For all those men and women that have given their lives for the freedom we currently enjoy in this country, I pray for the eternal rest of their souls. I pray to the King of our eternal kingdom and the King of our heavenly goal, and finally to the King of all creation. I pray to Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I pray that our country can get back to the supplication to that King that allowed us so many decades of joy that comes from following the real King. As Father Barron said Friday at the Magnificat Day in Philadelphia, I pray that we can get back to letting our King dominate our society as it was in the not so distant past. I pray that our country can see that it is only when we let God work out our differences that we can work together to be a just society that respects all people and enjoys that freedom that comes as a fruit of good choices. I pray for the people that lost their lives in the Philippines and Vietnam and all of their families that are mourning their loss today. Please God, let us be a society that uses our resources to help others and not one that uses them to lord over them. I finally pray that our world will come to the realization quickly that without a reliance on the one true King, we will continue down the path to destruction. Jesus, I trust in you!
So, as we start to have news coming in about the storm that is making landfall in the Philippines, I hope there are many people who read the title of my post today and finish the prayer that was first given to Saint Faustina as a part of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The reason for the invoking of this particular prayer now, is that I have been told that the Philippines is full of 3 o’clock habit folks. They actually have stores that shut down at 3pm, so everyone can pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. If ever there was a time for a miracle of mercy, it would be right now. I am pretty sure that most of the world is watching the storm and either praying or worrying about the outcome. It would be awesome if there was a way that God could shine through this tragedy, that is hitting this country that is so filled with faith-filled people, with his mercy and saving power. I prayed along with the prayer on EWTN when I went home for lunch and I hope anyone that has a few minutes will join in this prayer at 3pm this afternoon, here on the West coast of the United States. It is about 15 minutes before 3pm, so I am going to get this posted as a reminder, and you can pray anytime you can, of course.
“If any one comes to me without hating his father* and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
I could have started my post today with the fact that I am putting my whole family on notice that they are not the center of my universe, but I am pretty sure there would be some hurt feelings. However, the chances of my dad actually reading this, or it even getting back to him that I posted this are pretty slim. Anyway, as I prepared for leading our communion service tomorrow, I read this reading and was reminded of Saint Ignatius “First Principle and Foundation”…
The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul.
All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.
It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one’s end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one’s end.
To do this, we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no other prohibition.
Thus, as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.
To me, this “First Principle and Foundation” that I first read in the “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” retreat book by Father Michael Gaitley, the director of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, is the heart of the gospel reading today. It was specifically the last verse of the gospel that prompted me to look up the “First Principle and Foundation” and share it here. (Luke 14:33) In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.
As for my dad, if this does somehow get back to him, I hope he knows that it is my sincere hope that he someday comes to a full knowledge of the forgiveness and mercy of God and we are both caught up in the blessedness of the beatific vision that is an eternity sharing in the divinity of our Lord. For me, that means that I continue to struggle through this world bringing the good news of the plan of salvation to as many people as possible, both by the words I choose to share and the life that I live everyday in the presence of Jesus in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation.
I hope this post finds you struggling to do the same…God bless you!
You knew it was just a matter of time before it had to be done, especially by me. I spend a lot of time around young adults and youth, so there was bound to be a reference to foxes in scripture or somewhere in my prayer life that was going to lead me to share this video and take the opportunity to point out the good news in the lyrics. So, without further ado, here is the video…
If we follow the gospel reading for today, we see that it is Jesus who calls out the fox. Here he says…He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. (Luke 13:32) The fox that he is referring to is Herod, who the Pharisee was telling Jesus, wanted to kill him. Here is a good question, “Did Herod really want to kill Jesus?” After what had happened to John the Baptist and that whole terrible scene, you might think Herod wanted to steer clear of Jesus. However, the point of this post is to ask the question…”What does the fox say?”
It has been over 2000 years since Jesus said, “Go and tell that fox”, and we are left to figure out what Herod’s response would have been to this telling statement of Jesus about casting out demons and performing healings, and the third day accomplishing his purpose. In the song, we hear a reference to the red fur and an angel in disguise, but also a reference to a guardian angel in the woods. Rather than try to discern the intentions of the artist in choosing these lyrics, I would rather point out that God can use whatever means necessary to bring people to know him and I will use this song as a reminder of the power of angels in our lives to overcome evil.
Here is a prayer that I will say and share with you now…
Angel of God, our guardian dear to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at our side, to light and guard, to rule and guide…Amen!
I was thinking during the reading of the Mass readings this morning how thankful I am for God gracing me with the different prayers and devotions, as well as websites, Twitter and Facebook friends that keep me focused on Him. I have struggled with being distracted with the trappings of this world, whether it be by financial concerns or the evil of pornographic images that can lead to full on pornography in the past and have sometimes found it difficult to justify even being connected to the internet.
However, the present moment in my life has been graced by many “holy” distractions that lead me to deepen my relationship with the Lord. I felt motivated to write about it today, but figured that I wouldn’t because I would probably be too busy preparing for my class tonight. However, directly after receiving Communion today, I realized that I was bothered by a small pain in my head that I noticed that I get right after receiving Communion and I knew that this was a gift of the Lord’s coming into my body in the form of bread and wine, but in His body and blood that caused this pain. It was a gift that was meant to cleanse my mind of all the memories of past sins and allow me to be further converted into the man who God is creating me to be. When I shared this with my son, I realized that I should look up whether there was anyone else who has ever noticed anything like this happening after Communion. The only article I found was someone who had headaches that probably stemmed for problems with gluten, since it happened about a half an hour after receiving.
Anyway, I wanted to write this post today to give thanks to God for this revelation of the work that is being done in my life to cleanse my mind of evil, both in the physical world of the Eucharist, physically effecting chemical changes in my brain, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that has motivated me, as He is trying to motivated us all, I believe, to fill our virtual world with many friends and followers that lead us to a closer relationship with Jesus. It was in the hope that this post would be read by someone who has recognized the power of God working in their lives through the Eucharist and the other people and things that they have connected to through the internet and will be encouraged by reading my story. In addition, if there is anyone who finds their life preoccupied by sin and “unholy” distractions. Hopefully, they will know that if they are open to receiving the grace of God through the Sacrament of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, as well as the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to find spiritually uplifting friends on Facebook and holy men and women to follow on Twitter, and websites that focus on deepening your relationship with God, there is light at the end of the internet. I hope that I can somehow be a part of that light for someone too.
I guess I could just answer, “No!” and go back to preparing my mind for college football Saturday, but I want to make sure I get down a few points to share with our youth group tomorrow. In hearing the gospel message yesterday, and then again today, I am left with the impression that God is expecting us to stand up for what we believe. Does that mean we have to be instrumental in changing hearts and minds around important issues like abortion, euthanasia and freedom of religion? No, it just means that, as sinners, we need to recognize that we are broken and stop being so distracted that we are not lifting those important issues up to God in prayer, so that God knows our hearts are not conformed to this world’s lies. There are also some issues that get to the heart of what led to our complacent attitude toward these huge problems in our culture today. I talk about the virtue of chastity a lot with our youth, because along with purity, it is these two virtues, that stand in direct opposition to the vices of lust and immorality that are so accepted in our culture today.
Many people could say that lust and immorality is the default position of humanity, and it always has been and always will be, why fight it? As for the question of what it always will be, I will defer to God’s omnipotent word for that one, and say that I know that although God is going to raise His faithful people on the last day, like Jesus, Mary, and some of the early prophets of his chosen people, and he will not be raising our lust and immorality along with our bodies. Jesus says that we will not marry or be married in heaven(Matthew 22:30), and Saint Paul said that the purpose for a Christian to be married, who is united to Jesus in building up His kingdom, is to not give in to lust(1 Corinthians 7:1-7). If we will not be married in heaven, than it goes without saying that we will not be tempted to lust either. Therefore, if we are using this life on earth, as God has instructed us to, in His word, to prepare for eternity in heaven, shouldn’t we be cultivating the virtues that will be useful in heaven and not giving in to the vices that are only temporary?
If we are giving in to the vices, then we should be going to confession for the times that we are guilty of mortal sin. If we have been graced by God to root the sin out of our life, or we know he is in the process of doing so, shouldn’t we be admonishing the other sinners to repentance? It is not like we have to look that far to find the sin, just drive west on Main Street through downtown Springfield and you will pass three or four strip clubs in six blocks, on your way to the largest abortion mill I have ever seen, that is just across the river in Glenwood. It is a 40,000 square foot facility that thye say is built for administrating the reproductive “Health” and “Education” of our county. It has two operating rooms on the back side of the facility that were built for the sole purpose of murdering babies in the womb.
The gospel reading at Mass on Friday morning was about interpreting the “Present” time, because of the signs that we see in the world. At first, I couldn’t see the call to action in my life until Father Jaspers read it out loud at Mass, and as I heard it read, I realized that it was talking about how we will be judged for not standing up for the things that we know are wrong in our world today. You may not be called to participate in the 40 day for life campaign that is ending in a week or so, by showing up there, in the front or back of the building, and taking some time to pray for an end to abortion. If you are Christian, then you are definitely called to pray in some way that God will deliver the women that are caught in the lies of Satan, and are being told that they have no option but abortion. We all know someone who is probably caught up in the same sort of lies that are telling them to act like animals in their sex lives, and see women and men objects for the purpose of their own gratification, or maybe it is us, and we should be praying for God to give us a heart that loves purity, and the grace to overcome the sins of lust and immorality.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5
You are not in the dark, brothers, that the day should catch you off guard, like a thief. No, all of you are children of light and of the day. We belong neither to darkness nor to night.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us!
I am sorry for not posting this yesterday. I felt an overwhelming urge to post this, as we celebrated the life of this great Saint yesterday. I am posting it today, but first, I am feeling called to share the first reading from the Mass readings yesterday.
Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.
Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:16-25)
Now, with the added perspective of today’s first reading from the Mass readings, I am left with an even more powerful urge to share this reflection that I received, as I read this reading yesterday. It was the sincere act of loving God with our whole heart that will allow us to be filled with exactly what we need to understand in order to live our lives in accordance with His will. It is not the amount of book knowledge we have learned or are learning that allows us to understand God, it is His grace that has allowed us to open up to the knowledge and we should receive it as a gift and not a kind of exclusive right that only comes to the intelligent or one who is able to comprehend complex thoughts or ideas. Here is the reading from today that God provided for my perspective…
You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.
For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself,
since you, the judge, do the very same things.
We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true.
Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things
and yet do them yourself,
that you will escape the judgment of God?
Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience
in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God
would lead you to repentance?
By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,
you are storing up wrath for yourself
for the day of wrath and revelation
of the just judgment of God,
who will repay everyone according to his works,
eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality
through perseverance in good works,
but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth
and obey wickedness.
Yes, affliction and distress will come upon everyone
who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.
But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone
who does good, Jew first and then Greek.
There is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:1-11)
It is important for me to hear that I cannot be proud of the things that God has revealed to me through scripture or through a spiritual book I read, I should look for ways to impart the knowledge I have been given to the child of God that is sitting in front of me right now. The ability to be a messenger of God comes from grace as well, so it is important for me to not take that for granted either. OK, what is the point of this post…Please go back and read the quote from Saint Teresa of Avila on the picture above…Enough said, for now…God bless you!