Whispers – Daily Mass Quotes begins after this Intro.
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Then the LORD said (to Elijah), “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” 1 Kings 19:11-13
Why are YOU here, beloved?
Was it to discover magnificent colors? Was it to find colorful music or awesome videos? Was it just curiosity? Was it accidental? Were you really looking for God, for Hope, for true LOVE somewhere in this menagerie we call the web?
You are Loved!!
Let’s follow the Scriptures of our daily Mass and see if we can catch those Words – simple but beautiful – Whispers to the Wind . . .
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August 31, 2020
Jesus said to his neighbors and friends, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” Lk _4:16-30
How many of our own neighbors and friends do we recognize as holy, special, gifted, blessed, talented, Spirit-filled, Saints? They’re all around us, if we just look! Maybe it’s a mom or a sister. Maybe it’s a coworker or child of ours. Maybe, well, who knows? Can we accept them all as special, beloved, just like you! Yes, you are very special, not only in God’s eyes but in mine. Thank you for visiting and know that you are always in my prayers and love and appreciation – just for being!!!
August 29, 2020
(The Passion of John the Baptist)
Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield, For in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust. Ps_33
The soul that waits for the Lord sees no other obstacle to that union. As St. Paul says:
“Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom_8:38-39
Wait, beloved. Wait with persistence. Wait with the strength of the Holy Spirit within. Wait with the courage of St. John the Baptist and Jesus. And never allow the world to interrupt our patient, persistent waiting. Remember, “I can overcome all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (paraphrase Rom_8:37)
Blessed be God forever!
August 28, 2020
(St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus said, “stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Mt_25:1-13
For some of us, it may take years or decades to finally awaken. To finally realize that God has been there all along. And it was really up to us to find Him, to find that Peace that only belongs to Him, to discover true love. St. Augustine was a case in point. In His autobiography, “Confessions” he wrote:
“Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within, but I outside, seeking there for you, and upon the shapely things you have made I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you. They held me back far from you, those things which would have no being, were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness; you flared, blazed, banished my blindness; you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you; I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst; you touched me, and I burned for your peace.
When at last I cling to you with my whole being there will be no more anguish or labor for me, and my life will be alive indeed, alive because (it will be) filled with you. But now it is very different. Anyone whom you fill you also uplift; but I am not full of you, and so I am a burden to myself.
Joys over which I ought to weep do battle with sorrows that should be matter for joy, and I do not know which will be victorious. But I also see griefs that are evil at war in me with joys that are good, and I do not know which will win the day.
This is agony, Lord, have pity on me! It is agony! See, I do not hide my wounds; you are the physician and I am sick; you are merciful, I in need of mercy.
Is not human life on earth a time of testing? Who would choose troubles and hardships? You command us to endure them, but not to love them. No-one loves what he has to endure, even if he loves the endurance, for although he may rejoice in his power to endure, he would prefer to have nothing that demands endurance. In adverse circumstances I long for prosperity, and in times of prosperity I dread adversity.
What middle ground is there, between these two, where human life might be free from trial? Woe betide worldly prosperity, and woe again, from fear of disaster and evanescent joy! But woe, woe, and woe again upon worldly adversity, from envy of better fortune, the hardship of adversity itself, and the fear that endurance may falter. Is not human life on earth a time of testing without respite?
On your exceedingly great mercy, and on that alone, rests all my hope.”
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God.” Ps_42:2-3
Hope, beloved! Hope in all He is: love and peace, mercy and goodness, life and eternity! Hope in God. Live in Jesus!
August 27, 2020
Jesus said to the dead young man, son of a widow from the town of Nain, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Lk_7:11-17
We might say that today’s Gospel is the perfect allegory for the life of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. Because, like the widow in the time of Jesus, Monica, in the mid-4th Century, lost her husband as well. But for Monica, it was more like she never really had the true love of her pagan husband, Patricus. And in raising her three children, Monica had to battle with him, just to have her children baptized.
And yet, ironically, before his death, Patricus, and his obstinate mother, were both converted to the faith thanks to the caring persistence of Monica.
And then there was Augustine. Monica loved Augustine. And when she finally had the opportunity to have Augustine baptized as a young man, after a serious illness, the father refused to allow it and Augustine decided to turn to worldly pursuits instead. So, in the end, again like the widow of Nain, Monica had also lost the love of her life.
But unlike the devastated widow in Luke’s Gospel, Monica had a very strong faith in God. And unlike the widow of Nain, who believed that this loss of her son would be the very end of her own life, with all her support gone, Monica persisted in prayer, in faithful hope, that her son would come back.
And just like the revival of the dead son of the Nainite widow, through the compassion and divinity of Jesus, Augustine, the son of Monica, was finally revived, brought back to a life of faith in God, after 17-years of compassion, prayers and tears of his mother, and her strong faith in Jesus.
Tomorrow, we celebrate the incredible accomplishments of this great St. Augustine. For his revival, not only brought about the salvation of his own soul, but as one of the Church’s greatest theologians, Augustine brought salvation to the world through his teachings. Teachings that helped enlighten and strengthen OUR own Faith in Jesus.
How many of us, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, have lost children to a world of paganism? How many of us, unwittingly said or did some trivial, to us, word or act that helped turn our own children away from us and the Lord? And we may never even know what that word or act may have been.
But, all of our apologies, and all of our attempts to reconcile, and all of our evangelization efforts – just seemed like pebbles in an ocean of hopelessness. You see, beloved, that is exactly when we, like St. Monica, need to be persistent in our prayer for them. That is when we never give up on the revival of their lives.
And it’s funny, because we may never live to see that change, that conversion in them, as Monica was finally able to witness with her son Augustine, just before her death. But our love and faith in them and in God will remain. And we will trust that Jesus, our life, will bring that life back to them as well.
St. Monica, patron of all mothers and wives, pray for us.
August 26, 2020
Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” Mt_23:27-32
We learn a lot from Jesus about what we’re not supposed to do and how we’re not supposed to act. He had lots of examples of people who needed to know this. Funny. In our times we have just as many (Maybe even ourselves!). And yet, we may say, “Well who am I to tell them what to do and what not to do!” The answer to which is, and Jesus tells us – we ARE our brother’s keepers. If they didn’t hear it from us, who will they hear it from? And if they don’t hear it, are they the people we want to see suffer the flames of hell? We could be in the same position without the leaders who taught us! It all gets down to that command again – LOVE!
August 25, 2020
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.
August 24, 2020
(St. Bartholomew, Apostle)
Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Jn_1:45-51
In an allusion to Jacob’s ladder (Gn_28:12). Jesus describes in a simple sentence how He is the ladder leading everyone to heaven, where the angels themselves descend down to earth to take us back up to our heavenly home.
Abraham’s grandson Jacob had a dream: a stairway rested on the ground, with its top reaching to the heavens; and God’s angels were going up and down on it. And there was the LORD standing beside him and saying: I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; Gn_28:12-13
Rest your head beloved. Whether on a rock or under a fig tree and ponder the Lord your God. He is there beside us, waiting for us to follow that path towards Him – with His angels there to guide us along every step of the way.
August 23, 2020
(21st Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
Jesus said to His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”” Mt_16:13-20
OH the joy of the “right” answer. But suffer the pain if it’s wrong. It wasn’t but three verses later in Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus rebukes Peter with the words “Get behind me Satan!” Here Peter was, on an all-time high, with his Church and his keys and his Authority. But turn the wrong phrase and in an instant you’re the mouthpiece of Satan.
With all this new power, Peter thought he could now be, even Jesus’ advisor. St. Paul today reminds us, “For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Or who has given the Lord anything that he may be repaid? For from him and through him and for him are all things.” Rom_11:33-36
Yes, Peter answered the question of who Jesus is (to him), correctly. But that didn’t really merit the reward, the gift of grace that Jesus gave him. It truly was gift and grace. As a matter of fact, we should all know and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, our Lord and Savior. And that doesn’t give us any more gift, power or authority to “lord” it over anyone else, than it did Peter. Peter did let it go to his head. And the result was the deafeningly painful darkness of pride.
It’s something we should all keep in mind, whenever we get to feeling prideful of our own right answers, our right thoughts and our feelings about God. And it’s something our Church leaders also need to be reminded of now and again. They have the awesome responsibility to care for their flock, but not the ostentatious power to forget the needs of that flock, in light of any challenge or pandemic. Stricken with the “Get behind me Satan” charge for having so overstepped the boundaries of their authority as to hurt the vulnerable, some of our clergy are now using the pandemic to crush the rest of us with their charges of guilt and blame, rather than uniting us behind the banner of love and communion and peace. Seems many of them have just forgotten that mission of Love in their zeal to protect themselves from the least wrong move! Maybe instead of zealous pride we all need to swallow a little humble pie, where love is shown by caring and not through more decrees!
Pray for our priests and bishops, beloved. And pray for one another, that we may keep the Faith despite our human ignorance. Jesus IS our answer!
Blessed be God forever!
August 22, 2020
(The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Jesus said to His disciples, “As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Mt_23:1-12
Mary, the queen of heaven and earth. Jesus the king! We the servants, loving every moment of it, in awe of our most perfect leaders!
August 21, 2020
(St. Pius X, Pope)
A scholar of the law, tested him (Jesus) by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Mt_22:34-40
It was a difficult discernment for the Religious Leaders. Loving God meant making sure that all those sinners and evil-doers knew well God’s laws. And if they overstepped the boundaries of strict legality they were punished severely, all in the Name of God. And yet, who was to tell which of them were worse than others? So they forced those strict rules on everyone alike, all, they professed, for the love of God! Yet, who was their neighbor. Certainly not those impious laity! And more than certainly, not those non-Israelite Gentiles.
It was tough for them to truly discern love for God vs love for neighbor. Their strictness, they thought, was for their love of neighbor as well. And yet, ask those “neighbors” what they thought of their leaders’ love for them, and in the shadows they would surely confess that to them it was non existent.
Jesus knew well both sides of the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ coins. And the bottom line was that their love was really just centered on themselves, their own self-preservation, if not aggrandizement.
God doesn’t just want us to love Him at the expense of others. He wants our love FOR Him to reflect on every other person we encounter – in love for them as well. Like a one-way mirror in which we are on the mirrored side and everyone is watching to see if we’re only looking at ourselves or actually seeing THEM with the deeper gaze of God’s vision!
August 20, 2020
(St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: “Holy Father, I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you,” Jn_17:20-26
Jesus the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth, incarnate of God the Father, came not only to free the Jewish people from their bondage to sin because of His love for us, but through His Jewish apostles His Word was to be spread to all the world, Jews and non-Jews (or Gentiles) alike. And yet, that love of God for ALL His children went beyond the 1st Century AD. In this prayer of Jesus to His Father, Jesus seeks the salvation of all mankind for all time! That means you and I, as well, beloved. We are in this great prayer of Jesus to His Father.
When we place our trust, our Faith in believing that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, the second person of the most Holy Trinity, whose persona and being is all ONE, then we, through our Baptism, are gifted, graced, with the same unity that the Trinity shares. And not only a union with God, but a union with one another. We are One in Spirit and One in Body with Christ, who is the Head – the Body of Christ, through the Apostolicity of our Church (our universal oneness through the Apostles and their successors, who transmit God’s Word to us, and we to the world).
What a glorious gift we have been given, beloved!
One in Love, one in Communion, through all time!
Blessed be God forever!
August 19, 2020
(St. John Eudes, Priest)
The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, in these words prophesy to them to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep?
You have fed off their milk, worn their wool, and slaughtered the fatlings, but the sheep you have not pastured. You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost, but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally.
So they were scattered for the lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered and wandered over all the mountains and high hills; my sheep were scattered over the whole earth, with no one to look after them or to search for them. . . .
Thus says the Lord GOD: I swear I am coming against these shepherds. I will claim my sheep from them and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep so that they may no longer pasture themselves. I will save my sheep, that they may no longer be food for their mouths.
For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. Ez_34:1-11
Prophetic – in His day and in ours, Jesus. God is with us. And He will take care of us Himself. Beware the shepherds you follow, beloved. There are some very good and holy ones. But there are also those who, just as the Prophet Ezekiel prophesied, are solely out for their own flesh and skin. Seek first the Lord and all things will come to light in His light!
Blessed be God forever!
August 18, 2020
The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre: Thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are haughty of heart, you say, “A god am I! I occupy a godly throne in the heart of the sea!”— . . . You shall die the death of the uncircumcised at the hands of foreigners, for I have spoken, says the Lord GOD. Ez_28:1-10
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” Mt_19:23-30
Seems like those Biblical Scholars are picking on the rich people again (a continuation of yesterday’s theme). But really, when you think about it, beloved, it actually makes sense.
We are supposed to be wholeheartedly dedicated to God. And whatever it is that draws us away from God is more than just a distraction, it’s a disaster! Because from God emanates everything else: our jobs, our successes, our failures (to learn from), our wealth. And without God, it’s simply pure luck that we succeed at anything.
So when we’re very wealthy, many people tend to think that it’s by their own doing. They begin to build themselves up into gods themselves (at least in their own minds). Yet, as the prophet Ezekiel proclaims, they are really nothing more than just lucky people. But their luck will run out when it comes to final judgment because they forgot the God from whom it was all, and only possible.
Wealth has a way of misleading us, beloved. Not that it can’t be used fruitfully! But God wants us to keep Him in the number one position in our lives. And that’s what the Scholars are reminding us about today!
August 17, 2020
Jesus said, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mt_19:16-22
I’ve got this old chest of drawers that someone was going to throw out, that I’ve been using as my tool bin for the past 40-some years. It’s got 5-drawers: one for screwdrivers, one for wrenches, one for electric tools, one for electric wires, etc, and one for painting stuff. Well, as you can imagine, over the years those tools and many other pieces of junk have proliferated in those drawers. Between new Christmas gifts and inheritances from dad, the drawers have gotten so heavy that it’s hard to open and close them any more.
So I decided last week to build a new drawer for all those wrenches underneath the table top of my home-made workbench. And by the time I got my home-made table saw working, made a jig to hold my free router (from opening a bank account 30-years ago), and scrounged up enough scrap wood to not have to buy anything new, three days later I was finally able to get that lawnmower out to cut some over grown grass.
And the next day, there I was scanning the internet to see what kind of new new tool gadgets are out, like table saws and router tables.
Stuff! We’ve got so much stuff and there’s always more. So we build bigger barns (and make more drawers)! I don’t quite think that’s what Jesus or St. Francis had in mind for us to do when they implored joyful poverty. And yet they both had their stints with either carpentry or textile sales themselves. They knew that in order to get things done efficiently there has to be a certain amount of ownership.
I think that if I died tomorrow, anyone knowledgeable in tools would condemn my “workshop,” or just sell it all as antiques for Cracker Barrel to hang on their walls. So I don’t feel too guilty from my overabundance of tool stuff. And it would be nice some day to have some tools that work (right).
But in the meantime – I give thanks to God for allowing me their use. I give thanks for a home to house that “stuff” in. I give thanks for the jobs God has given me to be able to purchase it in the first place. And with all the spare resources I have (and then some) I offer back whatever talents God has given me to help those in need.
Maybe it’s not quite what Jesus had in mind, but it’s a start!
Blessed be God forever!
August 16, 2020
(20th Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, ministering to him, loving the name of the LORD, and becoming his servants – all who keep the sabbath free from profanation and hold to my covenant, them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Is_56:1-7
The prophet Isaiah, St. Paul and Jesus today all proclaim that their God, the LORD, who led Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, King David and all the Israelites out from slavery and into freedom, is not just a God for Israel, but THE God of all humanity. He is our God, beloved, even if we’re not Jewish.
And yet, the salvation that God has in store for us IS conditional. Just as the Israelites had to believe what Moses promised and follow him out from their bondage in Egypt, so we (and even the Jewish people) have to believe in Jesus and follow Him out from our bondage to sin.
It all sounds pretty mysterious. And it certainly is. People in the days that Jesus walked this earth saw His miracles, they heard His sermons and they knew what He was requesting of them – to follow God’s commands of morality, of respect and of love for one another and for God – that were given to Moses. And Jesus made those commands even simpler for them by saying that all they had to do was love!
If they made love be the central guiding force of every thought, of every action of theirs, then they would BE on that track to salvation. And as clear and simple as that all was, there were still those who rejected it, who rejected Jesus. While, on the other hand there were people who were not even Jewish, who had such strong faith in Jesus, that they risked reputation, expulsion and even death to prove it.
We, beloved, can’t see Jesus anymore, save for artist’s renditions. We can’t hear Him, save for the Scriptures. But, we can believe! This is our FAITH. Believing the unseen. Trusting in the Truth of His words. And risking whatever it takes to prove it. And just as Jesus admonished the people in the first century, we must follow His command if we seek the salvation He promised. Love one another!
Despite human stupidity, despite human selfishness, despite malice and greed and evil and deceit, we are still called to love one another! Forgive, accept forgiveness, and live with mercy towards the lost. And our loving God WILL welcome us into His eternal kingdom when this earthly trial is complete!
August 15, 2020
(The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Rev_11-12
And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.” Lk_1:39-56
How many things can we count, beloved, that we have been blessed with? Mary found those blessings even in a world of oppression and poverty. The Lord is great and Holy is His name! When we think of ALL the blessings we’ve been given, it’s no wonder we have so much to be joyful about! Rejoice beloved, for our place is reserved in heaven with Jesus, Mary, and God our Father! May they bless us always in the grace of the Holy Spirit.
August 14, 2020
(St. Maximillian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr)
Jesus said, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.” . . .
He continued, “whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” Mt_19:3-12
And whoever cannot – well, we’ll pray for you!
Life is not always as easy as it should be or we’d like it to be. And Jesus certainly recognized that fact. But the point was about keeping commitments, accepting sacrifices for vows made rather than giving up with the first disagreement, and respecting the dignity of one another. It was as much of an issue back in the time of Jesus as it is today. Let us pray for one another, beloved. That healing can be found for the victimized divorced and strength can be maintained for those who struggle with the concept of the “complementarity” of Marriage.
August 13, 2020
(Pope St. Pontian and St. Hippolytus)
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” Mt_18:21-19:1
Forgiveness! Not an easy thing. Most especially when the hurt is done to someone we love. We can forgive a little easier, the things done to us. But when a nasty act is done to an innocent loved one, beloved, that’s hard to forgive. Yet, Jesus asks us to forgive and forgive, not just once, but so much that we can’t even count the times, 70-billion times!
When we realize all the nasty things we’ve done to others, sometimes not even knowing it, how could we not forgive others for what we think they maliciously did to us. And even if they did do it maliciously or thoughtlessly, we forgive them anyway – just as Jesus does with us!
When we can get rid of the burden of anger and hatred, even when we think it’s absolutely deserved, just imagine how much lighter, how much more peace-filled our lives could be!
August 12, 2020
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious)
Today we hear a Scripture reading that has great meaning for Franciscans. For St. Francis held this reading in high esteem and used it as a sign for his order. It’s the sign of the Tau. It’s a sign of salvation. It’s a sign of our love and care for others in the midst of abominations. And it originated from this reading from the Book of Ezekiel.
The LORD cried loud for me to hear: Come, you scourges of the city! With that I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate which faces the north, each with a destroying weapon in his hand. In their midst was a man dressed in linen, with a writer’s case at his waist. They entered and stood beside the bronze altar. Then he called to the man dressed in linen with the writer’s case at his waist, saying to him: Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and mark a “Tau” on the foreheads of those who moan and groan over all the abominations that are practiced within it. To the others I heard the LORD say: Pass through the city after him and strike! Do not look on them with pity nor show any mercy! Old men, youths and maidens, women and children–wipe them out! But do not touch any marked with the “Tau”; Ez_9:1-7
St. Francis and the cross
Because of the Tau’s resemblance to the cross, this sign was very dear to St. Francis of Assisi, so much so that it occupied an important place in his life as well as his gestures. In him the ancient prophetic sign was actualized, regained its saving power and expressed the beatitude of poverty, which is an essential element of the Franciscan way of life.
“Whenever necessity or charity required, St. Francis marked with this seal the letters he sent” (FF 980); “He began all of his actions with it” (FF 1347). The Tau was therefore the sign dearest to Francis, his seal, the telltale sign of a deep spiritual conviction that the salvation of every man is only in the Cross of Christ.
Thus the Tau, which is backed by a solid biblical and Christian tradition, was received by St. Francis for its spiritual value. The Saint of Assisi took hold of this sign in a manner so complete and intense that, at the end of his life and through the stigmata impressed in his flesh he became the living image of the Tau that he had so often contemplated, drawn, and especially loved.
This article first appeared in aleteia.org
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Mt_18:15-20
Pray, beloved, for a world lost, but not forgotten. Pray for their salvation. Pray that they may find the love that God is offering to every one of them. And pray for us as well. That we may be able to endure the temptations and survive the sorrow that will come for our lost brothers and sisters. Jesus is our sign and our salvation and His cross is our reminder!
August 11, 2020
(St. Clare, Virgin)
Jesus said to His disciples, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” Mt_18:1-14
Funny thing, this life of ours. We’re born, and then we are totally dependent upon our parents for life. So, who ever taught our parents how to be parents, when, in reality, they’re just a little older than kids themselves? But, you know, somehow we muddle through it all, despite their success or failure at parenting. Some of us have it better than others, but everyone has to eventually learn how to manage on their own. Some parents die, some leave, and some just give us away because they can’t seem to get through that parenting learning curve.
And one day we find ourselves just not needing them any more. As a matter of fact, at a pretty young age we learn that dreaded (for parents) word “NO!” No, I’m not going to listen to you any more. No, I’m not going to eat that food that turns my stomach. No, I’ve had enough of their rules and corners and time-outs and curfews. But you know what, sometimes those rules are really designed to help us, to raise us higher than we’d be otherwise, to keep us out of trouble or harm, to reward us for being obedient.
And after being beaten up for doing it all wrong, even when we’d tried our absolute best to get it all right, after a lifetime of failures and punishments and firings and disappointments, by the time we hit retirement age – we’ve had just about enough of being told that it’s never quite good enough! Of being told that following the rules would do us some good. Of being obedient and trusting.
And then there’s Jesus,
telling us that we have to “turn back.” Turn back to being those dependent children who trust and love and expect and obey! These are the ones, He says, who will be the greatest in His kingdom. Sounds like all the promises we heard for those 60 or 70 or 80 years.
But Jesus is different from those bad bosses and those untrained parents and those greedy politicians and those teachers with their yardsticks and pointy hats and their nasty chalk. Jesus is God! And God IS love! And rather than handling us with the objectives of greed or agenda or propaganda or sales pitch, God loves us, not only when we succeed in obedience and dependence, but even when we don’t!
This is a pretty tough ‘turn’ from a lifetime of rejection, a lifetime of distrust! A turn BACK! Who says there’s no such thing as a time machine? We’ve got one built right in! And it’s called “CHOICE.” And God gave every one of us that same Gift of free will, of choice. Our own personal time machine!
Become like children again, beloved, and TRUST in Jesus, trust in God, listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and LOVE. Despite it all, beloved, LOVE anyway!
Just like God!
August 9, 2020
(19th Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
Elijah, hiding in a cave, heard that – A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD — but the LORD was not in the wind. 1_Ki_19:11
You see, beloved, the LORD is not IN the storms of life, the hurricanes, the viruses, the cancers, the deaths and the tragedies.
And neither was He in the disciples’ boat that – was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. Mt_14:22-33
But He is ALWAYS there in the – ‘tiny whispering sound.’ 1_Ki_19:12 – that we can hear, only if we’re listening.
In the midst of the disciples’ storm Jesus silently – came toward them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. Mt_14:22-33
Are we terrified, beloved, of the mighty power of silence? Listen! He’s there, giving us the answers, strengthening our weaknesses, and emboldening us to make it through even the worst of times.
God may not always appear in a flash of lightning as He did with Saul/Paul. But He’s more likely to impart His REASON on us through a quiet whisper when all else seems to be lost. Just don’t let those Whispers disappear To The Wind. Catch them, savor them, and learn from HIM the Truth of life. It is IN Him! Jesus!
August 8, 2020
(St. Dominic, Priest)
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Mt_17:14-20
NOTHING will be impossible . . .
with just a little FAITH!
August 7, 2020
Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Mt_16:24-28
What kind of cross are you bearing beloved? Is it something done to you that you had no control over, like a lost job or loved one. Is it a painful disease or disability? Or is it something you’ve given up yourself for the sake of self-improvement (food or swearing or speeding or alcohol or smoking or …).
Sometimes, beloved, those crosses are pretty hard to bear without the support of another. And sometimes there just isn’t anyone else to lean on. But we must never forget the power we can get from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are not just make-believe fantoms of hope. Jesus actually lived and died for us. And He sent His Holy Spirit to give us strength and wisdom in all situations. Trust in Him, beloved and you’ll be amazed at how much lighter that cross could become!
August 6, 2020
(Transfiguration of the Lord)
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Mt_17:1-9
If you’re the type of person, beloved, who enjoys looking into the sky at the stars, or at the blue sea and its crashing white waves, or at the majestic mountains with their white, snow-covered peaks, or if you love watching a lightning storm, or even just the fluffy white clouds on a blue-sky day, you would have loved our recent week at Blue Mountain Beach in Florida. We had it all. (Well, the snow capped mountains were just paintings in an art shop, but beautiful none the less.) And it was all magnificent!
And yet, it’s funny how some people totally miss it. Peter, James and John were not those types of people. They experienced an event that made all the beauty of the world pale in comparison! It was not only vision, but sound, and people, and the smell of fresh air, and the clouds, and the brilliance. It was Jesus, truly revealed as never before. And the most magnificent beauty of it all was this new community formed by it. Peter, James, John, Jesus, Moses, Elijah, God the Father and the Holy Spirit, all together, all Family! No social distancing, no masks, no elimination of peace signs, but true peace together with the Creator of peace and love Himself.
Sometimes, don’t you just want to shake the world to recognize all the beauty and the goodness around us. God gave it all to us in order to heighten our sense of love for one another and for Him. Work hard, beloved, to not allow that world of darkness and separation and hatred taint your vision of why we’re all really here. Gaze into the brilliant light of Jesus, and LOVE!
A very special Happy Birthday to my most beloved Mary Ann. May our loving God, in Jesus, bless you and keep you forever in His and my love!
August 5, 2020
Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” Mt 15:21-28
With FAITH, Jesus can accomplish all things for us.
August 4, 2020
(St. John Vianney, Priest)
Jesus said, “Hear and understand. It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles the man; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” Then his disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Mt 15:1-14
How far we have fallen!
And whom are we following?
August 3, 2020
When the disciples in fear of drowning in the wave-tossed sea saw Jesus walking on the water, Jesus spoke to them (saying), “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,” Mt 14:22-26
So what is it that frightens you, beloved? The disciples were afraid of drowning in a storm. They were afraid of seeing ghosts walking on water. And they were afraid of truly believing in the power of Jesus, even after all He had shown them.
Peter was the bravest and actually took the step, the leap of faith, that allowed him to walk on the water as well. But reality set in and Peter could no longer believe in what he believed was physically impossible. So his disbelief came true, just as his original belief came true.
What fear or disbelief is holding us back beloved, from being the very best we could possibly be – or even impossibly be! St. Paul tells us that with God all things are possible!
Believe and soar like the eagles!
August 2, 2020
(18th Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
Brothers and sisters: What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom_8:35,37-39
Yes, not viruses, nor riots, nor presidents, nor parties, nor politics, nor hurricanes, nor earthquakes! The only thing that can separate us from God’s love is we ourselves.
Don’t want to believe God loves you? It’s your choice (even though He does anyway). Don’t believe there’s a heaven after this mortal life is over? It’s your choice. But that doesn’t take away the possibility for everyone else. Don’t believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, who died for love of us? It’s your choice. But no belief will ever take away the Truth of exactly who He is and exactly what He did. And for that, we who believe will pray for you and hope with all our hearts that you discover the same saving Truth. God bless you always!
August 1, 2020
(St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus said, “A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Mt_5:13-19
Everything done for the glory of God. Everything given and received by the glory of God. Life IS the glory of God! And we are to respect and glorify it as well.
Happy August, 2020, beloved!
God’s blessings always!
Please come visit July’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
EARLIER MONTH’S QUOTES can be found
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