†Saint Quote "Quote of the Day "Pray, hope and don't worry. Anxiety doesn't help at all. Our Merciful Lord will listen to your prayer." –Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
†Today's Meditation "Like a child who fears no danger in his father's protecting arms, we must cast ourselves into the arms of our Heavenly Father, confident that those Hands which sustain the heavens are all powerful to supply our necessities, to uphold us in temptation, and to turn all things to our profit. And why should we not have confidence in God? Is He not the most powerful as well as the most tender of fathers? … Do not dwell upon your unworthiness or your failings, but raise your eyes to God and consider the infinite goodness and mercy with which He deigns to apply a remedy to all our miseries. Reflect upon the truth of His words, for He has promised to help and comfort all who humbly and confidently invoke His sacred name. Consider also the innumerable benefits which you have hitherto received from His paternal hand, and let His bounty in the past inspire you to trust the future to Him with renewed hope. Above all, consider the merits and sufferings of Christ, which are our principal title to God's grace and mercy, and which form the treasure whence the Church supplies the necessities of her children. It was from a confidence inspired by such motives that the saints drew that strength which rendered them as firm as Mount Sion, and established them in the holy city whence they never could be moved. (Cf. Ps.124:1)." —Venerable Louis of Grenada, p. 404
An Excerpt From The Sinner's Guide
†Daily Verse "For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him." –Philippians 1:29
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St. Berthold of Mt. Carmel
St. Berthold of Mt. Carmel (d. 1195), also known as Bartoldus of Calabria, was born in France, the son of a Count. He excelled at his studies and was ordained a priest. Berthold's brother, Aymeric, became the Latin patriarch of Antioch. The two joined together to participate in a Crusade to the Holy Land. While in the Holy Land, Berthold traveled to Mount Carmel and built a monastery and church dedicated to the Prophet Elijah. He gathered together a number of hermits scattered throughout Palestine to live together in imitation of the life of the great prophet as recorded in the Old Testament. Berthold became the group's superior and stayed with the community at Mount Carmel for 45 years until his death in 1195. It was the life and work of St. Berthold that laid the foundation for the Carmelite Order, whose rule was approved by Pope Honorius III in 1226. St. Berthold's feast day is March 29.
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 245 Reading I
Ez 47:1-9, 12
The angel brought me, Ezekiel, back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD, and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the façade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He led me outside by the north gate, and around to the outer gate facing the east, where I saw water trickling from the right side. Then when he had walked off to the east with a measuring cord in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and had me wade through the water, which was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand and once more had me wade through the water, which was now knee-deep. Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade; the water was up to my waist. Once more he measured off a thousand, but there was now a river through which I could not wade; for the water had risen so high it had become a river that could not be crossed except by swimming. He asked me, "Have you seen this, son of man?" Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit. Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides. He said to me, "This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah, and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine."
46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
R. (8) The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High. God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Verse Before the Gospel
Ps 51:12a, 14a
A clean heart create for me, O God; give me back the joy of your salvation.
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat." He answered them, "The man who made me well told me, 'Take up your mat and walk.'" They asked him, "Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?" The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, "Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you." The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.
Daily Meditation: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow. (Ezekiel 47:12)
Fruit growers know from experience that the yields of their crops may fluctuate from one year to another. Each year they may have to deal with drought, pests, or soil conditions that will affect how much fruit each tree will bear. It's a constant battle for growers, and no doubt the waiting and wondering about each upcoming harvest is difficult.
It's not terribly different in our spiritual lives. In some seasons of life, you practically overflow with the energy to serve the Lord joyfully, to see and value his gifts, and to share his bounty with the people around you. In other seasons, you feel depleted, weary, and barren. Fortunately, the prophet Ezekiel's vision from today's first reading can give us hope for every season of life.
Take a moment to imagine yourself wading next to Ezekiel across a crystal-clear stream that's flowing down from heaven. You're surrounded by trees of every kind—apple, mango, pomegranate, peach—each bursting with luscious fruit. This is unlike any orchard you've ever seen!
But what really stuns you is what God tells you and Ezekiel. These incredible orchards are watered by God's never-ending, life-giving flow, and that water never stops flowing. So the trees on the banks are never barren. They bear a constant supply of nourishing fruit.
Like any fruit grower, we will most certainly encounter times of drought and depletion. But Ezekiel's vision is not just imaginary or reserved for a future age. Speaking about the gift of the Spirit—which we have already received—Jesus says, "Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink" (John 7:37; see 7:39). So as often as you experience dry or barren times—even if that's daily or hourly—Jesus wants you to ask him for the life of his Spirit.
Today, as you sit in prayer, believe that you are entering into God's life-giving stream, even if you don't feel all that different. Let the truths of his unconditional love and mercy help refresh and restore you so that you too can bear fruit—even today—for his kingdom.
"Come, Holy Spirit. Soak me with your life so that I may bear fruit."
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9 John 5:1-16
From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary."
Recently I heard a world leader state that we may be facing a food shortage. What happened? We eat of the fruit of our handiwork. They say that our country is the most spoiled of all countries, filled with pride, arrogance, comforts, and folly. That's what others see, even spiritually. Is it true? Are you proud, comfortable and arrogant? Most of us would deny it. But as a whole, I think they may be on to something. Humility will help us recognize that we need to hit the sack cloth and ashes, and remember that we are dust. What fruit will you eat of in eternity? You will only eat what you sow. What will your crop yield? Every little detail will matter, no matter what others say. Think about the love factor. It is always better to err for Love than to err for darkness, bitterness, and cold.
We pray in Psalms: "God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob."
Do we have to face distress to turn to God? Many will never turn to God no matter the situation, but many will. For those that will, this message is for you, God is our refuge and our strength. How I've managed to carry on without my dad/boss/best friend, I can only say it is because of prayers, many others' prayers, all things related to God's strength. I see others weakened and down, and the only way to strengthen them is to be God for them. And then I am strengthened. They say it takes money to make money, and if this is true, then it takes muscle to make muscle, and it takes love to make true Love. God will be our strength in whatever is to come. This message is for the holy.
In today's Gospel we heard: "Do you want to be well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me."
What heart strings were pulled here? Before I go forth, I'm reading a book I recommend already "Get Us Out of Here!!" by Maria Simma and Nicky Eltz. It is about purgatory, and it leads one to desire God more, before we leave. I remember reading last night one line that said that these souls would never want to return to our world of darkness. WHAT? LOL. Right? They are a step ahead, why would they want to take a step backwards? They just need help to be in eternal glory. I digress. What pulled at the heart strings of the Sacred Heart of our Lord when the sick man for 38 years complained? This is what is considered a poor person. What then is a poor person? Someone forgotten. Someone left behind. I think immediately of so many lost souls, who are alone, in nursing homes, prisons, and many just living out their lives alone. Who else is a poor soul? Suffering souls.
Our Lord sees that others had put themselves first before this Lazarus.
What is the danger of selfishness? Two people get hurt, those you should've helped, and yourself. It's like this driver that works for our family business. He decides to come in late to work, and we can't work because the deadlines were missed. Or this morning, he came in late again and he sees he can't use his favorite truck so he decides to go home. Two people miss out on getting paid, both him and me, all of us are affected.
So what of selfishness? What of pride? I hate when I see it, especially in church affairs. I hate the sin. Not the sinners. I don't hate my driver, but I hate what he does. And this goes on for any sin in the world. I hate what people do, but I don't hate the sinner. As of late, "modern" society hates tradition, but that is a lie. Most love tradition. So what is modern? Darkness. Novelties are smoke and mirrors. I digress. Our Lord heals the man, and it will cost our Lord's life. But He remains true. For He has said: "Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." Jn 12:25. What does hate this life mean? I just said it. It will cost you your life to save a life. It costs me something to do ministry. It costs me my life. I must sacrifice work, I must sacrifice family, I must sacrifice myself to reach that poor person, in the nursing home, or jail, or in any ministry.
Is it worth it? Is eternal LIFE worth it? Are you serious? I just told you what souls in purgatory said, they don't want this life, for they have tasted what is real....a true and ardent desire for God.
And that is my hope for you and for me. To hunger. LOL, that's another purgatory book I've read "Hungry Souls" by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, Ph.D., a Dutch psychotherapist in private practice. A hunger for God is what is coming. Will there be a food shortage?
Does it matter? There will be two possible outcomes. True colors will shine. Either love will grow, or violence and hatred will grow. Which will it be? With all the censorship against conservative and Christians going on, what will happen? Who gets to make the rules and morality? Who gets to say what the truth is? The more people want control over God, the more the people get lost. There is strength in humility. I lost my dad/boss/best friend, but I already knew the day would come, and I already knew who truly is Our Father and provider. Do you believe in Divine Providence? What does that mean? It means faith my friend. That whatever happens, God knows, and my job is humility, and obedience. It is a tall order though...because it will cost me something.
Lord, I am in sackcloth and ashes. I repent of my horrible ways. I may have a dagger in my heart, and an ache in my soul, but now I have something beautiful to offer to You My Father adn my Lord...love through it all. Please accept our small sacrifices, for True Love and for hungry souls.
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
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