Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Give Them Some

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Protecting Your Heart Minute Meditations
We shall draw nearer to God not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in our lives, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it. 
—C.S. Lewis

— from Love Never Fails 

St. Raymond of PeƱafort

Since Raymond lived into his hundredth year, he had a chance to do many things. As a member of the Spanish nobility, he had the resources and the education to get a good start in life.

By the time he was 20, he was teaching philosophy. In his early 30s he earned a doctorate in both canon and civil law. At 41 he became a Dominican. Pope Gregory IX called him to Rome to work for him and to be his confessor. One of the things the pope asked him to do was to gather together all the decrees of popes and councils that had been made in 80 years since a similar collection by Gratian. Raymond compiled five books called the Decretals. They were looked upon as one of the best organized collections of Church law until the 1917 codification of canon law.

Earlier, Raymond had written for confessors a book of cases. It was called Summa de Casibus Poenitentiae. More than simply a list of sins and penances, it discussed pertinent doctrines and laws of the Church that pertained to the problem or case brought to the confessor.

At the age of 60, Raymond was appointed archbishop of Tarragona, the capital of Aragon. He didn't like the honor at all and ended up getting sick and resigning in two years.

He didn't get to enjoy his peace long, however, because when he was 63 he was elected by his fellow Dominicans to be the head of the whole Order, the successor of St. Dominic. Raymond worked hard, visited on foot all the Dominicans, reorganized their constitutions and managed to put through a provision that a master general be allowed to resign. When the new constitutions were accepted, Raymond, then 65, resigned.

He still had 35 years to oppose heresy and work for the conversion of the Moors in Spain. He convinced St. Thomas Aquinas to write his work Against the Gentiles.

In his 100th year the Lord let Raymond retire.


Raymond was a lawyer, a canonist. Legalism can suck the life out of genuine religion if it becomes too great a preoccupation with the letter of the law to the neglect of the spirit and purpose of the law. The law can become an end in itself, so that the value the law was intended to promote is overlooked. But we must guard against going to the opposite extreme and seeing law as useless or something to be lightly regarded. Laws ideally state those things that are for the best interests of everyone and make sure the rights of all are safeguarded. From Raymond, we can learn a respect for law as a means of serving the common good.


"He who hates the law is without wisdom,/and is tossed about like a boat in a storm" (Sirach 33:2).

Patron Saint of:


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


My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
When I turn my thoughts to you,
I find peace and contentment.


Lord, may I never take the gift
of freedom for granted. You gave
me the great blessing of freedom of
spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and
Your joy.


I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God

Reading 11 JN 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Responsorial Psalm PS 72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8

R. (see 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

GospelMK 6:34-44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things. 
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
"This is a deserted place and it is already very late. 
Dismiss them so that they can go 
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat." 
He said to them in reply,
"Give them some food yourselves." 
But they said to him,
"Are we to buy two hundred days' wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?" 
He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." 
And when they had found out they said,
"Five loaves and two fish." 
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. 
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. 
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, 
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all. 
They all ate and were satisfied. 
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish. 
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.


I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read.What part of it strikes a chord in me?Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently- will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness.If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?


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: 1 John 4:7-10

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Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest

In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us. (1 John 4:10)


The second law of thermodynamics tells us that there can be no such thing as a "perpetual motion machine." This means that a machine can't keep running on its own power indefinitely; it will have to stop eventually. A power plant can't generate electricity for your home without some kind of fuel to keep it going. An engine that isn't hooked up to a battery can't power your car. There has to be a constant energy source for a machine to keep running.

Our spiritual engines are no different. We know this because Scripture tells us to "love one another, because love is of God" (1 John 4:7). We can't love without being filled with his love. We can't share his compassion and mercy unless we are receiving them ourselves. It's humbling, and at the same time very freeing, to admit that God is the source of our goodness and kindness, not ourselves.

So how can we maintain our connection to Jesus? There are a number of ways, but chief among them is the Eucharist. As the source and summit of our life in Christ, the celebration of the Mass is the place where Jesus is present most fully and where we can receive him most completely. Yes, we need to pray every day; we need to study Scriptures; we need to have good relationships with other believers; we need to do good works. But above all else, we need Jesus.

The good news is that Jesus loves to meet our needs! He is present to us in the physical form of bread and wine, showing us that he is our life, our strength, and our nourishment. He lavishes us with grace as we gather to hear his word and celebrate his resurrection. He pours out his power and guidance as we join together in worship. It is Jesus' own life within us that makes our lives shine. This, more than anything else, is the hope of glory for the people in our lives (Colossians 1:27).

When you find it difficult to answer God's call to love, remember where you can go to refuel. Jesus is always there for you. He's always ready to embrace you, to feed you, and to build you up.

"Thank you, Lord, for loving me first! Thank you for being my life, my strength, and my joy."



Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8; Mark 6:34-44

Whoever knows God, knows Love.  Allow me to translate most of today's 5 minutos:
  "...Loving is not something of ours.  We love because beforehand we have been loved by Him.  Our love is an answer to the work of Christ, that manifested His love in His total surrender up to the cross.  Giving our lives for our brothers and sisters is to prolong in us the life with Jesus.  The more we love, the more "whole" God will be in our lives.  And, backwards, the less we love, His life is less present; that is to say, it costs us more to love, to forgive, to decide according to His teachings, in the end, discover in the brother the same Christ.  
An Old lady always went to family reunions and other social events with the same old coat.  And so, her children gathered money and bought their mother a new leather coat.  At the next family reunion, the children noticed that the mother was again wearing the same old coat.  Lovingly they asked her for the new coat they had given her.  "Ah yes..." said the mother, "I gave it away; a poor woman came to my door and her jacket was so deteriorated that I gave her the new one."  The children asked her again directly: "Why didn't you give her the old coat?"  The mother ended the conversation with "Supposedly we are to give the best we have, right?"
  And so we have today's Holy Gospel, touching upon the same. All they had was the best they had.  It relates to the woman giving tithes, all she had was her two cents, her entire livelihood.  God wants it all, all your trust, all your love, all  Afterall, God gave us His ONLY Son.  What a strange notion, a god, and son of the god?  Yet, the mystery is alive and well.  God is with us, Emmanuel.  It is also supposed that He, Jesus, our King, was born in Bethlehem, and the Hebrew meaning of Bethlehem is "house of bread".  So we have the ONLY son, from the House of Bread.  Jesus is the bread, Jesus is the Eucharist, and Jesus is the God touching the Earth.  Anyone denying this is nothing more than a lost lamb.  Which brings me to a revelation.  I got stunned reading the Gospel today. Why?  Because in our friendship gathering, me and one brother, we shared the faith and somehow miraculously got encouraged to persevere, at least was the case for me.  I digress.  As I spoke to him, words just spewed out of my mouth from who knows where (the HOly SPiriT).   I said, "it is strange that we are the only ones here of all the brothers that should be with us.  Only a handful was here to pray the community rosary...even the bible prayer group I formed with co-workers, they don't mention about getting together again on their own, it's as if I have to keep it going asking if we're getting together again."  And I continued "it's like people are like wild creatures, little lambs, little bunnies, and getting them to come closer is a task of feeding little by little, so they are not afraid, and keep getting closer."  And I said a truth that I have learned "I know this because I have been one of them creatures, feeding little by little (of the Eucharist) and now, look where we are, inside the church, by the Blessed Sacrament".  In other words, I am no longer afraid, and I want everyone not to be afraid to come to the Lord.  They don't want Jesus because they don't know Jesus.  They don't know anything else than to be afraid.  If there is anything I have learned from the grace of God it is that there is power in grace, but nothing else than a purity to speak the truth and live it in the heart.  I love it, I love the little piece of bread turned into the body of Christ.  I love everything about it.  People don't hardly confess, but they all line up to get their bread.  What do I see?  I see that if in faith they take the bread of God, this Mana will give them power to confess and live a life of Christ.  This is called spiritual formation.  I want you to give what you got.  Give an extra hour to our Lord in the week.  Give an extra coat to someone.  Give more and more until it becomes natural to  It is the hardest thing, yet the truest thing to give, from the heart and asking for nothing in return.  I have not been so moved by the feeding of thousands as today.  I wish, of all the miracles Jesus did, that I could be there for the time thousands of lost lambs were fed the body of Christ.  Because He gave thanks, and then gave Himself.  Because He was moved for those without a shepherd, to the point that He realized the bread was not He gave His body.  That my family, that is love in the truest sense of human thought and deed.   This is moving and moves us to do more, and more.  Shepherds are in charge of feeding.  When I see empty pews, when I see emptiness in people's hearts, I see an opportunity for the shepherding and the feeding to begin...