Thursday, March 3, 2022

† ".If Anyone Wishes To.. ."


†Saint Quote
"Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading."
–St. Isidore of Seville

†Today's Meditation
"This God of all goodness has made those things easy which are common and necessary in the order of nature, such as breathing, eating, and sleeping. No less necessary in the supernatural order are love and fidelity, therefore it must needs be that the difficulty of acquiring them is by no means so great as is generally represented. Review your life. Is it not composed of innumerable actions of very little importance? Well, God is quite satisfied with these. They are the share that the soul must take in the work of its perfection."
—Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p. 7

An Excerpt From
Abandonment to Divine Providence

†Daily Verse
"But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression."
–Psalm 19: 12-13


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St. Katharine Drexel

St. Katharine Drexel (1858-1955) was a wealthy heiress from a prominent family in Philadelphia. From a young age she felt called to serve the spiritual and temporal needs of the underprivileged, particularly the African American and Native American communities. She learned the virtue of charity from her parents, who often opened their home to the poor. She began by donating money, but quickly realized this would not bring the lasting change these communities desperately needed. During an audience with Pope Leo XIII she requested that a religious order be sent to manage the institutions she was funding. In response, the Pope suggested that she herself enter the religious life for this purpose. St. Katharine then founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, Katharine invested her personal fortune of 20 million dollars in this cause. She helped build the first missions school for Native Americans in Santa Fe, and founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At the time of her death, more than 500 sisters of her order taught in over 60 schools which had been founded throughout the country. Katharine Drexel was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II in the year 2000, making her the second American-born saint. Her feast day is March 3rd.
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Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Lectionary: 220
Reading I

Dt 30:15-20

Moses said to the people:
"Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore
he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

Responsorial Psalm

1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not

the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD

and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree

planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,

and whose leaves never fade.

Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;

they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,

but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse Before the Gospel

Mt 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.


Lk 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples:
"The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Then he said to all,

"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?"


Daily Meditation: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Doesn't it seem a little out of place that here, at the beginning of our Lenten journey, we are reading Moses' words to the Israelites at the end of their desert journey? But this reading actually carries a valuable message for us right now. Moses is telling us that every day during this season, we will face numerous choices about how we want to live, and he is giving us two simple words that will help guide us in those decisions: "Choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Every day we will find ourselves in situations in which we can decide whether to choose life by following the Lord or to go our own way. It can be as simple as deciding whether to pay attention to a stray thought that could spark envy or resentment in our hearts. Or it could be as complex as deciding whether to forgive someone who has hurt us. Every situation, in fact, offers us the opportunity to "choose life" by "holding fast" to the Lord (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20).

Moses tells us something else that is just as important: God will bless us every time we choose life. Moses promised the Israelites that this blessing would include a long life in the land that God had given them. But the blessings of life in Christ are far more expansive than that. They are the blessings of a closer relationship with him, the blessings of knowing his presence and hearing his voice more clearly. They are the blessings that St. Paul called the "fruit of the Spirit"—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and faithfulness (Galatians 5:22).

Jesus knows that it can be hard to follow him. He knows that choosing his way sometimes means denying ourselves and taking up our cross (Luke 9:23). But he also knows that the blessings far outweigh the costs. And so as we begin our journey through Lent, he is asking us to count the cost and choose life. He is asking us to look at every situation as another opportunity to choose his way—and to know the blessings that such a choice will bring.

So how do you want to live today?

"Jesus, I believe that you want nothing more than to fill me with your love. Lord, help me to choose life today. Help me to choose you."

Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Luke 9:22-25


From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom."

Our Lord has given free will, free choice. What can we do for Him? Every small step counts. Every small act becomes a great one. Even every thought. Either we become holy as a whole, as a world...or we choose the opposite of life and prosperity.


We pray in Psalms:
"Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night."


Our Lord speaks:
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it"

Bishop Barron says at the end of his reflection today: "His listeners knew what the cross meant: a death in utter agony, nakedness, and humiliation. They didn't think of the cross automatically in religious terms, as we do. They knew it in all of its awful power. Unless you crucify your ego, you cannot be my follower, Jesus says. This move—this terrible move—has to be the foundation of the spiritual life."

I often ask my students "what is the cross?". Depending on the age, I'll get different answers. The older folks will say perhaps the cross is infirmities, or problems they are facing. The younger ones often have a hard time answering the question. And my answer? It is the cost of discipleship. How much are you willing to do God's will? For our Lord, it cost every last drop of blood to be poured out for us in the most brutal of fashions, being skinned alive, and stabbed in the heart after being stabbed in the back by one of his own followers.

Yet, He calls us to follow Him.

"Take up your cross and follow Me" says the Lord.

And the other question that compliments this one is when we are asked if we love Jesus. And then we have to answer with our very lives. To love God is to do God's will. To follow His commands...of life. Which is strange because it cost His only Son's very give life.

The world and it's ways has amassed weapons that can destroy the entire planet, not just one or a few, but thousands of times more needed to destroy the world where nobody will survive. How far the world has chosen the ways of death. How far have we strayed from the choice between life and death that was promised to Moses.
Moses dies and the people enter the promised land.
Jesus dies and the people are promised paradise. The difference? Eternity.

The great Exodus has been accomplished. We can enter the Exodus through the Paschal Mystery, the Cross Christ chose.
How? By choosing the Paschal Mystery to be our way, to enter life by passing through this death. And it begins now, as a peeling away of our skins of sins. And then what is underneath is revealed. The very Love of God.

from your brother in Christ,


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Random bible verse generator:

Psalm 90:2
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,

or ever you had formed the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God.


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