Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Their Whole Heart

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Christian Justice Minute Meditations
Christian justice means consistently and actively working to see that individuals and groups—especially vulnerable population on the margins—are given what they are owed. It will be especially skeptical of practices which promote violence, consumerism, and autonomy.
— from For Love of Animals 

Our Lady of Lourdes

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: "O Mary conceived without sin."

During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was "something white in the shape of a girl." She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning "this thing." It was "a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm." Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.

Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907.


Lourdes has become a place of pilgrimage and healing, but even more of faith. Church authorities have recognized over 60 miraculous cures, although there have probably been many more. To people of faith this is not surprising. It is a continuation of Jesus' healing miracles—now performed at the intercession of his mother. Some would say that the greater miracles are hidden. Many who visit Lourdes return home with renewed faith and a readiness to serve God in their needy brothers and sisters. There still may be people who doubt the apparitions of Lourdes. Perhaps the best that can be said to them are the words that introduce the film The Song of Bernadette: "For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible."


"Lo! Mary is exempt from stain of sin, Proclaims the Pontiff high; And earth applauding celebrates with joy Her triumph, far and high. Unto a lowly timid maid she shows Her form in beauty fair, And the Immaculate Conception truth Her sacred lips declare." (Unattributed hymn from the Roman Breviary)

Patron Saint of:

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


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God's dwelling-place.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. 
Instil in my heart a desire 
To know and love you more each day.


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 11 KGS 8:22-23, 27-30

Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD
in the presence of the whole community of Israel,
and stretching forth his hands toward heaven,
he said, "LORD, God of Israel,
there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below;
you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants
who are faithful to you with their whole heart.

"Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth?
If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you,
how much less this temple which I have built! 
Look kindly on the prayer and petition of your servant, O LORD, my God,
and listen to the cry of supplication which I, your servant,
utter before you this day.
May your eyes watch night and day over this temple,
the place where you have decreed you shall be honored;
may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.
Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel
which they offer in this place.
Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon."

Responsorial Psalm PS 84:3, 4, 5 AND 10, 11

R. (2) How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines 
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God. 
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest
in which she puts her young—
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my king and my God!
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
O God, behold our shield,
and look upon the face of your anointed.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
I had rather one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

Gospel MK 7:1-13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
"Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?" 
He responded,
"Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
In vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."
He went on to say,
"How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
'If someone says to father or mother,
"Any support you might have had from me is qorban"'
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things."


Conversation requires talking and listening.  As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen.  I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me.  I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares.  I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts.  I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for 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 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30

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Our Lady of Lourdes

Can it indeed be that God dwells among men on earth? (1 Kings 8:27)


This may seem an odd question for a man as wise as Solomon to ask. But Solomon wasn't really looking for an answer. It was more of an exclamation of joy and wonder and awe. He had just witnessed the ark of the covenant being brought into the new Temple he had built and the glory of the Lord coming down in a great cloud. Solomon himself said the Lord had come to dwell there. He knew the answer was yes, and that answer amazed him.

Solomon's question may bring to mind a question that his father David asked: "What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?" (Psalm 8:5). David compares us seemingly insignificant humans to the vastness of space and the wonder of the stars and planets and asks how the Creator of something so immense and beautiful could be concerned with us. It's not exactly logical, but it's true—which makes it even more incredible!

But God isn't just "concerned" with us; he has come to live with us in person. The incarnation of Christ is perhaps the most basic truth of our faith and the most essential for us to grasp. The Maker of the universe has experienced everything that we experience: our laughter, our sorrow, our hopes, our fears, and our pain. He even knows what it's like to die. And what's more, he has gathered all these experiences—our whole humanity—and redeemed them. By taking on human flesh, he has sanctified us, even as he continues to sanctify us day after day.

 If you're not particularly thankful for anything at this moment, be thankful that Christ lives in you. He knows you inside and out. He is concerned with even the smallest details of your life. Just as God is continually blessing you, make it a point to bless him with your own praise and thanksgiving. Know that as you give him glory and honor, he will lift you up—just as he did for King Solomon!

"Father, thank you for all of your wonderful works! Thank you for the beauty all around me. Most of all, thank you for your Son, Jesus. Teach me to love him above all else."



Psalm 84:3-5, 10-11; Mark 7:1-13

Today's 5minutos said:
  "How important it is the places of prayer!  But, then it happens that Jesus shows us that those places in the exterior and those exterior practices, are of no value if the altar of the heart and if the temple of the soul are not disposed to God.  Do you know the prayer of the five fingers? And the author is Pope Francis (when he was bishop of Argentina).  Precious:
1. The thumb is the closest to you.  Therefore start praying for those closely united to you. They are the easiest to remember.  Pray for those you love, it is a "a sweet task".  
2.  The next finger is the index: Pray for those who teach, instruct, and cure.  They need support and wisdom in conducting others in the right direction.  Keep them in your prayers.
3.  The next finger is the tallest.  It reminds us to pray for our leaders, the rulers, those who have authority.  They need divine direction.
4.  The next finger is the ring finger.  Surprisingly, this is the weakest finger.  It reminds us to pray for the weakest, the sick, tormented by problems.  They need your prayers.
5.  And finally we have the little finger, the smallest of all.  The pinky should remind you to pray for yourself.  When you have finished praying for the first four groups, your own necessities will appear in a correct perspective and you will be prepared to pray for yourself in a more effective manner.  More than the place, dispose today your heart to encounter yourself with God"

What we read today my brothers and sisters, are words of worship, in a dwelling, and the manner thereof.  What we read though, must be accomplished.  And it was accomplished the way God wanted and wants to this day.  Because when we speak of God's dwelling, we are speaking of something very serious...the Church.  This is where Jesus, God resides.  This is the very Church Saul persecuted before he became Paul.  Woe to those who persecute without an encounter!  And who do you think is the persecutor?  Today we read of the small beginnings of what would lead to a greater persecution of our Lord out of the temple.  What had began to settle was against God's will.  No wonder our Lord our God, Jesus the Savior came in with a whip and whipped out all that was plunder and an assault on the house of God!  I don't know about you, but I've began to realize that this assault on the soul is pretty scary business.  You can't get out of it alone, and you need to pray but you can't, or simply don't want to.  That is why we have to be dwelling constantly with Jesus.  Never go to bed without praying, never get up without praying, and in between, never stop praying.  Last night we prayed at a funeral vigil.  I told the people that we would offer a rosary for our deceased brother (in Christ).  During the rosary, as usual, a couple of people got up and left.  This prayer service was down a couple people, but the rest prayed fervently.  If you ever see me in a serious prayer mode, it is because I have seen someone else do so.  Monkey see, monkey do.  And so the important part is from the heart, and what you start.  Sometimes I am the leader and sometimes you are the leader, but together we are the Church where God dwells.  Had this not been the case of the most divine in the entire universe, God wouldn't have chosen His Mother to be of the most immaculate, pristine, without blotch or sin...Mary, sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul.  She IS Full of Grace.  I pray to our Lord that one day, if you haven't already, I hope you experience the grace of God, the gift of God.  It is a gift that is given, and God gave Himself in the purest of forms, and the purest of forms was to purify the church.  To this day, we are being asked to be purified, and consume holiness itself.  Such a hard task though, because we are taught otherwise, the ways of man become more than God.  The United Nations made a report and has put itself above the Church. The report said the Church should open its files on previous cases of abuse. It criticized Catholic teaching on homosexuality, contraception and abortion, advocating a change in Catholic doctrine.  But this is just the offshoot of the little ideologies that have been going around the world for years, "the Church needs to change (not me)" is the attitude of today.  Ahhh, so the scribes and Pharisees still exist today!  Good thing the power of the Holy Spirit still dwells today, because a drop of His Precious blood has the capability to purify every corner of the hardened earth.  And we are made of the earth, but in His image, and in His Spirit, especially through the Holy Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  Then Holy Reconciliation (confession), and then Holy Communion, all healing sacraments that are the inception that came forth from conception.  If this is too much to take in, consider this:  God loves it when you serve Him, but more importantly He loves to be loved with true love.  Cursing of mother or father brings death, and today we have heard of Our Father, who art in Heaven, and our Holy Mother, who art in Heaven.  Do not curse with the way you live, but bless with how you give.  When lent begins, consider with what heart and for what you will sacrifice, fast, and pray for, maybe it will not be for what...but for who....
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