11 March 2023

'There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.'   Augustine


"Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your hearts."

Hebrews 3:15

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So Jesus told those indignant listeners this parable:

“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.

After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.

So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’

So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.

His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’

Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’

He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’

He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”

Luke 1-2,11-32

"Almighty God lets the sinner go his own way, for He has given to man free-will, and does not want a forced obedience, but an obedience springing from love. In his forgetfulness of God, the sinner squanders his fortune, the natural and supernatural gifts which he has received, using his natural gifts, his health, his physical powers, and his reason, to offend God. He acts most unjustly and ungratefully towards his Creator and Benefactor, and loses the grace of God, merit, and the heirship to heaven.

The sinner, having forsaken the service of his God, falls under the dominance of Satan, and becomes the slave of his lowest passions, which are signified by the swine which the prodigal was forced to feed. But the more he obeys his passions, the more dissatisfied he becomes. No pleasure of the senses can give him happiness, and he feels an emptiness and spiritual hunger in his heart which he is powerless to satisfy. He knows no rest; he only knows that he is miserable, and hateful to himself...

Though the sinner has offended Him so grievously and so often, yet He does not reproach him, but forgives him everything, and restores him to his former rights and dignity of sonship. God alone can love in this way, and to us this sort of love is inconceivable. Our Lord portrays this narrow-mindedness of ours in the conclusion of the parable. The elder son cannot understand his father’s joy; he murmurs at it, and refuses to take part in it; and even professes to believe that his father prefers the returned prodigal to himself, the faithful, obedient and industrious son. By this behaviour of the elder son our Lord signifies the jealousy of the Pharisees, who considered themselves to be just, and murmured at the deep interest which Jesus took in sinners.

By the father’s answer in the parable our Lord shows how very unjustifiable any such jealousy would be. The just man ought to think of the great happiness which he has had of being always in the love and grace of God: and if he will try to realize what the infinite love of God is for every soul which He has made, he will rejoice with God as often as a soul which had been lost is found or saved. As the angels rejoice over the return of the prodigal, so ought we to rejoice over the conversion of sinners."

Frederick Justus Knecht

“The truth is that we were so spiritually and morally bankrupt that we could not even see some of those lines— we stepped over them blindly.   Other times we saw the lines alright, but we wanted to cross them.   

It wasn’t God who was dead.   We were."

Ray A. Practice These Principles

"It is very easy to get drunk with hate.  Hate is like the glass of whisky which is given to the soldiers before a bayonet charge.  Whisky stimulates but does not nourish.   Hate is not creative, only love is creative.  These sufferings will not cause us to crumble but will help us, more and more, to become stronger.   They are necessary—together with the sacrifices of others—so that the ones who come after us may be happy.”

Maximilian Kolbe

"Let all recognize My unfathomable mercy.  It is a sign for the end times.   Bring all devout and faithful souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.   Those who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. "

Maria Faustyna Kowalska

We are in a time of a general madness, when lies are commonplace, and selfishness, jealousy, and anger torment the hearts of even those who would be faithful.  

We see many who become drunk with worldly success and concerns, anger and hate, and become like addicts seeking those who would supply their passions.  

As with all addictions, there is money and worldly power for those who cynically pander to them.

If you have not prayed in a long time, try to do so again, even if it is a little bit, every other day. 

And in your prayer, ask the Lord to show your sins to you, so that you might repent of them now, rather to suffer for them later, and seek his forgiveness.  And ask to sin no more. 

Do not become discouraged, because over time your prayers will be answered, as your heart grows in sincerity and opens up to accept His love and grace and His three great gifts: repentance, forgiveness, and thankfulness.

And the peace of the Lord, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds.