Tuesday, July 14, 2020

⛪ . "If The Mighty Deeds. . ."⛪

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What Is Freedom?

We will not appreciate Jesus' loyalty to the Law and the Prophets if we do not accept his deeper understanding of freedom. I'm afraid that the cry of the French Revolution, "Liberty, equality and fraternity," has formed us much more than the Jesus Revolution. His cry might instead be "Identity, justice and community." Think about the difference. We also tend to think of freedom as freedom of movement and the liberty to choose between options. This is surely a good and important freedom. There is no indication that the great spiritual teachers, Jesus included, see it as essential, however. They seem to recognize that the world of preferences and possibilities does not of itself lead to wisdom, truth or even depth of experience. In fact, in the spiritual life the rule seems to be that less is more. There is almost no correlation between the amount of options and the amount of truth or goodness that one attains.

—from Jesus' Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount by Richard Rohr, OFM


†Saint Quote
"You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips, but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions, you should speak with only your heart."
— St. Padre Pio

"Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it; the Christian rule is, 'Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.' Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. One or the other. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct which has gone wrong ... God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. Before we can be cured we must want to be cured. Those who really wish for help will get it; but for many modern people even the wish is difficult ... We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity—like perfect charity—will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection."
— C. S. Lewis, p. 95
Mere Christianity

"'Come now, let us settle the matter', says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.' For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Isaiah 1:18-20


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St. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), also known as the 'Lily of the Mohawks,' was born in present-day New York. Her father was a Mohawk chief, and her mother an Algonquin who had been converted to the Christian faith by Jesuit missionaries. When Kateri was four years old, a smallpox epidemic killed her entire family and left her partially blind, disfigured, and crippled. She was raised by her uncle, who detested the Christians. As she grew up, Kateri longed for the Catholic faith of her mother, and was very drawn to the missionaries evangelizing near her village. At the age of twenty she was baptized with the name Catherine (which was translated as "Kateri") after St. Catherine of Siena. Her uncle opposed her conversion to Christianity, and as a result she was ostracized by her people and treated harshly. When it was clear that her life was in danger, a priest helped her flee to a French Jesuit mission in Montreal, Canada—a journey of over 200 miles alone and on foot. There she lived a solitary life of prayer and penance, rejecting an opportunity for marriage. Her great sanctity, virtue, and love for Christ amazed everyone who knew her. She was also known as a miracle-worker. Kateri died of illness at the age of twenty-four. She was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1980, and canonized in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI as the first Native American saint. Kateri is the patron saint of environmentalists, orphans, exiles, and those who are ridiculed for their piety. Her feast day is July 14.


Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin
Lectionary: 390
Reading 1

Is 7:1-9

In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah,
Rezin, king of Aram,
and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah,
went up to attack Jerusalem,
but they were not able to conquer it.
When word came to the house of David that Aram
was encamped in Ephraim,
the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled,
as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.

Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz,
you and your son Shear-jashub,
at the end of the conduit of the upper pool,
on the highway of the fuller's field, and say to him:
Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear;
let not your courage fail
before these two stumps of smoldering brands
the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans,
and of the son Remaliah,
because of the mischief that
Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah,
plots against you, saying,
"Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force,
and appoint the son of Tabeel king there."

Thus says the LORD:
This shall not stand, it shall not be!
Damascus is the capital of Aram,
and Rezin is the head of Damascus;
Samaria is the capital of Ephraim,
and Remaliah's son the head of Samaria.

But within sixty years and five,
Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation.
Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!

Responsorial Psalm

48:2-3a, 3b-4, 5-6, 7-8

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.
For lo! the kings assemble,
they come on together;
They also see, and at once are stunned,
terrified, routed.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Quaking seizes them there;
anguish, like a woman's in labor,
As though a wind from the east
were shattering ships of Tarshish.
R. God upholds his city for ever.


Ps 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mt 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."


Daily Meditation: Isaiah 7:1-9

Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm! (Isaiah 7:9)

Today's readings are filled with predictions of violence and disaster coming upon villages, towns, and entire kingdoms. In one way, it makes sense. In ancient times, politics was often conducted by the edge of the sword and the tip of the spear. The law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth ruled the day, both in families and in international relations.

But as disturbing as these readings may be, they also offer God's wisdom on how to become peacemakers.

In the first reading, Isaiah urges King Ahaz to stand firm in faith rather than take up arms. This kind of faith is more than saying, "I believe in God." It's the faith that trusts in God and doesn't engage in treachery or betrayal. It's the faith that believes that God can bring good out of evil—and so it pushes ahead humbly in the midst of hardship.

Then in the Gospel, Jesus laments that if the towns of Galilee had learned repentance, they could have avoided destruction. This is the kind of repentance that goes beyond saying, "I'm sorry." It involves a change of heart and a change of behavior. It's the decision to turn away from sins that provoke violence—sins like vengeance and greed—and choose God's way instead.

Are you facing some kind of conflict? Take Jesus' words to heart and repent. Try to bring peace by making small changes to your words or actions. Maybe try a lighter touch or offer a kind gesture to an "adversary." Choose mercy over judgment, just as God has done for you.

Take Isaiah's words to heart as well. Place your faith in Jesus. Trust that following his way of reconciliation and love can heal wounded relationships. Even if, like him, you are rejected at first, believe that, like him, your faithfulness and humility will win the day.

"Jesus, make my faith firm so that I can become a peacemaker like you."

Psalm 48:2-8
Matthew 11:20-24



Certainty is a rare commodity in religion and philosophy both, and for that reason I view my Catholic faith as simultaneously anchored and dynamic. It is anchored because I find in the Catholic tradition something I can trust and from which I won't easily be dissuaded; it is dynamic because I am fallible.
—Neal Judisch
from Faith and Reason: Philosophers Explain Their Turn to Catholicism


"Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!" Yesterday, I sat for a while talking with a worker that I had got into a huge argument last week. He had disconnected a GPS and camera system I installed on his truck. I had already asked him not to be putting tape on the camera lens, he said ok and took it off, but this time he unplugged everything, undid everything I had done. I went and plugged it back in after he had a baby, I left him alone for that bit, of his peace. I prayed about talking to him because I knew something strange was going on as he was completely avoiding me in calling or coming around anymore (during the time he unplugged the system). So I went to tell him "I fixed your gps" and that flared him up, with him accusing me of being unjust, and that I was picking on him only and spying on him. He went on and on, puffed up, voice trembling, pointing fingers, every time I tried to interrupt I couldn't, he wouldn't let me. I could say nothing on my part to make him realize he was thinking all wrong. I quietly looked away and prayed "Jesus", only then would I be able to say a couple words. After about 1.5 hours of discussion, skipping lunch, I was able to make him realize, I was trying to be merciful by not writing him up, for not following orders, for messing with our equipment, and besides all that, I wanted a defense for all the accidents we have and people accuse us of being at fault with no evidence. Our crashes have been mostly others crashing into us from all sorts of angles. Sometimes I wonder if we are just simply under attack from all angles. In the end, I asked for humility. I asked him to be more available, not moonlighting so much, working for others, but for And then I said "I need one more thing man". "What is it" he asked...I said "we need to go eat together". He said "let's go". In the end, the no-communication was eradicated. Fast forward a week later, he keeps calling me and texting me now...for prayers, as his wife is suffering after what seems to be a wound left of the C-section during child birth. I ask you for your prayers for them as it is happening today, I pray for healing, supposedly they want to install some pump as she keeps leaking fluids at a scary rate, so he says. I prayed with him yesterday in my office, with blessed healing oil. He is still afraid. I'm afraid he's cut off communication with our Father. You see, here's the message for you today: you can push mute, but that doesn't mute the message, when you unmute it, it will still be there. And this is a message is for you and the whole nation. You cannot cover the sun, the light will always shine. You return and remain.


We pray today: "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. God upholds his city for ever". So was it worth getting an ear full from a worker whom I could've just dismissed easily with a slip of paper? In the end, the issue was about faith, something happened when me and him and a few others co-workers as we decided to do a bible study years ago after work hours. A brotherhood. Something had gone awry. I even told him "I went to you on purpose (having prayed) to take that thorn out of your flesh...and I knew it was going to hurt". But that is how to heal my friend. And now we are on a journey, asking for physical healing for his wife, the side of his flesh, but for spiritual healing, that comes from the side of Christ.


Our Lord said today: ""Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes."
What cities are these, and what do they matter to you and me today? It is a message of repentance, and that's what matters most. My friend/co-worker repented, broke down, and I apologized for the misunderstanding, and now we are in great need together of prayer. I know the prayers will be answered, but the greater prayer is of Spiritual Communion. I was able to ask him yesterday about baptism and Holy Matrimony to his legal wife. I would've never done this had I not prayed, had I just given him "the slip". I have a feeling, much of our nation is praying and repenting. And your prayers will be heard, those of us who are fasting, and repenting of our sinful ways, and those who are in sackcloth, mortifying yourself, and in ashes, negating your looks and letting the world know you are repenting. Perhaps for a woman, ashes is not putting on makeup, a false face. Perhaps for a man, you will not shave, or start shaving. Something has to show the world physically, what's going on internally, that is the sign that happens in our Holy Church's Holy Sacraments. An outward sign of an inward reality.

What happens when you relent and repent? My co-worker is a prime example; because he relented, we are friends again, communication is open and now we are helping each other out, works of prayer. And I'm in continuous prayer for those caught in addictions, traps to make many fall away from our Father. How can you ask an addict to repent? To stop looking at porn, or stop drinking or doing drugs? Can you just say "stop" and it magically happen? I wish it were that easy. These too are thorns in the flesh that have to be faced directly and taken out with great care. In other words, you can't just say "go stay warm" and "eat well" and "good bye". No, these are ones that need most help, for they face a treacherous road, risking everything as they walk on the edge of a cliff. You would do well to pray and fast much, but a direct approach is necessary with great care. I say this because as I was writing, a loved one came in asking for help, a man I've prayed much for to stop being an alcoholic. He asked for help on his resume. He even asked for temporary work. In my mind I had already said to myself days ago "I would never hire this man again....unless he makes amends and gets his family back". But, knowing me, I'd do my best to get him work, I relent pretty often, mercy and grace operate on a different wave length of light than the world operates. And so the story of repentance moves forward, I have to repent, I am fasting, I am doing this challenge brought about by Doug Barry and GraceForce, and when I first read what it asked for, for 40 days, I said to myself "sounds to me like you have to be a holy person for 40 days". And I guess that's the whole point of sackcloth and ashes. Stop evil. Stop the evil that you are doing. Stop it and stop it now. We've been forced a gag on our faces. We've been asked to be silent and in time-out. Make lemonade with the sourness of the world. Grace is the sweetener. Momma Mary loves this, and she gives sugar to whoever asks.

My co-worker kept asking last night for help, see what I could do, he wanted to be with his wife but the pandemics and hospital rules won't let you be by your loved ones as they suffer alone, "she is crying at the hospital worried and in pain and bleeding, I need to be with her and translate things she don't understand...please". These are the moments that call for faith my friend, real faith. He hasn't made it to work, I told him to just go to the hospital regardless, and see if he can go in. Last I texted him while writing to you "el rosario es muy eficaz" (the Rosary is very efficacious). And I've not heard back.
Let us then, turn to prayer.
Lord, thank you. Thank you.
I want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to repent.
Thank you, that is Mercy.
Thank you for letting me hear your message by reading it...
Thank you for grace that you bestow on us in the Holy Sacraments and through Your Mother, Our Mother's loving arms always extending downwards to the children, us the children of God.
Can you hug Mommy for us? I want to thank her for grace.

We will need it to continue on our journey for all that may come.
We will need it to illuminate the world around us.
Thank you Lord


Random bible verse from an online generator:
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


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