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Monday, September 29, 2014, 2:17 PM
St. 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 thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen..
Saturday, September 27, 2014, 5:40 AM
And Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you: the publicans and the prostitutes are ahead of you on the way to the kingdom of heaven. For John came, to show you the way of goodness, and you did not believe him; but the publicans and the prostitutes did. You were witnesses of this, but you neither repented nor believed him.
Jesus tells the story of the two sons who were requested by their father to go to his vineyard to work. The first said flatly that he will not obey his father but thought the better of it afterwards and went anyway. The second promised to obey the father’s request but failed to do so. His hearers commended the eldest son who in turn was a mirror of the publicans and the prostitutes who initially violated God’s command but turned a new leaf and repented when they heard the preaching of John. On the other hand, the chief priests and the elders did not effectively take the role of the youngest son.
An open rebellion that leads to repentance and consequent obedience is better than a passive obedience that later leads to a secret rebellion. That is why we are better off with people who are loud and transparent with their intentions than those whose mind we cannot read. We know at least what to expect from the former and will be genuinely surprised if they have a change of heart. On the other hand we will have a hard time reconciling the good attitude the former has shown us while secretly harboring seditious thoughts. The known sinners in Jesus’ time were like that. They made no secrets of their opposition to God by the lives they led, yet at a point in time, they changed course and mended their ways. It was a shock to note that those who were so sure of receiving the kingdom were instead disinherited of their claimed birthright because their disobedience was not forthright.
I may be both the elder and the younger son in my response to obedience but they are not ideal examples. I should mean what I say and say what I mean clearly and without pretence. Today I take my word seriously. My word is my bond
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 10:40 PM
PRAYER TO ST. JUDE
Are you faced with a desperate situation? The prayer to St. Jude (pictured at left) printed below helps remind us that nothing is impossible with God, even help when you’re at your wit’s end. Considering that thanksgiving notes appear in newspapers to this patron saint of desperate cases, praying to him must have some effect!
St. Jude was one of the twelve Apostles. Mark’s (3:18) and Matthew’s (10:3) gospels refer to him as Thaddeus (a surname meaning “amiable or “loving”), possibly in part to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, our Lord’s betrayer! John’s gospel refers to him in the last supper as “Judas… not the Iscariot” (14:22).
The evangelist no doubt wanted to make sure that he would not be confused with the man Jesus Himself referred to as the “son of perdition” in John 17:11!
This prayer to St. Jude touches on that:
Oh glorious apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies has caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases--of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable; make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded thee of bringing visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need, that I may receive the consolations and succor of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly (mention your request), and that I may bless God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen
St. Jude is known as the brother of Saint James the Less. According to tradition, he wrote the epistle bearing his name in the New Testament as well, although this is not as certain.
In his letter he stressed having faith in apostolic teachings in the midst of heresies through fraternal charity, prayer, and loving obedience to God. According to the historian Eusebius he assisted in his brother St. Simeon’s election as Bishop of Jerusalem in 62 A.D.
St. Jude is said to have preached the gospel in such regions as Judea, Samaria, Libya, and Mesopotamia, before suffering martyrdom in Armenia, which was then part of Persia. According to one account, he is said to have cured the King of Edessa’s leprosy in Mesopotamia with an image of Jesus’s face that our Lord had pressed on a cloth.
The king was so impressed he converted to Christianity, along with much of his family and kingdom. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words! St. Jude converted countless others to the faith as well.
He is often shown in drawings, like the one above, holding an image of Jesus in one hand and a club (a symbol of his martyrdom) in the other. Often the Holy Spirit is seen over his head as a tongue of fire (in remembrance of Pentecost when He came upon the apostles).
These two prayers to St. Jude, like the previous one and some otherslisted here can be used as a novena (a prayer said for nine consecutive days).
O Holy St Jude!
Apostle and Martyr,
great in virtue and rich in miracles,
near kinsman of Jesus Christ,
faithful intercessor for all who invoke you,
special patron in time of need;
to you I have recourse from the depth of my heart,
and humbly beg you,
to whom God has given such great power,
to come to my assistance;
help me now in my urgent need and grant my earnest petition.
I will never forget thy graces and favors you obtain for me
and I will do my utmost to spread devotion to you. Amen.
St. Jude, pray for us and all who honor thee and invoke thy aid.
(Say 3 Our Father's, 3 Hail Mary’s, and 3 Glory Be’s after this.)
Note that in addition to saying a prayer to St. Jude, we can invoke his aid by offering Holy Masses and Communions in his honor. We can also engage in charitable works in his name.
As St. Leo once said “Prayer has the greatest efficacy to obtain favors from God when it is supported by works of mercy.” Don’t forget to help someone in need as part of your prayer to St. Jude.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 10:07 PM
"A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good." (Luke 6:45)
And it leads me to ask ,"What type of a person am I.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 10:00 PM
Inspirational Snippet: Words are powerful. They cannot be deleted once heard
Parents should take the above in consideration ....
Monday, September 22, 2014, 10:11 PM
"And the devil knows the truth…that God is faithful, that divine grace will never fail us. The devil knows that he cannot obstruct the flow of God’s grace at its source. He can, however, clog up the channels by which we normally receive that grace. He can confuse and distract the minds and hearts to which God’s grace is directed, turning us into bad receivers, bad cooperators, irresponsible partners. This is his strategy."
Friday, September 19, 2014, 10:18 PM
“But that’s not fair!” Most parents have heard this phrase umpteen times. The notion of fairness also known as justice, is built into us. It makes us aware that each of us has certain rights that need to be respected.
But it also means that we each have duties. If others have the right to be paid for their work, those who benefit from that work have the duty to pay them. If others have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the duty not to let our pursuit of happiness infringe on their rights.
But we have to widen our perspective a bit. God, the creator of all, is responsible for all the blessings we enjoy. Life in this world was given to each of us as an undeserved, free gift. We have unequal physical talents, features, and abilities, plus diverse spiritual and intellectual gifts as well. They vary a lot from person to person, but what they all have in common is that they come as free gifts from God who didn’t have to create any of us.
This is the necessary background to fully understand a parable that at first shocks our sensibilities. Matthew (20:1-16) records a story of an employer who hires workmen to harvest grapes. He hires members of the crew at various times of the day, so that at the end of the day, some have only worked a few hours while others have worked all day long. There’s grumbling when everyone is paid the same standard day’s wage, regardless of how long they worked. To add insult to injury, those who started last got paid first. “No fair!”
Wait a minute. The master paid those who worked all day exactly what he told them they’d get. He just decided to be generous and pay everybody, even the latecomers, a full day’s wage. Justice does not preclude generosity.
The Pharisees thought that they had always done the will of God and deserved more than the rest, especially the rabble Jesus appeared to favor–including tax collectors and sinners. It roiled them to think that these Johnny-come-lately’s would sit along them in the Kingdom of God.
Truth be told, neither they, nor any of us, are really like the folks who consistently did the will of the Master, working uninterruptedly at the assigned task. Our assigned job is to love the Lord our God with ALL our heart, ALL our soul, and ALL of our strength (Deut 6:4-5) every day of our life. This is only fair since we owe God absolutely everything. But we’ve all unfairly walked off the job at various moments–thumbing our noses at him through our disobedience, pride, and selfishness. Some have gone AWOL longer than others, and some’s sins are more spectacular than others. But the bottom line is that, in terms of strict justice, God does not owe any of us anything except, perhaps, punishment.
But in his extraordinary generosity, the Lord has offered us a deal–if we will accept His beloved Son in faith as Savior and Lord, and through the power of the Spirit seek to do His will, and if we will repent each time we fail, He will give us what we do not deserve–friendship with Him here that opens out to eternal glory hereafter. The first takers for this offer have typically been those most aware of their need for mercy. And this is why the last have usually been first when it comes to the Kingdom of God.
Seems fair to me.
Sunday, September 7, 2014, 10:13 PM
Christian, biblical approach to fraternal correction has nothing to do with the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. Rather, it is all about loving intervention. As Ezekiel was a watchman for the house of Israel, we are all watchmen for each other.
I used to think that God’s law was like those dumb rules we have to put up with in grammar school, like “Thou shalt not chew gum in class.” They are arbitrary laws that some bureaucrats came up with to keep them happy and the rest of us miserable. The goal of the student is to break such rules whenever they can get away with it. The only bad consequence would be to get caught.
But God is not a bureaucrat. He’s a loving Father. If He says “thou shalt not,” it is because the particular activity in question wounds and, in some cases, destroys the child of God who engages in it. But doesn’t sin offend God? Of course. We are made in his image and likeness, and sin defaces that likeness in us. It also wounds others made in his image and likeness. There is no such thing as private sin–we are so interconnected that every decision to step away from God has incalculable impact on not only the sinner but on the whole family of God.
Some people correct others because they are busybodies. Others, like the Pharisees, do so in order to exalt themselves as they put others down. The disciple, however, intervenes out of love. Love for God, for all his children, but especially for the sinner who is damaged the most by his own sin.
Many people think about God’s law as if it were just arbitrary bureaucratic regulations. They are unaware that their actions are gouging wounds in their hearts and in the hearts of others. But if we know, and we care, we must find a way to tell them. Others don’t know about God and his will–but their actions are still wreaking havoc in their lives and the lives of others. We need to share with them the Good News about the mercy of Christ and the power of the Spirit who makes it possible to follow the will of the Father.
“But,” you may say, “they won’t listen, so why bother?” Simple - because God says so! Ezekiel the prophet was called to be a watchman for Israel (Ezek 33:7-9). It was his responsibility to let people know whenever their actions were leading to disaster. If he told them and they did not listen, Ezekiel was off the hook. He fulfilled his responsibility, and the consequences were on the heads of those who failed to heed the warning. But if he neglected to warn them out of fear of their disapproval, and they ended in disaster, God would hold Ezekiel responsible.
“But,” you may say, “I’m not called to be a prophet.” Oh yes you are! In baptism and confirmation you were anointed priest, prophet, and king. And if you haven’t noticed, prophets don’t usually win popularity contests.
Of course, if you are prudent and humble and sensitive as you go about this prophetic task, your chances of success will be greater. The Lord Jesus gives us direction about this in Matthew 18: first, go privately to the person and treat him or her like a brother or sister, not like your inferior. If you get nowhere, get another to help you. If you still run into a stone wall, refer it to the Church, which in most cases would mean someone in authority such as a pastor or bishop or apostolic delegate.
The bottom line is: we owe a debt of love to our brothers and sisters (Romans 13:8-10). And love does its best to dissuade a person from walking over a cliff.
This was originally published in Our Sunday Visitor as a reflection upon the readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, liturgical cycle A (Ez 33:7-9), Ps 95, Ro 13:8-10; Mt 18:15-20). It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 9:57 PM
A good relationship with the Holy Spirit is essential for good listening. The more we rely on Jesus, trusting him more than we trust ourselves, the more open our spirits are to the promptings of his Spirit.
In observing a who, we err whenever we make conclusions, because we do not fully know the other’s heart and motive and level of accountability – only God does; only God can be Judge. We can correctly identify when people are sinning, but we can only make assumptions about why, how much they understand, and how much they can be held accountable. Assumptions can never be trusted.
Even when our assumptions are correct, we're not free to judge the sinner, because a judge is one who has the authority to impose sentence. Only God has that authority, for only God is free of sin. Remember what Jesus told the guys who wanted to stone the adulterous woman: Who can cast the first stone?
Today’s responsorial Psalm tells us how God serves as Judge (are we like this?): gracious and merciful, slow to anger, great in kindness, good to the sinner, etc. We're quick to condemn. We get frustrated when people don't get the punishment they deserve. And yet, how grateful we are that God does not condemn us so quickly! Ahhh, the sin of hypocrisy rears its ugly face. Judgmentalism leads to one sin after another.
As Christians who are devoted to uniting ourselves to Christ, we have the mind of Christ, but let's remember what is uppermost in Christ's mind: "I did not come to the world to condemn it, but to save it." We become obstacles in his way when we judge people. Redemption and justice only occur when we let Jesus decide how to make good come from every evil.
And by the way, you are a "who" too, so quit condemning yourself! Turn instead to God's mercy and let Jesus redeem you from whatever you've done
Saturday, August 30, 2014, 10:01 PM
Jeanne Jugan saw Christ in what Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata would describe as his "distressing disguises." With great confidence in God's providence and the intercession of St. Joseph, she begged willingly for the many homes that she opened, relying on the good example of the Sisters and the generosity of benefactors who knew the good that the Sisters were doing. They now work in 30 countries. "With the eye of faith, we must see Jesus in our old people—for they are God's mouthpiece," Jeanne once said. No matter what the difficulties, she was always able to praise God and move ahead. Quote:
In his homily at the canonization Mass, Pope Benedict XVI said: "In the Beatitudes, Jeanne Jugan found the source of the spirit of hospitality and fraternal love, founded on unlimited trust in Providence, which illuminated her whole life. This evangelical dynamism is continued today across the world in the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which she founded and which testifies, after her example, to the mercy of God and the compassionate love of the Heart of Jesus for the lowliest.”