The Lessons of God Series pt. 1

The Ultimate Teacher

Found Online at Building Faith · A Ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary

Pentecost Sunday – WK 1

My dear brothers and sisters today is Pentecost, the day which God sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Therefore, it is right to pray – ‘God, come to my assistance’ -because Jesus said that he would. In each of these promises of God, we are reminded that each promise was a lesson in and of itself. So, let us say in a loud voice – ‘Alleluia, the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world; come, let us worship him, alleluia!’

'30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.' -  Acts 5:30-32 New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995)

Remember my brothers and sisters, God did not send angels to break the disciples out of prison for no reason. Likewise, He did not leave them bound in jail cells without a plan. God did not let them loose from man’s chains so they could live a life of creature comforts in relative safety! Nor did he remove any of us from temptation, for even Jesus suffered the urges of sin. No, God freed the disciples so they could challenge the establishment! So that they could go about His business with as much vigor as they had been previously. Remember, the disciples lived on the edge before and after each imprisonment! The same can be said about those who are the children of light, sons, and daughters of God! Our lives are not always filled with roses. Nor was a path promised to always be straight and narrow. God did not promise this path He put us on for His name’s sake would be scented with aromatic scents all the time. He did not promise our lives would be filled each and every hour of our existence with peace and enjoyment! No… far, far from it! But God did promise to be present in our lives guiding us and showing us the way we should go.


GUIDING QUESTION 1: ‘Why then if God allows such suffering would anyone push His message forward in this world?’

ANSWER: Know this, God’s word is holy and must go forth for the salvation of the world. His message is universal making it relevant to all ages.

GUIDING QUESTION 2: ‘So how are God’s promises, divine word, and lessons for all ages, especially today?’

ANSWER: By His love, by sending His only son to take away our sins, and by showing us His true nature which is love, for God is love. By giving us the opportunity to partake in His divine love. We are His children, students, and His teachers in waiting. We are taught by the master teacher through the words found in the Holy Bible. Words that are for all men and women from every generation, for we all were made to thirst for His knowledge.


Found Online at Building Faith · A Ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary

What is Found Within Pentecost?

Within Pentecost, we find the most basic instruction that is also a direct fulfillment of what Jesus commanded, not to mention the fulfillment of prophecy by the minor prophet Joel.

'Wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard, (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.' - Acts 1: 4-5 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

Therefore, aren’t we all also told to wait? For God gives to those who obey and are steadfast, disciplined, filled with His righteous love, and who do not judge others. God gives graciously to His children… wait for it! In His good time.

'It is not for you to know the time or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost parts of the earth. - Acts 1: 7-8 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

As for Joel the son of Phatuel: He prophesied a time when God would pour out his spirit upon all flesh, wonders will abound, and anyone who calls out to the Lord will be saved. In Acts 2:16 the morning of Pentecost John declares this prophecy has been fulfilled.

'17 And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come. 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.' - Acts 2:17-21 (DRA)

Unknown Source

Man’s Reaction to Christ’s Teachings

Jesus Christ, who we Christians, declare in Church on Sundays to be our Lord and Savior. To whom we praise and pray, yet in our modern world we question his very existence and even His relevance. In the bible we find Him teaching many relevant lessons based on morality and the tenets of basic humanity. Yet in our technological world, we seem to have forgotten these most basic of lessons. In many ways, His own disciples one hand praised and followed Him, but on the other did not completely understand His teachings. For they were the perfect representation of the human condition. This absolute and complete understanding didn’t come until after Pentecost. As mortal men and women His death on the cross, to which he forewarned was going to happen, and still, they resisted it. When Christ died as foretold they feared for their own lives held up in a room not knowing what to do left bickering with each other. They were crushed even though Christ said He alone was the way to everlasting life. In every instance, they saw through the eyes of non-believing sinful mortals. Likewise, their love for Him in many ways was not adequate for such a person as Christ Jesus.

Yet, He forgave them anyway, as His perfect love gives all of mankind the opportunity to receive His love. This love of Jesus allowed Him to teach the disciples regardless, showing them the way and loving them until the last. He promised them that they would see Him again, and indeed for forty days was He with them in His glorified body, for His loving kindness never wavered! Even during this period, Jesus kept teaching them about heaven and about God. Yet, the bible says they still doubted in the face of many unexplainable miracles.

I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating it is to teach children whose minds are focused on mischief and fun. Never taking seriously the life lessons we teachers are paid to teach them, many times not paid enough! When I say it is a calling that becomes a work of love and for others a mission to teach, I mean it! For me, it is not as much about the money but rather the investment in my student’s future success. Do others take advantage of my love for my students? Absolutely, but wasn’t Jesus sometimes taken advantage of, His teachings twisted to suit some political end? It is through my teaching career that I have become closer and have understood more about God. I have found a deeper more intrinsic value in teaching worth more than a field staked with gold! I have become way more disciplined with my words and my actions. No amount of military training I underwent could ever do that!

Found Online @ https://www.edx.org/

In retrospect, I can relate to Jesus’s frustration with His disciples, not to mention the entire world. One of my favorite Psalms speaks about this. It is a reflection of how God Himself felt about the Jews led by Moses while in the desert.

'To day 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. 10 Forty years long was I offended with that generation, and I said: These always err in heart.' - Psalm 94: 8-10 (DRA)

Many, many times my colleagues and I ask why we still want to teach. For me, It’s because I was called to this profession as the disciples were called to do the will of God even until death. The thirst to teach and the drive to continue teaching others is in my DNA! Like Jesus, I know not all my students completely understood the logic behind my lessons. I know it will take some sort of profound life-changing moment to bring them to the understanding I strived so hard to bring them to in the classroom. I know this to be true as plenty of my former students have visited over the years telling me as much.

So, when our Lord and savior says to wait, be patient, and be disciplined in waiting, trust me, there is a good reason. For everything happens not in our time but in God’s good time. During Pentecost, the disciples were rewarded with God’s complete and total understanding. They saw their collective mission knowing the importance of telling the world about it. They risked everything regardless of what would happen to them personally. During Pentecost, they received the proverbial answer key to Jesus’s lessons. They took that profound knowledge and ran with it! It can be said that every single disciple faced death with monumental courage, an example we all should strive for.

It’s extremely important, however, to see their accomplishments from a teacher’s perspective. For Pentecost, is about being filled with the courage to help others understand, accept, and look at the world through more evolved eyes. It is about facing down that fear of knowing not everyone will understand or even believe. Having the wisdom to cope knowing there will be some that will be lost in this race. But for those who strive to understand no matter how many times it takes the exercise proves to be worth it! But for each attempt that consists of love, forgiveness, and understanding, a lost soul will be won over. The lesson of Pentecost teaches us that Jesus was also filled with the power of the same Holy Ghost, as we are also even in this modern world.

Moreover, Jesus promised that those who follow Him would be able to do as He had done – minus the saving of the world part.

'12 Otherwise believe for the very works' sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.' - John 14:12 (DRA).

AMEN!

LETS US PRAY

Dear Lord,

Let us pray for Ukraine and their fight for sovereignty, for their people who have suffered much within an unprovoked war, not of their own making. May the Lord protect the people of Ukraine and shelter them and uplift their hearts while continuing to build their courage. Together, may we petition the Lord to send His Holy Spirit to comfort them and all nations who desire unity, peace, and mutual respect. Lord God, Father of all mankind, you desire to gather together your scattered children in unity and faith and enlighten the world by the grace of the Holy Spirit. For, through the Holy Ghost, you raised up your Son from the dead, so also Lord we ask that you raise up the bodies of the Ukraine dead into everlasting life.

DOXOLOGY

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.

Matthew 6:9-13 – Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

A Prayer for Protection

ANTIPHON: ‘Alleluia, the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world; come, let us worship him, alleluia!’

INVITATORY – PSALM 95

Venite exultemus

An invitation to adore and serve God, and to hear his voice.

"Encourage each other daily while it is still today." Hebrews 3:13

1 Come let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our saviour.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.

(Antiphon repeated)

3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his.

(Antiphon repeated)

5 For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us.

(Antiphon repeated)

7 For he is theLord our God: and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
8 To day if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts:

(Antiphon repeated)
 
9 As in the provication, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works.
10 Forty years long was I offended with that generation,
    and I said: 'These alwats err in heart.'

(Antiphon repeated)

11 And these men have not known my ways: so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.

(Antiphon repeated)

PENTECOST SUNDAY

READING:

Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. – Ephesians 4:3-6 (DRA)

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

Cross of Salvation

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian

Copyright ©2022 by Brother Brian. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

PASSION SUNDAY

PALM SUNDAY

Psalter, Week II

ANT. COME, WORSHIP THE LORD, FOR WE ARE HIS PEOPLE, THE FLOCK HE SHEPHERDS, ALLELUIA!

18 Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled, 20 Foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but manifested in the last times for you, 21 Who through him are faithful in God, who raised him up from the dead, and hath given him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. - 1 Peter 1:18-21 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition 
Palm Sunday

My dear brothers and sisters, rooted in prophecy today we celebrate the triumphant entry into Jerusalem as found in Matthew 21:5 which is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.

“Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

Matthew 21:5 – New International Version

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 – New International Version

For this day Christ is exalted for He takes upon himself the mantle of priesthood forever as prophesied, a priest forever in the order of Melchisedech.

The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.

Psalm 109:4 – Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition

13 For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. 15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is attested of Him, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”

Hebrews 7:13-17 – New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995)
Journey into Jerusalem

Therefore, as Jesus made his way into Jerusalem he was greeted rightly by the people as a King and the long-awaited Messiah. ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ For it is right and just that we celebrate the coming of Christ Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s promise to deliver us from all evil, and the renewing of our whole trust within him. For the redemption of our sins upon this day was at hand!

 117:1 Give praise to Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2 Let Israel now say that he is good: that his mercy endureth for ever. 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. 4 Let them that fear the Lord now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. 5 In my trouble I called upon the Lord: and the Lord heard me, and enlarged me. 6 The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me. 7 The Lord is my helper: and I will look over my enemies. 8 It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man. 9 It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes. 10 All nations compassed me about; and in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them.

15 The voice of rejoicing and of salvation is in the tabernacles of the just. 16 The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength: the right hand of the Lord hath exulted me: the right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength. 17 I shall not die, but live: and shall declare the works of the Lord. 18 The Lord chastising hath chastised me: but he hath not delivered me over to death. 19 Open ye to me the gates of justice: I will go into them, and give praise to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord, the just shall enter into it. 21 I will give glory to thee because thou hast heard me: and art become my salvation. 

26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name Lord. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us. Appoint a solemn day, with shady boughs, even to the horn of the alter. 28 Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, and I will exalt thee. I will praise thee, because thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. 29 O praise ye the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. - Psalm 117 - Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition

AMEN!

LETS US PRAY

PRAYER FOR PROTECTION

ANTIPHON: The great crowd that had gathered for the feast cried out to the Lord; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest

INVITATORYPSALM 95

Venite exultemus

An invitation to adore and serve God, and to hear his voice.

"Encourage each other daily while it is still today." Hebrews 3:13

1 Come let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our saviour.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.

(Antiphon repeated)

3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his.

(Antiphon repeated)

5 For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us.

(Antiphon repeated)

7 For he is theLord our God: and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
8 To day if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts:

(Antiphon repeated)
 
9 As in the provication, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works.
10 Forty years long was I offended with that generation,
    and I said: 'These alwats err in heart.'

(Antiphon repeated)

11 And these men have not known my ways: so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.

(Antiphon repeated)

PALM SUNDAY

PRAYER: Almighty Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you sent your Son to be born of a woman and to die on a cross, so that through the obedience of one man, estrangement might be dissolved for all men. Guide our minds by his truth and strengthen our lives by the example of his death, that we may live in union with you in the kingdom of your promise. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Perpetual Prayer for UKRAINE:

Dear Lord, give your strength to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Protect the innocent and brave of heart. Save those who find themselves in harm’s way and give courage to those who fight like righteous lions! Give your eternal peace to Ukraine’s President Zelenski and show him the path to take in these troubled times. May the words written in Philippians 2:2-4 reign in all Christian hearts worldwide;

 "Make my joy complete by your unanimity, possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals."

GIVE TODAY TO HELP UKRAINE!

The Franciscan Relief Fund

The Franciscan Relief Fund was established by the Franciscan Friars in 2020 to bring food assistance to men, women, and children facing hunger during times of natural disaster, war, disease, unemployment, or poverty.

In Ukraine today, our sisters and brothers and their children are facing hunger, homelessness, and evacuation.

DOXOLOGY

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.

Matthew 6:9-13 – Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition

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

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Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

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Special Prayer for Ukraine

POPE FRANCIS’S PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Forgive us for war, O Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!
Lord Jesus, born in the shadows of bombs falling on Kyiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who died in a mother’s arms in a bunker in Kharkiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, a 20-year-old sent to the frontlines, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who still behold armed hands in the shadow of your Cross, have mercy on us!

Forgive us, O Lord.

Forgive us, if we are not satisfied with the nails with which we crucified Your hands, as we continue to slate our thirst with the blood of those mauled by weapons.
Forgive us, if these hands which You created to tend have been transformed into instruments of death.
Forgive us, O Lord, if we continue to kill our brother;

Forgive us, if we continue like Cain to pick up the stones of our fields to kill Abel.
Forgive us, if we continue to justify our cruelty with our labors, if we legitimize the brutality of our actions with our pain.
Forgive us for war, O Lord. Forgive us for war, O Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore You! Hold fast the hand of Cain!
Illumine our consciences;
May our will not be done;
Abandon us not to our own actions!

Stop us, O Lord, stop us!
And when you have held back the hand of Cain, care also for him. He is our brother.
O Lord, put a halt to the violence!
Stop us, O Lord!
Amen.

TO HEAR POPE FRANCIS CLICK HERE

TWO COMPETING PARADIGMS…

One With True Contentment & One Without

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Thirsting for God... 
       42 'As the deer pants for the water brooks,
             So my soul pants for You, O God.
       2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
             When shall I come and appear before God?' 
              - Psalm 42:1-2 New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995)
Everyone Thirsts for God!

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today I wanted to reflect upon the two choices that will define our lives and will determine our course into the hereafter. Therefore, within the serious tone of this message please have an open mind and heart. ‘Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts.’ – Psalm 94:8 Douay-Rheims 1899 Version

Question to Ponder: “Don’t you want for yourself and for your family; even the world to be at peace finding ever-lasting contentment in all things?”

We have two choices that really matter, I mean, (absolutely), in the literal sense of the word, (absolutely), matters. You can’t run from this choice, you can’t hide from it, you can’t ignore it, and you can’t meet or beat it with silence. I guess you could try as a large portion of the world’s population tries with a huge amount of struggle… but one who tries this strategy quickly finds this choice is constantly on their mind until they decide which way they shall go. For this choice will nag you to the grave! It is a choice between living a life knowing that you are absolutely loved, cherished, forgiven, and which you can confidently know true lasting joy and peace, having eternal hope, fullness, and unending happiness within all circumstances in your life; being a beacon of hope to others. Or a choice of instant gratification, temporary happiness that has a definable beginning, middle, and end. A choice that leaves you wanting for more, never satiating your hunger, always leaving you with underwhelming love, hope, joy, and peace; a mere taste of what the first choice can deliver. This second choice also is the harbinger of sin, strife, division, the true source of pain and anguish; the driver of conflict which leaves everyone involved in bitterness and leads to never forgiving others and thus, a permanent hardening of the heart. Why would anyone choose this second choice? Sadly, millions of our brothers and sister do. Perhaps out of ignorance and/or fear, maybe they were taught to fill their lives with the belief that they are an island and do not need what the first choice can bring into their lives. Simply put there are many circumstances, too many to count, which people face that bring them to choose the wrong choice. However, making this choice is hardwired into our very being and so, when we try to ignore it we find ourselves in depression and despair.

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Dealing With These Two Competing Paradigms

The best place to start is by understanding why we have this thirst for God, why choice number one is the right choice, and finally, we must come to terms with what God wants from us in the starkest of terms.

42 'As the deer pants for the water brooks,
      So my soul pants for You, O God.'
       - (NASB 1995)

God our Father who is in Heaven made us, He alone knows everything about us, and He wants a relationship with us. I can not stress this enough! So, paradigm one logically states that God hot-wired us to thirst for him as the wild and tame animals thirst for water. Therefore, it is absolutely true that God made us for himself. (Isaiah 43:21) 21 “The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise.” Therefore, the first paradigm should be easy to accept right? Well, hold on… there’s more! God also wants us to live with the confidence he is in control, 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’ – Romans 8:28 (NASB 1995). Furthermore, when you put this idea against your own personal wants and dreams we naturally find conflict. The human heart because of sin is separated from God. Because God is love he reacted the only way he could; that being the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Here again, we as fallible creatures struggle with that one act of God’s mercy that on its face is so overpowering and dumbfounding that we struggle with it. We find ways to explain why God would allow his son to die in such a hideously painful and disgraceful manner that we begin to question his loving-kindness with this most common question: ‘If Jesus was real and he died on the cross for my sins… (it is here we are forced to accept God’s mercy without the benefit of having been there to witness it ourselves), then why would God do that for a wretch like me?’ (Instead of accepting God’s mercy we find ourselves unworthy and therefore automatically go through phases of rejection, guilt, and turmoil which leads us to ask, ‘How could a person love me so much they would willingly lay down and die for me.’)

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Believe it or not, this is called progress, for at this moment our logical minds start asking questions searching for the truth about God, so much so that we inevitably become closer to finding God. Think hard, do you remember ever asking this question? ‘If Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins then why does God still allow evil into our lives?’ Have you ever started any question with, ‘Why does God…’, this, of course, is called the searcher’s questions. Though I will warn you… that some people never stop asking and instead their questions become accusatory assigning blame for everything wrong that has ever happened to them. They end up bitterly blaming God saying it is his fault and they can never see their own hand in the midst of their own misery. This is a person who has chosen the world, or paradigm two, over paradigm one and acts against the direct command given to us, ‘…abstain from every form of evil.’ – 1 Thessalonians 5:22 – (NASB 1995). However, for those of us who honestly and sincerely search for Christ and who honestly want to grow in their faith each question asked is purposeful and will bring the asker closer to God lighting an undying fire to know Him.

Christian Parenting

Some people who were raised with parents who taught and read the Bible often are more accepting and thus choose early in life to believe in and love God. Others who as children that did not have the benefit of being raised in a stable home with parents who believed in paradigm one are often lost, wandering through life, searching for something which is ingrained within their very being but sadly have no clue why they hunger for something more powerful and meaningful. Into adulthood, many of these people are blind to the virtues which God Himself commands us to follow. Others simply run away from making this difficult choice because to face it would be too painful which drives them into the arms of disbelief, fooling themselves that they can manage it all without God. This of course is a childish attempt at controlling every event that happens to them from the moment they were initially hurt to the day they are forced to answer this nagging choice of which path to choose. This is known as running away from one’s pain and unwittingly straight into the arms of the loneliness of our imperfect world and all it cannot give us rejecting what we rightfully deserve in Christ Jesus. My brothers and sisters, if this is you, I sincerely urge you to stop, look, and listen because you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t.

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Benefits of Paradigm One

My Personal Testimony

In conclusion, as I reflect upon what I have written here within this post, I often recall all the hurtful experiences I have faced as an adult living in California. I think back on the joy of my only child’s birth and the subsequent years of arguing and hating my then-wife as she pursued a long-drawn-out divorce that did not end once the original papers were signed. I reflect upon the countless men who I associated with on Facebook parenting groups who were victims of Parental Alienation of a Minor Child, and how our ex-wives sought to divide us from our children making them choose between their parents. The court battles where I endured countless hours of lies by the opposing lawyers who tried everything in the playbook to define me as a bad dad, deadbeat dad, and a dad that was only good for forking out money hand over fist. My joy was reduced in the courts like so many other fathers into a pile of pain and torment… subsequent torcher, living in fear of what else could be taken away, ripped from our hearts and lives. Spending time became a schedule set by the court. How you spend time was often reduced to where this time could be spent. I within this hour of darkness had a daily choice, to give up and concede to what the world wanted of me, or fight with confidence that God was by my side through it all. I chose God every day, he is my strength, courage, and my shield! God has never left me alone, and in this, I learned and grew to always be thankful for everything.

My argument for paradigm one is not something I endorse without knowing God, but rather I endorse it because I would not be here without God! In short here are the benefits of choosing God or paradigm one:

ADOBE STOCK

I can confidently testify that…

  1. I have found peace in everything, in every good or bad thing that has happened to me.
  2. I have an undying joy, as I look at this world and celebrate all that God has done for me.
  3. I have found a deep sincere agape love that only comes from God.
  4. I have learned that forgiveness is always the best policy, for those who don’t forgive will end up bitter holding tight to a hardened heart… this was the most difficult thing to do as it relates to my ex-wife.
  5. I have a hope that can never be drowned by the world’s imperfect pessimistic policies and actions. For God is always in control and is working for the good of all things. There will always be some things that I can not explain but I have hope in God knowing he knows about it and is working on a solution.
  6. I am filled to the brim with God’s goodness, grace, and mercy.
  7. I have a happiness that is far and above anything other forms of happiness the world could ever offer me.

Though I will admit that the key to my relationship with God is rooted within this one guiding principle; I know and trust God and will heed all of his commands, I will go where he wants me to go without question and seek out his wisdom at every turn. For I know without any doubt that God is conforming me into the likeness of His only son which is far and above a much better version of who I was when I started this journey. I am not afraid to write this in black and white for it is a starkly different mindset that is freeing and allows one to escape the world’s blame, being defined by one action, and is completely within God’s will.

This my brothers and sisters is what I want for you. Be confident in your own testimony, yield to God in all things, and know He is with you and in control over every aspect of your life, and yes, He is conforming you into a better version of yourself.

AMEN!

LETS US PRAY

PRAYER FOR PROTECTION

ANTIPHON: O God, my God, I give you thanks; you are my God, I shall proclaim your Glory.

INVITATORYPSALM 95

Venite exultemus

An invitation to adore and serve God, and to hear his voice.

"Encourage each other daily while it is still today." Hebrews 3:13

1 Come let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our saviour.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.

(Antiphon repeated)

3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his.

(Antiphon repeated)

5 For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us.

(Antiphon repeated)

7 For he is theLord our God: and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
8 To day if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts:

(Antiphon repeated)
 
9 As in the provication, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works.
10 Forty years long was I offended with that generation,
    and I said: 'These alwats err in heart.'

(Antiphon repeated)

11 And these men have not known my ways: so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.

(Antiphon repeated)

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT:

PRAYER: 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 our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and forever.

Perpetual Prayer for UKRAINE:

Dear Lord, give your strength to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Protect the innocent and brave of heart. Save those who find themselves in harm’s way and give courage to those who fight like righteous lions! Give your eternal peace to Ukraine’s President Zelenski and show him the path to take in these troubled times. May the words written in Philippians 2:2-4 reign in all Christian hearts worldwide;

 "Make my joy complete by your unanimity, possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals."

DOXOLOGY

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.

Matthew 6:9-13 – Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition

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

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Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2022

A Command to Hope!

WORDS FOR UKRAINE
WE STAND WITH YOU!

6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6–7 (New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
Jesus fish / Christian faith symbol
Marek Studzinski via Pixabay

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I write this reflection with the invasion of Ukraine heavy on my heart. The shock of one nation attacking another sovereign nation with no provocation… is unconscionable! The pretext used by Russia was the same as Nazi Germany which started WWII. So, I say to you this which is the truth we all know and celebrate but rarely is it found written or even spoken aloud to which I pray will spread hope where hope seems fleeting. Know this, there is more going on that we cannot see yet God sees. Proof of this can be found within the impressive Ukrainian people, their President, their boldness in their defience against Putin’s Russia! The lesson that is unfolding before the world’s eyes is one we all need to teach our children from here on. This lesson is solidly based on Philippians 4:6 “Do not worry about anything…” Frankly put; by giving your life over to God there is nothing to worry about as He sees and knows and has already provided everything for you. Moreover,“… but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” By prayer and earnest supplication will God not only hear those requests but also answer them. Know that faith in God during the darkest hour always produces miracles that surpass our earthly understanding. Therefore, let the world pray and let the world fall down in supplication before our God with Ukraine in our hearts, on our minds, and tongue!

FAITH IN ACTION

Brothers and sisters, it is not enough to read this reflection but I urge you all to take action!

For starters, there is this little-known organization who through nothing more than donations is going into Ukraine helping people leave safely. I highly recommend everyone to donate funds to Project Dynamo – CLICK HERE

87% to programs, 8% to administration, 5% to fundraising.

Another non-governmental organization that specializes in global humanitarian aid and relief has been delivering these services since its founding in 1933 in Manhattan, New York, NY. I highly recommend everyone to donate whatever you can to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) – CLICK HERE

Crisis in Ukraine

10 do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
Knowing Jesus
Source: https://www.knowing-jesus.com/

TO THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE

A PRAYER OF SOLIDARITY

I tell you to remember what has been written, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NRSVCE) Therefore, take refuge in God who walks by your side, His divine spirit fights against evil in all its forms on your behalf! I tell you with all assurances in this that God is your strength for He alone upholds you; He alone will lead you to victory! God has moved the world to support you, to give you all that you need, He alone fills your men with the fighting hearts of righteous lions, and it is God who neuters your enemy’s desires forcing them to fall under your heel!

TO PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

33 I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

John 16:33 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
President Zelensky

Dear President Zelensky, remember always the words and promises of YHWH… for your hope is found within his love! Your nation’s peace along with all other nations that stand with you is found in unity! Take heart in the many examples of all who have faced down oppression, hold strong to your courage and faith. Continue to give hope to your people with the knowledge that peace, hope, love, and courage will overcome every tyrant no matter the age they have arisen. Know that your victory is certain! Know you are justified in all your actions. Keep hope close to your heart and peace for all Ukrainians written upon your soul! All hope is yours and all things are possible within this incredible love of our shared faith in all righteousness!

LETS US PRAY

PRAYER FOR PROTECTION

ANTIPHON: Come, let us worship God who holds the world and its wonders in his creating hands.

INVITATORYPSALM 95

Venite exultemus

An invitation to adore and serve God, and to hear his voice.

"Encourage each other daily while it is still today." Hebrews 3:13

1 Come let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our saviour.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.

(Antiphon repeated)

3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his.

(Antiphon repeated)

5 For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us.

(Antiphon repeated)

7 For he is theLord our God: and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
8 To day if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts:

(Antiphon repeated)
 
9 As in the provication, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works.
10 Forty years long was I offended with that generation,
    and I said: 'These alwats err in heart.'

(Antiphon repeated)

11 And these men have not known my ways: so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.

(Antiphon repeated)

EIGHTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME:

PRAYER: Lord, guide the course of world events and give your Church the joy and peace of serving you in freedom.

Dear Lord, give your strength to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Protect the innocent and brave of heart. Save those who find themselves in harm’s way and give courage to those who fight like righteous lions! Give your eternal peace to Ukraine’s President Zelenski and show him the path to take in these troubled times. May the words written in Philippians 2:2-4 reign in all Christian hearts worldwide;

 "Make my joy complete by your unanimity, possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals."

DOXOLOGY

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.

Matthew 6:9-13 – Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition

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

is 91YcQ0OYNL._AC_SL1500_-1024x788.jpg"/>

Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

KEEP IN TOUCH!

Come and visit us on Facebook for weekly questions and discussions on the reflections posted here. I can’t wait to hear from you! Just click the link below and make a comment!


Douay-Rheims Bible

Help Support Listening Faithfully by clicking the link below!

If you donate $100 or more I will send you a Douay-Rheims Bible! Just leave your mailing address in the comments. The Douay-Rheims Bible was translated between the years 1582 and 1610 and revised by Bishop Richard Challoner. It is the most accurate English translation of the Bible available today and Listening Faithfully’s bible of choice! 

Growing a Real Relationship with God!

Honoring the important role God plays in your life.

FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

The Year of Grace

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

When You Wake in the Morning

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

Take 5 minutes a day with God in meditation.

Scriptural Justification for Meditating:

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

In the Morning or Evening – but meditate daily!

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

Meditation – Week 1:

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

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

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Meditation – Week 2:

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

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

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Meditation – Week 3:

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

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

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Meditation – Week 4:

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

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

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Prayer is how we stay connected to God.

Scriptural Justification for Prayer:

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

Take 20 minutes a day with God in prayer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Prayer

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

Psalm-Prayer

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

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

Psalm-Prayer

Reading

Responsory

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

Intercessions

Recite the Our Father…

Prayer in the Proper of Seasons pg 249

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

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

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

Scriptural justification for maintaining a thankful spirit.

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

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

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

Be like Paul, learning how to be grateful:

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

Get rid of the drama in your life:

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

Find the daily miracles in your life:

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

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

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

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

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

Scriptural justification for giving to others.

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

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

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

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

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

THEREFORE, LET US PRAY

Lord God,

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

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

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

Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

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

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