Monday, January 25, 2021

⛪. To Every Creature . . . ⛪


What We Bring to Prayer

What we bring to the pursuit of the God of life is what we will get out of it. The regularity of prayer, the depth of our lectio, the embrace of silence, the space we give to the search for God, the surrender of our own obsessions with self to the concerns of God for the world—all these will determine the quality of the contemplation we achieve. Prayer becomes the olive press we walk, the chafing wheel we tread which, over and over again, breaks open our hearts to the Word of God. Then, finally, after years of immersion in daily prayer, we begin to be what we have prayed for all those years.

–from the book In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics
by Joan Chittister, OSB


†Saint Quote
"We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place for those who love us."
– St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"Since all our love for God is ultimately a response to His love for us, we can never love Him in the same way He loves us, namely, gratuitously. Since we are fundamentally dependent on God and in His debt for our creation and redemption, our love is always owed to Him, a duty, a response to His love. But we can love our neighbor in the same way that He loves us, gratuitously—not because of anything the neighbor has done for us or because of anything that we owe him, but simply because love has been freely given to us. We thereby greatly please the Father. God the Father tells Catherine [of Siena]: This is why I have put you among your neighbors: so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me—that is, love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for any profit for yourself. And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me."
– Ralph Martin, p. 261
Fulfillment of all Desire


St. Paul the Apostle, originally named Saul, was an intelligent and zealous Jewish scholar and Pharisee who fiercely persecuted the first Christian converts among the Jews. While on his way to Damascus with permission to arrest Christians, he received a vision of the resurrected Christ. Jesus rebuked him for his actions and struck him blind, and through this encounter St. Paul was converted. God then used St. Paul and his zeal to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially to the Gentiles. St. Paul was martyred in Rome in the year 65 A.D. The feast day of St. Paul's conversion is celebrated on January 25.
See More About Today's Feast >

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."
John 14:27


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St. Dwynwen (5th c.) was a princess from Anglesey in Wales, the beautiful and virtuous daughter of King Brychan Brycheiniog. According to legend she fell in love with a young man, yet refused to marry him due to her piety and desire for the religious life. She prayed that her desire for marriage would be removed, and that God would give happiness to all lovers. Dwynwen became consecrated to God as a nun and set up a convent on Llanddwyn Island, and her church and its 'holy well' became a pilgrimage shrine from the Middle Ages down to today, especially for lovers. St. Dwynwen is the patron saint of lovers, and in Wales her feast is the equivalent of St. Valentine's Day. Dwynwen translated means 'she who leads a blessed life', and her feast day is January 25.


Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Lectionary: 519
Reading I

Acts 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
I replied, 'Who are you, sir?'
And he said to me,
'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.'
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, 'What shall I do, sir?'
The Lord answered me, 'Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.'
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

"A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
'Saul, my brother, regain your sight.'
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
'The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.'"


Acts 9:1-22

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
"Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?"
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial Psalm

117:1bc, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;

glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,

and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


See Jn 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mk 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."


Daily Meditation: Acts 22:3-16

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? (Acts 22:7)

Bam! In an instant, Paul's life is completely turned upside down. Just moments before, he had been bent on snuffing out the followers of Jesus. But now he is set on a path that will make him one of history's greatest evangelists. This sounds almost too good to be true!

Paul's experience may lead us to think that unless we experience a dramatic, earth-shattering event like his, we really haven't experienced conversion. But that's not usually the case. So let's take a look at what conversion is so that we can get a better understanding of our own experience of the Lord.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls conversion "the movement of return to God" (1490). It's a decision to turn away from sin, turn toward Jesus, and embrace him as Savior and Lord. Like Paul's experience on the Damascus road, conversion is a response to God's revelation. It's a decision to accept his invitation to "come and see" who Jesus is and what he can do in us (John 1:46).

Besides the spectacular immediate conversions like Paul's, some of us experience the slow buildup of many small conversions. These "mini" conversions happen as God gradually opens our eyes to his goodness and to our need for salvation. Perhaps a homily at Mass helps us to see God's truth in a new way. Or the events of life show us how deeply we need Jesus—and how merciful he is. Or perhaps we are simply led to a deeper love for God and rejection of sin as our lives unfold. This may not be as dramatic as Paul's conversion, but all the ingredients are still there!

Take some time today to review how God has drawn you to himself. Look back over your life and see all the reasons you have to be thankful for his grace in redeeming you and opening heaven to you. Can you picture what your life would be like if you hadn't tried to follow the Lord? Then praise him for his mercy, his patience, and his love in calling you to his side!

"Thank you, Father, for sending your Son to rescue me from sin! Help me to live for you today."

Psalm 117:1-2
Mark 16:15-18



The reason for our current decline is not that the nation's original principles have finally reached fruition, but that the Christian and natural law perspective that animated its Founders is being lost—for only by abandoning the general principles of Christianity and natural law can one imagine liberty as 'autonomy of self'.
— Robert Reilly
from the book America on Trail


"He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
Of all the people, why did our Lord choose Saul? A murderer of Christians. Why did our Lord choose a tax collector, a hated person? Why did our Lord choose a sinner at me?

Lord, I am not should come into my temple.


We pray: For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News."
Him choosing a sinner is proof of something special...His mercy...and His Love.


And to a special honor to be one with Him in HIS adventure: "I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord."
In the Holy Gospel our Lord said: ""Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature." And so we have saints like St. Francis and others even preaching to birds and fish! Have you ever done that? I remember a couple of Lents ago, I invited my godsons and a couple other men to have a Lenten, good Friday retreat at my father's place, and I called it in my notes a "Catch" retreat. I remember that I had the men meet at the church and then I whisked them away in a van to a designated area behind a ranch. We prayed the rosary on the way. And when we got off, I told them that as a first activity, they were to go and catch a rabbit and the winner gets hundreds of dollars cash, and they had limited time. I told them to notice their experience so we can share.

The experience was meant to be a teaching moment. I wanted them to see how alluding and daunting the task is to be a catcher of men. And to my surprise, as time was about to expire, two men had teamed up and actually caught a rabbit. They brought the catch to a place where we would discuss our experience. They released the rabbit, but it didn't run. Instead, it hopped a few steps over to a shade and there rested...and listened to our discussion, and all were amazed. We were preaching to each other, and to creatures, and the world. And it happens when we open be caught, and found in obedience. Only then does our Lord work miracles.
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned."
One of the first things I ask people when we go into faith if they've been baptized. That's what most faithful protestants want for all too. That's good, our job is to preach and to baptize. But there's this body of Christ we are born into.
"These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons...". I've had a hellish experience and it goes like this: I taste sin, and then I can't pray.
It is horrible. It's like a mute spirit comes inside. A blind spirit begins to set in. And then a deaf spirit. That is, to say: the mute spirit will not let you speak/pray to our Lord. The blind spirit hides our Lord from your sight, you cannot see Him anymore. And the deaf spirit hinders your ability to hear Him anymore...that hear Him calling you. In my last experience, I had one Mama Maria in Heaven. Only then was I assisted to return, with a taste of humility. And so, yes we'd like to be the ones casting demons out of others...but firstly my friend...from yourself as my prayers soon began with Mother's prayer "get out you evil spirits, from inside of are not welcome here". And a restoration begins, until I can get a seal covenant in Confession accomplished, go tell a Priest what has happened, so you can be strengthened in grace and restored in community.

"They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." The last of all things a believer will do. Before so, they were picking up serpents and drinking poisoned drinks. What does all this mean? Do I need to become a snake handler? Yes and no. Yes spiritually, no materially. You have authority in your home. And there are times you will be handed poisons to drink, perhaps unblessed meals. No harm shall come, if you remain. Everything now is on a different realm. And the sick? They too, for most disease is one of spirituality, that can be healed spiritually with the Holy Spirit. And God sends angels and saints to assist...and then you of course the main servers....because ultimately....we are the body of CHRIST!!!

LORD, I want to be able to do everything you've said we can do.
Help me get over myself to get to You my Lovely Father.

from your brother in Christ our Lord,

Random online bible verse:

Treasure in Jars of Clay

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.


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God Bless You! Peace

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