Monday, August 11, 2014

Worth Twice

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Contemplative Prayer

When a soul finds itself regularly and easily entering into contact with God, this is often called the "prayer of simplicity." The soul finds itself easily gazing silently at the grandeur of God. Because so little effort is required in this kind of almost exclusively affective meditation, it is often called contemplative prayer.
— from Answers

St. Clare


Listen to AudioOne of the more sugary movies made about Francis of Assisi (October 4) pictures Clare as a golden-haired beauty floating through sun-drenched fields, a sort of one-woman counterpart to the new Franciscan Order.

The beginning of her religious life was indeed movie material. Having refused to marry at 15, she was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. He became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide.

At 18, she escaped one night from her father's home, was met on the road by friars carrying torches, and in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed the long tresses to Francis' scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent, which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. She clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair and remained adamant.

End of movie material. Sixteen days later her sister Agnes joined her. Others came. They lived a simple life of great poverty, austerity and complete seclusion from the world, according to a Rule which Francis gave them as a Second Order (Poor Clares). Francis obliged her under obedience at age 21 to accept the office of abbess, one she exercised until her death.

The nuns went barefoot, slept on the ground, ate no meat and observed almost complete silence. (Later Clare, like Francis, persuaded her sisters to moderate this rigor: "Our bodies are not made of brass.") The greatest emphasis, of course, was on gospel poverty. They possessed no property, even in common, subsisting on daily contributions. When even the pope tried to persuade her to mitigate this practice, she showed her characteristic firmness: "I need to be absolved from my sins, but I do not wish to be absolved from the obligation of following Jesus Christ."

Contemporary accounts glow with admiration of her life in the convent of San Damiano in Assisi. She served the sick, waited on table, washed the feet of the begging nuns. She came from prayer, it was said, with her face so shining it dazzled those about her. She suffered serious illness for the last 27 years of her life. Her influence was such that popes, cardinals and bishops often came to consult her—she never left the walls of San Damiano.

Francis always remained her great friend and inspiration. She was always obedient to his will and to the great ideal of gospel life which he was making real.

A well-known story concerns her prayer and trust. She had the Blessed Sacrament placed on the walls of the convent when it faced attack by invading Saracens. "Does it please you, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children I have nourished with your love? I beseech you, dear Lord, protect these whom I am now unable to protect." To her sisters she said, "Don't be afraid. Trust in Jesus." The Saracens fled.


: On her deathbed, Clare was heard to say to herself: "Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me."


The 41 years of Clare's religious life are poor movie material, but they are a scenario of sanctity: an indomitable resolve to lead the simple, literal gospel life as Francis taught her; courageous resistance to the ever-present pressure to dilute the ideal; a passion for poverty and humility; an ardent life of prayer; and a generous concern for her sisters.

Patron Saint of:

Eye disorders

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


At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
He is always waiting, listening for our call.
What a wonderful blessing.
No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.


There are very few people
who realise what God would make of them
if they abandoned themselves into his hands,
and let themselves be formed by his grace. (Saint Ignatius)
I ask for the grace to trust myself totally to God's love.


Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.

The Word of God

Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin
Lectionary: 413

Reading 1 ez 1:2-5, 24-28c

On the fifth day of the fourth month of the fifth year,
that is, of King Jehoiachin's exile,
The word of the LORD came to the priest Ezekiel,
the son of Buzi,
in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.—
There the hand of the LORD came upon me.

As I looked, a stormwind came from the North,
a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness,
from the midst of which (the midst of the fire)
something gleamed like electrum.
Within it were figures resembling four living creatures
that looked like this: their form was human.

Then I heard the sound of their wings,
like the roaring of mighty waters,
like the voice of the Almighty.
When they moved, the sound of the tumult was like the din of an army.
And when they stood still, they lowered their wings.

Above the firmament over their heads
something like a throne could be seen,
looking like sapphire.
Upon it was seated, up above, one who had the appearance of a man.
Upward from what resembled his waist I saw what gleamed like electrum;
downward from what resembled his waist I saw what looked like fire;
he was surrounded with splendor.
Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day
was the splendor that surrounded him.
Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm ps 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights;
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys,
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
And he has lifted up the horn of his people.
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel mt 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
"The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day."
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
"Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?"
"Yes," he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, "What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?"
When he said, "From foreigners," Jesus said to him,
"Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you."


What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side, and share my feelings with him.


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: Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28

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Saint Clare, Virgin

While I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens opened. (Ezekiel 1:1)

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Don't put God in a box"? It's because we know that he doesn't fit! But imagine that all your life and all your parents' lives, the idea of a relationship with God revolved around a fixed location—not a box, exactly, but a room: the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem.

In today's first reading, Ezekiel and his fellow Israelites have been deported to Babylon—far away from their beloved Temple. But then, out of the blue, the glorious presence of the Lord appears to Ezekiel in a place no one expects. He shows up not in the Holy of Holies but in a pagan land!

With allegories, visions, and parables, Ezekiel carried the word of the Lord to the Jewish people in exile, constantly emphasizing the sovereignty and majesty of God. He is God, and he can appear and speak wherever he chooses. He is not limited to a building or a nation. Whether he was giving a message of judgment or consolation, God reminded his people over and over again that he is in charge.

A few hundred years later, God again broke through his people's expectations when the Messiah came as a servant who died and rose for his people's sins.

Even knowing all of this, it's hard not to put limitations on the Lord. "But this is how things were when I was growing up!" or "She can't possibly serve the Lord. Look at how chaotic her life is." But the secret for recognizing God's work doesn't come by focusing on the limitations; it comes by humbly looking for his glory in whatever form it may take.

As you start your day today, try to think of two circumstances in which God might show himself in an unexpected way. Maybe you can try to find him in the quiet neighbor who always keeps to herself. Or you can look for him in a hard situation you are working through. Know that when you begin to make space for the Lord like this, you will look back one day and notice how some of those limitations and expectations have changed to reflect your ongoing experience of who he is.

"Lord, invade my world with your presence today."


Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14; Matthew 17:22-27


It is the pillars of a cursillista (one who has lived a cursillo) to live Piety, Study, and Action.  Simply said, we are to Love, Know, and Serve the Lord.  Notice, first comes love.  First there was God in the world, and then we came.  We came because He wanted.  As if the Lord to say "I Want Youto love Me, know Me, and serve Me".   This is the story of your life.  You were designed for a purpose.  Nevermind where you have been put, don't ever think you should've been somewhere else under other circumstances.  Don't think you deserve less or better.  This is where you are put.  Not to settle for what you have but to offer what you have.  I don't have a million dollars to give, nor will I ever.  That is the lump some as a matter of fact that our parish needs to have half of the money to build additional rooms and a gym/facility for larger gatherings.  I told a brother on the phone yesterday "I've been on the parish council for years, been now through 3 different priests, the task is monumental, just now we are seeing a collection to make the addition happen, and this after so much is all in God's timing".  We didn't need the building that bad perhaps 8 years ago, but it's getting to that point.  This whole trusting in God thing really tries your patience.  Jesus knew He would be handed over to death...He had to trust.  The Disciples found out what would happen to the Messiah, and they now had to trust.  Peter was told to go fish for the temple tax, as if they didn't belong, but in humility He obeyed.  Ahh, can we begin to notice a trend?  Trusting is humility.  Not trusting then, is arrogance. 
Today's spanish 5minutos said the story:
"...A philosopher decided to go on a boat to cross the river to continue his studies and travels through the world.  He paid 10 shillings to a boatman who was working in this all his life.  The philosopher strikes up a conversation with the boatman:-"Exuse me good man, have you studied philosophy or know of some great teachers?".  The boatman with displeasure responds "No, I've been at this work since I was a young boy". The philosopher said with vents of superiority "Then you have lost half your life".  Suddenly a strong wind blows and a storm surprises both, the boat turns over making both fall in the water when they were halfway down the river.  Then the boatman says "Can you swim?", and the man responds "No".   "Then you will lose all of your life" said the boatman who had dedicated all his life to the waters and boats.  That's how it would be if the simple boatman had not rescued the philosopher that who from that day learned to be less proud and be more humble and respectful.  Let us pray especially today, so that if God our Father, so desires, give us the gift to be a little more humble."

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