Monday, February 17, 2014

The Other Shore

Untitled document


Faith in Action Minute Meditations
Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
—St. Augustine
— from A 40-Day Spiritual Workout For Catholics 

Seven Founders of the Servite Order
(13th century)

Can you imagine seven prominent men of Boston or Denver banding together, leaving their homes and professions, and going into solitude for a life directly given to God? That is what happened in the cultured and prosperous city of Florence in the middle of the 13th century. The city was torn with political strife as well as the heresy of the Cathari, who believed that physical reality was inherently evil. Morals were low and religion seemed meaningless.

In 1240 seven noblemen of Florence mutually decided to withdraw from the city to a solitary place for prayer and direct service of God. Their initial difficulty was providing for their dependents, since two were still married and two were widowers.

Their aim was to lead a life of penance and prayer, but they soon found themselves disturbed by constant visitors from Florence. They next withdrew to the deserted slopes of Monte Senario.

In 1244, under the direction of St. Peter of Verona, O.P., this small group adopted a religious habit similar to the Dominican habit, choosing to live under the Rule of St. Augustine and adopting the name of the Servants of Mary. The new Order took a form more like that of the mendicant friars than that of the older monastic Orders.

Members of the community came to the United States from Austria in 1852 and settled in New York and later in Philadelphia. The two American provinces developed from the foundation made by Father Austin Morini in 1870 in Wisconsin.

Community members combined monastic life and active ministry. In the monastery, they led a life of prayer, work and silence while in the active apostolate they engaged in parochial work, teaching, preaching and other ministerial activities.


The time in which the seven Servite founders lived is very easily comparable to the situation in which we find ourselves today. It is "the best of times and the worst of times," as Dickens once wrote. Some, perhaps many, feel called to a countercultural life, even in religion. All of us are faced in a new and urgent way with the challenge to make our lives decisively centered in Christ.


"Let all religious therefore spread throughout the whole world the good news of Christ by the integrity of their faith, their love for God and neighbor, their devotion to the Cross and their hope of future glory.... Thus, too, with the prayerful aid of that most loving Virgin Mary, God's Mother, 'Whose life is a rule of life for all,' religious communities will experience a daily growth in number, and will yield a richer harvest of fruits that bring salvation" (Vatican II, Decree on the Renewal of Religious Life, 25).

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, you created me to live in freedom.
Mostly I take this gift for granted. 
Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended,
with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You.


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1JAS 1:1-11

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings.

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters,
when you encounter various trials,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
And let perseverance be perfect,
so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
But if any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly,
and he will be given it.
But he should ask in faith, not doubting,
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea
that is driven and tossed about by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,
since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.

The brother in lowly circumstances 
should take pride in high standing,
and the rich one in his lowliness, 
for he will pass away "like the flower of the field."
For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass,
its flower droops, and the beauty of its appearance vanishes.
So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76

R. (77a) Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I hold to your promise. 
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
You are good and bountiful;
teach me your statutes. 
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I may learn your statutes. 
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces. 
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
I know, O LORD, that your ordinances are just,
and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me. 
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Let your kindness comfort me
according to your promise to your servants. 
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.

Gospel MK 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
"Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation."
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore.


Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted 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 8:11-13

View NAB Reading at

Subscriber? Login to view archives.

The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

He sighed. (Mark 8:12)


You're going about your business, when out of the blue, someone makes a snide comment to your face. What would you do? If you're like most people, you would get angry, and you would be tempted to make a vengeful retort. If you're already stressed, that same comment might make you explode into a rage. But with the eyes of faith, we can see how these reactions are a sign that our fallen nature might be taking over—and that it's a good time to remember what Jesus did in that same situation.

Surrounded by enemies who were constantly testing him, Jesus would have been justified in losing his temper. He was fully human, after all, so their slights likely hurt him just as much as they hurt us. But Jesus never returned their hostility with venom. When his tormentors asked him for yet another sign, Jesus just "sighed from the depth of his spirit" (Mark 8:12). Although clearly frustrated by their persistent unbelief, he didn't retaliate. He just moved on quietly.

Jesus had a phenomenal mastery over his emotional life! While we often don't need much to provoke us to pride or defensive anger, he always chose the way of humility. He knew that he didn't have to promote himself. He knew that his mission was to do his Father's will and to make him known. In this way, as in so many other ways, he showed himself to be the "perfect Son."

But all is not lost for us. We can do more than just try with all our might to imitate Jesus—or worse, just give up in the face of challenges. Jesus' own divine strength can become our strength. Because he experienced all the temptations we face and yet never gave in, we can ask him to bear our aggravation and frustrations. Because he offered a perfect sacrifice on the cross, we can share in his victorious life. When we embrace Godly self-control in our moments of anger, it's a sign that his Spirit is at work in us. Then, people won't see our "bad side"—they'll see only Jesus!

"Lord Jesus, I marvel that you took on my 'messy' emotions as well as my sin. Fill me with your compassion so that I can forgive and love those who have hurt me."


James 1:1-11; Psalm 119:67-68, 71-72, 75-76

Allow me to translate today's 5minutos:
  "Roberta just barely sixteen years old was abandoned by her husband, obliged to raise her two children.  She lived in Mexico, in extreme poverty, she didn't have any type of education, but she dreamed of a better life.  Only with very little money to nourish that dream, she directed herself towards Los Angeles, where she used her last seven dollars to take a taxi who would take her to a distant relative.  Roberta refused to live off the charity of others.  Rapidly she found two jobs, washing clothes, and making tortillas from the middle of the night till six in the morning.  This allowed her to save five hundred dollars which she invested in her own tortilla making machine.  With the coming of time, and with much effort, Roberta converted herself in director of the major business of sales of foods of Mexico in the world.  And added to this success, Roberta Banuelos was personally chosen by Dwight D. Eisenhower to be the thirty seventh  Minister of Finance of the United States.  She was an example to what Eisenhower said about the dreams that impose our future: "We succeed only as we identify in life, or in war, or in anything else, a single overriding objective, and make all other considerations bend to that one objective."  The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.  And nothing is impossible to those who have faith and leans on Him."
  Today's beautiful readings, the Holy Scriptures are all about faith.  Lean not on your own understanding, but on His.  Lean not on your own strength, but His.  Lean not on your own love, but His.  Because we have this tendency to falter, to fail, to doubt, to jump to conclusions, sad conclusions, bad conclusions, and a tendency to drift away.  What's funny is how sin works its way, by way of a doubt, and how doubts makes one have double life, a double personality, a schizophrenic type spirituality, because in the things of Life and Faith, there is only One way.  You can not doubt and believe, you either doubt or you believe!  And what is it that we are being asked to believe?  People believe in signs.  God talks in sign language.  It is a sad thing to see, even in my own family that have fallen away from the Mother, Catholic Church, and now say they don't believe in "symbolism", no signs, not crosses, nothing at all, just them and God.  Why is it sad?  Because God speaks in signs and we use signs to communicate with one another, a heart, a cross, a smile, they are all signs of God's love, and the signs go deeper in the Holy Sacraments.  Water, poured on the head of a person, cleansing sins and welcoming into a life we don't see, but God sees.  Jesus poured on the signs day after day, and what happened the next day?  They asked Him for a real sign.  And He sighed because He knew what it would have to take for them to believe...His Heart, A Cross, and today, our smiles of living in His Grace.  There is something peculiar about a Father's love that is phenomenal.  Yesterday, I fixed my boy's 4 wheeler and he rode round in round in our driveway.  I joined him in a motor scooter, and told him to follow to our neighbor's house.  There, their dogs went into a hyper frenzy mode with my dog there and my boy got scared, their dog jumped on my boy knocking him over onto dry weeds cutting and scraping him, and we got the dog off him.  My boy was scared and crying saying he wanted to go home.  I said "go now", because that hyper dog wasn't going to settle down no matter how much the neighbor kept scolding him and kicking him.  My boy took off, then I followed, only to realize the dog was chasing my boy home without my boy knowing.  Somehow I caught him on the dirt road and yelled "go faster and go into our garage, the dog is coming".  He sped up and made it safe while I drove, looked back and saw the dog still coming, I stopped, I would become the barrier for the dog on the road, he would have to go through me to get to my child.  I was worked up in a rage and yelled at the dog to go home, and threw a rock his way to get the point; and it worked.  The whole incident opened my eyes, about Jesus.  He did the same for you and for me.  Evil was having a hay-day with God's people, working them up in a frenzy, until our Father said "ENOUGH" and He stood up on the Way, on that road to save His children, and save He has done and continues to do.  Evil does damage no matter how much you want to deny this.  Gossip hurts, living immorally hurts, away from His greatest commandments, all even if you think it does not.  Let's consider the day to day miracles as signs and wonders of God's love.  I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I am going to write a song about it.  It's already tattooed to my truck, my leather jackets, my shirts, and in my heart...