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  Fourth Sunday after Pentecost (12th S. in Ord. Time) ORTHODOX PENTECOST FATHER’S DAY SUM. SOLSTICE   1 Chronicles, Chapter 28, Verse 2...

Friday, May 25, 2018

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Ember Saturday

Mark, Chapter 5, Verse 35-36
35 While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” 36 Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

This is the message of the gospel: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” All who believe in Christ for their salvation have access to Him at any time. Christ compels us to trust in Him as He did the synagogue official. Through faith the Holy Spirit brings us the gifts of knowledge and understanding. The gift of counsel and we are driven by the spirit to a higher level of prudence. We are docil to the spirits promptings; we have foresight and circumspection and we desire holiness.

DISCERNMENT of Life[1]


How can we know if something comes from the Holy Spirit or if it stems from the spirit of the world or the spirit of the devil? The only way is through discernment, which calls for something more than intelligence or common sense. It is a gift which we must implore. If we ask with confidence that the Holy Spirit grant us this gift, and then seek to develop it through prayer, reflection, reading and good counsel, then surely, we will grow in this spiritual endowment.


The gift of discernment has become all the more necessary today, since contemporary life offers immense possibilities for action and distraction, and the world presents all of them as valid and good. All of us, but especially the young, are immersed in a culture of zapping. We can navigate simultaneously on two or more screens and interact at the same time with two or three virtual scenarios. Without the wisdom of discernment, we can easily become prey to every passing trend. This is all the more important when some novelty presents itself in our lives. Then we have to decide whether it is new wine brought by God or an illusion created by the spirit of this world or the spirit of the devil. At other times, the opposite can happen, when the forces of evil induce us not to change, to leave things as they are, to opt for a rigid resistance to change. Yet that would be to block the working of the Spirit. We are free, with the freedom of Christ. Still, he asks us to examine what is within us – our desires, anxieties, fears and questions – and what takes place all around us – “the signs of the times” – and thus to recognize the paths that lead to complete freedom. “Test everything; hold fast to what is good” (1 Thess 5:21).



Discernment is necessary not only at extraordinary times, when we need to resolve grave problems and make crucial decisions. It is a means of spiritual combat for helping us to follow the Lord more faithfully. We need it at all times, to help us recognize God’s timetable, lest we fail to heed the promptings of his grace and disregard his invitation to grow. Often discernment is exercised in small and apparently irrelevant things, since greatness of spirit is manifested in simple everyday realities. It involves striving untrammelled for all that is great, better and more beautiful, while at the same time being concerned for the little things, for each day’s responsibilities and commitments. For this reason, I ask all Christians not to omit, in dialogue with the Lord, a sincere daily “examination of conscience”. Discernment also enables us to recognize the concrete means that the Lord provides in his mysterious and loving plan, to make us move beyond mere good intentions.


Certainly, spiritual discernment does not exclude existential, psychological, sociological or moral insights drawn from the human sciences. At the same time, it transcends them. Nor are the Church’s sound norms sufficient. We should always remember that discernment is a grace. Even though it includes reason and prudence, it goes beyond them, for it seeks a glimpse of that unique and mysterious plan that God has for each of us, which takes shape amid so many varied situations and limitations. It involves more than my temporal well-being, my satisfaction at having accomplished something useful, or even my desire for peace of mind. It has to do with the meaning of my life before the Father who knows and loves me, with the real purpose of my life, which nobody knows better than he. Ultimately, discernment leads to the wellspring of undying life: to know the Father, the only true God, and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ. It requires no special abilities, nor is it only for the more intelligent or better educated. The Father readily reveals himself to the lowly. The Lord speaks to us in a variety of ways, at work, through others and at every moment. Yet we simply cannot do without the silence of prolonged prayer, which enables us better to perceive God’s language, to interpret the real meaning of the inspirations we believe we have received, to calm our anxieties and to see the whole of our existence afresh in his own light. In this way, we allow the birth of a new synthesis that springs from a life inspired by the Spirit.


Nonetheless, it is possible that, even in prayer itself, we could refuse to let ourselves be confronted by the freedom of the Spirit, who acts as he wills. We must remember that prayerful discernment must be born of a readiness to listen: to the Lord and to others, and to reality itself, which always challenges us in new ways. Only if we are prepared to listen, do we have the freedom to set aside our own partial or insufficient ideas, our usual habits and ways of seeing things. In this way, we become truly open to accepting a call that can shatter our security, but lead us to a better life. It is not enough that everything be calm and peaceful. God may be offering us something more, but in our comfortable inadvertence, we do not recognize it. Naturally, this attitude of listening entails obedience to the Gospel as the ultimate standard, but also to the Magisterium that guards it, as we seek to find in the treasury of the Church whatever is most fruitful for the “today” of salvation. It is not a matter of applying rules or repeating what was done in the past, since the same solutions are not valid in all circumstances and what was useful in one context may not prove so in another. The discernment of spirits liberates us from rigidity, which has no place before the perennial “today” of the risen Lord. The Spirit alone can penetrate what is obscure and hidden in every situation, and grasp its every nuance, so that the newness of the Gospel can emerge in another light.



An essential condition for progress in discernment is a growing understanding of God’s patience and his timetable, which are never our own. God does not pour down fire upon those who are unfaithful, or allow the zealous to uproot the tares growing among the wheat. Generosity too is demanded, for “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. Discernment is not about discovering what more we can get out of this life, but about recognizing how we can better accomplish the mission entrusted to us at our baptism. This entails a readiness to make sacrifices, even to sacrificing everything. For happiness is a paradox. We experience it most when we accept the mysterious logic that is not of this world: “This is our logic”, says Saint Bonaventure, pointing to the cross. Once we enter into this dynamic, we will not let our consciences be numbed and we will open ourselves generously to discernment. When, in God’s presence, we examine our life’s journey, no areas can be off limits. In all aspects of life we can continue to grow and offer something greater to God, even in those areas we find most difficult. We need, though, to ask the Holy Spirit to liberate us and to expel the fear that makes us ban him from certain parts of our lives. God asks everything of us, yet he also gives everything to us. He does not want to enter our lives to cripple or diminish them, but to bring them to fulfilment. Discernment, then, is not a solipsistic self-analysis or a form of egotistical introspection, but an authentic process of leaving ourselves behind in order to approach the mystery of God, who helps us to carry out the mission to which he has called us, for the good of our brothers and sisters.

Ember Saturday[2]

After experiencing our Lord for forty days after the resurrection and seeing him leave again and without the Holy Spirits presence the disciples were heartbroken but He promised them that He would send the Holy Spirit saying it is better for us that He leave us so we may receive power from on high. The first gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift of Holy fear; to respond to Gods love as a son or daughter rather than a servant. This is end of Paschaltide (after the office of None on Saturday afternoon).

Pentecost, as we know, is the culmination of the Easter festival, which, my breviary informs me, ends today after the office of None. The feast of Pentecost and its octave explains to us how the power of the mystery of Jesus, the mystery of Christ's suffering, dying, and rising is communicated and received; communicated by God, and received by us. God's plan of salvation is breath-taking. If a person were to walk in from the street, and one knowing nothing of the faith that we hold, if that person were enlightened by the Holy Spirit to understand what they were witnessing at the Mass, just about the whole truth of the Catholic faith is laid before them. Today's great feature is the distinctive sequence of prophecies, alleluias, and collects of this Ember Day Mass. Our faith is made so much clearer to us; for we hear of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit; we hear of the harvest which God expects; we hear of the possession of the land and the fruitfulness of that land; and we hear, finally, of the purification by fire, which is the suffering and the trial through which we must all pass.
We have, through God's great mercy, access through faith in Christ, to grace. The gospel of Luke 4:38-44 tells us how that grace is put to work, by God, in our hearts, to heal us. In this, Simon's mother-in-law is a picture of the church. St. Ambrose makes it clear that the fever of Simon's mother-in-law is an expression of the weakness and the vulnerability that we know so well.


Daily Devotions

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Please pray for me and this ministry
·         Please Pray for Senator McCain and our country; asking Our Lady of Beauraing to intercede.



[1]http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html#A_supernatural_gift

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