Friday, December 6, 2019

⛪ . . No One Knows About... .⛪

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Don't Lose the Wonder

If you don't have special times in your life that are liminal, that put the ordinary into eclipse, then you are condemned to a dull life of facts and predictability. You have no enchantment, and without the charm of the liminal your soul goes to sleep and you become like a robot. Your very humanity depends on the interplay of the ordinary and the wondrous. We all know that children are especially susceptible to the thin veil of Christmas, but in our own way we adults could be more open to its impact. You don't have to "believe" in Santa Claus to get into the spirit of the season or to be uplifted by its special charm, but you have to be aware of your need for light and have some hope and vision that light will be there.

—from the book The Soul of Christmas by Thomas Moore


† Saint Quote
"To use this life well is the pathway through death to everlasting life."
— St. John Almond

"Even if you do not confess, God is not ignorant of the deed, since he knew it before it was committed. Why then do you not speak of it? Does the transgression become heavier by the confession? No, it becomes lighter and less troublesome. And this is why he wants you to confess: not that you should be punished, but that you should be forgiven; not that he may learn your sin—how could that be, since he has seen it?—but that you may learn what favor he bestows. He wishes you to learn the greatness of his grace, so that you may praise him perfectly, that you may be slower to sin, that you may be quicker to virtue. And if you do not confess the greatness of the need, you will not understand the enormous magnitude of his grace."
— St. John Chrysostom, p. 255
A Year with Church Fathers

"Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints."
Ephesians 6:18


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St. Nicholas of Myra (270 - 343 A.D.) was the only child of a wealthy Greek Christian couple living in what is today the country of Turkey. He was a pious child, and upon the death of his parents Nicholas was raised by an uncle who was a bishop. St. Nicholas grew in holiness, was ordained to the priesthood, and eventually consecrated a bishop. He was famous for generosity to the poor, protection of the wronged, zeal against heresy, and performance of miracles. Many famous legends are told of him. When a poverty-stricken man was to be forced to sell his daughters into slavery, St. Nicholas secretly tossed bags of coins into their home to serve as the girls' dowry, thus enabling them to marry and be provided for. The money was said to have landed in their stockings drying by the fireplace, which is the origin of gifts in children's stockings and shoes at Christmastime. At the Council of Nicea, Nicholas prevailed against the heretic bishop Arius; he was also instrumental in defending the doctrine of Jesus' divinity and formulating the Nicene Creed. His relics are still preserved in the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Italy. On his feast day they emit a miraculous myrrh, which is distributed around the world. Many countries have the custom of making him the secret giver of gifts to children on his feast day. In the United States, for example, he is celebrated as "Santa Claus," who distributes gifts to children on Christmas Eve. St. Nicholas of Myra is the patron saint of many causes, professions, cities, and countries; but he is most notably the patron of children, sailors, prisoners, and maidens seeking to marry. His feast day is December 6th.


Friday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 179
Reading 1

Is 29:17-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
But a very little while,
and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
and the orchard be regarded as a forest!
On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book;
And out of gloom and darkness,
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will be no more
and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
those whose mere word condemns a man,
Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.
Therefore thus says the LORD,
the God of the house of Jacob,
who redeemed Abraham:
Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of,
nor shall his face grow pale.
When his children see
the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall keep my name holy;
they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob,
and be in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mt 9:27-31

As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
"Son of David, have pity on us!"
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
"Do you believe that I can do this?"
"Yes, Lord," they said to him.
Then he touched their eyes and said,
"Let it be done for you according to your faith."
And their eyes were opened.
Jesus warned them sternly,
"See that no one knows about this."
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.


Meditation: Matthew 9:27-31

Saint Nicholas, Bishop (Optional Memorial)

Two blind men followed him. (Matthew 9:27)

Do you see what I see? According to a popular song, that's what the wind asks a little lamb on the night Jesus is born. The wind sees a star dancing in the night sky, celebrating the miracle of Bethlehem. It's a scene of excitement and wonder, a heavenly vision that sees something more than just another star.

You can almost imagine the blind men in today's Gospel reading saying something similar. Do you see what we are seeing? Of course, they would have known that everyone around them was able to see the beauty of creation. But imagine these men speaking about a heavenly vision. Imagine them asking, Do you see the Messiah? The One who proclaims God's mercy and who brings healing everywhere he goes? Can you see with the eyes of your heart?

It's easy to see with an earthly vision—our family, neighbors, and coworkers, even our obligations and challenges. But Christmas is about God helping us to see things that our "earthly eyes" could never perceive. It shows us a baby who is God, a pregnant woman who is a sinless virgin, and a star that is a sign of salvation. It helps us see ourselves and the people around us in a new way too: as beloved children whom Jesus considers worth dying for and as temples of his own Holy Spirit.

How can we sharpen our spiritual vision? By imitating these two blind men. When they heard about Jesus, they believed that he could heal them. So they followed after Jesus, crying out until he stopped and turned to them. Then, when he asked whether they believed he could heal them, they confidently said yes. And with that, their eyes were opened.

We can follow after Jesus with the same kind of faith and persist in asking him to open our eyes. It's not a complicated matter, either. We can make sure we are spending time every day in prayer and Scripture reading. We can be vigilant in repenting for any sins that cloud our consciences. And we can try our best to treat the people around us with the love and respect they deserve. This simple formula will open our eyes—and it will move us to ask others, "Do you see what I see?"

"Lord, open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you!"

Isaiah 29:17-24
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14



The Christian has to learn from the Incarnation to be a legitimate and authentic child of his time, his people, his society, his country. The Gospel has the power to give life to a culture. . . . The Christian should be a credible witness of this truth. He should work to make the culture one in which he can comfortably live and express his faith. And the person best placed to do this is not the cleric or the religious but the layperson.
—Francis Cardinal Arinze
from The Layperson's Distinctive Role


"The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel."
The scriptures speak about finding. Finding means they were seeking. And what they found in Jesus was joy. Ever met a grinch for a Christian? I think I've ran into a few. So pessimistic. So agitated. So frustrated. LOL. Why doesn't this grinch find joy? Simple: the grinch didn't seek joy. The grinch was cinched in his ways, "my way" as they say. But, there are those who find joy in the Lord. I spoke to an agnostic and I said "in the Lord there is true joy". Is this believable? Isn't this the season for joy?


We pray: "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid?" The Lord is victory, just read through the entire bible. People seem defeated, but it is never the Lord. It is our egos that get defeated and deflated throughout the course of history. That's what is hurt. Sure, go ahead, get mad all you want, but your fists of fury will only wave in the wind. How about offering that obtain humility? The lowly will find joy.


In the Holy Gospel, a couple blind men cry out to our Lord, ""Son of David, have pity on us!".
Ahh, those words that always catch the heart, the precious Sacred Heart of Jesus. Mercy.
Today, some exorcists want us to offer this day, this first Friday, for those in the Vatican and those involved in the Amazon Synod whereupon an idol of fertility came to question. They want us to fast, offer Sacred Heart prayers, rosary, and Holy Hours today. They say evil is creeping in. Is it true? I can't say, but what I can say, is yes, I will offer all they asked for, and I ask you to join too. But not just for today, but always have a reason to fast, to pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, always consider the Rosary, always a Mass and even a Holy Hour, or at least a Blessed Sacrament visit. What has this all to do with the Gospel? ""Son of David, have pity on us!"

Our Lord asks: ""Do you believe that I can do this?"
A man in my office said when he was a young Episcoplian altar boy, someone (non-believer) asked him "Do you think God could make a mountain so heavy that he could not move it?" He said his pastor said the answer was "of course not, God can do anything". I told the man "that non-believer was trying to put limits to God". That is the real danger in faith. To set limits, to limit...your belief.

The blind men answered right "YES", yes we believe you can do this!
I love the next part:
Then he touched their eyes and said,
"Let it be done for you according to your faith."
And I love even more the next:
"... their eyes were opened."
The next parts not so sure I love, where He tells them to be quiet about it but instead they tell the whole world (their world).

Faithful, and disobedient? What's up with that?
I want to write a disclaimer in our church bulletin, or somewhere for all those who ever have a desire to enter any type of ministry in the church, and it would say something to the effect:

Thank you for considering joining ministry.

Please be aware of the reality of serving our Lord.

The system is not perfect. The people are not perfect.

You will get frustrated. People will let you down.

But have faith, God is in control. And please, serve with greater love than your neighbor.

It has become very lonely in various ministries. Few really want to serve. in the loneliness and people leaving, I often ask "is it me?" doubts, doubts brought about Dr. Killjoy from down under.

How can I combat the defeated atmosphere I often find myself in?

It is a battle. It is a search. It is a lifting of not only a finger, but the whole body that needs to be dragged to our Lord....for help.

"Jesus, Lord, have mercy on me a poor sinner"

And I receive joy when I empty myself to Him

Randomly opened book Imitation of Christ:

"Be sorry for your sins now so that on the day of judgement you may be secure in the company of the blessed. Then shall the just stand with great constancy against those who have persecuted and oppressed them. Then those who humbly submitted themselves to human judgements shall take their stand as judges. Great will be the confidence of the poor and the humble, while the proud will tremble with dread.
5. Then those will appear to have been wise in this world who contented themselves to be taken for fools and despised for the sake of Christ. They will be glad that they suffered tribulation patiently in this world, for all iniquity shall stop its mouth.
Every devout person shall be joyful, while the irreligious will be sad. The flesh that was chastised shall exult more than if it had been pampered with luxuries. The shabby garment shall shine and the fine clothing look like rags."


hear it read

Random Bible Verse 1

Proverbs 15:9
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,

but he loves him who pursues righteousness.

Thank You Lord

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