Thursday, February 27, 2014

Because You Belong

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Divine Love Minute Meditations
I love myself solely for the sake of God. Now I just appreciate my origin and destiny in God. I am humbled by the incredible gift of divine love and feel my whole life has importance because of God.
— from Christ Our Compass 

St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
(1838-1862 )

Born in Italy into a large family and baptized Francis, he lost his mother when he was only four years old. He was educated by the Jesuits and, having been cured twice of serious illnesses, came to believe that God was calling him to the religious life. Young Francis wished to join the Jesuits but was turned down, probably because of his age, not yet 17. Following the death of a sister to cholera, his resolve to enter religious life became even stronger and he was accepted by the Passionists. Upon entering the novitiate he was given the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Ever popular and cheerful, Gabriel quickly was successful in his effort to be faithful in little things. His spirit of prayer, love for the poor, consideration of the feelings of others, exact observance of the Passionist Rule as well as his bodily penances—always subject to the will of his wise superiors— made a deep impression on everyone.

His superiors had great expectations of Gabriel as he prepared for the priesthood, but after only four years of religious life symptoms of tuberculosis appeared. Ever obedient, he patiently bore the painful effects of the disease and the restrictions it required, seeking no special notice. He died peacefully on February 27, 1862, at age 24, having been an example to both young and old.

Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was canonized in 1920.


When we think of achieving great holiness by doing little things with love and grace, Therese of Lisieux comes first to mind. Like her, Gabriel died painfully from tuberculosis. Together they urge us to tend to the small details of daily life, to be considerate of others' feelings every day. Our path to sanctity, like theirs, probably lies not in heroic doings but in performing small acts of kindness every day.

Patron Saint of:


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


Dear Lord, help me to be open to you
for this time as I put aside the cares of this world.
Fill my mind with your peace, Your Love.


God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.


In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?

The Word of God

Reading 1JAS 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

Responsorial Psalm PS 49:14-15AB, 15CD-16, 17-18, 19-20

R. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
This is the way of those whose trust is folly,
the end of those contented with their lot:
Like sheep they are herded into the nether world;
death is their shepherd and the upright rule over them.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Quickly their form is consumed;
the nether world is their palace.
But God will redeem me
from the power of the nether world by receiving me.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
"They will praise you for doing well for yourself,"
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Gospel MK 9:41-50

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, 
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed 
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled 
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

"Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another."


What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to 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 9:41-50

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7th Week in Ordinary Time

If your hand causes you to sin ... (Mark 9:43)

 In today's Gospel reading, Jesus offers words of hope to repeat offenders—that's all of us who fall into the same sins again and again. We may not recognize it as a hopeful word, though, unless we hit the "pause" button right here in the middle of verse 9:43 (and in verses 45 and 47). So before racing on to what Jesus says about amputating wayward hands, feet, and eyes, let's linger over that verb: to cause to sin.

In the Greek in which the Gospel was written, this phrase means to place an obstacle that causes someone to stumble. That sounds like something an enemy would do, doesn't it? But as we have all experienced, we do it to ourselves. By the way we act (symbolized by the hand), the places we go (the feet), and the things we let into our lives (the eyes, the windows to the soul), we often sabotage our best intentions and go astray from God's plan.

We don't have to remain in this conflicted state! Jesus wants us to know the joy and peace that come from living with integrity—with every part of us working together and open to God's grace. Despite harsh-sounding words like "cut it off" and "pluck it out," he is not telling us to mutilate or abuse our bodies. The human body is his Father's handiwork, and Jesus spent his life restoring people's bodies to wholeness! Remember, he has just healed a withered hand, paralyzed feet, and blind eyes (Mark 3:1-6; 2:1-11; 8:22-26).

So why does Jesus use such strong language? Because he wants to jolt us into getting the message: Sin is deadly. It separates you from the love and life God offers you. Take action! That action might be a small thing, like cutting short a conversation that is tending toward gossip. Or it might involve radical self-denial, a spiritual amputation that's necessary to save a life. Whatever it is, Jesus stands ready to help us see and do the next thing that will bring us closer to him. Let's do it!

"Jesus, your word says, 'Present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness' (Romans 6:13).  Show me how to live that out today."


 James 5:1-6; Psalm 49:14-20

Allow me to translate today's 5 minutos:
  "Behind this pruning, made by God or initiated by ourselves, there is a double and noble motiviation: we need to be free, we need only one Lord, we need to be lighter.  The eagles to trap fish in the lakes, fly very high over the lake, and their vision is so acute that they can spot easily a fish they want to fish out.  Upon seeing it, they fold their wings back and launch themselves directly towards it at great speeds.  When they get to the water they spread their wings, open their claws, grabbing the fish and return to the shore.  One eagle dove for a fish, but, the fish was too big.  As it began to try to fly out, it tried and struggled much.  The fish was heavy and she couldn't take the weight.  Finding out it couldn't with its catch, it tried to let go of the fish.  But its claws had penetrated so deep the flesh that it couldn't take them out.  It struggled much, but was not successful.  It began to fall to the lake, drowning, because it wasn't able to free itself of the catch it had trapped.  Many times, we cling to things that are dangerous.  We choose bad friends, bad television programs, bad foods, we are uncontrolled!  The same that happened with the eagle that wasn't able to free itself of the fish and died drowned, can happen to us; and when we remember, it will be too late to abandon evil; certainly we will perish with it."
  We tend to attach ourselves to things right?  The reflections and Holy readings speak to us though, watch what you want.  This is a supreme lesson learned last night in our co-worker bible study group.  I invited 4 new men to join us as we take on the study program a "Quick Journey Through the Bible" Jeff Cavins.  Did any come?  No.  Just the co-workers.  I say this for all of you who become disheartened when nobody takes the bait.  Now that I recall, I actually invited more like 7 or 8 men and none took.  It is no easy feat to be disposed, but it is very good to invite, and pray for others, because there is another realm inviting us continuously, but it invites to hell and not Heaven.  So take courage, what is transpiring are the biblical concepts day in and day out.  I digress.  The bible study said the 1st era of the bible sets the tone for the rest of salvation history.  It is true.  We had the prime example of the will of God's people demonstrated through our earthly parents, Adam and Eve.  Theirs was a heaven on earth until spurned by a doubt that caused the down fall, that weight of the heavy fish that led to their suffering and death, the very things we have to go through in life because of the fall.  Falling into temptation is serious business, because falling for the bait, the bait of detraction from our Lord can grab you and never let you go, like the angler fish that attracts its prey with a false light and then kills and devours its prey, its victims.  Such are the false lights we tend to follow, things we think will make us feel good or happy, things that are merely temporary, making us rich while alive while very dead when we die.  In this life, we are fortunate to live in an abundance of God's grace, it is all there for the taking, but making the world take to this food from Heaven is a daunting task taken on since the fall of man.  LOL, I laugh because we give up all too soon.  We don't know what we get ourselves into sometimes.  We get goofy, like dodo birds and get snared and trapped by the devil sometimes...and it all happens on a whim, or a doubt, with very little effort on evil's part because evil really has no power over us until we give into a whim or a doubt.  Thus produces the atrocities of mankind.  The remedy?  Faith.  Faith that I can enter heaven, faith that it is not impossible, faith that with Christ all things are possible and His will is to be carried out, not mine.  We need the kind of faith that is constantly moving mountains, not just one time, but the kind that is constantly beating down doors for the salvation of trapped souls.  Yesterday I was texted a picture of our priest in Africa and another catholic man I know.  They looked like Rambo with big rifles, it was a funny picture, but I responded to the text in a gist that these men were real warriors, one is a man of very few allowed to do special blessings in our Diocese, and the other is a man that comes from Africa all alone to be despised by many as he toils so much to bring holiness to our people.  There is no laughing matter when it comes to evil, because it is like gangrene, a poison to the soul that rots and kills.  That is why the Lord's prayer says "deliver us from evil" at the very end, because it is about deliverance and salvation, it is all about our Savior Jesus Christ.  Believe in Him and the impossible is suddenly a myth while the world tells you the opposite, even to the point that this whole religion thing is a myth, even though it is more strongly documented in history than any other event in the world...the letters from God, the promises from our Lord, the hope of salvation.  Pray for me as I often do pray for you.  All of us need each other on our way through and out of this world.  I know I was particularly hard on a relative yesterday as her daughter (my little cousin) came in to ask for money for school cookies we bought and I found out through conversation she was no longer enrolled in CCD (Sunday School) catechism classes, so I told her she needed to learn about God and I would pray she does, and then I walked out to my aunt's car and told her through conversation that she couldn't be keeping her daughter from God.  I don't think it set well, but this is a little one that is being taught.  Yet, we are all little ones, we are all God's children.  Teach others to hate, and you teach them to kill.  Put someone down and you condemn as a rich and haughty person you think would do.  What's going on  is a real genuine battle for souls.  We don't see it with our physical eyes, but those eyes bring about good or bad don't they?  And the others are watching you, even the spirits.  All to save or destroy.  I prayed for my relatives, and did something about it, but now begins the pulling them out of the pits of destruction and we need help, we need each other.  Lest they die rich with everything except what is necessary to enter the Kingdom Of Heaven
Because You Belong
Because I Care
Truth Will Be Served