Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On The Outside

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Minute Meditations

Watching Over Us
Heavenly Father, I am sure there are frequently tiny miracles where you protect us and are present to us although you always remain anonymous. Help me appreciate how carefully you watch over me and my loved ones all day long, and be sensitive enough to stay close to you. I ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.
— from Stories of Jesus

St. Monica

Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father's death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted.


When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine's trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan.

In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica's spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste.

She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, "Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled." She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death.


Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his Confessions




Today, with Internet searches, e-mail shopping, text messages, tweets and instant credit, we have little patience for things that take time. Likewise, we want instant answers to our prayers. Monica is a model of patience. Her long years of prayer, coupled with a strong, well-disciplined character, finally led to the conversion of her hot-tempered husband, her cantankerous mother-in-law and her brilliant but wayward son, Augustine.


When Monica moved from North Africa to Milan, she found religious practices new to her and also that some of her former customs, such as a Saturday fast, were not common there. She asked St. Ambrose which customs she should follow. His classic reply was: "When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday, but I fast when I am in Rome; do the same and always follow the custom and discipline of the Church as it is observed in the particular locality in which you find yourself."

Patron Saint of:

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


St. Ignatius Of Loyola Gospel Contemplation:


God is with me, but more, God is within me, giving me existence. Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence in my body, my mind, my heart and in the whole of my life.


"Leave me here freely all alone
In cell where never sunlight shone
should no one ever speak to me
This golden silence makes me free."

Part of a poem written by a prisoner at Dachau concentration camp


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 2 thes 3:6-10, 16-18

We instruct you, brothers and sisters,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to shun any brother
who walks in a disorderly way
and not according to the tradition they received from us.
For you know how one must imitate us.
For we did not act in a disorderly way among you,
nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked,
so as not to burden any of you.
Not that we do not have the right.
Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you,
so that you might imitate us.
In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that
if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.

May the Lord of peace himself
give you peace at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.

This greeting is in my own hand, Paul's.
This is the sign in every letter; this is how I write.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

Responsorial Psalm ps 128:1-2, 4-5

R. (1) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Gospel mt 23:27-32

Jesus said,
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous,
and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets' blood.'
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!"



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.



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: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18

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Saint Monica

We wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us. (2 Thessalonians 3:9)

We often hear celebrities and athletes spoken of as role models. When they display good character, they are praised as good role models, and when their behavior is not so good, they're called bad role models. But should we even consider distant public figures like these as models at all?

In today's first reading, St. Paul speaks about how he was a role model when he lived among the Thessalonians. He explains how he did certain things not because he had to but because he wanted to set a good example. And now in his letter, he points back to his behavior and calls the Thessalonians to follow his example.

Sometimes we assume that it is someone else's job to be a role model. Maybe not athletes or celebrities, but certainly teachers, priests, or community leaders. But in fact, we all have people who look up to us. And if you choose to embrace this role as Paul did, God can use you in powerful ways.

It's easy to feel intimidated at the idea of mentoring someone. Where do you start? Paul gives us a couple of ideas. For one thing, he knew that he couldn't be a role model from a distance. He invested in his relationships so that people could "see" his message as well as hear it. He made it a point to teach with with deeds as well as words, even though it was probably uncomfortable at times. Also, he made sure that he was available to people instead of favoring a very private, secluded life.

No matter how old or young we are, we all need role models—and we can all become role models as well. When you are out with your husband or wife, your gestures and words have the potential to demonstrate love and unity to the people around you. When you speak with your children, even about trivial matters, you can give them a glimpse of God the Father. In fact, your life is always on display. Isn't it a good thing that Christ is in you to help you mirror his character?

"Father, thank you for the role models you have given me. Help me to live as a model for others."


Psalm 128:1-2, 4-5; Matthew 23:27-32


Those that don't work don't eat?  What's up with that?  In the case of any text we read, it's on the way you take it, but in this case it is the truth we are reading about.  It is what it is, and it is the truth no matter how you want to interpret it.  In today's first Holy Scripture, we read, "For we did not act in a disorderly way among you, nor did we eat food received free from anyone...we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat."  In the spanish 5 minutos it said today "Pope Francis said: 'Work gives us dignity!".  This is true, but we are reading in the context of the Kingdom of God.  And the example we set for the Kingdom, the model St. Paul said "we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us." and they imitated Christ.  I randomly opened the book "The Imitation of Christ" as I write to you and it said "Let one person seek this, another that; let this person exult in one thing, another in something else, and be praised any number of times.  As for you, let your contentment be solely in what pleases Me and for My honor alone.  Your greatest desire must be-whether in life or in death-that God may be always glorified in you."  Wow!  He wants us to imitate Him, and Him is ultimately Christ.  We prayed today "Blessed are those who fear the Lord".  And then Jesus spoke in the most Holy Gospel.  He spoke seriously to those with whitewashed tombs, sparkling on the outside and on the inside dead.  Our culture teaches you to look like this and be like that, mostly all about looks, and God is asking us to look like Him, especially most importantly on the inside.  What am I filled with? Well, tell me, what are you eating?  Are you  being fed?  Most often I hear of Catholics that fall away say "I wasn't being fed". WHHHHHAAT?  LOL.  Are you kidding me?  I wish, like marriages, there would be an outreach for such people, those thinking about leaving to go through counseling with the Counselor (Our Lord).  But many don't, and leave.  They say that the biggest group of Christians is Catholic, and then the largest group after that is not any protestant denomination, but "fallen away Catholics".  What has happened?  It's what has happened since the beginning with Satan, it all begin with a little bitty doubt and the doubt was fed by the attention of the sinner.  And then the great split, the divide.  And so we have our Lord come to earth to bring back together what was divided, to make one with Him all.  "Oh I would've never struck Jesus they way they did...I would've believed!"  Oh yeah?? Usually it's those that say these things that do the opposite.  Archbishop Fulton Sheen had this keen gift of knowing.  A priest was the associate pastor  and railed against the Church's supposed greed, and Fulton Sheen leaned in on him and asked 'so how long have you been stealing from the collection'?  The priest was dumbfounded because the truth was revealed.  The priest had been complaining on how rich the Vatican is etc.  I remember praying outside an abortion clinic.  I spoke with an older man that said the same thing, how come the Vatican don't go broke and give to all the poor, and I (inconspicuously) asked him if he tithed.  I turned the tables and said we are to give and give.  The same is being asked from all of us hypocrites that supposedly say we give.  "But Adrian you don't even know me, how can you say I don't give?"  LOL, have you sold all your houses and cars and given up all your family for the Lord?  Look, God wants first and foremost what would have you sell everything to be with Him.  That is to say, we need not sell but give everything, an offering.  This is the hardest struggle I see for a person trying to grow in faith.  We want everything without lifting a finger.  We want to be blessed, but we don't really bless.  And I'm speaking about blessing God.  What?  Bless God? Isn't He the one that is supposed to do all the blessings?  LOL, NOPE!  "But Adrian, isn't He the one that is supposed to be faithful?"  Wait, wait, wait just a darn minute!  Yes, He gives and blesses and is faithful, but we are being called to imitate Him in all He DOES.  Doing is working.  "Ohhhhh".  YES, then as you strive and work in faith, you will get your reward...something to eat.  And we are deserving to eat?  JESUS?  We eat Jesus in the Holy Eucharist?  Did I work for that?  And work is doing His work. And His Work aims for a Holy World. 
WOW, let's bring this to our real world