Monday, February 3, 2020

⛪ . .To Your Family .. .⛪

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We Need Help to Get Through the Day

We are weak. We are vulnerable. We need tremendous help just to survive the day. Everything we have and everything we do is the result of Jesus loving us first, of him giving us the strength we need to continue. When we hide our flaws even from ourselves, believing even for a second that we don't have any or that our flaws are so minuscule that we do not need help from anyone, that we possess within ourselves all the strength we will ever need to live a happy and healthy life, we unwittingly cut ourselves off from the true source of strength: the grace of the Holy Spirit. If we don't think we need help, we'll never feel compelled to ask for it. What a shame it would be to stop asking God for help.

—from the book Let Go: Seven Stumbling Blocks to Christian Discipleship by Casey Cole, OFM


Saint Quote

"Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to Heaven."
— St. Camillus

"Undertake courageously great tasks for God's glory, to the extent that he'll give you power and grace for this purpose. Even though you can do nothing on your own, you can do all things in him. His help will never fail you if you have confidence in his goodness. Place your entire physical and spiritual welfare in his hands. Abandon to the fatherly concern of his divine providence every care for your health, reputation, property, and business; for those near to you; for your past sins; for your soul's progress in virtue and love of him; for your life, death, and especially your salvation and eternity—in a word, all your cares. Rest in the assurance that in his pure goodness, he'll watch with particular tenderness over all your responsibilities and cares, arranging all things for the greatest good."
— St. John Eudes, p. 363
A Year with the Saints

"I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33


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St. Blaise (d. 316 A.D.) was born into a wealthy Christian family in Armenia. He was trained as a physician before becoming a priest, and was finally ordained a bishop. When a wave of Christian persecution began, God instructed St. Blaise to hide in a desert cave. While he was in hiding, birds miraculously brought him food and sick men came to him to be healed. The king's hunters eventually discovered his cave and found it surrounded by a myriad of wild animals who came to the saint to be blessed, with Blaise able to walk freely among them. Recognizing him as the local bishop, the hunters took Blaise into custody. As he went with them he continued to preach and perform miracles along the way: he healed a boy choking to death on a bone, and commanded a wolf to release a captured pig belonging to a poor woman. When Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman killed her pig to feed St. Blaise in prison. He was eventually martyred under the reign of Licinius, his body torn with wool combs before being beheaded. Blaise is known as the patron saint of throat ailments, physicians, woolcombers, and wild animals. His feast is commemorated with the Blessing of the Throats, and is celebrated on February 3rd.


Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 Sm 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13

An informant came to David with the report,
"The children of Israel have transferred their loyalty to Absalom."
At this, David said to all his servants
who were with him in Jerusalem:
"Up! Let us take flight, or none of us will escape from Absalom.
Leave quickly, lest he hurry and overtake us,
then visit disaster upon us and put the city to the sword."
As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing.
His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot.
All those who were with him also had their heads covered
and were weeping as they went.
As David was approaching Bahurim,
a man named Shimei, the son of Gera
of the same clan as Saul's family,
was coming out of the place, cursing as he came.
He threw stones at David and at all the king's officers,
even though all the soldiers, including the royal guard,
were on David's right and on his left.
Shimei was saying as he cursed:
"Away, away, you murderous and wicked man!
The LORD has requited you for all the bloodshed in the family of Saul,
in whose stead you became king,
and the LORD has given over the kingdom to your son Absalom.
And now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer."
Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said to the king:
"Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?
Let me go over, please, and lop off his head."
But the king replied: "What business is it of mine or of yours,
sons of Zeruiah, that he curses?
Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David;
who then will dare to say, 'Why are you doing this?'"
Then the king said to Abishai and to all his servants:
"If my own son, who came forth from my loins, is seeking my life,
how much more might this Benjaminite do so?
Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction
and make it up to me with benefits
for the curses he is uttering this day."
David and his men continued on the road,
while Shimei kept abreast of them on the hillside,
all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went.

Responsorial 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (8a) Lord, rise up and save me.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
"There is no salvation for him in God."
R. Lord, rise up and save me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.
R. Lord, rise up and save me.
When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.
R. Lord, rise up and save me.

Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 5:1-20

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
"What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!"
(He had been saying to him, "Unclean spirit, come out of the man!")
He asked him, "What is your name?"
He replied, "Legion is my name. There are many of us."
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.
Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
"Send us into the swine. Let us enter them."
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
"Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you."
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Mark 5:1-20

Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? (Mark 5:7)

It is natural for us to want to focus on the love of Jesus, basking in it the way a flower turns toward the sun. There is nothing wrong with this, and in fact, it's something we should do often. But that doesn't mean we should avoid thinking about the devil or his influence in the world.

The danger of pushing to the side any thoughts about Satan is that we risk falling into his most clever trap: believing that he isn't real. And it seems that his strategy is working. In a recent survey conducted in the United States, only 17 percent of Catholics believed that Satan is "a living being." By contrast, 83 percent chose to call him only a "symbol of evil."

We have only to turn to the Bible to see evidence of Satan and his demons—and of God's power over them. In today's Gospel story, the Gerasene people watched Jesus cast out a legion of demons from a possessed man. It must have been terrifying for the townspeople to see the dramatic transformation of the town's most dangerous citizen, as well as two thousand pigs charging into the sea.

On one hand, their reaction seems unfathomable considering the good that Jesus had just done. But we shouldn't judge the townspeople too harshly. They saw something that most of us never will. In an ironic twist, they saw the power of Satan and tried to push Jesus aside, while the possessed man saw the power of God and wanted to follow Jesus.

Although demon possession is rare, Satan finds more subtle ways to influence us. As he did with the Gerasene townspeople, he can prey on our fear. He can tempt us to do wrong or use our apathy to subtly steer us away from God. But whatever obstacles he may place in our path, we have the Holy Spirit living in us. The devil may be powerful, but Jesus is in charge. The change he brings to our lives probably won't be as sudden and dramatic as it was for the demon-possessed man. But it will be just as real.

"Jesus, give me greater confidence in your power to defeat sin and the devil."

2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13
Psalm 3:2-7



When you are at prayers or adoration, be before the tabernacle like an angel if it was clothed with a human body. If you could always remember your good angel's watchful care to catch your prayers and thoughts which must be presented to God by him, how many distractions it would save you!
— St. Elizabeth Seton
from A Year with the Mystics



"As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot."
Everything our Lord had said would happen, was now happening, all because of unfaithfulness, right? The wages of sin are death. Now, his own son was seeking to overthrow him as King.

Think of our Lord Jesus who wept bitterly at the mount of Olives. Why? He prayed and sweat came out like drops of blood? What was going on through those moments of anguish and torment? His own son wanted to kill Him. Judas was a son, and so was all of Israel. They wanted to kill Him. For healing a man, for reaching out to those they themselves would never reach out to.

And so our Lord asked the men to rise up. ""Up! Let us take flight, or none of us will escape...Leave quickly, lest he hurry and overtake us". Remember we are in the the church militant.


Today we pray: "But you, O LORD, are my shield; my glory, you lift up my head! When I call out to the LORD, he answers me from his holy mountain. Lord, rise up and save me."
King David allows redemptive suffering. He has mercy on the man cursing them, and in doing so, hopes for mercy on his soul and his nation. Remember this when you are going through hard times. We can offer it up. It's not easy. Battle is not easy. Especially when it comes to self, discipline, and discipleship.


In the Holy Gospel, Our Lord, Son of David, encounters one of the Gera people, a one who curses. We heard: "I adjure you by God, do not torment me!" (He had been saying to him, "Unclean spirit, come out of the man!")" Unclean spirit come out of you. This man was fully possessed with possibly about 1,000 evil spirits inside. They say that full possessions are rare, like 10% of cases that are looked into by exorcists. But that doesn't mean there aren't evil spirits in people everywhere. One exorcist was asked "how many of you are there?" and the evil responded "there are so many of us that if you could see us, we would cover up the son". They would make complete darkness. But God does not allow. The question is, do you let some type of evil spirit reside in you? At which point does it become obsession? And then full on possession? What God has designed of us is spectacular.

The evil Legion bargains with our Lord, in their eyes, asking to be put into swine, and our Lord tells them to go. The swine commit mass suicide. The wages of sin are death. Yet those evil spirits live on. Gera spirits are still around. Some visible examples are those who torment themselves, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Ever heard of "cutters"? Those who cut themselves to feel better? These are evil spirits. Common day science says it is a psychological problem, but the human psyche is not disconnected from our soul. Many times we see an outward sign of an inward reality, which is actually the meaning of a Church Sacrament.

The man was freed. A completed exorcism that usually takes months are years, completed in one sitting with Jesus. Everyone is shocked at what happened. Some were upset. "Everything was ok until Jesus came, now he ruined everything" was the town's mentality, those who had desired to usurp the Kingdom, to take it for themselves. So they cast Jesus away. "Get out of here " they pleaded, "leave us alone", and "we were just fine until you brought your so called "good news".

Ever hit someone with the truth and they asked you to shut up about your religion? Bad spirits are still out there. They work in the background. They are continuously working in the free world, with those who have free will.
Your task is to allow only one spirit to reside in you...the Holy Spirit.
The Good Spirit.
The Spirit of God.

Can you set people free? Yes. With prayer and fasting and charity. All of these take great work. You can't be a full blown exorcist, that is a rite granted only by the full authority of the Holy Church, but you can lead people to freedom.

What do I like about the story? An outcast is now a faithful follower of Christ. He begs to go with Jesus, to give his life to Jesus in thanksgiving, "I owe you my life". Jesus says basically "stay where you are, and begin here with the good works". "Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you."
Go Home.
Be restored with your family.
Announce, Evangelize.
Speak of His Mercy.

Baptize them all and call on repentance of sin.
This is the great commission at the end of every Holy Mass at the very end.

We are tasked to a great mission, to carry on His mission on earth, saving souls, and yes, even the possessed outcast.
I find myself working with outcasts (in church). Some are past drug addicts and adulterers and some that are just flat out hard to work with. Who else can God work with?

Lord, send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth...


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->Random Bible Verse 1<

Proverbs 12:11
11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,

but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.

Thank You Lord


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