Monday, August 25, 2014

Swears By It

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Minute Meditations

Showing Compassion Minute Meditations

Dear Jesus, I am always going to be a weak human being who continually falls as I travel along the way. Give me the grace to show others the love and compassion you show to everyone so that I too may be forgiven for my sins, as you so generously forgave. I ask this in your name. Amen.
— from Stories of Jesus

St. Louis of France

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At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God's anointed, as the father of his people and feudal lord of the King of Peace. Other kings had done the same, of course. Louis was different in that he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice.

He was crowned king at 12, at his father's death. His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled during his minority. When he was 19 and his bride 12, he was married to Marguerite of Provence. It was a loving marriage, though not without challenge. They had 11 children.

Louis "took the cross" for a Crusade when he was 30. His army seized Damietta ini Egypt but not long after, weakened by dysentery and without support, they were surrounded and captured. Louis obtained the release of the army by giving up the city of Damietta in addition to paying a ransom. He stayed in Syria four years.

He deserves credit for extending justice in civil administration. His regulations for royal officials became the first of a series of reform laws. He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court.

Louis was always respectful of the papacy, but defended royal interests against the popes and refused to acknowledge Innocent IV's sentence against Emperor Frederick II.

Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and, like his patron St. Francis (October 4), caring even for people with leprosy. (He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order.) Louis united France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and holiness. For many years the nation was at peace.

Every day Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion.

Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother's sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month, and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonized 27 years later.


Every day Louis had thirteen special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion.


Louis was strong-willed, strong-minded. His word was trusted utterly, and his courage in action was remarkable. What is most remarkable was his sense of respect for anyone with whom he dealt, especially the "humble folk of the Lord." To care for his people he built cathedrals, churches, libraries, hospitals and orphanages. He dealt with princes honestly and equitably. He hoped to be treated the same way by the King of Kings, to whom he gave his life, his family and his country.

Patron Saint of:


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


My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
When I turn my thoughts to you,
I find peace and contentment.



Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.


How do I find myself today?
Where am I with God? With others?
Do I have something to be grateful for?
Then I give thanks.
Is there something I am sorry for?
Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God

Matthew 23:13--15


Reading 1 2 thes 1:1-5, 11-12

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians
in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters,
as is fitting, because your faith flourishes ever more,
and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater.
Accordingly, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God
regarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutions
and the afflictions you endure.

This is evidence of the just judgment of God,
so that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God
for which you are suffering.

We always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling
and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose
and every effort of faith,
that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm ps 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 4-5

R. (3) Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
For great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
awesome is he, beyond all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,
but the LORD made the heavens.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Gospel mt 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

"Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
'If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.'
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, 'If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.'
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it."

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.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Matthew 23:13-22

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Saint Louis

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees! (Matthew 23:13)

Aah, the Pharisees! We are all familiar with the many times they publicly harassed Jesus. It's easy to let a quick reading of the Gospels give us a negative view of them. But who were they really?

The Pharisees came into existence just after the Maccabean Revolt around 175 b.c., when Jews were under intense pressure to abandon their faith and adopt Greek practices. The Pharisees were lay people, many of whom loved God and tried to help their people hold fast to the Law of Moses. In fact, the word "Pharisee" comes from a Hebrew word meaning "separate," emphasizing their desire to stay pure.

By the beginning of the first century a.d., the Pharisees were an educated group who studied the Scriptures and taught their fellow Jews how to follow God's laws. After the Temple was destroyed in a.d. 70, the Pharisees survived as the predominant Jewish religious group, and they are considered the precursors to modern Judaism.

This doesn't sound too bad, does it? So what was the problem with the Pharisees? Some of them—not all—had a very hard time accepting the idea that Jesus could be the Messiah. He didn't fit into their expectations of ritual purity Saint Louisor adherence to Jewish traditions. Many of them saw Jesus as a revolutionary whose new teachings threatened their people's identity as the chosen race. Their zeal for the Law kept them from being open to the new thing God was doing through Jesus.

We can all fall prey to the same challenges that trapped these Pharisees. We can balk in the face of something that upends our comfortable ways of looking at God or our faith. We can hold on to our traditions so tightly that we aren't open to God doing something new and exciting.

So the next time you see the Pharisees in the Gospels, try not to look down on them right away. Remember their devotion and their love of God's Law. Remember their heroic efforts to preserve Judaism in a hostile culture. But remember, also, to keep your heart open to the eternal newness of God's plan!

"Jesus, you loved the Pharisees just as much as you love everyone else—including me! Help me to put aside anything that keeps me from being open to you!"


2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12; Psalm 96:1-5

  In the first Holy Scripture, we hear of boasting, but boasting about what?  Because of those suffering for Christ, for "the Kingdom of God for which you are suffering"... "that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ."  Is this awkward? Not to one living a life of grace.  That's what it is boiling down to, if it is in us or not.  Is Christ fully in me or not?  I wrote a song yesterday that sings " I walk I Long" and "I need some body to be some body" and we are talking about walking (along sounds like "I Long") and I long for that body of Christ.  That body I long for makes me who I am.  Sacraments are this exact openness to grace.  With that we can live the Psalm of today and "Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all nations".  In comes Jesus in the Holy Gospel and brings up swearing.  Scott Hahn's book "Swear To God" brings up the importance of our "swearing of an oath" in front of the witnesses and the grace that is communicated through the covenant.  The Pharisees "meant well" but didn't know what they were supposed to mean.  I have a relative, rather poor, (who I am currently trying to help).  She likes to give money to people and when I tell her she needs to save that money for their car or home she says she just likes to "bless people" (with money).  I told her we can bless in many ways but also try to save.  Now who is right, me or her?  I'll let you decide, only today we heard our Lord speaking to the Pharisees about the gold and the offering being seen as more than the temple's worth.  How soon our focus turns and we close ourselves to God's grace.  "Oh but Adrian, what is grace?"  It is a gift from God, I would not be able to define it in earthly terms because it is not of this world.  Can I experience grace?  In my life it is constantly being offered in the Sacraments.  It is a rising of the soul in a way, but in a way to see through the eyes of Christ and love with His Sacred Heart.  So it boils down to the amount of openness to Christ.  Who but a person in the life of Grace can rejoice in suffering for Christ?  Soldiers of God know the honor.  So what defines the glory of God?  Because Christ gave glory to God with His whole body, mind, and soul while pouring out the last drop of blood and water from His most precious body.  Ahh, now we can begin to see....we need a body, we need grace...we need Christ

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