Monthly Archives: December 2019

2020 Vision

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Many have been comparing this new year as we entering into the 20’s as the roaring 20’s”. The only “roaring” I see about these coming 20’s, is the continuing of the evil one in the Advice to the Community  

Be sober an vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.

I continue to pray for all this year and I ask our Lord for all, to be not afraid of confrontation with those who do not believe in Him.  Tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. May we imitate her faith, grow in humility and fear not, as the Angel Gabriel told her, of the things to come that may cause us great distress. May we ponder all things in our hearts. May be cling to our Lord on His cross at all times, until the day He lifts us up and takes us to Himself.

Stay awake. Be alert. Be not afraid. Our Lord, our Father, is God of all.

Blessed and peaceful Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God to all, and may His will be done, this year and for all time and eternity.

Please enjoy this. Start it from the beginning

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Happy Birthday

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A beautiful sermon by St. Leo the Great, reminds us, that Christmas is also our birthday. As this new year closes in, my prayer for all that that we embrace the newness that our Lord has made us, as we reflect on the old, that reminds us, “I make all things new”.

May you have a blessed New Year. May our Lord grant you a new way of thinking, new life in Christ and new and beautiful outlook on what you also once were before our Lord touched your heart, that you may give the praise, glory and honor to Him. May our Lord bring His peace to all.

Happy and blessed new year.

From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope
(Sermo 6 in Nativitate Domini, 2-3, 5: PL 54, 213-216)

The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace!

Although the state of infancy, which the majesty of the Son of God did not disdain to assume, developed with the passage of time into maturity of manhood, and although after the triumph of the passion and the resurrection all his lowly acts undertaken on our behalf belong to the past, nevertheless today’s feast of Christmas renews for us the sacred beginning of Jesus’ life, his birth from the Virgin Mary. In the very act in which we are reverencing the birth of our Savior, we are also celebrating our own new birth. For the birth of Christ is the origin of the Christian people; and the birthday of the head is also the birthday of the body.

Though each and every individual occupies a definite place in this body to which he has been called, and though all the progeny of the church is differentiated and marked with the passage of time, nevertheless as the whole community of the faithful, once begotten in the baptismal font, was crucified with Christ in the passion, raised up with him in the resurrection and at the ascension placed at the right hand of the Father, so too it is born with him in this Nativity, which we are celebrating today.

For every believer regenerated in Christ, no matter in what part of the whole world he may be, breaks with that ancient way of life that derives from original sin, and by rebirth is transformed into a new man. Henceforth he is reckoned to be of the stock, not of his earthly father, but of Christ, who became Son of Man precisely that men could become sons of God; for unless in humility he had come down to us, none of us by our own merits could ever go up to him.

Therefore the greatness of the gift which he has bestowed on us demands an appreciation proportioned to its excellence; for blessed Paul the Apostle truly teaches: We have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. The only way that he can be worthily honored by us is by the presentation to him of that which he has already given to us.

But what can we find in the treasure of the Lord’s bounty more in keeping with the glory of this feast than that peace which was first announced by the angelic choir on the day of his birth? For that peace, from which the sons of God spring, sustains love and mothers unity; it refreshes the blessed and shelters eternity; its characteristic function and special blessing is to join to God those whom it separates from this world.

Therefore, may those who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God, offer to the Father their harmony as sons united in peace; and may all those whom he has adopted as his members meet in the firstborn of the new creation who came not to do his own will but the will of the one who sent him; for the grace of the Father has adopted as heirs neither the contentious nor the dissident, but those who are one in thought and love. The hearts and minds of those who have been reformed according to one and the same image should be in harmony with one another.

The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace, as Paul the Apostle says: For he is our peace, who has made us both one; for whether we be Jew or Gentile, through him we have access in one Spirit to the Father.

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Holy Innocents

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As I ponder this day, I am reminded of the descent into hell. These innocent little ones, waited 33 years for the coming of the Lord to free them and open the gate to Heaven. A sentence of 33 years for simply being thought to be the King of Kings. The King of Kings, who served 33 years here in exile, for us.

Pray for us,  Holy Innocents.

From a sermon by Saint Quodvultdeus, bishop
(Sermo 2 de Symbolo: PL 40, 655)

They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ

A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come.

Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children.

You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.

Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace—so small, yet so great—who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God’s adopted children.

The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the savior already working salvation.

But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it.

How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.

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Jesus: God’s love story — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

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Please read the beautiful Homily by Bishop Silvio Jose Baez, which can be found at the link below.

 

via Jesus: God’s love story — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

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December 26, 2019 · 10:28 am

Merry Christmas

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Every day is Christmas, as our Lord, Himself,  is the ultimate gift.

May you open your hearts to receive this Gift

May your life become His

That you may give also.

To the glory of God

Amen

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Justice! Peace! Truth! Glory To God!

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From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermo 185: PL 38, 997-999)

Truth has arisen from the earth, and justice looked down from heaven

Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God became man.

You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come.

Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.

He has become our justice, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written: Let him who glories glory in the Lord.

Truth, then, has arisen from the earth: Christ who said, I am the Truth, was born of a virgin. And justice looked down from heaven: because believing in this new-born child, man is justified not by himself but by God.

Truth has arisen from the earth: because the Word was made flesh. And justice looked down from heaven: because every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Truth has arisen from the earth: flesh from Mary. And justice looked down from heaven: for man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

Justified by faith, let us be at peace with God: for justice and peace have embraced one another. Through our Lord Jesus Christ: for Truth has arisen from the earth. Through whom we have access to that grace in which we stand, and our boast is in our hope of God’s glory. He does not say: “of our glory,” but of God’s glory: for justice has not proceeded from us but has looked down from heaven. Therefore he who glories, let him glory, not in himself, but in the Lord.

For this reason, when our Lord was born of the Virgin, the message of the angelic voices was: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

For how could there be peace on earth unless Truth has arisen from the earth, that is, unless Christ, were born of our flesh? And he is our peace who made the two into one: that we might be men of good will, sweetly linked by the bond of unity.

Let us then rejoice in this grace, so that our glorying may bear witness to our good conscience by which we glory, not in ourselves, but in the Lord. That is why Scripture says: He is my glory, the one who lifts up my head. For what greater grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make his only Son become the son of man, so that a son of man might in his turn become the son of God?

Ask if this were merited; ask for its reason, for its justification, and see whether you will find any other answer but sheer grace.

 

Merry Christmas! May the Peace of our Lord fill you with all that you need. 

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Investigate

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What is it that we long for? Why do we wait? Wait for Who as Who is my Lord? When will He come to me in my misery? Where will this take place? How can this be? Investigate… Seek, knock and ask. Invest- I -Gate

When we are attracted to someone, the relationship is build on these three things. By simply seeking the love of the other, we find the love within. When the angel of the Lord appeared to the Shepherds, they were first struck with fear. What where they afraid of? Something out of the ordinary, something astounding had taken place. To hear the words  “Do not be afraid”, removes our cowardice. and replaces it with the strength of our Lord. The shoulders drop their pride, and one is able to carry the cross with our Lord. As the scripture says: When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” – What then were the Shepherds going to do? INVESTIGATE! They had been given the grace to move from cowardice and into bravery. They were given what they needed, what they were lacking. From tending sheep, to tending souls. They did not return to the sheep, they went at once to the town and told what they have seen, done and witnessed. Giving the glory to our Lord.

So what must we do in our faith? In all circumstances? Be not afraid to investigate the faith you profess and when you come to the Truth about Him and you, accept it, allow Him to wash you clean, repent of what you had and grasp what He has given to you. Be not afraid to share it. Invest I Gate – The Good Shepherd.

in·ves·ti·gate
/inˈvestəˌɡāt/
verb
  1. carry out a systematic or formal inquiry to discover and examine the facts of (an incident, allegation, etc.) so as to establish the truth.

From a treatise against the heresy of Noetus by Saint Hippolytus, priest and martyr
(Cap. 9-12: PG 10, 815-819)

The manifestation of the hidden mystery

There is only one God, brethren, and we learn about him only from sacred Scripture. It is therefore our duty to become acquainted with what Scripture proclaims and to investigate its teachings thoroughly. We should believe them in the sense that the Father wills, thinking of the Son in the way the Father wills, and accepting the teaching he wills to give us with regard to the Holy Spirit. Sacred Scripture is God’s gift to us and it should be understood in the way that he intends: we should not do violence to it by interpreting it according to our own preconceived ideas.

God was all alone and nothing existed but himself when he determined to create the world. He thought of it, willed it, spoke the word and so made it. It came into being instantaneously, exactly as he had willed. It is enough then for us to be aware of a single fact: nothing is coeternal with God. Apart from God there was simply nothing else. Yet although he was alone, he was manifold because he lacked neither reason, wisdom, power, nor counsel. All things were in him and he himself was all. At a moment of his own choosing and in a manner determined by himself, God manifested his Word, and through him he made the whole universe.

When the Word was hidden within God himself he was invisible to the created world, but God made him visible. First God gave utterance to his voice, engendering light from light, and then he sent his own mind into the world as its Lord. Visible before to God alone and not to the world, God made him visible so that the world could be saved by seeing him. This mind that entered our world was made known as the Son of God. All things came into being through him; but he alone is begotten by the Father.

The Son gave us the law and the prophets, and he filled the prophets with the Holy Spirit to compel them to speak out. Inspired by the Father’s power, they were to proclaim the Father’s purpose and his will.

So the Word was made manifest, as Saint John declares when, summing up all the sayings of the prophets, he announces that this is the Word through whom the whole universe was made. He says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things came into being; not one thing was created without him. And further on he adds: The world was made through him, and yet the world did not know him. He entered his own creation, and his own did not receive him.

 

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Perfect Marriage

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“The marriage with Joseph was planned so that Mary’s virginity might remain hidden from the prince of this world. For the external forms of marriage were adopted by the Virgin, almost as if to distract the Evil One, who has always preyed on virgins, ever since he heard the prophet announcing: ‘Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son’ (Isaiah 7:14). With this marriage, then, the tempter of virginity was deceived. For he knew that the coming of the Lord in the flesh would entail the destruction of his dominion.” – St. Basil of Caesarea (On the Holy Generation of Christ)

As the birth of our Lord is upon us, in the darkness and silence of these next few nights of winter, I have to ponder the beautiful silence of St. Joseph.  A good man does not have to say much, nor does a strong man. His actions speak for him. He listened for our Lord, who was yet to come. He held Him in his arms, when He did arrive and he protected Him until his time was done. He gave his life to Him.

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Forth Week Of Advent

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Now… The time is now and do not delay.  It can not be undone. It can not be stopped as it, already IS.  Before we hear, before we know, before we feel, before we love, He already IS. Now.

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When the angel revealed his message to the Virgin Mary he gave her a sign to win her trust. He told her of the motherhood of an old and barren woman to show that God is able to do all that he wills.

When she hears this Mary sets out for the hill country. She does not disbelieve God’s word; she feels no uncertainty over the message or doubt about the sign. She goes eager in purpose, dutiful in conscience, hastening for joy.

Filled with God, where would she hasten but to the heights? The Holy Spirit does not proceed by slow, laborious efforts. Quickly, too, the blessings of her coming and the Lord’s presence are made clear: as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the child leapt in her womb, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Notice the contrast and the choice of words. Elizabeth is the first to hear Mary’s voice, but John is the first to be aware of grace. She hears with the ears of the body, but he leaps for joy at the meaning of the mystery. She is aware of Mary’s presence, but he is aware of the Lord’s: a woman aware of a woman’s presence, the forerunner aware of the pledge of our salvation. The women speak of the grace they have received while the children are active in secret, unfolding the mystery of love with the help of their mothers, who prophesy by the spirit of their sons.

The child leaps in the womb; the mother is filled with the Holy Spirit, he fills his mother with the same Spirit. John leaps for joy, and the spirit of Mary rejoices in her turn. When John leaps for joy Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, but we know that though Mary’s spirit rejoices she does not need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Her son, who is beyond our understanding, is active in his mother in a way beyond our understanding. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit after conceiving John, while Mary is filled with the Holy Spirit before conceiving the Lord. Elizabeth says: Blessed are you because you have believed.

You also are blessed because you have heard and believed. A soul that believes both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges his works.

Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let her spirit be in each to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith. Every soul receives the Word of God if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, its modesty undefiled. The soul that succeeds in this proclaims the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. In another place we read: Magnify the Lord with me. The Lord is magnified, not because the human voice can add anything to God but because he is magnified within us. Christ is the image of God, and if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is exalted.

– Saint Ambrose.

Peace

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A Song

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As this Advent continues, my thoughts are on Easter. I know many will say, lets enjoy the gift of the Holy Child and stay in this moment. But the beauty of this Advent and Christmas for me, is the reality that Our Lord truly is the Gift that keeps giving. Every day is Christmas. Every day we open our eyes, some, open their hearts. He gives us Himself daily. We have the gift of life to do His will. Christmas, this Holy Child given to us for a time of 33 years. Until He was deemed unworthy, like a present that didn’t live up to our expectations, sentenced to death, crucified but rose from the dead, giving us the best gift ever. Victory over death and a choice to follow Him or not.

As I prayed Divine Office this evening, I found this opening hymn to be exactly what I needed. I hope you find it needed as well.

O quickly come, great Judge of all;
For glorious will your advent be,
All shadows from the truth will fall,
O come and heal that we may see!
O quickly come, for doubt and fear
Like clouds dissolve when you are near.

O quickly come, great King of all;
Reign all around us and within;
Let sin no more our souls enthrall,
Let pain and sorrow die with sin:
O quickly come, for you alone
Can make your scattered people one.

O quickly come, true Life of all,
For death is mighty all around;
On ev’ry home its shadows fall,
On ev’ry heart its mark is found:
O quickly come, for grief and pain
Cannot obscure your glorious reign.

O quickly come, sure Light of all,
For gloomy night broods o’er our way;
And weakened souls begin to fall

With weary watching for the day:
O quickly come, for round your throne
No eye is blind, no night is known.

 

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Third Week Of Advent

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Closing out the Second week of Advent, I was able to attend our parish Penance Service. For the first time in many weeks, I was able to make a clean and beautiful confession. I entered into the Sacrament with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Half way through confession, I began to cry like a baby. Many things I had not seen before had come to light in my heart, and it was so wonderful to finally let go of the many false hopes I had had and become nothing again.

I had found many things this week which needed to be addressed within. The first being that little room I had created within for our Lord and I, to rest. It was as if so much of the world and its noise had entered into that solitude, that I had to strain just to hear Him. Our Lord reminded me of something I had not been doing in my daily routine, since I had begun testing for MS. He had shown me what was missing, therefor handing me the key to that room, which seemed to be locked with me on the outside.

Since my injury, I had been missing daily Mass. It became painful to sit in the pew, so I had not gone, but rather began to watch the televised Mass. Over time, distractions came, and something else or nothing was on, as I simply turned the television off.  It became very clear to me this week, that my presence at Daily Mass, is truly essential to the spiritual well being of my soul. Its been almost two years of testing and the first year, seen me locked in my bed, or in a chair. I had begun physical therapy a year into this condition, and regained the use of my hands, built up strength and became able to do most things again, limiting the amount of weight I can carry, but still able to move and do most chores. As I did, I began to slip into old habits where I lost patience with others, and began to do things which bothered my interior life. Mainly seeing things I began doing not being as charitable as I had been, nor as I know I could be. Why was this happening? Well, because I had addressed the body, without addressing the spirit. I was working out and doing things externally without thinking about the spiritual needs of my soul and the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist, which became a daily necessity! I was missing Him.

With this Third Week of Advent, and that light upon the pink candle, may we come to realize the importance of our Lord’s real presence within us, and keep the fire within lit, by Him, with Him and through Him. Least we become like smoldering wicks, cooled in a time when His flame of Love can be found, as He is the One they said would come.

May all come to drink, feast and rely on Him who Is!

“My spirit has become dry because it forgets to feed on You.” – St. John of the Cross

 

 

 

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Advent’s Second Week

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REPENT!

Where have I not? What is missing? Where am I struggling, Lord?

Continuing on the journey to our Lord, as one’s sight is restored in the spiritual, its easy to see that as the days quickly pass, its not one day which passes, but that one day becomes a string of all days, and then becomes all time. Contemplating this Sundays Gospel, I continue with last weeks message of I must decrees and He must increase.

How? By allowing God to be God and accepting I am not Him. I am however, trying to be Him. Where the message becomes foggy is in our own interior spiritual pride. We often forget that even our Lord did not deem equality with Him something to be grasped at, but became a servant to all.  Where then must I begin to be best like Him? By not assuming to be loved or understood by anyone in the world. The world is at enmity with God. Why would they love you? Why would they understand you? They reject Him, they will reject you.

One of the heaviest positions in our Lords cross, is being alone among many whom we love, who do not know Him nor love Him, but we love anyway. This position, sees much suffering. Suffering that belongs completely to our Lord, in which He shares it all with you. Why are they not listening? Why do they continue to ignore? How can they do this to one another? Do they not know that all this pain, all these sins are directed at our Lord to hurt Him? Like a soul in a pit of vipers, being bit time and time again. No. They do not see this, because they do not know Him. Just as you did not know Him before you loved Him in return for His love for you on the cross. And the bites of these snakes, are not poison to the virtuous soul because they do not act nor react to the poison with poison. But with love.

Repent! Know that you are not here to be loved, but to love.  That was the message received  to my heart in contemplation of this second Sunday of Advent. Pride demands acceptance of all that I am, as it seeks something that it does not have. It looks for anything to place on the interior thrown where our Lord should be seated. Even taking the seat for oneself.

Humility, where as, is acceptance of all that is I AM. The good, the bad, the unknown. Trusting completely in His Sovereignty. Thus, He is able to increase, and you decrease. Allowing  the soul to then become one in Him.  He Is. He simply Is. He is all and everything. The mother of all virtues is humility. When we look at the virtues of the Virgin, it is she whom we must mirror in interior and exterior image, to which we can be sure that our Lord who came to her, should come to us. As He Is, she is blessed for all time, all eternity as the one the Way comes to stay. Why is this? Because of the timeless beautiful virtues which let Him in to be Him, accepting Him and all that which may come.  This is the peace of our Lord. To know that all the strife and suffering we undergo, is nothing compared to the love and promise of our Lord. So prepare! Decrease!

Come Lord Jesus!

 

 

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Advent 2019

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He must increase; I must decrease.

 

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