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First Sunday of Lent

February 18, 2018

JMJ

Blessed “little Easter”!

Just as every Friday is a “little Good Friday”
(which is why we make some sort of sacrifice every Friday),
so every Sunday is a “little Easter”–even during Lent!
So let today be marked with joy–
a little celebration
in anticipation
of the feast that is to come!

Readings:
Genesis 9:8-15 (God establishes the rainbow as the sign of His covenant with Noah)
Psalm 25:4-9 “Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth, to those who keep Your covenant”
I Peter 3:18-22 (We’re saved through Baptism as Noah was through the flood)
+Mark 1:12-15 (Jesus’ temptation in the desert & preaching repentance)

Within the ark
eight souls were saved
while floods
destroyed
the wickedness
of sin.

Floods will not serve
again.

They’ve been replaced
by an immersion
that redeems;
a Sacrament
that ushers in
the reign of God
within the soul.

Do I live up to my Baptismal promises?
Is God in charge of my life, or am I?

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Saturday after Ash Wednesday (Seven Founders of the Order of Servites)

February 17, 2018

JMJ

Blessed Seven Founders of the Order of Servites’ Day!

You can find their story here.

Readings (specific to the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites):
Romans 8:26-30 (we’re predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son–the Firstborn of many brothers)
Psalm 34:2-11 “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord”
+Matthew 19:27-29 (Whatever we’ve given up for God’s sake, we’ll receive a hundred times more)

I’m made for more
than what I sacrifice
to follow Christ;
made for
a hundred-fold
of brothers, sisters,
fathers, mothers,
children, houses, lands–
embracing each
with the impassioned
Love
that floods into my heart
from that of Christ.

My heart
must be enlarged
to treasure
each
and every one
in word and deed.

For this,
the Spirit
intercedes
compellingly.

Have I given God the freedom to shed His Love abroad through my heart?
Do those who experience me experience Jesus?

Friday after Ash Wednesday

February 16, 2018

JMJ

Blessed Friday!

We abstain from meat today
as an expression of love
for our Beloved,
Who suffered so much
for us,
and from us,
on Good Friday,
and as a way of sharing in His suffering
for the salvation of the world.

In addition, there’s a prayer that has special significance for Fridays of Lent.
Praying this before a crucifix on a Lenten Friday
(with the usual conditions of Holy Communion the same day,
Sacramental Confession within a week before or after,
prayers for the pope’s intentions–at least an “Our Father” and “Hail Mary”–
and no attachment to sin), makes one eligible for a plenary indulgence
(i.e., to have the Church open Her treasury of graces
to cover all the spiritual restoration which you would otherwise suffer in Purgatory):

Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus,
while before Your Face I humbly kneel;
and with burning soul, pray and beseech You to fix deep in my heart
lively sentiments of Faith, Hope and Charity,
true contrition for all my sins and a firm purpose of amendment;
while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Your five wounds,
calling to mind the words which David, Your prophet, said of You, my Jesus:
“They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones!”
Amen.

Readings:
Isaiah 58:1-9 (fasting is supposed to make us generous)
Psalm 51: 3-6, 18-19 “A broken, humbled heart, O God, You will not scorn”
+Matthew 9:14-15 (there is a time to fast)

I expect God
to obey me
(it’s what I want
from everyone).

I fast
to pull His strings
(and push my weight around
with underlings).

I pout
when He refuses
to oblige.

He lifts my eyes
to heights
of sacrifice
that radiate
the splendor
of His all-consuming
Love
and bids me climb.

Does my fast enlarge my heart?
Am I aiming toward a goal higher than myself?

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

February 15, 2018

JMJ

Blessed Thursday!

Readings:
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (choose life; choose God)
Psalm 1: 1-6 “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord”
+Luke 9:22-25 (Whoever loses his life for My sake will save it)

The choice is clear.
It’s life or death,
entirely
in my hands.

I’ve no one else
to blame
if I choose
candy-coated
death.

Do I meditate deeply enough on God’s Law to recognize death in its most alluring disguises?

Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2018

JMJ

Blessed Ash Wednesday!

And blessed St. Valentine’s Day!

There are at least three saints with the name “Valentine”,
a name which means “strong” (from the same root word as “valiant”),
but the most well-known was a Roman priest martyred on this day around 270 A.D.
(the liturgical color of a martyr’s day is red, for blood & for love).

In one story from his life, he was working in the garden
when he heard a young couple in the midst of a marital spat.
He picked a rose & had them both hold the stem–gently because of the thorns,
while he explained to them what it meant to be “of one heart”.

In another story he persisted in secretly celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
for soldiers & their brides
after Emperor Claudius forbade his soldiers to marry,
thinking they’d fight better if they didn’t have families.

While under house arrest, he discussed the Faith with his judge Asterius,
who put him to the test by challenging him to heal his adopted daughter, who was blind.
Valentine prayerfully laid his hands on the girl, who recovered her sight.
Asterius and his entire household became Christians,
releasing all their Christian prisoners.
As Valentine continued spreading the Faith,
he was brought before Emperor Claudius himself.
who took a liking to him until Valentine tried to convert him.
Claudius sentenced Valentine to be beaten with clubs, stoned and finally beheaded.
The last words Valentine penned were a note to Asterius’ daughter,
which he signed, “From your Valentine.”

He is the patron of engaged couples, against fainting, beekeepers,
happy marriages, love, plague & epilepsy

Readings:
Joel 2: 12-18 (God is merciful when we repent)
Psalm 51:3-17 “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned”
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 (We beg you: be reconciled to God!)
+Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (Our prayer, fasting and almsgiving are to be done
in a spirit of conversion, not for show)

The time has come!
The gates of mercy
open wide
to beckon
all to come
inside,
together
in humility,
sincerity of heart,
and confidence.

Do I expect God to do great things in my life this Lent?
Am I prepared to make sacrifices in the process?

Shrove Tuesday

February 13, 2018

JMJ

Blessed Shrove Tuesday!

As the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the desert
for forty days of fasting and prayer
before His public ministry,
so this same Holy Spirit,
working through the Church,
drives us to forty days of fasting and prayer every year,
where we, too, can expect to be put to the test
and ministered to by angels,
in preparation for our work of continuing
Jesus’ public ministry here on earth.

As we embark
upon these grace-filled weeks,
I invite you to explore some Lenten customs for the home
and Pope Francis’ Lenten message for his year.

God bless your preparations!

Until Lent…

December 26, 2017

JMJ

Blessed Second Day of Christmas!

Also known as St. Stephen’s Day 🙂

This blog will be quiet until the Lenten season.

Until then, may you make yourself at home
with the Holy Family
of Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

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