Come to Me…

Accept the Yoke of the Lord!

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Risen Hand of Christ: Saint Thomas’ Church

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

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

Matthew 11:28 Modern English Version (MEV)

Personal Invitation From God!

Glass Overflowing – The Narrow Gate

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

The Labor of Living!

Pixabay

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

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

Matthew 11:29 Modern English Version (MEV)

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

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Special Prayer Request

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

Let Us Pray

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

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

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

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

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

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The Cross of the Lord

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

Special Prayer Request: Beverly Steele

A Prayer For Beverly

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

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

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

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

LET US PRAY

Say these words as you pray for our sister Beverly

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus – Healing Hands

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

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

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

Jesus of Love

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

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

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

Psalm -Prayer

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

Intercessions

Week IV

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

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

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

Make us always remember your wonderful works.

You called men to be heralds of your good news,

Make them strong and faithful messengers of your kingdom.

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

turn their eyes towards the poor and suffering.

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

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

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

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

The Our Father

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

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

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The Cross of the Lord

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

Promises of the Spirit

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

The Trinity

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

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

John 14:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God’s Plan in Action

God’s Plan

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

Spirit of Truth

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

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

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

The Fruits of the Spirit

Fruit Of The Spirit is a painting by Amber Hadden 

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

Galatians 5:16-17 (NRSVACE)

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

The Diversity of the Holy Spirit


Unity In Diversity

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

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (MEV)

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

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

A Poem for Teachers

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

Authors Comments:

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

Let Us Pray

Praying With Faith


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

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

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

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

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The Cross which Saves us.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!


Brother Brian – Knights of Columbus

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

Therefore, I have Come…

To Affirm and to Clarify the Natural Moral Law

CANTICLE of ZECHARIAH

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

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

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

REFLECTION

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

God Came To Us…

Mary, Jesus, and the Angels

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

Jesus Preaching the Sermon on the Mount Gustave Dore

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

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

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

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

LF-Store

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

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

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

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

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS NOVENA

LET US PRAY

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Pray to the Lord

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

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

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

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

Brother Brian – Knights of Columbus

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

© 2009-2019

A Christmas of LOVE 2018

Christ the King is Born!

Jesus is Born

Antiphon 1: You have been endowed from your birth with princely gifts; in eternal splendor, before the dawn of light on earth, I have begotten you.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: 1

God Sends Jesus to Earth

The last words before this posting was written just before Advent, on the topic of tithing. I think Christmas and tithing have a lot in common because here we see Jesus as an adult teaching about giving all you have away. True riches are not found in the earthly possessions but yet in Heaven were nothing rusts or is eaten by moths. But what makes a person give away everything for God? Jesus would most certainly answer that question with one word – the same word that his ministry was based upon, the same word that is used to describe His father in Heaven and which is the link to our Christmas Season. So what is that word? LOVE.

Isaiah 9:6-7 is about hope rooted in God’s perfect love, grounded in the very reason – justification to why Jesus came in the first place. Jesus our ‘Wonderful Counselor’, ‘Mighty God’, ‘Everlasting Father’, Prince of Peace’, and all of those titles are filled with God’s love for every one of use. Isaiah is foretell the action of God centuries before He actually does it. In this scripture we have God’s will working in the world preparing us for His son Jesus. This one action is the greatest act of love on behalf of God because it would be used to save every human being on Earth. So that we could spend eternity with God in Heaven forever. So what we are really celebrating is perfect love bestowed upon us by God the Father. I can’t think of a better gift than LOVE.

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: 2

King of Love

Antiphon 2: With the Lord is unfailing love; great is his power to save.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

Merry Season of Love my brothers and sisters, to you I pray that joy is multiplied a thousand fold in your lives. May God show you His perfect undying love to you and your family. It is often said that we reflect and wait for the birth of Christ within Advent. But I say to you… reflect everyday, contemplate your service to God, your mindset as God perceives it. Ask yourselves the hard questions such as… ‘How have my actions this year served God’s purpose?’ Ask yourselves, ‘Have I forgiven enough? Have I followed God’s will for my life?’ Look deep inside and contemplate the love God has shown you, reflect how He has blessed you, and thank Him for this most wonderful of all gifts… His saving love. In reflection the one question I ask every morning when I wake up and before I get out of bed is, ‘Dear Lord, how can I be of service to you today?” Then I listen intently and hear Him say the same things over again, ‘Be kind, be gentle, be considerate, be forgiving, be patient, believe in my word for it is the truth, and above all love all you meet especially your enemies even if they do not love you back.’ In this I try everyday to do… some days I fail, other days I succeed beyond my wildest dreams. But I try everyday without fail to always LOVE.

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: 3

Solemnity of All Saints

Antiphon 3: In the beginning, before time began, the Word was God; today he is born, the Savior of the world.

11 “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

1 John 5:11 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

Have you ever wondered what the words, ‘eternal life’ actual mean? Have you ever thought about the implication of eternal life with God? The very definition implies life beyond death. So, death has no real meaning in the face of eternal life. Again, my brothers and sisters I say to you… eternal life with God comes at the birth, life, and death, then resurrection of Christ Jesus who defeated death and sin, paid your sin debt in full so you could live with God in heaven forever! This Christmas is about love, God’s perfect love, Jesus’s perfect love for you. We celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus because of the miraculous gifts he offers to all of us, gifts we cannot buy, steal, bargon for, and or earn on our own. This Christmas give the gift of love by opening a door for stranger, taking out the trash for your grandparents, calling a long lost friend and telling them how much they mean to you, and or simply tithe giving of yourself for in that giving your heart reflects your love. Much in the same way Jesus shows us His love that He has in His heart for us. Whatever you do… make it real, make it tangible, make it a reflection of God’s LOVE.

Let Us Pray

Praying to the Lord

The Supremacy of Christ

“Let us give thanks to the Father, for having made you worthy to share the lot of the saints in light.

He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son.

Through him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creatures.

In Him everything in Heaven and on Earth was created, things visible and invisible.

All were created through Him; all were created for Him.

He is before all else that is.

In Him everything continues in being. It is he who is head of the body, the church; He who is the beginning, the first-born of the dead, so that primacy may be His in everything.

It pleases God to make absolute fullness reside in His person, both on Earth and in the Heaven, making peace through the blood of His cross.”

Colossians 1:12-20

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.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

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Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

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? 

HTTP://happy-veterans-day.net/thanksgiving-messages/

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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!!

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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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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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FRIENDS WHO LIKE LISTENING FAITHFULLY COMMUNITY

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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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