Tuesday, June 23, 2020

⛪ . "Enter Through The ... ."⛪

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Transformation Is a Process

Change happens, but transformation is always a process of letting go, living in the confusing, shadowy space for a while, and eventually being spit up on a new and unexpected shore. You can see why Jonah in the belly of the whale is such an important symbol for many Jews and Christians. In moments of insecurity and crisis, shoulds and oughts don't really help; they just increase the shame, guilt, pressure, and likelihood of backsliding. It's the deep yeses that carry us through. It's that deeper something we are strongly for that allows us to wait it out. It's someone in whom we absolutely believe and to whom we commit. In plain language, love wins out over guilt any day. It is sad that we settle for the short-run effectiveness of shaming people instead of the longterm life benefits of true transformation. But then, we are a culture of product and efficiency, not terribly patient with growth. God clearly is much more patient—and, finally, much more effective. God lets Jonah run in the wrong direction, but finds a long, suffering, circuitous path to get him back where he needs to be—in spite of himself ! That is patiently supporting inner transformation. Only God seems to have developed such a talent. We usually prefer order, control, predictability, and immediacy. I think that is probably the most striking difference between institutional religion and the God of mercy.

—from The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder by Richard Rohr, OFM


†Saint Quote
"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."
— St. Thomas Aquinas

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.

"I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things . . . Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light."
— C.S. Lewis, p. 149
Mere Christianity

"He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross."
Colossians 1:18-20


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St. Joseph Cafasso (1811–1860) was born in Castelnuovo d'Asti, Italy, to a peasant family. He was born with a physical deformity of the spine, which caused him to grow into a stunted and crippled man. Discerning a call to Holy Orders, he entered the seminary in Turin where he later met another famous saint—John Bosco. Joseph taught John Bosco and encouraged him in his mission to minister to the town's impoverished street youth. Joseph was an excellent professor of moral theology, as well as a famed preacher and confessor. He performed his duties so well that he became known as the "Priest's Priest." He spent entire days preaching in prisons, offering comfort to the prisoners, hearing their confessions, and even advocating to improve the poor conditions of the prison. For this work he also earned the name, "Priest of the Gallows." St. Joseph Cafasso is the patron saint of prisoners, prisons, and prison chaplains. His feast day is June 23rd.


Saint John Fisher

(1469 – June 22, 1535)
John Fisher is usually associated with Erasmus, Thomas More, and other Renaissance humanists. His life therefore, did not have the external simplicity found in the lives of some saints. Rather, he was a man of learning, associated with the intellectuals and political leaders of his day. He was interested in the contemporary culture and eventually became chancellor at Cambridge. He had been made a bishop at 35, and one of his interests was raising the standard of preaching in England. Fisher himself was an accomplished preacher and writer. His sermons on the penitential psalms were reprinted seven times before his death. With the coming of Lutheranism, he was drawn into controversy. His eight books against heresy gave him a leading position among European theologians.

In 1521, Fisher was asked to study the question of King Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, his brother's widow. He incurred Henry's anger by defending the validity of the king's marriage with Catherine, and later by rejecting Henry's claim to be the supreme head of the Church of England.

In an attempt to be rid of him, Henry first had Fisher accused of not reporting all the "revelations" of the nun of Kent, Elizabeth Barton. In feeble health, Fisher was summoned to take the oath to the new Act of Succession. He and Thomas More refused to do so because the Act presumed the legality of Henry's divorce and his claim to be head of the English Church. They were sent to the Tower of London, where Fisher remained 14 months without trial. Finally both men were sentenced to life imprisonment and loss of goods.

When the two were called to further interrogations, they remained silent. On the supposition that he was speaking privately as a priest, Fisher was tricked into declaring again that the king was not supreme head of the church in England. The king, further angered that the pope had made John Fisher a cardinal, had him brought to trial on the charge of high treason. He was condemned and executed, his body left to lie all day on the scaffold and his head hung on London Bridge. More was executed two weeks later. His Liturgical Feast Day is June 22.

Today many questions are raised about Christians' and priests' active involvement in social issues. John Fisher remained faithful to his calling as a priest and bishop. He strongly upheld the teachings of the Church; the very cause of his martyrdom was his loyalty to Rome. He was involved in the cultural enrichment circles as well as in the political struggles of his time. This involvement caused him to question the moral conduct of the leadership of his country.

"The Church has the right, indeed the duty, to proclaim justice on the social, national and international level, and to denounce instances of injustice, when the fundamental rights of man and his very salvation demand it" (Justice in the World, 1971 Synod of Bishops).


Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 372
Reading 1

2 Kgs 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent envoys to Hezekiah
with this message:
"Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah:
'Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you
by saying that Jerusalem will not be handed over
to the king of Assyria.
You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done
to all other countries: they doomed them!
Will you, then, be saved?'"

Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it;
then he went up to the temple of the LORD,
and spreading it out before him,
he prayed in the LORD's presence:
"O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned upon the cherubim!
You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.
You have made the heavens and the earth.
Incline your ear, O LORD, and listen!
Open your eyes, O LORD, and see!
Hear the words of Sennacherib which he sent to taunt the living God.
Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations
and their lands, and cast their gods into the fire;
they destroyed them because they were not gods,
but the work of human hands, wood and stone.
Therefore, O LORD, our God, save us from the power of this man,
that all the kingdoms of the earth may know
that you alone, O LORD, are God."

Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah:
"Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
in answer to your prayer for help against Sennacherib, king of Assyria:
I have listened!
This is the word the LORD has spoken concerning him:

"'She despises you, laughs you to scorn,
the virgin daughter Zion!
Behind you she wags her head,
daughter Jerusalem.

"'For out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant,
and from Mount Zion, survivors.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.'

"Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria:
'He shall not reach this city, nor shoot an arrow at it,
nor come before it with a shield,
nor cast up siege-works against it.
He shall return by the same way he came,
without entering the city, says the LORD.
I will shield and save this city for my own sake,
and for the sake of my servant David.'"

That night the angel of the LORD went forth and struck down
one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp.
So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp,
and went back home to Nineveh.

Responsorial Psalm

48:2-3ab, 3cd-4, 10-11

R. (see 9d) God upholds his city for ever.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Mount Zion, "the recesses of the North,"
is the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
O God, we ponder your mercy
within your temple.
As your name, O God, so also your praise
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Of justice your right hand is full.
R. God upholds his city for ever.


Jn 8:12

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


Mt 7:6, 12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.

"Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few."


Daily Meditation: Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Enter through the narrow gate. (Matthew 7:13)

Most of us have experienced it: you come home from the store, arms laden with shopping bags, and you have to jostle through an entryway that's about two bags too narrow. Bumping, yanking, turning sideways, you have to put things down to make your way. Perhaps that's a little like what it is to try to make your way through the narrow gate that Jesus speaks about here. Yes, he really did mean it: the way to life is narrow. It's so constricted that you have to let go of some heavy and awkward bags to make it through.

There isn't enough room for you to pass through with the baggage of sin, complacency, or self-righteousness. The way to eternal life requires your attention and effort to be rid of those. Although it can be hard to let go, you don't have to be stuck. God has given you a place to set down all the baggage: the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There you can be rid of the burdens of a lifetime or of a single heated moment.

It's not just a matter of self-effort either. The Holy Spirit will help you. The Father has poured out his Holy Spirit to teach you all things (John 14:26). One of the ways he does this is by speaking to your conscience. The Spirit will help you see your sin and how it is hindering you. He will also guide you in the way of truth. Listen for his whispers in your thoughts or gentle nudges of your soul. Expect these, not only during your prayer times or at extraordinary moments, but throughout the day, every day, as you try to enter through that narrow gate.

God doesn't just point out the narrow gate; he leads you to it and then through it. Because he is holy, he made the gate narrow to keep out that which hinders you from coming close to him. But he also has provided a sure way through that gate—the gift of repentance.

God loves you and wants you to enter into his life. So leave your bags at the gate!

"Lord, I want to set down my bags today. Help me to trust your Holy Spirit to lead me through the narrow gate."

2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36
Psalm 48:2-4, 10-11



The commandments are an aid to living well with God and others... St. Thomas Aquinas explained it as follows: Whoever grows in his friendship to God will have a greater desire to keep his commandments, because if someone really loves God, he also loves the things God loves.
— Fr. Michel Remery
from Tweeting with God


"You have made the heavens and the earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and listen!"
A plague has been launched, and the stench is horrible. It leaves bodies decaying. All things doom and gloom have struck, repeatedly, and repeatedly, the faithful have hit their knees with tears and pleas to our Father in Heaven. How can we tug on His ear?


We pray today: "O God, we ponder your mercy
within your temple. As your name, O God, so also your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Of justice your right hand is full. God upholds his city for ever." There is a fortified city of God, and its citizens are at times sent on missions throughout the world to stabilize the world from an imbalance that destroys. The Word does not return un-fruitful. The cross was no accident.


Our Lord issues commands today:
"Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine"
Wow. I thought God was good, why wouldn't He give what is holy to dogs? pigs need pearls? Do pigs desire pearls? Do pigs desire pearls? Do pigs value pearls? No. They would attempt to eat them and once realizing they aren't good for their one desire...they'd smash them with their feet, in all their dun and mud.

And so it is with God's Holy Word and mercy. Those who do no desire it, shall not receive.

How can you turn a heart of stone into a soft sponge to receive God's grace? Wouldn't we all love to know?

2nd command:

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you." Watch out! Watch out how you read this one, because the world loves to use this one...wrongly. They call it "the Golden Rule". This command though is not self sufficient. This command hinges on another command, which is sandwiched between holiness and perseverance. This command is a command of love and sacrifice. I would love Love from others and sacrifice, like when a firefighter or police man comes to save me, risking their own life. Wouldn't you? That's what our Lord is more, risk more, save more. Lay your life, risk your life for the one you love....God. He does it for you. We must strive for each other, love more, sacrifice more for on another.

3rd command:
"Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction..."
Truth speaks. My mom used to tell us as kids that the road to salvation was a tiny road filled with stickers...thorns, thistles, sounded painful, and the road to perdition, to hell, was wide, extravagant, full of roses.
Indeed, the road to hell is the path of least resistance. By nature, we like laziness I'd say. Our country is really one of convenience. Running water and electricity are mandatory conveniences. In 3rd world countries these things are a privilege. Drinkable water and air conditioning are seen as must haves, but in poor places, these are things struggled for, including food.
So what do some say is the solution? Kill the people. WHAT? Yes, they are into population control, and it is all about control in the end.

So how did we end up from convenience to control?
The path of least resistance, has a high price.
I built a camper, and it has taken me blood sweat and tears to build, an ongoing project over 2 or 3 years in the making; I broke a finger too while at it, smashed it between metal pieces and heavy would that a tractor dropped on my thumb. It has cost me much headaches, work, and time, precious time.

We went camping last week, so I apologize for some late and short emails. But I persevered no? LOL. Back to the story. I got a spot between some fancy RV's, lots of slide outs, some were brand new. My old looking, made-at -home thing was sandwiched in between. Imagine a small box and a canopy and fold out chairs and tables strung out with 8 kids running around. I bet it was a sight! We even had a lady come by to offer their food to us, saying they didn't need it any more. It was nice...and awkward. I know inside, I can afford anyone of their motor homes and rvs, but I chose this little way of humility. Why? Why the blood sweat and tears? Why the struggles? Wouldn't it be easier to have a top of the line luxury RV? Yes it's easier, and more convenient, heck, it takes me over an hour to set up my flip down tents and attached canopies and porta potty/ shower I made for it. I have to sweat and my kids have to wait and watch me suffer, WHY? Am I dumb? Sometimes I wonder myself, what has gotten into me.
Truth be told, here it is. This all happened last week, camping. By nightfall, I was beat. I slept better than I slept at home, in a makeshift tent, on the floor on a fold out mat/bed. I did have an electric a/c. That was nice. Kids all had their own beds, this 8ft x 8ft fold out trailer I made has 6 bunks and two floor full size beds, it actually has an upstairs loft and trailer ramp enclosed canopy room when fully deployed. Baby slept between mom and dad and slept all night. I used to have a nearly 40 foot long motorhome toy hauler that had a garage, and I drove a smart car into it and was the googoo gaa highlight of the camp sites, lots of photos and stares, years ago. Now, I get looked at differently. And I'm ok with that. I never slept well in that huge toy. It was a chore to upkeep and to drive around in tight spots and I took down many tree limbs in many cities, it was so tall, 13ft, to be exact. And I paid dearly for it, and a loan shark was thriving off of me, somehow I was with a bank that was double charging interest, and I was not ever progressing on payments, after 5 years of paying, the note was still exactly the same as when I bought it. It became a detriment to my family. I was paying a high price for convenience. Oh, originally I had high dreams and hopes for the thing, motorcycle racing, long excursions with customers and family and friends. It all became false hopes and desires. It was hard to sell it for couple of years, and the only way to get out of it was to lose. I did not make a penny, I had to sell the thing with the smart car just so they would take it from me, plus a 3 day drive to deliver for free.

Narrow gates means the narrow way.
Slim down. Trim down. Gluttony is a sign of the same, lusting for other things. In the end, we take nothing. Someone said "all you'll take are memories". Ok, if that's true, where will you go with memories? What memories would you have made and had?
I purposely built the camper to teach my kids something...humility. Sad but true, and I'm glad. Yet, they were happy if not happier, they were forced to go out and be outside as they asked me why everyone else was stuck in their rvs, one said "look dad, they have a big screen and are watching that show".

My kids looked at me "can we go watch tv?" I have two tvs in the camper, and I said no, we came to be outdoors (late at night I let them watch some), saying that was for bad weather days.

And so is the narrow gate. Tough. It's tough to resist temptation. It's tough to pray and pray fervently every day and to be in ministries. It is so tough, that if you don't watch out, it can be disheartening. You can lose hope if you do not stick to the vine...Jesus. You'd think you can trust people with your heart...but that only goes so far. You have to trust more. You have to trust God. These are pearls. Real pearls from Heaven. Gifts to be cherished. Every day is a pearl, a pearl to seek, a pearl to find, a life of finding our way to God and to treasure Him above all.
Does He play hide and seek? He can if He wants to. You know when He's really hard to find? When He makes Himself super small, or even worse, when He's super huge. Then you realize two things, I need to become small to find Him, and secondly, look how small I am in comparison to Him...You see, that's one direction we can the small...the narrow gate. Only when you realize your smallness, can you realize His greatness.

I invite you to persevere my friend. The narrow gate is the narrow way. Live the Way. The Life, and this is the Truth.


I trust in You


Random bible verse from an online generator:
Psalm 73:28

28 But for me it is good to be near God;

I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,

that I may tell of all your works.


Truth Bit:
The camper was originally a gray box with 4 bunks I bought from the Knights of Columbus for like $400, I added the top (broke my finger when it dropped on me) , this year added the fold down ramp. It was originally built to stay weekends once a month while I would be in class studying to be a Deacon. But during the process it was revealed to me that my vocation was to focus on the family for now. Being a deacon with 8 small kids would be a tough tug right now. When they grow older I will revisit, and perhaps still use the camper! Anyhow, cool stuff to know! Thank you for being a part of my life.

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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