Monday, April 20, 2020

⛪ . "‘You must be born”".. . .⛪




God Shows Up When We Least Expect

The story of Emmaus carries a depth of feeling that resonates with us because we've all experienced some level of disappointed hopes and dreams in our lives. Dream jobs turn to daily drudgery. Failed relationships leave us brokenhearted. Illness and injury break our bodies and sometimes our spirits. If we're in the midst of such a time, Easter alleluias can sound hollow to our ears. And yet, the Word of God can speak a word of hope and promise to our despair. The Bread of Life can fill an emptiness, a hunger, that gnaws at us. Sometimes all we have to do is show up. We have to make that much of an effort. Often we go with no expectations, almost no hope. And God surprises us with the right word, the right thought, a much-needed smile or hug from someone. The message of Easter is that God shows up when we least expect it: a voice in the garden calling our name, a stranger on the road, a tap on the shoulder, breakfast on the beach or dinner after a long day at work. Sometimes the alleluias are quiet, but no less heartfelt for all that.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek


†Saint Quote

"It is not lengthy prayers, but generous deeds that touch God's heart."
— St. Arnold Janssen


O clement, O loving, O sweet Mother Mary,
We, your children of every nation,
Turn to you in this pandemic.
Our troubles are numerous; our fears are great.
Grant that we might deposit them at your feet,
Take refuge in your Immaculate Heart,
And obtain peace, healing, rescue,
And timely help in all our needs.
You are our Mother.
Pray for us to your Son.

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

"Dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it is possible, that I may have no other spirit but yours to know Jesus and his divine will; that I may have no other soul but yours to praise and glorify the Lord; that I may have no other heart but yours to love God with a love as pure and passionate as yours. I do not ask you for visions, revelations, feelings of devotion, or spiritual pleasures. It is your privilege to see God clearly; it's your privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it's your privilege to triumph gloriously in heaven at the right hand of your Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men, and demons; it is your privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God, just as you wish . . . The only grace I beg you to obtain for me is that every day and every moment of my life I may say: Amen, so be it, to all that you did while on earth; amen, so be it, to all that you are now doing in heaven; amen, so be it, to all that you are doing in my soul, so that you alone may fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity."
— St. Louis de Montfort, p.160
Manual for Marian Devotion

"Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock."
Isaiah 26:3-4


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St. Agnes of Montepulciano (1268–1317) was born into a noble family in Tuscany. Her birth was announced with strange lights surrounding her dwelling, considered a sign that she was a favored child. At nine years of age she requested to enter the local Franciscan monastery in Montepulciano. Although doing so at her young age was against Church law, she obtained special permission from the pope. She became a model nun, reached a high degree of contemplative prayer, and executed her duties so well that she was chosen to help found and lead a new monastery in Proceno when she was just 15 years old, again with special permission at her young age. She lived there for 20 years and became known as a great mystic and visionary while cultivating a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She became locally famous for her miracles as well as for her austerities. She lived on bread and water, slept on the ground, and used a stone for a pillow. Eventually, Agnes returned to Montepulciano. By request she founded and led an even larger monastery, this time receiving a vision that it should be a convent of Dominican nuns dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Through her prayers she cured the sick, multiplied food, and raised to life a child who had drowned. Her feast day is April 20.


Monday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 267
Reading 1

Acts 4:23-31

After their release Peter and John went back to their own people
and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them.
And when they heard it,
they raised their voices to God with one accord
and said, "Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth
and the sea and all that is in them,
you said by the Holy Spirit
through the mouth of our father David, your servant:

Why did the Gentiles rage
and the peoples entertain folly?
The kings of the earth took their stand
and the princes gathered together
against the Lord and against his anointed.

Indeed they gathered in this city
against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed,
Herod and Pontius Pilate,
together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
to do what your hand and your will
had long ago planned to take place.
And now, Lord, take note of their threats,
and enable your servants to speak your word
with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal,
and signs and wonders are done
through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook,
and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Responsorial Psalm
2:1-3, 4-7a, 7b-9

R. (see 11d) Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples utter folly?
The kings of the earth rise up,
and the princes conspire together
against the LORD and against his anointed:
"Let us break their fetters
and cast their bonds from us!"
R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
He who is throned in heaven laughs;
the LORD derides them.
Then in anger he speaks to them;
he terrifies them in his wrath:
"I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain."
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD.
R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish."
R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.


Col 3:1

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Jn 3:1-8

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
He came to Jesus at night and said to him,
"Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God,
for no one can do these signs that you are doing
unless God is with him."
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to him,
"How can a man once grown old be born again?
Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?"
Jesus answered,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and Spirit
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you,
'You must be born from above.'
The wind blows where it wills,
and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."


Today's Meditation: John 3:1-8

How can a man once grown old be born again? (John 3:4)

Poor Nicodemus! He really wanted to understand Jesus. Jesus' words and actions had attracted Nicodemus' attention and, quite possibly, his admiration. So he visited this mysterious rabbi from Nazareth. Finding him, Nicodemus began his conversation by listing some of the impressive things said about Jesus: "a teacher who has come from God" and someone whom "God is with" in a unique way (John 3:2).

But Nicodemus didn't get very far before Jesus interrupted him: "Unless one is born from above," he said, "he cannot see the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3). You don't get it yet. Without a new birth, both I and the kingdom I am preaching will remain a mystery to you.

There really is something mysterious about the Christian life. Think of how puzzling the saints can seem to us. How could St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta keep smiling in the midst of all the suffering she encountered in the poorest of the poor? Or what about St. Maximilian Kolbe, a prisoner in Auschwitz who volunteered to take the place of a fellow prisoner who was condemned to die by starvation? While he wasted away, he peacefully led his fellow prisoners in prayer. "Who does that?" some might wonder.

Believers do, that's who.

You are a mystery as well. When you were baptized, you were born from above and filled with the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that empowered Mother Teresa and Maximilian Kolbe lives in you. He is that mysterious presence who moves you to acts of generosity and kindness when you could just as easily walk away. He is the One who helps you forgive a long-standing hurt even though the wound still stings. And he is the One who can give you courage to share your faith with a neighbor despite an inner reluctance.

Every time you follow these promptings, you become a little more mysterious to the people around you—and a little more attractive. That's because with each act of kindness or faithfulness, you become more like Jesus, the most mysterious and attractive person who ever lived.

"Thank you, Holy Spirit, for coming to live in my heart."

Acts 4:23-31
Psalm 2:1-9



"…being a Christian cannot be a little Sunday world in addition to our workaday world, something we build as an addition in some devotional corner of our life; rather, it is a new foundation, it is transformation that changes us."
— Joseph Ratzinger
from Teaching and Learning the Love of God


"As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and continued to speak the word of God with boldness."
Earthquakes seemed to be a phenomenon, since the crucifixion. Chains broken. Cells opened. Prisoners let free. Evil confused. And a light diffused. There is a website that records earthquakes around the world. The earth is continuously shaking as it is continuously moving. That is...a figure of speech but yet truth...The Holy Spirit is moving.


Today we pray: "The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall rule them with an iron rod; you shall shatter them like an earthen dish." Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord."
Lately, I've been trying to figure out how I will house a couple of sheep someone said they'd give me. My concern is their safety...from predators. My concern is their shelter. My concern is their well being. It is a big responsibility and daily at that. If my concern is like this for sheep, how much more is God's concern for His sheep?


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord says something peculiar and earth shaking: ""Amen, amen, I say to you,unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God."
Can you see the Kingdom of God?

If yes, then you are born from above.
If no, then you are not born from above.
How can we be born from above? Jesus didn't say "born again", He said be born from above. That is, to enter the world...of His Kingdom.
We hear much of metanoia, a total transformation with all we've got, but is that what Jesus is talking about?

"What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit."
Spirit and flesh.
Spirits move about and through flesh.
You see? Can you see? Jesus is flesh in the Spirit, and He is Spirit made flesh. He is total transformation.
What He is asking for here is for us to be born of water (Baptism) and spirit (confirmation).
These Holy Sacraments infuse Kingdom and Power in the soul.
They do this to every soul.

So the Kingdom is within...what does this mean? Jesus reigns. He is sovereign. He rules your life and you rely on Him as your shepherd.

The power of the Holy Spirit is within. You no longer need to live in fear, you no longer need to hide, and you no longer shall be apart from our God in the Holy Spirit. He is your everything. He is the provider. Our connection one of love. The kind of love that is beyond human

Lord, I pray for faith, that gift you give from Heaven. I pray for faith so we don't have to know everything but to know You alone.


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Random Bible verse from an online generator:
Ecclesiastes 7:9
9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,

for anger lodges in the heart1 of fools.**


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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