Thursday, March 25, 2021

..Done To Me .. †


The Thread of Hope

"The same God who called Abraham and made him come down from his land without knowing where he should go is the same God who goes to the Cross in order to fulfill the promise that he made. He is the same God who in the fullness of time will make that promise a reality for all of us. What joins that first instance to this last moment is the thread of hope. Therefore, what joins my Christian life to our Christian life, from one moment to another, in order to always go forward— sinners, but forward—is hope. Yet, what gives us peace in the dark moments, in life's darkest moments, is always hope. Hope does not disappoint: it is always there, silent, humble, but strong."—Pope Francis

These powerful words from Pope Francis remind us that hope is one of three "theological virtues," along with faith and love. With St. Paul, we believe that the greatest of these is love, but hope is the virtue that keeps us going when even love seems to fail. Sometimes our ordinary use of the word hope can reduce it to something like wishful thinking: I hope I pass this exam. I hope my test results are good. I hope my children will be happy and successful. We use the word for things that are out of our control. We use it for times when perhaps our efforts have fallen short. We use it for all the uncertainties in our daily lives. Pope Francis reminds us that the real source of our hope is always in God's faithfulness and mercy. Abraham has always been the prime example of this kind of hope. He left everything to follow God's call. We all have times in our lives when we, too, find ourselves going forth into the unknown darkness. In those times, hope in God's promise is all we have to cling to—and cling we must, sometimes with only our fingertips. The image of hope keeping us from drowning can seem all too real at times when we are overwhelmed by life's struggles: addiction, despair, depression, death. The theme of our Lenten reflections is hope. The hope of Lent is clearly Easter and the resurrection. But there's a deeper hope that is with us each and every day, that knows no times or seasons. It's the ground on which we stand, the bedrock of our foundation. That thread of hope runs strong and resilient through our lives, caught at each end by the grace of God's merciful love.

— from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis

by Diane M. Houdek


†Saint Quote
"Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."
— St. Rose of Lima

"The queen bee never settles in her hive without being surrounded by her swarm, and charity never takes possession of the heart without bringing in her train all other virtues, exercising them and bringing them into play as a general his troops. But she does not call them forth suddenly, all at once, nor in all times and places. The good man is like a tree planted by the water-side that will bring forth its fruit in due season, because when a soul is watered with charity, it brings forth good works seasonably and with discretion."
— St. Francis de Sales, p.117
An Introduction to the Devout Life



The Solemnity of the Annunciation, celebrated on March 25th, honors the profound meeting between the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, as recorded in St. Luke's Gospel. On this day St. Gabriel announced to Mary Immaculate that she would miraculously conceive a Child by the Holy Spirit, the long-awaited Messiah who would save mankind from their sins. This is the moment of the Blessed Virgin Mary's great fiat of perfect submission to the Divine will. This day on which the Church celebrates the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of His Blessed Mother is exactly nine months before the Feast of the Nativity on December 25th.

"Teach me thy way, O Lord, that I may walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name. I give thanks to thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify thy name for ever. For great is thy steadfast love toward me; thou hast delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol."
Psalm 86:11-13


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St. Dismas (1st c.) is the name Church tradition has given to the "Good Thief," one of the two criminals who were crucified alongside Jesus Christ on Good Friday. All we know about St. Dismas is what is mentioned of him in the Gospels: "Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, 'Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.' The other [St. Dismas] however, rebuking him, said in reply, 'Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.'" Then St. Dismas, as an expression of his faith in Christ as the Messiah, said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replied to St. Dismas, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:39-42). The feast day of St. Dismas is March 25.


Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Lectionary: 545
Reading I

Is 7:10-14; 8:10

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
"I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!"
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means "God is with us!"

Responsorial Psalm

40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11

R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,

but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;

then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,

and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;

I did not restrain my lips, as you, O Lord, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;

your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth

in the vast assembly.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading II

Heb 10:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats
take away sins.
For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said:

"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,

but a body you prepared for me;

in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.

Then I said, 'As is written of me in the scroll,

behold, I come to do your will, O God.'"

First he says, "Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in."
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, "Behold, I come to do your will."
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this "will," we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Verse Before the Gospel
Jn 1:14ab

The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us;
and we saw his glory.


Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.


Daily Meditation: Luke 1:26-38

Mary said, . . . "May it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)

Easter Sunday will soon be here, which means that we've been trying to keep our Lenten resolutions for almost six weeks now. At this point in our Lenten walk, we might be feeling a bit weary or even discouraged. If so, today's readings for the feast of the Annunciation can give us a much-needed shot in the arm.

Let's start with the first reading. The prophet Isaiah draws our attention to the promise of a virgin who will bear a son. His name will be "Emmanuel"—"God is with us" (Isaiah 7:14; 8:10). God is indeed with us, and we can trust him to give us whatever we need in order to do what he is asking of us. And if we fail, we can turn to him at any moment and ask for his forgiveness—because the God who is always with us is a God of love and mercy.

Next is the response from Psalm 40: "Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will." With the psalmist, we too can cry out, "Lord, despite my human frailty and weakness, I want to do your will today!" His grace will meet us where we are and lift us up in spirit, helping us to recommit ourselves to our Lenten resolutions.

Finally, we come to Luke's description of the Annunciation. Mary reacts to the angel's startling news by asking, "How can this be?" (Luke 1:34). Once she hears Gabriel's explanation, Mary responds with an extraordinary act of faith. We too may wonder how God will accomplish what he has promised; we may even question him, as Mary did. But then we need to trust him by making her words our own: "May it be done to me according to your word" (1:38).

Today, on this special feast, let's ask Mary to intercede for us so that we may remain faithful to our commitments. Although she was without original sin, she certainly knew what it was like to be human, to feel weary, and to be pushed and pulled by temptations. She is our devoted and faithful mother, and she will surely carry our prayers to her son, Jesus.

"Mary, pray for me to complete my Lenten journey with renewed zeal."

Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10
Psalm 40:7-11
Hebrews 10:4-10



Call on Mary with devotion, and she will not leave your needs unattended, since she is merciful, indeed, the Mother of Mercy.
— St. Bernard of Clairvaux


"Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son...".

A virgin bears a son. What a stark difference from Eve who knew sin. And a new Eve, a new Dawn, a new era begins. This is why we celebrate Mother Mary on this day, this Solemnity of the Annunciation of the birth of our Lord. Everything is changing.


We pray (with Mother Mary): "To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!" Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will."
They say holy Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary while she was praying in the silence of her room. And they say she was already devoting and praying things like "help me usher in your Kingdom Lord". And her prayers are heard.


And the angel appeared:
""Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
Full of grace. There's books written on this verse alone. It is fully loaded with theology. Full of grace means so much. It means she is honored and holy and purely for God. She then, is named spotless, that is, the Immaculate Conception. For if we have grace, she is fully grace, and if we have grace now it is because she was given grace. You see, in Heaven, a woman is honored for special reasons. Why? She is the symbol of all mankind. Wo-man, from Man, and God is Man, and Jesus is Son of Man.

Mother Mary responds with one question: "how?...I have no relations with a man" Why would a woman that is basically married say she has no relations with men? Or in this case her man? That means she is a consecrated virgin. I am very pleased after going on spring break vacation, in a large city, in a busy mall, to have seen some young men wearing shirts that say in bold letters "Virginity Rocks". Now, I hope I'm on the right page, as if it appears to mean that withholding from sex is a thing to be proud of. If this is the case, I am proud. And I'm not one to say those words often because I believe pride is of the devil. But I am happy to see this message, contrary to public beliefs, contrary and set apart, and being consecrated, and all of this means holiness. Something completely contrary to the world. Everyone is trying to be cool but to be cool you gotta be one of of the crowd and follow their ways. And they preach being different, unless, being different is being super holy.

And we come back to Mother of God. Mother of Jesus. Mother of our Lord. Mother of the new dawn, the light of the world. Mother of our Hope. Mother of the most amazing gift to the world. To accept Jesus fully, we must accept His Mother fully. And then we can more fully understand our Lord Jesus.
Today, is a day to celebrate, have a piece of cake! Celebrate life at conception. Celebrate that this is when life begins in the womb. Celebrate and pray for all the babies in the womb. They are not globs of flesh, they are life begun and the soul is entering this holy Place.

Lord, Thank you. Thank you for Blessed Mother Mary. Thank you for my mother in Heaven, Your Mother that You gave us from the Cross on Calvary. Thank for life. Thank you for the light. Thank you for so many who choose to live in the light. Help the light grow...your Life in us!

" "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."

Thy Will Be Done!

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Psalm 30:2
2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,

and you have healed me.


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

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