Friday, February 28, 2020

⛪ . . The days will come when . .⛪

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Lent Prepares Us for Disappointment

In a digital age virtual reality seems more convenient than actuality. Whims can be satisfied on the spot. You can pay extra for same-day delivery. If the name of an actor is on the tip of your tongue, Google can help your memory. When you want out-of-season vegetables you just need to find the right supermarket. In practice, these are perks of twenty-first-century living (in the First World) that we are reluctant to give up. The incremental danger, however, is a creeping distance from the world where disappointment and loss are inevitable. We feel our human rights have been abused when it is merely our consumer desires that have been denied. Contentment becomes a superficial feeling that keeps us permanently vulnerable, disassociated and self-centered. Jesus defended his disciples for not fasting while he was with them. He must have been a joyful and exhilarating person to be with. But he warned them of an impending separation and to be prepared for loss. There is a time-cycle for everything in life that even the best-stocked 24-hour convenience store cannot change. Blake said, "Kiss the joy as it flies." The practices of Lent, resting on the foundation of the meditating day, help us to be both realistic and happy. The two go together in a way that consumerism can never fathom.

—from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditate during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB


Saint Quote
"The fast of Lent has no advantage to us unless it brings about our spiritual renewal. It is necessary while fasting to change our whole life and practice virtue. Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, avoiding all gossip, lying and swearing. To abstain from these things—herein lies the true value of the fast."
— St. John Chrysostom

"Wait a little while, my soul, await the promise of God, and you will have the fullness of all that is good in heaven. If you yearn inordinately for the good things of this life, you will lose those which are heavenly and eternal. Use temporal things properly, but always desire what is eternal. Temporal things can never fully satisfy you, for you were not created to enjoy them alone . . . for your blessedness and happiness lie only in God, who has made all things from nothing."
— Thomas a' Kempis, p. 133-34
Imitation of Christ

"Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'"
1 Peter 1:13-16


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Pope Saint Hilary (5th c.) was Bishop of Rome from 461 to 468. Not much is known of his early life other than that he was from Sardinia. He rose to prominence in the Church when he became archdeacon under Pope St. Leo the Great, working closely with him as a trusted aid. St. Leo sent Hilary as one of the papal legates to the Council of Ephesus in 449. There St. Hilary fought bravely against the monophysite heresy, for which his life was threatened. He was forced into hiding and fled back to Rome for safety. He was so highly esteemed that after Pope Leo's death he was elected to the papacy. As pope, St. Hilary fought for the rights of the papacy in spiritual matters against the Roman Emperor, and increased organization and discipline between the bishops and the Holy See. He also did much work in building, remodeling, and decorating Roman churches and other public places. Pope St. Hilary's feast day is February 28.


Friday after Ash Wednesday

Lectionary: 221
Reading 1

Is 58:1-9a

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
"Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial Psalm

51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19

R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
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. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
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. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before the Gospel

Am 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.


Mt 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
"Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast."


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Isaiah 58:1-9

Friday after Ash Wednesday

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish. (Isaiah 58:6)

The Israelites had such reverence for the holiness of God that they were careful to follow specific rules when they came to worship in the Temple. Before prayer, for example, they had to perform certain cleansing rituals. They abstained from certain foods to set themselves apart from the surrounding nations. They fasted on the Day of Atonement to demonstrate their repentance for their sins. They even added ceremonial fasts to intensify their worship and intercession.

Imagine the powerful witness these acts gave to the holiness of God! At the same time, however, such acts of reverence ran the risk of becoming external formalities—strategies people used to ensure that God would answer their prayers. Then, when they left the Temple, they would just go back to following their selfish ways.

In today's first reading, Isaiah responds to this misguided approach. He tells the people about the kind of fasting that God wishes. He doesn't condemn fasting, of course; he just doesn't want us to detach it from its true meaning: reverence for God expressed in love of neighbor.

God doesn't give rules just to see how obedient we can be. He gives them as tools that can shape our hearts to make us like him. The point of fasting and self-denial during Lent is to take on God's way of seeing and acting—to willingly make sacrifices in order to love other people. Is it good to go to Mass and Confession regularly, to fast and give to charity, and to avoid serious sin? You bet. But God wants observances like these to become living, tangible acts of love.

God is offering you the same opportunity he offered the Israelites. He is describing the kind of fasting that will put a smile on his face. It's not hidden, it's not mysterious, and it's not mystical. Granted, it's not always easy either. But we know what he is asking of us, and we just have to figure out how to do it.

In prayer today, ask the Holy Spirit to help you find one way that you can practice this concrete kind of fasting. Do you know someone who is bound, oppressed, hungry, homeless, or naked? Reach out to them and "your light shall break forth like the dawn" (Isaiah 58:8).

"Lord, help me to do the fasting that you wish for."

Psalm 51:3-6, 18-19
Matthew 9:14-15



When we receive God in the Eucharist, we're also called upon to receive each other—to upset the smooth waters of our own impenetrability and let someone touch us or be touched by us. God does that: he opens us.
—Sally Read
from Annunciation: A Call to Faith in a Broken World



""Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"
These words were said 700 years Before Christ. And then they were repeated to Christ Himself when He entered this world we live in, this very earth. "Why do we fast...and you don't...Lord?" There is a study book by Renew International called "Lenten Longings". There you discuss something we long for...and that should be the rightful longing....the very reason for everything....Christ the fulfilment of all longings.


Let us pray: "For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."
An act of contrition is asked when we reconcile. A true act of contrition is demanded for a true absolution. Did you know that if you are not truly sorry, you are not truly forgiven? Is that just? Truth is, your desire is not truly there...and God will not force Himself or His mercy on us.


In the Holy Gospel we heard "The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?"
It's as if to ask "why then do we fast?". What's the point? I told a couple men this morning that we should fast today, and abstain from meat, as it is Friday. Then we got into the "technicalities" of it all. Some were older seniors, another much younger in his 30's. There was a loop hole for them, and it sounded like they were going to opt for the loop hole. If I offered you a hair shirt that pokes at you all day, or a rock to put in your shoe for the day...would you do it? Of course not. But some saints have done this, mortification, and why? Because it is done for God, and it is meant to bring us closer to God. But what if God is with you? Do you need that rock in your shoe anymore? Of course not. You've been calling on God and now He is with you. That is the reconciling effect of Lent.

"Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?". There is always the analogy of a wedding with Christ. Bridegroom? Jesus? Are they the "best men"? How is God the sacrificial lamb AND the altar? How is He the Bridegroom AND the one to marry all souls to Him? How is He EVERYTHING?

Ahh. Lenten Longings. Wouldn't you like to know? Reconciliation to self then? God wants what belongs to Him to long for Him. This is an inexplicable heart mystery. Yesterday, a long time ago friend said "I want to come back into the church....I want to confess...I want to be right with God". These are the words God is waiting for...and the actions to follow step at a time. He asked how long it would take. I said "as long as it'll be worth it...get with our Priest and he will tell you how to proceed". And the adventure begins with the father, and the Son...then the Holy Spirit encompasses all...."
And I said also "I'll probably be asked to be your helper and guide along the way".
And then I asked if I could include him on daily text inspirations. And he said yes.

You remember the story of my tearful regrets of not visiting an old neighbor in a nursing home? I chickened out to visit her because she appeared to be sleeping...I sang at her funeral full heartedly praying too at her vigil. This man that wants back is her son...a real go-getter of a man that lost his father at a very young age, maybe when he was about 10 years old. Now he is journeying back to our Creator of all earthly fathers....OUR FATHER.

God, Father, we love you and want to love you more and us on our journey to purity and holiness...of sincere and true contrition...our graced connection with Yourself


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Random Bible verse from an online generator:

WOW! WOW! I'm Amazed!

Proverbs 23:22

22 Listen to your father who gave you life,

and do not despise your mother when she is old.


If one day you don't receive these, just visit my website, surely you'll find me there. God Bless You! Share the Word. Share this, share what is good

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