Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Unless You Remain

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Minute Meditations

What the World Needs

The whole world needs to hear two things with strength and power: "God loves you" and "I love you." You must say it often to your friends. This world isn't starving from a lack of money. It's starving from a want of love. —Mother Angelica
— from Love Never Fails

St. Cristóbal Magallanes and Companions
(d. 1915-1928)
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Like Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, S.J., Cristóbal and his 24 companion martyrs lived under a very anti-Catholic government in Mexico, one determined to weaken the Catholic faith of its people. Churches, schools and seminaries were closed; foreign clergy were expelled. Cristóbal established a clandestine seminary at Totatiche, Jalisco. Magallanes and the other priests were forced to minister secretly to Catholics during the presidency of Plutarco Calles (1924-28).
All of these martyrs except three were diocesan priests. David, Manuel and Salvador were laymen who died with their parish priest, Luis Batis. All of these martyrs belonged to the Cristero movement, pledging their allegiance to Christ and to the Church that he established to spread the Good News in society—even if Mexico's leaders once made it a crime to receive Baptism or celebrate the Mass.

These martyrs did not die as a single group but in eight Mexican states, with Jalisco and Zacatecas having the largest number. They were beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.


Every martyr realizes how to avoid execution but refuses to pay the high price of doing so. A clear conscience was more valuable than a long life. We may be tempted to compromise our faith while telling ourselves that we are simply being realistic, dealing with situations as we find them. Is survival really the ultimate value? Do our concrete, daily choices reflect our deepest values, the ones that allow us to "tick" the way we do? Anyone can imagine situations in which being a follower of Jesus is easier than the present situation. Saints remind us that our daily choices, especially in adverse circumstances, form the pattern of our lives.


During his homily at the canonization Mass on May 21, 2000, Blessed John Paul II addressed the Mexican men, women and children present in Rome and said: "After the harsh trials that the Church endured in Mexico during those turbulent years, today Mexican Christians, encouraged by the witness of these witnesses to the faith, can live in peace and harmony, contributing the wealth of gospel values to society. The Church grows and advances, since she is the crucible in which many priestly and religious vocations are born, where families are formed according to God's plan, and where young people, a substantial part of the Mexican population, can grow with the hope of a better future. May the shining example of Cristóbal Magallanes and his companion martyrs help you to make a renewed commitment of fidelity to God, which can continue to transform Mexican society so that justice, fraternity and harmony will prevail among all."

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.


Lord, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life.
Let me not get caught up with the desire for wealth.
Keep my heart and mind free to love and serve you.


I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God

Reading 1 acts 15:1-6

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
"Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved."
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters
about this question.
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers
stood up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law."

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.

Responsorial Psalm ps 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5

R. (see 1)  Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel jn 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."


Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.


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 15:1-8

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Saint Christopher Magallanes, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

Remain in me. (John 15:4)

Imagine hearing a farmer tell you how pleased he is with the buds on his apple trees and how he is planning on cutting the branches and putting them in water so that the apples can grow. You'd think he was crazy, wouldn't you? No branch can produce fruit once it is cut off from the tree!

Just so, your heavenly Father doesn't want you to be separated from Jesus, the vine. That's why Jesus urges us to remain in him. It's vital that we stay connected to Christ so that we can continue to grow and bear good fruit.

The thought of remaining in Christ can seem intimidating, though. We know how easy it can be to lose touch with the Lord and get ensnared by sin. The threats to our faith can seem so menacing that we can feel defeated before we even get out of bed in the morning.

Relax! You may feel a lot of pressure to remain in Christ, but never forget that God himself is your vinedresser. Let him take care of you. Remember, too, that you are already in Christ by virtue of your baptism.

Think about all the ways God is already helping you remain in Christ. Every time you receive the Eucharist, you are being fed by Christ, the vine. Every act of repentance, every confession, is an experience of "pruning." In Confirmation, the Spirit is released in your life, and in Holy Orders or Matrimony, you invite the Spirit to empower and secure your chosen vocation. He has given you his word in the Scriptures and the gift of your brothers and sisters in the Church. He has given you the voice of your conscience, as well as the greatest of all gifts: the indwelling Spirit. Finally, he has given you the beauty of creation, which can draw your heart and mind back to Christ and feed your soul.

So take it easy! Jesus, the vinedresser, is taking care of you. Think of the sap flowing in a tree. As long as the pathways are open, the sap flows, and the tree has nothing to worry about. So receive God's abundant provision for you. It doesn't all depend on you.

"Thank you, Lord, for being so committed to me! Help me to become as fruitful as possible."


Acts 15:1-6; Psalm 122:1-5


I need to start carrying a list of who all I need to keep in my prayers. Because in this world we live in right now, there are tons and tons of souls in need of Jesus, God.  The mission is daunting.  When I left the cursillo, I pledged to be a soldier of God at the closing, in front of hundreds of people.  I like to consider myself a man of my word.  When I saw the movie "For Greater Glory" about the Cristero movement and the persecution of Christians, the very Catholics, I was somewhat reminded of what we are here for; not for myself but for Jesus Christ.  Nowadays, where are the "Cristeros", the soldiers of God?  Hmm.  I know where they are.  But I'm not going to tell you until the end.  In the cursillo, one of the rollos speaks of today's Holy Gospel, where our Lord says He is the vine and we are the branches and without Him we can do nothing.  In the same rollo, it says we can't do everything ourselves but we can all do something.  It was not recorded well in my memory, for when I left my cursillo, I was ready to charge and tackle the world...but not immediately.  It brewed and stirred in me for weeks, or months, until my brother JEsse (Lord Rest His Soul) said "we need to get together, do the reunions and ultreyas" and that's when it all began for me.  Soon I found myself surrounded by brothers, and I don't have blood brothers.  They wore these crucifixes, these crosses on their chest.  I would meet in rooms full at times, sometimes a gymnasium to reunite them.  Nowadays the numbers are dwindling it seems.  Has the branch been pruned by God?  What of all the beautiful faces that are there no more?  What of their crosses that are lost in their dresser drawers or completely lost now?  If you're looking for an answer, you're not going to get it, LOL.  Here's what I do know.  I see faithful Christians willing to lay down their lives for Jesus Christ our Lord, our King, our Savior.  The first Holy scripture spoke of how they would gather with the Church to make a decision.  That is to say, get back to the vine.  That is to say, back to Jesus.  How often we try to be happy on our own and wind up beaten up?  I know that's how it is for me when I sin.  But, when I let go of sin, instead of winding up beaten up, I wind up with joy from the Lord.  Constantly we'll be asked to give up one happiness for another.  It's exactly what the Mexican Government did when they attempted to shut down the Catholics.  Would you say the devil did the pruning?  It bore much fruit to die for God.  How can I say that?  Because I'm speaking of Jesus.  This morning I was presented with work problems, most of which seem to stem from bad communication and little or no teamwork. When everyone is doing their own thing, we are not on the same page, and are we even on the same team?  And I'm speaking of ministries, the Church.  Are we on the same team? The ruccus caused is often people's whims and fancies, not going back to the vine.  How do you go back to the vine Mr. Adrian?  Humility, obedience, and charity.  Sacrificial love is the way.  Jesus is the way.  So, I told you I would tell you in the end where the soldiers for Christ are...and I did



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