Thursday, January 16, 2020

⛪ . .If You Wish.. .⛪

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Learning Spiritual Discipline

In the spiritual life, we are meant to prod our souls to regular discipline so that in doing so our hearts will be softened to serve those whom Jesus served. The gentle Jesus wants clean hearts from us, not sacrifice; deep down basic commitment, not simply blue ribbons for winning the spiritual marathons we've run to make ourselves feel holy.

—from the book In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics by Sister Joan Chittister


Saint Quote
"And above all, be on your guard not to want to get anything done by force, because God has given free will to everyone and wants to force no one, but only proposes, invites and counsels."
— St. Angela Merici

"We have difficulty understanding this, just as a blind man has difficulty understanding color, but our difficulty doesn't alter this fact: God's omnipotence and omniscience respects our freedom. In the core of our being we remain free to accept or reject God's action in our lives—and to accept or reject it more or less intensely. God wants us to accept him with all our 'heart, soul, mind, and strength'—in other words, as intensely as possible. But he also knows that we are burdened with selfishness and beset by the devil, so it will take a great effort on our part to correspond to his grace. … Every time our conscience nudges us to refrain from sharing or tolerating that little bit of gossip, every time we feel a tug in our hearts to say a prayer or give a little more effort, every time we detect an opportunity to do a hidden act of kindness to someone in need, we are faced with an opportunity to please the Lord by putting our faith in his will."
— Fr. John Bartunek, p. 591
The Better Part

"For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Colossians 1:13-14


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St. Priscilla of Rome (1st c.) was a Christian noblewoman who served as a benefactor to the Christian community in Rome. She supported St. Peter the Apostle, the first Bishop of Rome, and her home near the catacombs served as his headquarters. She was the wife of Manius Acilius Glabrio, a Roman politician, who was executed by the Emperor Domitian for atheism, that is, his refusal to worship the Roman gods because he was Christian. Priscilla buried him in what was once a quarry and donated the property to the Church so that others could also be laid to rest there. Her catacombs, known since the earliest days of Christianity as the "Catacombs of Priscilla" are also referred to as the "Queen of the Catacombs" because such a large number of martyrs and popes were buried there. It also holds a significant collection of early Christian iconography including the earliest known depiction of the Madonna and Child. St. Priscilla was also martyred for her Christian faith and buried there. Her feast day is January 16.


Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 308
Reading 1

1 Sm 4:1-11

The Philistines gathered for an attack on Israel.
Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer,
while the Philistines camped at Aphek.
The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel.
After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines,
who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.
When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said,
"Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today
by the Philistines?
Let us fetch the ark of the LORD from Shiloh
that it may go into battle among us
and save us from the grasp of our enemies."

So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there
the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim.
The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God.
When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp,
all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded.
The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked,
"What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?"
On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
the Philistines were frightened.
They said, "Gods have come to their camp."
They said also, "Woe to us! This has never happened before. Woe to us!
Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?
These are the gods that struck the Egyptians
with various plagues and with pestilence.
Take courage and be manly, Philistines;
otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews,
as they were your slaves.
So fight manfully!"
The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated;
every man fled to his own tent.
It was a disastrous defeat,
in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
The ark of God was captured,
and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead.

Responsorial Psalm

44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25

R. (27b) Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Yet now you have cast us off and put us in disgrace,
and you go not forth with our armies.
You have let us be driven back by our foes;
those who hated us plundered us at will.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
You made us the reproach of our neighbors,
the mockery and the scorn of those around us.
You made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.


Mt 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mk 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
"If you wish, you can make me clean."
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
"I do will it. Be made clean."
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, "See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them."
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Mark 1:40-45

1st Week in Ordinary Time

Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, [and] touched the leper. (Mark 1:41)

In Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera, the title character is marred both physically and emotionally. This poor soul has suffered a lifetime of rejection and a lack of human intimacy. In the end, the kiss of the heroine Christine reaches through his self-pity and rage and brings him healing he had never thought possible.

In a similar way, when the man in today's Gospel asks Jesus, "Will you make me clean?" he is not asking only to be healed of his disease and disfigurement; he is also asking to be loved and welcomed by other people again.

How long had it been since this man felt the touch of another person? Not a rough shove to get him out of the way, not the cruel pelting of stones from frightened children, but a hand offered in friendship or a caress given in love. How long since he had felt any kind of human companionship? No wonder Jesus was "moved with pity" (Mark 1:41)! And no wonder he did more than speak words of healing: he "stretched out his hand" and touched him (1:41).

That touch from Jesus did more than overcome the man's horrible disease. It overcame his isolation as well. By reaching out to him physically, Jesus drew him back into fellowship and belonging. He reconciled this man to everyone around him.

We know that human touch is vital to our emotional and spiritual health. Think of how well an infant thrives when he is held, caressed, and cradled by his mother. Think of how positively anyone responds to a reassuring clap on the shoulder, a gentle kiss on the cheek, or a warm embrace. Through simple touch, we can speak volumes to each other, both about our companionship and about God's love and compassion.

So reach out and touch someone today. Don't rely only on your words. And don't leave everything to God, thinking that he will sweep in and magically transform that person's life. Jesus is relying on you to minister his touch. He is relying on you to show people that their heavenly Father loves them, treasures them, and welcomes them into his kingdom.

"Jesus, help me overcome my hesitation so that I can minister your healing touch."

1 Samuel 4:1-11
Psalm 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25



If we are open to the love of God—a love that is revealed to us through the love we share with one another—then we will discover who we really are. This is what Saint Benedict, in the prologue to the Rule, calls the 'expansion of the heart' that is the fruit of religious life.
— Mother Dolores Hart
from The Ear of the Heart


"Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today
by the Philistines?"
Ever felt like asking why something bad happened?
Ever been defeated in a bloody battle?
They said "let's fetch that ark" and bring it to battle.
Sounds derogatory, no? Reading scripture, it sounds like the Philistines were more afraid of God.
Is there such a thing as a sin of presumption?
To presume something can be deadly. So how does this match up with faith?
For is for charity and the other is not.


Let us pray: " Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy".


In the Gospel we heard ""If you wish, you can make me clean."
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
"I do will it. Be made clean."
Back to charity.

The healed leper was given a not tell anyone.
The leper tells everyone.
The leper presumed Jesus wasn't serious and this brought serious attention to Jesus....deadly attention.
Sin brings deadly attention.

Yet...ultimately, God's will is done. Albeit not in the original way intended...sin was not a part of the vision but was an option. A discredit to God reveals many things....infidelity.
So what have we learned today?
For one thing...I've been writing to you while my wife is having a sonogram. I write in the dark and we learned the gender of our 8th baby.
Prayers for safe delivery!
In faith...we must not presume things. Presumption can be deadly.
We presume we know better...this is deadly.
When it comes to safety.... you must opt for the safest way.
When it comes to faith and salvation...the way of hope and charity must prevail.
Did evil steal the presence of God when they took the covenant? What happens to a desecrated Host...the Body of God?
It is to the own detriment of the violator.
Now think sins against charity...a violation of the Divine Honor.
We must not presume that things will be alright and so let evil things slide constantly. Eventually evil way take presidence over His presence.
I say this from experience. I grew up and was taught about His presence in the Ark...the Blessed Sacrament...but I never really knew Him.
And so His presence was hidden. He did not hide...but I was kept aloof...lost even...lost in life without a clear sense of direction.
But thanks be to God...this leper was encountered by God on His journey through earth.
He has not allowed me to speak word of what He did, but told me to present myself to the priest...and I encountered Him again....this time to thank Him in the Eucharist, thanking Him for the Divine Honor of being Him...with Him...and through Him...


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Random Bible Verse 1

Galatians 3:24
24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

Thank You Lord

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