Friday, February 21, 2020

⛪ . . There are Some Standing . .⛪

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Broken and Healed

Our all-loving God does not desire that we seek suffering to become holy, but he does desire that we surrender to him in our suffering so that in our brokenness, his mercy can make us whole again. In being broken open by suffering, we are offered the opportunity to let those open spaces be filled with the mercy and compassion of our God, and in the depth of that mercy to be moved to love him more deeply. Surrendering to suffering is the path we walk backwards through the pain of the fall toward the life of Eden.

—from When We Were Eve: Uncovering the Woman God Created You to Be by Colleen Mitchell


Saint Quote

"Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight."
— St. Francis of Paola

"God's delays are mysterious; sorrow is sometimes prolonged for the same reason for which it is sent. God may abstain for the moment from healing, not because Love does not love, but because Love never stops loving, and a greater good is to come from the woe. Heaven's clock is different from ours."
— Fulton J. Sheen, p. 357
Life of Christ

"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."
1 John 1:5-7


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Maybe because he was orphaned and had been treated shabbily by one of his brothers, Peter Damian was very good to the poor. It was the ordinary thing for him to have a poor person or two with him at table and he liked to minister personally to their needs.

Peter escaped poverty and the neglect of his own brother when his other brother, who was archpriest of Ravenna, took him under his wing. His brother sent him to good schools and Peter became a professor.

Already in those days, Peter was very strict with himself. He wore a hair shirt under his clothes, fasted rigorously and spent many hours in prayer. Soon, he decided to leave his teaching and give himself completely to prayer with the Benedictines of the reform of Saint Romuald at Fonte Avellana. They lived two monks to a hermitage. Peter was so eager to pray and slept so little that he soon suffered from severe insomnia. He found he had to use some prudence in taking care of himself. When he was not praying, he studied the Bible.

The abbot commanded that when he died Peter should succeed him. Abbot Peter founded five other hermitages. He encouraged his brothers in a life of prayer and solitude and wanted nothing more for himself. The Holy See periodically called on him, however, to be a peacemaker or troubleshooter, between two abbeys in dispute or a cleric or government official in some disagreement with Rome.

Finally, Pope Stephen IX made Peter the cardinal-bishop of Ostia. He worked hard to wipe out simony—the buying of church offices–and encouraged his priests to observe celibacy and urged even the diocesan clergy to live together and maintain scheduled prayer and religious observance. He wished to restore primitive discipline among religious and priests, warning against needless travel, violations of poverty, and too comfortable living. He even wrote to the bishop of Besancon complaining that the canons there sat down when they were singing the psalms in the Divine Office.

He wrote many letters. Some 170 are extant. We also have 53 of his sermons and seven lives, or biographies, that he wrote. He preferred examples and stories rather than theory in his writings. The liturgical offices he wrote are evidence of his talent as a stylist in Latin.

He asked often to be allowed to retire as cardinal-bishop of Ostia, and finally Pope Alexander II consented. Peter was happy to become once again just a monk, but he was still called to serve as a papal legate. When returning from such an assignment in Ravenna, he was overcome by a fever. With the monks gathered around him saying the Divine Office, he died on February 22, 1072.

In 1828, he was declared a Doctor of the Church.


Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 339
Reading 1

Jas 2:14-24, 26

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?

Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
"Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,"
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it?
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say,

"You have faith and I have works."
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
You believe that God is one.
You do well.
Even the demons believe that and tremble.
Do you want proof, you ignoramus,
that faith without works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works
when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
You see that faith was active along with his works,
and faith was completed by the works.
Thus the Scripture was fulfilled that says,
Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as righteousness,
and he was called the friend of God.
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
For just as a body without a spirit is dead,
so also faith without works is dead.

Responsorial Psalm

112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (see 1b) Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord's commands.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord's commands.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord's commands.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord's commands.


Jn 15:15b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mk 8:34–9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

He also said to them,
"Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power."


Meditation: James 2:14-24, 26

Saint Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)

Faith without works is dead. (James 2:26)

It's too bad. Ever since the time of the Reformation, believers have had a hard time reading this verse of Scripture without feeling they have to defend their interpretation of it. Are we really justified by faith alone? Or does faith need to manifest itself in actions?

James wasn't embroiled in such theological difficulties when he wrote this letter. He was simply responding like a good pastor. He saw members of his church failing to live out what they claimed to believe. They assumed that since they had faith, they didn't need to push themselves to help the people around them. So James wrote this letter to shake up his readers. Did you notice he even calls them "you ignoramus" (2:20)? Clearly, he wanted to grab their attention and get them to notice how badly they had been treating each other.

You might have heard the saying "Love is a verb." Love is expressed in action, not just in feeling. James is pointing out that faith is a "verb" too. Faith has to be expressed in action. Believing in Jesus changes our thoughts, yes, but it also changes what we do. It changes how we spend our money and our time. It changes the way we speak and the way we listen.

Jesus makes a similar point in today's Gospel. If we want to follow him, we need to follow his example—in our actions. That's what he means when he tells us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses.

So let James wake you up today. Take a moment to reflect on the ways your actions show the vitality of your faith and the ways they do not. Start the day by telling the Lord that you want to live out what you profess. Then at the end of the day, ask, How did my actions show my faith? Give thanks for any successes, and if you feel you fell short, ask the Lord how you can do better tomorrow.

Lent starts next week. It's the perfect opportunity to think about practical ways you can make some changes in your weekly routines. What could you do to exercise your faith, to help it grow by acting it out?

"Jesus, teach me how to live out more fully the truths that I believe about you."

Psalm 112:1-6
Mark 8:34–9:1



Looking back on it all, I realize what was most important about the time I spent with Fulton Sheen. It was not the interesting places I visited or the fascinating people I met, but the lessons my uncle taught me about living. He taught me not by his preaching but by his example. He was always understanding, forgiving, and generous with others—and not just with material things. He encouraged me to act in the same way. He wanted me to give of myself (as he gave of himself in imitation of Christ), and he often reminded me that the simple gifts of a visit, a smile, and a kind word 'can do wonders'.
—Joan Sheen Cunningham
from My Uncle Fulton Sheen


"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?"
At their core beliefs, protestants say they do NOT believe in works, just faith alone. But lately, there's been a shift, a trend to bypass what their founders declared. You will see many striving to do much more than just live by faith. They are beginning to do more, as of late, and I'm not talking months, but within the last few years, and even decades. They have seen that faith has to be demonstrated...even giving your life if necessary. They are in a sense, returning to the truth of Christ founded by Christ and who is found in the Universal Church, the Catholic.


Today we pray: "Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord's commands." And we pray on with our lives, giving glory and praise.


In the Holy Gospel today, our Lord said "whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it." In a sense, He is asking for everything, life itself, right? What about what I want? What about free will? Yes, what about all that? Why can't it be offered to Him? It can be offered to Him, and His will. In a nutshell, His will makes us totally joyful and truly free.

Our Lord says "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me." These readings are appropriate for Lent. Jesus asking us to follow Him to where few dare to go...taking up the cross. What was the cross? What did it mean? It means everything, amen? It meant what God sent Him for in the first place. This is what God sent Him to do. Something extra-ordinary. Something not ordinary. Something extravagant in humility. Something amazing. Something so powerful in God's eyes. Yet, something so weak in worldly eyes. What is your custom cross? That is not a good question. Because we all want to be unique, different, and have a custom life, but we are all called to the same cross.

What is that cross? God's wishes. Something you might even hate, like, having to forgive someone who severely hurt you, and then, having to not just forgive, but give your life for those people. Seems unjust, right? Afterall, who likes to be tortured, spit in the face, and ridiculed at the same time, right? Jesus did. We want justice and we love Karma (ms. revenge). But God did not come to give us what we deserved, but that what we didn't deserve...Mercy.

Let us reflect on this, and pray for mercy, not just for yourself anymore, but for those who are brutally assaulting us every day. There are in our century, the highest number of martyrs for Christ than ever before. And countless more who suffer persecutions, the white martyrs. Those have chosen the cross. We have to choose this cross, to do what nobody else wants to do. The disciples ran from the cross, and Peter even denied knowing Jesus. For one it cost him his life. I challenge you to do what you don't want to do. Too many in our world want a soft cross "I'll do this ministry until I don't enjoy it anymore", and tons stop ministry once things get nasty.

I say this because I serve in a variety of ministries. But let's say, you don't want ministry, because you think it's all "politics" as they say. Ok, you don't want that battle? Fine. Let others take the heavy burden. Let them suffer it out as they beat each other up. Let them figure it out. You stay out of it. So what will your cross be then if you do no works in serving the Church?

If you are married, what is your cross? Loving God? From home? How will you serve God then? Will you teach your kids never to be a priest or a religious? Because a priest and religious are servants of the Lord in MINISTRY. You see, faith without works is dead. You can't just pray and not lift a finger. God calls us for a specific mission, of evangelization, no matter the cost, you have been baptized a priest, prophet, and King. A priest serves. A prophet evangelizes. A King leads the battle.

Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving.
Intimacy, Sacrfice, Love.

Lord, help us not shy away from the bitter burden of the cross. Help us not be afraid of the cost. Help us, give us faith. Help us reach out and stretch ourselves out as you have done on that cross, out of sheer and true love, for Love, and with Love.


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->Random Bible Verse from an online random verse generator<


14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that1 they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 5:14–16

Thank You Lord


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