these 2 cents I ask "what are you serving? WHO are you serving? If God is love, God wants love served.

Our Lord spoke 3 times of being rewarded for things.

1st) For not blowing trumpets, for giving in "anonymous" mode.

2nd) Praying without telling a soul. This is extremely important, these prayers I call "heart prayers". These are powerful prayers. Yes, prayers in numbers and prayer chains are good, but God loves heart prayers. WHY? Why a heart to heart prayer? Because it is an intimate union with Him.

3) Fasting happy. This calls for true sacrifice, because if you stop eating, your body will go into a bad mood mode. If you don't have your caffeine fix, or you are not feeding your addiction, withdrawal symptoms kick in. My dad says in Spanish "a malos tiempos buena cara" (bad times, good face). They say if you simply smile it can actually help you change your mood. Force it, and if you're like me, you'll laugh at yourself because you know how you feel goofy for trying to smile when you should be pouting.

For you being an avid reader, I ask for more. Try visiting an abandoned soul. In prison. In an asylum like a nursing home. Or someone that has stopped going to Church. You can speak about Jesus but first speak about them, see how they are doing and just talk about the weather.

There's two types of people that ran through my mind this morning, actually 3.

1st) Orphanage asking for help
2nd) A man with a collapsed skull in a nursing home.
3rd) Some really locked up souls, with evil spirits.

Common denominator? Jesus reaches them.

Lent is starting and it is not the happiest time of the year, but the most holiest, and this brings us great joy in Easter. No work no pay. No heart no love.


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Random Bible Verse
2 Timothy 2:15 (Listen)

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, [1] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

[1] 2:15 That is, one approved after being tested

Thank You Jesus

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