Tuesday, March 3, 2020

⛪ . . Do Not Be Like Them . .⛪

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God and Heaven Come Down to Earth

Why do we want to make God such a powerful force that works (as we like to imagine) by intervening and controlling situations and making things turn out comfortably for his favorites? What if the true nature and "power" of God was expressed in quite different human metaphors? What if heaven was a place where there were no social distinctions, where the vulnerable was more powerful than the oppressive? Fragility, tenderness, the marginal, the simply beautiful rather than the magnificent? These are much more difficult to believe as symbols of what "God," the verb, and "heaven," the non-spatial place, mean. Yet they speak to us with greater truth and leave a deeper impression. They bring us closer to seeing what the truth is by helping us to see things as they truly are in a world where we habitually weave illusions of success to conceal our fears and insecurities. In a day balanced on the twin levers of morning and evening meditation, the strong, true subtleties of life win out over the habits of fantasy. In Lenten days when the spirit of self-control and careful attention to detail sharpen our perception and soften our anxiety, God and heaven come down to earth.

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


Saint Quote

"Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading."
— St. Isidore of Seville

"This God of all goodness has made those things easy which are common and necessary in the order of nature, such as breathing, eating, and sleeping. No less necessary in the supernatural order are love and fidelity, therefore it must needs be that the difficulty of acquiring them is by no means so great as is generally represented. Review your life. Is it not composed of innumerable actions of very little importance? Well, God is quite satisfied with these. They are the share that the soul must take in the work of its perfection."
— Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p.7
Abandonment to Divine Providence

"Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression."
Psalm 19: 12-13


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Saint Katharine Drexel

(November 26, 1858 -March 3, 1955)
If your father is an international banker and you ride in a private railroad car, you are not likely to be drawn into a life of voluntary poverty. But if your mother opens your home to the poor three days each week and your father spends half an hour each evening in prayer, it is not impossible that you will devote your life to the poor and give away millions of dollars. Katharine Drexel did that.

Born in Philadelphia in 1858, she had an excellent education and traveled widely. As a rich girl, Katharine also had a grand debut into society. But when she nursed her stepmother through a three-year terminal illness, she saw that all the Drexel money could not buy safety from pain or death, and her life took a profound turn.

Katharine had always been interested in the plight of the Indians, having been appalled by what she read in Helen Hunt Jackson's A Century of Dishonor. While on a European tour, she met Pope Leo XIII and asked him to send more missionaries to Wyoming for her friend Bishop James O'Connor. The pope replied, "Why don't you become a missionary?" His answer shocked her into considering new possibilities.

Back home, Katharine visited the Dakotas, met the Sioux leader Red Cloud and began her systematic aid to Indian missions.

Katharine Drexel could easily have married. But after much discussion with Bishop O'Connor, she wrote in 1889, "The feast of Saint Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and the Colored." Newspaper headlines screamed "Gives Up Seven Million!"

After three and a half years of training, Mother Drexel and her first band of nuns—Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored—opened a boarding school in Santa Fe. A string of foundations followed. By 1942, she had a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states, plus 40 mission centers and 23 rural schools. Segregationists harassed her work, even burning a school in Pennsylvania. In all, she established 50 missions for Indians in 16 states.

Two saints met when Mother Drexel was advised by Mother Cabrini about the "politics" of getting her order's Rule approved in Rome. Her crowning achievement was the founding of Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic university in the United States for African Americans.

At 77, Mother Drexel suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. Apparently her life was over. But now came almost 20 years of quiet, intense prayer from a small room overlooking the sanctuary. Small notebooks and slips of paper record her various prayers, ceaseless aspirations, and meditations. She died at 96 and was canonized in 2000.

Saints have always said the same thing: Pray, be humble, accept the cross, love and forgive. But it is good to hear these things in the American idiom from one who, for instance, had her ears pierced as a teenager, who resolved to have "no cake, no preserves," who wore a watch, was interviewed by the press, traveled by train, and could concern herself with the proper size of pipe for a new mission. These are obvious reminders that holiness can be lived in today's culture as well as in that of Jerusalem or Rome.
Click here for more on Saint Katherine Drexel and 13 other holy women!


Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 225
Reading 1

Is 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm

34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

R. (18b) From all their distress God rescues the just.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.

Verse Before the Gospel

Mt 4:4b

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.


Mt 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
"In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

"If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Matthew 6:7-15

Saint Katharine Drexel, Virgin (Optional Memorial)

In praying, do not babble. (Matthew 6:7)

Have you ever seen a toddler playing with a shape sorter? It's a common toy with blocks shaped like triangles, squares, or circles and corresponding holes for the blocks to pass through. The concept is very simple, and yet until the child has practiced and developed coordination, it can be difficult for him to align the shapes correctly to fit through the holes.

Sometimes prayer can feel like trying to fit the right block into the right hole. How am I supposed to pray? What should I pray for? What is successful prayer? But Jesus distilled it down to its essential elements: Keep it simple. Persist. Line yourself up with God and his plan. That's what he taught us in the Lord's Prayer. This familiar passage from Scripture is not just a beautiful prayer; it models for us what prayer should be.

For example, more words don't always translate to better prayer. In fact, the less we speak, the more time we have to listen to God. Sometimes our words—even though well-intentioned and devout—can drown out the words that God wants to speak to us.

It's in quiet and simplicity that we will be able to align ourselves with God's will and his thoughts. We can worship him ("hallowed be thy name") and submit ourselves to what he wants ("thy will be done"). We can trust him to provide for us ("give us this day our daily bread") and realign ourselves with him and other people when we have fallen short ("forgive us . . . as we forgive"). And we can ask humbly for his protection ("deliver us from evil").

That's the key to "successful" prayer! As we spend time with God, commit ourselves to following his will, and listen closely for his voice in our hearts, he makes us more like him. Our worship gains more depth. Our trust in him grows deeper. Our repentance changes our hearts—and our actions. Like a child developing his skills, we find it easier to fit the right block into the right hole. And we grow closer to the Lord in the process!

"Jesus, thank you for teaching me to pray with simplicity. Help me to follow your example!"

Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm 34:4-7, 16-19



We cannot live our lives intelligently if we do not know what life is about—which breaks down into how we happen to exist, indeed how anything at all exists, and where (if anywhere) we are supposed to be going. Not knowing the answers, we can only stumble and fumble, splendidly or idiotically or with idiocy and splendor interwoven, in each one's inimitable, individual style.
— Frank Sheed
from Christ in Eclipse


"So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it."
God said here "DO MY WILL".
Thou shall do My will. Boy, is that difficult. Because I want things to go MY way. And I forget, this is not MY world. This is God's baby. And I'm in it to be His caring body...with you, and we're in this together.


Today we pray: "Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name. I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. From all their distress God rescues the just."
Let us TOGETHER extol His name. Not you alone. Not just you and "your Jesus". The bible asks us to gather. Together we become something extraordinary...a true family of God.


Our Lord said today: ""In praying, do not babble like the pagans...". Have you ever heard babbling prayer? You know, the kind that "think that they will be heard because of their many words." I think I hear protestants babble much. And they claim we babble much in rosaries and such. What is babbling? A quick search turns up: " foolish or meaningless chatter; prattle: the constant babbling of idle gossips. Another search says "Babbling is a stage in child development and a state in language acquisition during which an infant appears to be experimenting with uttering articulate sounds, but does not yet produce any recognizable words." And another search says "to talk or say something in a quick, confused, excited, or silly way". It is then, babbling...saying too much with too little. That is why our Lord sometimes asks us to consider to go to your inner room, close the door, and there pray silently to Our Father. Not just YOUR Father. I emphasize that because that's how God taught us to pray:
OUR FATHER, who is in Heaven.
In Spanish, we next say "venga a nosotros tu reino" which is "come to us your Kingdom" which sounds different than "thy kingdom come", language has huge implications. And I'm sorry to say, English is over simplified, and does not express things as in other languages. I digress.
Next in spanish we say "hagase Tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo". In English it says "do Your will, let us do Your will, on earth as it is in Heaven".
That is, making Heaven on Earth happen. This is a difficult task, and why? Because, the battle of wills. We just prayed to do HIS Will. And quickly following a solution is offered to help: "Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada dia" that is "give us today, our bread of every day" and humble pie comes into the picture. You become what you eat, and then rightly we can pray "y perdona nuestras ofensas" that is, "and forgive us our sins". It comes easier to ask for forgiveness when you are humble. Everything in the prayer is rightly ordered and beautiful. Next we pray "como nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofended". Humility is taken up a notch. "As we forgive those who trespass against us". That is asking God to be only as merciful on us as we are merciful on others. The prayer just gets more intense, "y no nose dejes caer en tentacion" that is "and do not let us fall into temptation." That is different than the english "do not LEAD US into temptation. Pope Francis is trying to change it to say it morel like the Spanish because the english words can be misleading insinuating that God takes us into temptations. Yet, Jesus was tempted in the desert...a baron land brings temptations, an isolated soul gets darkness. I digress. I hope we understand that we are praying for Grace and power to overcome any and all temptations. "Pero libranos del mal" that is "but deliver us from evil". The prayer is of spiritual warfare in the end. Temptations. Deliverance. Of needing a savior...a CHRIST! It is a prayer that calls for daddy for protection, sustenance, food, that is grace and purity and true love to do God's Holy Will. It is an awesome prayer.

Bishop Barron says today:
"Friends, today's Gospel is Matthew's version of the Lord's Prayer. I want to reflect on the first verses. How wonderful that it comes directly from the prayer of Jesus himself. It is as though the prayer that he teaches them sums up the content of his own prayer. _
We call God "Father" when we pray. We call him Abba, Daddy. The same intimacy that Jesus has with his Abba he invites us to share. We don't just imitate his prayer, the way we would imitate the prayer of any spiritual teacher; rather, we enter into the dynamics of his own being when we pray. _
"Hallowed be thy name." May your name be held holy. The first thing we ask is that we might honor him, that we might make him first in our lives, that he might be set apart from everything else. Job, family, money, success, the esteem of others, our friends—all of it is good, but none of it is to be held holy in this sense. _
If we get this wrong, we get everything else wrong. If we don't hold his name holy above all, everything becomes profane. _
Reflect: What does it mean to "hold God's name holy above all" in your own life? Is anything competing for that top position of honor? "

Above all, God comes first. What does that mean? Love comes first.

And it means the whole world to God in Heaven, where Heaven is centered on Him who provides all of Life...

Lord, help us love you and make you known in the world, help me overcome my will to conform it fully to your Holy Name Jesus I pray....


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Random Bible verse from an online generator:

Joshua 1:8
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.


If one day you don't receive these, just visit my website, surely you'll find me there. God Bless You! Share the Word. Share this, share what is good

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