Mother’s Day 2020

God’s Command To Love!

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

Then Jesus said, 11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete…”.

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”

John 15:9-12

SUNDAY REFLECTION

How true it is that as a child there is no greater knowledge than to know you are loved by God, your earthly family, and most especially your mother. Moms the world over for centuries have been the backbone of the household and for this sometimes thankless sacred duty, all they want in return is to know they are truly loved by their children and their families. Love… is oftentimes a word overused, and whose meaning is so understated. Love is a commandment, it is more than a word, it is more than a catch-all phrase we use in jest, and it is more than a feeling. Rather, Love is a commandment that good mothers exceedingly excel at!

In John 15:9-10 Jesus gives a perfect example of how we can stay within his good graces. As a leader, he does something which all good leaders do… he practiced what he preached! So Jesus through his own human experience brings attention to the fact that he has kept all his Father’s commandments and urges us to do the same… not from an authoritarian point of view but out of the deepest of concerns for our immortal soul! God wants all his children to be with Him in heaven above and not rotting in hell due to some bad decisions or lack of belief. Likewise, moms also want only the best things for their children like Jesus, coming from the deepest of concerns for our wellbeing and this deep want comes from the same bucket of love that God Himself has bestowed upon all His children.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOM! I LOVE YOU!

Reflecting deeper on this I am reminded that my own mother taught me the same lessons about staying in God’s good graces through acts of love. My mother’s own human experience harkens back to her caring and nurturing nature where love rules over everything else and must come first in every action and every reaction. Was my mother perfect? No. Am I perfect? No. Is any mother perfect in their execution of parenting? No. But therein lies the beauty of love… we as human beings do not need to be perfect rather we need to be sincere in our love… loving others with fidelity. This comes in many forms most specifically through forgiveness of a trespass, reconciling after harsh and hurtful words, loving another so much that you would be willing to set them free to make their own mistakes, (as demonstrated by God daily), and to be willing to be sympathetic to another person’s pain. These examples only top a much longer list of examples where our mothers have exceeded in loving us every day of our lives and wholeheartedly deserve this day of celebration!

Guiding Question: Why do you think Jesus followed up his example with verse 15:11? “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete

Every Women of All Generation!

God’s Commandment to Love One Another

Taking a step back I think we need to humanize what we all face within these strange and scary times of COVID-19. Many people will not be able to travel and see their mothers on this special day, many people have suffered great losses as family members have passed due to this highly contagious disease, and there is the impulse to be short-tempered, impatient, willing to play to the fear-mongering and unneeded polarization of this issue. Our mothers who love us, cherish us, and who forgives every stupid thing we do and say should be within our collective hearts this Sunday. Just so you all understand exactly what I mean when I say, “Every Mother”, I mean every single woman on planet Earth who has given birth, adopted a child or has taken in children to raise as their very own, and “YES” even mothers who have personal demons and are overtaken with the various challenges humans can face. This COVID-19 should not define our love and supersede God’s commandment to love one another rather it should embolden our love for each other and especially the love we show to our moms. With that said, if we love every human being with fidelity as Jesus commanded then I tell you, my brothers and sisters, we would see a lot fewer enemies in this world, fewer threats, and more friends and allies to which we can conquer any challenge we humans face! So I say to you… love one another as God loves us!

MAY YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL AND PEACEFUL MOTHERS DAY!

LET US PRAY!

Lord, open my lips to praise your holy name. Cleanse my heart of worthless, evil, or distracting thoughts. Give me the wisdom and love necessary to pray with attention, reverence, and devotion. Father, let my prayer be heard in your presence, for it is offered through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CANTICLE OF MARY: ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

For All Mothers:
That they be supported and encouraged in their special vocation of love for others;

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

That their children will honor their many sacrifices by lives of service and virtue;

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

That those mothers who await the birth of a child that they be safe and filled with joy:

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

That the Lord protect all unborn sons and daughters and bring them to a safe delivery;

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

That all might treasure and support God’s plan for life and love;

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

In this we pray to the Lord;

God our Father ln Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus
St. Louis de Montfort Council 11137 Inservice to one. In service to all.

Copyright ©2020 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

Knowledge of Good & Evil!

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT – Year A

13th-Century depiction of Adam and Eve from the portal of the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, Trogir, Croatia (13th century). Source: http://www.christianiconography.info/adamEve.html Orvieto, Exterior of the Duomo: The Bible Relief: Original Sin

Genesis 3: 6-7 The Message (MSG)

 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it — she’d know everything! —She took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.

 Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on” —saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves.

Reflection

In retrospect, I would have to say that this must have been a very bad day for all involved, indeed! I mean first, the serpent tricks Eve into thinking she would know everything… what person in today’s modern age wouldn’t give their right arm to know everything? Then the serpent tells Eve not to worry about what God said… what person on earth hasn’t thought that very thought once or twice in their life? Then he sets back and watches her sin knowing all along what will happen… I mean how many of us have done that very thing to our friends, family, and to those we don’t like?

Point is whether or not this really happened… the story being told is all about human sin, our ability to fall into sin, and our inner impulses to sin. The older we get the greater the form those sins take!

But wait… what did God do about this sin? Well, he cursed the serpent, (Genesis 3:14-15), then God cursed Eve, (Genesis 3:16) and last but not least God cursed Adam, (Genesis 3:17-19). Now let’s look at it from a parents’ perspective… As a parent, I have always reverted back to the principles behind this first question God asked Adam and Eve directly, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) God knew where they were, how scared they were, and what their answer would be! How many times as a parent have you asked a similar question knowing all those same facts? Think about the blood rushing anticipation our children feel when they know we know the right answer but we are asked them anyway! By the way, this works with my students as well.

But this next question is simply brilliant! “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11) Shorten that to ‘Who told you…’ and that question drives home the point! See… sin equals death. Before dealing with the sin God wanted them to admit their sin. God wants us all to admit our sins to Him. So, to the Catholic faith, this takes the form of formalized Confession. To other religions, confession takes different forms, but the request is still the same! Point being this story of Adam and Eve symbolically is teaching mankind that though we sin daily we all must ask God directly through confession and through prayer with sincerity every day for forgiveness of our daily sin because God is the only one who can deliver that kind of grace and mercy!

Finally, this story ends dramatically with God driving out Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, much like he drives out our personal sin when we ask Him. Now, I do want to mention that God did not kill Adam and Eve but he did make their lives much harder in every way possible. Now take a step back and think about this… How many times have you knowingly sinned against God and your life because of that sin becomes harder in some way? In contrast, when we listen carefully to God our lives generally become a thousand times better than what it was before. And I am not just saying that… I have lived that truth! Now think deeper… How did God react in the long run? Instead of giving up on us, turning his back, (which is what Satan wanted), God doubles down on His perfect love! How did God do that you ask? Well, God sent His only son to die on the cross at calvary. Satan wanted to prove to God we are sinful so He wouldn’t love us as much as he does. But God didn’t fall for that instead we can find the proof of our Lord’s love within every page of our Bible. Story after story God’s message is a redeeming one. God never stopped loving us, in fact, by the very blood of Christ are we forgiven which proves how much God truly cares. Showing us that God, in fact, loved us more than we love Him! For it is God who keeps His promises perfectly and with fidelity…

Let us then say this together: “The Lord will come from his holy place to save his people.”

QUESTION: When you become angry or feel that you have been betrayed do you stop loving those who you are angry with? Or do you do what God did and offer another option, another path to forgiveness?

Check Out the Other reading for today:

Reading #2: Psalm 32, Reading #3: Romans 5:12-19, Reading #4: Matthew 4:1-11

Let Us Pray!

Evening Prayer

God, come to my assistance.

– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Psalm 110:1-5,7

The Messiah, King, and Priest
Antiphon: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

Christ’s reign will last until all his enemies are made subject to him. (1 Corinthians 15:25)

The Lord’s revelation to my Master: “Sit on my right: your foes I will put beneath your feet.”

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

The Lord will wield from Zion your scepter of power: rule in the midst of all your foes.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

A prince from the day of your birth on the holy mountains: from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change. “You are a priest forever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.”

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

The Master standing at your right hand will shatter kings in the day of his great wrath.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

He shall drink from the stream by the wayside and therefore he shall lift up his head.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Saint Joseph Pray for us. Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

Please do not stop praying for our Brother Joseph CLICK HERE

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A Prayer of Healing

Before we pray we acknowledge God as our Lord and Savior:

Ant 1: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Ephesians 1:2 (MEV)

If it were not for you God, our enemies would have swallowed us whole. 

If it was not for you God, our salvation would not be at hand.

If it were not for you God, the Spiritual blessings of heaven would not be within our reach. 

Ant 1: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for if it was not for you God we would remain unholy in your sight.

O’ Lord, you chose us before the the world, for if it was not for you we would not have been predestined to be your adopted children, your many son’s and daughter’s.

My loving God, I confess through your mercy we your children are redeemed, for if it was not for you our many sins would go unforgiving for all eternity. 

Ant 1: Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

A Prayer of Healing for Our Brother in Christ Franklyn Joseph Stark

“Truly, truly I say to you, seek me not because you saw signs but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” – John 6:26 (MEV).

Lord, you alone can heal me, for I have grieved you by my sin.

Once more I say: O’Lord, have mercy on me, for I have grieved you by my sin. 

Say this together: 

‘God, come to my assistance.’ 

“Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”

Everyone pray:

Dear Lord, 

We who love our father, or brother, Franklyn Joseph Stark, humbly pray to you to heal your faithful son who has suffered a stroke, and that you may lay your healing hands upon him. Whisper in his ear, ‘Be not afraid, for I your God am always with you.’  Reassure him this, as you have done for your most beloved children in ages past. 

O’Lord, our perfect savior, we ask that you might extend your grace upon our good father and brother Joseph. Sooth his heart, mind, body, and soul so that your mercy can begin to work through his entire body; remaking him a new. O’Lord, breathe within him your healing breath to which leads to rebirth, renewal, and reinvigoratation in your perfect love granting him many more productive years in which to serve you here on this earth. Give him your body, the bread of life, your blood, the eternal waters of salvation. 

My God, my we the family of Joseph Stark remind you of your promise to come to our aid in times of great need, for if not for your love we would not be deserving. Therefore, we humbly come before you and ask with good and honorable intentions on behalf of your servant in Christ, Joseph Stark, who has served you well. He has spent a lifetime providing for his family, given great care to all who has graced his table, and has been a loyal servant to you my God in all his many years. We only ask that you may reach down from heaven and heal all his physical ailments to which your servant Joseph now suffers from. 

So, it is for you God to examine our hearts, judge our souls, and grant us what you will. But we humbly remind you, our hearts are heavy as we cry for your mercy, we beg for your assistance, and place all our faith within your deserving hands. May your love be poured out over your son Joseph, his loving family, and friends. Please bring your healing presence and wipe away our many fears as our father recovers in your perfect grace.

Lord, you alone can heal our father Joseph and forgive him of his sins against you. 

In Jesus’s name we pray. 

May the Lord bless us, protect us from evil and bring us to everlasting life. 

Amen

Saint Joseph pray for us.  Sancte Ioseph, ora pro nobis.

In heart felt reflection say: 

‘Lord open our lips to praise your holy name. Cleanse our heart of any worthless evil or distracting thoughts. Give us the wisdom and love necessary to pray with attention, reverence, and devotion. Father, let our prayers be heard in your presence, for it is offered through Christ our Lord.’

Amen, Hallelujah. 

True Mercy

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. ~ Luke 6:36 (NRSVACE)

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In many ways, mercy begins and ends with love. Case in point, God created the Earth and everything on it (Genesis 1: 1-24). He loved us first in the very act of preparing a place to which we could survive and live in His grace. Furthermore, God’s love is taken to an even higher level through the very act of making us a reflection of Himself (Genesis 1:26) creating us in his own image. In these two thoughtful actions, our all-powerful creator proves His agape love simply by including us in His universal plan. But God didn’t stop there for his love still rises higher through a conscious purposeful choice to meet our sin with mercy expressed in the form of an undeserved-forgiveness that is rooted deeply within His all-powerful, all-consuming, and all-inclusive love (1 John 4:16). Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ our mercy for each other is one of the greatest ways we have to emulate His very first acts in loving us. (Eph 5:2) Thus, to be merciful encompasses every physical act, every word spoken, and every thought we think, or share with and for others.

The Many Faces of Mercy

Putting God’s Love First

Because God does not always confront our sin with judgment rather in most instances our sin is met through his mercy as a sinner in need of Jesus as our Savior. Therefore, Jesus when asked what was the most important of the commandments He responded with, 37 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Because Jesus placed love above all other things, and because Jesus is the earthly representation of Our God in heaven, love must come first. We are therefore commanded to love God and our fellow human beings. When we place love above anger, above our selfish wants, and human greed we become capable of being loving in our actions, words, and thoughts. Our life no longer revolves around our own egos and selfish desires but around others in union with God. From this union we emulate God through the forgiveness of others, we show mercy by helping those less fortunate, and our words become laced with a pearl of kind wisdom. This is the first face of mercy rooted in God’s agape love.

Mercy Builds Hope for the Future

Hardheartedness feeds selfish desires, it propagates loneliness, and in the guise of unearned self-promotion breeds fear and hopelessness. Then God’s plan is thrown to doubt by a sinful, resentful, and evil-minded society. Looking forward becomes a painful proposition which is shrouded in pointless repetition. Still, our God looks through the unhappiness, selfishness, and ego-centric lives who have been caught up in this web with nothing but undying love and a deep longing to bring the many sinners into His light of mercy because He is love. Therefore, when we surrender to God we allow Him on a daily basis to chip away at our hardheartedness so we, through His mercy, can look forward with nothing but a concrete hope for the future. When we emulate God in this way our words even when we are angered, or embarrassed, and perhaps blamed thus tested beyond our ability to cope will be nothing but kind and filled with the truth of reason. Hateful words or phrases that people often spew such as, “You are an embarrassment!”, “You are stupid!”, “You ruined our reputation!”, or “I hate you!” will be met with a calm steel and skillful love. Words of scorn shot down by words of mercy which will move hearts to a future of greater love. This is the second face of mercy rooted in God’s agape love.

Mercy Makes Forgiveness an Imperative

A hand given to lift a person from where they have fallen, food given to the hungry, medical attention given to the sick and dying, or the invitation to a safe place to find rest, all are examples of the greatest works of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ which was so urgently demonstrated during his life. Mercy given in such ways makes the human heart desirable to God, which brings one closer to God. It is so easy to ignore our brothers and sisters in need as our human hearts sometimes silently blame the less fortunate among us for some unknown bad decision they may have made which led them to such ills. But in the eye’s of God, the act of mercy through forgiveness puts judgment aside and His healing love becomes the central focus. For the Lord God, kissed the leper, fed the homeless, and cleansed the sick all of which are mercies we can also grant to those in need. When we forgive we invite the mercy of the Holy Spirit into our lives and thus lead others to do the same which in turn lifts the human soul up as Jesus had done. This action of mercy makes forgiveness the imperative bringing countless of God’s underserved into His divine love. This is the third face of mercy rooted in God’s agape love.

Mercy Gives Rise to Joy

Kindness in actions, the kindness of words, and kindness rooted in mercy are all found in every page of the Holy Bible. God’s message for humanity is clear. The mercy God grants is a renewing and redeeming, “encounter between two hearts: the heart of God who comes to meet us and a human heart.” (Pope Francis, 2016). In this exchange, God’s love and merciful heart is the source which leads to salvation and a rebirth of the human heart which is lifted up and cleansed; raptured in joy despite our human sinfulness. The greatest example of this is the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. The mercy granted in that act of taking our sins upon Himself redeemed the world of its sin. Within this exchange, the human heart finds that it is a “new creation” (Gal6:15). “I am loved, therefore I exist; I am forgiven, therefore I am reborn; I have been shown mercy, therefore I have become a vessel of mercy.” (Pope Francis, 2016). Being a vessel of mercy opens the doors to love which gives rise to a greater joy! This is the fourth face of mercy rooted in God’s agape love.

Let Us Pray!

In honor of those who have been killed in Gilroy, Ca. – El Paso, Texas – & Dayton, Ohio.

PRAYER FOR THE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE

Catholic Health Association of the United States

Loving God, you are the author and sustainer of our lives. You know the anguish of the sorrowful, you are attentive to the prayers of the brokenhearted. Hear your people who cry out to you in their need; strengthen their hope in your lasting goodness. 

We pray today for those who have died because of violence, of terrorism. Draw them to yourself; let your face shine upon them. May they be greeted with choirs of angels and experience your eternal peace and joy. 

Be near to all those who have been touched by violence: those who have been hurt, lost their loved ones or lost their sense of security. Be for them a steady comfort and safe resting place. 

Soften the hearts and steady of the minds of those who would do violence to others. May hate be replaced with love, violence with peace and darkness with your light. 

Amen.

Glory to the Father and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia.

Cross of Salvation

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus 
St. Louis de Montfort Council 11137 Inservice to one. In service to all.

Copyright ©2019 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

What You See May Not Be the Truth…

” Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.”

Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

John 14:6-7
thejoecatholic.org

What we search for…

In this world, we strive so hard to find some semblance of the truth. We look under every rock, climb every mountain, and seek the truth through other people. Mahatma Gandhi says open your eyes and remove the cobwebs of ignorance. Indeed, in our world today our eyes are filled with ignorance and so the truth we seek eludes us. But what about heavenly truth? What about the truth of God, the truth of the Spirit? The truth of Jesus Christ? For in our savior’s words he is the truth we seek. Imagine how many cobwebs are in our eyes if we don’t see that to be self-evident and yet many fail to even see Jesus as the only way to God the Father. Perhaps we run this race of life looking for the truth that makes us feel better about ourselves, or perhaps we are trying desperately to find ourselves. Many will claim we could not hope to find ourselves without first coming to know God as the ultimate truth first. So, is it any wonder why the truth is so elusive?

What We See…

Brothers and sisters, I say to you, know that the real truth, the heart-stopping undeniable, and world shacking truth starts and ends within you. For what you see in others may not be the real truth, may not be who they say they are, and worse yet – maybe it’s just another illusion of Satan tempting your good nature in ways you could never imagine. What you see may not be what is real and so the cobwebs Gandhi speaks of becomes thicker and thicker making you more lost in your search for the truth. A really good example of this can be found in the daily news. People pretending to be someone they are not, living beyond their means numb to how they affect those around them. People like Jeffrey Epstein, Alex Acosta, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Olin Graham, the entire Republican Party, and not to mention Donald J. Trump to name a few who all have presented themselves as truth-tellers but are nothing more than con-artists. These manipulators come in every size shape and form and who mostly never become famous. Do you know anyone like this? Sadly, we all do, shockers when the truth is shined, and the cobwebs are suddenly wiped away. What we see can be intimidating and scary especially when it’s your own reflection looking back at you in the mirror. Therefore, self-truth is where your journey should always begin. Build a health ability to reflect constantly upon who you are today, be honest, then focus on who you want to be tomorrow and hopefully the latter is better than the former.

Finding the Path to Truth…

Greek – Know Thyself

I am going to make this short. What makes people like Gandhi and Jesus so appealing is that they can see through our bullshit! How can they see through the deep dark crap of life? Well, they know themselves and they loved the person they were in life. Jesus spoke about being the way, the truth, and the life because he knew who he was and most importantly understood his mission in life. They both welcomed with open arms the heartache of life, the chaos of the human race, and was ok with other people’s failures because they knew who they were as well as the people who surrounded them. The secret if you want to call it that is if I know myself and accept who I am and constantly subject myself to reflection and revision then eventually those cobwebs disappear. If you take time and understand what motivates you first, then the motivations of others become apparent. The watershed moment comes when you accept your sins, accept that you hurt others with your words and actions first and with God’s help you allow yourself to forgive what you did to others. Only then will you begin to understand the “Why” behind your actions. I tell you my brothers and sisters in that very moment you will be able to see through other people’s bullshit too! You will see as plain as day their motivations and will begin to understand why they did what they did. This watershed moment I speak of brings real lasting peace, enlightenment, and love for yourself and for others in your life. The path to truth can be summed up with, know yourself and you will know others and only then begin to forgive.

Let Us Pray…

Lord open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

“All you servants of the Lord, sing praise to him” – Revelations 19:5

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord. Praise and exalt him above all forever. Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord. You Heavens, bless the Lord. All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord. All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord. Sun and moon, bless the Lord. Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.

Every shower and dew, bless the Lord. All you winds, bless the Lord. Fire and heat, bless the Lord. Cold and chill, bless the Lord. Dew and rain, bless the Lord. Frost and chill, bless the Lord. Ice and snow, bless the Lord. Nights and days, bless the Lord. Light and darkness, bless the Lord. Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.

Let the earth bless the Lord. Praise and exalt him above all forever. Mountains and hills, bless the Lord. Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord. You springs, bless the Lord. Seas and rivers, bless the Lord. You dolphins and all the water creatures, bless the Lord. All you birds of the air, bless the Lord. All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord. You sons of men, bless the Lord.

O Isreal, bless the Lord. Praise and exalt him above all forever. Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord. Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord. Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord. Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord. Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord. Praise and exalt him above all forever.

Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let us praise and exalt him above all forever. Blessed are you, Lord, in the firmament of heaven. Praiseworthy and glorious and exalted above all forever.

Glory to the Father and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia.

Cross of Salvation

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus
St. Louis de Montfort Council 11137 Inservice to one. In service to all.

Copyright ©2019 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

Come to Me…

Accept the Yoke of the Lord!

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Risen Hand of Christ: Saint Thomas’ Church

Ant. 1 ‘Let us go to God’s house with rejoicing.’

28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 Modern English Version (MEV)

Personal Invitation From God!

Glass Overflowing – The Narrow Gate

How exciting it is to have the one true living God personally invite us sinners to come to him for rest. ‘Come to me…’ no matter how you look at it these three words boil down to a glorious invitation! A personal, one-on-one sit down with God! These three words I think are the most powerful words Jesus spoke during his early ministry and they resonated with all those who had heard him say it, and by word of mouth these three simple but powerful words brought thousands of people to him from all over Judea. Moreover, these words reverberate through history to you and me… calling millions to come to him! So I say to you my brothers and sisters how exciting it is to be given a personal invitation by our one true living God, made man, who spoke the word from the Holy Spirit to come to Him!

The Labor of Living!

Pixabay

Ant. 2 ‘Awake from your sleep, rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’

29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:29 Modern English Version (MEV)

In the time of Christ, the political scene was filled with external pressures mainly coming from Rome who ruled Galilee with an iron fist. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great suppressed the jews with heavy taxation which heavily burdened the common people who worried daily for their most basic of needs. The Pharisees too under Herod’s thumb worried about the physical structure of their house of warship turning God’s temple into a profit center all for the glory of Rome. In this way, the leaders lusted after power and wealth to stay in power with Rome instead of looking to their God and obeying His commandments. The leaders of Judaea sold their souls yet again to Satan for nothing more than personal pleasure and power exacting a terrible yoke upon the people. So when Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, all you who labor…’ he was inviting the downtrodden, the overtaxed, and the commoners who thirsted after relief from the harsh cruel world of which they lived in. When Jesus said, ‘Come to me all you who are heavily burdened…’ He was speaking directly the sick, mentally and physically tired, and he was calling the people of Israel to come and find rest. The people of two thousand years ago were no different than those of us today. We too live in a world where the extremely wealthy rule over the common people with an iron fist. The 1% pass laws which drain the common people’s pockets and they make promises they do not keep. We too hear the Lord’s voice calling to us, inviting us to his rest. But more than that my brothers and sisters, Jesus is offering a different type of yoke, one that brings us into the most awesome personal relationship with him, and under this yoke, He is personally inviting us to learn His ways, to walk in His footsteps, and to find the very grace of God. You will not find a more generous, loving, merciful, and peaceful offer in this chaotic world. For Jesus is the giver of peace, 27 Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27), for I promise you, my brothers and sisters that God’s peace is absolute, ‘And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:7). Jesus is inviting us to let Him deal with our worries, our pains, our heartache. He is offering to help us through the labor of living. The question is – will you take Him at His word, will you accept His most generous invitation?

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Special Prayer Request

To the Listening Faithfully Community – Please continue to pray for our sister in need Beverly Steele. CLICK HERE

Let Us Pray

Ant. 3 ‘So great was God’s love for us that when we were dead because of our sins, he brought us to life in Christ Jesus.’

Father of peace, we are joyful in your Word, your Son Jesus Christ, who reconciles us to you. Let us hasten toward Easter with the eagerness of faith and love.

We ask this through your our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever and ever. Amen Alleluia.

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The Cross of the Lord

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus

Copyright ©2019 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

Special Prayer Request: Beverly Steele

A Prayer For Beverly

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH: Ant. Whoever does my Father’s will, says the Lord, he is my brother, my sister, and my mother. (Alleluia)

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His compassion is over all His works.

Psalm 145:8-9 Modern English Version (MEV)

In times of great family tragedy, we tend to become emotional and inwardly panicked. We want to do something but often feel powerless to do anything meaningful about the situation. But I tell you, my brothers and sisters, God is indeed gracious and full of compassion. For Our Lord, Jesus Christ is the great physician who can heal all things. For we are instructed to pray for those who are sick among us, to petition God for healing no matter what ails us, and to call on Him and to have the faith to believe that whatever we ask He will do. Therefore, let us pray for our sister Beverly Steele who currently has dementia. She is in a care facility in Los Angeles, California and she is eating and drinking very little. Soon her family will need to make a very tough decision; to insert a feeding tube or not. So today Beverly’s family asks for your prayers to help them with this heartbreaking decision.

LET US PRAY

Say these words as you pray for our sister Beverly

Every Morning Pray: Lord, open my lips – and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Every Evening Pray: God come to my assistance – Lord, make haste to help me.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28

Dear Lord, God in Heaven, Merciful Healer you instruct your children to pray in a hardy petition for the sick and frail among us. So here we stand praying for your daughter Beverly Steele!

O’ Lord, Our God, you promise deliverance from all kinds of ailments large and small alike that which troubles the sick among us. Hear us now for this is our hardy petition!

Our Wonderful God, acting upon your most perfect examples and following your every instruction we lay hands upon Beverly asking you now to lift up your child who struggles to do the most basic of things. Give her your mercy, shower upon her your divine all-powerful grace!

Jesus – Healing Hands

Dear Lord, healing your children is nothing for you, yet your glory is found and all faith is restored with each prayer you hear. Let this be true of you again on behalf of Beverly’s family through the awesome power of prayer.

God of Truth and Justice, it is clarity of mind and soul for both Beverly and her family who face a very hard decision that only you can give the proper guidance. Hear our many prayers and petitions!

Dear Merciful Lord, pour out your Holy Spirit and reach down from heaven and vanquish this horrible affliction of dementia which affects the memory, speech, the ability to focus, reason, and the use of judgment. Clear Beverly’s mind, give back to her what this ailment has so cruelly taken away.

Jesus of Love

It is your love which sustains us, it strengthens our very soul, and your love O’Lord is at the center of your healing hands. We ask for those healing hands now be upon Beverly, one of your children of the light. We pray for your love to envelop her as her body is restored and diginty of life once more be granted.

Dear Lord, God of Kindness and Gentleness, give your peace to Beverly and her family who also struggles. Put your gentle touch upon them and comfort them, give them your all-powerful assurances and perfect guidance. Open their hearts to your goodness for it is you Lord who knows Beverly’s needs. Let us all now say; “We praise you Lord, and trust in you.”

Grant these things through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Psalm -Prayer

Lord God, you are the eternal light which illuminates the hearts of good people. Help us to love you, to rejoice in your glory, and so to live in this world as to avoid harsh judgement in the next. May we come to see the light of your countenance.

Intercessions

Week IV

Everyone who waits for the Lord finds joy. Now we pray to him:

Look on us with favor, Lord, and hear us.

Faithful witness, firstborn of the dead, you washed away our sins in your blood,

Make us always remember your wonderful works.

You called men to be heralds of your good news,

Make them strong and faithful messengers of your kingdom.

King of peace, send your spirit on the leaders of the world,

turn their eyes towards the poor and suffering.

Protect and defend those who are discriminated against because of race, color, class, language, and or religion,

That they may be accorded the rights and dignity which are theirs.

May all who died in your love share in your happiness,

With Mary, our mother, and all your holy ones.

The Our Father

Jesus Said, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever and ever. Amen Alleluia.

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The Cross of the Lord

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

Promises of the Spirit

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

The Trinity

ANT. 1 The Lord says: “Turn away from sin and open your heart to the Gospel.”

16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;

John 14:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God’s Plan in Action

God’s Plan

How wonderful it is my brothers and sisters that Jesus’s main concern for us was to promise yet another part of Himself to come to be with us once his mission was concluded. Here we are given the instruction which is the Trinity; the Father (God – Our Creator), Son ( Jesus – Our Savior & Teacher), and the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Truth – Our Helper, Comforter, Advocate, and Intercessor). For Jesus promised the Spirit of Truth, to dwell within us all the days of our lives. Jesus goes on and promises to never leave us fatherless (John 14:18) and therefore we are eternally one with Him. All of these things lead to a specific plan for our personal salvation, but for this plan to work God knew that we would all need His constant reminder, we would need to be empowered, equipped, and filled with His Holy presence for the entire length of our lives. God did this because He knows we are sinners, weak, impressionable, and are in need of His Divine Fruits. So, through Jesus Christ, God sent the Holy Spirit; The Spirit of Truth.

Spirit of Truth

12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

1 Corinthians 2:12 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

I remember as a child in Bible School on Sunday mornings one of the first ideas presented was the Trinity. At the time I was totally blown away of the idea that God is three beings all rolled up in one. I was told then that God had three distinct parts to Himself and this was first illustrated in the very first pages of the Old Testament (Genesis 1:26) “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and over the birds of the air, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Though the word ‘Trinity’ is not found within the Holy Bible it is constantly eluded to and when Jesus promised a Helper, Comforter, Advocate, and Intercessor, (depending which Bible you read), he was referring to the third part of God – The Holy Spirit. So, I say to you my brothers and sisters if indeed God is truth then the Holy Spirit which comes from God must also be the truth. Thus, as a teacher and a parent myself, I can see clearly that God in the delivery of His message through the mission and life of His son Jesus Christ, that in order to set the record straight the only place He, (being GOD), could have started and ended was through the Holy Spirit of Truth. Using this as your foundation let us explore the Gifts of the Holy Spirit whom God gave to mankind as a Holy Guide (John 16:13).

The Fruits of the Spirit

Fruit Of The Spirit is a painting by Amber Hadden 

16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.

Galatians 5:16-17 (NRSVACE)

We live in conflict with ourselves every day and apart from this conflict, Jesus gave us hope through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In no short order is this a promise unkempt because if you look hard enough, peer through the haze of sin that envelopes our modern world, and are not afraid to lift up your faith as if it where a beckon of light I promise you that you will see the fruits of the spirit working in your life. So, what are these fruits? (Galatians 6:22) lists them in this order: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Self-Control. How wonderful these gifts are and how much they are modeled after Christ’s own attributes. Therefore, my brothers and sisters if you walk in the Spirit of Truth, live your life according to God’s plan, desiring nothing but the hidden wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:7) then you will have the benefit of knowing God’s truth. You by design will have a ‘Helper’ that will stand beside you, guiding every footfall, fighting against the works of the flesh (Galatians 6:19-21), and a ‘Comforter’ which again will guide you to all the gifts of the Spirit. Remember always the promise of (Acts 1:8) “Here’s the knowledge you need: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” ~ The Voice (Voice)

The Diversity of the Holy Spirit


Unity In Diversity

There are various gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. There are various operations, but it is the same God who operates all of them in all people.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (MEV)

Have you ever wondered why some people can sing while you couldn’t hold a tune in a bucket? Or why it is so that some people can write so beautifully making it look effortless but you couldn’t put two thoughts on a page? How about this, some people have the ability to talk up a storm, tell exciting stories, and hold everyone’s attention for hours on end and you couldn’t say a word that sounded intelligent enough to hold a conversation with fidelity? Why some people are funny and others aren’t? Why some are smart and others are not as smart? I think you get the idea… the point is that God gave every single person a set of gifts that belong solely to that individual alone. Some gifts may look similar but the application could be completely different. Trust me that is no accident. The shire diversity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as aligned to the list found in (Galatians 6:22) they are also uniquely distributed for the common good of all mankind. “For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the many parts of that one body are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12). Therefore, I say to you my brothers and sisters, do not envy, covet, or allow jealousy into your hearts nor find yourself wanting what others have. Rather, live according to the plan God has laid out for you abiding in His will and in His Holy Spirit, sharing your gifts with the world as He intended for you to do. For always allow His best to be glorified through what you do for your brethern as diversity is the path to unity and I again promise you will see clearly the fruits of the Spirit work throughout your life. In this way, we are filled with the Holy Spirit which is gratifying, giving us purpose, and in this, we become closer to God Himself.

For more religious content I invite you to visit LF-BLOG.COM. Oh and of course don’t forget to Subscribe and leave a reply below. I look forward to hearing from you all soon! Peace Be With You!

A Poem for Teachers

When I look out upon my class I wonder,
When my students look back I wonder even more,
When I plan and deliver my lessons I can only pray,
When my students take their notes I can only pray harder,
When I give my class a test I often hope they studied,
When my class gets their results I often see a new lesson has been taught,
When I introduce a new concept I like to ask lots of questions, 
When my students finally understand that concept their eyes light up,
When the semester ends I am the most nervous for them, 
When my students finally prove successful I give it to God.

Authors Comments:

I thank God for constantly giving me the right words, the most powerful examples, and the truth of my subject area in an ever-evolving changing and exciting way. The very act of teaching is an affirmation of my relationship with God, my trust in God, and by serving God in the most sacred of ways that positively affect those I have the honor to teach. ~ Brother Brian March 23, 2019 P.S. Let me know what you think below.

Let Us Pray

Praying With Faith


ANT. 2 “I, the Lord, am coming to save you; ready I am near; soon I will free you from your sins.”

Lord Jesus, Word of God, surrendering the brightness of your glory you became man so that we may be raised from the dust to share your very being. May there be innumerable children of the Church to offer homage to your name from the rising of the sun to its setting.

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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The Cross which Saves us.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!


Brother Brian – Knights of Columbus

Copyright © 2019 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

Therefore, I have Come…

To Affirm and to Clarify the Natural Moral Law

CANTICLE of ZECHARIAH

Ant. ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean. And Jesus said: “I do will it; you are made clean.'”

The human mind plans the way,
    but the Lord directs the steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NRSVACE)

Guiding Questions: What is the Natural Moral Law? Who gave it to mankind? How does it affect us today?

REFLECTION

Brothers and sisters, I say to you that our God gave every human being on Earth intelligence! For we are born with an innate ability to know good from evil. For example, we know such things as murder to be a sinful act, we know that racism is a baseless and demeaning evil belief that often results in an unholy prejudice, and we also know gender inequality is an affront to our more deeper moral consciences. None of these things were first found in a book or written on a stone tablet. Rather, inherently as human beings from the very beginning, we have always known what was moral, what was good, and what was evil. We have always been able to tell the difference between a wicked man from the labor of a righteous person. More to the point, we know that treating our brothers and sisters in a way that discriminates against them for whatever reason is wrong! Yet, we continue to persecute each other based upon the color of each other’s skin, what we believe in, and the various cultures we may come from. Persecution of our brothers and sisters in all its forms is a sin against God! But we humans excel exceedingly at this mundane and cruel state of being with remarkable ease. We are Masters at bringing pain, heartache, and discomfort to one another be it through our words or physical actions. No one is completely innocent of this mass sin. So, I say again my brothers and sisters we human beings are born sinners, we are born with a blot upon our soul, and it’s that sin we fight against every day we breathe. It is sin of every sort which makes us susceptible to ignoring what we know to be right and ignoring that internal moral code, or the Natural Moral Law, that is written into every fiber of our being. Therefore, knowing this, having the knowledge and understanding of the evil which makes the human race fall over and over again to temptation is where we as children of God can begin to understand why Jesus Christ became human, why He died on the cross, and in that hour freed us from this horrible affliction. We can begin to understand His perfect love and desire to cleanse us and to restore our free-will so that we may choose with a clean heart and conscience the path He reaffirmed during His life here on Earth.

God Came To Us…

Mary, Jesus, and the Angels

So, my brothers and sisters, I say to you that God came to us in the form of a living breathing human being, perfect and born without sin. He came to save us and to also wipe away our confusion that our internal sin had on our hearts, minds, and soul. Jesus took the Commandments of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai and doubled down on them. For He knew that to find the truth we must first have a clean conscience, the freedom to seek, and the intelligence to tell the difference. So the rigor had to be raised, the consequences had to be real ones, and our mission as a human race had to become Christ centered. For all people have the God-given right to know the truth and that truth fulfills Jesus’s mission of saving souls and setting us free. Jesus set about educating the whole person by offering an invitation, a re-writing if you will of our morality, beliefs, and religious focus which previously had been prohibitive. An example of this begins with the Sermon on the Mount;

Jesus Preaching the Sermon on the Mount Gustave Dore

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ (NRSVACE)

Here we see the rigor moved from simply being humble to being called to seek out God! For being poor in spirit in the eyes of God is a valuable thing indeed. But to be in this condition we must also use our intelligence and hear God, not for the sake of the act, but so that we put into action His will he has for us. This is best represented in James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” In this way, we become instruments of God bringing more of His children into His salvation. I say to you my brothers and sisters anyone who is not authentically poor in spirit will not be able to see the truth as Christ presents it! For from crisis of conscience brings the hardest of hearts to repent.

‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (NRSVACE)

Here again, we see that Jesus raises the rigor in how we are to help one another, for if you comfort those who mourn, you, in turn, are showing compassion, kindness, and love for your fellow human being which is obeying Jesus’s commandment to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Moreover, in the words of Paul, 2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (NKJV)  In this way, we also see how the poor in spirit and those who mourn become elevated in the eyes of God as they begin a journey with Him through their strife and suffering and because of their real-world struggles they become authentic being given the gift of true Godly conviction.

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For more on this topic, I invite you to come back and visit next Sunday, February 24, 2019 for part two… and to also visit LF-BLOG.COM

Today we celebrate the Lenten Commemoration of Seven Founders of the Order of Servites

Seven men, born in Florence, began life on Monte Senario with particular veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Later they preached throughout Tuscany and founded the Order of Servites of the Blessed Virgin Mary, approved by the Holy See in 1304. Alexis Falconieri, one of the seven, died on this day in 1310.

ANT. See how good and delightful it is for brothers to live in unity.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS NOVENA

LET US PRAY

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Pray to the Lord

Lord, fill us with love which inspired the seven holy brothers to honor the mother of God with special devotion and to lead your people to you. We ask this in through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

Brother Brian – Knights of Columbus

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark, M.S.Ed.

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