Friday, May 2, 2014

More Than They Could

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Minute Meditations

Spiritual Perspective

Get beyond the words to God. Don't make even the words of Scripture an idol. They are not meant to be worshipped as such. They are meant to lead us to God.
— from The Gospels According to Saint Francis

 St. Athanasius

Athanasius led a tumultuous but dedicated life of service to the Church. He was the great champion of the faith against the widespread heresy of Arianism, the teaching by Arius that Jesus was not truly divine. The vigor of his writings earned him the title of doctor of the Church.

Born of a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt, and given a classical education, Athanasius became secretary to Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, entered the priesthood and was eventually named bishop himself. His predecessor, Alexander, had been an outspoken critic of a new movement growing in the East—Arianism.

When Athanasius assumed his role as bishop of Alexandria, he continued the fight against Arianism. At first it seemed that the battle would be easily won and that Arianism would be condemned. Such, however, did not prove to be the case. The Council of Tyre was called and for several reasons that are still unclear, the Emperor Constantine exiled Athanasius to northern Gaul. This was to be the first in a series of travels and exiles reminiscent of the life of St. Paul.

After Constantine died, his son restored Athanasius as bishop. This lasted only a year, however, for he was deposed once again by a coalition of Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I called a synod to review the case and other related matters.

Five times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christ's divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every aspect of Arianism.

Among his ascetical writings, his Life of St. Anthony (January 17) achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world.


Athanasius suffered many trials while he was bishop of Alexandria. He was given the grace to remain strong against what probably seemed at times to be insurmountable opposition. Athanasius lived his office as bishop completely. He defended the true faith for his flock, regardless of the cost to himself. In today's world we are experiencing this same call to remain true to our faith, no matter what.



The hardships Athanasius suffered in exile, hiding, fleeing from place to place remind us that Paul said his ministry took him: "n frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings, through cold and exposure. And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches" (2 Corinthians 11:26-28).
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.



Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1 acts 5:34-42

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
and said to the Sanhedrin, "Fellow children of Israel,
be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important,
and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed,
and all those who were loyal to him
were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him,
but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.
So now I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God."
They were persuaded by him.
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm ps 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (see 4abc) One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
One thing I ask of the LORD
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel jn 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?"
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
"Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little."
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?"
Jesus said, "Have the people recline."
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
"Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted."
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
"This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world."
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.




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: Acts 5:34-42

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Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

 They did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah. (Acts 5:42)

In 2011, Italian scientists announced a new finding about the Shroud of Turin, which many have claimed to be Christ's burial cloth. The scientists stated that the image on the shroud, which resembled a crucified man, was not painted on. So how did it get there? They tried to produce a similar effect on another piece of cloth using lasers. They succeeded only partially, speculating that at least thirty-four thousand billion watts of energy would be needed to produce such an image.

That would make sense if the man on the shroud had really been raised from the dead—for the power of God is certainly greater than anything man-made!

The scribe Gamaliel may have sensed this power when he heard the preaching of the apostles. Why didn't he simply join the rest of the Sanhedrin in condemning them? He was obviously trying to be objective: If these men were telling the truth, it would be of no use to try to stop them. Indeed, this small group of disciples couldn't have had the impact they were having without some powerful assistance!

Both the story of the shroud and Gamaliel's reasoning tell us that Christianity is more than just a set of ideas. It is "the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). There is a dynamic force in the message of salvation that can reach into hearts and lives and change people from the inside out—you as well as the people in your life who don't yet believe in Christ!

So don't shortchange yourself—or God, for that matter—by thinking that only extra-holy people can be effective witnesses for Christ. If you can find just one opportunity today to share something about your faith, you will be making a difference. It's not about you anyway; it's about Jesus and his power! Surely you can rely on him as you share your story. And when you do, know that it's not just you speaking. The Holy Spirit is there, in your words, adding his grace to your witness.

"Lord, I rejoice that your Spirit is alive in me. May he shine through me today, and may I be courageous in bearing witness to you in all that I say and do."


Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14; John 6:1-15




 The spanish reflection began today with "...Like the the bread that is broken to be distributed, and dies when it is shared, so that in this way it gives us life, in this way Christ with His offering of Easter is the bread that gives the life that does not end and gives us the example of humility and generosity."  and the reflection continues, "...In the days when an ice cream costed much less, a 10 yr. old child entered an establishment and sat down at a table.  The waiter put a glass of water in front of him.  "How much is a chocoloate ice cream with nuts?"  -"Fifty cents" responded the woman.  The child took out of his pocket the coins to count. "How much just for the ice cream?", he asked again.  Some people were waiting for a table and the waittress was now a little impatient. -"Twent Five cents", she said sharply.  The child went to counting the coins. -"I want the ice cream alone", the child said.  The waiter brought the ice cream, put the bill down on the table and left.  The child finished the ice cream, paid the register and left.  When the waiter came back to the table to clean it, it cost her to gulp the saliva to see there, orderly, by the empty plate, there were twenty five cents: her tip.  Jesus gives us the example of humility, that we should follow recognizing the good that the others offer us every day and appreciate it with little but valuable gestures on our part.  Let us ask in our prayer to grow in generosity and surrender day by day. "
  Today, we heard of the Apostles that did not back down, and got flogged and rejoiced for the opportunity to suffer for Jesus.  That is something I can not imagine oneself doing.  Yes, I'll suffer for Jesus but what about for one another?  If the root word for patience is to suffer, would we suffer in patience, love, and generosity for one another?  Yesterday I bought something for my wife in a local city, and the cashier at the end of the transaction an older black lady said something like "have a blessed day".  Out of nowhere, I had just given her my credit card, nothing special done or said.  I looked at her in the eyes and said "thank you, you too".  Little things go a long way, especially done with love for one another.  And if you don't receive little signs, keep on serving them, because this is what Jesus did on the pastures by the sea of Galillee.  He kept serving and serving until the thousands and thousands were served.  Funny thing is He still does that very deed today.  His works are marvelous.  He not only serves Love, and hard lessons to bring us to love, but He serves miracles, and better than that and all of the above...He serves Himself as the true bread from Heaven.  There is nothing Higher than Him and His serving which is shared for us, in us, and for everyone else that wasn't there to receive.  This is the duty of a faithful Christian, to serve what God has served, mercy, love, generosity (charity) and more.  What is astounding is how the people were amazed and went to carry Him off to be made their King and was nowhere to be found.  In the same way, Jesus is revealed in the breaking of the bread every day, especially in Holy Mass, and just when you think you seen Him, He disappears into the heart of the land and the hearts of the people.  Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.  For everything He did pointed to God, and in the same way the Sacraments and Scripture, the tradition and Tradition point to God.  He is out there you just have to find Him, because He is there, always been there...always will be ready to touch your heart so it becomes alive with the power of never before


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