Tuesday, March 2, 2021

...Their Works Are Performed... †


Tree Pietas

There is a phenomenon—if there's a scientific name, I don't know of it—where the trees break and fall into one another's arms. I've come to call these tree pietas. A ripped branch catches at an angle in the V-shape of a nearby tree, and the stronger tree holds it. Almost always, each walk brings me to the angular shapes of a newly formed, geometric tree pieta. Often, an entire tree weakens, no longer able to stand upright, and instead of falling horizontally on the ground, its trunk is being cradled within the branches of the taller, vigorous tree. I'm now a seeker of these tree pietas, because they remind me of how the psalms catch me. Something tender stirs within me when I see the connections of these trees. When I myself need to let go of parts of my life, or my spirits are falling, the lines and stanzas of the psalms catch me and keep me there. Sometimes my need for support is as random as flipping open to a page and finding "He blows with his wind and the waters flow." Where I was once breaking and falling, I am now embraced by the words and held aloft in their branches.

—from the book What Was Lost: Seeking Refuge in the Psalms by Maureen O'Brien


†Saint Quote
"Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God."
— St. Ignatius of Loyola

"Our Blessed Lord, bound like a thief, is conducted through the public streets of Jerusalem accompanied by a large body of soldiers who indulge their rage and hatred by ill-treating Him in every possible way, and surrounded by a multitude of people who overwhelm Him with insults and maledictions, and rejoice over His misfortunes. Jesus advances, His feet bare, and His strength utterly exhausted by all His mental and bodily sufferings, offering up the ignominy and tortures He is now enduring, to His Eternal Father, for the salvation of my soul. The soldiers render His position still more painful, by inviting people to approach and see their renowned prisoner, while Jesus proceeds on His way in the midst of them, with a humble demeanor and with downcast eyes, to teach us what value we should set on the esteem and honor of the world, and the applause of men. But a few days previously Jesus had passed through these same streets, applauded and honored by the crowd as the Messiah, and now, abandoned even by His disciples, He is followed only by perfidious enemies who seek His death, and unite in deriding and insulting Him as a malefactor, and the last of men. Such is the duration of the honors and praises of the world! Learn hence to seek the good pleasure of God alone, to labor for the acquisition of a right to the immortal honors of Paradise, and to practice patience under humiliation, from the example of Jesus."
— Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, p. 79-80
The School of Christ Crucified

"A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they may return to their senses out of the devil's snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will."
2 Timothy 2:24-26


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Blessed Charles the Good (1083–1127), also known as Charles I and the Count of Flanders, was born in Denmark, the only son of King Canute IV (St. Canute) and Adela of Flanders. He was five years old when his father was assassinated in the Odense Cathedral, after which he and his mother fled for their lives to Flanders. He grew up in the royal court in that country and accompanied his maternal grandfather, a Count, on a crusade to the Holy Land. After his grandfather's death, Blessed Charles became an advisor to the next Count, his uncle; after his uncle's death, Charles became Count. He was highly regarded by the people for his holiness and virtue. He was outspoken against the common practice of hoarding grain and selling it at inflated prices, and opposed the prominent Erembald family who gained their financial prosperity through this unjust practice. On March 2, 1127, while Charles was in church praying, he was slain by soldiers loyal to the Erembald family, in the same manner his father was killed. His death sparked a public outcry and uprising against the Erembald family, while Charles was immediately looked upon as a martyr and saint. His feast day is March 2nd.


Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

Lectionary: 231
Reading I

Is 1:10, 16-20

Hear the word of the LORD,

princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,

people of Gomorrah!

Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;

cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,

hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow.

Come now, let us set things right,

says the LORD:
Though your sins be like scarlet,

they may become white as snow;
Though they be crimson red,

they may become white as wool.
If you are willing, and obey,

you shall eat the good things of the land;
But if you refuse and resist,

the sword shall consume you:

for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!

Responsorial Psalm

50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,

for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,

no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,

and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline

and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?

Or do you think that I am like yourself?

I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;

and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Verse before the Gospel

Ez 18:31

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.


Mt 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
"The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people's shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.'
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."


Daily Meditation: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20

Make justice your aim. (Isaiah 1:17)

What we aim for has a big impact on whether we ever hit the mark. So how do we set our sights on achieving justice? It can seem so idealistic and so out of reach. Where do we even begin?

One key Hebrew word used in this passage, daresh, conveys the image of someone clearing a path. Step-by-step, they are forging a way toward a more just future. There is no shortcut for creating a natural path outdoors, and neither is there an effortless or one-shot method for achieving justice. Rather, it's an ongoing task that, like clearing a path, usually begins with a step in the right direction.

Step-by-step: that can sound slow and tedious. But let's consider how much good can come out of each single individual who personally answers the call to seek justice. Blessed Frederic Ozanam, founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, began his work by delivering his own supply of winter firewood to a woman who was recently widowed. One act of charity at a time, he and his friends looked after the poor of Paris. Eventually, their fervor and authentic practice of the gospel caught on. Now some 800,000 members in 140 countries are following along his same path of concern for the poor.

This is the same principle that each of us can follow: rise to meet a single visible need, and then faithfully continue to tread the path toward justice. Of course, God doesn't ask us to provide for everyone's needs indiscriminately, but we can trust him to guide us to specific people and situations. As we respond by putting one foot in front of the other, we can also trust him to provide us with the grace and the resources to continue down that path.

The Lord hears the cry of every victim of injustice, and he asks us to do the same. So consider the opportunities in your midst and how you might head toward the need instead of keeping your distance. Make the meeting of that need your desire. Then aim for it and go!

"Father, let me never stop looking for ways to make justice my aim."

Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Matthew 23:1-12



The gift of the Holy Spirit must be accompanied by our free choice to follow His inspiration and guidance. If we do not choose to resist sin, the Spirit cannot help us, for He will not violate our freedom. However, if we make even a weak resolve to struggle against temptation and sin, the Holy Spirit can rush into us and fortify that weak resolve, giving us enough strength to resist the deadly sins with greater effectiveness.
— Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.
from his book Escape from Evil's Darkness


" Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow."
This is the command for Lent. Cease doing evil. Learn to do good. Reach out to the poor. The reason we read this today is because the message is still alive. And the message ends with a stern warning. Live or die. It is the message for us all. The choice is ours. Who will live or die? To live in spiritual terms means eternity. To die means to death forever, and as glamorous as the world paints skulls and evil, it is not as it is painted. Imagine a world with no joy, no light, just sheer pain and dread, with vile hatred being spewed all the time. Yet, we have a choice says our Lord. Mercy is there for the taking. Will you now sit on sack cloth and ashes? Will you show the world you are sorry for your sins? May our Lord have mercy.


We pray: ""Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you? To the upright I will show the saving power of God."
One who says one thing and does another is simply a hypocrite, right? Can you think of a hypocrite right now that you know? Is it a priest? A Deacon? They say one thing and do another? What about a personal friend or relative? Do they make you do stuff they wouldn't do? What about yourself? Do you like to be reprimanded, insulted, and disciplined? Only saints know what to do with humiliations. I heard today someone say that St. Mother Teresa said that all the writings on humility are not enough to explain how to arrive to humility. I heard a week or two ago that Mother Mary said that in Heaven, Jesus is still as humble as the day He was born. What does that even mean? How can someone be that humble? The world threw all they could at Him, and He was not moved. Plucked His beard. Spit in His face. Smacked Him with clubs on the head. Hurt His skull with sharp thorns. Tore His skin off with special whips. And that was just the physical attacks. The spiritual attacks had begun before. Spiritual attacks are things designed to attract one to fall into temptation, to anger, to gossip, to put others in their place, to show one's power. But no. Our Lord remained true to self, the sign of Heaven.


And in being this sign, He has the authority to speak. He speaks: "Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice."
I always like to use the example of my young loved one. His parents split up, got divorced. He lived with his mom, wasn't really accepted by the new dad. Somehow abuse came into the picture. Eventually his biological father got rights over his children. Allbeit, it had been the father's fault for getting divorce, drugs, sex (outside of marriage) and the list could go on. He got the kids he fought for. He devoted himself to them, having lost many years of having them. He was by no means perfect, he had many inner struggles, but he still prayed and praised God in public. But his son was not well. Not taking things well. He suffered inner turmoil. Soon, things turned physical, his intestines were becoming knots. He had to have surgery for it. I remember someone told me that he was taking things for worse, telling people he didn't care if he went to jail, to juvenile, and that's where he was headed. I remember fondly, talking to him sincerely, speaking with authority, saying something like "you must obey your father no matter what, he is your dad, and the bible says we will be blessed for doing so, I know he's not perfect, but still, he's your father". He listened. He stuck it out and honored his father. Fast forward 10 years later, today he is in college, just got a job at Chic-Fi-A, and is doing well for himself. A positive influence, as he is trying to be for his younger step siblings and cousins, studying child psychology to help those traumatized as I'm sure he felt he was.

On the same note, our Lord asks us to follow our Fathers, priests, and biological dads. But truth be told, that is because HE is our True Father. He speaks through dads and priests, all them our Father. Listen to them. Do as they say, not necessarily what they do (that's not good).
"As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.'
"Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven."

Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Christ."
Protestants love to take this out of context "call no one Father". That is because they are fatherless, they have decided to not be under the Patriarchy of the Magisterium. No Papa. No Pope. They say "just you and Jesus". But they won't tell you that directly. Most do not know better. And on that note, they are motherless, by rejecting our Mother Mary. They are in a sense, orphans, and they need our love and attention and correction.

Holy Scripture in our Lord is asking us 3 times not to call others your source of religion. Like some little old lady that does whatever the priest says as if he was the source of all. I seen it in other religions, they follow their local leader "pastor" and swear by them and live for them alone. This is erroneous. Our True Father is our Lord in Heaven. All of us need to help each other to Him. They are not THE rabbi. They are not THE master. They are not THE father. But they are still there as leaders. From the chair of Moses to the Chair of Saint Peter, fathers that give life, spiritually in our Holy Catholic (Universal) Church of Christianity for the whole world.
If you want to see a true sign of Christ, let us turn to His very words: "The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
I'll relay a secret revealed to me in contemplation and prayer within to our Lord. One cannot outsmart evil, the devil itself. One cannot think their way out of it. One cannot defeat the devil itself, that is not our job. There is one way, and there is only one way to overcome it, and it is humility to God our Father. This means a surrendering to His Holy will.

Lord, how can we make a return? I've not prayed as I ought. I've not fasted as I ought. I've not given as I ought. I pray for all of us here, to be truly Your children, seeking Your holy face all the day, living for You by surrendering to You. Grant us the gifts and the grace to bring Your light into the world.

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Proverbs 16:28

A dishonest man spreads strife,

and a whisperer separates close friends.


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God Bless You! Peace

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