Friday, February 19, 2021

And Then They Will. . . †


The Fasting God Wants

"Tell the people their actual wickedness, let the people know their real sins.... 'Is this the kind of fasting I wish? Do you call this a fast day acceptable to God?'" (Isaiah 58:1, 5).

Isaiah says explicitly that God prefers another kind of fasting which changes our actual lifestyle and not just punishes our body. (The poor body is always the available scapegoat to avoid touching our purse, our calendar, or our prejudices.) Isaiah makes a very upfront demand for social justice, non-aggression, taking our feet off the necks of the oppressed, sharing our bread with the hungry, clothing the naked, letting go of our sense of entitlement, malicious speech, and sheltering the homeless. He says very clearly this is the real fast God wants! It is amazing that we could ever miss the point. It is likely that what we later called the corporal works of mercy came from this passage.

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


†Saint Quote
"We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God."
— St. Francis de Sales

"And so the idea of peace came down to do the work of peace: The Word was made flesh and even now dwells among us. It is by faith that he dwells in our hearts, in our memory, our intellect and penetrates even into our imagination. What concept could man have of God if he did not first fashion an image of him in his heart? By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, he was invisible and unthinkable, but now he wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of. But how, you ask, was this done? He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin's breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer. He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell. He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the signs of victory; and finally in their presence he ascended to the sanctuary of heaven. How can we not contemplate this story in truth, piety and holiness?"
— St. Bernard, p. 186
Witness of the Saints

"Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!"

Psalm 61:1-4


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Bl. Alvarez of (Córdoba) Cordova (1350-1430) was born to a noble family in Zamora, Spain. He joined the Dominican Order and preached throughout Spain, and served at the court of Queen Catherine. He went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and upon his return preached the crusades against the Muslims. He founded the famous priory of Scala Caeli (Ladder of Heaven) at Cordova, a convent of strict observance, and it is said that angels helped provide its building materials. He erected pictures of the holy places in Jerusalem in its gardens, popularizing the custom of the Stations of the Cross. He lived a life of great austerity and begged for alms even though he could easily obtain what he needed from the royal court. Numerous miracles are attributed to him. It is told that he once found a dying beggar, wrapped him in a blanket, and carried him back to the convent. Upon unwrapping the cloth he found only a crucifix. Blessed Alvarez was dedicated to Christ's Passion and helped spread devotion to the Way of the Cross throughout western Europe. He also successfully led a resistance against the anti-pope and brought Spain under allegiance to the true pope in Rome. His feast day is February 19.


Friday after Ash Wednesday

Lectionary: 221
Reading I

Is 58:1-9a

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,

lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,

and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,

and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just

and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,

pleased to gain access to God.
"Why do we fast, and you do not see it?

afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,

and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,

striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast

so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,

of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed

and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,

a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:

releasing those bound unjustly,

untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,

breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,

sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,

and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,

and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,

and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,

you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial Psalm

51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19

.(19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
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. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
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. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;

should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;

a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse before the Gospel

See Am 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.


Mt 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
"Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast."


Daily Meditation: Isaiah 58:1-9

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish. (Isaiah 58:6)

In today's first reading, God is calling his people to a different kind of fast than we are used to. He tells them, and us, to fast from injustice—to set free those who are oppressed, to feed the hungry, and to clothe the naked. These are big-picture problems that we all need to work together to solve. But what about fasting from the smaller injustices we might commit against the people we interact with each day? This also pleases the Lord. Let's look at a few examples.

A fast from gossip. Gossiping is an act of injustice because we are, in a sense, stealing the reputation of another person. This can also be the case even if what we say turns out to be true.

A fast from criticism. Constructive criticism can help us to grow, but when it's not constructive, it tears people down and strikes at their dignity and self-image.

A fast from complaining. When we complain, we end up feeling only more unhappy and discontented. It also has an effect on the people around us, bringing them down and contributing to a negative atmosphere in our homes or workplaces.

A fast from grudges. When we hold a grudge against someone, we are keeping that person captive to the wound they have caused us. We are also holding ourselves prisoners to feelings that harden our hearts over time.

If all this sounds overwhelming, try approaching it from a different direction. How about turning your fasts into feasts? Think about how you can replace negative behaviors with acts of love and kindness.

Instead of gossiping, you could feast on silence and discretion.

Instead of criticizing, you could feast on affirming people.

Instead of complaining, you could feast on counting your blessings and sharing them.

Instead of holding grudges, you could feast on forgiveness.

Remember, you don't have to do any of this alone. Just as God promised to answer his people's cries for help, so will he answer you (Isaiah 58:9). Trust that this Lent, he will give you all the grace you need to fast—and to feast!

"Lord, help me to treat other people as you would—with justice."

Psalm 51:3-6, 18-19
Matthew 9:14-15



Lord, make us grateful. Let the thanks we owe you and Your Mother always accompany us from now on, let them bear fruit let them be the pervasive spirit of our service.
— Adrienne von Speyr
from a prayer collected in her book With God and With Men


"This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
†releasing those bound unjustly...
† Setting free the oppressed...
†Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
† Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. "
So did our Lord release those bound unjustly? Several times to a billion times, yes. Remember all the times He sets free the oppressed by lawmakers? Like the adulterous woman? A billion times, yes.
So, did our Lord set free the oppressed?

Yes, that's what a priest is to do. Mercy is His name, and justice too. Many were delivered from bad spirits, many times a billion. That means to this very day, He may, He can, He does, and He will.
So, did our Lord share His bread with the hungry?

Yes, He actually turned His body into bread. Where we would not, He would. Where we would not share, He gave more. That is, where our body would not dare share, He even turns the body into bread. So yes, a billion times over, yes.
So did He cloth the naked and not turn His back? If all the saints lead us into His example, then yes, a billion times over.

So can you unbind those unjustly bound? Of course, you can save a life, but you may need to give your life to do so.
So can you set free the oppressed? Sure thing! But you will need to invest much prayer, fasting, and giving of time and talent and treasure!
So, can you feed the hungry? Not a problem, once you can devote yourself entirely and trust in God with all your heart, mind, and soul.
So can you clothe the naked and shelter the homeless? As I meditated, I texted a local charity place to contact me when they hear of a homeless person so I can also try to help. Too often, we believe these scriptures mean "when you happen to run into someone in need, try to help" but that's not how it works. People don't come knocking, not people in dire need. Some are too proud. Some do not know. Some are simply lost. Some are too weak. And so, the inverse must happen; you must make the effort to seek and find these lambs. And in them, find the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.


We prayed: "For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."

So you gave up chocolate huh? But you didn't give up gossip? You didn't give up stabbing another behind their back. You didn't give up yourself, you didn't fast and sacrifice what our Lord truly aims for. Share your chocolate, and be sweeter than anyone else, pure salt of the earth, humility at its best. That's what our Lord desires most, sheer goodness and Love, thus true light.
"Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord will be with you."


They asked our Lord: ""Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?"
And so, it is known that people fast. People of God fast. And our Lord makes it known that His disciples shall fast once He's taken: "The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast."
And here we are. Fasting. Once He was taken away from us, we began fasting. To this day we are fasting. People used to fast much. They didn't know, or care about health issues. They didn't put up excuses or age limits or dispensations. For example, it was known that one should fast from eating or drinking before receiving our Lord in Mass, all the way to the night before. And then it was pushed up to midnight. And then lately one hour before Mass, and now some are saying "oh no, it's one hour before receiving Him" so that makes it ZERO fasting! We've made it too easy to do nothing. We won't lift a finger. We won't sacrifice. Is it good to sacrifice? I'm a singer in Mass, director of choir. I notice, that when I fast, I sing different. I sing suffering. I sing more true. I sing more contrite. Whereas, if I go with a fully belly, I may have acid problems, I may feel tired, I may feel too full...of myself, and in no real need, of Him. So, if my experience counts, and I share this with you, fasting helps. It can eradicate sin from your life. If you choose to fast from the sinful things, of course, good habits will come. Virtues soon follow. If you're a holy roller already, join the club! If you fast now, expect unexpected graces. Empty hands receive more. Empty hearts receive love if we seek Him to fill us with Himself.

Lord, I pray that we can all receive more. I pray we can truly empty ourselves of our disgusting selves, and be holy and truly yours...forever.

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Psalm 135:5–7

5 For I know that the LORD is great,

and that our Lord is above all gods.
6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does,

in heaven and on earth,

in the seas and all deeps.
7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,

who makes lightnings for the rain

and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.


If one day you don't receive these, just visit
God Bless You! Peace

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