Friday, January 14, 2022

† ". That You Mayh Know . . ."


†Saint Quote
"If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord's presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed."
–St. Francis de Sales

†Today's Meditation
"This great power of grace over nature appears at first sight as unnatural, for which reason nature strives against it and does not even wish to hear of the necessity of penance and mortification. But the obligation of penance remains, and precisely because of nature's opposition, it cannot be emphasized often enough or earnestly enough. Softened, wounded nature, moreover, makes difficulties greater than they really are. Grace does not wish to destroy nature, but only to elevate it, that is, to drive out the evil that makes it sick and then to introduce a new and better life. By taking away all that nature loves to its own detriment, and thus wounding it in its innermost depth, it at the same time pours such a healthful balsam into this wound that it is a delight to be wounded in this way. Ask the Saints if they have ever experienced any greater delight than in those moments when they offered themselves, body and soul, as a victim to God. … Ask yourself if you have ever enjoyed a deeper or more genuine delight than when you suppressed a violent desire of proud, angry nature, or performed any other act of heroic mortification with the help of grace. If, then, grace could give the Saints such a wonderful, superhuman and heroic courage as to elevate them above themselves and make them lead an angelic life already in the flesh, can it not enable you to live at least as a man, in harmony with your natural dignity, and not as a slave of the flesh, of the passions, of your own will and opinion?"
— Fr. Matthias J. Scheeben, p. 260

An Excerpt From
The Glories of Divine Grace

†Daily Verse
"Though the fig tree do not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
–Habakkuk 3:17-1


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St. Felix of Nola

St. Felix of Nola (d. 250 A.D.) was born in Italy near Naples, the son of a Syrian soldier. After his father's death, Felix gave his goods to the poor and entered the priesthood. He was ordained by his bishop, St. Maximus of Nola, and served as his assistant. When persecution against Christians increased under Roman Emperor Decius, St. Maximus hid in the desert while St. Felix was captured, tortured, and thrown into prison. While in prison an angel appeared to Felix and freed him from his chains, bidding him to go to the aid of his bishop, St. Maximus, who was at the point of starving to death. After assisting the bishop, Felix fled from his captors by hiding in a hole. Miraculously, a spider quickly spun a web over the hole and prevented St. Felix from being caught by his pursuers. Felix continued hiding in a dry well for six months until the persecution abated. Afterwards he declined an offer to become the bishop of Nola following the death of St. Maximus. Felix's property was confiscated in the persecutions, so he lived his remaining years farming a few acres of rented land for his own sustenance as well as alms for the poor. His feast day is January 14.


Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I 1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22a

All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, "Now that you are old,
and your sons do not follow your example,
appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us."

Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them.
He prayed to the LORD, however, who said in answer:
"Grant the people's every request.
It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king."

Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full
to those who were asking him for a king.
He told them:
"The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows:
He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses,
and they will run before his chariot.
He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups
of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers.
He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting,
and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will use your daughters as ointment makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves,
and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards,
and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants,
as well as your best oxen and your asses,
and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place,
you will complain against the king whom you have chosen,
but on that day the LORD will not answer you."

The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel's warning and said,
"Not so! There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations,
with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare
and fight our battles."
When Samuel had listened to all the people had to say,
he repeated it to the LORD, who then said to him,
"Grant their request and appoint a king to rule them."

Responsorial Psalm 89:16-17, 18-19

R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;

in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,

and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
For you are the splendor of their strength,

and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,

and to the Holy One of Israel, our King.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
"Child, your sins are forgiven."
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk'?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth"
–he said to the paralytic,
"I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home."
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."


Daily Meditation: Mark 2:1-12

Your sins are forgiven. (Mark 2:5)

What a moving scene this must have been! The friends of the paralyzed man are gathered around him. They have known him all his life, and they've never dreamed that his condition could change.

But now, Jesus says a few words over his rigid body, and he starts to move! He lifts up one arm, then a leg. Then he raises himself up off the stretcher and walks slowly toward his friends. Everyone is weeping for joy. Could anything be more amazing?

Yes. Hearing Jesus tell the man, "Your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5). While physical healings are tremendous demonstrations of Jesus' power, they pale in comparison to his forgiving our sin! Sin can separate us from God forever. It's what drove us out of paradise and caused us to be subjected to sickness and death. Sin is the ultimate "terminal disease," and there's nothing more wondrous than being healed of it.

When Jesus asks if it is easier to forgive the man's sins or to heal him, we know the answer. It was anything but easy for him to redeem us from sin. He was beaten, scourged, and crucified, and he died a slow, agonizing death to set us free. What's even worse, he took the world's sin upon himself. "For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Any physical healing that we receive is just one dimension of this bigger miracle that Jesus accomplished on the cross.

The next time you go to Confession, think about what Jesus has done for you in winning your forgiveness. Contemplate how great a salvation he won for you at the cost of his own life. Let this sacrament open to you the doors of mercy, restoration, and healing. Know that when the priest absolves you, Jesus himself is speaking through him. Taste his love for you and be assured that he does not dwell on your sins. With Jesus, forgiven really does mean forgotten! Thank the Lord that you are free to love and serve him. Then go and share his love with your brothers and sisters!

"Lord, help me to appreciate your sacrifice for me. May I experience your forgiveness more deeply today!"

1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22
Psalm 89:16-19


From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"Not so! There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations,
with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare
and fight our battles."

We must be like others, they say. But God had called us to be set apart...a light in the dark, in holiness, and one with Him.


We pray in Psalms:
"For you are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted. For to the LORD belongs our shield, and to the Holy One of Israel, our King. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord."


We heard in the Gospel today:
"After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, "Child, your sins are forgiven."

Right now, with my dad hospitalized with Covid pneumonia, I find myself praying for faith itself. I've written reflections to help everyone with faith...and I'm still asking for faith. It seems, now, going on two weeks, there are miniature steps forward, and then the same backwards. It's a roller coaster. The waves crashing this boat in the dark can really play with your mind, and then emotions, and then...your faith.

Our Lord sees faith. And when He sees faith, miracles happen. And so I wonder, have I not faith? He leaves places with no miracles when there is no faith. I have reached out to orphans, friends abandoned in nursing homes, priests, nuns, monks, and to all the faithful for prayer, including yourself. I KNOW prayers are in Heaven. So what's going on? For how long does the boat rock in the dark? Is it my dad that needs faith? Or is it me? One clue word I've heard, even from our Bishop whom I asked for prayer..."patience".

Wait for the Lord...right? What do you do while you are waiting, and the storm is smashing the boat? Hunker down? Stop praying? What do you do when you can't see anything but scary waves of doom and gloom? What?

And I don't have the answer, this is where faith must come in.

Jesus sees the faith, and the faithless. At this point, I pray for faith, and I pray "Lord, I believe, help my disbelief!".

I am the blind man praying "Lord, I want to see".
And we are need of faithful to carry us through to Jesus.

Let's pray:
Lord, Father, God in Heaven, our lives are in your hands. If I turn to any news, it is of doom and gloom. If I turn to you, I turn to hope, grace, and I turn to You for guidance...light. So that we may follow Your light in the dark, and steer this sheep clear of catastrophe, for us, and for the whole world.
Have mercy on us Lord, be our light.
Have mercy on us Oh Lord, be our Salvation.


from your brother in Christ,


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Random bible verse generator:

Hebrews 6:11–12

11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.


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God Bless You! Peace

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