Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hundred Times More

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Minute Meditations

Perfect Joy

Perfect joy is the ability to return peace and love to those who cross us. That is indeed the path to sainthood, and few of us manage to walk it perfectly.
— from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy

St. John Eudes
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How little we know where God's grace will lead. Born on a farm in northern France, John died at 79 in the next "county" or department. In that time he was a religious, a parish missionary, founder of two religious communities and a great promoter of the devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

He joined the religious community of the Oratorians and was ordained a priest at 24. During severe plagues in 1627 and 1631, he volunteered to care for the stricken in his own diocese. Lest he infect his fellow religious, he lived in a huge cask in the middle of a field during the plague.

At age 32, John became a parish missionary. His gifts as preacher and confessor won him great popularity. He preached over 100 parish missions, some lasting from several weeks to several months.

In his concern with the spiritual improvement of the clergy, he realized that the greatest need was for seminaries. He had permission from his general superior, the bishop and even Cardinal Richelieu to begin this work, but the succeeding general superior disapproved. After prayer and counsel, John decided it was best to leave the religious community. The same year he founded a new one, ultimately called the Eudists (Congregation of Jesus and Mary), devoted to the formation of the clergy by conducting diocesan seminaries. The new venture, while approved by individual bishops, met with immediate opposition, especially from Jansenists and some of his former associates. John founded several seminaries in Normandy, but was unable to get approval from Rome (partly, it was said, because he did not use the most tactful approach).

In his parish mission work, John was disturbed by the sad condition of prostitutes who sought to escape their miserable life. Temporary shelters were found but arrangements were not satisfactory. A certain Madeleine Lamy, who had cared for several of the women, one day said to him, "Where are you off to now? To some church, I suppose, where you'll gaze at the images and think yourself pious. And all the time what is really wanted of you is a decent house for these poor creatures." The words, and the laughter of those present, struck deeply within him. The result was another new religious community, called the Sisters of Charity of the Refuge.

He is probably best known for the central theme of his writings: Jesus as the source of holiness, Mary as the model of the Christian life. John's devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary led Pius XI to declare him the father of the liturgical cult of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.


Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast

By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


Dear Lord, help me to be open to you
for this time as I put aside the cares of this world.

Fill my mind with your peace, Your Love.


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.


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

Reading 1 ez 28:1-10

The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man,
say to the prince of Tyre:
Thus says the Lord GOD:

Because you are haughty of heart,
you say, "A god am I!
I occupy a godly throne
in the heart of the sea!"—
And yet you are a man, and not a god,
however you may think yourself like a god.
Oh yes, you are wiser than Daniel,
there is no secret that is beyond you.
By your wisdom and your intelligence
you have made riches for yourself;
You have put gold and silver
into your treasuries.
By your great wisdom applied to your trading
you have heaped up your riches;
your heart has grown haughty from your riches--
therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
Because you have thought yourself
to have the mind of a god,
Therefore I will bring against you
foreigners, the most barbarous of nations.
They shall draw their swords
against your beauteous wisdom,
they shall run them through your splendid apparel.
They shall thrust you down to the pit, there to die
a bloodied corpse, in the heart of the sea.
Will you then say, "I am a god!"
when you face your murderers?
No, you are man, not a god,
handed over to those who will slay you.
You shall die the death of the uncircumcised
at the hands of foreigners,
for I have spoken, says the Lord GOD.

Responsorial Psalm dt 32:26-27ab, 27cd-28, 30, 35cd-36ab

R. (39c) It is I who deal death and give life.
"I would have said, 'I will make an end of them
and blot out their name from men's memories,'
Had I not feared the insolence of their enemies,
feared that these foes would mistakenly boast."
R. It is I who deal death and give life.
"'Our own hand won the victory;
the LORD had nothing to do with it.'"
For they are a people devoid of reason,
having no understanding.
R. It is I who deal death and give life.
"How could one man rout a thousand,
or two men put ten thousand to flight,
Unless it was because their Rock sold them
and the LORD delivered them up?"
R. It is I who deal death and give life.
Close at hand is the day of their disaster,
and their doom is rushing upon them!
Surely, the LORD shall do justice for his people;
on his servants he shall have pity.
R. It is I who deal death and give life.

Gospel mt 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
"Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible."
Then Peter said to him in reply,
"We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."


Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.


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 28:1-10

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Saint John Eudes, Priest

A god am I! (Ezekiel 28:2)

Have you ever used the throne diagram? It's a simple drawing of a circle, representing your life, with a chair at the center. Somewhere within the circle is the letter S (for "self"), along with a listing of the things you find most important: family, career, friends, sports, money, education, and so on. Inside or outside the circle is a cross. The point of the exercise is to discover: Who or what is on the throne of my life? If it's Jesus (the cross), your priorities are in order, and your dying to self will be richly rewarded in God's kingdom (Matthew 19:29). Put an S or anything else on that throne, though, and you're playing with fire—a creature usurping the Creator's place.

That's what the prince of Tyre did. Here was a man "stamped with the seal of perfection, of complete wisdom and perfect beauty," blessed with wealth and power (Ezekiel 28:12). He ruled over a seemingly impregnable island-city off the coast of modern Lebanon. With two harbors and a strategic location on the shipping route linking Egypt and Greece, Tyre prospered as a commercial hub. But success turned the head of its gifted prince. Believing himself to have "the mind of a god," he pridefully assumed credit for God's gifts and misused them (Ezekiel 28:6, 15-18). The Lord was not amused. As Ezekiel prophesied would happen, the splendid prince and his domain fell to Babylon in 573 b.c. after a thirteen-year siege.

Though none of us reading this would dare proclaim that we are "gods," our thoughts and deeds may tell a different story. After all, claiming equality with God is the basic human sin (Genesis 3:5). Each of us has our own ways of falling into it. Even a saint like Bernadette could say, "My pride will die fifteen minutes after I do!"

If we recognize our weakness and keep our eyes on Jesus, though, there is nothing to fear. He loves us and can teach us how to become strong in him: by relying on his grace rather than our striving, by following his commands, by seeking his glory instead of our own, and by imitating his example of humble service.

All we have to do is keep him on the throne of our lives.

"Jesus, may everything about me shout to the heavens that you are Lord!"


(Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:26-28, 30, 35-36; Matthew 19:23-30


What happens when your hope in the Lord goes away?  What comes in?  And what of all those around you that look for the hope of the Lord in you?  Don't we need stability?  Yes, a rock.  What happens when any one, or any thing else becomes your hope?  That loved one fails you.  That job failed you.  Or worse yet, you failed a loved one, or failed at a job.  Am I speaking of work and marriage?  Perhaps these are some of the aspects.  But the point is, we can easily be full of ourselves and not of God.  We put ourselves in His place.  This is what our Lord deplores.  To say "I know better" has been the sin of all time.  To equal yourself to Him is deplorable.  Even if Jesus says He is my brother or you are His sister, it does not mean we are equal, because He is more, the first born of all man.  This is how it is in the Kingdom of God.  What comes first is revered and God came first.  And the first will be last.  He serves.  Till the end.  The alpha, the first, and the omega, the end, is God.  Forever in the eternal is an eternal present in His presence. If this is too much, let us go back to what is first in our lives.  What are the most pressing issues in my life?  Ohhhh, that is a scary thought.  Because right now, if you are at work, your pressing issues are work.  If you are at home, your pressing issues are your family or household affairs, finances, schoool, kids acting up, and soon these issues possess my heart, mind, and even soul.  And so what we have is the idea of possessions.  Many of these issues possess us.  Just as the rich man is possessed by his riches he thinks he possesses.  The same are the gods that possess us, the ones we feed so much into, so much time, talent, and treasure.  Hollywood teaches family first (the best they can do), and the rest is about heroes or not so good ethics and drama that we find ourselves re-enacting.  As if God didn't give you your job, family, your possessions, He was here first.  And God is Jesus.  All we can do is be fruitful, and follow His lead.  All we can do is be grateful, thankful, appreciative, concerned, charitble, generous, especially with the gift of Love.  I read somewhere that I need God's mercy so I can give it too.  Much of a Holy Mass is spent asking our Lord to have mercy.  Much is spent giving praise, honor, and glory to Him, ultimately a thanksgiving offering.  And so the question remains, what will I offer?  Did I alot my tithe before all my other bills?  (Treasure) Did I plan on attending Mass? (Time) Did I plan on doing His will first? (Talent).  Because now we are dealing with heart, mind, and soul.  As we prayed the rosary last night in front of the nursing home, we prayed in unison.  Brother Al was all busted up from his car accident and is in recover there, and before we began the rosary he invited an older woman sitting outside.  It felt like church.  We prayed like church, and I know God is there in Church.  Brother Al said "I am the clay, He is the potter", intended metaphorical words for his broken knees and elbow and other bones.  That is to say, He will do what He pleases, and I am grateful.  Now, what will possess my heart?  My mind?  My soul?  Is it possible to spend all day thinking of my love?  Yes, we do it anyways, so what or who is your love?
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