Friday, May 23, 2014

That Will Remain

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Minute Meditations

Live the Catechism
God uses holy people as channels of His grace to others. In the measure of our own union with Him, He will communicate to those we teach the light and strength they need to live the Christian faith.
— from The Faith

St. Gregory VII

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The 10th century and the first half of the 11th were dark days for the Church, partly because the papacy was the pawn of various Roman families. In 1049, things began to change when Pope Leo IX, a reformer, was elected. He brought a young monk named Hildebrand to Rome as his counselor and special representative on important missions. He was to become Gregory VII.
Three evils plagued the Church then: simony (the buying and selling of sacred offices and things), the unlawful marriage of the clergy and lay investiture (kings and nobles controlling the appointment of Church officials). To all of these Hildebrand directed his reformer's attention, first as counselor to the popes and later (1073-1085) as pope himself.

Gregory's papal letters stress the role of bishop of Rome as the vicar of Christ and the visible center of unity in the Church. He is well known for his long dispute with Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV over who should control the selection of bishops and abbots.

Gregory fiercely resisted any attack on the liberty of the Church. For this he suffered and finally died in exile. He said, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile." Thirty years later the Church finally won its struggle against lay investiture.


The Gregorian Reform, a milestone in the history of Christ's Church, was named after this man who tried to extricate the papacy and the whole Church from undue control by civil rulers. Against an unhealthy Church nationalism in some areas, Gregory reasserted the unity of the whole Church based on Christ and expressed in the bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter.


Gregory's words still ring true today when civil or national religion is making subtle demands: "In every country, even the poorest of women is permitted to take a lawful husband according to the law of the land and by her own choice; but, through the desires and evil practices of the wicked, Holy Church, the bride of God and mother of us all, is not permitted lawfully to cling to her spouse on earth in accordance with divine law and her own will" (A Call to the Faithful).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.



I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God's dwelling-place.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely.
Instil in my heart a desire
To know and love you more each day.


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 15:22-31

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
"The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
'It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'"

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.

Responsorial Psalm ps 57:8-9, 10 and 12

R. (10a) I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.
My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn.
R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD,
I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the skies.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
above all the earth be your glory!
R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel jn 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another."


What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side, and share my feelings with 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 15:12-17

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5th Week of Easter

I have called you friends. (John 15:15)

Doesn't that make your heart skip? Jesus has called you his friend. You aren't a slave or a subject or a liability. You are a friend, sharing a mutual trust and affection with him. The Son of God has chosen you. He has set his heart on you so that you can bear fruit for his kingdom, fruit that will last.

Lasting fruit—this isn't an impossible goal, because Jesus, your friend, has given you access to his Father and all the resources of heaven. As a friend, he freely shares his Father's thoughts and plans with you. And this is precisely what can make you have a lasting effect on the world. Because Jesus has his Father's permission to give us whatever we ask for in his name, we will always have whatever we need to bear fruit. This is a far cry from slaves fulfilling their master's whims. It's a loving collaboration!

The only condition Jesus makes is that we love one another by laying down our lives for each other, just as he did for us (John 15:13).

Now, few of us will end up physically dying for someone else, but that's not really an obstacle. We all have opportunities to practice self-sacrificing love every day. We can "die" by not insisting on our own ideas in an argument. We can die by doing something as simple as agreeing to watch a television show someone else chooses or by giving up a little bit of our time to get to know a new neighbor. Kids can do it by giving up some computer time to run a load of laundry for tired parents. Maybe we can visit with someone who lives alone or cook a meal for a neighbor who is sick or has a newborn. There is no shortage of ways we can lay down our lives!

The best news is that God will give us whatever strength, kindness, self-control, or patience we need to fulfill this call. We're friends of his Son, and he is a very generous God.

"Thank you, Jesus, for calling me your friend. Pour your grace into my heart so that it overflows to those around me today. I trust that you will give me all the resources I need to bear fruit that will last."


Acts 15:22-31; Psalm 57:8-10, 12


What happens when God touches your heart?  Marvelous things happen.  It moves you.  It moves you to touch the heart of others.  It moves you to consider their needs and lives.  I am just now learning in my 35th year of living on this earth, that this world is made up of many souls, it's not just mine out there trying to make it.  I am just now learning we are on a journey, all of us, every single body is on a journey.  Suddenly one falls and another is taken and we journey on.  I take heart in today's readings and reflections and I write to you so that you may feel the love of God.  If it cuts your heart, let it bleed the impurity, do not turn away.  That is basically where God is leading us, a purified life in order to be more completely united to Him.
   Last night the liturgy of the hours prayer said on my laudate app a reading from 1Thessalonians 5:23 "May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Some may immediately think of the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To me though, the coming is any time, any day, when one of us could be taken.  Taken?  You mean die?  Let us be taken by Jesus.  Small acts of wonder, nature, and the love of people touch my heart.  That is what the world is starving for.  And so when I read that scripture, I know I have to purify myself for when He is coming...into my body and soul, and I'm speaking of the Eucharist, the body of Christ. 
  So far, I have realized the journey has been very interesting since my eyes were opened to the Lord.  And it always seems that I'm going to holiness.  God purifies in ways we will not understand but we should be thankful for the purifications.  I read a quote today that is a scripture ""Never underestimate the power of a holy example (1 Pt 5:3)."  Rarely do I get a response on these reflections, except for one brother that reminds me of Saint Vincent de Paul.  And when I do get a "compliment" it is as if a small dagger to the heart. It is an affliction because it is not me that speaks but the Holy Spirit, it is nothing of my doing, it is Him.  Speaking with a friend yesterday I said "words are easy, I just show up and let God speak", but we agreed that living it is where the real part is at.  I said about the daily reflections I send,  "the only times my eyes are filled with tears and my heart is touched is when I hear someone shared the reflection with their children".  This is good because no longer are the parents caring for their children's temporal needs but the spiritual.  There is another daily verse being sent today that recalls 1Peter3:18 "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit....".  That is where it's at, the heart of the matter.  Would I die to save the soul of another?  The question is very real, because today you will be tempted not to do that.  Notice that?  Today you will be tempted to NOT do anything to save a soul.  There is physical labor which is basic, tiring, then there is mental work which is exhausting, and then there is spiritual work, which is the hardest of all to do.  Saints are spiritual, pray, fast, and give constantly.  Truth be told, we are all saints and called to be what we were designed to be.  Yeah! You didn't know it?  Holiness is yours.  You are worthy of God's love.  Jesus gave a commandment, remember what He said today?  " one another, as I Love You".  Not as the world tells you to love.  He wants us to love to holiness, to eternity, to Himself.  Why?  Because it is the way of salvation.  It will always be this way no matter what happens in the world.  Sooo, how do we love like Him?  Sacrifice.  Sacrifice what?  Whatever it takes to be Holy.  Some will actually do it, and some will not.  Some will try, and some will give up.  I ask you to be strong, please.  It takes a real man or woman to be a man or woman of God.  I admire that, .... I admire God in you

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