Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus Carries His Cross

As we come to the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, we reflect on the passage, “Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.” (John 14:27)

“He was counted among the wicked.” (Is 53:12)

Jesus kissed and embraced His cross for love of us because by His holy Cross He would become one with us in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the gift of Our Lord’s Passion. With Mary, we unite ourselves with Jesus and offer to Him all our sufferings in mind and body, in heart and soul.

We are never given more than we can carry or bear, and as Simeon helped
 Jesus carry His Cross, so Jesus Himself helps us carry ours. “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted.” All trials purify us and lead us into a deeper union with Jesus. We offer Jesus all our sufferings for the salvation of souls, even the sufferings we bring upon ourselves.
This is the triumph of the cross: all suffering has lasting and redeeming value when offered to Jesus Who glorified all human suffering by His holy Cross! Three times He fell on His way to Calvary to teach us never to get discouraged, for here in the Blessed Sacrament He makes a divine success out of all our failures when we humbly surrender them to the redeeming love of his Sacred Heart.

Like fire that transforms everything to itself, here in the Blessed Sacrament Jesus transforms everything to good in the fire of His divine love, drawing good out of evil, drawing a greater good out of a greater evil, consuming even our very faults and failures (like straw thrown into a burning furnace) and using them to make us more humble and to bring us even closer to His divine Heart. “In my weakness, I find my strength.”

Blessed Sacrament Prayer:
Jesus, during this mystery we embrace our cross for love of You Who kissed and embraced Your Cross for love of us. With Your grace, help us to fulfill our daily duties in life. We renew our Baptismal vows and ask You to prepare our hearts for a worthy confession where You wash away our sins in Your Blood. We beg you, Jesus, to pour out from Your Eucharistic Heart an abundance of strength and consolation upon all of the depressed and discouraged in the world, especially those who have fallen into despair and who are in most need of your encouragement. 

This selection is taken from Come to Me in the Blessed Sacrament, Fr. Vincent Martin Lucia, Apostolate for Perpetual Adoration, P.O. Box 46502, Mt. Clemens, Michigan 48046.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Devotion for today: we stand at the foot of the cross

We now place ourselves on the hill of Calvary where some people jeer and mock our Lord, and others…

Scripture for meditation: Luke 23: 35-38
The people stood there watching, and the leaders kept jeering at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, the chosen one.” The soldiers also made fun of him, coming forward to offer him their sour wine and saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” There was an inscription over his head: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Scripture for reflection: Isaiah 50:2
Why was no one there when I came: Why did no one answer when I called?

Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC asks us to enter into a meditation:
Mary is with us. Let us go with confidence to the foot of the cross. Let’s run there. Nothing can harm us. Mary is with us! She’ll teach us what to do. Let’s go console Jesus with Mary….The ugly mob parts like the Red Sea…. We arrive at the foot of the Cross. Look up. Behold that Heart which loves so much yet is so little loved…. Mary takes you into her arms and lifts you close to the broken face of the Savior…. You smile and speak to him from your heart:
Lord, don’t look at them. Look at me…Lord Jesus; even though my sins are many, I know the mercy of your Heart. I’m sorry I left you alone. But look, here I am. Please forgive me my sins. I’m going to try to do better. Please forgive them their sins, too. Lord, if only they knew you, they’d love you. Lord, I can’t offer much right now except for my weak trust and love. Jesus, I do trust in you, and I love you. Praise you, Jesus, and thank you for everything, especially for what you’re suffering right now out of love for me. I’ve come to be with you, my friend. Don’t be sad. I love you, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than right here, praising you, thanking you, and consoling your broken Heart”…. Of course, Jesus still feels the pain of rejection and sin, but as he looks from the Cross and sees your confident love, you really do distract him from the circus of abuse that surrounds him. Suddenly, he says to you, “My beloved friend, seeing your great confidence and love, I wish I could suffer even more.” Yes, seeing you here, loving him and thanking him, makes it all worth it to him. This is what he’s been waiting and hoping for. Now his suffering is somehow relieved, and he continues speaking to you: “Child, you are a delight to my Heart.” (Consoling the Heart of Jesus, Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, Marian Press, 2011)

Prayer: Prayer Before a Crucifix
Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before Your face I humbly kneel,
with burning soul, pray and beseech You, to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments
of faith, hope, and charity; true
contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment.
While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Your five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me and 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.

My thoughts:  We would like to think of ourselves as someone who would have been brave enough to walk through an angry crowd and step up to console Jesus on the cross. It would have been scary. Then we realize that we face that very fear every single day of our lives. When we walk away from gossip, we are met with angry stares and behind-the-back comments. When we leave a job, party, or social circle because we can no longer tolerate the immoral or unethical behavior of the people there, we are faced with ridicule, scorn and rejection; yet when we turn away from all this, we turn into the arms of Christ. We stand at the foot of His cross. We comfort His breaking heart. We were not on the hill, not at the cross, not in history, anyway. But we are there now, and we know what we must do. Let us pray for the grace to stand with our King forever.

Our prayer to God:  Today we fast from all indecision and wishy-washy faith practices. Let us repeat over and over: I have decided to follow Jesus; there is no turning back for me. With the Cross before me, and the world behind me, there is no turning back. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Devotion for today: whom do you choose?

Today we are part of the crowd which is given the choice of Barabbas or Christ…a choice we make every day

Scripture for meditation: John 18:39-40
But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.

Scripture for reflection: 1 Kings 18:25-30, 32-34, 36-39
 So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, “O Baal, answer us.” But there was no voice and no one answered. Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed. Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood.  At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God.”

Thomas Leiker tells us: Caiaphas, Pilate, and Barabbas…represented different faith personalities in the parable of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and subsequent death. Caiaphas chose what was more important to him: his position and wealth over spiritual honesty. An image of him might be: as everyone else runs away from a disaster, he is still there, trying to gather his belongings to take with him. Pilate knew what the right choice was but allowed himself to be intimidated into choosing the option which went against what he believed….Barabbas, more than the others was representative of humankind today. He was the evil man who was craved by the people more than the goodness of Christ. With bribery or intimidation the crowd was led to choose evil over good. Many were the same people who greeted Jesus on Palm Sunday or heard him at the temple. Some that turned against him were even longtime followers. Some, who were steadfast in their faith, just didn’t speak up loud enough. It was as if they didn’t know any better, but surely they did. What intimidations and bribes will sway our choices from the heavenly to the worldly? We are asked every day, “Do you choose Barabbas or do you choose Christ? And Jesus? Throughout his last days he became the perfect example of prayer and communion. He humbly carried on God’s plan…. He became open to God’s presence in his life and listened to the voice of a Holy Spirit. He loved the Father and cared for his people. He was one with God.
Continue reading on The last days with Jesus: Who is Barabbas, part 2 - Albuquerque Catholic |
My thoughts: In our passage from 1 Kings, the Israelites choose wisely. They are offered the choice of the pagan god Baal or the true God. After seeing the power of God come down on Elijah’s altar, they choose the true God. The crowd at Jesus’trial, however, choose poorly. For whatever reason, they choose Barabbas whose name, ironically, means ‘son of the father’. They have the true Son of the Father before them, and, like the Israelites, have seen His power and love; yet it wasn’t enough for them. Is it enough for us? Choosing the false gods in our lives can only bring us pain. At some point we must begin to shout, “We want Jesus.” We must claim Him as our “Friend, in Whose sweet praise we all our days could gladly spend”!

Our prayer to God:We don’t know what caused the crowd to turn on Jesus and seek Barabbas. Let us examine our hearts today and find out why we do it. Is it fear of being different, of standing out in a crowd? Maybe we can be bribed with some earthly reward, or bought with a false promise of earthly praise or glory. Maybe we are just plain afraid to be a true disciple and follow Christ through the good times and the bad. Whatever it is that keeps us from being true to our Lord, let us fast from it this Lent and never disown Him again.

Prayer: My Song is Love Unknown (Samuel Crossman)
My song is love unknown, My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown, That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake, My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne, Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none The longed for Christ would know:
But O! My Friend, my Friend indeed, Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way, And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath, And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done? What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run; He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have, My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they saved, The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes, That He His foes from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home, My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home; but mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing, No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King! Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise I all my days could gladly spend.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Devotion for today: Sing Hosanna!

Now we place ourselves in the crowd which lined the streets when Christ entered Jerusalem. Shouts of “Hosanna!” ring in our ears, as we take up our palm branches and join in….

Scripture for today: John 12:12-16
 When the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.” Jesus found an ass and sat upon it, as is written: Fear no more, O daughter Zion; see, your king comes, seated upon an ass’s colt. His disciples did not understand this at first, but when Jesus had been glorified they remembered that these things were written about him and that they had done this for him.

 We learn in “Why Did the Jews Reject Jesus?” by David Goldstein LL.D (1943, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, named a "Knight of St. Gregory" by Pope Pius XII in 1955.)
It is interesting to note, that nearly all the questions you put up to me, are questions I have asked myself while studying, doubting, and fighting off Catholic claims. One of them, taken from your first letter, is-
"If Jesus is the Messiah, as Christians claim him to be, do you think the Jews of his time would have rejected him?"
Yes, is the answer. The Jewish leaders of those days, and not the Jewish populace, were the cause. That was partly due to the desire for a monarchial personage, if any, to free Jewry from the tyranny of Caesar, rather than a humble, spiritual personage, an advocate of a kingdom that is not of this world. Annas and Caiaphas, the high priests, and the controlling members of the Sanhedrin, who were mainly Sadducees, the Pharisees (also enemies of Jesus) being in the minority, were the cause. These Sadducees were the Protestants of Jewry. The leading authoritative Jewish writings inform us, as you very likely know, that they opposed many of the primary Old Testament teachings that Jesus advocated. They denied belief in spiritual beings, the immortality of the human soul, a future life of rewards and punishments, and the resurrection of the body. They ignored the Messianic teachings of Moses and the prophets, and looked forward for freedom from Rome rather than emancipation from the affliction of original sin. The Sadducees were a wealthy class, who were hated by the Jewish populace. Jesus openly warned the people to "beware" of them (St. Matt. 16:6).The Talmud says that the benedictions in the Temple used to end with "blessed be the lord God of Israel unto eternity," but when the Sadducees corrupted the Jewish faith by denying the immortality of the soul, it was enacted that the benedictions should end with, "from eternity to eternity" (Berachotd, fol. 29, col, I). In Derech eretz Zuta, chapter 1, the Jews were cautioned to "Learn or inquire nothing of the Sadducees, lest they be drawn into hell." In these times, when one man in Germany, who is not a German, could plunge the world into a total war, the evil result of which cannot be estimated at present, it is easy to realize how the populace could be misled by the leaders of first century Judaism….The hope of Israel then, as it is among the Orthodox Jews of our day, was for a Messianic temporal ruler or emancipator. Jesus to such people was a disappointment. He was the opposite of their cherished worldly expectation, for

                                "He came not in regal splendor dressed,
                                The haughty diadem, the Tyrian vest;
                                Not armed in flame all glorious from afar,
                                Of hosts the Captain, the Lord of war."

The power of Jesus aroused the envy of the rulers of Israel, for the common people loved Him. They flocked around Jesus by the thousands. The most dramatic occasion was on the Sunday before His crucifixion, which we call Palm Sunday. The "common people" gathered with palms, which they waved with joy at the coming of their Messianic King. They took off their garments and laid them on the dusty road, for Jesus to ride over them in His triumphal procession through Jerusalem on an ass. They hailed Him as their Messiah, with words that have rung down through the Christian centuries, royal words that will be heard until the end of the world -"Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest."So great was the enthusiasm for Jesus that fear entered the hearts of the leaders. The Pharisees pleaded with Jesus to check the populace, to "rebuke" His disciples. Jesus replied -"I say to you that if these (people) keep silence, the stones will cry out" (St. Luke 19:40). In other words, no power on earth can smother the fact that I am the Messiah. If the enthusiasm for Me is repressed, the very stones will make known that I am your King. The Sadducees and Pharisees in power would have hailed Jesus on His triumphal journey through Jerusalem, if He had come as a warrior seated on a horse, instead of as the King of Peace, meekly on an ass. It is well to digress here for a moment, to say that the ass, which in our country is known to be stupid and stubborn, was known in the East for his patience, gentleness, submission, and great power of endurance. The animal Jesus rode, on that historic occasion, was the fulfillment of one of the incidental Messianic prophesies. The Midrash (explanation of biblical tests) says that just as Abraham and Moses rode on asses, so "the Son of David also shall ride" (Pirke de R. Eliezar, Chap. 31).Abraham saddled his ass and rode with Isaac, carrying wood along with them for the holocaust which God had commanded (Gen. 22:3). This prefigured Jesus carrying His cross to the holocaust on Mount Calvary. Moses took his wife and sons, set them on an ass, and drove back to Egypt, "for they (his enemies) are dead who sought his life" (Exod. 4:19-20). Herod also was dead, who sought the life of Jesus. Hence, Joseph could take Mary and her Son Jesus, on an ass, back from Egypt to Nazareth. Thus it is plain that the "common people," not the leaders of Jewry, saw in Jesus mounted on the ass, in the City of Peace, the fulfillment of the prophesy of Zacharias (9:9)."Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold thy King will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass -." To come back directly once more to your question, please see that the Jewish populace did not reject Jesus. You need but to recall Anthony's famous oration over Caesar's body to realize how easily the honest sentiment of the populace can be changed to the very opposite. It was the clever and powerful influence of the rulers in Jewry that caused the Hosanna's to the Son of David to be changed to "Crucify him. Crucify him," for "both the Pharisees and Sadducees tried (with success) to weaken the influence of Jesus with the populace," as the Jewish author, Prof. Solomon Grayzell, tells us in Vallentine's Jewish Encyclopedia: If the minds of the Jews had not been beclouded, and their hearts hardened, by spiritual darkness engendered by the unworthy leaders of Israel, the principles, life and miracles of Jesus, as well as what He said of Himself, would have convinced them that He is their Messiah. (

 My thoughts: This is long, but such a good explanation of the crowd’s behavior. I have only one question: will we follow Christ, whom we know to be the true and definitive word of God, or will we follow so-called leaders of our time, who preach a different gospel? We, in the crowd today shouting “Hosanna”, must decide for ourselves if we are going to shout “Crucify Him” on Good Friday.

Prayer to God: Anima Christi - Saint Ignatius Loyola - 16th century
Soul of Christ, sanctify me; body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ fill all my veins; water from Christ’s side, wash out my stains. Passion of Christ, my comfort be; O good Jesus, listen to me. In Thy wounds I wish to hide; never to part from Thy side. Guard me should the foe assail me; call me when my live shall fail me. Bid me come to Thee above; with Thy saints to sing Thy love. Amen.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Devotion for today: to stay or leave: that is the question

Today we find ourselves in the synagogue in Capernaum. Jesus has just made a rather unsettling proclamation….

Scripture for meditation: John 6:51-52; 60; 62; 64-67  
“I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever; the bread I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”The Jews therefore disputed among themselves, saying: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus then said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. On hearing this, many of his disciples said: “This is a hard saying! Who can accept it?”…. But Jesus, knowing fully that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them: “Does this scandalize you? The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” From this time on, many of his disciples turned back, and no longer walked with him.
Scripture for reflection: Sirach 24:21
He who obeys me will not be put to shame; he who serves me will never fail.
St. Thomas Aquinas tells us: They said: This is a hard saying! Now that is said to be hard which is difficult to divide, and which offers resistance. Accordingly, a saying is hard either because it resists the intellect or because it resists the will, that is, when we cannot understand it with our mind, or when it does not please our will. And this saying was hard for them in both ways. It was hard for their intellects because it exceeded the weakness of their intellects: for since they were earthly minded, they were incapable of understanding what he said, namely, that he would give them his flesh to eat. And it was hard for their wills, because he said many things about the power of his divinity: and although they believed him as a prophet, they did not believe that he was God. Consequently, it seemed to them that he was making himself greater than he was…. And so it reads on. Who can accept it? They said this as an excuse: for since they had given themselves to him, they should have accepted what he said. But because he was not teaching them things that were pleasing to them, they were waiting for an occasion to leave him: “A fool does not accept words of wisdom unless you tell him what he desires” (Prv 18:2).Then he indicates the reason why they were upset, that is, their unbelief. As if to say: the cause of your difficulty is not the hardness of what I have just said, but your own unbelief. Thus he says, From this time on, many of his disciples turned back. He did not say, “They left,” but that they turned back, i.e., from the faith, which they had in a virtuous way; and cut off from the body of Christ, they lost life, because perhaps they were not in the body, as Augustine says….Then follows: they no longer walked with him, that is, even though we are required to walk with Jesus: “I will show you man what is good,” and then it continues on, “to walk attentively with your God” (Mi 6:8) (
Prayer: O Jesus, You are the Truth of God! Amid the darkness of confused thinking and conflicting ideas, Your light of Truth shines bright. Let my judgments never be influenced by the people who disagree with Your standards. Though the world may laugh me to scorn, I will fear no human judgments, as long as I loyally follow your standards in my daily life. Amen (My Daily Bread, Anthony J. Paone, S.J. Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1954).
My thoughts: It is so easy to follow Christ when things are going well. We feel close to our Redeemer and profess that we will never leave Him. But when the going gets tough, as it did for the disciples in the synagogue that day, will we be one of the ones who stayed with Christ even though they didn’t like or understand what He said, or will we turn our backs on Him, and try to find another way to salvation? Being a follower of Christ does not mean we pick and choose what we like from what He tells us. St. Thomas Aquinas makes that very clear. We either walk humbly with our God, or we pridefully turn away.
Our prayer to God: Today let us fast from doubt of, anger with or confusion about God. Let us take one day to simply act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)

Monday, March 12, 2012

This week we enter the crowds that followed Jesus to His passion. We step back in time to the feeding of the five thousand….

Scripture for today: Matthew 14:14-22
At that time when Jesus went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.

Scripture for reflection: Isaiah 53:3
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

We learn from Fr. Ted: The miracles of Christ as reported in the Gospel were all signs of the Kingdom of Heaven. They were intended to make people aware of this other reality, a life beyond this life and a Kingdom not of this world. Jesus did not feed 5000 daily. He did not open a free restaurant and distribute food to the hungry every day. In the Gospels there are only two references to Him performing such a miracle. This would tend to indicate that though He had miraculous – divine - power, He used that power judiciously. He was not mostly a miracle worker as such miracles were done sparingly. They were used to give people a foretaste of “something other,” of heaven breaking into this world, of God’s Kingdom touching this earth, but not yet fully revealed. He was, however, the one in whom the Kingdom of God had been united to the people of earth. The crowds were satisfied with what Jesus gave them – the bread and the fish, at least. Would they have been so satisfied if all He gave them was a promise of a Kingdom which was not yet but was to come? They did crucify Him in the end. A king with no army to conquer the world wasn’t all that attractive to them, as Isaiah had predicted. The bread and fish satisfied for a day, but when it wasn’t given to them daily, they had little use for the impoverished itinerant preacher of love and an upside down kingdom. Maybe that is why the disciples wanted Christ to send the crowds away – they wanted the Kingdom and its marvels, but they were uneasy about the crowd (for whom Jesus had only compassion) and how easily the crowd’s mood does change. It’s as easy for the crowd to crown as it is to crucify their king. Many an American politician has experienced that. We who have been sent “to the other side” without the miraculous multiplying bread and fish, were sent to be witnesses (Greek: martyrs) of what Christ did long ago. We know the story. We know what it reveals. Are we willing to live accordingly? Are we willing to take the loaves and fishes, few as they may be, which we have received from God, to share with a hungry world? Our hands must not just be stretched out to God begging to receive blessings from Him. We are to stretch out our hands offering to the world what we have received from God. The disciples asked Jesus to send the crowds away – they barely had enough nourishment, resources for themselves. Instead Jesus takes from the disciples what resources they did have and says, “The crowd doesn’t need to go away, you feed them.” Our task as disciples, our test of faith, is to see whether we are so willing to be completely and cheerfully generous with what we have been given to make sure the crowd knows the marvels of God’s love and sees the signs of His Kingdom breaking into their reality today. Our own hearts must be changed first, before we can expect the crowds to want to follow Christ.

Prayer: Lord, during this Lenten Season, nourish me with Your Word of life and make me one with You in love and prayer. Amen.

My thoughts: Picturing myself as one of the five thousand fed by Christ, I wonder how I would ever become part of the crowd that yelled, “Crucify Him.” After all, I was hungry and He gave me to eat. Wouldn’t I stay faithful to Him for that reason alone. Apparently not, for just as the crowd turned against Christ when He wasn’t giving them something, or performing a miracle, we too often turn our backs on Christ if He doesn’t give us what we want. Let us reflect on the words of Fr. Ted, and instead of concentrating on our personal wishes and desires, concern ourselves with feeding our brothers and sisters with the words and love of everlasting life. It is the only food that matters.

Our Prayer to God: This week, as we concentrate on the third leg of our tripod, fasting, let us consider giving up asking for favors for one day, surrendering ourselves completely to the will of God, and do nothing but thank God, for one day. Maybe then we can become true Disciples of Christ, and not just one of the crowd.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Devotion for today: Come back to Me

 Scripture for meditation: Joel 2:12
 Yet even now," declares the Lord, "Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning;

Have you found that you have fallen away from the Lord you once loved so much? Why not come back to Him this Lent. He is waiting for you with open arms.

Hosea by Gregory Norbert, O.P.

Come back to me with all your heart.
Don't let fear keep us apart.

Trees do bend, though straight and tall
So must we, to other's call.

Long have I waited for your coming, home to me and living, deeply our new lives.

The wilderness will lead you

to your heart where I will speak.

Integrity and justice, with tenderness, you shall know.

Long have I waited for your coming, home to me and living, deeply our new lives.

You shall sleep secure with peace; faithfulness will be your joy.

Long have I waited for your coming, home to me and living, deeply our new lives.

© 1972 The Benedictine Foundation of the State of Vermont

Our Lord told Saint Faustina: “What joy fills My Heart when you return to Me. Because you are weak, I take you in My arms and carry you to the home of My Father. (Diary, 1488) No soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or brought to shame. I delight particularly in a soul which has placed its trust in My goodness (diary of St. Faustina)