Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Had No Bread

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Faith is a Virtue Minute Meditations
Faith is a virtue. Virtues are like spiritual muscles: The more we work them, the stronger they get. We must always seek an active faith—one that is active in learning and active in living.
— from A 40-Day Spiritual Workout For Catholics 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Blessed John of Fiesole
(c. 1400-1455)

The patron of Christian artists was born around 1400 in a village overlooking Florence. He took up painting as a young boy and studied under the watchful eye of a local painting master. He joined the Dominicans at about age 20, taking the name Fra Giovanni. He eventually came to be known as Fra Angelico, perhaps a tribute to his own angelic qualities or maybe the devotional tone of his works.

He continued to study painting and perfect his own techniques, which included broad-brush strokes, vivid colors and generous, lifelike figures. Michelangelo once said of Fra Angelico: "One has to believe that this good monk has visited paradise and been allowed to choose his models there." Whatever his subject matter, Fra Angelico sought to generate feelings of religious devotion in response to his paintings. Among his most famous works are the Annunciation and Descent from the Cross as well as frescoes in the monastery of San Marco in Florence.

He also served in leadership positions within the Dominican Order. At one point Pope Eugenius approached him about serving as archbishop of Florence. Fra Angelico declined, preferring a simpler life. He died in 1455.

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


Dear Jesus, today I call on you in a special way.
Mostly I come asking for favours.
Today I'd like just to be in Your presence.
Let my heart respond to Your Love.


Lord, you granted me the great gift of freedom.
In these times, O Lord, grant that I may be free 
From any form of racism or intolerance.
Remind me, Lord, that we are all equal
in your Loving eyes.


Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit.
If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.

The Word of God

Reading 1JAS 1:12-18

Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation,
for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life 
that he promised to those who love him.
No one experiencing temptation should say,
"I am being tempted by God";
for God is not subject to temptation to evil,
and he himself tempts no one.
Rather, each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire.
Then desire conceives and brings forth sin,
and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Responsorial Psalm PS 94:12-13A, 14-15, 18-19

R. (12a) Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
Blessed the man whom you instruct, O LORD,
whom by your law you teach,
Giving him rest from evil days. 
R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
For the LORD will not cast off his people,
nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
and all the upright of heart shall follow it. 
R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
When I say, "My foot is slipping,"
your mercy, O LORD, sustains me;
When cares abound within me,
your comfort gladdens my soul. 
R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.

Gospel MK 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, "Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod." 
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
"Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?"
They answered him, "Twelve."
"When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?"
They answered him, "Seven."
He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"


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: Mark 8:14-21

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6th Week in Ordinary Time

They had only one loaf. (Mark 8:14)


A young woman who had recently begun serving as a missionary was talking to people who were interested in working with her. She recounted that when she first arrived, she was overwhelmed by the conditions: primitive housing and sanitation, high unemployment, and rampant crime. She soon realized that her education didn't matter half as much as she thought it would. "It's your faith that matters," she said, "not your abilities."

The disciples in today's reading probably could have related to what this young woman was saying. Just before this episode, they had seen Jesus multiply loaves and fishes to feed a massive crowd—and they still had seven baskets of leftovers. But after they got into the boat, they realized that they had left all those baskets on the shore. All they had with them was one loaf of bread. It seems they were counting on being able to feed the next crowd of people with the leftover miracle bread, and now they were disappointed.

Their reaction must have been a little frustrating for Jesus, considering all that they had seen him do! Still, he reminded them, again, about what he could do with just a little bit of bread. He also warned them against the "leaven of the Pharisees," or the tendency to take God out of the equation and try to control every situation. He knew that too much self-reliance can lead to a kind of perfectionism and anxious worrying that drains faith of its power and promise.

We are all like the disciples in one way or another. We all like to be in charge and have things under control. But we need to be careful not to try to control everything, because that's when we risk limiting the Lord or pushing him out of the picture. This is especially true when we are faced with a particularly challenging situation and feel that we don't have enough "bread."

Don't let this happen! You may have only one loaf, but that's more than enough for the Lord. If he can feed thousands with just a little more than that, surely he can take anything you offer him and fill it with his power and grace!

"Lord, help me to forget about what I can't do and focus on what you can do. Take all that I have today and use it for your glory!"


 James 1:12-18; Psalm 94:12-15, 18-19

Today's 5 minutos said: 
  "There is an external aspect of temptation that is that of the test that purifies our faith and gives us what James calls perseverance, resistance.  This temptation we are not to ask for, but neither reject it.  That is to say, let us not rebel against God when this temptation appears, and that it is an exterior test not wanted by us, but to know when this exterior test comes, that God the Lord will bring good fruit, patience, of love, of a renewed faith, of a generosity more full in us...A man decided to dig in a property he owned.  He chose a place and dug down to 5 meters, but did not find water.  Thinking that wasn't the ideal place, he looked for another place and put more effort, going down to seven meters, but didn't find water there either.  He decided to test a third occasion, in a distinct place, and dug much more, but when he got to 10 meters, he concluded that in his land there was no water, and the best would be to sell it.  One day he went to visit the man he sold the land to, and found a beautiful well, "Friend, I've had to dig much to find water.  I remember that I poked at more than 20 meters, and didn't find a streak" said the newly arrived.  "You are mistaken" answered the alluded. "The truth is that I only dug twelve meters, but what's different from you, I always did it in the same place."  Let us ask for the gift of perseverance.

  This is something that I've been sharing every week with my friendship group brothers...talking about the gift of perseverance, and I only learned it from being faithful, and faithful to the Lord, and in Holy Adoration.  I even said it last night, this whole perseverance thing is actually a gift from God Himself.  I've only got to show up to receive, and to give.  Today we read from Holy Scripture when St. James says "

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers:
all good giving and every perfect gift* is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
 He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.*

The firstfruit of our Blessed Mother Mary is Jesus, as well as being the firsfruit of Our Father in Heaven.  It is all we need, this firstfruit, the new Adam, of which tradition holds that Jesus was crucified at the same spot Adam's skull was buried at.  If only we had the faith of Mary.  When the disciples fretted over forgetting the bread, they forget who the bread provider is.  For those who fret over a lost loved one, a job, or a friend, why do you fret if you have Jesus in your heart?  A brother called me asking for prayer for having "lost" a co-worker he had worked so much to bring into the faith.  As an outsider looking in, I don't see something lost, but something more to dig, making lemonade of lemons, a bigger fire with dead sticks.  How soon do we forget that God is in control, and how hard is it to endure and persevere, much more, how hard is it to have faith?  Because today's Gospel is not too far off from yesterday's Gospel, where the Pharisees wanted "a sign from Heaven" and today we read  "every perfect gift is from above" and we are speaking about the gifts of God.   I'm going to go ahead and divulge a secret in faith, because you know which prayers are really possible, so envision it coming to be.  Now, don't envision yourself rolling around a million dollars or dancing and prancing in a green field of grass, problem free, LOL, because what we ought to pray for and envision is our life in faith and the faith of others in the Church.  Envision peace, envision salvation, have a vision for your family and church and community.  If there is something I have learned through my years of studying in the University, and years of working, and in business dealings it is to have a strategy, and especially a vision.  "Do you have eyes and do not see?" Asks our Lord today.  Vision is to see, and to envision is to believe it to be.  Faith requires the immaculate love of Mary.  Envisioning takes a child like trust in the Lord.  Take yourself out of this world, get in the boat and go to the other shore.  Along the way is what makes the journey.  What's beautiful about this life is that we are on that boat and Jesus is with us to the other shore.  If you do not understand this, then I can feel the same exasperation of our Lord.  When Jesus resurrected, they went to the tomb, and angels said "do not be afraid" to Mary.  And as they went home to proclaim the Good News we read in the Gospel of Mathew that Jesus encountered them on the way:

Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me."

And I will leave you with His Most Beautiful words to His disciples which focuses our life's true meaning and goals and aspirations of what He made us for...

"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
 Go, therefore,* and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.* And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

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