Ask and It Will Be Given You

Dear friends, as we come to the end of this first week of Lent, we find the eternal wisdom of the Holy Mother Church evident once again, as we are reminded with the Mass  readings of today, that as we go through this life with all of it’s hardships and struggles, we are to look no farther than to Our Heavenly Father for all of our needs. Whether these needs be physical or spiritual… God is the answer for all of our needs. In the first reading from the Book of Esther we read:

Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

We find Esther calling out to the Lord from her agony and her troubles. She has come to realize that her salvation comes from God. And then as we go further into the Mass, we hear from the Gospel of  Matthew 7, that Jesus tells His disciples:

Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

What a perfect timing. This is just the message that we the faithful need as we head towards the second week of Lent. Last week, many of us began our Lenten journey with giving up things, or with ‘doing without’ for Lent. According to the Church rules we are called to abstain and fast these forty days, and being so inclined, many of us add other sacrifices to our daily routine. As a whole, we are good at giving up things for Lent, but few of us are willing to take that leap of faith and put all of our trust into the Lord.

We give up our sweets and do our penances, but we don’t give ourselves over to God. And the Church, being the good Mother that She is… reminds us that instead of giving up, we should be more focused on looking up…on looking towards the Lord and instead of looking horizontal, or just focusing at our place here on earth, we should be drawing closer to the Lord. We should be uniting ourselves with the Lord, by placing all of our cares, all of our worries… all of our everything with God.

We have got to stop doubting what we have been taught. We have have to stop distrusting the Truth that Jesus Christ revealed to us through His disciples. Instead of living this Lent with the mindset of ‘what can I sacrifice?’ …or ‘what can I give up?’… Let’s take a moment today and ask God to help us to be who He created us to be. Let’s stop pretending that we can do it on our own, because we can’t… and we shouldn’t … God wants to help us. We are His children and He is more loving than the most loving Father here on earth. He wants us to depend on Him. He wants us to ask Him for everything. He wants us to be bold and ask for all of these things and more. After all, He wants us to submit ourselves to His Holy Will which is Love and Mercy Itself. Can you say ‘Jesus I Trust in You,’ and mean it. Really mean it ? Make that your goal for Lent. Let’s all make that our goal. We may just be surprised where we wind up. We never know where God will lead us, but we can be sure that it will always be what is best for us… even if at first, it doesn’t feel like it. Happy first Thursday of Lent. God bless.

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Transformed in the Quiet of God

There have been a great many stories of conversion throughout the history of the Catholic Church. In fact, just recently we listened in Mass to the reading of the conversion of St. Paul. The entire reading can be found in the Acts of the Apostles 9: 1-22. And although it is quite dramatic, the kind of earth-shaking conversion that rocked St. Paul, isn’t the kind that most of us will experience … but  our conversion towards God will be grande none the less. And in order to ensure that we don’t get knocked flat on our backs, we need an openness to His Will  and an ear for His voice…. in every circumstance of our lives.

What exactly is an ear for the voice of God, you might ask. Well, it is the quieting of your soul. It is the pause that listens for the breath of God in your heart. It is the moment of stillness in which you hear your conscience speak. It is the hush in the busy-ness of your day.  So much of our days are anything but quiet, and to set aside God time will take an effort… but it can be done… rather… it must be done. No one ever made it to heaven by listening for the voice of God… and then disobeying It… we are called to listen…and we are called to obedience…

Maybe you have just a few moments… maybe, it’s just those few moments as you get your shower… or wait for the coffee to drip…whenever it is… find your quiet. Even though seeking out God in a quite chapel would be most ideal… God can talk to us anywhere. We just have to be sure to lose the distractions.

The cell phone and the t.v. are the two main culprits that we allow to rob of us our silence. It is quite hard to know that you are doing all that you can for the Lord if all you give Him is one hour on Sunday. God deserves the beginning and the end of our everyday. He deserves our prayers. Of course,  He doesn’t need them…. but He wants them. why? Because they help us. As Catholics we know that God created us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him, so that we could be happy with Him in this world and the next.

Unfortunately, many Catholics only pray when they need something. Praying to God for help is fine… it is good, but we ned to pray so that we can listen to what God wants from us. It will surprise you. It is more than you think. It is beyond our simple grasp. Most of us don’t even have a clue about the greatness that the Lord is calling us to. It will take your breath away… God will take your breath away. And He will replace it with His breath. His strength. His resolve and firm understanding. He will move mountains with your tiny little hands. He will cross vast lands with your legs and your feet. He will use you to stir the world into seeking Him. He will use you… yes… tiny little you… to shed His Light into the world…

Your conversion will more than likely begin in the quiet. It will be a gnawing in your soul… a feeling of something undone… it is God. He is calling you… whispering you into conversion. There may not be thunderbolts and lighting. There may not be horses galloping at full speed… There may not be all that grande display and hoopla, but you must listen… because when all is said and done and you have lived your life totally, and completely for the Lord, giving Him whatever He asks… you just may feel like it is all that and more. God bless.

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Marching For Life

March for Life 2019 live: Thousands say 'all life matters'

This is just one of the many pictures that are online of the March for Life that took place yesterday in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, like in years past, E.W.T.N. was really the only television station to provide full day coverage of the event. Most of the news channels avoided it, and the others that did mention it failed to point out the huge number of people that had gathered in the snow covered streets of D.C. to once again stand and “march’ for life. Some reports are going as high as 700,000!

January 22nd marks the 46th year since the grande courts of America turned their heads… their hearts, and their votes against the most vulnerable in society… the unborn. So many people today can’t even imagine a world where the killing of an innocent pre born child would not be considered a ‘choice’. And yet, even in this culture of death, there is hope.

So many of those who march are from this same age group. They have never known a world without abortion and yet they hang onto the hope of such a world. They are able to discern the truth of life from the lies of the world and they are marching. Marching in record numbers to be a voice for the voiceless. Gathering in the cold to show the world that they will not sit by and watch these atrocities occur without doing something.

As faithful Catholics we need to take up this march. Not just in D.C. but where we live. Where we work and raise our families. I’m not just talking about standing for the unborn. I am talking about standing for those who are born. Those who are struggling with just getting by. Standing for life. In all circumstances. The unborn. The old and infirm. Those that the rest of society has forgotten. Those who are without hope. We have to march for ‘life’ for them as well.

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Washington post

Looking at these pictures of the March brings me a sense of hope, a sense of Happiness, to see so many young people aligning  themselves with the pro-life movement, it means we have got a chance. It means that maybe…just maybe…things can change for the better. But not without us… we have got to be the change we want to see in the world. We have got to be pro-life. Pro-God. Pro-love. A true kind of Love. (Not the kind of love they scream about on t.v.)

We have got to be the hands and feet of Christ. We have got to be pro-life for the sick and those who are suffering. We have got to be pro-life for them as well. How?  We have got to give them hope. We have gt to share the word of God with those who are marginalized, those who suffer. Those who are alone.

We have got to do more. Be more. Pro-life. It is more than just a slogan. It is a way of life. “Do you have what it takes to pick up this cross and follow me?”

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The Gifts of the Magi

On this feast of the Epiphany, I would like to share a blog from Father Gregerson, a priest from the Diocese of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He does such a wonderful job of explaining the beauty as well the meaning behind the celebration. I do hope you have a wonderful feast day and enjoy his blog.

Father Gregerson

Why do you all think that Christmas is such a big deal? We can imagine this question being posed by someone who doesn’t know much about Christianity – maybe someone from China, Iran, or North Korea. But that same question would actually be posed to us by the earliest Christians themselves! To them, today’s feast of the Epiphany was much more important.

This ranking of the feast of the Epiphany over Christmas can be seen in the Church’s liturgy. If you follow the Church’s liturgical calendar, you will have noticed that the octave of Christmas is interrupted by the celebration of several feast days (St. Stephen, St. John, the Holy Innocents, and others), while the days between Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord are free of any saints’ days, because the octave of the Epiphany traditionally ranked so high as to exclude any other celebrations. (Such is the case…

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Beginning the Year For God

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On this eleventh day of Christmas and this fourth day of the ‘New Year,’ we are still in the Christmas season and should still be  following the star… following the path of the Wise Men in their journey towards the Baby Jesus. Even though Christ’s birth happened over two thousand years ago, we still have an opportunity to visit Jesus and pay homage to Him by attending First Friday Mass and making a Holy Hour in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Many people have started their New Year with resolutions aimed at bettering themselves, or more particularly aimed at bettering their bodies. Of course, this is well and good, but as faithful Catholics we need to remember that everything we do should direct us to God. We need to look at our resolutions with eyes of Faith. Sure, we should work at maintaining good health, and of course we should try to kick those habits which do our physical bodies harm, but we mustn’t neglect the health of our soul.

These past couple of weeks the liturgical calendar has been filled with feasts and holy days that aim to help us grow closer to the Lord… aimed at helping us prioritize where our focus in this life should be. In our quest for a better body,  too often we overlook those things that aid our spiritual health and instead focus on those that only aid the physical. We sign up for gym memberships or start new diets geared at eating healthier, all the while ignoring the eternal nature of our souls.

This weekend as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, why not try to make it to Mass for First Friday or at least spend some time at the chapel in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Missed it? Well tomorrow is First Saturday and many parishes have a special Mass in honor of Our Blessed Mother. It would be a great time to start making your faith a priority. For more information on this First Saturday devotion click here.

If you really want to make some resolutions this year, start with your heart… I mean soul. There are so many opportunities to grow in the Faith. There is so much more to being Catholic than just attending Mass on Sunday. Why not make the resolution to learn more about the Catholic saints? They are the ones who lived life right. Through all of their difficulties, they kept their eyes on God. We can do the same. Remember, each of us was created by God for greatness.

As these first few days of 2019 unfold before us let us make a resolution to love the Lord with all of our heart. Without holding anything back. Sounds a bit radical, I know. Perhaps that might be a bit much… but perhaps, if we don’t, it won’t be enough. All I know for sure is that if you make a resolution to just learn a little more about the Faith and actually read the Truth you will see how the Catholic Church helped shape the world… You will see how the Catholic Church is the vessel in which the Lord continues to pour His Mercy over the world.

Knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church is so important in that it helps us recognize the Church’s role in keeping the world from spinning headlong into the abyss of hell. Don’t fall for the lies of the world, because contrary to what the secular world would have you believe, being Catholic… truly Catholic and embracing the Faith and Her teachings with a heart that is open to the Will of God, will do far more for you than all the diets in the world and all the hours spent at the gym. I guarantee. You will be glad that you did… because in the end, God will reward you. His Love for you will not be outdone.

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Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

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Jesus… God made man… the Savior of the world. The Savior of the human race. He is the One that brings man salvation, security and peace… Jesus. It is the name above every other name, and it should be forever on our lips … “Jesus, i trust… Jesus, i love… Jesus, i need… You.” These are the utterances that should get us through our days… not cursings and blaspheming His name.

In Jesus, we can see the Love that comes from the Father’s heart. In Jesus, God wished to show man His Love. A perfect Love like no other. Thus, Jesus is the Love of God, so much so, that it is His name that gives rhythm to our beating hearts. It is His name that gives steadiness to our breath when we are unable catch it or hold it on our own. Jesus... the very source that gives strength to our weakness, and lightness to our dark.https://www.speroforum.com/site/article_images/sampleHoly_Name_of_Jesus2.jpg

Today as we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, let us contemplate Christ. Not only as the tiny babe lying in the manger, wrapped in the glow of Christmas tide and the warmth of swaddling clothes, let us also contemplate the living Christ hidden under the humble  guise of ‘bread and wine’… present in the Eucharist…forgotten in so many tabernacles around the world…

On this Feast of the Most Holy Name, let us unite our hearts to His. Let us keep Him alive in our thoughts… in our words and in our actions. So that God will use the Name of His Dear Son to purge our souls of sin and help cleanse our hearts of the vices which dwell there.

After all, Jesus is the Divine Physician, He will heal our wounds and fill our heart with charity and love so that we may become more like Him on this earth. He has the power to chase away the evil and cleanse our soul. If we love Jesus with our hearts and contemplate Him with our mind He will heal us…mend us…in our body and in our soul.https://i.pinimg.com/736x/d5/ba/7c/d5ba7cbcab8d0ef7509f32bf06590a80.jpg

Prayer to the Most Holy Name of Jesus (by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.)

Jesus, the very thought of Thee With sweetness fills the breast! Yet sweeter far Thy face to see And in Thy presence rest.
No voice can sing, no heart can frame, Nor can the memory find, A sweeter sound than Jesus’ name, The Savior of mankind.
O hope of every contrite heart! 0 joy of all the meek! To those who fall, how kind Thou art! How good to those who seek!
But what to those who find? Ah! this Nor tongue nor pen can show The love of Jesus, what it is, None but His loved ones know.
Jesus! our only hope be Thou, As Thou our prize shalt be; In Thee be all our glory now, And through eternity.
Amen.
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January 1st- The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

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Below is an article from http://www.catholicreadings.org, it is quite beautiful in the explanation of Our Dear Mother. Happy New Year and I hope you enjoy.

The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

 

No one falls in love with a nature. We fall in love with a person. A woman loves a man, not mankind. And a mother pinches the pudgy little cheeks of a new born baby, not the cheeks of a new born nature. St. Mary gave birth to a little person, a baby, unlike any other.

In that little person a human nature united with a divine nature at the moment of conception. So St. Mary was the mother of the person Jesus, and the person Jesus had two natures, one fully human and the other fully divine. St. Mary was, then, the mother of Jesus’ human nature and of his divine nature. She was both the mother of a man and the mother of God. Two false extremes must be identified and rejected here.

Jesus was not really and truly only a God who just faked being a man. Nor was he really a man who just pretended to be a God. Jesus the man did not wear his divinity like a cloak that he could remove from his shoulders when he walked in the door. And the Son of God did not wear a fleshy human mask to conceal the radiance of his real divine face.

Jesus was fully God and fully man in a mystery of faith we call the hypostatic union. And because a woman is a mother to a person, not a nature, Mary is the mother of God. This has been the constant doctrine of the Catholic Church since the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD.

St. Mary has many titles under which we honor her. Today’s Solemnity commemorates the utterly unique, and unrepeatable, bond she shared with Jesus, a bond no other saint can claim. Jesus and Mary probably even looked very much alike, as hers was the only human DNA in his body.

What a beautiful thing that our God did not float down from heaven on a golden pillow. How good that he was not forged from a fiery anvil. How just that he did not ride to earth on a thunderbolt. Jesus could not redeem what he did not assume. So it was fitting that he was born like all of us – from a mom. We honor Mary today for her vocation as mother.

If she had disappeared from the pages of the gospel after giving birth to Jesus she still would have fulfilled her role in salvation history. She was obedient. She was generous. She allowed God to use her, body and soul, to write the first chapter of man’s true story, the story of the Church. Like all true stories, the person comes first. A life is lived. The book comes later.

God’s Mother gives us our mother – Holy Mother Church, who washes our souls in the saving waters of baptism and thus adopts us into God’s family. The Motherhood of Mary gives the world Jesus. Jesus gives us the Church. The Church then brings us into God’s family where Mary is our mother, Jesus our brother, and God our Father. This is the family of the Church. What pride to be members of so noble a family.

Today’s Solemnity of Mary Mother of God Quote:

O Mother of God, you birthed the one who created all. Within you was He whom the universe cannot contain. How beautiful the mystery. How exalted your vocation that precedes and makes possible the apostles’ own. At home with husband and child you bounced on your knee the one who spins the world on his finger. How beautiful the mystery. Help us start this new year with wonder more than resolutions, with eternal gratitude more than mundane goals.

Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

 

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