Monday, February 20, 2023

† ".If You Can. ... "


†Saint Quote
"Quote of the Day
"If only I could put into everybody's heart the fire I have in my breast, which makes me burn with such love for the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary!"
–St. Jacinta Marto

†Today's Meditation
"God gives us certain abilities and interests and they are truly that: gifts. This means we should approach them with gratitude and mission. Comparing ourselves to others, then, is pointless and begrudges the giver. How exquisite that we all have different gifts. And the reality that he's bestowed them on us should embolden us to develop them and serve him and others through them."
–Carrie Gress and Noelle Mering, p.123

An Excerpt From
Theology of Home II: The Spiritual Art of Homemaking

†Daily Verse
"But you are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises" of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

–1 Peter 2:9


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Sts. Francisco & Jacinta Marto

St. Francisco (1908-1919) and St. Jacinta Marto (1910–1920) were siblings and the youngest of the three shepherd children, who, along with their cousin, Lúcia Santos, witnessed three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and six apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917 while tending sheep in the countryside of Fatima, Portugal. They were entrusted by Our Lady of Fatima with many messages and warnings for the world, and that they were to do penance and pray for the conversion of sinners. Both became prayerful mystics, much wiser than their age, on account of these visits. Although only young children, they faithfully offered up many sacrifices as Our Lady requested, by praying the rosary daily, giving their lunches to the poor, denying themselves water on hot days, wearing a rough rope next to her skin, calmly facing ridicule on account of the apparitions, and bravely enduring the suffering that ended in their deaths. The Blessed Mother told Francisco and Jacinta that they would die young and that she would soon come to take them to heaven. Francisco and Jacinta both fell sick from influenza in 1918. Francisco died first, and Jacinta the next year after a long illness and two hospitalizations. They were canonized by Pope Francis on May 13, 2017, the 100th anniversary of the first Apparition of Our Lady of Fátima. Their feast day is February 20th.
See more about St. Jacinta Marto.
See more about St. Francisco Marto.

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Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Sir 1:1-10

All wisdom comes from the LORD
and with him it remains forever, and is before all time
The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain,
the days of eternity: who can number these?
Heaven's height, earth's breadth,
the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
Before all things else wisdom was created;
and prudent understanding, from eternity.
The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom
and her ways are everlasting.
To whom has wisdom's root been revealed?
Who knows her subtleties?
To whom has the discipline of wisdom been revealed?
And who has understood the multiplicity of her ways?
There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring,
seated upon his throne:
There is but one, Most High
all-powerful creator-king and truly awe-inspiring one,
seated upon his throne and he is the God of dominion.
It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit,
has seen her and taken note of her.
He has poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty;
he has lavished her upon his friends.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 93:1ab, 1cd-2, 5

R.(1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R.The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R.The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R.The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

Alleluia See 2 Tm 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 9:14-29

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?"
Someone from the crowd answered him,
"Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so."
He said to them in reply,
"O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me."
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around

and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
"How long has this been happening to him?"
He replied, "Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."
Jesus said to him,
"'If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith."
Then the boy's father cried out, "I do believe, help my unbelief!"
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
"Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!"
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, "He is dead!"
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
"Why could we not drive the spirit out?"
He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer."


Daily Meditation: Mark 9:14-29

I do believe, help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

Let's do some basic chemistry. We know that a water molecule is made from two elements: hydrogen and oxygen. Both elements must be present for water to exist. If either is missing, it wouldn't be water.

In a similar way, intercessory prayer has two essential components: proclaiming our faith and crying out to the Lord. And that's exactly what today's Gospel reading shows us.

Imagine yourself standing in the middle of today's scene. A man is imploring Jesus to heal his son, and Jesus replies by telling him, "Everything is possible to one who has faith" (Mark 9:23). This is when the man utters one of the shortest prayers in the whole Bible: "I do believe, help my unbelief!" (9:24). In just a few words, he has perfectly encapsulated the two necessary components of intercession.

I do believe. Perhaps this father has heard stories about Jesus' healing power or life-giving words. With the confidence of a new and growing faith, he decides to bring his son to Jesus. He hopes that the confidence he is beginning to feel will be rewarded by a miracle.

Help my unbelief! But as confident as he is, the man also realizes his weakness. Maybe his new faith isn't all that strong yet; maybe he has some doubts that Jesus can heal his son—especially since the disciples couldn't do it. But it doesn't matter. He is not ashamed to cry out to Jesus, acknowledging his need in honesty and humility.

Today, make sure that your prayer of intercession is just as complete as this man's. Tell Jesus you believe. Take the Nicene Creed or the Apostle's Creed and proclaim each phrase with all the conviction you can muster. Or take today's psalm and read it aloud, proclaiming your trust in the Lord. Then ask Jesus to help your unbelief. Bring him your struggles; if a family member is suffering, ask Jesus to help you believe that he is with them. Or if you worry that you can't witness to your faith, ask him to remind you of the ways he has worked through you in the past.

Keep these two components together, and you'll feel God's presence wash over you like cool, clear water.

"I believe, Lord! Help my unbelief."

Sirach 1:1-10
Psalm 93:1-2, 5


From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"He has poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty;
he has lavished her upon his friends."

He pours wisdom on everything. Everything that is created can have His wisdom written on it. You have His wisdom written all over you. You have been given gifts from Him! We should be amazed and not disheartened. That in our hearts is our communication with Him. That He knows what you want. That He knows what you need. That He knows your desires. That He knows you want more. This is why you read this today. That you know there is more...truth, better life...that you know you are called to His Holy Will.


We pray today:
" The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty. Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed: holiness befit your house,
O LORD, for length of days. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty."

There is something special about a beautiful temple of God. Right?
Something that proclaims His majesty, right? It is necessary even. Because, it is an expression. And the same can be said of each and everyone of us. That He desires our bodies to be His temple, to give Him majesty, through worship and true love.


In the Gospel today we heard:
"Then the boy's father cried out, "I do believe, help my unbelief!"

The whole thing was a fiasco. The disciples couldn't figure this one out. They were confused as to why they couldn't help heal this boy. And the boy's father was probably getting anxious, this may be the only shot they got!

And our Lord said "'If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith."
How soon the doors close on us, and we are in the dark.
How soon something happens and we get full of anxiety.
How quickly we lose our joy.
How quickly we are sent into disarray.
But we hold on to hope. And because there is hope, there is a ray of light. And where there is light, there is Christ, and where there is Christ, there is salvation.

Yet, I still find myself repeating those very words of that very desperate father.
I do believe! Help my unbelief!
And it is a good prayer. Why? Because, no matter what, we come up short, but there is hope. There is a hole in us for a reason...that Christ may fill the gap, that He may fulfill our desires, and that He may be our link to Heaven, stretched across the cross, to bind our hand to God's hand.

And it was a heartfelt prayer, and these are the ones often heard by our Lord.
And so our Lord healed the boy, to the astonishment of His disciples.
"Why could we not drive the spirit out?"
He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer."
In another Gospel account we heard that our Lord said this could only be done through fasting and prayer.
And this is a good kick off into Lent, on Ash Wednesday.

Only through fasting and prayer will we be able to truly drive out the evil that is among us. That is why we will fast, to enter into a huge prayer, together, for our Lord and for our world. So let's do this, together, with our Lord. That our fasting and prayer and giving will change the world. And believe it or not, it will.

We make a difference, and together, a big difference.

Lord, I do believe. I believe You can complete me.
I believe You hear our prayers, that we want to do Your will. How? By being faithful. I do believe we can be faithful, and us be more faithful and loving, to Your every beckoning call!


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Random Bible Verse 1
Philippians 4:6–7

[Philippians 4]

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


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