Friday, February 14, 2020

⛪ . . that is, “Be opened!” . .⛪

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What Do We Do With This Great Love?

Francis's own song defined love for him. It was to live and be in God's most holy will. And Francis has learned from Christ's own words in the Gospels what God's will is for those who love him. They are to feed the hungry, give drink to those who thirst, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison. And they are to do all that for love of his love who did the same for us when he walked among us. He remembered when he was hungry and thirsty, and a stranger, and naked, sick and in prison. And there were those who gave him food and water, and welcomed him and the brothers when they were on the road, and those who visited him when he was sick, and wanted to visit him in prison and could not. Love is of the heart, Francis thought, but loving is about acting and living out God's will revealed in Jesus Christ and in those who love him. How simple it all was if you loved the Lord. And it was good, and now he had done what was his to do. He prayed the brothers would do now what was theirs to do.

—from Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis


Saint Quote
"A man who governs his passions is master of his world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil."
— St. Dominic

"Each of us must come to the evening of life. Each of us must enter on eternity. Each of us must come to that quiet, awful time, when we will appear before the Lord of the vineyard, and answer for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad. That, my dear brethren, you will have to undergo. ... It will be the dread moment of expectation when your fate for eternity is in the balance, and when you are about to be sent forth as the companion of either saints or devils, without possibility of change. There can be no change; there can be no reversal. As that judgment decides it, so it will be for ever and ever. Such is the particular judgment. ... when we find ourselves by ourselves, one by one, in his presence, and have brought before us most vividly all the thoughts, words, and deeds of this past life. Who will be able to bear the sight of himself? And yet we shall be obliged steadily to confront ourselves and to see ourselves. In this life we shrink from knowing our real selves. We do not like to know how sinful we are. We love those who prophecy smooth things to us, and we are angry with those who tell us of our faults. But on that day, not one fault only, but all the secret, as well as evident, defects of our character will be clearly brought out. We shall see what we feared to see here, and much more. And then, when the full sight of ourselves comes to us, who will not wish that he had known more of himself here, rather than leaving it for the inevitable day to reveal it all to him!"
— Blessed John Henry Newman, p.101
A Year with the Saints

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom."
James 3:13


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St. Valentine of Rome (c. 270) was a priest who lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Little is known of his life with certainty, except that he ministered to Christians who were persecuted and imprisoned for their faith, and died a martyr. One account has it that the emperor banned all marriages and engagements in Rome, believing this was the reason Roman men were unwilling to serve in the army. Valentine defied this unjust decree and continued to perform marriages for lovers in secret. He was arrested, and while in prison he restored sight to his jailer's blind daughter, causing the jailer and his entire extended household, forty-six people in total, to immediately convert to Christianity. Upon hearing this, Claudius ordered Valentine's execution. St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, whom he had befriended, and signed it "From Your Valentine." He was beheaded on February 14th. St. Valentine is the patron of many causes including bee keepers, betrothed and engaged couples, lovers, love, happy marriages, and young people. His feast day is February 14th.


Saints Cyril and Methodius

(Cyril: c. 827 – February 14, 869 | Methodius: c. 815 – April 6, 884)

Because their father was an officer in a part of Greece inhabited by many Slavs, these two Greek brothers ultimately became missionaries, teachers, and patrons of the Slavic peoples.

After a brilliant course of studies, Cyril (called Constantine until he became a monk shortly before his death) refused the governorship of a district such as his brother had accepted among the Slavic-speaking population. Cyril withdrew to a monastery where his brother Methodius had become a monk after some years in a governmental post.

A decisive change in their lives occurred when the Duke of Moravia asked the Eastern Emperor Michael for political independence from German rule and ecclesiastical autonomy (having their own clergy and liturgy). Cyril and Methodius undertook the missionary task.

Cyril's first work was to invent an alphabet, still used in some Eastern liturgies. His followers probably formed the Cyrillic alphabet. Together they translated the Gospels, the psalter, Paul's letters and the liturgical books into Slavonic, and composed a Slavonic liturgy, highly irregular then.

That and their free use of the vernacular in preaching led to opposition from the German clergy. The bishop refused to consecrate Slavic bishops and priests, and Cyril was forced to appeal to Rome. On the visit to Rome, he and Methodius had the joy of seeing their new liturgy approved by Pope Adrian II. Cyril, long an invalid, died in Rome 50 days after taking the monastic habit.

Methodius continued mission work for 16 more years. He was papal legate for all the Slavic peoples, consecrated a bishop and then given an ancient see (now in the Czech Republic). When much of their former territory was removed from their jurisdiction, the Bavarian bishops retaliated with a violent storm of accusation against Methodius. As a result, Emperor Louis the German exiled Methodius for three years. Pope John VIII secured his release.

Because the Frankish clergy, still smarting, continued their accusations, Methodius had to go to Rome to defend himself against charges of heresy and uphold his use of the Slavonic liturgy. He was again vindicated.

Legend has it that in a feverish period of activity, Methodius translated the whole Bible into Slavonic in eight months. He died on Tuesday of Holy Week, surrounded by his disciples, in his cathedral church.

Opposition continued after his death, and the work of the brothers in Moravia was brought to an end and their disciples scattered. But the expulsions had the beneficial effect of spreading the spiritual, liturgical, and cultural work of the brothers to Bulgaria, Bohemia and southern Poland. Patrons of Moravia, and specially venerated by Catholic Czechs, Slovaks, Croatians, Orthodox Serbians and Bulgarians, Cyril and Methodius are eminently fitted to guard the long-desired unity of East and West. In 1980, Pope John Paul II named them additional co-patrons of Europe (with Benedict).

Holiness means reacting to human life with God's love: human life as it is, crisscrossed with the political and the cultural, the beautiful and the ugly, the selfish and the saintly. For Cyril and Methodius much of their daily cross had to do with the language of the liturgy. They are not saints because they got the liturgy into Slavonic, but because they did so with the courage and humility of Christ.
Saints Cyril and Methodius are the Patron Saints of:

Slavic Peoples


Memorial of Saints Cyril, monk, and Methodius, bishop
Lectionary: 333
Reading 1

1 Kgs 11:29-32; 12:19

Jeroboam left Jerusalem,
and the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road.
The two were alone in the area,
and the prophet was wearing a new cloak.
Ahijah took off his new cloak,
tore it into twelve pieces, and said to Jeroboam:

"Take ten pieces for yourself;
the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
'I will tear away the kingdom from Solomon's grasp
and will give you ten of the tribes.
One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant,
and of Jerusalem,
the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.'"

Israel went into rebellion against David's house to this day.

Responsorial Psalm

81:10-11ab, 12-13, 14-15

R. (11a and 9a) I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
"There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt."
R. I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
"My people heard not my voice,
and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
they walked according to their own counsels."
R. I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
"If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
against their foes I would turn my hand."
R. I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.


Acts 16:14b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mk 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man's ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
"Ephphatha!" (that is, "Be opened!")
And immediately the man's ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
"He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Psalm 81:10-15

Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop (Memorial)

My people heard not my voice. (Psalm 81:12)

Do you remember how the kingdom of Israel was formed? Wanting to be just like all the pagan nations around them, God's people asked the prophet Samuel for a king, so he reluctantly anointed Saul. Two more kings followed, David and Solomon. But when Solomon turned away from the Lord to worship foreign gods—just as Samuel had predicted would occur—God allowed the kingdom to be divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah.

From a human standpoint, this division was a natural consequence of the way the monarchy was treating its subjects. The Israelites had grown weary of Solomon's idolatrous excesses and rebelled against him. In many ways, Israel had indeed become like their pagan neighbors, and they were reaping the results of this similarity: dissension, injustice, infighting, and division.

Today's first reading reminds us that God respects the free will he gave us, but he also respects the consequences that our acts of free will—both good and evil—bring about. That doesn't mean he just leaves us to our own devices. No, God continued to watch over Israel and to work out his plan for them.

There's no such thing as undoing God's plans or thwarting his goodness, not even through our sins. He is still faithful to his promises. He is still the Lord of history. The failures of human leaders—and us individually—clearly have real-world consequences, just as all sins do. But no matter what happens, we can still trust that God will not abandon us. We can trust that he will continue to call us back to himself—and to pave a way for us to follow.

God is always offering his people second chances—and third and fourth and fifth chances. After the kingdom of Israel split, he sent prophets to call his people back to him. Eventually, the people learned that security was not to be found in military strength or political intrigue. They needed to turn back to God. They needed a Messiah. And God came through by becoming their Messiah himself.

God never gave up on Israel. In the same way, he will never give up on you or on any of your loved ones. He is always faithful—to the end.

"All praise to you, Lord, for your love endures forever!"

1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19
Mark 7:31-37



Do you ever feel lonely, unloved, unforgiven, or unworthy? Take a look at the cross. You are loved. Jesus would have done it if you were the only person, because he loves you enough to make the supreme sacrifice.
— Steve Ray
from The Pain of the Crucifixion


"...the prophet was wearing a new cloak. Ahijah took off his new cloak, tore it into twelve pieces..."
There was an importance to the number 12, 12 tribes, 12 disciples, the new (cloak) was torn into 12. Only one would remain chosen for God and God would restore all and make it all anew...this is our Lord.


Today we pray:
" I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
"If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways, Quickly would I humble their enemies; against their foes I would turn my hand." I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice"
Do you want God to humble your enemies? Humble yourself. If only...He says. If only. Then your enemies would be defeated...meaning, humility would come into the picture. A true restoration.


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord "He took him off by himself away from the crowd." To be set apart means to be holy. That is the meaning of the hebrew word Kadosh. To be set apart from the common, the profane, the habitual. That is, the Holy and pure must always be holy and pure. This brings us to worship, and adoration. I liked hearing the story of a nun who is 116 years old now (see ChurchPop), and they say she lives to enjoy two things, to pray, and drink drink hot chocolate. But, she asks our Lord how much longer must she remain...she longs for Him. She gave her life to our Lord. She set herself apart. Apart from the world? Yes, we are in the world, but not of the world, that's shat the logo NOTW stands for, not of this world.

Our Lord takes Him aside and apart with Himself to do the impossible. If God takes you apart, it is to make you anew. "Ephphatha!" (that is, "Be opened!") He says. He commands the storms, and He commands your body. Commands with a word and it comes to be. Think Eucharist. Think Mercy. Think absolution. The world presents an abstract theology, and the Lord our God provides concrete theology. An outward sign is an inward reality. If He put a finger in your ear, it means He is coming in. If He spits, it means He is opening your mouth and spitting out the venom that has caused your dis-ease. The man was not blind, He saw what Jesus was doing, the outward signs were communications. They say the body does over 70% of communications. We've tried to skype meetings (video conference), another said "can't I just not drive and do face time?". It's not the same. The presence makes the difference that's like Pope Francis said about not going to confession and just asking for forgiveness where you sit on the couch sending an email. We've not had Holy daily Mass for going on two months, because our priest is out. But, the times we've had the deacon do "Communion Service", we are still left with His Presence. Something out of this world. Not of this world.

Today, our Lord is asking us to be opened, but only if we are set apart with Him.

Think visiting Him. In the Blessed Sacrament, in the asylums of the forgotten. Think being in His presence in Mass, and in all the Sacraments.
Set some time apart, and here comes lent to open up avenues to be one with Him all the more...

Lord, I want to be opened to hear you and speak about you and love you all the more!



click to hear a message

->Random Bible Verse 1<

" 22 Cast your burden on the LORD,

and he will sustain you;

he will never permit

the righteous to be moved."

Thank You Lord


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