Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Save Your Souls

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Strong Emotions Minute Meditations
We don't always act well toward those closest to us. That does not mean we are emotional misfits. Emotions that are tightly yoked to a loved one elicit not only our best but sometimes are worst.
— from Fighting Mad 

St. Conrad of Piacenza

Born of a noble family in northern Italy, Conrad as a young man married Euphrosyne, daughter of a nobleman.

One day while hunting he ordered attendants to set fire to some brush in order to flush out the game. The fire spread to nearby fields and to a large forest. Conrad fled. An innocent peasant was imprisoned, tortured to confess and condemned to death. Conrad confessed his guilt, saved the man's life and paid for the damaged property.

Soon after this event, Conrad and his wife agreed to separate: she to a Poor Clare monastery and he to a group of hermits following the Third Order Rule. His reputation for holiness, however, spread quickly. Since his many visitors destroyed his solitude, Conrad went to a more remote spot in Sicily where he lived 36 years as a hermit, praying for himself and for the rest of the world.

Prayer and penance were his answer to the temptations that beset him. Conrad died kneeling before a crucifix. He was canonized in 1625.


Francis of Assisi was drawn both to contemplation and to a life of preaching; periods of intense prayer nourished his preaching. Some of his early followers, however, felt called to a life of greater contemplation, and he accepted that. Though Conrad of Piacenza is not the norm in the Church, he and other contemplatives remind us of the greatness of God and of the joys of heaven.


Pope Paul VI's 1969 Instruction on the Contemplative Life includes this passage: "To withdraw into the desert is for Christians tantamount to associating themselves more intimately with Christ's passion, and it enables them, in a very special way, to share in the paschal mystery and in the passage of Our Lord from this world to the heavenly homeland" (#1).

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


Dear Jesus, I come to you today
longing for your presence.
I desire to love you as You love me.
May nothing ever separate me from You.


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.


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 1JAS 1:19-27

Know this, my dear brothers and sisters:
everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
for anger does not accomplish
the righteousness of God.
Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess
and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, 
he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror.
He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets
what he looked like.
But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres,
and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts;
such a one shall be blessed in what he does.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue
but deceives his heart, his religion is vain.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Responsorial Psalm PS 15:2-3A, 3AB-4AB, 5

R. (1b) Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue. 
R. Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD. 
R. Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed. 
R. Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?

Gospel MK 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
"Do you see anything?"
Looking up the man replied, "I see people looking like trees and walking."
Then he laid hands on the man's eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, "Do not even go into the village."


Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon 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: James 1:19-27

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6th Week in Ordinary Time

Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you. (James 1:21)


James' writing is peppered with vivid metaphors. Images like surf being tossed by the wind, mirror gazing, and ship rudders all illustrate his teachings on discipleship. Today's first reading is a prime example as he urges us to "humbly welcome the word that has been planted" in our hearts (James 1:21).

What's so special about God's word? Where is the grace in it? Well, it was by his word that God brought everything into existence: "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3). It was his "all-powerful word" that sprang down from heaven to bring God's justice on the earth (Wisdom 18:15). And it's his word that has the power to save our very souls (James 1:21). No wonder we ought to welcome it!

So how do we do that? Before you invite a guest into your home, you usually make sure that your home is clean and uncluttered. Similarly, James urges us to get rid of the clutter of sin in our lives: "Put away all filth and evil excess" (James 1:21). In humility, repent before the Lord of ways that you don't honor him. James pointed specifically to ways of relating to other people that are characterized by impatience, anger, or harshness. Repenting, or "uncluttering" ourselves in this area, can help create an open and welcoming environment in our hearts—exactly what we need for the word of God to take root in us.

Welcoming God's word also means spending time with him, just as we would do for houseguests. It means taking the time to be with him so that his word finds a home in us.

When we welcome God's word in this way, we find that it has the power to redeem and transform our souls—that part of us that thinks, feels, imagines, and desires. You can almost sense this happening at times when, while praying or meditating on Scripture, you experience the Lord giving you peace or softening your heart toward someone or filling you with a desire to share his love with someone else. Devote an allowance of time every day just to sit with the Lord. Then look for opportunities during the day to be with him and "catch up." It's during these times together that you can really sense his grace blossoming within you.

"Jesus, I welcome your grace within me."


 Psalm 15:2-5; Mark 8:22-26

When you see people looking like trees, then you don't really see.  It takes the power of Jesus and our wililngness to really be able to see.  The truth is there for the taking, of this I have no doubt.  Jesus is the truth.  He offers Himself to be taken in by you, every day, all day.  Am I speaking of the Eucharist?  Yes.  Am I speaking of a Holy Communion with the Father?  Yes.  Am I speaking of living a life undefiled with Him? Yes.  Because the Church has been set to make saints.  It's whole purpose is what St. James wrote about today, to be undefiled and pure, in this religion.  Very peculiar huh?  Because nowadays, people take pride in saying they are not "religious".  LOL, I can not fathom the thought.  Case in point.  Monday morning, my office is flooded with all sorts of happenings, sales men, supervisors, regular workers, and the news was brought in that one of our workers found an ex-worker dead in their neighboring ranch.  We were astonished at the news.  Several were saying how they had just seen the man Sunday morning in Mass, at church, he even helped usher and patted a few of us on the back with smiles.  Upon the news I looked at another worker and said "that's why we have to be ready" and the worker smirked and said "well I'm good", and I kind of laughed saying "who told you that?" because none of us should think we are "good to go", in other words, to say "I got my ticket to Heaven".  I say this because I always invite that worker to bible study, to church, and he is not married by the church, and I have included his little son in prayers and prayer lists when he has been hospitalized several times.  Yet I think he only sees trees, not the clear picture.  And it is not to say we are good enough for hell or purgatory, no, we don't know, and the suspense, well, it is killing people, this darkness, to not be able to see, to just say "I'm good", no, no we are not.  Why do I keep saying that?  Who or what gives me the authority?  The authority is from Heaven and God set His commandments long ago, even before touching this earth.  The worker that said he is good, I can judge according to the commandments:  
# 10)  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods:   The worker always wants what his co-worker is getting, a new truck, a new phone, a new insurance, I get an awkward feeling in a way at him for this since I am his manager.
#9)  Thou shalt not lie:   He is lying to himself and to me stating "I'm good" not like so and so "i don't do anything bad", all lies he basically said.
#8)  Thou shalt not steal:  Stealing is taking away from someone, sure he may not steal material possessions but is stealing and robbing his children and wife of a salvation that is what our first Holy Scripture was about.
#7)  Thou shalt not commit adultery:  The man is living in sin, acknowledged to me he is not yet married by the Holy Church
#6)  Thou shalt not commit murder:  The man basically said he never killed nobody or nothing, yet his loved one's souls are suffering to the point of the spirit, what could be worse?
#5) Honor thy Father and Thy Mother:  The man I do not know or have heard of his temporal parents, but I do know our Father in HEaven is not being honored , nor thy mother in Heaven whom implore us to obey our temporal parents
#4) Keep Holy The Sabbath:  The man does not go to church ever on Sundays, nor will his wife or children go because of this.
#3)Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain or lightly.  The man is blaspheming saying he is good, but God is good, He is not yet like god and calls Himself good, this is to take God's word all too lightly and in vain, especially when he walks into my office and when asked how he is he answers "good thanks be to God", but a true thanksgiving is giving it your all, which entails holiness and purity!
#2)  Thou shalt not have any other gods before Me says our Lord.  Yet this man has someone higher...himself, because he has put himself before God by living in sin, choosing other gods and idols before our Lord Himself!  
#1)  I am the Lord your God.  Jesus said to Love God above all.  If you can't tell, this man can not truly say he loves God above all else with all his heart, mind, strength and soul.
This is me, an earthly man judging a simple nice guy I work with.  Can you imagine the justice of God?  From what I have said, and I do not believe to be lying about this man, I have already thrown the book at him for his condemnation.  LOL, no, I just want to use a simple example of about 70% to 80% of people we encounter that declare how good they are.  Now, there is a grain of truth to that, because God made us good and perfect, yet the world has set in, and we live in the world but are not of the world.  The purpose then is to become religious to His Love.  After declaring the failures of this co-worker, now I have put on myself a burden, another soul to chase and care for and show God's mercy and love....salvation of a soul.  This is exactly what today's first reading was about and what Jesus wants us to see.  I want you to consider how critical the situation is where you are, where God has placed you, how much the world really needs His Truth and Goodness to return ourselves to the Goodness He created us in, which is in His own image.  When I see a lacking father, a lacking priest, a lacking leader that is losing souls, I see work that needs to be done on that father, that leader, that pastor.  I see an opportunity for more prayer.  I complained to God the other day "why do I have to pray for this guy as if I don't have enough people to pray for" LOL.  But I did, and he is coming around.  Faith matters, that's why God gives more to those who give more.  It is a truth to be accepted if you have eyes to see and ears to hear, a heart to love and a soul to save.
We're on this journey together to get one another to Heaven....lest you try to arrive alone