Thursday, September 11, 2014

Do Good To Them

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Minute Meditations

Growing in Love
Christ, our hope, you have arisen. Praise and glory be yours! With your Mother Mary, we greet your resurrection with a burst of new faith in you and a fresh hope for a life that prepares us for eternal life and for a growth in love and service to our families, friends, and anyone in need.
— from Holding Jesus

St. Cyprian
(d. 258)



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Cyprian is important in the development of Christian thought and practice in the third century, especially in northern Africa.

Highly educated, a famous orator, he became a Christian as an adult. He distributed his goods to the poor, and amazed his fellow citizens by making a vow of chastity before his baptism. Within two years he had been ordained a priest and was chosen, against his will, as Bishop of Carthage (near modern Tunis).

Cyprian complained that the peace the Church had enjoyed had weakened the spirit of many Christians and had opened the door to converts who did not have the true spirit of faith. When the Decian persecution began, many Christians easily abandoned the Church. It was their reinstatement that caused the great controversies of the third century, and helped the Church progress in its understanding of the Sacrament of Penance.

Novatus, a priest who had opposed Cyprian's election, set himself up in Cyprian's absence (he had fled to a hiding place from which to direct the Church—bringing criticism on himself) and received back all apostates without imposing any canonical penance. Ultimately he was condemned. Cyprian held a middle course, holding that those who had actually sacrificed to idols could receive Communion only at death, whereas those who had only bought certificates saying they had sacrificed could be admitted after a more or less lengthy period of penance. Even this was relaxed during a new persecution.

During a plague in Carthage, he urged Christians to help everyone, including their enemies and persecutors.

A friend of Pope Cornelius, Cyprian opposed the following pope, Stephen. He and the other African bishops would not recognize the validity of baptism conferred by heretics and schismatics. This was not the universal view of the Church, but Cyprian was not intimidated even by Stephen's threat of excommunication.

He was exiled by the emperor and then recalled for trial. He refused to leave the city, insisting that his people should have the witness of his martyrdom.

Cyprian was a mixture of kindness and courage, vigor and steadiness. He was cheerful and serious, so that people did not know whether to love or respect him more. He waxed warm during the baptismal controversy; his feelings must have concerned him, for it was at this time that he wrote his treatise on patience. St. Augustine remarks that Cyprian atoned for his anger by his glorious martyrdom.


The controversies about Baptism and Penance in the third century remind us that the early Church had no ready-made solutions from the Holy Spirit. The leaders and members of the Church of that day had to move painfully through the best series of judgments they could make in an attempt to follow the entire teaching of Christ and not be diverted by exaggerations to right or left.


"You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother.... God is one and Christ is one, and his Church is one; one is the faith, and one is the people cemented together by harmony into the strong unity of a body.... If we are the heirs of Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are the sons of God, let us be lovers of peace" (St. Cyprian, The Unity of the Catholic Church).

Patron Saint of:

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



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.



Lord, may I never take the gift
of freedom for granted. You gave
me the great blessing of freedom of
spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and
Your joy.



In God's loving presence I unwind the past day,
starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
I attend to the shadows and what they say to me,
seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.


The Word of God

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Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 cor 8:1b-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up.
If anyone supposes he knows something,
he does not yet know as he ought to know.
But if one loves God, one is known by him.

So about the eating of meat sacrificed to idols:
we know that there is no idol in the world,
and that there is no God but one.
Indeed, even though there are so-called gods in heaven and on earth
(there are, to be sure, many "gods" and many "lords"),
yet for us there is 

one God, the Father,
from whom all things are and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things are and through whom we exist.

But not all have this knowledge.
There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now
that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols,
their conscience, which is weak, is defiled.

Thus, through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction,
the brother for whom Christ died.
When you sin in this way against your brothers
and wound their consciences, weak as they are,
you are sinning against Christ.
Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin,
I will never eat meat again,
so that I may not cause my brother to sin.

Responsorial Psalm ps 139:1b-3, 13-14ab, 23-24

R. (24b) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother's womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Probe me, O God, and know my heart;
try me, and know my thoughts;
See if my way is crooked,
and lead me in the way of old.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Gospel lk 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
"To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount. 
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you."


What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to 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: Luke 6:27-38

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23rd Week in Ordinary Time

Stop judging. (Luke 6:37)


At a conference on education in Germany, a political scientist compared that country's education system to asking a cat, a monkey, a dog, and an elephant to climb the same tree. When they can't, they are deemed unsuccessful. Today's passage tells us that we do something similar when we judge people. We expect them to climb a particular tree—our tree—and do it well.

We have all made snap judgments at one point or another. "That person should ... Why does she always

... If he would just ..." Instead of recognizing people as unique treasures, we try to fit them into a restrictive mold based on our own personal values. When we do this, we overlook the fact that our expectations may be totally off the mark for what God wants in another person's life. We certainly can't think that we have all the answers. That's God's department, not ours!

If you find yourself prone to being judgmental, try to counter it by shifting your attention. Try your best to look at people as treasured children of God—just as you are. They might express themselves differently or choose to act in ways you don't agree with, but guess what? We all have our own set of quirks and imperfections, and God welcomes all of us. Or try thinking about all the people who have welcomed you, despite your flaws: your parents, your spouse, your children, or a special teacher or friend. They accepted you as you are, even as some of them spurred you on and encouraged you.

Is there someone in your life right now who is rubbing you the wrong way? When negative thoughts start to spiral out of control, say a quick prayer: "Holy Spirit, help me to stop judging this person. Help me to accept him or her as you have accepted me." You may have to say this prayer over and over, but in the process, God will slowly soften your heart. As you accept this person, you may even find a friendship forming as you learn from each other. In the end, you'll discover that love can take you much further than judgment ever could!

"Holy Spirit, help me to stop judging. Teach me how to turn my judgments into love."



1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13; Psalm139:1-3, 13-14, 23-24


 We read today in the first Holy Scripture "knowledge inflates with pride" and the remedy "but love builds up".  The dilemma is that we are just so good at just "knowing", that is judging by our thoughts, but not loving and building up.  Case in point, we meet at different ministries and we always see people are missing.  Yet we are not good at solutions.  Another dummy wrote to the church "hey you guys don't be turning away kids that missed registration (it's the parents' fault)".  That dummy was called by the priest and explained.  That dummy went in later to apologize and make amends to the office personnel, and had a long productive discussion.  That dummy had judged by what he had heard and thought.  That knowledge was all wrong.  But love won in the end.  Turns out that dummy was me.  I didn't mean no harm, but apparently came across wrong (don't that happen to you sometimes? Don't judge! LOL).  "I'm such an idiot" I told the priest and the director.  I apologized profusely and I hope it was enough.  Turns out they have bent over backwards to get kids to register.  But we hear of the one little story that was unbiased and that ignites what appears to be almost a hatred to the church.  We talked about how a couple parishioners don't like our priest, and they like the visiting priest.  But it's not either of the priest's fault.  We are quick to judge!  And judging our own Father!?  What gives?  Is the priest God? Only when God comes over them in the Sacraments, but they are our FATHER.  I was thinking about this yesterday; "our priests are like real dads, some make bad financial decisions, some are more attentive than others, but they are just like real human fathers...".  So stop judging!  OBEY all except sin.  Build up instead.  I digress.  I've noticed a problem that may be a phenomenon in our culture, that is, people want God to tailor to their lives, but not our lives tailored to what God wants. "Don't you dare make faith intrude in my personal life!"  This is what we discussed in our meeting.  I said we need to be pastors and that was the concern on all sides, we are usually on the same page when things go awry.  Turns out they are doing a phenomenal job and I came in and left like a dog with its tail between its legs.  And guess what?  It felt good.  That is the exact humiliation I need and we all need (I had just written about it earlier).  To get offended is an opportunity for humility, to turn the cheek, to let God grow. I hope you understand, ask the Holy Spirit for this wisdom of Love and charity.  Mother Angelica the founder of EWTN said that our enemies will afford us an opportunity for Heaven, an opportunity to forgive and gain Heaven more, not our little church buddies, they won't and can't give me this kind of opportunity.  We prayed the Psalm today "Guide me Lord along the everlasting way" and later prayed "see if my ways are crooked and lead me".  We heard the Gospel "To YOU who HEAR, I Say" and Jesus went on to command us to love our enemies.  DOH!  LOL, who does that?  Almost everyone I know has enemies, but they are usually a person that  they just can't love yet.  And this is the dilemma, that we can't do something because we are too caught up in something else.  I asked a business owner yesterday "reserve the church festival date so ya'll can come help" and they said "...if we are not too busy".  DOH!  Isn't it hard to let go of something to do something else...especially if it is for God?  And God is asking us for our hearts. Is that so darn hard?  IS IT?  We make it hard on ourselves.  Like G.K. Chesterton said, there's a million things we are free to do and we focus on the 10 we can not do, (the commandments).  But yet again, they are for our own good and happiness!  What commandment is it to forgive and love thy neighbor?  I can think of about 3 that match, but always beginning with the 1st, to love thy God with all thy heart, mind, and soul.  Everything else falls in naturally.  LOL, I came into work this morning, shook the managers' hands and the new one, an older man than me, was sitting in his chair and actually stood up to shake my hand to which I smiled and said "whoa you make me feel like a king", it was followed by a sly remark from others like "don't flatter yourself", but it does feel good when people treat you right, right?  And so God ends today's Gospel with "...the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you".  This is good, and this is scary.  Because if I did not watch out for those carried off by sin?  Who would then watch out for me?  Therefore, we are called to love beyond our feeble earthly love, to love God means to love beyond our earthly love.  I love God and His Church (isn't it obvious)?  But to love it forever, I have to have a love like no other.  This means I have to be a Jesus lover to my every last breath and drop.  And when you love someone you always want to be with them right?  Well, that is the dilemma.  We are too caught up in other love affairs to love Him first.  I told a worker as he walked out after work "hey, come to bible study..." then he asked when and I said again before he left "...hey, you never know if it is God calling"

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