Saturday, September 22, 2018

On Seed & Soil

Luke 8:4-15

"...some seed fell on the path...other seed fell on rocky ground...some seed fell among thorns...some seed fell on rich soil..."

The Path - A path is well worn, hard-packed, and impenetrable. Is this your heart? Have you had your share of pain in life and have now closed your heart to anything new, even if it is healing? Do you think others could see God lavishing seed upon you only to have it carried off by birds because there is no opening in your heart?

This "ground" requires serious work. It is the most difficult to cultivate but not impossible. It generally cannot be worked by the person owning such ground. Rather, others must step in to help through prayer, intercession, and intervention. Where the "rich soil" may require only a run-through with the hoe now and then, "the path" requires a pick-axe and spud-bar - prayer and fasting on the person's behalf by those who love him.

Rocky Ground - Rocky ground is rough, unforgiving, and unrelenting. Is this your heart? Are you a poser? Do you have an image to keep? Are the few soft spots in your heart so shallow that nothing can take root in them, not even the love of others? Do you accept the seed, Church teachings, the Gospel, so long as it benefits you? When the pressure is on to be faithful to Christ do you hide behind that hard heart?

This "ground" too requires serious work. The most difficult part of working with rocky ground is clearing the rocks, obviously. What complicates this is the fact that a rock can appear small on the surface but be huge beneath the ground line. The advantage that "rocky ground" has over "the path" is the fact that there are some openings. If the right seed falls into those openings, it can split those rocks over time. This is assisted by a deep prayer life, by the person and/or by those who love him, which can help the seed take root and break apart those rocks.

Thorns - Thorns grow anywhere and everywhere without question. Is this your heart? Are you often confused, entangled in the world? Are you open, allowing every idea to enter into your heart without discernment? Do you accept the Gospel just as easily as you accept New Age practices? Is being Catholic more of a cultural thing or status thing for you? Is the seed of the Gospel just another seed among many that may get choked out in the long run?

Thorns require completely different tools than "the path" or "rocky ground". One may try to cut off the thorns but the problem is the roots as well as the green growth. In order to destroy thorns you must remove them roots and all, otherwise they will eventually grow back. The tools needed for thorns are shears and a shovel - detachment. Detachment can come often through prayer and study of the Scriptures. The most powerful tool, however, is a meditation upon death where the soul realizes that it will be detached from the things of this world in an instant. If we keep death in mind we should never have to worry about thorns, for they can never take root.

Good Soil - Good soil is easy to work with, rich in nutrients, and extremely valuable. Is this your heart? Are you docile to the will of God? Do you allow His word to come and grow in your heart? Do you constantly work the soil of your heart, feeding it with prayer, study, and the sacraments? Are you vigilant to remove any sign of weeds or "thorns"?

Good soil is a blessing not only for the soul itself but for other souls who receive the fruits from it. The growth mentioned by Jesus of thirty-fold and so on is not meant for us alone. These fruits, these seeds, as in the natural world, should spread and take over until the whole world is "good soil", until all hearts are "good soil".

Can the path, rocky ground, and thorny ground become good soil? Without a doubt, with effort. I would venture to say that on any given day you and I may look at our hearts and find that the soil has changed. As in the natural world, the garden of our heart needs constant care if it is to be fruitful. May God give us the grace to work this garden so that it may bear fruit for Him now and in eternity.

From the Saints - “Prayer is to our soul what rain is to the soil. Fertilize the soil ever so richly, it will remain barren unless fed by frequent rains.”  - St. John Vianney 



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* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Calling of St. Matthew

Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle

Matthew 9:9-13

Many scholars today try to dismiss Saint Matthew's seemingly instant conversion. They reason, not based on scripture, that Saint Matthew probably knew Jesus for a while beforehand and this was just his way of telling his readers when he left everything to follow Jesus.

It sounds good but I'll stick with what I read. Matthew got up and followed him. I know of many people who had instant conversions of this sort ( Fr. Donald Calloway, Zachary King). This doesn't mean that they were instantly saints but rather that they made the choice for Christ and did not look back. This doesn't mean everything from then on was easy but that they now had the strength of Christ and through Him they could do all things. Matthew heard the call of God and responded. His heart was open and Christ was able to walk in.

Something else to note is that Matthew didn't care what anyone thought of his conversion or his association with Jesus. In reality there were probably just as many skeptical "sinners and tax collectors" as there were Pharisees. Matthew's friends probably wondered why he would invite Jesus to a party in the same way that the Pharisees wondered how Jesus could dine with "these" people. Matthew isn't concerned about anyone's opinion. He is only concerned with his relationship with Christ. If that relationship results in his friends conversion all the better, but he will not shy away from his master out of human respect.

In the 1st reading, Paul gives us a similar story.  He tells the Ephesians and us that all are called to follow the Lord.  All are called and God gives all the graces needed.  All are called to different aspects of service depending on their gifts.  All are called to holiness, the only difference is the answer we give.

Lord Jesus, You never cease to call me to follow You. Help me this day to leave all that keeps me from You. Help me to leave my cares for vanity and my concern with worldly opinion behind, take up my cross and follow You. Lord, come to my house and dine. Come into my life for I am sick with sin and in need of Your Divine Medicine.

FROM THE SAINTS
"What amazes you seems natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession! That is how he sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And - wonder of wonders - Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seeds of Christianity!" - Saint Josemaria Escriva The Way 799

Have you entered our October Rosary-A-Day Giveaway?  Register and get the details here!

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

Thursday, September 20, 2018

He will forgive our debt

Thursday, September 20th, 2018
Luke 7:36-50
Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions.


A darkened soul beneath her skin,
Called by name, by the Voice.
Deep in her heart confessing sin,
Grace building on her choice.

The storm of sins flowed from her eyes,
Washing her beautiful face.
Repentance washed away the lies,
Holy fragrance takes their place.

Her debt has been forgiven,
But Simon's debt remains
If him or her we follow,
Our debt will find the same.

Friday, September 14, 2018

90 Day Rosary of Reparation - Day 6

If you would like to join your prayers to ours, please join our Facebook Group or simply download the intention sheet that we'll be using for the 90 Days.



The Sorrowful Mysteries - for 
Victims of Abuse

The Agony in the Garden - By day a Garden of beauty, peace, and rest. By night a place of deceit, abandonment, and betrayal. In the Garden Jesus wept and prayed for those abused by others. He prayed for those who were abused and betrayed by those who should have known better as He too was betrayed. He prayed for those who abused and those who caused the pain. He prayed for His disciples and healed the soldier’s ear.

Lord Jesus, Your Church is now in darkness. The sins of abuse have injured so many. Those in the position of authority have, like Judas, betrayed those who loved them. Yet in the midst of this darkness we know you too are here in the Garden of Agony. Through the graces You won on the Cross bring light to this darkened garden and make it a place once again of light, beauty, peace, and safety.


The Scourging at the Pillar - An innocent victim is abused, taunted, and ridiculed. Though God made man, He experiences the pain and fear of all those who have been physically abused. His flesh is torn asunder for those whose bodies have been violated by evil men and women throughout history in the world and even in the Church.

Heavenly Father, send forth Your Spirit and give us renewed sense of awe and wonder at being created in “your image and likeness.” Help us to never again see another as someone to use or abuse for our own pleasure or desires. Heal Your Church of this plague and may we endure the abuses hurled against You and Your Church in reparation for the sins of our brothers and sisters. May our wounds, like those of Your Son, bring about healing in those who have suffered abuse.


The Crowning with Thorns - Any angry husband towers over his wife speaking words of abuse. A bully corners a young boy on the playground and derides the way he is dressed. A young woman belittles an elderly woman suffering from dementia. A young man is given a crown of thorns, spat upon, and mocked. In this mystery, let us pray for those who suffer verbal and emotional abuse.

Lord Jesus, You embraced Your crown, cloak, and insults out of love. Though innocent You remained silent trusting in the will of the Father. Pour forth the graces won for us during this time of mockery. Heal those affected by words of abuse. Heal those tormented by emotional abuse. May we offer our sufferings in reparation for these unjust acts upon our brothers and sisters.


The Carrying of the Cross - So often the victims of abuse carry their cross for their entire lives. Afraid and ashamed they keep it to themselves and in doing so the cross becomes heavier and the voices of self-hate and disgust grow louder. In this mystery let us become Simon of Cyrene for others. Let us help them with their crosses of abuse. If we have been abused, may we let others be Simon for us!

Lord Jesus, You carried the Cross to Calvary out of love for each of us. Though God, You did not spurn the help of Simon. You allowed him to share in your suffering and it became a treasured gift for the remainder of His earthly life. Give us the graces to allow others to help us with our crosses, for only the devil wants to keep them hidden. Give us also the strength to help others with their crosses, especially the cross of abuse.


The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus - Abuse of any kind is the most wretched of sins. It takes another, created in the image and likeness of God, and treats them as thought they were animals. Regardless of the type of abuse, it is very opposite of love, it is use. It is using another as a means to an end. In this mystery let us contemplate Our Lord’s final moments, broken, bruised, and abandoned.

Lord Jesus, how many of your brothers and sisters too throughout the world have been broken, abused, and abandoned! Let us not despair, however, let us not end this meditation in tears but in hope for the Cross was not Your final word. It was the true Sermon on the Mount but not your greatest discourse. As we gaze upon the Cross in tears over our sins and the sins of abuse, especially those committed in the Church, remind us that You have the power to take what is broken, bruised, and abandoned and make all things new!

FREE BOOK - Today only for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Meditations on the Crucifix is available as a free PDF download.

If you like these meditations, you may also like Rosary Meditations for Real LifeRosary Meditations for the Family, or download all of our free meditation pamphlets.  The audio version of the Holy Rosary is also available for free on our website and recited by James M. Hahn.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

90 Day Rosary of Reparation - Day 5

If you would like to join your prayers to ours, please join our Facebook Group or simply download the intention sheet that we'll be using for the 90 Days.

The Luminous Mysteries - for Vocations



The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan - All vocations begin with Baptism. Through Baptism we are made sons and daughters of the Father. We are adopted by Him through the merits of Jesus Christ. In this mystery we can see Jesus (and John) being called and confirmed in their vocation. May the Holy Spirit descend upon each one of us and either help us to see more clearly our vocation or confirm us in the vocation the Lord has chosen for us.

Heavenly Father, we come before you as sons and daughters. We come before you as married people, priests and religious, and consecrated single people and ask for a greater outpouring of the Spirit upon our vocations and upon the Church. Lord give us, we beg, holy vocations to the priesthood, religious, consecrated single, and married life.


The Wedding Feast at Cana - Too often today our culture (and often those in the Church) do not recognize marriage as a vocation, as a calling by God to serve Him in this unique way. Those studying for the priesthood often do so for 8 or more years yet with marriage, the discernment process is merely months. Let us pray for holy vocations to the married life. Let us pray for greater discernment of this noble vocation of self-sacrifice and service.

Lord Jesus, we invite you not only to come to the wedding but also to the entire marriage. Be present, Lord, with married couples through all of the struggles and trials of married life as well as the joys. Take the ordinary things of married life and turn them into extraordinary things as you turned ordinary water into choicest wine.


The Proclamation of the Kingdom - You (and the way you live out your vocation) may be the only Bible some people ever live. Our vocation is not only the way God calls us to holiness and happiness with Him, it is also very often the way He shows His love to the world. Living our vocation to the best of our ability in accordance with the graces given in each vocation proclaims to the world, “the Kingdom of God is at hand!!”

Heavenly Father, help us all to live our vocations more fully. Forgive us for the times we have neglected the beauty and dignity of our vocation. Pour forth on your Church more holy vocations to proclaim the Kingdom. Give us holy priests and religious that lead us closer to you in word and sacrament. Give us holy marriages that show us how to love one another as Your Son loves the Church. Give us consecrated single people that proclaim the Kingdom through their love and devoted focus on serving you.


The Transfiguration - Peter, James, and John went up the mountain with Jesus. They were forever changed by this experience. They saw the Lord in all of His glory, the glory that is to be ours after a life (a vocation) well lived. Our vocations should change us. They are ways God has planned for us to become holy, to become saints!

Lord Jesus, pour forth upon your church, and the world, more holy vocations. Give us the courage to trust in your plan for our lives. You desire so much to make us saints, give us that desire to become saints. Place that desire in our hearts above all things. We humbly pray that you would change the world through us becoming saints each through our respective vocation.


The Institution of the Eucharist - “This is my body, given up for you.” These are the words of Our Lord when He gave us His very body, blood, soul, and divinity the night before His sacrifice on the Cross. These words can be our own as well in each of our vocations as we offer ourselves for others in our family, our parish or the world.

Lord Jesus, we pray for the graces we need to offer ourselves as You did. Give us, we pray holy vocations in the Church. Pour forth Your grace and mercy into each of those you have called to the priesthood, married life, and consecrated single life and change them into saints who say, “this is my body, this is my life, this is my vocation, given up for You.”

If you like these meditations, you may also like Rosary Meditations for Real LifeRosary Meditations for the Family, or download all of our free meditation pamphlets.  The audio version of the Holy Rosary is also available for free on our website and recited by James M. Hahn.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Blessed

Luke 6:20-26

Blessed are you who are poor
He who has but little
in gift or in desire
surely shall inherit all
when body moves up higher
His life will have been spent
in loving not the earth
but in God alone his peace
in God alone his worth.

Blessed are you who hunger
The man who seeks for justice
and for his daily bread
will find a heavenly reward
in being justly fed.
The stomach and the mind
groan to seek their fill
on earth the quest is all for nought
but eternity both fulfill

Blessed are you who are now weeping
The tears of man flow down
in a never ending stream
longing for a peace
that with eyes of faith is seen.
The terror of the night
and death that walks the land
shall disapear in our true home
never again to haunt a man.

Blessed are you when people hate you
The wrath of men unmoved
by grace or thought or deed
cast insult and hate
blood spilled becomes the seed.
The beast or the gallow
mockery before a crowd
will all be blessing in the end
so leap for joy at your reward

FROM THE SAINTS
"The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, in cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. The confiscation of our goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it. I have only contempt for the world's threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good."
- Saint John Chrysostom

90 Day Rosary of Reparation - Day 4

If you would like to join your prayers to ours, please join our Facebook Group or simply download the intention sheet that we'll be using for the 90 Days.


Today our meditations will be taken directly from the book Rosary Meditations for Real Life.  These meditations look at Marriage through the lens of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.

The meditations are taken directly from the book in a downloadable format.  You may get them here.



If you like these meditations, you may also like Rosary Meditations for Real LifeRosary Meditations for the Family, or download all of our free meditation pamphlets.  The audio version of the Holy Rosary is also available for free on our website and recited by James M. Hahn.

On Seed & Soil