Friday, January 31, 2014

Sleep And Rise

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Look Around Minute Meditations
Too often we believe that God's miracles are rare when, in truth, they are constant. God is working miracles today.
— from Tweet Inspiration 

St. John Bosco

John Bosco's theory of education could well be used in today's schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one's work, study and play.

Encouraged during his youth to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism.

After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, John opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring.

By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. His interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers.

John's preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854 he and his followers informally banded together, inspired by St. Francis de Sales [January 24].

With Pope Pius IX's encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.


John Bosco educated the whole person—body and soul united. He believed that Christ's love and our faith in that love should pervade everything we do—work, study, play. For John Bosco, being a Christian was a full-time effort, not a once-a-week, Mass-on-Sunday experience. It is searching and finding God and Jesus in everything we do, letting their love lead us. Yet, because John realized the importance of job-training and the self-worth and pride that come with talent and ability, he trained his students in the trade crafts, too.


"Every education teaches a philosophy; if not by dogma then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere. Every part of that education has a connection with every other part. If it does not all combine to convey some general view of life, it is not education at all" (G.K. Chesterton, The Common Man).

Patron Saint of:


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


Dear Lord as I come to you today
Fill my heart and my whole being
with the wonder of Your presence


Lord grant me the grace 
to have freedom of the spirit.
Cleanse my heart and soul
so I may live joyously in Your love


At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to You. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations.
I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.

The Word of God

Reading 12 SM 11:1-4A, 5-10A, 13-17

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel, 
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta 
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told, 
"She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam, 
and wife of Joab's armor bearer Uriah the Hittite."
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived, 
and sent the information to David, "I am with child."

David therefore sent a message to Joab,
"Send me Uriah the Hittite."
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers, 
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and bathe your feet." 
Uriah left the palace, 
and a portion was sent out after him from the king's table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace 
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down 
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him, 
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed 
among his lord's servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
"Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead."
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab, 
some officers of David's army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died.

Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6A, 6BCD-7, 10-11

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
I have done such evil in your sight
that you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Gospel MK 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
"This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come."

He said,
"To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade."
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.


Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Mark 4:26-34

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Saint John Bosco, Priest

Of its own accord the land yields fruit. (Mark 4:28)

The kingdom of God is real. Better yet, it's here now, growing bigger and stronger, like the mustard tree in Jesus' parable. It's not just up in heaven, awaiting the time when we will finally enter it. It is also here on earth, where Jesus has sowed it among us as the smallest of seeds. Almost of its own accord, the kingdom is coming to maturity. And although we aren't always aware of its presence, it extends over all creation, even over those who don't acknowledge its existence.

Jesus started his ministry by declaring the good news of the coming of the kingdom. He proclaimed it in words and demonstrated it in power. Healing, deliverance, repentance, transformed lives—these were the marks of the kingdom in Jesus' time, and they remain just as valid today. Whenever and wherever they occur, they declare to an unbelieving world that God is real. And if that's not enough, we also have the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, and the rest that bear powerful witness to the kingdom (Galatians 5:22).

Brothers and sisters, God has called us into his kingdom and glory. He wants to have a close, loving relationship with each one of us. Jesus lived, died, and rose again just so that we could belong to that kingdom. Even though we may struggle here and now, we know that this kingdom will one day overcome all sin, suffering, and death.

Until that time comes, we can declare and demonstrate the kingdom to everyone around us. It's not too hard. When someone is sick, offer to pray with him or her for healing. Should chaos erupt in our homes, pray for protection from any darkness that may be oppressing your family.

Above all, live in love. Try to demonstrate God's love a little more every day. Make it a point to show more affection to your children or spouse or parents. Offer a kind word to your neighbor. Reach out to a parishioner who seems alone. Instead of just telling people about God's love, demonstrate it with real, concrete expressions. Let them see the kingdom of God—present in your own life!

"Holy Spirit, I believe the kingdom of God is active here and now. Give me the courage to speak, pray, and work to reveal it to the world."

 2 Samuel 11:1-10, 13-17; Psalm 51:3-7, 10-11

We brought up the mustard seed in our co-worker bible study group, I even sung a little of it.  One guy said he hadn't heard about it, or even seen a mustard seed before.  And so, our Lord speaks to us today.  Now you've heard it, He likened it to the Kingdom of God, and now what?  Well, it is a seed, the Word of God, wither it will grow in your dirt, which we are made of earthen materials, or it will not grow in the spirit.  Jesus spoke in parables, and it is good, everything He did was good and perfect, because He was there when the earth was created, and in His fulfillment came and touched the earth not just as smoke in the ark, not just as mana from Heaven, not just as fire on the bush, but as a human being, His perfect design.  Question is, why did He speak in parables?  For those who have ears.  From it said "It's Greek designation (from paraballein to throw beside or against) indicates a deliberate "making up" of a story in which some lesson is at once given and concealed. As taking simple or common objects to cast light on ethics and religion, it has been well said of the parable that "truth embodied in a tale shall enter in at lowly doors."  I take this to heart, because I witness it to be true.  The message leaves much to ponder, and causes some to wonder, but for the ones it is meant for, it grows into something fonder.  That is to say, it sinks to the heart and begins to give life without one even knowing how, or when it happened, it just did.  I give the example of yours truly, for I myself can not pinpoint the exact moment in my life that caused the seed to grow.  Now, where it is growing, fertile soil, rocks, or among weeds, I don't know, but I do know that the plants grow towards the light and survive in the strangest of places.  This is an inspiration.  Was I affected when I was baptized?  Blessed or cursed is the answer, and of course baptism blesses into the Kingdom.  Was I affected as a little boy when I saw my grandma and my mom in a prayer gathering as I peaked in the doors after leaving the swings and friends behind to see what was going on when I was a mere 4 years old?  Was I affected when I tasted the mana, the bread before consecration in CCD?  I know forever I never forget the taste when it entered my mouth?  This is how God tastes.  Was I affected in confirmation class when I was taken to the nursing home to make an awkward moment in visiting the elderly and sickly?  Was it an encounter with the Lord?  Or was the encounter when I experienced a cursillo?  There lessons were learned, seeds were thrown.  Or was it the various moments I have seen a priest hold up a piece of flesh on the Altar?  Or was it my foolish heart full of tears that wouldn't let me see right?  At what point in my life could it have been that the parable of the seed was planted?  I have a brother in law coming into the faith, has never been a church goer, never really been in a particular church but within the last year or so of our co-worker reunions and personal talks, he has grown in more ways than I would have ever thought possible.  Of his experience of crying out in the middle of the night to our Lord while coyotes were howling all around, I said to another brother in Christ "It's almost not fair that we have spent years and years in the faith, and here he comes almost overnight and experiences things we have just begun to experience".  The word enters the lowliest of doors, that is a truly humble heart, a truly fertile soil, a truly open and childlike heart for the Lord.  That is why Jesus spoke in parables, so they would be eternal in meaning, interpretation, and understanding.  When the harvest is right, God takes what is His...into His Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is at hand and those who have eyes and ears will experience the reality of what is here that is leading there.  Take to heart what is about to happen in your life, because something will happen had this seed already sinked inside.  And nothing will happen if it did not enter.  The fire consumes the bush that grew from the seed, just as the Holy Spirit will consume you when you grow in the faith of our Lord.  This fire burns, and burns hot, and the burning heart wishes the world were already set ablaze...



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Be Made Visible

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Spiritual Battlefield Minute Meditations
The first mistake most Christians make is forgetting that they are embroiled in a war for souls. Your life is taking place on a battlefield. The enemy is real, and the sooner we realize that and proactively do something about it, the better off we and our families will be.
— from Tweet Inspiration 

Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska

Today we honor a woman who submitted to God's will throughout her life—a life filled with pain and suffering. 
          Born in 1825 in central Poland and baptized Sophia, she contracted tuberculosis as a young girl. The forced period of convalescence gave her ample time for reflection. Sophia felt called to serve God by working with the poor, including street children and the elderly homeless in Warsaw's slums. In time, her cousin joined her in the work. 
          In 1855, the two women made private vows and consecrated themselves to the Blessed Mother. New followers emerged. Within two years they formed a new congregation, which came to be known as the Felician Sisters. As their numbers grew, so did their work, and so did the pressures on Mother Angela (the new name Sophia took in religious life). 
          Mother Angela served as superior for many years until ill health forced her to resign at the age of 44. She watched the order grow and expand, including missions to the United States among the sons and daughters of Polish immigrants.                                                                                      
Mother Angela died in 1899, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1993.

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


Dear Jesus, I come to you today
longing for your presence.
I desire to love you as You love me.
May nothing ever separate me from You.


"I am free." 
When I look at these words in writing 
They seem to create in me a feeling of awe.
Yes, a wonderful feeling of freedom. 
Thank You, God.


I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord. 
I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness. He is my comforter in times of sorrow.

The Word of God

Reading 12 SM 7:18-19, 24-29

After Nathan had spoken to King David, 
the king went in and sat before the LORD and said, 
"Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house, 
that you have brought me to this point?
Yet even this you see as too little, Lord GOD; 
you have also spoken of the house of your servant 
for a long time to come: 
this too you have shown to man, Lord GOD!

"You have established for yourself your people Israel as yours forever, 
and you, LORD, have become their God.
And now, LORD God, confirm for all time the prophecy you have made 
concerning your servant and his house, 
and do as you have promised.
Your name will be forever great, when men say, 
'The LORD of hosts is God of Israel,'
and the house of your servant David stands firm before you.
It is you, LORD of hosts, God of Israel, 
who said in a revelation to your servant, 
'I will build a house for you.'
Therefore your servant now finds the courage to make this prayer to you.
And now, Lord GOD, you are God and your words are truth; 
you have made this generous promise to your servant.
Do, then, bless the house of your servant 
that it may be before you forever; 
for you, Lord GOD, have promised, 
and by your blessing the house of your servant 
shall be blessed forever."

Responsorial Psalm PS 132:1-2, 3-5, 11, 12, 13-14

R. (Lk 1:32b) The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
LORD, remember David
and all his anxious care;
How he swore an oath to the LORD,
vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob.
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
"I will not enter the house where I live,
nor lie on the couch where I sleep;
I will give my eyes no sleep,
my eyelids no rest,
Till I find a home for the LORD,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob."
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
The LORD swore an oath to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
"Your own offspring 
I will set upon your throne."
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
"If your sons keep my covenant,
and the decrees which I shall teach them,
Their sons, too, forever
shall sit upon your throne."
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
For the LORD has chosen Zion,
he prefers her for his dwelling:
"Zion is my resting place forever;
in her I will dwell, for I prefer her."
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.

Gospel MK 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples,
"Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; 
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear."
He also told them, "Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, 
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given; 
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."


Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Mark 4:21-25

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3rd Week in Ordinary Time

To the one who has, more will be given. (Mark 4:25)


 Many experts agree that exploring alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power is very important for the world's future. At the same time, the world still has vast untapped resources that can be used right now. For example, Brazil and Venezuela combined have the potential to produce over six hundred billion barrels of oil. And the United States could produce an estimated 2.3 trillion barrels. But these resources will remain unused unless we can find a safe way to bring them out from under the ground.

 Jesus has some very important things to say about untapped resources as well, but he's talking about the resources within us—our gifts and talents. Much like the earth's resources, they were given to us for a reason: they were meant to be used and not kept "under a basket" (Mark 4:21). But there are a couple of remarkable differences between our resources and those found in nature. Oil will eventually run out, and there are some places where we shouldn't go drilling to get it. But there's no limit on how we can use our gifts. In fact, the more we use them, the more they grow. The more we give out, the more we have to give!

 Some of us may not realize the awesome potential we have for building the kingdom of God. Or we may wonder if we are using our gifts to the fullest. If you need a little inspiration, think of those whose service to God has made a big difference in your life—not necessarily Mother Teresa, but your neighbors and friends who do so much with the skills they have. Your parish, small group, or Bible study wouldn't be the same if they weren't making their own unique contributions.

 Today, let's praise and thank the Lord for the gifts that these people are to us. Let's also ask him how we can shine our lights a little more brightly today. God has called each of us to shine in different ways, and each light does something to scatter the darkness in the world. Joined together in Christ, we can become a glorious source of renewable, spiritual energy!

"Lord, you have given me so much. Help me to use all that I have to bring glory to you!"



2 Samuel 7:18-19, 24-29; Psalm 132:1-5, 11-14

You don't worry about how much power will be lost.  You worry about what is to be given.  Throughout the bible, the "love letters of God" which I like to say, we have always an encouragement and a hope.  In Isaiah chapter 40 we read: 

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is God from of old,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives power to the faint,
abundant strength to the weak.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar on eagles' wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

I don't know why the story of a father asking his daughter for her plastic pearls keeps coming to mind. He asks repeatedly for her to give them to him so he can give her a necklace of REAL pearls.  This is how we are with our life.  We hold on so dearly, to the point that we will not step out in faith.  This life is plastic, the next is real.  This is temporary, the next is eternal.  Imagine that every detail, every minute of our lives are impacting the word in a unique way.  Now that you have that imagery, imagine our Lord standing at the door to knock with a lamp in his other hand.  The door signfies our heart. (I read this in todays 5minutos).  It is a big wooden door with no doorknob.  It is such so that we have the choice of letting Jesus, the light, into our heart, our lives.  Yet do we?  We may say we do, but do we really?  How about that person that approaches you, seems to be against you, did you let them into your heart?  Do we?  Do we really?  That person that asked you to take on a ministry, did you take it on?  Do we?  Do we really?  Because there is a differnce if we do, and if we REALLY do.  We can serve and serve to our bones, but very little comes of it.  To the one who has, more will be given.  Has what?  There is a scripture that says "ask and ye shall receive".  What do you think our Lord is talking about?  I always tell everyone "He isn't telling you to ask for a million bucks, He's asking you to recieve Him!".  I helped sing at a funeral yesterday, and it started with "Oh Lord, you are, more precious than silver....and nothing I desire compares to you".   My family, Jesus is offering Himself today, the light of the world, the food of the world, the drink for the life of the world, it is all Him, all about Him.  But YOLO (You Only Live Once) right?  Nope.  LOL, my daughter said "daddy, YOLO isn't right because we actually have two lives, one hear and one after we die".  I was astounded to hear this from a little girl, but Jesus speaks through souls.  Will He speak through yours today?  He will, once that door opens up.  We had co-worker bible study last night, and a friend said "I left my door open just for a little bit, and soon a mouse was running all over the place".  I said "that's how evil works, you open the door just a little bit and it will be running all over the place in your life".  That is why we are not to give the devil a ride or it will want to drive.  Yet, the opposite is even more true, more light, more life...if we open the door just a little to Jesus, more and more will He come in.  This gives us hope, this renews our strength, this will let us soar on eagle's wings, run the race and not grow weary.  The eagle symbol in the Gospel is of the Gospel of John. I can't forget the words of my uncle Hector, "the symbol of the eagle is because John starts high in the sky and comes to man".  It is true, and it is the Gospel of Love.  Our hope is out of this world, but comes into the world.  He is a whisper away, an opening of the heart away.  Jesus has directed these fingers to type to you something spectacular in His eyes...and He tells me His eyes are upon you child of God