Friday, July 11, 2014

Your Father Speaking

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Minute Meditations

Startling Qualities

The really significant stuff—God, love, forgiveness, joy, friendship, thanksgiving—are always invisible and visible at the same time. The give and take between what's seen and unseen is what makes our relationships with God and others so compelling, even startling.
— from Startled By God

St. Benedict


It is unfortunate that no contemporary biography was written of a man who has exercised the greatest influence on monasticism in the West. Benedict is well recognized in the later Dialogues of St. Gregory, but these are sketches to illustrate miraculous elements of his career.
Benedict was born into a distinguished family in central Italy, studied at Rome and early in life was drawn to the monastic life. At first he became a hermit, leaving a depressing world—pagan armies on the march, the Church torn by schism, people suffering from war, morality at a low ebb.

He soon realized that he could not live a hidden life in a small town any better than in a large city, so he withdrew to a cave high in the mountains for three years. Some monks chose him as their leader for a while, but found his strictness not to their taste. Still, the shift from hermit to community life had begun for him. He had an idea of gathering various families of monks into one "Grand Monastery" to give them the benefit of unity, fraternity, permanent worship in one house. Finally he began to build what was to become one of the most famous monasteries in the world—Monte Cassino, commanding three narrow valleys running toward the mountains north of Naples.

The Rule that gradually developed prescribed a life of liturgical prayer, study, manual labor and living together in community under a common father (abbot). Benedictine asceticism is known for its moderation, and Benedictine charity has always shown concern for the people in the surrounding countryside. In the course of the Middle Ages, all monasticism in the West was gradually brought under the Rule of St. Benedict.

Today the Benedictine family is represented by two branches: the Benedictine Federation and the Cistercians.


The Church has been blessed through Benedictine devotion to the liturgy, not only in its actual celebration with rich and proper ceremony in the great abbeys, but also through the scholarly studies of many of its members. Liturgy is sometimes confused with guitars or choirs, Latin or Bach. We should be grateful to those who both preserve and adapt the genuine tradition of worship in the Church.


"Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of man is manifested by signs perceptible to the senses...; in the liturgy full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members.

"From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body the Church, is a sacred action, surpassing all others" (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 7).

Patron Saint of:

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


The more we call on the Lord
the more we can feel his Presence.
Day by day he draws us closer
to his loving heart.



By God's grace I was born to live in freedom.
Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me.
Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended,
with complete confidence in Your Loving care.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings. Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God

Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot
Lectionary: 387

Reading 1 HOs 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, 'Our god,'
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion."
I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
"I am like a verdant cypress tree"—
because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm ps 51:3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (17b) My mouth will declare your praise.
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. My mouth will declare your praise.
Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me of sin with hyssop, that I may be purified;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.

Gospel mt 10:16-23

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes."


I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?


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: Psalm 51:3-4, 8-9, 12-14, 17

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Saint Benedict, Abbot

A clean heart create for me, O God. (Psalm 51:12)

Do you remember learning about metamorphosis in school? First, a wormlike larvae encases itself in a shell. Out of sight, it undergoes radical changes until, finally, an elegant butterfly wriggles out of the shell and flies away.

Today's psalm speaks of a kind of metamorphosis. But according to this psalm's backstory, King David was probably feeling more like a worm than a butterfly—and rightly so. Nathan had confronted him with his sins of adultery and murder. David's eyes were opened to see just how far he had fallen. But he also saw that he needed a radical transformation, not just a dollop of divine mercy. Pardon wasn't enough. He needed to be changed. And so he asked God for a pure heart and a renewed spirit.

What about us? Many of us are in the habit of examining our consciences and repenting, whether in our daily prayer or during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Can we hope for a radical change as well? Yes! The key is following King David's example by staying in God's presence. That's because only God can transform sinners into saints. This is why David pleaded, "Cast me not out from your presence" (Psalm 51:11). In faith, he waited for the Lord to perform a creative work, or many works, within his heart.

Is there a part of your life that needs a metamorphosis? Don't be afraid to bring it to the Lord. Come into his presence, and let mercy and forgiveness greet you. Take a few moments to pray through Psalm 51, making its ancient words your own. Wash me. Cleanse me. Teach me. Create me. Purify me. Renew me. Remember, God is the main agent in this work of transformation. Your most important job is to stay in his presence and to return to it day after day. This teaching, creating, purifying, and renewing process takes time! It's a gradual process where your eyes are opened both to the state of your own heart and to the wonderful depths of God's heart.

So be sure to spend time with the Lord. Ask him to answer your prayers and create a clean heart in you. Let him shape you into the saint you were born to be. It is a transformation well worth waiting for!

"Create in me a new heart, O God!"


Hosea 14:2-10; Matthew 10:16-23

There is a medal that Catholics use in hopes and prayers to ward off evil, and it is the St. Benedict Medal.  It's got pictures and words that you have to know what they mean.  Around it, some of it reads: "Vade Retro, Satana! Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana. Sunt Mala Quae Libas Ipse Venena Bibas. The English words are: Begone, Satan! Suggest not vain things to me.  Evil is the cup thou offerest; Drink thou thine own poison."  What is vain is the new selfie.  When the world has to focus on me and my problems, we got vanity and pride in the mix, something demonic leading the way.  For this we read today's most Holy Scriptures.  Because children may have had parents, but still had been orphans.  How can I say that if they had a mother and or father?  Because they were orphans in the Spirit.  No mother.  No Father.  Jesus saw this among the Children of God.  For this very reason He didn't want to leave the earth so He could hold each and everyone He could in His arms. 
But He died to live in our hearts. In Hosea we read the Lord our Father, God saying "I will love them freely".  Last night our temporary priest said in our Ultreya (gathering of cursillistas) "hold on to what is good (through all the bad)."  Because your loved ones will fail you, but hold on to the good.  In today's Holy Gospel, our Lord said we are like sheep being sent in the midst of wolves.  We will be turned over.  Have no fear.  He will speak.  Words we heard from the prophet Hosea today were "take with you words and return to the Lord".  Jesus said today "For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."  Some may think I have some great wisdom or what not, and I don't.  If you meet me and know me, you will see I am actually quite forgetful, a guy in his mid 30's with early stages of "Old-Timer's", LOL.  So how does it happen that I can speak (type) to you?  It's not me, it's Him.  Same happens when I'm asked to speak or lead prayers, or lead anything, it's not me, it's Him.  What happens is that as I am lead to places often I don't want to go, He speaks through me.  Thing of it is, like some people said to me in spanish "y sin verguenza!"  (and without embarrasment), I am not embarrassed, I am not ashamed to do and speak for the Truth.  I am puzzled by those who are muzzled.  The times I am muzzled is when I depart (sin).  I can not help the Lord when I am not WITH the Lord. 
For this, read this now; God loves you freely.  You are free to ask for forgiveness.  You are free to love Him in return.  You are free to be His.  When St. Benedict made the sign of the cross over his meal (that was poisoned by an enemy) the dish broke to pieces and he was saved.  We are freed by the cross, by the cross we are healed.  When you see Catholics doing the sign of the cross, they are supposedly "blessing themselves", but in actuality it is a prayer to God, blessing Him "Glory Be to the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit".  In return you are blessed because you can never outgive God.  Consider the liberation in prayer.  Consider prayer as the air between you and our Father.  The mother in Heaven is the one you can cry to so the Father will soften to your prayers.  "But no one comes to the Father except through the Son".  Amen.  Amen I say to you James 5:16 says "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful."  And the righteous angels that intercede for us all the more.  Consider what is said is not for "so and so" you may be thinking of.  This all applies to the selfie.  Why does all the Jesus stuff apply to everyone else except you?  Why is this whole Jesus thing offensive to the world?  Why is it deflected and not reflected from your heart?  When I picked up a hitchhiker a couple weeks ago, it seemed in conversation that I had picked up a lost son, like he needed a father.  Indeed, studies indicate a crisis in our culture is the crisis of a "fatherless crisis".  True.  Fatherless indeed we have been.  Fathers (and mothers) abandon children and children abandon their fathers and mothers.  There is a real poison brewing causing separation...sin.  All things unholy.  All things that keep you embarrassed from God.  For this, I am commanding you, (and myself), repent!  Return to the Lord.  Everything else is all lies and vanity!  Skip the gym.  Skip work.  Go to the Lord!  What will it take for you to come to the Father?????

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