Friday, July 18, 2014

Pick The Heads

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Minute Meditations

Love Thy Neighbor

Small, local acts of neighborliness can move us toward loving our neighbor. As that happens, we'll widen the scope of our care until we finally begin to love as God loves: all creatures, all places, always. --Kyle Kramer
— from St. Anthony Messenger

St. Camillus de Lellis

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Humanly speaking, Camillus was not a likely candidate for sainthood. His mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and he grew up with an excesive love for gambling. At 17 he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome, he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Venetian army for three years. Then in the winter of 1574, when he was 24, he gambled away everything he had--savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, and was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his whole life. He entered the Capuchin movitiate, but was dismissed because of the apparently incurable sore on his leg. After another stint of service at San Giacomo, he came back to the Capuchins, only to be dismissed again, for the same reason.  Again, back at San Giacomo, his dedication was rewarded by his being made superintendent. He devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick, and has been named, along with St. John of God, patron of hospitals, nurses and the sick. With the advice of his friend St. Philip Neri, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained at the age of 34. Contrary to the advice of his friend, he left San Giacomo and founded a congregation of his own. As superior, he devoted much of his own time to the care of the sick.

Charity was his first concern, but the physical aspects of the hospital also received his diligent attention. He insisted on cleanliness and the technical competence of those who served the sick. The members of his community bound themselves to serve prisoners and persons infected by the plague as well as those dying in private homes. Some of his men were with troops fighting in Hungary and Croatia in 1595, forming the first recorded military field ambulance. In Naples, he and his men went onto the galleys that had plague and were not allowed to land. He discovered that there were people being buried alive, and ordered his brothers to continue the prayers for the dying 15 minutes after apparent death.

He himself suffered the disease of his leg through his life. In his last illness he left his own bed to see if other patients in the hospital needed help.


A doctor in Philadelphia is a modern-day Camillus. An AP news story reports that the 31-year-old bachelor does not have an office, and gave up a lucrative health center job to treat the chronically ill in the inner city who cannot get to a clinic. He limits his practice to house calls in that inner city neighborhood.


Saints are created by God. Parents must indeed nurture the faith in their children; husbands and wives must cooperate to deepen their baptismal grace; friends must support each other. But all human effort is only the dispensing of divine power. We must all "try" as if everything depended on us. But only the power of God can fulfill the plan of God--to make us like himself.

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.


I will ask God's help,
to be free from my own preoccupations,
to be open to God in this time of prayer,
to come to know, love and serve God more.


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

Reading 1 is 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8

When Hezekiah was mortally ill,
the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him:
"Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order,
for you are about to die; you shall not recover."
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:

"O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly
I conducted myself in your presence,
doing what was pleasing to you!"
And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: "Go, tell Hezekiah:
Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David:
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.
I will heal you: in three days you shall go up to the LORD's temple;
I will add fifteen years to your life.
I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria;
I will be a shield to this city."

Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be taken
and applied to the boil, that he might recover.
Then Hezekiah asked,
"What is the sign that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD?"

Isaiah answered:
"This will be the sign for you from the LORD
that he will do what he has promised:
See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun
on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz
go back the ten steps it has advanced."
So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.

Responsorial Psalm is 38:10, 11, 12abcd, 16

R. (see 17b) You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
Once I said,
"In the noontime of life I must depart!
To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned
for the rest of my years."
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
I said, "I shall see the LORD no more
in the land of the living.
No longer shall I behold my fellow men
among those who dwell in the world."
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
My dwelling, like a shepherd's tent,
is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
who severs the last thread.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
Those live whom the LORD protects;
yours is the life of my spirit.
You have given me health and life.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

Gospel mt 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
"See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath."
He said to the them, "Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath."

How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold?
Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me,
I turn and  share my feelings with


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 12:1-8

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Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest

I desire mercy, not sacrifice. (Matthew 12:7)

A recent photo made worldwide headlines: a group of Ukrainian priests bravely stood between police and protesters on the streets of Kiev. The priests prayed both for the protesters and the police and offered refuge to the injured. Said one priest, "God is supposed to be with those who are persecuted... . It is why from the very beginning our priests were with our people in the middle of that square. And in many cases, the very presence of the priests kept those protests peaceful." Technically, the priests were breaking the letter of the law because they were defying the police. But at the same time, they were upholding the spirit of the law, which was to secure the welfare of the people.

This story reminds us that being a Christian sometimes means going against the grain—which is just what Jesus' apostles did on the Sabbath. The Pharisees viewed them as lawbreakers, but Jesus knew they had done nothing wrong. He pointed out how King David violated the Sabbath out of necessity and how the temple priests were doing God's work when they "worked" on the Sabbath. In their focus on technicalities, Jesus' opponents were ignoring the very purpose of the Law: love of God and neighbor.

Jesus wants us to be like the Twelve and like these Ukrainian priests. He wants us to be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13, 14). Salt prevents decay, and light disperses darkness. Think of how Francis of Assisi's life of humble poverty helped reform the entire Church. Or how Mother Teresa's care for the poor alerted the whole world to the cries of the neediest and most vulnerable.

How is God asking you to witness to his love today? You may encounter a homeless person near work and feel uncomfortable about reaching out to him or her in front of other people. Perhaps your friends will engage in hurtful gossip. It may be hard to stay silent or to try to turn the conversation. Whatever the situation, the Spirit will tell you what to do and how to act on his inspiration. Just take one small step, and you will be blessed. And so will those around you!

"Lord, teach me how to love you in the people you put in my path today."


Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8; (Psalm) Isaiah 38:10-12, 16


What do you mean it's in the Lord's hands?  It's in God's hands?  In "good" hands?  As in the case of the first Holy Scripture, Hezekiah was dying.  God had mercy on him.  He lived and was commanded to live by being commanded to go to Church.  How was he to know God would be there?  The Sun would go up the steps.  When our priest goes up the steps in Holy Mass, we know salvation is coming.  The Son of God goes up the steps for salvation of our souls.  The Son goes backwards.  The Son of God does things that are backwards.  In comes the King of the Universe into our earthly lives, as a baby human, a fetus, a conceived soul on earth.  Backwards to what many would want God to appear in our lives.  We want inhumane to be humane.  We are backwards, not HIM.  The Son of Man is the Son of God.  How often do we notice others' failures and fail to see God?  Just last night, I was really perturbed to hear of fellow workers were out drinking, one of which is my own buddy in bible study.  The rage wanted to kick in, to call them and "tell them something".  LOL.  I've been learning it's hard to tell a drunkard anything they will remember, or take serious.  But this silly example of mercy is one of God on all of us.  How many times do we drop the ball in our lives and live "inhumane" acts against one another?  So Jesus has the priests follow the High Priest of the universe.  The Son would shine the truth of how dark we are.  But the Son covers the world.  They pick up grains to eat on the Sabbath.  Jesus refers to the time King David was starving and came to the temple to eat the bread of salvation.  They had to travel up the steps to eat salvation.   "Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. " Jn6:53.  Salvation. ANd right before saying this Jesus, our God, said "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;z 50this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. 51  I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."a  He is saying He is the Life, the true bread, the true flesh, the way to Heaven.  As Catholics, those living in the state of grace may go up to the stairs for the Son of God to give His bread, His flesh, his Divinity, to my soul, to my flesh, for His Divinity to shine in my corner of the earth.  The saddest part would be that He comes in and I am not phased by His Presence and being in my inner being.  Would that He cometh and I not taketh Him into my heart?  So next time your mouth wants to speak out with feelings of madness or hatred, or animosity against thy neighbor (anyone you encounter), let God in to your most inner being.  I did last night, and I was able to ask God for mercy for those that were drinking the night away (darkness).  So I shake their hands in the morning, this time not mad, but glad I was given an opportunity to pray for them and love them even more.  Funny how God, the Son works backwards and saves not just "them" but in the
God You Are So Good, so AWESOME, Thank you for awakening my heart.  I didn't really "feel it" when opening up today's email to write to everyone.  Sometimes I feel like a zombie, fittingly so, because a zombie has no life.  You have now brought life into my soul.  I feel alive again.  Like Hezekiah!  How awesome it is that you come just because I invited you!  LOL, sometimes I invite friends and family and they never come, to my house, to bible study, to church, but You, Wow, You ALWAYS come, you are ALWAYS there.  You are true.  You are more than true.  When I spoke to you while driving an 18 wheeler home yesterday, I was asking for mercy for us all, and as I spoke to you, I was answering my own questions.  It's like speaking to wisdom and truth, to Honor to Glory, and it just gets reflected back without you having to say a word! So Awesome.  Your glance saves and fills with Love.  I want to be the glance and love of the world too.  Don't let me get caught up in myself, it's not worth a penny, and you are worth dying for, for sure dying to my old ways and sins.  Without you, I don't know where I'd be, surely not approaching the Temple to receive you with a more open heart leading to the soul and eternity.  I pray for everyone reading this right now because they too are on the approach to You Love and MERCY