Thursday, August 29, 2019

⛪ ... Give Me At Once. . .⛪

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A Prayer Life or a Prayerful Life?

When the subject of prayer comes up in conversation, someone will inevitably say, "Well, I don't get around to sitting still and praying very often, but I've come to realize that every moment of my day can be a prayer." This is absolutely true, of course. Having a sense of God's presence in every moment of one's day is even more basic to one's relationship with God than any particular type of prayer, such as contemplation. But the problem with that statement is that it implies that I have to choose one or the other: a prayer life (spending exclusive time with God every day) or a prayerful life (acknowledging God's presence in every moment). A person who feels called to contemplative prayer rejects this either-or attitude and chooses both a prayer life and a prayerful life.

—from the book Armchair Mystic: How Contemplative Prayer Can Lead You Closer to God by Mark Thibodeaux, SJ


† Saint Quote
"He who wishes for anything but Christ, does not know what he wishes; he who asks for anything but Christ, does not know what he is asking; he who works, and not for Christ, does not know what he is doing."
— St. Philip Neri

"Think, dear friends, how the Lord continually proves to us that there will be a resurrection to come, of which he made the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising him from the dead. Contemplate the resurrection that is always going on. Day and night declare the resurrection to us. The night sinks to sleep, and the day rises; the day departs, and the night comes on. Look at the crops, how the grain is sown: the sower goes out and throws it on the ground, and the scattered seed, dry and bare when it fell on the ground, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its disintegration the mighty power of the Lord's providence raises it up again, and from one seed come many bearing fruit."
— St. Clement, p. 9
A Year with the Church Fathers


St. John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus, and his mission was to preach repentance to Israel in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. When John rebuked King Herod for his unlawful union with Herodias, his brother's wife, Herod had John imprisoned. On his birthday, Herod celebrated with a great feast as Salome, the daughter of Herodias, danced before his guests. Herod, pleased with Salome's performance, promised to give her whatever she asked for, even up to half his kingdom. On the advice of her wicked mother, Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod regretfully ordered the execution. St. John the Baptist is the last and greatest of the Old Testament prophets, highly venerated by the Church. The feast of his martyrdom is August 29th.
See More About Today's Feast >

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation."
Isaiah 12:2


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Martyrdom of John the Baptist

Saint of the Day for August 29

The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The "voice crying in the desert" did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life?

This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. "I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matthew 3:11).

Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: "The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God.' The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus" (John 1:35-37).

It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John's life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God's grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation, repentance, and salvation.

Each of us has a calling to which we must listen. No one will ever repeat the mission of John, and yet all of us are called to that very mission. It is the role of the Christian to witness to Jesus. Whatever our position in this world, we are called to be disciples of Christ. By our words and deeds, others should realize that we live in the joy of knowing that Jesus is Lord. We do not have to depend upon our own limited resources, but can draw strength from the vastness of Christ's saving grace.


Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist

Reading 1 1 Thes 3:7-13

We have been reassured about you, brothers and sisters,
in our every distress and affliction, through your faith.
For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.

What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you,
for all the joy we feel on your account before our God?
Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person
and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith.
Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus
direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase
and abound in love for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 90:3-5a, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
You turn man back to dust,
saying, "Return, O children of men."
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Alleluia Mt 5:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:17-29

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias' own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
"Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
He even swore many things to her,
"I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom."
She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?"
She replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request,
"I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


Meditation: Mark 6:17-29

The Passion of Saint John the Baptist (Memorial)

They came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. (Mark 6:29)

Today we celebrate the feast of one of the greatest heroes of our faith: John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, who cried out, "Prepare the way of the Lord" (Mark 1:3).

John did not hesitate to speak truth to the powerful, even if it cost him his freedom and his life. But we sometimes forget that he was not a lone ranger preaching in the desert. Scripture tells us several times that John had gathered his own disciples. While in prison, John sent his disciples to Jesus to confirm that he was the Messiah (Matthew 11:2; Luke 7:18). At his death, John's disciples came to take his body for burial (Mark 6:29). How they must have loved him! It's likely that they also visited him in prison, encouraging him as he sat in his chains.

This is one of the hidden reasons why John inspires us so much. He didn't try to do it all on his own. As resilient and full of faith as he was, John knew that he needed help, and he willingly accepted it.

John can be a model for each of us. We all need people to strengthen us in our faith. They can accompany us in simple things like going to Mass or praying a Rosary. They can rejoice with us over our blessings and weep with us in our sufferings. They can visit us in the hospital or comfort us as we approach death. We are not meant to follow Jesus alone, and companions like these can make the journey much easier and much more joyful.

Of course, spiritual friendship is not one-way. Even as someone comforts you, your openness and faith can lift them up. You can support them in their time of need and rejoice with them in times of success.

So think about the people around you. Many of them are on a faith journey with you. How do they support you? How might you support them? A phone call, a lunch, or an invitation to go to Mass together might make all the difference! You can follow in John the Baptist's footsteps and follow Jesus with companions.

"St. John the Baptist, pray for me to remain faithful to the end."

1 Thessalonians 3:7-13
Psalm 90:3-5, 12-14, 17



Love then by its nature is social. Its greatest happiness is to gird its loins and serve the banquet of life. Its greatest unhappiness is to be denied the joy of sacrifice for others. That is why in the face of pain, love seeks to unburden the sufferer and take his pain, and that is why in the face of sin, love seeks to atone for the injustice of him who sinned.
—Ven. Fulton J. Sheen
from Go to Heaven



"What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you,
for all the joy we feel on your account before our God? blameless in holiness before our God and Father."
Want to give thanks to God? Be Holy. Want to show Him you are so truly grateful? Be blameless. Goodness He loves. He knows the good you do and the good you will do. He loves the good. Yet, at the same time, He hates evil. Just as evil hates good, He hates evil. Not in return, but because of the chasm that has been set. Let us then be thankful, grateful, holy and blameless for the coming of our Lord.

Let us pray: "Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy! Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!"
Smart people can count. The wise will count. The wise ones will be found prepared, with oil in their lamp and the wicks trimmed. The virgins were pure, the others were not, and were found unprepared, not ready for the coming of the Lord. Every day they say, you should be prepared to live as if it were your last. Someone asked one morning at work, "what would you do if you knew this was your last day?" and one next to me (whom I pray for much) said "I guess I'd go blow it off doing whatever I like all things I've wanted to do". I said right then "we should make amends before we go, reconciling with all and our Lord". You see? There's a big difference on how you will live this very day...the forever now.


In the Holy Gospel, Saint John the Baptist said one thing, one simple truth that cost him his life: "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." That simple statement put him at odds with the government. That simple statement would cost him his head, literally. Why? Let's backtrack a little, a sniplet I read from a spanish reflection today:
"Herod Antipas had married the daughter of Aretas IV, king of Nabatea, a region located south of Perea (where Maqueronte's fortress was) and close to the place where John preached and baptized. That marriage was well seen, as it sealed the peace between the two regions. But after a while Herod rejected his legitimate and married Herodias, the wife of his half brother Philip.
John publicly criticized this marriage, contrary to the Law. Historian Flavio Josefo comments: «Herod feared that John's great influence on the population caused a kind of revolt ... and considered it preferable to eliminate it rather than face a difficult situation with the revolt and regret indecision". Aretas IV, aggrieved, declared war on Herod and inflicted a serious defeat. In the town there was an opinion that it was a fair punishment for Herod for having executed John.
John was a prophet, not one of those "dumb (mute) dogs" (cf. Is 56,10) who put on a gag to save the skin. He called Israel to conversion, to enter the earth again as a faithful people to the Covenant, to be baptized in the Jordan to receive forgiveness of their sins, to finally serve the Lord "with holiness and justice." Herod also received his complaint, because the tetrarch was not above the Law. John played (risked) his head. The Church celebrates him as the witness of the light, as the friend of the husband, as the eldest of those born of women, as the vindicated and vivified by God."__

Today, this greatest of prophets, introduces the supreme prophet...Jesus into the world, of what was and what was to come, a true martyrdom.
The world seemed pretty corrupt back then, right? And then again, and again, and again. And so someone risks their life, their head in order for the truth to be shown. Today, and two thousand years later, we have the head of Saint John the Baptist at one of our Basilicas in Rome and also the head of Saint Paul. This is not a trophy, but a holy holiness that rests with us to this day, for their souls are shining lights in our very lives this day. Hope lives, and the truth was never shut up. John the Baptist did not cause wars, it was Herod's decision and indecisions that caused wars. He had chosen peace, and then he chose lust and worldly thoughts to pervade and lead his life. Something deeper was going on, something spiritual. And this is the basis for our lives. Either we are hot or cold. Either we follow or we do not.
Just back in July we were celebrating "El Dia de San Juan", the day of Saint John the Baptist, and just a short month later we celebrate his passion for God. This sparked the greatest fire....Jesus ministry began.

And our Lord desires to find Himself working through you.
He desires to love through you.
He desires that the Holy Sacraments are availed to every soul so that every soul can be purified, holy, and true.

Lord, we need your grace ever more.
Lord, this world needs your beautiful light.
And Lord, I pray for each and every one of us to be found, wise, blameless, and ready for the day of your coming...the day You Come for Your Love


hear it read


Random Bible Verse1
Psalm 68:19 (Listen)

19 Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah. . . .

Thank You Jesus

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