Monday, March 23, 2020

⛪ . .. “Sir, come down before . . .⛪

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Miracles Are More than Magic

Anyone concerned for a loved one in danger, is desperate for a miracle. Even when we have faced the truth and given up false hope, there remains a pocket of desperation where the dream of a miracle never dies. Our need for magic, for manipulating causes and effects from the outside, can even survive despair. Political crisis, economic downturns, fiction and boy wizards all evidence our appetite for the fast food of magical signs and wonders. When things are desperate, that is when we most want magical powers. In the Gospel, Jesus exposes this and so frees us from the addiction to magical solutions. What flows from him is the power of healing in the full force of compassion. In meditation we are saved from our own desperation, not by the external signs of magic, but by what is already within us. Jesus didn't want people to see him as a magician or even as a messiah. He wanted more, for people to connect with him, to know him, from within themselves. There are also signs and wonders associated with that. But they are not magical. They are the real signs of a wondrous transformation of self, produced by the relationship we call faith.

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


Saint Quote
"Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet, especially your family. Be holy."
— St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"Concerning obedience as a sign of authenticity, St. Theresa is eloquent: 'Believe me, there is no better way of acquiring this treasure [of loving fire sent from heaven] than to dig and toil in order to get it from this mine of obedience. The more we dig, the more we shall find; and the more we submit to men, and have no other will than that of our superiors, the more completely we shall become masters of our wills and bring them into conformity with the will of God.'"
— Fr. Thomas Dubay, p. 239
Fire Within

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Galatians 2:19-20


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St. Rafqa / Rafka (Arabic for Rebecca) (1832–1914) was born in Himlaya, a Maronite village in the Lebanese mountains. She was an only child, and her mother died when she was seven. After her father's remarriage there was much family discord as to whom Rafqa should marry. Not wanting to wed any of the men in question, she turned to God and entered religious life at the age of 21. She had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary which she learned from her mother. She studied and served as a teacher for many years, but, after witnessing and surviving a massacre of Christians, she decided at the age of 39 to become a cloistered contemplative nun living under a strict rule in a monastery. Here, Rafqa prayed earnestly that she might share in the sufferings of Christ. Her prayers were heard almost immediately. She became blind and paralyzed, and over the course of 30 years she struggled with deteriorating health and incredible pain. All of her sufferings she united to the sufferings of Christ without complaint. Under obedience to her superior she worked on an autobiography near the end of her life. She died at the age of 82, and her grave is credited with many miracles. St. Rafqa is a Catholic Maronite saint canonized by Pope St. John Paul II in 2001. She is the patron of sick people, bodily ills, and loss of parents. Her feast day is March 23rd.


Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 244
Reading 1

Is 65:17-21

Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.

Responsorial Psalm

30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b

R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
"Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper."
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Verse Before the Gospel

Am 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the LORD will be with you.


Jn 4:43-54

At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
"Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe."
The royal official said to him,
"Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live."
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
"The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon."
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
"Your son will live,"
and he and his whole household came to believe.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.


Today's Meditation: Isaiah 65:17-21

I am about to create new heavens and a new earth. (Isaiah 65:17)

For most of us, the word "new" stirs up some excitement. A new season, a new job, a new outfit—such things evoke feelings of anticipation and hope. In today's first reading from the prophet Isaiah, God is promising the Israelites something truly new: a new creation! Isaiah's prophecy probably stirred up the same feelings of anticipation and excitement in the Israelites, who had been experiencing only defeat and destruction. It gave them hope that something better than their current struggles would eventually come to pass.

We are about halfway through Lent. Our Lenten sacrifices are meant to bear fruit in our lives and to give God the opportunity to do something new in us. So today, think about what "new" things are happening in and around you.

As you spend time in prayer, perhaps you are experiencing a new or deeper relationship with the Lord. You might find yourself feeling closer to him. Maybe new thoughts come to mind—kinder or more compassionate thoughts or a deeper understanding of Scripture. Maybe you are beginning to hear some new things that God is saying to you personally.

As you give alms, you may be experiencing a deeper trust in the Lord. Perhaps you are able to be more generous, without fear of not having enough for yourself, or you are experiencing less worry about your finances or your future.

Through repentance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, you may have gained a new sense of having been forgiven. You may feel lighter after being released from the burden of guilt or shame. You may also find yourself more able to forgive others.

Remember, God has already made you a new creation through his Son (2 Corinthians 5:17). So be expectant during the second half of Lent and look for more of the "new" that the Lord is producing in you. Believe that in the midst of your Lenten practices, his life is growing in you and new things are sprouting, even if you don't see them right away. Place your hope in the One who is always creating and re-creating, making all things new—including you.

"Father, help me to see the new life that you are producing in me."

Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
John 4:43-54



Strictly speaking, man works not to nourish himself, but rather to nourish his family and loved ones. We are created to give life to others, never to ourselves.
— Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen
from Bread That Is Broken


"For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people."
Sounds like Heaven, right? That's because it is. God created a new Heaven and we are revealed the invitation to this feast of goodness as He reveals Himself in the wedding feast. When everything was dying down, and people were getting sad, He comes into the picture. Think of what you are going through right now. Are you dying down? Are you sad? Let Jesus come into the picture, and let Him become the center point of all your life.


We pray today: " I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing." Mary wept bitterly when Jesus died. Mary went to pray, to honor Him the first day of the week, and that morning soon became the most glorious morning, Jesus asked her "why are you weeping" and when she realized it was Jesus, she flung herself at Him and He says "let Me go". You belong to the world, but I do not. I am in the world, but not of the world. And He is the Master Teacher, teaching us and showing us the proper way, the life, and the truth.


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord says "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe."
It seems to be a recurring message from Christ. In Luke 11:29 He says "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." A person has a hard time believing. Will a sign MAKE that person believe? A despondent soul will not be moved. We can play a dirge and they will not mourn, we can play the flute, and they will not dance. Will a tragedy change your life? We don't know. Can we change? We do know. Do we want to change? That's for you to desire. We were forced to miss Sunday Mass. How has that affected you? Was something missing? What was missing? Looking back, already, my desire is that if I could have the Mass back, that it'd be holier. Not everybody else..but me. Not change anything but me inside. If I could turn back time, now I would do things different. I am still thinking of that sign I want to post for public to see, and now that sign has changed from the original "Repent" and I thought "Repent and Return" but now the sign says more "I Repent". And "Lord, Mercy". So what have you missed?

Do you miss everybody? Do you miss Jesus? Because as this progresses, a real invitation begins to emerge. You don't appreciate what you got until it's taken away. A married man once went into his house, after a long day of work, tired, he opened the door, and the house was dead silent. It was eery, and immediately he knew something was wrong. No kids bouncing off the walls. The pictures hung there but no one was there. He soon realized after attempting to call his wife, that they were all gone. She would not answer the phone. His heart began to race. He became afraid. Soon, all those trivial things he was mad at, the house a mess, the kids that were always screaming, and the wife that didn't understand him....he'd take it all back and never complain again, if only....
And what about us, and Church? What would you do to get it back? And would you now appreciate its non-perfection? The imperfect people? Would you love them no matter what?

I Repent.

The man ran out the door. He went 100mph to seek and to find. He prayed, and he cried all the while He was seeking, making all the promises if only he could have his family back. He pleaded and promised Heaven a new life.

And the man found....mercy.

Now is our turn, to seek and to find. Now is our turn to prayer. To have a conversion from within. "I'm tire of being disgusted". I will make a new Heaven. I will bring you home with me. Things will never be the same.

Where Love abounds, grace abounds, and where grace abounds, mercy is found.

If only....


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Random Bible verse from an online generator:

Psalm 103:11–12

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.


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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