LETTER OF SAINT PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS 12:31-13:13

This scripture was the first reading at Mass today. I love this reading, to tell the truth it always brings tears to my eyes.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS: STRIVE EAGERLY FOR THE GREATEST SPIRITUAL GIFTS. BUT I SHALL SHOW YOU A STILL MORE EXCELLENT WAY.
IF I SPEAK IN HUMAN AND ANGELIC tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. SO FAITH, HOPE, LOVE REMAIN, THESE THREE; BUT THE GRREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE. The word of the Lord.

Wow, if only we all went by this, how much better the world would be. Just how much better Marriages would be. We must pray for more love and forgiveness for ourselves and others.

PRAYER: IN JOY WE PRAY: LORD DRAW ALL PEOPLE TO YOURSELF! Where there is hatred, let us sow love. Where there is darkness let us bring light. Where there is sadness, let us bring joy.
Lord God of light, you have shone upon our darkness and set us free through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Grant us the grace to live in the freedom of the children of God, that where we walk this day, we may bring light, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen

OUR LADY OF SORROWS

ON SUNDAY WE CELEBRATED THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS, the cross, instrument of torture and death, raised aloft as a sign of glory, continues to confound the wisdom of this world. God’s work of salvation stands human expectations on their head: humility is exaltation, wounds are healing, death is life. (Magnificat)
ON MONDAY (TODAY) IS THE MEMORIAL OF OUR LADY OF SORROWS. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.(Heb 10:35) GOD’S WORD CUT DEEPLY into Mary’s life; it cut away all the ordinary hopes a young woman might have for her future, for her family life, for her child. YET SHE ACCEPTED WITH A COURAGEOUS CONSENT that anticipates and mirrors the obedience of her Son “EVEN UNTO DEATH ON A CROSS.”(Phil 2:8)
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As you can see we celebrate the glory of Jesus, and then the consent and sorrow of His Mother. Can you imagine the sorrow of seeing her son suffer so greatly and die and she could do nothing to help him? Even though she knew it was God’s will and she had been told her soul would be pierced with a sword, she never could have imagined what seeing what her son would go through. So, now that Jesus has made his mother the Queen of Heaven, she can definitely understand our suffering, and gladly pray for us. (me)
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THE BLESSED VIRGIN WAS BORN TO BE THE MOTHER OF GOD. FROM THE FIRST moment of Mary’s immaculate presence (and we know she had no original sin, because God would not allow His son to be born from a woman with sin)in her mother’s womb, our Lady has led us to her Son. From the cross, Christ commands, “Behold, your mother.” As the Savior’s dying gift to us, Jesus leads us back to Mary. For we need the maternal closeness of the SORROWFUL MOTHER to sustain us when overcome by the terrifying trials of life. Through Mary’s compassionate presence at the cross, that event-as it recurs in our life-becomes more deeply human, filling us with the courage to face life’s sufferings, certain in the secure embrace of divine providence. Whenever Mary loves us, she gives us JESUS. By obeying the Lord in our devout beholding of the Mother of God, we give Mary the chance to speak her YES to the “annunciation” uttered from the cross: “BEHOLD, YOUR SON.” (Magnificat)
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PRAYER: GOD OUR FATHER, THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY took part in her Son’s redemptive suffering for love of you and for the sake of the world. Through her intercession, may all your Church’s suffering bear saving fruit in Christ our Lord. Amen.

FEAST OF EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE EXALTATION OF THE CROSS consists in the fact that “the event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life” (Catholicism page 1085). We exalt Christ’s cross whenever we freely take it up, filled with the certainty that the ultimate meaning and fulfillment which we crave in life comes to us through this unending event. “With the cross we are freed from the restraint of the enemy and we clutch on to the strength of salvation: (Saint Theodore the Estudite). For salvation means escape from our own inability. At the same time, “we cannot produce or give any other fruit,” writes Saint Catherine of Siena, “but the fruit we have taken from the tree of life.” No wonder that “the sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ” (Saint Leo the Great.) Magnificat

THE GOSPEL TODAY WAS FROM JOHN 3:13-17
JESUS SAID TO NICODEMUS: “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
FOR GOD SO LOVED the world that HE gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

FROM OUR PASTOR IN OUR BULLETIN TODAY: WE ARE TOLD TODAY, that God so loved the world that he gave his only son to make us well, whole, and to create a new covenant with His people. This great gift shows perfect UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. It is a goal that we strive for, as we journey in faith. Putting another person first is the beginning of loving as God does. May this be what we try to do guided by of God. (Fr. Joseph)

I wonder if we would have the divorce rate in the country that we have if husbands put their wife’s needs first, and if wives put their husband’s needs first. Then each would feel they were truly loved by their spouse. Isn’t that what marriage is supposed to be? Marriage between husband and wife is a Sacrament. When we marry before God, there are three people involved in our marriage. Husband, Wife and God. If we call on God to help us put our spouse first, he will give us the GRACE we need to make our marriage work. It’s not easy, but it is well worth the work it takes. Why is it, a person will work so hard to make money, or to make someone else’s business successful, or to get in shape to run a race, but will put no work into understanding how to make their marriage work? Jesus loved each of us so much he died for us on the cross. Can we not at least love each other enough to understand how to make each other feel loved and respected?

PRAYER; LORD JESUS CHRIST, by your Death on the cross, you triumphed over sin and death. Raise our fallen world to the glory no human wisdom can expect, who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen

God bless you all and if you are married, I pray you will receive the Grace you need to love and respect each other, treat each other as you want to be treated and obey the commandment given to us by Jesus Christ, “Love the Lord thy God, and Love thy neighbor(spouse) as thyself”. If you don’t love and respect yourself, it is hard to love and respect another, pray for the Grace to love and respect yourself also.

MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS

I said last night I would list the things about Mary that Catholics really believe, according to what Kimberly Hahn learned when she was learning about the Catholic Religion. Kimberly wrote:
“1. Mary is not a goddess–she is worthy of honor and veneration but not worthy of worship, which is to be given to God alone.
2. Mary is a creature uniquely fashioned by her Son as no other mother has ever been or will be.
3. Mary rejoiced in God her Savior, as she stated in the Magnificat, because Jesus saved her from sin from the moment of conception. In other words, her sinlessness was a gift of grace, saving her before she sinned. (Certainly God had saved many of us from wild profligacy before we got into it; perhaps he saved Mary even earlier. I granted that it was possible.)
4. Mary’s title as Queen of Heaven did not come from being married to God–as I had thought–but was based on the honor of being the Queen Mother of Jesus, the King of Kings and the Son of David. In the Old Testament, King Solomon, the son of David, elevated his mother, Bathsheba, to a throne at his right hand, paying her homage in his court as the queen mother. And in the New Testament, Jesus elevated his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to a throne at his right had in heaven, bidding us to pay her homage as the Queen Mother of heaven.
5. Mary’s mission was to point beyond herself to her Son, saying, “Do whatever he says.” At this point I realized that certain examples of Marian piety that focused on Mary to the point of neglecting Jesus perhaps were not faithful to Catholic teaching on her. Perhaps these dear souls did not even realize it, but they were offending the Blessed Virgin even in their attempts to honor her, if they were neglecting her primary mission to bring us to her Son.”
Scott added a description of Mary as God’s masterpiece that Kimberly found helpful: Mary is God’s masterpiece. Have you ever walked into a museum where an artist was displaying his work? Can you imagine his being offended if you were viewing what he considered to be his masterpiece? Would he resent your looking at that instead of at him? ‘Hey, you should be looking at me!’ Rather, the artist would receive honor because of the attention you were giving his work. And Mary is God’s work, from beginning to end.” Scott continued, “And if someone praises one of our children to you,(Kimberly) do you interrupt with, ‘Let’s give credit where credit is due?’ No, you know you are being honored when our child is being honored. LIKEWISE GOD RECEIVES GLORY AND HONOR WHEN HIS CHILDREN ARE HONORED.”

I do hope this helps both non-Catholics and Catholics understand the position of the Catholic Church when we honor Mary. The pictures and statues are to remind us of Mary, like we then have a picture in our mind, just as we have photos of our loved ones at home.
The prayer, “HAIL MARY FULL OF GRACE THE LORD IS WITH THEE, BLESSED ART THOU AMONG WOMEN AND BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF THY WOMB, JESUS… comes from the new testament, the words that Elizabeth said to Mary..HOLY MARY, MOTHER OF GOD, PRAY FOR US SINNERS NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH. AMEN ….this is a request to ask Mary to intercede to her Son, Jesus, for us now and when we die.Since she is a Saint in Heaven, we can ask her to join us in prayer.

SCOTT & KIMBERLY HAHN

I am reading a terrific book by Scott & Kimberly Hahn titled ROME SWEET HOME; Our Journey to Catholism. The were both Presbyterian, both college educated, majoring in theology and specifically scripture. Scott became a Presbyterian minister, both had several college degrees. Scott became interested in the Catholic Faith when he somehow-I forget how- happened to read a book about scripture and the Catholic Church. It went on from there for many years. Anyway, I am learning a lot about my Catholic Faith and scripture plus many differences between Catholic and other Christian faiths that I did not realize. This is the second book I have read about conversions and differences between our Christian Faiths.
It is too late tonight, but tomorrow night I will list the things that Kimberly learned about Catholics and Mary that she did not know.

For tonight, please pray the Our Father, and ask that someday we will all be one big Christian Church as Jesus wants us to be. And please pray for the Christians in the world that are being persecuted.

BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

On Sept. 8, Monday, the Catholic Church celebrated the birth of Mary, Jesus’ Mother.  No one knows exactly when Mary was born, they picked Sept. 8. Pope Benedict XVI explained that on Mary’s birth, “God welcomes on earth the holy throne which he had prepared for himself. He who established the heavens in wisdom has fashioned a living heaven.” 

When the most holy Virgin was born, the whole world was made radiant; blessed is the branch and blessed the stem which bore such holy fruit. (Liturgy of the Hours)  In Mary, daughter of the House of David, the stump of Jess buds forth the beginning of salvation, for she who is the stem bears for all peoples the fruit that gives everlasting life, Christ the Lord. (Magnificat)

From Isaiah 11:1-3. A SHOOT SHALL SPROUT FROM the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.  The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.

PRAYER:  O GOD, YOU gave life to the world through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of the Blessed Virgin for whose birth we give thanks this day.  Grant us, we beseech you, the grace to honor with our lives the Savior whom she bore, Christ our Lord. Amen.

NOTE:  Tomorrow night, I will explain why Catholics honor and venerate Mary, and why that is based on scripture.  We do not worship her, worship is reserved for the Lord alone. 

LORD, I’LL GO WHEREEVER YOU WANT ME TO GO….

I AM READING A BOOK BY SCOTT & KIMBERLY HAHN CALLED “ROME SWEET HOME-OUR JOURNEY TO CATHOLICISM.  I will write more about it later. Right now I am going to write the prayer that Kimberly’s father, a Protestant minister told her he says every morning and suggested she say it also.  I believe I will attempt to learn and say it too.

PRAYER:  “LORD, I’ll go wherever you want me to go, do whatever you want me to do, say whatever you want me to say and give away whatever you want me to give away.”  If we truly believe that the Lord is leading us and that He knows what is best for us, it seems this is an awesome prayer to say every day.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.  

Now, I am headed to bed because I am going fishing early in the AM.