First Fruits of Tithing

Why We Tithe!

LAST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – SOLEMNITY: 

CHRIST THE KING

Ant. 1 “We will call him the peacemaker, and his throne shall stand firm forever.”

Concerning Laws & Vows

30 Any tithe of the land, whether seed of the land or fruit of the trees, belongs to the Lord. It is holy to the Lord.

Leviticus 27:30 Modern English Version (MEV)

Short Reflection on Jesus Christ – King of the Universe

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Today, the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and which the Catholic Church celebrates as the Solemnity, (or highest ranking celebration of the Roman Rite devoted to a specific mystery of faith or event in the life of Jesus Christ), in this instance Jesus being viewed as the true Lord and King of the Universe. Needless to say, this is a special celebration which is illuminated through the Church’s Mass readings that include Daniel 7:13-14, Psalm 93:1-5, Revelations 1:5-8, and The Gospel of John 18:33b-37.  The main point of these readings are rooted in the most famous of all the questions ever asked to Jesus and consequently the one question He had answered by example, by faith, and by His divine word; “Are you the King of the Jews?” (Matthew 27:11, Mark 15:2, Luke 23:3, and John 18:34) This question and its importance can not be understated because it goes directly to the most fundamental root serving as the bedrock for all of Christendom! “Was Jesus Christ the King of the Jews?”  In other words, “Was Jesus Christ the Son of God?”

Guiding Question: Jesus made many claims of who He was and openly preached about the purpose of His Ministry, that include many more verses in the Holy Bible than this small sampling, (John 4:25-26John 10:36Matthew 16:15-17, and Luke 22:70.) “Who do you say that He is?”   I think you all know my answer!


Jesus Christ King Of Kings
Original drawing by artist Armen-Abel Babayan. 
Not a copy or print, based on image of Shroud of Turin. 

So What is the True Purpose Behind Why We Tithe?

I know, I know… what do these two topics have to do with each other? Well, if you believe in God the Father who created the Universe, if can believe that He actually talked to Moses and others in the Bible, if you can imagine let alone believe in the Twelve Commandments being written in stone by the very hand of God, and or can even wrap your head around the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary or that God sent angels to protect people in the Bible, then my friends… guess what? Believing that God would not set some ground rules or commandments for us pesky, flawed, human beings, (literally translated in Hebrew as, Son of Adam), then I direct your attention to this question; “Do you set grounds rules for your children?”  I argue that it is natural if you want the best for your children to set ground rules. We do it in very subtle ways, usually by saying stuff like… “Don’t do that!”, “You can stay out until…”, “Call me when you get to…”, and my personal favorite, “Don’t talk to strangers, listen to your teachers, and don’t ever talk back to me!” The message our children get is – wait for it – comply, obey, submit, heed, and/or observe who is in control! Where did we get that from? So, before I answer that question I have to lay the foundation first.

The Ten Commandments

Foundations of Our Relationship with God!

God has always set forth value in what is said and how we are to act and treat others especially in how we are to react to Him. This is first illustrated in the commandments given to Adam, which we do not find out about until Eve is confronted in the garden by the serpent, aka… Satan!

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the garden; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You will not eat of it, nor will you touch it, or else you will die.’ ”

Genesis 3:1-3 Modern English Version (MIV)

Then later we read that murder is punishable by being ostracized from your homeland through the story of Cain and Abel found in (Genesis 4:1-15). Oddly though this story we also find that indeed we are our brother’s keeper, (Genesis 4:9), and that all life is sacred to God, (Genesis 4:15-16). With each transgression grew more and more wickedness on the earth until God had to do something about it… enter the Noahic Covenant, (Genesis 9:1-17). In the three hundred or so years which came and went this law stood until the days of Abram who God then made a new covenant; 


I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless them who bless you and curse him who curses you, and in you all families of the earth will be blessed.” 

Genesis 12:2-3 MEV

Food for Thought: In all the timelines I researched that had been based upon the Bible it turns out that Noah and Abram could have known each other! Their lives overlapped by 58 years!

Adam to Joseph Timeline

This, my brothers and sisters, is the formation of God’s people. From here through many hardships God directed mankind in how to act, how to behave, how to worship, and how to live as His people until finally God grew the people into a nation and Moses is called by God to free the Hebrews in The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus. It is in this book that man tested God and God answered with monumental curses and natural disasters and from this forging and molding of the Hebrews, they emerged as the Jewish Nation living under the Mosaic Law. In all that time there was one specific law that became a tradition which was observed for a very fundamental purpose. What was this tradition and what was its purpose you might ask? 

 Laws and Vows

So, I say to you my brothers and sisters, that with the first to the last covenant the theme according to God is that life is sacred. Life has value and I am not speaking of just human life but all life no matter how small it is, for everything is Holy unto the Lord. Because of this, we see in Leviticus a book written especially for Gods people on how to live and worship there are many laws and vows for how humanity is to act and treat each other, most specifically on the topic of sacrifice and offerings, (tithing). For example, 

Helping the Poor 
35 If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, then you shall support him as if he were a foreigner or a sojourner, so that he may live with you. 36 Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, so that your brother may live with you. 37 You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor lend him your food for profit. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

Leviticus 25:35-38 (MEV)
Mount Sinai

God intended for mankind to live and work and help each other. By this very definition Governments, Banks, and or Payday lenders and even credit cards are not fully in line with this sacred command. Lend but without interest, give freely food without asking for payment for your brother in need. But it is at long last where tithing is specifically addressed; 

30 Any tithe of the land, whether seed of the land or fruit of the trees, belongs to the Lord. It is holy to the Lord.

Leviticus 27:30 Modern English Version (MEV)

This ties in nicely with the next book of the Bible – Deuteronomy were in it specifically considering first fruits, which we have learned is viewed as being Holy to God. Consider this eating flesh from the heard is ok but never eat the blood because the blood is life!

 
16 … only you must not eat the blood. You shall pour it on the ground like water. 17 You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain, your wine, your oil, the firstborn of your herds or of your flock, any of your vows which you vow, your freewill offerings, or the offering of your hand.

Deuteronomy 12:16-17 MEV
Moses Reading the Law

During this period tithing was extremely important and the there where acceptable things you could use to tithe with such as grain, first born of the herds, or flock, free will offerings, and of course the burnt offerings all of which was a form of tithing. With that said, consider this; 

 

12-14 Every third year, the year of the tithe, give a tenth of your produce to the Levite, the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that they may eat their fill in your cities. And then, in the Presence of God, your God, say this:

I have brought the sacred share,
I’ve given it to the Levite, foreigner, orphan, and widow.
What you commanded, I’ve done.
I haven’t detoured around your commands,
I haven’t forgotten a single one.
I haven’t eaten from the sacred share while mourning,
I haven’t removed any of it while ritually unclean,
I haven’t used it in funeral feasts.
I have listened obediently to the Voice of God, my God,
I have lived the way you commanded me. 


15 Look down from your holy house in Heaven!
Bless your people Israel and the ground you gave us,
just as you promised our ancestors you would,
this land flowing with milk and honey
15 Look down from your holy house in Heaven!


16-17 This very day God, your God, commands you to follow these rules and regulations, to live them out with everything you have in you. You’ve renewed your vows today that God is your God, that you’ll live the way he shows you; do what he tells you in the rules, regulations, and commandments; and listen obediently to him.

Deuteronomy 26:12-17 The Message (MSG)

All of this is based upon the Book of Numbers most specifically, (18:1-32), which covers topics such as Duties of Priests and Levites, Offerings for Priests and Levites, Tithes for Supporting the Levites, and, The Tithes of the Levites. In other words, the Levites needed to be supported much like our Catholic Priests are today from the time they are ordained to there death, all the support for living comes from our tithing and because of this the Levites would be left with no inheritance as it relates to the promise land. Jesus himself even commented about serving and earning a rightful reward when commissioning the seventy to spread the word which harkens back to the Levites of Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers; 

Jesus sending out disciples two by two

Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they give, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Do not go from house to house.

Luke 10:7 MEV

According to the book of Nehemiah, the restoration of the House of God in Israel reestablishing the roles previously held before the invasion of Persia, that Levites received agricultural tithing to support themselves.  In turn, the Levites were to offer a tenth of the tithes to the House of God to build up the storehouses. This practical application of tithing was really an economy of sharing and making sure everyone was fed from the slave to the highest leaders of the land. Check out, (Nehemiah 10:38-39). Now in the times of prophet Malachi who was calling for the House of the Lord to be properly restored and delivered from the hands of corrupt priests and for the people to come back to God through repentance, (sort of a restoration of the 440-400 B.C.), He writes concerning the withholding of tithes; 

For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Hosts.

But you say, “How shall we return?” 

Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, “How have we robbed You?”
In tithes and offerings. 
You are cursed with a curse, your whole nation, for you are robbing Me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the Lord of Hosts if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes so that it will not destroy the fruit of your ground, and the vines in your field will not fail to bear fruit, says the Lord of Hosts.

Malachi 3:6-11  (MEV)

From this, I get the feeling that God is feeling like that abandoned parent whose children have rebelled because they didn’t want to work as hard as he wanted them too. Again, us pesky, flawed, human beings, testing God’s resolve and determination in His call for us to live justly and morally abiding in God’s word. Malachi is the last word we have as it relates to Old Testament history. So, we get from this journey from start to finish of the Old Testament that life is held sacred, therefore a value is placed upon it by God which is so far outside our ability to purchase it, and that tithing was the way mankind was to both show his appreciation for life but also for everything God has given to us collectively. This bond with God was so important to Him and the rift that became so great because of our lack of appreciation for God that our sins mounted up to the highest of heaven. Up to this point, there had been a set amount man was to give, but Jesus redefined the terms of our tithing with one simple observation; 

21 1-4 Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, “The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!”

Luke 21:1-4 The Message (MSG)
The window who gave all she had

In Conclusion

God wants us to tithe to help out our fellow man, but in truth, we are giving of ourselves just as God gave His all for us, His only son Jesus Christ. When we tithe we celebrate that truth, we build up the storehouse in heaven were things never rust or are eaten by moths. God wants us to live morally just lives because we are made in His image, and therefore are to abide in His ways. God has made everything for you and me, He as the creator of the Universe owns it all and He chose to give it all to us, His beloved children. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, what you give in Gods view is sacred, you are held sacred, your life is viewed as being sacred, and thus our reward when we give all that we have whether that be time, talent, or treasure is an eternity spent with God in heaven forever and ever, not to mention that intrinsic reward of knowing you have done something pretty special for another human being! Amen.

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!

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.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

Enter His Gate with Thankgiving

And Joyfully Bless His Name! 

THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK I

Ant. 1 (Evening Prayer) “I cried to you, Lord, and you healed me; I will praise you for ever.”

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.

Psalm 100:1-3 Modern English Version (MEV)

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

First, I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving Day and instruct you to be at peace with all your troubles and worries so that you may be at peace on this special day. Second, Thanksgiving is more than just a Federal Holiday and time to spend with your family but rather it is a celebration that is rooted in our very creation by our one true loving and all-powerful God. It is on this point that I want to take you on a personal journey of all the wonderful and robust things we have to be thankful for that will reveal to you the awesome spirit of Thanksgiving!

To the Listening Faithfully Community! 2018

Being Thankful for Life!

As children of God, each and every day is a celebration of life. We wake and breathe, we experience the world around us with every breath, and God is solely responsible for the very air you take in and exhale and in this miracle called life, nothing is wasted! Consider this:  the first action of a newborn baby is to gasp for air. Every baby from every species the world over repeats this action! In that act, God is reminding us how precious and fragile life really is. To God, the noise of each gasp for air is a joyful song babies sing praising God in taking that first precious life-sustaining breath. But moreover, when we finally come home to God entering into His presence the life force is not air but rather the complete power and majesty of our God. In this precious miracle, we all joyfully sing praises and give all the glory to God as His renewed sinless children. In this most natural life cycle, we are born, live, and die on every breath God has so graciously granted fulfilling His earthly promise to sustain us; giving us all we need. So, take a moment and reflect on this joyful mystery called life and be thankful God saw fit to grant you this most miraculous miracle that comes from the foundations of the world!


The heavenly scene from Revelation 4 has been transported to earth in this fifteenth century work by Jan van Eyck. In the center, the Lamb of God stands on the altar surrounded by angels, while groups of prophets, apostles, martyrs, and church figures also raise their voices in praise. Above the altar hovers the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and in the distance the towers of Jerusalem can be seen above the trees. Jan van Eyck , Adoration of the Lamb from the Ghent Altarpiece (finished 1432). Oil on panel. Wikimedia Commons.

Being Thankful for Sight!

God, in the act of making mankind in His own image, looked down at what he had created and saw that it was very good and He was glad in it. From (Genesis 1:1-31) we know he sees all things and being created in His image we too were given sight. God gifted us in such a way as to allow us the opportunity to look upon all of His creation and to marvel in all the worlds splendor and beauty. From this, we understand that this world as beautiful as it can be is nothing in comparison to what is waiting for us when we join God in Heaven! Consider this: we can see the sky, the colors of each period as the sun transitions from day into night then into morning. Colors allow us to feel pleasure and it affects our emotions. Likewise, we can take pleasure from a simple smile, a wave from a cheerful child saying without words hello or goodbye. God wanted us to experience the nuances of this world no matter how large or small they are. To take from each experience and understand how great and loving our God is. Therefore, we experience God, just as He experiences us through the miracle of sight as He piers into our hearts seeing all the good in each of us. So, take a moment and reflect on all the wondrous things you have witnessed in your life and thank God for the awesome power of sight! 

by Cymone Wilder 
Freelance at Simon and Moose. Brand designer at SmileDirectClub. Former designer at She Reads Truth and He Reads Truth.

Being Thankful for Free Will!

 From the very start, God granted us the power to make our own mistakes and or success determined solely on our own decisions. God has not interfered nor melted in the affairs of mankind other than to bring us salvation. He has given each person ever born the opportunity to learn and grow from what they believe to be best for himself or herself and thus we are reminded of our own sin and inadequacies. God has set before us the ability to chose good or evil, wisdom or stupidity, love or hate, and compassion or hardheartedness. God allows mankind this discretion to truly choose to be a child of God or not, to experience all the struggle and hardship which temper our character and then to triumph with Him at our side when we choose to be a child of light. In having free will God is assured what we want and to whom we belong. God’s free will is love in action, it is faith bestowed in the human spirit, and it serves as the starting point back to Him.  So, take a moment and reflect on all your personal and professional success and be thankful to God for all the blessings he has so graciously allowed into your life! Be grateful for His trust shown in you through the gift of free will!  

The Overflow of Thanksgiving 

15 All these things are for your sake so that the abundant grace through the thanksgiving of many might overflow to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 4:15 Modern English Version (MEV

I say unto you, my brothers and sisters, there is nothing we own or have that was not first given to you by God. We own nothing in this world for everything first belongs to Him alone. The world and all its abundance which includes all the animals, planets, water, air and even all of the natural resources first and foremost belongs to God.  Your life, your spouse’s life, and even your children’s lives belong to God. When you begin looking at the world in this way you can begin to see how much abundant grace for your sake God has bestowed upon you. Each and every single thing begins to reveal its true worth and the magnitude of that worth is both awe-inspiring and mind-blowing all in one. The first day my eyes were opened to this new reality my heart overflowed with love and I feel to the ground in tears of thanksgiving and I have not looked back since. I cherish everything God has given to me, all the doors He has opened and I marvel on how each one is greater than the last. I am reminded that God alone made me, and that I am his standing with Him in His pasture. For in my thanksgiving I know with every fiber in my body that God is good, He is love and mercy, He is faithful and is trustworthy, for my God has never let me down! I say this to give you all hope and faith, for even in the darkest of times I have felt God holding my hand, I have heard His voice reassuring me that He will see me through it all, and as I have surely experienced some herring moments God uplifted me and protected me through it all. So, take a moment and reflect on all the wonderful things God has done for you in both the good times and in the bad, and be filled with thanksgiving and love for He fulfills all of His promises to you and to all the generations. What more is there to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day? 

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LET US PRAY!

THE SIMPLE PATH 

by Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Ant. 1 “I cried to you, Lord, and you healed me; I will praise you forever.”

The fruit of silence is PRAYER.

Ant. 1 “I cried to you, Lord, and you healed me; I will praise you forever.”

The fruit of prayer if FAITH.

Ant. 1 “I cried to you, Lord, and you healed me; I will praise you forever.”

The fruit of faith is LOVE.

Ant. 1 “I cried to you, Lord, and you healed me; I will praise you forever.”

The fruit of love is SERVICE.

Ant. 1 “I cried to you, Lord, and you healed me; I will praise you forever.”

The fruit of service is PEACE.

Ant. 1 “I cried to you, Lord, and you healed me; I will praise you forever.”

Doxology

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!

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.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

FRIENDS WHO LIKE LISTENING FAITHFULLY COMMUNITY

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REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today.

“Let’s grow together as children of God”


Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

Prudence A Holy Virtue

The Gift of Discernment and Self-Control! 

The Cardinal Virtue of Prudence represented by a seated woman holding a snake in her right hand (possibly a modern impression), ca. 1480-1520Italian, Engraving, printed from a plate engraved in the niello manner; Sheet: 12 3/16 × 8 1/4 in. (31 × 21 cm)The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Leo Steinberg, 1991

THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK IV

Ant. 2 (Evening Prayer) “Praise God, all you who serve him, both great and small, alleluia.”

And if anyone loves righteousness, her labours are virtues; for she teaches self-control and prudence, justice and courage; nothing in life is more profitable for mortals than these.

The Wisdom of Solomon 8:7 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

This past week was filled with tragedy, heartbreak, and more senseless death.  This past week took the lives of twelve men and women who had gifts they were sharing with the world. This past week violence broke the sounds of joy, pushed down the innocent, and trampled on the young.  A crime of epic proportions and the ramification is permanence.  In researching these twelve remarkable people my heart broke as I read about their life before this, the good they all where doing in this world, and the talent and God-given gifts they all had within them to share. Each of them were special and filled with life and offered something so profound that I can’t put into words. This crime is unwarranted and sadly is in the purview of local, state, and federal governments to stop. It is past time we do so before more of our brothers and sisters are made to pay with their precious blood. I will vow to post and pray for all victims of gun violence here on this blog, I will write to our leaders, and do my best to support organizations who are actively trying to bring an end to gun violence in our country as a whole!  I invite you my brothers and sisters to join me in that endevour. So let’s now bring ourselves to the presence of the Lord as one community of believers in a prayer for the innocent.      

Prayer for the Innocent 

Thousand Oaks Victims 2018 -RIP 

Dear Lord, My Holy God, hear the voices of your children, hear their cries and torment, hear their pleas of mercy from the sudden unexpected pain bestowed upon them. Hear O’ Lord our cries for the innocent. 

Ant. Let all those be put to shame and confusion who seek to snatch away my life.

O’ Lord today we pray for the victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks. Here we have yet another senseless loss of life which is for many too much to bear. Hear O’ Lord our cries for the innocent. 

Ant. Let all those be put to shame and confusion who seek to snatch away my life.

Dear Lord,  hear your children who call out to you for comfort, for stregnth, for your healing touch, we know you make all things right and your prudence is a measure of your wisdom. Accept all those who now are in your loving  hands; 

  • Sgt. Ron Helus (54) – 29 year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department
  • Telemachus Orfanos (27): 2017 Vegas Shooting Survivor
  • Sean Adler (48): Owner of the Simi Valley Coffeehouse, Rivalry Roasters which opened less than three weeks ago.
  • Marky Meza Jr. (20): Busboy and Food Runner
  • Cody Coffman (22): Aspiring Army Recruit
  • Noel Sparks (21): Art Major, Moorpark College
  • Daniel Manrique (33): US Marine Veteran & Hospital Volunteer – A life of service.
  • Justin Meek (23): Graduate of California Lutheran University, worked at Channel Island Social Services as a respite caregiver, supporting families with children with special needs, mostly developmental disabilities.
  • Jake Dunham (21): Truck & Off-Roading Enthusiast
  • Blake Dingman (21):  Played High School Baseball & Was a Truck & Off-Roading Enthusiast
  • Alaina Housley (18): a promising student at Pepperdine University with plans to study law.
  • Kristina Morisette (20):  Borderline Bar & Grill Employee

Hear O’ Lord our cries for the innocent. 

 Ant. Let all those be put to shame and confusion who seek to snatch away my life.

O’ Lord we pray for the families and friends of the dearly departed as they grieve. O’ God allow their hearts to not be turned away from you and help them to remember to always trust in your love, mercy, and grace. Knowing thy will O’ my savior God, that you shall fulfill your promise to always be present in their hearts, always guiding, consoling, and uplifting their spirits for all time. Hear O’ Lord our cries for the innocent. 

 Ant. Let all those be put to shame and confusion who seek to snatch away my life.

My God, knowing your will we, your children, are now left to commemorate the lives of the young, brave, loving, and caring men and women that you have called home. May your peace be upon them forever and ever. Hear O’ Lord our cries for the innocent.  Amen.

Reflection of Prudence

Virtue of Prudence

The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. 

Proverbs 14:18 Modern English Version (MEV)

Dear brothers and sisters, it had accrued to me this past week as all the chaos slowly inched along that morality and decency are what America is fighting for right now! Our culture has smashed hard against the world of technology, instance reward, polarizing hard-heartedness, and the fool hearty pursuits of wealth, fame, and attention! So, this week in the wake of another shooting and more California fires that it is fitting that we should explore the Cardinal Virtue of Prudence.

The word, ‘Prudence’,  in the context of leading a spiritual life begins by understanding the simplistic but yet complex meaning and purpose this powerful word embodies. Prudence appears in the Holy Bible 5922 times, it is described as being careful, not rushing into a rash behavior, the practice of wise discernment, the ability to use tact and wisdom in relationships, and the good management of personal and or corporate resources. But to Plato, his narration was likened to that of a good city, “where the following is agreed upon. ‘Clearly, then, it will be wise, brave, temperate [literally: healthy-minded], and just.'” The Republic, 380 B.C. Some 700 years later after Plato, 300 years after Christ, during the formation of the Christian Religion, the Bishop of Milan, Aurelius Ambrosius would repurpose this word giving it a very catholic definition, “And we know that there are four cardinal virtues – temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude.” (Commentary on Luke, V, 62)  Later Saint Augustin of Hippo would write as to define further the four cardinal virtues, ‘For these four virtues (would that all felt their influence in their minds as they have their names in their mouths!), I should have no hesitation in defining them: that temperance is love giving itself entirely to that which is loved; fortitude is love readily bearing all things for the sake of the loved object; justice is love serving only the loved object, and therefore ruling rightly; prudence is love distinguishing with sagacity between what hinders it and what helps it.’ (De moribus eccl., Chap. xv) With further development of the idea of the four cardinal virtues, three more were added to the list but because these were based upon the famous verse, 1 Corinthians 13, they became known as the three theological virtues, that being – faith, hope, and love (charity).

What is Virtue Apart from Prudence?

The Four Cardinal Virtues

Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 

Luke 17:10-12 (NRSV)

Consider this my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, if we show temperance apart from prudence what do we have? I would argue that we would have self-re-straight –  but to a fault. If we have justice apart from prudence again what do we have? Once more we would have moderation and a sense of selfishness and selflessness – but again to a fault. Finally, if we exhibit fortitude apart from prudence what do we really have? Again, we could show courage – but to a fault. It is prudence that gives all other virtues depth, a time and place to exist, it is the framework of the doorway that allows all other virtues to pass into the here and now that which gives our lives meaning! Morality is nothing if we do not have a mechanism in which governs the action of being moral, of being temperate, and believing in justice. Together, they are the building blocks to our society with prudence being the cornerstone. Moreover, our faith is either honest and sincere or dishonest and insincere. Faith with prudence allows us to be careful with our beliefs while being tolerant of others beliefs and allows us the wisdom of time to discern right from wrong. It is that mechanism that allows others to trust in our abilities, knowledge, and in our tact. Hence, faith without prudence is faithful disobedience, untrustworthy faith, and rip with division and conflict which leads to total corruption of a person. Now I ask, my brothers and sisters, do you know anyone who is apart from prudence? Do you know of any laws in our society that are apart from prudence? Finally, in contrast could you point out a specific religion that is apart from prudence? Could you say that our Lord and Saviour is apart from prudence? 

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Prayers Art Print – by Piet Flour

Prayer for the Gift of Prudence

From Catholic Online 

Jesus, artful Master of Parables,
Your prudence eluded the hypocrites.
Your actions were known before creation,
Displaying all the wisdom of Your prudence.
Eternity must have attended to minutia.
Being prudent in Your best interest,
You considered all potential consequences,
Securing the outcome of Your earthly life.
Grant me the prudence to always be cautious
And sensitive to the basic needs of others.
Jesus, You have shown great foresight,
Prudence truly originates from Your Being.

Doxology

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!

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.

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

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If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then please become a subscriber by submitting your name and email below. Remember you’re never alone.

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“Let’s grow together as children of God”


Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

The Spirit Within!!!

Fruits That Build A Strong Character!


Holy Spirit Prayer By St. Augustine
 by Jen Norton

THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK III

Ant. 2 (Morning Prayer) “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meeknesses, and self-control; against such, there is no law.” 

Galatians 5:22-23 Modern English Version (MEV)

Dear brothers and sisters, I have three questions this week… three short questions that can change your life if you truly ponder them;

1.) “Do you take time to contemplate how you treat others around you?

2.) Do you see yourself as expressing love and joy?

3.) Are you a kind person?”


Small Mirror Twin
 by Graham Dean

Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, in essence, is a list that carefully describes the fruits of the Holy Spirit, making the case that distinguishes the spirit of the Gospel from the harsh interpretations of the letter of the Jewish law. Pauls argument is most specifically found in how he crafted the list found in (Galatians 5:22-23). I feel it somewhat interesting that he felt he needed to list the fruits or the attributes of a true follower of Christ Jesus. It is interesting because our civilization is not far removed from the historical – spiritually unstable Galatians who were hung up on legalism. They so desperately clung to their many laws which they depended upon to serve as their moral compass. That God-given / man- changed moral compass sadly had led them away from God, hardening their hearts, and souring their faith. The same could be said about all of us Americans as a collective in the eyes of the world today.  For we apparently have abandoned that God-given moral compass that made our nation stand above all others as a beacon of hope, for our actions are not the actions of love or gentleness to those who come asking for help and protection. We have not been joyful in our hearts rather just the opposite – our country is divided more than ever. Many Americans could be seen as kind but our country in the eyes of the world is viewed as anything but. Paul is describing through the carefully chosen words within his list the characteristics of the Holy Spirit complete with examples of how best to apply them. He is saying that our moral compass, (beliefs), and how we live them and express them need to match our actions and those actions need to match what’s being described on that list! See my brothers and sisters, God is vastly more powerful than any man-made law. Likewise, the fruits of the Holy Spirit is not just above all the ugliness of mankind but because Christ lives within each of us we have no excuse to act any other way than those beautiful and wise words Paul wrote down over two thousand years ago. Wisdom words that apply every bit to us today as it did to the Galatians! We have no more excuse! Time… my friends is running out! It is time we reclaim our moral heritage by applying (Galatians 5:22-23) to our everyday life as only Americans can!

Examination of Character

27 “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the heart.” 

Proverbs 20:27 (MEV)

My Friend
 by Helen Thomas Robson

Last week I wrote about examining yourselves. It is important to take a step back and examine how you have been living your life from time to time. Looking deeply with heartfelt sincerity at how you may not have reacted in the way you probably should have allows you the opportunity to learn from those experiences and then correct those behaviors. I say this because like a good friend, shepherd, and loyal companion God examines us inside and out all the time. He does so joyfully with an overabundance of love in fulfillment of His promise to always be there for us. God patiently gives us what we need, and He takes away our pain and troubles when we completely give it up to Him. In return, God fills our hearts with peace and joy opening our lives to His unfailing love.

Building Character Through the Fruits of the Holy Spirit!


Inner Peace
 by Jane Small

This week I wanted to address how to take last weeks examination and build upon that self-reflection. Giving practical guidance that can be applied immediately for the greatest and most profound impact upon your life. So it is we start by always living our lives giving love to those who need it, be an example of joy for those who would otherwise be lost without it, and showing patience to those who put us to the test. God does these things because He is kind… so I ask again, “Are you kind?” God is filled with goodness and faith… so I ask again… “Do you make an effort to be filled with goodness and show your faith in Him?” In truth, all these characteristics are Godly but they are also measured with self-control,

7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.”  

2 Timothy 1:7 (MEV) 

 For collectively as a country founded upon Christian beliefs, we all would be remiss if we did not heed God’s will,


5 “For this reason make every effort to add virtue to your faith; and to your virtue, knowledge; and to your knowledge, self-control; and to your self-control, patient endurance; and to your patient endurance, godliness; and to your godliness, brotherly kindness; and to your brotherly kindness, love.” 

2 Peter 1:5-7 (MEV)

Fruit Of The Spirit Art
 by Amber Hadden

Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, build up your character within the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and through the examples of Jesus Christ, 

19 “Just as water mirrors your face so your face mirrors your heart.” 

Proverbs 27:19 (MSG)

Begin your learned knowledge, character building, and soul-searching with the very words of Jesus as He gives to us His most loving first and second commandments of our new covenant with God the Father, 

29 “Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 30 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’this is the first commandment. 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31 (MEV)

Using these commandments as your anchor everything else falls into place. Take time my brothers and sisters to contemplate how the world around you could be made better through the lens of Paul’s list. Reflect constantly on your own actions with every glance into the virtual mirror of your heart. Then ask on a daily basis for Jesus to make your heart and intentions clean and inline with His divine will. There will be days, trust me, that you will need His help, protection, and love. Be strong and motivated, always charging forward, always being aware of how you affect those around you, and never be afraid to make a course correction – being man or women enough to apologize for something you may have done wrong to your fellow man or women. Remember, we are our brothers and sisters keeper! I truly say to you, as a teacher I never truly know how my students interpret my teachings, I can only hope I have been effective. The same will be for you in your journey and it is this which if you allow it can turn you away from God and so I warn you always look forward building your knowledge and improving your character through the teachings of Christ.  Do as King Solomon wrote; 

21 Bind them continually upon your heart, and tie them around your neck.

Proverbs 6:21 (MEV)

At The Finish Line
 by Digital Photographic Arts

Conclusion

In keeping God’s commandments, observing the teachings of Apostle Paul, and applying the wise Proverbs of King Solomon you have the power to change the world for the positive. Remembering to always strive daily to find peace and to give it, find new and better ways to express love to others who you know and who you don’t, and in being kind, filled with goodness and gentleness you will find immense love and grace that allows others to do the same. In these things run the race for Christ, crossing the finish line in righteousness and let it be said of you my brothers and sisters that you fought the good fight, you finished the race, and that you kept the faith all the days of your life! 

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LET US PRAY!


Prayers Art Print – by Piet Flour

Psalm 51:10-15 (MEV)

A PRAYER FOR GOD’S COMPASSION UPON CONVICTION AFTER SELF-REFLECTION

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.


Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your willing spirit.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

14 Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

Doxology

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen! 

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.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

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NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then please become a subscriber by submitting your name and email below. Remember you’re never alone.

REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today.

“Let’s grow together as children of God”


Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

Examine Yourselves!

Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you?


“Even in the darkness of our sufferings Jesus is close to us”, 1994 (oil on panel)
by Elizabeth Wang

THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK II

Ant. 1 (Day Time Prayer) “What better can we do than take refuge in the Lord! His love will never fail, alleluia.”

In Troubled Times!

Dear Brothers and Sisters, this week has been filled with true evil and true hatred for the messager’s voice which sows separation, intolerance, fear, and rebellion has now shown its ugly hateful face yet again! For during the course of this week – because of these spiteful words being spewed for the sole purpose of personal gain and to retain power unto himself – one man, (follower), sought to kill eleven top leaders in our country with pipebombs!  Another man, (follower), shot and killed eleven wounding six others in a Synagogue in Pittsburgh this past Saturday, October 28, 2018. From the deepest parts of my soul and from a broken heart do I offer my condolences for all these people who have been targeted and who have been killed by these horrific acts of two men, (followers),  who have obviously heard the evil words which sew contempt and chaos in these troubled times! For they heard and complied – carrying out a campaign of terror! I offer my prayers for all their victims! I lift up my hands to God and ask Him to console those left behind and those who have now passed to be with God in His eternal rest. May God surround each and every one of them with His mighty love and protection.

O’Lord we pray for; 

  • David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill (Cecil’s brother)
  • Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill
  • Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township
  • Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough
  • Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington, City of Pittsburgh
  • Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill
  • Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland, City of Pittsburgh
  • Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg
  • Sylvan Simon, 86, of Wilkinsburg (Bernice’s husband)
  • Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill
  • Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill

Welcome Home – is a work of art that has spanned the globe and been a comfort to millions. Many who have lost a loved one have brought this print as a… more
 by Danny Hahlbohm

So it is boldly and sharply I tell you all that now is the time to look away from evil and look deep into your own hearts and discern what you truly believe and who you believe in. For it was written,

“Examine yourselves, seeing whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.” 

2 Corinthians 13:5 –  Modern English Version (MEV)

Contemplating Jesus through Mary of Nazareth – by Catholic Exchange

Remembering always that our tongues are a flame that has the power to kill, bringing forth a world of evil – the harbingers of demons. So, it is that I say to you that what we say matters, how we say it matters, and the words we speak will sew emptiness or righteousness depending what is first in your heart. For it was also written,

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, murder, 22 theft, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” 

Mark 7:21-23 –  Modern English Version (MEV)

Satan Entered – by Jonathan F. Woodall

Therefore, do not be a fruitless messenger, do not be that fool who speaks the words of the evil doers, for they have filled their hearts with the foolish errands coming from Satan himself. Knowing full well that even Satan and all his demons, all the horrors within the pit of Hell knows God is real for they too are believers! Only by testing yourselves can you determine you have not been deceived into thinking your words are righteous when in fact they are anything but! The dangers I speak of are ever present in every one of us, for it is indeed possible that a person of faith to be deceiving his or herself by saying all the right things but in their actions, their faith is empty and fruitless. For James reminds us too,

“Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man viewing his natural face in a mirror. He views himself, goes his way, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” 

James 1:22-24 –  Modern English Version (MEV)

The 10 F’s of Bible Study | Faithlife Blog

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be both hearers and doers. Live your lives within the wisdom that comes from above as again James reminds us that,

“The Wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

James 3:17-18 –  Modern English Version (MEV)

CONSIDERATIONS ON THE JOURNEY TO WISDOM | The Northern GateThe Northern Gate
She derives her wisdom from the “father” (woman’s positive connection with spiritual animus) (Wise Old Man)

God knows what is in your heart, he sees you as you are, He loves you unconditionally and only wants what is best for you. But to be found qualified you must,

23 With all vigilance guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life.”  

Proverbs 4:23 –  New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Finally, when you have finished testing yourselves and you prove your heart is right with God, your deeds are in line with His divine will, and you are free from partiality then you will truly know God and be in His rest. For,

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Proverbs 3:34Modern English Version (MEV)
by Deskgram


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LET US PRAY!


Prayers Art Print – by Piet Flour

PRAYER REQUEST

For our Sister in Christ SHIRLA

Ant. 1 What better can we do than take refuge in the Lord! His love will never fail, alleluia.

Dear Lord, God in heaven, who better to come to for refuge? Who else will heal our broken bodies, damaged hearts, and wounded souls than you? The one who loves us!

Ant. 1 What better can we do than take refuge in the Lord! His love will never fail, alleluia.

So it is to you my Lord we the family of Shirla come to you and ask reverently for your hands of healing, to mend her broken hip, to reach down into her bloodstream and cure her of low hemoglobin so her blood can flow with the life-giving oxygen her body so desperately needs.

Ant. 1 What better can we do than take refuge in the Lord! His love will never fail, alleluia.

O’ Lord of love and grace, God of mercy, who better to calm  Shirla’s rapid heartbeat, her abs which flair with pain, and her many trips back and forth from the hospital which is where she has suffered far too long in agony.

Ant. 1 What better can we do than take refuge in the Lord! His love will never fail, alleluia.

My God, Our Savior, it is with a sincere heart, and urgent call do we ask these many things on our sister’s Shirla’s behalf. For we also implore you  O’ Lord that for your mighty cloak of reassurance be wrapped around all the members of Shirla’s immediate family, most particularly Cheryl – Shirla’s daughter who loves her mother with all her heart and soul. Give her your peace of mind in these troubled times, give her your sure-footedness and strength to carry on.

Ant. 1 What better can we do than take refuge in the Lord! His love will never fail, alleluia.

Within your invitation, O’ God do we humbly come, hearing your words, for your son Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Therefore, Lord Jesus we the faithful have assembled before you asking for Shirla’s recovery and her rest in your holy name.

Ant. 1 What better can we do than take refuge in the Lord! His love will never fail, alleluia.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then please become a subscriber by submitting your name and email below. Remember you’re never alone.

Become a Subscriber Today!

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.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

FRIENDS WHO LIKE LISTENING FAITHFULLY COMMUNITY

REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today.

“Let’s grow together as children of God”

Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

The Power of Service

Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve.

Jesus the Servant!

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK I

Ant. 3 (Evening Prayer) “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us, therefore, approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:14-16 New Revised Standard Addition (NRSV)

Reflection – Perseverance, Prayer, and Endurance!

We can come to God unafraid knowing what he will do for us! 

Reflection Question: What does it mean to enter into God’s Rest?

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As human beings, we are undeniably weak in our faith and because of this, we are also lackadaisy with our prayer lives. These two attributes of the Christian life are connected in profound ways. Namely within our struggles with the lack of perseverance when tempted or ridiculed because of what we believe. Jesus himself talked about this weakness in Mark 4:14-17;


The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 4 – Free Bible Imageshttp://www.bibleimages.ca

14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17 But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.” 

There are many stories told in every age of man where the faithful are tested and in some regard fails to pass the test of faith. One of the greatest stories on this topic is Saul of Tarsus who for many years ruthlessly tortured and persecuted Christians until his fateful run-in with Jesus in the desert as he was headed to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” ~ Acts 9:4. Truly I say to you; all of use in some way deny the truth of Christ’s Death, we all try to impose our own plan much like Saul – perhaps with less violence but the malice is all the same.  Before Saul, there was King David who yes, did many good things but he had a history of making profoundly bad mistakes as well which included, murder (2 Samuel 11:17; 12:9), lying (2 Samuel 11: 7-8, 12-13), adultery (1 Samuel 11:4), coveting a neighbor’s wife (2 Samuel 11:3) and even stealing another man’s wife (2 Samuel 12:9). Before King David, we have the case of Moses one of two crowned princes of Egypt who at the age of 40 became incensed when he discovered an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Hebrew slave. So Mose murdered him in cold blood then buried him in the sand. ~ Exodus 2:11-12. Women have also been tested and have fallen such is the case with Tamar, who left her family to marry into the house of Judah. After some time and three brothers later who she had married in preceding order after each one of them had died all leaving her childless she dressed as a prostitute, then coerced her father-in-law, Judah, to have sex with her. She conceived twins one of which was the ancestor of King David—a direct lineage to Christ.~ Genesis 38:15-18.  The list goes on and on right up to this very day of our human weakness and lack of keeping Gods covenants. However, all of these famous people of the Old Testament found favor with God, they were redeemed, and so it is possible for all of use to also be redeemed in the eyes of God. We can enter into Gods rest by hearing, understanding, persevering, and by enacting the power of prayer. These things Jesus also commented on back in Mark 4:20;

The Seeds Parable

20 “But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
Mark 4:20

The possibility of entering into Gods rest is founded upon the very idea that Jesus Christ, the Son of the One true Living God, who was also tested in many of the same ways we are daily and who without sin prevailed. “For since He Himself suffered while being tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrew 2:18)  Jesus did not blindly come to fulfill scripture but yet was willing from the very creation of all things. Jesus intently listened to His father faithfully, Jesus persevered against the temptations of sin daily, and Jesus prayed constantly. His overall message to humanity was one of service, doing for others such as advocating for the helpless, giving comfort to the sick and those in need. Jesus stood for the poor, the downtrodden, oppressed, those who face tyranny, and who are martyred for their faith. But Jesus was not the only person who was connected to God in such ways for there was another who foreshadowed Jesus; a priestly king named Melchizedek, (Genesis 14:17-20), then again appearing in a prophecy of Psalms 110:4“The Lord has sworn and will not change, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.'” For according to this
Melchizedek was truly a great priest and king, whose very name means, “King of Righteousness”, and then also being King of Salem which means, “King of Peace.” (Hebrews 7:2). This King like Jesus had no Father, no Mother, no earthly accounting of descent, but rather made like Jesus the son of God so that he and his order of priests who Jesus was the greatest shall forever remain a priest. (Hebrews 7:3) This revelation not widely preached basically states that Jesus is the High Priest in an order of Priests greater than that of the Order from Aaron who represented the earthly temple, but Melchizedek’s Order represents the Heavenly Order of Priesthood. In this way, we can come before a thrown that is not one of damnation, but rather one of grace, mercy, love, and peace. We come before a God who is a servant first, giving to us what we need. In accepting Christ as our personal savior then going on to lead a life of service; in this way, we show that the seeds Jesus sowed within us surely have been planted in rich soil and have become fruitful many times over. Again, in this way, we enter into God’s rest – His everlasting forgiveness clean of any sin and reborn in Christ’s likeness as a son or daughter of God. “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of temptation in the wilderness where your fathers tested Me and tried Me and saw My works for forty years.'” (Hebrews 3:7-9). I urge you all to think hard about the meaning of the words Jesus left us with as he ascended into heaven;

Jesus on His Throne

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

John 14:27

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LET US PRAY!

Praise of God’s Power and Providence

Psalm 33: 1-22

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

I

Rejoice, you righteous, in the Lord;
    praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the Lord on the harp;
    on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.
Sing to him a new song;
    skillfully play with joyful chant.
For the Lord’s word is upright;
    all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right.
    The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

II

By the Lord’s word the heavens were made;
    by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathered the waters of the sea as a mound;
    he sets the deep into storage vaults.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

III

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all who dwell in the world show him reverence.
For he spoke, and it came to be,
    commanded, and it stood in place.
10 The Lord foils the plan of nations,
    frustrates the designs of peoples.
11 But the plan of the Lord stands forever,
    the designs of his heart through all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people chosen as his inheritance.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

IV

13 From heaven the Lord looks down
    and observes the children of Adam,
14 From his dwelling place he surveys
    all who dwell on earth.
15 The One who fashioned together their hearts
    is the One who knows all their works.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

V

16 A king is not saved by a great army,
    nor a warrior delivered by great strength.
17 Useless is the horse for safety;
    despite its great strength, it cannot be saved.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him,
    upon those who count on his mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
    and to keep them alive through famine.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

VI

20 Our soul waits for the Lord,
    he is our help and shield.
21 For in him our hearts rejoice;
    in his holy name we trust.
22 May your mercy, Lord, be upon us;
    as we put our hope in you.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

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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.

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

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018

A Time To Revere Wisdom

Wisdom – Knowledge is Greater Than Gold!


Edinburgh University Library Blogs – University of Edinburgh Collection: University of Edinburgh; Persons: N/A; Event: N/A; Place: McEwan Hall; Edinburgh; Scotland; UK; Category: University Buildings; Description: Details from the ceiling space of the McEwan Hall during the 2016 refurbishment of the building.

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK IV

Ant. 2 (Evening Prayer) “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.”

Solomon’s Respect for Wisdom

Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepters and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her. Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her. 10 I loved her more than health and beauty, and I chose to have her rather than light because her radiance never ceases. 11 All good things came to me along with her and in her hands’ uncounted wealth. 12 I rejoiced in them all because wisdom leads them, but I did not know that she was their mother. 13 I learned without guile and I impart without grudging; I do not hide her wealth, 14 for it is an unfailing treasure for mortals; those who get it obtain friendship with God commended for the gifts that come from instruction. ~ Wisdom 7:7-14  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Reflection One – Wisdom Lost on the World!

Two weeks ago the American people witnessed the spectacle of a contested Supreme Court Nomination in which all wisdom was forfeited for political self-interest. Two years ago the American people for the second time witnessed the spectacle of a Presidential election be won by someone who did not win the majority of the vote and which to this day their presidency is both contested and under investigation for a multitude of election tapering violations;  again for the political-self interest of a few. This past week we have been watching the spectacle of a leader who may have ordered the murder of a Saudi born journalist named Jamal Khashoggi who was an American Green cardholder at the time of his alleged killing in Turkey because he simply held views that were different from the young Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Who for good measure has many business deals with the aforementioned  American President. We also prior to all these more recent events for decades have been embroiled in what has become a political debate where the powerful have engaged in beating down the scientific community on the topic of Global Warming’.  A topic which affects every human being on planet earth because to change how we produce energy would radically affect a minority who are heavily invested in how we create, sell, and thus turn a profit in the modern energy markets. Once again, we are witnessing the destruction of a world we all were born on and therefore will live and die on as well. We need nature – nature does not need us! The simple common sense that has been lost on our world of greedy… powerful… tyrants!

Reflection Two – Wisdom in Stark Contrast!

I bring these issues up because each one of them defies logic, they completely ignore wisdom, and are upheld by just a very small minority of the people who benefit while the supremely larger majority of human beings do not. That static by itself is outside the box of moral thought! Morally speaking in the eyes of God no one man or women is better than any other man or women.  The poor are just as valid as the rich. God sent His only son for the salvation of the entire human race, Jews and Gentiles alike. Once more as a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. we all were given the responsibility to uphold justice, protect the innocent, stand up against immoral behaviors, and to love your fellow human being! All of which is the signpost of God’s wisdom, God’s morality, and God’s final covenant with the human race. Therefore, my brothers and sisters there is no room for people of any color or greed, religion or belief, and or status as mankind calculates it to be so blinded by the very idea of wealth, power and influence that they put into jeopardy the larger – remainder of peoples who simply do not benefit or share in any of the mega prosperity that so few enjoys. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against rich people in general, rather I truly believe that wealth for the sake of wealth, power for the sake of power, and greed for the sake of greed is a mortal sin; a plague thrust upon us humans. All too often our petty weakness does nothing more than to create more needless sin and unrest. Moreover, the resources of earth were given to mankind to protect not to destroy, or to use up, and or to profit from! There is no wisdom in any of those things. The son of King David could have been just like the Saudi Crown Prince – drunk on his wealth, ordering the murder of those he disagreed with. Solomon could have been just like Trump ignoring the laws which bind us together just for his own blinded greedy self-interest. But as the Bible tells us that here was a man who loved only one thing above all the wealth and power he wielded and that my friends was wisdom. For Solomon prayed to God for wisdom, he called out to God and was given the Holy Spirit which showed him truth and justice. In his own words, Solomon writes,

” 7:8 I preferred her to specters and thrones and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.” 

Wisdom 7:8 – New Revised Standard Version  (NRSV)

Because of this very idea, core belief, and righteous understanding, Solomon found the panicle of fair play and became a just ruler. I have always said if you want to rule, be the boss, then be fair and just and your leadership will stand the test of time. But that of the jealous malevolence of a tyrant; they will always be hated and loathed standing as an example of what not to do. In stark contrast, history reflects that King Solomon was the opposite of most of the powerful leaders we see today. In fact, Solomon further draws the distinction between the worth of wisdom over the monetary worth of gold and silver as he continues in the very next verse,

“7:9 Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her.” 

Wisdom 7:9 – New Revised Standard Version  (NRSV)

For this reason, we have the words, “WISDOM IS THE PRINCIPAL THING”, written in all caps in the Edinburgh University Library. For once again my brothers and sisters, knowledge trumps greed and blind self-interest. That is also why people who live for power often times seek to subdue the scholarly and those who pursue wisdom. Men of the world will always be at war with themselves and the world at large, everything to them is a competition – always having to come in first place, for they shall never find peace of heart and the wisdom to be an effective force for good.

Modern Day Wisdom – Call to Action!

So I say to you my brothers and sisters, make no time for lies in your life. Make no room in your heart for part-time friends. Make no concessions for the deeds that you know are evil. Make truth your only reality. Make your words trusted among all you meet. Make your life’s journey full of love, laughter, and happiness and show mercy where needed! Show love in the face of hate and our creator shall love you back! Be the color of God – the color of everyone and be one with all creation. Make your stand with purity of heart and know you are always loved!

LET US PRAY!

The Happiness of the Just Man

Psalm 112 
Blessings of the Righteous

Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in his commandments.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid; in the end, they will look in triumph on their foes.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever; their horn is exalted in honor.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

The wicked see it and are angry; they gnash their teeth and melt away; the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

Ant. 2 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they will be satisfied.

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then please leave a comment below. Remember you’re never alone.

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.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

FRIENDS WHO LIKE LISTENING FAITHFULLY COMMUNITY

A Facebook Group. Everyone is welcome! Come and be part, of the discussion!

REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

LIVE STREAM

7:30am – Mass
9:30am – Mass
11:30am – Mass
3pm – Mass (Spanish)
6pm – Mass

Special events outside the above schedule will also be streamed.

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today.

“Let’s grow together as children of God”

Brother Brian

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018

Miracles Are Real!

Miracles Happen!

TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK II

Antiphon “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

Warning to Rich Oppressors

“Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.” ~ James 5:1-3

A Modern Day Miracle

Senator Flake listening to a tearful confession of abuse

The morning of Friday, September 28, 2018, I woke up anxious. I was feeling this way because the night before I had watched the entire events of the testimony of Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh who both appeared before the United States Senate Justiciary Committee. Dr. Ford testified about the sexual misconduct of now Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh when they were in High School. Not surprising Judge Kavanaugh testified that those allegations were false. I watched how both carried themselves, the words they chose, and how they said them. After all, this is a job interview for one of the most powerful positions in our country and the manner to which a person testifies to the truth under penalty of perjury is important. In fact, that is partly what the Committee’s job is, to determine if Mr. Kavanaugh is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice, and in addition, this is about character and credibility.  Prior to this Republicans have been quoted as saying they were going to “plow through this…”  their intent was clearly to rush the process and put Kavanaugh on the bench regardless! Thursday night I heard over and over by Democrats who simply wanted the FBI to investigate these allegations, to gather the facts, and seek out the truth. So Friday morning I woke knowing that the Republicans would try and vote to push the Kavanaugh confirmation to the floor of the Senate without seeking out the truth in a way the country could deal with, in a way that showed respect to Dr. Ford and all the other women who had come forward against Mr. Kavanaugh. I turned on the TV to see the proceedings and in my heart, I just felt so sad and upset. From my growing anxiety, I had to just let it out, so I said aloud very firmly as I watched Senator Grassley try as he might too make good on the Republican promise to just push it through moments before I had to leave to go to work, I said, “Brian just have faith. Miracles happen!”, then I turned off the TV and left still feeling defeated and anxious all rolled up into one. I got into my truck and turned on the radio to listen to what was happening but before I could get on the road I felt a deep need arise to say it again, so I did, I told myself, “You just have to have faith!” Then around noon, I received a text from a friend who told me that the Committee had voted the way I had expected, then I was informed about what Republican Senator Flake had done to get the FBI to investigate. ‘It was a miracle I thought.’

Sex assault survivor who confronted Jeff Flake speaks out – 
Maria Gallagher &  Ana Maria Archila

It wasn’t until I got home when I saw with my own eyes the first of the three real miracles that had transpired Friday in Washington D.C.  I saw and heard two women who stopped Senator Flake in the private elevator and poured out their hearts to him. One of them confessed for the first time that she was a survivor of this kind of abuse.  Mr. Flake to his credit stood there listening to them taking it all in. Then the second miracle caught on camera; the speech from Democrat Senator Coons that moved Republican Flake to the point he stood up and walked out to a private meeting room adjacent the committee room calling Coons out to discuss what the right actions should be. Then after 15 minutes, they came back in and Mr. Flake voted to push for an FBI investigation.

Miracle number three caught on TV was the President who ordered the FBI to investigate these allegations of Dr. Ford. His description of Dr. Ford was surprising and elegant. My faith that God would act, that something good would happen, the freight train stopped dead in its tracks was now reality before my very eyes! So my brothers and sisters, in these events we are seeing our God act, for the warning of Saint James is happening in real-time! The games of the rich and powerful are crumbling down as truth makes those who mislead out of a sense of entitlement are now weeping and wailing! Their treasures are rotting away before them and all they hold dear are wasting away! It is their lies and past corruption which now serve as evidence against them and will surely eat their flesh away like a wisp of flame turned into a roaring fire that burns all impurity into ash. Indeed, I tell you this is what we are seeing with this confirmation hearings as God moves to allow truth to prevail!

Divine Majesty and Human Dignity

“O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and infants, you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.” ~ Psalm 8:1-2 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

Dear brothers and sisters, I truly say to you, what price do we pay when we ignore the truth? What price do we pay before God when we ignore civility, love, and dignity? In the words of Daniel; ‘Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are His.’ (Daniel 2:20)  So it is within this truth – for many years I have written here on Listening Faithfully what to look out for, I have talked about the pitfalls of our weak and earthly desires. But I think we now have a newer gospel, a newer truth for our more modern age, but make no mistake – current events are still linked to our ancient history with a deep common thread which is even more relevant today as history unfolds. That common thread is our faith – blind faith in the Lord, Our God which reigns in heaven forever and ever! Make no mistake my brothers and sisters, God is surely unchanged, remains pure, and forever loyal! Our God is a seeker of truth in all men and who holds us up to the standards of salvation and everlasting life with Him! In the words of Paul the Apostle ‘Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be partakers with them.’ (Ephesians 5:6-7 So it is I say all these things to remind you all that God is a destroyer of lies, a punisher of the malcontented, troublemaker, sewer of mischief, agitator, dissident, and rebel who seeks to mislead, sell half-truths, sew heartache, and those who seek personal gain through others misfortune!  Please, I beg you, my brothers and sisters, to always remember that we are never victorious without God, we receive nothing in this life without first being given the blessing of God to have whatever it is or achievement that which we have sought out. We are not an entitled race, rather just the opposite – we are given forgiveness after first asking God to forgive us, it is God who makes the decision always, and it is God who decides to grant us His perfect grace! Despite the rich and powerful family you may have been born into, despite the riches your family may have gathered here on earth, and despite the elite school your privileged life allowed you to attend, we all are first subject to God and His moral and just truth! Again, let the words of Apostle
Paul speak loudly to your heart, ‘And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them.’ (Ephesians 5: 11). So it is my brothers and sisters that truth binds us to God, holds us accountable in all that we do for the entire length of our lives, which by no mistake is also governed by our loving, loyal, and perfect God. It is these truths which King Nebuchadnezzar tested when he threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the flames. It was Jesus who came to save them as a shadow in the midst of that inferno which kept the three men safe. Through that event, it was the miracle we know as the Son of Man which made the powerful King bow down and praise God! (Daniel 3:8-30).  So it is the same God today – in our own time which softened the heart of Senator Flake, the same God that provoked the two women in the elevator to pronounce their truths, it is the same God in heaven that will surely guide all the FBI Agents to seek the truth of Dr. Ford! Yes… the mighty and powerful now tremble as the flames of a disastrous plan are blown against them by yes… the same God in heaven. Our divine God who plows through the sins of man to make way for all His children to come home with dignity and truth on our side and loud praise for God on our lips!  So I proudly proclaim today that miracles are real, they do happen, and if you look hard enough and open your eyes, heart, and mind you also will see the Son of Man working in the shadows. 

LET US PRAY!

The Song of the Three Jews

‘Let All Creatures Praise the Lord’ 
Daniel 3:57-88 (NRSVACE)

Ant: “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

57 ‘Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

64 ‘Bless the Lord, all rain and dew;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

66 Bless the Lord, fire, and heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

67 Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

68 Bless the Lord, dews and falling snow;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

69 Bless the Lord, ice, and cold;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant: “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

70 Bless the Lord, frosts, and snows;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

71 Bless the Lord, nights and days;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

72 Bless the Lord, light, and darkness;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

73 Bless the Lord, lightning, and clouds;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

74 ‘Let the earth bless the Lord;
    let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

75 Bless the Lord, mountains, and hills;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

76 Bless the Lord, all that grows in the ground;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

77 Bless the Lord, you springs;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

78 Bless the Lord, seas, and rivers;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

79 Bless the Lord, you whales and all that swim in the waters;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

80 Bless the Lord, all birds of the air;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

81 Bless the Lord, all wild animals, and cattle;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

82 ‘Bless the Lord, all people on earth;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

83 Bless the Lord, O Israel;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

84 Bless the Lord, you priests of the Lord;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

85 Bless the Lord, you servants of the Lord;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

86 Bless the Lord, spirits, and souls of the righteous;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

87 Bless the Lord, you who are holy and humble in heart;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

88 ‘Bless the Lord, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

For he has rescued us from Hades and saved us from the power of death, and delivered us from the midst of the burning fiery furnace; from the midst of the fire, he has delivered us.

Anti:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

Special Prayer for Mrs. Elan LeDay – My Good Friend, Fellow Teacher, and Sister in Christ

Prayer for Health & Healing:

Dear Lord, grace is yours alone, it is grace you bestow upon those who ask, and it is your grace which is at the heart of your perfect agape love. Today, I pray a special prayer for a woman who has spent a lifetime listening to you, clinging on every word, and who has spread your light throughout this world bringing joy to all she meets. Today, O’ Lord, I come before you with a host of friends and relatives of Mrs. Elan LeDay who currently suffers from asthma which steals away her breath. We humbly ask you to give her breath back and also ask for you to heal her ailing body of 81 years young and increase her joy, extending your grace, and infusing into her heart the power of your presence so as to allow her to move without pain as she had in years past.

Dear Father in heaven, Mrs. Elan LaDay has been a good and loyal friend, (too many),  she has been a good teacher and support, (too many), and most of all a wonderful Sister in Christ who has lead thousands of your children to your light. Mrs. Elan LaDay has been a marvelous doer of you word urging others to not just be hearers only; filling them with the truth and morality which only comes from your love and wisdom. We all ask for your hand to touch her heart Lord, to chase away her physical pain and healing her with your perfect grace and love.

O’ Lord, my Savoir you are ever faithful – ever true. It is your promise of an incorruptible body – an everlasting gown of white made from a holy thread of your grace and love. I ask dear Lord for you to wrap this gown of blinding light around Mrs. Elan LaDay – your daughter of the light – and hold her hand with your preserving touch taking upon yourself her troubles and worries – sickness, weakness, and distress carrying away her sorrows and pain. Dear Lord, we all thank you for loving Mrs. Elan LeDay and all her sisters and brothers in Christ so much that you sacrificed yourself on the cross which gave the world a marvelous hope in an everlasting life with you in heaven forever. With sincerity and fidelity we, your children acknowledge our dependence upon you. So once more we thank you for listening to our many cries and prayers today on behalf of Mrs. Elan LeDay. We ask this in Jesus’ name? Amen.

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then please leave a comment below. Remember you’re never alone.

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.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

FRIENDS WHO LIKE LISTENING FAITHFULLY COMMUNITY

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LISTENING FAITHFULLY PODCAST W/BROTHER BRIAN

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Each podcast is focused on a specific reading based upon the Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth (3rd Edition) by Saint Mary’s Press. Listen, Learn, Share!

REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

LIVE STREAM

Saint Louis De Montford Catholic Church

7:30am – Mass
9:30am – Mass
11:30am – Mass
3pm – Mass (Spanish)
6pm – Mass

Special events outside the above schedule will also be streamed.

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today. 

“Let’s grow together as children of God”

Brother Brian

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018

Exhortation to Uprightness

Walking in the Ways of Righteousness

TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK IV

Antiphon “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us, alleluia.”

FIRST READING

THE WICKED SAY:   12  “Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training.” Wisdom 2:12 (New American Bible -Revised Edition) (NABRE)

The Wisdom of Solomon is a book every person should carry with them making it easy to grab, in order to consult and to discern. It specifically should be the code all Judges and all lawmakers before acting or asking questions of others uprightness. If Jesus was here today – in person I tell you, my brothers and sisters, He would not have approved of how our government is being run or those who run it. Jesus would not approve of this rush to power attitude some of our Senators have conducted themselves with as it relates to the nomination of Judge Cavanaugh especially after they refused to allow Former President Obama’s nominee to even get a hearing. Hypocrisy is what Jesus would call it, “Hypocrites all!”, would be his cry! Why do I say that you ask? Well let’s look at what people in power would do if they did consult The Wisdom of Solomon; 1:1 “Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth, think of the Lord in goodness and seek Him with sincerity of heart;” ~ (NABRE). If our rulers did this then every day their words and actions would reflect their love for the people, all the people. But sadly for the Republican Judiciary, their words and actions do not reflect any kind of love for anyone but their own self-serving interest. So let them be warned – their hypocrisy is in full view of the nation, their double standards are on full display before the Lord! For how they sound like the wicked in our first reading, (Wisdom 2:12) For I tell you, my brothers and sisters, a heart that is filled with love and, “For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit and will leave foolish thoughts behind, and will be ashamed at the approach of unrighteousness.”(Wisdom 1:5 ~ NABRE). Based solely on those two scriptural verses I have shown how the Republican Judiciary is unfit to be in office themselves and the only good they do will be for themselves, and ill for the country!  This is a modern-day example of the same cancer that Jesus Himself talked about two thousand years ago in a parable of the wicked tenants, (Mark 12:1-12 ~ NABRE) So I ask, how are we any different as human beings who receive everything from God and who are currently simply tenants? For those who rule unjustly and with unrighteousness are no different than the scribes Jesus warned us about as well. (Mark 12:38-40). 

Reflection Question:

Think deep my brothers and sisters, what does this say about all of us today? How have we improved our standing with God if we still allow hypocrites to serve as our lawmakers, Presidents, Judges, or even our Justices when they themselves are corrupt and sew wickedness? 

Walking in Uprightness

6For wisdom is a kindly spirit, yet she does not acquit blasphemous lips; Because God is the witness of the inmost self and the sure observer of the heart and the listener to the tongue.” ~ Wisdom 1:6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

To walk in the ways of the Lord should be everyone’s first goal in life! Why? Because, when you walk with God you no longer seek to gratify self-serving motivations. Instead one seeks to glorify God with every action bring good into the world that the receiver may have outside your hearing had prayed for and thus God sent you. In this, amazement fills the heart of the receiver and galvanized their soul with truth and the knowledge handing them proof that God is listening faithfully to every word, plea, and cry we utter in prayer. In being sent as a messenger of God we sew love, peace, and come to the defense of the weak or the sick, many times unknowingly of Gods greater plan. When we give all praise to God for acts of kindness what we ourselves physically do for others God rewards us faithfully for doing. For it is true what is written, “Because the spirit of the Lord has filled the world, and that which holds all things together knows what is said, therefore those who utter unrighteous things will not escape notice, and justice when it punishes, will not pass them by.” ~ Wisdom 1:7-8 (NABRE). Therefore, do not be fooled into unjust acts which bear evil and wickedness in your own lives, do not be foolish in mind or spirit, and do not allow others to bully you into doing things that you know are morally wrong; for those actions will be punished all the same. Instead, walk in uprightness and receive everlasting life with God. For the upright know the power of prayer, they know the majesty of a pure heart, and they recognize the value of wisdom which is, “a reflection of eternal light, a spotless minor of the working of God and image of His goodness.” (Wisdom 7:26). Finally, when you walk with God sweat Wisdom, “Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things, in every generation, she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.” (Wisdom 7:27-28).

LET US PRAY!

The Lord Upholds My Life

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, “Is not David hiding among us?” PSALM 54

Ant. “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us, alleluia.”

54 O God, save me by your name and vindicate me by your might.

Ant. “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us, alleluia.”

O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.

Ant. “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us, alleluia.”

For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah

Ant. “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us, alleluia.”

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.

Ant. “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us, alleluia.”

He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them.

Ant. “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us, alleluia.”

With a freewill offering, I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.

Ant. “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us, alleluia.”

For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Ant. “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us, alleluia.”

Special Prayer for Dr. K. – My God Mother

Prayer for Health & Healing: 

Dear Lord, Today a special prayer I offer for one of your most faithful of servants, Dr. Kallay, who constantly finds ways to uplift the spirits of those around her and who is steadfast in the defense of those who cannot defend themselves when troubled times come knocking. I plead with you O’Lord that in her time of need you hear this cry of all those who pray with me in this simple but most urgent of prayers. 

Dear Father, your word promises healing for your children of which Dr. Kallay is one, therefore I come before you and humbly ask with a sincere and pure heart that you remember your promise of healing. That you touch her heart and heal her ailments allowing her physical pain to be gone and her physical heart be restored to a healthy beat. 

For you know that Dr. Kallay’s body is one of your grandest and gloriest of temples and all her days she has filled it with the workings of the Holy Spirit. It is in your wisdom I cry out for your hand to restore this temple allowing her good deeds to continue and to flourish unimpeded without pain restoring her to good health. For you know her effectiveness, her love, her life’s’ work better than anyone who may pray these prayers on her behalf. I ask these things in Jesus’s name. Amen.

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then feel free to email me at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com with your request. Remember you’re never alone.

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.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

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REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

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“Let’s grow together as children of God”

Brother Brian

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018

FAITH & WORKS

WORDS VERSE ACTIONS

TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK IV

CANTICLE OF MARY – Antiphon “I say to you: there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.”

14-17 “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” ~ James 2:14-18 Message Bible (MSG)

Reflection Question:

“Have you ever confessed how much of a Christian you are and how much you love God but then treat someone close to you badly, ignoring their real needs because someone else told you to do so? Better yet… have you ever confessed your love and friendship for someone close to you but never truly defend them with both words and actions as Christ has done for you?” [Hint: God gave us all free will for a reason.]

Dear brothers and sisters, I say to you that God sees everything you do and hears everything you say. There are plenty of people in this world that have the gift of the tongue – they sound really really convincing and say all the right things when it counts, but their actions do not match their words. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who sorta sound OK but their actions are a great inspiration as they make sure they are in all the right places being seen by all the influential people but build detractors because of the harsh criticisms they say in private. Another example is those fake friends and lovers who will say they love you but are never around when times get tough. To all these sorts of people I ask, “What good is there in that?” “How are words without actions working for you?” “How are actions with harsh criticisms making a real difference?” To those fake friends – “How is being around only in the times of plenty emulating Christ?” 

Last week was centered on these words put into action, “Peace I leave with you…and “The Spirit of fear, God, therefore, did not give to humanity”. In that post, we discover how mankind is the catalyst for sewing the seeds of fear into each other for the purpose of convincing or controlling the situation or circumstances which arise from those actions and how God plays no part in the spreading of fear but yet is the light of peace in the world. The same applies here in this post… If our spirit is true and pure the words which come forth from our mouths will be from God as well as our actions emulate God. Words and actions together that glorify God and which overcomes this world of sinners is our mission plane and simple. So, I say to you my brothers and sisters, make sure every word you say is pure and filled with compassion and love. Likewise, make sure every action is in-line with God and His will, guiding your actions and emulating the love and peace which only comes from God above.

God-Talk with God-Actions Reflection

“Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-4 Modern Egnlish Version (MEV).

So… where did Paul choose to start with Timothy? In truth, I really like this epistle because it highlights so much of what every person is called to do not just Ministers and Priests, but also the laity – that being you and me. There is so much wisdom in Paul’s words, so much love in how he approaches the many duties of discipleship, and truly you can see the father/son relationship they shared. Beyond the greeting – “To Timothy, my true son in the faith…” (1 Timothy 1:2) to the warnings of false doctrine… (1 Timothy 1:3-20) Paul starts his instruction with the very topic Jesus had started with His very own disciples… that of  Prayer. That is the main reason I decided in my own life to begin a ritual of prayer using the Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours.  It was Paul’s deep desire that all people pray everywhere, clearing our minds of our earthly troubles and to open our hearts without contentiousness. (1 Timothy 2:8). The other thing which Paul does here is expresses Jesus’s deepest desires; being that all people be saved and come to the wisdom and knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4). Therefore, sounding good, talking the talk, and or showing up with a deep self-serving motive does you and those who follow no good because an act disguised as faith is no faith at all and therefore dead in the eyes of God. (1 Timothy 1:5-7) For true teachers are most concerned with devoting their entire life to the truth, wisdom, and shares their faith with both God-talk and God-actions with fidelity. This is a lifelong pursuit as God allows diversity to teach and mold you into the most perfect version of yourself possible. But this can not happen without any effort or thought to one’s own sins and the most heartfelt supplications lifted up with sincerity confessing to yourself and to God as Paul did in writing to Timothy that; “I accept that Christ Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)  So my brothers and sisters, the power God gave us, (2 Timothy 1:7), is rooted in the knowledge of what Christ has done for us and because of His sacrifice we love Him;  1 ” I love the Lord, who listened to my voice in supplication, Who turned an ear to me on the day I called.”(Psalm 116:1-2). Paul expresses that through his supplications of being a sinner Jesus gave him mercy. (1 Timothy 1:15) Again, my brothers and sisters just as lip service doesn’t work with us humans it doesn’t work with God either. Thus, prayer with sincerity is what cleanses the soul and makes ready for those God-Actions. The fulfillment of being in harmony with God allows the obedient heart to show all patience, love, and mercy with each other which are some of the most wonderful fruits of the Holy Spirit. Beyond this pray earnestly for one another; even those people whom you do not like. For if you do not what good is there in that? Again, I say to you my brothers and sisters do not be as those who have plenty and are lost and thus act and sound pious. Rather lack nothing in your hearts… pick up your cross and follow Jesus exhibiting your faith with both your words and actions! (Mark 9:22).

Reflection Question: “Do you think that you will be strong enough to answer Jesus when He comes to you and asks, ‘Who do you say that I am?'”

LET US PRAY!

Thanksgiving to God Who Saves from Death

Psalm 116

Beseech the Lord


1  I love the Lord, who listened to my voice in supplication,

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

2 Who turned an ear to me on the day I called.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

3 I was caught by the cords of death; the snares of Sheol had seized me; I felt agony and dread.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

4 Then I called on the name of the Lord, “O Lord, save my life!”

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

5 Gracious is the Lord and righteous; yes, our God is merciful.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

6 The Lord protects the simple; I was helpless, but he saved me.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

7 Return, my soul, to your rest; the Lord has been very good to you.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

8 For my soul has been freed from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

9 I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

10 kept faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted!”

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

11 I said in my alarm, “All men are liars!”

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

12 How can I repay the Lord for all the great good done for me?

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

13 I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

14 will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

15 Dear in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his devoted.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

16 Lord, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your maidservant; you have loosed my bonds.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

17 I will offer a sacrifice of praise and call on the name of the Lord.

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

18 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,

Ant. “I say to you; there is great rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” Canticle of Mary – Divine Office

19 In the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah!

Remember to also pray for all the victims of Sexual Misconduct within the Catholic Church, we all pray: (Month of September 2018) The Prays of Contrition & Reconciliation.

Special Prayer for Fr. Mike 
December 7, 1946 – September 9, 2018

The Ascension community thanks God for the time that Father Michael J. Mandala S.J gave as a beloved guest minister at Ascension Catholic Church… he will be sorely missed. We Celebrate his life of service to Our Lord and his ministry of giving on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at 10 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church 6657 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood CA 90028.

Ant. I became all things to all men, that all might find salvation. Common of Pastors – Canticle of Mary – For a Priest.

5 “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. ~ 1 Peter 5:1-4 (NIV)

REST IN PEACE AND LOVE – FR. MIKE

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then feel free to email me at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com with your request. Remember you’re never alone.

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.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

FRIENDS WHO LIKE LISTENING FAITHFULLY COMMUNITY

A Facebook Group. Everyone is welcome! Come and be part a of the discussion!

LISTENING FAITHFULLY PODCAST W/BROTHER BRIAN

Powered by Podbean

Each podcast is focused on a specific reading based upon the Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth (3rd Edition) by Saint Mary’s Press. Listen, Learn, Share!

REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

Help Support A Family In Need

Donate

LIVE STREAM

Saint Louis De Montford Catholic Church

7:30am – Mass
9:30am – Mass
11:30am – Mass
3pm – Mass (Spanish)
6pm – Mass

Special events outside the above schedule will also be streamed.

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today. 

“Let’s grow together as children of God”

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018