Wednesday, August 13, 2014

There Am I

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Minute Meditations

God is Good!
The God Saul encountered on the road to Damascus was different than the God he had come to know on his own. When Saul was humbled, he was startled; when he was blinded, he began to truly see. That's what grace does—it gives us the eyes of faith.
— from Zealous

Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus
(d. 235)

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Two men died for the faith after harsh treatment and exhaustion in the mines of Sardinia. One had been pope for five years, the other an antipope for 18. They died reconciled.

Pontian. Pontian was a Roman who served as pope from 230 to 235. During his reign he held a synod which confirmed the excommunication of the great theologian Origen in Alexandria. Pontian was banished to exile by the Roman emperor in 235, and resigned so that a successor could be elected in Rome. He was sent to the "unhealthy" island of Sardinia, where he died of harsh treatment in 235. With him was Hippolytus (see below) with whom he was reconciled. The bodies of both martyrs were brought back to Rome and buried with solemn rites as martyrs.

Hippolytus. As a priest in Rome, Hippolytus (the name means "a horse turned loose") was at first "holier than the Church." He censured the pope for not coming down hard enough on a certain heresy—calling him a tool in the hands of one Callistus, a deacon—and coming close to advocating the opposite heresy himself. When Callistus was elected pope, Hippolytus accused him of being too lenient with penitents, and had himself elected antipope by a group of followers. He felt that the Church must be composed of pure souls uncompromisingly separated from the world: Hippolytus evidently thought that his group fitted the description. He remained in schism through the reigns of three popes. In 235 he was also banished to the island of Sardinia. Shortly before or after this event, he was reconciled to the Church, and died with Pope Pontian in exile.

Hippolytus was a rigorist, a vehement and intransigent man for whom even orthodox doctrine and practice were not purified enough. He is, nevertheless, the most important theologian and prolific religious writer before the age of Constantine. His writings are the fullest source of our knowledge of the Roman liturgy and the structure of the Church in the second and third centuries. His works include many Scripture commentaries, polemics against heresies and a history of the world. A marble statue, dating from the third century, representing the saint sitting in a chair, was found in 1551. On one side is inscribed his table for computing the date of Easter, on the other a list of how the system works out until the year 224. Blessed John XXIII installed the statue in the Vatican library.


Hippolytus was a strong defender of orthodoxy, and admitted his excesses by his humble reconciliation. He was not a formal heretic, but an overzealous disciplinarian. What he could not learn in his prime as a reformer and purist, he learned in the pain and desolation of imprisonment. It was a fitting symbolic event that Pope Pontian shared his martyrdom.


"Christ, like a skillful physician, understands the weakness of men. He loves to teach the ignorant and the erring he turns again to his own true way. He is easily found by those who live by faith; and to those of pure eye and holy heart, who desire to knock at the door, he opens immediately. He does not disdain the barbarian, nor does he set the eunuch aside as no man. He does not hate the female on account of the woman's act of disobedience in the beginning, nor does he reject the male on account of the man's transgression. But he seeks all, and desires to save all, wishing to make all the children of God, and calling all the saints unto one perfect man" (Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


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.


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God

Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 415

Reading 1 ez 9:1-7; 10:18-22

The LORD cried loud for me to hear: Come, you scourges of the city!
With that I saw six men coming from the direction
of the upper gate which faces the north,
each with a destroying weapon in his hand.
In their midst was a man dressed in linen,
with a writer's case at his waist.
They entered and stood beside the bronze altar.
Then he called to the man dressed in linen
with the writer's case at his waist, saying to him:
Pass through the city, through Jerusalem,
and mark a "Thau" on the foreheads of those who moan and groan
over all the abominations that are practiced within it.
To the others I heard the LORD say:
Pass through the city after him and strike!
Do not look on them with pity nor show any mercy!
Old men, youths and maidens, women and children--wipe them out!
But do not touch any marked with the "Thau"; begin at my sanctuary.
So they began with the men, the elders, who were in front of the temple.
Defile the temple, he said to them, and fill the courts with the slain;
then go out and strike in the city.

Then the glory of the LORD left the threshold of the temple
and rested upon the cherubim.
These lifted their wings, and I saw them rise from the earth,
the wheels rising along with them.
They stood at the entrance of the eastern gate of the LORD's house,
and the glory of the God of Israel was up above them.
Then the cherubim lifted their wings, and the wheels went along with them,
while up above them was the glory of the God of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm ps 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (4b) The glory of the Lord is higher than the skies.
R. Alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R. The glory of the Lord is higher than the skies.
R. Alleluia.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R. The glory of the Lord is higher than the skies.
R. Alleluia.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high,
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R. The glory of the Lord is higher than the skies.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel mt 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
"If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them."

Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?


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 9:1-7; 10:18-22

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Saints Pontian, Pope, and Hippolytus, Priest, Martyrs

Mark a "Thau" on the foreheads ... (Ezekiel 9:4)

In the Pixar movie franchise Toy Story, the main character is Woody, a toy cowboy who belongs to a boy named Andy. Andy loves Woody so much that he writes his name on the bottom of Woody's boot. Woody was always very proud of this honor, for it showed that he belonged to someone—that Andy had claimed him as his own.

Throughout the Toy Story movies, you see this theme expanded. As Woody meets other toys, he sees that some are not as deeply loved as he has been, and he sees the effect it has had on them. The sense of rejection hurts them and colors the way they look at the world.

This concept of identifying something as "your own" in a special way is an unmistakably human idea. Once you write your name on something, it is somehow transformed from a random object to something that is connected to you, something wholly yours.

In today's first reading, Ezekiel describes the day when God will use men dressed in armor to strike down those who have not been faithful to him. But God will also send one man dressed in the linen of a priest to make a special mark on the forehead of all the faithful—those whom God can proudly call his own. The mark of those who are chosen is a thau, a Hebrew letter resembling a "t" that was often used to mark possessions.

Imagine the joy that those who were marked would have felt! After all those years lamenting the moral decline of their city, it must have been very affirming to be singled out by God in such a dramatic way.

You are marked as well! When you were anointed with holy oil at your baptism, God claimed you as his own. He has set his seal of love on you. You belong to him! Remember this truth today. Let it fill you with joy and peace. Your heavenly Father is completely committed to you. He has claimed you, and he will never let you go.

"Thank you, Father, for writing your name on my heart! Help me today to share with the people around me the joy of being chosen."


Psalm 113:1-6; Matthew 18:15-20


We are marked with the sign of the cross.  We now are missionaries.  We now are to carry out the life of Christ.  What does not fit has to be brought up.  We may wonder why nobody tells someone at church they are not living as God desires.  Wonder no more.  Question is why haven't I brought it up if it has offended me or the Lord?  In reference to this we read in Leviticus 19:
"You shall not hate any of your kindred in your heart. Reprove your neighbor openly so that you do not incur sin because of that person. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."
Long before Jesus would mark the way with the cross, our Lord said to love neighbor as yourself.  "Forgive as we forgive" we pray the Lord's words.  We read in 1Timothy:
"Do not accept an accusation against a presbyter unless it is supported by two or three witnesses.h 20Reprimand publicly those who do sin, so that the rest also will be afraid.i 21I charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to keep these rules without prejudice, doing nothing out of favoritism. 22Do not lay hands too readily on anyone, and do not share in another's sins. Keep yourself pure.j 23Stop drinking only water, but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. "

People won't want to hear the truth, much less what they will take as an "accusation".  So who will bring up the truth and how?  We all can, but first with God.  In John 20:23 we read "23* n Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."  So if we fail to forgive and if we hold sin (other people's too), we are responsible.  How can I let my neighbor keep being a drunkard?  A sinner?  "Oh but Adrian, you don't know their heart and what God thinks of them".  Well, I do know what sin is.  Being in sin is SIN.  Too often the devil will make you hush with confusion.  The world we live in is confusing.  Not with the Lord though.  The light is truth and the truth shows the way.  We are here to help one another, not beat each other up.  We are pilgrims on a journey to the next life.  I noticed not all read yesterday's email so I will repeat a line: 'because of so much (bad stuff) going on in the world we are now in a the greatest of times to become a saint'(paraphrased).  Something (evil) is lurking that is taking away hope out there, and that hope is Jesus in His fullest sense.  They say in our nation up to 100 people commit suicide each day.  That's more than how many people are killed in car accidents each day in past years.  I always used to tell people "the most dangerous thing we do is get on that highway".  But no, the leading cause now and the most dangerous is infliction of self murder.  We all go through darkness.  We need hope.  I am going to say one thing I wish everyone would know:  Before taking your life wholly, give your life to Holy.  I don't know what it is that keeps us from a full life dedicated to God.  "I can't" is the addage.  "I can't go on like this".  THen don't go on like this.  Go on to God!  "But I've tried prayer and church".  Yes, but you haven't tried Christ.  Once Christ takes over, the possession, this marking of His brings life and light.  I've seen it.  I know it.  If you know of anyone who has even "talked" about suicide, then you yourself have been made responsible for that person in prayer.  They need you, they need Christ the Savior.  The same with sin.  If you know of someone in sin, they are committing spiritual suicide.  How could you allow them to die forever?  And myself?

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