Wednesday, February 17, 2021

⛪ . . . May Be Secret . . ⛪


A New Beginning

It seems that we need beginnings, or everything eventually devolves and declines into unnecessary and sad endings. You were made for so much more! So today you must pray for the desire to desire! Even if you do not feel it yet, ask for new and even unknown desires. For you will eventually get what you really desire! I promise you. It is the Holy Spirit doing the desiring at your deepest level. Therefore you will get nothing less than what you really desire, and almost surely much more.

You are the desiring of God. God desires through you and longs for Life and Love through you and in you. Allow it, speak it, and you will find your place in the universe of things. Now let me tell you something: You cannot begin to desire something if you have not already slightly tasted it. Now make that deep and hidden desire conscious, deliberate, and wholehearted. Make your desires good and far-reaching on this Ash Wednesday of new beginnings. You could not have such desires if God had not already desired them first—in you and for you and as you!

Remember finally, that the ashes on your forehead are created from the burnt palms of last Palm Sunday. New beginnings invariably come from old false things that are allowed to die.

—from the book Wondrous Encounters: Scriptures for Lent
by Richard Rohr, OFM


†Saint Quote
"Great love can change small things into great ones, and it is only love which lends value to our actions."
— St. Faustina Kowalska

"And it is only by the observance of the first and greatest commandment that we can keep the second. The more we love God, the more we shall love man; the less we love God, the less we shall, in the true sense of the word, love man. Our love will become capricious, fitful, and unreliable—not charity, but passion. If you feel that your love for your fellowman is dying out in the fumes of selfishness, there is but one way to revive it: strive for, pray for, the love of God. As the heart turns toward its source, it will be quickened and expanded. There is no true, no lasting spirit of charity apart from the practice of religion. Therefore, we cannot keep those commandments which teach us our duty to men unless we are keeping those which teach us our duty to God."
— Fr. Basil W. Maturin, p. 160
Christian Self-Mastery

"I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep thy word. I do not turn aside from thy ordinances, for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way."
Psalm 119:101-4


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St. Manettus (d. 1268), also known as St. Benedict dell'Antella, was one of the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites. Between 1225 and 1227 in the city of Florence, Italy, seven cloth merchants from the city's prominent families joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They desired to live a penitential life dedicated to her title of Mother of Sorrows. Our Lady appeared to the seven men on the feast of the Assumption in 1233, asking them to live a life of seclusion and prayer. They obeyed and lived an austere life for many years. Mary appeared to the seven again in 1240, giving them a black habit and a scroll titled "Servants of Mary," and asking them to found a religious order following the Rule of St. Augustine. The Servites became one of the five original mendicant religious orders. Their special charism is devotion to the Passion of Jesus and the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Only one of the seven founders lived to see the order formally approved by Rome in 1304. It has since spread throughout the world and remains active to this day. The feast day of its Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites (Servants of Mary) is February 17.


Ash Wednesday

Lectionary: 219
Reading I

Jl 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD,

return to me with your whole heart,

with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,

and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,

slow to anger, rich in kindness,

and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent

and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations

for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!

proclaim a fast,

call an assembly;
Gather the people,

notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,

gather the children

and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room

and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar

let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, "Spare, O LORD, your people,

and make not your heritage a reproach,

with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,

'Where is their God?'"

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land

and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm

51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;

in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt

and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,

and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,

and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,

and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,

and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,

and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading II

2 Cor 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,

and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel

See Ps 95:8

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


Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."


Daily Meditation: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:4, 6)

Doesn't Lent seem like boot camp sometimes? Prayer, fasting, almsgiving—all require sacrifice and effort. Of course, we take up these practices because we want to please God (and maybe lose a few pounds!). But in today's Gospel, Jesus promises even greater rewards; he says his Father will "repay" us for whatever sacrifices we make (Matthew 6:4, 6). What might that look like?

Let's start with prayer. God wants you to experience his goodness this Lent, and that happens primarily as you spend time with him in prayer. So try attending daily Mass, Adoration, or a retreat this Lent. Read a new spiritual book or pray through one of the Gospels during the next six weeks. Try to carve out this time to open yourself to God so that he can reveal himself to you.

Fasting can be difficult, but when you fast, you make room for God. Every time you stop yourself from reaching for that dessert, you are emptying yourself of your desires and asking God to fill you up. Every time you take off an evening from your screens, you are giving him the opportunity to speak to you.

And what about almsgiving? Not only does it bring you closer to people in need; it teaches you detachment. The more you can detach yourself from your material possessions to bless other people, the more you discover that you were made for God. You realize that your life and your happiness don't depend on the things money can buy.

Like any boot camp, Lent can seem long and hard. Even minor sacrifices can wear us down over time. But whatever you decide to do, know that God will graciously "repay" you—with his presence, with his love, and with his grace.

"Lord, help me to experience more of your blessings this Lent."

Joel 2:12-18
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17
2 Corinthians 5:20–6:2



The temptations were meant to divert Our Lord from His task of salvation through sacrifice. Instead of the Cross as a means of winning the souls of men, Satan suggested three short cuts to popularity: an economic one, another based on marvels, and a third, which was political. Very few people believe in the devil these days, which suits the devil very well. He is always helping to circulate the news of his own death.
— Henri Nouwen


"Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?"
Isn't that a popular question? "where is your God now?" when calamities arise. It is really, a two fold question. One is aimed to make you doubt. And the other is to truly seek an answer. You can choose. Seek and find. Or doubt and lose.

Such is the embarking statement for Lent today.


Today we pray: "A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned".
What is the major problem for all of us in the fallen ages? Because that is where we are. The fallen. In other countries, faith is cherished, but if you go there, they are in the middle of a war. Or, they are suffering in other extreme ways. But not all countries are at that state. Most are suffering spiritually, but you cannot see this suffering in their first world countries. You have to dig a little deeper to see their poverty. We suffer from ingratitude. We suffer from pride. We suffer indifference. We suffer arrogance. We suffer pestilence in pornography whether people want to admit it or not. The addictions are at an all time high with drugs including alcohol. And I will introduce to you soon an idol who is named...Idle.


Our Lord said: "When you give alms". This is a command. Give. Got money? Give. Got extra stuff? Give. Got time? Give. Got talents? Give. Give someone a break! Give some mercy! Give some love.

Then our Lord says: "
"When you pray". This is a command. Connect with our Lord. Connect with Him in your heart. Connect with Him in each other. Gather to pray. Pray at the same time. Pray for the same common cause. Pray about everything. Pray about the smallest things. Because the smallest prayers become soon greater prayers. Prayers then, become our spiritual breathe. We live on a prayer.

Our Lord said: ""When you fast". This is a command. Our Lord's disciples fasted. Before they met our Lord always, and after our Lord left them, they fasted always. But the fast is to drop a load my friend. If I give up a bad habit this lent, pick up a good habit, like prayer, or studying about our Lord. If I stop spending on myself and giving to others, watch what can happen. You'll lose and others will gain. Fast from sin. Fast from self. Stop eating. The worldly will tell you this is stupid and ridiculous. That is because they do not understand how true love works. We look to the cross for the ultimate example. The crucifix speaks thousands of words of Love. And that is where we journey with Our Lord. And this is good. Someone said holiness is not about adding but about subtracting. Here we go. I am with you my friend.

From a Spanish Reflection ending today Juan Lozano CMF:
" Cheer up! It is a beautiful adventure that is worth living. Let yourself be surprised by God in this time of search and preparation. With all my heart, happy Lent!"

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

John 15:16
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.


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God Bless You! Peace

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