Zachariah, Chapter 9, verse 5-6
5Ashkelon will see it and be afraid; Gaza too will be in great anguish; Ekron also, for its hope will wither. The king will disappear from Gaza, Ashkelon will not be inhabited, 6 and the illegitimate will rule in Ashdod.
Ashkelon was a coastal city of the Philistines usually at war with Israel. What God is saying to the Israel’s is that He has got their backs and is in the process of restoring Israel. God’s mercy is so great that not only does he restore Israel but, God the Father, eventually will restore all those who have Holy Fear. “The Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
“The fact that Jesus suffered for us means that our suffering now has somewhere to go. Our pain, our battle with sin, our struggle to truly believe in him, all of this can be laid within the wounds of Christ and healed. When we carry our scars alone, they blind us. They paralyze us. They prevent us from experiencing joy. But when we unite our own wounds to those of Christ, when we allow ourselves to encounter the wounded but glorified Christ, we are able to move beyond our own.
Let us this day say the prayer of Everyman
Into thy hands, Lord, my soul I commend; receive it, Lord, that it be not lost; and save me from the fiend’s boast, that I may appear with the blessed host that shall be saved at the day of doom. Into thy hands-of might’s most forever-I commend my spirit.
Here we see God’s mercy is always greater than His justice. Be daring for we are favored and great is His mercy to us.
Christ shows us the Father in His forgiveness. Christ would not relent for as you read the gospels it is clear Christ teaches forgiveness and tells us to ask for the strength to forgive other people. Christ in his first sermon made it abundantly clear we need forgiveness and in His death His last words were about forgiveness. God shows us in this verse to not keep score. How often we tabulate all the wrongs others have done to us. We hold grudges; we plot and wait for vengeance. Christ shows us the depth of His love by forgiving even his executioners.
The late Stephen Covey created a metaphor called the Emotional Bank Account. In the same way we use a bank account to save up money and withdraw it when we need it our emotional bank account works similarly but instead of money we deposit TRUST.
Covey identifies six ways to make deposits (or reduce withdrawals):
1) Understanding the Individual. This means listening intently to what the other person is saying and empathizing with how they may feel. It’s important to care for others and act with kindness toward them.
2) Keeping Commitments. How do you feel when someone arrives right on time when you have a meeting? How about when people simply do what they say they will do? You build up an emotional reserve by keeping your commitments.
3) Clarifying Expectations. We are not mind readers, and yet we consistently expect others to know what we expect of them. Communicating our expectations can help create a higher level of trust. When we ask for what we want, and we get it, we can then trust a little more.
4) Attending to the Little Things. Don’t you find that the little things tend to become the BIG things when they do not receive our attention? Doing the little things is how we honor and show respect for others. Small kindnesses, a smile, a little extra effort, a hug, doing something you didn’t “have” to: these are the things that build trust.
5) Showing Personal Integrity. Integrity is the moral floor upon which trusting relationships are built. When we operate with sound moral character, it makes it so easy for others to trust us.
6) Apologizing When We Make a Withdrawal. We will make mistakes; it’s part of life. But when you see you have violated a trust, sincerely apologizing is how we make a deposit to counteract the damage we have done. When your trust level is high, because you’ve made lots of deposits, communication is almost effortless. You can be yourself, and others understand and appreciate you. Then, when you make mistakes or offend someone unexpectedly, you draw on that reserve and the relationship still maintains a solid level of trust.
Conversely, when you are discourteous, disrespect others, interrupt others, speak sarcastically or ignore others, your emotional bank account becomes overdrawn because you have jeopardized the trust level.
Novena to the Holy SpiritThou, of all consolers best, visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.
The Gift of PietyThe gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.
PrayerCome, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.
PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.
In honor of Mother’s Day, here are a few quotes from John Paul II’s apostolic letter On the Dignity of Women (Mulieris Dignitatem) about the unique vocation of motherhood.
John Paul II: “Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the mother’s womb. The mother is filled with wonder at this mystery of life, and ‘understands’ with unique intuition what is happening inside her. In the light of the ‘beginning’, the mother accepts and loves as a person the child she is carrying in her womb. This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings – not only towards her own child, but every human being – which profoundly marks the woman’s personality.”
“Motherhood implies from the beginning a special openness to the new person: and this is precisely the woman’s ‘part’. In this openness, in conceiving and giving birth to a child, the woman ‘discovers herself through a sincere gift of self’.”
“Human parenthood is something shared by both the man and the woman. Even if the woman, out of love for her husband, says: ‘I have given you a child’, her words also mean: ‘This is our child’. Although both of them together are parents of their child, the woman’s motherhood constitutes a special ‘part’ in this shared parenthood, and the most demanding part. Parenthood – even though it belongs to both – is realized much more fully in the woman, especially in the prenatal period. It is the woman who ‘pays’ directly for this shared generation, which literally absorbs the energies of her body and soul. It is therefore necessary that the man be fully aware that in their shared program of parenthood he owes a special debt to the woman.”
John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (1988), no. 18