Thursday, February 13, 2020

⛪ . . .Let the children be fed first . . .⛪

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Seeking Perfect Joy

The spirituality of St. Francis is not so much about the heroic deed as it is about the heroic love with which even the smallest deed is done. That is very clear from the quintessential story of Perfect Joy. It is not what Francis and Leo endure from the abusive brother that counts. It is, as Francis says to Leo, when we bear such abuse and suffering, "remembering the sufferings of Christ, the Blessed One, and how He taught us to bear all things for love of Him, then write down, Brother Leo, 'This is perfect joy.'" Francis loved Christ and wanted to die into his love who is the incarnation of how far God will go in his love for us. He wants to be one with the Beloved, even in his rejection and suffering and unjust death at the hands of those for whom he came to reveal the goodness and love of God.

—from Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis


Saint Quote
"Let us love God, but with the strength of our arms, in the sweat of our brow."
— St. Vincent de Paul

"Yes, my heart's dear one, Jesus, is here with His cross. Since you are one of His favorites, he wants to make you into His likeness; why be afraid that you will not have the strength to carry this cross without a struggle? On the way to Calvary, Jesus did indeed fall three times and you, poor little child, would like to be different from your spouse, would rather not fall a hundred times if necessary to prove your love to Him by getting back up with even more strength than before your fall!"
— St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 87
Meditations with the Little Flower

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers."
Psalm 1: 1-3


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St. Catherine del Ricci (1522-1590) was born with the name Alessandra in Florence, Italy, to a respectable merchant family. Her mother died while she was very young, so that from her childhood Alessandra took the Blessed Virgin Mary as her mother. She was given to prayer and religious fervor, and at the age of fourteen decided to enter a strict Third Order Dominican convent, taking Catherine as her religious name. She developed into a great mystic with an intense devotion to the Passion of Christ. For many years Catherine would go into ecstasy from noon every Thursday through 4 p.m. on Friday, experiencing in a mystical manner the sufferings of Christ during his Passion. She was also given the spiritual gift of the stigmata; Christ's wounds would appear on her body through the course of the ecstasy. After enduring much humiliation for years on account of these sufferings, she was eventually accepted as a holy woman and later became prioress. Her advice was widely sought on many spiritual and practical matters. Despite being cloistered, she kept up a loving correspondence with many relatives, friends, and her spiritual children. Among those in her correspondence were three future popes, Pope Marcellus II, Pope Clement VIII, and Pope Leo XI. Her feast day is February 13.


Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 332
Reading 1

1 Kgs 11:4-13

When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods,
and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God,
as the heart of his father David had been.
By adoring Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians,
and Milcom, the idol of the Ammonites,
Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD;
he did not follow him unreservedly as his father David had done.
Solomon then built a high place to Chemosh, the idol of Moab,
and to Molech, the idol of the Ammonites,
on the hill opposite Jerusalem.
He did the same for all his foreign wives
who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
The LORD, therefore, became angry with Solomon,
because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel,
who had appeared to him twice
(for though the LORD had forbidden him
this very act of following strange gods,
Solomon had not obeyed him).

So the LORD said to Solomon: "Since this is what you want,
and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes
which I enjoined on you,
I will deprive you of the kingdom and give it to your servant.
I will not do this during your lifetime, however,
for the sake of your father David;
it is your son whom I will deprive.
Nor will I take away the whole kingdom.
I will leave your son one tribe for the sake of my servant David
and of Jerusalem, which I have chosen."

Responsorial Psalm

106:3-4, 35-36, 37 and 40

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people;
visit us with your saving help.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
But they mingled with the nations
and learned their works.
They served their idols,
which became a snare for them.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
and abhorred his inheritance.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.


Jas 1:21bc

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mk 7:24-30

Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, "Let the children be fed first.
For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs."
She replied and said to him,
"Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps."
Then he said to her, "For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter."
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.


Meditation: Mark 7:24-30

5th Week in Ordinary Time

The demon has gone out of your daughter. (Mark 7:29)

What a relief! Finally, after all her begging and pleading, the woman prevailed upon Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter. She knew that according to social and ethnic conventions, she—a Gentile—had no business going to Jesus—a Jew—with her request. But her desperation overpowered these concerns. Here was the one man who could heal her daughter.

We might think that this woman should be commended for her faith, and we would be right. It took great confidence in Jesus for her to plead her case. But faith is only one of her virtues. She could have believed all she wanted, but it would have gotten her nowhere if she hadn't pushed back against Jesus' seeming reluctance. She needed determination as well. And she clearly had more than enough of that!

This story shows us that living in faith is not just a matter of resting peacefully in God's loving arms. It's not just a matter of trusting that everything will turn out all right. No, there are times when faith means having the determination to fight through obstacles until we see the outcome we believe God wants to give us. There are times when we need to couple faith with strength of will.

For instance, it doesn't show a lack of faith if you ask the Lord to give you a job and then spend most of your day checking the want ads and going on interviews. Neither does it show spiritual weakness if you ask God to heal a relationship and then take the first step toward reconciliation with an estranged friend. If anything, God applauds these efforts because they show that you are putting your faith into action. They show that you are expecting that he will not leave you high and dry when you step out on your own.

We all have areas in our lives where we need to take the first step—and the second and third steps—before we will see God work. Let's take those steps, firm in our faith and trusting in God's provision.

"Jesus, help me to take those first steps in faith, confident that you will carry me the rest of the way."

1 Kings 11:4-13
Psalm 106:3-4, 35-37, 40



My little Queen entered Carmel yesterday. God alone could have asked such a sacrifice, but he is helping me so powerfully that in the midst of my tears my heart is overflowing with joy.
—St. Louis Martin, father of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
quoted in Saint Thérèse of Lisieux


"The LORD, therefore, became angry with Solomon,
because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice"
How did Solomon, the wisest and richest of all Kings in the world, how did he fall for temptation? It is a story from Genesis, isn't it? It begins little by little, errant thoughts convinced to be OK. It took years for these errant thoughts to work themselves into his government, but alas, they entered.

Do not be fooled by the little doubts and errant thoughts in your life. And then do not be shocked if you find yourself entangled in a great may have started decades ago in your life. Had Solomon lost wisdom? Had he lost sight of God? Had he forgot his encounters and the commands? They said Solomon turned away. That is the sin. And the fall.


Today we pray: "They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons. And the LORD grew angry with his people, and abhorred his inheritance. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people". Sacrificed to demons? It's been happening for centuries, some more than others. Are children sacrificed today to demons? I guess you'd have to know who the demons are to know this answer. Of one called Moloch (probably related to Baal) and of the sacrifice it was said "... but with full knowledge and understanding they themselves offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan; but should she utter a single moan or let fall a single tear, she had to forfeit the money, and her child was sacrificed nevertheless; and the whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums that the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people." So that you couldn't hear the noise of the suffering, much commotion was made. And the mother was not allowed to utter a single word nor shed a tear. This happens in abortion. Much commotion is being made about it in attempts to silence mothers. The children are sacrificed, in attempts to atone for their sin. Very crooked and perverse. The bodies are incinerated, and heaps and heaps of bodies burned red hot they said. "..those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats". The poor paid the price...yet it IS the innocent until today. It was the errant thoughts that entered, and under King Solomon, Molech (moloch, baal) was allowed to exist...sacrificed children paid the price of errant thoughts. And due to this, thousands and millions of souls perished because of this great sin. Can you allow an errant thought to exist? Not if God has anything to say on the matter. None of this will exist in Heaven, the thoughts of all are shouted from the mountain tops.


The mother came to Jesus "and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter." She knew the cure. She knew it was Jesus. And she also knew she was not of His flock. All she had now...was a prayer. We don't get to hear all of the conversation between her and our Lord, but for sure, it was much more than we heard. Perhaps:

Mother: "Lord, my daughter has been possessed for many years. She hurts herself and she hurts others. I've asked many for help and there is none to be found. She spits vile hatred and despises anyone who comes near her, she doesn't sleep, and she vomits frequently. I've been trying to help her and I'm hurting inside now, and I just can't live another day like this, I'm so worried for her, I love her but she is like an animal, I want my baby back! Please, Please Lord! Help us!
Lord: "You know very well what is asked of the children of Israel, great obedience, and much to do to enter the fold. You know it asks for a rendering that for some takes years of transformation. Yet you want a miracle? You come to ask of me what many in Israel have not yet received?
Mother: ""Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps."
Lord, looks to her, has pity, and mercy enters the scene, and His Heart says what it always says to Our Father "I Do Will It , Be Made Clean"
Lord: ""For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter."
And His word became real. It really happens.

We heard that the mother "found the child lying in bed and the demon gone." Peace restored, a soul saved.

Bishop Barron says today:

"Friends, in today's Gospel a feisty woman engages Jesus in an argument. It is one of the only scenes in the Gospels where someone cajoles Jesus into doing something he wouldn't ordinarily do.
There is a long tradition that stresses the woman's perseverance in the face of the "test" that Jesus sets for her. There is another reading that shows how the woman exemplifies the proper attitude toward God, a combination of humility and boldness, of deference and defiance.
But the reading I want to emphasize is one conditioned by the philosophy of the "other." The Old Testament speaks insistently of the "stranger, the widow, and the orphan," those who have no one to care for them. They press upon us even when we would greatly prefer them just to go away. _
We the Church are the Body of Christ, the physical presence of Christ in the world. And so people come to us demanding food, sustenance, friendship, love, shelter, liberation. So often we are tempted to do what Jesus does initially and what the disciples do: tell them to back off. _
But the whole of the Christian life consists in remembering the suffering and need of the annoying other."

Has anyone been annoying you lately? Maybe they want to be freed from demonic spirits. Maybe they know someone who needs help. Listen to their desires, but listen through the ears of the heart of Christ.

Lord help us live this life of Grace to grace the world with Your Holy Presence!

Randomly opening the book Imitation of Christ:
"Many have died suddenly and without warning; for the Son of Man will come at an hour when you lease expect Him (Lk 12:40). When the hour of death comes, you will begin to think differently about your past life and great will be your sorrow then that you have been so negligent and lazy in God's service. 4. How happy and wise are those who try now to become what they would want to be at the hour of death. A perfect contempt of the world, an ardent desire to progress in virture, a love of discipline, a prompt obedience, a denial of self and a patient bearing of all adversaries for the love of Christ will give you great confidence of dying happy. Strive to do good deeds while you are well, for when you are sick you do not know what you will be able to do. Sickness does not often change us for the better. Also, few are sanctified by making many pilgrimages.
5. Do not put your trust in your friends and neighbors, nor put off the care of your soul's welfare until after death, for you will be forgotten sooner than you think. It is better to provide for your salvation now by doing good deeds that will earn eternal merit for you than to rely on the help of others after your death. If you have no concern for yourself now, who will be concerned about you later on?
Time is precious now, and now is the day of salvation, the acceptible time. "


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->Random Bible Verse 1<

Romans 5:8
"... but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Thank You Lord


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