Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tell No One

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Minute Meditations

Be Joyful Daily Minute Meditations
We know that we aren't always going to be happy. Sadness, even tragedy, is going to cross our paths more than once. But if we strive to be joyful on a daily basis, we seem to develop reserves upon which we can draw.
— from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy

St. Paul the Hermit
(c. 233-345)
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It is unclear what we really know of Paul's life, how much is fable, how much fact.

Paul was reportedly born in Egypt, where he was orphaned by age 15. He was also a learned and devout young man. During the persecution of Decius in Egypt in the year 250, Paul was forced to hide in the home of a friend. Fearing a brother-in-law would betray him, he fled in a cave in the desert. His plan was to return once the persecution ended, but the sweetness of solitude and heavenly contemplation convinced him to stay.

He went on to live in that cave for the next 90 years. A nearby spring gave him drink, a palm tree furnished him clothing and nourishment. After 21 years of solitude a bird began bringing him half of a loaf of bread each day. Without knowing what was happening in the world, Paul prayed that the world would become a better place.

St. Anthony of Egypt [January 17] attests to his holy life and death. Tempted by the thought that no one had served God in the wilderness longer than he, Anthony was led by God to find Paul and acknowledge him as a man more perfect than himself. The raven that day brought a whole loaf of bread instead of the usual half. As Paul predicted, Anthony would return to bury his new friend.

Thought to have been about 112 when he died, Paul is known as the "First Hermit." His feast day is celebrated in the East; he is also commemorated in the Coptic and Armenian rites of the Mass.


The will and direction of God are seen in the circumstances of our lives. Led by the grace of God, we are free to respond with choices that bring us closer to and make us more dependent upon the God who created us. Those choices might at times seem to lead us away from our neighbor. But ultimately they lead us back both in prayer and in fellowship to one another.

Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


"Come to me all you who are burdened
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek your presence.
I long for your healing power.


Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war.
I bow my head in thanksgiving for my freedom.
I pray for all prisoners and captives.


How do I find myself today?
Where am I with God? With others?
Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks.
Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1 Heb 3:7-14

The Holy Spirit says:
Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
"Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
in the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works for forty years.
Because of this I was provoked with that generation
and I said, 'They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways.'
As I swore in my wrath,
'They shall not enter into my rest.'"

Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today,"
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 95:6-7c, 8-9, 10-11

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works."
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Forty years I was wearied of that generation;
I said: "This people's heart goes astray,
they do not know my ways."
Therefore I swore in my anger:
"They shall never enter my rest."
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Alleluia See Mt 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
"If you wish, you can make me clean."
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
"I do will it. Be made clean."
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, "See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them."
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.


What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Mark 1:40-45

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1st Week in Ordinary Time

I do will it. (Mark 1:41)

Can you keep a secret? Some of us find it easier than others! Someone confides big news to us. There's a new movie out, and we don't want anyone to share the ending before we've seen it. Many children find it especially hard to refrain from spilling information. But they learn over time how not to share everything and how, if someone trustworthy asks them to keep something confidential, it's usually for a good reason.

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus asks someone to keep a secret. A man with leprosy comes to him begging for healing: "If you wish, you can make me clean" (Mark 1:40). If you wish. Maybe he isn't sure about who Jesus is. Maybe all he knows is that Jesus is a wonderworker. Maybe he thinks Jesus is capricious, like the pagan gods, who were said to perform marvels only when it suited their fancy.

Whatever the case, Jesus, "moved with pity," heals the man. But he also tells him not to divulge the healing to anyone else. Why? First, because neither the man, nor anyone else at this time, understands who Jesus really is. He doesn't understand that this healer is the Messiah—or what kind of Messiah he is.

Second, it's not the right time yet for Jesus to be revealed. And it won't be for a while. Throughout the Gospel of Mark, we see Jesus trying to stay out of sight, in desert places, so that he can finish his mission on the cross. Only then will people understand that he came to save them from sin and not just to relieve their material sufferings. In fact, the centurion's confession at the foot of the cross is the first time someone realizes Jesus' true identity: "Truly this was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:39).

So rejoice! What was once secret is now an open revelation. Jesus, the Son of God, now fully accessible to us, tells us, "Of course I want to heal! Of course I want to console you. What's more, I want you to be in heaven with me forever!" We don't have to worry that Jesus won't hear us. We know the kind of Messiah he is.

"Jesus, truly, you are the Messiah! Thank you for the gift of salvation and for the eternal peace you have won for me."


The Franciscan University of Stubenville sends these daily quotes that I have been reading, subscribed to them since probably they started doing them, sometimes I share them with you in this bit, giving credit where the credit is due, today's had a particular one I'd like to share,

"Broken things are precious. We eat broken bread because we share in the depth of our Lord and His broken life. Broken flowers give perfume. Broken incense is used in adoration. A broken ship saved Paul and many other passengers on their way to Rome. Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them." -Ven. Fulton Sheen

It is the hardest pill to swallow, to witness a miracle in the life of a family, in their time of brokenness, time of need, to see God reach out and heal, and then they do not what He says.  But, such is the story of a hardened heart, and sins cause the hardening.  This is what the 1st Scripture covers when talking about the same people of nowadays back in the days of Moses.  For 40 years they witnessed miracles, grew tired of them and thus Him.  They provoked God to do something just, to not have their end of the promise fulfilled...entering the promised land.  This is the case of an infection of the leprosy of sin.  Have you ever seen a person with leprosy?  It disfigures and even seems hardened in cases.  But the worst kills.  Such are the wages of sin, which disfigure the soul, harden the heart and kills the soul.  Murder in the first degree, slow and painful. 
But wait.  There is hope.  I feel this day was asked by the Lord to ask for healing.  The prayer and worship we will have tonight was planned months ago, and this day was the fitting day, and it turns out, it was the Holy Spirit.  I sort of trembled when I decided to take a sneak peak last week at today's Holy Scriptures.  It was about the Holy Spirit, it was about healing, and it was about the message that encompasses all..."if today you hear His voice, harden not your heart".   How do we un-harden the heart?  Let's take a lesson from the Gospel.  The sick man did what the Psalms said to do, to bow down before the Lord and to kneel before the Lord.  I'm going to ask you that you do this today.  Bow.  Give Honor.  Kneel, and plea to Him.  This gives worship.  This gives reverance, credit where the credit is due.  What God wants is your live heart, not a dead stone heart.  That's it!  Everything else will follow suit, the giving will come naturally.
What gets me is how hardened though our hearts are.  I've been holding these co-worker bible study sessions for going on a couple of years, and I've been tempted to give up.  It's like chipping away at rocks.  I told them last night "what good does it do to sit here with our legs crossed talking about God's word and not applying it to our lives?".  What's worse, is they have learned about salvation history with Jeff Cavins program, learned about the wrath and mercy of God, and I've sung songs, and I've prayed, and I tell them flat out I want them to open up to God and go to church...and nothing.  But just yesterday, a glimmer of hope, another one of the handful told me during the day, he plans on 2015 to get married by the Church.  Well good for him!  Because for sure it is not about me.  But still the chipping away continues, and the chipper is the Holy Spirit.  Our Lord is trying very hard to get through these solid scabs caused by sin that deform us so He may heal us, and we won't lift a finger for Him to help Him do so.  We won't confess, we won't kneel, and if we do, is it with a hardened heart?  There lives hope, and we must live it.  There lives love, and we must live it.  I'm just trying to break it out of everyone I encounter, and myself, because deep down inside...there is God




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