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Published: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Last Build Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:52:09 +0000

Copyright: James Kurt
 



December 15 - Friday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.48:17-19;   Ps.1:1-4,6,Jn.8:12;   Mt.11:16-19) “Time will prove where wisdom lies.” No doubt it lies with God.  It lies with the Son of Man, come for our salvation. “I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.”  Is it not our essential call to obey His Word, to listen for His voice and follow in His way?  Are they not happy who hear the Word of God and keep it?  Is this not wisdom, to walk in the way of our Creator, with the One who loves us above all?  Does not all our misery stem from disobedience to His sacred commandments?  Do we not in this way of our own making not simply lose all love in our hearts?  Does this not bring our death? If we would but follow the Lord, our “prosperity would be like a river,” no doubt.  Our “descendants would be like the sand,” for “like a tree planted near running water” we would flourish with the wisdom which comes from the font of life which is the Lord, and one would we become with all the children of His eternal kingdom. We cannot expect the Lord to dance to the tune we pipe or wail to the dirge we sing.  It is the height of foolishness for the creature to attempt to impose its will on the Creator.  But such is our pride, the source of our wickedness.  And so, deaf, blind, and empty are we when we seek to turn the order of the universe back upon our God.  For “like chaff which the wind drives away” our own foolish counsels can all but come to naught.  The branch cannot grow apart from the vine, nor can the tree bear fruit without the water which gives it life. “Happy the man who… delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night.”  For then the nourishing waters are upon him; then the light of wisdom fills him – then he shall bear fruit a hundredfold and never taste of death.  For the Hand of God will be upon him to lead him to the eternal kingdom, where His wisdom will be proven true. ******* O LORD, let us follow your Wisdom, your Word, your way to eternal life.  YHWH, let us follow in your way, in the way you call us to walk.  Let us not follow in the way of the wicked, the way which vanishes, but walk with you, meditating on your Word, and we will come to life, to life everlasting with you. If we do not listen to your Word, what fools we are, O LORD!  If we seek our own designs and to impose them upon you – what greater foolishness can there be?  O let us recognize you as God and not ourselves!  And may obedience to your voice be our salvation. John appeared neither eating nor drinking to show us the path of sacrifice that leads to you, that enables us to overcome this world and find your kingdom.  Jesus ate and drank for He is of your kingdom and calls all to your table on high.  O let us witness to your Wisdom at work in all things! a wisdom we cannot gainsay or deny, a wisdom we must accept to find its light.  There in your Wisdom let us make our home, dear LORD, and we shall prosper unto eternity.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-121010-F_2_Adv.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 14 - Prayer to St. John of the Cross

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O mystical doctor – help us by way of the Cross to find wisdom and knowledge of Christ and union with God; let us desire to enter the suffering of the Lord, that by this means we may draw closer to His glorious presence and there remain in joy. Let us fear not the dark night the soul must endure but bear it well, that we might be purged of all blindness; pray the Lord will shine upon us His holy light and we might soon look upon His face with you. May the Lord’s Cross overshadow all and anoint every soul with the peace that surpasses understanding, with His undying love.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Dec._14_John_of_the_Cross.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 14 - Thursday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.41:13-20;   Ps.145:1,8-13;   Mt.11:11-15)   “I will make you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and double-edged.”   A “worm” and a “maggot” are we.  We are “the afflicted and the needy [who] seek water in vain, [our] tongues… parched with thirst.”  But holding our right hand, the Lord speaks to us: “Fear not, I will help you.”  “I will open up rivers on the bare heights…  I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water.”  And has not John the Baptizer come, into the desert, into the wilderness, and there poured the water of God’s compassion upon us for the forgiveness of sins? Lush trees now grow in the desert: we who were once empty are now filled with God’s grace.  And yes, “the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”  For all these wonders accomplished in our midst are but to “make known to men [His] might and the glorious splendor of [His] kingdom.”  Indeed, we now “thresh the mountains and crush them, to make the hills like chaff,” but all this is done in His power. And how then do we understand Jesus’ words: “From John the Baptizer’s time until now the kingdom of God has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force”?  We know that John spoke boldly in the name of God; unafraid of his oppressors, he called all to repentance.  We should all learn from the power of God he displayed in crying out in the wilderness.  We know also that at the time Jesus spoke the above words, John was imprisoned in Herod’s dungeon, suffering genuinely the violence of this generation.  We know Jesus Himself will be crucified.  We know all the apostles (save John) will be martyred for the faith – all His children suffer under the weight of the cross imposed by the violent of this world. But we know also that this very cross is the means God has chosen to most poignantly reveal His powerful hand at work.  For the nails which fix our hands to the wood have no power over us, and so by the humble acceptance of the violence of this age we do most dramatically destroy, crush into dust, the mountains of this world.  And we upon whom the greatest violence is inflicted indeed effect the greater violence upon our oppressors, for by this sacrifice wickedness is destroyed and the righteous enter the kingdom of heaven.  Let us act with such strength from God, brothers and sisters, for the sake of the kingdom.   ******* O LORD, let there be springs of water in the desert of this world, that we poor souls might not die but enter into your kingdom.  YHWH, Elijah has come as a threshing sledge preparing the way for your Son – and now all souls may enter your kingdom! To the desert of our lives you have brought your water, O LORD.  We who were parched and lifeless have heard the Baptist’s call to repentance and known the grace that comes to us thereby.  Your Son, your very Son has come among us and opened the gates of Heaven; in His sacrifice you show your great compassion, and now this tree of life flourishes in our midst. To the Cross we must all be nailed, dear LORD; all the evil in us must die.  But what blessing such violence brings!  For joining ourselves to your Son’s sacrifice, the glorious splendor of your reign is revealed to our eyes. Though we must die, LORD, you live in us and remain in us until the end of time.  And so for such grace we bless you; so this day we heed your Son’s voice.  Let us be washed clean in the water from His side and come quickly to eternal life.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-120910-Th_2_Adv.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 13 - Prayer to St. Lucy

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, in your virginity and in your dying you have given yourself entirely to the Lord of Heaven and earth. O how like Him you were in your purity and in your suffering! and so how close to Him you must be in Heaven – pray that a ray of His light might come to us who sit in darkness, we whose hearts are not as strong as your own. His heavenly light we wish to enter; by your prayers may we see His glory.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Dec._13_Lucy.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 13 - Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.40:25-31;   Ps.103:1-4,8,10;   Mt.11:28-30) “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” How we do become “weary and find life burdensome.”  How we can “faint and grow weary,” “stagger and fall” from the burden of sin and our inherent weakness.  But oh how “He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak He makes vigor abound.”   For indeed He is the creator of the universe – “by His great might and the strength of His power” all things come to be – and His Son is the redeemer of our souls.  “The Lord is the eternal God” and “they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar as with eagles’ wings.”  Trust in Him who “pardons all your iniquities” and “heals all your ills.” What a promise Jesus holds forth for those who come to His “gentle and humble” heart: “Your souls will find rest.”  We know that the great St. Augustine has told us that only in God do our souls find rest.  How we wander aimlessly in trackless wastes seeking comfort for our souls, rest for our weary bodies, taking refuge in the various attractions of the world and the vain promise they hold.  How late in life all of us come to the fulfilling promise of Jesus, for any time spent apart from Him is but wasted. And thank the Lord that He is “merciful and gracious.”  Thank Him that “not according to our sins does He deal with us.”  For what hope would we have then?  But this great God who has no equal, who holds the world in His hand, “redeems your life from destruction, He crowns you with kindness and compassion” despite your sins, if you but come to Him as He calls. How patiently Jesus waits for each of us, this only Son of God, this image of the Father and embodiment of His love.  How gracious He is toward us poor creatures.  Will you not take His “yoke upon your shoulders and learn” from Him?  Will you not find refreshment from all your sins and forgiveness of all your crimes?  Will you continue to turn your face away from Him who watches over all and weigh yourself down with anxiety?  Or will you come to Him, your only hope?  Take the light burden of His gracious Word upon your souls and do His will in this world. ******* O LORD, how shall your compassion come to dwell in our hearts, and your strength renew our own? – let us be blessed in Jesus your Son.  YHWH, you make our burden light by the Cross of your only Son.  He takes our sins upon Himself and carries them away, and we need but turn to Him and walk with Him to find rest for our souls. How great is your announcement to us, O LORD; how great your blessing!  For you who are Creator of Heaven and earth promise your own strength to those who believe in you, who turn to your grace and mercy.  Our sins you remember not, our iniquities you pardon; and finding no condemnation at your hands, we are free to soar as with eagles’ wings – for what punishment can there be if it comes not from you? O LORD, for all your benefits let all men bless you and your holy NAME.  Let us come this day to your only Son and share the blessings upon Him.  He will carry our burden in this world and so our yoke will be light.  Deep in our souls let us know your compassion, and we shall soar on your heights.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-120711-W_2_Adv.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 12 - Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.40:1-11;   Ps.96:1-3,10-13,Is.40:10;   Mt.18:12-14)   “Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers His lambs.”   His is the voice which “speak[s] tenderly to Jerusalem.”  It is He who “give[s] comfort to [His] people.”  For “it is no part of [the] heavenly Father’s plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief.” Like a shepherd He leads us.  With great concern He watches over His flock, careful that none is led astray.  And diligent is He in finding the one who “wanders away.”  This is indeed “good news.”  These are indeed “glad tidings,” which make even “the trees of the forest exult.”  For He cares about each one of the many of His creatures, and shall bring all back to Him by the sound of His gentle voice. And of His sweet voice we must cry out.  “Sing to the Lord; bless His name; announce His salvation day after day.”  For all the earth must know that “He shall rule the world with justice and His peoples with constancy.”  And so “a voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!”  May all hearts be ready to meet Him.  When “every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low… then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together.”  O that that glorious day might come! “Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.”  And so He stands behind us, whispering into our ears of the way we should walk.  And so He calls to our hearts, carrying us “in His bosom” with care.  And so His eternal presence ever comes to our tired bodies, our fading souls, and gives them life, and brings them back from their straying paths upon this dying earth.  And so it is that all “exult before the Lord, for He comes; He comes to rule the earth.” It is only in His eternity that we shall find a home, brothers and sisters.  And into these arms He now gathers us.  And with His food He now feeds us.  Let us partake of His presence in Word and in Sacrament as we await His coming.   ******* O LORD, we praise you for the merciful justice and peace you have brought into our midst through your Son Jesus.  YHWH, truth has sprung out of the earth, for justice has looked down from Heaven and our redemption has come – Jesus has been born among us.  He is the holy way, the way that leads to the splendor and glory of your kingdom.  He is as the stream in the desert that cleanses our souls of all sins and so prepares us to dance and sing with Him in your eternal presence.  We who were lame now leap like a stag for the blessing we have received from our Savior; yes, we have been forgiven, and are now crowned with everlasting joy. O let your splendor come to us this day, dearest LORD and God.  May we hear these blessed words from the mouth of your Son: “Your sins are forgiven.”  O let us rise and walk with Him to our heavenly homeland!  The parched land cries out to you; let your water pour down upon us that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might blossom forth with His gifts.  Strengthened by such grace let us do your holy will in all things.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-120710-Tu_2_Adv.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 12 - Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:00:00 +0000

O Patroness of the Americas and Protectress of the Unborn, look upon our troubled state, where lust and greed abound, where thousands are killed in the womb every day, where the poor and the rich are separated by steel walls and thirsting souls die in the desert – help us, dear Mother, to discover life, to find your guidance in this land of opportunity and broken dreams, in these hearts that have grown so cold that more are sacrificed on unholy altars than when you first came to turn our hearts to the Lord! Pray for us, Our Lady, or we shall surely die in a soulless pride.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Dec._12_Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 08:00:00 +0000

 (Zec. 2:14-17;   Lk.1:46-55;   Lk.1:29-47) “Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD! for He stirs forth from His holy dwelling.” And His own stirring forth causes John the Baptist to stir forth, to “leap for joy” – thus is opened the mouth of the one who will proclaim His way. On this the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe we celebrate the Lord’s stirring forth in astounding fashion in the Americas.  As the Lord looked upon His humble servant Mary to bring forth the only Son of God, so He smiles upon the humble Juan Diego, to bring the conversion of a continent.  His Mother comes humble and with child to bring new birth to a land in darkness…  And how that land sits in darkness now, awaiting renewal by the graces from His hand.  “He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness” once, and again; let us pray a humble spirit He shall once more find in this place and on this earth, that indeed “the hungry shall be filled with good things,” that He who has “lifted up the lowly” will remember them now that they are trodden down, now that the most humble are destroyed in the womb. “Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day.”  And many have.  But how sincere is their commitment to Him?  Are they truly “His people,” and so will “He dwell among” them?  Have we cause to “sing and rejoice,” to be as she who “proclaims the greatness of the Lord” – or to cry tears of sorrow for the land to which we have come?  For the womb is barren; the spirits are proud – and in these the Lord takes no joy. Silence before Him we must find once again, that He might turn to us and bring new birth to this land. “Stir forth, O Lord, from your holy dwelling,”      and renew our languishing souls. Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney. Music by Roger and Carie Fortney; used by permission. ******* O LORD, may our hearts stir to life at the sound of Mary’s voice, at the approach of your Son.  YHWH, you sent the Mother of your Son to a land in darkness, to a barren place, that the people might be converted to the faith, that the blood upon their hands might be washed away.  May she come again to this continent and this world that unholy sacrifice might again be stopped by her humble presence.  O LORD, bring us new life! LORD, we would rejoice in you and in your presence in our midst.  We would see all the nations gathered into your arms.  But how can you come to a place that despises life, that kills its children in the womb?  Have pity on us, dear LORD, and send Mother Mary to prepare the second coming of your Son. The Baptist awoke and leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary brought his Savior to him.  O let us awake this day, dear God, awake from our slumber in such darkness and come into the light of your day.  Let us be humble and lowly as she who bore your Son, and we shall be lifted with her to your side.  Save us, O LORD our God.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe_2009.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 11 - Prayer to St. Damasus I

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O bishop of Rome who guided the bark of Peter through difficult waters, who kept her on the course set for her by the Lord even as she grew in this world from a Church of the blood of martyrs to one entering the light of day, of acceptance by the city of man… you who sought so diligently to preserve the memory of the martyrs lest it should pass away, and the Cross of Christ with it – pray that today, too, the Church will remember its root, the root of Jesse and His sacrifice, and that as she grows our Mother on earth will be well understood by those called into her walls. Pray the martyrs pray for us, that in their blood we always find our growth.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Dec._11_Damasus_I.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 11 - Monday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.35:1-10;   Ps.85:9-14,Is.35:4;   Lk.5:17-26)   “A highway will be there, called the holy way.”   Jesus is the highway; holy is He!  He is the stream that “will burst forth in the desert.”  It is He who “strengthen[s] the hands that are feeble [and] make[s] firm the knees that are weak,” that they might walk along His way.  It is He who forgives sins.  For “no one unclean may pass over” the safe path He makes in the wilderness of this world, and He wishes to “give His benefits” to all of faith.  “Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him.”   “Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing,” prophesies Isaiah.  And Jesus says to the paralyzed man, “Get up!  Take your mat with you and return to your house.”  And what did the man do?  “He picked up the mat he had been lying on and went home praising God.”  “We have seen incredible things today!” the crowd exclaims in awe, for the great vision of the prophet Isaiah has come to pass before their eyes: before them is being set the path to paradise. “Hear what the Lord proclaims,” brothers and sisters: “Justice shall walk before Him, and salvation, along the way of His steps.”  Along His holy way “the redeemed will walk.  Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy.”  All those forgiven their sins will enter their homes praising God.  Yes, the “desert and the parched land… will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song.”  We once paralyzed in our sin, by His hand, by His word, along His holy way, shall walk once again. He has come.   “Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense He comes to save you.”  In Him “kindness and truth… meet, justice and peace… kiss.”  In Him we are made whole by the breath of His mouth, by the words from His lips.  And now we have “a journey to make.”  Now there is a way to walk.  Let us remain upon this highway.  Let us preserve the healing He has brought to our bones.  Let us now live in faith with our Lord.   ******* O LORD, tear down the mountains of pride and fill in the valleys of fear that we might come to you on straight paths.  YHWH, how shall our flesh see your salvation?  How shall we come to your glory, we poor, miserable creatures?  Only because you call us to redemption.  Only because you desire us to share in your heavenly majesty.  And only if we make straight the way for your Son to come into our hearts. O LORD, let us ever increase in knowledge of what is good and lasting, that we might be made pure and blameless for the day of Christ, that we might become as He is, blessed to be called your sons.  O let us give glory and praise to you for such a blessing! Restore our fortunes, dear God; may we who have been separated from you and sent into exile be brought back to your holy City, to your mountain.  As on royal thrones let us be borne aloft to gaze upon your splendor and glory, O King of all the nations.  Great things you have indeed done for us, for now our weeping is turned to joy and we enter your presence bearing great fruit.  Alleluia!


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-120610-M_2_Adv.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 10 - Sunday of the 2nd Week of Advent, Year B

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +0000

(Is.40:1-5,9-11;   Ps.85:9-14;   2Pt.3:8-14;   Mk.1:1-8)   “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.”  And so, “John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”  And so comes “the voice of one crying out in the desert,” in the desert that is our fallen lives: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.” Turn from your sins, brothers and sisters.  Repent.  It is the Lord’s will that “all should come to repentance,” that all should be “found without spot or blemish” on the day of His coming, on the day all “the elements will be dissolved with fire.”  With the fire of the Holy Spirit does the Lord Jesus come now to baptize, that what John has cleansed from our souls might be gone forever – that the new person we become by this baptism of water might be made complete, might become hardened and lasting in the furnace of His love. God “proclaims peace to His people.  Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him.”  Hear what His prophet says, for he cries “out at the top of [his] voice” that indeed all hearts might listen: “Here is your GOD!  Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by His strong arm.”  Yes, “the mouth of the Lord has spoken,” and now the WORD is in our midst, walking amongst us as our shepherd and “leading the ewes with care.”  The “justice [that] shall walk before Him, and prepare the way of His steps,” has come, and now the level highway that leads to His kingdom we must tread – there is no denying the road that is set before us. Christ is coming, brothers and sisters, and Christ has come.  The Baptist has prepared His path, and He, the Son of God, has walked it.  And now we await His return in glory.  And “the Lord does not delay His promise”; His return is sure.  Already we see the “glory dwelling in our land.”  He waits for you to come now to Him.  In patience He looks for you to turn.  Turn to Him now in earnest; with all your soul cry out His Name.  “Jesus Christ the Son of God” dawns on the horizon.  Embrace His love; walk His sacred path. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Please Even Me Out" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, may peace be proclaimed to your people and we follow on your way of salvation.  YHWH, let your Word be proclaimed to the ends of the earth that all hearts might be prepared for the return of your Son, for the Day when all the elements will be dissolved by fire and the thoughts and deeds of every soul revealed. John the Baptist has come and prepared the way for the first coming of Jesus.  Now His disciples go forth, now the Gospel is cried out from the heights of Zion – now every man shall plainly see that you, O LORD, are God; and peace shall come to him who turns to your glory. With fire let us be baptized today, LORD, with the fire of the Holy Spirit.  Washed clean from our sins let us now be perfected for life in your kingdom.  Let us not fear the coming Day but welcome it and hasten it by living uprightly before you.  In your patience you wait for us to turn from all sin and embrace your presence in our midst.  Let us make straight your way into our hearts.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-120411-Su_2_Adv._B.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 9 - Prayer to St. Juan Diego

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O humble child of the Lord whom our Lady blessed with her presence, to whom she gave roses in winter – pray for us who are not humble as you, whose obedience is cold and grown so weak, that she might come to us, too, that she might speak a word to our hearts and we might as children listen and do as she directs, she who directs us only to Jesus, only to His love. Pray this continent be once again renewed by the grace of God; may Our Lady’s image be upon our hearts that we too might proclaim the glory of the Lord and His love for His children.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Dec._9_Juan_Diego.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 9 - Saturday of the 1st Week of Advent

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.30:19-21,23-26;   Ps.147:1-6,Is.30:18;   Mt.9:35-10:1,6-8)   “On the day the Lord binds up the wounds of His people, He will heal the bruises left by His blows.”   “Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the leprous, expel demons.”  With these words Jesus sends His disciples forth proclaiming, “The reign of God is at hand!” The prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled.  The Savior has come.  The Teacher is at our side now speaking into our ears, “This is the way; walk in it.”  And of all our sins He cleanses us; from all our sickness He heals us.  Indeed, “as soon as you call He will answer you,” for He is ready to wipe all tears from your eyes. And what must be our response to a Lord who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  We must be the same as He.  We must go forth as He has, teaching, proclaiming “the good news of God’s reign,” and curing “every sickness and disease.”  It is our call to make others whole in heart, mind, soul, and body; and so, to whatever need is present – and there are many or the Lord would not ask us to “beg the harvest master to send out laborers to gather His harvest” – we must apply the grace of God.  He will do the work that is needed, but He needs us to work through. To what glory all are called; what a wonderful message we have to bring forth!  Isaiah, the great prophet, only touches upon it when he cries out that the Lord “will give rain for the seed that you sow in the ground” (see how He will bless your work!) and when he proclaims: “The light of the moon will be like that of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times greater.”  This vision is for all who turn to the Lord for healing. We have been bruised, brothers and sisters.  No doubt, our sins have brought wounds to our souls.  But the Lord will bind up all these; in His surpassing pity He will raise us all from death as He “rebuilds Jerusalem.”  Let us bring this message forth. ******* O LORD, heal us of all ill and teach us to walk in the way that leads unto Heaven. YHWH, we lie prostrate from exhaustion, do we not?  We thirst for your presence; we hunger for the Bread you provide.  Come to us.  Send your laborers to teach us and to heal us of every disease, to bring us your grace.  Have pity on your sheep, O LORD! We are broken, but when we cry out to you, O LORD, you hear our voice and quickly answer our prayers.  And what promise you make to our waiting hearts!  Abundance of blessing shall be ours as you heal the wounds of our sin and bring us into your glorious presence. Seven times greater than the light of the sun will be your light on that Day, O LORD.  Streams of running  water will fill our thirst for you and by your teaching we will be led in our every step.  Come, LORD, fulfill your promise in our midst.  Let all men know your reign is at hand.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-120410-Sa_1_Adv.mp3?dest-id=17188




December 8 - Prayer on the Immaculate Conception

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 14:00:00 +0000

O pure Mother, you are she who is full of grace; it is you who have found the Lord’s favor. Preserved from all sin from the womb, overflowing with all His blessings, you are the hope of our race, the one created soul most like to God – pray for us this day, dear Mother, that we might be kept from the snares of the world, from the enticements of the devil. O help us be pure as you, obedient to the will of the Father, bringing His Son into this world by the Holy Spirit’s power. You who now reign in Heaven with the Lord, your only Son, intercede for us who toil on earth that we too might enter God’s presence; you who are blessed to be one with Him, pray the Church you bear be so well founded. Hail, Full of Grace! Your name be blessed forever by all generations.


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December 8 - Immaculate Conception

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 08:00:00 +0000

(Gn.3:9-15,20;   Ps.98:1-4;   Eph.1:3-6,11-12;   Lk.1:26-38)   “He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him.”   And she is the sign of such preservation from evil.  “Hail, full of grace!  The Lord is with you.”  And so the Virgin Mother is greeted by the power of the Most High.  So she is called – “full of grace” is her title.  She whom all generations will call blessed is revealed in this simple greeting as having “found favor with God.”  And so, “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God,” the Son of her who has been preserved by grace. “In accord with the favor of His will, for the praise of the glory of His grace,” this has been done – she has been immaculately conceived, kept from the stain of sin.  Not that she herself might be worshiped is the Virgin kept pure, but indeed she does “exist for the praise of His glory.”  “My soul magnifies the Lord,” she has proclaimed… and it is so.  She is but the sign that “His right hand has won victory for Him”; she is the instrument through which “the Lord has made His salvation known.” How wonderfully this is expressed in her own words of consent to His call: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  Here in this blessed obedience she sets in motion the cleansing of our sin of disobedience she shall bring by the fruit of her womb, a disobedience painfully recounted for us in our first reading – a disobedience which has caused us to hide from the face of God.  But no longer will we be trapped in this hell.  No more will we flee from the presence of Him who is our Creator, for by her humble obedience, and our own, in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we will have our nakedness covered over and become holy as He. The Virgin is our Mother.  She who has “no relations with a man” has brought about the salvation of all men “in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of His will.”  And so the curse is removed from us.  And so we might “sing joyfully to the Lord,” for “in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice”; through this simple virgin He has brought us His grace.  And now we may be pure as He.   Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney. Music By Carie Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, the serpent comes to Eve, and we fall; the angel comes to Mary, and we rise – in selfish disobedience we do the devil’s work; in selfless obedience we serve you… O let us be your children!  YHWH, full of grace is the Mother of your Son; by your will you have made her pure that she might carry Him who is perfect into this world.  We praise you for your goodness to her, for it means goodness to us – it means our salvation has come! With every spiritual blessing in the heavens you have showered us by your grace and mercy, O LORD, by the love you offer us in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.  And so we might stand holy and without blemish before you; and so we might be even as Mary our Mother, even as Jesus her Son.  O let us be incorporated into your glory, dear God! Our sin has been grievous.  We have turned away from you.  Our disobedience has wrought your just punishment, LORD.  But salvation you bring to us this day by the word of the angel.  And so we praise you for your faithfulness in saving us; and so we offer our lives with Mary your handmaiden – in our lives let your Word be accomplished.


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December 7 - Prayer to St. Ambrose

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O good bishop and wise doctor of the Church – pray for us, that the water that is Christ might pour upon our souls, especially His chosen apostles, your fellow bishops, and fill all with wisdom from on high, leading us away from all lies to the truth that is Jesus. Pray our hearts shall be filled to overflowing with this Word, that the Gospel might be preached by lips anointed with the Body and Blood of our Lord; may the darkness of error be dispelled and God’s pure light shine in our midst. Pray for us, good doctor, pray for us; lead us indeed to the truth that is Christ.


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December 7 - Thursday of the 1st Week of Advent

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.26:1-6;   Ps.118:1,8-9,19-21,25-27;   Mt.7:21,24-27)   “Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal rock.”   Sand or rock?  Upon which do we build our house?  If we “take refuge in the Lord” and enter “the gates of justice,” we shall find salvation in the Lord’s kingdom; if we “trust in man” and “princes,” we shall be leveled with the dust – our house shall collapse and we be “completely ruined.” The choice is set before us.  “Those in high places” will be humbled to the ground; those who find refuge in the empty things of this world will find no protection on the day of His coming.  But for the “nation of firm purpose,” which “comes in the name of the Lord,” “He sets up walls and ramparts to protect.”  And they shall “give thanks to the Lord” as they enter the gates of His holy city. Jesus states clearly, “Only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” will enter His kingdom: the one “who hears my words and puts them into practice” is he who is wise.  And the putting into practice is key.  Jesus has come in the flesh, and flesh there must be to our deeds.  He is real, and we must be as real as He in our love.  Otherwise we deny Him.  We deny His coming if we do not live His way.  God is not across the ocean or in the sky; He walks upon this earth now and must be in our lives.  Only this will bring us strength.  Only this will enable us to stand when the torrents come and the winds blow and buffet our house – for these have no power over those who are set in the Hand of God, who do His bidding. “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk.11:28).  We cannot but think of these challenging words from our Lord, referring greatly to the Mother of God – whose service to the Lord we particularly celebrate in these days of preparation – and cannot but hope to abide by them and become the handmaiden Mary has shown herself to be, that the eternal blessings of God might be ours as well.  In Him let us trust.  In Him let our faith be set.  And let us do His will.   ******* O LORD, let us dwell in your House, built on the Rock that is you. YHWH, how shall our city be strong if we do not trust in you?  How shall we stand on your Day if we are not your children, if we have not done your will in this world?  How can we enter your House and there dwell in peace if we have not the key to your kingdom, if we live not as your Son? O LORD, we shall but fall to the dust and be trampled underfoot if we have only words to offer you.  If we have lived our lives in vain, then we have built our house on sand, and it shall but collapse when you stand before us on your holy Day.  There is no hope for those who do not come to your Son and put His words into practice. But for those who trust in you and serve you, the gates of justice open up and they enter in and dwell in your presence – these stand strong whatever may come for they stand with you who are the eternal Rock, the foundation that cannot be shaken.  Let us enter your House and give thanks to you, O LORD, for you are our Savior and in you we take our refuge.


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December 6 - Prayer to St. Nicholas

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O bishop of Myra, shepherd of the Lord’s sheep who has with a generous heart cared so well for His little ones… all became as your children, for you loved your flock with the love of Christ Himself; their needs were your own – pray our hearts will be like yours, that just so generously we will give to those in need, provide for those in our care. I pray you will see us now as your children here and beg the bearer of all good gifts to provide for all those most in need, that in joy all souls may welcome His coming, ready for the joys of Heaven. May our love be one with the love of our Good Shepherd, now and in eternity.


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December 6 - Wednesday of the 1st Week of Advent

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.25:6-10;   Ps.23:1-6;   Mt.15:29-37)   “The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.”   And He will heal us.  And He will lead us.  And He will feed us. Jesus went up onto a mountainside along the Sea of Galilee and sat down to teach and to heal.  The sick were laid at His feet.  Isaiah says, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples.”  This mountain is the Lord.  It is Jesus who reaches out His hand to heal those lying at His feet.  It is Jesus who raises the bread for blessing and gives all to eat.  And it is He who “will destroy death forever.”   “This is the Lord for whom we looked.” And it is through His Church Jesus works; through the blessing of the priest who raises the bread and the cup, Jesus gives us His Body and Blood – this is our “feast of rich food and choice wines” envisioned by Isaiah.  It is He who forgives our sins, He who removes “the reproach of His people,” wiping away “the tears from all faces” in the confessional.  He anoints us with the oil of the Spirit in Baptism; He joins us as one in holy Matrimony…  He shepherds us with the Word of His teaching, leading us “in right paths,” “beside restful waters,” to “dwell in the house of the Lord” forever. “Let us rejoice and be glad that He has saved us!”  If “only goodness and kindness” follow us all our days, what have we to do but rejoice?  If we have a Lord who looks with such pity upon our hunger, what need we fear?  If it is He who “spread[s] the table” before us, even here in this world, “in the sight of [our] foes,” where sin besets us… what can we lack?  If “cripples, the deformed, the blind, the mute, and many others” were healed of their maladies, what sickness of ours is beyond His redemption? In this world we “walk in the dark valley.”  In this world we hunger.  Here “the veil that veils all peoples” is upon us.  But here, too, He is with us to refresh our souls and feed us with His Body and Blood in the New Jerusalem.   ******* O LORD, feed us on the holy mountain which is your Son with His own Body and Blood.  YHWH, you are He for whom we have looked, and you come to us in your only Son, who gives to us His Body and His Blood that we might feast upon your presence even in this world.  Let us not be afraid but remember that you are with us. How glorious is your kingdom, LORD, where all are made well, where all are fed by your hand.  Though we have so little to offer, you take it and bless it and multiply it that we might have an abundance.  And so, even in the valley of death through which we must pass, you are with us to guide us, for your Son has gone there before us. On your mountain let us make our home, O LORD our God; in the Word and Bread your Son offers let us take our refuge.  He is the mountain on which we must dwell – in Him all death is dispelled and we are made whole in your sight.  Let us remain ever on this mountain.  


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December 5 - Tuesday of the 1st Week of Advent

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.11:1-10;   Ps.72:1,7-8,12-13,17;   Lk.10:21-24) “The earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.” And so, “there shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. The vision is sure: “The wolf shall be the guest of the lamb… the lion shall eat hay like the ox… the child shall lay his hand on the adder’s lair,” for all shall live as one in the Spirit of the Lord.  “Justice shall flower in His days, and profound peace” – such is the vision to which all hearts aspire. Jesus is the fullness of that peace.  And so He says to His disciples, “Blest are the eyes that see what you see,” for what “prophets and kings wished to see,” what Isaiah prophesies for us today, is present there before them. And He is present before us.  But we can only see and hear Him if we are as “merest children,” else His presence will be hidden from our eyes.  He wishes to reveal Himself, desires to lead us to the Father whom He alone knows, to whom He alone can lead us – but to find such fullness of vision, to gaze upon the face of God, to be filled with His wisdom and knowledge as is His Son, we must first fear Him, as He does, and seek to abide by the words and the commands that come to us by “the breath of His lips.”  All must be slain that is wicked in us, and His justice and faithfulness shall be ours. “May His name be blessed forever; as long as the sun His name shall remain,” for He Himself is light, and indeed His dwelling is glorious.  With judgment and justice He is endowed, and in the light of His wisdom and grace we stand eternally blessed.  But are our eyes open to Him? Now should we pray for the Lord’s light to fill us, for His knowledge to cover us, that our eyes may be open to see Him, that we shall not miss Him as He comes. O Lord, prepare our hearts to see you, and the blessing of your presence, your peace, among us. ******* O LORD, open our eyes and ears to your glorious presence among us. YHWH, your Son is our justice; our hope for peace is in Him – open our eyes to see His presence, to see your presence among us. Upon Jesus your favor rests, O LORD, and that favor you would share with all of us; that favor He would share with us if we would but turn to Him with the heart of a child.  May we be truly humble, O LORD, truly loving and truly kind, that your justice might be upon us for good, and to your salvation, to your holy mountain, we shall be called. In awe of you let us stand, LORD, our eyes and ears filled with your glory alone.  O how shall we bear such blessing?  How shall we come to know such surpassing peace?  How shall we come to stand in your presence and live in your perfection?  Only if your Son reveals to us your glory; only if we are sustained by His grace will we be filled with knowledge of you, our only God.


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December 4 - Prayer to St. John of Damascus

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O blessed teacher of the faith – may the nourishing waters of our Mother, of the true teaching of our Church, flow upon all souls, calling them to the Lord from whom they emanate; like the waters trickling from the temple in Ezekiel’s vision, may they grow and increase as they travel to the ends of the earth, making all whole, pure in the light of God. Pray that the Mother of Heaven, through whom flow these waters, these graces pouring forth from the Cross of Christ… will pray for us here on earth and see that we are nourished well by the faith brought to us by the holy apostles and still fostered by the shepherds of the Church. May the Lord keep us in His way.


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December 4 - Monday of the 1st Week of Advent

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.2:1-5 or Is.4:2-6;   Ps.122:1-9;   Mt.8:5-11 I shall treat of both first readings)   “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!”   For it shall come.  “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain….  All nations shall stream toward it,” and there the Lord will give judgment.  And His judgment will cause the banishment of war, for all shall be one in Him, and to all He shall grant “shelter and protection,” by night and by day. The coming peace and unity all find on the holy mountain of Jerusalem prophesied by Isaiah is signaled in our gospel passage today as the Gentile centurion approaches Jesus with a request made in great faith.  His surpassing faith prompts the Lord to reveal the truth of the coming kingdom: “Many will come from the east and the west and will find a place at the banquet in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  For it is faith that brings us to Him and to His blessings. Certainly the serving boy for whom the centurion intercedes receives healing from the Lord; and certainly all those who “go up to the house of the Lord” in faith shall themselves be gratefully received.  I pray we all remain in Zion, remain in “her place of assembly,” and so find refuge from “storm and rain” and from the “heat of day.”  The New Jerusalem we know is the Catholic Church, is the faith handed down by Jesus through His apostles and blessed by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We know that within these walls we shall always find peace and protection, and we pray for all to stream toward the truth and the glory found in this House.  There all shall find cleansing from their sins; “with a blast of searing judgment,” the Lord has created this Virgin Bride.  So, “let us walk in the light of the Lord!”  As Jesus remarks to His followers, “I have never found this much faith in Israel,” He is calling them to an increase in their faith.  He calls us, too, brothers and sisters, to act more readily upon His commands.  Let us not fall short in our service to Him, and the peace of Jerusalem shall just as readily be ours.   ******* O LORD, may all souls come to your holy mountain and find there a home of peace.  YHWH, peace reigns in your House, and all those of faith find a place there.  From every corner of the earth, men shall stream toward Jerusalem, where you dwell, where you teach the nations.  Draw all souls into Holy Church. You are the refuge and protection for all who are purged from their sin; all who come to you for cleansing of the blood from their hands find in you a place of peace and forgiveness, LORD.  May all swords be beaten into plowshares – the war come from men’s hearts be banished forever. All nations you call, O LORD, and all those of faith you accept into your kingdom.  Let us be obedient in serving you that we might find your peace within our hearts and dwell on your holy mountain forever.


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December 3 - Prayer to St. Francis Xavier

Sat, 02 Dec 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O holy apostle of the Lord, model of faith in God and love of the Church, has there been a soul to match your zeal for the salvation of the world? Convict us of our laziness, of our sloth, of our distraction by the things not of the kingdom of God; of what worth are our lives if not spent in service of the Lord and of neighbor? O missionary of missionaries, by your prayer let the Church on earth, which flounders so in empty illusion, be renewed by a living faith that reaches to the ends of the world and banishes all darkness from the hearts and minds of men. Pray God’s kingdom come and reign amongst us.


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December 3 - Sunday of the 1st Week of Advent, Year B

Sat, 02 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +0000

(Is.63:16b-17,19b,64:2-7;   Ps.80:2-4,15-16,18-19;   1Cor.1:3-9;   Mk.13:33-37)  “Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways!”  “O Lord of hosts, look down from heaven, and see.”  “Rouse your power, and come to save us.”  Do not “let us wander, O Lord, from your ways, and harden [not] our hearts so that we fear you not.”  We are your fruitful vine, but “we have all withered like leaves… for you have hidden your face from us and delivered us up to our guilt.  Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay and you are the potter.”  “May your help be with the Man of your right hand.”  May we be formed in His image and so be pleasing to you.  May we be ready for His return, and our final meeting with you, our Lord and God. Brothers and sisters, we must be as the Corinthians, among whom “the testimony of Christ was confirmed,” who “are not lacking in any spiritual gift as [they] wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  He travels now abroad in the kingdom of His Father, but He will return.  And He has indeed left us “each with his work”; all are gifted by God and called to bear fruit in the time that is ours now…  “May He not come suddenly and find [us] sleeping.”  When He “rend[s] the heavens and come[s] down, with the mountains quaking before [Him],” may we not be found quaking as well, having slipped into the slumber of sin, having been covered with this world’s darkness.  Rather, let Him meet us doing right at whatever hour He may come.  Let us constantly serve our God and “He will keep [us] firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”  In many ways does He indeed say it: “Be watchful!  Be alert!”  Keep your eyes open!  Stay awake!  Be ready!  But ever He tells us to remember that we are “called to fellowship with [the] Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  And as “God is faithful” so must we too be faithful to our call, giving witness always to the glory of our Lord. Now is the time to turn from our sin and be formed in His image.  Let the prophet not say over us: “There is none who calls upon [His] name, who rouses himself to cling to [Him].”  Let us prepare ourselves for His coming by walking rightly in His ways.  Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Warm Forehead" from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, let us enter into fellowship with your Son, becoming one with Him and watching for His return. YHWH, let us be mindful of our ways as we wait for the return of your Son.  May we be blessed with every spiritual gift as we watch for His coming. Though our good deeds have become as polluted rags, He makes them new, bringing us back to you. Give us new life, O LORD, that we might call upon your NAME.  You are our Father, our God; let us no longer be separated from you and your glory.  We are the work of your hands, dear God – remake us in the image of your Son that when He comes we might stand with Him in your presence. Make us irreproachable, LORD, by your grace, by your mercy, by your rending of the heavens and coming down to us.  Let us lack nothing for the hour of Jesus’ return but be ready to enter the kingdom.  May our eyes be open and our hearts awaiting our salvation.


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December 2 - Saturday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Dn.7:15-27;   Dn.3:59,82-87;   Lk.21:34-36)  “The day I speak of will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth.”  And so we must “pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect, and to stand before the Son of Man.” The vision is explained to Daniel, and really it is quite simple: evil shall come, but good shall triumph in the end.  Kingdoms of the Beast, of the evil one, “shall arise on earth.  But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingship, to possess it forever and ever,” the angel tells Daniel, and reiterates this simple point: “All the kingdoms under the heavens shall be given to the holy people of the Most High, whose kingdom shall be everlasting.”  Yes, evil kingdoms shall rise and make war “against the holy ones,” devouring the earth, beating it down, and crushing it… but the court of the Lord will be convened and the “final and absolute destruction” of the evil one is thus at hand.  In Daniel’s vision “the time came when the holy ones possessed the kingdom.”  And so it is; and so it shall be. “Be on the watch,” the Lord exhorts us in our gospel for this the final day of our liturgical year.  We must indeed “be on guard,” for if we do not watch, we will not be prepared for the coming day of the Lord which is ever at hand.  Certainly we do not wish to be destroyed with the devil and his angels, but if our “spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares,” how shall we stand?  And so it is that we must indeed pray constantly for the strength to withstand the coming chastisement – we cannot underestimate the devil’s power to seduce us with his lies even as the grass grows beneath our feet.  As the grass grows, so must our spirits grow, in truth and goodness and love.  His peace must surround us to guard us against the sin which attacks us here as we live and breathe upon the face of the earth. The day will come.  Let it be our joy to be found waiting for the Lord.       (And so, Advent is now upon us.)  ******* O LORD, preserve us from what is to come; give us the strength to stand in your glorious presence. YHWH, the day of your judgment is coming upon all who dwell on the face of the earth, but on that day your holy ones will be glorified.  The beasts and their kingdoms shall all be destroyed and your holy people will reign with your Son. But we must be ready for that day; we cannot fall into drunkenness.  If we become bloated with indulgence and worldly cares, we shall not stand secure before Jesus but be driven out with the evil one.  O let not that day overtake us, dear LORD!  Rather, take us then into your kingdom. There is great trial coming upon this world; it is now underway.  War is made against your holy ones, and they must suffer and even die.  But let us praise your eternal glory, LORD. Let all your servants, the souls of all the just, bless your holy NAME.  For our salvation is on the horizon, and nothing need we fear from Him who comes.  Let us be awake in prayer.


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December 1 - Friday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Dn.7:2-14;   Dn.3:59,75-81;   Lk.21:29-33) “The beast was slain and its body thrown into the fire to be burnt up.” Daniel prophesies the coming of pagan empires in his vision of the four beasts.  The vision is, in short, an overview of the coming salvation. Notice that even as Daniel watches the beasts emerge with their horns and tusks and great iron teeth, even as he watches these terrible creatures devour and crush and trample in a kind of destructive euphoria… what does he see?  “Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took His throne.”  The Lord God, the Eternal King, is there.  (He is never far away.)  And the arrogant horn is cast into eternal flame, and the other beasts lose their dominion, too, though they received “a prolongation of life for a time,” indicating that a measure of the wickedness of such beastly empires – several of which we have seen very clearly in the last century – shall remain.  But, nonetheless, there is “one like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven,” and He indeed receives “everlasting dominion,” a “kingship [that] shall not be destroyed.”  Like the Father in His eternal reign is the Son, who has come into our midst and even now winnows away the chaff of this world. That even as evil presumes to reign the Lord is at work, is assuming His eternal reign in the heavenly kingdom, is evident in Jesus’ words to the disciples in our gospel.  He has told them to watch for the terrible signs which will come upon the earth and bring its destruction, and equates the recognition of these signs and wonders of the end time with the budding of a fig tree signaling the coming summer.  Jesus is the fig tree, the peace that is born even in the midst of war, the love that grows though surrounded by hatred – the light that overcomes all darkness. “The heavens and the earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”  Though the mountains fall into the sea, the Lord’s heavenly reign but comes to fulfillment.  Then all creatures, all “beasts, wild and tame,” “everything growing from the earth” and all “seas and rivers” will “praise and exalt Him” whose kingdom lasts forever. ******* O LORD, the myriads ministering to you overcome the power of all beasts, and by your only Son their fate is sealed and the kingdom comes forever. YHWH, your reign is near, always at hand.  Despite the beasts which remain for a time, your Son has come and conquered all darkness.  There is no death or sin in Him, no power that evil has before Him, and so those who find their life in Him shall indeed endure forever.  Heaven and earth are passing away but His dominion is everlasting. Thank you for sending your Son to us, dear God, to cast all evil to the dust, to teach of the kingdom to come.  In Him indeed summer is near, a time of great fruitfulness – the time when we shall share with Him in the eternal fruits of Heaven.  Peace is upon us, though the destruction of war be all around. And so, what can we do but praise you, LORD of Heaven and earth?  All your creatures can but sing of your glory and bless your holy NAME.  This day let your fire burn all our sins away.  Alleluia.


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November 30 - Prayer to St. Andrew

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 14:00:00 +0000

O brother of the Rock of our Church, you who brought him to our Lord, you who were crucified on the Cross of our Savior, who shed your blood freely for His cause… you who thirsted for His coming and welcomed Him so readily into your life – bring us also to the Messiah’s side and pray we shall receive Him as well as your brother has done; pray we, too, will abandon our boats, our moorings in this world, to follow the Christ along the way He leads, even apart from home and family. Brothers to the Son pray we become, accomplishing the Father’s will with our lives; capture us in His net this day that we too might stand in His light with all the redeemed of Israel.


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November 30 - St. Andrew

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 08:00:00 +0000

(Rm.10:9-18;   Ps.19:2-5;   Mt.4:18-22)   “How beautiful are the feet of those who announce good news!”   Alleluia! We must have “faith in the heart” and “confess with [our] lips that Jesus is Lord”; but how can we believe in Him and call on Him if we have not heard of Him?  “And how can [we] hear unless there is someone to preach?  And how can men preach unless they are sent?”  Thank the Lord that He has sent the apostles out to the ends of the earth, that “their voice has sounded over the whole earth.”  Where would we be without them? “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus says to His first apostles, two brothers.  And two brothers Jesus chooses after them, as if He is looking for brothers to call to emphasize our solidarity with Him and with one another.  Indeed, we are family in the Lord.  We are His mother and His brothers.  David’s psalm today speaks of Him who would be called his Son, and illustrates the work of His brothers to come.  All are one in Him, through time, through space… for He who is the beginning and end truly becomes our brother. I thank God today for Andrew and his brother Peter, their brothers James and John, and all brothers and sisters in the Lord.  I thank God especially for their answering His call, their readiness to respond.  “They immediately abandoned their nets and became His followers.”  And so strong in the Lord they would become.  And so clearly their words would be spoken of Him who is risen from the dead, of Him in whom our hearts trust – of Him of whom we now speak. A joy fills me this day, and should fill us all, for the beauty of the apostles and of their call.  For now our ears ring with the love of our Jesus, the truth of the ages.  Now through these faithful disciples we have heard “the word of Christ” and find it abiding in our souls.  Let us open our mouths and proclaim Him Lord of all!   Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney.   Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, let us follow where the apostles lead, for they follow in our Savior’s footsteps.  YHWH, help us to abandon our hearts, to leave our moorings in this world that we might follow your Son, that He might lead us to the shores of Heaven.  And help us to preach as your apostles have preached, to speak of your salvation to all men, that indeed the message of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth and all souls come to believe. O LORD, Jesus has been raised from the dead – let us believe in our hearts that He lives now and confess with our lips that He is Lord, and by our faith we shall be saved and bring others to redemption.  The voice of your apostles has indeed gone out to the limits of the world; all peoples are now blessed to hear your Word and so are given the opportunity to believe.  May all souls turn resolutely to your Son and follow Him in His way. On the shores of Galilee first came the call from the mouth of Jesus.  May He speak to our hearts, LORD, even this day, that we might leave all for your kingdom.


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November 29 - Wednesday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Dn.5:1-6,13-14,16-17,23-28;   Dn.3:59,62-67;   Lk.21:12-19)  “You will be brought to give witness.” “Daniel was brought into the presence of the king.”  And what did this wisest of men have to say to this pagan king who ruled the earth?  “You have rebelled against the Lord of heaven.”  He did not hesitate to tell him of the emptiness of his “gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, that neither see nor hear nor have intelligence.”  And, remarkably, not a hair of his head is harmed; even this pagan ruler recognizes the truth of his words, and accepts that he will lose his kingdom. “Before kings and governors” you will be summoned, “all because of my name,” says the Lord.  Yes, witness must be given to “the God in whose hand is [our] life breath and the whole course of [our] life.”  The world must come to know Him; light must be brought into the darkness.  Is this an easy task?  Certainly not.  It may be glorious insofar as the Lord blesses our words, insofar as we trust in Him, not worrying about our “defense” beforehand – but the darkness resists the light; the world does not wish to hear of its sins, nor to be called to turn from them.  Turning from sin is a painful process, and rather than endure its throes there will be those who would prefer to impose such persecution upon those who call to the depths of their hearts.  Unwilling to suffer conversion, they make others suffer for their righteousness.… All the apostles underwent martyrdom: our Lord rules from a cross.  But though we may not escape punishment from those to whom we are called to speak, as has Daniel the prophet, yet as Daniel surely “not a hair of [our] head will be harmed.”  For though we be killed for the Word of truth, yet our redemption awaits us: in heaven’s light all is whole.  And the rewards offered Daniel even by this pagan king will be as our own in paradise. “I will give you words and a wisdom which none of your adversaries can take exception to or contradict,” our Lord assures us.  Let us trust in this gift of faith and witness, and praise with “sun and moon” and “stars of heaven” Him who is “exalted above all forever.”  Let us never fear to speak of our God and His hand at work in our lives. ******* O LORD, if before kings we speak the truth, yet will our lives be spared, for your Son indeed rules over all. YHWH, your dew from Heaven falls upon us and we are given words and wisdom.  By the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to stand before kings and governors and give witness to your glory.  And though our words may accuse those to whom we speak of their failure to worship you, yet not a hair of our heads shall be harmed, even if we be executed.  For Jesus has died on the Cross, yet He lives forever.  And now His Spirit reigns over all who put their trust in you. By patient endurance may our lives be saved, O mighty LORD and God.  To you let us ever turn our sights, and our spirits shall not be defeated.  Rather, the kingdom of those who mock your glory shall be divided and brought low. O may we not be found wanting on the day you judge the world!  All the gods of silver and gold, wood and stone, let us set aside to praise you alone, our Savior and our God.


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November 28 - Tuesday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Dn.2:31-45;   Dn.3:57-61;   Lk.21:5-11) “The iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once, fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer, and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace.” So shall the kingdom of this world be destroyed by “a stone which was hewn from a mountain without a hand being put to it”; so shall Jesus come – the Son of God, the King of kings – and make all things subject to Himself.  And when shall this be?  It has happened, and is happening, and will happen soon: fear not in your hearts.  Simply praise the Lord of the universe. There will be no trace of this world remaining when the Lord does come.  He shall be the stone that “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth,” which “shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them.”  And by whose hand shall this be done?  “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people.”  And so, if accomplished by the hand of God and not by man, why do we look upon the “wars and insurrections,” “plagues and famines,” and become fearful, as if these shall bring the end?  No, “the end does not follow immediately.”  We cannot state the time any more than could Daniel, the greatest of all interpreters of dreams and visions.  So why are we misled when many come in the Lord’s name saying, “I am He” or “The time is at hand,” as if these could force the hand of God? Let not the “fearful omens” and “great signs” perturb you, brothers and sisters.  These are for those without faith as a warning to turn to God, but for those with faith they should prove no disturbance.  Our souls should be set on Jesus, who surpasses all these things – even the temple “adorned with precious stones” – and whose coming we should see clearly in our hearts.  Is He not at work in you?  Are you not His children?  Then why fear these things which are “bound to happen” to the earth?  You should “praise and exalt” Him who is “above all” with the “angels of the Lord” and the “heavens.”  Let your hearts rise up to Him. Yes, “the day will come when not one stone will be left upon another, but it will all be torn down.”  And in that day the Lord will reign supreme.  Set your sights upon His majesty. ******* O LORD, not one stone will be left upon another; all will become as dust – then shall come the eternal reign of your Son. YHWH, your hand shall crush all things of this world; your right arm shall see to it that the gold and silver, the riches of the earth, all pass away.  When your Son returns, all this shall be accomplished.  Let us stand ready and waiting for that day. Why should we fear, O LORD, the destruction of kingdoms?  Why should we lament even the temple’s fall?  For what is anything of this world in comparison to your glory?  Your glory is indeed above earth and heaven and shall never pass away. With the angels let us praise you, LORD.  With all your disciples let us glorify your NAME.  You alone are holy, you alone are worthy of praise, and this lesson we must learn if we are to be saved. And so, on the day when there is not one stone left on another, let us not be anxious or afraid.  Though wars and earthquakes come, let our hearts be set upon you, LORD, and exalt your kingdom as it draws nigh.


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November 27 - Monday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Sun, 26 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Dn.1:1-6,8-20;   Dn.3:52-56;   Lk.21:1-4)  “To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency in all literature and science, and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams.” God is the giver of all good gifts; all is a gift from God.  Whatever we give to Him can only seem paltry to Him “who look[s] into the depths from [His] throne upon the cherubim.”  But He makes any gift we give, anything we do, great by His heavenly grace. All our offerings are as the widow’s – but a couple of copper coins – even if we give vast wealth from our surplus.  What is anything we offer in the sight of God, who owns the world and all that is in it, who sits “in the firmament of heaven”?  So the size matters not.  But when we give our paltry gift with a heart of faith, in answer to the love He gives us, how great our gift then becomes.  For this He blesses.  This He looks upon with favor.  This He sees as He glances up; for it is the heart He looks upon and measures.  It cannot but be that the widow gave her offering out of love, out of her deep faith in God.  How could one become bereft of all riches if one did not believe in Him who surpasses all? And is it not Daniel and the young men’s faith which God does bless with His gifts of wisdom and prudence?  Because “Daniel was resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food or wine” sacrificed to his pagan gods, God first blesses him and his companions with exceptional health.  Though they eat food that is poor as the widow’s offering, yet “they looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate from the royal table” – again, because all gifts, including that of health, are in God’s hands and not in the things themselves.  And God’s gift of knowledge and understanding is a reward for their faith in Him as well; they give themselves to Him in obedience and He who holds all such light of wisdom in “the temple of [His] holy glory,” who is “exalted above all forever” – which the young men readily recognize – grants them His favors by His grace. What gift have we to give?  What paltry sum have we to offer?  Let it be as the two fish the boy offered in faith and generosity to the Lord (Jn.6:9), and with it He will feed five thousand.  Let it be as the two coins jangling in the widow’s pocket, and with it He will build a home for you in heaven.  Let it be given in the faith of the four young men and God will bless it and reveal Himself at work in you. ******* O LORD, you provide, you take care… let us not be afraid but give ourselves entirely to your service. YHWH, praiseworthy and exalted are you, glorious above all for all ages.  And those who trust in you are truly blessed; you give them wealth and health – all wisdom comes from you.  And though we may have but two copper coins, if we offer them to you, you will provide all we need in this world, and bring us to the riches of Heaven. O let us be raised up with you, dear God!  Let us join you on high where you dwell in glory.  To your Temple let us come and before your throne let us bow.  If so humbly we worship you, you shall sit us beside you. Let us be in your service this day, our hearts set on doing your will al[...]


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November 26 - Christ the King Sunday, Year A

Sat, 25 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

(Ez.34:11-12,15-17;   Ps.23:1-6;   1Cor.15:20-26,28;   Mt.25:31-46)  “Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Jesus is King.  It is He to whom the Father has “subjected everything” and who “must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet,” until He has “destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power”; and it is He who then “hands over the kingdom to His God and Father… that God may be all in all.”  Yes, “when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit upon His glorious throne, and all the nations will assemble before Him.”  And He who is the Good Shepherd will separate the sheep beneath His rule “one from another”: it is He who will say to the righteous, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father.  Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”; and to the unrighteous, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”  He will judge all souls, for all souls are in His hands.  Yes, He is King. And yet this King is with His subjects; this Shepherd is hidden in His sheep – He is the Shepherd who “finds Himself among His scattered sheep.”  Indeed, in His power He promises to “pasture [His] sheep”: “The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal”… but more than this, more than this is our King to us.  For He is a King who not only serves the poor and broken, but who is the poor and broken Himself.  Though all power and glory and honor are with Him who is exalted as Head over all, He travels with the least of His children; He makes Himself one with the least of all creatures.  Does He not say, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me”?  Oh how He unites Himself with our humanity!  His love is beyond our comprehension. And, brothers and sisters, it should be obvious what we are now called to do; if we wish to be “brought to life… each one in proper order,” following “Christ the firstfruits,” we must walk in His way.  If we wish to sing with David His humble king, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” – if indeed we desire to share in His eternal kingship, we must on the dust of this earth serve Him in the least among us… we ourselves must be the least, as He is.  Alleluia to our exalted King! Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Coat of Warmth" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, walk among us and shepherd us well in the reign of your Son, that we might love as you love.  YHWH, how shall we come to dwell in your House forever?  How shall we be the sheep at your right hand?  Only by becoming as your only Son.  Only by making ourselves present among the least.  For you have a compassionate heart which reaches out to all in need.  You have hands that bind up the wounds of your little ones, that care for the hungry and the sick.  You prepar[...]


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November 25 - Prayer to St. Catherine of Alexandria

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O virgin pure and brilliant, you gave your life in defense of the faith, refuting all arguments to its contrary; though you were but a child yourself, you stood strong before your tormentors, enduring the persecution and torture they struggled in vain to muster against you, ever shining the light of purity and truth before their corrupted minds and hearts – pray for those who defend the faith and all those who would explain it away, that the light of pure reason will dispel all doubt and darkness and the verity of the faith be known by all souls on this earth, undeniable as it is by the mind of any man. Pray we not waste words or time but live a holy life before God, giving witness to His presence in the world and in the Church, and come finally to rest on His mountain.


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November 25 - Saturday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Mac.6:1-13;   Ps.9:2-4,6,16,19;   Lk.20:27-40)  “The needy shall not always be forgotten, nor shall the hope of the afflicted forever perish.” Death comes, yes.  Death is upon us and surrounds us in this world.  But the suffering we face in this life has its reward.  Jesus has brought redemption: He has been resurrected, and we with Him.  And this new life is eternal. It seemed the Israelites were doomed.  Antiochus had ruthlessly destroyed Jerusalem and the inhabitants of Judah.  All hope seemed lost.  But hope was not lost, and today we read of the return of the people to Jerusalem in strength and the defeat and death of their enemy, the king.  Now Antiochus has become “sick with grief because his designs ha[ve] failed.”  Now he is “overwhelmed with sorrow” as he sees the evils he has committed overtake him and finds himself dying “in bitter grief, in a foreign land.”  While in Jerusalem the Israelites celebrate and sing praise to God: “My enemies are turned back, overthrown and destroyed before you.” And now such redemption is made eternal in the Person of Jesus Christ.  What was but human and temporal, the fall and rise of empires and of temples, now becomes divine, now becomes everlasting in the coming of the Messiah in the flesh of God.  Yet with Him there is death – but after His crucifixion it shall be no more.  Yet with Him is new life – but with His resurrection it has no end.  Now “those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of resurrection from the dead… become like angels and are no longer liable to death.”  In His death He destroys death: He makes it bereft of all power.  In His rising He draws all into the eternal presence of the Father.  Now “all are alive for Him.” Brothers and sisters, may any “floods of sorrow” which afflict us now because of our sins or by the oppression of our persecutors not overwhelm us in this day.  Let our sins be nailed to the cross with Him who is our salvation, and our hope of overcoming all the scourges of the evil one be made strong in the surpassing light of His glorious rising.  With David let us “declare all [the Lord’s] wondrous deeds,” and our enemies will be left speechless. (I must note today that the city named for this evil king – Antioch – would soon become the place where the followers of Christ were called “Christians” for the first time; and that the seat of the state which would next oppress the people of God – Rome – is now the place from which the Chair of Peter reigns.  How God’s redeeming Hand does work.) ******* O LORD, in Heaven we shall be as angels; let us not be weighed down by the cares of this earth. YHWH, turn back our enemies, we pray, the sins that grieve us in this dark place.  Let us not in exile die, but by your grace come to new life. O LORD, how we long for the day when we will no more be liable to death.  Like the angels of Heaven let us be; in the age to come let us make our home, leaving behind the vestiges of this vain world. For all we have done or spoken against you, let us be forgiven, O LORD.  From all the evils we have committed in Jerusalem, let us b[...]


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November 24 - Prayer to Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O you who were martyred over three centuries of persecution in a country so bitter toward the faith, bishops and priests and laymen alike, native to the land and foreign-born, all innocent souls who suffered even torture in joy, all for the sake of the Lord and His Church – pray we shall be as ready as you to bear witness to the faith with our lives, that all as one in the Body of Christ we will be willing even to die to satiate our thirst for the kingdom and for the salvation of souls. O what joy to be as Jesus, to walk in His steps even to the Cross! No greater blessing could any soul know on this corrupted plane… Pray we shall come with you to Heaven.


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November 24 - Friday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Mac.4:36-37,52-59;   1Chr.29:10-13;   Lk.19:45-48) “Let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it.” In both our reading and gospel today, we hear of the cleansing of the temple, and we see its purpose and fulfillment. “My house is meant for a house of prayer,” declares Jesus.  A  house of prayer, and a house for teaching: “He was teaching in the temple area from day to day.”  It is a house of music, for by the Israelites after the Maccabean revolution it “was reconsecrated with songs, harps, lutes, and cymbals.”  It is a place for humility: “All the people prostrated themselves…” and worship: “…and adored and praised Heaven.”  Praise is most fitting for the house of the Lord, for His holy temple, for it is this which unites us with our God.  When we sing of His greatness – “Yours, O Lord, are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory.  For all in heaven and on earth is yours” – we are joined to Him who is “exalted as head over all.”  For in proclaiming the truth of His “power and might” over all, we ourselves are cleansed and become as temples of the Lord, holy and radiant as gold. “The entire populace was listening to Him and hanging on His words.”  To whom did the people listen but the Temple itself?  What was begun by the Maccabee brothers is accomplished in Jesus.  It had long been the hope and desire of the Israelites, and indeed the longing of all mankind, to have a holy place to worship God, to offer sacrifice to Him who is the greatest love of all hearts.  And now He stands before them, now He speaks to them.  And He effects the renewal of the temple not so much by His “ejecting the traders” who had made it “a den of thieves,” as by His presence in their midst.  For the temple exists not so much in the walls adorned “with gold crowns and shields” as in the flesh of Christ; and it is this Temple we become when we follow Him, when we hear and heed the words which issue forth like a cleansing stream from these sacred lips and heart, and when we eat His body and drink His blood. The destruction of this Temple will come.  Even now the leaders of the people are “looking for a way to destroy Him.”  But in three days the Temple will be rebuilt and dedicated forever in perfect purity for all who desire to enter there. ******* O LORD, purify our hearts that we might rejoice in your Temple, our prayer ever rising up to you. YHWH, may your Temple be cleansed that we might offer true worship to you here in your Church.  Let all souls be purified by your Son and by His sacrifice, that your children might sing your praise forever.  From eternity to eternity you are exalted, you are the Most High – O let us freely bless your holy NAME! O LORD, may we know the great blessing of falling prostrate before you who are God.  May we find the grace of adoring you alone.  May we ever be in prayer in your holy House, and so become holy ourselves in your eternal presence. Let your sanctuary be purified; let it be dedicated to you, dear God.  Let all that is sinful be cast from us by your So[...]


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November 23 - Prayer to St. Columban

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 20:05:00 +0000

O father of holy monasteries who dug deeply in the earth, in the heart of man, and laid their foundation on the Rock that is Christ that they might be made in His image, in the image of Him who created us – pray we shall love the Lord as He commands and so be holy as He is holy, truly reflecting the image of our God and living in His surpassing peace. Pray austerity serve well to make us in the Lord’s image, to purge from us all that is not of Him; may we be blessed to serve with untiring devotion and care the will of our Lord in all things, in worship of Him, in prayer, and in genuine love of our neighbor, that the Gospel may go forth to the ends of the earth not just in words but in our very flesh and blood.


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November 23 - Prayer to Clement I

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O successor to Peter, Shepherd of God’s Church, Father of all the churches in the Body of Christ, these you instructed well; these you gave a shepherd’s care… for these and for the Lord you shed your blood – pray for God’s Church even this day, that she shall remain united under her one Lord and Savior, each member serving the good of all as wholly as you have done. Pray we all work together in Jesus’ name and in His blood to do the Father’s will and so become as holy as He, as holy as you were blessed to become. Pray the teaching of the apostles ever ring in our ears that we shall never forget the way the Christ marks out for us, the way of truth that leads to life.


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November 23 - Thursday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Mac.2:15-29;   Ps.50:1-2,5-6,14-15,23;   Lk.19:41-44) “We will not obey the words of the king nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree.” The king of heaven shall soon come into the city of peace, humble and riding on an ass, but today He weeps as He sees Jerusalem and knows of its imminent destruction for its sins.  Yet He shall ride into Jerusalem, yet He shall be dragged within its walls… and the death He proclaims upon all its children, He Himself shall know, He Himself shall undergo, that there may be means of escape for us all, for all who turn from the prince of this world and his seduction and seek to remain true to the commands of our God. The persecution of the Jews some two hundred years before Christ’s own we continue to hear of in our reading from Maccabees: “The officers of the king in charge of enforcing the apostasy came to the city of Modein to organize the sacrifices.”  And though many go over to the enemy, Mattathias and his sons remain faithful, remain true to the Lord.  Great is their zeal in the face of the threat and in the sight of the ways of the evil one.  And flee the city and its abominations Mattathias did with all the righteous, to make a home apart in the desert.  For he recognizes the time of visitation and the destruction of faith upon his city and his people; he has not “completely lost” vision of “the path to peace” but remains faithful even in time of persecution. “Days will come upon you when your enemies encircle you with a rampart, hem you in, and press you hard from every side,” Jesus prophesies as He weeps over Jerusalem.  He wishes not to see the persecution come, nor to have to die Himself.  But the people do not recognize with their hearts the love He offers forth… and so what can He do but die; and so what can they know but destruction.  But His sacrifice shall prove redemptive for those who turn; a place in the desert He shall prepare for those who desire to be holy, to be set apart from the wickedness of this race. “From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth” and His “faithful ones” gather before Him.  In their praise of His glory they fulfill their “vows to the Most High” and so the king of this world holds no power over them.  In the New Jerusalem with the risen Lord they live, beyond the destruction of the old. ******* O LORD, you will come to visit your people; let us flee the sin of this world or we will be destroyed. YHWH, it is better for us to dwell in a desert apart if it means we can remain with you.  Better for us to leave all our possessions behind than to be enslaved by the silver and gold and many gifts this world offers to those who abandon their faith.  Let us remain steadfast with you and fight always for what is just in your sight. Days will soon come when there will not be one stone left on another.  Indeed, our enemies come to encircle us and close in upon us.  But we need not fear the darkness, the powers of this dying age.  For with you, O LORD, we are stro[...]


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November 22 - Prayer to St. Cecilia

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O holy virgin and martyr, you sang a song of love to Jesus, a song that could not be dimmed, could not be taken away, for you were protected by an angel of the Lord and willing to give your life to maintain your love for Him – pray for us poor souls of this day and age from whom purity is so far removed, who need deep conversion to believe, to see the angel at your side, to know the path to which the Lord calls us, the Cross which is every Christian’s song. So far removed, so far removed are we, and so impassible is the way to Him… inspire in our souls, dear saint, the desire for the incorruptible that beat in your heart, that we too might sing a song to Jesus pleasing to His ears.


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November 22 - Wednesday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(2Mac.7:1,20-31;   Ps.17:1,5-6,8,15;   Lk.19:11-28) “He, in His mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of His Law.” When the Lord returns “crowned as king” He will call all before Himself and judge each according to the profit he has made with his life.  If we are like the seven brothers who suffered and died for the faith, if we have been like the good servants who invested wisely the gifts left with them by the Lord, we shall come into His reign.  If we have wasted His talents or, God forbid, have persecuted, as Antiochus – who “contrived every kind of affliction for the Hebrews” – those who strive with the Lord to remain faithful to His call, we “will not escape the hands of God.”  He will come to judge; in justice He is known. “On waking, I shall be content in your presence,” sings David in our psalm, expressing the hope of those whose “steps have been steadfast” in the paths of God.  And how this hope in the coming kingdom is embodied by the seven brothers with their mother “who were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king” – how well they presage the suffering and death of Jesus, and the sword which pierces His mother’s heart.  The mother’s words are particularly beautiful and wise as she witnesses to her sons that she was not the author of their lives: “It was not I who gave you the breath of life, nor was it I who set in order the elements of which each of you is composed,” thus stirring them to faith in “the Creator of the universe who shapes each man’s beginning” and holds the life of all in His hands.  Hear her words of exhortation to faith spoken to her youngest son: “I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth and see all that is in them; then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things.”  And so she encourages him to “accept death, so that in the time of mercy [she] may receive [him] again.”  Here, certainly, is our faith in essence.  Here the hope we have in the Lord is lived. The Lord has gone from us to the “faraway country” of heaven to receive His kingship and return for our souls.  He has left with each of His servants gifts for the time of waiting.  Today He and His heavenly kingdom are not far away for He is very present in His Church, in her priests and the sacraments, in the Word of God revealed to us, in the sky upon which we gaze to see His handiwork… in all things we know Him and for all our needs He provides.  Let us not be afraid to live with Him and so to die for Him, to disregard our very lives in the employment of His talents… and the breath and life we do so cherish shall be ours forever in heaven. ******* O LORD, Jesus goes to the Cross, but He shall return; He shall return and judge the souls of all. YHWH, your Son has gone from us to a faraway land, to your side in the kingdom of Heaven.  And if we wish to join Him there, [...]


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November 21 - Prayer on the Presentation of Mary

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O holy Temple of the Lord, preeminent member of His Church, you who were destined from all ages to bear the Son of God, to be His chosen dwelling place… you were weaned into His Temple; there you ever remained, becoming yourself the House of God, where He now ever stays – pray we be built into His Temple; pray we become sons and daughters unto you. In you let us make our home, dear Mother, that the holiness of Jesus we shall ever share. We cannot live in Him if apart from you; we cannot be as Christ’s Body, blessed by the Holy Spirit and doing the Father’s will on earth, if you are not our Mother, if you are not the Temple in which we dwell. Pray our holiness mirror your own.


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November 21 - Tuesday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(2Mac.6:18-31;   Ps.3:2-8;   Lk.19:1-10) “I fear not the myriads of people arrayed against me on every side.” Zacchaeus’ running up ahead and climbing a tree in order to be able to see Jesus as He passed along the way may not be a witness on the order of Eleazar, who “declared that above all he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God” and went willingly to torture and death, “leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation,” but the same faith inspired both.  And perhaps this wealthy man giving half of his belongings to the poor does approach the heroism of Eleazar. The principal figures in both our reading and gospel today indeed give witness to the faith in the salvation which Jesus has come to bring to all our houses.  And both reflect the strength needed to overcome the myriad of obstacles set in our paths.  “O Lord, how many are my adversaries!” David cries in our psalm.  “Many rise up against me!”  Eleazar is threatened by the systematic persecution of his faith and his people by the pagan king and his minions, but in the face of “the instrument of torture” this noble old man tells his persecutors “to send him at once to the abode of the dead,” for he would not bring “shame and dishonor” on himself nor lead the people astray by giving in to an unlawful act.  And in our gospel Zacchaeus finds himself surrounded by the murmuring crowd accusing him of being a sinner.  But he stands his ground in the face of this persecution, justified or not, and proves himself worthy to be at the side of Jesus. “The Son of Man has come to search out and save what was lost.”  It is His desire to bring us to salvation.  Yet if we do not seek Him, He will not find us.  If we do not call to Him, He will not hear us.  And if we do not stand our ground and give witness to Him when put to the test for our faith, He cannot stand with us. Temptations must necessarily come.  We cannot escape persecution.  But we must not listen to those who say, “There is no salvation for him in God.”  We must remember that God stands with us if we stand with Him, and that it is just such as us He has come to save. ******* O LORD, help us to stand strong in your NAME in the face of persecution; let us endure all with you. YHWH, our adversaries surround us on every side saying there is no salvation for us in God because of our sins against you, or because they doubt your existence.  Thus the darkness closes in upon us, the wickedness of this evil place.  But standing with you we are saved.  When we call on your NAME, when we climb the tree of life, your holy mountain, to gaze on your face, you are there to receive our souls: though we die we shall wake with you. Why should we be afraid, LORD, though myriads of people are arrayed against us, though they threaten us with torture and death[...]


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November 20 - Monday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Mac.1:10-15,41-43,54-57,62-63;   Ps.119:53,61,88,134,150,155,158;   Lk.18:35-43)  “Terrible affliction was upon Israel.” Oh how the nation had become so blind.  Oh how they had turned from their God.  Some “preferred to die rather than be defiled with unclean food or to profane the covenant,” but most ate freely of the poisonous fruit of the tree of abomination, and so became as the blind man begging by the side of the road – so spiritually bereft were they. Our reading from Maccabees tells of a terrible time of persecution upon the Israelite nation less than two hundred years before the coming of Christ, and it shows that that persecution comes from within the community itself, as “men who were breakers of the law” sought alliance with the Gentiles and their pagan worship, thinking so foolishly that this would bring them blessing and comfort.  How readily “they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.”  And the date is given here when “the king erected the horrible abomination upon the altar of holocausts,” signifying Israel’s complete turn from God and His laws to the vain worship of false gods. Our psalm speaks repeatedly of “the snares of the wicked,” “the oppression of men,” the “malicious persecutors,” the “sinners,” the “apostates” who turn from the law and attempt to “twine” others about in their evil.  This is man’s sin from the beginning – attempting to form God of his own hands, refusing to be obedient to the ways the loving Father has imparted for his salvation, for his blessing.  Man gives himself over to the lusts of this world and the imagination of a proud mind, and through such exaltation of self finds himself soon lost in the confusion that such vanity can only bring.  But in the meantime he persecutes the just who hold to the way of truth; for a while he fools himself by the glamour of his idols.  But soon the blindness sets in, and soon the salvation of the just shall come. If we are in affliction because of the persecution of this world of sin that surrounds and closes in, we should consider ourselves blessed; this affliction is proof of our faith, and upon it the Lord looks with favor.  If we are afflicted with the blindness of the nations wrought by our wallowing in sin, we’d best cry out to the Lord as He passes us on the way to Jerusalem.  He will hear us and He will stop, if we are persistent in our cries.  And it is so that our faith will make us whole.  Let us find our sight by the intercession of Christ and “giving God the glory” begin “to follow Him,” whatever cross may await us. ******* O LORD, woe to those who forsake your law! – let them cry out to you with full voice that they may be saved. YHWH, how blind we have become, turning from your law, from your holy ways, to worship the false and empty gods of the nations.  O may your Son turn to u[...]


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November 19 - Sunday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

 (Prv.31:10-13,19-20,30-31;   Ps.128:1-5;   1Thes.5:1-6;   Mt.25:14-30) “When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.” And so the Lord is pleased to bless His “good and faithful servant[s]”; for His Church is as His Bride and Her faithful members He invites to share His joy.  With more than the talents of “a man going on a journey” are we entrusted by the Lord.  To us He is more like the husband “entrusting his heart” to his wife.  All He gives over to us, even His very life, His absolute love – His blood itself He pours out for us.  And are we as the good wife who “works with loving hands,” who “puts her hands to the distaff and [whose] fingers ply the spindle”?  Do we work diligently with all the gifts the Lord imparts to us and thus increase their yield?  Are we as she who “brings [her husband] good, and not evil, all the days of her life,” delivering unto the Lord the honor due His Name?  If so, then as the worthy wife receives “a reward for her labors” and as “her works praise her at the city gates,” so shall the Lord richly bless our labors, and the angels at the gates of heaven welcome us with song. Brothers and sisters, “You are children of the light and children of the day.  We are not of the night or of darkness.  Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober,” doing the Lord’s will in all things.  Let us not be as the “useless servant” who “dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.”  The graces the Lord gives us are not meant for such darkness, but indeed to be brought into the light of day that they might spread “like a fruitful vine” throughout the face of the earth.  This is the call of His Church, and we must be faithful in the work with which we have been entrusted: His love must reach to the ends of the world. And each “shall eat the fruit of [his] handiwork” when the day of the Lord comes upon us.  The soul which has courted darkness in its distrust and laziness shall find the spouse that awaits her; but “blessed shall [she] be, and favored,” “who walk[s] in [the Lord’s] ways!”  She shall indeed not fear the “sudden disaster” that comes upon the wicked, but shall celebrate “the prosperity of Jerusalem” in her Master’s house “all the days of [her] life.”  For in none does the Lord take greater delight than she who returns an increase of His invaluable love. Wriiten, chanted, and produced by James Kurt; read by Sylvia Kurt. Music: "We Have Bodies" from The Whole Whale, eighth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******** O LORD, let us do your work and your will; let us be fruitful in serving you until the Day of your Son’s return. YHWH, you give us gifts, skills and talents upon this earth – even our bodies and minds are from you.  Bu[...]


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November 18 - Prayer to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O woman who prayed always and had great mercy on souls, whose missionary zeal led you across the ocean, thousands of miles from your home, to educate the poor and care for the sick, to bring the love of Jesus to those most in need – pray we too shall have a heart set on service of the Lord and remembrance of His presence, that our concern for those apart from Christ will drive us to great ends, even to the ends of the earth, where certainly He dwells. Pray we shall have your courage in facing the unknown, in calling all home to the Heart of God; and through all we do for Him let us remain in prayer, knowing His Heaven here on earth.


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November 18 - Saturday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Ws.18:14-16,19:6-9;   Ps.105:2-3,5,36-37,42-43;   Lk.18:1-8) “He led forth His people with joy; with shouts of joy, His chosen ones.” “They beheld stupendous wonders.”  Before their eyes, “out of what had been water, dry land was seen emerging.”  And so, sheltered by the mighty hand of the Lord, they crossed over, from the land of bondage to freedom.  And in their joy “they ranged about like horses, and bounded about like lambs…” praising the Lord, “their deliverer.” This is the story of our own salvation; this is the way of our own redemption from the sin which holds us bound on this earthly plane.  Our exodus, too, must come.  The Lord shall return to earth.  As He was faithful in leading the Israelites forth from the land of Egypt, where they had been slaves four hundred years, so He will not forget us who have been in the bonds of Satan upon this plane.  Our deliverance, too, will come. Yes, my brothers and sisters, God will “do justice to His chosen who call out to Him day and night.”  He will not “delay long over them” but will “give them swift justice.”  The vision of the Israelites at the Red Sea will be our own.  Before our eyes we will see the dry land appearing.  We shall rejoice at the Lord’s hand guiding our steps out of this dark land.  “An unimpeded road” we shall travel, moving toward His promised land.  Yes, heaven will be ours.  The first-born of Satan, the flower of his evil, shall be destroyed in the stillness of the night, and truth and goodness and light will emerge victorious; and we shall be led forth, as it were, “laden with silver and gold,” rejoicing in the abundant blessings of our Lord and God. He does not delay.  He will not delay.  We wait, yes, and struggle with our faith… but He is ready – He does not have to be asked twice.  But as our hearts are weakened by sin, we must be encouraged, we must continue to pray, always, even in the face of darkness.  Through the darkness the Lord’s light shall come shining, if we remain faithful in our cries.  So, “sing to Him, sing His praise… O hearts that seek the Lord!” for He is near in all our prayers, and shall lead us forth into His blessed kingdom.  Alleluia! ******* O LORD, your justice is swift but who is there that calls out to you, that desires your hand at work in his life? YHWH, what marvels you have worked for us; for we who were overshadowed by sin, who seemed trapped by its darkness, abandoned to its clutches, have been mightily delivered from sure death and destruction to stand with you in your kingdom.  And should we now have no faith in you?  Should we fail to cry out to you for secure protection?  Will your justice not come quickly to us, whom you so love and for whom you so desire salvation? O LORD, let us not [...]


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November 17 - Prayer to St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O charitable soul who gave all you owned for the sake of the Gospel, though endowed with great riches you embraced lady poverty that you might serve the Lord with a heart beating for the poor. With your own hands you tended the sickest; into your own home you welcomed the most destitute – pray that in our small way we too may follow in the footsteps of Christ and give our lives to the poor whom He loves and to prayer in His presence. Pray our hearts, too, may know His tender care for souls and our own souls meditate upon Him night and day; pray we too shall give up all to find His holy kingdom.


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November 17 - Friday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Ws.13:1-9;   Ps.19:2-5;   Lk.17:26-37)  “Wherever the carcass is, there will the vultures gather.” It is so that “the heavens proclaim the glory of God and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.”  It is true that “from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen.”  Yes, “the things seen are fair,” and speak even of the glory of our God… but they shall indeed all come to naught when He alone stands before us on the last day. In the created world we exist.  To an extent, in the created world we take refuge, discerning the hand of God at work in the things around us and coming by way of the knowledge presented to us in their beauty and wonder to that Hand which has created all.  And so they can be beneficial to us.  And so they can help to reveal God’s presence to us who are so blind.  But both the warning of our reading from Wisdom and Christ’s own words in the gospel must be heeded: we cannot make “fire,” “wind,” or “mighty water” our gods; and we cannot be attached to our possessions.  For these things of nature, as great as God has made them, and these things at our disposal, as much a blessing they may be to us for our time on earth, are passing away.  Only God remains. Brothers and sisters, we must look upon the stars of heaven, we must see the signs wrought in our midst… but we cannot be distracted by them from the God who made them.  We must eat and drink, we must take husbands and wives… but we cannot get drunk or live in lust, allowing the earthly to overcome our spirits.  Lot’s wife turned to see what she’d left behind; she longed to return to her possessions and the carnal life of Sodom.  Unable to understand or accept the grace of the angel of God who was leading her forth to a safer and more glorious land, she was turned to salt – all of worth was taken from her; only the carcass remained. The day shall come when all we see shall be destroyed.  And so, how important it is that our hearts not be set on all we see, else we shall be destroyed with it.  Though with utmost respect we treat this world and even find joy in its beauty, we must ever keep in mind that its beauty is passing and is only significant if it leads to the eternal beauty of heaven. ******* O LORD, we must discern the signs of the times, for your Son will soon return and we will have to leave all things behind. YHWH, the heavens declare your glory to all, but do we upon earth hear the angels’ voices?  Do we take their message of your beauty and wonder and power to heart, or do we lose ourselves in these things and pass away as they do?  For the things in the heavens and those upon the earth, though blessed to find your voice resounding in them,[...]


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November 16 - Prayer to St. Gertrude

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 20:05:00 +0000

O blessed mystic of Jesus, you were saved by Him from a life of vain pursuit of the things and thoughts of this world to find union with His Sacred Heart, which holds all heavenly treasures. You see Him now (do you not, dear virgin?) in His perfection, even as you saw Him, though only in the shadow of vision, here upon this plane – pray we shall also know His blessed perfection, the beating of His Sacred Heart within our own, the love which surpasses all understanding illumining our soul… that no more will we ever desire than to be with Him where you are now, in His eternal glory.


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November 16 - Prayer to St. Margaret of Scotland

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O devout mother and queen whose concern was ever for your children and your people, that they might ever be fed in body and in soul and so grow unto the fullness of Christ – pray for us, O holy queen, that we the Lord’s poor subjects might receive from His hand all we need to become His sons and daughters. In prayer and gratitude let us remain ever before His throne, that by such holy fear we might be made fruitful as you, bearing children unto Him and raising them to His glory. A heart for the poor may we ever nourish that, as poor as we are, by our King’s gracious blessing we might give what He provides until all enter His reign.


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November 16 - Thursday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Ws.7:22-8:1;   Ps.119:89-91,130,135,175;   Lk.17:20-25) “Let your countenance shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.” Wisdom, who “is fairer than the sun and surpasses every constellation of the stars… reaches from end to end mightily and governs all things well.”  Wisdom “penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity,” for she is “the refulgence of eternal light.”  How like the Lord she is, He whose coming “day will be like the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to the other” and yet whose reign is “already in [our] midst.”  How we are filled with understanding when this light which “endures forever,” which “is firm as the heavens,” shines upon our simple minds, leading us to the grace of eternal glory. Wisdom we need, brothers and sisters.  The Lord’s Word must be with us.  “For there is naught God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.”  Else we shall be as those who “go running about excitedly” at every report of the Lord’s being “here” or “there,” at every proclamation of the end being near.  The end is here; it is now the Son of Man “must suffer much and be rejected by the present age.”  The Lord has come, and so “the reign of God is already in [our] midst.”  Its fulfillment we shall not discern by “careful watching,” by setting our sights on the things of the earth, but only with the “intelligent, pure, and very subtle” spirit of Wisdom.  She alone teaches us of the kingdom, for she alone is “the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of His goodness.”  Without her purity, our minds are dimmed.  Without her surpassing light, we cannot but be blind.  She alone knows, she alone leads holy souls into the truth of His presence.  All words lacking her light are but vain speculation, which shall come to naught, which shall fall to the earth from which they are derived.  Heaven alone is lasting. Have we the light of Wisdom directing our thoughts and actions, brothers and sisters?  Is her purity set firmly within us?  Will we then stand on the day the lightning flashes, on the day the glory of the Lord is revealed?  Do we carry that glory now within us?  If not, let us turn to Wisdom, and she will teach us.  Like a mother who cares for her children she will be.  And led to the presence of the Lord we will be, where we will find our peace.  Let us not fail to take her gentle yoke upon our shoulders; let the cross of Christ and the light of the coming kingdom be ever our guide. ******* O LORD, your Son is in our midst most especially in His Cross, and it is through His Cross Wisdom shines most brightl[...]


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November 15 - Prayer to St. Albert the Great

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O patron of scientists and philosophers, you of brilliant mind who taught with both human and divine wisdom, who led your students to deeper and purer understanding of God and His world and most especially His Church – pray we partake of your teaching this day, that the light you brought to the minds of your flock will not be lost or forgotten by eyes blind to the truth. Pray the word upon your soul will bring us closer to the Lord that we might partake of Him in sacrament and in preaching. O how shall we see if you do not pray for us, if you do not serve to guide us to the glory that surpasses our poor ability to comprehend Him?


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November 15 - Wednesday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Ws.6:1-11;   Ps.82:3-4,6-8;   Lk.17:11-19) “Stand up and go your way; your faith has been your salvation.” “This man was a Samaritan.”  Jesus chose the lowest of the low, not only a leper, the most ostracized of all individuals, but a Samaritan, a foreigner most despised by the Israelite nation, to reveal His mercy, to reveal the universal nature of His forgiveness, and so the universal call to salvation.  He demonstrates that all may have faith in Him, and that it is for us to call all to Him. Many are given power on this earth, power which was far from the Samaritan leper healed by Jesus.  And Wisdom makes clear the responsibility that comes with that authority, the manner in which that judgment placed in the hands of princes must be effected.  For the Lord shall hold accountable all to whom power is given; He shall “probe [their] works and scrutinize [their] counsels.”  And if they keep not His law and “walk according to the will of God,” great as the power given them shall be their punishment.  “For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy,” as was the leper in our gospel today, “but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.” I find it rather frightening to hear that “for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends,” for, brothers and sisters, we are all given a measure of power by the Lord, and so all shall be held responsible for their gifts.  It can make us quake in our shoes to think that we are answerable to God, to the all-powerful Lord of the universe, for all we do.  Do we “keep the holy precepts” well?  Will we “have ready a response” when He stands before us, when He inquires of our actions? If we desire His words, we know that He will instruct us, but how can we who are so human and sinful be as faithful as we need to be?  Our psalm warns us: “You are gods, all of you sons of the Most High” – we are all gifted greatly by our God to be as His children – “yet like men you shall die, and fall like any prince…” yet oh how human we are, how subject to the elements of sin and death. What shall we do?  Our psalm indicates what our actions should be: “Defend the lowly and the fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and the destitute.”  And the blessed leper in our gospel reveals the attitude we should have toward our Lord: “He threw himself on his face at the feet of Jesus and spoke His praises.”  If we think ourselves any better than he or do anything differently, we shall not hear the Lord calling us to rise and go forth – we shall not find our salvation.  Let us demonstrate our faith and the grace at work w[...]


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November 14 - Tuesday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Ws.2:23-3:9;   Ps.34:2-3,16-19;   Lk.17:7-10) “The souls of the just are in the hands of God, and no torment shall touch them.” What does the Lord mean when He instructs us in our gospel to say, “We are useless servants,” than that which David says in our psalm, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves,” and that which the Book of Wisdom states in our first reading: “Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of Himself”?  For though we who serve Christ seem to be dead in the judgment of this world, and the laying down of our lives in service of Christ – who died upon the cross quite freely – seems to be nothing but “utter destruction,” yet we know that it is precisely this death in Christ which brings life… and in His hands we shall be blessed. “The Lord confronts evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.”  Yet “when the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress He rescues them.”  Yes, “those who trust in Him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with Him in love: because grace and mercy are with His holy ones, and His care is with His elect.”  And “they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their  king forever.”  For they have given their service to the One who rules the universe, and so in His service they shall remain – death shall have no power over them.  If “God formed man to be imperishable” and made him “the image of His own nature,” what shall touch those who serve Him, who treasure that image of God upon them?  How shall they die? “We have done no more than our duty.”  This is the bottom line of our time on earth.  And the accomplishment of our duty, the fulfillment of the Lord’s Word at work in our hearts, is all that is needed to bring us to eternal life.  And though it is not His obligation, though certainly no reward is due us who have but carried out the orders of our superior, the Lord will say to us in His grace on that day, “Come and sit down at table.”  And we shall sup with Him eternally, His gracious hand upon us for good. Brothers and sisters, forget not your call to serve Him, to lay down your lives before Him, and He shall not neglect to hear you now, and to give you life eternal.  Keep your “hope full of immortality” even “as gold in the furnace” your mettle is proven this day, and the day of the Lord shall be yours, when all torment shall have fled away. ******* O LORD, we are indee[...]


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November 13 - Prayer to St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O mother of the faith and helper of the stranger in the New World, you sought with great diligence to preserve the true religion in a land hostile to Mother Church, to assist those in spiritual as well as physical need – pray a measure of your missionary spirit be poured out upon your daughters, upon the many houses you established and all those served by them. Pray the country you took to heart and which became your own will turn resolutely to the Lord and His blood and away from the destruction of its soul, upon which it seems so set. Pray the faith shall be restored from shore to shore and this nation in truth become a light on a hill.


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November 13 - Monday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Wis.1:1-7;   Ps.139:1-10,24;   Lk.17:1-6) “Where can I hide from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee?” Yes, “wisdom is a kindly spirit, yet she acquits not the blasphemous of his guilty lips.”  For the spirit of the Lord is everywhere and hears everything, listening closely to a man’s inmost thoughts.  “For the spirit of the Lord fills the world, is all-embracing, and knows what man says.”  And so it is that David sings, “If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, you are there, too.”  How could we escape His encircling Hand and His omnipresent justice if, as David says, “Even before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all”?  And so, in heaven He is present to raise us to glory; but in hell, His presence condemns our sin. We cannot sin, brothers and sisters.  If we do, we shall not escape His hand.  It cannot but be that the Lord condemns all evil, for “into a soul that plots evil, wisdom enters not,” and what hope have we of life if the spirit of wisdom guides us not?  Indeed, we must “seek Him in integrity of heart.”  Yes, justice must be our love, and wisdom our treasure.  This alone will bring us unto heaven.  If our counsels are perverse and we cause sin to occur, leading others astray by our unjust words and actions, the Lord makes quite clear our fate in our gospel today: “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.”  And there is a “little one” in ourselves, whom only the Lord – who probes our heart and mind – knows, and whom we condemn to destruction by our sin. Rather, we must have faith.  We must forgive others and have an abiding faith in Him, Jesus tells us.  This faith will manifest itself in the great works done in His name, and in our following Him simply day to day.  With such faith we cannot be shaken.  Holding such faith, the light shining upon our souls by Him who sees all will purify us for the coming of His kingdom. What can we say, brothers and sisters?  The Lord hears us.  Where can we go?  He is with us.  Either for evil because of our turning away, or for our good by our turning to Him, the Lord is ever present.  It must be our desire to come to Him, in wisdom and in justice, in forgiveness and in faith… and hell we shall avoid as gratefully into His glory we fly, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. ******* O LORD, you see us and the sin we commit,   and so we must [...]


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November 12 - Prayer to St. Josaphat

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O shepherd thirsty for souls, whose only desire was the unity of the Church under Christ her King and on the Rock of Peter… for this cause you gave your life; for this call from the Lord you shed your blood – pray this day all may be one, that none shall shrink from fulfilling this desire of Jesus but by the power of the Holy Spirit work tirelessly and with great courage to slake the thirst of the Lord. We are all children of one Father; we have but one Brother in Christ and one Mother in the Catholic faith. Pray this truth shall prevail over the deceptions of the devil, who would separate and conquer souls but who is turned back from his evil course when we are willing to die for one another.


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November 12 - Sunday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

 (Wis.6:12-16;   Ps.63:2-8;   1Thes.4:13-18;   Mt.25:1-13)  “Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”  O Lord, “through the night-watches I will meditate on you: you are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.”  “As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied, and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you”; for though “my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water” for you, O Living God, I have “gazed toward you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory,” and you have met me with your “kindness.”  Your Wisdom “graciously appears to [me] in the ways, and meets [me] with all solicitude.” “Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her.  She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate.  For taking thought of Wisdom is the perfection of prudence, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care.” I could not say it any better, or any differently, than the sacred author.  Do not these words perfectly illustrate the Lord’s message in our gospel today – Stay awake!  Keep your lamps burning!  Seek Wisdom!  Be ready, and she will come to you; and you will be gathered into the marriage feast.  Foolishly sit in darkness, unconcerned for your fate, and these ominous words shall resound in your barren soul: “Then the door was locked.”  And then there shall be no entering. I must again remark on the astounding lack of wisdom in the commentary of the missal I read.  It states, “Paul is under the misconception that our Lord will return during his lifetime,” ignorantly assuming that when he says, “We who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord,” he is referring to himself and his companions.  Oh my!  Where do they derive the oil for their lamps?  He is no more referring directly to himself in this instance than he is when he says, “If we believe that Jesus died and rose” – it is of the whole Church, of whatever time or place, he is speaking!  How can our “scholars” not see this; and how can they be so ready to utter blasphemy against Holy Scripture and the Lord’s Apostle, suggesting that he purports some greater knowledge of the Lord’s return than the Lord Himself?  Do they think he is as ignorant, o[...]


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November 11 - Prayer to St. Martin of Tours

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O sacrificial shepherd, you gave your life for your flock; a poor and humble man, you gathered the poor and humble of the Lord into the arms of His Church, where they might be fed with His grace. Ever with arms upraised you taught your people ever to pray and founded many houses of prayer; peace you brought to your church that all might serve the one true God – pray we shall be humble and lowly as you, dear shepherd, and so mirror the life of our Lord. Pray our lives be entrusted to Him, that whatever we do be in His will; whether we live or die, let it not matter to us, but only let matter the laying down of our lives, that by such sacrificial offering God’s Word might go forth and all souls be welcomed into Abraham’s arms.


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November 11 - Saturday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Rm.16:3-9,16,22-27;   Ps.145:1-5,10-11;   Lk.16:9-15)   “Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let your faithful ones bless you.”   We are in the world, and amongst the wealth of this world.  We have nothing to do with money and the world – “You cannot serve God and money,” the Lord has told us, and so we cannot serve money… yet what have we to use but the riches of this world?  And so “through use of this world’s goods,” by showing ourselves trustworthy with this “elusive wealth,” we find and bring others to the “lasting” riches of heaven. Paul at the end of his letter to the Romans lists all his “fellow workers in the service of Christ.”  Here are those who have been faithful with the elusive wealth of this world.  They themselves have died, their bodies have been laid in the tomb, yet their works live on in the Spirit they have brought forth.  Nothing of this world lasts long, yet these transitory things can and must be used, that “glory be given through Jesus Christ unto endless ages.” “Generation after generation praises your works and proclaims your might,” sings David to the Lord.  And with our voice, too, while we have breath, we must “speak of the splendor of [His] glorious majesty and tell of [His] wondrous works.”  Forever and in all our works we must praise and bless the Lord of all, that all we do leads unto the glory of the kingdom, that in all we serve God with all our might.  We must join ourselves to Him, and we do this by the gifts He gives us, and by employing now what is at our disposal.  So it is.  So it has been back beyond the time of Paul, and so it shall be unto the coming of eternity. Today we must think of how well we use this world’s goods, how well we employ this Word of the Lord in the world.  In the “little” things of our daily lives do we honor God, or are we unjust in some manner?  For today begins the road to heaven; this time leads to eternity.  And if we wish to find “lasting reception” with the Lord in heaven, we must be ever faithful in our works today.  To God let us give thanks.  May we who are the work of the Lord give praise to Him in all our works upon this earth. ******* O LORD, let us give you glory through all that is at our hands. YHWH, generation after generation praises your works; from the time of the apostles unto this day, all those who serve the Gospel of your Son speak[...]


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November 10 - Prayer to St. Leo the Great

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O true Pastor of God’s Church, defender of the faith from forces without and within her walls, you proved that this House founded by Christ the Lord shall never succumb to the powers of hell but ever stand strong against all tides of the world and the evil influence of the devil – pray though the flesh be weak, though every member be prone to sin, that all souls set on the Rock that is the bark of Peter shall repel every attack against the integrity of the faith and stand with Jesus as king over the flesh, as priest offering pure sacrifice, as prophet speaking His words… and so until the end of time may God’s Church be ever blessed.


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November 10 - Friday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Rm.15:14-21;   Ps.98:1-4;   Lk.16:1-8)   “The worldly take more initiative than the otherworldly when it comes to dealing with their own kind.”   What is the Lord teaching His disciples?  What does He wish to tell them of their call?  We need only look at the Apostle Paul, for here is a man, a child of God, who has taken the initiative the Lord would see wrought in us all. Our first reading indeed speaks clearly of Paul’s mission to the Gentiles.  Not only has he covered a vast measure of the globe (particularly for that time), but his intense initiative is seen most acutely in his never going “to preach in places where Christ’s name was already known”; rather, “they who received no word of Him” became Paul’s audience.  A greater example of taking initiative in the Spirit of Christ to bring His light to the world perhaps will never be known. But it is required of all of us.  We are not free to revel in complacency because Paul has been so industrious.  It is still true that the Lord must make His salvation known “in the sight of the nations,” and it is still so that we Christians of the Church militant have the responsibility to see that the Lord’s work is accomplished.  Each of us is called to take a measure of initiative, is gifted by God with the responsibility of bringing a portion of His kingdom to light – in our own way, in our own time… but invariably the call is there and must be answered.  All must fulfill their role in salvation history before it can be truly and completely proclaimed: “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God.” The devious employee’s heart was set thoroughly on the business at his hands, and he used his business wisdom, his worldly savvy, to save his skin.  Where is our spiritual savvy?  Where is the employment of our spiritual wisdom and insight to the salvation of others’ souls, and our own?  “I can take glory in Christ Jesus for the work I have done for God,” Paul says quite freely.  Are we able to say the same?  Let us work industriously and with initiative to bring the spiritual kingdom to fulfillment.  By God’s grace, let the Spirit come.   ******** O LORD, let us do all we can to bring your Word to the world. YHWH, you have made your salvation known in the death and resurrection of your Son, but we must carry that truth to the e[...]


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November 9 - Dedication of St. John Lateran

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:00:00 +0000

(Ez.47:1-2,8-9,12;   Ps.46:1-3,5-6,8-9;   1Cor.3:9c-11,16-17;   Jn.2:13-22)   “There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High.”   On this the feast set aside to commemorate the cathedral of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, himself the founding stone upon which Christ builds His Church, we hear much of temples.  In our first reading Ezekial sees in his vision, “water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple,” water which brings life to the great sea and the fruit that grows upon its banks; the water that gladdens the holy dwelling of the Most High is spoken of in our psalm; Paul tells us we are “the temple of God,” “God’s building”; and zeal for the Father’s house consumes the Lord, and so He purges it with whip in hand in our gospel today.  But perhaps the most revelatory statement is, “He was speaking of the temple of His body,” also from our gospel, and noted as explanation of Jesus’ challenge to the Jews to destroy the temple and He would rebuild it in three days.  This essential truth of the nature of the temple is substantiated by Paul’s teaching of the care needed by those who build within the Church: “No one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ.”  Though he then goes on to say that we are the temple of God, wrought in all holiness, and though this is an equal truth, yet neither this truth, nor that which holds Peter as the founding “rock” of this Temple in which we dwell, have any basis without the essential understanding that Jesus is at the very heart of all our worship, of the Church we are.  The Lord has indeed wrought “astounding things… on earth.”  He has made us as those trees along the banks of His river of life, bearing His fruit each month for the benefit of the world.  He has made us His holy dwelling place and placed His Spirit upon us for the building up of His kingdom…  But all of this has its source in the water of life itself, our Lord Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, as we celebrate our Church this day and the glorious blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us as His temple, as His children, let us not forget our Savior who has been the cause of and continues to be the cause of our joy.  Let us be washed in the water from His side and be built up in His Body[...]


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November 8 - Wednesday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Rm.13:8-10;   Ps.112:1-2,4-5,9;   Lk.14:25-33)  “Love is the fulfillment of the law.” Jesus tells us, “None of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his possessions,” turning our backs even on father and mother, even on our very selves.  Our psalm states of the happy man, “Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever.”  And Paul makes clear that we “owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another.  He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” What is this love?  Where is this generous spirit?  How do we renounce all our possessions?  In the cross of Christ we find our call.  The cross of Christ means giving all, means laying down our lives for the Lord and our neighbor – the cross of Christ is love itself at work in this world in the death of self and the finding of the grace and the love of God in heaven. Jesus wishes that you be sure about this.  He desires that you understand what is required of you – your very life, your absolute love.  Nothing short of total sacrifice will do; we must be entirely whole, utterly holy, to enter His gates, to follow Him into glory.  This is greater and more significant than any war, than any project conceived by the mind of man, for it is our eternal soul that is at stake, whose weight cannot compare to even all the world.  “Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”  We all have a cross graciously placed upon our shoulders by our loving Lord to make us one with Him in His redemptive suffering and death, to make us one with Him in such utter love.  How will we find heaven if we do not love?  How do we come to that place which is only of love if we do not give ourselves to love completely? “How can I do this?” you say.  “The Lord asks too much.”  You must remember that it is only love He asks of you, and that it is His cross you carry – He who is only of love – and so He carries your cross with you, making it ever so sweet and light.  Do you think the saints feared to die in the name of Christ?  Do you think they shrank back even in the face of torture?  None of this has any significance to the soul who is set on Christ; and without Christ a hangnail can seem overwhelming. Love, brothers and sisters.  It is simple a[...]


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November 7 - Tuesday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Rm.12:5-16;   Ps.131:1-3;   Lk.14:15-24) “Come along, everything is ready now.” Dinner is being served now in the kingdom of God.  But are we prepared to sit down at table?  Or do we turn our hearts to other things? Jesus sets our place now in the kingdom of heaven.  He has come.  He has died.  He has risen and sends now the Holy Spirit to invite us into His presence.  And His presence is ever with us; He is ever knocking at the door of our hearts – His Spirit is always with us.  But, again, do we hear His call, do we heed His call?  Do we care to come into His presence and sup with Him, and receive His gracious gifts at His precious table, at His holy altar… or do we cling to what is evil, what is worldly? How do we come to His kingdom?  How do we find ourselves in His presence?  Paul instructs us: we must simply do His will.  Doing His will upon the face of this earth brings us to the kingdom of heaven.  The teaching should be evident to all Christians: “One who is a teacher should use his gift for teaching…  He who gives alms should do so generously…  Rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer…”  Do all things as is meet for those things.  It is not complex.  There needs no genius to figure it out, or a scholastic degree to understand it.  One need not travel miles to discover it.  It is truth.  It is Jesus.  It is to suffer and die for Him as called by the Lord.  “Your love must be sincere.  Detest what is evil, cling to what is good.”  What more can be said?  Find peace in the arms of the Lord.  Say with our psalmist, “I have still and quieted my soul… like a weaned child upon its mother’s lap.”  We must do as he proclaims: “I busy not myself with great things, nor with things too sublime for me.”  We must not complicate God’s simple love for us and our call simply to love Him with all He gives us.  We must, rather, heed His voice, and come into His presence when He calls. The table is set.  His Word is speaking to us.  In silence we will hear Him; in quiet we will find His voice.  In the vain activity of this world we become deaf.  Only by hearing and doing His Word and will, will we come to sit at His table and partake of His heavenly banquet – only if this is the true desire of o[...]


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November 6 - Monday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Sun, 05 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Rm.11:29-36;   Ps.69:14,30-31,33-34,36-37;   Lk.14:12-14)   “God has imprisoned all in disobedience that He might have mercy on all.”   I begin to see “how deep are the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God.”  For though I am far from knowing “the mind of the Lord,” yet He does offer me a certain insight this early morning about Him whom Paul says, “From Him and through Him and for Him all things are.” It is in the complementarity of the readings the insight comes, particularly viewing the gospel in light of the first reading.  Jesus instructs the chief of the Pharisees that when giving a banquet he should “invite beggars and the crippled, the lame and the blind” and to be “pleased that they cannot repay” him for his generosity, assuring him he “will be repaid in the resurrection of the just.”  Now, the Lord does not instruct us to be anything more or less than He and the Father are.  So this instruction reflects God’s own great desire and joy in giving to those who are not able to repay Him: it serves as a reminder that God is love, that He thrives, as it were, on mercy, on compassion. Paul, in the first reading, states to the Romans, “God wished to show you mercy,” and that for this reason the Jews “have become disobedient,” as well as to fulfill God’s longing that “they too may receive mercy” upon returning to Him who set them apart for Himself.  Again we see the greatness of God’s love, we glimpse His burning desire to show compassion to all creatures.  Now, to the mind lacking wisdom (and love), it might seem as if God is somehow playing with us, causing our falling that He might lift us up again.  But it is necessary to remember that God did not desire us to sin, that this was not His intention… and indeed that He did not need us to sin to show us His mercy and love.  But our disobedience having come, God in His love is not conquered.  This temporary and empty victory by the devil does not tie His hands.  Rather, the Lord takes this opportunity to show in an even greater way the very mercy and love which are His essence – shown to us so clearly in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to forgive men’s sins – to show, really, His greatness, which has its [...]


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November 5 - Sunday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Sat, 04 Nov 2017 04:00:00 +0000

 (Mal.1:14b-2:2b,8-10;   Ps.131:1-3;   1Thes.2:7b-9,13;   Mt.23:1-12)   “Have we not all the one Father? Has not the one God created us?”   And should not those who serve in His stead, bringing the word of God to waiting hearts, be as He is, loving all as He does and thus giving “glory to [His] name”? “I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child.  Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap, so is my soul within me,” King David declares, thus revealing the blessed relationship of the faithful, humble disciple and His Lord.  We are indeed as little children before God, and He loves us as a tender Father, as the One who has made us with great care.  And so we should take our peace upon His lap. And when the sheep of the flock come to the shepherds the Lord has appointed to teach in His Name, they should find a reflection of the Father’s presence – in these one should discover His love.  Yes, they must instruct according to the Word placed upon their souls by their ordination, but they should not merit the words Jesus speaks of the Pharisees: “They preach but they do not practice.”  For if “all their works are performed to be seen,” if they teach and preach without love, without living the word of God themselves, soon the flock will be led astray by their vanity and turn from the word they speak itself.  Malachi prophesies to the priests of his day: “You have turned aside from the way, and have caused many to falter by your instruction.”  If these leaders show no reverence of God themselves, who will be led to reverence by their instruction? Yes, still our duty is to God Himself and our worship is of Him alone – and so Jesus teaches the people, “Do and observe whatsoever [the scribes and Pharisees] tell you, but do not follow their example” – but He also demands of His followers that they not possess the vanity of these proud leaders.  Oh if all approached the service of Paul, how blessed our Church would be!  Listen to his words to the Thessalonians: “Brothers and sisters: we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children,” for he and his fellow workers “were determined to share with [them] not only the Gospel of God, but [their] very[...]


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November 4 - Prayer to St. Charles Borromeo

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 19:00:00 +0000

O defender of the Catholic faith in which all the saints make their home, O great pastor of souls, shepherd of Christ’s flock, who would see all enter fully into the fold only the saints know – pray for the Lord’s Church this day, that it shall never turn away from the Truth which is at its heart, from the Son of God who made it, forming it in His own blood; pray our souls be set on prayer to Him, our minds on meditation on His life, that nothing may distract us from His holy presence within the walls of Mother Church and within our own hearts.


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November 4 - Saturday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.11:1-2,11-12,25-29;   Ps.94:12-15,17-18;   Lk.14:1,7-11)   “The Lord will not cast off His people, nor abandon His inheritance.”   Today the gifts and call of the Israelites, which are “irrevocable,” are spoken of beautifully in our readings. Indeed, the majority of Jews rejected and even persecuted Jesus and His followers.  But as Paul tells us, the Lord has always and will always leave a remnant among them to maintain His covenant with them.  As Paul reminds us, “I myself am an Israelite.”  And of course so were all the apostles.  God has not rejected His people, for “God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.”  The promise He has made to bless the Israelites stands to this day. Paul explains clearly the wisdom of God and how He works through the transgressions of the Jews to bring the Gentiles to salvation.  And how the Gentiles’ conversion and the grace poured upon them shall lead the Israelite people back to the Lord: “Blindness has come upon part of Israel until the full number of Gentiles enter in, and then all Israel will be saved.”  Yes, all Israel will yet be saved; they shall yet come flowing to the mountain of God, to His Son, and find redemption, and find the honor bestowed upon them; and by their turning, how much all His holy people shall be blessed!  “Judgment shall again be with justice, and all the upright of heart shall follow it.”  Alleluia! But there is another lesson for us today, and it, too, has to do with the quality needed by the chosen.  Jesus speaks of it clearly in our gospel, and it illustrates the difficulty the Jews have in coming to the Lord, and warns us against the same mistake.  Jesus comes to dinner “at the house of one of the leading Pharisees” and witnesses the guests scrambling for the best seats at table.  Quietly He speaks to them, gently He reminds them, that they are not called to exaltation of their own position, gifted as it may or may not be, but to humility before all, as He has indeed shown us.  How unlike our Lord, who though in the form of God humbled Himself to become human and even to die on a cross (without uttering a word), are they.  And here is the teachi[...]


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November 3 - Prayer to St. Martin de Porres

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 19:00:00 +0000

O humble and charitable soul whose healing hands served the poor and all those the Lord placed in your care, with great love you looked upon Christ on the Cross and in the Blessed Sacrament, and so sought to love your neighbor even as Jesus Himself – pray we shall somehow learn to put others before ourselves, that in this way, in the way of the Lord, we will truly love and serve God, knowing our sins outweigh those of any other soul, and yet that the mercy of our Savior outweighs any human fault. And so, pray we shall be humble as you, as kind and as caring, that we too will lay down our lives in prayer and in penance, in the blood and tears of Jesus.


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November 3 - Friday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.9:1-5;   Ps.147:12-15,19-20;   Lk.14:1-6) “They could not answer.” The Pharisees are dumb.  The leaders of the Jewish nation cannot speak as to whether a man should be healed on the sabbath.  How far they have fallen from the presence of God. We know the Israelites were God’s chosen people.  This is proclaimed clearly by both Paul and our psalmist today: “Theirs were the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the lawgiving, the worship, and the promises; theirs were the patriarchs, and from them came the Messiah”; yet when the Messiah, the Son, the fulfillment of all the gifts given them, stands before them… they are blind, they are dumb – they have no wisdom, no light.  This is the nation whom the Lord has given “His statutes and His ordinances…  He has not done thus for any other nation.”  And yet they are unable to judge that it is right for a man to be healed at any time, that this is God’s will, that human life supersedes the mere observance of law, a law they have suffocated of its life. And we?  Again, being successors to the Jews we must always ask ourselves if we do the things which caused the promise to be taken from their hands.  Do we proclaim the glory of this Word?  Do we “speak the truth in Christ”?  Or do we keep silent, too?  And not the silence that bears all suffering as has our Savior upon the cross do I speak – I mean the death of the Word in our souls.  The inability to discern His will.  The fear to praise God by teaching the nations of the grace which has been granted us.  “He sends forth His command to the earth; swiftly runs His Word!”  But does that Word come through us, does it work through us who are the keepers of the New Covenant, or do we let it die in our throats? “Blessed forever be God who is over all!” Paul shouts as despair he begins to detect for the failure of so many Jews to turn to Christ.  And so we should ever praise our God whenever doubt or fear enters our soul.  It is our only refuge.  It is our only strength.  Silence before the courts of this world which observe us closely will not do.  Acceptance of our de[...]


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November 2 - All Souls

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 07:00:00 +0000

(Wis.3:1-9;   Ps.23:1-6;   1Cor.15:51-57;   Jn.6:37-40 Note: there are any number of readings possible for this day)   “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.”   Is this not what it means to be a Christian?  To have faith in the resurrection from the dead.  To believe that after our time of trial there shall be peace, that we shall be refined by the hand of God to stand in His presence, to share in His kingship.  “Grace and mercy are with His holy ones, and His care is with His elect.”  This is our faith. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  And so we have no fear.  The Lord watches over us and guides our path, and in His blessing we take refuge, knowing we shall come to be with Him, knowing He is with us even this day, knowing even death we shall conquer in His Name.  “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.”  Nothing shall remove us from His presence.  “We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed.”  Indeed, though all die, all shall come to life.  None can remain as they are; all must be changed.  All that is mortal must take on immortality, and in this immortality, in this incorruptibility we gain, death is swallowed up – it is no more.  “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  It is an eternal victory. “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me.”  It cannot be that the Father’s will not be done.  Jesus awaits us with open arms.  He has gone before us, He has prepared a place for us, and we must but come to Him as drawn by the will of the Father.  “Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I shall raise Him up on the last day.”  Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ! Death is not our realm, brothers and sisters.  Though it comes to us all, it is but a passageway into Heaven, it is but the Lord’s means of preparing us for the kingdom.  And so, whether we experience it today or tomorrow or yesterday is of no consequence.  It is there.  It shall come to us all.  But all [...]


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November 1 - Prayer to All Saints

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 13:00:00 +0000

O God’s holy ones, His apostles and martyrs, His virgins and confessors, all who have borne witness to Him with your lives, who have washed your robes in His blood, whose hands are clean in His sight and so are clothed in white, all you who have suffered under the Cross in the flesh in this world and so now stand in His light in the Spirit before His throne in Heaven… O all holy ones of the Lord from every age, from every time and place; from every nation you come, speaking in every tongue of His undying love – please, pray for us, His pilgrim children!


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November 1 - All Saints

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 07:00:00 +0000

(Rv.7:2-4,9-14;   Ps.24:1-6;   1Jn.3:1-3;   Mt.5:1-12)   “Everyone who has this hope based on Him makes himself pure, as He is pure.”   All our readings speak of this purity this holy day.  In the first reading we hear of the saints who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  Our psalm tells us it is “one whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,” who stands in God’s presence.  The above quote is from our second reading, and Jesus tells us in our gospel, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.”  Indeed, this purity of heart is the essential characteristic possessed by all the saints in heaven; and so we must strive to achieve it. I note a striking parallel particularly between our first reading from Revelation and David’s psalm: the reading begins with the image of the four angels (at the four corners of the universe) being prevented from their call “to damage the land and the sea” until the seal of God is placed upon the foreheads of the “one hundred and forty-four thousand [symbolizing absolute fullness in number] marked from every tribe of Israel”; and our psalm begins by proclaiming, “The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it.”  The reading continues with John’s “vision of a great multitude” who “stood before the throne and the Lamb” in their white robes; while, as it continues, our psalm tells us that only the pure of heart “can ascend the mountain of the Lord” or “stand in His holy place.”  Then the reading from Revelation cries out, “Salvation comes from our God” and exclaims of the blessings upon the Lord and so His faithful; and David’s psalm concludes that it is he who seeks Him who “shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior.” What does all this tell us but what John states quite simply in his letter, our second reading: “Beloved, we are God’s children now,” and that when “what we shall be… is revealed we shall be like Him, f[...]


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October 31 - Tuesday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.8:18-25;   Ps.126:1-6;   Lk.13:18-21)   “Hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance.”   We cannot see the coming of the kingdom of heaven.  It comes so gradually; it rises imperceptibly, “like yeast which a woman took to knead into three measures of flour.”  It grows like the tiny mustard seed, which “became a large shrub and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”  A most fruitful reign is the reign of God, and well worth the wait.  As Paul says, “I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us.”  But wait we must.  In hope we take our refuge.  And as we hope, indeed we suffer, for “we ourselves, although we have the Spirit as first fruits, groan inwardly while we await the redemption of our bodies.”  With the rest of creation we groan “in agony” for the futility to which the physical universe has been subject.  Yet hope have we, and it is this which gives us a sense of joy even as we wait so patiently. “Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”  Our psalm gives us a picture of the joy that awaits us in the redemption of the just in the kingdom of God as it describes the happiness of the exiles’ return from Babylon: “We were like men dreaming.  Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing.”  The knowledge of the Lord’s hand at work in the lives of these Israelites can only increase our hope, can only stir our faith that we too shall sing, “The Lord has done great things for us,” that we too shall “come back rejoicing” after this time of trial which is our stay here on this earth.  And the fact that we have the Spirit now as the first payment against the day of judgment and against the power of Satan in this dark world causes a sense of joy already in our bones, gives us even now a foretaste of the kingdom to come, and which comes to us indeed each day in every breath we breathe in His presence, and particularly in the food[...]


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October 30 - Monday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Sun, 29 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.8:12-17;   Ps.68:2,4,6-7,20-21;   Lk.13:10-17)   “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”   It is the Spirit of God that led the poor stooped woman in our gospel today to the synagogue to see and hear the teaching of Jesus the Lord, and to find a healing for her infirmity.  “This daughter of Abraham… in the bondage of Satan for eighteen years” was by the Lord “released from her shackles” and became a daughter also of the Most High God.  She is a sign of us all.  For all, whether sons of Abraham by the flesh or not, are called into the presence of God to find healing for the sin and sadness and oppression of the devil which trouble us.  On our own we cannot stand straight in the sight of God, but by the touch of Jesus we find our dignity and become sons of God with Him. God is “the father of orphans and the defender of widows”; He “gives a home to the forsaken.”  And so we who were once under the “spirit of slavery” to sin may now find “a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, ‘Abba!’ (that is, ‘Father’).”  Once having no father to watch over us, now “the Spirit Himself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”  A greater blessing one could not find than to be a son or daughter of the Most High God.  For “God is a saving God for us.”  Not only does He love us, but He shows that love even by dying for us, that we might live. And it is so that “if we are children, we are heirs as well: heirs of God, heirs with Christ.”  And though it is by the death of Jesus that we are made heirs of the Father’s glory, we only come into full possession of the riches of our glorious Lord by our own death, for we must “suffer with Him so as to be glorified with Him.”  It is this death of ours, a death to self, to flesh, to sin and the world, that brings us the life of Him “who controls the passageways of death” and so is able to free us from all death. Day by day the Lord “bears [...]


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October 29 - Sunday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Sat, 28 Oct 2017 04:00:00 +0000

 (Ex.22:20-26;   Ps.18:2-4,47,51;   1Thes.1:5-10;   Mt.22:34-40)   “If ever you wrong them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.”   In this simple statement by the Lord is revealed the essential nature of our God in His relation with His people.  It demonstrates certainly what He says of Himself, “I am compassionate,” for what is He telling us but that He has an ardent care for the poorest among us and the injustice they suffer?  But it also demonstrates the justice of God itself, for what does He mean when He says He will “hear their cry” but that He will punish the wicked for their heartless crimes?  He states clearly, if any should “wrong any widow or orphan… [His] wrath will flare up, and [He] will kill [him] with the sword.” Now in the Church today we find an arbitrary and utterly deceptive and false separation of members into “liberal” or “conservative” camps, as if the Lord and His Church could be limited by either assignation.  The liberal hears “love God and neighbor” and ignorantly excuses himself from keeping the law; and the conservative grasps the law so tightly he squeezes the very life, the very love, out of it.  The Lord is neither liberal nor conservative, but may be said to be both – and that to the extreme in both cases.  First of all, He has come to liberate us from our sin, to free us from the sentence of death all justly deserved as much as the adulteress or the thief on the cross He forgave.  No one could be more liberal in His free giving of Himself and His love.  What compares to the shedding of His blood, and the free gifts we gain thereby?  Yet it must not be forgotten that the Lord Jesus is absolutely conservative in His teachings and in His ways; at all costs He preserves the truth.  For though He says that “the whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” of love of God and neighbor, He does not thereby do away with the whole law.  Indee[...]


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October 28 - Prayer to Sts. Simon and Jude

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 13:00:00 +0000

O zealous and loving apostles, to the ends of the earth you brought the Word of the Lord; calling sinners to repentance, seeking healing for all souls, you carried the light of Christ to all the world – pray we shall match your zeal for the Gospel; pray we serve to impart the mercy of God unto life everlasting for all children of the Lord. May the power and glory upon you in the name of Jesus Christ build up His Temple in forgiveness and love this day that soon all will be one with Him and with you in Heaven.


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October 28 - Sts. Simon and Jude

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 07:00:00 +0000

(Eph.2:19-22;   Ps.19:2-5;   Lk.6:12-16)   “You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”   And whom is this building founded upon but our Lord Jesus Christ; He is the cornerstone by which the apostles and prophets are set in place, and we are built upon this firm foundation, all integrated as one “holy temple in the Lord.”  This Church is “the dwelling place for God in the Spirit.”  Alleluia! Oh that blessed night Jesus spent “in communion with God”!  Praise God for the mountain on which He prayed!  For that night, in that place, in these prayers was conceived the foundation stones of His holy temple: in the Spirit that night the essential structure of the Church was given birth in the names of these poor apostles, these simple human beings. And at daybreak He called them forth by name.  Upon them His favor rested.  And though one “turned traitor” and had to be replaced, yet here are the pillars on which the Church rests.  And to this day their descendants, their blessed successors remain with us, holding up the Church despite their frailties – yes, the power of the Spirit continues to go forth from their call.  “Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge.”  Nothing can stem the passage of this Word to the ends of the earth, for it is founded in the silent communion with God. Who can touch this silence?  Who can tear down this oneness in the presence of God?  No one can hold the wind in his hands and no one can restrain the power of the Spirit.  It indeed goes forth.  Yes, “the whole structure” continues to be “fitted together” in the Lord’s Name, and no persecution can stop its growth, can prevent its inevitable coming to fullness in the eternity of heaven.  And so, let us thank God for His blessed apostles and prophets and martyrs today.  Let us pray we shall be found worthy to be one [...]


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October 27 - Friday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.7:18-25;   Ps.119:66,68,76-77,93,94;   Lk.12:54-59)   “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is just?”   Do we not have the law of God at work in us now?  Must we yet subject ourselves to the judge of this earth, who cannot but condemn us for our sin?  If we cried out with our psalmist for the Lord to teach us His “commands,” His “statutes,” His “law,” and His “precepts,” His “promise” of “compassion” would be with us, His Spirit would come to us and instruct us on all matters.  No longer “the prisoner of the law of sin in [our] members,” we would be freed “from this body under the power of death.”  Not only would our “inner self agree with the law of God,” but our actions would reflect, by the grace of Him who is at work within us, that law now written on our hearts.  The “wisdom and knowledge” the Lord thereby imparts would be sufficient for the resolution of any problem in our lives, for there is nothing beyond the scope of the Spirit. Both Paul and Jesus Himself encourage us to find the Spirit of Christ at work in our hearts.  We as a community of believers would have no need to turn to the works of the world to resolve our problems if we followed well the teaching of the Lord and His Church.  Should not the Church be our government?  Should not the teaching of God, which transcends all earthly wisdom, be sufficient for our discerning right and wrong in any situation?  Or is sin still at work in our members?  Are we yet subject to this law and the condemnation and death it brings?  Has the devil yet a hold upon us; does he yet cast us into darkness?  Are we therefore too blind to see right from wrong? Brothers and sisters, we must cast from our souls all vestige of sin; it cannot hold power over us any longer.  We must find the light of Christ in our eyes and so be made able to judge all things in Hi[...]


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October 26 - Thursday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.6:19-23;   Ps.1:1-4,6,40:5;   Lk.12:49-53)   “The Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.”   The division is clear.  The Lord Himself has stated, “I have come for division.”  Far from establishing “peace on the earth,” His message makes clear the distinction between the evil and the good, the wicked and the just, drawn so well in our psalm today.  He has “come to light a fire on the earth.”  It shall purify the just for the kingdom of God even as it burns up all the wicked. Paul also makes clear the division between the evil and the good, between that which is of God and that which is of sin.  “Formerly you enslaved your bodies to impurity and licentiousness for their degradation…  But now that you are freed from sin and have become slaves of God, your benefit is sanctification as you tend toward eternal life.”  The distinction is certain: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Indeed, the just “is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade,” but the wicked “are like chaff which the wind drives away.”  This division is what the Lord’s light and fire reveal; and this revelation is eternal. It is painful, brothers and sisters.  It is painful to undergo our own transformation to justice and light from the depths of depravity into which we have fallen, and will be painful to witness others destroyed by the hardness of their hearts.  The Lord Himself expresses this pain when He says, “What anguish I feel till it is over!”  He takes no pleasure in bringing the agony of division, which begins with His own agony in the garden and ends with His crucifixion.  He suffers most to witness the sins of the masses so acutely.  They wag their heads at [...]


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October 25 - Wednesday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.6:12-18;   Ps.124:1-8;   Lk.12:39-48)   “Offer yourselves to God as men who have come back from the dead to life.”   If we have come back from the dead to life, should we then offer ourselves up to death again?  As Paul questions, “Are we free to sin?”  How absurd a thought!  If we are sinners, let us give ourselves freely to sin, and find the condemnation which comes from this.  But if we are men of justice, let us give ourselves to “obedience” of the teaching imparted to us, and find life firmly in our souls. Jesus states quite clearly, “When much has been given a man, much will be required of him.”  Brothers and sisters, much has been given us simply by our release from the sin which once enslaved us.  Indeed, “we were rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare,” as David’s psalm proclaims.  The “raging waters” that “would have overwhelmed us,” the “torrent [that] would have swept over us,” has been calmed…  For this alone we have much to be thankful; simply by this grace much has been entrusted to us.  And what follows only adds to this initial blessing; for each day our souls are required of us, each day He puts in our hands and calls us to the work set aside for our souls to complete.  Each day the gift of grace is increased within us.  So should we then begin “to abuse the housemen and servant girls, to eat and drink and get drunk”?  Should we then return to the slavery of sin which blinds our eyes to His eternal presence?  Certainly not.  Rather, we should “be on guard” at all times, vigilantly prepared for our master’s return, employing the gifts He imparts to us each passing day. We are no longer dead, brothers and sisters.  We have the grace of our God at work within us, lighting our eyes and filling our souls with His holy food.  We[...]


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October 24 - Prayer to St. Anthony Mary Claret

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 19:00:00 +0000

O zealous apostle who traveled throughout the earth driven by the fire of the Holy Spirit, you labored strenuously, rejoicing in poverty and welcoming hardships as you gave your very life for the flock in your care – pray the love of Christ will urge us on to holy zeal that we might approach your apostolic spirit, desiring to inflame all men with the fire of God’s love. Concerned always and only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, may we fulfill our call; as sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with her same purity and commitment, pray we give birth to Christ in souls by the preaching of the Gospel until all are formed in His image in the heavenly kingdom.


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October 24 - Tuesday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.5:12,15,17-21;   Ps.40:7-10,17;   Lk.12:35-38)  “To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!” “May those who love your salvation say ever, ‘The Lord be glorified.’”  May we who love the Lord “exult and be glad” in Him.  May we who take refuge in His grace sing aloud His praise.  What greater gift could we have than Jesus Christ, whose “single righteous act brought all men acquittal and life.  For truly we were dead in our sin,” truly the offense of Adam had infected our souls, truly through this “one man’s disobedience all became sinners” – but more truly “through one man’s obedience all shall become just,” for “His grace has far surpassed” the increase of sin.  And so, what should we do but rejoice with David at the truth of Paul’s instruction. And what should we do but be ready, truly ready, really waiting, patiently, for the return of our Lord.  “Be like men awaiting their master’s return from a wedding.”  Set your hearts on His coming again, “so that when He knocks, you will open without delay.”  This is yet the greater blessing for us servants, that even in these dark days upon this earth, we stand ready for His return.  Here is His grace at work within us, that our hearts are set on Him, that His presence, the coming of His kingdom, we know even now in anticipation of its arrival.  No greater blessing could we hope for than to be “those servants whom the master finds wide-awake on His return.”  By this we know we have conquered sin; by this we see that we have overcome the darkness which surrounds us – if whether “at midnight or before sunrise” we are found prepared, if even in the darkest times we hold His light, if our eyes are like “lamps… burning [...]


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October 23 - Prayer to St. John of Capistrano

Sun, 22 Oct 2017 19:00:00 +0000

O tireless preacher of God’s Word, how well, how completely, you called all men, and especially the priests of the Lord, to a life of holiness, to shine the light of Christ; with patience and sound doctrine and the example of a blameless life you sought to save souls throughout the world and bring them into the fold of Holy MotherChurch – pray this day apostles go forth in the brightness of holiness as light to the world, drawing all men to God. In such wisdom let truth be known, the truth of our Savior Jesus Christ, that every heart might call Him Lord and proclaim the Church as His own. Pray not a day pass, not an hour upon this plane, wherein His Word is not heard.


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October 23 - Monday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Sun, 22 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.4:20-25;   Lk.1:68-75;   Lk.12:13-21)   “We should serve Him devoutly and through all our days be holy in His sight.”   For “this very night your life shall be required of you.”  Always and forever our faith is required of us, if we are to draw breath.  Always and forever the Lord asks us what fruit we have produced.  Always and forever we must be careful not to toil in vain, but to live according to His Word, believing in His promise.  Else our lives will indeed be empty vessels. Holiness befits His house.  Adherence to His covenant is our call.  Faith in the One who is “saving strength for us” is our necessity.  We must indeed be as our father Abraham, who was “fully persuaded that God could do whatever He had promised,” whose “faith was credited to him as justice.”  And if we have the same faith as Abraham, we will find the same justice, the same reward as he.  “For our faith will be credited to us also if we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”  Jesus “was handed over to death for our sins and raised up for our justification” and only faith in Him as the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham will give us life. Why do we turn to the things of this world and in them seek our fulfillment, and in them seek our rest, when they are so vain and when all the while Jesus calls to our souls to come to Him?  Why is it we think that in the goods of this world we can find refuge, we can find strength?  Why are we so blinded to believe that in them we can find our peace?  “Relax!  Eat heartily, drink well.  Enjoy yourself.”  Here is the fruitless mantra of this materialistic world.  Here is the epitome of our blindness to His will.  Here is t[...]


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October 22 - Sunday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Sat, 21 Oct 2017 04:00:00 +0000

 (Is.45:1,4-6;   Ps.96:1,3-5,7-10;   1Thes.1:1-5b;   Mt.22:15-21)   “I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me.”   Oh brothers and sisters, how clear our Scripture today makes it that “great is the Lord and highly to be praised; awesome is He beyond all gods.”  Indeed there is no other God.  It is He who grasped the “right hand” of even the pagan king, Cyrus, “subduing nations before him, and making kings run in his service.”  The heart of this king and all kings and all lands are in His hands – He alone rules all nations!  Do you see this?  Do you understand that if He calls this foreigner by “name, giving [him] a title,” that there is none that is beyond His reach, that is not under His eye?  By the Lord’s power this pagan has conquered the nations of the world.  And why?  Why does He arm him who knows Him not?  “So that toward the rising and the setting of the sun people may know that there is none beside [Him].” Our psalmist sings so well of the singular power of the Lord God: “All the gods of the nations are things of naught, but the Lord made the heavens.”  Again I ask, do you see this?  All nations recognize Him who made the heavens and the earth; even these “tremble before Him.”  And so all are called to “tell His glory among the nations, among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  For all must be encouraged to “give the Lord the glory due His name”; all must be offered the honor of knowing the greatness of our God. One of these nations who have come to knowledge of the one God we hear of in our second reading.  Paul calls the Thessalonians “brothers and sisters loved by God” for their “[...]


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October 21 - Saturday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.4:13,16-18;   Ps.105:6-9,42-43;   Lk.12:8-12)   “All depends on faith, everything is a grace.”   Faith is our father; it brings us to life for it makes us children of “the God who restores the dead to life and calls into being those things which had not been.”  By faith we entrust ourselves into God’s hands and become as Abraham, who is “our father in the sight of God in whom he believed.”  “Hoping against hope, Abraham believed and so became the father of many nations,” and insofar as we believe, we become his children before God.  Indeed, it is through faith alone that we are born into His kingdom. And having faith, we must acknowledge its presence in our lives by witnessing to the Son of God.  If we are His disciples, as we must be, we will not hide His grace working in us but allow it to bear fruit in the profession of that faith before the world.  And so, as we “come before synagogues, rulers, and authorities,” as we stand before the face of this generation, as we do anything in this world, we must “not worry about how to defend [ourselves] or what to say.”  Jesus tells us, “The Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment all that should be said.”  And so by this trusting in Him we prove ourselves children of faith. This is the manner in which I produce this writing.  Trusting in Him as entirely as my faith allows, I am not concerned beforehand what I shall speak, what I shall write upon this page.  In the measure that I am a child of grace, I prove it by my allowing Him to speak through me at this moment and in His way.  This is what we must strive to do with all our work, in all our lives.  All our lives[...]


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October 20 - Prayer to St. Paul of the Cross

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:00:00 +0000

O true lover of the Crucified, always you celebrated the feast of the Cross in the temple of your soul, uniting yourself with the will of God by taking upon yourself the torments of the Lord in a silent joy and so finding the food of sacrificial love which sustains us in this world – pray we shall be as Christ, that we shall walk the path He marks out for us, and so in embracing the Cross find true joy in the grief we suffer, in the blessing of oneness with our crucified Lord and so with His Father in Heaven. You who have been transformed into your Beloved, pray we shall join you through the Passion of Christ.


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October 20 - Friday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.4:1-8;   Ps.32:1-2,5,7,11;   Lk.12:1-7)   “Happy is the man to whom the Lord imputes not guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile.”   All our sins shall be taken away by the Lord who watches over us and loves us, if we but believe. We must lay bare our souls, brothers and sisters.  We cannot hide from the eternal, piercing light of God.  His hand is upon us at all times; His heart is open always for our entering in.  It cannot be otherwise with the Lord of the universe, in whose sight “even the hairs of [our] head are counted.”  And He who surrounds us desires but our love, desires but our faith, desires but that we come into His presence confessing our sins, and He will take them away.  And we shall not be “cast into Gehenna” but drawn into His kingdom. His kingdom is coming.  Jesus sees it as He gazes out at the dense “crowd of thousands” gathering before Him.  He sees the kingdom coming as men’s hearts turn to Him.  And so He warns His disciples, who shall be the laborers to reap His harvest, “Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy,” for if they should take pride in their mission, if they should find in their deeds “grounds for boasting” and so forget the favor of God by which all are justified, they shall indeed tempt the fires of Gehenna.  “Everything you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight,” for the Lord hears “what you have whispered in locked rooms.”  So, keep your hearts set on Him and His goodness, and the truth of the Gospel will be proclaimed to the world, and you shall save your immortal soul. [...]


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October 19 - Prayer to Sts. Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, and Companions

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 19:00:00 +0000

O heroic witnesses to the faith, O loyal followers of Jesus who took up the cup of torture and death willingly, with desire only to join your Lord, with delight and joy at the deadly blows… your offering of body and blood is unsurpassed because it was one with Christ’s own, done with love for those who killed you – pray we shall so completely embrace our call, embrace the cross provided us by the Lord, that with your same thirst for truth we shall lay down our lives for our brothers.


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October 19 - Thursday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.3:21-30;   Ps.130:1-7;   Lk.11:47-54)   “This generation will have to account for the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world.”   And so shall it be with Christ’s own blood, the fulfillment of all the martyrs’ sacrifice; for these same scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus proclaims guilty of the prophets’ murders will indeed devise the murder of the Son of God.  And they prove the truth of His words immediately by their manifestation of “fierce hostility to Him” and their thus giving birth to the plot to crucify Him. Perhaps most appropriate for today, with regard to Paul’s epistle to the Romans, is the Lord’s admonishment of the lawyers: “You have taken away the key of knowledge.  You yourselves have not gained access, yet you have stopped those who wish to enter!”  It is essentially the same message the Apostle teaches: “The justice of God has been manifested apart from the law… that justice of God which works through faith in Jesus Christ.”  It is not through “observance of the law” that justification comes; the works of the law – circumcision, animal sacrifice, dietary rules – which address the body, are useless in this regard.  God is Spirit and it is spiritual means He uses to redeem us – we must come in faith to Him.  And those who would restrict faith by the imposition of these laws serve only to impede the working of the Spirit and His grace.  Paul states the question succinctly: “Does God belong to the Jews alone?  Is He not also the God of the Gentiles?”  If H[...]


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October 18 - Prayer to St. Luke

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:00:00 +0000

O bringer of the Good News, the light of the Gospel, to many nations… a thorough account you have given us of all Jesus did and taught and of the Holy Spirit’s work among His disciples; and so the Lord’s peace may enter our homes, and we embrace Him with Mary – pray, dear physician, that the Word of the Lord may indeed come to our hearts through the words you declare, and we be healed by His grace and illumined by His Spirit; the glory of the kingdom pray we know. Though He has been taken from our sight, let us proclaim His presence with great joy, for He yet speaks to all our souls in the words you have recorded, in the fire of God that guided your hand.


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October 18 - St. Luke

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:00:00 +0000

(2Tm.4:9-17;   Ps.145:10-13,17-18;   Lk.10:1-9)   “The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that through me the preaching task might be completed and all the nations might hear the Gospel.”   As I read of Jesus’ instruction to the disciples as He “sent them in pairs before Him to every town and place He intended to visit,” and particularly His words to them to “eat what they set before you,” I am reminded of the command given Peter in his dream to “take and eat” of the unclean animals (Acts 10:13), this just before the first Gentile converts came to him seeking the Word of God.  And, of course, similar terminology is present in Jesus’ sending his workers as if into a harvest: in this case, the Lord shall eat of the feast the disciples are sent forth to prepare. We know our work is our food, that the labor the Lord imparts to us serves as our daily bread.  And we know that the wheat that becomes His precious Body and the Word that is cultivated by His apostles, by His preachers and prophets, is the food that sustains us, that strengthens us for our daily tasks.  All we do must be blessed by Him and be, as it were, a “discourse of the glory of [His] kingdom,” and His kingdom, which is “a kingdom for all ages,” and His dominion, which “endures through all generations,” shall become known in our midst. It is not easy to eat of this food, to drink of this cup.  We see how alone Paul finds himself in our first reading.  “Everyone abandoned me,” he de[...]


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October 17 - Prayer to St. Ignatius of Antioch

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:00:00 +0000

O wheat of Christ ground by the teeth of wild beasts and so made His bread, His leaven unto Heaven… by such heroic witness you became one with the Lord, joining Him in death and so in eternal life – pray we shall find the strength and faith to follow in your sacrificial footsteps, that it will also be our sole desire to die in Jesus’ name, to be remade in His glory. Teach us the way, for it seems so dimmed by the material things the devil presents to our vision; pray for us, blessed victim, that our thirst for life in Him will overcome any obstacle and so our journey to His kingdom be made straight by His grace. His flesh and blood be our own this day.


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October 17 - Tuesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.1:16-25;   Ps.19:2-5;   Lk.11:37-41)   “They stultified themselves through speculating to no purpose, and their senseless hearts were darkened.”   If these words do not refer to modern man most poignantly, then I imagine nothing can be said of anything.  In ancient times, “they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images representing mortal man, birds, beasts, and snakes” and bowed down to statues as if they were gods.  The images man worships today are also the creations of his own hands, sometimes as physical as the idols worshiped before the time of Christ – who does not long to see his own image on one of our television sets, and who is held in greater esteem than those movie stars whom we have never met but know only of their image on a screen? – but perhaps most particularly they are the vain ideas, which reveal their utter absurdity to any mind with a modicum of common sense, but which are propounded as sacred by the elite thinkers of our day.  Their numbers seem endless, and one wonders if man will rationalize himself out of existence, as perhaps he already has philosophically in the declaration that God is dead, and so often done in reality through movements such as Communism and Nazism. Indeed, how relevant are all Paul’s words today: “They certainly had knowledge of God, yet they did not glorify Him as God or give Him thanks”; “they claimed to be wise, but turned into fools instead”; “they [...]


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October 16 - Prayer to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 19:05:00 +0000

O apostle of Christ’s Sacred Heart, in mystic wonder you beheld Him and let Him wash you clean in the streams that flow from His Heart divine – pray indeed we shall unite ourselves to Jesus and His love, that we shall submerge our needs and sorrows in the abyss of His mercy and seek perfection in union with His Sacred Heart. There let us find salvation, reparation for all our sins; there let us find heavenly joy, the peace that surpasses understanding. With you let us enter His presence, let us be bathed in His light, ever progressing toward His kingdom till we are devoted entirely to advancing His eternal glory. Pray His will and His way be known in us as we entrust ourselves to His love.


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October 16 - Prayer to St. Hedwig

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 19:00:00 +0000

O mother of the unfortunate and model of prayer and penance, completely you gave yourself to service of the Lord and neighbor, chastising your flesh by constant fast and abstinence and generously offering your goods and your time to all those in need – pray we shall at least desire to imitate your thorough devotion, that our lives will be spent not on things of this world but for the reign of Heaven. All we can do for others let us do, and let all be done for God, that He alone will rule our hearts and lives and we will worship Him alone, dying to ourselves all the while.


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October 16 - Monday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

(Rm.1:1-7;   Ps.98:1-4;   Lk.11:29-32)   “You have a greater than Jonah here.”   Greater than any prophet is He.  Wiser than Solomon is the Lord who is the source of all wisdom.  For it is He of whom the prophets speak; it is His promised coming “the Holy Scriptures record.”  The fulfillment of prophets and kings is in our midst.  Our high priest is with us offering the sacrifice of Himself.  Let us thirst for Him as the Ninevites did for Jonah’s preaching and seek Him as the queen of the South for Solomon’s wisdom.  Let us listen to His servant and apostle Paul as he proclaims the Gospel of God and come to “obedient faith” with all the Gentiles “who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.”  Salvation is upon us as it is all nations. If Jonah’s preaching was great, the Lord’s is the greater.  If he converted thousands, Jesus turns millions to the love of God.  If Solomon was wise, our Lord is so much the wiser.  For though this great king spoke well of all things of the earth by the grace of God, the Christ comes now with the wisdom of the richness of heaven.  And so now we are all “called to holiness, grace and peace.”  It is these gifts which are imparted to us “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  And by these blessings we become His children, greater indeed than any prophet or king of old. Yes,[...]


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