Tuesday, July 1, 2014

You Of Little

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Minute Meditations

Building Confidence

We cannot help people with money and small offerings, rather we must give them the confidence that they are capable of doing something for themselves. -Blessed Hildegard Burjan
— from Sisterhood of Saints

Blessed Junipero Serra

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In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard.
Born on Spain's island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis' childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero's desire was to convert native peoples in the New World.

Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero's left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life. For 18 years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there.

Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two conquistadors—one military, one spiritual—began their quest. José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph's day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived.

Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra's death.

Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous "Regulation" protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a "Bill of Rights" for Native Americans.

Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of "injustice" from some moderns.

Junipero's missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988.


The word that best describes Junipero is zeal. It was a spirit that came from his deep prayer and dauntless will. "Always forward, never back" was his motto. His work bore fruit for 50 years after his death as the rest of the missions were founded in a kind of Christian communal living by the Indians. When both Mexican and American greed caused the secularization of the missions, the Chumash people went back to what they had been—God again writing straight with crooked lines.


During his homily at Serra's beatification, Blessed John Paul II said: "Relying on the divine power of the message he proclaimed, Father Serra led the native peoples to Christ. He was well aware of their heroic virtues—as exemplified in the life of St. Kateri Tekakwitha [July 14]—and he sought to further their authentic human development on the basis of their new-found faith as persons created and redeemed by God. He also had to admonish the powerful, in the spirit of our second reading from James, not to abuse and exploit the poor and the weak."

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



"Be still and know that I am God" Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek Your Loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from
this busy world.


Lord, may I never take the gift
of freedom for granted. You gave
me the great blessing of freedom of
spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and
Your joy.


At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to You. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations.
I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.

The Word of God

Reading 1 am 3:1-8; 4:11-12

Hear this word, O children of Israel, that the LORD pronounces over you,
over the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt:

You alone have I favored,
more than all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you
for all your crimes.

Do two walk together
unless they have agreed?
Does a lion roar in the forest
when it has no prey?
Does a young lion cry out from its den
unless it has seized something?
Is a bird brought to earth by a snare
when there is no lure for it?
Does a snare spring up from the ground
without catching anything?
If the trumpet sounds in a city,
will the people not be frightened?
If evil befalls a city,
has not the LORD caused it?
Indeed, the Lord GOD does nothing
without revealing his plan
to his servants, the prophets.

The lion roars—
who will not be afraid!
The Lord GOD speaks—
who will not prophesy!

I brought upon you such upheaval
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah:
you were like a brand plucked from the fire;
Yet you returned not to me,
says the LORD.

So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel!
and since I will deal thus with you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel.

Responsorial Psalm ps 5:4b-6a, 6b-7, 8

R. (9a) Lead me in your justice, Lord.
At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you;
the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
You hate all evildoers;
you destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
the LORD abhors.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
But I, because of your abundant mercy,
will enter your house;
I will worship at your holy temple
in fear of you, O LORD.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.

Gospel mt 8:23-27

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
"Lord, save us! We are perishing!"
He said to them, "Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?"
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, "What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?"

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: Matthew 8:23-27

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Blessed Junípero Serra, Priest

I will worship at your holy temple in fear of you, O Lord. (Psalm 5:8)

Anyone who lives in the colder regions of the globe understands how tricky walking on an icy lake can be. A heavy fire truck could park on one section, but a mere one hundred meters away is a section incapable of supporting a small child. Everyone knows it's naïve to believe that the ice will always support you. You need a healthy dose of wisdom combined with caution. It's kind of a balanced fear, in which you know you have to be careful, but you don't stay off the ice altogether.

We can see this concept of balanced fear in today's readings.

First, we meet Amos, who warned the Israelites against becoming presumptuous because God has "favored" them over all other people (Amos 3:2). They shouldn't have let their status as the "chosen people" make them think they could ignore God's commands. They thought that as long as they performed their ritual sacrifices, they were safe. But really, they were on very thin ice.

Then, in the Gospel reading, we see the loyal apostles on a storm-tossed boat, fearful that Jesus won't protect them. This time, we see people on very solid footing, but still afraid that they might drown. But Jesus assures them that even if he appears to be asleep, he is with them and will protect them.

Jesus is our one true foundation. He is as solid as a completely frozen lake. That means that we can trust his guidance, his protection, and his salvation completely; he'll never let us down. The only way we get on thin ice is if we take him and his love for granted, as the Israelites did.

Clearly, a little bit of balanced fear is a good thing. It keeps us close to the Lord, but it doesn't make us so anxious that we're not willing to take risks every now and then.

"Lord, show me the areas of thin ice in my life. Help me stay close to you so that I can embrace the plans you have for our friendship."


Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12; Psalm 5:4-8


Allow me to translate today's 5minutos:
"A river, during its tranquil running towards the sea encountered a desert and stopped.  Before, had only spread rocks everywhere and hidden caverns, now immense dunes of sand that were lost into the horizon.  The river was invaded with a great fear.  "It is my end. I will not be able to cross this desert. The sand will absorb all my water and I will disappear." Slowly the waters began to sink.  The river was becoming a swamp and was dying.  But the wind had heard its cries and decided to save its life. It suggested to it "Let yourselve be heated by the sun, you will be raised to the sky in vapor form.  The rest, leave up to me".  The river, full of fear answered: "I am made to run in two parts of land and liquid, pacific and majestic.  I am not made to fly through the air".  The wind responded: "Do not be afraid. When you raise ascend to the sky in form of water vapor, you will turn into a cloud.  I will transport you further down the desert and you will be able to fall again on firm ground, and you will once again be a river and arrive at the sea".  But the river had much fear and was devoured by the desert...
Many persons have forgotten that there is only one way to overcome the unforeseen deserts of feelings and fierce aridities that invade many times in the tranquil flow of our existence.  It is the spiritual life.  It is to let yourself be transformed by the son that is God and let yourself be transported by the Spirit.  But it is a risk that few accept to run.  Do you dare?"
Last night on the news, they ran a story of the 50,000 or so immigrant children making their way to the U.S. by themselves from somewhere in Central America. Perhaps they come with big dreams, hopes, or are in an EXODUS from the oppression and corruption, starvation and despair they find themselves in.  Many have been abused in many ways on their way, and some have died, and perhaps the majority have been caught upon entering the promised land.  One little boy was found in some brush in southern Texas.  His 11 year old body was found, with only his clothes, a rosary around his neck, and they found 3 phone numbers on him.  It's as if he had 3 life lines.  Cross the desert, or die trying.  The phone number for his father was found on the back of his belt buckle.  Apparently the last time they had spoken was about a month ago.  To some, these people are a nuissance that should be dealt with accordingly.  To others, these are human beings that need attention.  What is the solution?  Let us take a clue from the little boy.  He had nothing but faith and a lifeline.  Our tragedy is living life not in a daily communication and constant communication with our own FATHER.  We are all on a journey, and we can not do it alone.  The disciples in the boat yelled to our God that was with them for help.  "Oh you of LITTLE FAITH".  This to me speaks volumes.  Have faith.  Yet the pleas were heard and the seas were calmed.  What He done for the seas, we could do too...all He does and more.  We can do so much more for one another.  Yet we hold back.  Yet we complain.  Yet we live frustrated.   Yet we live in fear.  Yet there is no peace.  This land has been invaded from all over with people from all over.  Have faith.  That is what matters.  Not too long ago someone said to me "oh you're one of them one-world kind of guys".  LOL.  Perhaps for the Holy Church and the faith, yes I am.  I believe in the prayers and have faith, for one flock and one Holy and Good Shepherd.  It is very scriptural, but more than that, it is inscribed in the DNA of the soul.  What God wants is all of us, for Himself.  He wants your entire heart, and holiness is the way.  The risk is that we lose hope and think we can do it  all on our own.  Many people don't go to church, they  just pray alone.  That's not what God wants.  He wants us united for Him.  I am not simply an American, I am much more, I am CHRISTIAN.  It is not global, it is UNIVERSAL.  And that means Catholic.  I am not proud, but I will roar with the Lion of Judah.  I am His cub.  I am His son.  We are all His.  And His I wish to be.  With all my heart, mind, strength and soul...I am yours
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