Are You Blessed? October 10, 2020


Saturday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  Luke 11:27-28

Do you hear the Word of God?  And if you do hear it, do you observe it?  If so, then you can consider yourself among those truly blessed by our Lord.

Interestingly, the woman speaking to Jesus in this passage was honoring His mother by saying she was blessed to have carried and fed Him.  But Jesus honors His mother to an even greater degree by stating what He does.  He honors her and calls her blessed because she, more than anyone else, hears the Word of God and observes it perfectly.

Hearing and doing are two very different things.  Both of them take much commitment in the spiritual life.  First of all, hearing the Word of God is not simply an audible hearing or a reading of the Bible.  “Hearing” in this case means that God has communicated to our souls.  It means we are engaging a Person, Jesus Himself, and we are letting Him communicate to us whatever He desires to communicate.

Though it can be challenging to hear Jesus speak and to internalize what He says, it is even more challenging to then let His Word change us to the point that we live what He has spoken.  So often we can have very good intentions but fail to follow through with action by living the Word of God.

Reflect, today, upon both hearing and observing.  Start with hearing and reflect upon whether or not you daily allow yourself to be engaged by Jesus.  From there, reflect upon whether you are living what you know He has spoken.  Recommit yourself to this process and you will find that you, too, are truly blessed!

Lord, may I hear you speak to me.  May I meet You in my soul and receive Your sacred Word.  May I also put that Word into action in my life so as to experience the blessings You have in store for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

 

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Image: A Woman Cries Out in a Crowd James Tissot

Listening September 19, 2020


Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

Saint Januarius, Bishop and Martyr—Optional Memorial

“Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved.”  Luke 8:12

This familiar story identifies four possible ways in which we hear the Word of God.  Some are like a trodden path, some like rocky ground, others like a bed of thorns and some are like rich soil.

In each one of these images, there is a possibility of growth with the Word of God.  The rich soil is when the Word is received and bears fruit.  The seed among thorns is when the Word grows but the fruit is choked off by daily troubles and temptations.  The seed sown in the rocky ground results in the Word growing, but ultimately dies off when life gets hard.  The first image of seed falling on the path, however, is the least desirable of all.  In this case, the seed does not even grow.  The earth is so hardened that it can’t sink in.  The path itself provides no nourishment whatsoever and, as the passage reveals above, the Devil steals the Word away before it can grow.

Sadly, this “path” is becoming more and more prevalent in our day and age.  In fact, many struggle with actually listening.  We may hear, but hearing is not the same as actually listening.  We often have much to do, places to go and things to occupy our attention.  As a result, it can be difficult for many people to actually receive the Word of God into their hearts where it can grow.

Reflect, today, on the many ways that the Devil can come and steal the Word of God away from you.  It may be as simple as keeping you so occupied that you are too distracted to soak it in.  Or it may be that you allow the constant noise of the world to contradict what you hear before it sinks in.  Whatever the case may be, it is essential that you seek to take, at very least, the first step of listening and understanding.  Once that first step is accomplished, you can then work to remove the “rocks” and “thorns” from the soil of your soul.

Lord, help me to hear Your Word, to listen to it, to understand it and to believe it.  Help my heart to ultimately become rich soil that You enter so as to bear an abundance of good fruit.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

 

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Image: The Sower – James Tissot

A Day to Fast and Abstain February 28, 2020

Friday after Ash Wednesday
Readings for Today
“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”  Matthew 9:15
Fridays in Lent…are you ready for them? Every Friday in Lent is a day of abstinence from meat. So be sure to embrace this little sacrifice today in union with our entire Church. What a blessing it is to offer sacrifice as an entire Church!
Fridays in Lent (and, in fact, throughout the year) are also days in which the Church asks us to do some form of penance. Abstinence from meat certainly falls into that category, unless you dislike meat and love fish. Then these regulations are not much of a sacrifice for you. The most important thing to understand about Fridays in Lent is that they should be a day of sacrifice. Jesus offered the ultimate sacrifice on a Friday and endured the most excruciating pain for the atonement of our sins. We should not hesitate to offer our own sacrifice and to strive to spiritually unite that sacrifice to Christ’s. Why would we do that?
At the heart of the answer to that question is a basic understanding of redemption from sin. It’s important to understand the unique and profound teaching of our Catholic Church on this. As Catholics, we do share a common belief with other Christians throughout the world that Jesus is the one and only Savior of the world. The only way to Heaven is through the redemption won by His Cross. In a sense, Jesus “paid the price” of death for our sins. He took on our punishment.
But with that said, we must understand our role and responsibility in receiving this priceless gift. It’s not simply a gift that God offers by saying, “OK, I paid the price, now you’re completely off the hook.” No, we believe He says something more like this, “I have opened the door to salvation through my suffering and death. Now I invite you to enter that door with me and unite your own sufferings with mine so that my sufferings, united with yours, will bring you to salvation and freedom from sin.” So, in a sense, we are not “off the hook;” rather, we now have a way to freedom and salvation by uniting our lives, sufferings and sins to the Cross of Christ. As Catholics, we understand that salvation came at a price and that the price was not only the death of Jesus, it’s also our willing participation in His suffering and death. This is the way that His Sacrifice transforms our particular sins.
Fridays in Lent are days in which we are especially invited to unite ourselves, voluntarily and freely, with the Sacrifice of Jesus. His Sacrifice required of Him great selflessness and self-denial. The small acts of fasting, abstinence and other forms of self-denial you choose dispose your will to be more conformed to Christ’s so as to be able to more completely unite yourself with Him, receiving the grace of salvation.
Reflect, today, upon the small sacrifices you are called to make this Lent—especially on Fridays in Lent. Make the choice to be sacrificial today and you will discover that it is the best way to enter into a deeper union with the Savior of the World.
Lord, I choose, this day, to become one with You in Your suffering and death. I offer You my suffering and my sin. Please forgive my sin and allow my suffering, especially that which results from my sin, to be transformed by Your own suffering so that I can share in the joy of Your Resurrection. May the small sacrifices and acts of self-denial I offer You become a source of my deeper union with You. Jesus, I trust in You.
40 Days at the Foot of the Cross: Reflection Two – The Strength of the Immaculate Heart
Read the Lenten Fast and Abstinence regulations from the USCCB
Resources for Lent
Click here to view media.
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My Catholic Life!

A journey of personal conversion!

Clinging to Jesus Monday, July 22, 2019

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene

Readings for Today

“Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”  John 20:15b-17b

What a privilege!  Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the risen Lord, and there is no doubt that many would have concluded that she was the most unworthy person to receive such a blessing.

We know the story of Mary Magdalene well.  She was a very sinful woman who was almost stoned.  Jesus did not condemn her and told those who wanted to stone her that the one without sin should cast the first stone.  One by one they left Mary, and Jesus forgave her and reconciled her to the Father.

After that, she became a faithful follower of Jesus and radically changed her life.  For that reason, we now call her “saint.”  But this passage above tells us even more about Jesus and His mercy.

This passage is taken from the account of Jesus’ Resurrection.  Mary had gone to the tomb only to find it empty.  She sat there weeping thinking that someone took Jesus’ body away.  But suddenly, before her eyes, Jesus was there and alive.  His words were piercing and profound.  He said, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”  There are two things to say about this passage.

First, it was indeed a wonderful blessing that Jesus appeared to her first.  This sinful woman was now the first witness and first messenger to the Resurrection.  This tells us that Jesus does not discriminate against us because of our past sins.  He does not have a long memory holding us forever accountable for what we’ve done in the past.  His forgiveness is absolute when given and it completely restores us to grace if we are open.  This is what happened with Mary.  Jesus chose her, this formerly sinful woman, to be His first witness of His Resurrection.

Secondly, this passage reveals that Jesus does want us to cling to Him, just not in a purely human way.  Mary had come to know Jesus on Earth and now Jesus wanted to deepen His bond with her once He ascended into Heaven.  At that time, He wanted to be more than just physically present, He wanted to dwell within her soul and unite Himself to her, and to us, in the most intimate and profound way.

Reflect, today, upon the desire in the Heart of our Lord that we cling to Him in Heaven.  Hear Him say to you, “I have now ascended to my Father and I invite you to cling to me with your whole heart.  Let me in and allow me to dwell within you in all intimacy.  I love you and want to be one with you.  Will you let me into your heart?”

Lord, I do want to cling to You.  I do choose to be one with You in every way.  Come live in my heart and make me one with You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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március 10., szombat

 

Oz 6,1-6
Mert irgalmat akarok, és nem áldozatot,
istenismeretet várok, és nem égőáldozatot.

Lk 18,9-14
Istenem, légy irgalmas hozzám, bűnöshöz!

*********************************************

Egy farizeus, egy előkelő,
díszes ruhájú ember állt elől,
a zajra fordult, nézett, és tovább
susogta máris a kezdett imát,
ami – tudjátok – ma is általános:
én több vagyok, mint az a vámos.

Igazat adtam néki, s a fejem
lebukott mélyre: irgalmazz nekem!

És valahonnan ősi könyvtekercsek
lapjáról hozzám indultak szavak
egy füstös mécsről, mely nem oltatik ki,
habár kanóca lángot már nem ad,
s az alig élő, semmit érő nádról,
a roppant szálról,
amit az Úr még meghagy, nem tör el,
s egész a földig leborultam
a rőt aranynak terhivel.

(Szent-Gály Kata:
Máté apostol – Beismerés /részlet/)

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ROME, 2017/09/17

ROME, 2017/09/17
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