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Published: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Last Build Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:11:48 +0000

Copyright: James Kurt
 



January 24 - Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.10:1-10;   Ps.40:2,4,7-11;   Mk.3:31-35) “I have come to do your will, O God.” But what is this will of God?  How do we know it?  How shall we live it?  The will of God is known through the obedience of the Son, in His sacrifice for our sins; and all who seek to do the will of God must follow in His way, offering themselves freely, innocently, to the Lord for the sake of the Body of Christ. “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Jesus asks the crowd.  Who enter into His fold, becoming children of God the Father?  “Whoever does the will of God.”  Whoever does the will of God is the only answer He could make.  Whoever is as His mother and says, “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word”; whoever is as His brother apostles and suffers martyrdom for the faith, unafraid to speak out in His name; whoever is like the simple sheep surrounding Him in the gospel today, listening so obediently to the heavenly words He utters… these are “brother and sister and mother” to Him.  Oh what a glorious family to be among! Brothers and sisters, we no longer have “only a shadow of the good things to come” but rather a “real image of them” in the flesh and blood of the only Son.  The salvation of our God is abstract and fleeting no more, for the Lord has come in a body to make ever so real for us the glory of God.  Our hearts should leap up at His presence; our ears should be “open to obedience” to hear and heed His voice.  Our mouths agape, we should wonder at His presence among us and desire only to become one with Him who holds our very lives in His sacred heart, in the Spirit upon the flesh He is. Oh have we not “waited, waited for the Lord”?  And how should we not act now that He has “stooped toward” us, now that He has humbled Himself to become man?  A spirit of exultation should fill us, for by His presence with us He “put[s] a new song into [our] mouth, a hymn to our God.”  Our hearts are set on fire with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and we can no longer “restrain [our] lips,” but must declare even with our precious Lord: “I have come to do your will,” to join in your blessed sacrifice – to know the glory of kinship with you, my God, by whom we are all called. O Lord, “I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth in the vast assembly.”  I declare it on these pages.  Please gather me this day into your holy family. ******* O LORD, help us to join your Son in doing your will by laying down our lives in this world. YHWH, let us do your will.  This alone we ask of you.  Let us do your will that we might join with your Son, our Brother, and be sanctified by the offering of His body for our sakes.  Let us join with Him in seeking to do your will, in offering our bodies as sacrifice, in declaring your goodness to all souls. Put a new song into our mouths, LORD, one that proclaims your glory.  Let us be filled to overflowing with your presence in our souls that we cannot but speak of your kindness and your truth, your faithfulness and your salvation.  Here am I; I come to do your will.  Let this be our song.  Let us be cleansed of sin by the sacrifice of Jesus – let our body be as His own. O that we might be your holy family, LORD, that we might be as Mary and the apostles, giving our complete “yes” to your call.  May your Son open His arms to gather us into your presence.


Media Files:
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January 23 - Monday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.9:15,24-28;   Ps.98:1-6;   Mk.3:22-30)   “His death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions.”   By his death Jesus has disarmed the devil; the Lord has destroyed Satan’s power by His holy sacrifice.  Because of Jesus’ innocent blood, “Satan has suffered mutiny in his ranks and is torn by dissension,” for none of his adversarial accusations can stand before such pure love.  “He cannot endure, he is finished”… and with him, sin also dies, for there is no longer anyone to accuse us of our sin.  It is as if Jesus says, “Kill me if you will,” and once having done so, Satan has nothing left in his arsenal.  Once taking all our sins out of his bag and piercing the Savior through with their cumulative strength, what more power has he to effect death?  Death has its day, and life – the life that is the love of the Son – has triumphed over it: our sins’ effects have come full force against our Lord and Maker, and “His right hand has won victory” over them. And so this great promise the Lord can make, this astounding statement He brings to our ears: “I give you my word, every sin will be forgiven mankind and all the blasphemies men utter.”  Though the sin against the Spirit will not be forgiven – for how can he who calls salvation condemnation find the grace of God; how can lies find discourse with Truth? – yet all the sins man has committed in his ignorance and lust will be washed clean in Jesus’ blood when any soul comes humbly to Him.  And in consequence of this blessed mercy, “those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance,” for our Savior has “entered heaven itself that He might appear before God now on our behalf.”  Yes, He serves as mediator now, interceding before the Father against our transgressions, that He might prepare for us a path to His kingdom.  His cross and His sacrifice stand as our ladder unto heaven. “The Lord has made His salvation known” by the offering of His Son, and to “all the ends of the earth” “His holy arm” is revealed.  He has appeared once in weakness to take away our sins, but “He will appear a second time not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him.”  And so, as we are washed clean of sin in His blood, we must stand ready for His final coming, for our promised reward, “sing[ing] praise to the Lord.” ******* O LORD, cast all the demons far from us that we might worship you in faith and truth and come to your kingdom. YHWH, we should be offering you and your Son songs of praise, not blaspheming against your goodness toward us.  For He has come to deliver us from sin, to cast Satan from our midst that we might enter your kingdom and glorify your NAME – let us not doubt or deny the grace you send us; let us not court condemnation with a hardened heart. There is a pride from which we suffer, LORD, a pride and a fear.  We are unable to humble ourselves before your majesty or receive the love you bring.  Our hands are grasping and our hearts impure, and so we do not see how much we need the salvation wrought by your Son.  Help us to turn from our sin, to seek the blood of Jesus upon our souls, that we might become pure and innocent as children before you, living only in the truth, and so, joyfully singing your praise.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-012411-M_3_OT_I.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 22 - Prayer to St. Vincent

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O martyr of the Lord extraordinaire who suffered unspeakable torture but was not bowed by such savagery, who spoke of great faith, singing of God’s glory even as your limbs were crushed, even as all the brutality the world could inflict sought to break your spirit – help us to conquer the world as you have done, as the Lord has done in you, not to be afraid but rather to serve our Savior and His Cross in joy as His blessed disciples; pray we, too, shall enter the heavenly gates open to those in whom the Spirit speaks even unto death.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Jan._22_Vincent.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 22 - Sunday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 05:00:00 +0000

 (Is.8:23-9:3;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   1Cor.1:10-13,17;   Mt.4:12-23)   “Light has arisen.”   “Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.”  Yes, “a light has shone”; Jesus has come.  No longer do we walk in darkness.  So we should proclaim with David: “The Lord is my light and my salvation”; we should long to dwell in the Temple He has built, “gaz[ing] on the loveliness of the Lord.”  Here in His House we “see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living.”  Here in His Church we come to the paradise He has come to establish in this land of darkness. The light dawns as Jesus calls His disciples to His side.  Here are the beginnings of His Church, the coming of light to this earth.  The Lord calls Peter and Andrew, and James and John, and they respond, and they follow the light.  And the light goes forth as He goes “around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.”  Do you see how the light grows?  Do you know the light reflected in the disciples’ eyes, which shall take root and become known to all the world?  Here indeed is the Church begun, the holy House of God – the New Jerusalem.  And nothing shall disturb its growth; nothing shall dim or block the light that has come. Yet what division is upon the Church Christ has founded here on the shores of Galilee.  How has it come to be that we are so disobedient to Paul’s instruction “that there be no divisions among [us], but that [we] be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.”  How many more rivalries have we than the Corinthians.  Not only do those separated from the Church declare their peculiar allegiance to various people or nations, saying, “I belong to Luther,” or “I belong to Calvin,” or “I belong to England” – and now there are some 360 different denominations, one for every day of the year, it seems – but within the Catholic Church deep divisions arise between “liberal” or “conservative” theologians, thus bringing darkness upon God’s people.  The Church remains, and nothing shall overcome it, but what a poor sign it is to the world as the devil has his day in its division. The Lord has come bringing “abundant joy and great rejoicing” for those who remain in His light.  The unbroken flame rises up from these first apostles Jesus called on this one morning by the Sea of Galilee.  The net extends from their hands and draws in all who truly seek to dwell in the presence of God.   Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.   Music: "Mirror of Knowledge" (2nd part) from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.   ******* O LORD, may the Gospel be proclaimed in strength this day in your Son’s holy Name.  YHWH, your light has dawned upon this dark world; in Jesus your Son our salvation has come, and now we may dwell in your House with Him.  Beginning on the shores of Galilee, your Word goes forth, calling all men to your kingdom.  May we repent of our sin that we might enter there. Today your Son calls the first apostles from their boats to dry land that they might be fishers of men.  And so He works through His apostles even to this day.  A great light shines upon those who walked in darkness – we who were sinners now come to your Temple, LORD, there, we pray, to remain all our days. Let there be no division in your Church, dear God, but let us be united in the flesh of your Son and preach His Gospel with one voice (His own) to the ends of this dark earth.  O let your holy light now shine through all He calls to be His disciples!  The yoke of sin that has enslaved us be smashed, we pray, that we shall no longer be afraid, that we shall no longer walk in darkness.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-012311-Su_3_OT_A.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 21 - Prayer to St. Agnes

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O holy virgin martyr, O innocent child who offered your life more freely than a bride to her husband, more courageously than a warrior in battle, who though lacking in years was not lacking in faith nor desire to honor your only Spouse… you who were honored by the Fathers of the Church and are remembered to this day as a holy offering, a lamb of God sacrificed in flames yet professing ever your love for Christ – but a small measure of your courage would save our souls. Pray but a drop of His blood we may know falling from our veins.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Jan._21_Agnes.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 21 - Saturday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

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

(Heb.9:2-3,11-14;   Ps.47:2-3,6-9;   Mk.3:20-21)   “Behind the second veil was the tabernacle call the holy of holies.”   To this holy of holies in the temple of Jerusalem only the high priest could come, and only once a year.  So holy was it deemed.  This tabernacle contained the ark of the Lord with the two tablets upon which the commandments of God were written, and some manna from the Israelites’ travels through the desert.  This was truly sacred ground for God’s chosen people, a place they held in awe. In our gospel the people press upon Jesus; they gather in great numbers at the door of the house where He is staying, sensing that this place is a holy of holies, that there is something inside that makes it sacred.  But from this holy tabernacle they are not excluded for its sanctity, but welcomed by Him who is inside, who makes it holy.  So much does He welcome those who come to His door that He does not take time even to eat.  Better He should feed those who come to Him with His sacred presence than that He should feed Himself, for He will not see any turned away. My brothers and sisters, Jesus has “entered once for all into the sanctuary, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,” and He Himself has become the “holy of holies”: He Himself is the sacred sanctuary in which God reposes.  And He is with us.  To this day He is in our presence.  Do you not know that He rests in every tabernacle of every one of our churches on this earth?  Do you realize the holy of holies that is in our midst?  And when He is exposed upon our altar for all to adore, do you realize that here “God sits upon His holy throne”?  And do you come to Him?  More than a mere image or reflection of the glory of heaven, truly that transcendent glory is present in this bread the angels consume, and which is offered us here. And so, should we not “shout to God with cries of gladness” or prostrate ourselves in absolute reverence at this the presence of “the Lord, the Most High, the awesome… the great King over all the earth” here in our midst?  Should we not receive Him worthily, realizing that here is the holiest of holies whom we cannot reverence too greatly, whom we cannot worship enough?  “God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts,” and we should join in this celebration and “sing praise to our King” before the throne upon which He sits, before the Tabernacle in which He rests.  Come to Him in sacred wonder.  In this Sacrament He waits.  May “the blood of Christ… cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God!” ******* O LORD, your Son has ascended into your presence   carrying our sins and washing us clean in His own blood –   how incomprehensible is your great love for us!  YHWH, let us worship you, O living God, through Jesus your Son, who has entered into your sanctuary carrying all our sins that we might be cleansed of them and offer you holy praise.  He is your Tabernacle in our midst.  Let us come to Him and there find our healing, and there find our salvation.  O LORD, your Son cares only for our salvation, not for feeding Himself.  His very body He would make our food and so He offers all His life, every hour of His day, for our salvation.  Never would He turn away from us or keep us waiting for your grace.  Let us not fail to come to Him to find the blessing He imparts.  The blood of the Christ cleanses our consciences and provides for our eternal redemption.  It carries us to the Holy of Holies where you dwell, O Most High God.  In awe let us sing your praise with Him who mounts His throne this day.  Reign over us with your love; through the blood of your only Son may we stand unblemished in your presence. 


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-012211-Sa_2_OT_I.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 20 - Prayer to St. Sebastian

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 20:05:00 +0000

O soldier for Christ who sought with such courage to embrace His Cross, to die a death worthy of such a Lord, you whose heart was so set on imitating the suffering only He knew and so were rewarded with the crown of martyrdom – where is our courage; where is our strength? Pray for us, O warrior of our Lord and God, that our lives may bear witness to approach your own, that we shall not shrink from the Cross before us but with your same zeal seek to make it our own. Pray the blood of Christ upon us.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Jan._20_Sebastian.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 20 - Prayer to St. Fabian

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O Holy Father of the Church, Pastor of the sheep of our Lord who have given your life freely for the name of Christ and its spreading throughout the earth, you whose blood was shed by the persecutors of the body but whose soul was ever in the Hand of God – pray our lives shall be lived in integrity and our death correspond, that a blessed witness we too shall give to the glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ, and so lead others to that same glory. May none of the flock or their shepherds fear the sacrifice of their lives.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Jan._20_Fabian.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 20 - Friday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.8:6-13;   Ps.85:8,10-14;   Mk.3:13-19)   “I will be their God and they shall be my people.”   “Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him, glory dwelling in our land”; for absolute oneness do we find with our Lord and God through the ministry of His only Son.  For the Lord has said of His new covenant, “All shall know me, from least to greatest,” promising: “I will place my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts.”  There shall be no separation from His presence for those who believe; His “kindness and truth shall meet” in us as they have in Jesus.  Alleluia! But yet does the time move toward perfection.  Though the new covenant be fulfilled in Jesus, it is still being fulfilled in the world and among those who dwell in the world.  We know this because the Lord says of the covenant to come, through His prophet Jeremiah: “They shall not teach their fellow citizens or their brothers, saying, ‘Know the Lord’” – there being no need any longer to teach the perfected – and also, “Their sins I will remember no more,” meaning that sin will no longer exist.  But Jesus upon commissioning the twelve apostles sends them out “to preach the good news” and “to have authority to expel demons,” and to this day there is need, and great need, for instruction in the Word of God and healing by the expulsion of sin in Holy Confession.  This ministry still in place, we know we have yet to reach perfection; we know we have yet to find absolute oneness with Christ and His sacrifice… and so, perfect union with the Father yet awaits us. “He appointed the twelve as follows: Simon to whom He gave the name Peter; James, son of Zebedee; and John, the brother of James (He gave these two the name Boanerges, or ‘sons of thunder’); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon of the Zealot party, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.”  Upon these the new covenant is founded.  By their ministry it shall grow, taking root in the world and bearing much fruit.  And though Matthias must take the place of the traitorous Judas, there is no breaking the line that comes from these foundation stones: all of the coming kingdom is traced to them and from them, for they are anointed by the Son and by them God will make all His children.  Brothers and sisters, “the Lord Himself will give His benefits; our land shall yield its increase.”  In His Church as in His arms make your home, for His blessings are upon us and shall be fulfilled.   ******* O LORD, let us be companions of your Son that we might be made one with you. YHWH, as your Son is joined to you and the apostles to Him, so let us be joined to them that we might be joined to Jesus and you, and your promise might be fulfilled and your NAME be written on our hearts.  O let it be so, that all shall know you, that we shall be your people. O LORD, let truth spring out of the earth as your justice looks down from Heaven.  Let the union of Heaven and earth accomplished in your Son be accomplished in us as we join ourselves to Him.  O let us walk in the way of His steps that we might find salvation! LORD, forgive us our sins, remember them no more – cast all evil from us.  May the priests who stand in your Son’s place absolve us of all wrongdoing as we come on our knees before them.  Your power be upon us for good; by your Word let us be taught, till we are entirely one with you, living in your New Covenant, living in the flesh of Christ, as His holy Body.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-012111-F_2_OT_I.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 19 - Thursday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.7:25-8:6;   Ps.40:7-10,17;   Mk.3:7-12)   “Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through Him, since He forever lives to make intercession for them.”   Oh how the people approach Him today, seeking healing, seeking grace: “a great crowd followed Him from Galilee, and an equally great multitude came to Him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, Transjordan, and the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon” – from all around they came to press upon Him, to press upon Him…  “All who had afflictions kept pushing toward Him to touch Him.  Unclean spirits would catch sight of Him, fling themselves down at His feet, and shout, “You are the Son of God!”  So great were their numbers He needed to take refuge in a fishing boat.  Oh “the press of the crowd against Him,” the press of the crowd.  They could not resist drawing toward Him who stood at the center of the universe, Him who stood in the place of God, Him who was God.  Greater than the pull of gravity was the pull of their hearts toward salvation. And do you think He has left you, brother?  Do you say, “Where is He now that I need healing, that I may press upon Him myself?”  He has not left you alone; He has multiplied His presence and increased His grace through the ministry of His apostles.  They now go out to those who would press upon Him, and through these priests they find the high priest, He who is “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens.”  Indeed, He is not on earth anymore and His ministry is not earthly – yet He is ever present to all who stretch forth their hands to Him.  Do you not know the immense mercy available to you in the Sacrament of Confession?  Do you not realize the heavenly food you eat in Holy Communion?  Press upon Him this day; approach the priests who, despite their imperfections, hold the power He has left in our midst, and to your loving God you will come. “Jesus has obtained a more excellent ministry now,” and “He is mediator of a better covenant,” an eternal covenant.  Brothers and sisters, “we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of Majesty in heaven, minister of the sanctuary and of that true tabernacle set up not by man but by the Lord.”  What greater gift could we ask for?  How much more exalted could we be called to be than to receive mercy from Him who dwells in the heart of the Father, than to take food from the hands of Him who holds the hand of God?   O Lord, “may all who seek you exult and be glad in you,  And may those who love your salvation say ever, ‘The Lord be glorified.’”   ******* O LORD, your Son has taken on our flesh that He might draw us into the sanctuary of your presence  O let us join ourselves to Him! YHWH, your Son is able to save all those who approach Him, for He sits with you in the heavenly sanctuary having offered Himself for our sakes.  And so the crowds press upon Him, and so the devils cannot but recognize His power over them… and so we are saved from our sin by our faith in Him and offering ourselves to you through His hands. O LORD, may we be an acceptable sacrifice to you, joined well to the sacrifice of Jesus.  May we say with Him, “I come to do your will,” and think of nothing but obedience to your call.  Write your law within our hearts that we might transcend the darkness of this place as we align our lives with your Son’s and die to all that keeps us from you.  He is made perfect forever in your presence and intercedes for us to be made perfect with Him.  O let us press upon Him this day that we might ever glorify your NAME.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-012011-Th_2_OT_I.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 18 - Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.7:1-3,15-17;   Ps.110:1-4;   Mk.3:1-6)   “Without father, mother, or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.”   We hear today more specifically about “Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God,” whose name means “king of justice” and also “king of peace,” who is therefore so like our King Jesus; it is in his line the Lord takes His place. “Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor,” King David declares of his Lord and our Lord.  Indeed before the dawn of light upon earth, Jesus is King: He is the only-begotten Son of God whose rule is from everlasting to everlasting; and His priesthood, like that of Melchizedek, is “in virtue of the power of a life which cannot be destroyed” – not by physical descent but by spiritual ascension.  From God Himself He receives His kingship and His priestly anointing. In contrast to the eternal priesthood and princely headship of our Lord and Savior, we see in our gospel those whose power comes only by “virtue of a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent,” and which is, therefore, passing away.  Indeed, before their eyes it passes this day as Jesus stands before the Pharisees at the front of the synagogue and calls them to acceptance of the greater glory now in their midst.  But they “closed their minds against Him” as they refused to realize the limitations of their own calling as leaders of the people, choosing to cling to a dying law and a power which is being taken from them even as a greater is offered, rather than stretching forth their hands to the Lord, in whom the law takes life and finds fulfillment, through whom all power comes… Yes, the Lord “stretch[es] forth” “the scepter of [His] power” even as the man stretches forth his “shriveled hand” here at the front of the synagogue, before all the people and their teachers on a sabbath day, and finds it “perfectly restored.”  The same He would do for each of them and for all of us, if we but recognized His transcendent power and glory, if we but realized He is the Son of God. ******* O LORD, your Son is of the Spirit but we are of the flesh; help us to offer this poor flesh through His eternal priesthood. YHWH, in the line of Melchizadek your Son comes to us, without beginning of days or end of life, for by you He is begotten before the world was brought forth.  And so His power is like your own, and so in Him we shall not die but be healed of all evil upon us.  We praise you, LORD, for your justice toward us, for the presence of your Son.  For in Him we take our refuge; in Him we find our salvation.  O let us freely reach out our hands to the grace He offers that He might stretch forth His scepter toward us and we be made whole in your sight! The Day you make is one of peace, O LORD, and so the Son you send brings to us that peace.  Let us give to Him our possessions, even our very body and soul; for all He touches He sanctifies, and so we will thus be blessed by Him. No hardened heart could ever destroy Him or His love.  Let us sacrifice ourselves with Him, LORD, that we might join Him at your right hand.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/BC-011911-W_2_OT_I.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 17 - Prayer to St. Anthony the Abbot

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O father of monks and all who would give themselves completely to the Lord, you who have been so obedient to the word of God, to His call to sell everything, to renounce all possessions and follow Him – how we need your prayers this day, when love for material things possesses our very bodies and souls, when prayer and penance seem things of the distant past. Make present to us the blessed call of the Lord, the renunciation of the world, that we too might find the riches of Heaven you knew so well. Pray we give up all for God.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Jan._17_Anthony_the_Abbot.mp3?dest-id=17188




January 17 - Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.6:10-20;   Ps.111:1-2,4-5,9-10;   Mk.2:23-28)   “I will indeed bless you, and multiply you.”   God promised to bless Abraham, to make his descendants numerous as the stars; and “He swore by Himself,” “by oath,” to carry out His promise, thus giving an unshakable, “unchangeable” “firmness to [the] promise.”  God does not go back on His word.  And so, “after patient waiting, Abraham obtained what God had promised”; He became the father of many nations, of all those of faith. Now if God is so faithful, should we who are “heirs of His promise,” who are children of Abraham in the faith and so the sharers of the same blessings promised to him, should not “we who have taken refuge in [God]… be strongly encouraged to seize the hope which is placed before us”?  For we, “through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises”; and greater promises than Abraham do we receive at the hand of our Lord now, for our “hope extends beyond the veil through which Jesus, our forerunner, has entered on our behalf.”  As David “entered God’s house… and ate the holy bread which only the priests were permitted to eat,” and “even gave it to his men,” so Jesus enters His Father’s house, passing through the gates of heaven into the sanctuary, into the holy of holies, and there partakes of bread at His Father’s hand… and indeed shares it with us, His brothers. Oh brothers and sisters, each day we partake of the bread of the angels from the hand of the Lord; it surrounds us like the “standing grain” around the disciples.  And does it not prove to us that “great are the works of the Lord, exquisite in all their delights”?  Doesn’t it reveal to our souls that our hope in Him is “a sure and firm anchor,” that His love for us is strong and all His promises are fulfilled in our midst, before our eyes?  “God is not unjust.”  No, “gracious and merciful is the Lord.”  “Holy and awesome is His name,” and He shares the glory of His presence with all His children: “He has given food to those who fear Him.”  So, let us “not grow lazy” in faith but take strength in this food He supplies.  “He will not forget [our] work and the love [we] have shown Him by [our] service.”  But let us continue to serve Him in our brothers; let us “show the same zeal till the end,” that all His promises we may taste.  Indeed, the more we eat His bread, the more we accomplish His work, the more His blessings are multiplied, in us and in the world! “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”  The gift of God’s rest is ours, releasing us from slavery.  Freedom we find in His name, blessing we find in His promise – His rest is upon us as we remain in Him.  And “He will forever be mindful of His covenant”: His blessings shall ever increase in our souls. ******* O LORD, your Son has entered into your presence that we might be fed with the Bread of Life – let us hope always in Him. YHWH, if Abraham’s cause for hope was great, how much greater is our own, we for whom Jesus has passed through the veil of death that we might enter your presence?  Now that your Word has been made flesh and been given to us as food for our journey, how much stronger should our faith be, and so, how much surer our work?  We should not bend in the wind like standing heads of grain but know the glory to which we are called as we reach up to you through the grace that is with us by the sacrifice of your Son. O LORD, you are indeed gracious and merciful; you look upon our needs and answer them.  You promise to be with us always and increase and multiply our works, so long as we remain faithful to you.  Let us trust in your [...]


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January 16 - Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.5:1-10;   Ps.110:1-4;   Mk.2:18-22)   “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”    Without beginning or end is the holy priesthood of our Lord; high above all sacrifices reigns His own. “Taken from among men” is Jesus our high priest “and made [our] representative before God.”  Like others He is in this respect; yet the “gifts and sacrifices” He offers are infinitely greater than any that have ever been, for it is Himself He lifts up for our sins.  “He is Himself beset by weakness,” though not His own; He is Himself pierced for transgression, though not of His making – and in the cross of our condition He bears “in the flesh,” in the crucifixion He suffers at our hands, does the high priest become the victim whose blood covers the earth with redemption.  Yes, “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”  What other high priest can boast as much? And yet the people would limit the grace that pours forth in the blood of His sacrifice, in the sweet-smelling flesh He offers, to a dying law which has been corrupted by the hands of man.  They fail to see that the old is subsumed by the new… and so the Lord seeks to teach them to receive the “new wine” He would pour into their hearts with minds open to the light of God.  They do not yet know the joy His disciples experience just being in the presence of the Messiah, the bridegroom of all faithful souls; as yet their hearts have not been circumcised by the nails of the sacrifice He makes in their name.  But soon their time will come, we pray.  When He is lifted up, perhaps they shall see. And in our psalm we have David’s verse of Jesus: “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.’”  Jesus is David’s Lord even then, for Jesus our Savior has always been.  Beautifully does David speak of this as well, in the voice of God: “Before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”  As the dew covers the earth unseen before the sun rises, so before the Father pronounced the words “Let there be light” – first bringing the universe into being by the power of His Word – Jesus was eternally present, even as the water the Spirit moved upon. And so He has “princely power,” seated at the right hand of God.  And so He “rule[s] in the midst of His enemies,” His sacrifice destroying the death which seemed to take hold of Him.  And so, like the order of Melchizedek, which came well before the institution of the Israelite’s priestly line, from all eternity His salvific priesthood is – and shall last until the end of time. ******* O LORD, you sent your Son to offer Himself in our stead; may we be clothed anew in His grace. YHWH, the priesthood of your Son is from all eternity and will last until the end of time for the expiation of our sins.  And the sacrifice He offers is Himself in the suffering and death He endures in our midst.  Though He rules forever at your right hand, He humbles Himself to suffer at our hands that the evil in our hearts might be washed clean by the blood He freely sheds.  O let us be made as new wineskins able to receive the grace He pours forth. Jesus is our Prince who fights our battles and puts all our enemies under His feet.  He crushes the head of the devil and destroys all the weakness by which we are beset, and He does this by the weakness He endures and the death He suffers for our sakes.  O LORD, let us know the glory He would bring to our poor souls, the salvation wrought by His holy sacrifice, and let us join ourselves to that sa[...]


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January 15 - Sunday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 05:00:00 +0000

(Is.49:3,5-6;   Ps.40:2,4,7-10;   1Cor.1:1-3;   Jn.1:29-34)   “I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength!”   John the Baptist testifies that Jesus is “the Son of God,” the One upon whom he has seen “the Spirit come down and remain.”  And we are all His servants, made holy only in Him.  John declares his own servitude, speaking of “the one who sent [him] to baptize with water,” and stating, “A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because He existed before me.”  His witness to Jesus and the strength he takes from Him is clear, as is the case with St. Paul, who declares himself “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,” and goes on to say that, indeed, all the Church is “called to be holy” in Jesus Christ.  This call from the Lord to be His servant, and that it is through His servants the Lord shows His glory, is prophesied in strength by Isaiah in our first reading, showing that even before Christ came to be born among us He indeed existed and through Him the Father called His servants, His children, to Himself.  For Isaiah speaks for God, saying, “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  Here he speaks of Jesus; here he knows even in his time of the salvation the Lord brings. And David in our psalm echoes the same theme of the servitude of Christ and the servitude in Christ to which all are called, and which acts as a light to this world.  “Ears open to obedience you gave me,” proclaims the great and humble king, and sings as if in the voice of Christ: “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”  What great blessing it indeed is to share in the servitude of Jesus, to have His song placed in our mouths, to make our lives “a hymn to our God.”  He makes us His own and we share in the blood that flows through His veins when we place ourselves in the service of the Lord. The Lord calls.  He is among us now and has made His salvation known.  Through the prophets, through the Baptist, through His apostles and martyrs and saints – through “all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” He reveals His glory day to day.  It is His desire that we be strong in Him as we join to Him and are baptized by Him with the Holy Spirit.  His grace and peace He would leave with us, His glory He would reveal through us, if His servants we would make ourselves this day.  Find your strength in Him, brothers and sisters.  He stoops toward you and hears your cry, and will instill His song of praise in your hearts, to be declared to all the world.   Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.   Music: "Miracle" from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.   ******* O LORD, may we all testify that Jesus is the Son of God; by Him may all souls be saved.  YHWH, ears open to obedience give us that we might be your servants, that we might be as the Body of your only Son, doing your will in all things, ever making Him known.  Let all we do testify to His presence in our midst that salvation may come to all men, even to the ends of the earth.  Your apostles, your prophets, please make us, crying out your way, calling all to holiness in the Lamb of God. Jesus is the One who is greater than us, greater than any man who has walked this earth, for only He is your Son, dear God; only He sanctifies the human race by His blessed sacrifice.  Let our lips not be restrained, but let us declare His glory to all souls. You have stoope[...]


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January 14 - Saturday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.4:12-16;   Ps.19:8-10,15,Jn.6:63;   Mk.2:13-17)   “Nothing is concealed from Him.”   In God’s eyes all men are sinners; this is what His penetrating vision cannot help but see.  Yet it is just such sinners as we He has come to call, to call away from our sin.  The Pharisees cannot bear this sword of truth to pierce their soul, and so they take up the sword of anger against those who are being redeemed, and He who is redeeming them.  Let us not be as these hardened hearts, brothers and sisters, but expose our sin to the Lord’s sharp gaze, that He might heal us by His grace. That Jesus Himself sees all that is in a man is indicated by His “overhearing the remark” of the complaining Pharisees today, and more clearly elsewhere in His reading their and His disciples’ thoughts without a word being spoken (e.g. Mt.17:25).  As nothing is concealed from the Father, so nothing is concealed from the Son: “The reflections and thoughts of the heart” are open to Him.  And He knows the troubles that affect each of us.  And these, even of the Pharisees, He would heal, even as a wise physician – but we indeed must come with our souls exposed and prepared for surgery. And though this process can be painful, and though we might say to ourselves, “We are not deserving” – though the questions of the Pharisees might be our own – yet we must witness Jesus’ attitude toward Levi and his fellow tax collectors/sinners.  Yet we must see how He defends these from attack, not bringing their shame before them as the Pharisees would, but with a heart set only on forgiveness.  For indeed “we have a great high priest,” one who takes our sins upon Himself, one who suffers with us our weakness in order to save us from its consequences.  And so with Levi and his friends we should “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor,” both in the confessional and at the Eucharistic table, for our need He has come to fill with His love. “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul”; Jesus is this law made flesh.  “The command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye”; to remove the darkness of our vision, the all-seeing God has come.  “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever,” and as long as we come before Him, trembling for our sin, we shall live on in His love.   Shine your light upon our souls, O Lord, and remove all darkness from them. In your grace you make us whole; with you let us be holy.   ******* O LORD, your Son has come to save us from our sins; may the light of His Word dispel all darkness from our souls. YHWH, let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor in your sight, my Rock and my Redeemer.  For you see into the depths of our hearts; you know well the sin that is within us – yet you are merciful in judging us, desiring only to heal us of our sickness.  O let us always come humbly before you to find your blessing upon our souls, that we might ever serve you well with our poor lives! O mighty God, O all-seeing and all-knowing LORD, let us treasure your Word, your Law, which is as balm for our troubled spirits.  Let us welcome your Son to our table that He might feed us with your truth, that we might find wisdom and learn by your grace to live forever in joy in your presence. How we need your Son, our high priest, as our physician, He who gives Himself to take away our sin.  O LORD, may we indeed find your favor through Him, obediently answering His call to salvation.


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January 13 - Prayer to St. Hilary

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O shepherd and doctor of God’s holy Church, is this not what you would declare with all your breath to the ends of the earth: “Jesus is the Son of God and God Himself”? Would you not proclaim the true light of Scripture and the Word, the Light, become flesh in our midst? Know, O saint of the Lord, that your words reach our ears and our hearts even to this day, and this day we proclaim you holy and your words true – continue to speak to us; please intercede for us, that the Truth you declared so fearlessly will be taken up again by those in His stead today.  


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January 13 - Friday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.4:1-5,11;   Ps.78:3-4,6-8;   Mk.2:1-12)   “The promise of entrance into His rest still holds.”   But only those with faith in Him shall be made whole. Paul says of the Israelites in the desert, “The word which they heard did not profit them, for they did not receive it in faith.”  Though they had seen “the glorious deeds of the Lord and His strength and the wonders that He wrought,” they yet became “wayward and rebellious, a generation that kept not its heart steadfast nor its spirit faithful to God.”  Yet they disobeyed and disbelieved.  And so they entered not into His rest; they received not the grace of union with the Lord in His peaceful kingdom, but rather died in the desert in their sin.  Thus does Paul warn us not to “fall in imitation of Israel’s unbelief,” but ever to “strive to enter into that rest” God holds for all His faithful. And the faith necessary to enter God’s rest is illustrated clearly in our gospel today, as is the woe of unbelief.  It is “when Jesus saw [the] faith” of those who lowered the paralytic through the ceiling to Him that He said to this poor soul, “My son, your sins are forgiven”; and it is upon hearing these grace-filled words from the Savior’s mouth that some of the scribes, those faithless souls so much the descendants of their faithless fathers, grumbled against Him and accused Him of “blasphemy.”  And as the Lord here makes clear the equation of forgiveness and healing (“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk again’?”), commanding indeed the paralyzed man: “Stand up!  Pick up your mat and go home,” so does this healed soul, washed clean of all his sin, with his companions and all those of faith who stand “awestruck” as they look on… so do these enter God’s rest – even as the scribes gnash their teeth. Brothers and sisters, “God rested from all His work on the seventh day,” and that rest awaits all at their completion of the Lord’s work in this world.  This truth Jesus reveals in our midst even this day.  And so we “should put [our] hope in God, and not forget the deeds of God but keep His commands”; for “it is we, who have believed, who enter into that rest,” so long as we keep faith in Him. ******* O LORD, let us enter into your rest, that we might rise and carry souls to you. YHWH, how shall we have our sins forgiven if we have not faith in you and in your Son; how shall we enter into your rest if we turn away from you?  We must come to you and to your Son, believing in the salvation wrought by you and letting nothing stand in our way… and you will bless us and gather us into your arms. O Lord Jesus, forgive us all our sin this day.  Cast far from us all that keeps us paralyzed, all that prevents us from rising and following you.  Take away our rebellious souls, our unfaithfulness before you – O may we hear your gracious words calling us to stand and walk with you!  O may we know the peace of your forgiveness! O LORD, you are our God, and in you alone we find our rest, we find healing from all our sickness and sin.  Help us to be strong in faith ourselves and serve to bring others to you as well.  You await our coming to you; let nothing else matter to us at all.


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January 12 - Thursday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.3:7-14;   Ps.95:6-11;   Mk.1:40-45)   “Today, if you should hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”   Today we see Jesus continuing His healing ministry, and we see how it becomes “no longer possible for [Him] to enter a town openly” because of the public proclamation of His wondrous and powerful works.  We see also how, though “He stayed in desert places… people kept coming to Him from all sides,” for His work must be accomplished.  But we see most particularly the way we must come to Him to find our own healing. “Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us,” David sings, calling all to their proper place before God.  And this the leper in our gospel does today, indicating indeed to all the attitude we must have toward Jesus, the place we must find at His feet.  With soft hearts we must come before our Lord in tears for the sin upon our souls.  Not like those in the Egyptian desert can we be, those who “saw [His] works for forty years” yet “tested and tried” Him constantly.  This generation indeed He “loathed” in His anger, calling them “a people of erring heart” who “know not [His] ways.”  On the contrary, our hearts must burn with a tender love of God and one another as we approach the Lord in the desert where He waits to save us from our sin.  He will match any tenderness of our own.  “Moved with pity” we shall find Him, ready to gather our broken spirits into His arms. “Take care, my brothers, lest any of you have an evil and unfaithful spirit and fall away from the living God.”  See that your hearts are never “hardened by the deceit of sin.”  It is always “today” and the Lord is always calling to your soul, always requiring your life from you – always offering His love to you.  Offer your own in return, that you shall not be cast from His presence, that you shall not be ostracized like this leper from the community, but remain ever in His holy fold as “the flock He guides” with His gentle hand… and finally that you might “enter into His rest.”  He calls you to healing at His hand; hear and answer on your knees.   ******* O LORD, make our hearts soft and our spirits loving, as your Son; let us bow down to Him. YHWH, let us not be of erring and unfaithful heart but let our love match your own and that of your Son, for He looks on our poor condition with pity and reaches out His hand to heal us of our sin, of our weakness before you.  Why should we harden our hearts against Him when all He wishes is to save us?  Let us accept and treasure such blessing which comes only from you. So blind we can easily become, O LORD, so blind to your presence among us and your works done for us.  So easily we are led astray; so easily we become deaf to your Word speaking to our hearts.  O let our hearts not be hardened! but let us come humbly before you to worship you and call on your holy NAME.  This is what brings life to our souls.  In this worship alone do we find our rest.  O LORD, set us free from all pride, from all failure to remember your presence before us….  Be not angry with your wayward children but gather us into your loving arms.


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January 11 - Wednesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.2:14-18;   Ps.105:1-4,6-9;   Mk.1:29-39)   “Since He Himself was tested through what He suffered, He is able to help those who are tempted.”   And help them He does.  Die for us He must.  Each healing is a move of love which takes His life as sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus died on the cross for us, yes.  He opened His arms and let His healing blood pour forth for all “the children of Abraham,” all those of faith.  But His whole life, and especially His ministry of preaching and healing, is a dying, is a robbing of “the devil, the prince of death, of his power.”  We see clearly in our gospel today how Jesus “free[s] those who through fear of death had been slaves their whole life long,” how He lays down His life for “the whole town [which] was gathered outside the door” of “the house of Simon and Andrew.”  After healing Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a debilitating fever, He cures all who press upon Him, all “who were variously afflicted”; from them “the demons He expelled.” And in these cures, in these expulsions of demons, do we not see our “merciful and faithful high priest” who has come “to expiate the sins of the people” at work in “blood and flesh,” dying for the nation’s salvation?  Has the Lord not equated such healing with salvation, declaring there is no difference between forgiving sins and saying “be well” to the troubled soul (Mk.2:9)?  And do not these demons desire to cry out that He is the Christ even as He gouges the life from them as He Himself dies?  Does their rule not escape them now with every word of the Spirit He speaks?  But He does “not permit the demons to speak,” for they would reveal who He is only that He might be tempted to become ruler on earth of these people who would certainly seek to crown Him king.  But the salvation He brings rises beyond this dying life, and the Son of God has no relations with the prince of darkness and his lying rule. And so our Lord “went into [the] synagogues preaching the good news and expelling demons throughout the whole of Galilee.”  So He went forth robbing the devil of His reign, suffering and dying all the while, all the way to the cross, where His ministry is accomplished.  And we, brothers and sisters, do we not continue His ministry to this day?  Has the Lord not left the dying to us now – a cross upon each of His disciples’ backs to fill up what is yet lacking in His sacrifice?  Is this not the great gift He gives us?  And in His steps, by the apostles’ instruction, in union with His Church, do you walk through the suffering and darkness of this world to the Lord’s eternal light?  For your sake has He died.  So “seek to serve Him constantly” as He does you. ******* O LORD, in flesh and blood your Son has come to drive all demons away from us and save us from the power of death. YHWH, your Son has come to heal us, to cast all our sin far from us, releasing us from all power of the devil.  Death itself He conquers for our sakes, suffering all the weakness of our human condition that He might free us from its bonds.  He has made Himself captive to flesh and blood that we might fly unto the kingdom with Him.  And so, let us glorify His Name! O LORD, how your Son lays down His life as He walks among us, taking our sickness upon Himself.  How much He suffers as we come to Him to find our healing – how brokenhearted He is to witness our travail.  But He does not turn from His mission or rest in His accomplishments; on He goes from[...]


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January 10 - Tuesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(Heb.2:5-12;   Ps.8:2,5-9;   Mk.1:21-28)   “A completely new teaching in a spirit of authority!”   Thus do the people exclaim at the power of the word which issues forth from the mouth of Christ, into whose hands “all things” have been subjected.  The devils see Him and shriek: “I know who you are – the holy one of God!”  They know Him and they fear Him, for He has indeed “come to destroy” them and whatever authority they seemed to have.  He it is who has come to return man to his rightful “rule over the works of [God’s] hands.”  God has “crowned [man] with glory and honor, and put all things under his feet”; and though “at present we do not see all things thus subjected” because of man’s sin, because he has subjected himself to the works of the devil, yet Jesus has come to bring “many sons the glory,” to reveal in His own person the power of God present in all mankind. And how does the Lord Jesus Christ destroy the devils?  How does He redeem man from their clutches, from their possession?  By suffering.  By dying.  Yes, even now we “see Jesus crowned with glory and honor” – the glory and honor to which we are all called – “because He suffered death.”  By suffering death He conquered death, and thus any power the devil wielded by its weight upon our souls.  And we are free!  The devils are cast from us because He has walked among us; He has come into the synagogue and “taught with authority.”  And so the pride of the devil is broken, and we see the angels’ place as servants to man as we see the dignity to which men are called in this Son of Man. And the Lord “is not ashamed to call [us] brothers.”  Though by our weakness, by our sinfulness, our disobedience, certainly we merit shame – and so, rightly does David cry to God, “What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?” – yet He does care for us, He is mindful of us…  He suffers and dies for us, taking our shame upon Himself in His only Son.  And what the Lord has earned we should not spurn, but treasure the grace that is ours through our Brother’s sacrifice.  Let us put ourselves under His authority that His authority might be our own, and the devil shall be gone.   ******* O LORD, all things are under the authority of your Son, who came to save us from all evil. YHWH, what authority is upon your Son!  Your own authority, your own glory.  He has power over all the earth, and the unclean spirits are subject to His command.  There is nothing outside his rule, for His rule is your own. And through your Son, and through His suffering, this rule, this glory, becomes our own.  Since He has come as our Brother, we become your sons with Him.  And so, great authority you place upon your children, LORD, upon the men you call forth; for you call us to share in the work of your Son and in His consecration. Greater than the angels is Jesus, our Savior.  O LORD, only He leads us to your glory this day.  May we know the blessing that is ours through the Holy One of God and listen to His teaching.  Let all men to the ends of the earth hear of His fame and believe in Him, that all might praise Him in the great assembly.


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January 9 - Baptism of the Lord, Year A

Sun, 08 Jan 2017 08:00:00 +0000

(Is.42:1-4,6-7;   Ps.29:1-4,9-11;   Acts 10:34-38;   Mt.3:13-17)   “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.”   And so He anoints us all in the baptism our Savior has wrought.  As Jesus humbled Himself to be baptized by John, so must we bow our heads before Him and receive holy baptism at His hands.  As He has laid down His life for us, so must we lay down our lives for one another.  As “He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil,” so God is with us to do the same. “The Spirit of God descend[ed] like a dove and [came] upon Him.  And a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”  So Matthew recounts the Baptism of our Lord.  And how similar is the beginning of our reading from Isaiah: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am well pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit.”  The chosen one of the ages now walks amongst us, the Spirit of God upon Him.  His justice now extends to the ends of the earth, calling all into His blessed confines.  None who come to Him does He reject.  The “eyes of the blind” He opens, the prisoners He brings “from confinement” in the sin and darkness of the dungeon that is this world to the heavenly light of His presence walking among us in sacred flesh.  “In every nation whoever fears Him and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him,” for He loves all. And so should we not sing out in praise of the glory of the Lord to which we are all called as did David at the completion of the tabernacle of God?  For here stands the true Tabernacle, here stands its fulfillment… before us is God who calls us not only to look upon but to enter into His doors and dwell within Him in His heart, in His bosom – one with His sacred flesh and blood.  The law is now written on our hearts, not only pages of a book; now the Spirit speaks to those who remain close to Him.  Now we hear the “mighty” and “majestic” “voice of the Lord… over the waters”: “the God of glory thunders.”  “In His temple all say, ‘Glory!’”  And should we not “give to the Lord the glory due His Name”?  Does not our cup overflow as Peter’s to declare the salvation that comes at the hand of our God? Jesus has come.  The Spirit is with us.  Go now in the Spirit and power of God.   Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney.   Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, may your Son, our King, bring your merciful justice to all who dwell in darkness.  YHWH, your mighty voice is over the waters, declaring the glory of your Son to a people in darkness.  Your Spirit is upon Jesus to open our eyes to your glory here now in our midst – and what should we do but praise you? He comes humbly to us, bearing our sins and bringing peace to our troubled souls.  And so, now the flood cannot overwhelm us; now we are released from the prison in which we had been trapped for so long.  Now, O LORD, your will is accomplished and all are called into your holy light. O let us be baptized with Him and so become as your beloved sons!  Let us, too, hear your voice speaking your blessing over us.  Fulfill all righteousness among us this day, let your work be accomplished among men – let us be known as your children.  O LORD, let us be acceptable to you! Glory to you, O God of all glory!  May we be pleasing to you as is your Son.  Let your surpassing justice be done. 


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January 8 - Epiphany of the Lord

Sat, 07 Jan 2017 05:00:00 +0000

(Is.60:1-6;   Ps.72:1-2,7-8,10-13;   Eph.3:2-3a,5-6;   Mt.2:1-12)   “They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary His Mother.”   And so our prophecy of Isaiah and our psalm of David come to pass: “Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you… the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.”  And “the kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.  All kings shall pay Him homage, all nations shall serve Him.”  And so we have the revelation made known to the Apostle Paul and all His holy ones: “The Gentiles are now coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Yes, the Light of Jerusalem has come, and it draws the ends of the earth by its radiance.   Here is the star which rises in our midst; here is the true light which shines upon all men.   And all men are drawn to it – none can deny its brightness before us, its truth and its glory.  And who is this king but the One of “justice” and “profound peace”?   Who is He but the One who “shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor He shall save.”   And so all must make themselves poor before Him, laying their gifts at His blessed feet. Today we celebrate the coming of Light to the nations, the manifestation of Jesus Christ to this world covered in darkness.  And we find our hope and our joy in Him as did the magi two thousand years ago.   For He continues to reveal Himself to our hearts.  He continues to show His peace and justice to all who look for His coming.   Let our eyes be raised to the heavens and our hearts be diligent in seeking Him, and we will be led to His crib.   There the Mother holds Him in her arms; there before such beauty we should empty our souls in adoration of His blessed presence, like these magi who “prostrated themselves and did Him homage.”   Then we shall rise fulfilled.   Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney.   Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, lead us by your light to lay down our lives before you. YHWH, into this world of darkness you have sent a great light and now all nations desirous of truth, desirous of light, follow that light to find you, dear Father in Heaven.  As the magi followed the star to find the Baby Jesus with Mary His Mother, so all poor souls follow your Son to find you who have created us all; for He is in you, and looking upon His innocent face we see you, our LORD and God, and the light is ours. There is no division in your House, O LORD; all souls are called into your presence.  Your star you make obvious for all to see that none may be left by the wayside but all keep to the road that leads to life.  Help us, O LORD, to empty ourselves of all that keeps us from gazing at your light, all that makes our eyes blind to your glory.  May we with the magi prostrate ourselves before your Child, offering all we have to Him and so to you.  He is the King that shall rule us all – let us embrace His coming.


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January 7 - Prayer to St. Raymond of Penafort

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O redeemer of captive slaves, those enslaved to sin and those enslaved by the clutches of the world – preach to us this day the freedom found under the Cross of Christ and in the repentance of heart blessed by the grace upon the Church. Teach us well the path to Heaven, which is wrought not in comfort and peace but in struggle against sin, in the laying down of our lives before our persecutors. Ransom us from wayward thoughts and actions, and from the snares of the adversary who waits for our misstep. In Christ alone may we find our rest.


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January 7 - before Epiphany

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.5:14-21;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Jn.2:1-12) “He hears us whenever we ask for anything according to His will.”  In our gospel, the waiters come to Mary; their misfortune is witnessed by her compassionate heart: “They have no more wine,” she tells her Son.  She knows what she is saying, she knows what she is asking… and Jesus knows, too.  And though He seems not prepared to answer her concern (you see, our concern is her concern, and she makes it His), yet she says to the servants standing by the words which perhaps best exemplify the Mother’s relationship to the Son – “Do whatever He tells you.” Has Jesus a choice now?  Can He rebuff her request to “reveal His glory”?  It is a miracle she asks for the benefit of those in need, and the Lord cannot turn her down.  Do you see this?  Do you understand the significance of this scene, here at the very inception of Jesus’ ministry, especially those who doubt our Blessed Mother’s intercessory power with her Lord, her Son?  And do you think the power for finding answer to prayer with her beloved Jesus, the Son of God, is somehow shortened in ensuing days?  Does death conquer it?  Is she no longer the blessed of all generations?  Has this blessed generation come to an end? “We know that He hears us whenever we ask” and that “what we have asked Him for is ours.”  This is our confidence in God’s compassion and love.  And we know too that the Blessed Mother stands beside our Lord and prepares the prayers we would offer Him, putting them into the words, the Spirit, we cannot express.  If we give them all to her, they will all be made effective, and we will taste of “the choice wine” which has been kept in store for us until these latter days. Through this miracle at Cana “His disciples believed in Him.”  Here He offers them a sign of His divinity – here they find “discernment to recognize the One who is true... the true God and eternal life.”  And so the wedding feast truly begins.  And so we “praise His name in the festive dance” and “sing praise to Him with timbrel and harp.”  “The children of Zion rejoice in their king,” for He has answered their deepest prayer: here in our midst is the Son of God. ******* O LORD, reveal yourself to us in your Son; hear our petition.       YHWH, your Son has come and given us the grace to recognize Him. And so we have confidence to approach Him with our petitions, especially through His Blessed Mother. And we know that our petitions shall thus be granted and we shall sing praise to you in the assembly of all the faithful in your holy kingdom.      From sin take us all, dear LORD, from that which holds us to this world. Your glory alone may we seek, the eternal life we find in your only Son. He is true, He is God, and if we are in Him we may rejoice in you. Increase our faith in Him this day; let our eyes not be blinded to His miraculous presence.      O let us taste the water become wine! and the wine become the blood of your Son. Let us be inebriated with this fruit of the choicest Vine whose time has come and celebrate your glory in our midst. For by His flesh and by His blood we are wed to you, O God, and for what greater cause could we dance and sing? All sin He takes from us that life in you we may know.


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January 6 - before Epiphany

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.5:5-13;   Ps.147:12-15,19-20;   Mk.1:7-11) “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”  How reassuring John is to us who believe – “I have written this to you to make you realize that you possess eternal life” – for how easily we can forget the grace that is ours “in the name of the Son of God.”  How sure he is.  How clear in his explanation.  How loving.  One has little reason to wonder why he was beloved of the Lord, for this love bleeds in all his words and leads us to that love of Christ that is eternal life. The Father’s witness has been given clearly, “You are my beloved Son.  On you my favor rests.”  Mark, too, makes certain that Jesus is the Son of God.  How can we forget the words of the Father?  And how can we forget the blood He has shed on our behalf, and the water that flows like baptism from His side?  “It is the Spirit who testifies to this, and the Spirit is truth.”  If you have the Spirit dwelling in you, you know this – it sets your heart on fire, and is indeed as the breath of life.  How can we know anything but eternal life when baptized in the Holy Spirit by the Lord? “He has granted you peace in your borders,” our psalmist proclaims; and in the Spirit we have only peace – nothing lacking rest can enter there.  And now “with the best of wheat He fills [us],” now that we receive His body in the Eucharist.  What bread indeed we eat!  Here is the bread of life.  We have His Word born in the Spirit spoken to our ears, and on His very presence we sup.  Such witnesses!  What more need we to believe? “Jesus is the Son of God,” brothers and sisters.  This alone you need remember.  When all else fails and darkness pervades, know that Jesus is with you and bringing you to life. ******* O LORD, let us be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and we shall have eternal life.       YHWH, eternal life you have given us in your only Son. Peace reigns in Him, and in us, if we believe in Him. As the Spirit descended upon your beloved One, so it descends upon those who believe in the Name of Jesus. Him you have sent us that you might give us yourself.      There is none greater than Jesus the Christ, nor shall there be. There is no one else for whom we need wait. He has come. He has died for us. Now He is risen and His Spirit is with us to guide us to all life. Help us, O LORD, to remember this; help us to hold on to the blessing you have provided in your only Son.      With the best of wheat fill us, O LORD, with His Body and His Blood; His flesh let us become. Then nothing shall disturb us; then our faith will make us whole. Then we shall hear your words pronounced over us that we are your beloved children. O let the Spirit fall upon us and remain with us! Let us be cleansed of sin and believe in your Word.


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January 5 - Prayer to St. John Neumann

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O shepherd who walked in the humble stead of your flock, who worked so diligently among those in your care, speaking to their hearts; you who gathered into schools the little ones, who saw to the education of the children… and all this in a foreign land – pray for the country in which you ministered, that its lambs once again be raised in the faith and its strangers be once again shepherded by one as anxious as you for their well-being. Here let us find the grace of Christ to redeem the lowly and the lost.


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January 5 - before Epiphany

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.3:11-21;   Ps.100:1-5;   Jn.1:43-51) “We should love one another.”  In our gospel, “first [Jesus] came upon Philip” – whose name means “love” – and invited him to follow Him.  Love brought with him one in whom “there is no guile,” and he (Nathanael) declared openly to the Lord: “You are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”  And so we must all be of love, and be without deceit.  We must all “know that the Lord is God; He made us, His we are; His people, the flock He tends.”  The Lord must find us all at peace “under the fig tree” with consciences that have “nothing to charge us with.”  And great things wrought by the hand of God we shall see before our eyes. “The Lord is good,” and we must be like Him.  The Lord is of love, and loving as He does we pass “from death to life”: “The way we came to understand love was that He laid down His life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers.”  How well John speaks of the love all need in our first reading today.  Here is the voice of a man, an apostle in the Spirit of Christ, who loves “in deed and in truth,” and since he does “not merely talk about it,” but lives it, his words are alive with that truth.  Love.  This is “the message [we] heard from the beginning.”  This laying down our lives is our guiding light leading us to the eternal life of heaven. And so we should “serve the Lord with gladness.”  We should “come before Him with joyful song.”  We should declare openly that He is God, as our love leads us to do.  His “kindness endures forever”; yes, His love is for eternity, and we must come to share in that great gift of love.  “The man who does not love is among the living dead,” but he who loves lives forever.  The world will hate us because it is not of love; but all the more we should be encouraged to love, to die to the hatred the world brings and find our place in peace under our fig tree with the Lord who is love itself. Let us love and be of love, brothers and sisters, and we shall live forever with our Lord and the angels of heaven. ******* O LORD, let us pass from the death wrought by this world to life with you in Heaven.  YHWH, may our consciences be clear before you; may we be of love and so be of you who are love.  May we be without guile, seeking only you and the peace you bring to our souls.  Then we shall praise you in joy forever, for then we will be your own. O LORD, let us be true to our call to love you and one another.  Let it not be only in words that we love but in truth, with our very lives.  If we do not act as your Son, how can we call you ‘Father’; how will we know you at all?  You dwell in ineffable light with the angels of Heaven, and only by love do we come to that light, only by laying down our lives as Jesus. LORD, let us know your goodness in our lives that we might enter your gates with thanksgiving for all the blessings we share with your saints.  In freedom may we bless your Name, you who look upon us with kindness.  To your side let us be guided by our desire to love.


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January 4 - Prayer to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O mother through marriage and religious Mother, who indeed became mother of many, many sisters whom you led in the faith and many children whom you taught in your schools – in your wisdom teach many still the path of Christ, the way of charity He has trod, that renewed will those be who call you Mother, and instructed well those in their classrooms throughout the land. What should we teach our children, dear Mother? Have we not forgotten the lesson of Christ? Pray for us, I beg, this day, that the way and the truth we shall follow.


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January 4 - before Epiphany

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.3:7-10;   Ps.98:1,3,7-9;   Jn.1:35-42) “When Jesus turned around and noticed them following Him, He asked them, ‘What are you looking for?’”  Brothers and sisters, what Jesus asks the first two disciples He asks each of us who follow in their wake.  What do we seek?  Why are we following Him?  What is it we hope to find at the place where He stays? David makes clear in our psalm that the Son of God, “His holy arm,” has been revealed in our midst – in “wondrous deeds” He “comes to rule the earth.”  “The world and those who dwell in it” should resound with joy.  Him whom John the Baptist points out in no uncertainty is with us now.  There is no other whom we should follow.  And so we do.  And so we come to Him each day, to receive our daily bread.  Seeing where He lodges, we come to stay with Him. But what does the Lord see when He looks upon us?  Does He stay with us?  When Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus, He “looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon, son of John; your name shall be Cephas (which is rendered Peter).’”  Jesus upon looking at Peter sees the Rock on which He will build His Church.  Peter’s holiness, the strength he has in God and for God, is evident to the Lord.  Jesus knows what Peter seeks, and both have found what they are looking for.  Is it upon our hearts as well to find the holiness of heaven, to become one with the Son of God? “The man who acts in holiness is holy indeed, even as the Son is holy,” but “the man who sins belongs to the devil.”  Holiness or sin?  Jesus or the devil?  The choice is clear, and must be evident in our lives.  “No one begotten of God acts sinfully” and “no one whose actions are unholy belongs to God.”  The first letter of John, our first reading, could not more simply state our call in the Lord: to be holy, not to sin… to love our brothers and sisters well – to be as Jesus, the Son most holy. Jesus will turn and see us; His eyes are upon us now.  What does He see as He looks upon your heart?  What is your answer to His question, “What are you looking for?”  Let His dwelling be all you seek. ******* O LORD, let us follow your Son to where He lives, in holiness with you.  YHWH, let us stay with you and with your Son.  May He turn and look upon us with kindness, with pity for our frail condition.  O let this Lamb take our sins from us that we might no longer be in the grip of the devil but come to eternal life in your House! The Messiah you have sent is in our midst this day; let us come to the altar to receive Him, to receive His holy sacrifice and become one with Him.  Only thus shall we be made holy; only with Him will we find true justice and so rejoice in your presence, O LORD.  O let us be ruled by Him! Make us your children, dear LORD.  Make us as your only Son.  May Jesus be with us this day and we with Him that we might become holy indeed.  Never let us act sinfully but ever love as you love, as your Son loves us.  Let us seek your love alone and so be founded upon true Rock, in your House.


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January 3 - before Epiphany

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.2:29-3:6;   Ps.98:1,3-6;   Jn.1:29-34) “Look there!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” “This is God’s chosen One.”  This is He upon whom “the Spirit descend[s]” – who takes away our sins and makes us pure by His own baptism “with the Holy Spirit.”  He who walks with Him walks in holiness, for “everyone who acts in holiness has been begotten by Him” – we have become “children of God” because we have now the grace of the only Son. Listen to the manner in which the Baptist “sing[s] joyfully before the King, the Lord” in our gospel today: “I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from the sky, and it came to rest on Him.”  How like music, like “the harp and melodious song,” is his witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.  His exclamation of Jesus as the holy Lamb of God, offered as a sacrifice pure and undefiled, resounds to the ends of the earth more eloquently and with greater power than “the trumpets and the sound of the horn” of which David sings in our psalm.  Here is the voice proclaiming the Truth, the message our ears have so longed to hear. “The very reason [John] came baptizing with water was that [Jesus] might be revealed to Israel,” and “the reason [Jesus] revealed Himself was to take away sins” – all this for our salvation.  Yes, brothers and sisters, “in Him there is nothing sinful.”  And we must be like Him.  Insofar as we sin, we have “not seen Him or known Him.”  Insofar as a man “keeps himself pure, as He is pure,” he is His child, knowing Him most intimately, and may exclaim in wonder with John the evangelist: “What love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God!” All sin and struggle with sin all the while they are on earth.  There are many times when we must admit that we do not see Him or know Him in order for Him to be revealed in our lives, in order for us to find His blessed purity.  We must confess our sins that we might sing His praise.  But all the while the Son is with us, the Lamb intercedes to remove our sins.  And always we must look to Him whom the Baptist proclaimed to be “what we are,” to become “like Him” when His light comes to its fullness and His Spirit is all we know. ******* O LORD, your saving power, your Lamb, has come to take away the sin of the world – may all nations rejoice in such blessing. YHWH, Jesus is your Chosen One, your only Son, the pure reflection of your Being… and we must be like Him.  We must be pure as He is pure, as you are pure, as the Spirit that comes from Him and descends upon us is pure.  O let us truly be pure!  Let us truly be your children. O LORD, Jesus has come to take away all sin from us.  This is the mission, the work He has from you.  It is for John to declare the coming of the Lamb of God, and it is for this Lamb to die for our sins.  Let all be accomplished in your will.  As John has made the Christ known and He has been crucified for our sakes, so let us find the purification from sin you desire for us that we might be united to you. All the earth has seen your saving power, O LORD.  Let all souls recognize that power in our midst and remain in Him who brings it.


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January 2 - Prayer to Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

Sun, 01 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

O bishops and doctors, O brothers so united in Christ, united in your desire to find His wisdom and live His virtue, for you what mattered but to be like Christ? All you would have given up to find His way; nothing of this world did you wish but to leave it behind. One in heart and mind, one in word and work and in the food of which you partook… how blessed it is when men live as brothers, when nothing they desire but the other’s good – teach us this way of union in the love of God.


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January 2 - before Epiphany

Sun, 01 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.2:22-28;   Ps.98:1-4;   Jn.1:19-28) “Remain in the Son and in the Father.” In our gospel John the Baptist tells the priests and Levites sent by the Pharisees, “There is… one who is to come after me – the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to unfasten.”  This Messiah has come, “The Lord has made His salvation known: in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice,” David proclaims in our psalm, and continues to invite us to sing praise of Him.  It is the anointing that comes from Jesus that John, in our first reading, encourages us to hold on to, for it is true and leads invariably to the Father of all. We must come to the Father; we must find ourselves in the presence of all truth, in the hands of our Creator, who loves us beyond all telling.  And the way to the presence of the Father, in whom we find our true home, is Jesus the Christ.  He is the Son and the only one who can lead us to the Father, for He and the Father are inextricably one.  We cannot deny the Sonship of Jesus, His oneness with the Father – that He is the Christ, upon whom all true anointing rests – and come to know God.  Jesus is the means the Father provides to come to Him; it is through Him alone we find the promise of eternal life.  We must “remain in Him,” that we may “not retreat in shame at His coming.” Those who do not believe in Jesus, who do not recognize Him as the only Son and so only way to the Father, are not to be persecuted – but they are not to be believed.  Jesus is all.  Those who know Him know this; they indeed have His anointing in their hearts.  This “anointing teaches [us] about all things and is true.”  It is this knowledge of His salvation, of His glory, which John instructs us to remember: His Word grows in our hearts.  But again, this Word is not a weapon for the persecution and destruction of others – it is the means for the manifestation of light. Remain in Jesus, brothers and sisters, and eternal life with the Father will be assured you. ******* O LORD, help us always to proclaim Jesus as the Christ.  YHWH, we must indeed acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, as your only Son, as God Himself, and rejoice that your saving power has come to us through Him.  And His anointing will rest upon us, the Holy Spirit will be with us to guide us in all things – we will be one with you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. John has prepared His way and in the sight of the nations His glory has been revealed.  None can deny His divinity, except he be a liar.  And to these we must not listen, LORD, but only to the teaching of your Church.  For upon your apostles rests the anointing that is from above, and if we are to find our way to eternal life, no other voice should we heed. John has indeed cried out the way we all must follow if we are to meet your Son and so you, Father.  O LORD, let us listen to the Spirit that is upon him.


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January 1 - Prayer to Mary, Mother of God

Sat, 31 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

O Blessed Virgin in whose womb was conceived the only Son of God, who by such grace has brought salvation to our race… What faith is yours in God the Father! What power is upon you by the Holy Spirit! What unutterable wonder we find in your Son! How is it one of our own number could give birth to our Creator? Such glorious union with the Godhead we could never merit nor discover except that the Lord has chosen you – pray this day He shall be born in us, too.


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January 1 - Mary, Mother of God

Sat, 31 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

(Nm.6:22-27;   Ps.67:2-3,5-6,8;   Gal.4:4-7;   Lk.2:16-21)   “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.”   The blessing of God, His holy Son, was upon the shepherds, and it is upon us all.  For “God sent His Son, born of a woman” that His “way be known upon earth,” “that we might receive adoption as sons.”  And what greater blessing could man know than to fulfill his call as son of the living God? We are blessed, brothers and sisters, and we should proclaim it as the shepherds.  The blessing invoked upon the people by Aaron has been realized in the birth of the Son.  Through Him “the Lord let[s] His face shine upon [us]” – this is His grace come.  And how else but in haste should we travel to Him?  How quickly we should arrive at His side.  And how amazed all should be upon hearing the blessings we have known, at the hand of our God. Mary is she who is truly blessed, and we honor especially today she “who kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”  For so obedient was she to God’s will that He was “conceived in [her] womb” and made flesh in our sight.  So, let us thank her today for the blessing she has brought into our midst.  As we are now sons of the Father with the Spirit of the Son “crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” in our hearts, so we are sons of Mary, too, for the Lord’s divinity cannot be separated from His humanity – the two meet as one in Jesus Christ.  This is our great blessing. From “an infant lying in the manger” shall come the salvation of our race, and the Mother of this renewed race, consecrated to God in Him who is “named Jesus,” we commemorate with our hearts and our voices in praise this holy day.  May she now be the instrument by which “the Lord bless[es]” and “keep[s]” us; may she pray this day that “His face shine upon [us].”  And may all her children be one in the blessing of Christ, her Son.  Amen.   Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney.   Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, what blessing is upon us this Christmas day!  YHWH, we are your sons now because Jesus has become our Brother.  Born of the Virgin, His blessing is now upon our race – He it is who shines the light of your face.  Let us glorify you for your blessing. Now we may call you “Father!” now that the Spirit of your Son is with us.  For in Him we are adopted as your sons, LORD, and so through Him you are our Father.  Let the light of your face shine upon us all our days. It is you who rule all nations, LORD; all the earth is in your hands.  Yet you come to us as a little child, poor and lying in a humble manger.  Let us ponder this wonder with Mary; let us keep your will and your Word ever in our hearts, that we might see unfold the revelation of your presence among us. Too wonderful for us is the grace you bring, LORD; yet let us live as your sons, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


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December 31 - Prayer to St. Sylvester I

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000

O eminent Shepherd of God’s people who led us from the catacombs into the light of day by a blessed peace with the city of man, allowing the Lord’s Church to grow and flourish freely in its sacraments, in its worship of the one true God – pray the Body of Christ may again prosper in truth with its divine Head, that the Light that has come into the world may be proclaimed to the ends of the earth and all souls called by the Lord come to the font of Baptism and find the fullness of faith in the holy Catholic Church. Pray there be no dissension in the Body but that all shall be one in Him who is God Himself.


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December 31 - Seventh Day of the Octave of Christmas

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.2:18-21;   Ps.96:1-2,11-13;   Jn.1:1-18)   “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”   And we must dwell with Him, remaining in His light, walking in His way.  “Through Him all things came into being,” and we who have come into being by Him, “who believe in His name,” must “become children of God.” In our first reading, John warns against the antichrists who come in this “final hour” to lead astray all those not founded in truth.  Elsewhere he warns against anyone who does not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, as the Christ come among us.  Certainly there are more than a few antichrists today, looking to distract believers from “the Holy One.”  But as John says, “All knowledge is yours”: if we believe in Jesus, we have the truth written within us.  Yet we must beware of faltering, for “no lie has anything in common with the truth.”  Remain in His Church. Our psalm of David encourages us to “exult before the Lord,” to “sing to the Lord; bless His name.”  And well we should this holy day to know of the Christ that has come “to rule the world with justice.”  The Word has become flesh and left His flesh and His Spirit with the Church He has founded on the apostles – great is the joy of those who find their home there. And in our gospel we hear John’s beautiful and clear explication of the divinity of Jesus, the Word ever in God’s presence from the beginning, the Word that is “God.”  There are pseudo-religious that change the evangelist’s words  to say that the Word was “a god”; such is the work of the antichrists spoken of by Paul.  For only in the clear recognition of Jesus as “God the only Son,” only in the unequivocal proclamation of His divinity – that He is God – is salvation found.   For this is Truth, Truth brings light, and the light has no discourse with the darkness of lies.  Come to Him who has come unto you, brothers and sisters.  Seeing Him you see God and know God.  And knowing God you “know the truth” and so exult in the joy of His presence in His Word, in His Sacraments, in His Church… in His love.  Praised be the Lord and His dwelling among us.   ******* O LORD, you have revealed yourself to us in the presence of your only Son – let us live in the truth that He is God.  YHWH, thank you for the truth you have given us, the glory you have revealed through your only Son.  Your Word has become flesh and so your very light shines now in our midst – may we embrace Him and His love. Though surrounded by the darkness of lies, we find our way to your truth, O LORD, by your Son and the Holy Spirit with whom we are anointed through Him.  Now we know the truth and are gifted with all knowledge therefore – let us exult in the gift of life you provide. Whoever does not acknowledge your Son does not know you, Father, and does not have the Holy Spirit.  Let us know well Him whom you have sent and bless His Name among ourselves.  Praise and glory belong to Him alone for He alone reveals your glory.  O let this light shine in the hearts of all men, of all who would rejoice in your presence.


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December 30 - Prayer to the Holy Family

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

  O three holy persons united as one in the humble home at Nazareth, Mary and Joseph with God’s only Son… who became your Son, who became our Son, who became our Brother in all things human and shared with you the food of your table and the dust beneath your feet – you are our model upon this earth; you we should follow to find new birth in the Spirit, to find ourselves sons of the Father, to be as brother to Christ. O Holy Family, what a blessed trinity you form in the love of God and neighbor; pray we not fall short of your grace.


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December 30 - Holy Family, Year A

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 08:00:00 +0000

(Sir.3:2-6,12-14;   Ps.128:1-5;   Col.3:12-21;   Mt.2:13-15,19-23)   “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.”   A man is a man, a woman is a woman, and children are children – this does not change with time or culture.  All are called to be one in the love and sacrifice of Christ; all are one holy family. Why do we find it necessary to make excuses for Holy Scripture and the “patriarchal family pattern” it reflects and “the subordinationist family ethic of the Biblical culture” (from the commentary of the missal from which I take today’s readings)?  How is it we have lost the beauty of Paul’s words on the complementary nature of the conjugal relationship?  How is it the family has become bereft of Christ? One would think Paul states, “Husbands, beat your wives,” instead of “Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them,” by the way his text is avoided like the plague.  Why such ignorance of what is actually present in Scripture?  And if the Scripture is perverted, why do we not “in all wisdom... teach and admonish one another,” instead of casting the wisdom of the Lord from our presence, or rationalizing it away.  Is it a sin for a wife to be submissive, to respect her husband; for children to be obedient toward their parents; for the husband and father to lay down his life for his family?  Is power to be defined by the dictates of the world, or by the cross?  Do we desire to control, or to love? “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways!”  Here is the key to our roles, in the exclamation of our psalmist.  “Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him,” Paul summarizes his teaching.  Hear in his letter the call to “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another,” even as the Lord has done with us.  Be led by the Word of the Lord and His instruction and guidance.  You, husbands, do you reflect Joseph’s obedience to the Word of God brought by the angel?  Do you care for your families as God calls?  Are you mothers like Mary, moving according to the protective hand upon your hearth, your house?  And children, do you honor your father and mother’s authority over you as Jesus, who, though the Son of God, humbled Himself to be the child in this Holy Family?  Let us all be as Christ – honoring, obeying, humbling ourselves… in a word, loving one another as He has loved us.  Then we will be of the family of God.   Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.   Music: "Vision of Children" (2nd part) from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.   ******* O LORD, call us out of Egypt to your holy land.  YHWH, obedient let us be to you, and serve one another.  It is your will that we love one another, that we act with humility and patience, always forgiving and living in pea[...]


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December 29 - Prayer to St. Thomas Becket

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000

O blessed martyr who died in the cathedral, murdered by the king of this world as you defended the Chair of Peter and the true faith of the Church – where can we find bishops like yourself; how shall the Church be led without holy apostles willing to give their lives as Christ, in whose place they stand? Pray for us, devout shepherd, that many will be inspired by your example to follow in the footsteps of our Lord and defend the faith even unto the shedding of blood, for what is the shedding of blood in this world compared with the light of Heaven you now know in our Savior’s presence? Pray for us and let us pray with you, seeking truth and love in our pilgrimage on this earth.


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December 29 - Fifth Day of the Octave of Christmas

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.2:3-11;   Ps.96:1-3,5-6,11;   Lk.2:22-35)   “The way we can be sure we are in union with Him is if one who claims to abide in Him conducts himself just as He did.”   “The darkness is over and the real light begins to shine,” and we must live in that light.  “My eyes have witnessed your saving deed displayed for all peoples to see,” declares Simeon in his prophecy over the Christ child.  “In accord with the dictate in the law of the Lord,” though He Himself is God, Mary and Joseph dutifully bring Jesus to the temple to be “consecrated to the Lord” as every first-born male must.  And there the “just and pious” Simeon who so patiently “awaited the consolation of Israel,” the coming of “the Anointed of the Lord,” takes the child “in his arms” and blesses God for His gift, His mercy. Learn from these the attitude all must have.  In their faithful observance of the commands of God and the inspiration of the Spirit, they fulfill His Word.  And so light dawns for us and we know of its presence in our midst.  Now we must continue to “announce His salvation, day after day tell His glory among the nations; among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  Our deeds must mirror His deeds; His light, “a revealing light to the Gentiles, the glory of [His] people Israel,” we must shine.  The sign has come; the new commandment which has been of old must now be realized in each of us.  As a sword has pierced the heart of the Blessed Mother, so it shall pierce the heart of everyone who unites himself to the Blessed Child, who follows in the steps of our blessed Lord. “The thoughts of many hearts [shall] be laid bare.”  There will be no hiding from this light that has come.  If you think you can claim to know Him “without keeping His commandments,” without conducting yourself “just as He did,” you must know that your lie will be exposed.  “The man who continues in the light is the one who loves his brother.”  Only this will save you, for only love is of light; hatred is only of darkness, and in the Lord there is no darkness. Let us join with Simeon in proclaiming His salvation.  Let us join with David in singing of the “splendor and majesty” of the Lord.  “Praise and grandeur are in His sanctuary.”   And let us do this principally with our very lives, becoming as the temple of God who is presented to us this day.   ******* O LORD, let the light of your Son be revealed to our eyes, and in our actions. YHWH, your light be revealed in us this day as it was revealed in your Son to the eyes of Simeon.  May Jesus live in us and we shine His glory forth, that your Word may indeed be fulfilled in all our lives. We are in darkness, LORD.  As we keep not your Word, your Law, your command to love, we stray from right paths and become blind to your presence.  If we do not live your presence, if we do not do your will, how can we claim to be of you?  How can we say we are your[...]


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December 28 - Prayer to the Holy Innocents

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

O innocent martyrs of the Christ who gave your lives from the cradle for Him who carries the Cross, who suffered and died in His place even before His crucifixion, even as His martyrs would do after His death on the Tree – let our hearts cry not for the evil that has wrought your violent death; pray we not fear the dark wrath of this world’s king but set our hearts on the joy of our Lord’s kingdom, where you now reign with Him and to which we hope to come by the laying down of our own lives in His Name. And pray for the least among us who suffer the most this day, that they who are murdered in the womb will know the light of Christ’s holy face.


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December 28 - The Holy Innocents

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 08:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.1:5-2:2;   Ps.124:2-5,7-8;   Mt.2:13-18)   “The blood of His Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”   And as martyrs of the Church, these innocent children slaughtered by Herod participate in the pouring forth of the blood of Christ. “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”  What does the prophet mean but that by the only Son all shall be redeemed of their sins – that out of sin all are called, all are drawn by the Lord?  “Broken was the snare, and we were freed” when the child was born, when He died upon the cross. And that death is begun already in the slaughter of the holy innocents, whom indeed we commemorate as martyrs this day.  In their sacrifice the cross is already known, though the Child Jesus be but a boy.  No greater evil, no greater act of sin could be than Herod’s cruel decree to “massacre all the boys two years and under in Bethlehem and its environs.”  And in the “sobbing and loud lamentation” rising from the town where Jesus was born we hear presaged our own cry, our own beating of our breasts as we gaze upon the crucified body of God’s Holy One. It is sin that brings the slaughter of the innocent children, and it is sin that causes Christ’s crucifixion.  And we are participants in that sin, brothers and sisters.  “If we say, ‘We have never sinned,’ we make Him a liar and His word finds no place in us.”  For He has come because of the sin which encompasses mankind, to redeem us from its sentence of death.  And the blessed apostle John makes clear that we are indeed all participants in sin, and if we deny this fact we make His sacrifice null for our lives and continue to walk in darkness.  We must all bewail our sins and the horrors they have wrought, and from their snare we shall be released – else the “raging waters” will overwhelm us. The souls of the innocents slaughtered by the evil king have been preserved, for their “help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Our souls, too, shall be redeemed “if we acknowledge our sin,” our complicity in evil.  For “He who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong” if we are but able to see we are not innocent as He, or they.   Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.   Music: "My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?" from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.   ******* O LORD, take from us our weeping for our sins; make us innocent as these children.  YHWH, what horrors our sins have wrought?  Are we not complicit in the slaughter of these little ones, as indeed we are complicit in the crucifixion of your Son?  Should we say, “We are free of the guilt of sin”?  Should we deceive ourselves about the darkness in which we find ourselves?  If we should, we would make void the sacrifice of Christ for the cleansing of our souls.  For[...]


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December 27 - Prayer to St. John

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

O beloved disciple of the Lord who saw Him and touched Him, who believed in Him with all your being, who loved Him so that no love but His surpassed your own – speak to us this day of the Word of life who has come among us, died for us, and been raised from the grave. Continue to proclaim that love which alone saves men from sin, which alone banishes death from our midst; let us share in your love for Jesus and join you in proclaiming Him who has come in the joy you knew so well. Point us to Him even this day, that we too might see and believe.


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December 27 - St. John

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 08:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.1:1-4;   Ps.97:1-2,5-6,11-12;   Jn.20:2-8)   “He saw and believed.”   And “the eternal life that was present to the Father and became visible to us,” which John now proclaims, is Jesus Christ the only Son of God, risen from the dead and present to us now even as He sits with the Father. John has seen Him.  He has believed in Him.  His “hands have touched” Him and so he “proclaim[s] the word of life” made so real in his midst.  What else could he do but declare that which burns in his heart?  What else could be the Evangelist’s desire but to share the blessing he has known as “the one Jesus loved”?  For brimming with love this apostle is, and only in writing of this joy, only proclaiming it to the world and seeing others enter into such selfsame blessing will make his joy complete.  To this he has been called by the Lord. “Light dawns for the just,” David declares, as if in his psalm to presage the coming of Christ and John’s own words on the coming of Light to this earth.  And indeed the just shall see Him, and gladness shall be “for the upright of heart.”  For all the just shall “be glad in the Lord… and give thanks to His holy name,” for their souls drink deeply of the salvation in their midst; they know Him whom their hearts love.  They see Him, and believe. And I note the special significance “the piece of cloth which had covered the head” of Jesus – which was “not lying with the wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself,” as John tells us in his gospel – seems to have as a catalyst to belief.  John had seen the wrappings before entering the tomb, but not this cloth, and it is when he enters he sees and believes.  It is as if the Lord left it neatly rolled up in a place by itself to indicate to them that He had not “been taken from the tomb” by robbers, as Mary Magdalene (another beloved of Christ) seems to fear.  Why would a thief take time to do such a thing?  And so, Jesus’ touch is upon the cloth. “All peoples see His glory” now, brothers and sisters.  By the witness of John and all the apostles, eyes are opened to His presence.  Let us see Him with John; let us touch Him… and let us know His touch upon our hearts, and so continue to proclaim His glory.   Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by James Kurt.   Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, let us rejoice in the presence of your Christ with us this day.  YHWH, let all men see your glory in the presence of your risen Son.  Let all men come to that glory through faith in Him.  Let us hear and believe what John tells us – that He has walked among us in the flesh, that the apostles’ hands have touched Him… that our hearts might be touched by His presence, and so your own. With our eyes let us look upon your glory, LORD, we who [...]


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December 26 - Prayer to St. Stephen

Sun, 25 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

O first martyr, model of Christ’s love and bearer of His Holy Spirit in wisdom and in truth, you who spoke as the Lord Himself and died as He died, with the forgiveness of your persecutors upon your lips and utter trust of the Father in your heart – pray that we too will find the grace and strength to commend our lives into the Father’s hands, never holding bitterness toward those who destroy the body, who would chain the Word, but ever loving every soul even as you have done. O let our hearts be set on Jesus! let them bleed as His own, that united in Heaven with Him we shall be with you in the glory of God.


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December 26 - St. Stephen

Sun, 25 Dec 2016 08:00:00 +0000

(Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59;   Ps.31:3-4,6-8,17,21;   Mt.10:17-22) “They proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke.” The world cannot stand up to the Word of God; even death has no power over those who trust themselves to His Spirit. A model of faith is Stephen.  A perfect trust in the Lord made this martyr shine before the persecution of men.  He made the Lord his “rock of refuge” and so the Lord did “lead and guide” him even unto heaven, hidden in “the shelter of [His] promise from the plottings of men.” It is this trust Jesus speaks of in our gospel when He warns His apostles beforehand of the persecution which awaits them.  He tells them that when they are dragged before rulers to “give witness… on [His] account”: “Do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it… the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.”  And it is this trust, even unto death, that Stephen exemplifies so perfectly. David echoes Jesus’ words on the cross in our psalm: “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” and Stephen lives them in our first reading.  While being stoned to death he prays, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (and proceeds to forgive those who kill him).  And so this feast of our first martyr follows our celebration of the birth of our Lord, for it is in this world we are handed over to death, and it is in this world we must suffer in love.  Entirely we must trust ourselves to the care of God to find the vision of heaven – “I see an opening in the sky, and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand” – which becomes Stephen’s own. The words we speak, if they are blessed by God, will bring us inevitably unto heaven.  If it is the Spirit who works in us, what need we fear?  For what is more powerful than He?  Where is greater truth to be found?  And so, to whom else should we turn?  “Whoever holds out till the end will escape death,” brothers and sisters.  Though “hated by all” for our love of Jesus, if we continue ever to love even those who hate us, His Spirit will lift us unto Him and provide all we need, in words and works, to conquer the evil of this world.  May the sweet blood of Jesus cover all His children and bless their witness to Him. Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney. Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission. ******* O LORD, by your power we escape death and find your glory.  YHWH, let us take refuge in you, in your Son, and in the Spirit, and we shall never die but be raised to life in glory with you forevermore.  May your Spirit speak through us and we lay down our lives with your Son. A crown awaits those who love as you love, dear LORD, who follow in the way your Son has marked out for us.  If we speak your truth, if we trust in you and do yo[...]


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December 25 - Christmas Day

Sat, 24 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

(Is.52:7-10;   Ps.98:1-6;   Heb.1:1-6;   Jn.1:1-18)   “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”   The coming of the One prophesied by Isaiah and hailed by John these many days is fulfilled in our midst at this blessed moment in time.  And so in our dark world, the light that is God now shines. “Hark!  Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord restoring Zion.”  To “all the ends of the earth” He makes “His salvation known: in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice.”  For the Lord God walks among us now as man; He “who is the refulgence of His glory, the very imprint of His being,” is now revealed, is now made flesh; “full of grace and truth,” He appears in our midst. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  And He through whom “all things came to be,” who brought life, “the light of the human race,” now shines – and now we come to know Him; now we hear the Word spoken to our ears… now we can say, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”  The Word no longer hidden, God no longer speaks “in partial and various ways,” but now “through the Son” the fullness of truth, the blessing of peace, is upon us. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him,” for He comes “announcing peace… announcing salvation.”  No longer need we wander in darkness, wondering, Where is our God?  He is here.  He is Jesus.  He washes all darkness from our minds, He accomplishes “purification from sins,” and He sits “at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” giving power to be like Him, “to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, “who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.”  Come, see and know the transcendent glory standing in our midst. And so, what have we to do but rejoice?  Though “no one has ever seen God,” though He has seemed to us beyond understanding, yet “the only Son… has revealed Him.”  So let us “sing joyfully before the King, the Lord” “with the harp and melodious song.”  Let us “break into song” and “sing praise.”  For He whom “all the angels of God worship” has come for our salvation, and our Christmas should only be merry.  God be with you, brothers and sisters.  Jesus love you.   Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.   Music: "Baby Being Born" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.   ******* O LORD, your glory is revealed to us this day, and so let us offer you due praise. YHWH, your Son is born in our midst and so reveals your glory to us.  His li[...]


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December 25 - Midnight Mass

Sat, 24 Dec 2016 02:00:00 +0000

(Is.9:1-6;   Ps.96:1-3,11-13;   Ti.2:11-14;   Lk.2:1-14)   “Today in the city of David  a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”   Here is the “infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger”; here is He who saves all from sin, born into our humble humanity. Yes, “a child is born to us, a son is given us,” and “upon His shoulder dominion rests.”  This little one wrapped in our own flesh is indeed named “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.  His dominion is vast and forever peaceful,” for He rules all the earth with His loving justice.  And so what should we do but “announce His salvation, day after day”?  What can we who are overwhelmed with the joy of His presence in our midst do but “tell His glory among the nations; among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  For He has come for all nations and all people, to live in their hearts this day. “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice”; and let all mankind join the angels in their song of praise: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”  The Lord has come “to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people as His own,” to bring His surpassing peace to all souls set on His goodness and His glory.  So, let us be “eager to do what is good,” that we might be as He is, that we might share in His eternal peace. To Bethlehem the Virgin came at the time of the census.  There “the time came for her to have her child,” He who is our Bread of Life.  For He is enrolled among our number now; God has been made man – and nothing could give life to waiting souls like this miracle of new birth in our midst.  And so, let us know the humble shepherd’s awe; let us hear the word the angel brings, for he “proclaim[s] to [us] good news of great joy that will be for all people.”  Jesus our Savior is with us today.   Written & chanted by James Kurt; read by Sylvia Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney.   Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, your glory is revealed to us this day, and so let us offer you due praise.  YHWH, your Son is born in our midst and so reveals your glory to us.  His light now shines in this dark world, and so men are saved from their sins.  O let us worship Him who is the very imprint of your Being! who is one with you.  You are with us this day in your Son, and what should we do but rejoice. Glory to you, LORD and GOD, for now the feet of Jesus walk among us and peace is proclaimed to the ends of the earth; salvation is ours by the grace and truth He brings to this land.  Let all eyes behold the salvation He has wrought in our midst.  Let all souls break out in [...]


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December 24 - Second Part of Advent

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.7:1-5,8-12,14,16;   Ps.89:2-5,27,29;   Lk.1:67-79)   “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever.”   The Lord builds a house for us; He is that House. “Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations,” the Lord promises David, and accomplishes His word by Himself entering the line of the king.  Thus “He has visited and ransomed His people.  He has raised a horn of saving strength for us in the house of David His servant” in the Person of Jesus the Christ.  And so we shall find “freedom from [our] sins” and “the kindness of our God” shall remain upon us. “To guide our feet into the way of peace,” Jesus has come.  To bring “salvation from our enemies and from the hands of all our foes,” He stands among us.  Zechariah’s joy at the birth of John, his son, is really the joy in the coming one, for whom John but “prepare[s] straight paths.”  The Spirit inspires this old priest to sing primarily of the fulfillment of the promise long held by his people, the promise of Abraham, the promise of David – the promise of finding fulfillment as God’s chosen ones, held in His hand, in His temple, in His house, and protected from all harm while worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.  This Jesus accomplishes. And so, “we should serve Him devoutly, and through all our days, be holy in His sight,” for no greater gift have we than this opportunity for holiness in the one true Son of God and in the House He establishes.  Should not the Church be our home?  Has not the Lord provided for the building of its walls?  Has He not provided His own flesh and blood to be spread upon its altar?  Has He not “fix[ed] a place for [His] people Israel… that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance”?  Has He not said, “My kindness is established forever,” and “in heaven… confirmed [His] faithfulness”?  And should we not enter His house, enter His heaven, and praise His holy Name? Here we stand, with His Word, with His Body and Blood.  Here we have His teaching and His food.  What more need we?  And this day the Child who is the House of God approaches.  Are we ready now for His coming?   ******* O LORD, guide our feet in the way of peace; fulfill your promise and make us your sons. YHWH, we sit in darkness waiting for the coming of your Son; open our eyes to see His light and our mouths to sing of His glory.  Let us enter into His way of peace.  Deliver us from the enemy, O LORD, from the sin upon our souls. How shall we be made free of our sins, LORD, except that you come to us and fulfill your Covenant with us, that you shall be our Father and we your children?  And how shall you acco[...]


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December 23 - Prayer to St. John of Kanty

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000

O holy teacher of the faith and pastor of Christ’s flock who instructed with wisdom and led by kindness and humility those in your care and all those around you – teach us today not only to know our faith but to practice it by holiness of life as you have done, so simply, so thoroughly as a child of the Lord. Pray for us and pray for our priests, for whom you are a model of perfection. All yourself you have given in imitation of Jesus; may the Lord God be in our hearts and on our lips just so truly as He has been with you, good teacher.


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December 23 - Second Part of Advent

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Mal.3:1-4,23-24;   Ps.25:4-5,8-10,14,Lk.21:28;   Lk.1:57-66)   “His name is John.”   Yes, “the hand of the Lord [was] upon him,” whose name signifies the grace of God, who comes at the end of the age to turn men’s hearts back to God, who prepares the way we must walk to find the instruction and purgation of the Lord. We must be purified by “the refiner’s fire.”  We must be purged of all dross “like gold or like silver that [we] may offer due sacrifice to the Lord,” that we might be called children of the One God.  The Day is coming; the Lord is returning to the temple, and we must be prepared to welcome Him – and so John is born, sent in the spirit of Elijah the prophet to cry out the way in the wilderness of this world.  By the Spirit of the Lord, he “shows sinners the way; he guides the humble to justice,” leading them to the Son who stands ready in Truth to teach and to save.  Well do the people do to wonder at the birth of this holy child, for well will they do to follow his exhortation, and come to praise of the living God. This John leads us to something new, as even the originality of his name among his relatives signifies; he assists us in making the turn, the conversion to the New Covenant in the blood of Christ.  From the Old and as a prophet of old, he leads us to the dawn of new light in this world.  Jesus he comes to proclaim.  Without this grace of God to be washed in the river of our sins, how could we stand on “the great and terrible day” of the Lord’s coming?  How could we bear His light, His fire? “All the paths of the Lord are kindness and constancy toward those who keep His covenant and His decrees.”  Praise God we have the instruction of the Lord with us now to guide us to life everlasting; and thank God we have been made ready by “the messenger of the covenant” to stand in the light of that wisdom.  The Lord teaches us now, brothers and sisters; the Lord is with us to instruct us in His way and, “like the fuller’s lye,” to make us white.  Let us not make the grace of forgiveness John has wrought by the hand of God among us come to naught – let us listen closely now to the Word of God to which his voice has led us.   P.S.  Re the Bible, the Word of God – a quote by St. Hippolytus from today’s Office: “Sacred Scripture is God’s gift to us and it should be understood in the way He intends: we should not do violence to it by interpreting it according to our own preconceived ideas.”   *******  O LORD, you brought John to birth to prepare the way of your only Son – let us walk that path to you.  YHWH, your hand was upon John for our good, to prepare[...]


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December 22 - Second Part of Advent

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.1:24-28;   1Sm.2:1,4-8;   Lk.1:46-56)   “His mercy is from age to age on those who fear Him.”   The Magnificat of Mary mirrors but, if I may say, far surpasses the Canticle of Hannah in beauty, in wonder, in grace… even as the perfection of the Son she bears far exceeds the blessing of the prophet Samuel.  As Jesus brings to fulfillment the greatness of all who came before Him, so Mary’s song expresses that perfection in the light of the same divine mercy. Mercy indeed is infused in each line she utters under the power of the Spirit.  Mercy and truth, a love completely open to the blessings of God is hers and is revealed in the words which fall like cleansing rain from her immaculate lips.  She is blessed, she knows, and she shall be called blessed; for the truth, the Word of God, cannot be hidden, must be raised to meet the eyes and ears of all who seek His grace.  For “the hungry He [gives] every good thing,” and the lowly He raises “to high places.”  She is “His servant in her lowliness” and the joy of such blessing she cannot help but proclaim with all her being. Hannah brings the child she has conceived in answer to her prayer, through the intercession of Eli – by the grace of God – and dedicates him to the Lord, leaving him at the temple.  She, too, “exults in the Lord” for the fact that, in the Lord’s will, “the barren wife bears seven sons”; for she who was thought sterile has borne the great man of God, Samuel.  Mary, in her grateful appreciation for the blessing upon her, will not need to leave her child at the temple, for He has been conceived entirely of the Holy Spirit and is Himself the Temple of the Lord, wholly dedicated to the will of the Father from before the inception of time. As the ancient Israelites found the direction and guidance of God through the ministry of Samuel, as by him they were led to serve the Lord their God, so now in this the end of the age we have Jesus, the perfect light of guidance through the grace and mercy of God, to lead us to the total service of the Lord that Mary embodies so well.  God is “mighty,” brothers and sisters; “holy is His name.”  Let us rejoice in Him who “has upheld Israel His servant, ever mindful of His mercy,” and let us make that same blessed mercy the leaven that lifts us unto heaven.  To Him let us sing our song of praise.   ******* O LORD, Mary you have blessed with your very presence, and so she has become the Temple in which you dwell – may we all become as your Temple. YHWH, to the humble you show your mercy; you raise them up to dwell with you.  Our Mother Mary is the humbl[...]


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December 21 - Prayer to St. Peter Canisius

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000

O great defender of the faith, of the clear waters, the wellspring of salvation that flows from the Sacred Heart of our Savior into His holy Church, thus to nourish the world and fill it with truth and wisdom and love… you whom the Lord inspired with apostolic zeal to teach and lead souls along His holy way – teach us today by your gracious intercession to be faithful, to be obedient to the voice of Jesus and the Spirit speaking in the Mother the Lord God provides His pilgrim people. Let us not be separated from His Word and His precious Body and Blood, but come together as one in His presence.


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December 21 - Second Part of Advent

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Sgs.2:8-14 or Zep.3:14-18;  Ps.33:1-3,11-12,20-21;   Lk.1:39-45)   “Let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.”   “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” – she who comes bearing the Christ child, she whose very voice magnifies the presence of the Lord.  Listen to the witness of Elizabeth: “The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby stirred in my womb for joy.”  Mary carries the Son of God not only in her womb, but in her soul; the Spirit working within her serves to inspire him who shall go before the Lord, and so she paves the road the forerunner of Jesus shall tread. How one are mother and child!  Never so evident has it been than in this passage from Holy Scripture.  For Mary’s voice carries the very presence of Jesus, and Elizabeth’s ears convey that presence to her child.  Here is that relationship of love depicted in our reading from the Song of Songs exemplified most clearly; here is the oneness of lover and beloved.  And the loveliness of the lover becomes the loveliness of the beloved; the blessing of the Child becomes the blessing of the Mother – and in this love the earth brings forth its fruit. “The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.”  “The Lord, your God, is in your midst,” and He blesses all with His presence.  He calls to your soul to come forth and know His love.  “Springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills,” He hastens to your side.  He visits you.  He visits you, speaking to your heart, calling you to arise and join Him.  As Mary visits Elizabeth, “proceeding in haste into the hill country,” to bring her Son to the son of Elizabeth and so producing joy in this unborn child’s heart – so she brings her sweet Jesus to us this day, her voice speaking of His glory to the ears of Mother Church. And so she becomes our Mother; and so she becomes our lover, for she bears the great lover of all souls to wed Himself to us as He is so perfectly wed to her.  His sweetness comes to us through His “beautiful one,” causing our hearts to rejoice at the sound of her voice and leading us to sing songs of praise to His holy name.  Let us raise the joyful shout to our God!   ******* O LORD, in joy with Mary, help us to bring Jesus to every waiting soul. YHWH, should we not rejoice at the coming of your Son?  He comes to us across the hills in the womb of His Mother: should His approach not fill us with expectation and wonder, with joy in the Holy Spirit?  And should we not c[...]


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December 20 - Second Part of Advent

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.7:10-14;   Ps.24:1-7,10;   Lk.1:26-38)   “Blessed are you among women.”   “The virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and shall name Him Immanuel because ‘God is with us.’”  “The virgin’s name was Mary.”  And she has given birth to the Savior. “Who may stand in His holy place?” King David sings in our psalm.  “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?”  Clearly Jesus is He.  But as clear is that we are all called to be as He, and that she has been, she who is so like Him – she that is indeed His Mother.  It is she who “seeks the face of the God of Jacob,” she “whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain…” and so she “receive[s] a blessing from the Lord,” the greatest blessing: the Son of God. Fearful is she in her great humility in the awesome presence of the Lord.  Questioning is she in the perfect innocence of her consecrated virginity.  But obedient only is she as she hears of the answer to her devout prayer for the pregnancy of her kinswoman, and so assumes the role most native to her, the one she has promised to fulfill: “the maidservant of the Lord.” O glorious Virgin Mary!  You who worship so perfectly, so completely, the One who owns “the earth and its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it,” and so bring that very fullness to us all, teach us to be like Jesus your Son, whom you imitate so absolutely, so naturally.  Teach us to be as He who is flesh of your flesh.  Be our Mother as well, that we might be brother and sister and mother to the Lord.  Aid us in giving our total consent to the will of God.  “O highly favored daughter!  The Lord is with you.”  Pray He be with us now, too. “With that the angel left.”  Upon receiving her wholehearted acceptance of her call, his mission is finished, and so he goes.  Brothers and sisters, may the angel leave our presence so satisfied that the call of the Lord for our lives will be so well answered.  Take heart that “nothing is impossible with God” and that as blessed as she is, so blessed does the Lord call you to be – if you but say yes to His word burning in your soul and lay down your life as has the Mother of God.  Give the Lord your “yes” this day. ******* O LORD, may the Blessed Virgin Mother of your Son pray for us this day that we shall be pure as she, and so, able to stand in your presence. YHWH, she whom you call to be Mother of your Son is indeed sinless in your sight.  Because her heart is clean, she can accept your Word and give birth [...]


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December 19 - Second Part of Advent

Sun, 18 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Jgs.13:2-7,24-25;   Ps.71:3-6,8,16-17;   Lk.1:5-25) “From my mother’s womb you are my strength.”  How the above line from our psalm is reflected both in Samson and in John, and how parallel are the lives of these two great men.  Of John it is said, “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb”; of Samson, “This boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb” and “The Spirit of the Lord began to be with him.”  The birth of both is announced by an angel of the Lord.  Both will be born of women who were barren.  Both will be nazirites, who shall “never drink wine or strong drink,” and whose head “no razor shall touch.”  Both come for the deliverance of the people, though Samson only from “the power of the Philistines” while John comes to “prepare for the Lord a people well-disposed,” that we might have eternal salvation. Of course, Jesus, too, will have His birth announced by the angel of the Lord; He will be born of a woman from whom it seems no child could come – a consecrated virgin – and this of the Holy Spirit, who is with Him even before time.  His is a new testament, however, signified by His birth of a woman of youth and not old age.  Though hailed by the old, He brings the newness of God into our midst.  His birth fulfills all the births and words and wisdom of the prophets and judges and kings of the Old Testament. But, returning to our psalm and its universal call in the voice of Christ (words which apply to all in their quest for God), we should remember today that for all, God is our “rock of refuge” on whom we “depend from birth.”  “You have taught me from my youth,” the psalmist declares to the Lord, and so it should be true with us all that from the womb “till the present [we] proclaim [His] wondrous deeds.”  He works in all our lives, brothers and sisters; He has brought us all to birth and is acting now, His Spirit upon us, to see that we are born into His kingdom. The great figures of the Old Testament, and especially John, are models from whom we can all learn, holy men whom we can certainly admire.  But as our Lord has stated clearly, none of those born of woman can compare with those born into the kingdom of heaven.  And so, let us take our strength for our journey from His prophets and from His Word; from His Spirit let us receive what we need in this life for our journey to His paradise.  As strong as were Samson and John, so much stronger can we now be by His Body and His Blood, our holy food on this earth, [...]


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December 18 - Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A

Sat, 17 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

(Is.7:10-14;   Ps.24:1-7,10;   Rm.1:1-7;   Mt.1:18-24)   “God is with us.”   How shall we “ascend the mountain of the Lord”?  How shall we scale the heights and come to know Him as He is, He who “founded [the earth] upon the seas and established it upon the rivers”?  Only by the Son, who “will save His people from their sins,” are we made ready to stand in His presence.  “For it is through the Holy Spirit this child has been conceived,” and we are made holy by the blessing of His presence among our kind. He is one like us.  Can you believe it?  Can you understand it, understand its significance and the grace it is as a gift from God?  Joseph struggled, certainly, to believe, to understand, to accept the greatness of this gift to him and to his people.  The angel of the Lord had to come to him to convince him to receive such great grace into his life, into his home.  But he did.  He did believe, and he did fulfill his role in the coming salvation. And, yes, what of us?  We “are called to belong to Jesus Christ… called to be holy.”  Paul answered the call from God to be His apostle and “bring about the obedience of faith”; again, what of us?  Do we answer the call to holiness?  Do we reflect that obedience?  The time is upon us now.  The great sign has been fulfilled in our midst.  Jesus has been born and stands with us now to lead us to the purity of the Father – are we prepared to make this Child our own? What greater truth can be proclaimed than that God is with us?  What greater grace can we receive than the forgiveness of our sins, than the preparation of our hearts for heaven?  Jesus accomplishes these blessings now for all who desire to enter the presence of God, for He is the presence of God among us; He Himself is divine grace.  His mercy is upon us. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” brothers and sisters.  The power of the Lord be upon your souls.  May the “Spirit of holiness” establish you with the Son as a child of the Father.  Be of “the race that seeks for Him,” and you shall find Him present, dwelling in your homes.   Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.   Music: "Vision of Children" (1st part) from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.   ******* O LORD, you call us to be holy; let us indeed be as the Virgin Mother of your Son. YHWH, you are with us now in your only Son, who has been born of the wom[...]


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December 17 - Second Part of Advent

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Gn.49:2,8-10;   Ps.72:3-4,7-8,17;   Mt.1:1-17)   “May He rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”   Since “the scepter shall never depart from Judah,” the reign of Jesus, His descendant, His fulfillment, is without end – He is King forever.  And so, “tribute is brought to Him, and He receives the peoples’ homage,” which is in itself their salvation. Who is this Lion of Judah, fulfillment of Jacob’s prophetic blessing of his son?  What sort of king have we?  It is in the words of our psalm we find His kingship revealed: “He shall defend the afflicted among the people, save the children of the poor.”  For Jesus, though fierce as a lion in His judgment – for there is nothing untrue in Him – reveals primarily the love of God the king must embody.  In His reign, “the mountains shall yield peace for the people, and the hills justice.”  First is the love He brings to this generation; second, its complement, justice. And of what worth is the “family record of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham,” we find in our gospel today?  Be not overly bored by it, my brothers and sisters, for in its mundaneness it holds the key to our salvation.  For it reveals how very real Jesus is, that He is part of our human family; and should this not make us rejoice, that the Son of God is also Son of Man?  And though the forty-two or so names may not be familiar to our ears, we should know at least that there are all kinds in this family tree of Jesus, from great men and women of faith humble before their God, to wicked kings and a prostitute.  There is thus hope for us all. Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of the promised son of Abraham, and son of David, the king who sits on the throne forever.  It was of Mary He was born, and Mary’s husband was Joseph.  And since husband and wife are one – and though there’s was only a spiritual communion, it is in the spiritual communion unity is truly found – we trace His line through this humble man.  And we pray we shall enter into communion with the Lord ourselves and live in the reign of this King in whom “all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed.”  Today we praise our brother in the flesh and pray to be made one in His Spirit.  May He indeed rule over all. ******* O LORD, because your Son judges justly, peace shall reign to the ends of the earth – for this He has come among us. YHWH, your Son rules over all; from sea to sea and to the [...]


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December 16 - Friday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.56:1-3,6-8;   Ps.67:2-3,5,7-8;   Jn.5:33-36)      “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”   The Truth has come, and all nations are drawn to Him. None is excluded in the House of God; His holy Temple is a place where all take refuge, where all find fulfillment, where all find joy.  He only asks that we heed His testimony, that we see the works which He performs and act in accordance with His holiness.  “Observe what is right, do what is just, for my salvation is about to come, my justice, about to be revealed,” the Lord says to us all.  Set yourselves on right paths with Him who has come, and you will be readily accepted into His presence. “Loving the name of the Lord and becoming His servants,” this is what brings us into His house.  No matter who we are, no matter where we are, no matter when we are, we will be brought “to [His] holy mountain and [made] joyful in [His] house of prayer,” if we follow His ways.  Exult in the light of the Lord, know that Jesus is the Temple to which your heart is drawn and your “holocausts and sacrifices will be acceptable on [His] altar.” His justice is for all; His love extends to the ends of the earth.  David’s prayer is answered in Jesus: “May your way be known upon earth, among all nations your salvation.”  For now does He “rule the peoples in equity”; now “the earth has yielded its fruits.”  Now the blessing of our God falls upon all whose hearts turn to Him. “May all the ends of the earth fear Him!”  Then will all be drawn into His house of prayer and know His love.  This day shall not be long in coming; come now to “the lamp, set aflame and burning bright” for all eternity.  Enter into the flesh of Christ.   ******* O LORD, you sent your Son that the light of your face might shine upon us and all peoples might learn to love your NAME.       YHWH, let us exult in the eternal light that is your Son. He has come among us to draw all souls into your House of prayer, that all might offer holy sacrifice to you on high. And you accept all who come through Him; those who do what is right and keep your day holy you join to yourself. O may all men know such blessing! May all the ends of the earth glory in your presence.      All the nations you gather into your arms, O LORD, by the intercession of Jesus. Your works He performs in our midst to reveal your glory to us and so draw us to the truth, to your holy[...]


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December 15 - Thursday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.54:1-10;   Ps.30:2,4-6,11-13;   Lk.7:24-30)   “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will take you back.”   We are “the barren one who did not bear,” the “wife married in youth and then cast off” by our God.  Once “forsaken and grieved in spirit,” blushing for the “shame of [our] youth,” now the Lord takes us home and promises us His love.  “My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken,” the Lord in His mercy assures us.  Though we be as those in the days of Noah, deserving of His destructive wrath, yet He takes pity on us, not only sparing our lives, but also promising to expand our space, to increase us in His blessed generosity beyond what we could imagine.  “At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.”  Yes, our sin has made us sad; our separation from God has invited His wrath and made us less than what we are.  But though the Lord may punish in His justice, yet “His anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime His good will.”  David sings, “You changed my mourning into dancing,” for indeed great is His mercy toward us; tender is His touch upon us as He brings us “up from the netherworld” and places us at His side in the kingdom, as His holy bride. And the Baptist makes the way the redeemed must walk.  Necessary is “the baptismal bath he administered” in order to realize God’s plan for the salvation of our lives.  He is the messenger who goes ahead of the Lord, preparing the path that leads to our being “born into the kingdom of God,” where our greatness cannot be measured for it will be in union with Him who is “God of all the earth.”  Indeed, we must turn from our sins to find our way to this unity; we must repent in tears and turn back to Him.  And He will be quick to rescue us, and we will be blessed to rejoice forever, to “break forth in jubilant song” at the graces poured forth upon us by our God in the forgiveness of our sins. His tender Hand is near us, waiting to touch us.  Is it your will to be wed to the Most High God?  Then receive the baptism He requires and you will be made fruitful in the kingdom of God.   ******* O LORD, take us back to you; may our hearts be prepared to receive your glory.      YHWH, we must be cleansed in your baptismal bath, for you wish to draw us back to you from our sin; you wish to turn our mourning into dancing, but we can[...]


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December 14 - Prayer to St. John of the Cross

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 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.


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December 14 - Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.45:6-8,18,21-25;   Ps.85:9-14,Is.45:8;   Lk.7:18-23)   “There is no just and saving God but me.”   Jesus is “He who is to come”; His deeds speak for themselves.  “There is no other!” “Justice shall walk before Him, and salvation, along the way of His steps.”  How evident this is in Jesus’ life, for wherever He goes He teaches wisdom; whomever He touches He heals.  God created the world “not to be a waste” but “to be lived in,” and so Jesus sets free all captives – the blind, the lame, the deaf… He releases all from sin.  Yes, “the Lord Himself will give His benefits; our land shall yield its increase.”  The justice which descends from the heavens, which falls from His lips “like dew from above,” will cause “salvation [to] bud forth.” “Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him.”  We see Him.  We hear Him.   If our hearts are open to Him, we witness His working every moment of our lives.  For He is “the creator of the heavens… the designer and maker of the earth,” and His Hand is at work in all things – He cannot be separated from His creation.  The light and the darkness are made by Him, and for us who love Him “truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.”  “For He proclaims peace to His people.”  For those who love Him, there is only light. And we know that Light is Jesus.  It is to witness to Him the Baptist came; and now he hears of the fulfillment of the way he has prepared.  We must find “no stumbling block” in the Lord.  We must join in proclaiming His good news, in walking in His way – in letting our deeds speak for themselves as wrought by the Hand of the loving Creator and His redeeming Son. Be of light, brothers and sisters, of justice, of peace.  Let kindness and truth meet in all your words and deeds and you will be sons and daughters of the one “just and saving God” – and you will be blessed forever.   ******* O LORD, may every knee bend before you who created us and redeemed us. YHWH, in your goodness you have made the earth and all who dwell in it, and by your grace your Son has served to redeem Creation.  From the beginning you designed this world to be lived in, you desired that all your creatures should flourish, and though woe has come upon us because of our disobedience, now Jesus has come[...]


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December 13 - Prayer to St. Lucy

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 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.


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December 13 - Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Zep.3:1-2,9-13;   Ps.34:2-3,6-7,17-19,23;   Mt.21:28-32)   “I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord.”   All have been “rebellious and polluted”; all have been as she who “hears no voice” and “accepts no correction.”  But the Lord now comes to “change and purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.”  Who is it who hears the voice of the Lord to “not be ashamed of all [our] deeds, [our] rebellious acts against [Him]”? “Let me make it clear that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you,” Jesus states simply and directly to the chief priests and elders.  These lowest of society, these most polluted, have put faith in John’s preaching of “a way of holiness,” but those most esteemed, the elder son whose words bear the stamp of God but whose actions are far from Him, are held back from entering the kingdom by their pride, perhaps thinking they are already there. How sad.  How can it be that those so steeped in the holy Scriptures do not hear the words of David’s psalm: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves”?  Or how are they blind to the vision of the “humble and lowly” the Lord deems to bless?  For that matter, how do they hide themselves from the great prophet’s declaration that the Lord “will remove from [their] midst the proud braggarts”? Our words alone will not save us, brothers and sisters.  However great the lines of the scribe or the preaching of the priest, it will mean nothing if not lived in flesh and blood.  Better to say no to God, as the younger son, and then turn to Him and do His will.  Certainly we all stray; and this we must recognize.  But just as certain is that all must turn to Him, after regretting our sin, and do as He commands.   Do not be afraid.  The Lord will “destroy remembrance of evildoers,” but count not yourself as in allegiance with them.  Be among those who “speak no lies” and you “shall pasture and couch [your] flocks with none to disturb [you].”  The vision of God and His Spirit shall be your own.   ******* O LORD, let us speak no lie before you but let our actions m[...]


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December 12 - Monday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Sun, 11 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Nm.24:2-7,15-17;   Ps.25:4-9;   Mt.21:23-27)   “A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel.”   And the light of that star is reflected in the eyes of Balaam, who, though a pagan, is gifted by God with the clear vision to see the beauty and wonder of “Israel encamped, tribe by tribe,” “like gardens beside a stream,” “like the cedars planted by the Lord.”  And as He is seen in the nation of Israel blessed by the Lord, so His glory is reflected in the heart and words and actions of everyone who believes and proclaims in truth that Jesus is that star, that Jesus is the Son of God. Those who remain close to the teaching of Jesus, and to His ways, “shall have the sea within reach.”  There shall be an abundance of wisdom at the ready for those who are graced with ears to hear His words.  “He teaches the humble His way,” yes, and guides us on straight paths which lead directly to the Most High.  And “with eyes unveiled” we shall gaze not only on His reflection in the fields of this earthly existence, but on Him Himself as He is in heaven. The teaching of Jesus is divine and He Himself is divine, above whose authority there is no other.  But His light can only be seen, His words can only be understood by those whose hearts are open to truth and willing to walk the path He sets.  If the “chief priests and elders of the people” closed themselves off from Him in a political quandary, we must not do so.  Instead we must be as His apostles, in whom the tribes of Israel are truly aligned perfectly, and have as ready a response as we know Peter had on the shores of Galilee, as Thomas had when He appeared in their midst: He is our Lord, our God.  This we must see.  This we must know.  And this we must proclaim. The star has risen in our midst; the Savior has come.  Now we await the fulfillment of that light and must bring it to bear in this generation.  Now we must follow that star where it leads. ******* O LORD, let our eyes see the coming of your Son, and our hearts put faith in His authority. YHWH, let our eyes not be blind, blind to the glory that stands before us in your only Son.  Let our eyes be open to vision of your kingdom, the kingdom He brings to this earth.  Let our tents be set in line with your[...]


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December 12 - Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sun, 11 Dec 2016 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.


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December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sun, 11 Dec 2016 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 [...]


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December 11 - Prayer to St. Damasus I

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 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.


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December 11 - Sunday of the 3rd Week of Advent, Year A

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

(Is.35:1-6,10;   Ps.146:6-10,Is.35:4;   Jas.5:7-10;   Mt.11:2-11)   “Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.”   Hope.  What hope have we.  And so we should “be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.”  Indeed, we must endure “the early and the late rains” – having been converted to the Lord we shall be purged of all sin on the last day – but, though “hardship” be with us now, our hope should be firm in Him who comes, in Him who “is standing before the gates” even now. Jesus is the fulfillment of the vision given Isaiah and the salvation sung of by our psalmist.  By Him, “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”  Should not He who has power over all maladies, and even death, bring us hope in the kingdom to come?  Should not our seeing these wonders wrought by Jesus instill great faith in our hearts?  Should we not even rejoice now in our suffering, knowing well that “sorrow and mourning will flee away” when He comes, that the very suffering we experience now will then be no more?  Patience.  Indeed, patience brings us hope, enables us to endure all, even joyfully. And does Jesus not seek to encourage greater hope, greater faith in our hearts by His words about John the Baptist?  “What did you go out to the desert to see?” He asks the crowds, addressing their longing for truth, their desire for hope, and confirms that the prophet they sought was indeed greater than all “among those born of women.”  But He does not stop there.  How much farther He leads them: “The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  Remarkable.  What hope have we, to be greater than the Baptist.  For the Baptist is himself a man, who himself suffers and struggles, inquiring if Jesus is “the one who is to come,” and must himself be assured by the Lord.  But in heaven no question will remain.  This desert in which we seek the Lord will come to full bloom “with abundant flowers.”  Keep the faith in joy, brothers and sisters.  We have every reason for hope[...]


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December 10 - Saturday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Sir.48:1-4,9-11;   Ps.80:2-4,15-16,18-19;   Mt.17:10-13)   “Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace.”   Elijah has come, to “restore everything.”  The word has fallen like fire from heaven to prepare a path for the Lord to tread.  The Baptist has cried out as a voice in the wilderness for us to make our hearts ready for the coming of the Lord. But, sadly, “they did not recognize him and they did as they pleased with him.”  They rejected the voice crying to them and attempted to cover over the way the word had cleared before them.  He who came “to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob,” was himself turned back; and they cast him into prison and beheaded the great prophet. Yet the way remains open to us.  He whom the prophet hailed has come into our midst, and His presence cannot be taken away – even to the end of the age (which is upon us).  And we must join with our psalmist today in calling upon Him to “come to save us,” to “look down from heaven, and see,” to “take care of this vine” planted by His right hand.  “Give us new life, and we will call upon your name,” must be our prayer, especially in this Advent season, for we must awaken and enliven the path to God the Baptist has served to blaze in our hearts.  We must know now Him whom he has hailed. And, yes, with this Elijah and with the Son of Man, we too will suffer at the hands of those who would silence the Word, who would extinguish the fire set upon the earth.  But the fire is eternal and its light and power cannot be dimmed, much less extinguished.  It will purify those who seek the face of God and destroy those who turn from Him.  It cannot be otherwise.  Now that the Lord has come, His angels wait in expectation to purge the world.  Once more only the prophet Elijah will appear and the flaming furnace his words prepare will be fulfilled in God’s eternity by the return of the Son of Man.  In absolute glory the Lord will reign. ******* O LORD, Elijah has come and the way of the Cross has been prepared; your Son is now prese[...]


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December 9 - Prayer to St. Juan Diego

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 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.


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December 9 - Friday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 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 cal[...]


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December 8 - Prayer on the Immaculate Conception

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 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

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 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 t[...]


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December 7 - Prayer to St. Ambrose

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 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 - Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 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[...]


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December 6 - Prayer to St. Nicholas

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 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 - Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 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.  A[...]


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December 5 - Monday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 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[...]


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December 4 - Prayer to St. John of Damascus

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 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 - Sunday of the 2nd Week of Advent, Year A

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 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[...]


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December 3 - Prayer to St. Francis Xavier

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 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 - Saturday of the 1st Week of Advent

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 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 [...]


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December 2 - Friday of the 1st Week of Advent

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.29:17-24;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   Mt.9:27-31)   “The eyes of the blind shall see.”   O “that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate His temple.”  That out of “gloom and darkness” I might be taken, and come “to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”  That I could feel His hands touch my eyes, that I might have the faith to believe they shall be open to His glory… Brothers and sisters, we are blind.  All of us.  All of us lack understanding.  All of us falter in faith.  For who among us is there that gazes continually upon the Lord’s presence?  Who among us has entered His glory?  Who among us possesses no arrogance and has “nothing to be ashamed of”?  If yet we toil upon this earth, groaning as we await the redemption of our bodies, then yet do we continue in a measure blind.  Yet do we seek His face.  And if yet seeking “to see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living,” then yet have we to find it in its fullness; and so, yet do our eyes lack of the light that is the Lord, our salvation. But certainly we are not without hope.  Most certainly His hand is upon us even now.  Most certainly His presence comes to us each and every day.  Clearly His light shines in our midst in the Sacrament we receive and in the Word we hear, and so we can with confidence heed the exhortation of the psalm of David: “Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”  For He comes, and we know this.  We are catching up to Him, and this is our joy.  Yes, today do we know we shall see Him, for our eyes do glimpse Him even now. In the meantime, brothers and sisters, as we wait, as the light that has dawned upon the world rises to our eyes, as He comes to fill our vision, l[...]


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December 1 - Thursday of the 1st Week of Advent

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 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 gre[...]


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November 30 - Prayer to St. Andrew

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 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

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 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[...]


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November 29 - Tuesday of the 1st Week of Advent

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 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 [...]


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November 28 - Monday of the 1st Week of Advent

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 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 sha[...]


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November 27 - Sunday of the 1st Week of Advent, Year A

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

(Is.2:1-5;   Ps.122:1-9;   Rm.13:11-14;   Mt.24:37-44)   “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may instruct us in His ways, and we may walk in His paths.”   “Beat [your] swords into plowshares.”  “Throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  “It is the hour now for you to awake from sleep,” and to “stay awake!  For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”  And even now He calls you to “go up to the house of the Lord” and “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Advent has come, and so we are reminded of the Lord’s coming and our need to be prepared.  He will not come in vain, and will not accept any vanity into His kingdom.  His is a kingdom of light into which no darkness enters.  His is a place of peace where “rivalry and jealousy” and all “the desires of the flesh” find no provision. If in the days of Noah they were blind to the time of their visitation, and so “the flood came and carried them away,” how can it be the same with us, who have the first coming of Christ in the manger and on the cross to stir us to wakefulness?  If we live now as in the days of Sodom, how much greater will be our punishment?  If we allow our house to be “broken into” though we have His voice calling to our hearts, what could make us think that He will take us with Him when He comes again? It is indeed time to wake from the sleep of sin and “stream toward… the Lord’s mountain.”  There we shall rejoice in His grace as His “relatives and friends”; there we shall find the light of His[...]


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November 26 - Saturday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Rv.22:1-7;   Ps.95:1-7,Rv.21:20;   Lk.21:34-36)   “Remember, I am coming soon!”   And when He comes what blessings there shall be for those who have been faithful to Him.  They shall eat of “the trees of life which produce fruit twelve times a year,” which grow either side of “the river of life-giving water, clear as crystal” flowing from “the throne of God and of the Lamb.”  Healed entirely shall they be by the medicine of their leaves. Then, brothers and sisters, if we wish to eat of this blessed, holy fruit, let us not now “become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares.”  For the bitter fruit of this earth will only poison our souls with sin and so prevent our tasting the food of the heavenly kingdom.  “Nothing deserving a curse shall be found there,” so let us remove all of this world’s bitterness from our tongues. Oh my dear brethren, the promise is great for those who “serve Him faithfully,” who “acclaim the Rock of our salvation,” the Lord, the “great God,” and Jesus Christ His Son.  Listen to what our blessed brother John imparts to us today, for “these words are trustworthy and true,” and oh so beautiful: “They shall see Him face to face and bear His name on their foreheads.  The night shall be no more.  They will need no light from lamps or the sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever.”  Do you hear these words?  Does the promise take root in your hearts?  Oh let your heart be upon His light!  Let the glory of His face be all you aspire to, for it is not fa[...]


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November 25 - Prayer to St. Catherine of Alexandria

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 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 - Friday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Rv.20:1-4,11-21:2;   Ps.84:3-6,8,Rv.21:3;   Lk.21:29-33)   “The heavens and the earth will pass away, but my words will not pass.”   Indeed John tells us of his vision that once “the former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer,” he saw “new heavens and a new earth,” which are, of course, founded on the Word of God, given life by the breath of His mouth alone. Yes, in the great Evangelist’s vision there was “One who sat on” “a large white throne,” and “the earth and the sky fled from His presence until they could no longer be seen.”  Even as the dead whose names are “not found inscribed in the book of the living” are “hurled into the pool the fire,” even as they cannot stand before the judgment seat of the Lord, neither can this earth we walk upon or the heavens upon which we gaze, for they too have become as corrupted as their inhabitants: all that has been spoiled by sin must be cast into darkness, into eternal death.  For all that is wicked must join the prince of wickedness, whom the angel of God chains up and hurls “into the abyss, which he close[s] and seal[s] over him.”  And any release from this dungeon is only illusory and brief, for this is the home prepared by the Word of God for him and those who serve him from the foundation of the world. But oh the wonder of the “New Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God, beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband.”  It is she whom He has indeed prepared for Himsel[...]


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November 24 - Prayer to Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 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 - Thursday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Rv.18:1-2,21-23,19:1-3,9;   Ps.100:2-5;   Lk.21:20-28)   “These indeed will be days of retribution, when all that is written must be fulfilled.”   The destruction of the world and the coming of the kingdom is our clear theme today.  It is what is written.  It is what must be fulfilled. “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” that “dwelling place for demons,” cries out an angel by whose authority and glory “all the earth was lighted up.”  He calls down the destruction of the evil empire that is the city of this world.  And the “assembly in heaven” sing loudly, “He has condemned the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her harlotry,” exulting in the salvation and glory and might of the One God, whose “judgments are true and just!”  For though “the blood of His servants… was shed by her hand,” “the great city” is “hurled… into the sea” like “a huge millstone,” “cast down” with such “violence” that it shall never rise again.  And so, “happy are they who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lord,” who sing “Alleluia!” to the great and wonderful presence of our God in the kingdom that is to come. And in our gospel Jesus warns of the coming destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and of the final destruction of the earth.  Yes, “Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles.”  Indeed its “devastation is near,” a mere thirty-five years from the death of the Lord.  But the devastation of[...]


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November 23 - Prayer to St. Columban

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 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

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 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 - Wednesday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000

(Rv.15:1-4;   Ps.98:1-3,7-9,Rv.15:13;   Lk.21:12-19)   “By patient endurance you will save your lives.”   Jesus tells His disciples bluntly: “People will manhandle and persecute you.”  Some will be “put to death” as they are “brought to give witness on account of” His name – “All will hate you because of me.”  Yet in their witness He promises to provide “words and a wisdom” to serve as an impenetrable defense against their enemies… and in the end, after persevering through all suffering, eternal life shall be theirs. John’s vision in our first reading reveals the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise.  Even as “seven angels holding the seven final plagues” of “God’s wrath” stand ready to cast these culminating tribulations upon the earth, the Evangelist sees “those who had won victory over the beast and its image” – over the illusory power of the evil one – “holding the harps used in worshiping God,” and singing “the song of the Lamb” who was slain but now lives forever: “Mighty and wonderful are your works, Lord God Almighty!  Righteous and true are your ways, O King of the nations!…  You alone are holy.” Brothers and sisters, let us “sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for Him, His holy arm.”  Yes, “the Lord has made His salvation known,” and as those who s[...]


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November 22 - Prayer to St. Cecilia

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 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.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/hermitinthecity/Nov._22_Cecilia.mp3?dest-id=17188