Mark Mallett

 

WOE TO ME!

 

OH, what a summer it has been! Everything I have touched has turned to dust. Vehicles, machinery, electronics, appliances, tires… nearly everything has broken. What an implosion of the material! I have been experiencing firsthand the words of Jesus:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. (Matt 6:19-21)

I have frequently found myself at a loss for words and entering a deeper truth: there is no formula for God. Sometimes I hear people say, “If you just have faith, God will heal you” or “If you just believe, He will bless you.” But that is not always true. Like Jesus, sometimes the answer is that there is no other cup but the Way of the Cross; like Jesus, there is sometimes no other path but through the tomb. And that means that we must enter into the realm where, also like Jesus, we can only cry out, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Believe me, I have said that so many times this summer as I watched the first relative financial stability we’ve had in twenty years of ministry virtually crumble overnight. But time and again, I also found myself saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. What can the world offer me? Money? Fame? Security? It is all dust, all dust. But Lord, I don’t know where You are right now… but still, I trust in You.”

Yes, that is a “now word” for the Church at this hour: let go, let go, let go. God has something better to give us, but He can’t when our hands our full. We have to let go of this world, of its enticements and comforts so that the Father can grant us The Coming New and Divine Holiness. If God warns, it is because He loves us. And if He chastises, it is so that He may bless us. In the parallel passage in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says:

All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them [food, clothing, etc.]. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides. Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. (Luke 12:30-33)

The Father wants to give us the kingdom! That is what the present labour pains are all about. The Father is about to establish on earth the Kingdom of Christ in a new modality so that His will be done on earth “as it is in heaven.” Yes, we must keep on living as the duty of the moment demands, for we cannot for certain “know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.” [1] And yet, Jesus does say that we ought to read the “signs of the times.” This is not a contradiction. Think of it this way. When there is a storm in the evening and dark clouds have filled the sky, you cannot tell exactly where or when the sun will set. But you know it’s coming; you know it’s near by the change of light… but when exactly, you can’t say.

So it is in our times… a Great Storm is now unfurling across the earth obscuring the Sun, the divine light of truth. We know that the hour is becoming darker, for we can see the world increasingly lost and lawlessness abounding. But when this era will end, we cannot know for certain. But we know it is coming for we can see the light of faith is dimming!

In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in a love which presses “to the end” (cf. Jn 13:1) – in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to All the Bishops of the World, March 12, 2009; vatican.va

That is another “now word” in this moment. Put another way:

In the final analysis, healing can only come from deep faith in God’s reconciling love. Strengthening this faith, nourishing it and causing it to shine forth is the Church’s principal task at this hour… I entrust these prayerful sentiments to the intercession of the Holy Virgin, Mother of the Redeemer. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010

There is much talk of how we must defend the truths of Catholicism against the wolves who are devouring the flock, scattering the sheep in confusion, and handing us over to slaughter. Yes, that is all true—the Church is in disarray as Judases move among us. But we cannot forget that the Truth has a name: Jesus! Catholicism is not a mere set of immutable rules and commandments; it is a living pathway toward friendship and communion with the Triune God, which is the definition of happiness. Our duty is to preach “Jesus Christ, crucified and risen,” which is foremost the message that God has loved us first and that we are saved by grace through faith in that love. What follows, then, is our (moral) response, which is to obey His word, which is life itself.

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. (John 15:10-11)

The degree to which we are not in communion with Him but in communion, rather, with “earthly treasures,” is the degree to which “moths, decay, and thieves” will come and devour and steal away our joy and peace. Today, who will tell the world this truth if not us? Moreover, who will show the world what this looks like if not us?

Thus, tonight I find myself grappling with the words of St. Paul:

…an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! (1 Corinthians 9:16)

O, Jesus of Nazareth, have pity on me and do not judge me harshly. Like Elijah, I have desired to flee into the desert and die. Like Jonah, I have wished to be thrown overboard and drown in my miseries. Like John the Baptist, I have sat in the prison of these present trials and asked, “Are you the one who is to come?” [2] And yet, this day you sent a raven (my spiritual director) to revive my soul as You once sent one to feed crumbs to Elijah. This day, you sent a whale to spew me back again into reality. This day, an angelic messenger descended into my dark cell with the announcement: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offence at me.” [3]

O, Lord Jesus, forgive me for wallowing in self-pity! Forgive me for being so “anxious and worried about many things,” and not the better part,[4] which is to remain at Your feet, transfixed upon Your voice and Your eyes. Forgive me for taking offence at Your permissive will that has allowed a storm in our family’s affairs…

For he wounds, but he binds up; he strikes, but his hands give healing. (Job 5:18)

Lord God, the world has gone mad. Even now, it attempts to erase Your name, alter Your laws, and grasp from Your hands the power of creation. But Jesus, I trust in youJesus I hope in You. And Your name, Lord Jesus, I will hold as a standard for the world to see. For there is no other name by which men are saved. And thus,

…an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! (1 Corinthians 9:16)

Last, I affirm my trust in Your promises. Among them, that “Peter is rock”, not because he is strong but because Your Word is omnipotent. I affirm my trust in Your prayers, especially for Peter when You said, “I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” [5] And I affirm my trust in Your guarantee that “upon this rock [of Peter] I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” [6] Indeed, it was Peter’s successor who declared:

The Lord clearly intimates that Peter’s successors will never at any time deviate from the Catholic faith, but will instead recall the others and strengthen the hesitant.Sedis Primatus, November 12, 1199; quoted by JOHN PAUL II, General Audience, Dec. 2, 1992;vatican.valastampa.it

And so I pray that, in the coming Amazonian synod, Pope Francis will embody the words he declared at the synod on the family:

The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church”. —POPE FRANCIS, closing remarks on the Synod; Catholic News Agency, October 18th, 2014

May you impart to him, and to all our shepherds, the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and counsel so that the Church may once again shine with the divine light of truth in this present darkness. For they too are bound to say…

…an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! (1 Corinthians 9:16)

Practically speaking, this summer’s “woes” have
taken a great toll on our finances. This ministry continues
to depend upon your generous prayers and support.
God bless you!

 

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Jon Leonetti

 

THE JEALOUSY OF GOD
God loves us more than we could ever know.
He is a jealous God; jealous because he knows he is the only one who can give us the happiness and fulfillment we all desire.
Because God loves us, he wants what’s best for us. And what is best for us is himself. After all, that’s why we’re here.
We are here because God desired to love us into existence! And not just for this short time on earth, but forever in heaven.
No, the jealousy of God isn’t out of envy or fear, but out of love.
Absolute, perfect love.
Friends, be confident in Christ’s mercy and love.
LEARNING FROM THE SAINTS
“Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind.” (St. Catherine of Siena)
PRAY WITH ME
Jesus, help me to know of your love. Amen.
FOR MORE CATHOLIC INSPIRATION
The Art of Getting Over Yourself and Why You’ll Be Happier When You Do
By Jon Leonetti
“…a timely dagger into a modern culture obsessed with self.”
– Mark Hart, Catholic speaker and author.
“Inspiring. Engaging. And fun. Well done!”
– Allen Hunt, Senior Adviser, Dynamic Catholic
==> ORDER HERE! <==
THREE EVENINGS. ONE MISSION.
TOTALLY CATHOLIC.
NOW BOOKING 2021-2022

Thought for the day…

 

I could never see why anyone in this day and age should object to the Immaculate Conception; all modern pagans believe that they are immaculately conceived. If there is no Original Sin, then everyone is immaculately conceived. Why they shrink from allowing to Mary what they attribute to themselves? … Original Sin and the Immaculate Conception are mutually exclusive. If Mary alone is the Immaculate Conception, then the rest of us must have Original Sin.

—Ven. Fulton Sheen

from The World’s First Love

A sermon by St John Chrysostom For me, life means Christ, and death is gain

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, it 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 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. I concentrate therefore on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence.
  Do you not hear the Lord saying: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst? Will he be absent, then, when so many people united in love are gathered together? I have his promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbour. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!
  If Christ is with me, whom shall I fear? Though the waves and the sea and the anger of princes are roused against me, they are less to me than a spider’s web. Indeed, unless you, my brothers, had detained me, I would have left this very day. For I always say “Lord, your will be done”; not what this fellow or that would have me do, but what you want me to do. That is my strong tower, my immovable rock, my staff that never gives way. If God wants something, let it be done! If he wants me to stay here, I am grateful. But wherever he wants me to be, I am no less grateful.
  Yet where I am, there you are too, and where you are, I am. For we are a single body, and the body cannot be separated from the head nor the head from the body. Distance separates us, but love unites us, and death itself cannot divide us. For though my body die, my soul will live and be mindful of my people.
  You are my fellow citizens, my fathers, my brothers, my sons, my limbs, my body. You are my light, sweeter to me than the visible light. For what can the rays of the sun bestow on me that is comparable to your love? The sun’s light is useful in my earthly life, but your love is fashioning a crown for me in the life to come.
. It is the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal, but the word of God is not fettered.* Therefore I endure everything for the sake of God’s chosen people.
. The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?* Therefore I endure everything for the sake of God’s chosen people.

Thank you O Lord for your great wisdom. Hear my prayer.

 see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

Introductory Prayer: God the Father, thank you for the gift of creation, including my own life. God the Son, thank you for redeeming me at the price of your own Body and Blood. God the Holy Spirit, thank you for being the sweet guest of my soul, enlightening my mind, strengthening my spirit and kindling the fire of your love in my heart.

Petition: Lord, help me to grow in humility. 

  1. Blind Guides: Jesus poses a rhetorical question to the crowd: “Can a blind person guide a blind person?” It is obvious that a guide needs to see. If we are talking about guiding people to the kingdom of God, then Jesus is the way. He is the one who has come from his Father; he knows the way. First, we can reflect on his importance and centrality to our journey to heaven. Second, we can also think about ourselves as guides for others. There should be a certain hesitancy, which is not reluctance, when we consider the task of leading others to God. We should be humble and remain very close to the Church that Christ founded to continue his mission on earth.
  1. Disciples: Christ’s next statement emphasizes that while the disciple is not above his teacher, he can learn as much as the teacher. The disciple of Jesus can learn from him the steps which lead to salvation and eternal life. Christ not only founded the Church to continue his teaching, but he also endowed her with the gift of his Spirit to preserve her from error. Our confidence in teaching others should derive from the knowledge that we are in union with the Church and seek to follow her teachings. Learning is a lifelong process, but religious instruction often ceases with First Communion or Confirmation, and many adults have only the religious formation of a child. What are we doing to become fully qualified in our knowledge of the faith.
  1. Hypocrites: Evangelization begins with us. It does seem that we are much quicker to detect faults in others than to notice them in ourselves. We can even be really irritated by another person’s faults, even though we ourselves possess them in greater measure than does the person about whom we are complaining. The proud person complains loudly of the conceit and arrogance he sees in his neighbor, but he is blind to his own vice. We need to consider our own condition first – humbly –, and then we need to work on truly becoming more Christ-like. The more we allow God’s grace to transform our lives, the more we can help others.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I am very proud. I so easily get wrapped up in myself, my perspective, my needs and my wants. I put myself before others. Help me to see the faults in myself that you want me to start working on. Give me the courage to address them before I start looking at others.

 

Resolution: I will identify two or three practical things I can do this week to grow in the virtue of humility

Daily Readings…

 


Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Col 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one Body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 150:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.(6) Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his sovereign majesty.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Alleluia 1 Jn 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another,
God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

 

Thought for the day…

I look to all of you, brothers and sisters of every state of life – to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: Confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in light of Scripture, in harmony with the Liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives. May this appeal of mine not go unheard!

—Saint John Paul II
from The Rosary of Saint John Paul II