Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What Is Unusual

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Minute Meditations

The Sustaining Force

Forgiveness is a practice worth pursuing with all one's strength, as it may be the single most sustaining force in any relationship, as well as being indispensable to one's own emotional well-being.
— from Fighting Mad

St. Joseph Cafasso

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Even as a young man, Joseph loved to attend Mass and was known for his humility and fervor in prayer. After his ordination he was assigned to a seminary in Turin. There he worked especially against the spirit of Jansenism, an excessive preoccupation with sin and damnation. Joseph used the works of St. Francis de Sales and St. Alphonsus Liguori to moderate the rigorism popular at the seminary.
Joseph recommended membership in the Secular Franciscan Order to priests. He urged devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and encouraged daily Communion. In addition to his teaching duties, Joseph was an excellent preacher, confessor and retreat master. Noted for his work with condemned prisoners, Joseph helped many of them die at peace with God.

St. John Bosco was one of Joseph's pupils. Joseph urged John Bosco to establish the Salesians to work with the youth of Turin. Joseph was canonized in 1947.


Devotion to the Eucharist gave energy to all Joseph's other activities. Long prayer before the Blessed Sacrament has been characteristic of many Catholics who have lived out the gospel well, St. Francis, Bishop Sheen, Cardinal Bernardin and Blessed Mother Teresa among them.


"O admirable heights and sublime lowliness! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under the little form of bread! Look, brothers, at the humility of God and pour out your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves, as well, that you may be exalted by Him. Therefore, hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves so that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally" (Saint Francis, Letter to the Entire Order).

Patron Saint of:



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


"Come to me all you who are burdened
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek your presence.
I long for your healing power.


There are very few people
who realise what God would make of them
if they abandoned themselves into his hands,
and let themselves be formed by his grace. (Saint Ignatius)
I ask for the grace to trust myself totally to God's love.


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 1 kgs 21:17-29

After the death of Naboth the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite:
"Start down to meet Ahab, king of Israel,
who rules in Samaria.
He will be in the vineyard of Naboth,
of which he has come to take possession.
This is what you shall tell him,
'The LORD says: After murdering, do you also take possession?
For this, the LORD says:
In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth,
the dogs shall lick up your blood, too.'"
Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me out, my enemy?"
"Yes," he answered.
"Because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the LORD's sight,
I am bringing evil upon you: I will destroy you
and will cut off every male in Ahab's line,
whether slave or freeman, in Israel.
I will make your house like that of Jeroboam, son of Nebat,
and like that of Baasha, son of Ahijah,
because of how you have provoked me by leading Israel into sin."
(Against Jezebel, too, the LORD declared,
"The dogs shall devour Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.")
"When one of Ahab's line dies in the city,
dogs will devour him;
when one of them dies in the field,
the birds of the sky will devour him."
Indeed, no one gave himself up to the doing of evil
in the sight of the LORD as did Ahab,
urged on by his wife Jezebel.
He became completely abominable by following idols,
just as the Amorites had done,
whom the LORD drove out before the children of Israel.

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments
and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh.
He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued.
Then the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite,
"Have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before me?
Since he has humbled himself before me,
I will not bring the evil in his time.
I will bring the evil upon his house during the reign of his son."

Responsorial Psalm ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 11 and 16

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God;
then my tongue shall revel in your justice.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Gospel mt 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."


How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold?
Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me,
I turn and  share my feelings with him.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Matthew 5:43-48

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11th Week in Ordinary Time

Love your enemies. (Matthew 5:44)

Can you picture finally getting to heaven, and the first person you meet is the one you liked least on earth? Imagine that! God loved that person and was calling him or her to perfection too. Or what about all the evil characters you've come across in the Bible—people like Pharaoh or Jezebel or King Herod? They don't fall outside the scope of God's loving intentions either. What God wants for you is what he also wants for your aggravating neighbor, as well as history's worst tyrants—that they be "perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).

Here's another surprise: Your enemy can help you move toward that impossible-sounding goal of perfection. Here's how. Jesus' command to be perfect appears right after his explanation of how to treat those who hate us: "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father" (5:44-45). In other words, if you want to be perfect, begin by loving your enemies.

Are you thinking, "That's too hard"? Of course it is! Even when the call to perfection is narrowed down to this starting-point, it is beyond human powers—or it would be, if Jesus hadn't suffered and died for us. But with the grace he has secured through his death and resurrection, we can follow his example of perfect love and start doing what he commands.

Try to cooperate with that grace today. Instead of harboring spiteful thoughts, say a short prayer for someone who provokes you. Think about whether there are other people you should be loving more than you do—not "enemies" exactly, but people you tend to take for granted, look down on, or dismiss as undeserving.

Start with those you live and work with. Pay attention to the thoughts that cross your mind as you read the newspaper or see a homeless person on the street. Ask God's forgiveness when you discover your failures. Open your heart to receive the grace for a more generous attitude. Take advantage of every big and small invitation to love, and the perfection of the Father and the Son will begin to shine out in you.

"Thank you, Father, for creating me for love. Help me to accept your grace and take another step toward the perfection to which you are calling me."


1 Kings 21:17-29; Psalm 51:3-6, 11, 16

I have to think really hard to know who are my enemies and who is slapping me around.  I often hear "oh, I don't have enemies".  That's most of us.  But the moment someone gets on our nerves, the enemy rears its ugly head.  Suddenly, the enemy in sheep's clothing appears.  Suddenly, I become the enemy, not necessarily them.  Forgive them, and you are forgiven...hmmm.  I believe the day I learn how to turn the cheek, is the day I will be welcomed into Heaven with two rosy cheeks (from being slapped around) but I want you to notice for who or what we do this.  It takes a man or woman of courage to do this.  To do what?  Do it for the Lord.  Do what?  Suffer for Him.  If someone slapped me for being a jerk, that wasn't for the Lord.  If someone stabbed me in the back for working for the Lord, that is something to be offered.  There is a difference in who we live for.  My child, who do you live for?  Are you just another person in the world trying to make it out alive?  Or are you a lone person in the world living a lie?  Because as Scott Hahn joked one day "last time I checked, the mortality rate was still at 100%", which means none of us get out of here alive.  Yet the Spirit lives on.  Loving beyond our comfort zone is where the challenge is at.  God has placed you in a particular life to live for Him.  Funny that I should live on while He lay His life down for me.  One of the biggest questions my fallen away catholic sister had with her husband for me last night in bible discussion was that of baptism, the format, and infant baptisms.  Lately, I've been revelling in the thought of having been baptized as an infant on the 22nd of July of 1978, the day I was born in the Spirit.  Why revelling?  Because, I recall the Passion of Our Lord, pouring out His blood on earth, and then we are born in the Spirit with Him, in death and resurrection.  We are His in Baptism, marked for salvation.  I was gifted with Christianity before I knew.  "Oh but you have to REPENT and be baptized says the Bible" they told me last night.  So who says I haven't repented?  I've already been baptized as a gift from God.  I did not choose Him, He chose me through the power of the Holy Spirit.  After a long discussion about my Catholicism, I left, not too cheerful, just exhausted.  I've turned many cheeks to this couple.  And I thanked them for welcoming me into their home after years of never being welcomed.  I said "years ago we brought gifts for your children, and I was let into your house but not your home, and tonight, I thank you for welcoming me into your home, we broke bread and are reading the bible together".  Thoughts later in the Spirit revealed this is hands on work and faith in action.  It is too easy to show up at church and preach to the choir.  It is not easy to preach to your co-workers, or family. LOL, it's often easier to preach to a stranger downtown at the stores.  Why is it hard?  Have you been slapped and now only love those who love you back (respect you back)???  Hmm, this is not a one way is it?  Actually it is.  Giving is one way.  If you get it back after giving, it was never really giving now was it?  So what good is it to get it back?  Today, Jesus our King, our Master, the one we are learning from is asking for us to give beyond our feeble minds dare to give.  Give until it hurts and only then will we grow, and as you know, we grow to Heaven we don't just go...

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