Monday, August 4, 2014

It Is I

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Minute Meditations

Living Sacrifice

As Scripture tells us, our body is to become nothing less than a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, whose only Son became one of us in the flesh in all things but sin. The incarnation is the greatest testimony to the union of body and soul.
— from Table of Plenty

St. John Vianney

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A man with vision overcomes obstacles and performs deeds that seem impossible. John Vianney was a man with vision: He wanted to become a priest. But he had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which inadequately prepared him for seminary studies.
His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue. But his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a lengthy battle with the books, John was ordained.

Situations calling for "impossible" deeds followed him everywhere. As pastor of the parish at Ars, John encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. His vision led him through severe fasts and short nights of sleep. (Some devils can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.)

With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La Providence, a home for girls. Only a man of vision could have such trust that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those who came to make La Providence their home.

His work as a confessor is John Vianney's most remarkable accomplishment. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours. Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day after day.

Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney had no thoughts of retirement. As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God's people. Even the few hours he would allow himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil.

Who, but a man with vision, could keep going with ever-increasing strength? In 1929, Pope Pius XI named him the patron of parish priests worldwide.


Indifference toward religion, coupled with a love for material comfort, seem to be common signs of our times. A person from another planet observing us would not likely judge us to be pilgrim people, on our way to somewhere else. John Vianney, on the other hand, was a man on a journey with his goal before him at all times.


Recommending liturgical prayer, John Vianney would say, "Private prayer is like straw scattered here and there: If you set it on fire, it makes a lot of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle and light them, and you get a mighty fire, rising like a column into the sky; public prayer is like that."

Patron Saint of:

Parish priests

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 granted me the great gift of freedom.
In these times, O Lord, grant that I may be free
From any form of racism or intolerance.
Remind me, Lord, that we are all equal
in your Loving eyes.


To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me.
To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.

The Word of God

Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest
Lectionary: 407/408

Reading 1 jer 28:1-17

In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah,
in the fifth month of the fourth year,
the prophet Hananiah, son of Azzur, from Gibeon,
said to me in the house of the LORD
in the presence of the priests and all the people:
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
'I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.
Within two years I will restore to this place
all the vessels of the temple of the LORD which Nebuchadnezzar,
king of Babylon, took away from this place to Babylon.
And I will bring back to this place Jeconiah,
son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
and all the exiles of Judah who went to Babylon,' says the LORD,
'for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.'"

The prophet Jeremiah answered the prophet Hananiah
in the presence of the priests and all the people assembled
in the house of the LORD, and said:
Amen! thus may the LORD do!
May he fulfill the things you have prophesied
by bringing the vessels of the house of the LORD
and all the exiles back from Babylon to this place!
But now, listen to what I am about to state in your hearing
and the hearing of all the people.
From of old, the prophets who were before you and me prophesied
war, woe, and pestilence against many lands and mighty kingdoms.
But the prophet who prophesies peace
is recognized as truly sent by the LORD
only when his prophetic prediction is fulfilled.

Thereupon the prophet Hananiah took the yoke
from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it,
and said in the presence of all the people:
"Thus says the LORD: 'Even so, within two years
I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
from off the neck of all the nations.'"
At that, the prophet Jeremiah went away.

Some time after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke
from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah,
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah:
Go tell Hananiah this:
Thus says the LORD:
By breaking a wooden yoke, you forge an iron yoke!
For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
A yoke of iron I will place on the necks
of all these nations serving Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
and they shall serve him; even the beasts of the field I give him.

To the prophet Hananiah the prophet Jeremiah said:
Hear this, Hananiah!
The LORD has not sent you,
and you have raised false confidence in this people.
For this, says the LORD, I will dispatch you from the face of the earth;
this very year you shall die,
because you have preached rebellion against the LORD.
That same year, in the seventh month, Hananiah the prophet died.

Responsorial Psalm ps 119:29, 43, 79, 80, 95, 102

R. (68b) Lord, teach me your statutes.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Take not the word of truth from my mouth,
for in your ordinances is my hope.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Let those turn to me who fear you
and acknowledge your decrees.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Let my heart be perfect in your statutes,
that I be not put to shame.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Sinners wait to destroy me,
but I pay heed to your decrees.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
From your ordinances I turn not away,
for you have instructed me.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Gospel mt 14:22-36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
"It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
Peter said to him in reply,
"Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
He said, "Come."
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
"Truly, you are the Son of God."

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.


Conversation requires talking and listening.  As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen.  I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me.  I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares.  I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts.  I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for 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: Jeremiah 28:1-17

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Saint John Vianney, Priest

Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, and you have raised false confidence in this people. (Jeremiah 28:15)

I hope; therefore I am. This little twist on a famous quotation gets to the heart of what hope is. While it stands alongside two other core virtues of the Christian life—faith and love—hope rarely enjoys the limelight. But hope is just as essential to a full life as the other two!

So what is hope? Put simply, hope is confidence that a brighter day is coming, because God said so. Hope is the grace to lift our eyes and our hearts to heaven, where we find the energy and motivation to keep moving forward.

Like faith and love, hope can start small in our hearts. Think of a whisper or a mustard seed of hope. But even in small doses, it's potent. Just a bit of hope can galvanize us through a difficult season. It can remind us that God is working all things together for our good. It can help us see the great potential in small beginnings.

It's no wonder, then, that false hope is so distasteful. And in today's reading from Jeremiah, the Israelites had gulped a mouthful of it. A man named Hananiah gave them empty promises concerning an early resolution in their struggle against Babylon. Ultimately, this could have caused a lot more damage if God hadn't intervened. He wanted to give his people real hope that was anchored in the substance of his promises and his plan for them. So he did! For the next four chapters, Jeremiah recorded page after page of prophecies that spoke of exile and return, of hardship followed by triumph.

What about you? Maybe you find yourself losing hope. Maybe the odds seem stacked against your dreams for your life or your family. You have your reasons. But whatever they are, God wants to intervene. He wants to give you a hope that's different, that's anchored in eternal truth. A hope that doesn't waver with circumstances or dwindle with time. So take the time today to read Jeremiah 29--32. God didn't give up on the Israelites—and he certainly won't give up on you! Let his gift of hope sink deeply into your heart.

"Father, I place my hope in you."

Psalm 119:29, 43, 79-80, 95, 102; Matthew 14:22-36

 What a goofus. I mispelled words last time I wrote to you. Too much of a hurry.  And that riddled me for the rest of the day.  I was in a crowd writing, waiting basically for me to move.  The "spirit" of this and the "spirit" of that, and "believe" in this and that has been been the messages I hear lately.  And that there well, is the problem.  I see icons.  I see idols.  And I see the yoke placed on the shoulders, the burden.  The stress, the anxiety.  March and dance to this tune and that.  "Don't cramp my style" and "don't you dare insult me".  And so false hopes arise around you that make things worse.  In comes the Psalm "Lord teach me your statutes".  That is to say "Lord, teach me your law" (your Way).  Jesus was on the shore with the people He was teaching.  He commanded the disciples to go to the other shore, "I'll see you there".  I'll meet you on the other side, says the Lord our God.  This is a song I sing "with you I will seek other shores" most often I sing at funeral vigils, but sung while leading at the last Mass in my hometown.  Feeding thousands with very little bread and fish, He sent the people home, while He stayed and did what?  Prayed.  We need more prayer and reconciliation with the Father.  Fasting? Yes.  Praying? Yes.  Why?  What for?  EXACTLY.  What do we fast and pray for?  For salvation.  For Jesus.  Because we are burdened with false hopes in the world.  And because we are hopeless, we become despondent.  We start to lose the sense of life.  The sense of direction...the Way.  In comes Jesus walking on water.  Peter our rock started to walk on water, then doubted.  What happens when we doubt in hope?  We sink.  What happens though when we yell out to our Lord to save us?  He Saves.  That is what the name Jesus means "He-Saves".  It wasn't His name for the time being on earth, but forever.  I want you to notice in your life the times we drift away and sink in our faith.  Think about God and talk to Him throughout the entire day.  Only let the "Spirit" of God lead you and speak to you.  And He will.  And this salvation is something to be grateful for.  Not because we fail or become goofballs, but because of salvation that comes by way of mercy and miracles of love.  Perhaps the greatest of miracles is just exactly that...feeling the love of God, sensing the love of God.  He gives to eat and food for thought, but we need more, we need Love, that hope, and Jesus our Father and Spirit, gives exactly that.  One of the most touching moments in this reciprocating love came a couple months ago in Holy Adoration.  I had recorded that prayer "Heart of Jesus" in song with my daughter and instead of praying it in Holy Hour we played it in Holy Hour, as I knelt on that hard kneeler looking into the Blessed Sacrament, I knew I was pouring my love, our love to Him, and I promise I felt Him looking with eyes of love right back, enjoying the gift that I didn't even mean to be that way, an offering, somewhat of a sacrifice.  He is really, REALLY there.  That is to say, He is Really REALLY here.  Angels among us, and Jesus all the more.  When the waves rock your life, be with Jesus, hope is so much, faith is so much, and love is so much there.  Jesus.  Breathe in His name and live it.