Friday, August 22, 2014

Is Like It

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Minute Meditations
Empty Preaching

No one listens willingly to someone who speaks to them from a position of self-righteousness and judgment. Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus reserves his harshest words for those who ignore their own weakness in order to lord it over others.
— from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy

Queenship of Mary
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Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary's queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary's Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary "mother of my Lord." As in all the mysteries of Mary's life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus' kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

In the fourth century St. Ephrem (June 9)  called Mary "Lady" and "Queen." Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: "Hail, Holy Queen," "Hail, Queen of Heaven," "Queen of Heaven." The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary's litany celebrate her queenship.

The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his 1954 encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus' redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power.


As St. Paul suggests in Romans 8:28--30, God has predestined human beings from all eternity to share the image of his Son. All the more was Mary predestined to be the mother of Jesus. As Jesus was to be king of all creation, Mary, in dependence on Jesus, was to be queen. All other titles to queenship derive from this eternal intention of God. As Jesus exercised his kingship on earth by serving his Father and his fellow human beings, so did Mary exercise her queenship. As the glorified Jesus remains with us as our king till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), so does Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth.


"Let the entire body of the faithful pour forth persevering prayer to the Mother of God and Mother of men. Let them implore that she who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers may now, exalted as she is in heaven above all the saints and angels, intercede with her Son in the fellowship of all the saints. May she do so until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity" (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 69).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


The more we call on God
the more we can feel God's presence.
Day by day we are drawn closer
to the loving heart of God.


Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.


I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God

Reading 1 ez 37:1-14

The hand of the LORD came upon me,
and led me out in the Spirit of the LORD
and set me in the center of the plain,
which was now filled with bones.
He made me walk among the bones in every direction
so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain.
How dry they were!
He asked me:
Son of man, can these bones come to life?
I answered, "Lord GOD, you alone know that."
Then he said to me:
Prophesy over these bones, and say to them:
Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones:
See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life.
I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you,
cover you with skin, and put spirit in you
so that you may come to life and know that I am the LORD.
I prophesied as I had been told,
and even as I was prophesying I heard a noise;
it was a rattling as the bones came together, bone joining bone.
I saw the sinews and the flesh come upon them,
and the skin cover them, but there was no spirit in them.
Then the LORD said to me:
Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man,
and say to the spirit: Thus says the Lord GOD:
From the four winds come, O spirit,
and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.
I prophesied as he told me, and the spirit came into them;
they came alive and stood upright, a vast army.
Then he said to me:
Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They have been saying,
"Our bones are dried up,
our hope is lost, and we are cut off."
Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm ps 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say,
those whom he has redeemed from the hand of the foe
And gathered from the lands,
from the east and the west, from the north and the south.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
They went astray in the desert wilderness;
the way to an inhabited city they did not find.
Hungry and thirsty,
their life was wasting away within them.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
They cried to the LORD in their distress;
from their straits he rescued them.
And he led them by a direct way
to reach an inhabited city.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy
and his wondrous deeds to the children of men,
Because he satisfied the longing soul
and filled the hungry soul with good things.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.

Gospel mt 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
He said to him,
"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

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 37:1-14

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The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Hear the word of the Lord! (Ezekiel 37:4)

Just a few words can accomplish a great deal. That has never been as true as when God created the world. It was "a formless wasteland" before he spoke it into existence (Genesis 1:1). Plants, flowers, trees, oceans, and humanity itself—all because God said, "Let there be ..." Actually, it's not so hard to believe that God's word could produce something from nothing. After all, he "thought" us into being before we were even born (Psalm 139)!

This is one reason why Ezekiel's vision here is so interesting. It shows us God's creative power at work again. This time, Ezekiel is the one doing the talking as he proclaims God's word to Israel—and he sees that word immediately take effect as the dry bones transform into a vast army. Seeing this vision, Ezekiel knows that God's words have power. God will fulfill whatever he speaks!

Our human words have power, too. They reveal what is in our hearts, and they transmit our peace—or lack of it—to the people around us. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue," the Scriptures tell us (Proverbs 18:21). Our words can hurt, or they can heal. How important it is, then, that our words be animated by the Holy Spirit! Then we can bring someone more than just a positive message. We can bring them closer to God.

Think about the people closest to you. You're so familiar with them that you may take for granted what you say to them. When you're in a rush, you may tell your spouse about the busy day ahead of you or ask your children if they've cleaned their rooms. But maybe God has a special word that he wants you to give them today. Only you can deliver it! It may not be profound or earth-shattering. It may be just a simple word of comfort or encouragement. But no matter what it is, this word, prompted by the Spirit, can change a life.

"Lord, make me more aware of the words I speak. May I say only that which affirms and brings life. May I always speak the truth in love—and in the power of your Spirit."


Psalm 107:2-9; Matthew 22:34-40


Today's 1st Holy Scripture recalls the prophet's words and the power of God's words through ours.  With words and actions, a Priest, through the power of God, consecrates bread to a body and wine to a blood of Christ.  With words and actions me and you consecrate or desecrate to life or death.  And the Eternal Word overcame the Mother of Jesus our Lord and our God, and she was filled with the Spirit in a way no human will know, one flesh from nothing but the Word announced by an angel.  And Jesus came to our lives and He is King of the Universe.  Why is there no King in England?  We just keep hearing of the Queen?  The oldest child is made king or queen.  The greatest analogy and explanation for the Queenship of Mary was from a man who became Catholic, a Catholic Theologian now, Scott Hahn.  He said that when the King had no wife, the mother of the King was Queen.  Yet in this case, there is a Queen that bore the King, before there was a King Jesus, there was King Father of the Universe who chose a woman on earth to bear a Son for the World...King Jesus.  Of all our Catholic secret powers, we have the mother of God, a humble woman that would forever be called Blessed.  Queens throughout history have a certain say in the Kingdom, and if it is the mother of an obedient child?  Hmmm.  We all can agree even if you are not Catholic, that the mother of Jesus is in Heaven, she was the first Apostle and Disciple, more than a saint in her own.  If I've ever been moved to become a Jesus Lover in the most truest sense, it has been after listening to the book "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ" by Sister Emerich and her account of Mary, the mother of God.  Never have I heard of someone so devoted and in love with Jesus.  This Mother is the mother of all mothers, a true example of love of a child and God.  Faithful first to God, loving her child to God, offering it to God, loving God in a way we could only dream of.  Allow me to come back to earth, here's today's 5minutos: (I will translate from Spanish):
"It is recounted that the Father of Marchi had spent all night hearing confessions.  Now daytime, here came the last penitent.  It was a young man, twenty years old.  He is barefooted and looks tired.  He confesses, and noticing he gets up with great difficulty, he asks-"You come from a far distance?", he replies -"Yes sir. Almost three hundred kilometers, eight days on the road. -"But did you do it by foot?", -"Yes sir, all the journey. Me and my wife had made a promise and we have come to fulfill it.  We have a daughter that was born blind.  The medical doctors said she would never see, but we began a new novena to the Virgin so she would be healed.  Every night we would put some drops of water of Fatima in her eyes.  I screamed calling my wife; "Maria, come see the girl, she is cured, the Virgin has cured our little daughter." And here we are, to appreciate the Virgin for the miracle."  Many are the pilgrims that every year go on route towards Fatima, Lourdes, Monte Carmelo, in search of an encounter of faith with Jesus through Mary to ask her, to appreciate so many miracles that through her maternal intercession accomplish every day in life.  The Council says that Mary "advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and conserved faithfully the union with her Son to the cross" (LG.58).  The best way to honor and praise Mary is to imitate her faith, obedience to God and love and service of neighbor.  Let us pray that, like her, we seek before everything to appreciate God and trust in His mercy."
Much of what has been said may be baffling.  Not to a faithful heart that does as God commands, to love Him with ALL your Heart, Mind, and Soul. And then?  Love neighbor as self.  I get perplexed with that though.  How much do I love myself?  Many don't love themselves as they ought and even kill self.  There is no love.  That means there is no God.  So that's why God says to Love HIM FIRST ABOVE ALL.  Without the first you can't have the second.  Without the First, we wouldn't have Mary.  "Oh but the bible says go straight to God".  Mary did and does.  So should we. Go first to God and then the second.  My Mother in Heaven is super and awesome.  Your Mother in Heaven is super and awesome.  She loves more than your earthly mother, because she loves God with every last drop of blood, heart, mind, and soul in Heaven.  That's what can make you and me awesome.  What is that?  God's Love.  And we are talking about a faith.  So what is faith?  I was in a live webcast with Jeff Cavins last night.  I thought it would be a question and answer session.  I would've put my 2 cents on what is faith.  Faith is a true love.  I love so much that I trust.  I love so much that I do what love says.  Sound like Mary?  Must mean a true lover of God is in our midst.  Now, you and I


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