Wednesday, February 24, 2021

...This Generation Is ... †


Faith Is a Leap into God's Love

Faith is precisely nothing. It is nothing you can prove to be right, or use to get anywhere else. If you want something to believe in (which is where we all must start!), you had best be a totem and taboo Christian, with clear ground, identity, and boundaries. But that is not yet faith! That is merely securing the foundations for your personal diving board.

Faith is the leap into the water, now with the lived experience that there is One who can and will catch you—and lead you where you need to go! Religion, in some sense, is a necessary first half of life phenomenon. Faith is much more possible in the second half of life, not necessarily chronologically but always spiritually. As the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wisely said, "Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward." Jonah knew what God was doing, and how God does it, and how right God is—only after emerging from the belly of the whale. He has no message whatsoever to give until he has first endured the journey, the darkness, the spitting up on the right shore—all in spite of his best efforts to avoid these very things. Jonah indeed is our Judeo-Christian symbol of transformation. Jesus had found the Jonah story inspiring, no doubt, because it described almost perfectly what was happening to him!

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


†Saint Quote
"Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book."
— St. John Bosco

"It almost always happens that interior sentiments of pride precede the commission of grievous sins. Peter was not aware of his own weakness. He preferred himself before others; he trusted in himself as though he were incapable of sinning, boasting that no temptation would separate him from Jesus. He would not even believe the assurance of his Divine Master, that he would deny him thrice. Deceived by this vain confidence in his own strength, he neglects to pray, and to have recourse to God; and God, in His justice, permits him to fall, in punishment of his pride. There is nothing more dangerous than to confide in our own strength, and trust to feelings of fervor. We are full of malice, and capable of committing the most enormous crimes, unless God supports us."
— Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, p. 85-6
The School of Jesus Crucified

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."
Jeremiah 17:7-8


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Bl. Thomas Maria Fusco (1831-1891) was born to a noble and pious family in Italy, the seventh of eight children. He was orphaned at an early age and raised by his uncle, a priest, who oversaw his education. He had a deep love for the faith, especially to the Passion of Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows. He became a priest at the age of 24 and opened a school in his own home. He later became an itinerant missionary throughout southern Italy. After traveling for a number of years he opened another school, this time to train priests on how to be good confessors. He also founded the Priestly Society of the Catholic Apostolate to support the missions, which gained papal approval. During his work with the poor he discerned a call to start a new religious order of sisters, the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood, to minister to orphaned children. In addition to all of this, Fusco was also a parish priest, a confessor to a group of cloistered nuns, and a spiritual father to a lay group at the nearby Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. He died of liver disease at the age of 59. He was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 2001. His feast day is February 24.


Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Lectionary: 226
Reading I

Jon 3:1-10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD's bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,"
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
"Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish."
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm

51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19

R. (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.
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. 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

Jl 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart
for I am gracious and merciful.


Lk 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
"This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here."


Daily Meditation: Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness. (Psalm 51:3)

The psalmist reminds us of two foundational truths: we are utterly dependent on God for his mercy, and we can trust that his "goodness" and the "greatness" of his "compassion" far outweigh our sin (Psalm 51:3). That's what makes Psalm 51 such a rich resource as we prepare to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So let's pray through it together while imagining a conversation we might have with the Lord:

In the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense (Psalm 51:3). "Here it is, Lord, my sin. A hurtful word. Inattention to someone in need. Failure to honor a commitment. I recognize that offense, and I am sorry. I realize I've done wrong. Please forgive me."

Thoroughly wash me from my guilt (Psalm 51:4). "Sometimes I have a hard time believing you want to forgive me. Guilt makes my failures loom large before me. Lord, help me to believe in your mercy, no matter what I've done. Help me understand that I am your beloved, made in your image. My sins don't define who I am."

A clean heart create for me, O God (Psalm 51:12). "Lord, help me to desire to change. I don't just want to do good things. I want to love you and do everything for love of you. I want to grow in understanding how much you love me and all the people you have put in my life."

A steadfast spirit renew within me (Psalm 51:12). "I have good intentions and resolutions right now in this moment of prayer, but help me live them out all day long. At work, at home, with friends or strangers, help me to be steadfast in following through on the ways I plan to do good and avoid evil."

Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me (Psalm 51:13). "God, I can't do any of this on my own, no matter how hard I try. But I believe that in Baptism and Confirmation, I received your Holy Spirit. Spirit of God, I rely on you to empower me to leave sin behind and to love the way you love."

"A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn" (Psalm 51:19).

Jonah 3:1-10
Luke 11:29-32



The fruit of Silence is Prayer. The fruit of Prayer is Faith. The fruit of Faith is Love. The fruit of Love is Service.
— St. Mother Teresa


"When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented..."
And mercy came.
That's what our Lord wants for us to learn. Mercy. To learn that He is mercy. To learn that we can be like Him, merciful. To learn that we too...can repent, and be merciful...with Him.


We prayed today: "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."
Let's go to the heart of the matter now.


Our Lord speaks: ""This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah."
Faithless people demand signs. Heartless people will not love...first. Heartless people will not forgive first. And He didn't reject them, but said "WAIT FOR IT". Because ultimately He gave them the sign of Jonah! He was dead to the world for 3 days, and then came back to life to announce repentance! FOR MERCY!

Does this move you? Do you want a sign? Do you need a sign to believe? Don't lie. He proves Himself. He bends the rules for the faithful. Signs come. For those who seek, He gives. He gave everyone the sign they wanted. The biggest sign in History. Resurrection. Eternal life. I am encouraging you to always seek. You will find. I am encouraging you to be faithful. Like all the reflections we read. Believe first. No sign first. Religion first, then faith trickles in. We raise our kids demanding they do God's laws. And then, for some, it starts trickling in. We don't slam faith. Faith is a gift. We prepare ourselves for the gift. That's what a good lent should do. Goofed up already? Like me, I don't goofed. But I'm not giving up. Repentance makes stronger bonds my friend. I need repentance to love God more. I hate sin. I want it out of my life. I need you and you need me.

Lord, I love You. Lord, please help us love You more and more. I want to crucify my passions, my desires, so I can better serve You,

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Romans 8:38–39
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


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God Bless You! Peace

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