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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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,’

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

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

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

“Let’s grow together as children of God”


Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

Prudence A Holy Virtue

The Gift of Discernment and Self-Control! 

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

THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK IV

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

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

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

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

Prayer for the Innocent 

Thousand Oaks Victims 2018 -RIP 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hear O’ Lord our cries for the innocent. 

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

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

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

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

Reflection of Prudence

Virtue of Prudence

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

Proverbs 14:18 Modern English Version (MEV)

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

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

What is Virtue Apart from Prudence?

The Four Cardinal Virtues

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

Luke 17:10-12 (NRSV)

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

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LET US PRAY!


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,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

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

The Power of Service

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

Jesus the Servant!

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK I

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

Jesus the Great High Priest

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

Reflection – Perseverance, Prayer, and Endurance!

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

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

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


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

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

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

The Seeds Parable

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

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

Jesus on His Throne

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

John 14:27

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LET US PRAY!

Praise of God’s Power and Providence

Psalm 33: 1-22

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

I

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

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

II

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

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

III

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

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

IV

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

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

V

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

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

VI

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

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

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

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 submiting you name and email below. Remember you’re never alone.

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

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

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

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

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

Disregarding The Bread of Life – Secular Humanism Series

The Dangers of Nonbelief!

Twenty-First Week of Ordinary Time

48-51 “I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.” ~ John 6:48-51  The Message (MSG)

Convenient Absentmindedness pt. 2

Last week I wrote, “We have become unmindful of the one who bore us, the one who gave us life, and forgot where we have come from.” (Brother Brian Disregarding God, August 21, 2018) I took aim at what I feel is a great and terrible evil we are fighting in our everyday lives. I gave examples of how humanity is guilty of being collectively unmindful. I asked, “Is anyone listening?” This week I give more examples of how Secular Humanism pulls us away from God and makes us blind to God’s offer of everlasting life and instead living your life on a ledge of disaster!

Secular Humanism says, “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”, just as the Jews had begun asking in, (John 6:52 MSG). This rhetoric sowed disbelief because man inherently fears what he does not understand but that is only a small part of what drove the mass disbelief. Even the disciples had a hard time with this one, proclaiming, 60 ” this teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” (John 6:60 NRSVACE).

Thinking Deeper: “Why is it that this specific teaching sowed so much disbelief?”

Perhaps, my brothers and sisters, we like children take things too literally! Maybe, we think so basically as to misunderstand what Jesus said? Surely it is easy to hear one thing and interpret it in a completely different way than what it was meant to mean. On this point how many times have you intently listened to the rhetoric other people say? How many times do you take them at face value or doze off not really hearing their overall message?  Worse yet picking and choosing the parts you like and discarding the rest? (We will circle back around for more on this point.) Notice that those who left John calls them disciples indicating that they all had once believed and followed but had lost their way or maybe simply had grown tired and so they simply wandered off to take up their old lives. Maybe, the idea of being the bread of life; the most staple food source at that time period referencing the bread (manna) that fell from heaven when the Jews were escaping Egypt was simply too much for those one-time disciples of Jesus to bear? Whatever the reason, modern secular humanism supports the falling away from Christ, enforces the disbelief in God, blurs our vision so much so we do not know where then to look for salvation. Jesus made many hard to understand and follow statements but in each one of them at the root, He was calling us to Himself so that we would have the hope of everlasting life. Secular Humanism, however empowering will not and can not save your immortal soul because man cannot save himself apart from God.

On the other hand, maybe those lost disciples did indeed get Jesus’s “I AM” proclamation of everlasting life! Maybe they had also heard Jesus’s teaching on marriage, his view of both husband and wife needing to be equal partners; which flies in the face of both Mid-Eastern culture and practices going back thousands of years. I have to admit this scripture found in (Ephesians 5:21-32), is a blow to the male ego in almost every culture around the world. But simply put that is our Lord and Savoir, He was not afraid to say it as it was or needed to be. Maybe His message was too harsh for some, but whoever said everlasting life was going to be easy to attain?

Thinking Deeper: “How does being subordinate to another person in marriage mix with the message of disregarding the bread of life?”

21 “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.” Ephesians 5:21 The Message (MSG)

Many of Jesus’s “I AM” proclamations were intended to shock, to stir up, to challenge the way we see this secular world. But mainly to wake us up to what is coming upon His return. But more to the point we will not be awake if we as a human race do not first get with the program of submission and being subordinate to each other first. Oh yes… I said the words that our own egos can’t stand to hear or even confront, (submission and subordinate), without saying the word love. Truth be told many people in their marriages treat their spouses horribly and try to assume the role of the boss in the relationship! After all our secular world is all about the wants of the individual right? How then can you possibly be submissive to your spouse if your mentality is all about the preservation of ‘SELF’ wants? In this listening and communicating becomes the last priority then lies and deceit creeps in to fill the gap of being submissive and subordinate i.e. loyal to your spouse! If then love is not associated to any of this then marriage is not rewarding and thus tiresome and labor intensive. You will my brothers and sisters lose the love you so crave from the world, blinded so severely that you do not know where to look for salvation! Therefore, to love and honor your spouse and children is both the greatest gift and redeeming qualities that emulate God! Think of it this way, submissive love is being God-like! So Yes… “He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:28 NABRE) For Jesus so loved the Church and sacrificed Himself for her – (the collective of mankind as His Holy Church!) 

Putting It All Together: In short my brothers and sisters, to be loyal, faithful, living your life honoring your relationships with fidelity and love is one of the best ways any human-being has available to honor and emulate God.  To live for your own selfish means then is the same as being that group of disciples who got bored and wandered off and consciously or unconsciously ended up emulating secular humanist. When we fall into this secular mold we become lost and blind not knowing or seeing where to turn for salvation and/ or redemption. Sadly in that state, we become the property of Satan and headed for damnation. But when we honor our relationships we emulate the Christian Family Jesus had wanted us to live. We, in turn, serve God and are headed for His everlasting grace and mercy. Believing in Jesus, honoring your personal relationship with Him is, in turn, mastering the concept of eating and drinking his body and blood which is traditionally in the Church known as the Eucharist. For spiritually Jesus lives within each one of us and loves all of the human race. He is always calling to us to be that better person, He is always reaching out to intervene and protect us which is something this secular world cannot do. In the end my brothers and sisters, the choice is yours to make. Which interpretation of living in this secular world will you choose? Who do you want to emulate?

LET US PRAY

PRAYER FOR LOVING OTHERS

From: Catholic Doors.com

Lord, Make me an instrument of your love. 
May I see each circumstance in my life 
as an opportunity to grow in your love.
May I see my environment 
as a place to grow in your love.

May I then take this love to other people…

When I am tempted to become impatient, 
help me to be patient. 

When I am tempted to become unkind, 
help me to be kind. 

When I am tempted to become jealous, 
help me to be tolerant. 

When I am tempted to become boastful or proud, 
help me to give you the glory. 

When I am tempted to be rude or selfish, 
give me the gift of gentleness. 

When I am tempted to take offense, 
help me to let go. 

When I am tempted to become angry with someone, 
give me the gift of forgiveness. 

When I am tempted to become resentful, 
give me your power to love. 

Lord, grant that I may take no pleasure in criticizing others, 
but that I may see good in them, as you do.

When I begin to concentrate on the faults and failures of others, 
give me the courage to praise their accomplishments. 

Help me be loyal to those you give me to love. 

Help me to believe in them, 
even when they do not believe in themselves. 
To expect the best from them, 
but accept the best they can give. 
May I always defend them, 
as you always defend me. 

All gifts and powers come from you. 
All will come to an end. 
With one important exception, the gift of love!!! 
Lord, when I was a child, 
I thought like a child, 
I acted like a child, 
and I reasoned like a child. 
Now that I have become an adult,
I release my childish ways.

In Jesus’ Name and with the help of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

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

Amen, Alleluia!

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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Good Friday – Christ’s death at Calvary

Suffering and Triumph of the Servant of the Lord

FRIDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD

MARCH 30, 2018

13 See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. 14 Even as many were amazed at him— so marred were his features, beyond that of mortals his appearance, beyond that of human beings 15 So shall he startle many nations, kings shall stand speechless; For those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it. – Isaiah 52:13-17 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Insight 1: From Heaven to Earth was the son of man called to do the impossible, write the wrongs of the entire world of sinners, and bring the truth into the world of darkness. God gave this knowledge to Isaiah and in the wisdom of the Lord it was written and spread by mouth unto all the many nations.

Ant. It is not you who speak but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Insight 2: God chose to forgive us just as Lucifer through pride chose to spread sin amongst us, tempting the Lord Our God to wipe man away as he had done in the flood thus forever breaking His divine promise made in the age of Noah. But God chose to forgive us, putting away His anger and wrath and in its place sent love, mercy, and grace. It would be by the promise of salvation the world would be redeemed by a God who is the father of us all. Therefore, perfect in every way God made a plan before the foundations of the world.

Ant. The eternal Word, born of the Father before time began, today emptied himself for our sake and became man.

Insight 3: For the Lord, God in Heaven did not send an angel to die for man’s sin, rather a whole army of angels could not accomplish this task. The whole of Heaven is not divine enough to wipe away the immortal sin now before God. This Lucifer knew but was unaware of the might of God’s love, unexpecting the Father’s desires to wipe away sin, unaware of the strength of His Holy Son to become man. For Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary to look like we do, feel like we do, love and hate as we do, but born without sin or blemish. Sent with a mission, a holy volunteer that would bring salvation to the world despite Lucifers plans to spread sin and to harden men’s hearts.

 Ant. In his great love for us, God sent his Son in the likeness of our sinful nature.

The Fourth Servant Oracle

Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; He had no majestic bearing to catch our eye, no beauty to draw us to him. He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, knowing pain, like one from whom you turn your face spurned, and we held him in no esteem. – Isaiah 53:1-3 (NABRE)

Ant. Lightly I run in the way you have shown, for you have opened my heart to receive your law.

Yet it was our pain that he bore, our sufferings he endured. We thought of him as stricken struck down by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, all following our own way, But the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all. – Isaiah 53:4-6 (NABRE)

Ant. I put all my trust in the Lord and he has not failed me.

Insight 4: How could the world believe if Satan himself could not know God to be so loving, so forgiving and merciful? How could a mortal man see the Son of Man in his true personage, know it was God made flesh, hear His voice and man’s hearts not be stirred? For some purposefully hardened their hearts, ran from the light while clinging to the Holy books of Moses refusing to believe. The true message of Christ lost among them but was not wasted on the poor in spirit. For each miracle from His birth till His death, those who did see, who’s eyes where opened, and hearts filled with grace was Jesus received.  Gladly He walked with His cross to His final suffering –  dying upon it for all mankind.

Ant. But not in hurried flight will you go out nor leave in headlong haste, For the Lord goes before you, and your rear guard is the God of Israel. – Isaiah 52:12 (NABRE)

The Crucifixion of Jesus

 

So they took Jesus, 17 and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.” 20 Now many of the Jews read this inscription because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” John 19:17-22 (NABRE)

Insight 5: Dear Brothers and Sisters, truly I say to you that in the hour of judgment be not afraid, take heart in the fidelity of Christ, to which He gave Himself for you. For as it is written Jesus Christ goes before all mankind, both men and women, He descended into Hell for you, freed many who had no hope and in that hour Christ shook the foundations of the world on your behalf! He suffered, was beaten and scourged until unrecognizable, His blood poured out so ours would not have to be shed, and in that hour of judgment carried His cross to His death.  Truly Christ goes before all mankind paving the way and God the Father truly protects from the rear as we all march to the Holy Banquette in Heaven.

The Blood and Water

31 Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may [come to] believe. 36 For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled:

“Not a bone of it will be broken.”

37 And again another passage says:

“They will look upon him whom they have pierced.”

John 19:31-37 (NABRE)

Insight 6: Even after death Jesus was fulfilling scripture. For Our Lord told His beloved disciples these things and they did not believe. Isaiah for told these events and yet many did not believe during his age. In truth, it was those who condemned Jesus who helped to bring about the fulfillment of scripture unwittingly. For their lust for power drove them into sin out of fear. Had the Pharisees contemplated further, consulted the scriptures more, prayed to God to help them discern the truths about Jesus perhaps our salvation would have been in parallel, i.e a paradox. But God knew no one would be able to ignore the temptation to murder Jesus, and thus fulfilling scripture and set in motion our salvation.

The Burial of Jesus

38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. 39 Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. 41 Now in the place where he had been crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. 42 So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.

Insight 7: So it was when the Lord died the earth shook and the sacred place in the temple was torn. God cried for His Son, for His tears fell to the earth as rain and all who were there fleed in fear. The wind gushed up as the Romans broke the legs in haste of the two criminals who still were alive but Jesus appearing to be dead thus He received a spear to His side. After all these events it would be two Pharisees who would lay Jesus to rest, taking Him form the cross, bounding him with ritual spices and closing the tomb. If they had not believed before they did now. If their hearts had been hardened by Satan they were open and obedient to God now. Yet there was a plan to keep Jesus in the tomb as guards were placed to watch over the tomb making sure there was no one to steal Christ’s body claiming Him risen. In these things, we see the love of Jesus as man tried his best to snuff it out, to end the works of Christ. But it was written;

13 The one who forms mountains and creates winds, and declares to mortals their thoughts; Who makes dawn into darkness and strides upon the heights of the earth, the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! – Amos 4:13 (NABRE)

Ant. All you works of the Lord, bless the Lord. Praise and glorify him forever.

For I tell you now my brothers and sisters today we witness the death of Christ Jesus and we wait for His resurrection and final return.

Let’s Us Pray

God, come to my assistance.

Lord, make haste to help me.

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

Ant. Lightly I run in the way you have shown, for you have opened my heart to receive your law. (Alleluia) 

Psalm 119:25-32

 25 My soul lies in the dust;
by your word revive me.
26 I declare my ways and you answered me:
teach me your statutes.

Ant. Lightly I run in the way you have shown, for you have opened my heart to receive your law. 

27 Make me grasp the way of your precepts
and I will muse on your wonders.
28 My soul pines away with grief;
by your word raise me up.

Ant. Lightly I run in the way you have shown, for you have opened my heart to receive your law. 

29 Keep me from the way of error
and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of truth
with your decrees before me.

Ant. Lightly I run in the way you have shown, for you have opened my heart to receive your law.

31 I bind myself to do your will;
Lord, do not disappoint me.
32 I will run the way of your commands;
you give freedom to my heart.

Lord, we are citizens of this earth and ask to be made citizens of heaven by your free gift. Help us to run in the way of your commandments and to set our hearts on you 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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To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

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