Growing a Real Relationship with God!

Honoring the important role God plays in your life.


The Year of Grace

My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, over the last several years of Covid and seeing the impacts on my students and community I wanted to give back with something of real substance. So, listen carefully – whenever I am faced with adversity I call upon God to give me the strength to carry on. Whenever I find times have grown so bleak I can’t hardly stand it I call on God to hold my hand and rejuvenate my heart. So, this Sunday I chose to write a guide for all of you that I hope will, if put into practice, rejuvenate your hearts and rekindle the fire for God in your life.

When You Wake in the Morning

When the alarm goes off… roll over onto your back, open your eyes look at the ceiling and begin your day with a meditation. Each day for four weeks meditates on the scripture for that day as follows:

Take 5 minutes a day with God in meditation.

Scriptural Justification for Meditating:

“5 I am the vine, you are the branches; whoever abides in Me and I in them, bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, they are thrown away as a branch and dries up; and then they are gathered and cast into the fire where they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” - John 15:5-7 

In the Morning or Evening – but meditate daily!

Instructions for the Meditation: Open your bible and clear your mind, and bring your heart into the presence of the Lord. Remember the important role God plays in your life. Then center your body, heart, mind, and soul on the Lord. Again, start with the first Psalm and silently read it, and ask God to speak to your heart. 

Meditation – Week 1:

‘No Christian has ever been called to walk alone.’ 

READ: James 4:7 Reflect upon this passage daily. In the evening write down your new insights each day. Find the connections between the reading and the daily Psalms.

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Meditation – Week 2:

‘Obtaining peace with God is obtaining oneness with God.’

READ: James 3:18 Reflect upon this passage daily. In the evening write down your new insights each day. Find the connections between the reading and the daily Psalms.

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Meditation – Week 3:

‘Listening Faithfully to God is essential to walking with God.’

READ: James 1:22 Reflect upon this passage daily. In the evening write down your new insights each day. Find the connections between the reading and the daily Psalms.

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Meditation – Week 4:

‘Intimacy with God, which is His highest desire for us, holds the greatest impact on our lives.’

READ: James 4:8-10 Reflect upon this passage daily. In the evening write down your new insights each day. Find the connections between the reading and the daily Psalms.

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Prayer is how we stay connected to God.

Scriptural Justification for Prayer:

8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. John 15:8-11

Take 20 minutes a day with God in prayer.

Instructions for Prayer: Next, you will set up in bed or kneel on a pillow. Then open your Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours and turn to the page as designated in the Saint Joseph Guide. Begin your prayer with the following:

Whisper: ‘O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.’ –  Psalm 51:15 (NRSVACE)

Recite: ‘Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.’ – (Minor Doxology)

Inventory Psalm 95 found on pg. 688 inserting every two verses the Antiphon from the Four-Week Psalter.

Example: We are currently on Week 1 of the 4-week Psalter so turn to page 706 and the first unnumbered Ant.

Ant. ‘Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.’ (This is said before starting Psalm 95)

Recite the following as found in ‘The Liturgy of the Hours’:

Morning Prayer

Ant. 1 is said before Psalm 63:2-9 and in all spaces between the paragraphs of the scripture. 


Ant. 2 Is said before the Cantile and in all spaces between the paragraphs of the scripture.

Ant. 3 Is said before Psalm 149 and in all spaces between the paragraphs of the scripture.




Canticle of Zachariah as in the Proper of Seasons pg. 249


Recite the Our Father…

Prayer in the Proper of Seasons pg 249

Conclusion: ‘May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.’ – pg. 698

Mark pgs. 712-713 for the Evening Prayer II… Sunday Evening Prayer.

Learn to be grateful even during a time of pain or illness.

Scriptural justification for maintaining a thankful spirit.

‘18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Take 10 minutes a day with God asking him to teach you how to be grateful in all situations.

Instructions for Constantly Being Thankful: In your heart of hearts you make the daily promise to do your best to be thankful for everything given to you by God. Recite the awesome things God has done for you remembering to never be boastful about them in public and always give glory to God. Engage God in a private one-on-one conversation throughout the day – especially when you are alone ask God to cleanse your heart from all thoughts of complaining and ask Him to help you rekindle within your heart His neverending joy. Below are a few scriptures to help guide you:

Be like Paul, learning how to be grateful:

15‘And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.’- Colossians 3:15
18‘give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Get rid of the drama in your life:

6‘Better is a handful with quiet than two handfuls with toil, and chasing after the wind.’ - Ecclesiastes 4:6

Find the daily miracles in your life:

8‘As for me, I would seek God, and to God, I would commit my cause. 9He does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without numbers. 10He gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; 11he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. 12He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13He takes the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. 14They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope at noonday as in the night. 15But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth, from the hand of the mighty. 16So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.’ - Job 5:8-16

Stop Comparing what others have versus what you were given by God:

12 ‘We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they do not show good sense. 13We, however, will not boast beyond limits but will keep within the field that God has assigned to us, to reach out even as far as you.’ - 2 Corinthians 10:12-13

Now its your turn… find scripture that speaks to your needs!

Don’t forget to give from your heart to others!

Scriptural justification for giving to others.

6‘The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.’ - 2 Corinthians 9-6:8

Take 10 minutes a day with God asking Him how He would have you give to others.

Instructions for Godly Giving: Remember giving to others does not always involve giving money or time. Rather it also includes random acts of kindness, be it through your loving words of encouragement, helping someone with a project, calling a relative who you haven’t seen or spoken to in years, and/or spending time to develop a real relationship that will last the ages with those around you. What you do speaks louder than words in most instances and has a lasting impact.

38 ‘give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’ - Luke 6:38

40 minutes a Day – throughout the day – will bring true joy into your life. Brothers and sisters remember that happiness comes from external sources and joy comes from God and therefore an internal experience that fills up your immortal soul.


Lord God,

Give to your people the joy which only comes from you! Teach us how to purge our hearts from lusting after others’ possessions and from being jealous of what others have that we do not. Lord, vanquish from our minds the complaining heart and instead renew our souls with the spirit of thanksgiving. Teach us your love, patience, kindness, and generosity, and allow the holy spirit to fill us with the want to always give to others especially the needy. Lord, wipe away our sins and fill us with your light.

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ - Matthew 6:9-13 New American Standard Bible 1995

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

Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

Therefore, I have Come…

To Affirm and to Clarify the Natural Moral Law


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

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

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


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

God Came To Us…

Mary, Jesus, and the Angels

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

Jesus Preaching the Sermon on the Mount Gustave Dore

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



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Pray to the Lord

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

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

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

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


Brother Brian – Knights of Columbus

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

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