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2 Maccabees, Chapter 9, Verse 29 His foster brother Philip brought the body home; but fearing Antiochus’ son, he later withdrew i...

Sunday, March 13, 2016

March 14, 2016 Clean Monday

Jeremiah, Chapter 10, Verse 2
Thus says the LORD: Do not learn the ways of the nations, and have no fear of the signs in the heavens, even though the nations fear them.

What are the ways of the nations? The making of idols is the way of nations. Have you been worshiping idols? Think about it. Our idols are expressed in what we love, in what we think, in the things we see, and what we work for.

Lord, thank you for helping me see more clearly than ever that “what I am” is your gift to me and “what I become” is my gift back to you.” (Poem by Melvin Banggollay)

He did not create us out of necessity; He did not need us. He did not create us out of justice; He owed us nothing. No, it is to His sheer love that we owe our existence. Therefore, we must strive to be humble in accepting our mistakes, to know how to say, “I was wrong.” You have good qualities—great qualities. Are you not a marvel of creation, made in the image of God? You are a masterpiece of His love, wounded, disfigured by sin, but remade by the Redeemer, more beautiful than before—and at what a price! Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good. One drowns very quickly in gall. Keep watch, therefore, over your soul; swallow the bitterness, as Jesus swallowed the vinegar on Calvary, and know how to smile at those who cause you pain. Poverty, austerity, fasting, prayer, and the gift of miracles, without love of our brothers, all are pure illusion. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, give me Your Heart to love my neighbor. The doctrine of abandonment, which sees God in everything, will make you marvelously available for this work. This is one of its richest secrets, for it obliges us to renounce, when necessary, our own views and our little personal plans, even our plans for sanctification. This total abandonment is the pinnacle of holiness and love, because it identifies us more perfectly with Jesus, who lived only to do the will of His Father.[1]

Pilgrimage[2]

Pilgrimage was an essential part of Jesus’ religious life. As God was one, so he had only one holy city, Jerusalem, to which he called his people to make pilgrimage: “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God.” These Tri-annual pilgrimages were required at the feast of unleavened bread (Passover), at the feast of the weeks (commemoration of the Torah & the 10 commandments) and the feast of the booths (Sukkoth). Christ by his sacrifice has created a heavenly Jerusalem which is not in a geographic location but is Eucharistic and is located in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church. Jerusalem has still retained an attractive power, because it contained the monuments of the Lord’s passion and is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites. A modern Catholic map of the world will offer many possible destinations for pilgrimage. Jerusalem and Rome remain favorites as well as the Marian shrines of Lourdes and Fatima. Also since the middle ages travelers have also thronged to Santiago de Compostela, the shrine of St. James in Spain. Yet, here is the greatness of our God: we need not go to the far ends of the earth to go on pilgrimage as God lives with us in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and we can always find local shrines to make small pilgrimages. We could also make a pilgrimage to visit with holy people we know, or travel to honor the graves of our ancestors, friends and mentors. A pilgrimage is a sacramental: an outward sign of an inward grace. It reminds us that we are wayfarers on earth till we are taken up into heaven.

All are invited to accompany me on my annual Divine Mercy Hiking Pilgrimage in Sedona, Arizona starting April 2, 2016.




















[1] d'Elbée, Jean C.J. (2013-12-10). I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux
[2] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 31. Pilgrimage.

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