Mark

A DAILY JOURNAL

The Rocky Heart

 

FOR several years, I have asked Jesus why it is that I am so weak, so impatient in trial, so seemingly devoid of virtue. "Lord," I have said a hundred times, "I pray every day, I go to Confession every week, I say the Rosary, I pray the Office, I’ve gone to daily Mass for years… why, then, am I so unholy? Why do I buckle under the smallest trials? Why am I so quick-tempered?" I could very well repeat the words of St. Gregory the Great as I try to respond to the Holy Father’s call to be a "watchman" for our times.

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Note that a man whom the Lords sends forth as a preacher is called a watchman. A watchman always stands on a height so that he can see from afar what is coming. Anyone appointed to be a watchman for the people must stand on a height for all his life to help them by his foresight.

How hard it is for me to say this, for by these very words I denounce myself. I cannot preach with any competence, and yet insofar as I do succeed, still I myself do not live my life according to my own preaching.

I do not deny my responsibility; I recognize that I am slothful and negligent, but perhaps the acknowledgment of my fault will win me pardon from my just judge. —St. Gregory the Great, homily, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. IV, p. 1365-66

As I prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, begging the Lord to help me understand why I am so sinful after so many efforts, I looked up at the Crucifix and heard the Lord finally answer this painful and pervasive question…

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SPIRITUALITY | on November 12th, 2010 | Comments Off

The Paralyzed Soul

 

THERE are times when trials are so intense, temptations so fierce, emotions so embroiled, that recollection is very difficult. I want to pray, but my mind is spinning; I want to rest, but my body is reeling; I want to believe, but my soul is wrestling with a thousand doubts. Sometimes, these are moments of spiritual warfare—an attack by the enemy to discourage and drive the soul into sin and despair… but permitted nonetheless by God to allow the soul to see its weakness and constant need for Him, and thus draw nearer to the Source of its strength.

Fr. George Kosicki, one of the "grandfathers" of making known the message of Divine Mercy that was revealed to St. Faustina, sent me a draft of a powerful book that will hopefully be available to the public soon. In Faustina’s Weapon, Fr. George identifies the experiences of spiritual attack that St. Faustina went through:

Groundless attacks, aversion toward certain sisters, depression, temptations, strange images, couldn’t recollect herself at prayer, confusion, couldn’t think, strange pain, and she wept. —Fr. George Kosicki, Faustina’s Weapon

He even identifies some of his own ‘attacks’ as including ‘a "concert" of headaches… fatigue, drifting mind, a "zombie" head, attacks of sleepiness during prayer, irregular sleep pattern, in addition to doubts, oppression, anxiety, and worry.’

At times like these, we may not identify with the saints. We cannot picture ourselves as the close companions of Jesus like John or Peter; we feel even more unworthy than the adulterous or hemorrhaging woman who touched him; we do not even feel capable of speaking to him like the lepers or the blind man of Bethsaida. There are times when we feel simply paralyzed.

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SPIRITUALITY | on November 11th, 2010 | 3 Comments »

Recollection

 

IF you read Custody of the Heart, then you know by now how often we fail to keep it! How easily we are distracted by the smallest thing, pulled away from peace, and derailed from our holy desires. Again, with St. Paul we cry out:

I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate…! (Rom 7:14)

But we need to hear again the words of St. James:

Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-4)

Grace is not cheap, handed over like fast-food or at the click of a mouse. We have to fight for it! Recollection, which is taking custody again of the heart, is often a struggle between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit. And so, we have to learn to follow the ways of the Spirit…

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SPIRITUALITY | on November 5th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

Custody of the Heart


Times Square Parade, by Alexander Chen

 

WE are living in dangerous times. But few are those who realize it. What I’m speaking of is not the threat of terrorism, climate change, or nuclear war, but something more subtle and insidious. It is the advance of an enemy that has already gained ground in many homes and hearts and is managing to wreak ominous destruction as it spreads throughout the world:

Noise.

I am speaking of spiritual noise. A noise so loud to the soul, so deafening to the heart, that once it finds its way in, it obscures the voice of God, numbs the conscience, and blinds the eyes to seeing reality. It is one of the most dangerous enemies of our time because, while war and violence do harm to the body, noise is the killer of the soul. And a soul that has shut off the voice of God risks never hearing Him again in eternity.

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SPIRITUALITY | on November 4th, 2010 | Comments Off

The Value of One Soul

 

WE are all called to sanctity, but we are not all called to the same kind of mission. As a result, some Christians feel insignificant and that their lives have little impact. In this episode, Mark shares a powerful encounter with the Lord that helped him to understand that nothing in the Kingdom is insignificant because of the value of even one soul… 

To watch this moving episode: The Value of One Soul, go to:

www.embracinghope.tv

Recently, someone wrote:

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Yes, there are always needs in this ministry since our family of ten depends entirely upon God’s providence through this ministry to make ends meet. We do not charge subscriptions to the webcasts, and aside from the sale of my music and books, the shortfall comes from donations which have, in fact, dropped off sharply. Our largest donations in the past couple of months came from two priests! So, yes, we are in great need at this point. I am always hesitant to ask, always hoping that our needs are simply anticipated by others, so that I have to do less begging. But perhaps that’s presumptuous.

Thank you for remembering us, and helping us to continue this ministry, which is now reaching thousands throughout the world. 

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Thank you!

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, WEBCAST & VIDEOS | on October 30th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

The Tiger in the Cage

 

I am like a tiger in a cage.

Through Baptism, Jesus has thrown open the door of my prison and set me free… and yet, I find myself pacing back and forth in the same rut of sin. The door is open, but I do not run headlong into the Wilderness of Freedom… the plains of joy, the mountains of wisdom, the waters of refreshment… I can see them in the distance, and yet I remain a prisoner of my own accord. Why? Why don’t I run? Why am I hesitating? Why do I stay in this shallow rut of sin, of dirt, bones, and waste, pacing back and forth, back and forth?

Why?

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SPIRITUALITY | on October 26th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Can I Be Light?

 

JESUS said that His followers are the "light of the world." But often, we feel inadequate—that we could not possibly be an "evangelist" for Him. Mark explains in Can I Be Light?  how we can more effectively let the light of Jesus shine through us…

To watch Can I Be Light? go to embracinghope.tv

 

Thanks for your financial support of this blog and webcast.
Blessings.

 

 

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, WEBCAST & VIDEOS | on October 25th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Laborers Are Few

 

THERE is an "eclipse of God" in our times, a "dimming of the light" of truth, says Pope Benedict. As such, there is a vast harvest of souls in need of the Gospel. However, the other side to this crisis is that laborers are few… Mark explains why faith is not a private matter and why it is everyone’s calling to live and preach the Gospel with our lives—and words.

To watch Laborers Are Few, go to www.embracinghope.tv

 

 

Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, WEBCAST & VIDEOS | on October 19th, 2010 | Comments Off

Two More Days

THE DAY OF THE LORD — PART II

 

 

THE phrase "day of the Lord" should not be understood as a literal "day" in length. Rather,

With the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. (2 Pt 3:8)

Behold, the Day of the Lord shall be a thousand years. —Letter of Barnabas, The Fathers of the Church, Ch. 15

The tradition of the Church Fathers is that there are "two more days" remaining for humanity; one within the boundaries of time and history, the other, an everlasting and eternal day. The next day, or "seventh day" is the one I have been referring to in these writings as an "Era of Peace" or "Sabbath-rest," as the Fathers call it.

The sabbath, which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ.  —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2190

The Fathers saw it fitting that, according to the Apocalypse of St. John, towards the end of the "new creation," there would be a "seventh day" rest for the Church.

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, A HEAVENLY MAP | on October 15th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

The Last Two Eclipses

 

 

JESUS said, “I am the light of the world.”  This “Sun” of God became present to the world in three very tangible ways: in person, in Truth, and in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus said it this way:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Thus, it should be clear to the reader that’s Satan’s objectives would be to obstruct these three avenues to the Father…

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE GREAT TRIALS | on October 13th, 2010 | Comments Off

The Coming Age of Love

 

Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Homily, World Youth Day, Sydney, Australia, July 20th, 2008

I wish to speak more about this ‘new age’ that is coming. But I want to pause for a moment and give thanks to God, our rock and our refuge. For in His mercy, knowing the frailty of human nature, He has given us a tangible rock to stand on, His Church. The promised Spirit continues to lead and reveal the deeper truths of that deposit of faith that He entrusted to the Apostles, and which continues to be transmitted today through their successors. We are not abandoned! We are not left to find the truth on our own. The Lord speaks, and He speaks clearly through His Church!

Indeed, the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants, the prophets. The lion roars——who will not be afraid! The Lord God speaks——who will not prophesy! (Amos 3:8)

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE ERA OF PEACE | on October 4th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

The Popes, and The Dawning Era


Photo, Max Rossi/Reuters

 

THERE can be no doubt that the pontiffs of the last century have been exercising their prophetic office so as to awaken believers to the drama unfolding in our day. It is a decisive battle between the culture of life and the culture of death… the woman clothed with the sun, in labor giving birth to a new era, and the dragon who seeks to destroy (see Rev 12:1-4). Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have described this battle—indicating both its nearness and perilousness—by comparing it to a gathering storm:

It is precisely at the end of the second millennium that immense, threatening clouds converge on the horizon of all humanity and darkness descends upon human souls. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, prayer in the Piazza, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8, 1983

We cannot hide the fact that many threatening clouds are gathering on the horizon. We must not, however, lose heart, rather we must keep the flame of hope alive in our hearts… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Catholic News Agency, January 15th, 2009

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE ERA OF PEACE | on September 24th, 2010 | Comments Off