Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD"

Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.
-- CCC 397

Thursday, Second Week of Lent

Saturday, February 23, 2013

S Polycarp, bishop and martyr: "Wisdom"

He who holds her fast inherits glory.
-Sirach

"The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood:

"Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this age will be of any use to me. It is better for me to die [in order to unite myself] to Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who rose for us. My birth is approaching. . . (St Ignatius of Antioch)

"I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among your martyrs. . . . You have kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the ages to come. Amen." (Martyrium Polycarpi 14, 2-3:PG 5, 1040; ACh 10,228.)
-- CCC 2474

Friday, February 22, 2013

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle: "“You are the Christ"


you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
-- Mt 16:13-19

The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head." This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.
-- CCC 881

Thursday, February 21, 2013

“Ask"

 and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.

Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ. There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community. It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer. By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom.
-- CCC 2632 

Thursday of the First Week of Lent

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"So shall my word be"

that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

This petition, with the responsibility it involves, also applies to another hunger from which men are perishing: "Man does not live by bread alone, but . . . by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God," that is, by the Word he speaks and the Spirit he breathes forth. Christians must make every effort "to proclaim the good news to the poor." There is a famine on earth, "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD." For this reason the specifically Christian sense of this fourth petition concerns the Bread of Life: The Word of God accepted in faith, the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist.
-- CCC 2835

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Be holy"

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove him,
do not incur sin because of him.

The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.
-- CCC 1829

Monday, First Week of Lent

Saturday, February 16, 2013

First Sunday of Lent: "Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil"

"Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil
."

We are so often tempted by the devil as we read Jesus was in the Gospel today.  We experience "deserts" when we feel alone before the world and helpless in temptation.  But this is because we so often try to do so only under our own resources.  We have to learn what Jesus teaches by His example in the first Lent, His forty days in the desert.

"The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart
"

Jesus Christ, true God, yes, but at the same true Man, went into the desert armed with the power of His Father through grace by faith, but He had to choose to do so.  He teaches us that we must make that same choice if we are to share in His victory over sin and death at the end of the Lent of this life and this world, a desert in comparison with the glory and joy of heaven, our true homeland.

"You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve.


Worship here together of the Lord Jesus, who shows us the Father, is our oasis in the desert and our training for the life we lead in the "desert" of daily life with its challenges and difficulties, but also with its hopes and dreams.  Faith made strong by worship is the armor we wear into battle for our salvation in Christ.  Our intimacy with the Word of God in Scripture makes it possible for the Word to be "near" us, in our mouths for prayer and proclamation and in our hearts by love for Him.

"He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you"

How does the temptation of Christ help us?  By showing us the way of escape to freedom by means of the grace He guarantees to us.  We are given Jesus Christ in our sacramental life, above all in the Eucharist, so that we will be gaurded and guided as He was by grace together with the saints and angels who intercede for us.

We are never alone in the desert of temptation for He is with us always, as He promised, even until the end of the world.

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

"bestow your bread on the hungry"

hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the LORD’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice
Then you shall delight in the LORD

-- Is 58:9b-14

At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord's command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: "He took bread. . . ." "He took the cup filled with wine. . . ." The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, fruit of the "work of human hands," but above all as "fruit of the earth" and "of the vine" - gifts of the Creator. The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who "brought out bread and wine," a prefiguring of her own offering.

-- CCC 1333 

Friday, February 15, 2013

"lift up your voice"

tell my people their wickedness

The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing. Illness becomes a way to conversion; God's forgiveness initiates the healing. It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: "For I am the Lord, your healer." The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others. Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness.
-- CCC 1502

Friday after Ash Wednesday

Thursday, February 14, 2013

“The Son of Man must suffer"

and be killed

After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin. There is Cain's murder of his brother Abel and the universal corruption which follows in the wake of sin. Likewise, sin frequently manifests itself in the history of Israel, especially as infidelity to the God of the Covenant and as transgression of the Law of Moses. And even after Christ's atonement, sin raises its head in countless ways among Christians. Scripture and the Church's Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man's history:
What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures.
-- CCC 401


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday: "Return to me"

with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning

Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, "sackcloth and ashes," fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.
-- CCC 1430 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

“Be fertile and multiply"

Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.

"By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory."
Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: "It is not good that man should be alone," and "from the beginning [he] made them male and female"; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: "Be fruitful and multiply." Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.
 
-- CCC 1652

Tuesday, Week 5, Ordinary Time


Thursday, February 7, 2013

"... you have approached Mount Zion"

and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled Blood that speaks more eloquently
than that of Abel.

The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last time speaks Christ's words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:
Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints. . . .
May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life. . . .
May you see your Redeemer face to face.
-- CCC 1020

Week 5, Thursday


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

S. Paul Miki and companions, martyrs: "Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart"

... to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
In the Roman Rite the bishop extends his hands over the whole group of the confirmands. Since the time of the apostles this gesture has signified the gift of the Spirit. The bishop invokes the outpouring of the Spirit in these words:

All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
-- CCC 1299

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

S Agatha: "The king said to the girl, 'Ask me for whatever you wish' "

even ... my kingdom.
Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. "Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God."

-- CCC 2473

Photo: Cattedrale di Santa Agata, Catania, Sicilia, Italia.


Monday, February 4, 2013

"What more shall I say?"

Some were tortured and would not accept deliverance,
in order to obtain a better resurrection.
Others endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword’s point;
they went about in skins of sheep or goats,
needy, afflicted, tormented.
The world was not worthy of them.
They wandered about in deserts and on mountains,
in caves and in crevices in the earth.

Yet all these, though approved because of their faith,
did not receive what had been promised.
God had foreseen something better for us,
so that without us they should not be made perfect.

The Law, the sign of God's promise and covenant, ought to have governed the hearts and institutions of that people to whom Abraham's faith gave birth. "If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, . . . you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." But after David, Israel gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations. The Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David, would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the Spirit.
-- CCC 709 

Monday, Week 5