Wednesday, March 11, 2020

⛪ . . The Great Ones . . .⛪

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Not to Be Served but to Serve

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many It's amazing how the Church can repeat these words of Jesus from a place of hierarchy and privilege. The only thing that exonerates the Church is the presence of people within the system who are well and painfully aware of this inconsistency. The spirit of service and the true humility, which is the mystical–moral core of the Gospel, is inevitably linked to the knowledge of mortality. In meditation as well as in the lessons of life, mortality and immortality totally invert the power structures that Jesus is exposing. If you haven't yet seen this aspect of Lent, I hope you do soon.

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


Saint Quote
"When an evil thought is presented to the mind, we must immediately endeavor to turn our thoughts to God, or to something which is indifferent. But the first rule is, instantly to invoke the names of Jesus and Mary and to continue to invoke them until the temptation ceases. He who trusts in himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori

"Temptation to a certain sin, to any sin whatsoever, might last throughout our whole life, yet it can never make us displeasing to God's Majesty provided we do not take pleasure in it and give consent to it. You must have great courage in the midst of temptation. Never think yourself overcome as long as they are displeasing to you, keeping clearly in mind the difference between feeling temptation and consenting to it."
— St. Francis de Sales
The Fulfillment of All Desire

"For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God's sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified."
Romans 2:13


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St. Eulogius of Cordoba (9th c.) was a priest from a prominent Christian family in Cordoba (Cordova), Spain. He was well-educated, humble, gentle, friendly, and a gifted leader with the charism of encouragement, especially towards Christians facing martyrdom. In his time Cordoba was the capital of the Muslim conquerors of Catholic Spain. The Muslim leaders allowed Christians to live in relative peace until a persecution arose when some of the Muslim population began converting to Christianity. They imprisoned the clergy, including Eulogius. While in prison Eulogius read the Bible to his companions and exhorted them to faithfulness in the face of martyrdom. He also wrote to two other young female converts who were facing threats, instructing them that no matter how terribly they were physically abused, it could not harm their souls, and that they must fight for their faith till death and leave God to defend his Church. St. Eulogius was released and later jailed again for hiding a young female convert who fled from her family in fear of her life. St. Eulogius' judge offered him escape if he would weaken the practice of his religion, but instead he preached the Gospel to the presiding court. He was immediately beheaded. St. Eulogius' feast day is March 11th.


Saint John Ogilvie

(1579 – March 10, 1615)
John Ogilvie's noble Scottish family was partly Catholic and partly Presbyterian. His father raised him as a Calvinist, sending him to the continent to be educated. There, John became interested in the popular debates going on between Catholic and Calvinist scholars. Confused by the arguments of Catholic scholars whom he sought out, he turned to Scripture. Two texts particularly struck him: "God wills all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth," and "Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you."

Slowly, John came to see that the Catholic Church could embrace all kinds of people. Among these, he noted, were many martyrs. He decided to become Catholic and was received into the Church at Louvain, Belgium, in 1596 at the age of 17.

John continued his studies, first with the Benedictines, then as a student at the Jesuit College at Olmutz. He joined the Jesuits and for the next 10 years underwent their rigorous intellectual and spiritual training. At his ordination to the priesthood in France in 1610, John met two Jesuits who had just returned from Scotland after suffering arrest and imprisonment. They saw little hope for any successful work there in view of the tightening of the penal laws. But a fire had been lit within John. For the next two and a half years he pleaded to be placed there as a missionary.

Sent by his superiors, he secretly entered Scotland posing as a horse trader or a soldier returning from the wars in Europe. Unable to do significant work among the relatively few Catholics in Scotland, John made his way back to Paris to consult his superiors. Rebuked for having left his assignment in Scotland, he was sent back. He warmed to the task before him and had some success in making converts and in secretly serving Scottish Catholics. But he was soon betrayed, arrested, and brought before the court.

His trial dragged on until he had been without food for 26 hours. He was imprisoned and deprived of sleep. For eight days and nights he was dragged around, prodded with sharp sticks, his hair pulled out. Still, he refused to reveal the names of Catholics or to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the king in spiritual affairs. He underwent a second and third trial but held firm.

At his final trial, he assured his judges: "In all that concerns the king, I will be slavishly obedient; if any attack his temporal power, I will shed my last drop of blood for him. But in the things of spiritual jurisdiction which a king unjustly seizes I cannot and must not obey."

Condemned to death as a traitor, he was faithful to the end, even when on the scaffold he was offered his freedom and a fine living if he would deny his faith. His courage in prison and in his martyrdom was reported throughout Scotland.

John Ogilvie was canonized in 1976, becoming the first Scottish saint since 1250.

John came of age when neither Catholics nor Protestants were willing to tolerate one another. Turning to Scripture, he found words that enlarged his vision. Although he became a Catholic and died for his faith, he understood the meaning of "small-c catholic," the wide range of believers who embrace Christianity. Even now he undoubtedly rejoices in the ecumenical spirit fostered by the Second Vatican Council and joins us in our prayer for unity with all believers.
The Liturgical Feast of Saint John Ogilvie is March 10.


Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading 1 Jer 18:18-20

The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,
"Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,
nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.
And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word."
Heed me, O LORD,
and listen to what my adversaries say.
Must good be repaid with evil
that they should dig a pit to take my life?
Remember that I stood before you
to speak in their behalf,
to turn away your wrath from them.

Responsorial Psalm 31:5-6, 14, 15-16

R. (17b) Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
You will free me from the snare they set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side,
as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my God."
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

Verse Before the GospelJn 8:12

I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel Mt 20:17-28

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day."
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, "What do you wish?"
She answered him,
"Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom."
Jesus said in reply,
"You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?"
They said to him, "We can."
He replied,
"My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many."


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Matthew 20:17-28

2nd Week of Lent

The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve. (Matthew 20:28)

Name a fairy tale, a novel, or a movie in which you see the king throwing open his palace doors to invite people in so that he can wait on them. Or what about a monarch who goes out into the village to cook a meal and dine with his subjects? You probably won't be able to think of very many. It's usually royalty that is lauded and the common folk who bow to serve them.

Not so with the kingdom of heaven that Jesus came to usher in. He may be the King of kings and Lord of lords, but he "did not come to be served but to serve" (Matthew 20:28). Repeatedly we see Jesus ministering to the poor, eating with sinners and tax collectors, and healing the sick. Even on the night of his betrayal, we see him washing his betrayer's feet! But the height of Jesus' service to us was when he laid down his life on the cross so that we could be reconciled to the Father. And he did it all for love—love for each one of us.

Jesus' example shows us that at its heart, service is a way we express love. When we serve instead of demanding to be served, we give Jesus the opening to shape our hearts so that we can become more like him. We also continue his work of ushering in the kingdom of heaven on earth—because it is through our loving service that we reflect God's love to the people around us and give witness to the gospel.

You probably already serve in numerous ways. But ask yourself, "How does my service express my love for the people in my life? What do my demeanor and tone of voice toward them reveal about the way I view Jesus' call to serve? Is there a way I can show more compassion or be more consistent?" There's always room for improvement! There's always room to increase your view of service as a privilege and not a burden.

Do you want to become more like Christ? Then let him shape you into a servant after his own heart, always eager to serve as he did.

"Lord, how can I love your people today through service?"

Jeremiah 18:18-20
Psalm 31:5-6, 14-16



We have the gift of the Spirit, the Eucharist, the word of God, the power of the name of Jesus, the protection of the Blessed Virgin, the intercession of the angels and saints; is it not silly to fear the vanquished?
—Fr. Gabriele Amorth
from An Exorcist Tells His Story


"Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life?"
We live in a world of an ungrateful mankind. The opposite of what Eucharist means. Are we though, capable of being grateful? What is true gratefulness? It is holiness. True gratitude is an every day attitude. But like I said yesterday, in general, most are not grateful. In my parish, we have an imported Priest, who left his country, and people, and gave his life for the Gospel and Jesus, yet, since the day he entered our parish, the people break his heart. He was in tears even in meetings with leaders in the parish, people tearing at him constantly. Complaints to the Bishop to this day, and the list goes on. But, that is not the whole parish. It is that one or two that are not grateful. One or two that want things their way without lifting a finger, lovers of the law and not the people, self righteous too. All the heavy workers in His vineyard are happy, happy we have a father. I wish I knew who those complainers are, because most often, they simply need to be brought closer to the fire. Must good be repaid with evil? The previous priest (who was also an import) was also reported to the bishop. This one was once said to have been molesting altar servers...IN THE MIDDLE OF HOLY MASS on a Sunday and on the altar. Evil eyes see evil things. Evil spirits make you see ugly things. And the priest before that was also being reported to the Bishop, and the one before that too. LOL. There's lots of reporters in the field. How do we turn the reporters, into honest reporters? The news is not being honest. I remember when we could believe the news even on TV. Now, you have to be skeptical. But that is not the case when it comes to the Good News. Here, we are reporting the truth of the matter...the kind of truth that does not appeal to senses...the kind that hurts when taken seriously. The kind that asks of you something that you are not fond of. Like...a sincere and contrite heart. Otherwise, you will remain skeptical...even...faithless.


Today we pray: "But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my God." In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness."
Once you become an active player, you become an active target. There is a big bulls eye on those with a spotlight on them, namely, a holy person...a priest. We invited a popular priest to our Men's conference last year, and he asked for prayer because he was being maliciously attacked. I had already heard of law suits and things on him, and it is sad to see this among Catholics and groups. I think one attack was actually another "hardcore catholic" group suing him for slander. Nonsense. And that hardcore group claims to stand by the truth...always picking on the Vatican's failures. You see, this goes on all levels. And it begins with you, and your children, your students. The first church they you. Now we begin to see the real need for truth, and what would you do for the truth? Would you seek it? Would you treasure it? Would you share it? Would you...give your life for it?


Our Lord said "the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death,and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day."
And He spoke the truth. He was condemned by chief priests, and scribes, some who actually followed Him, and they betrayed Him, He was mocked, scourged and crucified.

So why did two disciples come with their mom to Jesus to ask if they could have top notch places in His Kingdom? One thing is for sure, they knew they could ask for anything, yet, there are some things Jesus can not is the Father who decides. But isn't Jesus the Father? Isn't Jesus the Holy Spirit? While on Earth, Jesus is the Son of Man. He spoke of the Son of Man in the third person. The Son of Man would be God from God, yes, but as the sacrificial lamb. Hard to understand, but if you say you understand God, then you are an atheist, or worse. He speaks of "The Son of Man". He speaks of an offering. And the mother offers her two sons. Yet, on the cross, two men were on his side, one to the left, and one to the right. And it wasn't the sons of Zebedee. They were criminals. Was this the Kingdom and the positions God chose? Soon enough, the sons of Thunder stepped back. Only God knows. Only God chooses. You simply follow.

""My chalice you will indeed drink..." And they say most of the disciples took of this chalice...a brutal murder is what they faced. A blood offering, a blood libation. Must good be repaid with so much evil? Our Lord still goes on to say today: "...whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave." The priest, the humble priest becomes that slave. He becomes to the world a servant, a suffering servant. All the while, he goes to hospitals and prisons, and to the lonely, offering prayers, supplications, and healings, and forgiving their sins. Must good be repaid by so much evil? As he goes, people look down upon him and spit on him. That popular priest in the men's conference, I put on an ad on facebook to bring attention, and the vile, disgusting comments were a horrible abuse to a man they did not know personally. Do you know Jesus? Do you know humility? Behind my back, I'm pretty sure many disgusting things are said about me. Yet when I see people's faces, they will not say anything to me direct. Has that happened to you? What are you supposed to do? WWJD. Jesus turned the cheek, and His whole Holy Body. He offered the beard to be plucked, and the head to be beaten. What else did He do? He offered no resistance. They were going to do, what they were going to do. Why didn't He defend Himself? Why didn't He condemn them? Because that's not what He came to do. He came to be a sign. The Holy Catholic Church is chock full of signs and even wonders. He said "I desire Mercy..not sacrifice". And He died as they sacrificed thousands of lambs and hundreds of criminals. The world then smelled like death. When He died on the cross, the world got extremely dark. They had killed hope, their last hope. They didn't stab Him in the back, they stabbed Him in the front, AFTER He was already dead. Brutal cowards. How did the world turn so dark? It was a culture of death, wasn't it? I ask nowadays, why are there so many teen suicides? Why? Why so many people with skull markings? My kids asked me yesterday "why does that car say in big letters "La Muerte" (the death)?" I said "because they think it's cool". They seem to like that mystery instead of the mystery of Life, the Gospel of Life, the Holy Truth. How do we turn on the lights? Jesus turned them on 3 days later. It was through obedience, and true humility. Repay evil with good. AAAHHHG! SAY WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY?

Yes, you can call God names if you dare. Yet, Love is backwards. A loved one yelled at me the other day, and I came back at them with love. And their frown turned upside down. Honestly, I didn't intend to make them first, I just took the insult with a bit of grace. I was shocked, and amazed. Something magical happened. Something mysterious. Something that looks like Heaven. Grace does this. And grace pours out from the cross forever. Sweet blood of Jesus, help us love you more and more!


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Random Bible verse from an online generator:

Matthew 5:4
"4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.


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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