Monday, May 12, 2014

This Is Why

Untitled document

Minute Meditations

Leading the Way

Lord, give us the humility to know that you, not we, are responsible for converting people. Use us as conduits who are ever mindful of your sovereignty and help us bring many souls to you.
— from 150 North American Martyrs You Should Know

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus
(1st century)

Listen to Audio


Devotion to these two saints goes back to the fourth century, though almost nothing is known of their lives. They were praetorian soldiers of the Roman army, became Christians and were removed to the island of Terracina, where they were martyred. Their bodies were buried in a family vault, later known as the cemetery of Domitilla. Excavations by De Rossi in 1896 resulted in the discovery of their empty tomb in the underground church built by Pope Siricius in 390.
Two hundred years after their death, Pope Gregory the Great delivered his 28th homily on the occasion of their feast. "These saints, before whom we are assembled, despised the world and trampled it under their feet when peace, riches and health gave it charms."


As in the case of many early martyrs, the Church clings to its memories though the events are clouded in the mists of history. It is a heartening thing for all Christians to know that they have a noble heritage. Our brothers and sisters in Christ have stood in the same world in which we live—militarist, materialist, cruel and cynical—yet transfigured from within by the presence of the Living One. Our own courage is enlivened by the heroes and heroines who have gone before us marked by the sign of faith and the wounds of Christ.


Pope Damasus wrote an epitaph for Nereus and Achilleus in the fourth century. The text is known from travelers who read it while the slab was still entire, but the broken fragments found by De Rossi are sufficient to identify it: "The martyrs Nereus and Achilleus had enrolled themselves in the army and exercised the cruel office of carrying out the orders of the tyrant, being ever ready, through the constraint of fear, to obey his will. O miracle of faith! Suddenly they cease from their fury, they become converted, they fly from the camp of their wicked leader; they throw away their shields, their armor and their blood-stained javelins. Confessing the faith of Christ, they rejoice to bear testimony to its triumph. Learn now from the words of Damasus what great things the glory of Christ can accomplish."

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


The more we call on the Lord
the more we can feel his Presence.
Day by day he draws us closer
to his loving heart.


"I am free."
When I look at these words in writing
They seem to create in me a feeling of awe.
Yes, a wonderful feeling of freedom.
Thank You, God.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings.
Do I have something to be grateful for?
Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for?
Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1 acts 11:1-18

The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
'You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them."
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
"I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me, 'Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.'
But I said, 'Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
'What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.'
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea.
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating.
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man's house.
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
'Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you
by which you and all your household will be saved.'
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
'John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?"
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
"God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too."

Responsorial Psalm ps 42:2-3; 43:3, 4

R. (see 3a) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel jn 10:11-18

Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father."


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: John 10:11-18

Subscriber? Login to view archives.

Saints Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs

I am the good shepherd. (John 10:11)

So many of us wake up on Mondays and steel ourselves to be thrown to the lions. Today, try to pause instead, and remember that you are not alone. You have a shepherd—a Good Shepherd, who is strong, loving, and wise. You have someone who will guide you and guard you through the day.

"Good shepherd" is not the cute, quaint image you might have seen of a gentle-eyed man with ruddy cheeks, his rough clothing blowing in an invisible breeze. To be a shepherd, you had to be strong, hardy, and fearless. A confident defender of his flock, a shepherd was expected to ward off lions, bears, and wolves with a club, a slingshot, or just his bare hands. Shepherds were alert and diligent and adaptable to harsh conditions. Simultaneously leader and companion to their sheep, they were, at all times, keenly mindful of every single animal in their care.

This is your shepherd, Jesus! As you face the lions and wolves in your life today, think about how much he cares for you. He is always mindful of you. He never leaves you defenseless before the predators of temptation or lies, guilt or condemnation. When they roar against you today, remember that a powerful shepherd stands beside you to drive them off. When fear or confusion or doubt threaten your peace, remember that the One who is always good, who wields the power that vanquished death, is looking out for you!

It is absolutely necessary that you rely on this Good Shepherd today. Seek him. Be like a sheep, and trot over to him, not just in your "prayer time" but many times today so that you can be sure of his protection. Let Jesus be the guardian of your soul. Call out to him! Trust that he is near, alert to the dangers that threaten you. And listen for his voice calling you to turn this way or that, so that he can lead you.

"Jesus, my Shepherd, protect me from the wolves that threaten me today. Guide me in your peace, and keep me safe from all harm."


Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4


I don't know if you've ever been in a situation where eminent danger is heading your way and you have to make a decision whether to stay or go.  Many of us will never have the the experience of a real hungry wolf coming our way and so to imagine it, well I wonder if imagining is the same as real life.  I believe in real life though, one is more courageous.  This is inspiring.  The saints and the first reading of today, they are inspiring, and the Psalms speak and pray of a thirst for the living God, and giving thanks to God.  Jesus said "I Thirst" on the cross.  He was not afraid of the big bad wolf, He stood in front of the sheep as they were being attacked to be scattered.  He took the bites, the insults, the clawing, the gashing, the stripes He took for us a few years ago, the blood He spilled, every inch of His body covered in pain and all for what?  To Save.  TO SAVE YOU from ever having to endure what He had to endure.  Can you imagine?  We live like Kings and Queens in our own little kingdoms.  Yet He calls, like He called Peter through the Holy Spirit, He calls you.  To what was Peter called?  To be our first Pope?  More than that.  Eventually He was called to lay down His life for the flock.  Yet our Lord says there are other sheep not in the fold.  He says they belong.  LOL.  I'm such a goofus.  There are times I just want to shake some people and say "what's the matter with you!?" but I can't.  Why?  Because God loves them so.  Those are the sheep that belong in the fold and we are to lead as good shepherds following the example of the Good Shepherd.  Afterall, we are followers of Christ...right?  I mean, what the world needs are people to lay down their lives.  This is probably what is so beautiful about seeing a priest being ordained.  They are made to lay down their bodies in front of the altar, for God...for the people.  Yet this is the call to all the baptized.  We are to lay down our lives for one another.  And they will know we are Christians by our love.  And this is no fake love.  I am not going to lay my life down for a flock that I let wonder wherever their whims and fancies lead them to.  One of the coolest dogs I've ever had was a Great Pyranese.  I've had all types, but this one has left a remarkable impression on us.  One day, a yellow crazy dog that hung around the yard, our shop, he got run over and we were all bummed about it.  That same day, this huge white dog appeared.  The dog was loveable, and we fed it, and it stayed.  It was good with our animals.  One day I heard shots fired at our neighbors place.  I heard later that our big white dog "Blanco" had been in a fight with 3 coyotes.  Who knows how many fights the dog had got into for us, as we slept it would keep the bad guys away.  I loved the dog and I would carry it in my grandpa's little red Nissan truck and the size of the dog made it look like I was carrying a horse in the back of the truck, LOL.  About a year later the dog disappeared, just as he had appeared one day.  Had he laid its life one more time for us?  Had it made its way to protect some other family?  Had it died somehow?  I will never know.  But what I do know now, is that we are called to be like that.  Like a dog?  LOL, if the acronym means Depend On God, then yes by all means.  But they symbolic metaphor I call for is the color of the dog, white, which stands for purity, which stands for holiness.  We are called to, yes depend on God, but, to be Holy.  When we stand in front of places like an abortion clinic, we stand to pray, to ward off evil and save lives from the hungry wolf of selfishness, incredulity, and murder.  The nasty teeth are shown as some passerbys yell insults or peel out their cars or give you the finger, but that is no different than the day Jesus our Lord was crucified.  We are called to be silent lambs, and this comes from a shepherd that grew up with the lambs and picked this up from them.  You are very special to God my child..  And this is why God Our Father loves you and me
Because we lay down our lives, in order that it be taken up again