There is But One God!

La passion du Christ
Painting by Gilles Catelin

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

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

The Triumphant Entry

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

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

John 12:12-13(NRSVCE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agreed Upon Sacrifice

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

Philippians 2:8-9 (NRSVCE)

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

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

Amen,

LET US PRAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

‘Awake, O sleeper!’

Fourth Sunday of Lent 2021

Second Reading

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the EPHESIANS….

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

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

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

EPHESIANS 5:8-14

A Modern Example – Blatant Acts of Hate!

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

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

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

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

The Legacy Museum

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

AMERICAN MEMORIAL PLAZA – Riverside

About the Sin of Hatred

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

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

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

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

Amen

LET US PRAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

Mother’s Day 2020

God’s Command To Love!

Sixth Sunday of Easter

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

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

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

John 15:9-12

SUNDAY REFLECTION

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

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

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOM! I LOVE YOU!

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

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

Every Women of All Generation!

God’s Commandment to Love One Another

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

MAY YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL AND PEACEFUL MOTHERS DAY!

LET US PRAY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this we pray to the Lord;

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

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

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

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

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

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

Knowledge of Good & Evil!

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT – Year A

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

Genesis 3: 6-7 The Message (MSG)

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

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

Reflection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check Out the Other reading for today:

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

Let Us Pray!

Evening Prayer

God, come to my assistance.

– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

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

Psalm 110:1-5,7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saint Joseph Pray for us. Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

Please do not stop praying for our Brother Joseph CLICK HERE

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A Prayer of Healing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Say this together: 

‘God, come to my assistance.’ 

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

Everyone pray:

Dear Lord, 

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

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

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

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

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

In Jesus’s name we pray. 

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

Amen

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

In heart felt reflection say: 

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

Amen, Hallelujah. 

True Mercy

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

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

The Many Faces of Mercy

Putting God’s Love First

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

Mercy Builds Hope for the Future

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

Mercy Makes Forgiveness an Imperative

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

Mercy Gives Rise to Joy

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

Let Us Pray!

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

PRAYER FOR THE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE

Catholic Health Association of the United States

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

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

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

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

Amen.

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

Cross of Salvation

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

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

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

What You See May Not Be the Truth…

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

Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

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

John 14:6-7
thejoecatholic.org

What we search for…

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

What We See…

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

Finding the Path to Truth…

Greek – Know Thyself

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

Let Us Pray…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cross of Salvation

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

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

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

Come to Me…

Accept the Yoke of the Lord!

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Risen Hand of Christ: Saint Thomas’ Church

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

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

Matthew 11:28 Modern English Version (MEV)

Personal Invitation From God!

Glass Overflowing – The Narrow Gate

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

The Labor of Living!

Pixabay

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

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

Matthew 11:29 Modern English Version (MEV)

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

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Special Prayer Request

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

Let Us Pray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus

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

Permission to print for personal use only.

Special Prayer Request: Beverly Steele

A Prayer For Beverly

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

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

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

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

LET US PRAY

Say these words as you pray for our sister Beverly

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus – Healing Hands

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

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

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

Jesus of Love

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

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

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

Psalm -Prayer

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

Intercessions

Week IV

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

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

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

Make us always remember your wonderful works.

You called men to be heralds of your good news,

Make them strong and faithful messengers of your kingdom.

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

turn their eyes towards the poor and suffering.

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

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

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

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

The Our Father

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

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

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

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