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Published: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:00:00 +0000

Last Build Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:09:11 +0000

Copyright: James Kurt
 



February 22- Prayer on the Chair of St. Peter

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:00:00 +0000

O Rock of the Church, leader of God’s people to whom the Father has revealed the divinity of His Son and on whom the Son has therefore built His Church, giving you the keys to the kingdom, the power to bind and loose both on earth and in Heaven, that the ship you steer might conquer all Satan’s power by the power of the Spirit with which you serve your brothers, secure in the blessed protection and guidance of the Lord – pray the Church you do yet lead shall fulfill the call the Christ has placed upon every soul and that we shall come to our heavenly home in the light of the Messiah. Pray we shall indeed be strong and give faithful witness to our Savior. 


Media Files:
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February 22 - Chair of St. Peter

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000

(1Pt.5:1-4;   Ps.23:1-6;   Mt.16:13-19)   “On this rock I will build my Church.”   And Simon’s name is changed to “Peter”, which means “Rock”, to signify that here is the chief shepherd of the Church, upon whom the Church on earth rests.  It is he to whom Jesus gives “the keys to the kingdom of heaven.”  Though all the apostles are given the power to bind and loose, it is Peter who leads – “a fellow elder” among all the elders and yet the one who speaks for all. It is not by man’s decision that Peter is the Rock of the Church, but by the word of the Lord Himself.  Just as “no mere man ha[d] revealed” to him that Jesus is “the Messiah… the Son of the living God,” so no mere man works through him today as our Pope guides the ship that is the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is led by the Church and its teachings we are guided “in right paths.”  It is as we dwell in this “house of the Lord” that we are protected from all harm.  “The Lord is my shepherd,” and the Shepherd of all, and into the hands of Peter and the apostles He places care for His flock. How well this first among equals instructs his fellow shepherds today in his letter: “God’s flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd’s care.”  How well does Peter answer the Lord’s call to strengthen his brothers, to see that His sheep are fed.  The key pitfalls of “coercion” and “shameful profit” and “lording it over those assigned” to them, he warns them clearly against, and reminds them of “the unfading crown of glory” that awaits them.  It is they who must give “courage” to the flock, they who anoint heads with oil to make the cup of the Church overflow, even here on earth… and as they are faithful, they are Christ’s own special children. To those who still doubt the primacy of Peter and its absolute necessity, I invite you to read again Scripture and notice how often and always Peter speaks for the whole and acts for the whole body as he does today.  It is to all the apostles Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” and though all may have faith, only one speaks up and answers in no uncertain terms.  As he does at the first council at Jerusalem, as he did in coming to the Lord on the water, Peter speaks and leads in the power of the Spirit.  The Church is one in Christ, and it has one rock it is set upon.   Written, read & chanted, and produced by Carie Fortney.   Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, as long as we remain in your House we shall be secure, for the faith of Peter will strengthen us.  YHWH, the keys of the kingdom of Heaven you entrust to Peter; he is the Rock upon which your Church is set, the chief Shepherd leading all the rest.  Though your Son alone be the cornerstone, the true foundation of this House, it is into the hands of Peter you entrust your flock by his confession of faith. You are at his side always, ever assisting him in leading the ewes with care.  It is by your Spirit he rules this House, generously giving his life in union with Jesus, our Savior.  And so, in verdant pastures your sheep make their home.  In your presence we are blessed to remain by your grace upon our souls, dearest LORD. O living God, bless this day all your bishops and priests, and especially the Holy Father.  You indeed bless them by revealing yourself to them and strengthening them for the work they must accomplish.  With them may we all walk in the footsteps of your Son, laying down our lives for all, that we might come to eternal rest in the glory of your kingdom.


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February 21 - Prayer to St. Peter Damian

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O blessed reformer of the Church who by a holy austerity cleansed your soul of the corruption of this world and served by example to lead others to a religious life – teach us this day of the chastising hand of God and the suffering which leads to joy, that in the will of the Lord we might all be purged of our dross and come to the kingdom of Heaven. Pray that we, too, might realize and so benefit from the blessing upon us when our souls are lashed with pains that threaten sorrow, for He does but wish to lift us from the sinfulness of this passing earth to the consolation of His presence.


Media Files:
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February 21 - Wednesday of the 1st Week of Lent

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Jon.3:1-10;   Ps.51:3-4,12-13,18-19;   Lk.11:29-32)   “At the preaching of Jonah they reformed.”   Let us learn from the people of Ninevah, who heeded the message of repentance given Jonah.  At Jonah’s cry they “believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.”  Even the king “laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes” in hopes of averting the destruction he knew God held in hand for his wayward city.  He decrees that “every man shall turn from his evil way” and “call loudly to God.”  Such utter repentance!  Such turning from sin!  And this from a pagan king and a pagan nation. If Ninevah has so believed in God, if it has so recognized its sin before Him and turned so dramatically back to Him, pleading for His mercy, what should we not do, brothers and sisters, in this time of Lent set aside for the cleansing of our sins, we who have Jesus’ preaching now ringing in our ears and calling to our hearts?  Indeed, we must again and continually cry out to God with David for His mercy to come upon us.  Ever with “a contrite and humbled heart” we must sit before Him recognizing our sin.  For always our sin is with us, however much we might be ignorant of our guilt as we live our lives in vain.  “Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me,” must be our eternal plea, for we are in continual danger of going away from Him. Let us not be afraid to humble ourselves before God and man.  Let us seek nothing else but the wisdom of Christ, the call of the cross to our souls.  In humility, in sackcloth and ashes, let us prostrate ourselves before the true king who will come at the judgment to discern the worth of all souls.  Perhaps He will have mercy.  Perhaps He will “withhold His blazing wrath.”  Perhaps the punishment we deserve He may avert and “we shall not perish.”  Upon the soul He finds His cross inscribed, He shall take pity, my friends. O Lord, we have sinned and done what is evil in your sight.  In your infinite mercy look upon our broken hearts, and help us to reform our lives.  For you alone are God. ******* O LORD, your Son is greater than any prophet or king; let us listen to Him as He calls us to repentance. YHWH, let us be humble before you and your Word.  Let us repent at the preaching of your holy ones.  May your Son be a sign for us that we shall not forget – you are calling us to your kingdom, and to find our way there we must turn away from all sin. O LORD, let us not fail to take this time to reform our lives; let us not be deaf and blind to the grace you offer forth to all men.  May we know true contrition for the wrongs we have done – O let our hearts be circumcised!  You desire to forgive us, if we would but leave off our evil ways. We shall all indeed be destroyed if we do not heed your saving Word.  May your prophets cry out the message of the Gospel, and may all your holy ones cover themselves in sackcloth and sit in the ashes… may all fast from the poisonous food this world offers.  Then our spirits shall be renewed.  Then no judgment will come upon us.  Then we shall live forever with you.


Media Files:
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February 20 - Tuesday of the 1st Week of Lent

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.55:10-11;   Ps.34:4-7,16-19;   Mt.6:7-15)   “Give us today our daily bread.”   Our daily bread comes from the mouth of God; it is His Word that nourishes us.  His Word “water[s] the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats.”  By His Word our spiritual lives are anointed with holiness; the breath of His mouth makes us whole, and so we become fruitful in His Name. Yes, we are sharers in His Word; it is His Word the just speak in their time of need.  “Crushed in spirit” before Him like holy seed, their cry comes to His ears and the rain He sends upon them saves them from all sin, “deliver[s] [them] from all fears.”  Jesus, the Word made flesh, is true, and His words are true: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him”; and so the Father is quick to hear when we enter into His Word and call upon His Name in all humility.  It is this humility which makes us fertile earth, this trust in His will that lifts our faces toward His light, that we “may not blush with shame.”  “Look to Him that you may be radiant with joy,” O sinner.  “Glorify the Lord” and “extol His name,” for with you He shares His Spirit; in you He plants the Word that grows to eternal life. Father in heaven, you alone are holy, and your Name is life to us.  Let “your kingdom come,” let “your will be done,” for apart from you we wither and die.  Make our earth your heaven; bring to us all the blessings you know we need to live ever in your light.  Feed us with your bread, feed us with your Word – your Son is all the food we need.  And for all “the wrong we have done,” as He has taught us, let us find our forgiveness by releasing from all bondage those who have done wrong to us, by loving our enemies.  In the end we pray, O Lord, that temptation be taken from our path; though we treasure your chastising Hand, let us not falter anymore – “deliver us from the evil one” who lurks in this world seeking the ruin of our souls. O Lord, our lives are in your hands.  Our hearts are given life by you.  In our prayer let us not imitate the vain words of the pagans, but let us join in the Spirit with your Son and become one in the Word with you.  (Help me to remember your Name.)   (I witness here that however many times I speak the Lord’s Prayer, as however many times I attend Holy Mass, by the grace that comes through the Spirit, it is ever new and alive with the blessings that come from above.  These words are a gift to us we must cherish in our souls.)   ******* O LORD, may the grace of your forgiveness flow upon us and through us and so bear the fruit of salvation.  YHWH, your Word be upon us to bless us and nourish us this day that our words might be fruitful as your own.  With your Son and by the words He has instructed us to pray, let us come to you and find your presence upon us, saving us from sin and leading us to your kingdom.  From the grasp of the evil one let us be released as we call upon your Name. How shall we be fed this day, O LORD, if not by your hand, if not by the Spirit you send forth from your holy throne?  From on high you shower down upon us cleansing rain that we might be made whole and fruitful in your sight, that we might be as your Son on this earth, bringing your kingdom to bear on this plane.  O let us be as your sons and daughters, shining your light in this dark place! Hear us as we call to you, LORD.  Deliver us from all distress and affliction.  Let our poor souls be blessed by you that we might ever praise your holy Name.  O Father in Heaven, let us be with you this day.


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February 19 - Monday of the 1st Week of Lent

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Lv.19:1-2,11-18;   Ps.19:8-10,15,Jn.6:63;   Mt.25:31-46)   “As often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.”   “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Such is the golden rule and the second of the greatest commandments, which is like unto the first: Love God.  And the union of the two is made evident by Jesus in our gospel today; He makes clear that what we do to others we do to Him, and so to love God and neighbor become one and the same.  So tied is the Lord to His creation by the incarnation of His Son. And how blessed are all His commands to us, all of which are summed up in love, and all of which give us life.  “Refreshing the soul… giving wisdom to the simple… rejoicing the heart… enlightening the eye… enduring forever” – such is the Word of God to the obedient soul.  All He speaks is just and all He speaks is holy and brings life, for all He speaks is of the Spirit of love.  And of that Spirit we must be, if we hope to attain to eternal life where He sits in glory. “Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer,” is David’s prayer after extolling the virtues of the law of the Lord in his psalm today.  And such should be our prayer.  For if our hearts are set upon Him, and if our mouths speak truth, we can be assured that our actions will follow and we will please the Lord in all we do.  For being of the Lord, we can only feed the hungry; seeking His will, we can only welcome Him and all His children into our lives.  If we are founded upon this Rock, all will find in us the love of God. For He is love, brothers and sisters, and all He asks of us is love.  Love does “not steal.”  Love does “not lie.”  Love does “not defraud” or “curse the deaf” or “act dishonestly” in any way.  In a word, if you are of love as He is love, “you shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.”  And all are our brothers, even the least of these; the Lord has made this known.  All are our neighbor and so none can “stand by idly when [his] neighbor’s life is at stake.”  All are called by love to lend their hand, His hand, to others in need.  For then we help Him. Would we not help the Lord if we saw Him wanting?  Is it not our desire to ease His pain?  We have opportunity ever to do this in those around us.  When we do, we fulfill His command and find life for our souls, for then we are holy as He.   ******* O LORD, may your Word bring us to everlasting life; let us be obedient to your call to compassion. YHWH, let your Word be upon us that it might reprove us, that it might teach us and guide us in the way we should go… that it might refresh our souls.  We know not the way we should walk but tend toward selfishness and sin.  Speak to our hearts this day that our eyes might be opened and we be corrected and come to be holy like you. Your Son tells us in no uncertain terms that condemnation awaits those who hate their brother, who turn their backs on their fellow man.  He lets us know that in doing so we turn our backs on you, O LORD.  And thus spurning your love and the practice of that love in our lives, what can we be but separated from you who are love and life? But the righteous shall be blessed.  This He tells us, too.  If our hearts are set on fulfilling your commands and especially your command to love (which is all you command), then with you we shall ever dwell in eternal light and life.  May all men listen to your Son and live as He does.


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February 18 - Sunday of the 1st Week of Lent, Year B

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0000

(Gn.9:8-15;   Ps.25:4-9;   1Pt.3:18-22;   Mk.1:12-15)  “I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” In times past God made a covenant with Noah and his sons once they had come from the ark “that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings,” that they and those who would descend from them, indeed all races of men, should experience such devastation no more.  And the sign of the rainbow He has given “for all ages to come,” that His covenant shall not be forgotten. This promise is a reassuring one, even if not by water but by fire we know this earth shall yet be destroyed.  But a greater promise than this certainly we have, one for which this covenant is but a shadow.  For now we have “Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.”  Through His resurrection from the dead He now shines in the firmament more brightly than any rainbow, and indeed in Him all races of men meet again and find their hope, not only that they shall not be destroyed from the earth, but that they shall know everlasting salvation in heaven.  Even “the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient when God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark,” have this word preached to them. “The kingdom of God is at hand.”  Yes, the salvation of the Lord has been set firmly in our hearts, even as the rainbow God set in the heavens.  He has remembered His “love” and “compassion” which “are from of old” and in His “goodness” has fulfilled them in His only Son.  Though Jesus has had to suffer death for our sakes, yet death is remembered no more as we gaze upon His resurrected form – as the bow after the rain, so does His glory shine after the death of this flesh.  And though the flood “prefigured Baptism,” yet Baptism in the name of the Lord and into His death and resurrection is so much more, for “it is not a removal of dust from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience” with which we are blessed now. And so, brothers and sisters, let us find the “life in the Spirit” to which our Savior, come from the desert of our sin, now leads us.  Let us fix our eyes upon His resurrection glory, even as we experience the death of the body. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Miracle" (second half) from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, let your kindness and compassion be fulfilled in our midst this day; let us turn from our sins to walk with Jesus on the way to you. YHWH, your Son has come to suffer and die and be raised to new life that we might be led from our sinful state to union with you in Heaven.  Truly, your kingdom has walked among us in the Person of Jesus; truly, your kingdom is now at hand.  Like a bow in the clouds is His resurrection from the dead – let us keep our eyes fixed on Him that truly we shall enter your reign. You are of compassion, LORD, and your love is from of old.  It is this love you would share with the humble, and so you call us to follow in your ways.  By repentance we shall come to you, and that we might receive this grace your Son cries out to our souls.  Let us follow Him on the way of the Cross that the new day shall be ours. Your promise of eternal life is our treasure, LORD, our hope in a fallen world.  And you are faithful to your promise – in Jesus we shall never be destroyed.


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February 17 - Prayer to the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O seven men who lived as one in service of the Lord under the mantle of Our Lady, you who left everything of this world, all you bought and sold, that you might discover the riches of Heaven: to the mountain you went to find perfection – to the mountain let us come to live with God. Led by the prompting of our Lord and Lady, let us, too, be fruitful on this plane, founded in humility and love and poverty, living as one in the Body of Christ, freely giving our lives and so knowing the blessing of the virtues upon which you fed. Pray for us through our Mother that we too follow the call of her Son.


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February 17 - Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.58:9-14;   Ps.86:1-6,11;   Lk.5:27-32)   “Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you, “restorer of ruined homesteads.”   “Levi gave a great reception for Jesus in his house,” but it is Jesus who invites him, and all sinners, “to a change of heart” and to join Him in the home He makes for us all in heaven.  As Levi (or Matthew) has done, so must we all: we must leave our “customs post,” that which roots us to this world – we must stand up and follow Him. “You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.”  David makes his prayer in our psalm, coming to the Lord as one “afflicted and poor,” begging the Lord’s pity upon his soul.  And there is confidence that his cry is answered, that his soul is gladdened; for the promise has been made through Isaiah that “He will renew [our] strength,” that we “shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.”  All that He has broken down in His anger against us and against our sins shall be raised up again: “The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up.”  As we turn to Him and “call the sabbath a delight… not following [our] ways, seeking [our] own interests, or speaking with malice,” we shall indeed “delight in the Lord” and in His inheritance; He shall indeed “nourish [us] with the heritage of Jacob” – the food He gives us will far surpass the bread upon the table at Levi’s banquet.  For it is upon His own Body we shall feed, and so find ourselves renewed in spirit and strengthened for the kingdom of heaven. The Lord comes to invite all “sick people” to His healing grace.  All who turn from their sins shall be acceptable to Him.  And in His House they shall find a place, and be nourished well.  “Even on the parched land” they shall find the water of life, for His grace extends to all places and all peoples.  And with the bread we bestow on the hungry we ourselves shall be fed, for by this labor we shall unite with Him.  “The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  Let us find the mercy His words desire for us. ******* O LORD, help us to recognize our sin and call upon you for healing, that your House might be rebuilt.  YHWH, teach us to turn from our sin, from following our own ways, that we might follow your Son where He leads, that we might come to Him for healing this day.  Let us come into your light and there remain. You will renew us, LORD, if we do well, for it is your desire to share your mercy with us and make us as your own again.  Though in ruins our lives stand, though all seem lost because of our sin, when we call out to you, you hear us and gladden our souls with your refreshing love. When Jesus comes to us, O LORD – as He shall come to all to heal us of all illness – when He stands before us and invites us to follow Him, may we be as Matthew and leave all of this world behind and set our hearts on obedience to His voice.  May we invite Him in to the table of our bodies and our souls that He might feed us always with His Word and with the Bread He is, and that we might thus feed others.  O let us be nourished well and be as a watered garden!


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February 16 - Friday after Ash Wednesday

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.58:1-9;   Ps.51:3-6,18-19;   Mt.9:14-15)   “Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high!”   Brothers and sisters, in this day of fasting and penance, first we must “acknowledge [our] offense” as David in our psalm.  We must cry out to our God: “Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.”  This is our leaven of truth.  “A contrite spirit, a heart contrite and humbled” the Lord cannot resist.  It is this heart the Lord answers; it is prayer of this soul He hears – to this “cry for help… He will say: Here I am!” “When the day comes that the groom is taken away, then they will fast.”  We “go in mourning” when Jesus is no longer in our midst.  What does this then say of our fast?  For though the Lord may be with us always in the power of the Spirit, yet He is physically taken from us now till the end of time.  Our fast must therefore be a permanent condition all the while we walk this earth.  And so true is this if we understand the Lord’s definition of a fast as revealed in our first reading from Isaiah: “This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly… sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked… and not turning your back on your own.”  And what sense it makes that this be our fast now that Jesus is gone, for are we not His children here, called to carry out His mission in this world?  Are not these the very things He instructs us to do in His stead for the least of His brothers who suffer now?  On this earth here at the end of the age we should be engaged in fasting always. And if we pray with a sincere heart, and if we do the will of the Lord in all things, what promise He makes to us: “Your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed…  The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”  All we ask shall be given us; all we seek we shall find in Him.  And so, what shall our fasting be for us but pure joy, even as we become one with the Lord our God? A blessed call is upon us now, one which makes our voices known to Him.  Let us “remove from [our] midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech.”  Let us denounce any “quarreling and fighting” that keeps us from Him, and see that His will is done in our lives.  Then indeed He shall hear us; then by this death to sin we shall come to the glory of our God.   ******* O LORD, what can we do but fast now that your Son has been taken from us? – let us do His work, stand in His stead, laying down our lives for all in need.  YHWH, your Son has been taken from us, and so, on this day we fast.  He no longer walks among us, and so we must be as His presence.  We must free the oppressed and feed the hungry, doing the works He did while He was in our midst.  And if we do this, we shall be pleasing in your sight, as He was, and so be blessed. With a contrite heart let us come to you, O LORD, recognizing our faults and failures to serve you as we ought.  Instead of laying down our lives in humble service of those in need of your Word and your Bread, we have spoken ill of our brother and been oppressors ourselves.  And so, any offering we have made has been in vain.  And so we have but served to separate ourselves from you and your compassion. O LORD, let us not continue blind to our wickedness but seek each day to convert our hearts to your call to be as your Son and live His way of sacrifice for the sake of others.


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February 15 - Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Dt.30:15-20;   Ps.1:1-4,6,39:5;   Lk.9:22-25)   “The Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.”   In our first reading, Moses makes clear the choice we all must face: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.”  “By loving the Lord… heeding His voice, and holding fast to Him,” the Israelites will be blessed with “long life” in the Promised Land; they “will live and grow numerous” by “loving Him and walking in His ways.”  This will be life for them.  “If, however, [they] turn away [their] hearts and will not listen… [they] will certainly perish.”  The promise to them will soon die if they walk “in the way of sinners.” Life and death.  The blessing and the curse.  The just and the wicked.  To the Israelites the promise that they would be “like a tree planted near running water” if they followed the commandments of the Lord referred quite literally, quite physically, to the blessing of long life and enjoying the fruits of the earth.  It showed itself in the numbers of people in the nation and the land they were given to occupy.  When they were cursed, their kingdom was torn down and the land taken away from them.  They became “like chaff which the wind drives away” when they were forced into exile from the lands of Judah and Israel. What is the land we must so treasure today, brothers and sisters?  What place are we called to preserve by following in the way of the Lord?  For now he “who gains the whole world” will likely “destroy himself in the process.”  Now our sights, our hopes, can no longer be set on the physical universe.  Jesus has come.  The Son of Man walks in our midst.  And His presence, His flesh, makes the heavenly homeland our desire – it is this which is now our Promised Land.  It is the number born into this kingdom which now causes our hearts to rejoice.  It is this blessing that now comes to him “who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night.” And the Lord makes clear what “the way of the just” now entails.  Our gospel tells us “Jesus said to all” – not just to His disciples, but to all who would find the blessing, would find life – “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps.”  And His steps include enduring “many sufferings,” being “put to death” and then being “raised up on the third day.”  Now it is death that leads to life.  Now this world must be left behind.  Now, though we love all – even our enemies – and everything upon it, we must leave the earth we have held so dear.  The command is the same (to renounce all sin and love God), but now the prize is much greater, and so the way there much more narrow.  But the Lord blesses our every step toward Him.   ******* O LORD, let us remain in you and in your Son, walking the way of His Cross that we might not lose our souls but gain the life of Heaven.  YHWH, may we find not only long life on the land but eternal life in your heavenly kingdom by our turning away from all sin and following your Son on the way of the Cross.  Let us be dead to all the distractions of this wicked world that we might dwell with you alone. Death comes to the wicked, LORD, death that spells the demise of his soul, of his life in you who are Life itself.  And so, how shall he live anymore if apart from you?  And so, what is his life then worth?  It is indeed like chaff driven away by the wind. But those who take their refuge in you, who meditate on your Word and the Word that is your Son, these you prosper in all they do, for all they do is in your will and so cannot but receive your blessing, the blessing of your living pres[...]


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February 14 - Prayer to Sts. Cyril and Methodius

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O brothers in the faith who brought that same faith to the peoples entrusted to your care, who extended the reach of the Church, gathering in lands under her holy roof and into her blessed arms… faithful you were unto death in proclaiming the word of God – please pray that we, too, shall be holy brothers of Christ, offering our work, our lives, for the sake of the nations yet to be called into His fold, for the sake of peoples unfamiliar with His Word, that the heavenly kingdom may come to fulfillment and all be made one in God’s presence.


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February 14 - Ash Wednesday

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000

(Jl.2:12-18;   Ps.51:3-6,12-14,17;   2Cor.5:20-6:2;   Mt.6:1-6,16-18)   “Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.”   “We implore you, in Christ’s name: be reconciled to God!” Paul exclaims; and the people of God today raise a cry, rending their hearts, begging His forgiveness… turning from their sins to find His healing grace. The trumpet is blown in Zion; the people are gathered as one.  Now “let the bridegroom quit his room, and the bride her chamber.  Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.”  For now is the time of mourning, now is the time of prayer… now is the time to cry with David, “Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.”  For now as we “acknowledge [our] offense” we find how “gracious and merciful is He”; now “the joy of [His] salvation” returns to us as “a clean heart” He creates for us, as His Holy Spirit He instills in our souls.  Yes, “Now is the acceptable time!  Now is the day of salvation!”  And so let us cry out to our Lord: “Spare, O Lord, your people!” The Lord will hear us, brothers and sisters; He will be quick to respond, as long as we are careful “not to receive the grace of God in vain.”  As Jesus said to His disciples, so He says to us: “Be on guard against performing religious acts for people to see.”  Only such vanity will prevent our finding the “recompense from our heavenly Father.”  Yes, we must give alms.  Yes, we must pray.  Yes, we must fast.  But listen to the Lord’s instruction to “keep your deeds of mercy secret,” to “pray to your Father in private,” and to make sure “no one can see you are fasting but your Father who is hidden.”  For then indeed “your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you” for your sacrifice.  But if your offering is one to impress the eyes of man, be sure the eyes of God do not look upon it and it shall find no blessing in His sight. The time has come, the time of great mercy.  As we call upon our God, “in the greatness of [His] compassion [He will] wipe out [our] offense.”  In Jesus and in His sacrifice for our sin we might now “become the very holiness of God.”  May we find now the Lord “stirred to concern for His land and [taking] pity on His people.”  May we find His grace at work in our souls as now we give ourselves to Him.   Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.   Music: "The Sackcloth Song" from Remove the Mask of Lies, second album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.   ******* O LORD, you see what is hidden; let there be in our hearts no sin but only your heavenly presence.  YHWH, against you we have sinned, against you and your love.  We have turned our backs to you and our guilt is with us always.  But you are merciful and offer opportunity for repentance.  You are good and kind and allow us to return to you.  Help us to rend our hearts and weep in your presence, that we might know the healing touch of your forgiving hand. Wash us thoroughly from our fault; let it no more be known in your sight, O LORD.  Now is the acceptable time for repentance – in Jesus you will hear our pleas.  O let His sacrifice be fruitful in your sight that we might be holy in Him this day! And let our offering be acceptable to you as well.  May our fasting and praying and almsgiving bring down your blessings upon us.  Make us sincere, dear LORD, in our love for you and one another.  Let us lay down our lives with your Son and know your presence in our souls.  Spare us this day, O God; let us know the greatness of your mercy.


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February 13 - Tuesday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Jas.1:12-18;   Ps.94:12-15,18-19;   Mk.8:14-21)  “He wills to bring us to birth with a word spoken in truth.” But how deaf we are to His speaking. The disciples exhibit a remarkable degree of ignorance in our gospel today.  It would be comical were it not so usual, were it not such a defining trait of us humans.  Preoccupied with their forgetfulness to bring bread for their journey, when the Lord mentions the word “yeast” in a chastising instruction, their minds go immediately to the bread they now lack by their negligence.  Able to go no deeper than the surface of the words, and able not to see beyond their immediate concerns, they are as blind to the truth Jesus would teach them as so often we weak humans are.  For those still struggling with the text at hand, Jesus is telling us that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.  Has not the Lord shown this quite directly by feeding the thousands by virtue of a blessing spoken upon a few loaves? Our hearts should not be set on the bread of this world as are the Pharisees’, whose yeast is a pride in self that rises to condemnation.  It is pride that blinds us and concern for the body that produces ignorance.  “Keep your eyes open!” the Lord commands.  Do not let your minds be darkened by the cares of this world – the body is useless!  It is the spirit that gives life.  Open your hearts to the teaching of the Spirit, the great gift that Jesus imparts.  “Happy the man whom you instruct, O Lord, whom by your law you teach,” our psalmist sings, and so should all blessed to hear the Word of the Lord join his chorus. James tells us in our first reading that God does not tempt us to sin.  “Rather the tug and lure of his own passion tempts every man”; only “genuine benefit comes from above, descending from the Father of the heavenly luminaries.”  Do we seek His gifts that are worthwhile, or are our hearts fixed on things below?  It may be hard to listen to His Word, to be brought to birth by His truth, but “happy the man who holds out to the end through trial!”  “The crown of life awaits… those who love” the Lord, and He is near to sustain us as we climb. Brothers and sisters, once the Spirit fell upon the apostles, no longer did they experience such ignorance.  Is not the life-giving Word at work within us this very day?  Then our eyes should be open to His light. ******* O LORD, help us to be humble before you, that you might raise us up from our sin. YHWH, should we not be as children before you?  Is your Son not like a Child, O LORD?  Is He not the humblest of all?  O let us be like Him, and you! Is there some other image in which we should be made, LORD, than your own?  What of this world should beguile our soul?  To whom should we aspire but our heavenly Father, and how shall we find you except through your Son?  Does He not show us the way by His death on the Cross? O LORD, let us not be deaf to your speaking to us in His words and actions, for He reveals to us who we must be.  Help us to leave the example of the world behind, to abandon all hatred and jealousy, all the sinful pride and insatiable greed wrought into our fallen nature, and come to you even this day that we might be redeemed by your Son’s sacrifice and our sharing therein. O help us to be humble, LORD, to find the humility only you know.  With all our hearts let us serve you, and your glory will be ours.


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February 12 - Monday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Jas.1:1-11;   Ps.119:67-68,71-72,75-77;   Mk.8:11-13)  “Count it pure joy when you are involved in every sort of trial.” How well James explicates the wisdom of the cross.  First he encourages us to “realize that when [our] faith is tested this makes for endurance,” and then to “let endurance come to its perfection so that [we] may be fully mature and lacking in nothing.”  This is the wisdom of our suffering on earth; this is the blessing of the cross. It is the same wisdom our psalmist propounds when he sings, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes.”  If the Word of the Lord and the promise He offers is “more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces” to us, then we must undergo many afflictions to prevent our going astray into the vain things of this world.  For these flowers of the field droop and die under the scorching heat of the sun, but what is of the Lord lasts forever, and thus to join Him we must be trained to endure. How different is the wisdom found in suffering beneath the cross; how different is this school from the one found in this world.  The exact antithesis is our King to those who rule here in vainglorious power.  For this King preaches death, and dies for us in humble poverty – this would be the shame of the one who finds his teaching in the seeking of riches and fame.  And this is why the Pharisees cannot see Jesus and the sign He is before their eyes.  Their minds are closed to the cross and its wisdom, for their hearts are set on the vain illusions of earthly life.  But He is heavenly and all the sign we need; following in the shadow of His cross will lead us to all our hearts do seek. Brothers and sisters, be not like the Pharisees, seeking some momentous occurrence to tantalize your eyes.  The Word is within you, it is of you; and shouldering His cross you will find it growing all your life.  Hold the wisdom of the cross, ask it in faith of the generous God who will give all to you, and find the beauty of His way as you are afflicted, and comforted again.  The Lord chastises those whom He loves, and His love is pure joy, while those who would stray He leaves to die, following their sinful ways.  Come to Him and His cross, and live. ******* O LORD, if we but lived lives of prayer in all humility, never could we be separated from you and always you would work through us. YHWH, how shall our words and thoughts match those of your Son, who commands and the devils flee, whose heart is set always on your will… who sacrifices His life for our sakes?  Help our unbelief, our lack of trust in you and in your power, that we might by your grace come to share in that power with Jesus, even as we share in His humility. How can we live in your perfect innocence, LORD, we who are such a faithless lot, we who lack prayer in our heart?  O how easily we are overcome!  But you are our hope.  You come down from the mountain, from the glory on high, to dwell with the likes of us and save us from the devil’s grasp, which has such a dire hold upon us and upon our children.  Only by the grace of your presence will this generation be saved – leave us not till your work is accomplished. Teach us, O LORD; give us your wisdom, that your peace might be ever in our souls and we might serve you with all our thoughts and words.  Save us, dear God, from all darkness.


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February 11 - Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O lovely Lady who appeared to Bernadette, Mary, Blessed Virgin and Mother of our Lord – let our eyes, too, see your beauty and hear your voice calling us to pray for sinners, calling us to come to you with our prayers and to wash ourselves clean in the water you provide through Jesus your Son. O Immaculate Conception, so pure, so full of grace, cleanse all our sickness from us; let us be immersed in the bath of purity that washes us of sin, that makes us whole in the sight of God. If we but had innocent hearts we would see you, we would remember the blessing you are to all faithful souls… O let us come to you and find the grace we need this day.


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February 11 - Sunday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time, Year B

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0000

(Lv.13:1-2,44-46;   Ps.32:1-2,5,7,11;   1Cor.10:31-11:1;   Mk.1:40-45)  “I said, ‘I confess my faults to the Lord,’ and you took away the guilt of my sin.”  The leper in our gospel confesses his faults to the Lord when he says, “If you wish, you can make me clean,” for by these words he recognizes that “he is in fact unclean” – that he is a sick man in need of a physician.  And Jesus takes away the guilt of his sin when He responds, “I do will it.  Be made clean.”  For by a mere word from His mouth we are purged. That the sinner should cry out his guilt is evident even in the ancient Book of Leviticus; it gives specific instructions for the actions of the leper, whose sin has made him unclean: “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’  As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean.”  Here is a graphic representation of the way we sinners should present ourselves to the Lord.  Like the leper who cries to Jesus on his knees, we should never hide our sin from the Lord; our “guilt [should be] covered not.”  For the Lord indeed sees all things – nothing is hidden from Him – so we fool only ourselves if we attempt to hide; and He can’t heal us of our affliction if we do not come into His light.  We must come before Him in all humility for the poison upon our souls, and He will save us from our sin. How sincere is the leper’s contrition to move the Lord to such immediate pity!  How pitiable indeed he is, as to a final hope for cleansing waters he comes with head bowed to the earth, his years of suffering evident in his shaking voice.  Whimpering like a dog he humbles himself before the Lord… and a tear we find in Jesus’ eye – inevitably He reflects our penitence in His grace.  Let your heart break before Him!  Bleed before the Lord who bleeds for you!  Expose your sores to His eyes and His light shall cure them all. Finally, brothers and sisters, let us indeed “be imitators” of Paul, “not seeking [our] own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved,” that people will keep “coming to [Jesus] from everywhere” to find the healing of their “sore of leprosy,” to discover salvation from their sins.  For He does “will it” for everyone – the redemption of all He holds in His arms of sacrifice.  Let all souls show themselves to His priests; let all confess their sins openly, that reconciliation with God and one another all may know.  O Lord, take away the sin from my soul!  (Thank you for the sacrament you leave with us.) Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Be Well" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, take away the guilt of our sin and return us to your fold that we might declare your glory to all. YHWH, let us not dwell apart from you but forgive us our sins and let us return to your presence.  Your Son leaves your side for a time to save us from our exile; may His sacrifice bring healing to all this day. We are all unclean in your sight, O LORD; before you we come on our knees begging to be relieved of our guilt.  Heal the sore upon our souls, which would spell our death – stretch out your hand and make us clean. How merciful is your Son, LORD.  How perfectly He reflects your compassion for the sinner.  He is moved with pity at our contrition; He shares our tears as His own.  O let all souls press upon Him for salvation! And let us all reflect His love in all we do, giving[...]


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February 10 - Prayer to St. Scholastica

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O innocent soul, pure as an angel, meek as a lamb, from slavery you were taken to the house of God, where freedom you found in faith in the Lord – pray for the freedom of all slaves chained in soul or body, that they shall be released from the snares of this world to walk at liberty with Jesus. Pray His goodness reign in all His children, in all who would be gentle as this Lamb; may all those in need of His grace hear His Word proclaimed, and in His blood be redeemed. And pray His Mother watch over all who are near or far from Him, till they enter His presence.


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February 10 - Saturday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Kgs.12:26-32,13:33-34;   Ps.106:4,6-7,19-22;   Mk.8:1-10) “Whoever desired it was consecrated and became a priest of the high places.” For this sin “the house of Jeroboam… was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth.”  Not only will their king be so punished, but the whole Israelite nation will find the wrath of the Lord for such idolatrous action.  Not learning from their forefathers, whom the Lord had a mind to wipe entirely from His book of life and the promise He had given Abraham, again “they exchanged their glory for the image of a grass-eating bullock.”  Led by Jeroboam, who from selfish anxiety for the power the Lord had given him made two calves of gold and set them up for the people to worship – by the ministration of priests not chosen by God – they sinned grievously; as Solomon had done, they broke the most essential command to love God above all else.  And this sin will stain the nation for perpetuity and lead in time to their exile. Only those so ordained by God may serve at His temple.  Only in the place He assigned is sacrifice and worship to be offered.  And only He is to be worshiped and adored.  No man, no king, can take any of this in his own hands.  Trust in God and obedience to His will is necessary.  All must go up to Jerusalem. It is clear that our gospel today is a foreshadowing of the Mass, wherein Jesus’ Body is the bread we eat.  After teaching the people at length, the Lord desires to share with them food that will nourish them for their journey home.  But the disciples had but seven loaves of bread.  Yet in an action foretelling the consecration of the Holy Eucharist, “taking the seven loaves He gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to His disciples to distribute.”  And the leftovers of this miracle reach down to us this day; from “the seven wicker baskets” the disciples gathered after four thousand had eaten, we yet feed.  And it is a wonderful paradox that the more we eat of the Lord’s blessed Body, the more there is for others to share. But this feast is not eaten under every green tree.  None can build high places and make priests for themselves.  Only those ordained by Christ distribute His bread.  And so we must come up to the Church He has founded to receive Him, the Church within whose walls His sacred body rests each day.  Only this Temple is our Jerusalem. ******* O LORD, you provide us Bread at the hands of your apostles; let us worship in your House alone. YHWH, why are we so inclined to exchange the glory you give us for the image of a grass-eating bullock?  Why do we turn to the work of our own hands and worship the golden calves we make rather than you, the one true God?  How shall we conquer our pride? It is you who feed us, dearest LORD, your hand alone that provides for all our needs.  You alone love your children, for you are a faithful Father.  Yet we put our faith in molten idols. Your wondrous deeds you have made plain to our eyes; your own Son you have sent into our midst.  All we ask for He gives in His grace.  He would teach us all we need to know… yet how soon we forget His presence among us.  Help us, O LORD, to turn back to you. All as one we assemble before you this day in your holy Church, dear God, and pray that by those you have ordained you will feed all your people with the Body and Blood of your only Son.


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February 9 - Friday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Kgs.11:29-32,12:19;   Ps.81:9-15;   Mk.7:31-37) “My people heard not my voice, and Israel obeyed me not; so I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts.” The Lord has said, “There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship an alien god,” but the people did not listen.  Led by their corrupted king, “they walked according to their own counsels” and took to themselves the perverse gods worshiped by the nations of the world.  And so it is that the prophet must remove his “new cloak” and tear it “into twelve pieces,” one for each of the tribes of Israel.  How sad that the great kingdom which had so recently been united and so greatly been blessed by peace round about under the reign of the wise Solomon, now is to be torn asunder.  Only a remnant will be left to David, out of respect for the Lord’s promise to him; and now, we are told: “Israel went into rebellion against David’s house to this day.” “If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways…”  The psalmist’s words come as a lament for the deafness of the nation.  If they would but listen and turn to Him, their amazement would go “beyond all bounds,” as does that of the people who brought Jesus “a deaf man with a speech impediment and begged Him to lay His hand on him.”  They, too, would exclaim, “He has done everything well!  He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak!”  For Israel is this deaf man.  All of us are this man impeded in his speech.  All need desperately to turn to Him, to have Him pray over us – to seek the words of His lips.  And so all will know the blessing that comes thereby: “At once the man’s ears were opened; he was freed from the impediment, and began to speak plainly.” Hear the voice of the Lord, brothers and sisters.  Listen to it in the deep recesses of your heart.  This voice comes to heal, like light to the very drums upon which the vibrations beat.  Such purity could be yours.  Such grace could be known in all the world, healing the rifts that divide nations and peoples, if all would but come to Jesus in the same faith as this deaf man and his friends.  And then would we speak plainly of what the Lord has done.  No deceit upon our lips, we would declare Him Lord… and the amazement at the peace He brings would extend to the corners of the world.  Let your ears “be opened!” to His voice; with a soft heart turn to Jesus the Christ. ******* O LORD, you make the deaf hear and the mute speak; heal our brokenness – let us worship you alone. YHWH, open our ears that we might hear your voice calling us to worship you alone.  Let us turn from strange gods and walking in our own ways and be obedient to you.  We are deaf and we are dumb; may your Son touch us and pray over us that we might declare your glory to all.  O let us be healed! Why are our hearts so hardened against your loving embrace?  Why do we turn so readily from the radiance of your face to look upon the corruption of this unholy place?  You alone are LORD and God, your Son alone can save us – O let us heed your call, dear LORD!  From our sin may He redeem us. From rebellion let us come, we who are our own worst enemy.  Save us from ourselves, dear God, and our disobedience.  Take us far from the crowds and give us your attention, that somehow our hearts might open to your loving voice.


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February 8 - Prayer to St. Josephine Bakhita

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 20:05:00 +0000

O innocent soul, pure as an angel, meek as a lamb, from slavery you were taken to the house of God, where freedom you found in faith in the Lord – pray for the freedom of all slaves chained in soul or body, that they shall be released from the snares of this world to walk at liberty with Jesus. Pray His goodness reign in all His children, in all who would be gentle as this Lamb; may all those in need of His grace hear His Word proclaimed, and in His blood be redeemed. And pray His Mother watch over all who are near or far from Him, till they enter His presence.


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February 8 - Prayer to St. Jerome Emiliani

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O soldier for the Lord and servant of the poor who trusted in God alone and gave your life for those in need – may we, too, become friends of the one Lord, purified of all dross by the trials we endure and by doing His will in this world. His children let us become as we care for the children most in need, those who seem abandoned by Him. His hands and His heart let us be, that in such love we shall be free of all fear and separation from the Father and so dwell with those we serve in the peace of Heaven.


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February 8 - Thursday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Kgs.11:4-13;   Ps.106:3-4,35-37,40;   Mk.7:24-30) “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”  Jesus speaks these words to a foreign woman, a pagan Greek, who “beg[s] Him to expel the demon from her daughter.”  They seem harsh.  Some may interpret them so.  After all, in our gospel we find Jesus traveling to the northernmost part of Israel where “He retired to a certain house and wanted no one to recognize Him.”  And here comes this foreign woman to beg at His table…  Can He find no peace?  But though the Lord may be weary, He is not angry.  He but tells the truth: He has come for the lost sheep of Israel; it is only after He is gone that His followers will bring His salvation to the ends of the earth.  First, “the sons of the household” must be fed.  All in proper order.  Notwithstanding this, the woman’s great faith prevails upon the Lord – and probably greatly heartens Him – and her prayer is answered. It is in the application of the quote to King Solomon that it becomes harsh, for is this not what David’s son has done?  Has he not taken the greatest of blessings the Lord has heaped upon or will heap upon any man, and turned them over to the devil?  Solomon, the wisest and richest of all kings, “did evil in the sight of the Lord,” and that unreservedly – and that without compunction.  It is only for the sake of his father David that the Lord does not wrest all His gifts from him that very day.  You say, “But didn’t David sin greatly in committing adultery and murder?”  Yes, the servant of the Lord did sin.  But this king humbled himself ever before his God.  He repented with a whole heart, and did not return again to his sin.  Solomon recognizes no sin.  Scripture says nowhere he is sorry; his repentance is lacking.  And his sin is of the most grievous, the most deeply rooted kind: he turns to worship of other gods.  In his reign and by his leadership, the people “sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons,” taking thus the very flesh and blood of the children of Israel and throwing it to the dogs. For this “the Lord grew angry with His people, and abhorred His inheritance.”  For they perform abhorrent acts under him who had become a most abhorrent king.  This king who had received six hundred and sixty-six gold talents a year in regular payment showed himself comfortable with the mark of the beast unto whom he had turned his heart.  “His foreign wives who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods” he preferred to the love of the Lord; and so it is he who is cast from the Lord’s presence. Our psalm says of the Israelites, “They mingled with the nations and learned their works”; the great works of sin known in the darkness of this world became their own.  But in our gospel it is a foreign woman who humbles herself before the True King.  What of us, brothers and sisters?  Where does our allegiance lie?  For His Word does now travel to the ends of the earth; one can now no longer hide. ******* O LORD, cast the demons from our midst that we might find a place in your kingdom. YHWH, your chosen ones lose their blessing when they turn from you to the worship of demons; and those who were far from your favor have demons cast from themselves when they beg your grace at the feet of your Son.  It is but a crumb from His table we need to find our salvation.  May He turn His attention to our need. The [...]


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February 7 - Wednesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Kgs.10:1-10;   Ps.37:5-6,30-31,39-40;   Mk.7:14-23) “The mouth of the just man tells of wisdom and his tongue utters what is right.” Today in our readings we have a passage to illustrate the great extent of the wisdom and riches of King Solomon.  “The queen of Sheba, having heard of Solomon’s fame, [comes] to test him with subtle questions.”  She had not believed the report she’d heard of him, but having “witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom” in the answers he gave to every one of her questions – “nothing remained hidden from him that he could not explain to her” – and having seen “the palace he had built” and all the amenities that surrounded him… “she was breathless.”  And rightly does this pagan queen attribute the blessings Solomon enjoys to the Lord, who “has made [him] king to carry out judgment and justice.” How true it is that the Lord blesses him who holds “the law of God in his heart.”  And rightly does David declare in our psalm that if we “commit to the Lord [our] way… He will make justice dawn for [us] like the light.”  We shall shine “bright as the noonday,” bright as Solomon’s temple, if we “trust in Him.”  If Solomon’s servants were happy, how much happier should we be to “stand before [the Lord] always and listen to [His] wisdom.”  For having eaten at the table of such grace and glory, what could come from our mouths but the same?  And what shall we be called then but wise men? But the same mouth which utters wisdom may also utter evil.  For though the good man from the treasure of his heart speaks only good, it is also so that “wicked designs come from the deep recesses of the heart” as well.  Here one may find murderous plots and malicious intent.  We shall find soon that Solomon’s heart will change and that what “emerges from within” him will bear little likeness to wisdom.  And so, should we not all heed the Lord’s words of warning in our gospel today and take care what comes from within our hearts, that we ourselves are not rendered “impure”?  Let the wisdom of the Lord and His holiness always issue forth from our hearts in all our words and actions.  Then we shall know the blessings of the eternal King. ******* O LORD, make us pure; make us wise according to your ways. YHWH, what comes from our heart?  Does it condemn us or show us wise?  Do we trust in you and so commit our way in keeping with your own, or do we follow the wiles of this wicked world?  We need all look within ourselves to see if you are present there. Be with us, LORD; let us be blessed by you.  It is from you we find anything of worth.  At your hand we receive our food, and it is your mouth that teaches us.  Help us to hear the words of your Son, the chastisement He brings to our souls.  Let us eat this day of His Body and His Blood.  Only this food will sustain us.  Only His words give us life.  Help us open our hearts to the wisdom He utters and so find our place at His table. You are our salvation, LORD, delivering us from all evil.  Let us speak of your glory to all with ears.  May our lives be pleasing to you this day. 


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February 6 - Prayer to St. Paul Miki and Companions

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O proclaimers of the faith even unto death, death on a cross, you who have followed in the way of our Lord so completely, loving your enemies even as they killed you, encouraging your brothers even with your last breath – may the blood you shed not be forgotten by those of the nation in which you preached and by all souls who seek God; may it nourish the land and bring it to bear much fruit unto Heaven. Pray that we who are so fearful here may find the faith and courage you displayed and so be blessed with the same grace that imparts the peace of the kingdom.


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February 6 - Tuesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Kgs.8:22-23,27-30;   Ps.84:2-5,10-11;   Mk.7:1-13)  “Can it indeed be that God dwells among men on earth?” Well does Solomon do in stating, “If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, how much less this temple which I have built!”  For though the Lord will heed Solomon’s prayer and “listen to the petitions of [His] servant and of [His] people Israel which they offer in this place,” He indeed will only “keep [His] covenant of kindness with [His] servants who are faithful to [Him] with their whole heart.”  When they do as the Pharisees and “disregard God’s commandment and cling to what is human tradition,” when they hold fast only to the walls of the temple and neglect to keep His Word, the blessing He provides through the temple they built shall be removed from their midst – the walls themselves shall crumble (as even they do, not many generations from Solomon’s time). The Pharisees indeed sin by clinging to the walls, by a scrupulous observance of care for the body even as the soul rots.  They carefully wash hands and food and “cups and jugs and kettles” but forego the cleansing of their hearts within.  And so they “nullify God’s word in favor of the traditions [they] have handed on”; they ornament the walls of the temple, but God is not within.  They indeed fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: “This people pays me lip service but their heart is far from me.” Brothers and sisters, do we pray in truth?  Do our “heart and [our] flesh cry out for the living God”?  Can we say with our psalmist, “My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord,” for His holy presence?  If it is so that we treasure the Lord above all, then we shall be as “the sparrow [who] finds a home, and the swallow [who has] a nest in which she puts her young” – then we shall dwell happily in the house of God and He shall hear our prayers.  For in truth the Lord Jesus has come to dwell among men on earth; the true Temple walks among us.  No longer need we be separated from God or anxiously fear the loss of His presence.  The temple walls and the traditions developed to protect us from uncertainty no longer must be clung to, for here are the temple walls in the flesh of Christ, and here is the cleansing we need in the shedding of His blood.  And His Church now is alive in the Spirit of God and is moving everywhere.  Let us enter its eternal walls and find true reverence there.  In this place He shall answer all our prayers. ******* O LORD, we cry out to you: let us look upon the face of your anointed that we might be cleansed of our sin. YHWH, make us faithful to your Word with our whole heart; let us worship you in spirit and in truth.  Let us not merely cling to traditions men have devised, let us not set our sights on the walls of the temple but enter inside and there find you present in your Son.  O let us dwell in your House forever! Jesus is the Temple where you dwell, O LORD our God.  For Him our souls thirst, for it is you, the living God, our hearts desire.  And so, let us not be distracted by the gleam of the stones erected in your NAME.  Let us find in these houses of prayer a place to offer you fitting sacrifice, a place where you indeed dwell and where you listen to our cries…  But let us know all the while that even the highest heavens cannot contain you, that you transcend [...]


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February 5 - Prayer to St. Agatha

Sun, 04 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O good child of God who gave your life so willingly for the sake of Christ and so wore His holy blood upon your robes, you who were blessed to remain ever faithful to the Lord even as those around you turned from His presence – pray for us this day that our lives too may be holy and blessed as your own, that we too might give witness to the Lord with the same pure love you did so readily show. Pray we shall be wed to the Spouse you so intimately knew and thus become one with Him and all His saints in Heaven. May our lives also be good, may they also be godly, and may we, too, stand as others fall.


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February 5 - Monday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Sun, 04 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Kgs.8:1-7,9-13;   Ps.132:6-10;   Mk.6:53-56) “Let us enter into His dwelling, let us worship at His footstool.” “Advance, O Lord, to your resting place, you and the ark of your majesty.”  Yes, in our first reading, “the elders of Israel and all the leaders of the tribes” come to bring the ark of the Lord into the temple Solomon has built in Jerusalem.  “For the occasion [they] sacrificed before the ark sheep and oxen too many to number or count.”  When the ark was in its place in the holy of holies, “the Lord’s glory… filled the temple” in the form of a cloud.  The Lord’s presence had come to rest in this “princely house.”  But this shall not be a dwelling “where [He] may abide forever,” as Solomon says; for the eternal Temple is Jesus. In our gospel “crowds scurried about the adjacent area and began to bring in the sick on bedrolls” when the Lord and His disciples tied up their boat in Genessaret.  Here as everywhere He went “they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged Him to let them touch just the tassel of His cloak.”  Mark tells us, “All who touched Him got well.”  Here is the true Temple at work, a place where prayers are answered, where healing is known.  As the ark was placed “beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary,” so the Father has the angels spread their wings over His Son, guarding and blessing His every step.  As when the ark is brought in to the holy of holies, the Lord’s glory fills the temple, so when He comes to us, when we but touch Him, we are filled with His presence and made whole.  As the Israelites crowded into the temple to offer sacrifice, so now all in need surround the Lord to share in the holy sacrifice of His Body and Blood. Here is the Temple not made by human hands, brothers and sisters.  Here is the Lord’s eternal dwelling place.  Here is Jesus, the Son of God.  In all the tabernacles of all the churches throughout the world He rests, His presence abides.  Let us flock to Him.  Let us receive Him into our hearts and bodies.  Let us know His healing touch upon our souls.  Let us pray with our psalmist, “May your priests be clothed with justice; let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy.”  For here is His holy presence; here is the glory of the Lord.  Here He hears our prayers as we call upon His Name and worship before Him each day.  Here He enters in and makes His home with us, and so we, too, become temples of the Lord. ******* O LORD, may we but touch your Son and be healed, your cloud of glory filling our souls. YHWH, your Word has become flesh; the Law you inscribed on the two tablets of stone now walks among us in the Person of Jesus.  Here is the true Temple, your dwelling where you abide forever.  To Him should we come in praise and worship to find healing that we might rest with you. O LORD, make us holy as He is holy; let us enter your sanctuary, the wings of your angels spread above us for protection.  Yes, let us become as the Body of your Son as we partake of His Word and Sacrament here in your House.  To your Temple let us come that we might be temples ourselves. What should we not sacrifice to your glory?  What should occupy us but finding your Presence in our midst?  Should we not lay our sick souls at Jesus’ feet; should we not seek [...]


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February 4 - Sunday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Year B

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0000

(Jb.7:1-4,6-7;   Ps.147:1-6;   1Cor.9:16-19,22-23;   Mk.1:29-39) “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” In our first reading, Job is about as brokenhearted as a man could be, beset entirely by the devil’s trials as he is.  “Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” his complete loss of goods and family and his own health has come upon him.  And so he seems to see his days “come to an end without hope.”  More miserable a creature there could not be. In our gospel we are told that “Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever” and that the people of the town in which Jesus found Himself “brought to Him all who were ill or possessed by demons.”  Surrounded is He with the afflictions man suffers, the weakness to which our fallen race is so prone.  It seems that all are indeed “brokenhearted” and wounded; as Simon Peter says upon finding the Lord praying in a deserted place the next morning: “Everyone is looking for you.”  All need so greatly the healing only He brings. And He does heal all who come to Him.  As even before His birth into this world He served to set Job free from the clutches of Satan and grant him a new life which was beyond his hope; as Simon’s mother-in-law “He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up,” the fever fleeing His touch; as “He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and He drove out many demons” from those gathered at the door of the house where He stayed… so He continues “preaching and driving out demons,” not only throughout Galilee and all of Judea and all of Israel, but to this day to the ends of the earth through His holy Church. Our Lord has become “a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.”  Our weakness He has taken upon Himself to remove our weakness from us.  Our diseases, our darkness, our sin… our “months of misery” He has borne that He might heal us of all infirmities – that He might bind up our broken hearts.  Our salvation comes at the touch of His hand, at the breath of His mouth.  Let us rise and walk with Him, for the Dawn has come and His grace-filled blood is upon us. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: ""This World of Sin" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, drive the demons from our souls, heal our broken hearts, that we might rise and offer you praise all the days of our lives. YHWH, has your Son not made Himself weak for our sakes?  Has He not freely given His life to save us from sin?  Does He not bind up our wounds and cast all demons from our midst?  He heals the brokenhearted who cry out to Him – let us eagerly seek the touch of His hand. We gather around your Son, O LORD, for He is the door that leads to your presence.  Only He can save us from the misery of this dark world and redeem our troubled souls, and so let us praise your goodness to us as we draw near to Him. We are all sick, LORD, all in the grip of a fever from which there seems no escape.  The devil would have us believe the wickedness that surrounds us is eternal, but we know the night shall soon come to an end.  Your light has already dawned upon us in the presence of your Son; let the grace of salvation be fulfilled in our midst.


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February 3 - Prayer to St. Ansgar

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 20:05:00 +0000

O bringer of light to many nations, you who struggled on for the souls placed in your care that all might know the Christ for whom you toiled, endlessly seeking to convert obstinate hearts – may your zeal inspire missionaries this day to go forth selflessly proclaiming the Gospel to all, bearing witness to the Lord in the cross they bear in season and out of season; whether producing much fruit or being rejected, may their hearts be set on the Word and the love of God for His children. Pray especially those lands you led to Christ will turn again to the one true light.


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February 3 - Prayer to St. Blaise

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O shepherd whom we invoke for the healing of throats, you who suffered torments for the sake of the Name and embraced death as leader of His flock – open our throats to speak of Jesus, to declare His goodness and glory, the salvation that comes only through Him. Let us not fear our persecutors nor shrink from the threats of the mighty but stand fast in the Lord’s healing grace, confident that His every blessing will keep us well and on the path that leads only to Heaven. Pray all sickness flee from us this day and forever.


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February 3 - Saturday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Kgs.3:4-13;   Ps.119:9-14;   Mk.6:30-34)  “He began to teach them at great length.”  “Who is able to govern this vast people of yours?” Solomon asks in his plea to God for wisdom.  And “upon disembarking Jesus saw a vast crowd” who “were like sheep without a shepherd,” our gospel tells us.  The apostles have just “returned to Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and what they had taught,” how they had managed to enter into His mission, and now it is time for rest in a deserted place.  But the crowds hasten on foot to fill that deserted place, and what can the Lord do but feed those who thirst so much for His presence and His word. In our first reading Solomon reflects his father David’s humble obedience before God: “O Lord, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.”  And so he makes the request for wisdom that so pleases the Lord.  And so God grants his request: “I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one equal to you,” and adds the greatest of riches and glory to it.  Solomon it is who composes proverbs, who judges the most difficult of cases, who is able to answer any question – it is he who rules the great kingdom of Israel in peace.  And all this he is able to do because his soul is as our psalmist’s today; he sings with him, “With all my heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commands,” and, “In the way of your decrees I rejoice, as much as in all riches.”  But when the king strays, he shall lose the great promise which has been so marvelously revealed in his reign.  He, too, shall show that he is but human. Only the Lord teaches, brothers and sisters!  Only the Lord is able to rule!  All teaching and all governance come only from Him and not our own souls.  As great as the wisdom of Solomon was, apart from the Lord it becomes nothing but vanity.  For it is He who grants it to the king, according to his humble request.  And it is He who can only take it back again, upon separation from Him.  Let us keep to His words, brothers and sisters.  Let us remain under His Spirit’s tutelage, within the walls of Mother Church.  Here we shall be taught.  By His wisdom we shall come to know.  In His Word we shall find the salvation of our souls.  Come now to your Shepherd and hear His voice imparting the grace of wisdom, the food that sustains you, to your mind and heart.  Enter into His call. ******* O LORD, teach your poor flock with your wisdom that we might declare your Word to all. YHWH, teach us at great length for we are as sheep without a shepherd, we are all as mere youths before you, children not knowing right from wrong.  Only you give us an understanding heart; only by your Word are we instructed in the way we should go.  How lost we would be without your command! Show favor to your servants, LORD, for we wish to do your will.  Your Son we follow to deserted places that He might satiate our thirsting souls.  All the riches and glory of this world we would leave behind, if you would but give us your wisdom. Within our[...]


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February 2 - Presentation of the Lord

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000

(Mal.3:1-4;   Ps.24:7-10;   Heb.2:14-18;   Lk.2:22-40)  “Suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek.” “And He will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.”  “To expiate the sins of the people” He has come – to bring us light.  But to do this “He had to become like His brothers and sisters in every way”; He had to “share in blood and flesh” with us, and so share in our death, to overcome death and make us holy in the sight of God, that our lives might be like His: a true sacrifice to the Lord. Hear in our gospel how many times is stated that when “Mary and Joseph [take] Jesus up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord” this is done “just as it is written in the law of the Lord.”  Because it says, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” His parents do so “in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.”  They “brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to Him”; they “fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord” before returning to Galilee to raise Him.  Of what significance is this in this day and age when so many place themselves above the need to be obedient to the dictates of the Church and the Holy Spirit which speaks through her.  Though the Lord Himself did all according to the way it is written, so many find no necessity for themselves to go to church on Sunday, to confess their sins, to give their tithe… and on.  In their minds they need no “religion” to follow.  Let them learn from the Lord and His obedience, and His humility, in the place where God is found. And see what happens when this humble Child allows Himself to be brought into the temple of the Lord: light comes to His people.  Simeon the prophet proclaims in joy, “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples,” and declares his readiness for death.  Anna the prophetess gives thanks to God and speaks “about the child to all who [are] awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”  It is not to a street corner He comes to bring salvation; it is to the temple.  There we await Him.  There we find Him, in His Father’s house. Finally, we must relate the pain His coming brings.  Though leading to glory, for us as well as for Him, the performance of the Father’s will in all things is not easy.  As “a sword will pierce” the Mother’s heart, so in our purgation, in our persecution as we turn from the darkness of this world to be purified for the next, there shall be suffering.  But this suffering does lead to life.  But our waiting shall be answered.  The light is powerful that comes when we “lift up” the gates of our hearts “that the king of glory may come in,” but in Him we find all our hearts need.  His is a perfect sacrifice. Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney. Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission. ******* O LORD, your Son has come into our midst and united Himself to us; may we be united to Him and become as your Temple.  YHWH, in the purification of your Son, we are purif[...]


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February 1 - Thursday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Kgs.2:1-4,10-12;   1Chr.29:10-12;   Mk.6:7-13)  “Yours, O Lord, is the sovereignty; you are exalted as head over all.” Solomon begins his reign, and the apostles begin their mission.  But how different is their manner of rule.  Solomon sits in sovereignty upon a throne, while the apostles are sent in poverty to all towns.  Solomon’s reign is of the physical universe, with the riches of the world at his disposal; whereas the twelve apostles rule in the kingdom of heaven, shown by the Lord’s “giving them authority over unclean spirits.”  They go forth with “no food, no traveling bag, not a coin in the purses in their belts,” “preaching the need of repentance,” the dust upon their feet.  Solomon remains within the walls of his palace, well-guarded and with all “riches and honor,” seemingly of “grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory.” Now let us not think that the riches themselves are evil, for these are a gift from God (rewarding Solomon for his initial desire for wisdom above all else); but it must never be forgotten that, as David declares to God at the time of his son’s anointing: “Riches and honor are from you.”  His always are the majesty and the glory.  If Solomon would remember this, if he would heed the Lord’s words to David’s sons to “remain faithful to [Him] with their whole heart and with their whole soul,” observing always His commands – his kingship would be blessed.  But Solomon, too, shall sin, and worse than his father: he shall turn to worship of other gods.  And the sons that follow shall only continue the decline, necessitating the reign of Christ to enter in. So, humbly do the disciples of the Lord go forth, though with the greatest of power.  They call for the repentance of all proud souls, possessed of the throne of this unholy world.  The Twelve “expelled many demons, anointed the sick with oil, and worked many cures,” thus bringing the kingdom of God to this world; and we are called to follow them, in the same poverty.  None of this can we do if our hearts are set upon the riches of this world.  Empty must we be of the desire for the food of earthly security – into the Lord’s hands we must utterly place our lives.  Only then will we be rich in Him “from eternity to eternity.”  Splendor awaits us all, brothers and sisters, in the cross we carry upon this dusty earth. ******* O LORD, if we follow in the way of your Son, we shall share in His power. YHWH, yours are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory.  You are exalted over all and have dominion over all.  Yet your sons go out with nothing, nothing but the Cross.  In this alone do they find your authority and power; in Christ alone are all men saved. It is not upon the throne of this world your Son sits, with gold rings and a royal crown.  No, His crown is of thorns and He is stripped of even His clothes.  And just so naked must His disciples be, bereft of all attachments to this place, trusting entirely in your grace.  O LORD, let us go forth strengthened by faith! How shall we find our blessing, dear God, the blessing of your presence in our heart[...]


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January 31 - Prayer to St. John Bosco

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O teacher and father of the children in your care, in whose hands they were not abandoned but held in patience by Christ’s love – teach us, too, to have that same patience, to have that same love for those the Lord places in our care, that anger shall be banished from our hearts and our minds, that the wisdom of Christ’s sacrifice you taught and lived we too might embody, and so serve in raising the kingdom of Heaven among the children of this earth. And pray that we, too, may know the Lord’s gentle word and touch upon our own souls  and so grow into His likeness.


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January 31 - Wednesday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.24:2,9-17;   Ps.32:1-2,5-7,   Mk.6:1-6) “I acknowledged my sin to you; my guilt I covered not.” The Lord can heal only those who believe in Him, who turn to Him in their guilt to be saved. David has sinned against the Lord once again.  His kingdom had been blessed by the Lord and was flourishing in His sight.  Rather than accept the blessings the Lord poured upon him and so find their increase, the king sought control over that which should have been left in the hands of God by numbering the people who had been the Lord’s gift to him.  And so now their number shall be decreased in his sight. But David regrets his sin, acknowledging it before the Lord and begging His pardon: “I have sinned grievously in what I have done.  But now, Lord, forgive the guilt of your servant, for I have been very foolish,” and he throws himself on the mercy of God.  The Lord does destroy some seventy thousand in the kingdom, but relents at David’s intercession for the sheep under his rule who have done no wrong – the king entreats, “Punish me and my kindred,” and then offers an appeasing sacrifice to God. David’s sin is severe and has serious consequences, but the Lord is faithful in forgiving him when he calls out to Him.  However, when “Jesus went to His own part of the country,” as shown in our gospel, their hearts were closed against Him and He could share no grace.  Were they any less sinners than David?  Had they any less need of His forgiveness, of His healing?  Their hardness of heart itself proves otherwise, but, sadly, “they found Him too much for them”; and “their lack of faith,” which distressed the Lord, prevented them from knowing the mercy found by their ancestor David.  Ironically, it is their own closeness to Him and His human family that keeps them from recognizing the greatness of the grace which works through Him.  Would they disown David, him whose sons they claim to be, if he had come to them in such a way?  And yet Jesus they reject.  Brothers and sisters, our sights must be set on heaven and the mercy that falls from there through the Lord.  We have all sinned as David in our foolishness.  We must acknowledge it as he has, with faith that the Lord can heal us, that He walks amongst us as a brother to cure all our ills and teach us the way to love.  If we listen without acceptance of Him in faith, “no miracle” will be worked in our lives – and it is a miracle we most need, for we simple servants must lay down our lives. ******* O LORD, let us not question the wonders you work in our midst; let us rejoice at the presence of your saving Son. YHWH, forgive the guilt of our sin, that we have turned our backs on you and not believed in your providence, and not accepted your Son.  How could we be so blind to your hand at work among us, and why should you be so kind as to stay the angel of death?  We deserve to die for our sins against you, yet to our poor souls you offer forgiveness. The teaching of Jesus is clear, His wisdom is of your perfect light, yet we question His miraculous presence in our midst.  Holding to the[...]


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January 30 - Tuesday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.18:9-10,14,24-25,30-19:3;   Ps.86:1-6;   Mk.5:21-43) “Hearken, O Lord, to my prayer, and attend to the sound of my pleading.” Today in our readings we hear of desperate pleas made to the Lord.  In our gospel there are at least two “earnest appeal[s]”: Jairus “fell at [the] feet” of Jesus and begged Him to heal his dying daughter; and without words the woman “who had been afflicted with a hemorrhage for a dozen years” makes her appeal by working her way through the crowd simply to “touch His clothing” and be well.  The woman is healed “immediately” and hears from the Lord, “It is your faith that has cured you.”  Her He sends in peace, but peace and the same faith He does not find as He approaches Jairus’ house after having been told his daughter is dead.  There is “the noise of people wailing and crying loudly on all sides.”  Theirs seems to be a kind of pleading, but the Lord’s answer to such prayer they reject and mock, and so must be put out of the house – only those of faith can know of healing. And so Jesus takes only Peter, James, John, and the girl’s parents into the room where the child lies, for they are able to heed His teaching: “Fear is useless.  What is needed is trust.”  And so when He reaches out His hand to the little girl and speaks to her, “Talitha koum,” she indeed rises and walks about.  The prayer of a true heart is always answered in the power of God. What can we say of David’s “weeping and mourning for Absalom” in our first reading?  Again a father cries out for his child.  But here it is not an innocent “child of twelve” for whom the prayer rises up, but for a son who has rebelled against his father “with evil intent,” seeking indeed to overthrow David’s kingdom and put him to death.  David’s cry, “My son, my son Absalom!  If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!” stands in opposition to what is expected of him as he is informed of the “good news” that his enemies have been defeated and their leader killed.  But here again the king knows it has been his own sin which has led to such disruption in his house.  And so it is as much for himself he cries as for the child of his loins.  And though Absalom shall not be raised from the dead, perhaps the Lord hears the sorrow of David’s heart and will later comfort him.  “To you I call all the day,” O Lord.  “I am afflicted and poor,” but “you, O Lord, are good and forgiving.”  Heal me as I cry out to you.  Look upon my weeping and mourning with your kindness; raise me from the dead by your word and feed me with your Body and Blood. ******* O LORD, why do we wail at the prospect of death – why do we not trust in you? YHWH, you hear our cry, you answer our pleading and send your Son to die in our place.  We have rebelled against you, we have deserved death, but Jesus dies in our stead that we might be saved from the grave.  And so our amazement is complete at the love you bear for us. Have pity on us, LORD, we are afflicted; we have been tormented many [...]


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January 29 - Monday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Sun, 28 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.15:13-14,30,16:5-13;   Ps.3:2-7;   Mk.5:1-20)  “Many are saying of me, ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’” Today David’s sins rise to his neck, and he is persecuted for them.  But in accepting the persecution as chastisement from the hand of God, David regains his kingly stature, becoming once again humble and obedient to the Lord. David’s son Absalom has successfully led a rebellion against him among the Israelite nation under David’s command.  The king is forced to flee, and as he leaves, his son will lie with the wives and concubines he has left behind upon the same roof where David first spied the bathing Bathsheba.  How his sins come to visit him! But it is in mourning David flees Jerusalem and climbs the Mount of Olives – the hill upon which Christ’s own passion shall begin in the garden where He is taken by the sword.  David “wept without ceasing.  His head was covered and he was walking barefoot.”  Repentant is the king in remembrance of his sins and the punishment now come upon him.  And his sincerity he exhibits profoundly again, for as Shimei curses and stones him, though he is surrounded by soldiers he does not exact retribution or seek to stop him.  Despite the fact this kin of Saul has no right to act toward the king in this way, yet David is struck to the heart by the truth of his words: “Now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer,” and leaves all in the hands of God, responding to his soldier, “Suppose the Lord has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?’”  Open is David about the fact that even his own son is seeking his life, and so what standing can he expect to have with his enemies.  As he endures his trial, he hopes only it shall be purgatorial: “Perhaps the Lord will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.”  And so he does not “fear the myriads of people arrayed against him on every side,” for he rediscovers his faith in God. And as the Lord casts out the legion of demons from the possessed man of Gerasene, so He shall purge David of his sin.  To whatever extreme our afflictions have grown, the Lord is present to save.  For if this man who could not be secured with chains, who “uninterruptedly night and day amid the tombs… screamed and gashed himself with stones,” could be found by a word from the Lord “sitting fully clothed and perfectly sane,” what have we to fear of all the devils who accuse us of our sins?  Jesus is mightier than them and there is no telling “how much the Lord in His mercy” can do when we fall on our faces before Him in homage.  True repentance brings salvation to all sinful souls. ******* O LORD, let us come from dwelling among the tombs to sit at your feet in peace. YHWH, though our adversaries be arrayed against us on every side, you are there to rescue our souls.  Though the devils press upon us and accuse us of our sins, you grant forgiveness… and bring us to our right minds.  O let us proc[...]


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January 28 - Prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas

Sat, 27 Jan 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O wise doctor of the Church who ate the bread of angels in your long hours of prayer and study and writing and shared with us the knowledge you gained of the sublime truth of God, shedding the light of reason upon the faith we hold so dear – teach us this day to know God that we might better love and serve Him, that we might not be blind to His presence in our midst, to the holiness to which He calls us. Pray we shall enter into His Cross, His love, His obedience; pray we, too, might have knowledge, true knowledge of His grace and the everlasting life which is ours in Him… and pray the Lord send us holy teachers to fill your shoes.


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January 28 - Sunday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time, Year B

Sat, 27 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0000

(Dt.18:15-20;   Ps.95:1-2,6-9;   1Cor.7:32-35;   Mk.1:21-28)  “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin.” Thus does Moses speak to the people as he prepares to leave them, and they prepare to enter the Promised Land.  He prophesies most immediately the anointing of Joshua, who will take his place as leader of the Israelite nation and guide them into the holy land, as well as all the prophets who shall follow… but most especially, of course, he hereby prophesies the coming of the only Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be raised up from among us, a man as we are, to be God in our midst.  No greater fulfillment of this promise could there be: no more real could God make His presence known to us.  Here on this earth He stands, and speaks. Our reading from Deuteronomy makes clear the nature and role of the prophet; in this passage we see the inception of this gift, of this power God gives to man.  When the people begged Moses, “Let us not again hear the voice of the Lord, our God, nor see this great fire anymore,” for fear of death after having witnessed the Lord’s most powerful theophany at Mount Horeb, the Most High answered them and promised instead, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him.”  Here is the very definition of a prophet: one who speaks for God.  Out of a prophet’s mouth come the words of the Lord, not his own. And what a Prophet is Jesus!  And, of course, so much more than a prophet – the only Son.  “For He taught them as one having authority”; His words of rebuke: “Quiet!  Come out of him!” cast out all unclean spirits…  His power is immeasurable as God’s power is immeasurable – all is in His hands and at the command of His voice.  For His words are not His own (though intimately His own); they are His Father’s.  He does only the Father’s will and so is the Father’s Son.  In them together the Spirit moves!  Upon all regions of the earth His Word goes forth. “Oh, that today you would hear His voice,” brothers and sisters, and “bow down in worship before Him,” knowing who is here before you now and consecrating yourself entirely to Him.  Then you would but “sing joyfully” and be filled with “thanksgiving” as, free from sin, from all darkness – from all that is unclean – you come to full union with the promised One of all the ages and make your home in His heart, obedient to His blessed, protective commands, and so find yourself “free of anxieties” as you think only of “how [you] may please the Lord.”  Alleluia!  He has come. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Speaking for God" from The Whole Whale, eighth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, let us listen to your Son, Jesus, who speaks with your authority. YHWH, let us listen to your voice, O God, and the voi[...]


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January 27 - Prayer to St. Angela Merici

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O holy virgin and spiritual mother to the poorest of girls, whom you protected and guided in wisdom and love, keeping them from the snares of the world and raising them in Christ; you who fulfilled so well the twofold call to love God and save souls – pray for those who so easily go astray this day in a world of great corruption, where souls are in danger of being captured by the wiles of Satan and sin; and pray, too, that there shall be many who desire as you have, with the living love of God, to bring them into His fold.


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January 27 - Saturday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.12:1-7,10-17;   Ps.51:12-17;   Mk.4:35-41) “I have sinned against the Lord.” David is the man who “took the poor man’s ewe lamb and made a meal of it for his visitor.”  To feed his lust he has feasted on another man’s wife.  And he sees the injustice of this; he recognizes his guilt when his sin is exposed.  But why has he done it?  “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this merits death!”  And so David, too, has need of the true King and His cross to redeem him. What does the Lord say to David as he “lie[s] on the ground clothed in sackcloth,” praying for the dying child he has conceived by his sin?  We know what he says to God, for we have Psalm 51 to eternally express the misery of this sinner, and all sinners.  We know he cries out: “Free me from my blood guilt, O God, my saving God.”  But how does God respond?  Is He with him?  We know the Lord forgives David – Nathan tells him so – but yet “the sword shall never depart from [his] house,” and he shall have his sin later exposed in broad daylight by his own son, Absalom, who lies with David’s wives in the public eye.  Much woe remains with David long after his fall, and really throughout the history of Judah and Israel.  He is assured: “You shall not die,” but though his house remain and is fulfilled in the coming of Christ, what pain must be with the king in this time. If he had called upon the Lord, as He rebukes the wind and the sea in our gospel: “Quiet!  Be still!” so would God have calmed his lust upon a word from his mouth.  But he “utterly spurned the Lord.”  How is it such a humble and obedient king could do such a thing?  How is it the disciples are so “lacking in faith” at the specter of the violence of the sea?  Why do they become so “terrified”? Would not we all, brothers and sisters?  Have we not all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?  Do we not all become awed by Him whom “the wind and the sea obey”?  Yet we must come to Him.  Yet we must beg His pardon.  Yet we must seek the strength of His Spirit, of His Word within us.  Yet we must fall to our knees before our priest and cry out to our God – “A clean heart create for me, O Lord, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.”  Thus we all have need of cleansing this side of heaven; we have all brought forth children unto death. ******* O LORD, let us be obedient as the wind and the sea to your command, or we shall be overwhelmed by the waves of this world. YHWH, why should we be so terrified at the wind and the waves?  Why should we fear the prospect of death?  Do you not hold both the sea and death in your hands, and are you not faithful in saving us when we call to you?  Why are we then so lacking in faith? O LORD, we are not as you.  We are weak and sinful men.  How can we be strong when we look out and see the depth of our sin?  How can it not overwhelm us?  You are all good and we hav[...]


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January 26 - Prayer to Sts. Timothy and Titus

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O blessed disciples of Paul and shepherds of the Church who imitated so well your father in the faith who imitated only the Lord Jesus Christ and thirsted for His Cross – pray this holy Apostle be our father, too, and you with him, that we too might embrace the Cross; teach us the sound doctrine handed on to you that we may hand it on and all souls might fight the good fight and run the race with Jesus unto eternal life. Pray for all the shepherds of the Church that they be faithful as you have been to rightful authority.


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January 26 - Friday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.11:1-10,13-17;   Ps.51:3-7,10-11;   Mk.4:26-34) “The seed sprouts and grows without his knowing how it happens.” Jesus in our gospel tells us of the kingdom of God and of its gradual growth without our knowing.  Seed is scattered, the Word is sown in our souls, and as we “[go] to bed and [get] up day after day,” remaining in the presence of the Lord, good fruits little by little reveal themselves in our lives – till finally at the time of judgment we are gathered into the heavenly reign.  Though small and humble seed, once we are sown in the Lord’s grace, we “become the largest of shrubs, with branches big enough for the birds of the sky to build nests in its shade.”  And so this man made of dust may find life eternal in Jesus. In our first reading there is another kind of gradual growth evident: the sin of David.  It is the time of year “when kings go out on campaign” with their armies, but David remains at home – and so in this sin of sloth is sown that which will grow into adultery and murder.  For one evening as the king “[rises] from his siesta and stroll[s] about on the roof of the palace,” he sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing, and lets his look linger upon her.  Lust having taken hold of him, he takes her to his bed and has relations with her, despite her being another man’s wife.  In a vain attempt to cover his sin, he recalls the husband from battle that he might go in to his wife and believe the child David has conceived is his own.  But the man is more faithful to the troops in battle than David is to his position as king, and remains apart from his home.  Finally, David resorts to arranging for Uriah’s death in battle. O how sin has grown in the great king!  From a small seed tremendous guilt is born.  And now, what can the prince of the people do but seek the mercy of the Lord.  In his famous psalm of repentance David begs God, “Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt.”  He calls out, “Thoroughly wash me from my guilt, and of my sin cleanse me.”  Recognizing his plight as a member of the fallen human race: “In guilt I was born, and in sin my mother conceived me,” the king shows genuine humility, and so finds the forgiveness of God – but now the sword shall be upon his house.  Though there shall be peace in the time of the son he will later conceive with the wife of Uriah, it shall not remain.  Only in Christ will God’s blessing truly return again. Brothers and sisters, from small seeds indeed great trees come.  We must be ever diligent about the seed we sow, remaining always in the light of the Lord and nourished by the Spirit.  When “the time is ripe for harvest,” all we have done shall be exposed; until then, let us trust in His presence alone. ******* O LORD, let us grow into your kingdom, not into sin. YHWH, let your kingdom grow among us and withi[...]


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January 25 - Prayer on the Conversion of St. Paul

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 14:00:00 +0000

O you who persecuted the Church of God but then preached the faith in earnest, you upon whom abundant mercy fell, whose weakness became strength as each day in bearing extraordinary torments you grew closer to God – show us the way to Heaven. Pray we fall continually from our horse, from our pride, and allow the Lord to change our lives. Pray repentance be our constant food, that the love of Jesus and His forgiveness we shall ever know in greater measure.


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January 25 - The Conversion of St. Paul

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000

(Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22;   Ps.117:1-2,Mk.16:15;   Mk.16:15-18)   “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation.”   One would not have expected these words to be spoken so profoundly to the heart of St. Paul.  For he, then known as Saul, had spent such time and with such vigor had persecuted the followers of Christ.  Why does the Lord shine His light all about him?  Why does He speak to him and reveal Himself to him?  Why is it this man who is picked to bring the Name of Jesus to all the nations?  Perhaps it was his very vigor in persecuting His followers Jesus admired.  Perhaps his sincerity and commitment to this cause in the name of God He knew He could use for the cause of justice and right.  Perhaps he is a sign to us all that none is beyond the redemption the Lord offers.  We know only that he who was persecuting the Church now works to build it up.  We know only the story of this great Apostle to the world. “Recover your sight,” Ananias says to this Saul, and so Paul, once blinded by the light of the Lord, now has his eyes open to see.  So he who once went about with scales on his eyes, he whose vision was once so prevented from realizing the truth of the Jesus in his midst… he who was once so like his brother Pharisees, now sees.  And what he sees is not simply Ananias standing before him.  What he sees standing before him in this faithful disciple of Jesus, is Christ Himself.  And he realizes whom he has been persecuting, and repents.  And so he is baptized.  And so his mission, one wrought in the suffering of Christ, begins. “Praise the Lord, all you nations; glorify Him, all you peoples!” are the words of our psalmist, but they could as easily be the exhortation of the Apostle Paul.  Having himself believed in the Good News proclaimed to all creation and accepted Baptism into its way, he himself now brings so many others to walk along the same path.  Great signs accompany him, and his words to our ears are as those of Jesus to him, for now he is such a strong part of the Body of Christ, persecuted by this world and calling it to salvation.  On this day all our hearts should turn to the Lord, that we might join Paul and profess our faith in His Name. Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney. Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission. ******* O LORD, help us to believe and so turn to your Son to be saved. YHWH, let all men turn to you as has your great Apostle.  Reveal yourself to the eyes and ears of all souls who seek God, all who are zealous for the truth.  Why should we continue so blind?  Let all be baptized into the way of your Son and so be blessed with His power and His love. Let us not be afraid to lay down our lives for you, O LORD. Let us not turn away from what we must suffer for your Name and that [...]


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January 24 - Prayer to St. Francis de Sales

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O most devout spiritual guide, great pastor of your flock and of all souls, you who speak to us even this day with your words of wisdom and blessed direction – pray every branch of Jesus’ vine may aspire to His perfection; in whatever state we find ourselves, let us set our hearts on loving the Lord and serving Him and neighbor prayerfully. Teach us to pray faithfully, to offer our lives in all situations, all for the glory of God. Our call may we hear and heed by your intercession, following the Christ and carrying His Cross as He leads.


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January 24 - Wednesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.7:4-17;   Ps.89:4-5,27-30;   Mk.4:1-20) “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.” David seems intent on establishing the Lord’s presence forever by building a permanent house in which He might dwell, but how well our God answers the great king’s thoughts with the promise of making “his posterity endure forever.”  It is the Lord who establishes all, and so He states, “I will fix a place for my people Israel; I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance,” to show that He thinks of us and loves us first.  Though He approves and blesses our desires to care for Him and make Him known, as He shows by revealing to David that his son “shall build a house to [His] name,” He cannot be outdone in His love for us. Solomon will build the temple of the Lord, yes, and it will be a great house in which all shall worship God and through which all shall find blessing from God.  But the true Son of David upon whom the Lord’s favor rests eternally is Jesus Himself.  It is His kingdom which truly “stands firm” forever.  It is through Him the Lord will “destroy all [our] enemies” and grant us peace round about.  He is the seed of David come to full growth, the promise of the king come to fulfillment.  This is He whom the Israelites truly sought when first they asked for a king – this is God’s blessed answer to their request for one of their own to rule them. It is clear that David is as the seed “sown on good soil” which “yield[s] thirty- and sixty- and a hundredfold.”  Satan shall not come to carry off what is sown through him, nor shall he “wither for lack of roots” or be choked off by the cares of this world.  For as the Lord says of him, “I have been with you wherever you went”; and so His nourishment, the Spirit of the Lord which rushed upon David from his first anointing, remains, too, upon this chosen king.  And though he shall sin, and though his sons shall turn away from worship of the true God, yet the Lord’s blessing remains.  And in the enduring of the Lord’s correction “with the rod of men and human chastisements,” Jesus, the Son of David, the Son of God, by His crucifixion and death opens the way for all children of David, all children blessed by God, to return to the Lord of all and remain with Him forever.  The kingdom of Jesus is now established; let us come to this Temple and be saved. ******* O LORD, let us take to heart your Word and align ourselves with your will that we might reign forever with your Son.  YHWH, a House you make for us in the Person of your Son.  His throne endures forever, and we with Him. O LORD, make us fruitful in your NAME, in the flesh and blood of Jesus.[...]


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January 23 - Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.6:12-15,17-19;   Ps.24:7-10;   Mk.3:31-35) “Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the King of glory may come in!” In our first reading David leads all the Israelites in, “bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.”  “Dancing before the Lord with abandon,” he brings the ark into Jerusalem and sets it within its tent or tabernacle.  All celebrate this day as they surround the ark on its journey and as David “offers holocausts and peace offerings before the Lord,” the ark having come to its place in the city of David.  The Lord is in their midst, and so all the people rejoice. In our gospel the ever present crowd of people is assembled, seated “in a circle” around Jesus.  They surround the Lord as once the Israelites surrounded the ark – and how their hearts must celebrate at His presence in their midst.  And how indeed their hearts must leap up to hear what is said of them: “These are my mother and my brothers.”  For thus the Lord gathers them into His arms; thus He feeds them better than with the meat of any holocaust – thus they are protected forever by His holy presence. “Who is this King of glory?  The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle.”  He blesses and protects all His children; He makes all who worship Him His own.  And what need we do but celebrate; what need we do but shout for joy?  For He is present before us.  For He enters into us, into the New Jerusalem in which we dwell.  Here in His Church we have His Blessed Sacrament to feed us on our way to Him.  In this He is already with us, as He is in His teaching and in His priests and in all His brothers and sisters and mothers – “whoever does the will of God” becomes one with Him. We love you, Lord our God, for your presence among us!  We praise you, dearest Jesus, for your presence within us!  O brothers and sisters, make room for His entry into your hearts and minds, bodies and souls, that you might enter in with Him to His heavenly kingdom.  He stands and knocks at the door even now.  Will you open and welcome Him into your home? ******* O LORD, let us rejoice before the ark of the Covenant come into our midst in Jesus our King and Brother. YHWH, come into our homes, into our hearts, that we might be your House, one with your Son.  He is truly your Temple; let us open wide our gates that He might enter in and make His home with us. Mother and brother and sister of Jesus let us be, O LORD, surrounding Him as His holy family.  Let us rejoice at His Word and so follow your will in all things.  May He look upon us with mercy and give us of Himself to eat. What should we do but dance and sing and praise your holy NAME for your[...]


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January 22 - Prayer to St. Vincent

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 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.


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January 22 - Monday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.5:1-7,10;   Ps.89:20-22,25-26;   Mk.3:22-30)  “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven.” How different are the scribes who come to Jesus from the Israelites who come to David to crown him king.  “The tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said: ‘Here we are, your bone and your flesh.’”  So united would they be to him whom the Lord had said would “shepherd [His] people Israel,” so well do they remember his leadership in war, that they wholeheartedly invite him to rule over them.  They believe what God has said of His chosen king: “I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him,” and they confirm his anointing among them. But the scribes would drive Jesus from their midst.  And as the Jebusites vainly threatened David before he took the stronghold of Zion and began his reign in Jerusalem, so these blind leaders of the people vainly attack Jesus before His entering and taking hold of the New Jerusalem.  If David was anointed by God, how much more is the Father’s anointing upon His only Son?  If David’s deeds in war deserved respect and praise, how much more Him who came to teach and heal the nation?  And if these scribes should not only reject Jesus but designate the holy deeds He has worked among them as coming from the prince of demons, what hope have they but to join the prince of demons in eternal damnation?  For if they call the good evil, how shall they come to accept the goodness of God and enter His reign?  Shall they not rather fling themselves toward the fires of hell, as even they do here, taking the evil for good, led astray as they are by their pride and jealousy? The Lord’s hand is always with His Chosen One, “that [His] arm might make Him strong.”  It is in that strength we take refuge; it is in the blessing upon Him we find life.  We must invite Him who is good to rule over us – His works must be our own.  If we do not recognize the truth of His words and the grace in His deeds, what hope will we have of finding the fountain that washes us clean of our sins and prepares us for the holiness of paradise?  What can these scribes do but “carr[y] the guilt of [their] sin without end,” for they utterly reject Him. Brothers and sisters, we choose life or we choose death.  We choose to side with the good or turn to become one with the evil.  Wickedness has no place with the grace of God and His goodness allows no evil to enter in.  Jesus destroys evil: speak only the truth of this Word.  The Spirit knows nothing of lies. ******* O LORD, may your Son rule over us all and make us strong. YHWH, Jesus shall shepherd your people Israel; the blind leaders cannot pr[...]


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January 21 - Prayer to St. Agnes

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 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.


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January 21 - Sunday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year B

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.3:3b-10,19;   Ps.40:2,4,7-10;   1Cor.6:13c-15a,17-20;   Jn.1:35-42)  “The Lord came and revealed His presence, calling out as before, ‘Samuel, Samuel!’”  The call of Samuel, the call of Peter and his brother(s), and the call of us all to “glorify God in [our] body.”  As “Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Lord” when the Lord called to him, so we must all have the Holy Spirit within ourselves, we must each “know that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,” if we are to hear and answer the call of God.  As the disciples were so set upon finding the Christ, so our hearts, too, must be set upon Him, if we are to hear the words, “We have found the Messiah.”  He lives, brothers and sisters, and in His Temple He dwells.  And each of us He would make His temple; each of us He calls to be His disciple this day.  Listen for His voice, and go as you are led. Samuel was but a boy when he was called, and with the pure obedience of a child he responded to God’s voice.  Blessed was he to live with the high priest in the Lord’s temple, a forerunner of Christ in his living with the Lord from his youth, in his dedication to God and His will.  But now the Temple that is Jesus has come into the world, and makes His home with any so inclined, any who would take their rest at this holy Tabernacle of God.  He comes indeed now to make His home with us, even in the Sacrament He offers each day.  And do we respond as the boy Samuel? “John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God’”; and so the two disciples find themselves called, and so they follow the Lord: “they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with Him that day.”  And one called his brother first to the Lord; and so Peter, the rock of the Church, comes to Christ… and so are all gathered unto the Lord.  And John still points to Jesus to this day, and Peter is still the rock of His teaching and the minister of His Body – and we are all now joined to them. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” brothers and sisters.  Do you not understand that you are called to a holiness that equals His own?  This you should know, this you should understand – His call you should hear ringing in your ear.  And “with ears open to obedience” you should answer, “Here I am,” and become one with the Blessed Lamb, pure as the flesh of His sacrifice. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "This World of Sin" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. *******   O[...]


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January 20 - Prayer to St. Sebastian

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 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.


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January 20 - Prayer to St. Fabian

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 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.


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January 20 - Saturday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.1:1-4,11-12,19,23-27;   Ps.80:2-7;   Mk.3:20-21)  “They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan.”  For David’s leading his men in mourning for Saul, it might have been said of him what was said of Jesus: “He is out of His mind.”  But even to the end David proves himself sincere in his respect for God’s anointed, even slaying the man who claims to have dispatched the king upon Saul’s request (after he had dealt himself a mortal wound).  David is not anxious to claim the throne for himself, as so many around him suppose he should be.  Like Christ, he does not grasp at what is his, but continually humbles himself before his Lord and God, and waits and accepts the will of the Father. And so David weeps and fasts for the man who forever sought his life.  And so he is given “tears to drink in ample measure.”  And so he cries with the Israelites, “fed with the bread of tears” at the death of their king.  Jonathan, David truly loved.  He was indeed better to him than any brother or any lover.  For him his tears are understandable.  Jonathan repeatedly saved David’s life, to the point of provoking the wrath of his father against himself.  But there is no explanation for his love of Saul, other than the Lord loved him and had blessed him.  And so, David’s love is as the love of God.  His tears fall from on high. And what shall we say of our gospel today?  Jesus and His disciples are so pressed upon by the crowds of people, they made it “impossible for them to get any food whatever.”  We should remember this situation when we consider the Lord’s family coming to “take charge of Him.”  We should understand their concern for His health when we interpret their statement that “He is out of His mind.”  They mean not that He is insane, but that He needs someone to look after His temporal needs, lest He tax Himself overmuch. But the Lord’s strength, like David’s love, also comes from on high – it is not earthly.  And His work is His food, and the Father will take care.  His mourning and weeping and fasting and dying for us is blessed by His Father, and will bear fruit unto His kingship in heaven.  If He did not live by the standards of heaven, there would be no hope for our salvation, for why should He die for sinners such as us, other than it is the Father’s love? ******* O LORD, your love for us goes beyond reason, beyond the death we deserve for our sin. YHWH, your Son must be out of His mind for loving us as intensely as He does.  Why should He [...]


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January 19 - Friday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.24:3-21;   Ps.57:2-4,6,11;   Mk.3:13-19) “Sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.” Today we see David at perhaps his most humble and obedient in the sight of God – we see why he is the great king of Israel. David is being hunted down by Saul once again in his jealousy.  His psalm, our psalm today, is his cry for protection from the Lord in whom he trusts: “I call to God Most High, to God, my benefactor.  May He send from heaven and save me.”  To the cave in which he hides, God sends his pursuer, vulnerable and at arm’s length.  But this man who will be king of the Israelites by God’s ordination refrains from taking the sword into his hand to kill the man who would kill him.  Why?  Because Saul is yet the king, “the Lord’s anointed,” whom David even calls “a father to me” despite the threat he is to his life.  Such an act of respect, such an understanding of the obedience due God and His will is unparalleled in Scripture.  This is David.  This is the king. And how tragic a figure is Saul.  Upon having his eyes turned inward to his very soul and the injustice he wreaks upon David, he weeps aloud in recognition of his sin: “You are in the right rather than I; you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.”  It is he who speaks the words of our quote today, he who recognizes the truly kingly nature of David…  Yet for all his penance and insight it shall not be long before his jealousy leads him to pursue David unrighteously once again.  He cannot escape his envy for David’s blessing. And in our gospel we read of the blessed apostles of Christ, those “men He Himself had decided on,” whom He summoned and “who came and joined Him.”  These “He would send to preach the Good News”; these would “have authority to expel demons.”  They are named by name for us today: here is the foundation of the Church in which God dwells.  Here are His blessed kings of the New Jerusalem.  Let us not be jealous of them.  Let no man attempt to breach the authority given them; for pursue them as one would, none shall take their blessing away – it is they who are ordained by God for His service.  Humbly let us join them in their sovereignty over Israel.  Obediently let us come into the Lord’s kingdom. ******* O LORD, though your justice is beyond our reach, in your mercy make us your disciples.  YHWH, those whom you appoint must be respected.  It is you who anoint the king and ordain apostles.  Jesus is your only Son and He has chos[...]


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January 18 - Thursday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.18:6-9,19:1-7;   Ps.56:2-3,5,9-14;   Mk.3:7-12) “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Jesus His millions.  He slays an untold number of “unclean spirits [who] would catch sight of Him, fling themselves down at His feet, and shout, ‘You are the Son of God.’”  “A great crowd followed Him from Galilee, and an equally great multitude” from all the surrounding regions.  So great were their numbers He needed a boat to escape the press upon Him.  For He “cured many,” and many more desired to be touched by Him. The women sing of David’s greatness upon his return from slaying the Philistine.  Their rightful attribution of praise for David, through whom “the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel” and so for its king (who had himself sought someone to stand against the giant Goliath), does nothing but provoke resentment and jealousy from King Saul.  His anger even leads to his plotting to kill the man who has saved his kingdom; and though he sets aside his plan “of shedding innocent blood by killing David without cause” for the moment, the plot never leaves his heart and shall repeatedly surface with greater intensity.  Thus Saul proves his inability to serve as king of the Lord’s people.  Thus his pride shall be his demise. And rightfully does Saul claim of David that “all that remains for him is the kingship,” for in fact he has already been anointed king in place of Saul by Samuel the prophet.  And though as with the kingship of Jesus, who silences the demons from revealing “who He was,” David’s crown shall remain hidden for a time, inevitably –  again, as with the Lord’s reign – those who “press their attack against” the Lord’s anointed shall be turned back and the true king shall “walk before God in the light of the living.”  It is inevitable for it is God’s will, and neither the jealousy of Saul nor the plotting of the Pharisees – the jealous kings who would be overthrown by Jesus – can turn aside what God has ordained. The Lord is with David.  Though his “adversaries trample upon [him] all the day,” he sings in praise of God in his psalm: “You have rescued me from death.”  And so we see how our psalms sing of Jesus Himself and why He is called Son of David.  For the greatest victory the Lord God shall achieve will be the resurrection of His Son from the dead, and the redemption of the many souls who shall follow Him. ******* O LORD, we press upon you with our[...]


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January 17 - Prayer to St. Anthony the Abbot

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 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.


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January 17 - Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.17:32-33,37,40-51;   Ps.144:1-2,9-10;   Mk.3:1-6) “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the Lord.” “The battle is the Lord’s” is the simple truth David proclaims to all those who stand in arms.  To “all this multitude,” he declares “that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves.”  Thus with David’s defeat of the Philistine giant is emphasized what has already been revealed in the anointing of this ruddy youth as king and the loss of that kingship by the tall-in-stature Saul: the exalted are humbled and the humbled exalted.  For God blesses those who make Him their “rock,” trusting not in their own wealth or strength.  “My refuge and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I trust, who subdues peoples under me,” David chants in praise of the Lord in his holy psalm.  And so should we all take refuge in the Lord, and find strength in praising His Name. And in “hoping to be able to bring an accusation against Him,” do not the Pharisees come, too, with sword and spear against God’s holy one today in our gospel?  And do they not make this violence clear in their turning “to plot with the Herodians on how they might destroy Him”?  They are defeated in battle by the Word of truth which issues forth and indeed is embodied by the Christ of God, Jesus, Son of David, Son of God.  They cannot contradict the authority of His teaching or the blessing of the healing He brings from the Father on high, but yet they harden their hearts and close “their minds against Him,” seeking to confirm their trust in the warring hand of this world in the capture and crucifixion of their Savior.  But the battle is the Lord’s, and their attempts to destroy Him shall prove the fruitlessness of such trust in violence – indeed, their killing Him with sword and spear shall be the instrument which leads to His resurrection, bringing the dawn of new life in whose light death itself, and the pride of man, shall be destroyed forever. Let all know it is the Lord who fights for those whom He loves, those who trust in Him and His ways, who seek to do good and not evil, to “preserve life” and not “destroy it.”  The question Jesus poses to the Pharisees He presents to us: do we cherish the saving power of the Lord of life and take refuge and joy in Him, or do we reach for the weapons at our side to destroy Him?  The posturing of[...]


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January 16 - Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.16:1-13;   Ps.89:20-22,27-28;   Mk.2:23-28)  “Man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” Indeed, how different the vision of God from the vision of man, and how well the Lord illustrates this in His rejection of Saul and His choosing of David.  When Samuel sees Eliab, whose appearance and “lofty stature” are reminiscent of Saul, even this great seer is blinded by his eyes and must be directed by God to look beyond what is apparent to his sight.  All seven sons brought to the feast are rejected by the Lord, and the youngest, “who is tending the sheep,” must be sent for.  Jesse, his father, did not think David worthy of coming to the sacrificial banquet, but it is he who is the centerpiece of the celebration.  This ruddy youth is the one chosen by the eyes of God. And lest we think that there is some kind of diametrical opposition between physical beauty and interior loveliness, we must note that David is not ugly to behold and the Lord does not choose him for a poor appearance.  He too was “handsome… and making a splendid appearance.”  But the beauty of David finds its source not in the skin but in a heart set on God, and it is this faithfulness and dedication to Him upon which the Lord gazes and, so, chooses, and not upon the curls falling around his face.  David’s appearance is beautiful because his soul is beautiful, and his soul is beautiful because it finds its life in God.  And so, from the day of his anointing by Samuel, God’s prophet, “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David” and there remained, for it had found its proper home. In our gospel we have a quote like unto the one separated out for this day, and expressive of a similar lesson: “The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath,” Jesus tells the Pharisees critical of His disciples picking, peeling, and eating heads of grain on the Lord’s Day.  For what do the Pharisees do but judge the law by its appearance alone, and fail to look into its heart.  The law is indeed beautiful to behold and was made for man for his benefit, to draw him close to God; but how far from its purpose these leaders of the people have come, and so, how distant from the Lord they stand – unable to recognize Him as He stands before them.  The sabbath itself was made for man’s rest and refreshment from labor, and yet when the disciples of Christ pick and eat to allay their hunger, to find refreshment for the[...]


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January 15 - Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.15:16-23;   Ps.50:8-9,16-17,21,23;   Mk.2:18-22) “Does the Lord so delight in holocausts and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord? The answer to the question Samuel puts to Saul is, in a word, “No.”  “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams.”  Nothing does the Lord deem greater than our hearing and heeding His Word, than our obedience to His will.  And nothing will save us, nothing will preserve our place in His kingdom like our doing what He asks of us. Saul loses his kingship for his disobedience to the command of the Lord.  The Lord has told him to destroy the enemy he invades and all that belongs to them.  Saul retains some of the animals to bring back for sacrifice to God.  Why waste them?  Why not honor God with them?  Reasonable thoughts to the human mind, but not the will of God.  And in heeding these thoughts is revealed the seed of Saul’s rebellion against God, which will lead to his attempts to destroy the king (David) the Lord has chosen to replace him, and end in his own suicide. How prone the human mind is to favor its own counsels against those of God.  How foolish seem submission and obedience, especially when they go against our own logic.  But David will show the humility God desires in those He would bless.  “To him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God,” He promises us.  David will be one who does not hate the discipline of the Lord or cast His words behind his back.  When all justification is present for his killing Saul, who hunts down God’s chosen like an animal, he forgoes every opportunity, respecting his pursuer as God’s anointed.  How different his attitude from Saul’s, he who “rejected the command of the Lord” by taking matters in his own soiled hands. The blessing obedience is, the transcendent joy of joining oneself to the will of the Lord, is evident in our gospel as well, in Jesus’ teaching that “new wine is poured into new skins” and not old.  Fasting is a blessed sacrifice provided by the law and by God.  But as wholesome as this practice, or any other religious observance, can be, it does not supersede being present to the Lord.  If we are not present to Him, all our works become empty.  The disciples are so close to Jesus, so happy to be in His company, it is as if they have stepped into heaven – and so how can the law’s[...]


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January 14 - Sunday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year B

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.3:3b-10,19;   Ps.40:2,4,7-10;   1Cor.6:13c-15a,17-20;   Jn.1:35-42)  “The Lord came and revealed His presence, calling out as before, ‘Samuel, Samuel!’”  The call of Samuel, the call of Peter and his brother(s), and the call of us all to “glorify God in [our] body.”  As “Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Lord” when the Lord called to him, so we must all have the Holy Spirit within ourselves, we must each “know that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,” if we are to hear and answer the call of God.  As the disciples were so set upon finding the Christ, so our hearts, too, must be set upon Him, if we are to hear the words, “We have found the Messiah.”  He lives, brothers and sisters, and in His Temple He dwells.  And each of us He would make His temple; each of us He calls to be His disciple this day.  Listen for His voice, and go as you are led. Samuel was but a boy when he was called, and with the pure obedience of a child he responded to God’s voice.  Blessed was he to live with the high priest in the Lord’s temple, a forerunner of Christ in his living with the Lord from his youth, in his dedication to God and His will.  But now the Temple that is Jesus has come into the world, and makes His home with any so inclined, any who would take their rest at this holy Tabernacle of God.  He comes indeed now to make His home with us, even in the Sacrament He offers each day.  And do we respond as the boy Samuel? “John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God’”; and so the two disciples find themselves called, and so they follow the Lord: “they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with Him that day.”  And one called his brother first to the Lord; and so Peter, the rock of the Church, comes to Christ… and so are all gathered unto the Lord.  And John still points to Jesus to this day, and Peter is still the rock of His teaching and the minister of His Body – and we are all now joined to them. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” brothers and sisters.  Do you not understand that you are called to a holiness that equals His own?  This you should know, this you should understand – His call you should hear ringing in your ear.  And “with ears open to obedience” you should answer, [...]


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January 13 - Prayer to St. Hilary

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 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 - Saturday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.9:1-4,17-19,10:1;   Ps.21:2-7;   Mk.2:13-17)  “You are to govern the Lord’s people Israel, and to save them from the grasp of their enemies round about.” Tall and handsome, Saul gives every appearance of a king.  And so God gives the people what they want in this “handsome young man” who “stood head and shoulders above the people.”  But with Saul the Lord shall indeed prove that it is not upon appearances He gazes.  In the failure of Saul’s reign will be revealed the emptiness of such outward attraction and our proclivity to desire what is appealing to the eye.  For Saul shall not prove to be God’s anointed; His Christ shall be quite another. It is not of Saul our psalm of David sings when it speaks of the blessings of the king.  The “majesty and splendor [the Lord] conferred upon him” is as passing as his beauty.  The “crown of pure gold” is to be placed upon the head of Jesus Christ alone; it is He the Father has made “a blessing forever.”  His glory will be reflected in David, the ruddy shepherd youth whose son he is called, but will be fulfilled only in the Person of Jesus.  It is He in whom all kings rejoice, in whom all find “the joy of [God’s] presence,” in whom all discover victory. In our gospel, Jesus, the true king, comes, not with stately train, but “walking along the lakeshore.”  And crowds of people follow Him, people not of power and riches or reputation; rather, “many tax collectors and those known as sinners joined Him.”  This greatly disturbed the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees – it was not according to their vision of who He should be and what He should do.  “Why does He eat with such as these?” they complain to His disciples.  But He has a ready answer, one which cuts to the heart of us all and reveals the nature and purpose of this true king: “People who are healthy do not need a doctor; sick people do.”  And so the Savior comes into our midst, neither tall nor handsome nor desiring praise, to save us from our sin. We are all sick, brothers and sisters!  Make no doubt; have no question about it.  We need Him!  It is this king and the “goodly blessings” that flow from Him that must be our heart’s desire, for He alone will bring us into the joy of the kingdom; He alone will save us from the sin i[...]


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January 12 - Friday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.8:4-7,10-22;   Ps.89:2,16-19;   Mk.2:1-12)  “We have never seen anything like this!” What the Lord can do, no one else is able to do – no king, no prophet, no priest.  Though all may do in His name, nothing is done except through Him.  He alone forgives sins; He alone heals.  He alone fights our battles, for He alone rules over us. In asking Samuel to appoint a king over them, the Israelites reject the rule of God in their lives.  If they but believed, the Lord would take care of all their concerns and they would keep all His blessings – their children, their animals, their land… as their own.  But they do not trust in Him; rather, they fear the world, the surrounding nations, and seek to be like them, to fight as they do – to have one of their own to rule them.  And thus they will lose what they have, for when we give all to God, He returns all we give with manifold blessing; but when we trust in man, giving ourselves to him, he swallows up our offerings. Our psalm expresses well the attitude we should have toward God.  It should be “in the light of [His] countenance” we walk.  It should be “at [His] name [we] rejoice all the day.”  We should say with our psalmist: “To the Lord belongs our shield, and to the Holy One of Israel, our king.”  And so it is Jesus who must be our King; He alone must rule our lives, for He alone truly belongs to God; He alone is the Son of God. The scribes were right to ask, “Who can forgive sins except God alone?” for God alone stood before them, forgiving the sins of His children.  And it is now by His power, His presence, that our priests forgive men’s sins in His name.  “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” and He does not take that power from the face of the earth upon His return to the Father’s side in heaven: He multiplies that power – as well as the power to teach, to, in this sense, rule our lives – in His holy Church and its appointed leaders.  What He granted to the Israelites because of their stubbornness of heart, He now brings full circle by blessing us with the presence of Christ: our king, our prophet, and our priest.  No longer is it blasphemy for one to stand in God’s stead, for the Lord has visited His people. And should we not praise Him, therefore,[...]


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January 11 - Thursday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.4:1-11;   Ps.44:10-11,14-15,24-25,27;   Mk.1:40-45)  “Our souls are bowed down to the dust; our bodies are pressed to the earth.” The Israelites suffer “a disastrous defeat” at the hands of their worst enemy.  Not only do they lose thirty thousand men, but the ark of God – “who is enthroned upon the cherubim” which protect it – the tabernacle which holds the manna and the tablets of the Ten Commandments.  This most holy ark is taken into the camp of the Philistines.  How can this be?  The Israelites trusted in God’s presence to save them, and they are beaten down.  Our psalm addresses their plight directly: “You have cast us off and put us in disgrace, and you go not forth with our armies… those who hated us plundered us at will.”  And so the psalmist cries out with the defeated Israelites, “Why do you hide your face, forgetting our woe and our oppression?” The Israelites – like the thieves on the cross either side of Christ, like us all – deserved their crushing defeat.  They, again, as us all, turned their faces from the Lord of hosts to worship false and empty gods.  There should be no question as to why the chastising hand of God is upon any of us.  But our psalm is about more than this defeat of Israel or even our own punishment for sin.  Written as the voice of Jesus Himself, it reveals the suffering of the innocent Lamb of God in our stead: “You made us the reproach of our neighbors, the mockery and the scorn of those around us.”  Jesus endures the scourging and the crown of thorns and the crucifixion for no other reason than to save our souls from similar fate, and worse, from condemnation.  The sinless dove dies for the sinful flesh, which keeps us all in prison and pushes our faces to the dust.  Though the sons of the high priest die in battle and are no more, Jesus lives, and through His death in battle for our souls, all now live. In our gospel “a leper approach[es] Jesus with a request, kneeling down as he address[es] Him.”  Here we all are as sinners, symbolized by this outcast, coming earnestly to Jesus and humbling ourselves to the ground which, without God, is our place, is the dust from which we come and to which we return.  Jesus is “moved with pity.”  Jesus “st[...]


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January 10 - Wednesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.3:1-10,19-20;   Ps.40:2-5,7-10;   Mk.1:29-39)  “To do your will, O Lord, is my delight.”  O how Samuel shows the “ears open to obedience” we all must have.  For when called, even from sleep, he immediately and repeatedly rises and presents himself for service to the Lord.  Even from his youth he is with the Lord and in His will.  Such readiness to serve is also revealed in Peter’s mother-in-law, who, when touched by Jesus, “immediately began to wait on them.”  She, too, rises quickly from bed (and sickness) to do the work of the Lord. And certainly Jesus Himself is our greatest example of readiness to do God’s will, for He and the Father are indeed one and all He does is according to the Father’s word.  After healing the “whole town” of their afflictions, working to exhaustion to arouse those imprisoned by the darkness of demons and bringing them into the light of God for service of the good, He rises “early the next morning” and goes “off to a lonely place in the desert,” where “He was absorbed in prayer.”  When the disciples find Him, He is prepared to move on to the next town and the same exhausting work in service of the will of God, saying of the need to “proclaim the good news”: “That is what I have come to do.” It is said of Samuel: he “grew up, and the Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.”  And so, well does this great prophet presage the coming of Christ – He who fulfills the will of the Father – and the faith of all those who follow Him.  For all those who wait for the Lord, He stoops toward.  To all those who say, “Behold, I come,” He Himself comes, He Himself strengthens… His greatness He makes known through His children.  So it is written in the scroll and upon our hearts: so is the will of God accomplished in our lives. Only Him do we serve, brothers and sisters.  His voice alone we must hear and heed.  “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” must ever be our attitude toward the Creator of heaven and earth and the Savior of our souls.  The Spirit’s lead we must follow readily.  And He will be with us to bless and give us the strength we need to work in Him beyond exhaustion, beyond sick[...]


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January 9 - Tuesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(1Sm.1:9-20;   1Sm.2:1,4-8;   Mk.1:21-28)  “May the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.” For He holds all authority.  “He gives orders to unclean spirits and they obey.”  “The Lord puts to death and gives life; He casts down to the nether world; He raises up again.”  All He wills, He does – nothing is beyond His reach and power.  And His desire is to answer your prayer.  If you are faithful as is Hannah, if you come before Him in such sincerity and truth, then what you ask shall be yours; for He Himself is sincerity and truth and goodness, and when you join yourself to Him, you join yourself to His authority… and find the answer to your prayer by His presence in your heart. And so your heart shall exult with Hannah’s.  And so you shall see how “He raises the needy from the dust; from the ash heap He lifts up the poor.”  Indeed the prayer of the poor touches His heart and He “seat[s] them with nobles and make[s] a glorious throne their heritage.”  To heaven do they come, for heaven is their love. How evident is the Lord’s will and favor to those lowly ones who seek Him in the birth of Samuel – whose very name means “asked of the Lord” – to the barren wife Hannah.  None could be poorer in blessing than she; ridiculed by the world is she for the Lord’s lack of favor toward her.  But as bitter as the fruit she must taste, she does not rebel against her God, but comes to Him in all humility and with a heart full of prayer and eyes filled with tears.  And He loves His child.  And one of the greatest men of the Old Testament becomes her son.  And her song in praise of the Lord foreshadows Mary’s own. “Jesus entered the synagogue on the sabbath and began to teach.”  He comes to us now with His Word, His authority.  Where Hannah sought Him, He now comes to us, offering freely the wisdom and power and grace which are His alone.  And there is nothing which stands in the way of that Word.  There is nothing to prevent its coming to our hearts and healing our souls of all injury, if we but listen, if we but seek His presence in our lives – if we but promise to give all to Him, He will give all we ask to us. ******* O LORD, y[...]


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January 8 - Baptism of the Lord, Year B

Sun, 07 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000

(Is.55:1-11;   Is.12:1-6;   1Jn.5:1-9;   Mk.1:7-11)  “A voice came from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’”  Brothers and sisters, God “has testified on behalf of His Son.”  With His own voice and by “the Spirit, the water, and the blood,” He has borne witness that Jesus is the Christ.  And should we not believe and so conquer the world? To the waters Jesus comes, and by His baptism makes them holy, that we in turn might be made holy by our baptism in them.  Upon Him the Spirit descends like a dove, that new life might be breathed into our souls.  And for our sake He will be crucified, that in His blood we may be redeemed.  All speaks of our salvation!  The water, the Spirit, and the blood – and all He is and does – give credence to the declaration from the mouth of the Father that this is His Son, and that we shall find life in Him alone.  The Baptist has been sent to prepare the way before Him, proclaiming, “One mightier than I is coming after me.”  Let us “listen, that [we] may have life.” Do your souls not desire the food from heaven?  Are you not “thirsty,” are you not hungry for the bread of Truth?  Listen to the Lord, “Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.”  For though high are His “ways above your ways” and His “thoughts above your thoughts,” though this food is well beyond your grasp, yet as “from the heavens rain and snow come down” and nourish the earth, so does the Spirit descend upon us, so do the waters of baptism nourish our faith – so does the blood of His sacrifice become our spiritual drink and His body our spiritual food.  And so we become “confident and unafraid.”  And so by our faith we do conquer the world. Brothers and sisters, “the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” “is begotten of God,” for he becomes a son even as He is.  And what power has the earth over Him who created it?  And so what can stand before such faith?  And nourished by this faith what can we do but love, as our God who is but love?  To believe in Him is to love Him and to love Him means to love others; for faith in God who ha[...]


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January 7 - Prayer to St. Raymond of Penafort

Sat, 06 Jan 2018 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 - Epiphany of the Lord

Sat, 06 Jan 2018 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 Roge[...]


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January 6 - before Epiphany

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 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[...]


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January 5 - Prayer to St. John Neumann

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 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

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 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 sis[...]


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January 4 - Prayer to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 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

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 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.[...]


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January 3 - before Epiphany

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 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 [...]


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

Mon, 01 Jan 2018 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

Mon, 01 Jan 2018 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 [...]


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January 1 - Prayer to Mary, Mother of God

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 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

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 08:00:00 +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 “kee[...]


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December 31 - Prayer to St. Sylvester I

Sat, 30 Dec 2017 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 - Prayer to the Holy Family

Sat, 30 Dec 2017 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 31 - Holy Family, Year B

Sat, 30 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +0000

(Gn.15:1-6,21:1-3;   Ps.105:1-9;   Heb.11:8,11-12,17-19;   Lk.2:22-40) “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon Him.”  What child is this of whom Simeon the prophet, filled with the Holy Spirit, declares to the Lord, “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all peoples,” even as he holds Jesus in his arms?  This indeed is He who is the “light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for [His] people Israel”; this indeed is the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham, foreshadowed in the birth of Isaac, by whom Abraham’s descendants would be “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.”  “Binding for a thousand generations,” forever, was the covenant the Lord “entered into with Abraham and by His oath to Isaac,” and now that covenant is brought to perfection in the sight of Simeon and Anna; now “all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem” could rejoice and “give thanks to the Lord,” for to the temple had come the Christ of God: here is the Messiah. “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!” for in Jesus His Son you shall find Him.  Though raised in a humble family in the town of Nazareth, this is He who raises all His chosen unto heaven, who brings salvation to His people.  And so rejoice indeed “you descendants of Abraham, His servants, sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!” for even as “there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead,” innumerable descendants, even as the Lord fulfilled His promise to Abraham by the birth of Isaac, so the Lord’s promise to Simeon “that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord” is fulfilled in all our midst even this day.  Listen [...]


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December 30 - Sixth Day of the Octave of Christmas

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 17:00:00 +0000

(1Jn.2:12-17;   Ps.96:7-11;   Lk.2:36-40)   “The world with its seductions is passing away but the man who does God’s will endures forever.”   Upon what is your eye fixed?  Do you seek the Lord as has Anna these many years, “constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer,” or are you seduced by “carnal allurements, enticements for the eye, the life of empty show.”  Indeed, “all these are from the world” (and what appropriate description of the extreme vanity which grasps the world in this day), and indeed are all passing away into the nothingness from which they spring.  And those whose hearts are fixed upon them shall pass away with them, while he whose heart seeks the Lord passes to the eternal life of heaven. “Give to the Lord the glory due His name!” David exclaims in his psalm today, and, yes, much glory is due Him.  “Through His Name [our] sins have been forgiven”; through Him we “have conquered the evil one.”  Do you know “Him who is from the beginning”?  Does “the word of God [remain] in you”?  Is it His love you have, or love for the world, wherein His love finds no place to dwell?  “The Lord is King,” brothers and sisters.  He alone is worthy of our worship, worthy of our attention, worthy of our praise.  Waste not your breath on the empty illusions of this passing world. Anna “gave thanks to God and talked about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.”  Do you look forward to such deliverance?  Do you care to hear of the glory of the Lord spoken of by this prophetess?  Or have you better things to do?  What sporting event, television program, or party takes precedence in your life? We live in a vain world, bro[...]


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December 29 - Prayer to St. Thomas Becket

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 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

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 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 fro[...]


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December 28 - Prayer to the Holy Innocents

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 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

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 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[...]


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December 27 - Prayer to St. John

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 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

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 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 ha[...]


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December 26 - Prayer to St. Stephen

Mon, 25 Dec 2017 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

Mon, 25 Dec 2017 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 S[...]


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December 25 - Christmas Day

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 08:00:00 +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.[...]


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December 25 - Midnight Mass

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +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[...]


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December 24 - Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B

Sat, 23 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.7:1-5,8b-12,14a,16;   Ps.89:2-5,27,29;   Rom.16:25-27;   Lk.1:26-28)  “The Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father.”  “I have made a covenant with David my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations.”  Here is the promise made to King David.  Upon his seeking to build a house for the Lord, “the Lord… reveals to [David] that He will establish a house for [him].”  Through the prophet Nathan, the Lord declares to His humble servant: “When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm.”  This would seem like all the world to refer to the great King Solomon, but it does not.  For, like the earth itself, Solomon and all his gold – and even “the rest from all [his] enemies,” the peace the Lord establishes under his reign – will pass away; they cannot “endure forever” and neither can such a kingdom.  The prophet speaks of a kingdom established in heaven (where all by nature endures forever), not one of the earth. And so it is not Solomon of whom the prophet and the psalmist speak, but Jesus, He whose coming is hailed today by the angel’s words to the Blessed Virgin: “He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  For Abraham has died and Jacob has died and David has[...]


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December 23 - Prayer to St. John of Kanty

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 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

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 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[...]


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December 22 - Second Part of Advent

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 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, “th[...]


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