Tuesday, September 9, 2014

To Touch Him

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Minute Meditations

Spiritual Mother
Loving Father, may the prayers of the Virgin Mary bring us closer to Christ and the Church. Through her intercession may we participate in the sacraments more actively and dedicate ourselves to witness Christ's kingdom of love, justice, and mercy. Thank you, God, for giving us Mary as our spiritual mother.
— from Holding Jesus

St. Peter Claver



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A native of Spain, young Jesuit Peter Claver left his homeland forever in 1610 to be a missionary in the colonies of the New World. He sailed into Cartagena (now in Colombia), a rich port city washed by the Caribbean. He was ordained there in 1615.

By this time the slave trade had been established in the Americas for nearly 100 years, and Cartagena was a chief center for it. Ten thousand slaves poured into the port each year after crossing the Atlantic from West Africa under conditions so foul and inhuman that an estimated one-third of the passengers died in transit. Although the practice of slave-trading was condemned by Pope Paul III and later labeled "supreme villainy" by Pius IX, it continued to flourish.

Peter Claver's predecessor, Jesuit Father Alfonso de Sandoval, had devoted himself to the service of the slaves for 40 years before Claver arrived to continue his work, declaring himself "the slave of the Negroes forever."

As soon as a slave ship entered the port, Peter Claver moved into its infested hold to minister to the ill-treated and exhausted passengers. After the slaves were herded out of the ship like chained animals and shut up in nearby yards to be gazed at by the crowds, Claver plunged in among them with medicines, food, bread, brandy, lemons and tobacco. With the help of interpreters he gave basic instructions and assured his brothers and sisters of their human dignity and God's saving love. During the 40 years of his ministry, Claver instructed and baptized an estimated 300,000 slaves.

His apostolate extended beyond his care for slaves. He became a moral force, indeed, the apostle of Cartagena. He preached in the city square, gave missions to sailors and traders as well as country missions, during which he avoided, when possible, the hospitality of the planters and owners and lodged in the slave quarters instead.

After four years of sickness which forced the saint to remain inactive and largely neglected, he died on September 8, 1654. The city magistrates, who had previously frowned at his solicitude for the black outcasts, ordered that he should be buried at public expense and with great pomp.

He was canonized in 1888, and Pope Leo XIII declared him the worldwide patron of missionary work among black slaves.


The Holy Spirit's might and power are manifested in the striking decisions and bold actions of Peter Claver. A decision to leave one's homeland never to return reveals a gigantic act of will difficult for us to imagine. Peter's determination to serve forever the most abused, rejected and lowly of all people is stunningly heroic. When we measure our lives against such a man's, we become aware of our own barely used potential and of our need to open ourselves more to the jolting power of Jesus' Spirit.


Peter Claver understood that concrete service like the distributing of medicine, food or brandy to his black brothers and sisters could be as effective a communication of the word of God as mere verbal preaching. As Peter Claver often said, "We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak to them with our lips."

Patron Saint of:


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


"I stand at the door and knock," says the Lord.
What a wonderful privilege
that the Lord of all creation desires to come to me.
I welcome His presence.


It is so easy to get caught up
with the trappings of wealth in this life.
Grant, O Lord, that I may be free
from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things in life are free.
Love, laughter, caring and sharing.


To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me.
To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.

The Word of God
Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest

Reading 1 1 cor 6:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
How can any one of you with a case against another
dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment
instead of to the holy ones?
Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world?
If the world is to be judged by you,
are you unqualified for the lowest law courts?
Do you not know that we will judge angels?
Then why not everyday matters?
If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters,
do you seat as judges people of no standing in the Church?
I say this to shame you.
Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough
to be able to settle a case between brothers?
But rather brother goes to court against brother,
and that before unbelievers?

Now indeed then it is, in any case,
a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another.
Why not rather put up with injustice?
Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?
Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers.
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived;
neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers
nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves
nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers
will inherit the Kingdom of God.
That is what some of you used to be;
but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified,
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and in the Spirit of our God.

Responsorial Psalm ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R. (see 4) The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.

Gospel lk 6:12-19

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people 
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.

How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold?
Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me,
I turn and  share my feelings with him.


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: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11

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Saint Peter Claver, Priest

Do you not know? (1 Corinthians 6:3)

After confronting the Corinthians on immoral practices, Paul took dead aim at the lawsuits that were springing up between believers. Evidently, the members of the church there were finding it hard to resolve their disputes as brothers and sisters in Christ and were resorting instead to the Roman legal system. So Paul asked three times, "Do you not know ... ?" to remind them of what life is supposed to be like when it is marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

What about you? Do you not know that the gospel is "the power of God for ... salvation" (Romans 1:16)? Do you not know that you were "washed ... sanctified ... justified in the name of the Lord Jesus" (1 Corinthians 6:11)? Do you not know that you really can "put away" your "old self" and "put on the new self," created to be like God (Ephesians 4:22, 24)?

Losing sight of the gospel not only waters down our experience of God's presence; it also opens the door to other problems. One lapse can lead to another, until we wonder how it ever got so bad. Paul had to remind the Corinthians that they belonged to Christ not just so that they would have a more positive outlook but so that they would begin treating one another with respect. As far as Paul was concerned, if they started relying on the power of the Spirit rather than a secular legal system, they would find it much easier to resolve their disputes peacefully and lovingly.

This little episode from the Corinthian church tells us how much we need the Spirit. When we ask him to help keep us clear on the "Do you not know" truths of Christianity, our lives change. We develop a heavenly perspective that keeps us joyful in trouble. We naturally seek to be generous in our relationships. We find it easier to let go of grudges and to forgive as Jesus has forgiven us. The Holy Spirit wants to convince us that the gospel brings fullness of life, not just more of the same old life. So let's lift our hearts to the Lord and ask for ongoing revelation of all that is ours in Christ.

"Thank you, Father, for revealing the gospel of power, of transformation, and of freedom. Give me grace to live in the fullness of this gospel and not wander from your promises."


Psalm 149:1-6, 9; Luke 6:12-19


In today's 1st Holy Scripture, it ends with words that say we are not who we used to be once we have been washed in the Spirit, you were sanctified and justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We prayed the Psalm "The Lord takes delight in HIS People".  We can make God happy, but do we try to?  There is something very scary about God's justification.  Yet this is a holy fear. "What's so scary Mr. Adrian?".  In speaking of the Sacrament, especially that of the oath, the swearing we partake of in the Holy Eucharist, to which we believe we are consuming the Word, it is binding.  Once we back out of our deal, our oath becomes our sentence.  That is why we so much need reconciliation, a Holy Confession.  The word confession used to come from the word testimony.  I testify to the fact that I know.  The scary part of an impure heart receiving Christ is to know very well you have not confessed with a contrite heart, and this is what God is after today.  Jesus sets the example.  He prays.  He prays alone.  He sets Himself apart (this means holiness).  Jesus prays all night, through the darkness.  Only then is He able to come out and minister.  I have to testify, that the best testimony is of one having lived the ordeal, having gone through the darkness.  This is you and me.  At times we will go through it, but God is there, do not be afraid.  "Do not be afraid" is said something like 365 times in the bible. 
  Alas, daybreak.  Jesus comes through with the light.  He chose people to spread His news of healing and salvation, to do everything He did and more.  Could it be that this day that I am reading this, He has chosen me?  Yes you.  To do what?  To reserve yourself for Him and to expend yourself for Him.  To reserve, to set apart is to save.  To expend means to give.  How do we build up saving reserves?  Spend time with God, perhaps alone at times, and the more the better.  For some odd reason, the Gospel reminded me of my grandfather (God rest his soul).  Decades ago his wife and children had to wait in Juarez, living off dumpsters, water was purchased to bathe in and drink, one of my uncles was going blind of malnutrition.  He left his job as a taxi driver when a customer pulled a gun to his head instead of paying him.  In search for a better life, he crossed the river and a long range of mountains through the night.  Eventually he would find work and eventually his wife and children would join essence, they were saved.  Had it not been for his courage to face the darkness and all the dangers, the lions, the rattlesnakes, the hunters, the dehydration, the coldness of the nights, I would not be writing to you this day, but for the grace of God.  The same but a million times more is the story of our Father, our Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  He spent many nights in prayer, but a battle like nobody will ever know.  This once in a lifetime choice.  This ordeal of what to do for God's Kingdom.  On His last night, he cried and sweated out drops of blood.  You tell me if you've ever sweated out blood and I'll tell you if you've suffered like Christ.  All for what?  For the day you would read about Him and choose to say yes to God.
   At daybreak, He came to the people on level ground.  This says alot to me, because I am an estimator for our dirt business, and I deal with contours, elevations and grades.  To be on level ground means ground zero, where nothing is higher or lower on where we stand...on earth as it is in Heaven.  He wants His wife and children to be with Him where He is.  It is about time we get off our high mountain, if we've ever been there and serve the Lord.  Enough with the talk.  Today's saint was the one that talked with his hands. Biblical scholar and reknowned theologist Dr. Scott Hahn said that Franciscans can find absolutely nowhere, where this quote came from that says "preach and if necessary use words".  But today's saint comes close, because first he served and then he preached and baptized over a quarter million slaves, the least of the least in the world.  That's what and who God wants.  His healings where for everyone on that level ground.  I detest to hearof people that won't serve certain people, "oh they done me so wrong", or "oh they deserve what they are going through".  WRONG.  If Jesus came to be on level ground to serve, heal, and save, then who am I not to reach out and do the same?  I sat through my past priest's funeral yesterday.  About a dozen or more priests where there, all surrounding the altar.  When I see this, I see my sergeants, and I am a mere soldier.  They have to serve.  I witnessed our Bishop emeritus feed the lambs. He asked for prayer because he and several others had been asked by the Pope to go overseas to oversee the peace in the middle east, in Iraq and so forth.  He asked for prayers and that is why I bring it up.  They will go into darkness, where there is turmoil, strife, intolerance and so forth.  Yet, don't we experience that in our own home?  This is where we are to be with God the most, through the darkest of times to be able to come out at daybreak, to have known who was really there in the darkest of times, at my side and leading the way.  The Holy Spirit.  It was God the whole time.  We need humilation.  That is to say, not to degrade dignity, but to bring about humility to be able to confess, that is testify of our own healing and proclaim really the goodness of God.  Without the confession we live in silence and silence is deadly.  Confess and partake of holiness, being set apart for Him.  Then, we can rightly judge as we are called to do for God.  Knowing well the testimony, of which comes the martyr.  And nobody would die for anything else but the truth.  Truth is the cross that proves God's love for us.  Sure we raise Him up, but how?  On the cross?  Or with our love in our hearts?