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Published: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

Last Build Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 19:11:56 +0000

Copyright: James Kurt
 



April 24 - Prayer to St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O charitable and zealous soul who gave your life that others might know the true and abiding Catholic faith, you who cared for the sick and the dying, those who were ailing in body and diseased in spirit – how shall we learn to sacrifice all as you have done, to stand in the face of opposition and speak the truth though those we would help would devour us instead of listening to the words come from the Savior’s mouth? Penance and prayer are so far from us this day, and who really cares to show others Christ’s way? Pray this ship shall be strengthened by holy souls eager for the salvation of all and confirmed in the truth and love of the Spirit.


Media Files:
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April 24 - Tuesday of the 4th Week of Easter

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 11:19-26;   Ps.87:1-7,117:1;   Jn.10:22-30)   “Of Zion they shall say: ‘One and all were born in her.’”   “I tell of Egypt and Babylon among those that know the Lord; of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia,” sings our psalmist today.  Yes, “when the peoples are enrolled” in the kingdom of heaven, when it is noted: “This man was born there,” it shall not be to the soil of Jerusalem to which the angels refer, but to birth in the spirit of the place, in the Holy Spirit Himself, who leads all into the New Jerusalem.  For all nations are called, and it matters no more the land of your origin. This impotence of place and importance of the Spirit is made clear in Jesus’ words to “the Jews gathered around Him” “in the temple area, in Solomon’s portico.”  To those here in the heart of the city of Jerusalem He says, “You are not my sheep.”  They “refuse to believe” that He is the Messiah and so they prove that they are no sons of Abraham, that they have no faith.  Only those of faith hear the voice of the Shepherd, and only these are admitted into the kingdom.  This He tells them plainly.  For what is He saying when He declares, “The Father and I are one” but that He dwells with the Father in heaven, and not upon this earth.  The earth to which they cling shall pass away, but the kingdom shall last forever. “My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus says, and how that voice does work among all souls.  (For this let us praise the Lord!)  We are told in our first reading that at first “the community who had been dispersed by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, making the message known to none but Jews.”  Here, even though the Word is spread far, it is kept for those born of the land of Zion.  But then the change occurs, and the truth of the Word, which goes beyond all borders, becomes known, for “some men of Cyprus and Cyrene among them who had come to Antioch began to talk even to the Greeks, announcing the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them.”  The church in Jerusalem, the protector of the faith – whose seat is now in Rome – sends Barnabas to investigate.  He finds “the evidence of God’s favor” and rejoices to realize the Lord’s sheep come from near and far.  Here “in Antioch the disciples were called Christians for the first time.”  Here it becomes clear that there is a new Church being formed, one that finds “eternal life” in following Jesus. “The gates of Zion” “the Lord loves,” and to this holy mountain He brings all, through the Gate that is Jesus.  And “no one shall snatch them out of [His] hand,” for this mountain cannot be shaken, this Temple cannot be torn down.  It is of the life of heaven “all shall sing, in their festive dance” when they proclaim: “My home is within you.”  And this land shall endure forever.   ******* O LORD, let us be found in your Hand, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith, living as your Son. YHWH, into your House all faithful souls are called; in your Church all find a home.  We are born into the New Jerusalem by virtue of our Baptism, and so become assimilated to Christ.  And as He dwells with you as your Son, so we become as your holy children, wherever we may come from. Jesus is one with you, dear Father, and we are called to be one with Him.  Though from the Jews He comes, He goes out to all the earth, bringing the light of salvation.  And when by the Spirit we are reborn in Him, when His sacrifice bears fruit in us and we come to eternal life, we become as your City, O God, our names written in Heaven. You establish your Church, O LORD; the New Jerusalem is built up in your Name.  And all who long for truth and love hear the Good News of your risen Son and fly with Him unto your kingdom, where they rejoice all the day.


Media Files:
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April 23 - Prayer to St. Adalbert

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 19:05:00 +0000

O persecuted shepherd whose flock repeatedly drove you from their midst but who accomplished great work of conversion among them… to these indignant souls you repeatedly returned, ever spreading Christ’s net further – pray for us, apostle to nations, that in God’s Church today His Word may go boldly forth to convert hearts so hardened by sin, that the acquired ignorance of peoples returning to paganism will be thoroughly dispelled by truth. Forth let all souls journey, humbly proclaiming the Gospel till all have heard and understood the glory to which they are called by our Savior.


Media Files:
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April 23 - Prayer to St. George

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O courageous soldier in the army of our Lord, you gave up the ranks of this passing world for the kingdom wrought by Jesus Christ, dying willingly for such a just cause and showing us the path we must tread to be found worthy to stand with our God – pray that we may be strengthened in the battle of earthly life, that our weak limbs may not be disjointed, that we might not tremble in fear at the threats of the mighty but take our refuge in the Almighty and fight for Him who fights for us until we are wrapped in His arms, until we cling to His breast.


Media Files:
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April 23 - Monday of the 4th Week of Easter

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 11:1-18;   Ps.41:3,42:2-3,43:3-4;   Jn.10:1-10 or Jn.10:11-18)   “God has granted life-giving repentance even to the Gentiles.”   In his vision Peter sees “an object like a big canvas… lowered down to [him] from the sky by its four corners.”  Upon it he discerns “four-legged creatures of the earth, wild beasts and reptiles, and birds of the sky.”  Like Noah’s ark it seems to contain all the animals upon it.  But these animals he sees are not for the good Jew to eat: they are unclean.  And so Peter protests when instructed to “slaughter, then eat.”  But he is assured (and three times), “What God has purified you are not to call unclean,” even as “the canvas with everything in it was drawn up again into the sky.” What is this shepherd to do – he who has been told by the Lord, “Feed my sheep”?  When the uncircumcised come to him seeking salvation, how can he turn away?  And so, as the canvas which came from the sky and returned to the sky, we learn that everything comes from God and returns to Him, and He calls whom He will.  And so the Gentile man whose home Peter enters by the Spirit’s direction is “saved, and all [his] household.”  “As [Peter] began to address them the Holy Spirit came upon them,” for they, too, “believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Yes, even these thirst for God “as the hind [who] longs for the running waters,” and so are led to the Lord’s “holy mountain, to His dwelling place”; even these “go in to the altar of God.”  For these unclean creatures are made as the pure and obedient sheep of Israel, heeding the Good Shepherd’s voice.  Here are “the other sheep that do not belong to this fold” of which Jesus speaks, whom He leads, too, by His loving word. All that He calls shall come to Him who lays down His life for the sake of the fold, by whom all “have life and have it to the full.”  All living creatures are His own, for it is He who is the living God; and all who live, live for Him and through Him alone.  The Son has come from the Father that we might know Him as He knows Him, and so that we might indeed have life.  As good sheep let us follow in His way, and lead those behind us also to salvation.  Let us all “go and behold the face of God” as we turn from anything that makes us unclean in His sight and listen for His voice leading our pure hearts.   ******* O LORD, open the gate that we might enter in and dwell in your presence. YHWH, let all hear and heed the voice of your Son, who is the true Shepherd leading repentant souls to salvation.  Send your apostles into every house that all might hear the call of Jesus, be purged in the fire of the Holy Spirit, and come to dwell in your House, beholding your holy face. Let us be led forth by the Christ to your mountain, O God.  Make us one flock in Him, all as your blessed children.  O let us be as sheep slaughtered for your table, joining your Son on the altar of sacrifice; by His voice let us be cut to the heart and in our repentance become a holy offering to you. False prophets keep far from us, dear LORD, those who work but for pay, who care nothing for your flock.  In the Spirit send forth disciples to lead to running water those who thirst for you, O living God.


Media Files:
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April 22 - Sunday of the 4th Week of Easter, Year B

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 04:00:00 +0000

(Acts 4:8-12;   Ps.118:1,8-9,21-23,26,28-29;   1Jn.3:1-2;   Jn.10:11-18) “There is no salvation through anyone else.” Do not “trust in princes” or in any man; it is by Jesus alone “we are to be saved.”  Though “the builders rejected” Him, though the princes of this age saw fit to crucify the Lord – yet “God raised [Him] from the dead” and exalted Him above every power on earth and in heaven.  And so He is indeed now the foundation of our salvation, the only shepherd who will lead us to the Father… the one who “lays down His life for the sheep.” Many wolves there are who fat themselves, scattering the sheep to desolate places.  Their care is for the “pay” they receive and not the welfare of the flock they fail to tend.  Only Jesus cares for the human race; only the Christ serves His sheep in love – only He dies that we might live, that we might indeed become members of His flock. And so, “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”; “what love the Father has bestowed on us” in Jesus, His only Son, for now we can be like Him – now we are God’s holy children.  Taking “refuge in the Lord” by His Son, we come at once to our salvation.  Oh what glory is ours following in our Savior’s wake!  Listen to what our Good Shepherd states: “I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”  Realize to what union with the Father of all you are called by the Child He has borne to us for our redemption.  Oh how “wonderful in our eyes” this should be!  And consider if you will that one day we His children “shall see Him as He is.”  How shall our souls bear such blessing? Brothers and sisters, like the cripple seemingly doomed to a life of incapacity are we all.  But what Peter has effected by a word in Jesus’ name is now ours by that same name and through the ministry of His apostles.  How? you say.  How shall I discover such salvation?  How shall this lame man leap like a stag?  Faith.  Faith in the Son draws the Father's mercy from above.  And if I must tell you further, I shall, you wayward soul.  Confess your sins!  Kneel before the priest the Lord has ordained as His instrument of salvation and bare your heart to God on high.  What graces are yours if only you have faith in the Lord and the Church He alone has founded.  Turn from the wolves that besiege you, and come to Him who “is good.” Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Souls at a Carnival" from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, your Son has died that we might be saved; let us listen to His voice and follow Him. YHWH, your Son lays down His life for us that we might be as He is, that we might be your children.  In His Name all are healed from their sins, raised from the dust to be seated with Him.  Help us to take refuge in Him and so in you; let us trust in this stone the builders have rejected. Jesus dies for us; for the sake of your sheep He is crucified, O LORD.  Yet He takes up His life again, and thus we are raised with Him.  He does not run from the sacrifice you call Him to make, but knowing well it is the only way we shall be saved, fully embraces your command.  O let us be as He is! willing to lay down our lives.  Then truly we shall be your children. There is no other name by which we are to be saved; there is no other way.  In the Cross let us find our life this day, dear God.  May your Son shepherd us to your kingdom.


Media Files:
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April 21 - Prayer to St. Anselm

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O sublime teacher and defender of the Church and her freedom, the joy of Heaven you sought in your spiritual life, and for the autonomy of MotherChurch you fought in your call as shepherd – pray that we who remain so blind to the presence of God will have our eyes opened and draw closer to Him who is our life, in whose light we alone find peace; and pray, too, that we shall fulfill our call as disciples of truth and defend with your same strength the life of our Mother, despite the persecutions that come.


Media Files:
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April 21 - Saturday of the 3rd Week of Easter

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

(Acts 6:1-7;   Ps.33:1-2,4-5,18-19,22;   Jn.6:16-21)   “The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him, upon those who hope for His kindness.”   Alleluia. As the apostles set out to cross the lake, “it was dark, and Jesus had still not joined them; moreover, with a strong wind blowing, the sea was becoming rough.”  As they struggled to row and keep afloat, “they sighted Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water.”  They had not expected their prayers for assistance and their wishes that Jesus was with them to be answered so remarkably, and so they must have wondered if He was a ghost.  But He assures them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  (And these eternal words of comfort and peace come to rest upon His Church.)  The disciples of the Lord now were ready “to take Him into the boat, but suddenly it came aground on the shore they had been approaching.”  He is with you, brothers and sisters, be assured, and will bring you to the home you seek, despite the storms you may face. In our first reading, the eyes of the widows must have been looking to the Lord, wishing that He were with them to provide for them.  In this case, “the Twelve assembled the community of disciples,” and though they do not enter the boat themselves, do not “wait on the tables” to address the tumult that had arisen between the factions, they provide what is needed to calm the winds and see this boat ashore by laying hands on “deeply spiritual and prudent” men chosen from their own.  And so, “the word of God continued to spread” through the apostles’ concentration “on prayer and [their] ministry,” “while at the same time the number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased.”  So the widows are fed as the Word is spread; so the boat comes aground on the land it approaches. Jesus is with us, brothers and sisters.  In all things He is there, working.  He ministers to us always as the head of His Church through the hands and hearts and voices of all His disciples.  And each to his own call, and this ship shall find its port assured.  And all shall sing His praises as they see in us and we know in Him that “upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.”  His eyes are upon us.  Do not be afraid.   ******* O LORD, let us live and act as if we believe in your Son; let us do the things He has done. YHWH, you have loosed our bonds and raised us from death by the sacrifice of your Son, and in His Name all are now saved from their sins and consecrated to you.  Help us to believe the words He speaks, to be of the Spirit and life and not the flesh.  O let us come to you! O LORD, let our faith not be shaken by the demands of your Son, by the challenge He offers us to believe and so come to life in His Name.  Let your Church flourish and grow in fear of you and the consolation of the Spirit.  Yes, let all be converted to love of you and serve to do your will in this world, till all come to dwell eternally in your kingdom. This day we take up the cup of salvation and declare your praise, O LORD.  This day let us fulfill our vows to you, that in your sight our death might be blessed and we be raised to life with you.


Media Files:
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April 20 - Friday of the 3rd Week of Easter

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 9:1-20;   Ps.117:1-2,Mk.16:15;   Jn.6:52-59)   “My flesh is real food and my blood real drink.”   And “the man who feeds on this bread shall live forever.” The truth is simply stated to those who wonder at His words today in our gospel.  As the Israelites in the desert asked, “What is this?” when presented with manna as their food, so now the Jews say, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”  For those who do not believe, it is impossible; but for those who believe, it is the gift of God. Here is the Bread of Life in our midst, as real as the Light which shone around Saul and knocked him off his horse; as real as the voice which spoke aloud to his soul.  This bread and wine on the table of the Lord, this great grace upon His altar of sacrifice, is indeed that which feeds us, that which sustains us – that which makes Him most present to us.  Our first reading says of Saul that “his strength returned to him after he had taken food.”  For three days he had fasted in darkness, experiencing the absolute blindness of his life as persecutor of the Church.  Then Ananias laid his hands on him and he recovered his sight.  Then he was baptized.  Then he could come to the table of the Lord our God and gain the strength “to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.”  Yes, the Scripture refers in fact but to ordinary food, but indeed it indicates the “real food” Saul shall soon come to know and find his spirit through. “The man who feeds on me will have life because of me.”  He will become one with the Son as He is with the Father.  And he, too, the Lord will be speaking of when He asks, “Why are you persecuting me?”  By this Bread we become so one with our God, and with Him we suffer for His Name.  “I myself shall indicate to him how much he will have to suffer for my name,” Jesus says to Ananias.  And so the disciple is convinced that this man who has done nothing but harm to God’s holy people is truly being called to come to the Lord of all.  It is through such suffering that discipleship comes, as it is through His sacrifice we have this food upon our table. Eat His Body, dear brothers and sisters.  Drink His Blood.  Let us share together this day this gift of oneness with our God.  And let us be strong; and let us bleed with Him upon the cross, to bring His Name to all.  “The fidelity of the Lord endures forever,” and He shall never leave us orphaned.  He shall feed us forever.   ******* O LORD, feed us with the Bread that is your Son, that we might have strength to do your will.  YHWH, how shall we come to see that your Son is the Bread of Life and we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have life in us, to be united with Him as He is to you?  We have scales upon our eyes and upon our hearts – how shall they fall away and our souls open to receive your Word?  Send your disciples forth to lay their hands on all blinded men. There are those still who persecute your Church, thinking they are acting in your Name, O LORD.  There are many who cannot but harden their hearts to your gracious gift to them.  Help all souls to accept your Son and see that it is His Body that acts in your Name.  Help all come to the table of sacrifice and eat His flesh and drink His blood, that they too might proclaim Jesus as your Son. From our horses we all need to fall; your light we need to shine about us.  Let us hear your voice, O LORD, and be obedient to its commands, and so live in your presence forever.


Media Files:
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April 19 - Thursday of the 3rd Week of Easter

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 8:26-40;   Ps.66:1,8-9,16-17,20;   Jn.6:44-51)   “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”   How evident it is in our first reading that the Father draws all believers unto Himself.  For though it is clear that the Ethiopian eunuch is in search of God, has a desire for God, and welcomes God – He is coming from pilgrimage to Jerusalem, is reading Holy Scripture, and “invite[s] Philip to get in and sit down beside him” – which is necessary for belief as well, it is most certain that the Lord is leading him to Himself.  The angel of the Lord directs Philip to the Ethiopian.  The Spirit specifically instructs him to approach his carriage, and then inspires His disciple to speak to the eunuch of the Word of God and lead him into the waters of baptism (snatching him away immediately upon the completion of his task). Also evident in our first reading is Jesus’ quotation of the prophets: “They shall all be taught by God.”  For indeed it is God that, through Philip, enlightens the Ethiopian eunuch regarding the Suffering Servant spoken of by Isaiah, and all of Scripture, “telling him the good news of Jesus.”  It is “not that anyone has seen the Father,” for the Father is not visible to our human vision.  But the Father has sent the Son, “the one who is from God,” and “He has seen the Father,” and He knows Him.  And now through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Son sends His disciples forth as His own flesh and blood, with the same Spirit that inspires Him, to reveal the Father’s love to a waiting world. “The bread I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”  We are those who have heard His Word, who have been instructed in His way, and who have received His Body and His Blood.  And so, having eaten “the bread that comes down from heaven,” we indeed become flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone.  Wed we are to the Son of Man by the power of His Word and the blessing of His Sacrament.  We have responded to the Lord’s call; He who draws all to Himself and to the Father has become our “living bread,” our life-giving water.  And now at His command we must draw all men to the Son, who brings all to the Father. The Light of the world shines in our midst, and we are drawn as moths to this flame, to Him who “is deprived of His life on earth.”  And though we die in our turn as this Sheep who “was led to the slaughter,” yet “of His posterity,” and so our own, all the world will speak… and be drawn to Him who has been lifted up from the earth upon a cross, to Him who dwells with the Father in heaven.   ******* O LORD, your Son is the living Bread come down from Heaven; let us seek Him and listen to Him, and rejoice in Him.  YHWH, let us be taught by you; let us be drawn to you and receive the Bread that is your Son.  Let us be baptized in His Name, with you and the Holy Spirit, and so let us come to eternal life in your kingdom.  May all souls praise you for your goodness toward us! What can we do but rejoice when we hear your voice speaking to us in the depths of our souls, when your Word is revealed to our ears and our hearts – when Jesus stands before us in the flesh and offers Himself to us for our salvation?  And so, let all indeed come to Him, and so to you, LORD, and loudly sound your praise. You stand before us in the flesh of your Son, O LORD our God, and this Good News goes forward by the power of the Holy Spirit upon His Church.  We who eat the Bread He offers become His Body; let your Word now extend from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. 


Media Files:
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April 18 - Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Easter

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

(Acts 8:1-8;   Ps.66:1-7;   Jn.6:35-40)   “Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you, sing praise to your name!”   And why should there be such exultant joy among all the peoples of the earth?  What should cause all men to “shout joyfully to God”?  It is Jesus’ profession that “everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life.”  Nothing but life everlasting can bring such absolute joy, and we have the assurance from the Lord’s own lips that He “shall lose nothing of what [the Father] has given” Him, that all who come to Him He “will raise up on the last day.”  Alleluia!  Let us come to Him. How evident the universal call of the Lord is in our first reading.  Upon the persecution which follows the death of Stephen, Philip, a Greek-speaking Jewish Christian “goes down to the town of Samaria” – where the Jews intermarried with the pagans of the land – “and there proclaimed the Messiah.”  And we are told that “without exception, the crowds that heard Philip and saw the miracles he performed attended closely to what he had to say” and that “the rejoicing in that town rose to fever pitch.”  Here we see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy to the woman at the well, that all who worship Him will worship in spirit and in truth and not in any particular place; here we see the realization of the Lord’s parable of the Good Samaritan, that all men truly are our neighbors.  For now all are called into His holy fold.  All now come to know the glory of the Lord.  And, of course, he who leads the persecution against the growing Christian community, he who “entered house after house, dragged men and women out, and threw them into jail”… this same Saul we hear of today will soon become the great Apostle Paul, who travels to all the nations of the world converting waiting souls. Yes, brothers and sisters, “He has changed the sea into dry land; through the river they passed on foot.”  As the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, so now all God’s children pass through holy Baptism and have the way made straight before them.  “The glory of His name” is upon us all, upon all who believe in His Son, and now we who were “paralytics or cripples” – who were unable to move for not having heard of His Name or who had had our limbs disjointed for having forgotten His Law – all, Gentile or Jew, are now welcomed into the Father’s eternal home.  For “no one who comes will [the Son] reject.”  In Him all find their dwelling, and so what should we do but “rejoice in Him” and “proclaim His glorious praise”?  ******* O LORD, let us be raised with your Son on the last Day – Alleluia! YHWH, O how persecution brings great joy!  For even as the disciples are hunted down and thrown into prison, many go out to new lands to proclaim the kingdom of God to waiting souls, souls who welcome the Word with shouts of joy.  And, of course, it is looking upon Jesus on the Cross and believing in Him that brings us to eternal life.  Alleluia!  May the Word of God go out to the ends of the earth and all souls sing for joy at their salvation. Jesus has assured us that He will lose nothing of what you, Father, have given Him; no one who comes to Him will He reject, but He will gather all your faithful children into your eternal presence.  Let us but long to look upon Him whom you have sent.  Let us but set our hearts on the love that passes not away.  Let us but come to Him to find your surpassing glory, and all our sickness will be taken away, and we shall never thirst again.


Media Files:
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April 17 - Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Easter

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 7:51-8:1;   Ps.31:3-4,6-8,17,21;   Jn.6:30-35)   “No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in me shall thirst again.”   “I myself am the bread of life,” Jesus declares, and it is in this Bread we take refuge.  It is by this Bread we are fed. Do you think that Stephen is at all hungry as he lives again the trial, way of the cross, and crucifixion of the Lord in our first reading today?  No, even in this time, and perhaps especially in this sacrifice, the Lord feeds him with Bread from heaven.  Even as he is stoned to death, the Lord God hides him “in the shelter of [His] presence from the plottings of men.” Yes, in our first reading we have Jesus again chastising the elders and indeed all the people for their betrayal and murder of the Word of God.  Here we have again Jesus being dragged “out of the city” and killed at the hands of those “who received the law through the ministry of angels [but] have not observed it.”  And here again we have forgiveness offered with His last breath.  Here is the persecuted Church found in the person of Stephen; here is Jesus.  Recall Jesus’ words to Saul upon his conversion: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me”(Acts 22:7)?  And here is that same Saul overseeing this first “act of killing,” this first martyrdom of the Body of Christ. But all the while Jesus is there, not only in the persecution, but quite evidently in His glory.  “I see an opening in the sky, and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand,” Stephen exclaims.  And notice that it is not until this moment, not until they hear this declaration – despite their “shouting aloud, holding their hands over their ears” – that the people are moved “as one man” to destroy that voice.  Stephen’s chastisement “stung [them] to the heart” and made them “ground their teeth in anger,” but it is this Truth of the presence of the Lord which they simply cannot stand.  And what is the significance of Stephen’s vision being the impetus for his own death?  It does bring his stoning, but simultaneously it prepares him for such martyrdom, for now truly the Lord is with him.  Before this he would not have been able to bear so completely this cross.  And without this Bread he would not have been killed. “God’s bread comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  That bread of life is in Stephen’s trust in the Lord and in his echoing the words of David’s psalm, which are Jesus’ own: “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”  For even as he dies, he is most alive.  It is this same faith we need, brothers and sisters, and we shall never be hungry, and we shall never be without the Lord, but shall declare His love and His truth to all, happy to be called His own.  The Lord’s “face shine[s] upon [His] servant[s],” and they always have the Bread they need.   ******* O LORD, give us the Bread from Heaven, your Son, to be with us even unto death, and help us to proclaim His Name.  YHWH, into your hands let us commend our spirit, and we will be protected.  Though stones rain down upon our heads, vision of you will light our way, and we shall come into your presence.  At your right hand with Jesus let us stand. In your Son let us take our refuge, O LORD, in Him and in His Cross.  Let us be as He was, revealing His image to this fallen world.  Let us proclaim the truth in His Name, let us accept the persecution it brings… and let us forgive those who kill us, those who would destroy your Word this day. Jesus is our Bread from Heaven; it is in His flesh we find our home.  Let us be His Body in this world, crucified and rising on high.  O LORD, O faithful God, out trust is in you alone, and in your Son – in our lives let your will be done.


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April 16 - Monday of the 3rd Week of Easter

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 6:8-15;   Ps.119:1,23-24,26-27,29-30;   Jn.6:22-29)   “This is the work of God: have faith in the One whom He sent.”   It is this faith that moves Stephen; it is this work upon which he sets his heart.  And so he was unmoved when “the people, the elders, and the scribes… confronted him, seized him, and led him off to the Sanhedrin” and “brought in false witnesses” against him.  Surely the words of our psalm are fulfilled in him as they had been in the Lord: “Though princes meet and talk against me, your servant meditates on your statutes.”  Thus it is that throughout his persecution, “Stephen’s face seemed like that of an angel” – through it all it is the voice of the Lord to which he listens.  And one wonders if the members of the Sanhedrin had not “stared at him [so] intently” because they had seen that face of an angel not long before in the One whom they had crucified, the One who stood before them like a sheep before its shearers.  And this one, too, they would sacrifice. “You should not be working for perishable food but for food that remains unto life eternal, food which the Son of Man will give you.”  It is this food, which those who persecute him cannot see, that Stephen eats.  If he were seeking to get his “fill of the loaves” which satisfy the stomach, he would not suffer the trial upon him, and not in such peace.  Only Jesus gives this food, brothers and sisters.  It is nourishment the world cannot touch, and to it there is no end.  We need eat nothing else to sustain ourselves. “Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.”  O Lord, what voice can compare with thine own?  What word can stand where yours is spoken?  For yours is “the way of truth,” and the truth cannot be shaken, cannot be changed over time.  It is not subject to the corrupting forces present in our flesh; it is of the spirit.  And so, in the Spirit let us be, called before your throne.  Though we stand accused before the tribunals of this barren land, may your food be ever within us to sustain us – in your presence ever let us rest. On this unshakable foundation we shall remain, even as the world passes away.   ******* O LORD, let us have faith in your Son and your work shall be done in us.  YHWH, let us meditate always on you and your wondrous deeds; let us eat of the food of the Spirit that passes not away, that we might come to dwell with you forever.  We should not be concerned with the things of the body, with filling our bellies or even with whether we live or die.  Like Stephen we should face all persecution with the patience of an angel, knowing you are at our side.  And then we shall never die. O LORD, if only it were eternal life upon which our hearts were set, then we would be truly blessed.  Then we would have all we need, for then we would have you dwelling in our souls.  You are Life itself, dear LORD, and this is what Jesus would give to us.  This is what all His disciples preach, for they, too, would share what has been given them. Teach us your ways, dear God; let us walk in your truth.  And all wisdom will be ours, and we too will witness to your Holy One.


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April 15 - Sunday of the 3rd Week of Easter, Year B

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 04:00:00 +0000

(Acts 3:13-15,17-19;   Ps.4:2,4,7-9;   1Jn.2:1-5a;   Lk.24:35-48) “He is expiation for our sins.” Brothers and sisters, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.”  For us this Savior has come; for our sins He has died on the cross.  Even as it is written of Him in Scripture, so all has been accomplished in His Name. And so we need fear no more.  We need not be “startled and terrified” at the sight of Him in our midst.  He has come to us and has taken His place among us, even as He sits at the right hand of God.  And His place among us is the cross, even as God announced – “that His Christ would suffer” – and by His sacrifice He has been greatly blessed, and we greatly blessed with Him.  Now His blood, once shed by our own hands, pours upon us for “the forgiveness of [our] sins.” David once cried, “When I call, answer me, O my just God, you who relieve me when I am in distress,” and so in Christ his prayer is answered; for in this Jesus, our greatest distress – that inflicted by our transgressions – has been washed clean from our murderous souls.  He lives.  He lives now, brothers and sisters, to make intercession for our sins “and for those of the whole world.”  Let us all come to Him in truth and find “the light of [His] countenance shin[ing] upon us!” The light the Lord is, the salvation He affords to each of our souls, must “be preached in His name to all the nations”; all must come to know the blessing embodied in the risen Christ: all must see Him, that in His redemptive wounds all might take refuge.  It is the will of God that all sins “be wiped away,” that all hearts be converted to truth and light, that all might live before Him in eternal peace. Do not delay your repentance in His sight; freely forgiveness pours from His side.  For this alone He has died, but to receive His mercy you must reform your lives. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Wish I'd Never Done It" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, may the blood of your Son cleanse us of sin, and may our own death glorify you. YHWH, Jesus was killed by being hung on a tree, but you preserved Him from among those going down into the pit, you brought Him up from the netherworld, and with Him all those obedient to His Word.  Now in glory He sits with you upon the throne, and the angels and all creatures in Heaven and on earth and under the earth praise His holy Name.  And, yes, those who follow Him here unto death shall come to such glory with Him in Heaven. To the Lamb who was slain belong all honor and glory and blessing; and to His disciples, to those who lay down their lives that His sheep might be fed, comes the blessing that rests upon Him.  O LORD, make us fruitful in your sight!  May we help turn the mourning of mankind into dancing and singing before your throne.  Forever let us give you thanks for having been found worthy to suffer dishonor here for the sake of your Name.


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April 14 - Saturday of the 2nd Week of Easter

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 6:1-7;   Ps.33:1-2,4-5,18-19,22;   Jn.6:16-21) “The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him, upon those who hope for His kindness.” Alleluia. As the apostles set out to cross the lake, “it was dark, and Jesus had still not joined them; moreover, with a strong wind blowing, the sea was becoming rough.”  As they struggled to row and keep afloat, “they sighted Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water.”  They had not expected their prayers for assistance and their wishes that Jesus was with them to be answered so remarkably, and so they must have wondered if He was a ghost.  But He assures them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  (And these eternal words of comfort and peace come to rest upon His Church.)  The disciples of the Lord now were ready “to take Him into the boat, but suddenly it came aground on the shore they had been approaching.”  He is with you, brothers and sisters, be assured, and will bring you to the home you seek, despite the storms you may face. In our first reading, the eyes of the widows must have been looking to the Lord, wishing that He were with them to provide for them.  In this case, “the Twelve assembled the community of disciples,” and though they do not enter the boat themselves, do not “wait on the tables” to address the tumult that had arisen between the factions, they provide what is needed to calm the winds and see this boat ashore by laying hands on “deeply spiritual and prudent” men chosen from their own.  And so, “the word of God continued to spread” through the apostles’ concentration “on prayer and [their] ministry,” “while at the same time the number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased.”  So the widows are fed as the Word is spread; so the boat comes aground on the land it approaches. Jesus is with us, brothers and sisters.  In all things He is there, working.  He ministers to us always as the head of His Church through the hands and hearts and voices of all His disciples.  And each to his own call, and this ship shall find its port assured.  And all shall sing His praises as they see in us and we know in Him that “upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.”  His eyes are upon us.  Do not be afraid. ******* O LORD, give us our bread this day, that we might come with your Son to the farther shore. YHWH, from death you deliver us; you preserve us in spite of famine.  By your own hand you feed us, through your apostles; and them you watch over always as they guide your boat.  And so we need not fear – we should but praise your faithful care for our souls, and bodies. Your Son comes to us across the waters, O LORD, walking steadily though the sea be rough.  He is unafraid of the trials and tribulations of this world, caring only that our lives are preserved, seeking always to bring us to our home in you. O let your Word go forth, dear God, bless those who serve as the ministers of your Church.  Our hope in your kindness shall not be disappointed…  All shall hear of the blessings upon those who put their trust in you.  May all answer that call.


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April 13 - Prayer to St. Martin I

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O martyred Father of the Church, you laid down your life to save her from the enemy, to preserve her in the truth of orthodox faith; unmindful of the humiliation and exile you bore at the hands of the king of this world, you died that all might know the Christ in His divinity and humanity – pray we shall indeed be saved from all temptation to turn from the faith, and so find our way to the kingdom where now you dwell with the Lord and all His holy angels. May our leaders be as strong as you and we follow them loyally in the name of our Redeemer.


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April 13 - Friday of the 2nd Week of Easter

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 5:34-42;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   Jn.6:1-15) “I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living.” Seeing the vast crowd following Him up the mountain as He seeks to sit with His disciples, Jesus asks the one without guile, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat.”  In honesty Philip answers, essentially, “It is impossible.”  Ah, but nothing is impossible with God. Brothers, is it not their seeing “the bounty of the Lord” that causes the apostles to leave the Sanhedrin and the whipping they received at their hands “full of joy that they had been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name”?  And is not this bounty revealed most clearly here “in the land of the living” in the Bread of Life Jesus provides for us at His Eucharistic table?  And so should we not rejoice every day in this miracle? “Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”  Are not David’s words the ones Jesus speaks to His children in the feeding of the five thousand?  Should the apostles not but sing, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” as they stand each with one of the “twelve baskets full of pieces left over” from the miracle brought about at the Lord’s hands?  Does He not here convey their mission of feeding His sheep? And filled by the food at their hands, should not our own reaction be in accord with the joy expressed by the people in that green field, “This is undoubtedly the Prophet who is to come into the world”?  For does He not come into us each time we receive Him? But king He shall not be made, not in this world.  No, this world cannot contain His Kingship, for we have a greater than David here.  The land of the living will ultimately be not upon this grass beneath our feet, but upon the clouds of Heaven.  Thus the persecution comes, you see.  Thus those who go about “fighting God Himself” scourge and crucify the Word they cannot bear and the messengers who bring it to their ears.  But the ill-treatment that comes by their jealous hands brings no fear but only encouragement to the hearts of His apostles. Brothers and sisters, let us be as they who “day after day, both in the temple and at home… never stopped teaching and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus the Messiah,” making always this world as one with the kingdom of God. ******* O LORD, it is by faith we are fed, and so let us seek you with all our hearts, with our very lives. YHWH, let us come to the Eucharistic banquet, that your Son may enter into us and we ever dwell as your temple in this world.  Your bounty is revealed now, wrought by the hands of Jesus and brought to us by His disciples – let us partake of the Bread you provide and rejoice in all your blessings. None can fight you, O LORD our God; none can destroy what you bring to life.  And so, though whipped and ill-treated for the sake of the Name of our Savior, we can but rejoice indeed.  For you cannot be overcome, nor those upon whom your Spirit rests.  As we follow in the footsteps of your Son, we shall ever live with you. In your House let us indeed make our home; you are our refuge, O LORD, and with you we are never afraid.  For the destroying angel shall pass over all who eat of the flesh of the Lamb, all who are anointed by His blood.


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April 12 - Thursday of the 2nd Week of Easter

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 5:27-33;   Ps.34:2,7,9,17-20;   Jn.3:31-36) “The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God; He does not ration His gift of the Spirit.” And thus it is that Peter and the apostles, sent by the Lord to speak His words, can boldly proclaim to the Sanhedrin’s chastisement for continuing “to teach about that name”: “Better for us to obey God than men!”  In no way do they ration the Spirit as they testify that God “has raised up Jesus whom [they] put to death,” that it is “He whom God has exalted at His right hand as ruler and savior,” that He is “to bring repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”  The praise of God and of His Son is “ever in [their] mouth,” for indeed they know the happiness of “the man who takes refuge in Him.” And they know, too, the folly of those who deny the Truth of God’s presence in Jesus the Christ.  For as He Himself says to Nicodemus in our gospel, “Whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure the wrath of God,” and as David states in his psalm, “The Lord confronts evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth,” so the blessed Rock and his fellow apostles convey to the high priest and the Sanhedrin as they are persecuted by their hands.  Their declaration that not only do they testify to Jesus as the Messiah but “so too does the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those that obey Him,” is a clear indictment of those to whom they speak, those who are deaf to the Spirit’s words.  And it is for this implication that they lack the truth that the Sanhedrin “were stung to fury and wanted to kill them.” But it is they who shall be killed.  It is their rule which shall not last, which shall be overcome by the Just One and the Spirit of Truth upon Him and His own.  It is Peter, who speaks for all the apostles, who shall lead the New Jerusalem, the holy Church of God.  Such chastisement the leaders cannot bear, save perhaps for Nicodemus; the testimony of “the One who comes from heaven” they cannot accept, and so they fail to “certif[y] that God is truthful.”  What then shall be left to them? Brothers and sisters, though the just man find himself “brokenhearted,” “crushed in spirit,” and with many “troubles,” know that “out of them all the Lord delivers him.”  And He shall deliver you, if you but speak His truth.  Find strength in the witness of the apostles, in the saints and martyrs of all the ages, and in the Lord Himself.  He is with the one He sends and so will bless him as he speaks the truth without fear.  “The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to Him,” and He, in turn, gives to those whom the Spirit inspires.  Trust in Him with all your lives. ******* O LORD, by your risen Son the evil are confronted and the just lifted up – let your Spirit be upon us. YHWH, your Spirit is upon the one who believes in your only Son, for He is from Heaven and so the Spirit is upon Him.  Let us be as He is; let us live and speak the truth, despite all threats of persecution, knowing well that you will save us as we cry out to you and for you.  O LORD, let us never disobey you or your Son.  For what life can he have who turns from your will?  How can the Spirit rest upon him?  Let us not be afraid to admit our guilt, that we have put to death our Savior and are responsible for His blood, and so let that blood pour over us for the forgiveness of sins as we repent of what we have done. Let our hearts not be hardened, LORD, by the chastisement of your Son and those who follow Him.  Let us accept their[...]


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April 11 - Prayer to St. Stanislaus

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O soldier of Christ who stood with courage against the powers of this world, leading the troops in your charge even unto death – pray that we may remain loyal to our call, faithful to the Lord even unto our own death, standing strong and tall against the assaults of the world and the devil and forming those entrusted to us in the ways of God as you, dear shepherd, have bravely done. Let us not be afraid to shed our blood for the truth, to suffer persecution in order to light the way that leads to life, the life that is Christ, who strengthens us with the armor of God.


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April 11 - Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Easter

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 5:17-26;   Ps.34:2-9;   Jn.3:16-21) “He who acts in truth comes into the light, to make clear that his deeds are done in God.” Jesus is “the light [that] came into the world,” and “happy the man who takes refuge in Him.”  None shall fear anymore who love the Lord, for He shall answer all his cries.  And newness of life shall be ours. The Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, “arrested the apostles and threw them into public jail.”  They attempt to hide the truth in darkness, to kill the light of the Spirit.  “During the night, however, an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the jail [and] led them forth,” telling them to preach again in the temple “about this new life.”  And so, “they went into the temple at dawn and resumed their teaching.”  Do you see the resurrection at work here, brothers and sisters?  Do you see how the Word is rescued from the darkness of night, from the prison into which the world would cast it, and brought into the clear light of dawn?  The Truth cannot be chained and death shall never overcome life. And what do the apostles preach but the words Jesus whispers into the waiting ears of Nicodemus in the middle of the night – bringing him, too, out of the darkness into the Lord’s marvelous light: “Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life.”  Eternal life!  This is the Word come from God through His only Son begotten in love for us all.  The high priest and the Sadducees would hide this; but here one of the leaders listens.  He does not question anymore how this can be.  And so the seed of eternal life is planted in his heart. That seed must be planted in all hearts, and so the apostles repeatedly return to preaching, unafraid of the consequences.  For how clearly it has been shown them that “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”  How well they believe their own words, that in Jesus is found eternal life.  In their hearts burns the faith, and so, openly they speak.  And though they shall see just how much “men loved darkness rather than light,” yet they shall seek the salvation of all: unto death they shall stand in the light of truth, confident in the resurrection to follow. May all believe “in the name of God’s only Son” and thus avoid condemnation.  May all stand confidently in the Light of the new day, for the darkness of sin and death is banished when we call upon His Name. ******* O LORD, by faith in your Son and His resurrection, may we be freed from all condemnation and come into your light. YHWH, in the morning light the apostles preach in the temple of the new life found in Jesus, your Son.  From the prison of darkness they would rescue all souls, as they themselves have been rescued.  Your angel delivers all who love you from death and fear; may our souls glory in the salvation found in your only Son. That we might not die you sent Jesus into the world as the Light that conquers all darkness, and those who believe in Him come into the light and so find eternal life.  There is no power that can chain or imprison your Word, O LORD, for it is your will that it go out to the ends of the earth. May the Name of Jesus be proclaimed to all men that all who seek the salvation of their souls, all who would be released from their afflictions, might find the freedom of your sons and daughters and do all in you and in your light, O LORD our God.


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April 10 - Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Easter

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 4:32-37;   Ps.93:1-2,5;   Jn.3:7-15) “The community of believers were of one heart and one mind.” This oneness is itself of heaven, is itself the sign that they are “begotten of the Spirit.”  And this oneness is reflected in a very real manner in the fact that “none of them ever claimed anything as his own; rather, everything was held in common.”  This sharing of goods, of “lay[ing] them at the feet of the apostles to be distributed to everyone according to his need,” is but an earthly thing.  It is easy to see; it is easy to know, for it deals indeed with the things of the earth.  But if like Nicodemus this earthly matter is beyond our comprehension, if we say such living as one on this plane is impossible, how far short we will fall of understanding the oneness that exists on the heavenly plane.  For do you not see that one not only reflects the other, but in fact leads to the other?  How can one be as the wind which “blows where it will,” how can one’s origin and destination be said to be unknown if one is unduly placed, indeed rooted, in the houses, in the property of this earth?  And so Barnabas is indeed a “son of encouragement,” because by selling his entire farm and laying the money derived therewith at the apostles’ feet he is saying: I no longer live here on earth.  My home is in heaven. How tied we can be to earthly things.  How blinded by them.  And yet they can be a means to heaven, if one gives them to the Lord.  For then already here in this world we will begin to see and know the life of heaven.  Even now the Spirit shall move within us and our eyes will be opened to see “that all who believe may have eternal life” in Jesus.  Yes, by the giving up of our goods, by dying to self in this real way, we may transcend this earthly plane. “Holiness befits your house, O Lord, for length of days.”  Do you not understand this matter, brothers and sisters?  Do you not see that you are called here on earth during your limited length of days to live as though in heaven?  Do you not know that it is but this which will lead to the unlimited number of days lived in holiness in heaven?  Do not think that one is somehow separated from the other, as if heaven can be kept apart, as if its power is not all-encompassing.  Here you must begin; even here you must find yourself on that eternal road.  For such has Jesus been lifted up, to show you the emptiness of your earthly self.  To such oneness with Him and His disciples does He call you – to be a child of heaven.  Let us walk together in the Spirit of the Lord and love one another with the love that comes only from God. ******* O LORD, let us be as the wind, moved by your holy will alone. YHWH, in Heaven with you we find our home, not in the things of this earth.  And so as we give the things of this earth over to you and your apostles, we draw closer to you and your kingdom.  Help us to be born of you, to have life in you and in your Spirit, and not put trust in any possession. You are King, O LORD, in splendor robed, and holiness alone befits your House.  Thus, if we would dwell with you, we must indeed be holy.  And to be holy we must be purified of any attachment to this world.  As Jesus is lifted up on the Cross, we must be lifted up with Him; as He stands empty of all things, so must we be, if we are to be ready for Heaven – if we are to be raised in glory with Him. It is in the resurrection of Jesus we take our life, dear God, but to find His resurrectio[...]


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March 25 (April 9) - Prayer on the Annunciation

Sun, 08 Apr 2018 13:00:00 +0000

O chosen one of the Lord, how well you answered His call, giving yourself entirely to the angel’s word and so conceiving in your womb the salvation of the world – pray, O Spouse of the Holy Spirit, that His voice might inspire in us your same commitment to the Word of God and its working in our lives; pray the Son be conceived in us as well that we too might serve to bring His salvation forth into the light of this day. How shall we give ourselves completely to the Lord without your prayers, dear Mother, without your blessed intercession…? O pray we shall follow in your wake and add our ‘yes’ to your own, that the Lord may indeed work in us, that He might make His home in us and we come to our home in Heaven.


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March 25 (April 9) - The Annunciation

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

(Is.7:10-14,8:10;   Ps.40:7-11;   Heb.10:4-10;   Lk.1:26-38)   “Behold, I come to do your will.”   Today we celebrate the fact that the Word became flesh, that God became man through Mary and dwells among us to take away our sins.  In this is fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord Himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name Him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us!’”  She is the Virgin; He is the Son – we are they with whom He dwells.  Praise God for His grace! Obediently Jesus takes on the body prepared for Him by the Father for all ages; humbly He bows under the Hand of God. To come among us is His delight.  For He shall fulfill the prescriptions of the old law – as is written, so shall it come to be.  And in His blood poured out for our sakes, in the love He shares with us men, indeed shall be fulfilled the will of God.  No longer need we wait or search in vain, for all that is written is accomplished in Him. And Mary is, of course, the perfect reflection of the Lord’s obedience; it is she in whom He is formed.  As He says, “Behold, I come,” she says, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord.”  As the Lord says, “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me.  To do your will, O God, is my delight,” His Lady says, “May it be done to me according to your word.”  And so by the obedience won from her by the angel, this Blessed Virgin “will conceive in [her] womb and bear a son, and [she] shall name Him Jesus”; and “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”  She in her innocence and by the fullness of grace at work in her believes the reply to her question, “How can this be?”  She is assured by the miracle spoken of Elizabeth – for which this holy woman must certainly have prayed – and so the words of the angel: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you,” are realized; and she who believes becomes the instrument of our salvation. Brothers and sisters, “we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all.”  His coming among us is more than the greatest miracle; it means life for our very souls.  For by His incarnation and by the sacrifice of His flesh for our sakes is effected the cleansing of our sins and the drawing up of our lives unto heaven where He eternally dwells.  As He has dwelt with us, so may we now dwell with Him who has come for this purpose.  Let no fear grip your heart.  Consecrate yourself to Him and to His holy sacrifice.  And give yourself to His Mother, that she may form you in His image, and you may know the blessed obedience which both hold, and which is itself the means of our salvation.   Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney.   Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, make us all as your handmaid, ready to do your will.  YHWH, make us as selfless as Mary, as selfless as your Son, offering our bodies to your service, caring only for the salvation of others’ souls.  Freely let us give ourselves to your will, that your Son may work through us. A Virgin conceives and bears a Son, LORD, and so your Word is fulfilled; your Word now walks among us.  This Virgin you prepared from all eternity to accomplish your will of saving souls.  Your own heart you placed within her, one of selfless sacrifice, and now as the ang[...]


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April 8 - Divine Mercy Sunday, Year B

Sat, 07 Apr 2018 04:00:00 +0000

(Acts 4:32-35;   Ps.118:1-4,16-18,22-24;   1Jn.5:1-6;   Jn.20:19-31) “His mercy endures forever.” Our psalmist “was hard pressed and was falling, but the Lord helped” him.  The disciples were locked in their rooms for fear, but “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’”  Thomas was hardened in unbelief, but His God appeared to him and said, “Bring your hand and put it into my side.”  We are all sinners, but to us each, Christ offers mercy. From that side into which Thomas placed his hand “blood and water” poured forth for the cleansing of souls and the realization of new life.  The institution of Baptism and the Eucharist had come, and so the Church is born from the side of its Savior.  And so all souls are justified; and so all souls find new life.  And so all of the “community of believers” become “of one heart and mind.” This is Divine Mercy Sunday, so proclaimed by the Spirit who testifies through Holy Church, and that to which the Spirit testifies is truth.  God’s encompassing mercy our Mother and our Lord would have us celebrate this day – of that which Jesus thirsts to share with us, she and He would have us drink.  Let none be unbelieving.  Let none despair.  Let all be blessed to own that faith which “conquers the world,” that makes us “children of God.”  The Lord is ready to forgive men’s sins; He is desirous of this above all things.  He has given power to His disciples to forgive in His name…  Let all come and share in His mercy. Let us love God and one another, my brothers and sisters.  Let us love the Father by accepting the grace that comes from His Son, and let us love one another by sharing that grace and mercy with everyone.  We keep His Word when we share in His mercy, when we swim in the ocean of love the water and blood from His side create.  And new life will be our own as it was for the first disciples; there is nothing lacking for “those who have not seen but believed.”  In fact, more blessed may we be now, for we must have the greater faith. Forever the Lord’s mercy endures.  Every day it is poured forth.  And today we declare in truth its great graces, that all might be one in the Lord. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Cleansing" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, your risen Son stands before us and calls us to touch His hands and enter into the wounds in His side that we might believe in Him and be cleansed of sin. YHWH, Jesus is the Christ, your only Son: let us believe in the preaching of the apostles and become one in His Name.  May all have their sins forgiven, their doubt washed away in His blood, that all might declare with Thomas, “My LORD and my God!” Jesus is God as you are God, O LORD, and we desire to be one with you by the grace and mercy that come to us through His death and resurrection.  If we had but faith in Him, we would conquer the world; all sin falls by the wayside when His Spirit is upon us, and we can but shout in victory at the glory in our midst. O may His peace indeed be with us, the peace which passes not away, the peace that comes to us in the Breath of the Holy Spirit.  O LORD, let His nail marks be in our hands and His wound in our side that your love we might know to the depths of our souls.


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April 7 - Prayer to St. John Baptist de la Salle

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O good teacher of the poor boys in your care, minister of the Lord to those most in need, with what humble affection you carried out your work in educating souls in the Gospel of Christ and guiding others to do the same – pray that we, too, shall give ourselves in sacrificial silence to the call the Lord has placed upon our souls, and especially that teachers of the young and disadvantaged will find grace and strength from our Lord to carry out in truth and love their work for Christ and His Church. May the Temple of God be built up on this earth in all poor souls washed in Christ’s blood. 


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April 7 - Saturday of the Octave of Easter

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 4:13-21;   Ps.118:1,14-21;   Mk.16:9-15)   “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation.”   How faithfully Peter and John accomplish the Lord’s command, and with what strength, so much so that our first reading tells us, “The priests and elders were amazed as they observed [their] self-assurance” – for these “were uneducated men of no standing.”  “How can this be?” they must have queried inside.  “Then they recognized these men as having been with Jesus.”  And so the answer had come: it is from Him all power derives.  In His Spirit all God’s disciples “declare the works of the Lord.” And how wonderfully silenced the leaders of the people are: “When they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could think of nothing to say.”  For the works of the Lord speak for themselves, and the power of the Spirit cannot be denied.  And though these priests of the Old Covenant attempt to silence the glory of God, telling Peter and John “that under no circumstances were they to speak the name of Jesus or teach about Him,” these first of apostles declare confidently, “We cannot help speaking of what we have heard and seen.”  Indeed, “a remarkable show of power [takes] place in them.” And what have they heard and seen?  Our gospel tells us: “Jesus rose from the dead early on the first day of the week.”  From Mary Magdalene, to whom He first appeared, “they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her.”  And the same “good news” is announced to them by the two disciples who had sojourned to Emmaus.  And though “they refused to believe it,” and though when “Jesus was revealed to the Eleven,” when they saw His risen presence for themselves, He chastised them “for their disbelief and their stubbornness” – though the doubt from human corruption still clings to them, it shall no longer be so (as evidenced by Peter and John) when Pentecost has come.  In the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, the Word shall be preached and believed in strength and power. “The right hand of the Lord has struck with power.”  “The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just” has come now in fullness to all His children who hear and see and declare that the Lord is risen.  “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my savior,” sing all the redeemed.  As the psalmist “give[s] thanks to the Lord” and the people who had witnessed the great work wrought through the apostles “were praising God for what had happened,” so joy is unbounded for all who enter the “gates of justice” and know in their bones the power of the Spirit at work through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  Brothers and sisters, let your joy be known by all; declare the good news to all the earth, that light may come to a world in darkness.   ******* O LORD, let the Good News of your Son’s resurrection be proclaimed to all believing souls.  YHWH, your right hand has struck with power, and what can we do but declare the glory of your risen Son by the Spirit that is now upon us?  Though we be uneducated men of no standing in this world, yet you make us instruments of your salvation as we proclaim what we have heard and seen and believed – Jesus is indeed raised from the dead and in His Name all souls are raised with [...]


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April 6 - Friday of the Octave of Easter

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 4:1-12;   Ps.118:1-2,4,22-27;   Jn.21:1-14)   “Jesus is ‘the stone rejected by you the builders which has become the cornerstone.’”   What Peter has proclaimed to the people, he now proclaims even more boldly to their leaders: “There is no other name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved.”  Jesus, whom they crucified, is the Messiah.  And the same quote Jesus offered the Pharisees after making it clear to them they would lose dominion over God’s vineyard – over His people, over His Church – Peter invokes before the high-priestly class today… for here standing before them is the new authority on earth.   And so, here the Church is gathered, under Peter and the apostles.  This day of preaching in Jesus’ name by the power of the Holy Spirit has brought about five thousand children to God, and there shall be no stopping the power of the Word which goes forth to draw in all believers.  On the Church goes “proclaiming the resurrection of the dead in the person of Jesus.” Our gospel today is the perfect parallel to our first reading, and reveals just from where the power of the apostles’ preaching comes.  First, it shows Peter as the clear leader.  He says among the seven – the number of fullness – disciples assembled: “I am going out to fish.”  And they reply: “We will join you.”  All night they toil in vain.  Why?  Because they lack the cornerstone who comes to them in the morning.  (Notice in our first reading Peter and John are put in jail for the night to await their trial in the morning. But, ironically, this night is less of a prison than the one spent toiling in vain on the sea… for this day they have been most fruitful; for by this time they have been anointed by the Spirit.) In the morning Jesus stands upon the shore and instructs them where to cast their net, much as He did when first He called His fishermen apostles.  And like that morning, their catch is overwhelming.  John cries, “It is the Lord!” and Peter jumps into the water to swim to His Jesus as the others tow the net and fish behind him.  Once all have come to land, it is Peter who goes “aboard and haul[s] ashore the net loaded with sizable fish” and drops it at the Lord’s feet.  But it is the single fish Jesus has prepared which is most important, with which they must begin their feast.  For Jesus is that fish Himself, the cornerstone upon whom the tallest of buildings stands.  And see how He feeds them as at the Eucharistic table: “Jesus came over, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.”  Here the Bread of Life is distributed to those who shall impart it to all others. One hundred and fifty-three (the number of Hail Marys in a full Rosary, pre-Mysteries of Light) fish are gathered by the disciples in a net beyond the point of breaking.  Five thousand men are drawn into the fold by Peter and John’s fearless speaking.  God’s Church is here built up on the cornerstone that is Jesus; and so we exclaim with our psalmist today: “O Lord, grant salvation!  O Lord, grant prosperity!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord.  The Lord is God, and He has given us light.”  Amen.   ******* O LORD, by the resurrection of your Son and the power of the Holy Spirit [...]


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April 5 - Prayer to St. Vincent Ferrer

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O great preacher who taught so well the love of God and the precepts of the Church, who worked with such zeal to repair the breach within the Church in a time of corruption – pray that now the Word may again go forth to the ends of the earth, that all might hear the voice of the Spirit speaking in their hearts and turn resolutely from their sins to the grace of the Lord; and pray, too, there will be priests to preach God’s Word with that same loving zeal you had for the Church and every soul.


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April 5 - Thursday of the Octave of Easter

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 3:11-26;   Ps.8:2,5-9;   Lk.24:35-48)   “In His name, penance for the remission of sins is to be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”   And so Peter begins the preaching at the temple: “When God raised up His servant, He sent Him to you first to bless you by turning you from your evil ways,” he announces clearly to the Jews, those first to hear of the Savior, Jesus.  And again he speaks boldly and repeatedly of their sin: “You disowned the Holy and Just One…  You put to death the Author of life,” for it is absolutely essential that they recognize their guilt if they are to find their salvation.  How can they repent of what they do not see?  How can “a season of refreshment be granted” through Jesus if they do not know that they are despoiled?  And brothers and sisters, it is certainly no different for us.  We must recognize our own complicity in the Lord’s death or we shall have no place with Him in life.  Hear the message of His apostle: “Reform your lives!  Turn to God, that your sins may be wiped away!”  If you have nothing to reform, how are you a hearer of the Good News?  And if your repentance falls short of knowing the blood of Christ upon your hands, how ineffective it will be. “All the prophets… have announced the events of these days.”  “God has brought to fulfillment by this means what He announced long ago: that His Messiah would suffer.”  What Peter proclaims, Jesus confirms in His own teaching to the disciples, “It is written that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,” as “He opened their minds to the understanding of the Scriptures.”  What must be has been, and now is – Jesus has died and risen.  “Look at my hands and my feet; it is really I,” He says to His incredulous apostles.  And so in “flesh and bones” the Truth has become known, and this same flesh we eat each day. The disciples same “sheer joy and wonder” we should share, brothers and sisters.  For what is theirs is ours, too.  Though “out of ignorance” we crucified Him, in grace we now know Him.  And so should we not cry out, “O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth!”  Should His blessed care for this sinful man not make us incredulous with joy?  For though man is guilty of the Lord’s own death, yet He has “made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor.”  How little we deserve the Messiah, now glorified in heaven, to be with us; but oh how generous He is.  No “power or holiness of our own” has brought us to life – it is His forgiveness that has made us whole.   ******* O LORD, let us proclaim the Name of your risen Son to all men. YHWH, how wonderful is the Name of your Son throughout all the earth, for by it all men are healed – all are raised up from their sin and made whole again.  With what wonder we should look upon Him risen from the dead; and with what faith we should believe in Him. O LORD, in the Name of Jesus let penance for the remission of sins be preached to all nations.  Beginning at Jerusalem and going forth to the ends of the earth, let it be known that the Messiah has suffered and died and been raised on the third day.  May all souls be taught by the apostles you se[...]


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April 4 - Prayer to St. Isidore

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O learned man whose wisdom remained not only in the mind but found practice in the Church of God, you who read and studied Scripture not just for its own sake but that the Word might be implemented amongst your flock – pray we too might live with the Word of God, that we too might share the light He would impart to every soul. Pray God’s grace touch our innermost minds, that the understanding our ear receives will penetrate to our heart; and pray, dear shepherd, that God’s Word permeate His Church as a whole, led by servants as learned as you in the way of love and truth.


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April 4 - Wednesday of the Octave of Easter

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 3:1-10;   Ps.105:1-9;   Lk.24:13-35)   “The Lord is risen!  It is true!”   And how it is proven this day!  The two disciples find their “hearts burning inside” as He “explain[s] the Scriptures” to them on the road to Emmaus, and then they come “to know Him in the breaking of bread.”  “The Eleven and the rest of the company” of disciples rejoice in Jerusalem because “He has appeared to Simon.”  And the crippled beggar at the Beautiful Gate is pulled up by Peter “in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean,” and he goes “into the temple with [Peter and John] – walking, jumping about, and praising God.”  “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!” Brothers and sisters, the Church is as this crippled beggar at the temple gate; it is as these confused disciples sojourning for answers to their deepest questions and fears – it is the whole company assembled and astounded and declaring with joy the truth of God’s presence among us.  To the beggar the Lord says with Peter, “Look at us!”  To those on the road to Emmaus He says, “How slow you are to believe!”  And to all He appears in the breaking of the bread.  The beggar He heals; in the seeker He instills faith; and to us all He leaves His Blessed Sacrament, the greatest proof of His presence. “Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.”  And as great as His healing may be, as wonderful as His teaching is, the greatest of these is the table He sets before us and the Body and Blood with which He nourishes us.  Here is His love most known, here where we “give thanks to the Lord” and “invoke His name.”  For in this we are healed, in this His teaching is made real – until the end of time this shall stand as proof of His presence… in this is ever declared, “The Lord is risen!” “He remembers His covenant which He made binding for a thousand generations.”  Never shall this blessing leave us, brothers and sisters.  Always we have His Word at work within us, and always we share His Body and His Blood.  Here He remains “powerful in word and deed in the eyes of God and all the people.”  Let us not fail to declare all He has done for us; let us never be afraid to proclaim His truth.  For then all shall be “struck with astonishment”; then all shall know the Risen Lord. ******* O LORD, in our astonishment let us rejoice at Jesus’ risen presence among us. YHWH, your Son has been raised and for this we praise you, for it means our salvation – we who were once crippled by sin, by His death and resurrection are made whole again, and so the words of your prophets are fulfilled.  May we recognize Him each day in the breaking of the Bread, and may we live with Him now and forever. O LORD, let us invoke the Name of your only Son and we shall know His salvation, we shall know the grace and mercy that pour forth from His sacrifice.  He had to suffer and die at the hands of His own people that His people and all who would come to Him might be saved from their sin.  For this blessing He has imparted to us let us dance and sing on this holy day. Jesus is the One who sets all men free; dear LORD, let us know His risen presence in our midst this very hour and always.


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April 3 - Tuesday of the Octave of Easter

Mon, 02 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 2:36-41;   Ps.33:4-5,18-20,22;   Jn.20:11-18)   “Let the whole house of Israel know beyond any doubt that God has made both Lord and Messiah this Jesus whom you crucified.”   Brothers and sisters, we are all as Mary Magdalene who “stood weeping beside the tomb,” and like the Jews who were “deeply shaken” by the words of Peter.  Though it is to the Chosen people “that the promise was made,” it extends “to all those still far off whom the Lord our God calls.”  To all sinners, to all who ask His apostles, “What are we to do, brothers?” the Lord responds: “Reform and be baptized… in the name of Jesus Christ, that your sins may be forgiven”; indeed, then we “shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” – then our eyes shall be opened to His presence among us as we turn to Him in tears. “She turned around and caught sight of Jesus standing there,” this greatest of sinners become most faithful disciple.  And as He speaks the name of her who cares only for Him – “Mary!” – so He calls “each one” of us who come to Him in our desperation by name; so He cares for all sinners who love Him and seek Him with all their heart.  And the same joy that she has known shall also be ours; we shall declare, “I have seen the Lord!” to all who wait to hear of Him. “Save yourselves from this generation which has gone astray,” Peter urges his fellow Jews on Pentecost day, and “some three thousand” accepted his message and were baptized.  Here is where the Church begins to grow, here among those who crucified the Lord – here among His own brothers in the flesh.  And though the message is primarily to them this day, indeed it is for all who would be grafted to this tree of life, to this race of whom Jesus is come.  For, indeed, it is so that all are sinners, that all bear the guilt of His crucifixion; and so to all who hear His call for repentance, forgiveness may come, and the Spirit follow. “The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him… to deliver them from death.”  What was sung of under the Old Covenant is even more true today; and so let what was true of those faithful under the Old be so with us now.  Let it be that “our soul waits for the Lord.”  Let us declare, “Upright is the word of the Lord,” and the Word in its fullness shall be ours, and the tears we cry shall be answered quickly by our Lord and Savior who calls us each by name.   ******* O LORD, let us ascend to where your Son is, far from this world of sin, even to your side. YHWH, baptized in tears we cry out to you that we might see your only Son, that we might know He is risen from the dead and sits now at your right hand.  Leave us not alone in this world with our sins and weakness, but let your Word please strengthen us; in your mercy deliver us from death. We have crucified the Holy One; we have killed our Lord.  The Messiah has come to save us from our sins, to reunite us with you, O God, and we have turned away from Him and laid Him in a tomb.  And what are we to do now?  What can save us now that our very life we have murdered? O LORD, let us be truly repentant of our sins and baptized in the Name of the One you have raised f[...]


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April 2 - Prayer to St. Francis of Paola

Sun, 01 Apr 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O little one, holy and true, who wanted no more than to leave the world that you might draw closer to Christ but who was followed by the world and called to teach the world of the way of holiness in our blessed Lord – pray we shall follow His path of Passion and death, death to self and all animosity, all hatred, finding thereby His peace, peace in His Spirit and light. O that we might be sanctified! our hearts converted to God, following your example, which leads to the Cross and so the resurrection of our humble Jesus.


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April 2 - Monday of the Octave of Easter

Sun, 01 Apr 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Acts 2:14,22-33;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-11;   Mt.28:8-15)   “You will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.”   “It was impossible that death should keep its hold on Him.”  And so “the paths of life” we now walk; “joy in [His] presence” is ours – “in confidence” we abide forever.  For God has “raised Him up again,” this Jesus, our Lord.  Let us be witnesses of His truth to the ends of the earth.  Like Peter, our Holy Father, let us be faithful to the Word at work within us.  As the women “ran to carry the good news to [Jesus’] disciples” that He, the Lord, was no longer in the tomb, in the belly of this earth, the guards ran to the chief priests, who concocted a lie.  See how the ways diverge between truth and lie.  And see today the power with which Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, stands up even amongst those who had Jesus crucified, and proclaims the truth of the risen Lord.  And God is with Him.  He has heard the Lord’s words: “Peace!” and “Do not be afraid!”  He knows full well that his soul will never be abandoned to the netherworld; he has life at work in him, the life that comes from “the resurrection of the Messiah.”  And so he witnesses in strength, as do our popes to this day. Let us “live on in hope,” brothers and sisters, “half-overjoyed and half-fearful,” though only with the fear of God which overwhelms our souls, and He will be before us always, speaking words of peace; and we will see Him walking in the places He was wont to walk on earth… and we will see Him walking everywhere we walk.  For by our side will He be constantly in the power of the Spirit to lead and guide us always unto Life, the life that is already with us and will never leave us.  The Lord is risen, alleluia!  The powers of death and hell shall never touch us, for in Him alone do we “take refuge,” He alone is our “allotted portion and cup” – in Him alone do we believe, and so we “shall not be disturbed” even by the darkness of night.  The Light has dawned; in Him let our souls rejoice.   ******* O LORD, let us take refuge in your Son, who was not abandoned to the nether world but lives and goes before us this day.  YHWH, in your Son we find the path to life, the path upon which the Spirit guides us.  In His resurrection we are preserved from death and take eternal refuge.  Nothing shall disturb us now that Jesus has been raised from the dead, for death no longer has power over us.  Let us have but faith in Him and in His reassuring presence among us. O LORD our God, our hope is in you and in the One who sits upon your throne.  He is the Son of David who has conquered death and in whom there is no corruption.  And if we believe that He is the One, to the grave we shall not come.  For in Him we enter life. The lies of this world let us leave far behind, O LORD.  In truth alone let us make our home and the Spirit of Truth will be upon us to free us from death’s bitter pangs.  He has died that we might live; let us find our peace in Him.


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April 1 - Easter Sunday

Sat, 31 Mar 2018 04:00:00 +0000

(Acts 10:34a,37-43;   Ps.118:1-2,16-17,22-24;   Col.3:1-4 or 1Cor.5:6b-8;   Jn.20:1-9 or Lk.24:13-35)   “Everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins through His name.”   “His mercy endures forever,” brothers and sisters, and it is for us to “declare the works of the Lord”: that Jesus was “raised on the third day,” that He lives, that He still is “healing all those oppressed by the devil.”  With Peter and the apostles we must “preach to the people and testify” that “the right hand of the Lord is exalted.”  Yes, “they put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree,” but “the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”  Yes, we all bear guilt for the death of the Son, but in His rising He brings about the death of our sin. Brothers and sisters, “you were raised with Christ” and should have nothing more to do with sin.  “Christ is seated at the right hand of God,” and we must be seated there with Him.  To Him should we raise our eyes for our “life is hidden with Christ in God.”  “Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  No more should sin find place in us or grow within us unto death, but now that new life has come, we should find our place with Him. Peter and John ran to the tomb upon hearing the news that Jesus was not there.  Upon entering, they “saw and believed,” they “understood the Scripture that He had to rise from the dead.”  Upon believing, death no longer held dominion over them; and soon they would proclaim to all the world the Gospel of life and peace.  Soon the cornerstone of truth would take hold of all who heard their words, and grow in time unto heaven.  And His kingdom shall not be removed. Brothers and sisters, each day the Lord opens the Scriptures to us as we gather as His children.  Each day we recognize Him in the breaking of the bread.  Each day we are called to make known the glory of the resurrection we hold in “our hearts burning within as He [speaks] to us on the way.”  Here at His table we receive Him each day in Word and in Sacrament.  May all men know the gift of life that is ours through the forgiveness of sins He offers.  Let us pray that all will believe.   Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.   Music: "Every Day Is Christmas" from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, He whom we crucified has been raised; the tomb is empty and His Word now burns in our souls – Alleluia! YHWH, your Son has truly been raised.  Alleluia!  And this stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone of your Church.  Let us be built up in Him and come to His glory.  Alleluia! Help us, O LORD, to keep our eyes fixed on Him and on the glory to which He leads us.  In Him we find the forgiveness of our sins and so become new men.  Let us not turn back as we walk on the road with Him; may His Word always burn in our hearts along our way to you, and may we partake always of His pre[...]


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March 31 - Easter Vigil

Fri, 30 Mar 2018 04:00:00 +0000

(Gn.1:1-2:2;   Ps.104:1-2,5-6,10,12-14,24,35 or Ps.33:4-7,12-13,20-22;   Gn.22:1-18;   Ps.16:5,8-11;   Ex.14:15-15:1;   Ex.15:1-6,17-18;   Is.54:5-14;   Ps.30:2,4-6,11-13;   Is.55:1-11;   Is.12:2-6;   Bar.3:9-15,32-4:4;   Ps.19:8-11;   Ez.36:16-17a,18-28;   Ps.42:3,5,43:3,4; Rom.6:3-11;   Ps.118:1-2,16-17,22-23;   Mt.28:1-10 or Mk.16:1-7 or Lk.24:1-12)   “He is not here.”   The women come faithfully to the tomb early Easter morning.  What do they find but that the stone is rolled back from its gaping mouth; and angel(s) in white deliver unto them the message of the ages: “He has been raised.” This night, this early morning, we are led through salvation history, through our own history as human beings made in the image of God here upon the face of the earth, souls coming unto heaven.  “Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield,” is the song of the Old Testament.  From the beginning of Creation our hearts are set on Him.  Along the way “Abraham took the wood for the holocaust and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders,” prefiguring the Father’s own sacrifice of His Son for our sins and our salvation.  Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, out of the land of sin, through the Red Sea, “with the water like a wall to their right and to their left,” prefiguring our Baptism as Christians; and they “sing to the Lord for He is gloriously triumphant,” prefiguring our own joy. Always we are reminded by the prophets of old: “The Lord calls you back, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit.”  And he who heard the call even then sang, “O Lord, you brought me up from the netherworld; you preserved me from those going down into the pit.”  Yes, repeatedly the Lord calls out through His prophets: “Come to the water!… Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!”  He promises, “With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation.”  We who “have forsaken the fountain of wisdom” by the sin that plagues our inheritance are called back to “the One who established the earth for all time… before whom the stars at their posts shine and rejoice”; we are called to cling to the Word of God, to Wisdom: “Turn, O Jacob, and receive her: walk by her light toward splendor.”  For the sake of His Name, the Lord who “scattered them among the nations” now beckons His children home.  And those of faith sing with David, “Send forth your light and your fidelity; they shall lead me on and bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place.” Brothers and sisters, we know that “we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death,” the death to sin.  And having been “buried with Him,” we are also raised with Him this night, this morning, that “we too might live in newness of life.”  Now His holy dwelling place is here among us with the purest of light that rises this day.  Let us be children of this holy Light.  No longer in the tomb let us dwell. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Removing the Log from My Eye" (t[...]


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March 30 - Good Friday

Thu, 29 Mar 2018 07:00:00 +0000

(Is.52:13-53:12;   Ps.31:2,6,12-13,15-17,25,Lk.23:46;   Heb.4:14-16,5:7-9;   Jn.18:1-19:42)   “He shall be raised high and greatly exalted.”   Here is your king: “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews,” Pilate has written upon His cross.  Here He is lifted up, where “many were amazed at Him – so marred was His look beyond human semblance and His appearance beyond the sons of man.”  Yet “shall He startle many nations; because of Him kings shall stand speechless.”  The Scripture passage is fulfilled: “They will look upon Him whom they have pierced.”  And there they shall see that He who “was spurned and avoided by people… one of those from whom people hide their faces,” held in “no esteem” as He was… this same “lamb led to the slaughter” “shall divide the spoils with the mighty”; for as He has been lifted up on the cross, debased beyond all others, so He shall be raised on high in His kingdom, one with the Father in heaven.  Here they “wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on His head.”  Here they “clothed Him in a purple cloak, and they came to Him and said, ‘Hail, King of the Jews.’  And they struck Him repeatedly.”  But there no mockery shall He know; there all shall see that He is the Son of God. Brothers and sisters, “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God.”  Our weaknesses He has known in full, and now He brings us “light in fullness of days.”  Though on earth “He offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears,” now has He become “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”  For all the tears He shed, all the scourging He underwent, all the humiliation He experienced and the death He knew, were all for our sake.  “It was our infirmities that He bore, our sufferings that He endured.”  And having suffered in our stead for the sins of those by whom He is condemned, now He has come unto what is His own, and invites us there as well. “He shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.”  The guilt of the nations is removed by Him who had “no guilt in Him,” and is known by all who “take refuge” in His wounds.  And so, “take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the Lord”; though we, too, may be “an object of reproach” in this world of sin, He awaits us all in His heavenly kingdom.  And for this we call this Friday “good.”   Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.   Music: "My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?" (second half) from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, on this day we killed your only Son – may we look upon Him whom we have pierced that our sins might be forgiven.  YHWH, your Son suffers a violent death at the hands of wicked men that our sins might be taken away.  All our offenses you lay upon His shoulders, and this innocent Lamb becomes expiation for our transgression.  Only by His bearing the Cross will we be f[...]


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March 29 - Holy Thursday

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 07:00:00 +0000

(Ex.12:1-8,11-14;   Ps.116:12-13,15-18,1Cor.10:6;   1Cor.11:23-26;   Jn.13:1-15)   “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood.”   For this cup holds the Blood of our Lord.  And, “Seeing the blood, I will pass over you,” says the Lord.  “When I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.”  As the Israelites mark each of their houses with the blood of a lamb, so our bodies are marked by the Blood of the Lamb; and so we are saved by the Lord our God and become temples of His Spirit. “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” the psalmist cries in joy.  Each day we “offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,” taking up “the cup of salvation” and “call[ing] upon the name of the Lord”: each day we partake of His blessed Body and Blood.  And sharing in this celebration of the Eucharist we “proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes”; and so, into our midst He comes. “He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist” as “a model to follow”: “as I have done for you, you should also do.”  He says to His brothers in the upper room the night “His hour had come to pass from this world to the Father”: “You ought to wash one another’s feet.”  And so by this teaching, and so by His masterful lead, He multiplies His presence in the world through His twelve apostles.  And so shall these souls by whom the Bread of Life is multiplied, by whom we have inheritance with the Lord, wash the feet of all His followers by their witness and the ministry they shall bring to the ends of the earth.  And so shall all who have bathed in His Blood be made clean for the Holy Day. And we, as they, as the Lord, find the strength to lay down our lives in service of one another by being as our Jesus, who was “fully aware that the Father had put everything in His power and that He had come from God and was returning to Him.”  Any power that any have comes only from the Father, and comes only through the Son, and is known only in His Blood – which all must share, by which all must be anointed, if we are to be preserved until the coming of the Christ again into this world of darkness.   Writen, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney.   Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.   ******* O LORD, let us be washed clean in the blood of your Son, and so protected from all harm; let us live in His New Covenant, eating His Body and drinking His Blood.  YHWH, as your Son has laid down His life, the innocent Lamb sacrificed for our sins; as He has bowed down to wash our feet that we might be made clean and have inheritance with Him; so let us be humble and serve one another in His Name.  Let His blood be upon us to save us from condemnation – let us die with Him that we might live again. In His feast let us partake, of His very Body and Blood.  At His table let us sit, His disciples ready to follow Him.  Indeed, even as we eat let us be prepared to g[...]


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March 28 - Wednesday of Holy Week

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Is.50:4-9;   Ps.69:8-10,21-22,31,33-34;   Mt.26:14-25)   “The Son of Man is departing, as Scripture says of Him.”   Of Him in Scripture we read, “Morning after morning He opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.”  Even as death approaches, even as His betrayer goes forth (perhaps especially at this dark time), He sets His face “like flint” to confront those who oppose Him, those who would destroy Him.  In His own voice He speaks to us in the first reading and the psalm of His trial and His resolve: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard,” though “they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  And He stands alone before such blasphemy – “I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, and I found none.” Though only one of the Twelve betrays Him, all abandon Him in His brokenness; none stands by His side as He “bear[s] insult” in the Name of God.  But the Father does not desert Him: “See, the Lord God is my help.”  “For the Lord hears the poor, and His own who are in bonds He spurns not.”  And when He cries from the cross, it is not His fate He bemoans, but our own, whose dark separation from God He takes upon Himself as our guilt He bears. Yes, He must depart in this way; He must suffer at our hands.  But that it is written so, and that by this our souls are made whole, in no way nullifies that we have sinned – sin remains the evil it is.  As for Judas, yet it would have been “better for him if he had never been born,” for the fires of hell are real; and as for the souls who abandon Him, as for all His disciples, it is only through similar darkness that we shall come back to His light. Tears will fill our eyes as we look upon Him whom we have pierced.  Yet, fear not, for the Lord hears the cry of the “lowly ones… who seek God”; and Scripture speaks just as faithfully of the third day.   ******* O LORD, zeal for your House consumes your Son, and so He is betrayed by one of His own for thirty pieces of silver.  YHWH, your Son is betrayed by one who sits at table with Him, and by all He will be abandoned, left alone to die upon a cross.  Yet He goes as you call Him; freely He accomplishes your will, with complete faith in your protection, with the strength found only in your love.  O help us to be as He is! to bear all with patience, to so freely offer our backs for beating and our faces for spitting upon. O how shall we go from putting gall in His food to being fed at His table in the kingdom if you do not help us, O LORD our God?  We have no hope if you have no mercy on our poor souls.  Let us find the strength He takes in you. Only one of the Twelve betrays Him, only one hands Him over for crucifixion, but we all line the path He must tread – we are all cause for His shame.  Dear LORD, in His sacrifice may we find freedom from such sin.


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March 27 - Tuesday of Holy Week

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Is.49:1-6;   Ps.71:1-6,15,17;   Jn.13:21-33,36-38)   “I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength!”   The Lord is with His servant, with Israel, with Jesus, the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God: “From my mother’s womb you are my strength…  O God, you have taught me from my youth.”  And to this “sharp-edged sword” the Lord had concealed “in the shadow of His arm,” to this “polished arrow” He has hidden in His quiver, God says: “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  He who was called from birth, given His name in His mother’s womb, prepared before all the ages, now comes to reveal the glory of God. And how is it “the Son of Man [is] glorified and God is glorified in Him”?  We see in our gospel the moment the glorification begins; we see in our gospel the path by which it comes.  At table at the Last Supper Jesus grows “deeply troubled,” for the time of His betrayal has come.  Judas eats the morsel of food dipped in the dish and “immediately after, Satan entered his heart.”  Then, “no sooner had Judas eaten the morsel than he went out,” and, we are told, “It was night.”  And immediately upon Judas’ leaving, the Lord proclaims His glorification has begun. Here begins the Passion.  Here begins the first of the three days Jesus will spend in the belly of the earth.  How unlike the days the Servant spent in His mother’s womb these days shall be!  And yet it is precisely these days and in this way that what God has prepared for Him and for all creation shall come to its fulfillment.  Now shall the arrow be sharpened fully and shot forth to pierce all men’s hearts with truth – even as the nails pierce His hands and the sword His side.  Through the depths of such absolute darkness, light shall shine forth, and this light shall in time reach to the ends of the world. Now the time has come.  Now all shall abandon Him.  Now by the Suffering Servant shall all be saved. ******* O LORD, make us glorious in your sight, even as your Son has been glorified by His sacrifice.  YHWH, now the darkness falls upon your Son and He is prepared to be glorified.  In the death He must endure He will be revealed as the light of the world.  Though we cannot follow Him now, let us soon follow where He leads.  Help us, dear God, to lay down our lives with Him that we might come to Heaven. He has been hidden for all ages, concealed in the shadow of your arm, LORD; but now this arrow is shot forth, this sword unveiled for all eyes to see.  Now is the time for all to be justified by His holy sacrifice.  O let us join with Him!  Let us not fear the darkness which sets upon this corrupted earth but suffer its betrayal with the patience of the Son of Man. In Him let us take our refuge, LORD; let us be one with your Servant.  To this world help us bring His light, you who have been our trust from our Mother’s womb.


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March 26 - Monday of Holy Week

Sun, 25 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Is.42:1-7;   Ps.27:1-3,13-14;   Jn.12:1-11)   “I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations.”   He has come “to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who dwell in darkness.”  “He establishes justice on the earth,” and this justice is His bringing light to our darkness.  But He could not release us from the dungeon unless He Himself had entered the dungeon.  How else could light penetrate the darkness?  And so He not only enters the veil of flesh, humbling Himself to be born as a man, but also gives Himself up to the death we all must die – in our own form He pays the wages of our sin, that we might be released from its prison. How could we “be stouthearted” “when evildoers come at [us] to devour [our] flesh,” we who are so weakened by the scourges of sin, if He had not strengthened us by standing in our stead?  How could we truly say with David, “Though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust,” if He had not defeated the enemy which comes against us?  We can say, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” only because Jesus has brought God’s justice into our very midst, to our flesh and to our bone, by entering into the world of darkness we have created and taking upon Himself the death we deserved. Lazarus, who sits at table with Jesus a week before His own death, is a sign of our release from the dungeon, from the tomb of our sin.  As “Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in Him on account of Lazarus,” so should all be drawn to the promise of new life which the Lord shall fulfill now in His death and resurrection.  And as we enter Holy Week, as we prepare ourselves for the great mysteries of our faith, how appropriate for Jesus to sit at table “in the land of the living” with this dead man.  See that He will sit with us all just so in the kingdom of heaven. Now the light comes; now justice is done.  The aromatic fragrance of His holy sacrifice fills this house, and darkness shall be banished forever.   ******* O LORD, your Son is the light which saves us even from death; let us die and rise with Him. YHWH, as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, so all who believe will be raised with Him and sit at His table in Heaven.  As He defended Mary from Judas’ attack, so He will advocate for us all against the accusations of the evil one, so we will be protected from all condemnation and come into the light of your presence.  Though we dwell as if in a dungeon here, release we shall soon find in the offering of your Son.  From all our enemies we shall be saved; let us stand fast with Jesus. The fragrance of the Spirit fills our souls even as darkness closes in.  O LORD, your promise to us is sweet indeed and gives us courage in this world.  For what victory has our Savior not won, what power has withstood His justice?  And so, even death He tramples underfoot as in a tomb He is laid.


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March 25 - Passion Sunday

Sat, 24 Mar 2018 04:00:00 +0000

(Is.50:4-7;   Ps.22:2,8-9,17-20,23-24;   Phil.2:6-11; Mt.26:14-27:66  or  Mk.14:1-15:47  or  Lk.22:14-23:56)   “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”   “The whole people” cry out for the death of Jesus.  “Let Him be crucified,” they shout ever more loudly.  The sins of us all demand the death of the Son.  And though He would have us not bear such guilt – “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me” – and though even after we have succeeded in our lust for innocent blood, He forgives… yet bear such a burden we must, to find release from its punishment under the shadow of His cross, where, upon the opening of our eyes in the fear of our crimes and the power of Him whom we have crucified, we shall proclaim, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” Yes, it is an irony that the blood of this “King of the Jews,” the Chosen of the chosen, the Messiah, the Son of God, is upon our souls both for condemnation for the great crime all commit in crucifying the Lord always by our sins; and, of course, for our salvation by its cleansing the same sin from our souls through our belief in Him Who Is. And so He accepts our mockery.  And so He remains silent before our accusations against Him.  And so He “set [His] face like flint,” enduring “buffets and spitting”; as “many dogs surround” Him and “a pack of evildoers closes in,” He endures all for our sakes, knowing only this will bring us to open our eyes and see the light that is the love of God.  “They have pierced my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones.”  Could more of a sacrifice be made for sinful man?  Could greater than this be accomplished in the name of God?  What more need you to believe?  O let His blood pour upon you! Brothers and sisters, Christ Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness… becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  God has come among us and suffered all for our sake, that we might be washed clean of all the evil within us by His gentle acceptance of all our hatred, of all our doubt and fear, of all the violence we could mount, saying to our heart: “I love you still, and my Father, too,” that we might return to the grace that is ours in Him.  Let us not be ashamed to bend the knee “at the name of Jesus.”  Let “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  “You who fear the Lord, praise Him; all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to Him; revere Him all you descendants of Israel.”  Let His blood pour upon your soul.   Written, read & chanted, and published by James Kurt.   Music: "My God. My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?" (first half) from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, your Son humbles Himself to die on a cross for us, and we can but lay Him in a tomb – how shall we be [...]


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March 24 - Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Ez.37:21-28;   Jer.31:10-13;   Jn.11:45-57)   “My sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.”   Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to “gather [His people] from all sides to bring them back to their land”; He is the “one prince for [us] all” by whom God makes complete the “everlasting covenant” with us: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  It is He “who make[s] Israel holy,” who makes us all one in Himself.  And so, “no longer shall [we] defile [our]selves,” but we “shall live by [His] statutes and carefully observe [His] decrees” now written upon our hearts by the power of the Spirit upon His flesh and blood. In our gospel the Sanhedrin fear the loss of the Jewish nation on earth when they say, “The Romans will come and sweep away our sanctuary and our nation” because of the wonders Jesus performs and the power He has over all people.  So when Caiaphas asks, “Can you not see that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed?” it is of the protection of the temple and its worship he speaks and which is his concern.  But, of course, he unwittingly prophesies the salvation of all in the eternal, heavenly Temple of the New Jerusalem, where Jesus “gather[s] into one all the dispersed children of God.” Yes, “Jesus would die for the nation”; He would give Himself that all might live.  The plan “to kill Him” He shall allow to bear fruit; though all are on the lookout to apprehend Him, yet He shall come to the feast to offer Himself as the spotless Lamb of Passover, to purge the nation of its sins and protect it from final damnation.  And so, “He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, He guards them as a shepherd His flock.”  And so we should “come streaming to the Lord’s blessings: the grain, the wine, and the oil” – so we should come now and consume His Body and His Blood.  For the New Covenant is now set in place; His sanctuary is here among us.  And forever He is seated in the heavenly kingdom to make intercession for us and for the purging of our sins, to draw into the presence of the Father all His holy children. He is “likely to come to the feast,” brothers and sisters, for the feast would be nothing without Him.  It is His sacrifice alone which “turn[s] our mourning into joy,” which “shall make [all] merry and dance” in the sanctuary of God’s love.   ******* O LORD, by the blood of your Son gather into one all your dispersed children.  YHWH, your feast is prepared and we are called now to enter in to the dancing and joy of your kingdom.  Your sanctuary is set up in our midst, your Son has come into our presence, and so we become one holy nation in Him.  Though He must die to save us and unite us, He shall face such a fate openly, and so lead us to the heights of Zion. Up to Jerusalem Jesus comes with all[...]


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March 23 - Prayer to St. Turibio de Mogrovejo

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O missionary shepherd whose love for the truth was a love for Christ and a desire for your flock to know Him and the way to glorify God, you who gave yourself for the Truth that is Christ and for His Church on earth, through whom He teaches all men and brings them into His fold – may we, too, lay down our lives and work as hard as you have done in the name of Jesus, that all our lives and the lives of all His flock might be in accord with the will of the Lord and faithful to the Mother He has left for our care; let all that is not of God be cast from our midst by the Spirit of Truth this day.


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March 23 - Friday of the 5th Week of Lent

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Jer.20:10-13;   Ps.18:2-7;   Jn.10:31-42)   “He has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked.”   As Jeremiah’s persecutors surround him on every side but are “put to utter shame” when he calls out to the Lord, so as the Jews “again tried to arrest Him,” Jesus again “eluded their grasp.”  And so when “the breakers of death surged around [us], the destroying floods overwhelmed [us]...” so when our sins seemed to have conquered our souls, the Lord came to save us. Evil is all around.  Always there is “terror on every side!” and those who would shout, “Denounce!  Let us denounce him!” because of our missteps, because of our stumbling into sin.  Ever the devil is on the watch to trap us with his wiles and cast our souls into “the netherworld.”  But always, too, the Lord is present, and when to Him we entrust our cause, saying with David, “O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,” whenever we call upon His name, He hears and saves us from “the snares of death.”  “Praised be the Lord, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies,” David sings.  “Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord,” Jeremiah echoes, and he, too, is safe.  All who call upon Him He hears, and affords them His salvation. “The Jews reached for rocks to stone Him,” but still He called to their hearts: “Many good deeds have I shown you from the Father.  For which of these do you stone me?”  Still He invites them to look upon the good works He has done in His Father’s name to see that He is indeed the Son; still He desires their salvation.  The signs He performs are recognized by many people who thus “come to believe in Him,” but the hardness of heart of these the leaders continues to blind their eyes to the truth of what John the Baptist said and what He is.  This ignorance shall find its ultimate expression soon in the crucifixion of the Son of God; but even from this the Lord shall deliver Him – and by this sacrifice we shall all be saved.  And many more will come to know thereby that He is God.  The Lord rescues all our souls when we cry out to Him.  Let us put all trust in His saving grace. ******* O LORD, thank you for hearing our cries; from death you have delivered us by the grace of your Son  YHWH, let us come to believe that Jesus is your Son, one with you and the source of our salvation.  You rescue from the power of the wicked all who put their trust in Him; even from death we are preserved by taking our refuge in Him.  And so, why should we doubt His divinity? In our distress you looked upon us, dear LORD, and heard us as we called out to you; and so you sent your only Son to answer our deepest prayers.  We were enmeshed in the snares of death but from the netherworld you saved our souls, giving us safety in the blood of Jesus, the Christ.  We thank you and we pra[...]


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March 22 - Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Gn.17:3-9;   Ps.105:4-9;   Jn.8:51-59)   “Before Abraham came to be, I AM.”   Abraham is a great man, the blessed patriarch, to whom God made the promise: “I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting pact, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”  So Abraham becomes “the father of a host of nations,” not just by lineage, but by faith in the promise God has given him and the keeping of the covenant with Him.  Abraham is father to all who believe in the one God: the sons of Israel, the Jews; the sons of Ishmael, the Muslims; and all who worship the living Lord and “seek to serve Him constantly.” Yet as great as Abraham is, as fertile as he has become, Jesus is the greater and the more prosperous, for He Himself is the Lord our God, from whom Abraham receives his promise and so his greatness.  “Abraham rejoiced that he might see [Jesus’] day.  He saw it and was glad.”  For here come to us is the only Son of the God before whom he “prostrated himself”; here is the Lord of all the nations of whom Abraham is father. Jesus is equal with the Father, coeternal and all-powerful.  He does not make Himself so but receives such glory from the Father, with whom He is always.  How hard it is for the Jews to hear this.  Though according to their faith they have been waiting for just such arrival of the Holy One, of the Messiah, yet their hearts are unable to accept such divine wonder.  And so “they picked up rocks to throw at Jesus” upon His solemn declaration of His divinity. Is it not just so hard for all of us who call ourselves believers to come to terms with the awesome majesty of Jesus our God?  It seems something so far beyond our belief, that God could walk in our midst.  And yet HE IS; and so we must see how much greater than any man He is.  For though fully a man born in time and murdered upon a cross, yet He is God, living forever as Lord of all.  So great a gift, so wonderful a presence, is all that assures us that we “shall never see death” but be as He is, alive in the kingdom as He has promised.  Keep His word, and the Word of Life will be with you.  ******* O LORD, a greater than Abraham we have in your Son, for He is God with you – let us live forever in Him.  YHWH, your Son is God with you, dear Father, the great I AM; and He would bring us where you are, to a life that passes not away.  How could we die if we were with you?  For you are Life itself, and your Son with you. Abraham is the father of many nations; many lives came to be through him and all of faith find a father in him who was of the greatest faith.  But you are the Father of Abraham, dear LORD, and Jesus is your Son – and so Jesus Himself is as Abraham’s Father, coming before him and giving life to [...]


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March 21 - Wednesday of the 5th Week of Lent

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Dn.3:14-20,91-92,95;   Dn.3:52-56;   Jn.8:31-42)   “The truth will set you free.”   Sin binds.  Like the cords with which “the strongest men in [Nebuchadnezzar’s] army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,” sin fetters our souls and casts us “into the white-hot furnace.”  “Everyone who lives in sin is the slave of sin.”  But for those like these three faithful servants who “will not… worship the golden statue that [the king of this world] set up,” there is freedom.  For the Lord who is “praiseworthy and exalted above all forever,” who sits “on the throne of [His] kingdom… in the firmament of heaven,” “can save us from the white-hot furnace and from [the king’s] hands.”  For those who “yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God,” sin holds no sway.  And so we find them “unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire,” the angel of God at their side. God sits on His “throne upon the cherubim,” but He “look[s] into the depths.”  And so He sends His Son to walk among us and set us free from slavery to sin.  As Jesus says, “I come forth from God, and am here.”  Here is the Son; here is the true reflection of the Father.  Here, indeed, is Truth itself, by whom we are all set free. How Jesus strove to bring the truth to “those Jews who believed in Him” but struggled in their acceptance.  But the Lord does not pull punches; He does not gloss over the truth, however harsh it may seem.  He tells them plainly, “You are trying to kill me,” and so they do the works of Satan – and so do they sin.  In their pride they deny their sin, and the envious plots in their hearts: “Our father is Abraham,” they argue, and not the evil one.  “We are no illegitimate breed!”  But the truth is that they are, and though it mean His death, Jesus must deliver this truth unto them… for it is all that will set them free. How little it seems the truth is brought to the people today, and so, how few it seems are set free.  As sin goes merrily along, the devil sits laughing…  But God is still God, and the Son is still the Son, and all who give themselves to Him and not the idols of this earth will still find themselves set free.  Brothers and sisters, “if the Son frees you, you will really be free.”  Confront your own sin, and entrust all to Him.  ******* O LORD, from your throne on high you send your Son to rescue us from the fires of sin; let us love His words and put faith in Him and you.  YHWH, you alone are God, exalted above all on your glorious throne.  This is truth.  And so, you alone should we worship with heart, mind, and soul.  You alone we should praise.  In you alone we should trust – you alone should be our Father. But how easily we lie and become child[...]


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March 20 - Tuesday of the 5th Week of Lent

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Nm.21:4-9;   Ps.102:2-3,16-21;   Jn.8:21-30)   “From heaven He beheld the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.”   As the Lord has said to the Pharisees: “You belong to what is below; I belong to what is above.”  And truly, how could we come to where He is unless He reached down to lead us there? The Israelites show just how much they are of this world below when they reject the food of the heavens in utter bitterness: “We are disgusted with this wretched food!” they say of the manna the Lord has provided.  And punishment comes to them in the form of a serpent for their cursing the hand of God. And the Pharisees are the same.  They have the living bread from heaven standing before them, teaching them, yet they cannot grasp what He says and with mockery ask, “Who are you, then?” when He tells them, “I AM.”  And so they too “will surely die in their sins” for their rejection of the great I AM. But yet there is hope.  For the Israelites, Moses “make[s] a serpent and mount[s] it on a pole,” and those who gaze upon it are healed from the serpent’s deadly bite.  And, of course, Jesus Himself will mount the wood of the cross and be fixed there – and the Pharisees and we who gaze upon our sins (which, as with the serpents, have caused this punishment), we who see what we have done and repent thereof, shall be healed, restored, forgiven. “When you lift up the Son of Man, you will come to realize that I AM,” says the Lord.  And now we look up at Him who has died for us and pray He will take us where He has gone, that our cry will come to Him, that He will regard “the prayer of the destitute” and lift us up to heaven with Him as we share in His cross.   ******* O LORD, you have answered our prayers; let us be released from death by looking upon your crucified Son. YHWH, we are doomed to die; apart from you there is no life, and we have separated ourselves from you by our sin, by our complaining against your goodness toward us.  How can one come to your presence on high if he desires but the world below, where is but dust and death?  May we hear the call of your Son, who by His Cross would lead us to your kingdom. Jesus will die.  On the Cross He will be lifted up, crucified by sinful hearts.  But His death means only life for us, for He is Life itself, O LORD, He is one with you; and that life is more powerful than the imposter death, which fades to nothing before His glory. Your Son cannot but be raised on high, dear LORD, for He is one with you and dwells ever in surpassing light, to which He would draw all souls.  May we indeed recognize He is the great I AM and come to life with Him, separated far from our sin and the poison it brings.  Hear our prayer and save us.


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March 19 - Prayer to St. Joseph, Husband of Mary

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 13:00:00 +0000

O righteous man called by God to be foster-father of His only Son and protector of His Mother, you who were obedient to the Spirit, who took Jesus by the hand and led Him from the temple in Jerusalem to the home in Nazareth where Mary made a place for Him – pray that we shall be built into the house of Abraham, the man of faith, into the house of David, your father, into the House the Holy Spirit builds for the faithful even this day, where our Mother waits for us with you and all the saints; pray that we too shall hear the words spoken over you by the Lord: “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Master.” Pray we shall be righteous as you.


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March 19 - St. Joseph, Husband of Mary

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 07:00:00 +0000

(2Sm.7:4-5,12-14a,16;   Ps.89:2-5,27,29,37;   Rom.4:13,16-18,22; Mt.1:16,18-21,24a  or  Lk.2:41-51a)  “I will be a father to him, and he shall be my son.” It is through Joseph that Jesus is a son of David and so fulfills the promise to the king made by God: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever,” for He is the heir “raise[d] up” after David “who shall build a house for [His] name.”  “In heaven [the Lord has] confirmed [His] faithfulness,” and on earth He has made it known.  And so Jesus says of God, “You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior!” and we of faith join His refrain. As with Abraham, Joseph is made foster father of Jesus not merely by physical descent from David but “through the righteousness that comes from faith.”  For as Abraham believed and so became “the father of many nations,” so Joseph believed that it was “through the Holy Spirit that [Jesus] ha[d] been conceived” and “did as the angel commanded him and took Mary into his home,” thus becoming a father to Him who would “save His people from their sins.”  Like Abraham “he believed, hoping against hope,” and like Abraham he is blessed. But, of course, Jesus is more than the Son of Joseph; in fact, this is the great sacrifice Joseph makes.  For truly he cares for Him who is more Son to the Father in heaven and Son of Man, born for all the human race.  Evident this is when He is found by Joseph and Mary in the temple after three days and He asks them (a question much like those He might have been putting to the teachers of the faith): “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” and in the curious fact that His parents waited a day before journeying back to Jerusalem to look for Him, for they were “thinking that He was in the caravan” – so much a part of His people had He become. Jesus is Son of God and Son of Man, yet “obedient to them” – Joseph and Mary – He ever was.  And they were ever obedient to the dictates of the Father, that they should care for His only Son.  And so Joseph, husband of Mary, a simple carpenter, fulfills in simple fashion all the Lord had set out for him.  May we, too, by faith fulfill all the care we must take for Jesus, His mother, and His people. Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney. Music composed and performed by Carie Fortney; used by permission. *******  O LORD, let us dwell in your House forever. YHWH, your Son is known as the Son of David, the Son of Joseph the carpenter.  And truly He is the fulfillment of your promise to the king that his son shall ever sit upon the throne.  But He is conceived by the Holy Spirit: He [...]


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March 18 - Prayer to St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O steadfast teacher of the faith whom exile could not keep from proclaiming the truths of Scripture and the Church, whose pastoral zeal called souls to the blessed chamber of our divine Lord Jesus Christ that we might unite with Him who united Himself with us to draw us unto Heaven – pray that the shepherds of the Church shall be just so diligent and faithful as you have consistently been in imparting the Word of God to waiting ears and hearts, that all might be nourished well and so prepared to meet our King and Bridegroom, grace upon grace overflowing in souls led by the Spirit of Truth.


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March 18 - Sunday of the 5th Week of Lent, Year B

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 04:00:00 +0000

(Jer.31:31-34;   Ps.51:3-4,12-15;   Heb.5:7-9;   Jn.12:20-33) “Father, glorify your name.” Jesus cries out in supplication to Him who is “able to save Him from death,” but He prays not to be saved from death, not to be saved from the sacrifice He must make, but only that in His death the Father might glorify His name.  His “hour has come,” He knows.  He hears from His apostles of the Greeks who seek Him, and He knows it is now time for Him to return to the Father and for His apostles to take over the work He has begun – to carry His salvation to the nations.  And though He is “troubled,” knowing “the kind of death He would die,” knowing that it is the only path to the Father, yet He does not ask to be saved “from this hour.”  His only desire is to fulfill the Father’s will by being “lifted up from the earth” in crucifixion and resurrection that He might “draw everyone to [Him]self” and to the glory in the Father He knows. And of course “He was heard because of His reverence.”  Because His cry is sincere, is a laying down of His life in perfect humility and perfect love, the Father readily answers His prayer.  Even in “a voice c[o]me from heaven” He responds, speaking not for the sake of His Son – who needs no such assurance, who is dead to Himself and serves the Father perfectly – but for those whom the Son would save by His “fall[ing] to the ground” in death.  For them, for us, the Father answers, for this is the Son’s wish. And if we are holy as He, we “all, from least to greatest, shall know” the Lord our God just as He knows Him – we shall have our prayers answered as readily as the cries of supplication of our Savior.  And so we shall be saved; and so we shall be preserved from death… and so we, too, shall glorify the Father’s name.  As the Lord listens to David when he cries out in his penitent psalm, so shall God come and make our hearts clean: so shall He come and write His name upon them as we cry out to Him.  And we shall be blessed as Jesus, and we shall stand just as steadfast.  Renewed in spirit, our offenses wiped out, we shall stand in the Son’s stead upon the cross and in the kingdom. “Your Holy Spirit take not from me,” O Lord, for it is the proof of your presence within me; it is the seal of your Son and His blood upon my soul.  By your Spirit I know I shall be protected from death; by His touch I am led to my salvation.  Father in heaven, glorify thy name in me as in thy Son. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "The Sunset Bleeds Me Clean" (1st half) from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, b[...]


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March 17 - Prayer to St. Patrick

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 19:00:00 +0000

O great apostle to the nations who gave up your birthright of freedom for the benefit of others, who went forth in faith, Christ ever above you and before you and all around to protect you who were brought through trial to do His will in bringing God to unbelievers, you who never doubted – pray that we, too, shall spend ourselves for the sake of the Gospel and all souls yet to be gathered to the Lord, that indeed from east and west men shall come and sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of our God, that from the ends of the earth one people shall be drawn to Him… and let us do all without concern for persecution, with the heart of a shepherd you had. 


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March 17 - Saturday of the 4th Week of Lent

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Jer.11:18-20;   Ps.7:2-3,9-12;   Jn.7:40-53)   “Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will be spoken no more.”   With these words “they were hatching plots against” Jeremiah, and in the same way against Jesus.  And so, “like a trusting Lamb led to slaughter,” “like the lion’s prey, to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue” are they.  But “the malice of the wicked [shall] come to an end.” “The upright of heart” are ever persecuted.  Even Nicodemus, “one of their own number,” a member of the Pharisees who are seeking the life of the Lord, was “taunted” when he “spoke up to say, ‘Since when does our law condemn any man without first hearing him and knowing the facts.’”  But the Lord “sustain[s] the just” “because of the innocence that is” theirs.  In Him do they “take refuge,” and He will not leave them a prey to their teeth. Even the temple guards recognize the power of the word that comes from Christ.  “No man ever spoke like that before,” they state as the reason that “no one laid hands on Him.”  “He is the Messiah,” it is sure, and only the hardest of heart are able to blind themselves to the authority that issues forth from His lips.  But the Lord is the “searcher of mind and heart,” of “heart and soul”; He is the just Judge, the just God, and so even as He rescues the innocent from trial, so He “punishes day by day” the evil man.  Their plots shall come to naught; in vain do they pursue Him.  For though He shall allow them “to apprehend Him,” yet He will be eternally free from their clutches.  Indeed, He will be fixed to a cross.  Indeed, like an innocent lamb He shall not open His mouth to protest or to call upon the angels for assistance.  And they shall think that He is theirs.  But rise from the dead He will, and His Name will be spoken to the ends of the earth.  For nothing can destroy the power of the Word of God.  ******* O LORD, though the innocent man be condemned, you are there to save him. YHWH, you save us from every snare of the devil, every plot of the wicked; you do not leave us prey to the lion’s teeth.  Though we be ringed about by our accusers, though with your Son we be crucified, yet we shall not be destroyed – with Him we shall be raised on high. For you, O LORD, are a just Judge; you look into the hearts of all.  You know who is set upon the doing of your will and who would oppose you and your blessed One.  Let us never be a curse unto you.  Though we be condemned by men, in your sight let u[...]


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March 16 - Friday of the 4th Week of Lent

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Ws.2:1,12-22;   Ps.34:17-21,23;   Jn.7:1-2,10,25-30)   “He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is His Father.”   And for such He shall be persecuted; for such He shall be killed.  For to the wicked “He is the censure of [their] thoughts; merely to see Him is a hardship” for those who stray from the Lord’s commands.  And so, in vain attempt to spare themselves the just judgment of the Lord, in their jealousy they say to one another: “With revilement and torture let us put Him to the test”; and so they “condemn Him to a shameful death,” tempting the Lord God to watch over Him. Evil are their thoughts and wicked are their ways.  But the one “they want to kill,” the one “they tried to seize,” escapes their grasp, for indeed the Lord “watches over all His bones; not one of them shall be broken.”  And they cannot take hold of Him unless He so wills it; so, frustrated are their efforts “because His hour had not yet come.” Even when His hour comes and He is delivered into the hands of the prince of darkness, still their violence will not touch Him; yet will He be protected by the Lord, as are all who follow Him.  Yes, David sings of what he knows: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves.”  And so, even in distress, even in death, the Lord is near to His chosen ones.  The Lord shall ever be delivered from the grasp of those whose “wickedness blinded them.” Jesus stands up in the temple and cries out: “I was sent by One who has the right to send… it is from Him I come.”  He declares openly that He is the Son of God, and for bringing such light the wicked who would hide their sins seek to destroy Him.  But it shall indeed be proven that He is the Son of the Most High, that God is His Father.  The “recompense of holiness” shall be witnessed by all eyes.  In subjection to their evil plots, in dying upon the wood of the cross, and in His subsequent resurrection, Jesus shall utterly destroy all the power of wicked men and reveal the one true light that shines, that cannot be overcome by darkness. “We know where this man is from,” they say, and so they are blind.  For God the Father is not of this dark earth, and neither is His just Son.   ******* O LORD, you care for those reviled by the world; make us as the Just One sent by you. YHWH, the wicked cannot know the origin of your Son for they are blind to you and your holy will.  He is sent by you to suffer and die, but the plots of evil hearts shall not succeed, for His life is ever in your [...]


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March 15 - Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Ex.32:7-14;   Ps.106:4,19-23;   Jn.5:31-47)   “If you believed Moses you would then believe me, for it was about me that he wrote.”   As Moses wrote, so Jesus speaks.  As Moses wrote, so Jesus is.  The eternal life to which the Scriptures testify is now in our midst.  The Word has come to life; the Law is now fulfilled.  The “form [we] have never seen” now stands before us.  The “voice [we] have never heard” now speaks to our ears.  But do we “have His word abiding in our hearts”?  Do we “believe the one [the Father] has sent”?  “The works the Father has given [Jesus] to accomplish” “testify on [His] behalf.”  Let us exult in their light. The Lord “had done great deeds in the land of Egypt,” “wondrous deeds” and “terrible things” in the sight of the Israelites through His servant Moses.  But “they forgot the God who had saved them,” “making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it” instead of the living God.  They could not wait for the Word to come to them; their hearts were not set on Moses’ return from the mountain with the Law of God.  And so, for their lack of faith God “spoke of destroying them.”  The fire of wrath the Lord would have “blazed up against them to consume them” – such was the thought of His heart. But Moses “withstood Him in the breach.”  “Let your blazing wrath die down; relent in punishing your people,” he begs.  And so, because of Moses’ intercession, “the Lord relented in the punishment He had threatened on His people” for their lack of faith in Him.  And now it is Jesus who stands in the breach made by our sins, preventing now our eternal punishment at the hands of a righteous God.  For by all accounts we deserve death for our lack of faith; but in His grace the chasm between us and God He fills by stretching out His arms on the cross. Brothers and sisters, let us believe in His redemptive sacrifice.  Let it never be said of us, “You do not have the love of God in your hearts,” for such a state would mean the end of our days.  But God has promised: “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.”  About this Moses writes, and the words speak of Jesus, He who is our salvation.  Let us not forget the One who saves us in His love, “on whom we have set [our] hopes.”   ******* O LORD, as Moses once stood in the breach to save your people, now Jesus would return us to your love – let us listen to Him. YHWH, help us to believe in your Son and the work of love He accomplishes in our m[...]


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March 14 - Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Is. 49:8-15;   Ps.145:8-9,13-14,17-18;   Jn.5:17-30)   “Just as the Father possesses life in Himself, so He has granted it to the Son to have life in Himself.”   Here the great mystery of the unity of Father and Son is revealed, and so also our salvation. God is life.  The Father is the great I AM, He who will be what He will be and do what He will do – He who holds the world and all its wonders in His creating Hand.  And Jesus is as He is.  He shares absolutely in the Life that is the Father.  “Speaking of God as His own Father, [He is] thereby making Himself God’s equal.”  And this perfect union is most clearly evident in the fact that “the Father has given over to Him power to pass judgment.”  For who can judge the soul of man but God, and so, who is Jesus but God Himself? And this union of Father and Son in the absolute love that gives proof of the Spirit’s presence, and thus completes the Holy Trinity, is the key to our readings today.  Thus, though the thrust of the Word is our own salvation from sin and death, this is only effected in the love of the Father for the Son – for it is in our own union with Jesus and in His washing us clean from sin by standing in our place upon the cross that we find union with the Father, that we find the Life to which we all are called… in whom we find our home of love. The Lord says, “I will cut a road through all my mountains and make my highways level.”  Jesus the Son is that road by which the Father “comforts His people and shows mercy to His afflicted” by leading them back to Him, guiding them “beside springs of water” that “they shall not hunger or thirst” but “find pasture” in His arms.  For “can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?”  Greater than any mother’s love is the Lord’s love for us, and this He makes known through His only Son. Brothers and sisters, “the dead shall hear the voice of God’s Son, and those who have heeded it shall live.”  Even now the Lord is “saying to the prisoners: Come out!  To those in darkness: Show yourselves!”  Out from the tombs He calls us, for He is “compassionate toward all His works” and desires in His perfect will that all share in His holiness, in His Life.  Let us do right in Him, and as His Son we, too, shall live.  ******* O LORD, from the tombs let us come forth at the sound of your Son’s voice. YHWH, you are kind and merciful and so you send your only Son to reveal your loving will, to draw all unto[...]


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March 13 - Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Ez.47:1-9,12;   Ps.46:2-3,5-6,8-9;   Jn.5:1-3,5-16)   “There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High.”   Brothers and sisters, Jesus is our living water. In our first reading, Ezekial speaks of his heavenly vision of the river of God which runs from His holy temple.  The water, which increases as it flows further from its source, eventually “empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.”  Along both banks of the river are trees whose “leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail… for they [are] watered by the flow from the sanctuary.”  Their fruit nourishes and their leaves heal. What is this river and this temple?  What is this sea and who are these fruit trees revealed to the eyes of the prophet?  Brothers and sisters, that Jesus is the river, the healing water, is made poignantly clear in our gospel.  The sick man struggles daily to plunge himself into the healing pool at Bethesda but is never able to find the assistance he needs.  When Jesus asks him if he wants to be healed and the man explains his plight, the Lord immediately states: “Stand up!  Pick up your mat and walk!”  The healing waters have come to him, and he is cured. Yes, Jesus is the living water, and the cross is as the temple from which His healing blood flows.  Upon us all who have prepared the cross and set it in place by our sins – which have made our water undrinkable – His grace pours to make us whole… and so we are the salt sea made fresh.  And so the trees on the river’s banks, bearing fresh fruit each of the months, do we become, as we walk in the paths of the twelve apostles… who are first to know His redemptive power, and with whom God becomes “our refuge and our strength.” “Come! behold the deeds of the Lord, the astounding things He has wrought on earth.”  For by the river that flows from His side He has prepared a people and a kingdom.  And all shall see what Ezekial sees; all shall know what the prophet is shown – the water of the Lord flows out now to the ends of the world, making all whole and fruitful by His presence.    ******* O LORD, let us be watered by the flow from your sanctuary, healed by your only Son that we might bear fruit as your holy Church. YHWH, your Son is the healing water that cleanses us of our sins and makes us whole in your sight.  The blood flowing from His side is the source of our salvation.  May we wash in this river and have our hearts made new that we [...]


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March 12 - Monday of the 4th Week of Lent

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0000

(Is.65:17-21;   Ps.30:2,4-6,11-13;   Jn.4:43-54)   “You changed my mourning into dancing.”   Here in the midst of Lent we find the purpose of all our suffering, the hope to which we all are called.  “At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.”  And thus does this time of penance and fasting lead to the abundance found in Easter joy.  For what is darkness but the world in which we dwell, and what is the dawn but the coming of Jesus to our hearts, the kingdom of heaven within us?  And even in the midst of this darkness, the light begins to shine.  “Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth,” the Lord says.  And today we hear that reassuring voice speaking to our waiting souls. In our gospel today we find a marvelous sign of the light that follows the darkness, of the joy that follows sorrow.  A Gentile royal official, a man in darkness for his being apart from the chosen race – and whose darkness is compounded by his position of authority there – comes to the King of the Jews, the Light of God.  In sorrow he mourns the imminent death of his son, and so the darkness is quite complete.  But the man’s son shall not die, and neither shall the Gentile race.  For it is great faith he shows.  Enlightened by the One he seeks, he believes, and so his son is saved by the Son of the Most High, and so he enters the fold of Heaven.  What greater joy could he have hoped to find, for not only is his son “brought… up from the netherworld,” but indeed he (and the race he represents) is “preserved… from among those going down into the pit.”  No greater words of joy could we read than these: “He and his whole household thereupon became believers.” Brothers and sisters, the Lord has made us to be a people of “rejoicing and happiness.”  He tells us so today through the prophet Isaiah: “I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people a delight.”  This is our destiny; this is our call.  If we must suffer for a time in this land of darkness, in this time of penance, let us be assured of the fullness of joy that comes Easter morning: “No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying.”  Yes, how particularly marvelous it is to hear of this light before us even as we stand in the midst of the darkness; what even greater joy do we feel!  The Lord conquers all.  He wishes only life for our soul.  And that life is upon us even this day.  At the wedding feast we shall [...]


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March 11 - Sunday of the 4th Week of Lent, Year B

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

(2Chr.36:14-16,19-23;   Ps.137:1-6;   Eph.2:4-10;   Jn.3:14-21)  “By the streams of Babylon we sat and wept.” For “practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the Lord’s temple,” the people of God “were carried captive to Babylon.”  For all their “infidelity” they were forced to watch as “their enemies burnt the house of God [and] tore down the walls of Jerusalem.”  And so did their “tongue[s] cleave to [their] palate[s]” in a foreign land; so they “hung up [their] harps”; so their “right hand[s] [were] forgotten”…  They could not sing the praises of the Lord; they could not strum to His glory – all the works of their hands were stilled.  They could but weep in desolation. So are we like them in our sins.  So do our transgressions silence our tongues and make us lame and ineffective.  So were we dead as these before Christ Jesus came to save us.  And as the Israelites were called back to the city of peace and entreated to build the Lord’s house there once again, as they found their release from exile by the king of Persia speaking in the name of God… just as these could enter in once more to the “song of the Lord,” so we now find our freedom from the chains which bound us, and to the Lord’s temple come proclaiming His gracious salvation. No more should we cry, brothers and sisters.  No more should we sit idly as the streams of this world pass us mockingly by.  No, now we must come resolutely to the Christ of God, for the word has gone forth to the ends of the earth that all who love Him should come into His light.  “By grace [we] have been saved”; by the Lord’s immeasurable kindness we have been redeemed – in His love we must now sing our song.  “For we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance,” and so our work must now be accomplished in Him. “Whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”  And so “saved through faith” we must now bring before Him the offering of our lives.  There is no longer cause to hide.  There is no longer need to weep for our sin, to find the oppression of the world and the devil too much to bear.  No, the gates of Jerusalem are opened once again, and the Lord God has “seated us with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.”  Here in this light let us now find our home.  Here in His presence let us begin t[...]


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March 10 - Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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

(Hos.6:1-6;   Ps.51:3-4,18-21,Hos.6:6;   Lk.18:9-14)   “As certain as the dawn is His coming, and His judgment shines forth like the light of day!”   It is night.  There is darkness.  In this world of sin we are afflicted on account of our guilt, for our failures to love God.  And so David cries out in our psalm, “Have mercy, O God, in your goodness”; and so the tax collector in our gospel “beat[s] his breast and say[s], ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner’”; and so with all the afflicted, in the words of Hosea, we should “return to the Lord, for it is He who has rent, but He will heal us.” Brothers and sisters, we must “strive to know the Lord,” for “He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth” to cleanse us of our sin and make us fruitful again.  To us the Lord will “be bountiful… by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.”  He will grant us a place for worship and again “be pleased with due sacrifices, burnt offerings, and holocausts.”  Our prayers shall again come before Him.  But if our piety is not to be “like a morning cloud, like the dew that passes early away,” we must come to know and love God.  And the first step to knowing God and showing our desire for His love is the recognition of our own sinfulness before Him, for “he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” Yes, brothers and sisters, “in the greatness of [His] compassion [He will] wipe out [our] offense.”  “He will revive us after two days; on the third day He will raise us up.”  But first we must die.  We must die to the sinful pride that afflicts our souls and leads us from the light that shines, that awaits all our coming to Him in blessed humility.  For He desires to show us mercy, but mercy we must have.  He longs to bring us light, but light we must seek to find.  His judgment, which is just, must be our desire, and it will come to us and wash us free of all our sin.  And we shall know Him.  And His love shall be our own.  And only light will shine in our souls. It is night, brothers and sisters.  There is darkness.  Our sins are with us still.  But the Lord is coming: the light is upon us.  Turn to it now, and live.   ******* O LORD, show us your grace that you might rejoice in our return to you. YHWH, your kindness and compassion are without end, your forgiveness deeper than the ocean and higher than the sky, for you are beyo[...]


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March 9 - Prayer to St. Frances of Rome

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O patient and loving soul who cared for both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor and the sick, who with a gentle word would rebuke sins and heal division and with a gentle touch bind the wounds and smooth the beds of the ill in your home and in hospital, who saw that remedies for the soul, the Bread of life and holy Confession, were available, too, through the hands of a priest – who cares as deeply and fully for the needs of souls this day? Increase their number; pray the Lord touch all souls with your same patient affection, with the love only He knows.


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March 9 - Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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

(Hos.14:2-10;   Ps.81:6-11,14,17;   Mk.12:28-34)   “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is Lord alone!”   “There is no other than He,” and so what should we do but “love the Lord [our] God with all [our] heart, with all [our] soul, with all [our] mind, and with all [our] strength”?  What promise the Lord makes to us if only we would return to Him and love Him: “If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways, I would feed them with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”  Indeed, then we would be “not far from the reign of God,” even here on earth. Brothers and sisters, we “have collapsed through [our] guilt.”  We have had “strange god[s]” among us and said, “‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands.”  Why should we continue so blind?  Why should we continue stumbling as sinners – why do we find the straight paths of the Lord so difficult to walk?  He will “forgive all iniquity” and strengthen us in justice; if we turn to Him, He will “heal [our] defection” and “love [us] freely.”  “In distress you called, and I rescued you,” He says in the words of our psalmist, and His words are true.  Turning away His wrath, He shall become “like the dew for Israel.”  And with His living water to nourish us, we “shall blossom like the lily… blossom like the olive tree.”  We “shall dwell in His shade and raise grain,” our “fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.”  We must but love God and our neighbor, and we shall “bear fruit.” “Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them.”  There is no God in all the world but the Lord, and it is He in whom “the orphan finds compassion.”  Why should you continue in your vain pursuits when love awaits your turning to Him?  What refuge can you find in your false gods?  In them and in your pride you indeed will find yourself orphaned, cut off from the love that only the Father holds.  But He loves the orphan, brother, and so He calls to your soul to return to Him with all your heart.  In this is true wisdom; in Him you will find strength.  There is no further question when the love of God is known.  When His presence is revealed we fall silent, for nothing can be said in the face of Truth.  Listen, brothers and sisters; but listen – and then do.   ******* O LORD, [...]


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March 8 - Prayer to St. John of God

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

O servant of love whom the angels knew to be of God for your blessed care of the poor and the sick and all the needy pilgrims who came to you in abundance that you might be the greater blest by what you did for the least of Christ’s brothers, you who turned from the world to absolute service of the Lord and complete trust in His providence – please pray that our hearts may be enlarged and we find the grace to lay down our lives so freely for the needs of others, for their well-being, that as we welcome all who come to us we might ourselves be welcomed in our misery into the loving arms of Jesus. 


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March 8 - Thursday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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

(Jer.7:23-28;   Ps.95:1-2,6-9;   Lk.11:14-23)   “They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.”   The Lord calls His people to “listen to [His] voice,” to “walk in all [His] ways,” that they “may prosper.”  But with whom is there obedience?  How many harden their hearts against Him! Of the people of Jeremiah’s time the Lord says, “Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.”  They, as all, should “bow down in worship” and “kneel before the Lord who made us,” but they, as we, do not recognize that “He is our God, and we are the people He shepherds, the flock He guides.”  They pay no heed to the voice of the prophet. And this hardness of heart is fulfilled in the opposition of the faithless to Jesus.  In our gospel He casts out a devil that a dumb man may speak and some say, “It is by Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that He casts out devils.”  Indeed, the hardness of heart does not get any greater than this.  (And so for this sin against the Holy Spirit and His ways there can be no forgiveness.)  They call good “evil” and presume that the evil they speak is a good – but they are utterly lost in darkness.  “The reign of God is upon” them, and they desire to dwell in the realm of the devil who is being cast from their midst.  What can save such a soul?  For all prayers the Lord answers. Brothers and sisters, it is a dark world and a difficult age in which we dwell.  But the response of our hearers is not our concern; we must speak as called regardless of the reaction – we must live our vocation despite any opposition.  Note the Lord’s words to Jeremiah: “When you speak all these words to them, they will not listen to you either; when you call to them, they will not answer you.”  For as with all the prophets, and as with ourselves, he speaks to “the nation which does not listen to the voice of the Lord, its God, or take correction.”  To these it is our duty to call; to darkness we must bring light.  And realize, too, the fate of Jesus, who will die on the cross for His work to bring salvation to the world.  It is this same cross to which we are all called, for it is by this same cross we have been called; and those who are yet to be gathered [...]


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March 7 - Prayer to Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O blessed martyrs who willingly and happily suffered a cruel death by the teeth of beasts and the point of a sword, all for love of Jesus – how can we match your faith; where shall we find the strength you displayed in ecstasy at tortures devised by the wicked of this earth, and can we call ourselves Christian otherwise? Pray for us, dear martyrs, that the Lord will bless us with such favor as you have known and we, too, will be enabled to stand in joy even in the face of the severest persecution, even at the time of our death… even then may Heaven be with us.


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March 7 - Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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

(Dt.4:1,5-9;   Ps.147:12-13,15-16,19-20;   Mt.5:17-19)   “What great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law?”   “He has proclaimed His word to Jacob, His statutes and ordinances to Israel.”  The Lord in His grace “sends forth His command to the earth; swiftly runs His word!”  And as the snow and the rain come down to nourish the land, to bring life to the earth, so His Word is food and life to all who listen to it.  By His Word He “strengthen[s] the bars of [our] gates,” giving us protection against the tribulations of this world, and by it He “bless[es] [our] children within” us, making fruitful all our endeavors.  By fulfilling and teaching His commands, we find life eternal in the kingdom of God; by breaking them and leading others to do so, we court death. And so why should the Word be withheld from the ears of the flock?  By his silence does not a priest give credence to the breaking of the law?  And then are not the results upon his soul?  Has the devil so blinded his eyes to the truth that he cannot see the life-giving water the Word of God is, that His commands are not burdensome but bring release from labor under the weight of sin?  By withholding such nourishment does he hope to increase his flock?  Oh but it is so hard to open my mouth, you say, so difficult to speak the truth.  Better you die to self now than to find your soul dead to the kingdom of heaven. Brothers and sisters, it is fulfilling “the smallest letter of the law… the smallest part of the letter,” that brings us to perfection, that brings us to the life that is our God.  Ignorance shall not bring you there.  As Moses instructs of the commands of the Lord, “Observe them carefully, for thus you will give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations.”  For they are a great gift made known to souls; they are the fountain of life, fulfilled in the flesh of Jesus.  So neither practice them in vain “nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,” for they hold life, and should you lose them, you shall lose the Christ. Do you desire holiness?  Do you wish to be whole?  Do you long for the presence of God, thirsting for His truth?  Then follow the Word He speaks in your presence[...]


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March 6 - Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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

(Dn.3:25,34-43;   Ps.25:4-9;   Mt.18:21-35)   “With contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received.”   The Lord “guides the humble to justice, He teaches the humble His way,” and so it is the prayer of these He receives; upon them He showers His mercy.  For His mercy is His justice and it is known by those who humbly share the same. Azariah makes his prayer for mercy for his people Israel who suffer the purgatorial fires of their exile from the Promised Land, even as he himself stands in the quite literal fire of the furnace of the King of Babylon for his faithfulness to the living God.  He begs the Lord: “Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy,” and as he comes humbly and with great faith interceding for others and not himself, and thus exhibiting the mercy he desires of the Lord, he is well protected from the flames by the angel of God.  The Lord’s justice is known to him who “follow[s] [Him] with [his] whole heart.” And Jesus makes quite clear the great mercy God holds for all who humble themselves before Him – “seventy times seven times,” eternally, He forgives.  His reign is like the king who “wrote off the debt,” though it was “a huge amount,” of his servant who begged His mercy.  For the Lord is “moved with pity” at our contrition for our sins.  But the same forgiveness we must offer to others if we are to prove that His blood runs in our veins.  The master tells his wicked servant: “I canceled your entire debt when you pleaded with me.  Should you not have dealt mercifully with your fellow servant, as I dealt with you?”  And indeed the fires of hell and purgatory await those who break their bond of justice and mercy with the Lord by failing to manifest the same grace that has been revealed to their souls.  We are sinners and must see ourselves so.  The Lord forgives and we must accept His grace.  Others seek our mercy and we must grant it to them.  This is how the kingdom works.  Those who do not follow the Lord’s way of compassion do not enter there. Brothers and sisters, we must be as Azariah, who “stood up in the fire and prayed aloud.”  For all, we must humbly intercede before our merciful God even[...]


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March 5 - Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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

(2Kgs.5:1-15;   Ps.42:2-3,43:3-4;   Lk.4:24-30)   “There is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”   “There is a prophet in Israel,” brothers and sisters, and this prophet is God.  Jesus Christ has come, salvation from the Jews.  Do you recognize Him?  Will you accept Him? It is only in “the waters of Israel” that we are made clean.  As wonderful as may be the waters of our native land, it matters not, for it is these alone that are blessed; these alone will make our flesh again “like the flesh of a little child.”  For a little child has come through these waters, has been baptized in this River, and it is His blood which baptizes us all and makes us clean as the flesh of God. “Bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling-place,” our souls should sing with our psalmist as they seek “the running waters” of “the living God” that alone will satisfy all our needs.  Oh to “behold the face of God,” to “go in to the altar of God” in “gladness and joy”!  How we should search for His grace and His presence!  Like Naaman who came from a distant land upon the word of a servant girl, so should we obediently seek the grace that comes only from God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ.  He is our dwelling place, the Temple of God. “No prophet gains acceptance in his native place,” Jesus proclaims to those of His hometown.  And His prophecy is true.  For though salvation is from the Jews and they are Jews who serve as its foundation stones, yet the Church shall be constituted greatly by those of other lands.  The Jews who follow Him shall be greatly persecuted by their own, and the Word shall bear fruit to the ends of the world before the eyes of the Chosen shall be opened to the living water, the healing grace, in their midst. Come in faith, brothers and sisters, to this holy mountain where the Lord does dwell, to find the cleansing of your sins.  Through none else does salvation come; in no one else is the Word made known.  The flesh of God is Jesus alone.   ******* O LORD, let us not turn away from your Word to our souls but be compassionate as you.  YHWH, you are a compassionate God calli[...]


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March 4 - Prayer to St. Casimir

Sat, 03 Mar 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O patron of the impoverished who though son of a king counted yourself among the poor in spirit, you whose love abundantly flowed to all in need, who sought the purity of our Blessed Mother, who thirsted for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, who devoted yourself to prayer and constant works of charity – teach us this day to be pure and set our hearts on serving the poor that we too might come to share the kingdom with all God’s children, all those who empty themselves of the things of this world to find the grace of Heaven.


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March 4 - Sunday of the 3rd Week of Lent, Year B

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

(Ex.20:1-17;   Ps.19:8-11;   1Cor.1:22-25;   Jn.2:13-25) “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.” Is it not fear of the Lord, Jesus would instill in the people as He makes “a whip out of cords” and drives those who buy and sell out of the temple?  Is His great zeal not to purify His Father’s House of all corruption?  And will the Temple He will raise up not endure forever? David tells us that “the law of the Lord is perfect,” and it is so; and so our worship of the Lord should be perfect as well – it should match the perfection of the Lord and His Word.  Thus does the Lord give us His commandments, to refine us in His light and make us like Himself.  Thus should we rest on the sabbath day as He has done, and indeed do all things according to His way, having “no other gods besides” Him.  He alone is worthy of our worship, and He alone is worthy of imitation.  His words alone will enlighten our eye. And how do we know this “wisdom of God” except by the blessed presence of His Son?  And how do we know it most fully but in His crucifixion?  Here is the wisdom of God upon the cross, calling us to what is far beyond us – beyond this world and our lusts.  “Human nature” He knew quite well, assuming it in all but sin as He has, and so He knows it must be nailed to the cross if we are to gain redemption.  And what wisdom is greater than that which effects salvation?  To what greater place could we be led than the kingdom of heaven? And “Christ crucified” reveals not only the wisdom of God but “the power of God” as well, for what makes the devils tremble more than our Savior on the cross?  What forces them to realize the vanity of their efforts to destroy man than to see Him dead, and know that He shall live again?  (And we with Him… and we with Him.)  “The weakness of God is stronger than human strength,” and here God’s weakness comes to full power.  And with absolute force it shall drive all evil from the world, and from our souls. “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” are the Lord’s prophetic words.  The Temple of His Body once destroyed now is mad[...]


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March 3 - Prayer to St. Katharine Drexel

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

O mother to the poor and disadvantaged, missionary to those in your own country isolated from their neighbors because of the color of their skin, some who lived upon the land long before those who oppressed them, others brought to this land in chains… you who sought to break the chains of ignorance and poverty, who gave your treasure and the riches of your soul that those without might find a home – pray for souls still disadvantaged by poverty or ignorance; pray that those with and those without might meet as one, as brothers before the Lord here on earth and in the heavenly kingdom.


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March 3 - Saturday of the 2nd Week of Lent

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

(Mic.7:14-15,18-20;   Ps.103:1-4,8-12;   Lk.15:1-3,11-32)   “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved.”   “He ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.”  Amen.  Such is the forgiveness of the Lord, that even while we are far from Him, yet while we are sinners, He sees our hearts turn to Him and welcomes us into His embrace. We have all “sinned against God,” brothers and sisters.  We are all as the Prodigal Son who has “squandered his money on dissolute living.”  But oh the forgiveness of our God, who “with kindness and compassion” “redeems [our] life from destruction,” who in “pardon[ing] all [our] iniquities” raises us from the death of sin to sit with Him in heaven.  Does not the father in our parable say as much of the sinner? “This son of mine was dead and has come back to life.”  Is it not so that when we were still sinners Jesus died for us, to raise us with Himself to new life? “Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of His inheritance?” the prophet Micah asks in our first reading, wondering at the infinite grace of our Father.  “As the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is His kindness toward those who fear Him,” sings David in our psalm.  And so, how joyous we should be, how our souls should “bless the Lord… and forget not all His benefits.”  For indeed, “not according to our sins does He deal with us, nor does He requite us according to our crimes.”  Rather, even though we deserve damnation, even though the most we could hope for is to be treated as one of His hired hands, yet does He remember His love for us.  Beyond all human reason, He graces us with “the finest robe” and calls us in to “eat and celebrate” at the heavenly banquet, where there shall be “music and dancing” to the Name of our God, where all the gifts of the Spirit poured forth through the blood of Christ are ours as we become one with the Father, as we return to Him “in good health.”  Is there anything m[...]


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March 2 - Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Gn.37:3-4,12-13,17-28;   Ps.105:5,16-21;   Mt.21:33-43,45-46) “They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.” “The stone which the builders rejected has become the keystone of the structure.”  Hear what Scripture says.  As he who was “sold as a slave” by his brothers became “lord of [the king’s] house and ruler of all his possessions,” so He whom the elders of the people could call “our brother, our own flesh,” whom they “seized… dragged… outside the vineyard, and killed,” has become the very foundation of the New Jerusalem. How parallel are our first reading and gospel today.  Jacob, Israel, sends the son he loves best, he who is “the child of his old age,” to the brothers who are tending their father’s flock, to bring them food to nourish them in their labor.  The Father in heaven sends Jesus, His beloved Son – who is Child of His old age both in His existing with Him before time and in His coming here at the end of the age to His brothers – to those whom He has entrusted the care of His vineyard, through whom He feeds all the people, with the greatest of nourishment to sustain them unto heaven itself.  For their jealousy over the favor granted their brother, Israel’s sons strip Joseph of his long and princely tunic and cast him into a cistern “which was empty and dry” as their souls.  Out of the same jealousy and in the desire for His inheritance, the chief priests and Pharisees will soon arrest the Lord and see that He is stripped and nailed to a cross. And, brothers and sisters, the outcome of each story shall be the same.  As his brothers must come on their knees to their brother to find grain to keep themselves from dying of famine on the parched earth once Joseph has taken his place as ruler of the king’s possessions, so the elders of the people and all of us who bear responsibility for the death of Christ by our continual sins against Him shall have to come on our knees before Him who sits on the throne of heaven robed in glory, to find nourishment for our journey here in His sa[...]


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March 1 - Thursday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Jer.17:5-10;   Ps.1:1-4,6,40:5;   Lk.16:19-31)   “He is like a tree planted beside the waters, that stretches out its roots to the stream.”   “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.”  For he shall be like the tree “that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade.”  He shall never be “like a barren bush in the desert” or “like chaff which the wind drives away.”  Never shall he know the “place of torment,” for “the heat when it comes” shall do him no harm.  This man “follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners,” but rather “meditates on [God’s] law day and night.”  His faith and his hope are the roots that stretch out to the living water of the living God who nourishes all by His Word and in His flesh. Brothers and sisters, we must never “trust in human beings” as do the Pharisees, or be as the rich man who “seeks his strength in flesh,” “dressed in purple and linen and feast[ing] splendidly every day.”  This earth itself holds not our food.  Notice that it is to the Pharisees Jesus addresses His parable in our gospel today.  How closely the rich man parallels these leaders of the people.  The bounty of God’s wisdom is bestowed upon them, but they use it to feed their bellies rather than to shepherd those in need.  They claim Abraham as their father and the Law of Moses as their guide, but they neither have the faith that makes Abraham the father of all, nor do they follow the instructions Moses conveys.  Only in the flesh are they Abraham’s sons; and though they see him from the hell to which they come, they cannot touch him, they cannot reach past him to the Father in heaven, who gives Abraham his blessing.  Dwelling but in their “father’s house” as the rich man who gorged himself on the pleasures of the flesh, they come not to the Father’s House on high, for their roots penetrate not to the living water that is found in faith, and now Lazarus cannot even “dip the tip of his finger in [...]


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February 28 - Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Jer.18:18-20;   Ps.31:5-6,14-17;   Mt.20:17-28)   “Can you drink of the cup I am to drink of?”   Do you know what He asks, brothers and sisters?  And do you know where it leads? In our gospel today, Jesus is very deliberate in His instruction to His apostles.  As He starts out “to go up to Jerusalem,” where the chief priests and scribes “will condemn Him to death” and the Romans crucify Him, He takes “the Twelve aside on the road” to speak clearly to them of the fate which awaits Him.  (So objective are His words that He refers to Himself in the third person.)  Of course, the apostles are yet far from understanding His message, as shown by their soon dissembling into jealous indignation regarding the question of the power and importance of each.  And the Lord must teach them again that He has come “to give His own life as a ransom for many”; He “has come, not to be served by others, but to serve,” and that those who “aspire to [the] greatness” that is His must necessarily “serve the needs of all.” We know that Peter is the first among equals “for whom it has been reserved by [the] Father,” as the Lord has indicated earlier, and not James or John – though both of these shall have prominent place in drinking of the cup of Christ: James as the first apostle martyred and John, the beloved, whose martyrdom shall be white, coming in the endurance of a long life – but all of us who seek to follow Jesus indeed share in the selfsame cross, and so shall receive of the selfsame blessings of Him who is raised up “on the third day.”  All are called to drink of the cup of suffering and service in Jesus’ stead.  We must be clear on this essential point of faith. And does not Jeremiah’s persecution at the hands of the citizens of Jerusalem show that the cross of Christ extends even to the time before He had come in the flesh?  Do not the words spoken against the prophet: “Let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word,” echo exact[...]


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February 27 - Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Is.1:10,16-20;   Ps.50:8-9,16-17,21,23;   Mt.23:1-12)   “To him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”   “Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good.”  For it is only following in the way of the Lord we shall be saved; for mere words, vain pretense, the Lord has no patience. Indeed it is so, what Isaiah proclaims: “Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow.”  Forgiveness is offered forth generously by the Lord to the nation that goes astray.  But we must be “willing, and obey” the word “the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  If we “hate discipline and cast [His] words behind” our backs, if we but “recite [His] statutes” as the Pharisees whose “works are performed to be seen,” whose mouths profess the covenant but whose deeds are far from Him, how is it we shall find salvation?  For the Lord is not blind and deaf as we to the heart of man; and unlike our own, His word is true, and His command must be followed – we must serve Him and our neighbor.  We must humble ourselves in His sight if we hope to be exalted to His kingdom. “Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”  Over and over we hear from the mouth of the prophet and the psalmist and the Son Himself – the Lord has compassion on the poor and lowly, and we must do as He calls… we must be His arms and legs in this world.  Unlike the Pharisees who “will not lift a finger” to carry even the lightest burden, whose “deeds are few,” we must take up the full weight of the cross.  It is not “places of honor” and “marks of respect in public” for which we hunger; but when we teach and as we serve, our hearts must be set on the salvation of souls, which can only be accomplished by living the way of the Messiah, by following His example. What has Jesus not done for us?  What teaching has He left lacking flesh and blood?  And so, rightly is He ca[...]


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February 26 - Monday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Dn.9:4-10;   Ps.79:8-9,11,13,103:10;   Lk.6:36-38) “Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.” It is a cry for forgiveness our psalmist makes to our compassionate God.  “Remember not against us the iniquities of the past,” he begs, seeking release from sin’s prison for himself and his people.  And Daniel does the same; acknowledging with full throat the sins of Judah and all Israel, he seeks the merciful hand of the Lord upon the people, interceding in their stead.  Though he himself is an upright man, he cries out, “We have sinned, been wicked and done evil,” praying thus for the rebellious nation which has been scattered to “all countries” for their failure to heed the command of the Lord. Well do our Old Testament figures embody Jesus’ teaching in our gospel, summed up simply: “Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.”  For they “do not judge” or “condemn” those individuals primarily responsible for the apostasy and so the destruction of the kingdom and the covenant, but rather seek earnestly to heal the rift that has come by giving generously of themselves and their love for God and others, in Christlike fashion standing in the breach.  And so they earn the titles of prophet and psalmist of God; and so they foreshadow the heavenly compassion Jesus calls all His followers to pour forth in His name.  (And so we can be assured their compassion has been “measured back” to them by the Lord.) Jesus on the cross dies for the sins of all people, and this is His central call to all our souls: to imitate Him is our blessed goal.  For insofar as we die for God and others, insofar as we lay down our lives in His truth, thus far we shall find His “compassion quickly come to us” and so live in the heavenly glory which is now His place.  To us all He calls this day to pardon and forgive, for in doing so we shall find the reconciliation of the Lord even with our enemies, and secure for ourselves[...]


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February 25 - Sunday of the 2nd Week of Lent, Year B

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0000

(Gn.22:1-2,9-13,15-18;   Ps.116:10,15-19;   Rom.8:31-34;   Mk.9:2-10) “You shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,” the Lord instructs Abraham, calling him to sacrifice even as an animal his beloved child, upon whom God’s promise rests.  To a mountain he is led, with his son carrying wood in tow. And arriving at the place God had told him to go, “Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it… and took the knife to slaughter his son.”  The angel comes to stay his hand, but Abraham is prepared to do as the Lord commands. The Lord prevents Abraham from making this sacrifice because it is not his son who is to die; only the Lord’s Beloved could be offered as such a holocaust; only His Son is called upon to die.  “Christ Jesus it is who died,” no one else, for only His death brings life. And on Mount Tabor today we see the life that will come by the Lord’s sacrifice; already we glimpse the rays of heaven.  Jesus is as engulfed in flames, holy fire of the most blessed holocaust; and – like the three young men in the furnace, like the bush before Moses on Mt. Horeb – by these flames He is not burned: by these flames His purity is made to shine. How good indeed it is for these apostles to behold this blessed vision!  In it we all find hope that the death of Christ is not for naught, and neither shall our own death be.  For all who die in Christ, die as Christ, a death that brings only eternal life.  And so, comprehending here the majesty to which we are called, all disciples of Jesus, all children of the God of Life, are strengthened for all trial. God “did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all,” not because He loved Him not, but because He loves us all.  And now “will He not also give us everything along with Him?”  Will He now seek to condemn those whom He has justified[...]


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February 24 - Saturday of the 1st Week of Lent

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Dt.26:16-19;   Ps.119:1-2,4-5,7-8;   Mt.5:43-48)   “You will be a people sacred to the Lord, your God.”   The promise made to the Israelites through Moses is also a command, and is fulfilled in the command of Jesus. In our first reading Moses tells the people the Lord will raise them “high in praise and renown and glory above all other nations,” but makes it clear that this shall be so only as long as they “walk in His ways and observe His statutes, commandments, and decrees” – only if they “hearken to His voice.”  For His law is as food to the body and light to the mind and must be observed carefully, “with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul,” to maintain the presence of God in our lives.  If “He is to be [our] God,” we must do as He commands. Thus our psalmist sings of the happiness of those “who observe His decrees, who seek Him with all their heart.”  Thus does he cry out in longing, “Oh, that I might be firm in the ways of keeping your statutes!” for he knows in them is life.  To “walk in the way of the Lord” is his joy. And that joy is made complete, our life is made whole, by the new command of love Jesus imparts to our soul.  The Lord fulfills the Law of Moses, which gave light to the people, by commanding us not to love only our “countryman” but all: “Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors.”  Here is His challenge for us to “prove that [we] are sons of our heavenly Father,” to love as He loves, to know the greatness of His glory, therefore, in our very lives.  If the psalmist cried out in such joy at the blessing found in following the Law of Moses, what indescribable joy is ours when we follow Jesus’ words.  What greater call can we have than to “be made perfect as [our] heavenly Father is perfect”?  What greater merit and blessing could there be?  None.  For He is Life itself, and here we are called to liv[...]


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February 23 - Prayer to St. Polycarp

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:00:00 +0000

O disciple of John and shepherd who drank deeply of the cup of Christ’s suffering, you who bore both the burden of a long life and the pain of a violent death yet remained faithful till the end – pray that the fire into which we are cast we may also endure as the sacrifice of Jesus and so find it fruitful, and so find it blessed… and so rejoice in the witness we are granted to give in the name of our Savior. May the offering of our lives join with your own and all the saints’ in rising as holy incense to the throne of God and serve as witness, to the eyes that behold us, of the Lord’s great power and love.


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February 23 - Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

(Ez.18:21-28;   Ps.130:1-8;   Mt.5:20-26)   “Settle with your opponent while on your way to court with him.”   We are all on our way to court, brothers and sisters.  The judgment of the Lord awaits us all on the Last Day, and the Last Day is upon us here at the end of the age.  There is no time to lose; we must be “reconciled with [our] brother”; we must turn from sin today and find the Lord’s grace.  “With the Lord is kindness and plenteous redemption; and He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities” – but “out of the depths” we must cry to Him “in supplication” to find His blessed forgiveness; and from sinful paths we must turn our feet to know His salvation. “If a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life.”  It is a great promise that comes to us through the prophet Ezekial, that none of our crimes shall be remembered by God when we return to Him.  For the Lord does not “derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked,” He “rather rejoice[s] when he turns from his evil way that he may live”; for the Lord wishes life for us all, wishes Himself, who is Life, for every soul, and gives it freely, and quite naturally, when we follow His ways. It is really rather simple: as when a wicked man turns to good things he is no longer wicked but good and so lives in the Lord, so “when a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.”  Evil brings death, and righteousness and justice (goodness) brings life.  The Lord desires life for us all and so He calls us to repentance, to repentance from even what might seem to our minds the smallest of sins – for so greatly does He wish life for us.  And clearly does He know that which we cannot see, that death[...]


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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. 


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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[...]


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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.


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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 wor[...]


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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 releas[...]


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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 [...]


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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[...]


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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 strengthene[...]


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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[...]


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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 h[...]


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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[...]


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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 impart[...]


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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[...]


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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 [...]


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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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