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Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Seraphim Singers

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Seraphim's Paul Keene on Gwyneth Walker's Songs Of Ecstasy, No. 3, “Thou Inward Stranger Whom I Have Never Seen". This piece will be performed at Seraphim's Women's Perspectives Concerts on Mar. 1 & 3.
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Prayer: Juan Luis Vives

O Lord, the author and persuader of peace, love, and goodwill, soften our hard and steely hearts and warm our frozen and icy hearts, that we truly may be your disciples. Give us grace even now to begin to show that heavenly life, where there is not hatred but peace and love everywhere.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time
March 3, 2019
1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23, Psalm 103; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Luke 6:17, 27-38

These readings outline how our speech and actions are determined by our attitudes. The Gospel tells us good fruit is produced from a good tree and that morally blind person cannot be a reliable guide for someone who does not know the way. Ben Sira in the first reading tells us that speech is a reflection of a person’s character. What type of person does our speech reveal us to be? The moral to our readings is that we need self-discipline in our pursuit of leading a good and noble life. We have to ask ourselves: What type of person do I want to be? How can I get there?

Words are powerful, and hurtful words can scar a person’s soul for life. As we learn about the power of the words we use, we need self-discipline to speak in ways not to offend. We are judged on the words we speak and most of us want to express non-discrimination, forgiveness, understanding, and support. Our right use of speech brings about well-being and healing. Each day we can say something that has the capacity to help people and to relieve their suffering.

I want to suggest four simple practices that we can use to make our speech produce the good fruit we intend. The first practice is to always tell the truth, even in times of difficulty. Telling the truth is an art, it is not as simple as it seems; there is a good reason it is one of our commandments. The other person needs to hear the truth spoken in ways that they do not feel threatened and can hear the message, not the criticism. We tell the truth in loving and protective ways. We do not own the truth, we might have a perception that is biased or incomplete. Be skillful and gentle. Don’t lie, don’t avoid conflict, or turn the truth-upside down. Lying is dangerous and only causes harm. We have to respect the truth, but in those times when it is too shocking, we have to be very gentle because we have experience that people have spoken the truth violently or by attacking, and this only causes harm.

Solid relationship are built on truth. Trust is earned and takes a long time to develop. Even the most skilled words cause pain, but pain can heal when we speak the right words. Above all, the relationship has to endure. Suffering can be beneficial, and we can learn from it.

The second practice is to avoid exaggerating because it takes you away from the truth. Think about the words you want to use. Choose them selectively so you are articulating accurately. Be balanced and descriptive in the words you choose so that you lessen the drama. When you use superlatives words, people stop believing in you. When you are using absolute or superlative words in your anger, others might think you are making an issue larger than it is to justify and express your anger.

The third practice is to be consistent with the words you use from person to person. We cannot say one thing to one person and something contrary to another person. Be true to your words and do not change your position to suit your situation. Words need to have integrity because they reveal character.

The fourth practice is to learn how to use words that create a peaceful culture. Avoid using words that insult, are cruel and abusive or condemning. Sometimes this means we have to learn a new vocabulary that creates a positive culture. The goal is to develop a culture to strengthen existing relationships.

Words can nourish ourselves and another person, and they can convey compassion and understanding. Words can inspire confidence and openness. Suffering is brought about by wrong speech that is unkind, untruthful, or violent, which lacks the means for reconciliation. Loving speech conveys insight and understanding that can heal. The one who hears these words feel wonderful. These are the words that bear good fruit and reveal the goodness of our soul.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Sirach 17) To the penitent God provides a way back, he encourages those who are losing hope and has chosen for them the lot of truth. Return to him and give up sin, pray to the LORD and make your offenses few.

Tuesday: (Sirach 35) To keep the law is a great oblation, and he who observes the commandments sacrifices a peace offering. In works of charity one offers fine flour,
and when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise. To refrain from evil pleases the LORD, and to avoid injustice is an atonement.

Wednesday: (Joel 2) Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.

Thursday: (Deuteronomy 30) Moses said to the people: "Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous

Friday (Isaiah 58) This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.

Saturday (Isaiah 58) If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

Monday: (Mark 10) As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

Tuesday: (Mark 10) Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age.

Wednesday (Matthew 6) But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

Thursday (Luke 9) Jesus said to his disciples: "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Friday (Matthew 9) The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?

Saturday (Luke 5) Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me." And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them.

Saints of the Week

         March 5: Mardi Gras is your last chance to eat meat before Lent. This is the last day of Carnival (Carne- meat, Goodbye – vale). Say goodbye to meat as we begin the fasting practices tomorrow.

         March 6: Ash Wednesday is the customary beginning to the season of Lent. A penitential time marked by increased fasting, prayer and almsgiving, we begin our 40-day tradition of sacrifice as we walk the way of Jesus that ends at the Cross during Holy Week. Lent is a time of conversion, a time to deepen one’s relationship with Christ, for all roads lead to his Cross of Suffering and Glory.

March 7: Perpetua and Felicity (d. 203), were two catechumens arrest and killed during a persecution in North Africa. Perpetua was a young noblewoman who was killed alongside her husband, their young son, and their pregnant slave, Felicity. They were baptized while under arrest and would not renounce their faith. Felicity was excused from death because it was unlawful to kill a pregnant woman, but she gave birth prematurely three days before the planned execution. They were flogged, taunted by wild beasts, and then beheaded. They appear in the First Eucharistic Prayer.

March 8: John of God (1495-1550), was a Portuguese soldier of fortune who was brought to Spain as a child. He was a slave master, shepherd, crusader, bodyguard and peddler. As he realized that he frittered away his life, he sought counsel from John of Avila. He then dedicated his life to care for the sick and the poor. He formed the Order of Brothers Hospitallers and is the patron saint of hospitals and the sick.

March 9: Frances of Rome (1384-1440), was born into a wealthy Roman family and was married at age 13. She bore six children and when two died in infancy, she worked to bring the needs of the less fortunate to others. She took food to the poor, visited the sick, cared for the needy in their homes. When other women joined in her mission, they became Benedictine oblates. She founded a monastery for them after her husband's death.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Mar 3, 1595. Clement VIII raised Fr. Robert Bellarmine to the Cardinalate, saying that the Church had not his equal in learning.
·      Mar 4, 1873. At Rome, the government officials presented themselves at the Professed House of the Gesu for the purpose of appropriating the greater part of the building.
·      Mar 5, 1887. At Rome, the obsequies of Fr. Beckx who died on the previous day. He was 91 years of age and had governed the Society as General for 34 years. He is buried at San Lorenzo in Campo Verano.
·      Mar 6, 1643. Arnauld, the Jansenist, published his famous tract against Frequent Communion. Fifteen French bishops gave it their approval, whereas the Jesuit fathers at once exposed the dangers in it.
·      Mar 7, 1581. The Fifth General Congregation of the Society bound the professors of the Society to adhere to the doctrine of St Thomas Aquinas.
·      Mar 8, 1773. At Centi, in the diocese of Bologna, Cardinal Malvezzi paid a surprise visit to the Jesuit house, demanding to inspect their accounting books.
·      Mar 9, 1764. In France, all Jesuits who refused to abjure the Society were ordered by Parliament to leave the realm within a month. Out of 4,000 members only five priests, two scholastics, and eight brothers took the required oath; the others were driven into exile.