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Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened,
you endured a great contest of suffering.
At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction;
at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison
and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence;
it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

For, after just a brief moment,
he who is to come shall come;
he shall not delay.
But my just one shall live by faith,
and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.

We are not among those who draw back and perish,
but among those who have faith and will possess life.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”  Matthew 7: 24-25 (NIV)

Forgiveness, the Way to Freedom

To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, “I no longer hold your offense against you” But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the “offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.

emphasis mine


Amazing story.  Well worth the time it takes to listen.

May I learn to forgive as Jesus did


The more I am filled with grace, the more merit my prayers, virtuous actions, and sufferings will have when I offer them to God. The more grace I am infused with, the higher the wattage on the lamp of my soul. This is because grace is what makes us more like God, more united to Him.

from Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions by Father John Bartunek

When all else fails, I recommend taking up the prayer Jesus taught us through St. Faustina and making it the constant refrain of your heart and mind throughout every season of your spiritual journey: “Jesus, I trust in you.”

-from Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions by Father John Bartunek

Acknowledging the intrinsic value and beauty of creation, elements, plants, and animals, is a major paradigm shift for most Western and cultural Christians. In fact, we have often dismissed it as animism or paganism. We limited God’s love and salvation to our own human species, and even then we did not have enough love left to cover all of humanity! God ended up looking quite miserly and inept, to be honest.

How dull are all people who, from the things-that-are, have not been able to discover God-Who-Is, or by studying the good works have failed to recognize the Artist…. Through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures, we may by analogy, contemplate their Author.  -Wisdom 13:1, 5

From “Is ‘Green’ a Christian Position?” Radical Grace.

Heart Full of Grace

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”
—Martin Luther King Jr. February 4, 1968

With our eyes on humanity—not the prize—
we may say, the savior is not coming,
truth looks untrue.

And yet there is joy in the waiting
for the redemption that will come
to those who suffer in the service of the Lord.

Coretta Scott King died
on the day of the President’s speech,
and once again the sky looks gray—

like the day the bullet took her
famous husband down—
now with sibling fighting sibling.

When the bomb hit the porch in Montgomery,
Coretta cuddled an infant Yolanda.
And then Martin—whose cause was

our own cause—came home from the meeting
to calm the crowd with words of peace
that no movement had yet proven.

from Better With Friends

“If we have been saved and sustained by a love so deep that death itself couldn’t destroy it, then that love will see us through whatever darkness we are experiencing in our lives.”

from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy by Diane M. Houdek


Reading 1: Heb 4:12-16

The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 19:8,9,10,15

  1. (see John 6:63c) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
    The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul;
    The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
    R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
    The precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
    The command of the LORD is clear,
    enlightening the eye.
    R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
    The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
    The ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
    R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
    Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
    find favor before you,
    O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
    R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Alleluia: Luke 4:18

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
    and to proclaim liberty to captives.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Mk 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”


“Perfect joy is the ability to return peace and love to those who cross us. That is indeed the path to sainthood, and few of us manage to walk it perfectly.”

from Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy by Diane M. Houdek

“We know that we aren’t always going to be happy. Sadness, even tragedy, is going to cross our paths more than once. But if we strive to be joyful on a daily basis, we seem to develop reserves upon which we can draw.”

From Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy by Diane M. Houdek

January 2015