Monday, February 24, 2014

If You Can!

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Mother Church Minute Meditations
No where is the Church more experienced as mother than in the liturgy. "With a mother's foresight, she lavishes on us day after day in her liturgy the nourishment of the word and Eucharist of the Lord" (CCC, 2040).
— from Christ Our Compass 

Blessed Luke Belludi
(1200-c. 1285)

In 1220, St. Anthony was preaching conversion to the inhabitants of Padua when a young nobleman, Luke Belludi, came up to him and humbly asked to receive the habit of the followers of St. Francis. Anthony liked the talented, well-educated Luke and personally recommended him to St. Francis, who then received him into the Franciscan Order.

Luke, then only 20, was to be Anthony's companion in his travels and in his preaching, tending to him in his last days and taking Anthony's place upon his death. He was appointed guardian of the Friars Minor in the city of Padua. In 1239 the city fell into the hands of its enemies. Nobles were put to death, the mayor and council were banished, the great university of Padua gradually closed and the church dedicated to St. Anthony was left unfinished. Luke himself was expelled from the city but secretly returned. At night he and the new guardian would visit the tomb of St. Anthony in the unfinished shrine to pray for his help. One night a voice came from the tomb assuring them that the city would soon be delivered from its evil tyrant.

After the fulfillment of the prophetic message, Luke was elected provincial minister and furthered the completion of the great basilica in honor of Anthony, his teacher. He founded many convents of the order and had, as Anthony, the gift of miracles. Upon his death he was laid to rest in the basilica that he had helped finish and has had a continual veneration up to the present time.


The epistles refer several times to a man named Luke as Paul's trusted companion on his missionary journeys. Perhaps every great preacher needs a Luke; Anthony surely did. Luke Belludi not only accompanied Anthony on his travels, he also cared for the great saint in his final illness and carried on Anthony's mission after the saint's death. Yes, every preacher needs a Luke, someone to offer support and reassurance—including those who minister to us. We don't even have to change our names!

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....


It is so easy to get caught up 
with the trappings of wealth in this life.
Grant, O Lord, that I may be free 
from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things in life are free. 
Love, laughter, caring and sharing.


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 3:13-18

Who among you is wise and understanding?
Let him show his works by a good life 
in the humility that comes from wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts,
do not boast and be false to the truth.
Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above
but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.

Responsorial Psalm PS 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (9a) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple. 
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye. 
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just. 
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Gospel MK 9:14-29

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him. 
He asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?"
Someone from the crowd answered him,
"Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so."
He said to them in reply,
"O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me." 
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around 
and foam at the mouth. 
Then he questioned his father,
"How long has this been happening to him?" 
He replied, "Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."
Jesus said to him,
"'If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith."
Then the boy's father cried out, "I do believe, help my unbelief!"
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
"Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!"
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, "He is dead!"
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
"Why could we not drive the spirit out?"
He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer."


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: Mark 9:14-29

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7th Week in Ordinary Time

This kind can only come out through prayer. (Mark 9:29)


Like noisy gulls screeching and squawking over picnic remains, the disciples and the scribes argued. Possibly the contention centered on the disciples' inability to drive out demons or whether they even had the right to try. Either way, the scene was messy. Try to picture grown men disputing with one another, while a crowd forms and a father pleads frantically for help as an evil spirit tosses his son about. It's ugly and noisy—definitely not peaceable or inspiring!

Then Jesus wades in. The mess doesn't get in his way. He remains focused on the one who is suffering, not the diversion caused by crowds and controversies.

And that, in part, is why Jesus said prayer is necessary. Through prayer, we put aside the noise of the world so that we can see more clearly what needs to be done. When we come into contact with the Lord, we allow him to influence us and guide us. We don't get bogged down in distractions or needless controversies.

Do you believe that this is possible for you? It is! You have the Spirit in you, ready to give you his wisdom. You even have Jesus' promise that everyone who comes to him finds rest (Matthew 11:28). God has poured his love into your heart through the Spirit, and he longs for you to encounter that love in prayer.

It all begins in prayer, but it certainly doesn't end there! Prayer is not a moment of time with Jesus, followed by many more moments of thinking and acting the same old way. Prayer is meant to change us so that we think and act like Jesus. Prayer opens our eyes and makes us aware of things that we used to overlook, like the suffering of the poor or the marginalizing of those who don't measure up to society's standards. Prayer makes us more loving and considerate.

In prayer, the Lord shows us how to live and how to love. So let him quiet the noise around you. Come away with him, and listen. He has something he wants to say to you today.

"Holy Spirit, fill me with your peace and gentleness. Help me bear good fruit wherever I go today."


 James 3:13-18; Psalm 19:8-10, 15


The last part of today's 5 minutos said:  
  "There were two eagles.  One of them could fly higher than its partner, and this wouldn't didn't like it at all.  And so, the less capable one talked one day with a shooter and asked them to turn to its rival.  The shooter said he would if he had the adequate feathers for his arrows.  Then the eagle tore two feathers from its wings and turned them in to the shooter.   The shooter shot  his arrows but they couldn't reach the eagle that flew too high.  The envious partner kept tearing off feathers until it took off so many that it couldn't fly, and the shooter killed it...My friend, if you suffer from envy, the only person you will be hurting is yourself.  Pray and work for that peace in your heart."

The other day, we had visitors from over 130 miles away.  One wouldn't get off the truck.  Something wouldn't allow him to get off and visit while his wife and son came inside to visit.  It was a deaf and mute spirit, something demonic that causes separation and division, the kind of evil that will not even speak, or hear you out.  How often does this happen in our daily lives?  It's as if these people become reclusive.  I told another that is going through a conversion, "you used to be a recluse, wouldn't talk, or listen, but now you are sociable and active and joyful".  But the worse of all possessions are the ones who inhibit your communion with God which is their ultimate goal.  In comes Jesus.  All those relying on their wits are about to encounter something far beyond comprehension, something that  requires to forget about wits and smarts, something, and faith through prayer.  What is prayer?  A communication, a full communion with God our Father.  The type that you do some talking...but a whole lot of listening.  Our problem is that we don't know when to be quiet!  We cry so much that we don't listen.  I can't get through one of my daughters when all she does is wail and cry and scream and won't be still for one moment to listen to my soothing words.  As a matter of fact, it takes something drastic for her to be quiet, not even a time-out is enough.  Such is the case of all of us "grown ups".  We don't know how to pray.  Some of the top 25 searches ever on the internet over the last decade where for everything except God or how to pray.  It's at the bottom of the list, yet one of the most intriguing questions.  They argued, bickering and fighting, about what?  "I thought you said you could save from demonic spirits" argued the scribes.  "We can't save from everything, what about you, why can't you do it if you say you're so religious!" argued the disciples back.  In comes peace...Jesus, at which they were all amazed.  He asked about the boy's condition, as if He didn't already know, but so that all may know the severity of the condition.  The condition caused him great harm, sometimes almost killing him.  This is how serious evil is, it cares not one bit for whoever it possesses.  What this "mute and deaf" spirit was is a sign for us all, because it deforms our human perfection.  Our visiting hermit priest said was that we were made in God's image, perfect if you will.  Yet we are fooled and lied to when someone says "I'm only human, therefore I sin".  The hermit exclaimed "that is a lie from the pits of hell!".  And it is true, there is no worse lie than the ones that feel so good.  Let us consider what is making us deaf to God's word and truth.  Let us seriously consider what is making us mute, unable to speak about God or to God, our Holy Communion, our Holy Prayer with the divine.  Think about all your shame and guilt, and how it keeps you from fully loving God and even talking with Him!?  I know it happens because it happens to me.  We want no part of this whole church thing because it doesn't fit...sadly, He doesn't fit.  Then the foaming at the mouth begins with convulsions, uncontained impulses that make us do things we really know we shouldn't.  We are in constant need of our Savior.  We are in pursuit of perfection, but we've only to lay down our thoughts, and works, everything to Him...surrender, because with Him all things are possible, and without Him definitely impossible and we are speaking of nothing more serious than sin and death, the very things He broke apart for us to be Holy and Eternally His