Thursday, July 10, 2014

Until You Leave

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Minute Meditations

Appreciate Others

Spend time to remember and appreciate the people in your life who, despite it all, kept you hopeful as you encountered situations of evil, suffering, and sadness. See, too, the love and grace that touches all our lives in these situations.
— from Startled By God

St. Veronica Giuliani
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Veronica's desire to be like Christ crucified was answered with the stigmata.

Veronica was born in Mercatelli, Italy. It is said that when her mother Benedetta was dying she called her five daughters to her bedside and entrusted each of them to one of the five wounds of Jesus. Veronica was entrusted to the wound below Christ's heart.

At the age of 17, Veronica joined the Poor Clares directed by the Capuchins. Her father had wanted her to marry, but she convinced him to allow her to become a nun. In her first years in the monastery, she worked in the kitchen, infirmary and sacristy and also served as portress. At the age of 34, she was made novice mistress, a position she held for 22 years. When she was 37, Veronica received the stigmata. Life was not the same after that.

Church authorities in Rome wanted to test Veronica's authenticity and so conducted an investigation. She lost the office of novice mistress temporarily and was not allowed to attend Mass except on Sundays or holy days. Through all of this Veronica did not become bitter, and the investigation eventually restored her as novice mistress.

Though she protested against it, at the age of 56 she was elected abbess, an office she held for 11 years until her death. Veronica was very devoted to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart. She offered her sufferings for the missions. Veronica was canonized in 1839.


Why did God grant the stigmata to Francis of Assisi and to Veronica? God alone knows the deepest reasons, but as Celano points out, the external sign of the cross is a confirmation of these saints' commitment to the cross in their lives. The stigmata that appeared in Veronica's flesh had taken root in her heart many years before. It was a fitting conclusion for her love of God and her charity toward her sisters.


Thomas of Celano says of Francis: "All the pleasures of the world were a cross to him, because he carried the cross of Christ rooted in his heart. And therefore the stigmata shone forth exteriorly in his flesh, because interiorly that deeply set root was sprouting forth from his mind" (2 Celano, #211).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


Dear Jesus, I come to you today
longing for your presence.
I desire to love you as You love me.
May nothing ever separate me from You.


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 the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?

The Word of God

Reading 1 hos 11:1-4, 8e-9

Thus says the LORD:
When Israel was a child I loved him,
out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the farther they went from me,
Sacrificing to the Baals
and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.

My heart is overwhelmed,
my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not man,
the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you.

Responsorial Psalm ps 80:2ac and 3b, 15-16

R. (4b) Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken.
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see:
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted,
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.

Gospel mt 10:7-15

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"As you go, make this proclamation:
'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words --
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town."

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: Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9

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14th Week in Ordinary Time

My heart is overwhelmed. (Hosea 11:8)

Tradition has it that as St. John neared the end of his life, people flocked to the Island of Patmos to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist with him. John was old and frail, and he had to be carried out to the people each Sunday, but it never stopped him from giving them the same message week after week: "Little children, God loves you. Love him and love one another." That's all John ever said, but the people still came. When asked why he kept repeating the same words, he answered, "Because that's what the Master kept saying."

Today's first reading shows us that the prophet Hosea might well have said the same thing! Speaking in the name of the Lord, the prophet recounts Israel's infidelity and sins—and yet he insists that God has never stopped loving them. In a moving poem, he shows that God's love is eternal, intimate, unconditional, and immutable. And when this love is poured out on his people, it's called mercy.

Just like St. John, Hosea wanted his people to experience this mercy, not just hear about it. It sounds so attractive, doesn't it? But to quote Pope Francis, "It is not easy to entrust oneself to God's mercy because it is an abyss beyond comprehension. But we must!" "Oh Father, if you knew my life, you would not say that to me!" "Why, what have you done?" "Oh, I am a great sinner!" "All the better! Go to Jesus: he likes you to tell him these things... . He forgets, he kisses you, he embraces you, and he simply says to you, 'Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.' That is the only advice he gives you."

Or consider God's revelation to St. Faustina, a Polish sister who lived just prior to World War II: "I am love itself. My heart overflows with great mercy for souls, especially poor sinners. Let no one fear to draw near to me, even though their sins be as scarlet. My mercy is greater than all your sins."

God loves you. Believe it! No matter what you have done, no matter what anyone has done to you, he hasn't rejected you. Let him show you his love. Let him tell you over and over again, "I love you. Love me and love one another. I love you!"

"Father, I love you!"


Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16; Matthew 10:7-15

I don't know that I've ever told anyone this outloud, but I can not forget a dream I had a couple 2 or 3 months ago, during Lent perhaps.  I was in a desert-like area, as if in Egypt.  I went up a tall mountain, and then travelled into a Pyramid.  Inside I was travelling seemingly alone, but the place was guarded.  I felt I shouldn't be there, and then I was spotted, whereupon I was chased by the guards and I finally found my way out and nearly fell off a mountain.  I say this because I felt saved, like I had been guided somehow, but felt it due to my Christianity.  I say this because today in the first Holy Scripture, Hosea said today "...out of Egypt I called my son".  The Savior was in Egypt.  Just like I was saved somehow, it was Him.  I say this keeping in mind DT 1:31 "The LORD, your God, who goes before you, is the one who will fight for you, just as he acted with you before your very eyes in Egypt, as well as in the wilderness, where you saw how the LORD, your God, carried you, as one carries his own child, all along your journey until you arrived at this place."  Jesus was in Egypt until Herod was no more.  And of the wilderness we read in DT 8:16 "and fed you in the wilderness with manna, a food unknown to your ancestors, that he might afflict you and test you, but also make you prosperous in the end"  On this journey we will be tested if you are loved by God.  And God promises victory. In Numbers 23:19 we read " God is not a human being who speaks falsely, nor a mortal, who feels regret. Is God one to speak and not act, to decree and not bring it to pass?  I was summoned to bless; I will bless; I cannot revoke it!  Misfortune I do not see in Jacob, nor do I see misery* in Israel.  The LORD, their God, is with them; among them is the war-cry of their King.  They have the like of a wild ox's horns:*   God who brought them out of Egypt." 
Keep the war-cry of the King in mind as I bring up Hosea 11:10  "They shall follow the LORD, who roars like a lion;   When he roars,his children shall come frightened from the west.   Out of Egypt they shall come trembling, like birds, like doves, from the land of Assyria; And I will resettle them in their homes, 
oracle of the LORD."
Let it be said, that the King, the Lion has spoken.  Jesus said today "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand".  He sent laborers to bring on laborers.  I summon you to become a laborer of love, of God.  I was lost in travels, not in a dream but taken by the Lord's words today.  He will take you and lead you and feed you.  What else could we possibly need?  What more covers my needs than what He feeds?  As I read about today's saint, I could only imagine the torment of not being able to partake of the Holy Eucharist.  Suffering.  Saints suffer, yeah, you didn't know?  Are you suffering?  Difference is suffering for who.  If I suffer for Jesus it is for Greater Glory.  The King has spoken.  Go out and proclaim, make disciples of all nations, cure, heal, drive out demons, unlock the chains of slavery, free the people from death and destruction that comes naturally due to our tendency to sin.  I want you to consider this the day the day you turn to the Lord.  With all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul. 
Jesus has come.  Jesus is coming.  For what?  It is for who.  That who is you.  Will He be welcomed into my home?  Will I let His peace reign?  Will I let His precepts rule my land?  Will I let Him take ownership and control of my life?  Sheep go where the shepherd leads.  He don't push from behind, they know Him by His love and trust Him.  The only reason there is a staff is to save and protect.  His staff is all we need.  The staff was stabbed in the ground.  Jesus the shepherd is on-  'I AM KING.  Follow Me.'  We are to take back what is His and everything is His.  Every thing and every soul is His.  Nothing is mine except my love, and the will that leads to my love.  The war-cry is on, and the world was defeated so that you may come freely into His arms so He can feed Himself to the love of His life....
This picture hangs in my office for years.