Thursday, February 27, 2020

⛪ . . Whoever Loses His Life . .⛪

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Physical and Spiritual Are Intertwined

Our five senses and physical life are intricately woven into our spiritual seasons. When our spiritual life is clouded by negative states of mind or recurrent patterns that keep us self-absorbed, our senses too lose their edge. We feel dull, depressed and unengaged with the world and all its relationships, in which we live and breathe. But when we are spiritually awake, our senses pick up the vitality of life and we can smell, see, touch, hear and taste—whether it is ravishing or disgusting, at least we will sense it fully for what it is. The sensual part of our consciousness needs the spiritual and the spiritual needs the sensual. When they are balanced they merge and form a single, perfect language and we experience wholeness.

—from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditate during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB


Saint Quote
"Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women."
— St. Gianna Molla

"Jesus trembled and shuddered as He stood before the pillar, and took off His garments as quickly as He could, but His hands were bloody and swollen. The only return He made when His brutal executioners struck and abused Him was to pray for them in the most touching manner: He turned His face once toward His Mother, who was standing overcome with grief; this look quite unnerved her: she fainted, and would have fallen, had not the holy women who were there supported her. Jesus put His arms around the pillar, and when His hands were thus raised, the archers fastened them to the iron ring which was at the top of the pillar; they then dragged His arms to such a height that His feet, which were tightly bound to the base of the pillar, scarcely touched the ground. Thus was the Holy of Holies violently stretched, without a particle of clothing, on a pillar used for the punishment of criminals; and then did two furious ruffians who were thirsting for His blood begin in the most barbarous manner to scourge His sacred body from head to foot."
— Bl. Anne Cathrine Emmerich, p. 218-9
The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

"O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name."
Psalm 63:1-4


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St. Gabriel Possenti (1838-1862), also known as St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, was one of thirteen children born to a well-to-do Italian family in Assisi. As a young man he enjoyed the society and the worldly life of a typical teenager. He was known as a fancy dresser and a good dancer, he possessed good horsemanship and marksmanship, he frequented parties, and twice was engaged to be married. After his graduation from school he shocked everyone by announcing that he was going to be a Passionist priest, having been inspired to his vocation by the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom his family had a great devotion. His life was then marked with prayer, sacrifice, and devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, taking the religious name Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother. He was stricken with tuberculosis about a year before he was to be ordained, and died at the age of 24. Many miracles were attributed to him after his death, including the healing of St. Gemma Galgani. St. Gabriel Possenti is the patron saint of Catholic youth, seminarians, clerics, students, and Catholic Action. His feast day is February 27th.
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Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 220
Reading 1

Dt 30:15-20

Moses said to the people:
"Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore
he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

Responsorial Psalm

1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse Before the Gospel

Mt 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.


Lk 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples:
"The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Then he said to all,

"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?"


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Do you want Lent to be fruitful this year? Try thinking of it as a journey you're taking with the disciples as Jesus prepares for his passion, death, and resurrection. You will hear Jesus preach and tell parables; you will see him heal and feed the needy. How will you respond? Each day, each step of the journey gives you another chance to choose to follow him.

Following the Lord requires choosing. Each reading today says so. Moses gives his farewell address to the Israelites, and his main point is that if they want to receive God's life, they have to choose to follow and obey him (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). Jesus predicts his passion and gives the disciples a list of things they need to choose to do: deny themselves, take up their crosses daily, and follow him (Luke 9:23). Even today's psalm describes the blessed people who follow the Lord—they choose not to follow the counsel of the wicked; they delight in God's law. As a result, they are like a well-watered, fruitful tree (Psalm 1:1-3).

The same is true for us: choosing to follow God gives us life. So go ahead and spend a little more time in prayer or Scripture reading. Attend your parish's Stations of the Cross. Give to the poor, whether you talk with the homeless man on the street corner or spend an afternoon preparing meals at a shelter. Wash your family's dirty dishes or pick up after your loved ones with a smile.

This might sound like a spiritual to-do list. But there's more to it than that. As you take more time to pray, you may notice a sense of joy welling up in you, even in difficulty. As you reach out to give to the needy, you may get a clearer glimpse of Jesus' love for the poor. As you choose to serve your family even when you're aggravated, you may discover a new sense of peace. Every decision to follow Jesus nourishes your soul like a river watering a tree (Psalm 1:3).

So rely on God's grace and say yes to him. As you journey with Jesus through Lent, you'll start resembling him more in your thoughts, words, and actions. That's what his life does in you!

"Lord, help me choose to walk with you today."

Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Luke 9:22-25



You can't understand Calvary without looking at the Upper Room, because it really is one and the same sacrifice, inseparably united. In the Upper Room, the Lamb of God — the firstborn son — offers himself to fulfill the Old, to institute the New. He has taken that bread and wine, transformed it into his own Body and Blood, and has made his life a gift that he freely gives on his own as an expression of divine love.
—Dr. Scott Hahn
from Meditations on the Passion of Christ


""Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom." Then Moses says "CHOOSE LIFE". It is a command, right? But you are free to choose. God speaks through Moses...yet we are still free to choose. I get tired of leading safety meetings, and today this morning, I told them "look guys, I tell you all these things for your own safety, ultimately, it's up to you if you do things the way I'm asking". And the matter becomes one of life and death. Wear your seat belt. Your choice. Do things how I say...your choice. This is God speaking about His commands, they are here for our choosing.


Today we pray: "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord. Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night."
Following the insolent is terrible. Who are the insolent? Those who are boldly rude, and disrespectful. There are many that are bold and disrespectful in all levels, to those in your community, all the way to government. They are bold in their mannerisms, some have little to no respect. A protestant preacher led a prayer in a government meeting not too long ago, a black preacher, and in the prayer he asked that we respect life and remember the unborn. Some government officials walked out in the middle of the prayer while others scoffed and snickered and were being rude, disrespectful of him and what he was saying...that is...what he was praying for. The ways of sinners is like Fr. Benedict Groeshel said on EWTN before he passed away "they have no class". They are not classy, they are not noble. I say this so you do not follow the insolent...but follow our Lord.


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord said " "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."
It takes much to do God's will, but not really. It takes a simple yes, and then, the hardships of saying yes. Why does God burden us who desire to follow Him?

Last night, I got home, after a pretty long day, in the choir with my wife and kids by 530am in Church. Ending about 830Pm with another Mass in choir. I get home, my wife is in lots of pain and I try to help her as we are about to have our 8th child, I ask for prayers for her and safe delivery of new baby girl. It is hard to hear about her pains, and that is a hardship of obedience, choosing life. It is a subject of constant ridicule and jokes. I get tired of all the big family jokes, they aren't really that funny, its just a normal comment I hear all the time. "You know how you can stop that right Adrian?", and the joke ends with "get a DVD player" or worse. Ultimately it is an added burden to the burden of the cross. But that's only one burden. I get home, I tend to some home duty and praying, and I go to bed alone, and after night prayers, I lay down, and I feel warm water running down my nose...some tears, one after another. I wasn't feeling heart broken really, or super sad, or mad. I was though thinking of all these people that I know didn't go to Ash Wednesday, people I normally interact with, and love. Was it obligation to go? No. We are free to choose. Perhaps the most important day of the year is the Institution of the Eucharist and Holy Orders, on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, yet it is rather poorly attended. Is it an obligation, technically, no. But if you want to get technical, you are not truly loving, you are just seeking to do enough to not get in trouble. But there is still trouble, when things are done merely out of obligation.
Render your hearts. That means "Sur-render your Life".
Back to the cross, and the tears. Why? If I'm surrendering my problems to God, why the tears? Are they tears of fears? Are they tears of giving up? I just heard of another teen suicide in our small home town. Who gave up? Last week, a young man shot another in town. Who gave up? Choose life.
Choose Christ. This is message is not for them now, it is for all of us now.

I told everyone at the safety meeting "tell me, who is charge of safety where you work?" And I asked many, and they all basically pointed to their supervisor or manager, or boss. One guy was alone and said "I guess I'm the safety guy". I said "YES, that's the answer I wanted to hear". You are ultimately responsible. Am I my brother's keeper? Yes. Am I to apologize first? Yes, like it or not. Swallow your pride and dispose of it.

Carry your cross daily my friend. How was I consoled last night? I remembered a scripture "Those who sow with tears will reap rejoicing." Trust. Faith came back. With faith, mountains will move. God went into the desert mountains to move them. To make way, make a way, and the way was with a piece of wood, to tear up a trail. Am I a joyful servant in all the ministries? Am I Mr. Happy face all the time? No. I'm a failure. I'm a living and walking faulty sinner. But boy do I try to smile. I try knowing full well I'm suffering inside. I carry inside Jesus, therefore, Hope though. Oddly, I say these things to encourage you to be bold in your faith and this calls for humility.
Father wanted a morning Mass for Ash Wednesday. I reminded him in front of all that the morning Mass would be poorly attended, as the evening Masses are packed. He knew full well what it would cost. He made it clear he knew, and I knew the Holy Spirit was calling for sacrifice. I read between the lines when he said what I heard "I want people wearing their crosses to school and to work". That's when I hushed and knew the truth...and the truth is good, even though it hurts. I blurted a stupidity out of my mouth speaking with feelings "I'm a pretty faithful guy and I don't believe I can bring my little kids and wife that early in the morning". I'm so stupid. One day I'll learn to just be quiet, I hope sooner than later. But if you are reading this, hope. If someone says something really stupid, forgive them, and forgive them right away. Anyhow, my wife said "we're going to the morning Mass, all of us". And we did. During the day, she sent me a pic of one of our boys, his cross of ashes on his forehead had half disappeared and looked like a heart. I shared it with some texting "his cross turned into a heart". And as I was writing to you, a worker asked "why did you have that stuff on your forehead yesterday", he asked shyly. I explained Ash Wednesday and all we are doing til Easter. He seemed very moved by it. Had there been no morning Mass, this soul would've not inquired on faith. Just obey, and put some heart into it. And if you can put more heart than obedience, obedience would be secondary, a beneficial byproduct of Love.

I am journeying with You. Who said that? Jesus? IS THAT YOU?!!!??

LORD , please we need you, my toils, my tears, let them sow bitterness and bring forth great fruit for Your Holy Kingdom...forever, however small the seed may be, let it move mountains...


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Random Bible verse from an online generator:

Matthew 6

2 "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Thank You Lord


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