Monday, July 14, 2014

These Little Ones

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Minute Meditations

Holy Eucharist

Jesus calls us to eat His flesh and drink His blood, which is a difficult concept to understand. Jesus's command to eat His Body and drink His Blood can only make sense if we understand the words Body and Blood as designating the whole person, the real and glorified Jesus as He exists today.
— from Catholic Update Guide to Jesus

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and John de Br├ębeuf (October 19) were tomahawked by Iroquois warriors, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York.

Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she was four, Kateri lost her parents and little brother in a smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured and half blind. She was adopted by an uncle, who succeeded her father as chief. He hated the coming of the Blackrobes (Jesuit missionaries), but could do nothing to them because a peace treaty with the French required their presence in villages with Christian captives. She was moved by the words of three Blackrobes who lodged with her uncle, but fear of him kept her from seeking instruction. She refused to marry a Mohawk brave and at 19 finally got the courage to take the step of converting. She was baptized with the name Kateri (Catherine) on Easter Sunday.

Now she would be treated as a slave. Because she would not work on Sunday, she received no food that day. Her life in grace grew rapidly. She told a missionary that she often meditated on the great dignity of being baptized. She was powerfully moved by God's love for human beings and saw the dignity of each of her people.

She was always in danger, for her conversion and holy life created great opposition. On the advice of a priest, she stole away one night and began a 200-mile walking journey to a Christian Indian village at Sault St. Louis, near Montreal.

For three years she grew in holiness under the direction of a priest and an older Iroquois woman, giving herself totally to God in long hours of prayer, in charity and in strenuous penance. At 23 she took a vow of virginity, an unprecedented act for an Indian woman, whose future depended on being married. She found a place in the woods where she could pray an hour a day—and was accused of meeting a man there!

Her dedication to virginity was instinctive: She did not know about religious life for women until she visited Montreal. Inspired by this, she and two friends wanted to start a community, but the local priest dissuaded her. She humbly accepted an "ordinary" life. She practiced extremely severe fasting as penance for the conversion of her nation. She died the afternoon before Holy Thursday. Witnesses said that her emaciated face changed color and became like that of a healthy child. The lines of suffering, even the pockmarks, disappeared and the touch of a smile came upon her lips. She was beatified in 1980 and canonized in 2012..


We like to think that our proposed holiness is thwarted by our situation. If only we could have more solitude, less opposition, better health. Kateri repeats the example of the saints: Holiness thrives on the cross, anywhere. Yet she did have what Christians—all people—need: the support of a community. She had a good mother, helpful priests, Christian friends. These were present in what we call primitive conditions, and blossomed in the age-old Christian triad of prayer, fasting and alms: union with God in Jesus and the Spirit, self-discipline and often suffering, and charity for her brothers and sisters.


Kateri said: "I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus. He must be my only love. The state of helpless poverty that may befall me if I do not marry does not frighten me. All I need is a little food and a few pieces of clothing. With the work of my hands I shall always earn what is necessary and what is left over I'll give to my relatives and to the poor. If I should become sick and unable to work, then I shall be like the Lord on the cross. He will have mercy on me and help me, I am sure."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


Dear Lord as I come to you today
Fill my heart and my whole being
with the wonder of Your presence


God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.


I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them. Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1 is 1:10-17

Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!
What care I for the number of your sacrifices?
says the LORD.
I have had enough of whole-burnt rams
and fat of fatlings;
In the blood of calves, lambs and goats
I find no pleasure.

When you come in to visit me,
who asks these things of you?
Trample my courts no more!
Bring no more worthless offerings;
your incense is loathsome to me.
New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies,
octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear.
Your new moons and festivals I detest;
they weigh me down, I tire of the load.
When you spread out your hands,
I close my eyes to you;
Though you pray the more,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow.

Responsorial Psalm ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think you that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Gospel mt 10:34-11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household.

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

"Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet's reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man's reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple--
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.


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: Isaiah 1:10-17

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Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin

Cease doing evil; learn to do good. (Isaiah 1:16-17)

Relationships change us. Think about someone you have been close to for a long time—a husband or wife, brother or sister, son or daughter. What would you be like without that person? Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes obvious, but we can all make long lists of the people who have changed our lives.

Of course, people can change us for better or for worse, but what about our relationship with God? Considering how powerful he is, it only makes sense that a relationship with him will change us—and always for the good! That's because the closer to God we get, the more we grow into the people he has made us to be.

This was not happening for the people of Judah in today's first reading. They were observing the forms of worship, but at the same time, they were treating the vulnerable cruelly. This persistent injustice showed that the people's relationship with God was frail. So through Isaiah, God says that he won't accept their worship—not while they have innocent blood on their hands.

This passage tells us that our relationship with God is not confined to our time at church or our prayer time. Can you imagine a marriage where the husband lets his wife speak to him only every other day? Or a friend that ends all conversations exactly at the thirty-minute mark? Of course not! Genuine relationships are organic. They encompass many aspects of our lives. They can't be bounded or enclosed.

God wants us to experience worship that changes our hearts. He wants us to connect with him in prayer so that we take on his mercy, love, patience, and justice. We know that our worship is fruitful when we notice our behavior changing. We act more kindly toward people. We are slower to judge and quicker to forgive. Our words become more upbuilding, and we become more generous with our time and our resources.

So don't separate your time with God from the rest of your life! Make it a point in your prayer to find the presence of the Lord. Focus on your relationship with him, and not just on your needs or your worries. Let this relationship continue to change you—always for the better!

"Father, help my worship to bring me closer to you and to make me more like you."


Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23; Matthew 10:34--11:1


My obsession is the Lord.  And I thank God for you. 
My Lord.  We read today of the prophet's message.  Turn from my evil ways you ask.  You ask me then to be Holy?  You ask me then to be like you?  But the world teaches me that it is impossible.  As if to say you can not do the impossible.  As if to say "don't even try to be Holy".  If I live in freedom to believe and to choose, like the poor little indian girl that chose you and to dedicate her life to suffer for you only to bear much fruit, then surely I can with all my freedom choose to be with you, and more like you.  I know you want sacrifice, not because you need it, but because I need it.  I remember my grandpa (please rest his soul), he made a promesa (a promise) to go to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalulpe in Mexico.  They say he drug himself on his knees to the shrine, it must've hurt, but it must've been good.  This opens my eyes Lord.  What you want is not an empty gift basket.  Why should I continue to give you empty gifts at the altar?  Why should I tithe and not give my heart?  Why should I give my heart and never tithe?  I see it both ways Lord.  People serve you and offer no sacrifice.  I see people offer sacrifice and no heart.  I pray for us Lord.  We need to turn from our evil ways.  Blood on our hands begun by the spite from the spit of my mouth.  Have mercy on us Lord.  I want to be made Holy.  I want to shine for you.  Lord, I had a beautiful weekend.  It began last Friday writing to my friends and loved ones in my2cents.  And then I went to see you in the nursing home that morning where you offered your blood, body, and soul in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the most forgotten people in the world.  You are so great, you don't forget the weak and humble and lost.  And then later that evening I went to pray for a man that passed away at his funeral vigil, whereupon we got to hear your Holy Word.  I sang a couple of songs and a brother helped finish with a rosary for the departed Domingo Galindo (please have mercy on him and rest his soul too).  God, my Father, dearest friend, you are so awesome.  It was a sacrifice to not be with you during the funeral vigil because it was my alloted time to be with you in Holy Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  I was torn and almost said no to the funeral vigil.  But how could I be with them and with you at the same time?  I sent my other half lord, my beautiful wife.  It was hard for her to go, and alone.  But I saw her shine afterwards.  I know I was there because she was there.  You are so awesome God.  And then Saturday morning we had a men's cursillo team meeting.  Lord, there is only 7 of us, usually for teams there are 20 team members.  I don't know what's going on, but we're happy, perhaps even more intimate when we meet for you and labor for you.  We prayed the rosary and sang Sanctuary during the rosary and then before we left sang "I Need You" by Matt Maher but we had to leave because people were coming into the church for a festival celebration.  When I got from that meeting out of town, I went to Domingo's funeral. I couldn't find them, they had left the funeral home early and so I was lost.  I finally found them as Father Patrick was ending the graveside service.  I sang a song and once again "I need You" by Matt Maher.  Father Patrick helped me sing, it was cool.  It was cool too on Friday after the funeral vigil, our parish rented the city pool and we gathered. The water was cold and I didn't want to get in with the kids.  Later on Father Patrick was cruising along the poolside with our future Father Felix.  They saw me with my kids and wife wading in the kid pool and they waved and made their way to us.  We chatted and Fr. Patrick was like "why is there no adults in the water?"  I said "Because they are smart, it is too cold.  "Why are just the children in the water, come on let's go in there".  Fr. Patrick is younger than me.  I watched him, and got up and with Felix went to check him out. Sure enough he was in the deep end swimming.  I got on the diving board acting scared and bounced up and did a backflip into the water to the amazement of my kids watching.  "That was cool daddy!" said my little boy.  Turns out, the water wasn't so cold.  Turns out, it was liberating.  Turns out, I was following my pastor (shepherd) as he led the way.  With the same amazement as my little boy, I sat there at a concert yesterday evening with my wife as we heard Matt Maher sing "I Need You".  Like my little boy all I can say is "that was soooo cool Daddy!".  To have sung that song all weekend and then hear the guy that wrote it for you sing it to us!?  WOW. 
You know Lord, I don't think it's that hard to be Holy.   We just make it hard on ourselves.  I hope you don't mind Lord, I copied my friends and family on this letter to you this morning.  I can't wait to be with you again.  I love you Father, help me love you more and more .. .. holy