Friday, March 8, 2019

Always seek the blessing of the poor Today a beggar prayed over me and gave me his blessing. What a grace to receive the blessing of a poor man. I have always felt that even if I give some meager charity to those in need that their prayers for me would unlock the floodgates of the Lord, and thereby obtain blessings I could not with my own weak petitions. In these moments I feel the words of Tobit 12:9, “for almsgiving saves from death, and purges all sin.” Alms works away at the miserly selfishness lurking in our hearts, opens new paths of purity and truth, cleanses us of ‘entitled’ grumblings, and inspires deep in our hearts joyful gratitude at the gift of Life. It is not only prayer and fasting that casts out demons, but heartfelt almsgiving that saves us from the fires and hardened curses of hell.


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God Our Loving Father uses Lent to take us by the hand and guide us back to the right path. For each of these respond: Lord, guide us back to you+ When we use good and healthy pleasures too much that they become dominant or excessive... When we seek comfort from passing things forgetting our eternal destination... When we seek our own pursuits, forsaking the needs of the poor members of our family or community... When instead of merely keeping up with friends and family, we spend too much time on social media, forgetting prayer... When instead of just enjoying a show for evening relaxation we binge watch, keeping us from living life or needful rest... When things don't go our way and instead of waiting patiently we react with irritation or guile... When legitimate authority in our life directs us toward the common good yet we rebel or resist correction... When we turn from gratitude and joy to slump into complaining or self-pity... When we lose sight of God's hand failing to trust him, lapsing into vain anxiety and worry... When we forget God is in charge and needlessly brood over human politics and divisive rancor... When the Holy Spirit inspires us to intercede for others yet we procrastinate in obstinacy... O God Our Loving Father, guide us always in your merciful path, help us to trust in your ways and always seek your face, that when this earthly life is over we may rejoice with you in eternal life, through Christ Our Lord. Mary Mother of Jesus be a mother to us now+


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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Giving up for Lent? You certainly will give up if you attempt something that is too difficult. Don’t hate thyself. You don’t go into the gym after staying away for a while and attempt to lift some weight too heavy you never could lift before. You would injure yourself and have to recover and would be discouraged in the future to get in shape. Out of guilt some people line up big and heavy penances for Lent, things they might not really be ready for, and then when they fail because it was too much to begin with, they feel a failure and more guilty when they started. Instead I find it is better to look at your state in life at what you should be doing anyway and to do it if it is close enough for you to try. Like a physical weight your body can lift while still being a challenge, spiritually this will not only make you stronger but be an encouragement because of the little victories you will have. This way you’re planning not only to succeed incrementally but permanently change your habits. Good pointers for penances that could permanently change you? Be S.M.A.R.T. Make sure it is: S - specific - don’t say you’ll “give up negativity” or “be holier” for Lent. What exact practices are you going to do? M - measurable - how many more minutes will you pray? How many acts of kindness will you do for your family? A - attainable - don’t attempt something you can’t do. Be realistic about what you’re capable of. If you’ve never been able to do it before there might be a step in between point A and C that you are missing - B. R - relevant - it should be something that helps you be a better you, not turn a businessman into a monk, not take you away from charity toward your family but enkindle it. If you are committing habitual sin you shouldn’t focus on something else but stop what you shouldn’t be doing anyway. T - time sensitive - daily, weekly, monthly, at least once during Lent (like confession) etc. putting a time limit on it makes you accountable.


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Saturday, February 9, 2019

Ministering to priests, especially to those who have allowed themselves to mature, reveals the spirituality of emptiness, of futility, of being poured out like of a libation. If a priest is living the grace of his ordination his soul will most surely begin to start singing the words of psalm 22, a psalm of hope and victory covered in ignomy: “Eloi eloi lamech sabachtani!, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It will feel like he has nothing left over, like he has been spent and consumed. He will ask, “Am I in crisis? Is there something wrong with me? Have I displeased God somehow” and will be accustomed to valley walking his journey through low spots, acquainted with misery, rejection, abandonment, and loss. The reason for this is that his identification with Christ is as shepherd and servant, and his poor priestly heart becomes conformed more and more to Jesus’ Sacred Heart, which is pierced by our offenses, broken open by our rejection of his friendship and presence, and abandoned in ingratitude of the many. Being conformed to Christ fully means being crucified with him. However, the consolation and intimacy given to those who allow themselves to grow in Christ’s priesthood is beyond any explanation. It is a compensation and comfort for such desolation. At times there is a delay or lapse in such consolation to allow the priest to long and ache for eternity, for real life, to begin. It is at these times priests are in need of great prayer, intercession, and sacrifices. Today is a Friday, or day of penance in the life of the Church. Join me in praying and sacrificing today for priests. Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be


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Sunday, January 27, 2019

I believe in the Apostolic Church! This means having a real faith that is tested and matured by trial yet consoled by God. Image: St Timothy with his grandmother by Rembrandt Do not be discouraged. Never give up hope. I caught myself saying the other day, “Poor leadership and litigation could destroy the Church!” Immediately astonished as this came out of my mouth that I forgot the promise of the Lord, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” (Matthew 16:18), I prayed for courage and hope. Then I remembered: I say on Sunday in the creed, “I believe in God,” and then moments later, “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.” I am not only saying I believe in the divine nature of the Church, the head of the mystical Body, Jesus Christ, but also in His power to save, heal, elevate, or sanctify the members. So we are assailed by the weakness of the Church, indeed even our own weakness but we do not despair. Here I think of St Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:7-10: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” Also the Second Vatican Council (LG8): The Church, embracing in its bosom sinners, at the same time holy and always in need of being purified, always follows the way of penance and renewal. The Church, "like a stranger in a foreign land, presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God.”


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Thursday, December 27, 2018

On the third day of Christmas, God’s love have to me, a really awesome breakfast!!!!


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You love Christmas, but hate family tension? Yep, it’s great to see each other again, especially on a such joyful occasion, however these times also may be accompanied by family arguments, truculent teens, grouchy grandmas, upset uncles, or entangling in-laws. At such a time as Christmas I like to see these moments as just an invitation to remember what it’s really about - love. You can think of these tense moments like a shovel to dig deeper into the roots of Charity. Sometimes it’s just staggering how much love is required. Are you being forced to be patient, to forgive, to be gentle, show compassion? The only place patience comes from, the source and font of strength to look past a person’s weird woibles is Charity. You’re just being asked to love. You might not resolve an argument, get closure, or find reconciliation with certain family members and that’s ok as long as you can love them. We are only allowed a certain level of reconciliation with person as that relationship allows, but you MUST love them. You MUST forgive. If you don’t your heart will be poisoned, your attitude infected, and your vision clouded from what it’s all really about. Helpful hints: -Pray, ask God for a big old dose of his love to flood you -Vitamin D, distance, is sometimes the only way you might be able to get along with certain people# -Pray, ask Our Lady for help. She faced lots of family tension with a Messiah Son. She knows. -Do something constructive that allows you to bond without having to talk about unresolved/unresolvable issues like a game or movie or something humorous. -Pray -Say the things they really need to here, things that will actually and truly help them. -Pray -Recognize but don’t react to toxic behavior, wave the bull fighting flag to change the tone to one of concord from conceit, humility from huff, peace from perplexity. -Choose joy. Choose peace. Choose Charity


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When someone from my community has a red eye flight, I love celebrating stupid-o’clock-early Mass for them. Waking up before the world does has a certain silent sacredness. God’s voice seems to be heard a little louder at this time. May the Word Incarnate speak his words of life, merciful kindness, and holy joy to your soul+


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Merry Christmas! Today is the third day of Christmas. Soak in the joy and peace of the Savior born for us.


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I am an official Texan: steel toed cowboy work boots, probably most comfortable fit I’ve ever had.


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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Lost loved ones, broken hearts, disappointments, traumatic losses, pains that just plague the heart - these are the things which are a cause for making Christmas, a time normally of great joy, a time of tears and sorrow for those who have known great pain. “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about” is to be taken a lot more seriously in this time. Shiny lights at dusk, sugar cookies, beautiful decorations, flowers, songs of joy and celebration, movies and stories of peace on earth and good will toward men - these all become occasions of acute bitterness and piercing pangs of woe for those who know that this time is supposed to bring joy, hope, love, and peace, to taste only bitterness, feel only loneliness, experience more emptiness than normal. All year we busy ourselves with projects, goals for school, plans for work, and constant movement. Then Christmas comes and all is still. There is time to stop and listen. If you listen with your heart, you can see on the faces on many a kind of dread, a map of their loss. These are the people for whom is reserved God’s special graces and mercies. In some privileged years at Christmas I have found myself in prisons, orphanages, hospices, and homes where these hurting people are trying to rejoice, but their celebrations are marked with profound awareness that all is not merry and fine. Today I am celebrating Christmas in a rehabilitation hospital. Here in a particular way, the prophecy of Isaiah is proclaimed, “that the lame may walk.” In prisons they hear, “that captives may be set free,” in homeless shelters, “that the poor have the Gospel of God proclaimed to them.” Yet most of the people right next to you are not so obvious. They struggle and put on a good face, but in their hearts they aching to hear once again the good news, GOD IS WITH US, he has not forgotten your sorrow, he heals the broken hearted. So as you open presents, sing songs, make merry, remember that Mary and Joseph also endured at this time great rejection, cold, and didn’t really understand why the Savior was to be born in a cave. Each person has a cave, a hole in their hearts, longing to be filled with God’s love.


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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The face of the Newborn Christ Infant Have you ever seen a newborn infant? - Their face so small, skin so soft, fingers so tiny, little eyes seeking, mouth so hungry, their fragile body so vulnerable and poor? This is God. He became poor to make us rich. He became weak that we might be strong. He chose to show us the real face of love. Love is poor. It does not put on heirs. It has no vanity nor decoration nor masks. It cannot manipulate nor hide. Love is needy, demanding, dependent. Love is delicate. It can be lost if not cared for, it can be dropped if not held just right, yet it is not afraid to be vulnerable or accessible. It is said that at the moment of Christ’s birth there was a blast of searing light. The Creator, God from God, Light from Light, the Most Holy One, was visiting us, born in the dark of midnight, yet he chose to be clothed in the frailty of our human visage, almighty power teetering in terrible tenderness. Have you ever held a newborn? Hold Jesus. Mary invites you. “Would you like to hold my baby?” Hold him! Care for him! Do not take his grace for granted, nor presume you that the life of divine grace will just hang around without your constant attention, reverence, and devotion. Feed the presence of God in your life. Remember to pray. Stop. Listen. Be careful not to lose it, to drop it, to forget to care for the life of God within you. Nourish it with meditating on the Word of Life of the Scriptures and feeding on the Bread of Life, the Most Holy Eucharist. Rejoice that God is born to you today and always. GOD IS WITH US, a Savior is born for us, just remember to take care not only today, but every day, that His life may grow and come to full stature within you.


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