Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Mighty Deeds

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Minute Meditations

Harmony and Peace

At Eucharist we meet Christ and are challenged by Him in the assembly of His people. He is there to bring harmony and peace into our lives, our families, our country, our world. He comes to make us experience ourselves as His body in the world.
— from Catholic Update Guide to Jesus

St. Bonaventure

Bonaventure, Franciscan, theologian, doctor of the Church, was both learned and holy. Because of the spirit that filled him and his writings, he was at first called the Devout Doctor; but in more recent centuries he has been known as the Seraphic Doctor after the "Seraphic Father" Francis because of the truly Franciscan spirit he possessed.
Born in Bagnoregio, a town in central Italy, he was cured of a serious illness as a boy through the prayers of Francis of Assisi. Later, he studied the liberal arts in Paris. Inspired by Francis and the example of the friars, especially of his master in theology, Alexander of Hales, he entered the Franciscan Order, and became in turn a teacher of theology in the university. Chosen as minister general of the Order in 1257, he was God's instrument in bringing it back to a deeper love of the way of St. Francis, both through the life of Francis which he wrote at the behest of the brothers and through other works which defended the Order or explained its ideals and way of life.


The morning of the fifteenth of July, 1274, in the midst of the Second Council of Lyons, Pope Gregory X and the Fathers of the Council were shocked to learn that toward dawn Brother Bonaventure, bishop of Albano, had sickened and died. An unknown chronicler provides his impression of the Franciscan cardinal: "A man of eminent learning and eloquence, and of outstanding holiness, he was known for his kindness, approachableness, gentleness and compassion. Full of virtue, he was beloved of God and man. At his funeral Mass that same day, many were in tears, for the Lord had granted him this grace, that whoever came to know him was forthwith drawn to a deep love of him."


Bonaventure so united holiness and theological knowledge that he rose to the heights of mysticism while yet remaining a very active preacher and teacher, one beloved by all who met him. To know him was to love him; to read him is still for us today to meet a true Franciscan and a gentleman.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


Dear Jesus, as I call on you today I realise that I often come asking for favours.
Today I'd like just to be in your presence.
Let my heart respond to Your Love.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Mostly I take this gift for granted.
Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended,
with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You.


How do I find myself today?
Where am I with God? With others?
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

Reading 1 is 7:1-9

In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah,
Rezin, king of Aram,
and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah,
went up to attack Jerusalem,
but they were not able to conquer it.
When word came to the house of David that Aram
was encamped in Ephraim,
the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled,
as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.

Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz,
you and your son Shear-jashub,
at the end of the conduit of the upper pool,
on the highway of the fuller's field, and say to him:
Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear;
let not your courage fail
before these two stumps of smoldering brands
the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans,
and of the son Remaliah,
because of the mischief that
Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah,
plots against you, saying,
"Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force,
and appoint the son of Tabeel king there."

Thus says the LORD:
This shall not stand, it shall not be!
Damascus is the capital of Aram,
and Rezin is the head of Damascus;
Samaria is the capital of Ephraim,
and Remaliah's son the head of Samaria.

But within sixty years and five,
Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation.
Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!

Responsorial Psalm ps 48:2-3a, 3b-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (see 9d) God upholds his city for ever.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Mount Zion, "the recesses of the North,"
is the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
For lo! the kings assemble,
they come on together;
They also see, and at once are stunned,
terrified, routed.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Quaking seizes them there;
anguish, like a woman's in labor,
As though a wind from the east
were shattering ships of Tarshish.
R. God upholds his city for ever.

Gospel mt 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."

Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord.  I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me.  I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.


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: Isaiah 7:1-9

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Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail. (Isaiah 7:4)

In the face of a likely invasion from the north, Judah's King Ahaz and the people of Jerusalem need some reassurance for their trembling hearts. How does Ahaz try to do that? By seeking a military alliance against his enemies. But the prophet Isaiah comes to tell him that political maneuvers won't give him the kind of tranquility that God offers. That calm comes from a deep trust in the One who is more powerful than any adversary, including the hostile armies surrounding Jerusalem.

"Unless your faith is firm," Isaiah warns, "you shall not be firm!" (Isaiah 7:9). Yes, Ahaz had to make careful political decisions. Yes, he had to consider his role as the leader of an embattled nation. But Ahaz had to decide whether he was going to make these decisions in faith or with human logic alone.

We've all encountered believers who radiate a deep peace—even joy—in the midst of overwhelming difficulties. We reach out to comfort them but end up having our own faith strengthened. Of course, these folks may also have strategies that help them cope, but the bedrock reality is that they are choosing to anchor their lives in the Lord and his faithfulness. When troubles arise, they don't waste time analyzing whether their fear is reasonable or irrational. Instead, they turn to God and seek his courage, his wisdom, and his guidance. 

We can't always choose how to feel when hard times come, but we can choose whether we will base our lives on God or on our own strength and cleverness. Just as Peter in the boat still faced a stormy sea, we too will face storms. The question is whether we will anchor ourselves in the truth of Christ.

The best time to practice dropping this kind of anchor is before any storm overwhelms you. Today at least one circumstance will arise that you didn't foresee. In that moment, stop and look to Jesus. Praise him because you know he is with you. Praise him for this opportunity, knowing that nothing can enter your life without his knowledge. Look to him, and try your best to follow his lead.

"Lord Jesus, help me set aside reliance on my own resources and ground my hope in your love alone."


Psalm 48:2-8; Matthew 11:20-24

Today's 5minutos ended with the line "Today He tells each and every one of us, then, Woe to You because if "so and so" had been given what you have been given, they would have converted a long time ago and been eternally grateful, but you in return .......".  Strong words.  But even stronger words came from our Lord today.  In today's first Holy Scripture we read the verse "unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm".  And then we heard the Psalm that the Lord our God upholds His city forever.  The Holy Gospel recalls the time Jesus was repraching towns for their hardness of hearts.  The greatest of miracles done in their presence, yet not converted.  A miracle should convert a city to God.  A miracle should convert a soul.  But we see them and they do not phase us.  If we could only see what the realm of God's Kingdom sees, we would live a different life together.  But it is fitting that the prince of lights is in the world and evil turns out the lights so you can not see.  As I knelt beside my bed last night in prayer, it was all dark, but it didn't matter, because my heart was pumping for God, tears wanted to come to my eyes.  Darkness doesn't matter, even if it is matter in the universe, it's not all that matters.  From I read:
"As for the passage presently before us, it gives in the order of events that on the sixth day the Saviour,
after the business of the marriage at Cana of Galilee, went down with His mother and His brothers and His disciples to Capernaum,  which means "field of consolation."
For after the feasting and the wine it was fitting that the Saviour should come to the field of consolation with His mother and His disciples, to console those whom He was training for disciples and the soul which had conceived Him by the Holy Ghost, with the fruits which were to stand in that full field."
In the field of consolation Jesus stands with the reproach, an approach yet again of love.  As if still giving another chance as they breathe, "will you still not repent?"  Do you think the miracles were for the one receiving the miracle, or for you to see the love of God?".  I was invited this weekend to do an opening prayer at a car-show benefit for a young girl with cancer.  After Holy Mass I went to the park to do the prayer.  I did not know the girl with Gaucher's cancer and so I asked the MC to point out who she was so we could have her come up center stage.  He called everybody up and as they came to stage he pointed to the girl and the mother coming.  I had them come up.  I saw the airbrushed shirts they were wearing which had a line about God in the front and I spoke to the crowds about the shirt and the reason we were all there.  I said to the girl with cancer "turn around so we can see what the back of the shirt says". I read it outloud on the microphone "All Things Are Possible With Christ".  I continued "let us pray for the continued health of Vanessa who is a living miracle, (because not many live to this age with this cancer), let us continue to pray for her health and give thanks, and remember that not all healings are of the body, but many healings start in the spiritual life.  Let us thank God for gathering us here for her on this beautiful day.  Look at how God loves you Vanessa, look at all these people gathered here today for you...." and soon enough the mic was turned over back to the MC.  Her living miracle was what brought the town together at that moment, it was God. 
So what is your miracle?  Your cancer?  Your problem?  Because Jesus came BACK to capernaum to say once again I come for you.  Jesus today is saying "I am coming back to you where I have provided miracles of consolation".  I am of the Spirit and of the Consoler.  I can console because I know everything about your malady.  What I want is your faith.  Your faith in the darkness.  Your faith to remain firm.  And I will make it firm in flesh.  I will make your heart strong.  I will come into your body and soul. " ""
And He Does, every single day.  Every single moment He is brought about.  Repent is a strange word.  Precisely because the world does not know what it is or how to do it: heartfelt sorrow with the firm purpose of sinning no more, it is thus the prime condition on which depends the value of whatever the sinner may do or suffer by way of expiation.  I will say it again and again because it is worth saying and living.  An appreciative, and truly thankful soul, truly thankful, will ultimately be a holy soul...a child of God