A Command To Be Just!

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Listen, my brothers and sisters, we have a major problem happening in America as it relates to how we treat others. Most specifically, the passage of arcane laws that prevent our fellow human beings from exercising their rights to judge for themselves what is good and proper. Moreover, this same small minority of our population has taken it upon themselves to restrict our brothers and sisters of color from their fundamental right to vote. More shockingly there are some who have chosen to rebel against the common good through uncouth measures concerning health issues as they continue to spread known lies about life-saving treatments, fighting against the free vaccine, and causing chaos around the issue concerning masks which have been proven to statistically protect our children! If you know me at all you know I will always speak out about issues related to protecting God’s children! But the greatest problem we are now facing is that their rebellion does not uphold the law but yet their own precepts!

Normally, I would not address these political issues here on this forum. But, too many transgressions have been left unanswered about critical issues which directly affect our entire population. Therefore, because of the enormity of these issues, I have targeted the ongoing and upsetting revolving door issue of women’s health in America and how this small minority thinks they have a right to prevent women from exercising their rights on this issue!

Guiding Question:

“Why did God give mankind free will if He didn’t think we could handle it?”

THE BOOK OF WISDOM

Love justice, you that are the judges of the earth. Think of the Lord in goodness, and seek him in simplicity of heart. For He is found by them that tempt Him not: and he sheweth himself to them that have faith in Him. - Book of Wisdom, Chapter 1:1-2 - Douay-Rheims Version, Saint Benedict Press - A.D. 1609

Problem: We have too many radical judges who say they are Christian and thus use their power as a judge and their beliefs to make rulings that do not support the written law and instead legislate from the bench with rulings that can not be supported by law and in some instances frequently ignore legal precedent. In addition, our God-given right of free will is yet again under attack by man’s suffocating law. If you love justice then you are a lover of God who is just! Judges of the earth should make rulings that uphold the law in a bipartisan manner using wisdom and prior legal precedent which the US Supreme Court chose to do neither of those two things and instead seems to support empowering private citizens to anonymously report women who are going to have, or are on the way to have, or prosecute all those involved in helping women to get an abortion and then get paid for reporting it! How is this just? How is this ruling moral? How does this celebrate God’s trust in giving his children free will? What other American rights will this uproot? Nowhere in the Bible does it say, ‘When someone does something you disagree with go rat them out to the authorities?’ No, it says:

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the law and the Prophets. - St. Matthew 7:12

We call this the golden rule. We teach this rule to our children. But we seemingly forget to apply it when it is convent not to follow its teachings as adults! With that stated plainly, I guess anyone who reports in Texas an abortion would want others to report anonymously some private issue of theirs that would uproot their life as well? I guess the Supreme Court Judges who upheld the TX SB8 Legislation on Abortion are in favor of private citizens anonymously reporting their hidden crimes as well? WE CAN DO THIS ALL DAY!

Pro-life vs. Pro-choice

DE-ESCALATING THE ISSUE?: Abortion is a complex paradox. This is where Matthew 7:12 comes in. It’s all about relationships: meaning as a country we need to work together to solve this moral dilemma not rip each other apart. This could be said about every issue that Republicans and Democrats or even self-professed conservatives and liberals disagree with each other on. Ending the argument and divisiveness and instead, practice active listening to find common ground! It’s all about being just with each other! In being just we build our relationships on firm foundations. The Texas law is wrong on so many levels and was a test case that the Supreme Court failed miserably because it’s all about what is just under the law! This ban simply divides people further driving them deeper into the two camps, (tribal warfare instead of civil discourse), in effect giving a sledgehammer to one side, and leaving the other side defenseless. Then sitting back to watch what happens! The Texas Legislature removes themselves from enforcement and all responsibility from what happens when it was their grand old idea in the first place! Again, this irresponsible attempt in crafting a law and the irresponsible attempt at upholding the previous statutes will create further chaos which is tragic! Why? Because it destroys relationships and pits private citizens at odds with each other in the hope of making a profit! Pro-life and Pro-choice need a time out! They need to rethink their approach. As human beings, we all need to understand more deeply the issues and find ways to accommodate each other’s opinions, and stop trying to impose each other’s will on the other! We can fix this if we stop arguing and trying to undercut each other which is the root cause of hatred and division within our nation! So, I say to you, be lovers of justice! Seek in everything, what is good and just always! No, not just for yourself, but also for your fellow human being.

Repercussions of Not Following the Law: The clear end-run of the Texas government is to pave the way for abortions to become illegal in Texas and to help other states pass copycat laws which will be upheld in the courts effectually killing Row vs Wade and robbing women the right to choose for themselves what is good and just in their own personal lives in those states. Stop and think: Do you want some stranger melting in your personal life? Some stranger dictating what you can and cannot do? Stopping you from exercising your free will? This goes beyond religion because it strikes at the very heart of law in America, trust in our Judges to follow and uphold laws instead of rewriting them based upon their own personal religious beliefs.  Simply put, there has been a hardening of the heart of those who feel it is their mission given them by God to force millions to live in a world of restrictive, anti-democratic, and dystopian laws which are changed at a whim! Laws that do not meet the test of our Christian values! Is this the America you want to live in? Listen, we are never going to agree completely and in some instances not even partially, so what we all need to do is simple. Stop and listen with compassion and justice will reign.

For perverse thoughts seperate from God: and his power, when it is tried, reproveth the unwise: for wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body sudject to sins. For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful, and will withdraw himself from thoughts that are without understanding, and he shall not abide when inquity cometh in. For the spirit of wisdom is benevolent, and will not acuit the evil speaker from his lips: for God is witness of his reins, and he is a true searcher of his heart, and a hearer of his tongue. - Wisdom 1:3-6, Douay-Rheims Version, Saint Benedict Press - A.D. 1609Douay-Rheims Version, Saint Benedict Press - A.D. 1609

Questions To Ponder

Who gave the five Supreme Court Justices the power to make the pro-life decision for all Texas women within a midnight secret agenda vote? Is this the first step to further develop an acceptable platform where neanderthal-rulings made by radical judges that allow the ultra-right the power to stop women from walking alone on the street without a man being present, or force them to cover their faces and heads at all times, or restrict women in America from the right to equal and fair access to education or to simply prevent women from voting altogether or worse yet prevent women from driving? Are we talking about a complete and utter disembowelment of women’s suffrage as we know it in America: The Land of The Free? Does this mean judges will now side with laws like the one Texas passed which opens the floodgates for other states to empower vigilante justice by allowing regular citizens to profit off of ratting out thier neighbors who seek abortions? Are these judges and lawmakers aware that they are creating a culture of interjecting ourselves into the private personal health issues of a complete stranger for the sake of money? Does any of this sound familiar? To me, it sounds an awful lot like 1933 Nazi Rule or Italian Fascism? Am I being too radical with my questions? Where does oppression stop! How does any of this follow Jesus’s command to love one another? (John 15:12) How do these blatant actions of the court uphold the Book of Wisdom cited above? Can I kindly and lovingly remind my brothers and sisters in government and on the bench that these issues have already been tested and found unworthy of the American citizenry! We need to put away our ancient grievances and move forward together in love and harmony for the benefit of all people.

Let us listen to the voice of God; let us enter into his rest." - Office of Readings - iBreviary

Freely Come To Me!

Consider this: The Second Temptation of Christ

And the devil led him into a high mountain and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, And he said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them. If thou, therefore, wilt adore before me, all shall be thine. - St. Luke, Chapter 4:6-7 Douay-Rheims Version, Saint Benedict Press - A.D. 1609

Here Satan wants Jesus to bow down and worship him. What a sight that would have been! Christ bending the knee to a subordinate, jealous, twisted fallen angle! Sorry, but things in the universe do not work like that! See all you Judges, Congressmen, State, and Federal Representatives, and District Leaders you all work for us – the people!  We do not bow the knee, for we elected you to serve, protect, legislate sensibly, and uphold the laws and values of America! – Please Review the United States Constitution.

It is written: Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. - St. Luke, Chapter 4:8 - Douay-Rheims Version, Saint Benedict Press - A.D. 1609

Guiding Question – Answer:

'And why call you me, Lord, Lord; and do not the things which I say? Every one that cometh to me, and heareth my words, and doth them, I will shew you to whom he is like. He is like to a man building a house, who digged deep, and laid the foundation upon a rock. And when a flood came, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and it could not shake it; for it was founded on a rock. - St. Luke 6:46-48 - Douay-Rheims Version, Saint Benedict Press - A.D. 1609

Jesus wants all of humanity to come to him and be saved under a just God! Moreover, He desires that we come to Him of our own free will. God does not want slaves and He most certainly does not want robots! Make no mistake, Lucifer wants your soul just as badly as God but he wants your soul under a much different pretext! It looks a lot like what is happening in Texas, Florida, and all the other states of the union that are hell bend to place the people of this country in a condition of permanent bondage! Again, I implore you to turn away from Satan and the path of your own selfish pride. Again, I ask when, my brothers and sisters, did common sense become so unpopular that spouting blatant lies was your only recourse? It is not too late to come back to God. It is not too late to recapture your true faith as a Christian and to begin rebuilding your house under God if only you would open your eyes to see the rewards that await you.

'For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.' - 1 Corinthians 6:20 
'Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? Is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sackcloth and ashes? Wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? Loose the bands of wickedness , undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harbourless into thy house: when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up.' - Isaias 58:5-8 - Douay-Rheims Version, Saint Benedict Press - A.D. 1609

Consider this: Do you really want to gamble with your soul by forcing your will onto others thus denying justice?

'There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.' - Proverbs 6:16-19 New American Standard Bible 1995

GRACE IS HOW WE ARE SAVED!

In conclusion, remember my brothers and sisters, of what God said about the people who toiled in the wilderness,

'Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts: As in the provocation, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works. Forty years long was I offended with that generation, and I said: These always err in heart. And these men have not known my ways: so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.' - Psalm 95: 8-11

Therefore, it is through God’s loving-kindness and grace that are we saved, not through personal grabs for earthly power. It is through God’s moral teachings and commands can we truly find wisdom and justice! AMEN!

WEEK III SUNDAY PSALM 113

Praise the name of the Lord

He has cast down the mighty and lifted up the lowly (Luke 1:52)

Ant. From the rising of the sun to its setting, may the name of the Lord be praised.

113 Praise the Name of the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
    praise the name of the Lord!

Ant. From the rising of the sun to its setting, may the name of the Lord be praised.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
    from this time forth and for evermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting
    the name of the Lord is to be praised!
The Lord is high above all nations,
    and his glory above the heavens!

Ant. From the rising of the sun to its setting, may the name of the Lord be praised.

Who is like the Lord our God,
    who is seated on high,
who looks far down
    upon the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
    making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

Ant. From the rising of the sun to its setting, may the name of the Lord be praised.

THEREFORE, LET US PRAY

Lord God,

Give to your people the joy of continual health in mind and body. With the prayers of the Virgin Mary to help us, guide us through the sorrows of this life to eternal happiness in the life to come. Father, we ask you to give us victory and peace in Jesus Christ, our Lord, and king, we are already seated at your right hand. We look forward to praising you in the fellowship of all your Saints in our heavenly homeland.

“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

Thus, therefore, shall you pray:
Our Father who art in Heaven, halloed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen

Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

A Command To Not Worry!

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Reflection Question: Do you trust God to take care of your every need?

Listen, my brothers and sisters, understand that God is perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing, and is everywhere all at once. He walks with us in our everyday lives and He knows our every need! I would argue that God knows our needs better than we know our own needs. I say that because He sees what we cannot, and so when we worry about money, relationships, friends, family, and whatever else comes to mind you are really saying in your heart, ‘I trust God to take care of my salvation, but I don’t trust him in all the other areas of my life.’

Consider this: ‘In thee, O Lord, I have hope.’ – Psalm 71:1. Do you really have hope without complete trust? Could King David have asked this following question without knowing who is his only salvation? ‘I have lifted up my eyes to the mountain, from whence help shall come to me. My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.’ – Psalm 121:1. We pray in church the Lord’s Prayer – St. Matthew 6:9-13 which in and of itself is a confession of our trust and obedience to God. So, my brothers and sisters have these verses become just sayings we say out of habit? Has our faith in God become eroded to the point that we pray these prayers without conviction? ‘NO!’ I say, we must be completely surrendered, confident, and continually asking for God to teach us his way, ‘Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.’ – Psalm 27:11

Reflection Question: Did Jesus not raise Lazarus from the dead? Did he not comfort Mary and Martha?

Jesus comforts sisters Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus had died in this scene from a Bible Video.

Reminder to not worry: If you worry about the earthly things then you have sinned against God for we have been commanded to not worry. St. Matthew 6:25 ‘Therefore, I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothes?’

Too many of us spend too much time worrying about money, love, friendships, work, and the list never ends! The point is to let it go and give it to God! St. Matthew 6:28-30 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothed the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So, my brothers and sisters, I say to you, be honest unto yourself and list your worries, having complete faith in God that he already knows your worries and by your act of praying to Him, (‘Our Rock Who Saves Use’, – Psalm 18:2), about your worries then will you be relieved from them! In this real-world exercise of putting away this sin of worry, (which is a heavy unfair burden), your confidence in God grows. For isn’t it God who knows all things, who has promised to take care of you in all things? See, when we fail to have faith that God can deliver on this promise we become instant hypocrites in our hearts at the moment we ask him for help; not believing he really can and will help us. ‘In thee, O Lord, I have hope, let me never be put to confusion: deliver me in thy justice, and rescue me.’ – Psalm 71:1. Say it with confidence, believe it in your hearts and you will have no reason to worry!

Recap:

Step 1Admit Your Worries and fears to yourself. Example: St. Matthew 26:39 “may your will be done.” This is Jesus’s complete surrender to God! Have you completely surrendered to God?

Step 2: Have Faith that God is on your side. Example: St. Matthew 6:31-34 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat? or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?'” For the modern person of faith, ‘Where shall we work?’ or ‘Where shall we live?’ or ‘How shall we take care of our family?’ For God promised to open specific doors in your life, guide you through the maze, and deliver you from your worries if only you ask Him for his help and place him above other things in your life. In a sense, you are giving God the keys to your house to which He has access to every room. You are trusting him to come to your aide each and every time you call upon him.

Step 3: Pray with confidence! Example: 2 Corinthians 3:5-8 “Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” Praying with complete confidence in God you are putting away the sin of worry, doubt, and fear. God who lives within us will take care of all your needs here on earth and beyond! ‘I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.’ – Psalm 27:13

Let 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 it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen Alleluia.’

Say in this order – Psalm 95, 23, 67, & 100 with every two verses of each reciting the antiphon. Canticle of Mary: ‘Of what use is it to a man to gain the whole world, if he pays for it by losing his soul?’

Morning Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours

Ant. 1 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 

Song of Joy for Salvation

Psalm 118

This is the stone which, rejected by you builders, has become the chief stone supporting all the rest. (Acts 4:11)

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures for ever!

Ant. 1 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 

Let the sons of Israel say:
    ‘His love endures for ever.’
Let the sons of Aaron say:
    ‘His love endures for ever.’
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    ‘His love endures for ever.’

Ant. 1 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 

5 I called to the Lord in my distress;
    he answered and freed me.
The Lord is at my side; I do not fear.
    What can man do against me?
The Lord is at my side as my helper;
    I shall look down on my foes.

Ant. 1 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 


It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put trust in man:
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.

Ant. 1 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 


10 
The nations all encompassed me;
    in the Lord’s name, I crushed them.
11 They compassed me, compassed me about;
    in the name of the Lord’s name, I crushed them.
12 They compassed me about like bees;
    they blazed like a fire among thorns.
    In the Lord’s name, I crushed them!

Ant. 1 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 


13 
I was hard-pressed and was falling,
    but the Lord came to help me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he is my savior.

Ant. 1 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 

PRAYER

PRAY WITH CONFIDENCE!

Almighty God,

Every good thing comes from you. Fill our hearts with love for you, increase our faith, and by your constant care protect the good you have given us.

Dear Lord, We also ask you to calm our hearts, touch our souls, and bring peace into our lives. Show your children grace and love and remember your promise to take care of us, your children, wiping away our worries and fears which we can not see the ultimate resolution. Therefore, Lord build within us a trusting heart and unshakable confidence in you by walking with us always and forever. Teach your children Lord your holy ways and guide us so we do not falter from your path. As your Son, Jesus Christ had said, ‘your will be done’, sho shall it be in all your children’s lives.

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

Thus, therefore, shall you pray, Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our supersubstantial bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.

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

What is a Half-truth?

Half-truth Series Part 1

14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:14 – New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Catholic Edition (NRSVA)

Defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary a half-truth (noun) is: 1: a statement that is only partially true. 2a statement that mingles truth and falsehood with deliberate intent to deceive.

Scripture tells us that lying is wrong, moreover, it can be a grave sin depending upon what is being lied about. But Satan is famous for telling half-truths that mislead and get us into trouble. On the other hand, there are those half-truths we all tell without even realizing we ever told them by omitting facts that otherwise would give light to the proper cause and effect of an event. So, I say to you my brothers and sisters nothing good comes from lying to save a person’s feelings, to safeguard those you love from a hurtful situation, and/or the mingling of truth and a white lie. For anything less than the truth is a lie in the eyes of God. Thus, every dictionary should also include a third meaning, 3: a half-truth is a lie.

Half-truth – Omission of facts!

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’”

Genesis 3:1-3 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

In the story of Eve and the Serpent, quoted from Genesis 3:1-3, the omission of fact proved deadly. Let’s look at what the serpent asks Eve. “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?” This is a leading question in order to reveal what God had said in order to twist the truth. But the word ‘any’ is an all-inclusive word, replaceable by the word, ‘all’. So, in truth, the serpent is asking Eve if God had said to not eat of all the trees in the garden, which is absurd in and of itself. This prompted Eve to answer, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.'” Adam and Eve understood what God had said as they would physically perish. The serpent knew that it did not mean a physical death per se, rather a spiritual death that would ultimately lead to their fall into sin. It is this which the serpent elected to omit. In this example, the word choice was extremely clever as Adam and Eve were not yet trained in spotting true evil.

Half-truth – Malicious Intent

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:4 (NSRVCE)

The first part of the serpent’s response, ‘You will not die;’ is a lie. Here we see the maliciousness of the serpent in not completely revealing what would truly happen. See, to obey God is to follow him, but to ignore him leads to sin and death. The serpent chose to not explore the differences between physical and spiritual death. In other words, when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit in the middle of the garden their perfect sinless existence ended and sin and wickedness entered into their hearts. They stopped being who they were and became the sinful separated beings we are today. No, they did not die a physical death, but their relationship with God did. No longer were they the perfect reflection of God, but a fallen lesser being unworthy of immortality and unfit to live in God’s perfect garden. This, of course, is what the serpent wanted, to prove that God’s creation was capable of sinful acts and therefore not worthy of His love. Satan didn’t stop there as he has been prompting mankind to tell anything from little white lies to half-truths, to full-on lies! The most serious of which is blaspheming the holy spirit!

Can you tell the difference between a half-truth vs. a lie?

Apparently, Adam and Eve could not, nor could Cain or Abel. In fact, if you read the first part of the book of Genesis, Enoch, son of Jared who follows in the line of Seth born 642 years after Adam’s creation was the first person who was literally trained in the ways of God by God Himself. So, for 642 years, just shy of a millennium, seven generations of man lived in the dark as it relates to the complete understanding of the subtle differences between a lie and the truth. I say this because there is no difference between a half-truth vs. a lie. This is a hard skill to master, to discern if someone is telling you a half-truth or not. For it entails a person to have knowledge of what is being discussed, from the root or cause of the event in question, to its current state of affairs. Each step taken, every person involved, and to know the situation or disposition of those who acted and who did not act. The danger of a half-truth whether it was done with malicious intent or by simply omitting some of the facts to make oneself look more innocent is that it becomes a habit, propagates sin, and prompts others to act when otherwise they would not have. The Book of Enoch delves into this in detail, especially when describing the Watchers and the Nephilim.

Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker and poet. Born:  c. 630 BC; Athens

Guiding Question: “If the foundations of truth are undermined by the countless lies being told daily what is a person of faith to do? Hint: Psalms 11:7

Let Us Pray!

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Pray this in the silence of your hearts –

‘Dear Lord, I pray with all my heart for you to help me be strong, to know your will, and be one with you. I pray for your strength, guidance, and words that nourish my soul. Help me tell the truth with every word, action, and intent. Help me O’Lord to discern the truth from a lie, a half-truth from the truth, and see through the murky depths of the sinful words spoken by those around me daily. Forgive me of my sins and all the lies I have told and help me to be a better person and be a more perfect version of myself.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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

Amen.

Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

The Malleable Family of God!

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 Modern English Version (MEV)

Being a parent is honestly the hardest job we will ever endeavor to take on. There is no rule book, no one piece of advice that is the magic bullet, and as much as we struggle it all comes down to our own abilities in how our children turn out. I say this because I work with children who are growing into young adults and listen to their parents who agonize over all their decisions and honestly are caught in the proverbial trap of social media and mobile devices that has shrunk our world. But I find this one proverb still holds a measure of truth from the moment it was penned to this very day, train your children in the virtues of God and they will never depart from it.

The next hardest job we are born into is being a sibling, a son or daughter, a cousin, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece. Each of these roles within a family help to shape the children within our family no matter the distance in time or space. Each role is important as their unique opinion or life experience can lend a helping hand to mold the malleable minds of every other member of the family from the oldest to the youngest. If done correctly a father can rely on a brother or sister to reach a child with a perspective that is different from that of the parent. A grandparent can approach the problem from a life filled with experience and wisdom. Cousins can speak about generational concerns with words more familiar. Each member of the family is important in their own way. Here is the downside: these are roles we must want to take on and take pride in their fulfillment.

I say these things to you my brothers and sisters to bring home the truth about God, one that is earth-shattering and so fundamental to our own growth and preparations in becoming parents ourselves. God our Father in Heaven is the only source of love and forgiveness. He alone gave the gift of love, demonstrated how it works, and proved he practices what he preaches in the forgiving of all our sins through Jesus Christ, his only son. So, in everything I preach, I always bring it down to love and forgiveness. I will always remind people that though we are not perfect in our obligations of being a parent, a sibling, uncle, aunt, son, daughter, a nephew or niece, and yes, regrettably there are times we say things and do things we wish we could take back. We must hold fast to our God who made us malleable, he constantly gives us opportunities to follow his lead, he never gives up, and he loves us even when we are at our worst. God our Father is our example and though we may not live up to this ideal all the time, there is no excuse not to try.

Being malleable means the following… ‘capable of being shaped or changed, whether physically or mentally.’Unknown Author. Within that definition, being malleable is being willing to learn, grow, understand, comprehend, love when you are upset, forgive when you don’t feel like it, challenging your personal paradigm, adapting to earth-shattering events, admitting there is a better way, giving credit where it is due, and last but not least being gracious and kind with your actions and words. Being malleable is being a lifelong learner and lifelong lover of God by living your life with purpose and relentlessly seeking the wisdom of our Father and Creator. In this lifelong practice, parenting becomes a little easier, being a sibling becomes more doable, and being a son or daughter a little more rewarding. So, being malleable is having an open mind, quick to love, and slow to anger.

In conclusion, I say to you my brothers and sisters, ‘1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor rather than silver and gold. 2 The rich and poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all.” – Proverbs 22:1-2. Write these words into your heart and know that if you practice being a good person with a good honorable name, unbreakable in faith, seeking God’s wisdom rather than riches your life will be filled with love. Your teachings to your children will bear fruit worthy of delighting in. But, if you ignore the fact God created us all equally and seek dishonesty and rudeness your children will be a misery to us all. Being a productive part of a family can be messy, can be filled with heartache, pain, and profound disappointment. Your parents may say or do things you disagree with, your siblings may be disagreeable in their actions, and our sons and daughters may surprise us with an unthinkable point of view. But in all the chaos if every member seeks understanding, is sincere in being malleable then there is no problem that cannot be overcome while maintaining a good name for everyone involved. But with equal effect, if you choose to remain quiet, unresponsive, and use silence as a weapon then the emptiness you plant will someday be harvested ultimately being utilized for an unproductive outcome that could tear a family apart. Again, my brothers and sisters God gave us free will and the minds to go our way. He constantly gives us opportunities that can change our lives for the better. We are all connected and all affected both positively and negatively in what we choose.

Let Us Pray!

Pray this in the silence of your hearts –

‘Dear Lord, I pray to always remain malleable in my words and actions, I ask for your strength to face my family with love, truth, and understand ready always to forgive. Be that sibling, father, mother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew, or niece that is relentlessly seeking a good name by dedicating my life to learning your wisdom then actively applying it, teaching your virtues to my children. Dear Lord, open my mind make it malleable so you may shape me into the more perfect version of myself. Please do the same for all the members of my family so that they too may reap the rewards of unconditional love in your arms.’

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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

Amen.

Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

There is But One God!

La passion du Christ
Painting by Gilles Catelin

“For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all —this was attested at the right time.”

1 Timothy 2:5-6 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

The Triumphant Entry

Each year we celebrate this most magnificent arrival into Jerusalem by Jesus and his disciples. The fanfare they received kicked off one of the world’s greatest struggles over religious and political power known. The intent of Jesus was to ransom himself off so that everyone would be saved. With that in mind, Holy Week starts with Jesus’ fulfilling prophecy through the simple act of taking a ride on a donkey.

12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!”

John 12:12-13(NRSVCE)

My brothers and sisters, know with all your heart there is but one God, one savior who took up God’s mission to defeat sin. Jesus, a mortal man willingly gave up his life to accomplish that mission. The events of Holy Week attest to his divine inspiration and his ultimate accomplishment of salvation. To that end, we have the benefit of scripture and can discern these many acts of love performed by Jesus during his life. However, during the time of Christ, there was much debate about who he was and how he was able to work the miracles he did. I say this first so that we have the proper context to his controversial entry into Jerusalem and why some felt threatened and others felt jubilee.

For Jesus who knew the full breadth and width of God’s plan was very methodical in how he did things. Case in point, Mark tells us that as Jesus and his disciples rode near to Jerusalem he sent two disciples to fetch a donkey from a village ahead of them. Here are the precise instructions, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone should say to you, “Why are you doing this?”, just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.”

The important fact about this event of fetching the donkey can be found in the Old Testament, ‘Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ – Zechariah 9:9 (NIV)

Lowly on a donkey, not quite the ride you would expect for the son of God is it? Jesus his whole life did not seek wealth, praise for his good deeds, and he never once did anything out of pride. To ride a donkey was not the most honorable thing to do, but Jesus was using this to signal that the Old Testament scripture was now fulfilled. This was not lost on the people who wanted a Messiah to deliver them from their oppression, i.e. Roman oppression. One could also argue that they felt oppressed by the religious authority of the Sanhedrin and by the puppet ruler of Galilee, Herod Antipas.

Mark also tells us that Jesus when the people met him they threw palm branches on the ground before him. Why palm branches? Well in the time of Jesus palm branches were a symbol of victory, triumph, peace, and eternal life, originating in the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean world. So, combined with the donkey and the palm branches the meaning of this symbology further enhances the claim that Jesus is Lord, the Messiah who has come to deliver them, victorious, triumphant, and with eternal life.

This then is further driven home with the people’s own words, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!” Here we go back to the Old Testament to The Book of Psalms (118:25-26) – A Song of Victory, during the time of King David, “Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord.” Traditionally, this was sung to welcome pilgrims such as Jesus who rode into Jerusalem. But the cries of Hosanna! in the Hebrew context of the word (hoshi`ah-na) actually meant “Save!” or “Help!” Not surprisingly, Jesus was there to do both of those things, save them, and help them reach salvation through his blood sacrifice.

Agreed Upon Sacrifice

Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.

Philippians 2:8-9 (NRSVCE)

In reflection I say to you my brothers and sisters, Jesus knew his mission and where it would lead him. We celebrate Palm Sunday as the first step to our own salvation through Christ, for without his intercession in our sin none of us would have the opportunity for a life with God. Jesus’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem was full of cultural meaning for both Jesus and the people that was not lost on those in power. He entered as the King of the Jews and the prophesied Messiah.

So my brothers and sister I urge all of you throughout this Holy Week to take a moment and ponder Jesus’s mindset, his love, and obedience to God. To help you do that read all five pages of The Letter of Paul to the Philippians, reflect on Paul’s words which are filled with love and such reverence for Christ and his sacrifice, especially verse 2. Imitate Christ, ‘be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, regards others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.’

Amen,

LET US PRAY

We pray for all those who died during a mass shooting event this year starting with, Cleveland, River Grove, Chicago, Yazoo City, Memphis, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Aliceville, Boulder, Houston, Dallas, Gresham, New Orleans, Stockton, Acworth, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Tampa, and Brooklyn. May their souls find rest and comfort with the Lord our God, forever and ever.

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, Forever and ever. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, a world without end.
Amen.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian

Copyright ©2021 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

‘Awake, O sleeper!’

Fourth Sunday of Lent 2021

Second Reading

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the EPHESIANS….

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I say to you that many people around the world are asleep and though they think they are not asleep I would argue that they truly are. In fact, they would claim their eyes are awake, their hearts are true, but I tell you, their very actions show to the world they are not awake in the lord! With that said, I am not going to point fingers at individual people, nor am I going to say, ‘if you do this or that you’re not a Christian’, rather I am going to call out the sin of the many and reach out to those who are asleep in Christ Jesus. With that said, today’s reflection is going to be harsh, uncomfortable to read, and perhaps sobering to your faith. You can’t say I didn’t warn you…

So, my favorite thing about Ephesians is that Paul was dealing with the same issues as we are today which makes this Epistle so relatable. The message of Ephesians shows how anyone who is in Christ sits and rules with Him in the Kingdom of God. It draws a fine line between those who know God, experience God, and understand His mercy and those who are asleep, consequently the ‘sleepers’ of the world are in full-on rebellion against Him. Make no mistake this goes beyond people who are like-minded but rather extends deeper into our most basic needs and how they are fulfilled. Ephesians also addresses the practical issue of Christian unity. Again, make no mistake, we are in a war against sin in all its forms, and those who give up and give in become enslaved to its many forms, especially hate, which I will address later in this reflection.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

EPHESIANS 5:8-14

A Modern Example – Blatant Acts of Hate!

In cities around the world, there is a rise in hate crimes, most especially against non-whites. The last four years I sat and watched how one person’s words influenced thousands and those who fell into the rabbit hole fell asleep because it is easier to be dead in Christ than it is to pick up your cross and follow, i.e. own your own sin! The lack of empathy is more prevalent in the world as a whole and this shift has endangered and killed millions! We are our brother’s keepers, we are all called to testify and to love one another. So, rather than mention names I will talk about deeds and I think you all will know to what and to whom I speak clearly about.

What is hate? Is it a misunderstanding when a random Asian American is pushed to the ground upon his face so hard that he dies because of his injuries? Older Asian Americans who are vulnerable because of their age are being targeted. What have Asian Americans done to deserve such hatred to be perpetrated against them? Need I remind everyone about the contributions of Asian Americans.

Asian Pacific Americans developed fields, helped log the forests, labored in fisheries and factories, and helped to develop the backbone of our economy. Boeing’s first aeronautical engineer, Wong Tsu, was Chinese. The Chinese railroad workers built the transcontinental railway and today’s Chinese and other Asian software engineers are building today’s super information highway. Asian Pacific Americans have stood up through our history for civil and human rights.” – By acrscommunity  Posted May 24, 2017

What about African Americans? Enslaved, beaten, worked to death, murdered in cold blood, and separated from their families and children! What did they do to deserve this treatment? Perhaps, the religion of the South in the 1700s-1800s set the tone that America still is entrenched with taking away blacks’ hard-earned privilege, undermining civility, and in some extreme cases blatantly exuding hatred and racism beyond the pale! What really is disappointing is that after the 2020 election 33 states introduced 165 bills to restrict blacks from voting! The Good Old Boys Party (GOP) strikes again! Bold disenfranchisement coming once again from the old rich white men against the African American Community seeking to keep blacks from exercising their American Right to Vote! We are so past Jim Crow, we are so far beyond the arguments and anger of the 1800s being revisited because the South can’t get over it! Can’t face the fact they lost the Civil War! Lincoln freed the slaves. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a whole host of other civil rights leaders have changed America, making it fairer, but we still have miles to go to make the dream real! All of the above is an excuse to hate! I say to you my brothers and sisters, 11 ‘Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

The Legacy Museum

Most notably, what about the Native Americans’ plight? Here we have the root of our evil deeds. White America wipes out millions of indigenous people! American expansionism on display and justified! Taking of land, killing innocent men, women, and children because they happen to be on land the good old boys club wanted. We still are dealing with this war crime! “12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

AMERICAN MEMORIAL PLAZA – Riverside

About the Sin of Hatred

Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5 (MEV Bible)

We are called to ‘put away lying, let every man (person) speak truthfully with his neighbor, for we are members of one another’ Eph 4:25. So, how do we do this when there are sleepers all over the place rebelling against God? I have been pondering this for four years and wondering how so many Americans can be asleep. Without being political, religion and faith should be a guide to morality. It should be the measure by which we treat each other. Jesus said his followers stand out because of their love, kindness, and grace. Christians are followers of Christ no matter their religious orientation. To treat others with anything other than love, kindness, and grace is not acceptable. Words are a sword when used in anger and hate. All those little lies grow into sin which begets unforgiveness which turns to hate out of ignorance or sheer laziness. The darkness of hatred builds up in the soul and turns it hard little by little and eventually, the heart becomes enslaved and the individual who allowed this condition to take place within God’s house, (the physical and spiritual body) falls asleep in Christ.

Above are but three examples in our shared American history where oppression has been doled out by those who are asleep. ‘Wake up!’ The feeling of anger by itself is not a sin, for Jesus showed anger. God has shown His anger throughout the Old Testament. “Be angry but do not sin! Do not allow the sun to go down on your anger.” – Eph 4:26-27. Clearly, many of our brothers and sisters have allowed the sun to sit on their generational anger and feelings of being replaced by people of different ethnicities. This brings me to my final point, there is no excuse to do wicked deeds, there is no favor that will save you from doing what you know is wrong. Washington is besieged by people who are not working for the greater good and who cleverly mince their words and mislead millions because of their lies. It is a shining example of the rot and darkness which has almost snuffed out the light of good. It is but one example of how one man’s ignorance has spread to infect like a disease the rest of America. I leave you, my brothers and sisters, with this quote, ‘Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners.’ – Eph 4:29

Give grace with your words and actions. Call the darkness for what it is and have nothing to do with it. Do not lie, cheat, or steal from your fellow brothers and sisters. Run the race with your eyes wide open and do not allow sin to take you over forcing you to fall asleep! Remember, to stay awake in the Lord daily! Walk in the light of God always. Do not misuse His words or grieve the Holy Spirit of God. For those of you who turn from darkness and face the light, take up your cross and own your sin then repent, you will be sealed for the day of redemption. This is what I want for the entire world as does God!

Amen

LET US PRAY

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, Forever and ever. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, a world without end.
Amen.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian

Copyright ©2021 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

Mother’s Day 2020

God’s Command To Love!

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

Then Jesus said, 11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete…”.

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”

John 15:9-12

SUNDAY REFLECTION

How true it is that as a child there is no greater knowledge than to know you are loved by God, your earthly family, and most especially your mother. Moms the world over for centuries have been the backbone of the household and for this sometimes thankless sacred duty, all they want in return is to know they are truly loved by their children and their families. Love… is oftentimes a word overused, and whose meaning is so understated. Love is a commandment, it is more than a word, it is more than a catch-all phrase we use in jest, and it is more than a feeling. Rather, Love is a commandment that good mothers exceedingly excel at!

In John 15:9-10 Jesus gives a perfect example of how we can stay within his good graces. As a leader, he does something which all good leaders do… he practiced what he preached! So Jesus through his own human experience brings attention to the fact that he has kept all his Father’s commandments and urges us to do the same… not from an authoritarian point of view but out of the deepest of concerns for our immortal soul! God wants all his children to be with Him in heaven above and not rotting in hell due to some bad decisions or lack of belief. Likewise, moms also want only the best things for their children like Jesus, coming from the deepest of concerns for our wellbeing and this deep want comes from the same bucket of love that God Himself has bestowed upon all His children.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOM! I LOVE YOU!

Reflecting deeper on this I am reminded that my own mother taught me the same lessons about staying in God’s good graces through acts of love. My mother’s own human experience harkens back to her caring and nurturing nature where love rules over everything else and must come first in every action and every reaction. Was my mother perfect? No. Am I perfect? No. Is any mother perfect in their execution of parenting? No. But therein lies the beauty of love… we as human beings do not need to be perfect rather we need to be sincere in our love… loving others with fidelity. This comes in many forms most specifically through forgiveness of a trespass, reconciling after harsh and hurtful words, loving another so much that you would be willing to set them free to make their own mistakes, (as demonstrated by God daily), and to be willing to be sympathetic to another person’s pain. These examples only top a much longer list of examples where our mothers have exceeded in loving us every day of our lives and wholeheartedly deserve this day of celebration!

Guiding Question: Why do you think Jesus followed up his example with verse 15:11? “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete

Every Women of All Generation!

God’s Commandment to Love One Another

Taking a step back I think we need to humanize what we all face within these strange and scary times of COVID-19. Many people will not be able to travel and see their mothers on this special day, many people have suffered great losses as family members have passed due to this highly contagious disease, and there is the impulse to be short-tempered, impatient, willing to play to the fear-mongering and unneeded polarization of this issue. Our mothers who love us, cherish us, and who forgives every stupid thing we do and say should be within our collective hearts this Sunday. Just so you all understand exactly what I mean when I say, “Every Mother”, I mean every single woman on planet Earth who has given birth, adopted a child or has taken in children to raise as their very own, and “YES” even mothers who have personal demons and are overtaken with the various challenges humans can face. This COVID-19 should not define our love and supersede God’s commandment to love one another rather it should embolden our love for each other and especially the love we show to our moms. With that said, if we love every human being with fidelity as Jesus commanded then I tell you, my brothers and sisters, we would see a lot fewer enemies in this world, fewer threats, and more friends and allies to which we can conquer any challenge we humans face! So I say to you… love one another as God loves us!

MAY YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL AND PEACEFUL MOTHERS DAY!

LET US PRAY!

Lord, open my lips to praise your holy name. Cleanse my heart of worthless, evil, or distracting thoughts. Give me the wisdom and love necessary to pray with attention, reverence, and devotion. Father, let my prayer be heard in your presence, for it is offered through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CANTICLE OF MARY: ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

For All Mothers:
That they be supported and encouraged in their special vocation of love for others;

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

That their children will honor their many sacrifices by lives of service and virtue;

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

That those mothers who await the birth of a child that they be safe and filled with joy:

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

That the Lord protect all unborn sons and daughters and bring them to a safe delivery;

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

That all might treasure and support God’s plan for life and love;

ANT. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to remain with you forever, alleluia.

In this we pray to the Lord;

God our Father ln Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus
St. Louis de Montfort Council 11137 Inservice to one. In service to all.

Copyright ©2020 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

Knowledge of Good & Evil!

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT – Year A

13th-Century depiction of Adam and Eve from the portal of the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, Trogir, Croatia (13th century). Source: http://www.christianiconography.info/adamEve.html Orvieto, Exterior of the Duomo: The Bible Relief: Original Sin

Genesis 3: 6-7 The Message (MSG)

 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it — she’d know everything! —She took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.

 Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on” —saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves.

Reflection

In retrospect, I would have to say that this must have been a very bad day for all involved, indeed! I mean first, the serpent tricks Eve into thinking she would know everything… what person in today’s modern age wouldn’t give their right arm to know everything? Then the serpent tells Eve not to worry about what God said… what person on earth hasn’t thought that very thought once or twice in their life? Then he sets back and watches her sin knowing all along what will happen… I mean how many of us have done that very thing to our friends, family, and to those we don’t like?

Point is whether or not this really happened… the story being told is all about human sin, our ability to fall into sin, and our inner impulses to sin. The older we get the greater the form those sins take!

But wait… what did God do about this sin? Well, he cursed the serpent, (Genesis 3:14-15), then God cursed Eve, (Genesis 3:16) and last but not least God cursed Adam, (Genesis 3:17-19). Now let’s look at it from a parents’ perspective… As a parent, I have always reverted back to the principles behind this first question God asked Adam and Eve directly, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) God knew where they were, how scared they were, and what their answer would be! How many times as a parent have you asked a similar question knowing all those same facts? Think about the blood rushing anticipation our children feel when they know we know the right answer but we are asked them anyway! By the way, this works with my students as well.

But this next question is simply brilliant! “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11) Shorten that to ‘Who told you…’ and that question drives home the point! See… sin equals death. Before dealing with the sin God wanted them to admit their sin. God wants us all to admit our sins to Him. So, to the Catholic faith, this takes the form of formalized Confession. To other religions, confession takes different forms, but the request is still the same! Point being this story of Adam and Eve symbolically is teaching mankind that though we sin daily we all must ask God directly through confession and through prayer with sincerity every day for forgiveness of our daily sin because God is the only one who can deliver that kind of grace and mercy!

Finally, this story ends dramatically with God driving out Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, much like he drives out our personal sin when we ask Him. Now, I do want to mention that God did not kill Adam and Eve but he did make their lives much harder in every way possible. Now take a step back and think about this… How many times have you knowingly sinned against God and your life because of that sin becomes harder in some way? In contrast, when we listen carefully to God our lives generally become a thousand times better than what it was before. And I am not just saying that… I have lived that truth! Now think deeper… How did God react in the long run? Instead of giving up on us, turning his back, (which is what Satan wanted), God doubles down on His perfect love! How did God do that you ask? Well, God sent His only son to die on the cross at calvary. Satan wanted to prove to God we are sinful so He wouldn’t love us as much as he does. But God didn’t fall for that instead we can find the proof of our Lord’s love within every page of our Bible. Story after story God’s message is a redeeming one. God never stopped loving us, in fact, by the very blood of Christ are we forgiven which proves how much God truly cares. Showing us that God, in fact, loved us more than we love Him! For it is God who keeps His promises perfectly and with fidelity…

Let us then say this together: “The Lord will come from his holy place to save his people.”

QUESTION: When you become angry or feel that you have been betrayed do you stop loving those who you are angry with? Or do you do what God did and offer another option, another path to forgiveness?

Check Out the Other reading for today:

Reading #2: Psalm 32, Reading #3: Romans 5:12-19, Reading #4: Matthew 4:1-11

Let Us Pray!

Evening Prayer

God, come to my assistance.

– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Psalm 110:1-5,7

The Messiah, King, and Priest
Antiphon: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

Christ’s reign will last until all his enemies are made subject to him. (1 Corinthians 15:25)

The Lord’s revelation to my Master: “Sit on my right: your foes I will put beneath your feet.”

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

The Lord will wield from Zion your scepter of power: rule in the midst of all your foes.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

A prince from the day of your birth on the holy mountains: from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change. “You are a priest forever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.”

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

The Master standing at your right hand will shatter kings in the day of his great wrath.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

He shall drink from the stream by the wayside and therefore he shall lift up his head.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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

Please do not stop praying for our Brother Joseph

CLICK HERE

We are trying to improve our content… Please take a moment and take the survey. CLICK HERE

A Prayer of Healing

Before we pray we acknowledge God as our Lord and Savior:

Ant 1: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Ephesians 1:2 (MEV)

If it were not for you God, our enemies would have swallowed us whole. 

If it was not for you God, our salvation would not be at hand.

If it were not for you God, the Spiritual blessings of heaven would not be within our reach. 

Ant 1: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for if it was not for you God we would remain unholy in your sight.

O’ Lord, you chose us before the the world, for if it was not for you we would not have been predestined to be your adopted children, your many son’s and daughter’s.

My loving God, I confess through your mercy we your children are redeemed, for if it was not for you our many sins would go unforgiving for all eternity. 

Ant 1: Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

A Prayer of Healing for Our Brother in Christ Franklyn Joseph Stark

“Truly, truly I say to you, seek me not because you saw signs but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” – John 6:26 (MEV).

Lord, you alone can heal me, for I have grieved you by my sin.

Once more I say: O’Lord, have mercy on me, for I have grieved you by my sin. 

Say this together: 

‘God, come to my assistance.’ 

“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.”

Everyone pray:

Dear Lord, 

We who love our father, or brother, Franklyn Joseph Stark, humbly pray to you to heal your faithful son who has suffered a stroke, and that you may lay your healing hands upon him. Whisper in his ear, ‘Be not afraid, for I your God am always with you.’  Reassure him this, as you have done for your most beloved children in ages past. 

O’Lord, our perfect savior, we ask that you might extend your grace upon our good father and brother Joseph. Sooth his heart, mind, body, and soul so that your mercy can begin to work through his entire body; remaking him a new. O’Lord, breathe within him your healing breath to which leads to rebirth, renewal, and reinvigoratation in your perfect love granting him many more productive years in which to serve you here on this earth. Give him your body, the bread of life, your blood, the eternal waters of salvation. 

My God, my we the family of Joseph Stark remind you of your promise to come to our aid in times of great need, for if not for your love we would not be deserving. Therefore, we humbly come before you and ask with good and honorable intentions on behalf of your servant in Christ, Joseph Stark, who has served you well. He has spent a lifetime providing for his family, given great care to all who has graced his table, and has been a loyal servant to you my God in all his many years. We only ask that you may reach down from heaven and heal all his physical ailments to which your servant Joseph now suffers from. 

So, it is for you God to examine our hearts, judge our souls, and grant us what you will. But we humbly remind you, our hearts are heavy as we cry for your mercy, we beg for your assistance, and place all our faith within your deserving hands. May your love be poured out over your son Joseph, his loving family, and friends. Please bring your healing presence and wipe away our many fears as our father recovers in your perfect grace.

Lord, you alone can heal our father Joseph and forgive him of his sins against you. 

In Jesus’s name we pray. 

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

Amen

Saint Joseph pray for us.  Sancte Ioseph, ora pro nobis.

In heart felt reflection say: 

‘Lord open our lips to praise your holy name. Cleanse our heart of any worthless evil or distracting thoughts. Give us the wisdom and love necessary to pray with attention, reverence, and devotion. Father, let our prayers be heard in your presence, for it is offered through Christ our Lord.’

Amen, Hallelujah. 

True Mercy

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. ~ Luke 6:36 (NRSVACE)

Become a Subscriber! Click Here

In many ways, mercy begins and ends with love. Case in point, God created the Earth and everything on it (Genesis 1: 1-24). He loved us first in the very act of preparing a place to which we could survive and live in His grace. Furthermore, God’s love is taken to an even higher level through the very act of making us a reflection of Himself (Genesis 1:26) creating us in his own image. In these two thoughtful actions, our all-powerful creator proves His agape love simply by including us in His universal plan. But God didn’t stop there for his love still rises higher through a conscious purposeful choice to meet our sin with mercy expressed in the form of an undeserved-forgiveness that is rooted deeply within His all-powerful, all-consuming, and all-inclusive love (1 John 4:16). Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ our mercy for each other is one of the greatest ways we have to emulate His very first acts in loving us. (Eph 5:2) Thus, to be merciful encompasses every physical act, every word spoken, and every thought we think, or share with and for others.

The Many Faces of Mercy

Putting God’s Love First

Because God does not always confront our sin with judgment rather in most instances our sin is met through his mercy as a sinner in need of Jesus as our Savior. Therefore, Jesus when asked what was the most important of the commandments He responded with, 37 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Because Jesus placed love above all other things, and because Jesus is the earthly representation of Our God in heaven, love must come first. We are therefore commanded to love God and our fellow human beings. When we place love above anger, above our selfish wants, and human greed we become capable of being loving in our actions, words, and thoughts. Our life no longer revolves around our own egos and selfish desires but around others in union with God. From this union we emulate God through the forgiveness of others, we show mercy by helping those less fortunate, and our words become laced with a pearl of kind wisdom. This is the first face of mercy rooted in God’s agape love.

Mercy Builds Hope for the Future

Hardheartedness feeds selfish desires, it propagates loneliness, and in the guise of unearned self-promotion breeds fear and hopelessness. Then God’s plan is thrown to doubt by a sinful, resentful, and evil-minded society. Looking forward becomes a painful proposition which is shrouded in pointless repetition. Still, our God looks through the unhappiness, selfishness, and ego-centric lives who have been caught up in this web with nothing but undying love and a deep longing to bring the many sinners into His light of mercy because He is love. Therefore, when we surrender to God we allow Him on a daily basis to chip away at our hardheartedness so we, through His mercy, can look forward with nothing but a concrete hope for the future. When we emulate God in this way our words even when we are angered, or embarrassed, and perhaps blamed thus tested beyond our ability to cope will be nothing but kind and filled with the truth of reason. Hateful words or phrases that people often spew such as, “You are an embarrassment!”, “You are stupid!”, “You ruined our reputation!”, or “I hate you!” will be met with a calm steel and skillful love. Words of scorn shot down by words of mercy which will move hearts to a future of greater love. This is the second face of mercy rooted in God’s agape love.

Mercy Makes Forgiveness an Imperative

A hand given to lift a person from where they have fallen, food given to the hungry, medical attention given to the sick and dying, or the invitation to a safe place to find rest, all are examples of the greatest works of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ which was so urgently demonstrated during his life. Mercy given in such ways makes the human heart desirable to God, which brings one closer to God. It is so easy to ignore our brothers and sisters in need as our human hearts sometimes silently blame the less fortunate among us for some unknown bad decision they may have made which led them to such ills. But in the eye’s of God, the act of mercy through forgiveness puts judgment aside and His healing love becomes the central focus. For the Lord God, kissed the leper, fed the homeless, and cleansed the sick all of which are mercies we can also grant to those in need. When we forgive we invite the mercy of the Holy Spirit into our lives and thus lead others to do the same which in turn lifts the human soul up as Jesus had done. This action of mercy makes forgiveness the imperative bringing countless of God’s underserved into His divine love. This is the third face of mercy rooted in God’s agape love.

Mercy Gives Rise to Joy

Kindness in actions, the kindness of words, and kindness rooted in mercy are all found in every page of the Holy Bible. God’s message for humanity is clear. The mercy God grants is a renewing and redeeming, “encounter between two hearts: the heart of God who comes to meet us and a human heart.” (Pope Francis, 2016). In this exchange, God’s love and merciful heart is the source which leads to salvation and a rebirth of the human heart which is lifted up and cleansed; raptured in joy despite our human sinfulness. The greatest example of this is the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. The mercy granted in that act of taking our sins upon Himself redeemed the world of its sin. Within this exchange, the human heart finds that it is a “new creation” (Gal6:15). “I am loved, therefore I exist; I am forgiven, therefore I am reborn; I have been shown mercy, therefore I have become a vessel of mercy.” (Pope Francis, 2016). Being a vessel of mercy opens the doors to love which gives rise to a greater joy! This is the fourth face of mercy rooted in God’s agape love.

Let Us Pray!

In honor of those who have been killed in Gilroy, Ca. – El Paso, Texas – & Dayton, Ohio.

PRAYER FOR THE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE

Catholic Health Association of the United States

Loving God, you are the author and sustainer of our lives. You know the anguish of the sorrowful, you are attentive to the prayers of the brokenhearted. Hear your people who cry out to you in their need; strengthen their hope in your lasting goodness. 

We pray today for those who have died because of violence, of terrorism. Draw them to yourself; let your face shine upon them. May they be greeted with choirs of angels and experience your eternal peace and joy. 

Be near to all those who have been touched by violence: those who have been hurt, lost their loved ones or lost their sense of security. Be for them a steady comfort and safe resting place. 

Soften the hearts and steady of the minds of those who would do violence to others. May hate be replaced with love, violence with peace and darkness with your light. 

Amen.

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

Cross of Salvation

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus 
St. Louis de Montfort Council 11137 Inservice to one. In service to all.

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

What You See May Not Be the Truth…

” Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.”

Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

John 14:6-7
thejoecatholic.org

What we search for…

In this world, we strive so hard to find some semblance of the truth. We look under every rock, climb every mountain, and seek the truth through other people. Mahatma Gandhi says open your eyes and remove the cobwebs of ignorance. Indeed, in our world today our eyes are filled with ignorance and so the truth we seek eludes us. But what about heavenly truth? What about the truth of God, the truth of the Spirit? The truth of Jesus Christ? For in our savior’s words he is the truth we seek. Imagine how many cobwebs are in our eyes if we don’t see that to be self-evident and yet many fail to even see Jesus as the only way to God the Father. Perhaps we run this race of life looking for the truth that makes us feel better about ourselves, or perhaps we are trying desperately to find ourselves. Many will claim we could not hope to find ourselves without first coming to know God as the ultimate truth first. So, is it any wonder why the truth is so elusive?

What We See…

Brothers and sisters, I say to you, know that the real truth, the heart-stopping undeniable, and world shacking truth starts and ends within you. For what you see in others may not be the real truth, may not be who they say they are, and worse yet – maybe it’s just another illusion of Satan tempting your good nature in ways you could never imagine. What you see may not be what is real and so the cobwebs Gandhi speaks of becomes thicker and thicker making you more lost in your search for the truth. A really good example of this can be found in the daily news. People pretending to be someone they are not, living beyond their means numb to how they affect those around them. People like Jeffrey Epstein, Alex Acosta, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Olin Graham, the entire Republican Party, and not to mention Donald J. Trump to name a few who all have presented themselves as truth-tellers but are nothing more than con-artists. These manipulators come in every size shape and form and who mostly never become famous. Do you know anyone like this? Sadly, we all do, shockers when the truth is shined, and the cobwebs are suddenly wiped away. What we see can be intimidating and scary especially when it’s your own reflection looking back at you in the mirror. Therefore, self-truth is where your journey should always begin. Build a health ability to reflect constantly upon who you are today, be honest, then focus on who you want to be tomorrow and hopefully the latter is better than the former.

Finding the Path to Truth…

Greek – Know Thyself

I am going to make this short. What makes people like Gandhi and Jesus so appealing is that they can see through our bullshit! How can they see through the deep dark crap of life? Well, they know themselves and they loved the person they were in life. Jesus spoke about being the way, the truth, and the life because he knew who he was and most importantly understood his mission in life. They both welcomed with open arms the heartache of life, the chaos of the human race, and was ok with other people’s failures because they knew who they were as well as the people who surrounded them. The secret if you want to call it that is if I know myself and accept who I am and constantly subject myself to reflection and revision then eventually those cobwebs disappear. If you take time and understand what motivates you first, then the motivations of others become apparent. The watershed moment comes when you accept your sins, accept that you hurt others with your words and actions first and with God’s help you allow yourself to forgive what you did to others. Only then will you begin to understand the “Why” behind your actions. I tell you my brothers and sisters in that very moment you will be able to see through other people’s bullshit too! You will see as plain as day their motivations and will begin to understand why they did what they did. This watershed moment I speak of brings real lasting peace, enlightenment, and love for yourself and for others in your life. The path to truth can be summed up with, know yourself and you will know others and only then begin to forgive.

Let Us Pray…

Lord open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

“All you servants of the Lord, sing praise to him” – Revelations 19:5

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord. Praise and exalt him above all forever. Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord. You Heavens, bless the Lord. All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord. All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord. Sun and moon, bless the Lord. Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.

Every shower and dew, bless the Lord. All you winds, bless the Lord. Fire and heat, bless the Lord. Cold and chill, bless the Lord. Dew and rain, bless the Lord. Frost and chill, bless the Lord. Ice and snow, bless the Lord. Nights and days, bless the Lord. Light and darkness, bless the Lord. Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.

Let the earth bless the Lord. Praise and exalt him above all forever. Mountains and hills, bless the Lord. Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord. You springs, bless the Lord. Seas and rivers, bless the Lord. You dolphins and all the water creatures, bless the Lord. All you birds of the air, bless the Lord. All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord. You sons of men, bless the Lord.

O Isreal, bless the Lord. Praise and exalt him above all forever. Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord. Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord. Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord. Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord. Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord. Praise and exalt him above all forever.

Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let us praise and exalt him above all forever. Blessed are you, Lord, in the firmament of heaven. Praiseworthy and glorious and exalted above all forever.

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

Cross of Salvation

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus
St. Louis de Montfort Council 11137 Inservice to one. In service to all.

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

Come to Me…

Accept the Yoke of the Lord!

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Risen Hand of Christ: Saint Thomas’ Church

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

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

Matthew 11:28 Modern English Version (MEV)

Personal Invitation From God!

Glass Overflowing – The Narrow Gate

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

The Labor of Living!

Pixabay

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

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

Matthew 11:29 Modern English Version (MEV)

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

“From putting coats on kids to helping victims of natural disasters to protecting Christians in the Middle East. The Knights of Columbus are true Knights of Charity.”

Here are twelves ways to get involved! CLICK HERE

Annual Appeal

DONATE

“To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete: it means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to be served, to serve him concretely.” – Pope Francis

To donate CLICK HERE

Special Prayer Request

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

Let Us Pray

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

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

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

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

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cross.png
The Cross of the Lord

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

Special Prayer Request: Beverly Steele

A Prayer For Beverly

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

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

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

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

LET US PRAY

Say these words as you pray for our sister Beverly

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus – Healing Hands

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

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

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

Jesus of Love

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

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

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

Psalm -Prayer

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

Intercessions

Week IV

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

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

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

Make us always remember your wonderful works.

You called men to be heralds of your good news,

Make them strong and faithful messengers of your kingdom.

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

turn their eyes towards the poor and suffering.

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

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

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

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

The Our Father

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

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cross.png
The Cross of the Lord

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

Promises of the Spirit

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

The Trinity

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

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

John 14:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God’s Plan in Action

God’s Plan

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

Spirit of Truth

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

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

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

The Fruits of the Spirit

Fruit Of The Spirit is a painting by Amber Hadden 

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

Galatians 5:16-17 (NRSVACE)

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

The Diversity of the Holy Spirit


Unity In Diversity

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

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (MEV)

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

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

A Poem for Teachers

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

Authors Comments:

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

Let Us Pray

Praying With Faith


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

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

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

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cross.png
The Cross which Saves us.

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!


Brother Brian – Knights of Columbus

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

Therefore, I have Come…

To Affirm and to Clarify the Natural Moral Law

CANTICLE of ZECHARIAH

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

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

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

REFLECTION

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

God Came To Us…

Mary, Jesus, and the Angels

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

Jesus Preaching the Sermon on the Mount Gustave Dore

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

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

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

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

LF-Store

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

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

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

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

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS NOVENA

LET US PRAY

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cropped-Girl-Praying-1024x614-1024x614.jpeg
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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cross.png

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

Brother Brian – Knights of Columbus

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

© 2009-2019

A Christmas of LOVE 2018

Christ the King is Born!

Jesus is Born

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

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

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

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: 1

God Sends Jesus to Earth

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

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

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: 2

King of Love

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

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

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

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

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: 3

Solemnity of All Saints

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

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

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

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

Let Us Pray

Praying to the Lord

The Supremacy of Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is before all else that is.

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

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

Colossians 1:12-20

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

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

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cross.png

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is photo-2.jpg
Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

First Fruits of Tithing

Why We Tithe!

LAST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – SOLEMNITY: 

CHRIST THE KING

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

Concerning Laws & Vows

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

Leviticus 27:30 Modern English Version (MEV)

Short Reflection on Jesus Christ – King of the Universe

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

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

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


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

So What is the True Purpose Behind Why We Tithe?

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

The Ten Commandments

Foundations of Our Relationship with God!

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

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

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

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


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

Genesis 12:2-3 MEV

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

Adam to Joseph Timeline

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

 Laws and Vows

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

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

Leviticus 25:35-38 (MEV)
Mount Sinai

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

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

Leviticus 27:30 Modern English Version (MEV)

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

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

Deuteronomy 12:16-17 MEV
Moses Reading the Law

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

 

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

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


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


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

Deuteronomy 26:12-17 The Message (MSG)

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

Jesus sending out disciples two by two

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

Luke 10:7 MEV

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

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

But you say, “How shall we return?” 

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

Malachi 3:6-11  (MEV)

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

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

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

In Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

Enter His Gate with Thankgiving

And Joyfully Bless His Name! 

THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK I

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

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

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

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

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

To the Listening Faithfully Community! 2018

Being Thankful for Life!

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


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

Being Thankful for Sight!

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

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

Being Thankful for Free Will!

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

The Overflow of Thanksgiving 

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

2 Corinthians 4:15 Modern English Version (MEV

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

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

Become a Subscriber Today!

[rainmaker_form id=”9035″]

LET US PRAY!

THE SIMPLE PATH 

by Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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

The fruit of silence is PRAYER.

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

The fruit of prayer if FAITH.

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

The fruit of faith is LOVE.

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

The fruit of love is SERVICE.

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

The fruit of service is PEACE.

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

Doxology

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

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

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

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

FRIENDS WHO LIKE LISTENING FAITHFULLY COMMUNITY

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.

[rainmaker_form id=”9035″]

REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

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

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

“Let’s grow together as children of God”


Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

Prudence A Holy Virtue

The Gift of Discernment and Self-Control! 

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

THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK IV

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

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

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

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

Prayer for the Innocent 

Thousand Oaks Victims 2018 -RIP 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hear O’ Lord our cries for the innocent. 

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

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

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

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

Reflection of Prudence

Virtue of Prudence

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

Proverbs 14:18 Modern English Version (MEV)

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

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

What is Virtue Apart from Prudence?

The Four Cardinal Virtues

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

Luke 17:10-12 (NRSV)

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

Become a Subscriber Today!

[rainmaker_form id=”9035″]

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.

[rainmaker_form id=”9035″]

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 Spirit Within!!!

Fruits That Build A Strong Character!


Holy Spirit Prayer By St. Augustine
 by Jen Norton

THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK III

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.) Are you a kind person?”


Small Mirror Twin
 by Graham Dean

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

Examination of Character

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

Proverbs 20:27 (MEV)

My Friend
 by Helen Thomas Robson

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

Building Character Through the Fruits of the Holy Spirit!


Inner Peace
 by Jane Small

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

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

2 Timothy 1:7 (MEV) 

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


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

2 Peter 1:5-7 (MEV)

Fruit Of The Spirit Art
 by Amber Hadden

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

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

Proverbs 27:19 (MSG)

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

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

Mark 12:29-31 (MEV)

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

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

Proverbs 6:21 (MEV)

At The Finish Line
 by Digital Photographic Arts

Conclusion

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

Become a Subscriber Today!

[rainmaker_form id=”9035″]

LET US PRAY!


Prayers Art Print – by Piet Flour

Psalm 51:10-15 (MEV)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doxology

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

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

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

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

Facebook Fan Page

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.

[rainmaker_form id=”9035″]

REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

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

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

“Let’s grow together as children of God”


Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

Examine Yourselves!

Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you?


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

THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK II

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

In Troubled Times!

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

O’Lord we pray for; 

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

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

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

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

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

Contemplating Jesus through Mary of Nazareth – by Catholic Exchange

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

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

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

Satan Entered – by Jonathan F. Woodall

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

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

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

The 10 F’s of Bible Study | Faithlife Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Become a Subscriber Today!

[rainmaker_form id=”9035″]

LET US PRAY!


Prayers Art Print – by Piet Flour

PRAYER REQUEST

For our Sister in Christ SHIRLA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

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

Become a Subscriber Today!

[rainmaker_form id=”9035″]

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

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

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

FRIENDS WHO LIKE LISTENING FAITHFULLY COMMUNITY

REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

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

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

“Let’s grow together as children of God”

Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

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

© 2009-2018

The Power of Service

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

Jesus the Servant!

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK I

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

Jesus the Great High Priest

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

Reflection – Perseverance, Prayer, and Endurance!

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

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

Subscribe Below!

[rainmaker_form id="9035"]

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

Subscribe Below!

[rainmaker_form id="9035"]

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 p