Tuesday, March 17, 2020

⛪ . .. Pay Back What You Owe. . .⛪

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Silence Is the Greatest of Teachers

A good new practice to highlight, even at this midway point in the Lenten period, is silence. Silence is the greatest of teachers. This is increasingly true in our highly distracted culture. Distraction is unnecessary noise. If our natural environment lacks silence, how will we ever understand what it is? We will know we have lost something, but will have no word for what it is. Silence will just mean that the audio doesn't work. So we must speak about silence, communicating what it is until the penny drops into the bottomless well. Silence heals, refreshes, energizes, inspires, sharpens, clarifies. It simplifies. It is the medium of truth. And it is the font of the pure single Word that both perfectly communicates it and leads back to it. If we consciously turn off the TV or close the computer, restrain unnecessary speech, avoid gazing at advertising posters, look people lovingly in the eye, we are enhancing the same direct work of silence that we return to meeting in our meditation. And we are making the world a more silent and awakened place.

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


Saint Quote
"It is a lesson we all need—to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path."
— St. Katharine Drexel

"Now there's no one who approaches God with a true and upright heart who isn't tested by hardships and temptations. So in all these temptations see to it that even if you feel them, you don't consent to them. Instead, bear them patiently and calmly with humility and longsuffering."
— St. Albert the Great, p. 164
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

"Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21


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St. Patrick (387-493) was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland, to Roman-British parents. He was kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of sixteen and sold as a slave to a Druid high priest. He worked as a shepherd and spent much time in prayer as he labored in the fields. He also acquired a perfect knowledge of the Celtic language and the Druid cult, which later enabled him to evangelize the Celtic people. After six years of slavery, an angel told him to flee his oppressive master and return to his native land. Upon returning to Britain, Patrick desired to devote himself to God's service. He went to France and placed himself under the direction of St. Germain, who ordained him a priest and sent him to evangelize the pagans in Ireland. St. Patrick devoted the rest of his life to converting the island to Christianity. He was ordained a bishop and himself ordained many priests. He divided the country into dioceses, held local Church councils, founded monasteries, and urged the people to greater holiness. He suffered much opposition from the Druids and occult magicians, who, threatened by Christianity, conjured demonic power to defy Patrick. However, the prayer, faith, fearlessness, and episcopal authority of Patrick triumphed, and he was so successful in his endeavor that in the Middle Ages Ireland became known as the Land of Saints, and himself the "Apostle of Ireland." Later, the missionaries sent from Ireland to Europe were largely responsible for the Christianizing of the continent. St. Patrick's feast day is March 17th


Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 238
Reading 1

Dn 3:25, 34-43

Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:

"For your name's sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord."

Responsorial Psalm

25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9

R. (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Verse Before the Gospel

Jl 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.


Mt 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
'Pay back what you owe.'
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?'
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."


Daily Meditation: Matthew 18:21-35

How often must I forgive? (Matthew 18:21)

"Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive." That's what C. S. Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity. It's certainly true of the unforgiving servant in today's parable. He happily received forgiveness from his king, but when it was his turn to forgive a tiny debt owed to him, he just couldn't do it.

If it can be so hard to forgive little things, what about forgiving something more significant? Imagine a man forgiving the people who had abducted and enslaved him and then returning to their country to bring the good news of salvation.

That's just what St. Patrick did. As we celebrate his feast today, we can learn a lot about forgiveness from his example. Kidnapped by Irish marauders from his home in England, Patrick spent years tending the sheep of a chieftain in Ireland. In solitude, his thoughts turned to prayer, and it changed his heart and drew him closer to God. Eventually, he escaped and returned home. But that wasn't the end of the story. In England, Patrick began to dream that he was being called to return to Ireland.

How could he even consider doing such a thing? Patrick found the ability to forgive and return to the place where he had suffered so much because of his life of prayer and his reliance on God's grace. And the rest, as they say, is history. Freed from any lingering bitterness or resentment, Patrick traveled to Ireland, evangelized thousands, and changed the entire country's culture.

St. Patrick's example might seem intimidating to us. We might think there is no way we could forgive something so significant. So let's circle back to forgiving the small things instead.

C. S. Lewis said that the best way to be ready to forgive weighty things is to start by forgiving smaller things. Try that today. If your spouse forgets a special day, forgive them. If your coworker is inconsiderate, forgive them. If your child leaves dirty clothes on the floor, forgive them. You might even try doing something kind for the person you're forgiving! Those acts will soften your heart and prepare you to forgive even greater things.

"Lord, help me forgive as you have forgiven me. St. Patrick, pray for me!"

Daniel 3:25, 34-43
Psalm 25:4-9



Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
—St. Patrick
from The Trials of St. Patrick


"But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received..."
These are some of the words that Azariah prayed to our Lord. Some say the name Azariah means "Yaweh has helped". And others say he was struck with leprosy and died that way. How has God helped then? What's in the name of a person? He was king...and then became a suffering...servant...of the Lord. They say God writes straight with crooked lines, we don't understand why, but we must understand faith.


We pray today: "Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way.

Remember your mercies, O Lord." Only the humble know His way. The proud and the arrogant do not know the way. And soon we begin to speak about mercy.


In the Holy Gospel, Peter asks our Lord: ""Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Peter was being generous with the number seven, thinking it was righteous and good. But our Lord says that is not enough. Peter was going above and beyond what Jewish thought was, because forgiveness is not taught like we are taught through Jesus. In their thought, you did not need to forgive someone more than once or twice. But our Lord says that is still not enough. Once you see someone that is good, do not believe that is "good enough" to deserve to be called one of the Holies of Heaven, one of the saints and angels. Jesus said of St. John the Baptist "Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Proverbs says "Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, near the dwelling of the righteous; do not destroy his resting place. 16For though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin. 17Do not gloat when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart rejoice when he stumbles,…" What does this mean, and again with the number 7? So long as we live, we have a prayer...that is, a conversation with mercy. And the story comes to us about an un-merciful man who was given mercy, but he fails to give mercy.

"His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?'" Think now of the many injustices you have caused by withholding mercy. They say God acts in giving. For giving means just that..."giving for"... God. And here, we could relate what happens in eternity...a person paying back with torture. Sounds like hell, or the lower extremities of purgatory, because they say in hell, there is no escape. There is no mercy in hell. You are beaten to submission, and you turn into something that is contrary to the original design. Many do not believe in this, and so many live as if there is no hell to pay for sin, and others say "oh well, I know I'm going to burn in hell". What kind of person says that? A godless person? One who has lost hope? One has has been convinced of the lies? I've heard it from a person, and to this day, I turn their face to hope, of Christ. The question now boils down to you and me...have I truly forgiven? Have I truly given for God? Give mercy and you will receive mercy. We pray in the Lord's prayer, "forgive us as we forgive". Right now, the world is facing a most peculiar pandemonium. And I've got to admit, I keep thinking of something I heard a few months back, that exorcists had for a while been hearing much "chatter" among evils about something big coming. Indeed, a worldwide epidemic has struck. And it hinges on a lie. A rumor. There is the pestilence of death attached to it though. Many are dying. I was at the hospital with my boys who had a bad cough, turns out it was infections, but I saw a lady coughing nonstop, with a mask, and seemed to be hyperventilating, and I wondered how many are trying to convince themselves they have this virus. Think back now to that person that said "I know I'm going to hell". Who has you convinced? Who has convicted you? Have you lost hope? Have you lost faith? In a local store someone stabbed 2 adults and 2 kids for toilet paper. Now go back to the "lie" that I told you about,and the "chatter" evils were speaking. Rumors. The virus is very real, pandemonium sets in, and people suffer panic attacks, and is actually becoming more and more common, as social media rises, more and more suffer isolation, and depression, and why? Because, they only hear what they tune into and are fed. Who can suppress the pandemonium? CHRIST.

We can turn to Him on our knees and beg for something great. My worry is, whence this is over, who will be thankful in the end? Who will go to the island of pandemonium and save it? Christ through the new St. Patrick. Christ through me and you. Be not afraid. Do not be afraid. Fear not.

O ye of little faith...look to God. Mercy is at hand, if only we will reach to Him, and remember the faithfulness of the name...Azariah they say means "Yaweh has helped". They call Jesus Emmanuel...God is with us. With Him..who or what shall we fear?
Ephesians 6:12
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.…"

Saint Patrick, pray for us to reach out to a frantic world of manic anxiety, caused by a detachment from our us return fully to His bosom, to His loving and precious hands. Help us open our eyes to the reality of mercy. May we turn to mercy, and live mercy, give mercy, and receive mercy, and return for more...

Mother of God, pray for us


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Random Bible verse from an online generator:

Galatians 3:24–26
24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.


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