Thursday, March 17, 2022

† ". Then I Beg You . ."


†Saint Quote
"It is a lesson we all need—to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path."
–St. Katharine Drexel

†Today's Meditation
"Now there's no one who approaches God with a true and upright heart who isn't tested by hardships and temptations. So in all these temptations see to it that even if you feel them, you don't consent to them. Instead, bear them patiently and calmly with humility and long suffering."
—St. Albert the Great, p. 164

An Excerpt From
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

†Daily Verse
"Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
–Ephesians 3:20-21


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St. Patrick of Ireland

St. Patrick (387-493) was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland, to Roman-British parents. He was kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of sixteen and sold as a slave to a Druid high priest. He worked as a shepherd and spent much time in prayer as he labored in the fields. He also acquired a perfect knowledge of the Celtic language and the Druid cult, which later enabled him to evangelize the Celtic people. After six years of slavery, an angel told him to flee his oppressive master and return to his native land. Upon returning to Britain, Patrick desired to devote himself to God's service. He went to France and placed himself under the direction of St. Germain, who ordained him a priest and sent him to evangelize the pagans in Ireland. St. Patrick devoted the rest of his life to converting the island to Christianity. He was ordained a bishop and himself ordained many priests. He divided the country into dioceses, held local Church councils, founded monasteries, and urged the people to greater holiness. He suffered much opposition from the Druids and occult magicians, who, threatened by Christianity, conjured demonic power to defy Patrick. However, the prayer, faith, fearlessness, and episcopal authority of Patrick triumphed, and he was so successful in his endeavor that in the Middle Ages Ireland became known as the Land of Saints, and himself the "Apostle of Ireland." Later, the missionaries sent from Ireland to Europe were largely responsible for the Christianizing of the continent. St. Patrick's feast day is March 17th.


Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Lectionary: 233
Reading I

Jer 17:5-10

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,

who seeks his strength in flesh,

whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert

that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,

a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters

that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,

its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,

but still bears fruit.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,

beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind

and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways,

according to the merit of his deeds.

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

See Lk 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.


Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied, 'My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.'
He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said,
'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'"


Daily Meditation: Jeremiah 17:5-10

He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream. (Jeremiah 17:8)

Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins once cried out to God in a poem, "O thou lord of life, send my roots rain." Hopkins' words may well express how we sometimes feel. It could be that we don't sense the Lord's love and presence in prayer and feel as if he has abandoned us. Or we could be working hard at something that doesn't seem to be bearing fruit. And surely that's how the prophet Jeremiah sometimes felt. Given the hardships he endured, it's pretty clear that he knew what it was to experience spiritual dryness as well as physical drought.

Even so, Jeremiah compares those who enjoy God's blessing to a tree whose roots draw water from a nearby stream. In times of heat and drought, the tree still finds all the nourishment it needs by stretching its roots to the running water in the stream. So how do we stretch our roots to the Lord when we feel dry and thirsty?

As difficult as it can sometimes be in those times, we need to keep looking to the Lord and seeking his grace in regular daily prayer, in the Scriptures, and in the sacraments. Though the Lord might seem to be far away, in truth he is very near to us; we just can't sense him at that moment. Sometimes it's also helpful to utter short prayers reminiscent of the one in Hopkins' poem: "Lord, please send my roots rain today!" Or we can offer a prayer of thanksgiving: "Lord, thank you for allowing this time of barrenness. I trust you to somehow work in and through it."

Jeremiah's wisdom reminds us that we are indeed blessed if we trust in the Lord and place all our hope in him. That hope will never disappoint, for the dryness and spiritual drought that we may feel will last only for a time. We know that we can count on the goodness and faithfulness of our God. He will strengthen our faith during the drought and give us great joy when he sends us his life-giving water once again.

"Lord, water our 'roots' with the life-giving water of your Spirit so that we might draw closer to you."

Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Luke 16:19-31


From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
_"Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD."

My dad, God rest His soul in glory, used to recall this quote quite often. His confidence was in the Lord, not so much in humans. I am amazed though, at how this verse is not more well known, and taken to heart. Just yesterday someone was complaining to me about how she is treated by our staff at church. I tried to explain that we are humans. Go to any church down the street and you'll encounter the same problems. Maybe it isn't them! Maybe it is oneself! Right? Can you really rely on any human being for all your life, and eternal life at that? NO! CURSED is the man who trusts in human beings! God has said it. Those are the ones turning to the flesh, and turning away from the Lord our God. They trust themselves even more than God Himself. Now we are diving into faith realms.


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. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord"


Our Lord speaks:
"And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.'"

Would you believe it if a dead person came back to life and told you everything they saw, heard, and lived?

To this day, in some near death experiences, those who have literally died, come back to tell what they saw. Some saw hell, brutal torments and more. Some said they saw what heaven was like, allbeit, not living it if you ask me. And most are somewhere in between, where many times our Lord appears and their life flashes before their eyes, replaying all the acts of their life and love. Some things they say are so hard to believe. And if they were truly believed, the whole world would have been saved and converted by now, if only one person was believed.

Yet, our Lord sends Lazarus, his friend back to life, and what happened? Do we hear of thousands being converted and saved? No. Rather, we hear in the bible of how Lazarus too would be sought out for death by the Pharisees. So was the rich man right? Would his brothers have been saved if Lazarus would've come back to warn them of eternal damnation for those who ignore true God and true Love?
To this day I'm hearing stories of near death of many who return to tell they weren't in Heaven because of their lack of love, even small acts of injustice have to be paid for. Perhaps you ignored someone the other day. Perhaps you're purposely not talking to someone today. Perhaps you were so frustrated that you didn't want to be around others. Or perhaps you were so sad that you couldn't help others be glad.
Think of St. Francis prayer. It's not about me. Help me not be understood but understand. If I want to get out of my depression, I must help others out of their depression. If I want to be happy, I must help others be happy. And it happens in business, that if I want to prosper, I have to help others prosper. Therefore, if I want to live, I must help others live. Such is the Gospel today.
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ, yes, and the same can be said of the poor outside your gate.
Notice how, in order to see Lazarus in your life, you have to go outside your little box, outside of yourself, and out that gate, open the gate, and let love pour out and then you receive Christ.

How am I involved with orphans to this day asking me for help? I sought them out.
How am I involved with prison ministry? I answered the call for help.
You see, the poor don't come to you all the time, you have to be actively seeking. Seek and ye shall find...opportunities to encounter Christ...Savior...Life eternal.

from your brother in Christ,


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