Rising from the Dead

5th Sunday of Lent Mass Readings

Sunday March 26, 2023

On this 5th Sunday of Lent we learn once again that we will, one day, rise from our tombs. God has promised us that He would do this, as we read in Ezekiel and He even reiterates that He will do it. One thing we must remember about God is that He cannot deceive nor can He be deceived, so we can trust that this will happen on the last day. We will rise from our graves. And what are we rising to? The Final Judgment is what we’re rising to. We have two places to spend eternity: Heaven, beholding the beatific vision (seeing God, face-to-face as He is) or Hell, eternally separated from God, in a pit of hatred and evil, where there is no light, no love, no good. Our destination is our choice; through our actions, we choose.

God has given us the 10 Commandments. That is what He used to begin to form us into His people. As time went on, He gave us more and more to refine us. All along the way, people rebelled against Him. Those who rebel against God, are making their choice. Repentance is always possible, but only up until death. Then it’s up to God in His mercy, but don’t expect that you’ll be forgiven simply because you’re you. That’s a very dangerous gamble. This is reality and as Jesus has reminded us, we don’t know the time nor the day when He will come again, but surely He will and we should be ready.

Not ready in the sense of having your bags packed and your car gassed up, but in the spiritual sense of being right with God. Having repented of your most serious sins takes time and effort, not to mention a very real assessment of where you are spiritually. We’re seriously broken, but we can be repaired. You have to be honest with yourself, though, and acknowledge that you’ve got some repairs to make. Sure, God can do it all for you, but He won’t. He wants participation on your part. He desires you to be close to Him, and He would like for you to desire the same. He gave you free will and He won’t override it. Therefore, you are the one to make the choice.

So, my advice is to start today. Acknowledge your own shortcomings, your sins, and your weaknesses so you can repent of them. What does that look like? It means acknowledging that your sins offend your Creator in His infinite Goodness. Knowing this, if you love Him, you will feel horrible for offending Him, and will want to make amends with Him. So, you confess your sins and reconcile with God, letting Him know how sorry your are for causing strife between the two of you. And you change how you behave, how you live, how you treat others, because you love God and know that He also created all of these other people. And if you don’t find love for God in yourself, then that really is where you need to start. I was once an atheist, and then an agnostic, and now a Roman Catholic Lay Dominican. It’s a journey to know and love God, but it’s not too late to start yours if you haven’t yet. I hope that you will.

We’re all broken in so many different ways. And God knows this. It’s up to us to recognize our own brokenness first, then repent so we can change our ways, and after that, we can recognize brokenness in others and help them to repent and change their ways, too. This has been the way for 2000 years. This is evangelization, this is being Christian, a disciple of Christ. This Lent if you could merely recognize your own brokenness and work to change one thing at a time, it would be a great step forward toward God.

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

Man Born Blind

Blog Reflection for Sunday, March 19, 2023

Mrs. Peggy Brechtel, OP

This Sunday’s readings are about light and darkness.

In the first Book of Samuel the key phrase of the Lord is, “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.”  God chose David to be anointed, a mere youth.

And in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we are told that we were once darkness, but now we are light in the Lord.  We are called to live as children of the light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.

And in the verse before the Gospel “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus passed by and saw a man blind from birth.  And the proverbial question comes up:  who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus says neither, but that it is so the works of God might be made visible through him.  Jesus said he had to do the Father’s work while it is still day (while he is still on earth).   “Night is coming when no one can work.” (night can be understood as referencing the end of the world.)  It means that we as Christians should strive to spread the Kingdom of God.

After spitting on the ground and mixing clay with his saliva, he said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” — which means Sent—.  So, he went and washed, and came back able to see.

This miracle performed on a sabbath caused the blind Pharisees to get riled up into a fire storm.  They questioned the blind man as to how he could see now and he told them about being “Sent”.  They threw him out and when Jesus heard this, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I man believe in him?”  Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking to you is he.”  He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and worshiped him. Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”

Without Jesus all creation is in darkness, not understanding itself, it does not know where it is going. “Only in the mystery of the Incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light…. Through Christ and in Christ, the riddles of sorrow and death grow meaningful; apart from his Gospel they overwhelm us” (Vatican II, Gaudium et spes, 22).

When I lived in Fort Collins and worked at the university, there was a professor of music who was a blind man.  A woman who sang in our church told me that he was her neighbor.  He totally rebuilt a car engine in her garage.  He jokingly told her she should turn on the garage light so that neighbors didn’t think he was breaking in.

My husband, Sterling, knew a blind man with a very small farm with a few sheep and a cow who managed to feed and care for them.  He ran a rope along the fence and used that to find his way.

The blind learn to listen well (and so should we); that’s why some of them are very good at tuning pianos.

The blind man in the Gospel is such an example of faith for us! Do you behave like this when God commands, when so often you cannot see, when your soul is worried and the light is gone? The man believed; he acted upon the command of God, and he returned with eyes full of light. What a simple, strong faith!

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Her, O Lord

Today, in lieu of a blog reflection from our Lay Dominican fraternity, I would like to ask our followers to pray for the repose of the soul of our dear sister in Dominic, Mrs. Marilyn Pipkin, OP, who passed from this life on Feb. 25, 2023. Please also keep her family and friends in your prayers as well.

This evening, we will be praying the Dominican Rosary at her wake at 6pm mountain time. If you would like to pray the rosary at that time as well for these intentions, we would sincerely appreciate your participation.

Thank you, and may God bless you all.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

…Walk by Faith, not by Sight

Gospel Reflection for 5 Mar 23:

By Ms. Catherine “Cathie” Lambert, OP

            This is one of my most favorite Bible verses.  Many years ago, when I read it for the first time, I knew – without doubt – that this was the way I wanted to live my life.  It’s what I wanted to do, but it took me a good long time to do it the first time!

            Life, I think you’ll agree, is full of unknowns.  At one time or another, it is what makes life miserably terrifying.  The thing is… there is no getting around the ‘unknowns’.  There is no knowing the specific purpose of our lives.  Not for sure.  There is no knowing the best decision to make in a chaotic bundle of possibilities.  Not for sure.  There is no knowing how, when, or why we are going to die… not to mention what will (or may not) happen afterwards.  These are perhaps the biggest questions for each and every one of us.  But all we can do is make assumptions and live as if we knew what we were doing.  Or is it?

            As I read and heard more and more of the Bible, I finally began to take it in.  Some of it – a lot of it – actually made sense in light of my experiences.  Take Abram, for instance.  When God told him to:  Go forth from your land, your relatives, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.(Gen 12:1)  …off he went with nary a question.  And later, when Peter, John, and James followed Jesus up the hill and they saw Jesus – with Moses and Elijah, no less! – in his glorified state (the way he would look when he was Resurrected) Peter’s mouth became unhinged.  He pulled a Peter-thing, as he often did, and proposed a camp-out before even half understanding what was going on.  Misguided, but at least he was willing to do anything and everything Jesus might possibly want!  Right?

            When I was finally brave enough – I tried out this ‘walking by faith’ thing.  Man!  My instincts had me fighting, fleeing, and freezing singly, one-right-after-the-other-and-repeat, and all-at-once!  But, by the grace of God – truly, by his grace – I did it.  And then I did it again.  And again.

            You know, they say that hindsight is 20/20; and sure enough, when I look back over my seventy years, I do see that those times I ‘walked by faith’ and ‘not by sight,’ were the best times.  The absolute best! 

            And, hey!  After all this time, I know a thing or two!  (Don’t you roll your eyes at me, Kiddo!)  This is the biggest thing I know:  Don’t walk by sight – because some day hindsight will show you that when you did walk by sight – you must’a had your eyes closed tight and your fingers stuffed in your ears!  Because that’s just how bad things turned out!  My advice?

Walk by Faith

Because we can’t know…

But God does!

First Sunday of Lent February 26, 2023

Mrs. Helen Hawkins, OP

Genesis 3:1-7 

“But the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it you eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.”

The is a perfect description of narcissism. “I am a god and I get to define what is good and what is evil for myself and for others.”

Narcissism is no longer a word that applies to a strict mental diagnosis used in the world of psychology. Because of our political sensibilities, the words sin and sinner are not permitted. We have turned to new words –narcissism and narcissist. In the world of psychology narcissism is not common but with the use of these words today, we can recognize this condition as the original sin. We are all narcissists and fall short of the glory of God.

Satan chose his words carefully.  “You will be like gods”  meaning “you will think that you are gods”.

This is the temptation we all face. This is the temptation of pride. This mentality makes it possible for us to use others as objects. This is especially true in sexual behavior. Since we are gods and others are objects, we can use others for our own pleasures without considering the needs of those we use. This is true in all walks of life – in business transactions, family life, friends and unfortunately in our religious life as well. When we decide we are gods our pride will become our guide to what is good and evil in our own eyes.

We recognize narcissism in others but it is very difficult to recognize narcissism in ourselves. 

Matthew 4:-11

In God’s mercy, he has given us the example of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. Christ gave answers to the temptations of narcissism.

When tempted to satisfy the desire for wealth Christ answered, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

When tempted to satisfy the desires of self-aggrandizement, Christ answered, “It is written: You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”

When tempted to satisfy the desires of power, Christ answered, “It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve.”

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Leviticus 19:1 and Matthew 5:48 are like two bookends that are a summary of the entirety of Christ’s teachings, including the Beatitudes. In Leviticus, the opening line is “The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” In the Gospel of Matthew the closing line is, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” God is holy, God is perfect.

It is humanly quite impossible for a created being to be as perfect as God. What Our Lord means is that God’s perfection should be the model that every faithful Christian tries to follow, even though there is an infinite distance between himself and his Creator. We must take into account the enormous help grace gives us to tend toward divine perfection, calling us not to achieve the wisdom of God (which we never could) but to love and mercy.

Today’s Psalm 103 speaks of God’s mercy for us. We are fast approaching Lent, a time set apart for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Another key component to Lent is Sacramental Confession. Throughout Lent, as today, we will hear about God’s mercy and how we are to be merciful to others. Confession reestablishes our relationship with God and our neighbor. This prepares us for the celebration of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday

Mrs. Peggy Brechtel, OP

Intentionality in Morality

By Mr. Joseph Walkowski

​The readings for this weekend are befittingly timely, as I have been devoting many recent hours writing of the importance of charitable intention when exercising any virtuous act. I specify acts solely of virtue because good intentions do not cause sin to no longer be sinful (see Abelard’s idea of intentionalism); selfish intention, however, can negate the goodness of an act that appears to be benevolent.

We see the dangers of disordered intentions, for example, when we read in Numbers of Balaam, a headstrong prophet who was willing to even declare the curse of God upon the Israelites, for his desire for riches eclipsed his alleged faithfulness to God(xxii; cf. 2 Pet. ii. 15b (Knox): “Balaam the son of Bosor, the man who was content to take pay in the cause of wrong”). Though the Lord allowed Balaam to make utterance upon the Israelites, it was permitted only that he could bless these holy peoples—not curse. The prophet set out on the task but his intentions were filled with greed and the Lord proceeded to reproach him, for “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit” (Prov. xvi. 2). While traveling, the donkey that bore the prophet “spoke with a human voice, to bring a prophet to his senses” (2 Pet. ii. 16b). I share this story when teaching about pious intentions in all actions because I see a parallel in myself: I know that there are many who are persistent in stubbornness, so I hope that one or two Truths of God might be spoken through me—a simple ass—to soften such hearts.

Bear in mind that, for the sake of this meandering writing, I am using “intention” as was defined by S. Thomas Aquinas: As “an act of the will, presupposing the act whereby the reason orders something to the end” (Sum. Theol., I-II, Q12, A1, ad. 3).

Now, a majority of moral theology can, in some respects, be simplified to the following form:


1. Do you know if an act is sinful? a) If you know it is, avoid it. b) If it is not sinful or, even better, is pleasing to God, it is a morally safe route to take. c) If you are unsure, turn to the Church and the saints for the answer.

2. If you are unsure but do not care to know if an act is sinful, you cannot claim absolute ignorance and are liable for carrying out the act—good intentions cannot justify your voluntary sin of neglect.

3. If, after seeking counsel from the Church and Her saints, you are told with certainty that an act is not “ordered towards God”, then you must not carry out the act. a) If, however, the topic is said by multiple authorities to be a “gray area”, you are in the realm of Catholic probabilism at that point, and I would encourage you to meet with a well-formed spiritual director.


Since the Jews of the first century were not wholly obligated to (1c), S. Paul tells us that they were partly ignorant in their crucifixion of Our Savior, “for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. ii. 8). The modern Christian, however, cannot claim this same ignorance. When we listen to Matthew’s Gospel for this Sunday, we learn much of the will of God: What ought and ought not to be done, what is and is not sinful, and so on. We cannot blissfully choose to disregard these words of Christ, though, as they are of great importance to our spiritual strength and joy. A conundrum, it seems, as S. James tells us that “If you don’t do what you know is right, you have sinned” (iv. 17, CEV).

​When I teach on Catholic morality, I emphasize two forms of ignorance. The first is an ignorance of genuine naïveté, such as might be found in an old woman who has lived her life in the secluded foothills of rural China. No one rightly believes that Our God, the Author and Mirror of Divine Mercy, would condemn such a person to the eternal darkness of Hell. However, the fullness of life can not be experienced by this old woman if she lives out all her days unaware of the Lord, Our God. S. Augustine of Hippo came to realize this after decades of (spiteful) ignorance: “With thee is perfect rest, and life unchanging. He who enters into thee enters into the joy of his Lord” (Confessiones, II.X).

​Some might ask if such blindness is in itself sinful, since it seems unjust to hold someone accountable to that for which they are not knowingly culpable. It is true, of course, that “sin is rightly imputed only to that which sins, nor is it rightly imputed unless it sins voluntarily” (S. Augustine, De libero arbitrio, III.XLIX). However, our hearts know of the goodness and laws of God even when our minds do not. Though an innocently ignorant mind may not know that there is more to life, the heart is inclined to the natural law (our innate sense of right and wrong), and thus “A man who does not fulfil the commandments is rightly reprimanded, because it is by reason of his negligence that he does not have the grace by which he can observe the commandments even as to the manner (since he could, even without grace, observe them as to their substance)” (Aquinas, Questiones disputatae de veritate, Q24, A14, ad. 2). Therefore, all members of the human race must ever strive to perfect ourselves in virtue. When we stand before the judgment of God at the end of all things, it will be said to the blissful ignorantsthat “You are not held guilty because you are ignorant in spite of yourself, but because you neglect to seek the knowledge you do not possess” (S. Augustine, op. cit., III.LIII. Cf. S. Alphonsus de Liguori, Theologia Moralis, Vol. I, Bk. I.III, “Second Corollary”, 76). However, we praise the mercy of Our Father, as He will ask those who have lived wholly unaware only to “wipe their feet” in the cleansing fires of Purgatory, that they may rid themselves of their former life and enter into the joys of His Light.

​The second example of ignorance I noted, however, is that which applies to Christians: If we have been baptized in Christ, we likely know the importance of the Gospels. As Catholics, however, we are called to a much greater “level” of adherence to the Gospels, since we have clear and bountiful resources that point us to the loving demands of a life of holiness (in Scripture, the teaching authority of the Catholic Church, and the early Fathers of the Church). Thus, the Lord asks us to offer more as Catholics. And the more we are called into a life of more intense prayer and selflessness, the greater the expectations for us will be.

There is a reason that the greatest and most innocent of saints wrote things such as “POOR MEN AND WOMEN who are sinners, I [am] a greater sinner than you” (S. Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary, “Dedication”): Because the more the Lord blesses us with His gifts of absolute joy and hope, the more we must acknowledge that we are not worthy of such great gifts. With great grace comes great responsibility. Knowing that you cannot now rightly claim ignorance, my dear friends, I invite you to again hear and fall in love with the readings today.

Blog Reflection for 02-05-2023

By: Ms. C. A. Riley, OP

Our readings begin from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah where we are still receiving the Lord’s teachings about the Beatitudes. He tells us that we must feed the hungry even if its our last loaf of bread, and we must give shelter to the homeless, and cloth the naked when you see them, even if you have only the bare minimum. The lord tells us we are the light of the world and as such we need to shine for our brothers and sisters who don’t have as much as we do, for when we do, He will shine upon us. 

As we move through the readings and into the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the disciples that they are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its taste, what good is it? Well, it’s not good for anything, and it should be thrown out. So, what is Jesus telling us? He is telling us to not lose our place in the world, even though we must live in it. We are called to action, by helping others by giving of our time, talent, or treasure. So I challenge you as we approach Lent, to go out into the world and shine your light on all.

Sunday Jan. 29, 2023

I wanted to write on the beauty of the beatitudes and the readings of today and how they are still prevalent in our time; but The Holy Spirit is impressing upon me to write about Marylin today, and how our friend Marylin has embodied The Beatitudes and lives them every day.

Marilyn has always been humble and her heart was not set upon riches of this earth; she introduced us to Monique and the children of the Congo that we are blessed to have as our apostolate. She’s always been meek before the Lord and accepting of what her journey would be; I know that the God of Mercy has given her comfort. As a Dominican she hungers and thirsts after justice, especially for unborn babies, their mothers and those who have survived Abortion; she has shown mercy to a middle aged woman, who still had a hurting 15 year girl inside of her heart.

You are the salt of the earth and a peacemaker.  A light in our lives that will be our guide.  I love you, and I thank God for you.

Mrs. Denise Fourroux – Fedie, OP

Strengthening the Church

Jan. 22, 2023

When I was going through RCIA, I read the entire Catechism, as I devoured everything I could to learn more about our faith. I came to an understanding that the more holy things that we do, as the body of Christ, the holier the Church ultimately becomes. For example, every time we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the prayer of the Church, holiness is deposited into the Church’s treasury. Every time we pray the rosary, especially as a family, but even individually, holiness is deposited into the Church’s treasury. So, think about that for a moment. The same happens when we go to confession, only this time, it’s double, because the priest is making a deposit also. And when we attend Mass, think about all of those deposits. Each time we perform an act of mercy; a deposit is made. Every time we read scripture; a deposit is made. There are so many more holy works that we can do to make deposits, I can’t name them all, but you certainly get the picture here. This is how we participate in strengthening the Church.

I have been listening to recent interviews with exorcists after reading several books written by the late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, who was the chief exorcist in Rome for about 30 years. One of the questions that keep coming up in these interviews is why does it take so long to exorcize a demon from a person? The simple answer is that the authority of the exorcist to cast out demons comes from the Church through his bishop. Therefore, the stronger the Church, the stronger the exorcisms.

This is the point that we have to reckon with. We make the Church stronger through faithfully living what we profess to believe. This is a fact, not an opinion. What we do and what we don’t do actually matters, even individually. Each of us, through our baptism and again in our confirmation, are members of the Body of Christ. Think about all the parts of your own body that don’t work right. The more parts that don’t work right, the weaker you are, right? It’s the same thing with the Church.

To fix the spiritual dysfunction in your life, start by going to confession. Make an appointment so you don’t have to feel pressed for time. The priest will make time for you and help you make a good confession. This is so important because this is your first step in spiritual guidance. Your spiritual and physical lives are inseparable until you die. Many of the maladies that you experience may even be caused by demons or generational curses. Confession is always a great place to start.

It’s so easy to blame others for what is wrong with the Church. The truth is, if we want holier deacons, priests, and bishops, a holier Church, then we need to actively live our faith. This means we need to learn and accept what sin really is and intentionally make changes in our lives to avoid sinful behavior. We need to pray regularly; in fact, it needs to be a part of your everyday life. Attending Mass every Sunday and every Holy Day of Obligation is the very minimum. Do not allow yourself to miss, and if you do, you must bring that to confession. That is a requirement, because missing Mass is a mortal sin. Don’t look for exceptions. Every time we make these changes in our lives, we make another deposit of holiness into the Church’s treasury.

The Church is not made holy through money, it’s made holy through its members cooperating with God’s will. Jesus told us to go out there and be the light of the world. The truth is, how can we be the light of the world, when we’re so dim? With God’s help, we can be that bright light that He created us to be. The question is, what is stopping you?

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

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