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!!

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REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

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

LIVE STREAM

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

Special events outside the above schedule will also be streamed.

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“Let’s grow together as children of God”

Brother Brian

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

Peace I Leave With You…

The Spirit of Fear, God, therefore, did not give to humanity.

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK II

CANTICLE OF MARY – Antiphon “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them, says the Lord.”

7 “God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid. He gave us a spirit of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

Dear brothers and sisters, listen for the truth in these trying times of which we live is under attack at every turn! You only have to watch the nightly news channels, the doom, and gloom reporting about the lies and misconduct of those in power, people who have decided to take it upon themselves to commit horrible crimes leaving in their wake pain and heartbreak. But, I would like to reassure you that there is still a lot of good news to be had in all of this daily chaos. Simply put God did not put into our hearts the spirit of fear, no… flawed people do that. They do it in their words laced with the selfish intent of maintaining control over those around them. They do it in their selfish actions and unreasonable deep-seated misguided beliefs that are transferred from one to another like a plague. I have known people who have prided themselves on the fact that they were hard to get along with; I used my nice voice on that comment. Moreover, I have known people that have boasted… yes you heard me… boasted that they can be argumentative, pushy, rude, and admit they have a bad attitude and that they don’t care who they hurt. They wear these bad attitudes like a badge – a badge of honor! Remember my brothers and sisters, “God gave us a spirit of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)  

Practical Application

In reflection, I think we all need to get back to the basics by looking at some examples that inhabit our sinful world for the purpose of striking fear into our hearts! From there I promise to serve as a guide in looking at ways we can overcome our individual personal fears which plague us daily; finding the right source –  knowing where to turn for relief and rejuvenation.

World-Wide Societal Examples of Fear Driven Agendas

Slavery of all kinds around the world, racism, sexism, as well as economic, religious, and cultural oppression. The idea that human beings allow the spread of lies, resentments, crushed and fearful hearts, as well as the condoning of acts of social deviance, in all do not come from God, but rather the human race.

Reflection Question:

“Have you ever been put into a situation that put real debilitating fear into your heart? Was that situation manifested by a flawed human being or by our loving, forgiving, perfect God?”

Think about this for a moment before answering. Take time to examine it fully. I would wager that 100% of the time it was a man-made dangerous and careless action that snowballed out of control. Perhaps it was an accident or maybe due to unforeseen events. Then look around you in your town, city, neighborhood, and state and if you look deep enough for every so-called innocent accident created by man there are at least a hundred events that affect your life which had been planned and executed diligently and deliberately with fidelity over a long period of time that does real evil in our world. Crimes which tear families apart, suppress fathers rights, discriminate against the weakest and most vulnerable of us, that being our children. Actions by people in power at all levels and even by individuals who seek to maintain control over their children and make a convincing argument which leads to alienation of the child’s biological father or mother. I am talking about things in this world so evil that it causes permanent damage to our hearts, minds, and souls. All of which was not condoned or given to us by God, but perpetrated unto us by members of our own human race! From start to finish evil allowed to live in our world by the heinous actions of yes… our own brothers and sisters! Done with malice and purpose to drive fear into those who only see the effects and are innocent of the long-range plan. But take heart my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, for it is this fear mongering which kicks up the fears from within, stirs the insecurities passed down by family members, or maybe close friends, certainly the nightly news can wear thin on our sensibilities. Ignoring them, using sarcasm, comedy,  or worse in the attempts of shutting them out only puts a band-aid on your problems at that singular moment. These fears are real and valid and stock us during the day and at night when we are awake and in our dreams.  Know that the fears of our world if allowed into our hearts take hold and grow becoming your new unwanted reality and begin to shape your life in ways you could have never possibly imagined. It is these fears which hold you back and until you find a way to free yourself from those fears will then and only then your eyes be truly opened. (John 8:32)   Now, think about your life and ask yourself were did these fears come from then when you arrive at the true answer do not sit back and do nothing, but rather give them all to God. For I tell you from experience that God gave us power and love and self-control. The power to stand up and let our true feelings be heard loud and clear. God gave us love so that the message we preach is given with sincerity and kindness which allows for forgiveness and reconciliation.  Self-control to know when to talk and when to be quiet, when to help and when to be still.

Turn To God!

4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” ~ Psalm 23:4 Modern English Version (MEV)

In the depths of your fear know that God protects you, God comforts you, and God walks by your side. In that what reason is there to fear? When you think your parents, brothers or sisters, husband or wife or a friend may not support you, or when you think you will be deserted know that God is with you and in that knowledge you are never deserted, left alone, unprotected, and when a person slams a door closed in your face God is there ready to open a new and better door! What is there to fear in the face of such unjudging love? I can’t tell you how many times in my life people have closed the door in my face without rim or reason. I can’t begin to express the uncertainty of not having any income, or even worse yet to have money taken from my bank account because falsehoods had been propagated against me which left me almost without a home, car or food and without any recourse to spend precious time with my only child. Imagine the evil it takes to tell a parent they can never see their only child at no fault to that parent! What gets me is the unfairness of it all!  On the other hand, God never left me and put good people in my life which took wonderful care of me. That my brothers and sisters is the very nature of our God, always walking by our side bringing us to glorious victory! Jesus says we must have confidence in our faith, and God has given us many perfect examples that are powerful and tangible so that we might have that confidence in Him. (Mark 5:36)   When life gets you down don’t allow pity to fill your heart rather say this instead; 13 “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” (Isaiah 41:13)   Say it with confidence, my brothers and sisters, because I testify before you that it is true, God does indeed hold your hand and walks with you through all kinds of mayhem, hoopla, and chaos! Finding comfort in the Lord is the starting point for reclaiming the real you, the one He is molding into a more perfect version! (Jeremiah 29:11)

LET US PRAY!

MY HEART SHALL NOT FEAR – Psalm 27

Psalm of David

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Ant. 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 MEV

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Ant. 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 MEV

Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Ant. 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 MEV

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

Ant. 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 MEV

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Ant. 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 MEV

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

Ant. 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 MEV

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

Ant. 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 MEV

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Ant. 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 MEV

Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

Ant. 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 MEV

10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

Ant. 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 MEV

11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

Ant. 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 MEV

12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

Ant. 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 MEV

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Ant. 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 MEV

14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Ant. 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 MEV

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.

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

Hope for the Persecuted – China's Christian Revival!

Persecution Equals Revival!

18 ‘”If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.” ~ John 15:18-19 (NRSVACE) 

History is against those who persecute others, no matter the reason for the persecution, history almost always is in favor of the underdog.  Case in point the Roman Empire; here we have a powerful nation that controlled vast lands and forced other nations to pay homage to them. The people of Rome worshiped many different gods and thought in their ignorance that Rome was blessed by those fake gods and would last forever. Many religions perished and or were assimilated into an ever-growing pool of fake beliefs and government controls which ultimately led to monumental corruption. “The decline of Rome dovetailed with the spread of Christianity, and some have argued that the rise of a new faith helped contribute to the empire’s fall.” Andrews, Evan (2014) 8 Reasons Why Rome Fell. In this Christianity was the underdog much like it is in China with many new converts to the religion being persecuted for their beliefs, killed, tortured, imprisoned, and the main symbol of Christ’s Church being taken or destroyed. Nothing new, for this, has been going on for centuries. You would think people would learn from history. But, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself told us why the world hates us, “believers” so, for the world first hated Him.  See it works like this, being a Christian means you no longer belong to the world, a world filled with sin, a world filled with people trying to save themselves through their own deeds, and as hard as they try to earn their place in heaven the people of the world have fallen short of the glory of God. So like Satan, they are powerless to save themselves and despise those who believe in Christ and therefore are saved by His blood on the cross. The symbol of the cross that once was something to fear turned into a holy symbol by early Christians and therefore overcame the world yet again. Which is why the Chinese government during their raids takes this holiest and powerful of symbols from the churches they raid. Therefore, I say to you my brothers and sisters of China, stand strong and replace the many crosses stolen from your places of worship with yet another, and if that one is also taken from you, fashion another until finally, one becomes permanent in your church. Let the hatred flow off your backs and let Gods love convert millions more because you have suffered for our Lord and Savour. Like the Christians of Rome, let there be a revival that overtakes your country until the name of Jesus is said in every household of new believers and Christianity becomes the one religion the Government can’t control and must submit to. All of which is done by the power of peace and of love and by remembering those who have fallen in the name of Our Lord, Jesus Christ…. (Their Feast Day is July 9)

Cheap Grace!

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.” ~John 15:26-27 (NRSVACE)

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.” Bonhoeffer, Dietrich (1937) The Cost of Discipleship.

As implied, Bonhoeffer was one of many advocates sent by God to call out the many sins of the evil-doers. Bonhoeffer, as described by Yu Jie, who authored a post titled, “China’s Christian Future”, in a blog called First Things, wrote, “Chinese Christians also see in Bonhoeffer a man who dared wage war as an ant on an elephant. He found wisdom and courage in Jesus, knowing that Jesus exists for others, and those who follow him should do the same.”  So on this point made by Yu Jie, I want to reflect most, for it is true that Jesus gives His people strength no matter their race, color, or social standing, for if you claim Jesus as your personal savior and then are baptised you are washed clean and are no longer a part of this sinful world. This is as true as being the underdog, “waging war as an ant on an elephant” because sin is so pervasive, so under the radar that it is hard to spot but when it raises it’s ugly head we believers can spot sin a mile away.  So, in the spirit of Bonhoeffer, I tell you my brothers and sister of China believe in Jesus, belief in the salvation His blood purchased for all of mankind. For God loves everyone the same, He gave all of us the way back to Him so we all can sit together as one nation under God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Our creator if you let Him will give you the strength and the fortitude to move mountains, raise up the poor and down trotted, give life to the lifeless, and the wisdom to rule with love and dignity with a just hand. Remember, my brothers and sisters of China, those who kill over religion are seen as murders, therefore let your prayers and crosses be your weapons and God’s transformational power to convert those who are ignorant and do horrible things to you. Do not fall into “cheap grace” for it is morally bankrupt and evil. Instead, stand within the thousands of years of history of masters, saints, and prophets have walked, receiving God’s grace and His love will convert millions more to aid you in your cause.

The Power of God to Convert the Nonbelievers!

The Lord’s Grace to Paul

12 “I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:12-15 (NRSVACE) 

Paul of Tarsus was the chief of sinners, he persecuted many early Christians, was a blasphemer, and an insolent opponent who hated Christ! But Jesus showed him mercy, converted him and pressed him into His Holy service. Jesus appeared to Paul in a way that was meant specifically to prove His divinity and His mercy. Jesus’s words were not filled with hate but yet love for a man who hated Him. Jesus’s grace was upon Paul of Tarsus in the same way His grace is upon you, my brothers and sisters of China. Paul testifies that he after his conversion had acted ignorantly within his unbelief and it was the power of Jesus’s love which opened his eyes for the first time. Paul also declares before everyone, most particularly early Christians who deemed Paul their enemy that, “15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:15 (NRSVACE)

So the message is clear, God’s love extends to every human-beings on planet Earth and in His eyes, we are all His children. God forgives the murder, blasphemer, persecutor, and people of violence when their eyes are truly opened for the first time. Grace comes to the repentant heart, The baptized communion, the transformed sinner into a child of God. When this occurs there is a specific charge all Christians must live by;  “We are not to conceal our faith and our belonging to Christ, not to bury the Word of the Gospel but to let it circulate in our life, in our relationships, in concrete situations, as a strength that galvanizes, purifies, and renews.” ~ Pope Francis, (2017), Embracing the Way of Jesus, pg. 5. 

My brothers and sisters of China, embrace your new found beliefs and worship openly, be not afraid as through your worship you convert many, and allow God’s grace to galvanize your hearts allowing your faith in Christ circulate throughout your entire life and in every relationship and in every action you take. God walks with the faithful, he is your armor, shield, and protection. profess your beliefs and educate yourselves and others in the ways of Christ and your days shall be many. Remember the promise of God, the promise of everlasting life through His son, Jesus Christ.

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

Ways to Communicate

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The Childlike Measure

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13 “And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.’ 16 Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them”. ~ Mark 10:13-16 (NABRE) 

Essential Question

“Are we adults behaving like the little children Jesus blessed?”

 There are many measurements of how to live a Christian life. It seems to me that every page in the Old Testament is giving us moral laws to follow, and the New Testament is no exception. The many thousands of things written can feel at times overwhelming and confusing to most. History is littered with the many thousands of arguments that have arisen since Christ’s death and resurrection because of those words and beliefs that split the New Church into many different pieces each with their own ideas of what a Christian Life should look like to others. We have been arguing for centuries amongst ourselves and in those arguments, we find in our modern age of technology even more ways to be anti-Christian which is laced with temptations that lure us away from God. There is deception of all kinds in our churches and people who profit off those descriptions.  Our sins with each passing century grow ever higher and the smell of our human lies that are designed to allow us to live as we want, do as we will, and not as God would have us live, is simply continuing to mount against us in the halls of Heaven. Perhaps, that is what Jesus was alluding too when he saw the disciples pushing away the children?

Living in a Sinful World

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13 God will judge those outside. “Purge the evil person from your midst.” ~ 1 Corinthians 5:13 (NABRE)

In the twenty-first century of which we live, drama is the new law! Social Media is filled with people posting everything about their lives, even the most private accepts and problems they are facing. People are caught up in watching reality TV, they are exposed to sin that is changing our culture and beliefs. Examples of which I speak is “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” where everything from marital issues is perverted to modern fashion which influences and corrupts our children. Another Reality TV Series is “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”, where everything about marriage and dating is glamorized and set in a make belief settings where it’s ok to date more than one person, have sex with more than one person and hold relationships with more than one person!  Another show which perverts marriage and is setting such a bad example for our children as it relates to relationships and marriage is “Sister Wives”. It’s all in the title! One man multiple wives! This lifestyle was prohibited by God thousands of years ago!  So when I say we are corrupting our own children, that this corruption is perverting their morals and the morals of their children who are not yet born, and this corruption will pervert children for thousands of generations to come, then I think it is no wonder or mystery of why our children have no chance at seeing the gates of Heaven! Sure, there will be a handful who will repent, I say a handful because frankly when calculating the billions of people on earth today verse those who want to be real Christians and truly believe in God solely is determined by how their parents brought them up, and how closely to the Bible where those morals linked. Thus, a handful of the world’s population of true believers is a much smaller group than those who see nothing wrong with the world and call themselves Christians!

The Reality of Respect

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18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” ~ Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (NABRE)

Respect thy neighbor, respect thyself, respect the world and all of nature, respect others as you would have them respect you. Yes, I took out a few words and replaced them with the word respect, but isn’t that what our world has done with the sanctity of marriage, haven’t we for our own selfish purposes took out words that would hold us responsible for our actions and replaced them with words that make us feel better about our sin? New laws which are giving even the most conservative of Governors a reason to pause, siding with the heretics of this world so they can be reelected. The controversy which I speak is to those who want such perversion and say – HE/SHE bathrooms in public spaces are ok! There is no respect in how people relate to one another because we have taken God out of the equation! No man will fear man’s laws as much as he will that of God’s laws if they are taught in the manner they were written taken nothing out, even those parts that make us cringe! As a teacher in a Catholic School, a place where you would think is steeped in discipline and a healthy fear of God, but sadly no, for all the Nunes have gone and the Priests have not a clue of how children should be raised. Yes, the Bible is unchanged, but how we teach it has changed. Because of these things in our sinful world we find ourselves mired in sin and helpless in teaching respect.  Our children see TV, play Adult rated video games, parents treat their kids more like friends than their children, and the basic teaching of how to act in public has been forever torn apart! So, the next time you look at a rude child, one who mocks you, one who talks back, one who does hateful things to others, one who thinks they are smarter than you, or one who does stupid things just to see what would happen (DUMBASS THE MOVIE), then as an adult / parent  have only yourself to blame!  Education begins at home not in the school building! Laws that suppress educators from fulfilling their job requirements as it relates to teaching discipline, morality, respect, religion, self-worth, love, and forgiveness is the major culprits to green lighting sin in our society! Perhaps, this is what Jesus saw when the disciples rebuked the children?

The Commandments that Matter

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34″I give you a new commandment: ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. 35 This is how all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.'” ~ John 13:34-35

Respect and discipline are all part of living a Christian lifestyle. But Jesus commands us that everything stems from love, an innocent like love in the Lord.  From this agape love we find the path to faith and armed with faith we find the path to a disciplined, respectful, honorable, holy relationship with God the Father. From this point is it then possible to show love and respect to others, and teach these things which God has commanded parents to teach to their children. For this duty is a sacred and holy duty given to parents alone!

6 “Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not veer from it.”~ Proverbs 22:6 (NABRE)

4 “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!  Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength. Take to heart these words which I command you today. Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your arm as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NABRE)

7 “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” ~ Proverbs 1:7 (NABRE)

1 “Children, obey your parents [in the Lord], for this is right. 2 ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment with a promise, 3 ‘that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.’” ~ Ephesians 6:1-3 (NABRE)

23 “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, 24 knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will receive recompense for the wrong he committed, and there is no partiality.” ~ Colossians 3:23-25

3 “Certainly sons are a gift from the Lordthe fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them. He will never be shamed for he will destroy his foes at the gate.” ~ Psalm 127:3-5 (NABRE)

13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NABRE)  

Wrap Up

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What we teach our children as parents is what our children will do when they are grown. “Be a role model. This can help you teach your children to appropriate behavior, self-control, responsibility, and accountability while increasing their self-esteem.” ~ American Humane Association, (Child Discipline) 

Don’t come to their rescue so easily, don’t rave about them so easily, rather show them leadership! Help your children make calculated risks, have many discussions on making decisions, tell them stories of your childhood so they may bond with you, don’t let your guilt keep you from being a good parent and from making the hard decision. By making those hard decisions you are giving them the proper example, like Jesus, did for the world on Calgary. Teach respect, love, kindness, forgiveness, and mercy and these things will come back to you and make you proud. Finally, become partners with your children’s teachers and follow their examples upholding their expertise within the realm of education. In all these things allow Jesus to be part of your children’s lives allowing them to know God their and your creator.

Amen,

My brothers and sisters, if you enjoyed this message today then I invite you to contact me directly at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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Where Peace Begins

Peace Left by Jesus

27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

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Have you ever wondered why some people just seem to never be able to find peace in their lives? Have you ever wondered why they are always sower towards others, nothing is ever fair or just in their eyes, and they seem to enjoy this self-inflicted agony? I’ve known people like this. I’ve seen how they imitate happiness but it never lasts for long. Things that have happened in their lives are never their fault because it’s easier to blame others. Responsibility for their own actions is a foreign idea and never seems to apply to them. So why the misery, why the drama, why do they run so far and fast from peace?

Self-Worth vs. God’s Peace

11 “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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To understand this behavior we first must understand why the human race ignores God’s ministry of Peace. At this point, it would be all too easy to say that we are all sinners. Yes, that is part of it, but not the whole picture. Rather we must dig deeper and look for that character flaw that some people exploit more so than others called self-worth. It works like this, many people have lived hard lives, as children they are subjected to crappie things that are at the first outside of their control. The craziness of their lives become addicting, much like a drug. The older they get the more they are told how worthless they are until they begin to believe it. At some point, they begin to expect the bad in life, and they chose to ignore the good. This becomes a routine of bad choices that cascade one after another. Now logically speaking they know they should strive for peace in their life, but they are their own worst enemy as the choices they make repeals peace. These broken people believe that they do not deserve to be happy as every attempt fails. So they ignore that singular voice within their hearts and run away not feeling good enough to receive God’s peace. They run and hide because the cannot believe that God has a plan for them that includes happiness and peace here on Earth. They cannot believe that God wants to take control!  But I say to you my brothers and sisters who are broken, God wants to instill his plan into your heart and take all the bad and turn it into good which glories His love for you!

Remember that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”

Every time I read this I feel at peace. Why? Because I believe with all my heart and soul that God’s peace is everlasting. I believe blindly in the idea that Jesus really said that.  I believe that Jesus is real and loved us so much that he would die to give us a chance at receiving that everlasting peace.

So, why can people like me believe and other people just can’t quite make that leap of faith? Because they believe they do not deserve God’s love, because they expect nothing but the bad in life. The difference is I do not expect to be saved rather I hope to be saved according to God’s word. Whereas, the broken person dwells in the expectation that bad is all they can hope for, which leaves them without hope of salvation. Thus, if you give in to hopelessness then you in truth shackle your life to this world and to the expectations of a life mired in sin! You give up on the hope God has for you, the salvation he won for you, and the everlasting peace he left in your care.

Conversion

19 “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,” ~ Acts 3:19 (NABRE)

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Again, logically speaking the only way out of this hopelessness is to be converted! This means you must die to your sins and be reborn in the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ! Scary sounding… right? Well to the nonbeliever it is the scariest thing they will ever do. Ok, so how do you convert someone who is broken?  Believe me, when I say it’s easier said than done, but it begins with being the example in every aspect of your life, teaching that God’s grace can be found in everything be it in the good or bad things of this world. Yes, being the example by living your faith, practicing what you preach, do what you say, believe with all your heart, mind, and soul in the words and promises of God. To be a witness to others who need help in believing, who need you to be their a road map to faith, and a guide to those broken down and beaten by this world who expect nothing but bad and show them kindness, love, and mercy. Conversion doesn’t happen overnight, rather it takes time for people to hear, then reacts to God’s call. But know God is calling and He is using you to make that connection!

There is hope, there is love, there is mercy, and there is peace in this world. But the peace we all should strive for is the peace of salvation in the Lord, Jesus Christ!

Amen.

My brothers and sisters, if you enjoyed this message today then I invite you to contact me directly at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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