Thursday, March 11, 2021

...Whoever Does Not Gather ... †


Let Us Begin Again

There's a poster that reads, "Let us begin again," St. Francis of Assisi, with a speckled bird soaring above the looping letters. Us, not me. Begin again. It doesn't say "begin again while looking back at the past that still hurts and confounds us" or "begin again while worrying about the bad things that might happen in the future." I've been studying psalm-words—Lord, refuge, mercy—and isolating them, but now I need to put them back together. I disassembled the psalms to examine them closely, like a leaf under a microscope, finding the opening and closing of the stomata. But the true beauty of a leaf, like our human lives, exists when you watch it bud, grow, and fall with all the other leaves. Together. So I am looking out over the breathtaking view of the psalms as I hope we never forget to begin, again and again. To know, no matter what, that we are walking in love and beauty when we seek.

— from the book What Was Lost: Seeking Refuge in the Psalms

by Maureen O'Brien


†Saint Quote
"When an evil thought is presented to the mind, we must immediately endeavor to turn our thoughts to God, or to something which is indifferent. But the first rule is, instantly to invoke the names of Jesus and Mary and to continue to invoke them until the temptation ceases. He who trusts in himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori

"Temptation to a certain sin, to any sin whatsoever, might last throughout our whole life, yet it can never make us displeasing to God's Majesty provided we do not take pleasure in it and give consent to it. You must have great courage in the midst of temptation. Never think yourself overcome as long as they are displeasing to you, keeping clearly in mind the difference between feeling temptation and consenting to it."
— St. Francis de Sales
The Fulfillment of All Desire

"For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified."
Romans 2:13


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St. Eulogius of Cordoba (9th c.) was a priest from a prominent Christian family in Cordoba (Cordova), Spain. He was well-educated, humble, gentle, friendly, and a gifted leader with the charism of encouragement, especially towards Christians facing martyrdom. In his time Cordoba was the capital of the Muslim conquerors of Catholic Spain. The Muslim leaders allowed Christians to live in relative peace until a persecution arose when some of the Muslim population began converting to Christianity. They imprisoned the clergy, including Eulogius. While in prison Eulogius read the Bible to his companions and exhorted them to faithfulness in the face of martyrdom. He also wrote to two other young female converts who were facing threats, instructing them that no matter how terribly they were physically abused, it could not harm their souls, and that they must fight for their faith till death and leave God to defend his Church. St. Eulogius was released and later jailed again for hiding a young female convert who fled from her family in fear of her life. St. Eulogius' judge offered him escape if he would weaken the practice of his religion, but instead he preached the Gospel to the presiding court. He was immediately beheaded. St. Eulogius' feast day is March 11th.


Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

Lectionary: 240
Reading I

Jer 7:23-28

Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.

Responsorial Psalm

95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;

let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;

let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,

and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:

"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,

as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;

they tested me though they had seen my works."
R If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

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 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons."
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters."


Daily Meditation: Jeremiah 7:23-28

Listen to my voice. (Jeremiah 7:23)

Whether you're speaking at a business meeting or giving directions to your children, it's important to make sure that the first thing you say is the main thing you want your hearer to remember. God does that here, through Jeremiah. His essential message is "Listen to my voice" (Jeremiah 7:23). For the people of Jeremiah's time, that meant following the commands in the first five books of Scripture and listening to God's word spoken through the prophets. It meant studying God's words intently so that they became written on their hearts and thus became second nature to them.

Today, centuries later, we still need to ponder and to study the word of God intently. That has never changed. But what has changed is that we now have the Holy Spirit living in us. He is here to speak God's word to us and to give us the wisdom we need. He brings the written words of Scripture to life for us and points out how we can apply these words to our day-to-day situations.

God is always speaking: through prayer and the thoughts that come to mind as you pray; through Scripture and sacred music; through the words of other people; even through your memories, imagination, and emotions. God can also speak through billboards or catalogs, wind in the trees or waves on the shore, a roaring fire or a gentle whisper. And, as with the Israelites, he wants us to listen, to pay attention to his voice all throughout the day. You may not always hear correctly, but you can expect that he will speak to you. Over time, you will learn to recognize it.

"If today you hear his voice," the responsorial psalm urges, "harden not your hearts" (Psalm 95:8). Be open, willing, and ready to assent to what you hear, to ask for understanding, or to make note of it for more prayer later. Resolve to obey as best you can, and then act according to your understanding. The result, God promises, is that you will be his own: "I will be your God and you shall be my people" (Jeremiah 7:23).

"Lord, help me to listen to your voice and obey your direction and correction so that I may live faithfully today."

Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
Luke 11:14-23



When I try to gather in Christ's name with the people I care about, I am writing love letters to God and to my friends—loving God through worship and loving my friends by sharing the most important part of my life with them.
— Leah Libresco
from her book Building the Benedict Option


"This is the nation that does not listen to the voice of the LORD, its God, or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech."
Does this sound like our Nation? There's much division, right? And who do you think the faithless will blame? The faithful. Scapegoat, same as our Lord, the Scape-lamb....sacrificical always. Whatever it takes though right?


Today we pray: "Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
So it boils down to you, believe it or not. Your faith matters. It REALLY does! Every part of the body (of Christ) matters. Isn't this a heart warming message? Indeed it should be, because a way to know the Holy Spirit is working is that burning, really a yearning in the heart to do God's will.


And so they blamed our Lord for all sorts of things. How many times are you falsely accused? It feels horrible. When someone is lying about you, I mean, I've seen people leave the church for it. They can't handle the lies and the accusations, and so they leave. But our Lord doesn't ask you to leave, or to quit, to throw your hands up in the air and then wash them like Pilate. No, our Lord stands firm. Not stubborn, but firm in faith and confidence, that is trust in the truth, complete trust in God from Heaven our Father.

"But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you."
For evil this is bad news, for you, this is good news. It means "Salvation Has Come". Have you ever had to be rescued in a life and death situation? Have you ever been brought to a point of desperation and then been helped out? That is our Lord, but even more so, spiritually, because yes, being saved of our earthly life is good, but it is more good to be saved spiritually, therefore...a real and complete surrender to our Lord.
It only takes the finger of God to save the world, like Michelangelo's picture of God touching the faint hearted man, that doesn't put much effort into touching God, although HE puts all sorts of power and love, and His only life to touch us.
I'm inviting you my friend, to help Jesus build a church. He invited me and I invite you on His behalf. Come, let us build a beautiful structure to be a place of refuge, of mercy, a wonderful building we will call "Church". And there, will house none other than the finger of God...that is connected to His precious Body.

Lord, I want to be a part of building Your Holy Temple. It will not reach the sky, but reach horizon to horizon, connecting the whole world with Your infinite love and mercy. Amen.

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

12 Before destruction a man's heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.


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God Bless You! Peace

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