Servant of God John the Gardener
John was born of poor parents in Portugal. Orphaned early in life, he spent some years begging from door to door. After finding work in Spain as a shepherd, he shared the little he earned with those even more needy than himself.
One day two Franciscans encountered him on a journey. Engaging him in conversation, they took a liking to the simple man and invited him to come and work at their friary in Salamanca. He readily accepted and was assigned to the task of assisting the brother with gardening duties. A short time later John himself entered the Franciscan Order and lived a life of prayer and meditation, fasting constantly, spending the nights in prayer, still helping the poor. Because of his work in the garden and the flowers he produced for the altar, he became known as "the gardener."
God favored John with the gift of prophecy and the ability to read hearts. Important persons, including princes, came to the humble, ever-obedient friar for advice. He was so loving towards all that he never wanted to take offense at anything. His advice was that to forgive offenses is an act of penance most pleasing to God.
He predicted the day of his own death: January 11, 1501.
A monastery garden was tended well to feed the community, not to make the grounds pretty. John saw to it that the refectory table was well supplied. But he also added a bit of beauty, growing flowers to enhance the chapel. God is surely pleased when we add a bit of beauty to the world—especially when we warm it with an act of forgiveness. For, as John insisted, forgiveness is the loveliest thing in God's eyes.
Daily Prayer - 2016-01-11
Dear Lord help me to be open to you
Lord, I pray for your gift of freedom.
Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit. If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.
The Word of God
Reading 1 1 Sm 1:1-8
There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Elkanah by name,
Responsorial Psalm PS 116:12-13, 14-17, 18-19
R. (17a) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
Alleluia Mk 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 1:14-20
After John had been arrested,
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Conversation requires talking and listening.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
1st Week in Ordinary Time
After John had been arrested ... (Mark 1:14)
John's arrest was big news. Bad news. Heartbreaking and lamentable news. Yet though it heralded the end of John the Baptist's ministry, it wasn't the end of the story. Herod's malice could not halt the plans of God. John came preaching the good news of repentance and forgiveness, and when Herod had him imprisoned, Jesus continued John's preaching. He even added to it. He continued John's call to repentance, but he also announced, "The Kingdom of God is at hand" and called everyone to "believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).
In the face of bad news, which we all face at one time or another, Jesus urges all of us, Believe the good news. Believe it despite the bad or heartbreaking or lamentable news. Choose to focus your thoughts and emotions on the truth of the kingdom of God. Remind yourself of all of the promises and proclamations Jesus has given us:
• "I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
• "I will never forget you." (Isaiah 49:15)
• "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." (John 16:33)
• "I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)
Believe these words! Write them down, and put them where you will see them every day. Make promises like these the "news" that fills your thoughts and lifts your heart.
God's plans can never be defeated—not by John's arrest or Jesus' death or the devil's malevolence. Not by rulers or schemes or any sin or misfortune in your life. Believe the good news: you have been born, through baptism, into Jesus' death and resurrection, into a living hope. God is keeping a careful watch over your life. Because you believe in him, you can hold onto his promises when you are feeling discouraged or frightened. Jesus has won for you a place in his kingdom; he has made the good news a reality for you. Let these truths sink into your heart so that you can know peace in the midst of difficulty or sorrow.
"Jesus, I choose to trust in the good news today. I choose to believe that your kingdom is at hand, that you rule over all things, and that you love me."
1 Samuel 1:1-8
This Is The Time
From Today's 1st Holy Scripture: ""Hannah, why do you weep, and why do you refuse to eat? Why do you grieve? Am I not more to you than ten sons?" The Lord is asking us to re-assess, re-evaluate our priorities here. He cares when we lose focus, and do we care about those who have lost focus? I mean do you really care? And the focus is on salvation. And salvation is focused on caring. Do you care more about your ministry than your daily neighbor, your people you deal with daily? Because salvation is more than serving...it is about caring, and not caring about what others say but caring about their souls. LOL, I told my cousin "look, you are going to come help and people are either going to talk about you sitting out or talk about you sitting in, so you might as well come help!". And he did, and the fruits of joining together are powerful. It would be better to be shot down for the Lord than to be shot down for self, because for the Lord...lives (Souls) are saved. Wouldn't today's saint have loved to have parents? Yet, he was orphaned, begged from door to door, depending on the Lord like no other. And you today? Wouldn't you love to have that loved one still, but are forced to beg? This only means the Lord wants you to Love Him all the more, and all the more better than if other loves were in your life.
We pray the Psalms "To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise. or: R. Alleluia. How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD." What a peculiar sacrifice...praise. Praising the Lord through the storm and the darkness. Praising and raising His name above all. Knowing that after losing it all...He remains. How do we return to the Lord for all the Good He has done? "The cup of Salvation I will take up". What is this cup? The chalice? The Lord our God, Jesus, said while he sweated out blood, "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Mt 26:39 It what was handed Him to drink, "take this". And indeed we hear these words in Holy Mass "Take this...all of you, drink!" But what in the world is being asked?? What is being handed to us? The cross, the self-renunciation, this whole "REPENT and BELIEVE" for the Kingdom of God is at hand....
Jesus comes into our lives with those very words. It was time, His "brother" (cousin) John the Baptist was arrested and facing death, a great prophet, actually "the greatest" as Jesus our Lord called him. He was announcing repentance, announcing a request for faith, a giving of a praise that is true from the heart. Jesus begins gathering fishers of men on the seashore. Yesterday, I saw an SUV with little stickers on the back windshield, and instead of being a family of stick figures, it was a couple of bigger fish symbols and a couple or three little fishes. Christians, Christians ready to be captured by the Lord Jesus, and even more, those not Christians. They are fishes He desires as well. To be in one flock, to be motivated by the love of God, and the prince of Peace that gives peace like no other imagined god in the world. If you were to sit in grace, you sit in love and peace, a peace that the devil tries to rip out of your heart like a savage animal, blinded to the light. I say all this because there is an exquisite message awaiting. Today's 5minutos said:
"What can these words say today, to a man or a woman these days? No one is attracted to a conversion. We think immediately in something costly and not so enjoyable: a rupture that would take us to a life less attractive and desirable, full of only sacrifices and renunciation. Is it really like that? To begin, the greek verb that translates to "conversion" signifies in reality "begin to think", "revise the focus of our life", "readjust the perspective". The words of Jesus could be heard like this: "Look to see if you don't have something to revise and readjust in your manner of thinking and acting so the dreams of God will be fulfilled in you". To convert is to "liberate the life", eliminating fears, self interests, tensions, and slaveries that impede our growth in a way that is healthy, and harmonious. The conversion that does not produce peace and joy is not authentic. It is not bringing us closer to God. It is not asking for a sublime faith, nor a perfect life; only that we live confident in the greatness of the Love God has for us. Converting oneself isn't about engaging in only being a saint, but to learn to live tranquil and in peace with God. Only then can there begin in us a true transformation. Life is never plenitude or complete success. We are to accept the "unfinished", what humbles us, what we do not aim to correct. The important is to maintain a desire, not give in to discouragement, not to say "it's not worth it", "I always ruin everything". Conversion is not living without sin, but to learn to live of forgiveness, without pride or sadness, without feeding the insatisfaction for what we should be and we are not. This is how the Lord speaks in the book of Isaiah "By waiting and by calm you shall be saved,in quiet and in trust shall be your strength. But this you did not will" Is 30:15
Repent and be saved.
Know this, and repeat this with me as I woke up with this baby prophecy "everyone I know and meet needs prayer".
The Lord be with you and give you strength with which to love Him more and more. The cup will be offered and the blood is life saving...