With God and his angels on our side, how can we not have courage?

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St Michael the archangel, dressed somewhat lik...

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Gift: Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser* of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night.  (Revelation 12:10)

Observation:  I am hearing today that God’s angels in heaven have already won the victory against the evil one.  Unfortunately, they have cast down the evil one and his angels on us here on earth.  I must remember that my faith tells me that I have recourse to the same angels that cast the devil out of heaven, to ask them to keep him away from me and those that I love.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t suffer persecution and pain for being a follower of Christ, but it does mean that his blood has assured victory once in heaven and has assured the final victory for us on earth as well.

Personification:  Self-Control  It is only by the power of the grace of God that I can display the fruit of self-control in my life.  I believe that it is only when I remind myself of my humanity and the tendency that I have towards sin, that I can rely on the grace of God, and the protection of his angels, to save me.

Prayer:  Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the Heavenly Host by the power of God cast into hell, satan and the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

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If put to the test…Do I pass or fail?

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Saint Michael Archangel

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Gift: Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  Moreover, they should be tested first; then, if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.  (1 Timothy 3:10)

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I do not allow into my presence anything base.  (Psalm 101:3a)

Observation:  As I was reading this morning, I was being tempted and distracted from the message that was clearly coming from God for me.  In these two verses, God is telling me to ask myself if I am ready to begin formation as a deacon in our church.  The first verse from the first reading says clearly that anyone that is called will be tested, and the surrounding verses in that reading clearly spell out the rest of the qualifications, or should I say disqualifying factors.  However, it was the verse from the responsorial psalm for today’s readings that was speaking directly at me about the issue that could hold me back from pursuing my dream.

Personification: Faithfulness  In order to display the fruit of faithfulness to the calling that I believe I may have, I must be willing to put out of my life everything that does not have value in building up the kingdom.  This is my definition of base, of course it also includes staying away from all things that are placed as obstacles to my faith by the father of all lies.

Prayer:  Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the Heavenly Host by the power of God, cast into hell, satan and of the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

No pressure…

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Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, ...

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Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.  (1 Thessalonians 3:8)

Observation:  I can imagine being a Christian in Thessalonia and having this letter from Paul being read to me.  After it was read, I would most likely feel a bit of pressure to live up to the standard that was set by the apostle’s example.  It is not much different that what I believe the saints that went before us would say to us right now.  They would say that it is only when we stand firm in the faith that they feel like their lives on earth meant something, and by standing firm in the faith, we keep the saints alive in this world.  We believe that they are already destined to spend eternity with God, but only the grace that we receive from God as a result of our standing firm in the faith will bring the saints to life on earth again.

Personification:  Faithfulness  It is only by the display of faithfulness to the Gospel that I can live out the values that were passed on to me by the saints of the past.  It is necessary to adjust my actions to conform to the gifts that I am given, but always remember the example left by Jesus and his saints that came before me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to follow your will for my life, and let me see clearly the path that you laid out before me in the lives of the saints.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

The church says, “The kingdom of heaven is here.”

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"Marianismo" comes from beliefs abou...

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Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  1 Then he summoned his twelve disciples 2 and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive
them out and to cure every disease and every illness.  (Matthew 10:1)

Observation:  I get the feeling that this gospel reading today gives us a glimpse of what God expected to see from the church once Jesus was resurrected and before he comes again.  Jesus tells his apostles to proclaim the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  To me, it was a teaser for the coming kingdom that has arrived now that Jesus was resurrected on the third day, and is now present for us every day in the Eucharist.  The church says today that we should either get busy with the proclamation of his kingdom or we are not living out our calling as disciples.

Personification:   Gentleness  It is my hope that I can display the fruit of gentleness today as I go about the work that God has laid out before me.  The kingdom of heaven is indeed here, but no one wants to be hit over the head with it.  I hope that I can allow the holy Spirit to be my guide in delivering the good news today.

Prayer:  Lord, give me a gentle heart like the Virgin Mary, so that more people will be called into your kingdom today by me and by your church.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Who can accept these words? I hope everyone does…

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Gift: Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.  (John 12:46)

Observation:  It struck me this morning that for many years, I have remained in darkness.  Even though I have seen the light, I have chosen to remain in my own personal darkness.  This verse from the gospel reading for today’s Mass is saying, in the words of our Savior, that he came to deliver us from that darkness.  It has always been hard to hear this verse in the past, because I know I am going to sin again.  How can I accept that Jesus came to be the light that brings me out of darkness, when I always choose to return to it?

Personification: Peace  It is only by displaying the fruit of peace in my life that I can be sure that I am content with the gifts that God has given me.  If I let myself be overcome with anxiety about any particular situation or circumstance, I will be choosing to allow the darkness to come back in to my life.  It is only by choosing to live out the grace that comes from God’s peace that will keep my focus on the light of Christ.

Prayer:  Lord, keep my focus on you and the eternal life that you have planned for me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

What payment do I need to betray the Lord?

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reading the gospel of matthew

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Gift: Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  3The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, That I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; 4 And I have not rebelled, have not turned back.  (Isaiah 50:4-5)

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“See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, take heart!  For the LORD hears the poor, does not spurn those in bondage.  (Psalm 69:33-34)

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Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, 7went to the chief priests 8and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.  (Matthew 26:14-16)

Observation:  In my reading this morning, I initially skimmed the first reading and the responsorial psalm to get to the gospel reading.  After I found the part of the gospel that was speaking to my particular situation today, I went back and found the other verses from the first reading and the responsorial that give me peace about where God has me and what he is expecting of me.  The question I pose in the title today is about the fact that I often sell out for something that is less than what God is calling me to, because of some type of pleasure or presumed peace that I think will come from it.  Anyway, my assumption is that I have taken a lot less than 30 pieces of silver in the past to fall into sin and I would hope that the outcomes that befell Judas would be motivation enough to keep me from falling in the future.

Personification: Kindness  I will make every effort to display the fruit of kindness today.  I know that the Lord has done so much to bring me this far in my life, the least I can do to repay that is show kindness to his people.  This includes anyone that I come in contact with today.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to use the gifts that you have given me to not only overcome my sinfulness with the help of your grace, but to act out of kindness to everyone I meet today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Unclean spirit, come out of this man…leave, leave, leave!

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another apostle

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Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  4 He asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”  (Mark 5:9)

Observation:  As I was waking up this morning, I realized that I was having some of the same sinful thoughts that like to creep into my mind concerning chastity.  Instead of accepting those thoughts as my own, I decided to act intentionally to rid my mind of these thoughts and pray and then start my journaling.  After my prayer, and as I read the gospel this morning, I realized that I needed to call out my demon by name.  I prayed to God to show his name to me.  When the name came to me, I told it to leave me three times.  There was no flash of light or major revelation that happened then, but I feel a sense of calm about what I just did.

Personification:  Self-Control  I guess it would only make sense that I would choose to focus on the fruit of self-control on a day when I was worried about struggling with chastity.  Anyway, I believe that if I can act intentionally, with the grace of God, in a way that is the best use of my time, I will be able to display the fruit of self-control in my life today.

Prayer:  Lord, allow me to live today as a free man who understands that it is only by faith in your son that I have my freedom.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.