Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Will Draw Near

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No Greater Love Minute Meditations
The word martyr means "witness." A martyr is the ultimate witness to the teachings of Christ. Can there be a greater love than to lay down your life for what you believe?
— from Christ Our Compass 

Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio

Sebastian's roads and bridges connected many distant places. His final bridge-building was to help men and women recognize their God-given dignity and destiny.

Sebastian's parents were Spanish peasants. At the age of 31 he sailed to Mexico, where he began working in the fields. Eventually he built roads to facilitate agricultural trading and other commerce. His 466-mile road from Mexico City to Zacatecas took 10 years to build and required careful negotiations with the indigenous peoples along the way.

In time Sebastian was a wealthy farmer and rancher. At the age of 60 he entered a virginal marriage. His wife's motivation may have been a large inheritance; his was to provide a respectable life for a girl without even a modest marriage dowry. When his first wife died, he entered another virginal marriage for the same reason; his second wife also died young.

At the age of 72 Sebastian distributed his goods among the poor and entered the Franciscans as a brother. Assigned to the large (100-member) friary at Puebla de los Angeles south of Mexico City, Sebastian went out collecting alms for the friars for the next 25 years. His charity to all earned him the nickname "Angel of Mexico."

Sebastian was beatified in 1787 and is known as a patron of travelers.


According to the Rule of St. Francis, the friars were to work for their daily bread. Sometimes, however, their work would not provide for their needs; for example, working with people suffering from leprosy brought little or no pay. In cases such as these, the friars were allowed to beg, always keeping in mind the admonition of Francis to let their good example commend them to the people. The life of the prayerful Sebastian, still hard at work in his 90's, certainly drew many closer to God.


St. Francis once told his followers: "There is a contract between the world and the friars. The friars must give the world a good example; the world must provide for their needs. When they break faith and withdraw their good example, the world will withdraw its hand in a just censure" (2 Celano, #70).

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


"Come to me all you who are burdened 
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek your presence.
I long for your healing power.



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.


Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others.  Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.

The Word of God

Reading 1JAS 4:1-10

Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly,
to spend it on your passions.
Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God?
Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world 
makes himself an enemy of God.
Or do you suppose that the Scripture speaks without meaning when it says,
The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy
But he bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

So submit yourselves to God.
Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you of two minds.
Begin to lament, to mourn, to weep.
Let your laughter be turned into mourning
and your joy into dejection.
Humble yourselves before the Lord
and he will exalt you.

Responsorial Psalm PS 55:7-8, 9-10A, 10B-11A, 23

R. (23a) Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
And I say, "Had I but wings like a dove,
I would fly away and be at rest.
Far away I would flee;
I would lodge in the wilderness."
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
"I would wait for him who saves me
from the violent storm and the tempest."
Engulf them, O Lord; divide their counsels. 
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
In the city I see violence and strife,
day and night they prowl about upon its walls. 
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
Cast your care upon the LORD,
and he will support you;
never will he permit the just man to be disturbed. 
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.

Gospel MK 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it. 
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
"The Son of Man is to be handed over to men 
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise." 
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
"What were you arguing about on the way?" 
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest. 
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
"If anyone wishes to be first, 
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." 
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, 
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
"Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me."


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 9:30-37

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7th Week in Ordinary Time

Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me. (Mark 9:37)


Have you ever felt as if you were the only one not invited to a party? Or that the people around you didn't care about you? It's an empty feeling, this sense of insignificance. It's as if your entire life hasn't made a difference to anyone.

Imagine how the child in this Gospel story felt. Back in Jesus' era, children were considered to have about the same social standing as women and slaves: they were only slightly more valued than property. At least until Jesus spoke!

Picture this child sitting quietly in the corner of the room or working hard to serve all the people who had crowded the house where Jesus was preaching. He was probably feeling small and insignificant around this famous miracle worker and all his followers.

But then the question came up about which of the disciples was greater. How surprised that child must have been when Jesus came over and moved him out in front of everyone. He probably didn't expect Jesus to put his arms around him and declare that treating him with respect and welcome was the same as welcoming Jesus. Can you picture the boy's face when he heard these words? Can you imagine the warmth and the sense of worth that this child felt? Jesus had picked him!

Jesus loves you in the same way that he loved the child in that story. Perhaps you feel as if you have been huddling in a corner, feeling unimportant, unloved, or unworthy. You may wonder why Jesus would bother with you when there are so many other people out there who are better than you or who do more important work than you. But that doesn't matter. Jesus has picked you. He wraps his arms around you and shows you off to the angels in heaven!

Today, keep that image of Jesus' welcoming embrace in your mind as you encounter any challenges to your self-worth. Rest in his arms, and know that he loves you and has chosen you to be his very own.

"Lord, help me remember that you are always with me and have prepared a place in heaven just for me. Jesus, I want to rest in your arms today."


James 4:1-10; Psalm 55:7-11, 23

You are not welcome here.  Say those words to the devil.  Say it loud and clear.  I have begun to say this, feeling silly, to a mouse in the house, and also to evil spirits that I may encounter.  What happens?  They listen, because they are subject to man, and we are subject to the Son of Man.  And the subject is the matter.  And the matter is how we subject ourselves to Him.  Last night in friendship group, I told my brothers, one cursillista, the other one not, that we are like slaves to the Master.  I can only serve one master, either the world, or our Lord, we can not serve both.  And so, as I read the Holy Scriptures with you, in the first reading, the word Humble stood out like a sore thumb to which I had to read on the matter more, yet not enough.  When the disciples were arguing like kids in the back seat of the car, our Father asked them what they were arguing about:  "What are you (kids) fighting about back there?".  "Nothing?", they would answer in guilt and shame...."it's just that, Johnny says he's the leader, greater follower, but we don't think that's right".  Jesus, our Beautiful Lord says "...alright, I want all of you to come sit in a circle, I want to speak with you all right now".  As they sit down, He begins to teach them who really is the greater follower and love of the Divine Master.  There must've been many people there, and one of ther kids in their midst, because He took a child and held him in his arms saying words we are never ever to forget "whoever gets a child like this, gets me like this".  That child that was outside their circle was held to be the love of God's life.  That child is you my child, that child is that person you will see today.  That child is a child of God, and all are His, and we are to make them known and His.  That is why we must become the servant of all, to make them children of God in their wholeness and holiness.  Leading from behind.  Yet I have this predicament I notice, there are some faithful men that are full of apostolic zeal, and have no way of sharing it, that is making the community grow towards the Lord.  There's only so much one can do.  What we need less of are chiefs and we need more Indians, that is, less leaders and more servants.  Because we have one leader, one Lord, one Master, and that is all we need.  The way He becomes Lord and master is by way of faith.  From 

Humility is, however, said to be the foundation of the spiritual edifice, but in a sense inferior to that in which faith is called its foundation. Humility is the first virtue inasmuch as it removes the obstacles to faith — per modum removens prohibens, as St. Thomas says. It removes pride and makes a man subject to and a fit recipient of grace according to the words of St. James: "God resisteth the proud, and giveth his grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Faith is the first and the positive fundamental virtue of all the infused virtues, because it is by it we can take the first step in the supernatural life and in our access to God: "For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him" Hebrews 11:6). Humility, inasmuch as it seems to keep the mind and heart submissive to reason and to God, has its own function in connection with faith and all the other virtues, and it may therefore be said to be a universal virtue.

It is therefore a virtue which is necessary for salvation, and as such is enjoined by Our Divine Saviour, especially when He said to His disciples: "Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls" (Matthew 11:29).

So it is a question to recall all day, "do you want to receive Jesus?".  Because I received Him in my body and soul yesterday in Holy Mass at a funeral, but throughout the day He is offering Himself to be received...or rejected.  And so, we have to have faith, and to have faith we need humility "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written: "He catches the wise in their own ruses,".  Humility serves, and what we serve is known by faith.  There is too much to know in a short amount of time on earth.  Books upon books are missing of what all our Master did on earth in 3 years.  And so the missing book is on you, your biography, the acts of my child, would you have written a hero's story?  A martyr's voice?  A sad story?  A story with a happy ending?  What about writing a love story, one of you and the greatest lovers of all?  JESUS, Our Master, our everything we focus on all day, all night, waiting on and waiting upon always serving Him who we receive and how we serve...what we serve, to what degree we serve with our own blood, sweat, and tears, hugs, kisses, and more.
I took this picture yesterday evening while cleaning my backyard, so fitting, Jesus holding a child, as if to smile because being with Him makes Him so happy