Cleansing our minds from evil…

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ImageI 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.

dc Talk / In the light from nicoletta477 on GodTube.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FBE9E1NU

All evil must be left behind…

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English: Repent window, Mathon church, near to...

English: Repent window, Mathon church, near to Mathon, Herefordshire, Great Britain. Beneath the left side: Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and the right: “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

 

Reading:  Jeremiah said to the princes and all the people: “It was the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this house and city everything you have heard.  Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds; listen to the voice of the LORD your God, so that the LORD will have a change of heart regarding the evil he has spoken against you.  As for me, I am in your hands; do with me what is good and right in your eyes.  But you should certainly know that by putting me to death, you bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city and its inhabitants. For in truth it was the LORD who sent me to you, to speak all these words for you to hear.”  (Jeremiah 26:12-15)

 

Observation:  I am reading in the first reading, an admonition to all of us to repent of the evil in our life, so that God will repent of the evil that he will rain down on us in judgment for choosing evil over Him.  If we do choose God, we can count on His protection over our lives.  Even the worst situation is a gift when seen through the eyes of faith, but the best situations will be seen as a curse to those that are not in God’s grace and not following His will for their lives.

 

Personification:  Self-Control. If I can focus on God’s will for my life and not on whatever evil I have gotten comfortable with, I will be able to display the fruit of self-control.  The best scenario would be to never get comfortable with evil, but our lives make that impossible sometimes.  The grace of God will come to those that repent of the evil when they recognize it in their life, or they are made aware of it by people who love them.

 

Prayer:  Lord, help me repent of whatever evil exists in my life, and help me be a prophet to those who cannot recognize the evil in their life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

  

 

 

Let me be righteous, by the grace of God…

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Our Lord Jesus Christ

Our Lord Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

Reading:  The LORD’s face is against evildoers to wipe out their memory from the earth. The righteous cry out, the LORD hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions.  (Psalm 34:17-18)

Observation:  I hope the Lord’s face is never against me.  In other words, I do not want to be an evildoer.  I hope that my cries to the Lord are deemed worthy to rescue me from my afflictions.  This reading was such a blessing to me today.

Personification:  Gentleness  I hope to display the fruit of gentleness today, by paying attention to the needs of all of my family that is around me now.  I want to be attentive to everyone, but not neglect anyone in the process.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, I have redemption by your blood, and forgiveness of our sins, in accord with the riches of your grace.  Please help me to share this redemption in the ways that your will show to me today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jesus, come in to my heart and suppress the evil that would defile me…

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No Evils-01061

No Evils-01061 (Photo credit: subsetsum)

Gift:  Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles. From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”  (Mark 7:20-23)

Observation:  In the first reading, we hear how King Solomon was envied for his great riches and his incredible wisdom by Queen Sheba.  As I think about all the amazing riches and honor that he paid to God in the temple that was built in Jerusalem, I can’t help thinking about even with all of his wisdom and praise he gave to God, he could not get away from the evil that was within him.  We hear about all of his wives later, and the some of the same evils that overcame his father, King David, that would fall upon him too.  However, Jesus is listing for us those evils that can well up inside of us, to remind us that it is our heart that we must ask him to guard for us.  In my opinion, if we waste time asking God to guard our wealth or even our physical being from harm, we could very well be open to allowing one of these evils to well up inside of us and rear its ugly head.  Of all the evils listed, I had to look up licentiousness, because it didn’t immediately come to mind when I read it.

Personification:  Peace  It is my hope that after reading the list of things that could well up in my heart, I won’t forget to ask Jesus to guard it for me and if I lack the fortitude necessary to make it to the sacrifice of the Mass and receive him into the temple that is my body, as a means of agreeing that I need Jesus to save me from myself, this list could come back to haunt me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to always keep in mind my need for you to be my Savior, especially from my evil thoughts.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

The wicked turn from wickedness…

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Prophet Ezekiel, Russian icon from first quart...

Prophet Ezekiel

Gift:Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  But if the wicked turn from the wickedness they did and do what is right and just, they save their lives; since they turned away from all the sins they committed, they shall live; they shall not die.  (Ezekiel 18:27-28)

Observation:  Today’s first reading is a good reminder to me that in order to gain eternal life, I must be turning away from the wickedness I did and do what is right and just.  It is not just for the promise of eternal life, but because the wickedness leads to more wickedness.  I am hearing that we must be in a constant state of turning away from all of our sins, and the grace of God will help us to do that.  However, I must be willing to plug into it at all times, even when it seems impossible.

Personification:  Love  I will display love today that comes as a direct result of being plugged into the source of it, God.  My wife is a great example of selfless love and I will try and follow her example today and be willing to love those who may not love me back.

Prayer:  Our Father, who is in heaven.  Holy is your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Correct evil, but do it out of love for your neighbor’s salvation…

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Prophet Ezekiel, Russian icon from first quart...

Image via Wikipedia

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:  When I say to the wicked, “You wicked, you must die,” and you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood.  (Ezekiel 33:8)

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Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.  (Romans 13:10)

Observation:  I chose to focus on the gift of courage today, because it is just these two readings for today’s Mass that should give me the courage to stand up to wickedness done by the people who are closest to me.  It is not out of some sense of self-righteousness that I should correct them, but rather because I want to spend eternity with them in heaven.

Personification:  Kindness  I am displaying kindness by not telling the wicked things that I have seen just in the past couple of days from the people who are close to me, but I could also retell many of the same stories about myself.  If I am to correct any wickedness, I must remember that but for the grace of God, I would be doing the same thing.

Prayer:  Lord, watch over me and my extended family today and everyday, so we will correct each other and learn how to walk in your ways.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

We repay grace with more sin, God repays repentance with more grace…

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Avoid injustice...

Reading:  To refrain from evil pleases the LORD, and to avoid injustice is an atonement.  For the LORD is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold.  (Sirach 35:3,10)

Observation:  I am hearing this morning that if I can refrain from evil that my life would be pleasing to the Lord.  If, by the grace of God, I can avoid injustice, I can atone for my past sins.  Although, I have taken the second verse out of context, it is still within the same paragraph, so I am assuming it still applies to this same thought process.  If I can refrain from evil and give up all that I have hung on to in this world, I can count on the grace coming to me sevenfold.

Personification:  Patience  I don’t believe I have focused on displaying the fruit of patience in my life very well lately.  I would hope that I could see the amount of patience that our Heavenly Father has had with me and act with the same fruit of patience to wait on the Lord to receive the grace that will come as a result of my repentance and my refraining from evil.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to have a repentant heart that always turns to you in times of struggle.  I want to be reminded that I am a sinner, so that I will not allow myself to get caught up with evil and always avoid injustice.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  I ask these things, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

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.

My desires are evil from the start…

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The first chapter of Genesis, written of an egg...
The first chapter of Genesis, written on an egg…

Gift:  Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  3 When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself: “Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done.  As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”  (Genesis 8:20-22)

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Looking up he replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”  Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.  (Mark 8:24-25) 

Observation:  I shared with the group of three of us that had lunch together that I was moved by the first reading when I read these two verses about the fact that God would not doom the earth because of man.  God knows that we have evil desires in our heart from the start, but he has since then given us his Son and the holy Spirit to lead us toward becoming a new creation.   In the gospel reading, we discussed the fact that Jesus is showing us that healing sometimes does not happen instantaneously.  I see that God is working a miracle in me, but I must be patient for him to work it out in his own time.

Personification:  Generosity  It is my intention tonight to focus my attention on my boys and my wife to show them the generosity that comes from the grace of God. 

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for giving me your holy Spirit to transform me from my evil start to becoming a new creation.  Please continue to make me into a man who yearns only to do your will.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.