Monday, January 13, 2014

.Come After Me

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God's Goodness Minute Meditations
Mary understands, profoundly, where her salvation is coming from—not from her virtue but from God' overflowing goodness. If in the future all nations come to call her blessed, Mary knows, in all humility, that it is because of what the Mighty One has done for her, and not what she has done.

— from Friar Jack's Favorite Prayers 

St. Hilary

This staunch defender of the divinity of Christ was a gentle and courteous man, devoted to writing some of the greatest theology on the Trinity, and was like his Master in being labeled a "disturber of the peace." In a very troubled period in the Church, his holiness was lived out in both scholarship and controversy. He was bishop of Poitiers in France.

Raised a pagan, he was converted to Christianity when he met his God of nature in the Scriptures. His wife was still living when he was chosen, against his will, to be the bishop of Poitiers in France. He was soon taken up with battling what became the scourge of the fourth century, Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ.

The heresy spread rapidly. St. Jerome said "The world groaned and marveled to find that it was Arian." When Emperor Constantius ordered all the bishops of the West to sign a condemnation of Athanasius, the great defender of the faith in the East, Hilary refused and was banished from France to far off Phrygia (in modern-day Turkey). Eventually he was called the "Athanasius of the West." While writing in exile, he was invited by some semi-Arians (hoping for reconciliation) to a council the emperor called to counteract the Council of Nicea. But Hilary predictably defended the Church, and when he sought public debate with the heretical bishop who had exiled him, the Arians, dreading the meeting and its outcome, pleaded with the emperor to send this troublemaker back home. Hilary was welcomed by his people.


Christ said his coming would bring not peace but a sword (see Matthew 10:34). The Gospels offer no support for us if we fantasize about a sunlit holiness that knows no problems. Christ did not escape at the last moment, though he did live happily ever after—after a life of controversy, problems, pain and frustration. Hilary, like all saints, simply had more of the same.

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


The more we call on the Lord
the more we can feel his Presence.
Day by day he draws us closer
to his loving heart.


If God were trying to tell me something, would I know?
If God were reassuring me or challenging me, would I notice?
I ask for the grace to be free of my own preoccupations
and open to what God may be saying to me.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am. How has the last day been, and how do I feel now?
I share my feelings openly with the Lord.

The Word of God

Reading 11 SM 1:1-8

There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Elkanah by name,
a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim.
He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu,
son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
He had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah;
Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.
This man regularly went on pilgrimage from his city
to worship the LORD of hosts and to sacrifice to him at Shiloh,
where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas,
were ministering as priests of the LORD.
When the day came for Elkanah to offer sacrifice,
he used to give a portion each to his wife Peninnah
and to all her sons and daughters,
but a double portion to Hannah because he loved her,
though the LORD had made her barren.
Her rival, to upset her, turned it into a constant reproach to her
that the LORD had left her barren.
This went on year after year;
each time they made their pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the LORD,
Peninnah would approach her,
and Hannah would weep and refuse to eat.
Her husband Elkanah used to ask her: 
"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?"

Responsorial Psalm PS 116:12-13, 14-17, 18-19

R. (17a) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
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. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people. 
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel MK 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.


What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side, and share my feelings with him.


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 Samuel 1:1-8

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Saint Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Hannah, why do you weep? (1 Samuel 1:8)


Hannah bore the sorrow of her inability to conceive, enduring the constant reproach of Peninah, her husband's other (fertile) wife, the lack of understanding of her husband, and the erroneous judgment of the priest Eli. Infertility has been a heavy cross for many throughout history. As Jacob's wife, Rachel, once cried out, "Give me children or I shall die!" (Genesis 30:1). Yet despite the fact that as many as one in six couples struggle with infertility, many feel alone. In their distress, they feel isolated, misunderstood, depressed, uncertain about what to do, and worse, unheard by God.

Not being able to conceive can strain a marriage, even if the couple already has other children. Couples may disagree about which path to take. Some may blame each other or themselves. Others may feel pressured by potential grandparents or other well-meaning people. And in our technology-driven society, it can be very hard to navigate the complicated medical and moral options—not to mention the often anxiety-filled alternatives such as adoption—to determine the right course of action.

Is God listening? Does he care? Am I not worthy? Like Hannah, many women and men have prayed and wept until they felt spent.

If you've never experienced this heartache, let today's reading move you to pray for all those who long to know the joy of parenthood but whose strength may be waning. And if you are in Hannah's situation, know that God is just as aware of the wounds in your heart as he was of the wounds his Son endured on the cross. It may be hard to believe, but he really does have your best interest in mind. So keep praying for a heart open to his work and his will.

Take as your own the words of Pope John Paul II from a 1982 homily: "To couples who cannot have children of their own, I say: you are no less loved by God; your love for each other is complete and fruitful when it is open to others, to the needs of the apostolate, to the needs of the poor, to the needs of orphans, to the needs of the world."

"Father, you generously answered the prayers of Hannah. Hear the prayers of those who cry out to you for a child to call their own. Give them wisdom in discerning your will and peace in accepting it."



Psalm 116:12-19; Mark 1:14-20

The 5minutos said today:
  "With Jesus, God wholly realizes his saving action in the world, and Jesus chooses His disciples to prolong this mission.
Happy are those who accept God in their lives, because they will be filled with light.
Happy are those who put themselves in the hands of God, because they will live secure.
Happy are those who opt to serve, because in the Kingdom they will be served.
Happy are those who share their goods, because they will not lack flour or oil.
Happy are those who make them smile who are crying, because they will be angels of consolation.
Happy are those non-violent, prophets of peace, because they will be princes of the new world.
Happy are those who defend the persecuted, because Christ shall be their defender.
Happy are those who do not live for themselves, because they will be the race of God.
But, woe to those who hoard goods, because they will be guilty of many deaths!
Woe to those who live to consume, because they will always be hungry.
Woe to those who make others cry, because history will condemn to an eternal oblivion!
Woe to those who are hard and violent, because they will carry a war inside!
Woe to those who go from party to party, because they will accumulate boredom!
Woe to those who solely seek applause, because that will be their harvest, noise!
Woe to those who fill themselves, because they will find themselves empty! 
Woe to those who give cult to their ego, because they will never be loved!"
  Today, we read the Holy Scriptures together.  Today, we ask ourselves, how does this apply to my very life?  What does a barren, weeping woman have to do with my life?  Question may be the other side, what does the accuser, the fertile woman have to do in our lives?  Because we can get so caught up in our own sorrows, that we forget the blessings we ought to be grateful for.  But we need consolation, and we need consolidation, that is to come together, and this coming together is the Father, and Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are one and we are one. Together we are not alone, there is nothing to be afraid of or sad about.  On the contrary, there is much to be joyful about, and courageous about!  It's funny, to see so few in ministries, they are just so hard to do!  A visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament, a community rosary later, and a short "soapbox talk" later, they asked me to chime in about the cursillo, and I said "after you live a cursillo (have an encounter), you find yourself saying yes to the Lord for everything, and then you find yourself spread thin, and that's when things start getting AWESOME!"  I smiled, thinking, "what the heck am I saying!" LOL.  It's hard to explain, but it is true.  If we are to learn anything from today's readings, it is discerning God's will and saying OK, YES, Thy Will Be Done.  The fishers of men were fishing for temporal needs, and now...for the eternal.  So, if you want to become a warrior for Christ, this year is an acceptable year.  
How?  Open your soul to God and say Yes LORD!
What? The Lord is speaking, take heart, there is no other way.
Where? It has already started in your heart, the soul, through Baptism.
When? The time is right, to repent, this is the time of fulfillment, the Kingdom of God IS AT HAND.
WHy?  Because He Loves You So Much, and you'll never know until you give Him more and more attention.
 Any more questions?  There are only a few that will respond.  There are only a few first responders to an ailing world.  Be happy you are chosen.  Be strong because the world needs it.  Be energetic because the world feels fatigued.  Be the arms of Love, be the Hands of Sacrifice, Be the legs of those who march on...All Forward, nothing back!
Hail To The New Born KING