"I will attempt day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God's Holy Will, not my own." St. Gabriel Possenti
"God sees you in secret. Know that he sees into your very depths, infinitely farther than you do yourself. Make a simple, lively act of faith in his presence. Christian soul, place yourself entirely under his gaze. He is very near. He is present, for he gives being and motion to all things. Yet you must believe more; you must believe with a lively faith that he is present to you by giving you all of your good thoughts from within, as holding in his hand the source from which they come, and not only the good thoughts, but also whatever good desires, good resolutions, and every good act of the will, from its very first beginning and birth to its final perfection. Believe, too, that he is in the souls of the just, and that he makes his dwelling there within, according to these words of the Lord: 'We will come to him and make our home with him' (John 14:23). He is there in a stable and permanent way: he makes his home there. Desire that he should be in you in this way. Offer yourself to him as his dwelling and temple. Now come out, and with the same faith that enables you to see him within you, look upon him in Heaven, where he manifests himself to his beloved. It is there that he awaits you. Run. Fly. Break your chains; break all the bonds that tie you down to flesh and blood. O God, when shall I see you? When will I have that pure heart that enables you to be seen, in yourself, outside of yourself, everywhere? O Light that enlightens the world! O Life that gives life to all the living! O Truth that feeds us all! O Good that satisfies us all! O Love that binds all together! I praise you, my heavenly Father, who sees me in secret."
—Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, p. 4-5
from the book, Meditations for Lent
"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:4-6
St. Polycarp of Smyrna
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St. Polycarp of Smyrna
St. Polycarp of Smyrna (c. 69-155 A.D.) became a Christian in his youth, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. St. John ordained him Bishop of Smyrna (in modern day Turkey) and from this position Polycarp became one of the most illustrious of the Apostolic Fathers. His closeness with the Apostles, and the long life that he lived, enabled him to protect the Church against heresy. The account of his martyrdom is well-preserved and is one of the earliest in the Church. Knowing the government was seeking his life, he received a vision while praying that he would be burned alive. After his capture he was encouraged to submit to Caeser in order to be released, but he refused. He was then taken to a public arena to be killed. He gave an outstanding testimony, declaring that he had served Christ for 86 years. Witnesses of his execution saw the flames surround his body without burning it, and that Polycarp began to glow and emit a sweet aroma. This amazed the crowds, and his executioners were then ordered to stab him to death. St. Polycarp is the patron saint against dysentery and earache. His feast day is February 23rd.
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Reading 1 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 Ps 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.
Gospel 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
I have set before you life and death. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
What do you think the main road in your town would look like if no one obeyed the traffic laws? Some cars might get through town unscathed, but many others would not—and neither would the people in those cars! It's vital that we all know and follow the rules of the road because few drivers can survive by ignoring them.
The same goes for our relationship with God. Speaking through Moses, the Lord gave the Israelites the "rules of the road" that they needed to follow if they wanted to thrive in the Promised Land. He didn't guarantee that they would be free from all troubles if they followed the demands of the covenant. But he did promise that they would avoid a lot of unnecessary suffering.
Think about the traffic rules you have to follow every time you drive. Some of them probably rub you the wrong way, but you know they're there to protect you and everyone else. Some of God's rules might have felt that way to the Israelites, too. But if they could hold fast to the commands to love the Lord and love one another, they would experience the "life" that Moses promised and would grow and flourish. Their obedience would help them preserve the unity and blessings they were beginning to enjoy as God's chosen people.
So the next time one of God's commands seems to be standing in the way of your happiness, ask yourself, "How does this command—as challenging as it may be—truly bring about the 'life' that God has promised me?" You can also ask, "What kind of 'death' will I experience as a result of this sin?" Think about not just the short-term but also the long-term consequences of each action. The more you evaluate your options this way, the more clearly you'll see that it is sin, not God's rules, that imprisons us. The more you'll see that following the Lord is the best way to live in peace and enjoy the salvation that Jesus has won for you.
Every day we have countless opportunities to choose life or to choose death. Let's choose life!
"Father, thank you for offering me the opportunity to taste your life more deeply with each choice I make."
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
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From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God"
"If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways...."
There is always that contingency word...if. If you do this, then this will happen.
It is a choice. I'm constantly tuning in to what seem are prophecies, from holy people, from saints, and even near death experiences. And there is always this same common denominator, the will, the contigency, the choice, the great "if". If you will, if you desire, if you do it. His will is laid out. He says "I will do this blessing if you do this too".
We pray today:
"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"
In the Gospel today we heard our Lord:
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
They say that there is a root word in the word "discipline", and that root word is "disciple". That is to say then, that a true disciple, lives like the master and is called to do even greater than the master, in this discipline, as a catapult, a launch to even "greater things", and for this, we must live the discipline, the Way of the Master, Teacher, and Rabbi, our Heavenly Lord and the Christ, Savior, Jesus.
Bishop Barron says in his reflection today: "Dietrich Bonhoeffer commented that when the Lord summons a person to discipleship, he calls him to come and die. When the blind Bartimaeus received his sight, at the midpoint of the Gospel of Mark, he followed Jesus up the road that would lead to Calvary. The way of the Christian life begins and ends with the man who is God dying on a cross."
I get daily Christian spam now, lots of stores, lots of book places, and speakers, and I glanced through one from Matthew Kelly right before I deleted it and remembered reading the line "how are going to spend the rest of your life?" I spent a lot of money and several years in a University studying business, and I don't remember much, but I am applying much of what I learned, if that makes sense. I learned marketing, and I learned some computer skills, and about economics, and perhaps the most important...strategic planning. It is to have set goals, or the future points in time, even to 10 years or greater. And I remember telling the Lord, that I would give him 10 years in one ministry, and when that time up, I had got so used to the ministry as a way of life that I really can't see my way out of another choice than to keep living it. I''m sure this happens when someone takes on a vocation or dedication.
And so this happens, in Lent.
You start leaving bad things and start taking on good things, a more virtuous life, a new discipline that becomes your new way of life.
And this will become a blessing for generations to come. And you will see life as it has been designed and destined to be...forever and in amazing ways. I wish I could explain it better, but for now, it will just have to take faith...a love of God our Father, creator, lover, brother, stranger, neighbor, everything and everyone in His being.
Lord, we need grace, I ask for grace, to be able to deny myself, pick up my cross of love and obedience to Our Father, because yes Lord, I desire blessings for my generation and the ones to come...to bless You truly more and more.
from your brother Adrian@Going4th.com
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Random Bible Verse 1
9 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart."
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God Bless You! Peace