Bible Love Notes – New Year’s Prayer

♥ May I discover new and wonderful things in your Word (Psalm 119:18).

♥ May I listen more closely to Your voice (Proverbs 8:32-34).

♥ May I forget what is behind and focus on what is ahead (Philippians 3:13-14).

♥ May I realize that Your love is greater than my mind can comprehend (Ephesians 3:17-19).

♥ May I experience Your peace that is beyond my understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).

♥ May I trust You and not myself (Proverbs 3:5-6).

♥ May my heart be more transformed by Your truth and less conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2).

♥ May I forgive all who offend me (Colossians 3:13).

♥ May I readily confess my sins to You (1 John 1:9-10).

♥ May I confess my sins without excuse to those I’ve offended (James 5:16).

♥ May I see Your purposes each day, each minute (Ephesians 2:10).

♥ May I give You my all (Philippians 3:7-14).

Amen! 
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I encourage you to read these 1-minute devotions:
4 Ways to Be More Faithful in Prayer
Prayer is a Wonderful Mystery
5 Ideas for More Effective Prayer
5 Requirements of Prayer


Sermon Notes – Leprechauns Are Not Real

“Leprechauns Are Not Real“

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

April 3 – 4, 2021

Gospel:  John 20: 1-9

How do you know someone is alive if you don’t see them?  I’ve taken a clue from the sheriff detective…there is fresh evidence.  For instance, you may not see a family member for a day, but you know they are alive, right?  You see dirty plates right where they left them. You see your husband’s dirty socks right where he left them.  I guess he figured the Molly Maid Service would come by and pick them up. You may not see the person, but you see fresh evidence that they’ve been there and that they are alive.  They may have left a note for you.  They may have cooked dinner for you.  You know they are alive even though you may not have touched them or laid eyes on them.  Likewise, we have not touched the resurrected Christ, but we know that He is alive.  We see the evidence. 

From the very beginning, the Chief Priests bribed Roman soldiers to lie and say that disciples stole the body of Christ.  That must have been one big bribe.  The Romans knew quite well what betrayal meant.  It meant instant death. The Romans did not refer anyone to defense counsel.  If you failed in doing your duty, you were duly executed in a very brutal way.  The Roman army did not play. No bail. No defense attorney.  You were executed.  So, it had to be a pretty big bribe.  Even back then, there was fake news.  “Christ wasn’t resurrected.”  “His body was stolen.”   You don’t steal a body after a couple days in Palestine.  Trust me on this one.  Ask any police officer or nurse.  Nobody steals a body after that length of time.  That’s fake news.  Sound familiar?  As scripture says, there’s nothing new under the sun.  All through the centuries, people have claimed that Christ is dead or He was just a nice guy or He was the same as Muhammad and Buddha.  None of them claimed that He was God.  They try to relegate religion to just old wives tales.  But, as much as they tried, the Chief Priests couldn’t keep a lid on the news of Christ’s resurrection even with the use of armies and the threat of persecution.  That’s because it’s true.  If it wasn’t, why would they spend all the time, money, and energy to say it’s not?

Why do people complain about the Catholic Church and its teachings?  It’s the message of Christ.  If it’s not true, why do they bother?  If it’s not true, why do they care?  They can go live their lives and do other stuff.  They complain, because they know it is true.  Our Lord proved Himself to all those detractors.  They are gone, but we are still here.  We have evidence through the centuries that Christ is still alive.  Look at what our Catholic Church has done.  We have built universities and hospitals.  These are the things we do best.  What was the cause of all those centuries of good works?  It was the love of Christ in us.  The living love of Christ is still evident today.  You know it’s true, because you are here today.  You have faith in the resurrection, and you have faith in Jesus Christ. You are here to be touched by the love of God and to draw closer to Him.  Is there some fear in all of us?  Of course there is, just as there was for the women at the tomb.  But, you overcome your fear through your faith.  That’s why you are here today.  By your presence, you proclaim the resurrection of Christ, and that He is not dead.  He’s not a footnote in history.  He wasn’t just some really nice guy.  By your faithful attendance at Mass and participation in the Sacraments, you are making your profession and belief in the resurrection and that Christ lives.  One day you will share His life.  Most of us won’t be around for the end of the world; as far as I know.. I haven’t gotten any phone calls.  On that day, we too will go to the tomb just like Mary Magdalene and the women did on Good Friday morning.

As you look through the history of the Church, God has never been unfaithful to His followers.  Never…not once. In seminary I learned a lot of stuff, well they think I did, but I was supposed to learn a lot of stuff.  We studied Thomas Aquinas and the five proofs of God.   I will prove to you that God exists and also how faithful He is.  I guarantee that if you pray for this it will happen on your way home.  Guaranteed.  Pray for patience. “Lord, I want to grow in patience, I want to be meek, humble, and understanding,”  Pray that prayer, and I guarantee that you will find five nitwits who will irritate the living heck out of you and try your patience on the way home.  Patience is an acquired virtue that you get by practice.  Ask for patience, and our good Lord will say, “Great!  You got it.”  He will send all those nitwits to help you grow in that virtue.  That’s the quickest way to prove that God exists.  The quickest proof that God listens to your prayers and answers them.  God is alive and active. We have 2,000 years of proof.  We see His results.  Do we see them as often as we’d like?  No.  He hides in our human nature. 

We believe in the resurrection of Christ.  If it wasn’t true, why have so many people for over 2,000 years kept saying it’s not true?  You can see that God is alive.  We do not see Him directly, but He is alive.  He is working in us. He is working through you.  He took the humanity that He received from the Blessed Mother to His sacred Passion and resurrection and then to Heaven.  He uses His humanity to make His love present and known to the world.  He does that for us.  Each of us, in our own vocation, are to prove to the world that God’s love is alive.  The grave could not hold Him.  God promised that we will imitate His resurrection. So, for those who follow Him, the grave will not hold us.  We will be like Him. We will suffer probably, in one way or another, and we will rest in our graves until the day of our own resurrection.  That is not defeat…that is victory.

How will you apply this message to your life?  Will you help prove to the world that God’s love is alive?

Father’s Afterthoughts

Now part of my Irish cultural heritage is the belief that leprechauns are real.  I think it’s because we drank a wee bit too much ale.  You never hear anyone complain about leprechauns.  But, they don’t exist.  If you see any, I can get you some help.  I know people.  You will feel much better.

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to http://annunciationcatholicalbemarle.com/ and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” and then “Sermon Notes.  From a cell phone, click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories” (located at the end of page).  There is also a search box if looking for a specific topic.


Minute Meditation – Love Can Transform the World

To live in God’s humble love is to live in attentiveness, openness and relationship: attentiveness to the presence of God in the details of the fragile human person, openness to the ways God is both hidden and revealed in creation, and relationship to the God incarnated in our neighbors, family and community members. In each of these areas we are called to love in a spirit of compassion, forgiveness, tenderness and care. As God bends low to love us where we are, we must be open to welcome God in our lives, to embrace this God of humble love and to allow God to live in us in every way. Every breath of life must be the breath of God.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective, by Ilia Delio, OSF 

//Franciscan Media//


Saint of the Day – September 18 – Saint Joseph of Cupertino

(JUNE 17, 1603 – SEPTEMBER 18, 1663)
Saint Joseph of Cupertino’s Story

Joseph of Cupertino is most famous for levitating at prayer. Already as a child, Joseph showed a fondness for prayer. After a short career with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventual Franciscans. Following a brief assignment caring for the friary mule, Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. Though studies were very difficult for him, Joseph gained a great deal of knowledge from prayer. He was ordained in 1628.

Joseph’s tendency to levitate during prayer was sometimes a cross; some people came to see this much as they might have gone to a circus sideshow. Joseph’s gift led him to be humble, patient, and obedient, even though at times he was greatly tempted and felt forsaken by God. He fasted and wore iron chains for much of his life.

The friars transferred Joseph several times for his own good and for the good of the rest of the community. He was reported to and investigated by the Inquisition; the examiners exonerated him.

Joseph was canonized in 1767. In the investigation preceding the canonization, 70 incidents of levitation are recorded.

Reflection

While levitation is an extraordinary sign of holiness, Joseph is also remembered for the ordinary signs he showed. He prayed even in times of inner darkness, and he lived out the Sermon on the Mount. He used his “unique possession”–his free will–to praise God and to serve God’s creation.

Saint Joseph of Cupertino is the Patron Saint of:

Air Travelers
Astronauts
Pilots

//Franciscan Media//