Friday, February 14, 2014

Exceedingly Astonished

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Minute Meditations

Who You Really Are Minute Meditations
We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father's love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.
—Blessed Pope John Paul II
— from A 40-Day Spiritual Workout For Catholics

St. Valentine
d. 269

Although St. Valentine is one of the world's best-known saints because his feast is special to lovers, very little is known about him for certain.

He was from Italy and was martyred along Rome's Flaminian Way. A basilica was built there in 350, but there was already a basilica under his patronage in Interamma . He may have been a priest in Rome and later bishop in Terni. In any case, he gave up his life for being a follower of Jesus Christ.

Why is he associated with lovers? Geoffrey Chaucer suggested that birds chose their mates on February 14. Another possibility is that this is the Christian version of the pagan feast of Lupercalia (February 15) when young men drew out the names of young women to date. However the link came about, it was certainly well established in England by the late 15th century.


The word martyr comes from the Greek term martus (witness). Valetine paid the ultimate price for following Jesus.

Self-sacrifice is always part of genuine love.

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, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


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.


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 1 1 kgs 11:29-32; 12:19

Jeroboam left Jerusalem,
and the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road.
The two were alone in the area,
and the prophet was wearing a new cloak.
Ahijah took off his new cloak,
tore it into twelve pieces, and said to Jeroboam:

"Take ten pieces for yourself;
the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
'I will tear away the kingdom from Solomon's grasp
and will give you ten of the tribes.
One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant,
and of Jerusalem,
the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.'"

Israel went into rebellion against David's house to this day.

Responsorial Psalm ps 81:10-11ab, 12-13, 14-15

R. (11a and 9a) I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
"There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt."
R. I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
"My people heard not my voice,
and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
they walked according to their own counsels."
R. I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
"If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
against their foes I would turn my hand."
R. I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.

Gospel mk 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man's ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
"Ephphatha!" (that is, "Be opened!")
And immediately the man's ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
"He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."


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 7:31-37


Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop

People brought to him a deaf man. (Mark 7:32)

"Come here; you've got to see this!" You've probably had someone say this and tug you along to witness something amazing. Or a friend calls you to tell you that something you need is on sale at the store. "Quick! Get over there while you can still get it!" So it seems to have been with these people in the Decapolis, hurrying the deaf man up to Jesus. "Quick, he's here now. Let's get him to heal you!" Being deaf, the man hadn't heard anything about Jesus. Being impeded in speech, he hadn't said anything about wanting to go to Jesus for healing. He just stood there as his friends begged Jesus to heal him.

Still, for all his impediments, this man didn't resist Jesus. He went along with him away from the crowd. He was open to finding out what would happen. The results—complete restoration of his hearing and speech—tell us that the man's limited understanding of the whole situation didn't keep Jesus from working a miracle. Healing doesn't depend absolutely on whether we think we can be healed or not. It's not a matter, or a sign, of our faith. We can be disposed to receive healing, or we can be unsure; we can be full of faith, or we can have our doubts. It doesn't all depend on us.

Know this: whether you're eager or baffled, believing or skeptical, Jesus can heal. He can work wonders, even in the face of the things we consider obstacles. Sometimes, as in the case of this deaf man, he does things that cause exceeding astonishment. Sometimes we ask and feel let down because we aren't healed exactly as we imagined. But God is sovereign, and we are children whom he loves. Jesus said that we are to ask, and it will be given to us.

So ask! Imitate this deaf man. Be present to Jesus. Be open to what happens—because if you ask, something will happen. Be open, and keep looking for the gift God has for you, especially if you haven't seen precisely what you are expecting. God is good; he does all things well. He is faithful; he hears you when you call on him. He loves you, and he loves to give you good gifts.

"Jesus, I open my heart to you today. Take me off by myself with you, and heal me."


1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19; Psalm 81:10-15



For those who do God's will, good things come.  I told my co-workers in friendship that good things come, blessings when you turn your life to the Lord.  Not to say to do this out of convenience but to say that God cares for those who care most.  I told them, that our family didn't have a business.  My dad was just a worker like them.  And now we all work for him.  But I said that I noticed that the blessings came as we would kneel as a family in our living room, praying the rosary, my parents were involved in retreats and such, and since then, life has not been the same.  I am writing to you today, not from my office, but from the hospital.  We had a baby last night, it is our 3rd boy and we already have 3 girls.  What happened last night was a miracle.  After months of praying together as a family, a new member came.  What is his name?  We still don't know.  What I do know is that the room became filled with a mysterious presence when the time of delivery came to be.  Who was there?  I don't know, it was good though, angels?  Family members in Heaven?  The point is, today's Holy Scriptures point to the very fact that God is good, especially for those who remain in Him.  For Jeroboam, tribes were assigned, blessings perhaps.  For the deaf and the mute, the gift of hearing and speaking, without even hearing or asking.  This is what I'm talking about.  Without even asking, God made me a Catholic.  I am honored.  I am blessed.  I am thankful.  I did not deserve, He just gave.  I did not ask for another child, as much as we tried not to, the boy came to be.  That is the beauty of how God works.  But the beauty is in the thankfulness.  God sees what you are thankful for...from the heart.  I used to drive a beatup truck, literally, we bought it from the salvage yard to fix in our shop. I drove it for work after it was repaired for quite a while.  I really enjoyed it and liked that chevrolet truck.  I thanked God, without even saying it outloud.  A while later, God took it away, and gave a real new truck, first I've ever had back in 2012.  Funny thing is, I am just as thankful as before.  I don't deserve where I'm at, I didn't do anything special, but we made God special, because of thankfulness.  He loves to feel love.  He loves it when you love Him.  I love all those who pray, and prayed last night for my wife.  The nurses were amazed at how my wife smiled before the birth instead of agonizing in pain.  They were amazed at how quiet she was while delivering the baby.  They were amazed at how good things went and she is right now.  My thankfulness will not end for this miracle.  I told the doctor "it is amazing", and this after our 6th child that I knew existed but couldn't see until last night.  He is precious.  And I'm speaking of a God that we can not see...He is amazing, until we pass through the night, we will see Him and never want to be in any other place than next to Him who loves just because, no conditions, just because He can and will.  This is interesting and backwards to a world of convenience.  The Psalms reiterate the commandment of God "There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God"
Yes, God, you are my God, no strange god shall come between us, no alien, no other being, no one but You above all...because you are already above all.
Funny, that was the song we played yesterday and also at our first child's birth, a song by Michael W. Smith "Above All"...crucified, rejected and alone, above all created things He was placed on a cross as a sign. For the romans it was a humiliating sign..but for God, well, it's a sign that He loves this much, because He can...
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