Monday, 06 March 2017 14:54
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
March 5-11, 2017
This Sunday’s readings speak of the entrance of sin and death into the world. We only need to look at ourselves to see how easy it is to want to be like gods and know all things. Genesis 2: 7-9; 3:1-7 The desire to be able to control everything and everybody around us is that sin of pride – the basis of all sin. We don’t like to be told what to do or when to do it. Humility is a very difficult virtue to practice. Obedience to God’s will is another hard practice. Lent offers us an opportunity to practice these virtues. Jesus is the epitome of humility and obedience to the Father. He is the one who brought us “the gift of justification....acquittal and life….and righteous.” Romans 5: 12-19 We can also practice gratitude for the gift of salvation.
Matthew 4:4 relates the story of the devil tempting Jesus to sin. The devil offered him power, position and possessions. All those things to which we are tempted, too. Jesus defeated the devil with Scripture and faithfulness to his Father. “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” “Get away, Satan. The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” After these trials the “angels came and ministered to him.” We can use these passages during our times of temptation. Angels also accompany us in life’s trials.
Saints Perpetua and Felicity, were both mothers, one a noblewoman and the other a slave girl. They were martyred in the Roman games around 203. We honor them on March 7 for their faithfulness to Christ.
St. John of God, born in 1495, lived a greedy and brutal life as an adult, but occasionally remembered the piety of his childhood, before he was kidnapped and reduced to poverty and hard living. In his early forties he confessed his sins and embraced a life of penance. He opened his home to the sick, poor and homeless, establishing a hospital, homeless shelter and halfway house. The Bishop of Granada gave him the name, John of God, and approved his work.
In the fourteenth century St. Frances of Rome felt called to religious life, but was forced to marry. She bore three children, losing two to the plague. Besides caring for her family she served the poor and opened a wing of her home as a hospital. She received the Pope’s permission to establish a society of women for charitable works. After her husband’s death she lived with this society.
Catholic News Agency
We have these wonderful Christian examples to give us encouragement in our journey to God. Thanks be to God.
Just a reminder that all Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF
Monday, 13 February 2017 09:42
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
February 12-18, 2017
This Sunday’s readings have strong references to “freedom of choice.” We are made in image of the Creator; one of the gifts is “free will.” What an awesome gift; we are free to choose against the Creator, but we must remember the consequences. As we look at our world, we see the extensive misuse of this gift and all the violence, hate, anger and misdeeds that follow. In Sirach: 15: 15-20 the passage begins, “If you choose…” Of course, if we choose in favor of God’s law, Jesus’ teachings as Christians, we will be saved. It seems like such an easy directive. However, we only need to examine our own lives to see our basket of choices is not always commendable.
St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2: 9 paraphrases Isaiah 64:3 “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” What a promise with which to proceed on our journey to our Creator.
It gives us more reason with which to use our “free will” properly. This means to “trust in the wisdom of God” by constantly striving to educate ourselves in righteousness and praying unceasingly.
You may ask, “How can I pray unceasingly? I have much to do.” Aw, but if you live a righteous life you are praying. There are also many moments throughout the day, when we can formally pray – putting dressing, brushing hair, driving, changing classes, preparing a meal, exercising, etc. One I like to say during these moments is, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son, Savior have mercy on me a sinner.” This is an ancient Christian prayer, often called, “The Jesus Prayer.” It is also very powerful, when you are afraid or threatened.
In Matthew’s Gospel 11: 25 Jesus further expands on some of the Ten Commandments. “You have heard it was said to your ancestors, “You shall not kill…I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” We may be proud that we have not killed anyone and, therefore, kept the commandment, but the deeper meaning includes anger. Have we, then, broken this commandment? A re-examination of the Ten Commandments may reveal deeper meanings and directives to a righteous life.
February 14, Valentine’s Day, gives us an opportunity to repair our relationships. Perhaps, it is a way for a husband or wife to say, “I’m sorry!” - friends who have been apart because of a misunderstanding or a child to thank a parent or just because we love one another and want to show it.
Actually, Valentine’s Day is a way in which the Church Christianized a pagan situation. Licentiousness
was strongly rampant around this time of year in pagan rites. Also, the emperor forbade marriage among young people because a married soldier was not good for the military. (Can you guess why?) St. Valentine, a priest of the Third Century, encouraged Christian marriage and gave instructions on this vocation. He was arrested and martyred for disobeying the law. He is the patron of marriage and love. Christian Broadcasting Network, CBN
Saints Cyril and Methodius, brothers from Greece, became priests and were asked to go to the Slavic nations and preach because they knew the language. They created a Slavic alphabet, translated the Bible and said Mass in that language. There were many protests about saying the Mass in the language of the people, but Pope Adrian II approved the practice in the ninth century. They are patrons of Europe. holyspiritinteractive.net
The Order of Servites was founded in the thirteenth century for the sanctification of its members, preaching of the Gospel and spreading of devotion to Mary. The founders, seven young men of wealthy families in Florence, Italy, formed a confraternity, called the “Praisers of Mary.” The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to them and asked them to form a religious community, using the Rule of St. Augustine. Catholic Encyclopedia
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 11:24
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
January 29-February 4, 2017
Blessings are a wonderful part of our Christian faith. Blessings are received during all the sacraments and during special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays (holy days). In the Hispanic cultures many parents bless their children when they go to school or go to bed. Jesus gave us the best blessings of all in the Beatitudes. Matthew 5: 1-12
In 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31 St. Paul reminds us that we have nothing for which to boast of our own merits. We can only “boast in Christ Jesus who became… wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption” for us. We stand humbly before God and offer thanks for these free gifts. Much rejoicing can go on because we are so loved. We can show the face of this love through our own lived and loving presence to others.
St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesians in the nineteenth century Turin, Italy, was a priest of great humility with an abounding love of Mary and the Blessed Sacrament. He lived his whole life in poverty, but spent millions on those he served, especially young boys, who needed food, clothing, housing, education and spiritual nourishment. Besides providing regular education, he established trade schools.
Then, girls began to beseech his help, thus the Sisters of Mary Help were founded. Laredo, Texas is proud of the presence of the Salesian men and women who serve here. catholiconline.com
Though February 2 is the famous Groundhog Day, it has a much greater meaning in the Christian faith.
It is the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Forty days after the birth of a male child in the Jewish faith, the mother had to be purified and the ceremony for the redemption of the male child had to be performed. Thus, being poor, Joseph and Mary offered two turtle doves, instead of a lamb. Of course, we know that Jesus was the Lamb of God who would be sacrificed on the cross for our redemption. It is on this occasion that Anna predicted that a sword would pierce Mary’s heart. Simeon gave praise that he was promised by God to not die until he saw the Christ. This Jesus was the fulfillment. Luke 2: 22-35
St. Blasé was a physician and bishop in Armenia in the sixth century. He was known as a healer of both people and beasts. Throats are blessed on this day, because of the story of his saving a child, choking on a chicken bone. He was martyred for his faith. catholicsaints.info
The theme of Catholic Schools Week, January 29 to February 4, is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” Let us pray for the parents who sacrifice so much to put their children in a Catholic school. Keep the teachers and other school personnel who strive to give these children a strong Christian foundation and academic education. Bless the students in their goal to become the best possible person they are meant to be after the example of Jesus.
Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) set the foundation for what would become the Black History Month in February in 1926. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard. He said, “If a race has no history, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” …In 1964 James A. Baldwin, a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet and social critic, reflected on the fact that his education was lacking because American history “was not cognizance if his existence.” time.com
We have much for which to pray and a long road to travel to bring about justice and peace.
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Felician Franciscan