Embrace Suffering

03/24/2016

Think about Jesus as He was going to Calvary.

Think of the different accounts of people saying “he’s not going to make it to the cross, he’s going to die before that,” so they had to have Simon of Cyrene help Him carry the cross…

The lashings… the beatings were so severe…

But Jesus made it to Calvary.

Then… He died. And the soldier’s couldn’t believe He was dead so quickly.

So… seemingly contradictory, right?

But what does it mean?

God’s Divine Love carried His Son through His suffering.

Or… the Divine Love of the Holy Spirit… or Divine Will of the Holy Spirit…

carried Him through to complete His suffering…

so He could complete what He was destined to do…

and once He had accomplished it, He died.

That quickly.

The Divine’s Love escorted the human Jesus through the beatings…

through the torture…

through the suffering…

through the carrying of the cross…

all the way to Calvary…

so He could die when and where He was supposed to die.

Will we embrace our suffering? Will we wrap ourselves in that suffering?

When people say:

“I can’t believe that she stays with her husband!”

“How does she handle the chemo and radiation with such grace?”

“I can’t believe he has the patience to stay with her!”

“I can never imagine losing a child…”

“I can’t believe that she still dotes over her parents so much… the laundry, the bills, the housekeeping… where does she find the energy?”

“Look at what he does for his mother. He changes his mother’s diaper!”

And looking from afar, what should our response be for those people?

Compassion.

Like the women on the way to Calvary when Jesus carried His cross. The women who wept for Him. Veronica, who took the time to wipe the sweat and blood and mud from Jesus’ face.

That’s how we can participate in their suffering. And pray for them.

Say a Rosary. Or a Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

That’s the meaning of it all.

That’s how we can embrace the suffering of Jesus.

That’s one way that we can show mercy for our neighbor. Try to bear their burden, either practically or if that’s not an option, at least symbolically.

Or if we’re living that suffering, to embrace it the best way we can. To ask Jesus… to ask Mary to help us embrace it.

We’re probably going to suffer.

Will we turn it into a redemptive act? Or will we refuse to bear it?

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

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Can Slaving Over the Cat Boxes Save Me From Purgatory?

03/22/2016

All I did was express a simple hope. And you scoffed at me.

All I did was jokingly suggest that my cat box penance might help me out in Purgatory.

And then we got into this huge discussion about the existence of Purgatory and hell isn’t real and this concept of the devil is so Middle Ages… and Original Sin? That’s some Catholic concoction; get real.

Okay, okay… believe what you want. But if you think Purgatory is a crock and hell and the devil are primitive concepts with no basis in reality and Original Sin is part of that whole Mary obsession that Catholics invented, then we better keep talking after Lent.

Which technically ends tomorrow, by the way. But never fear, you’re going to keep hearing from me daily until Easter.

The Sunday after Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday.

We’ll have a ton to discuss about Divine Mercy beginning this Friday, Good Friday, which is the first day of the nine-day Divine Mercy Novena.

Until then, you’ll have to watch the video to get the full gist of today’s message.

It’s Tax Season. Did I mention?

Yes, still a recovering CPA.

And writer.

And personal fitness trainer.

And cat lover. Trapped in a dog lover’s body.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Who Does He Think He Is Anyway?

05/01/2015

“I thought I knew you.”

Anyone ever said that to you? The cliche is usually one lover tearfully muttering those words to their partner, just before the breakup.

The people of Nazareth thought they knew who Jesus was, too (today’s Gospel for the optional Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Matthew 13:54-58).

“This kid is the carpenter’s son. Who does he think he is?” This man, Jesus, certainly didn’t have the background or the authority to teach in their synagogue.

Who really was this Jesus? Who really was their God?

Read today’s Reading for Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter (Acts 13:26-33).

Notice the power, confidence, and force with which Paul speaks of Jesus, of God, of the kingdom.

“But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These are now his witnesses before the people. We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you that what God promised our fathers he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second psalm, You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.” – Acts 13:30-33

Why? Something happened to Paul to make him convert. Something happened to the disciples to make them so bold. What was it?

“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are  God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent. – Acts 13:26

The “word of salvation” was delivered directly to the Apostles. Through the walls of a closed room. And to Paul, then Saul, through a blinding flash of light. And they were convicted in an instant.

Paul and the disciples tirelessly sought to deliver the good news of salvation to the Jewish people. The Truth was made known to them through their conversion experiences. And so they preached. Tirelessly, maybe even desperately?

Why?

Paul continued

“The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him, and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets that are read sabbath after sabbath.” – Acts 13:27

It’s the Jews, the Chosen People, who condemned Jesus to death. Just as the scriptures predicted.

Who do we think we are?

Marley lies on his death bed.
Ebenezer: Well, Jacob! Have they seen to you properly? Last rites and such? 
Marley nods 
Ebenezer: There’s nothing i can do? 
Marley nods again 
Ebenezer: Oh? What, particularly? 
Marley: (rasping) While… there’s still time… 
Ebenezer: Time? Time for what? 
Marley: (rasping) Wrong… we were wrong. 
Ebenezer: Wrong? Well, we can’t be right all the time , can we? Nobody’s perfect. You mustn’t reproach yourself, Jacob. We’ve been no worse than the next man, or no better if it comes to that. 
Marley: (rasping) Save… yourself. 
Ebenezer: Save myself? Save myself from what? 
Marley breathes his last
Ebenezer: Speak!  …
Ebenezer pauses as he realizes Marley is dead.

 – from A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

The literary reference here is in NO WAY a comparison. But it came to mind…

If you think of it, it’s really true. We save ourselves.

Or we don’t.

But…

God is truth. Also love. Mercy. Power. Strength…

It’s the Last Supper. Jesus has just told them He is going to suffer after being handed over and die. Jesus speaks (today’s Gospel for Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter).

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:1-6

Jesus told St. Faustina that even if the most hardened sinner prays the Chaplet of Divine Mercy once, they will receive great graces. They will be enveloped in God’s Divine Mercy.

Do you think you are beyond God’s mercy? Do you wish you could do something to help someone that may need God’s mercy? Pray the Chaplet.

Once.

The more you pray the Chaplet, the more you will discover just who He really is.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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Déjà vu All Over Again

05/01/2015

Interesting juxtaposition in today’s Daily Mass readings. In the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13:13-25), Paul recounts the royal lineage of the Hebrews and leads all the way up to John the Baptist foretelling the coming of Jesus.

Historically, that would be just prior to Jesus commencing his public ministry.

The Gospel (John 13:16-20) jumps forward to Holy Thursday, the very end of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus is washing the disciples’ feet.

We have a symbolic cleansing in the Jordan by John. Not a true baptism, of course, because this is before Jesus had instituted the sacrament. And we have symbolic cleansing by sacrificial death in the Gospel.

We’re halfway through the Easter season and we’re already again recalling the death of Christ?

Folks, we do that every single day.

Or at least, we should be.

You never cease to gather a people to Yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to Your name. – from Eucharistic Prayer No. 3, Third Edition of the Roman Missal

Every single day.

So many times, each day, “from east to west,” a priest hoists a piece of bread heavenward, invokes the words of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, and Jesus Christ Himself transubstantiates the earthly nourishment into the Divine.

What was that?

He changes the bread into His body.

Likewise, he changes the wine into His blood.

Déjà vu. All over again.

This is what makes the celebration of the Mass so beautiful, so powerful, so vital.

For the last two thousand years, we have recalled the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And we continue to

Do this in memory of me.

 

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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