My name is Rick and I belong to an awesome men's group called the Men of Saint Joseph. We are a group of Catholic men whom have been called together to help promote and defend our Catholic Faith. We are all instructed by scripture to pick up our cross and follow Jesus Christ. For Jesus says... Seek and you shall find. Ask and it shall be granted unto you. May Almighty GOD open your eyes to see him and your ears to hear him through this Blog.
On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that ‘they may look and see but not perceive,and hear and listen but not understand,in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.’” Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no roots; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I want to spend these moments close to you. I believe that you are here with me. Take over my life more and more and make it what it was meant to be. Lord, I put my trust in you.
Petition: Jesus, make the soil of my heart open to your word, so that it will bear fruit for eternal life.
1.A Sabotaged Plan: What the Father has planted in our lives is good. Goodness can bear fruit. But Christ has shown us that there is someone who does not want us to bear fruit. The devil tries to take goodness from our lives through enticing us with evil, filling our hearts with selfishness, and making us insensitive to the movements of grace in our soul. We need to renounce Satan every day by fixing our will on the goodness of Christ. This is done through sincere prayer and generosity of spirit.
2.Make Your Furrows Deep: The strength of our resolve is tested by the difficulties we face. If we go deeper in our prayer each day and build up the habit of letting go of our own ego, we can face the bad times with peace and trust. When our spiritual roots are not deep, we find ourselves disoriented, even defeated by the tribulations that are part of an authentic Christian life. Christ teaches us to dig deep. With him as our friend, difficulties become a way to show our love and to do something that has eternal value. If I don’t fight, how can I merit a crown of victory?
3.Docility, Not Passivity: In order to bear fruit we must be docile to God’s word. But being docile does not mean being passive. For a Christian, docility to Christ and the Holy Spirit means willingness to work and serve. We are followers of the One who came to serve. The Spirit that is self-surrender moves us. To hear the Word of God and accept it means to make our lives an imitation of Christ’s total self-giving—day in and day out. God will grant fruit to our lives if we are willing to be other Christs in the here and now.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for showing me how to bear fruit in my life. I want to imitate your self-surrender to the Father and to souls. I know that this requires a constant effort to go deep in my life and be docile to the Holy Spirit. Help me to live as a giver, not a taker. Your love will always be there to accompany me.
Resolution: Today I will offer up a small sacrifice to ask God for the grace of acquiring the virtue that I need the most.
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I renew my faith in the power of your word. I come to you today to listen to you and allow you to lead me. I renew my trust in your mercy: You are constantly looking upon me and the world with love. I want to love you in return and lead others to love you.
Petition: Fill me with the power of your good news, Lord.
1.The World Needs Messengers of Hope:Jesus Christ is the message that everyone vitally needs. He is God’s message to man, the message that tells people that God loves them deeply and offers them a way to true life and salvation. Our world often looks for love in the wrong places; it needs to find the answer to its deepest desires in Christ. But who will spread this message? Those like St. Paul who take Christ’s love seriously and see that they, too, can become messengers of hope. Am I meant to be a messenger of hope?
2.God Acts Powerfully in Those Who Trust Him:St. Paul is an example of what God can do through someone who trusts in him. St. Paul valued the grace Christ gave him. He put his life totally in the hands of Christ and was not afraid to proclaim him to everyone he met. Even though Paul faced many difficulties, his work produced enormous fruit and helped expand the number of Christian communities. Do I believe that Christ can work through me as I participate in the New Evangelization? In what ways can I trust him more?
3.Our Opportunity Is Now:St. Paul and the first apostles did not wait until all the circumstances were right before beginning evangelization. Once Christ had touched their lives and once he had given them the command to begin, they began right away. The Church has asked us to begin again today. Like St. Paul, we must feel that the fire of Christ’s love impels us (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14). We cannot wait until the circumstances are favorable; we must do whatever we can now. We have already experienced Christ’s love. Why are we waiting to share it? What holds me back from a greater surrender to the work of evangelization?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, like Saint Paul I have been touched by your love, and I have heard your command to go out and spread the good news. I renew my trust in your companionship, and I resolve to do all I can to bring your Gospel to others. Help me to keep my eyes on you.
Resolution: Today I will share a thought from the Gospel or from the Holy Father’s teaching with at least two people whom I encounter.
Lord, I believe that you are the source of all goodness. I know that your goodness is both a challenge and a promise. I trust that your goodness will envelop me if I allow myself to be found by you. I love you for wanting to fight the battle against evil for my sake.
Lord, help me not to be afraid of the battle against evil.
THIS morning, before rising from bed, the Lord put the Novena of Abandonmenton my heart again. Did you know that Jesus said, “There is no novena more effective than this”? I believe it. Through this special prayer, the Lord brought so much-needed healing in my marriage and my life, and continues to do so.
Ironically, since I wrote The Poverty of this Present Moment, all about what to do when we lose control in our present situation — I have been faced with all kinds of technical problems I’ve had little control over. And many of you reading this are wondering where to go from here with having lost your job, unable to travel or go to a restaurant (if you don’t have your “passport”), watching stores shelves go bare (as is happening in places in the U.S. and Canada), wondering how to repair deep familial divisions, etc. The truth is that this Great Storm that is upon us is real. Next week, I want to write more about this as the “now word” on my heart that “It is happening”. We are literally watching in real-time what I wrote about in 2013: the slow and Involuntary Dispossession of our goods, most importantly, freedoms. It’s worth it to go back and read what I wrote then — especially how Our Lady warned that certain members of the clergy would be complicit in what we call today “The Great Reset.” But that is only the beginning — I think we are going to see a strong attempt soon to “reset” the Church herself, and this is the most serious matter of all.
But let’s leave all that aside for now. Because I want to say just one word to you now: Jesus. Just say His name with me right now: Jesus. Let the power of His name invade you. What is it about this Name?
To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2666
When you say the name of Jesus in faith, you are literally invoking His presence within you. Call anyone else’s name, and it bounces off the wall; call on the name of Jesus and saints come to attention, principalities bow, and all of Heaven sings alleluia.
There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved. (Acts 4:12)
But how much more powerful when you invoke His name in order to let Him fulfill the very essence of His name:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel. (Matt 1:23)
Emmanuel: “God is with us”. So when you call the name of Jesus, you are saying, “God is with me; He has not left me; He is here, despite my sinfulness.” I would even say precisely because of it.
Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners. (Luke 5:31)
To be honest, this has been a tough week. I spent most of it dealing with the technical issues of this very mailing list to the point of pulling my hair out. In the process, we lost around 10,000 subscribers (so if you want to resubscribe, please do so here). I totally forgot everything I’d written about last week on surrendering everything to Jesus and sat there in a puddle of frustration and self-pity. So listen, these words are for me too. This is why I wrote some time ago the little series called The Art of Beginning Again.
So back to the beginning… I want to recommend wholeheartedly to you this novena. It’s very short, but it’s absolutely beautiful and powerful. Whatever situation or person is laying heavy on your heart, simply, take a few minutes each day to pray this novena… and just surrender it to Jesus. If it’s hard, then tell Him it’s hard. Don’t just surrender the situation but surrender the fact you are having a hard time surrendering! But then, let go. Surrender everything. Over and over.
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the Twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that through baptism you have invited me to share in your friendship. I trust in your Church, Lord. You have given us this institution as the guide to help us in our salvation. I love you, Lord, because you have loved me first. I love you, Lord, for calling me to be your friend and apostle. I may be a mere sinner, but with you, Lord, I believe that I can do great things.
Petition: Lord, help me to collaborate in your work of salvation.
Christ Summoned Those Whom He Wanted: Christ has chosen to need our assistance. He wants our help with the great work of the New Evangelization. As great and powerful as Christ is, he has willed that man collaborate with him in his plan of salvation. He wants to involve others in helping people to come to know, love and serve him. He makes use of man’s free and responsible collaboration in order to carry out his plans. Therefore, even though man is a creature of very limited possibilities, he can achieve truly unimaginable things when he lives and works for God.
He Calls Me by Name: Christ does not haphazardly choose me to collaborate with him in the New Evangelization. He knows me. He knows me better than I know myself, and out of love he invites me to be with him. When he calls me by name, he reaches into the depths of my heart and soul. He delves into the depths of who I am, and he identifies with me. When he calls me by name, he calls me out of love; “he calls me to share in his own divine life” (Lumen Gentium, 2). He calls me by name because he knows how great the gift is that he wishes to share with me.
He Gives Me a Mission: “He sent them to preach and to drive out demons” (Mark 3:14-15). Christ doesn’t call me just to enjoy the present life. He has created me for a purpose. He has given me a specific vocation that only I can fulfill. I am irreplaceable; there will never be another me. The opportunity that I have to share in this friendship with Our Lord is an invitation to do something with him and for him. Christ’s love for me invites and beckons me to collaborate with him. Who can resist an invitation to collaborate with someone so great, and with an offer so challenging and yet so fulfilling?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you have wished for me to enter your friendship. You have called me by name to be your friend. You have invited me to help you in the New Evangelization. I want to help you and do my part. Give me the strength to be close to you and to collaborate with you in this great undertaking.
Resolution: I will bring up the faith in a conversation with someone
Lord, this time of prayer should be everything for me: the moment that I long for, the food that sustains me, the comfort that strengthens me. I know that you are at work in me even when I don’t feel you and don’t even seem able to perceive your presence. I want to pray fervently and from the heart, not just with my mind.
Lord, help me to touch you in this moment of prayer. Help me to touch you in the Eucharist so that your presence will transform me.
Prayer should never be reduced to a task that has to be performed. Prayer is falling in love with a God who fell in love with us first…Prayer is about being real, honest, and true with God and allowing Him to enter our broken state and allowing Him to renew and heal us.
Lord, the most important moment of my day has arrived. I am alone with you for a heart-to-heart talk. Who am I that you should want to spend this time with me; that you should want to pour yourself out to me? What a joy, what an honor, what a glory to be the follower of a king like you!
Lord, help me to pray for and serve those who persecute me and to win them over to the Gospel through love, just as you did.
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THERE is something happening that we have to pay attention to, something the Lord is doing, or one could say, allowing. And that is the stripping of His Bride, Mother Church, of her worldly and stained garments, until she stands naked before Him.
The prophet Hosea writes…
Accuse your mother, accuse! for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove her prostitution from her face, her adultery from between her breasts, or I will strip her naked, leaving her as on the day of her birth… For she said, “I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.” Therefore, I will hedge in her way with thorns and erect a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths… Now I will lay bare her shame in full view of her lovers, and no one can deliver her out of my hand… Therefore, I will allure her now; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak persuasively to her. Then I will give her the vineyards she had, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope. (Hos 2:4-17)
The Lord, in His ineffable love for her, is drawing His Bride into the desert to be denuded of every love that is not rooted in Him. Hence, these are the worst and best of times for which we were born. There is a saying that goes “Those who choose to be married to the spirit of the world in this age, will be divorced in the next.” Hence, the Lord is sifting humanity like wheat from the tares in order to draw a People to Himself, to be pure, holy and spotless. As Hosea wrote, “They will be called, ‘Children of the living God.’” Recall The Prophecy at Romewhere Jesus says,
I will lead you into the desert… I will strip you of everything that you are depending on now, so you depend just on me… And when you have nothing but Me, you will have everything… —given at Rome, St. Peter’s Square, Pentecost Monday of May, 1975 (from Ralph Martin)
As I was writing this, an invitation arrived in my email to come to Ohio to speak at a conference. But I replied that our government forbids those such as me, who have rejected the experimental gene therapy (even though I’ve had COVID, and am immune) from travelling on bus, train, or plane. In fact, I am not allowed in gyms, restaurants, liquor stores, theatres, etc. either. I have also been banned or blocked on several social media platforms for merely discussing the science and data. Far more tragic, I have received numerous letters from doctors, nurses, pilots, soldiers and other professionals, who have been fired or dismissed for the same reasons — people with families, mortgages, obligations and dreams… all of those shattered now by the spectre of a new global tyranny advancing in the name of “health.” Never has the poverty of being abandoned been felt so keenly around the world as our bishops have remained almost completely silent if not complicit — leaving their flock to the wolves.
You did not bring back the stray or seek the lost but ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts. (Ezekiel 34:2-5)
Now we see food beginning to disappear off of shelves in many places as other countries quietly posit the idea of banning private car ownership. It’s all fully planned as part of The Great Reset, which is nothing other than the intentional demolition of the present state of things in order to “build back better.” It is not the raising of the poor to a place of dignity but plunging all into poverty. It is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s Prophecy of Global Communismand the prescient words of Church Father Lactantius:
That will be the time in which righteousness shall be cast out, and innocence be hated; in which the wicked shall prey upon the good as enemies; neither law, nor order, nor military discipline shall be preserved… all things shall be confounded and mixed together against right, and against the laws of nature. Thus the earth shall be laid waste, as though by one common robbery. When these things shall so happen, then the righteous and the followers of truth shall separate themselves from the wicked, and flee into solitudes. —Lactantius, Church Father, The Divine Institutes, Book VII, Ch. 17
…the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two years, and a half-year. (Revelation 12:14)
All this is to say that the Lord is permitting His Church to enter her own Passion. Just as Jesus was stripped of His garments and dignity, so too, the glory of the Church is being cast into the dust, along with her idolatries, in order to purge and purify her soul. Fr. Ottavio Michelini was a priest, mystic, and member of the Papal Court of Pope St. Paul VI (one of the highest honors bestowed by a Pope on a living person). On June 15, 1978, St. Dominic Savio said to him:
And the Church, placed in the world as a Teacher and Guide of the nations? Oh, the Church! The Church of Jesus, that issued from the wound of His side: she also has been contaminated and infected by the poison of Satan and of his wicked legions — but it will not perish; in the Church is present the Divine Redeemer; it cannot perish, but it must suffer its tremendous Passion, just like its invisible Head. Afterwards, the Church and all of humanity will be raised up from its ruins, to begin a new path of justice and of peace in which the Kingdom of God will truly dwell in all hearts — that interior kingdom that upright souls have asked for and implored for so many ages [through the petition of the Our Father: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”]. — cf. “Fr. Ottavio – A New Era of Peace”
THE POVERTY OF THE PRESENT MOMENT
My daughter Denise, the author, phoned me today. She had been pondering about human “progress” and how the architecture of previous eras was actually far superior than today, not only in quality but beauty. We began to discuss how actually so much of this present generation is greatly impoverished compared to the past and how the idea that we have “progressed” is false. Consider how music has lost so much of the beauty and glorify of previous eras, often reduced to the banal and sensual. How the food we eat has gone from nutrient-rich organic home-grown gardens to mass processed genetically modified foods laced with chemicals, preservatives, and agricultural chemicals, like glyphosate. How the state of world peace in the face of advancing weapons of mass destruction is more fragile than ever. How entire villages and towns are still without fresh water and basic food supplies while Westerners buy bottled water and become disproportionately overweight. How communication skills between people have regressed through technology. How general health is plunging as auto-immune diseases begin to skyrocket. How the domestic family is rapidly deteriorating and political discourse disintegrating. How freedom and democracy are in decline, not progression.
Is progress really a curve that sweeps perpetually higher? Wasn’t packaging (or toymaking or cobbling or winemaking or milk or cheese or cement, for that matter) often better three hundred or seven hundred or nineteen hundred years ago? —Anthony Doerr, Four Seasons in Rome, pg. 107
I can hear Jesus pronouncing over the Church and the world:
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. (Rev 3:17-19)
The most essential poverty to recognize in this present moment is that of our own interior life. Because if God has permitted man to bring himself to the point of self-destruction, it is only so that we would recognize our absolute and unchangeable need for Him. It is the poverty of realizing that I am helpless against the tide of this new Communism. It is the poverty of losing my freedom. It is the poverty of feeling my own weakness, my inability to change the situations around me. It is the poverty of seeing myself as I truly am. It is the poverty of accepting this or that illness or malady. It is the poverty of growing older and facing my mortality, of seeing my children leave home into a world increasingly hostile to the Faith and freedom. It is also the poverty of seeing within myself those faults and frailties that continue to cause me to stumble and fall.
It is there, however, there in that present moment of truth that I can begin to be set free. It is in this present moment that I find the hidden will of God, in all its distressing disguises, alluring me so that He can speak to my heart and heal it. It is here, in the poverty of this desert of helplessness that I can actually begin to let God father me as I abandon myself to Him saying, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of David, have pity on me.”
We need enlightened eyes of the hear to pierce the disguises, to say “yes, you are my Father” in the now. There is only one point, so to speak, where God is for us, and that is the now. How readily we would escape from the now — into what we think should be, to what may be, to what has been, to what is coming. How much energy and attention we waste worrying over the past, being anxious and doubtful and full of fear for the future. He is with me now, quietly, unobtrusively asking me to receive Him, to recognize Him. Now, in this one little circumscribed moment, I can say “yes, Father.” Such a poor little “yes”; no grandiose certainties that I will never do this again, never commit that fault again — no dreads and despairs that I cannot be faithful. Only a little “yes” now… That is to live in my poverty relying only on Him to see me through, to enable me to say “yes” — to do what I can’t — be faithful unto death. —Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D., a Carmelite nun, published in Magnificat, January 2022, January 10th
The irony is that it is not when my will triumphs, but His, that I find the peace I so long for. Jesus said to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta:
My daughter, I feel the need that the creature rest in Me, and I in her. But do you know when the creature rests in Me, and I in her? When her intelligence thinks of Me and comprehends Me, she rests in the Intelligence of her Creator, and That of the Creator finds rest in the created mind. When the human will unites with the Divine Will, the two wills embrace and rest together. If human love rises above all created things and loves only its God – what a beautiful rest do God and the creature find reciprocally! One who gives rest, finds it. I become her bed and keep her in the sweetest sleep, clasped in my arms. Therefore, come and rest in my bosom. —Volume 14, March 18th, 1922
If we could only accept that all things are permitted by the hand of God, even the gravest evils, then we could rest knowing that His permissive will has a better path than the one I foresee. This abandonment to God is the real source of peace because nothing, then, can touch my soul when I am resting in Him.
You do not turn to Me, instead, you want me to adapt your ideas. You are not sick people who ask the doctor to cure you, but rather sick people who tell the doctor how to. So do not act this way, but pray as I taught you in the our Father: “Hallowed be thy Name,” that is, be glorified in my need. “Thy kingdom come,” that is, let all that is in us and in the world be in accord with your kingdom. “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven,” that is, in our need, decide as you see fit for our temporal and eternal life. If you say to Me truly: “Thy will be done”, which is the same as saying: “You take care of it”, I will intervene with all My omnipotence, and I will resolve the most difficult situations.—Jesus to Servant of God Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo (d. 1970); from the Novena of Abandonment
It is to enter into the poverty of this present moment, where God is, and just let Him love and care for you in the way the Great Physician sees fit — bruised, impoverished, naked — but loved.
Look about you, son of man. When you see it all shut down, when you see everything removed which has been taken for granted, and when you are prepared to live without these things, then you will know what I am making ready. —prophecy given to Fr. Michael Scanlan in 1976, countdowntothekingdom.com
For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready. She was allowed to wear a bright, clean linen garment. (Rev 19:7-8)
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