Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Signs Will Come

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Minute Meditations

Beautiful Awakening Minute Meditations

I discovered that my sins had created a spiritual racket that drowned out the gentle whispers of God to my soul; God had never actually abandoned me, but I needed repentance and sacramental grace to reawaken all that was good and beautiful in me.

— from True Radiance

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions
19th century

Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II.

Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan.

The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful.

Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries.

Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons.

The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution.

By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees.

During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.


It may help a people who associate Vietnam only with a 20th-century war to realize that the cross has long been a part of the lives of the people of that country. Even as some people ask again the unanswered questions about United States involvement and disengagement, the faith rooted in Vietnam's soil proves hardier than the forces that willed to destroy it.


"The Church in Vietnam is alive and vigorous, blessed with strong and faithful bishops, dedicated religious, and courageous and committed laypeople.... The Church in Vietnam is living out the gospel in a difficult and complex situation with remarkable persistence and strength" (statement of three U.S. archbishops returning from Vietnam in January 1989).

Daily Prayer - 2015-11-24


As I sit here, the beating of my heart,
the ebb and flow of my breathing, the movements of my mind
are all signs of God's ongoing creation of me.
I pause for a moment, and become aware
of this presence of God within me.


Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate my desires
in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.


How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted?
I may be very much at peace, happy to be here.
Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry.
I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word of God

Reading 1 Dn 2:31-45

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar:
"In your vision, O king, you saw a statue,
very large and exceedingly bright,
terrifying in appearance as it stood before you.
The head of the statue was pure gold,
its chest and arms were silver,
its belly and thighs bronze, the legs iron,
its feet partly iron and partly tile.
While you looked at the statue,
a stone which was hewn from a mountain
without a hand being put to it,
struck its iron and tile feet, breaking them in pieces.
The iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once,
fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer,
and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace.
But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain
and filled the whole earth.

"This was the dream;
the interpretation we shall also give in the king's presence.
You, O king, are the king of kings;
to you the God of heaven
has given dominion and strength, power and glory;
men, wild beasts, and birds of the air, wherever they may dwell,
he has handed over to you, making you ruler over them all;
you are the head of gold.
Another kingdom shall take your place, inferior to yours,
then a third kingdom, of bronze,
which shall rule over the whole earth.
There shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron;
it shall break in pieces and subdue all these others,
just as iron breaks in pieces and crushes everything else.
The feet and toes you saw, partly of potter's tile and partly of iron,
mean that it shall be a divided kingdom,
but yet have some of the hardness of iron.
As you saw the iron mixed with clay tile,
and the toes partly iron and partly tile,
the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
The iron mixed with clay tile
means that they shall seal their alliances by intermarriage,
but they shall not stay united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
In the lifetime of those kings
the God of heaven will set up a kingdom
that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people;
rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms
and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.
That is the meaning of the stone you saw hewn from the mountain
without a hand being put to it,
which broke in pieces the tile, iron, bronze, silver, and gold.
The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future;
this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure."

Responsorial Psalm Daniel 3:57, 58, 59, 60, 61

R. (59b) Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"You heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Alleluia Rv 2:10c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain faithful until death,
and I will give you the crown of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, "All that you see here--
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."

Then they asked him,
"Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?"
He answered,
"See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
'I am he,' and 'The time has come.'
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end."
Then he said to them,
"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky."

- - -

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Endings are sometimes welcomed, sometimes feared. Now that we are coming to the end of the Liturgical Year (Advent begins next Sunday) our gospels will be focussing on the end times. Jesus begins by foretelling the end of the temple in Jerusalem (destroyed in 70 A.D.).Given the significance of the temple for Jewish religion and culture this could be seen as symbolising the end of their messianic hopes. It certainly led to the Jewish diaspora and to the Rabbinic Judaism that we know today. Nothing could ever be the same again.
  • Did I have to deal with painful endings during the past few years? Death of loved ones, failed relationships, redundancy, breakdown of health, and so forth? Where was God for me during these crises? Were there also endings that I welcomed, that brought me freedom and opened up new opportunities in life?


Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth.
Teach me to have a childlike trust in you.
To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.


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: Luke 21:5-11

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Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs (Memorial)

Do not be terrified. (Luke 21:9)

Jesus names a long list of problems that sound all too familiar to us: earthquakes, famines and plagues, wars, and the overthrow of what seems so powerful. His counsel in the face of all this upheaval, however, is brief: "Do not be terrified" (Luke 21:9). When the existing state of affairs seems to be deteriorating and conflict is sweeping peace away, when disaster and rumor are headlines, how are we not to fear? It seems rather simplistic to say, "Don't be alarmed; don't panic."

But it is that simple.

Remember, though, simple is not the same as easy. Heeding Jesus' command here requires discipline, practice, self-control, and, especially, a deep, abiding assurance of your Father's love for you. We're generally pretty good with the discipline and practice side of the equation. Or at least we know what that entails and have some way of doing it. But discipline and dedication can take us only so far, and that's why we need to immerse ourselves in God's love.

St. Francis de Sales once advised, "Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed." The same applies when you are anxious or worried.

Spend time today (and every day) contemplating this central truth of our faith: God is taking care of you, today, tomorrow, and every day. St. Francis says that either God will shield you from suffering, or he will give you his strength and grace to bear it. You are God's very own child, and he will lead you safely through all things, however calamitous. He holds your hand, adjusting his steps to yours, and promises to carry you in his arms when you cannot stand.

So tell Jesus what terrifies you right now, and ask him to help you. His command "Do not be terrified" is not impossible. Just try to set aside the thoughts that rob you of peace, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you new thoughts—his thoughts—on whatever is upsetting you. Write down whatever uplifting and encouraging thoughts come to you, and go back to them whenever fear rears its alarming head.

Every day, declare, "I will not be terrified," and watch what God does.

"Jesus, hold my hand today, and whisper your thoughts to me. Lord, I want to live in your peace, unafraid of what's ahead."

Daniel 2:31-45
(Psalm) Daniel 3:57-61

Allow me to translate today's 5 minutos reflection:
  "At the Universtiy of Chicago there is a big clock known as the Doomsday Clock.  At 12, midnight, it is the last hour.  It is the hour of the apocalypse, the hour of the discrete enemies in codified visions but are incarnated in real beings and actual happenings.  It is a reminder to humanity.  Men are the ones who can accelerate this clock and make midnight come early.  The clocks that we carry on the wrist are the ones who tell the present, the ones who mark the routine of the day: time to get up, time to work, time to for meals, time for... all predicted and programmed.  But you can not deny me that in this bustle, obedient to the clock, are many things that will ensue that were not predicted.  They happen without more: the accidents, the sickness, the new friendships, the hugs not waited for, the failures, nature unleashed...Predicting about the end, aside from being difficult, is impossible, we crave unnecessary.  It doesn't tell us anything, it just offes us poetry, visions and dreams.  Nobody knows the time, the day, nor the hour.  How we ignore the how and when of the beginning of creation, we point away from its end by the simple reason that we all know that our end is more near than the end of the world, we have to plan.  Plan life not according to the human clock, but according to the clock of God."
In today's 1st Holy Scripture, a dream is interpreted.  The Neolithic ages comes and passes, the same with the Bronze and the Iron ages, and finally the rock hits and disperses throughout the entire world what was all together.  These are prophecies that point to Jesus our Lord, the Christ, the Rock that the architects rejected.  Their timing was off, and their clocks have been bashed.  Because we think we got everything and everyone figured out don't we?  We don't even give some the benefit of the doubt.  So obstinate, so firm in our own beliefs that we fail to believe in what He says and is asking of us as we live day by day, thanks be to God.
The Psalms pray on today "Give Glory and Eternal Praise to Him".   This is a command from Heaven!  Give Glory To HIM!  Are you?  Give Eternal Praise to HIM!  Are you?  It is difficult, maybe not to you, maybe a little bit, but it is difficult to some degree.  I mean, who is living a life of unwavering faith and eternal praise to our Lord?  Who is giving Glory to the Lord?  We get surprised to hear of a couple dozen people get killed, and a couple hundred over there, a few thousand throughout the year, and we are not shocked to hear that in our own country about 1 Million unborn are chemicalized to death, butchered to death, vacuumed out of the mothers' wombs to death, some unborn still alive as they rip out their brains to sell them.  Compared to the evil in the countries that are doing this, what you hear in the news is what the devil wants you to hear, a distraction while your family is torn to pieces, and is it your family?  Or is it God's children?  Let this be a prophecy, simply a truth, simply words to zoom out and away from the divider, and bring us back to the Uniter.
IN comes JESUS.  The Rock hits the earth, and it is the end when it does.  It is the end of life as Jews knew it.  The end of the Roman empire in all its grandeur and power.  The end of the temples built to a God that was unloved and unaccepted.  The end of life for many...and the beginning for God's children.  Because the end is tied with the beginning if we are speaking about the Alpha and the Omega.  For in Him there is no end, nor was there a beginning, because His existence is what we can not fathom with our time on earth.  So grand and majestic is His being and presence that it can calm a storm with one word.  So powerful is His being and presence that it can do what you thought was impossible.  So powerful and tremendous is His works that we can not understand.  How can the King of Kings of the Universe become a human fetus, a human embryo, be raised among animals, and die for all those He knew hated Him?  Such is the glory of God.  Unfathomable.  And here, I can't even look at someone square in the eye.  Here, I can't even sort out my own life.  And here, I live in the unknowns.  But I do know this, grounding ourselves in faith means the end has come.  The first death has already been tasted in baptism.  The second is simply giving Glory to God, whether I accept it or not, it will happen, because in the end, every knee will bow to Him our Lord, our King of the Universe, who promises simply something we don't eternal life with HIM.
How unfathomable is the idea to the world today.  Keep rejecting, keep killing, keep pushing Him away, and He can't and He won't.  His is an unfathomable love and mercy.  Jesus calms the storm and says many times "Do not be afraid", and as He leaves the earth and ascends into Heaven says it again "I will be with you".  And He is, and I love Him for it.  "Where are you Lord?  Where were you when I needed you?"  And His reply would make you realize "I was with weren't with Me..."

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