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Thursday, January 17, 2019

feast of saint anthony, abbot

Leviticus, Chapter 25, Verse 43
Do not lord it over them harshly, but stand in fear of your God.

This verse in the book of Leviticus is about how to treat the hired help or the slaves of the rich. It was common for a poor Jew to hire himself out as a slave for up to seven years, the year of the jubilee to pay for his daily bread. Although a slave; God commands they will be treated with dignity and respect for all the Jews were liberated by God from the Egyptians. This verse also from a modern standpoint sounds a lot like servant leadership. The focus of the servant leader as discussed by Greenleaf (2002) is primarily in serving. To serve both the organization and the people in it; this involves the leader having to focus on how to best serve and having concern for well-rounded work, community and power sharing. This is the greatness of our Lord in that He shares with us His majesty and forgives us our failings.

Sons of Liberty[1]

“It’s all about the Benjamin’s”

Today Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706. As a founding father of this nation; one wonders would he question if Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are Still Self-Evident Rights? Whether it is self-evident or not, it is the philosophical belief in the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that helped make America both great and good. Thomas Jefferson stated: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Jefferson’s argument is not that the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue happiness originate in government, but that these rights have a divine origin.  Jefferson argued that the job of all governments was to “secure” rights that God had already granted.  In other words, the rights to life and liberty do not come into being with the force of government fiat; life and liberty are pre-political rights already granted by God.  Today, we have lost that concept.  Almost a quarter-millennia later, these rights are no longer considered self-evident, and neither is a Creator.  Once God and the natural law are disassociated from rights—once the idea of justice and goodness are separated from rights—we are left with a political environment in which anything could be considered a right, or nothing could be considered a right.

As Pope John Paul II said in Denver, Colorado at World Youth Day in 1993: When the Founding Fathers of this great nation enshrined certain inalienable rights in the Constitution…they did so because they recognized the existence of a ‘law’ – a series of rights and duties – engraved by the Creator on each person’s heart and conscience. In much of contemporary thinking, any reference to a ‘law’ guaranteed by the Creator is absent. There remains only each individual’s choice of this or that objective as convenient or useful in a given set of circumstances. No longer is anything considered intrinsically "good" and "universally binding". Rights are affirmed but, because they are without any reference to an objective truth, they are deprived of any solid basis. Vast sectors of society are confused about what is right and what is wrong and are at the mercy of those with the power to "create" opinion and impose it on others. Pope John Paul II saw and foresaw, once rights are viewed as mere arbitrary constructs with no relation or reference to our Creator, rights become a mere matter of whimsy—subject no longer to God, but to the fickle winds of public opinion.  Today, we are often told that it is not life and liberty, but their opposites that are self-evident.  We are told that the right to abortion and euthanasia are self-evident, and that religious liberties and liberties of conscience have no validation in law. The founding fathers generally recognized that human laws and rights should reflect each other, largely because they have the same origin.  Just as human law must come from divine law, so do rights ultimately come from God and from justice.  Rights flow from justice, and if a right cannot be traced to justice, it is no right at all.  Once a right, however, is traced to justice—the right to life, for instance—it has the “solid basis” about which Pope Saint John Paul II spoke. 

Indeed, as Jefferson noted all those July 4th’s ago, men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”  Whether it is self-evident or not, it is the philosophical belief in the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that helped make America both great and good.  Let’s continue to promote and defend all three.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just. (Ps. 19:10)

Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Ps. 19:15)

Catholic Recipe: Saint Antony of the Desert Soup[2]

Saint Antony, called the Great, lived in Egypt between A.D. 251 and 356. At age 18, the gospel text "If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all that you have and then follow me" so moved him that he left everything behind and retired to an inaccessible place in the wilderness where he dedicated his life to God in manual work and continual prayer. In his old age, he imparted wisdom to his disciples and encouraged them to lead a monastic life. Because he was the first Christian to retire to a monastic life, he is considered to be the first monk and also the father of all monks. His feast is celebrated on January 17. Try this simple, healthy recipe in honor of Saint Antony the hermit.


3 tablespoons oil of choice
1 cup barley
1 carrot, finely grated
2 leeks, sliced
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
Salt to taste
7 cups water
1 bouillon cube, if desired
Chopped mushrooms, if desired


1. Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the barley, stirring continuously for one minute. Immediately add the carrot, leeks, bay leaf, parsley, salt, and water.
2. Cook the soup over low to medium heat, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes, until the barley is tender. Add more water if needed. For extra taste, add the bouillon and the mushrooms during the last 20 minutes of simmering. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot.

Recipe Source: From a Monastery Kitchen: The Classic Natural Foods Cookbook by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette, Gramercy Books, 1997

Life First[3] 9 Days for Life

9 Days for Life is a "digital pilgrimage" of prayer and action focused on cherishing the gift of every person's life. A multi-faceted novena highlighting a different intention each day provides reflections, bonus information, and suggested actions. Join to receive the novena through the 9 Days for Life app, daily emails, or daily texts. See below for information on how else you can get involved! #9DaysforLife #OurPrayersMatter

Day Four:

Intercession: May God’s peace fill the hearts of all who travel upon the path of adoption.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us to “hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Heb 6:18-19). Families hoping to adopt children and mothers considering placing their children for adoption often face many challenges along the way. We pray that all who are involved in the adoption process would be filled with the hope of Christ and “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7). We also remember that we too can cling fast to this anchor of hope, for we have received “a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Rom 8:15). May our loving Father envelop each of us in His love today and open our eyes of faith that we may see and rejoice in His love.

Acts of Reparation (Choose one.)

·         Do you have a sweet tooth? Or do you prefer salty snacks? Pick your favorite kind of treat, and give it up for the day.
·         Make an act of faith, hope, or love (
·         Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

Complete My Joy[4]

A Father’s Mission in the Family

75. Husbands and fathers, you too have an irreplaceable mission. There is a security and stability that only you can give your family. This will only bless your family to the extent that you fulfill your role as provider, protector and spiritual leader.

76. As lead (if not sole) provider of the income needed to sustain the family, you shoulder a burden that frees your wife to be present to you and to your children, particularly when they are young. Sacrifices of the larger home, the extra vehicle or vacation are nothing compared to the precious gift of your children having their mother’s presence to them in the home. Do all you can to assure this, or to move in this direction in close dialogue with your wife. Some of you, I know, sacrifice more than luxuries. I commend you. Pray that as your spiritual father I will match your level of sacrifice for the children God has entrusted to me. Some of you husbands are suffering through unemployment or job insecurity at this time. Trust in God; seek good friendships of men who can come alongside you and take necessary steps to provide even if outside your normal field for a time. I am praying for you.

77. You are also the primary protector of your family. What does this mean? It means you are the seawall against the storms that threaten from inside and outside. While your wife’s attention is more naturally focused on the relationships within and around the family, yours naturally is drawn to threats. This is a gift to your family. Protect them, Dad! These threats take various forms: of special note at this time in history, the threat of overuse of technology and the always evil problem of pornography come to mind. Do what you must to protect the precious time, peace, unity and healthy imaginations of your family. Your denying a smart-phone to a teenager is no sin—any suffering from an unpopular decision now will be repaid a hundred-fold by a grateful adult son or daughter down the road, and even if not then, in Heaven. Other threats, known better to you than to me, are your responsibility as well, along with positive encouragement toward new, healthy experiences, challenging opportunities of charity, service and work, and even encouraging risks for personal growth. All this you deeply impact as a father.

78. I know well that the third dimension, spiritual leadership, is often the most difficult. Yet, God will in no way fail to give you the grace to enter this place of spiritual battle within yourself and on behalf of your family. Your steadiness in maintaining the grace of weekly Mass and the sacraments, your growth in disciplined prayer and your pursuit of deeper personal conversion throughout your life provide an indelible lesson in spiritual leadership. This indeed, along with your love for your wife and care for your children, will be the best of fatherly gifts.

79. St. Paul twice tells fathers not to provoke their children, but to “bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4) He writes this immediately before he gives his most forceful teaching to us about spiritual warfare. Your presence and encouragement build your son or daughter in a uniquely masculine way and make a stunningly powerful difference in their lives and faith. When you as fathers affirm your sons in word and deed and time together, you are giving the authoritative pronouncement of their goodness so that they can live confidently as beloved sons without trying to find their ultimate meaning in the things of the world. When your daughter is affirmed as good, beautiful and precious by you, the most important man in her life, she will be confident and well-equipped to say no to the false flattery of the world that so often fails to see her true dignity, value and worth.

80. In your renewed determination to live your masculine mission as provider, protector and spiritual leader of your home, you will often have setbacks and moments of doubt. We all do! Stay the course. Lean in to St. Joseph, the husband and foster-father who faced difficulty after difficulty in providing for protecting and leading his holy family. Ask him to intercede for you whenever you do not see the path ahead clearly. He is the “Protector of the Holy Family” and the “Terror of Demons.” He knows your struggle and is a great saint of prayer.

The Way[5] Mortification

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

These are the ripe fruits of the mortified soul: tolerance and understanding for the defects of others; intolerance for one's own.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Novena for life