Monday, January 6, 2020

⛪ . . Is At HAND .. .⛪

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The Crib and the Cross

One cold January night when the world seemed to lie in darkness, I sat down from a long day and turned to C-Span2, BookTV. One of the books that piqued my interest was James H. Cone's, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. I'd not heard of it before, and as the book was being discussed, something awakened in me, and I saw how vacuous was the Christmas I had participated in a few weeks before. Even though I was centered on the Christ Child and the Franciscan emphasis on the Incarnation, it was a sentimental Baby Jesus who filled my prayer and my imagination—not the baby who grew and matured and gave us the Sermon on the Mount which he then lived out and because of which he was put to death on the hanging tree of the cross. I was looking at the Baby Jesus of countless crèches and not at the babies who were slain by King Herod because of the Baby Jesus. The implications of the connections between Jesus in the crib and Jesus on the cross like someone hanged from a tree, are overshadowed and seem, at times, almost eradicated by the world that our greed, self-interest, and neglect of the poor and the disenfranchised has created. St. Francis saw the connection between the crib and the cross.

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo, OFM


Saint Quote
"Let each of us accept the truth of the following statement and try to make it our most fundamental principle: Christ's teaching will never let us down, while worldly wisdom always will. Christ Himself said that this sort of wisdom was like a house with nothing but sand as its foundation, while His own was like a building with solid rock as its foundation."
— St. Vincent de Paul

"Christians long ago concluded that each individual human being has his or her own particular guardian angel. Though the Church has never defined the teaching about individual guardian angels, the Catechism of the Catholic Church sums up the matter this way, quoting St. Basil: 'From infancy to death human life is surrounded by [the angels'] watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life'. In this light, we can turn to our guardian angels for help in spiritual warfare, especially to resist the temptations of the Enemy. Yet angels are more than guardians; they are also warriors."
— Paul Thigpen, p. 30
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian feasts and one of the most important. Historically, Epiphany celebrated four things: Jesus' nativity, the Magi's visit to the Holy Family, Jesus' baptism, and Jesus' first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana. Each biblical event is a theophany, or epiphany, a special manifestation of Jesus Christ to mankind. The relationship between these events is beautifully described in this antiphon from the Divine Office: "This day is the Church joined unto the Heavenly Bridegroom, since Christ hath washed away her sins in Jordan; the wise men hasten with gifts to the marriage supper of the King; and they that sit at meat together make merry with water turned into wine. Alleluia." In the Latin Church the visit of the Three Kings is the primary focus of Epiphany, symbolizing the revelation of Jesus Christ as a light for the Gentile nations and the Savior born for the redemption of all mankind. Epiphany is January 6th, traditionally marking the end of the 12 days of Christmas; in many U.S. dioceses the liturgical celebration is transferred to the nearest Sunday.

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."
Ephesians 4:29


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St. Andre Bessette (1845–1937) was born the eighth of twelve children to a poor working class family in Quebec, Canada. He was weak and sickly from his birth. When he was nine, his father died in a lumber accident; when he was twelve, his mother died of tuberculosis. He then worked at various odd jobs until he entered the Congregation of the Holy Cross as a lay brother at age 25, serving as porter for Quebec's Notre Dame College for much of his life. Andre welcomed and prayed for the people he met, especially those who were ill or suffering. When an epidemic of sickness broke out, Andre demonstrated the gift of healing. He gave all the credit to St. Joseph, to whom he had a great devotion. Over the years, when word of his sanctity spread, tens of thousands of people came to Bessette for prayer and healing. He worked all day to receive them in person or answer their letters. When his Order wanted to purchase land on Mt. Royal, Bessette buried St. Joseph medals on the property. The owners yielded, the land was sold to the Order, and Andre worked to have a chapel dedicated to St. Joseph built on the property. It is still in use to this day. When he died at the age of 91, it is said that a million people visited his coffin. St. Andre Bessette's feast day is January 6th.


More on today's Saint André Bessette
(August 9, 1845 – January 6, 1937)

Brother André expressed a saint's faith by a lifelong devotion to Saint Joseph.

Sickness and weakness dogged André from birth. He was the eighth of 12 children born to a French Canadian couple near Montreal. Adopted at 12, when both parents had died, he became a farmhand. Various trades followed: shoemaker, baker, blacksmith—all failures. He was a factory worker in the United States during the boom times of the Civil War.

At 25, André applied for entrance into the Congregation of Holy Cross. After a year's novitiate, he was not admitted because of his weak health. But with an extension and the urging of Bishop Bourget, he was finally received. He was given the humble job of doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Montreal, with additional duties as sacristan, laundry worker and messenger. "When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door, and I remained 40 years," he said.

In his little room near the door, he spent much of the night on his knees. On his windowsill, facing Mount Royal, was a small statue of Saint Joseph, to whom he had been devoted since childhood. When asked about it he said, "Some day, Saint Joseph is going to be honored in a very special way on Mount Royal!"

When he heard someone was ill, he visited to bring cheer and to pray with the sick person. He would rub the sick person lightly with oil taken from a lamp burning in the college chapel. Word of healing powers began to spread.

When an epidemic broke out at a nearby college, André volunteered to nurse. Not one person died. The trickle of sick people to his door became a flood. His superiors were uneasy; diocesan authorities were suspicious; doctors called him a quack. "I do not cure," he said again and again. "Saint Joseph cures." In the end he needed four secretaries to handle the 80,000 letters he received each year.

For many years the Holy Cross authorities had tried to buy land on Mount Royal. Brother André and others climbed the steep hill and planted medals of Saint Joseph. Suddenly, the owners yielded. André collected $200 to build a small chapel and began receiving visitors there—smiling through long hours of listening, applying Saint Joseph's oil. Some were cured, some not. The pile of crutches, canes and braces grew.

The chapel also grew. By 1931, there were gleaming walls, but money ran out. "Put a statue of Saint Joseph in the middle. If he wants a roof over his head, he'll get it." The magnificent Oratory on Mount Royal took 50 years to build. The sickly boy who could not hold a job died at 92.

He is buried at the Oratory. He was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2010. At his canonization in October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said that Saint Andre "lived the beatitude of the pure of heart."

Rubbing ailing limbs with oil or a medal? Planting a medal to buy land? Isn't this superstition? Aren't we long past that? Superstitious people rely only on the "magic" of a word or action. Brother André's oil and medals were authentic sacramentals of a simple, total faith in the Father who lets his saints help him bless his children.


Monday After Epiphany
Lectionary: 212
Reading 1

1 JN 3:22–4:6

We receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.
Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 2:7BC-8, 10-12A

R. (8ab) I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, "you are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession."
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.

MT 4:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


MT 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
"Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand."

He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.


Meditation: John 1:29-34

The Most Holy Name of Jesus (Optional Memorial)

The one who sent me . . . told me . . . (John 1:33)

John the Baptist recognized Jesus immediately as the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He had not known Jesus in this way previously, but God told him what to look for: "On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit" (1:33). John faced the same perplexity any of us might: did that thought really come from God? Was that dove really the Holy Spirit? And he used the same means to answer his questions that we can use as well: he spoke to God and listened for him to answer.

John probably told God what was on his heart, and listened for God to share what was on his. And he did this not once, not only in a moment of need, but regularly. John also was careful to test those "words" he heard from God—the senses he got as he prayed and listened. He tried responding to these words, which is one of the best ways to distinguish between what comes from God and what comes from ourselves. There were probably times when he "went for it," even when "it" seemed ridiculous or foolish or incomprehensible. And sometimes, he might have ended up looking silly or impossible to understand. But through his successes, and especially his failures, John learned how to recognize God's voice.

This new year, decide to spend time every day listening to what God wants to say to you. Become familiar with how he speaks to you: in thoughts or pictures that come to your mind; in a Scripture passage or a homily; in a stirring, pounding, or yearning of your heart; in tears or a sense of joy. Write it down in a journal. At the end of each week, review what you have written. Revisit the senses and impressions you felt in prayer. Over time, you may find yourself learning more about God's goodness, his mercy, or his plans for you. Make this a year of listening and testing out what you hear.

"Father, I want to know you more. Teach me to recognize your voice as I go through my day."

1 John 2:29–3:6
Psalm 98:1, 3-6



As with every great story, there's a fascinating backstory. Thousands of years of God working and moving in history—what we call the Old Testament—set the stage for our salvation in Jesus Christ. It's a true story full of tragedy and triumph, heroes and villians, as well as spiritual and physical combat. But most of all, it's the story of love. God's undying, undeserved, unbelievable love for us, his children.
— Matthew Leonard
from Genesis to Jesus


"And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us."
Just as HE commands...
And our Lord says Love one another as I have loved you.
Tall order? I know I think it is often. I want to do better.


Let us pray:
" I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, "you are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance"


In the Gospel we heard:
"From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
"Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand."

The first words in His ministry after all the Epiphany, is to REPENT, for the Kingdom is at our grasp. His Kingdom has been revealed when Jesus has been revealed. This is HIS Kingdom, HIS world, not mine, not at all. This is HIS WAY. Sure, free will is here, but only to invite us to Live in HIS Kingdom and HIS WAY.
I want to encourage you to live in His Kingdom where He reigns as the center, the KING.

What does He wear as a crown? Perhaps the sun. The light we see is from His crown? Or is the light we see what radiates from His heart? How can we see light? It is a marvel.

This year has good things in store for those who choose the light.

This year has a prophetic message that has nothing to do with the ways of the world.
God is ever nearer than before. St. Andre of today said 'whenever you say the Our Father, the Lord's prayer, His ear is close to your lips..."

Father, hear our prayer!!


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Random Bible Verse 1

Proverbs 13:1

A wise son hears his father's instruction,

but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Thank You Lord

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