Don't Take it Personally We might not be able to control how people react to us, or see us, or feel about us. But we can train ourselves not to be cr
Don't Take it Personally
We might not be able to control how people react to us, or see us, or feel about us. But we can train ourselves not to be crushed. We can learn not to take it personally—even if it's personal.
-from Loaded: Money and the Spirituality of Enough
†"If you want God to hear your prayers, hear the voice of the poor. If you wish God to anticipate your wants, provide those of the needy without waiting for them to ask you." – St. Thomas of Villanova
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"It is undoubtedly true that each of us, men and women, irresponsible and thoughtless as we often are, hold within our hands the happiness and sorrows of others. We cannot help it or escape from it. The power is in us inalienably almost from birth to death—in us, because we are persons—and we are responsible for the use we make of it. Indeed, so mysterious is this power that the very presence of a person who does not realize his responsibility is often the source of the keenest pain of all . . . The failure to exercise the power to give happiness to others is not merely negative in its results; it is the source of the most positive suffering of all. Thus there is no escape from the responsibility involved in the possession of this power. Not to use it where it is due is to destroy all happiness. Strange power, indeed, to be committed to such weak and unworthy hands; yet there could be but one thing worse: that none could interfere with the joys and sorrows of others. We might envy their happiness and pity their sorrows, but we could not help them. It would be a world of isolated individuals wrapped in inviolable selfishness; each must take care of himself and the world must go its way." — Fr. Basil W. Maturin, p. 149 AN EXCERPT FROM Christian Self-Mastery
Saint John Neumann (March 28, 1811 – January 5, 1860)
Saint John Neumann's Story
Perhaps because the United States got a later start in the history of the world, it has relatively few canonized saints, but their number is increasing.
John Neumann was born in what is now the Czech Republic. After studying in Prague, he came to New York at 25 and was ordained a priest. He did missionary work in New York until he was 29, when he joined the Redemptorists and became its first member to profess vows in the United States. He continued missionary work in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio, where he became popular with the Germans.
At 41, as bishop of Philadelphia, he organized the parochial school system into a diocesan one, increasing the number of pupils almost twentyfold within a short time.
Gifted with outstanding organizing ability, he drew into the city many teaching communities of sisters and the Christian Brothers. During his brief assignment as vice provincial for the Redemptorists, he placed them in the forefront of the parochial movement.
Well-known for his holiness and learning, spiritual writing and preaching, on October 13, 1963, John Neumann became the first American bishop to be beatified. Canonized in 1977, he is buried in St. Peter the Apostle Church in Philadelphia. Reflection
Neumann took seriously our Lord's words, "Go and teach all nations." From Christ he received his instructions and the power to carry them out. For Christ does not give a mission without supplying the means to accomplish it. The Father's gift in Christ to John Neumann was his exceptional organizing ability, which he used to spread the Good News. Today the Church is in dire need of men and women to continue in our times the teaching of the Good News. The obstacles and inconveniences are real and costly. Yet when Christians approach Christ, he supplies the necessary talents to answer today's needs. The Spirit of Christ continues his work through the instrumentality of generous Christians.
Beloved: This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous. Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him. The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.
Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God.
Responsorial Psalm PS 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5 R. (2a) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. The LORD is good: the LORD, whose kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. A holy day has dawned upon us. Come, you nations, and adore the Lord. Today a great light has come upon the earth. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 1:43-51
Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth." But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him." Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this." And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Today's reading is all about the call of the Christian, about your call to be with Jesus as your friend. Reflect on what it means to be a Christian today, by pondering on how the Gospels are all about Jesus as he went about making friends in order to lead us into his own relationship with his Father.
▪ In the light of this, be with Jesus in a quiet place and ask him about the dream he has for you as his friend.
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with 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.
The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)
Have you ever perched at the edge of a cool, clear lake on a hot day and searched for the courage to jump in?
Sometimes it feels hard to take that step because you know how cold the water is. You may find yourself stuck in indecision: standing on the edge of the lake, uncomfortable from the heat, but not sure you want to take the plunge.
We can feel the same way when we think about restoring a broken relationship. Today's first reading encourages us to repair these relationships—but it's not always easy. You want to plunge forward into healing, but the anticipated chill makes it hard to take that initial leap. You may also be so used to the discomfort in the relationship that it seems better to stay that way.
But is that what you really want? Do you want to remain divided, carrying around the weight of that separation? What about the wounded memories from whatever caused the split? It doesn't have to be that way. Jesus came to bring healing and forgiveness—not just between God and us, but also among all of our relationships.
John goes so far as to tell us that Jesus' cross is how we come to know love itself: the witness of an innocent man laying down his life for us (1 John 3:16). And that love has the power to melt our hearts. For just as Jesus laid down his life for us, so he can help us to lay down our anger, resentment, or bitterness toward other people.
Start there. Think of one relationship that needs healing. Pray for that person, and ask God to change the way you think about him or her. He may lead you to take a big leap, like calling that person on the phone and apologizing. Or he may ask you to enter the water slowly by trying to think a little more kindly about this person. Whatever God calls you to do may feel difficult, but ask for the courage to do it. And remember, those refreshing waters of forgiveness await you!
"Lord, help me seek peace in my relationships. Give me the grace and courage to take the plunge toward healing."
"This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another" and love is an action. So, with that in mind, do you: Love the poor? do you: Love the faith? do you: Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, strength, your soul? I remember an elder man grabbed the microphone at my cursillo and said "If you really love the Lord, how will you fail Him?" When I fall into sin, I wonder to myself "wow, do I really not love the Lord? was this really worth more?" Love is action, and love is always being poured out from God, and our chance on earth is to catch these rays of love of God! And why? So we too can share. Yesterday, Jesus our Lord said "come and see" and today Philip catches those rays, that same invite and then shares the same invite to Nathaniel, "come and see" he tells him. And Nathaniel comes...and sees God with his exclamation " you are the Son of God!" Many verified it, many prophets, many with their own eyes, many in the Spirit. Now, it is your turn, come and see for yourself.
We pray "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song" I try to be joyful, most who know me usually leave away with laughs, I just somehow make people laugh. But inside, sometimes I feel like a torn comedian. I wonder why so much static. On Christmas Eve and Day, it was super hard to sing, and lead on the guitar. It was to the point that I wanted to quit, I wanted to give up, thinking "the Church deserves someone better than my goofy self that keeps goofing up" I was very aggravated with my mistakes and not being a good leader. Sometimes it is like that at work, or at home, feelings of being a failed leader comes in, temptations to give up and run away, perhaps these are in the same line of those who are tempted into drugs or affairs, but no, I just want to be like so many that quit on the choir or at work. But the Holy Spirit doesn't let me give up. So long as I hold His hand. Joyfulness only comes after a realization of sadness, what joy truly is. I told my family that Sunday I was thinking about quitting cuz I keep goofing up everything I do, "like that last song we sung, totally messed up" and they said "well that's the song everyone was actually singing to!" Hmmm. Weird. The following Sunday we did well singing with a visiting priest from Cross Catholic Outreach reaching out to us as a missionary appeal to help the poor. I had to sing/lead at both the Spanish Mass and the English Mass, and Father Timothy says to me at the end "good job...you make the angels sing".
That was confirmation for me, like Nathaniel. This guy doesn't know me and he says something very profound that only my heart knows why: when I try to sing, I am listening for angels to sing. So when he said that, it was very moving, made my heart rejoice, a big frown turned upside down inside of me. I say all these things for you not to give up, don't give in to temptations. It saddens me to see people stop going to church, to see them go through that temptation, that disconnect, and I urge them, I pray for them, they are always on my mind, like...a father. But focusing on that alone can be a reason to focus on sadness, into temptations. We must focus on the Lord. How soon I forget that it is not about me. Most often, the secret to singing well, this spiritual battle, is to simply look at an image of Christ in the Church and sing to Him, and then, a glimpse of Jesus is in the crowds. Revive! The first few days of the year have been a trial for me. A person unsubscribes from this and another tells me to stop texting them daily meditations. Ahh. Interesting. The disconnects. Now what? I hold on tight to God's hand. Jesus has better plans. There is nothing to be sad about. Look at Jesus. He turns and says with big eyes,