†Saint Quote "We ought to speak, shout out against injustices, with confidence and without fear. We proclaim the principles of the Church, the reign of love, without forgetting that it is also a reign of justice." –Blessed Miguel Pro
†Today's Meditation "With regard to evil thoughts, there may be a twofold delusion. God-fearing souls who have little or no gift of discernment, and are inclined to scruples, think that every wicked thought that enters their mind is a sin. This is a mistake, for it is not the wicked thoughts in themselves that are sins, but the yielding or consenting to them. The wickedness of mortal sin consists in the perverse will that deliberately yields to sin with a complete knowledge of its wickedness with full consent. And therefore St. Augustine teaches that when the consent of the will is absent, there is no sin. However much we may be tormented by temptations, the rebellion of the senses, or the inordinate motions of the inferior part of the soul, as long as there is no consent, there is no sin. For the comfort of such anxious souls, let me suggest a good rule of conduct that is taught by all masters in the spiritual life. If a person who fears God and hates sin doubts whether or not he has consented to an evil thought or not, he is not bound to confess it, because it is morally certain that he has not given consent. For had he actually committed a mortal sin, he would have no doubt about it, as mortal sin is such a monster in the eyes of one who fears God that its entrance into the heart could not take place without its being known. Others, on the contrary, whose conscience is lax and not well-informed, think that evil thoughts and desires, though consented to, are not sins provided they are not followed by sinful actions. This error is worse than the one mentioned above. What we may not do, we may not desire. Therefore an evil thought or desire to which we consent comprises in itself all the wickedness of an evil deed." —St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 142-143
An Excerpt From 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation
†Daily Verse "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit." –Romans 15:13
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St. Nicholas Owen
St. Nicholas Owen (d.1606) was born in England, the son of an Oxford carpenter. He became a carpenter himself, and joined the Jesuits as a lay brother during the era when Catholicism was outlawed in England. After serving jail time for defending the martyred St. Edmund Campion, Nicholas began working for and traveling with the Jesuits, staying in Catholic houses where he made repairs during the day and secretly constructed well-disguised 'priest-holes', or hiding places for hunted priests, during the night. He was so skilled at his craft that his priest holes saved hundreds of lives over his 20 years of work. While on a trip to London with a Jesuit priest they were betrayed by a household servant, captured, and tortured. After Nicholas' release he masterminded the priest's escape from the Tower of London. Years later, after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, Nicholas was again a wanted man. He hid along with a priest in one of his priest holes, and although 100 men searched for them diligently, they were not discovered. After eight days of hiding without food, Nicholas left the hole disguised as a priest in order to protect the real priest who was still concealed. He was captured and tortured on the rack in the Tower of London. Day after day he refused to give up any information about the underground Catholic Church in England. He died a martyr after his entrails burst open. St. Nicholas Owen is one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. Father John Gerard wrote of him: "I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those who laboured in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular." His feast day is March 22.
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 238 Reading I
Dn 3:25, 34-43
Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:
"For your name's sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant. Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one, To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea. For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins. We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received; As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs, So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you. Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord."
25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9
R. (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord. Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior. R. Remember your mercies, O Lord. Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old. In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD. R. Remember your mercies, O Lord. Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way. R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Verse before the Gospel
Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful. Gospel Mt 18:21-35
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.' Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."
Daily Meditation: Daniel 3:25, 34-43
We are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, . . . because of our sins. (Daniel 3:37)
Are you wondering what Azariah, the speaker in today's first reading, was doing in the middle of a fire? Also known as Abednego, Azariah was one of three Israelites serving as administrators for King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. When these three young men refused to worship a large golden statue of the king, they were thrown into a "white-hot furnace" as punishment. But an "angel of the Lord" descended into the furnace and kept the flames from harming the men (Daniel 3:19-20, 49-50). Today's passage is part of the prayer that Azariah offered the Lord as he and his companions were in the midst of the fire.
When we think of fire in the Bible, we might think first about the fires of hell. But fire is used more as a symbol for God's work of purifying his people than it is used as a symbol of eternal punishment. That's the case in Azariah's story. The fire isn't just literal; it also stands for a crisis or a time of testing that can make us stronger and more holy.
Although Azariah was already a devout man, his decision to stand up to Nebuchadnezzar no doubt truly tested his faith. The fire also seemed to deepen his awareness of how his own sins could have contributed to his people's defeat and exile. Sometimes the threat of some sort of "fire" can jolt us into a different perspective.
Are you experiencing any "fires" right now? How might God be using them to draw you closer to him? A difficult child, for example, might help you become more patient. Or a health crisis can make you more sympathetic to other people's problems.
It's easier to lose sight of the Lord when our lives are going well. It's the fires that make us cry out to him. We may not welcome these fires, but God, in his infinite wisdom, can use them to deepen our holiness. Even if he doesn't rescue us from the fire in the miraculous way he protected Azariah, he will be with us in the fire, and he will use it to purify us and draw us closer to him.
"Lord, teach me how to praise you and trust you in the fire, just as Azariah did."
Psalm 25:4-9 Matthew 18:21-35
From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, or thousands of fat lambs, So let our sacrifice be in your presence today"
This is what the Lord receives, and to Him it pleases, a humble and contrite spirit. This morning, upon meditating, I somehow recalled the good thief that was dying alongside our Lord when crucified. How lucky, I thought. How amazing to be forgiven, I thought again. So much so that our Lord said to him "today you will be with me in paradise". That gave me hope, and why? Because, I can trust in forgiveness. We can trust our humility to Him. And be received in eternal glory.
We pray in Psalms: "Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. Remember your mercies, O Lord."
In today's Gospel we heard: "'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan."
Our Lord has compassion...but do we? We love to be forgiven, but do we love to forgive others? Think of the worst case you are facing right now...who needs your forgiveness? Who can I forgive today? Mother Angelica used to say how much a treasure it is for someone to offend you, because only they can afford you an opportunity to forgive, and therefore, a chance to be like Christ, and therefore, an opportunity for Heaven like no other. Think of our Lord's passion.
Think of the word passion. He is passionate about forgiveness.
So much darkness in the world I see is a lack of forgiveness. And so, if God forgives so much, how can we not forgive so little?
The inverse should occur; we should be eternally grateful. If you only knew how much damage one little sin can do. I have seen a little boy, at a grocery store, checking out his daddy's eyes, while his daddy was checking out another woman, and all before checking out.
What has just happened here? A great sin has been incurred. Greater than you'd ever know, for what begins in the little boy is a life of temptation and torment. I have seen a little girl, listen to her mother complain about another lady, and what ensues is a deviant life, thwarted on how to treat others when they are not around. Can you see the damage this has caused the world in both cases? So what of temptations? What of our mouths? What of our "little sins"?
I don't believe "little sins" exist. Let me finish that sentence. I don't believe "little sins" exist...in Heaven. And we are to live the pure life on earth...as it is in Heaven. We are called to love purely. This brings forgiveness. Had that daddy at the grocery store the purity of heart, his eyes would not have stayed long wondering off. Had that mommy had the purity of heart, her words would not have launched against her sister by babbling too much. What's at stake in forgiveness? Everything. Even your eternal life. How can forgiveness be lived? By dying to self. Hate what is of the flesh and love what is of the Spirit.
It's hard. I know. But if it were easy, everybody would be a living saint right now.
I'm writing to saints being purified. Your eyes are blessed for having heard what you have just read. Your ears and mind and soul are being purified for the day of the Lord that will come. Blessed be God forever. May we obtain grace through Christ and Mary to be His Holy Children both now and forever.
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
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1 Peter 4:16 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
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