Monday, March 16, 2020

⛪ . .. prophet is accepted . .⛪

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Persistence Is More Important than Success

We cannot pursue success, acceptance, and acclaim as authentic goals of life, and be real. In meditation we score no goals but we win the match. Most people who stay faithful to the practice find the inner freedom that comes with an embraced discipline. The experience of meditation is unlike any other. It is extremely difficult to define because it is an entry into such radical simplicity that we lose even the words to describe it. Because it gently penetrates to the deepest center of our existence, it involves and influences everything in our life with a marvelous capacity to unify. Past and future merge into the present. Fears and obsessions melt. We see the good in our enemies. We are expanded by love and we expand the world by love. In the process it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and helps us sleep better at night. With the focus of simple awareness, other-centeredness and self-knowledge that Lent develops, however, we awaken to just how simple, unified and "good"—in a way that goes deeper than any moral sense of the word—each moment of each day is. That's why we hang in and ignore the egocentric feeling of failure and don't worry what people say.

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


Saint Quote
"My prayer is that the good God may establish His absolute reign in your heart and in the hearts of all."
— St. Julie Billiart

Meditation of the Day

"Jesus will turn your sorrow into joy. One can only imagine the shock and bewilderment the Apostles felt when the Lord told them he must go away. Though they could not understand it at the time, his departure was for their benefit. The same is true of the unexpected setbacks and tragedies we experience in this life . . . When I consider the times when I have been confounded by events that seemed so contrary to what I thought God wanted for me, I should be mindful that they were permitted by the Lord's inscrutable providence for my own good, as difficult as that might be to fathom."

— Patrick Madrid, p. 251

An Excerpt From A Year with the Bible Verse of the Day

"The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse—who can understand it? I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings."

Jeremiah 17:9-10


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Saint of the Day St. Abraham of Edessa

St. Abraham of Edessa (300-360 A.D.), also known as Abraham of Kidunaia, was a rich nobleman from Mesopotamia. He married according to his parents' wishes, despite his desire to give himself totally to God. After the wedding ceremony he fled to a cave and hid himself, leaving only a small window to receive food. He lived there as a hermit, and after the death of his parents gave his inheritance to the poor. The Bishop of Edessa ordained him as a priest and sent him to lead a notoriously sinful city. There Abraham was beaten and maligned for three years until his prayers prevailed and every citizen came to him for baptism. He then returned to his hermitage and lived there the rest of his life. After his brother's death his young niece was left to his care. He set her up to live as a religious in a cell next to his, which she did for twenty years until she succumbed to the seduction of a rogue hermit. She was so ashamed of her sin that she despaired of God's mercy and became a prostitute. St. Abraham prayed for his niece earnestly for two years; then, discovering her location, left his cell and came to her disguised as a suitor. When they were alone he revealed his identity to her, and, pleading with her throughout the night, prevailed upon her to return with him to her life of prayer and penance. She came back to her cell, which Abraham relocated directly behind his own for her protection, and became St. Mary of Edessa. St. Abraham's feast day is March 16th.

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Monday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 237

Reading 1 2 Kgs 5:1-15ab

Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram,
was highly esteemed and respected by his master,
for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram.
But valiant as he was, the man was a leper.
Now the Arameans had captured in a raid on the land of Israel
a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman's wife.
"If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,"
she said to her mistress, "he would cure him of his leprosy."
Naaman went and told his lord
just what the slave girl from the land of Israel had said.
"Go," said the king of Aram.
"I will send along a letter to the king of Israel."
So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents,
six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.
To the king of Israel he brought the letter, which read:
"With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you,
that you may cure him of his leprosy."

When he read the letter,
the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed:
"Am I a god with power over life and death,
that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy?
Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!"
When Elisha, the man of God,
heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments,
he sent word to the king:
"Why have you torn your garments?
Let him come to me and find out
that there is a prophet in Israel."

Naaman came with his horses and chariots
and stopped at the door of Elisha's house.
The prophet sent him the message:
"Go and wash seven times in the Jordan,
and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean."
But Naaman went away angry, saying,
"I thought that he would surely come out and stand there
to invoke the LORD his God,
and would move his hand over the spot,
and thus cure the leprosy.
Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar,
better than all the waters of Israel?
Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?"
With this, he turned about in anger and left.

But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
"My father," they said,
"if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
would you not have done it?
All the more now, since he said to you,
'Wash and be clean,' should you do as he said."
So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before him and said,
"Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel."

Responsorial Psalm 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4

R. (see 42:3) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?

Verse Before the GospelPs 130:5, 7

I hope in the LORD, I trust in his word;
with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption.

Gospel Lk 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
"Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel
in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.


Daily Meditation: 2 Kings 5:1-15

Let him come to me and find out that there is a prophet in Israel. (2 Kings 5:8)

Our everyday lives offer many ways to practice trust: trusting that a cup (or two) of coffee will ensure your morning starts on the right foot. Trusting the gas tank will hold out until you reach the next service station. Trusting the weather forecast will give you blue skies. Our lives are filled with tales of everyday trust that can teach us about trusting the Lord.

In today's first reading, a chain of trust involving many people brings Naaman to the point of being healed of his leprosy. One person's trust led to actions that influenced the next person and so on. Here's how:

It started with a little Israelite girl, taken captive in a raid by the Arameans and serving Naaman's wife. She confidently tells her mistress that God could heal Naaman's disease through the prophet Elisha. Trust led Naaman's wife to tell her husband, who went to his king to ask for leave to travel to Israel. Trust moved the king of Aram to send a letter and tremendous riches to the king of Israel, in the hope that Naaman would be healed. Israel's king feared the Arameans, but he trusted Elisha's confidence in God's power to heal Naaman. Finally, when Naaman balked at Elisha's directions to wash in the Jordan, his servants urged him to trust and simply do what Elisha told him.

The fruit of all that trust was Naaman's healing, coupled with the conviction that the God of Israel is the one true God. Without a doubt, the trajectory of his life, as well as all those around him, was forever changed.

You can experience a chain of trust today. Your life and your faith have an impact on the people around you. When you trust God, it has a ripple effect beyond your own life. Your choice to trust God with a difficult decision in your marriage might bring your spouse to trust God too. The confidence in God's providence that motivates your giving might lead your neighbor to become more generous himself.

How will you trust God today? How will you translate that trust into action? You never know how God will use it. Just look at the little Israelite girl—and Naaman.

"Lord, I trust you. Help me to turn my trust into action."

Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4
Luke 4:24-30



We must always remember that sanctification (becoming holy) is a process, a journey. We will stumble and fall, and the evil one will pounce and try to discourage us: Why do you even try? This will never work. But God doesn't see it that way. He's not surprised we don't get there in a day, nor should we be.

— Jeanette Flood
from Eight Ways of Loving God


Third Week of Lent

LUKE 4:24-30

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus' hometown rejects him as a prophet. And I want to say a word about your role as a prophet.

When most lay people hear about prophecy, they sit back and their eyes glaze over. "That's something for the priests and the bishops to worry about; they're the modern-day prophets. I don't have that call or that responsibility."

Well, think again! Vatican II emphasized the universal call to holiness, rooted in the dynamics of Baptism. Every baptized person is conformed unto Christ—priest, prophet, and king. Whenever you assist at Mass, you are exercising your priestly office, participating in the worship of God. Whenever you direct your kids to discover their mission in the Church, or provide guidance to someone in the spiritual life, you are exercising your kingly office.

As a baptized individual, you are commissioned as a prophet—which is to say, a speaker of God's truth. And the prophetic word is not your own. It is not the result of your own meditations on the spiritual life, as valuable and correct as those may be. The prophetic word is the word of God given to you by God.

Reflect: How would you evaluate your role as prophet—that is, a speaker of God's truth?


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