Monday, September 22, 2014

See The LIght

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Minute Meditations

Leaving Sin Behind

We don't have to scrub off our sin so God can love us. Instead, when we allow God's healing love to touch us, we want to leave sin behind. Growth starts in love, not in guilt.
— from Startled By God

St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions

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Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter.

His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him."

At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan.

They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution.

They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears.

The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions.

In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators.

The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded.

In 1987, Blessed John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.


We ordinary Christians of today—how would we stand up in the circumstances these martyrs faced? We sympathize with the two who temporarily denied the faith. We understand Lorenzo's terrible moment of temptation. But we see also the courage—unexplainable in human terms—which surged from their store of faith. Martyrdom, like ordinary life, is a miracle of grace.


When government officials asked, "If we grant you life, will you renounce your faith?," Lorenzo responded: "That I will never do, because I am a Christian, and I shall die for God, and for him I will give many thousands of lives if I had them. And so, do with me as you please."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


"Be still and know that I am God."
Lord, Your words lead us to the
calmness and greatness of your presence.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Mostly I take this gift for granted.
Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended,
with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You.


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
Reading 1 prv 3:27-34
Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim
when it is in your power to do it for him.
Say not to your neighbor, "Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give," when you can give at once.

Plot no evil against your neighbor,
against one who lives at peace with you.
Quarrel not with a man without cause,
with one who has done you no harm.

Envy not the lawless man
and choose none of his ways:
To the LORD the perverse one is an abomination,
but with the upright is his friendship.

The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
but the dwelling of the just he blesses;
When dealing with the arrogant, he is stern,
but to the humble he shows kindness.
Responsorial Psalm ps 15:2-3a, 3-bc-4ab, 5
R. (1) The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Gospel lk 8:16-18
Jesus said to the crowd:
"No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away."

audio    Listen to audio of this reading

video    Watch a video reflection 


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: Proverbs 3:27-34

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25th Week in Ordinary Time

The dwelling of the just he blesses. (Proverbs 3:33)

When he turned fifty, folk-music legend Bob Dylan was asked by Rolling Stone magazine if he was happy. He replied, "These are yuppie words, happiness and unhappiness. It's not happiness or unhappiness; it's either blessed or unblessed. As the Bible says, 'Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.' Now, that must be a happy man. Knowing that you are the person you were put on this Earth to be—that's much more important than just being happy. Anyway, happiness is just a balloon—it's just temporary stuff."

Dylan's comments are very much in line with the Book of Proverbs. This wonderful collection is a series of sayings about how to acquire wisdom. It's about knowing how to be the person you were put on this Earth to be.

As we can see from today's reading, a big part of gaining wisdom lies in understanding the difference between being blessed and unblessed. Growing in the knowledge and love of God means blessing. But focusing too much on what is passing can take us away from blessing.

While Proverbs does show us what a blessed life should look like, it is not a book of rules that must be followed or else. It's written as if a loving father were speaking to his son or daughter.

Our Father can't help but love us, and the more we follow his ways, the more open we find ourselves to the blessings that are constantly streaming from heaven. The opposite of blessing—the curse—isn't God striking someone down. It's the condition where he's unable to bless because we have blocked the flow of his mercy.

Do you understand how much God wants to bless you? He wants it so much that he died to pour out his blessings. The fruits of his Spirit—things like love, joy, peace, patience, and gentleness—are what make for a truly happy life, and they are what God delights to shower on you. It's up to you to accept them and to cooperate with his grace. So follow the wise words of this inspired book, and become a generous, open-hearted receiver of everything God wants to give you!

"Father, I need your wisdom. Come teach me how to conform my will to yours."


Psalm 15:2-5; Luke 8:16-18

Allow me to translate today's 5 minutos:
  "In the middle of a cold night, there they found themselves by chance 6 people who were lost on a deserted island, and each one with a log in their hands.  There was no more wood on that lost island on the immense sea.  They were all around a small campfire that was dying out for lack of fuel, and the coldness got insupportable.  The first person was a woman, but the glow of the flames shined the face of one of the present: it was a black immigrant!. The woman found out and held on tight to her log.  Why waste her log to heat up a vagabond that comes to steal bread and work?  Another man that was at at their side saw a man that was not on his political party.  Never, never would he be disposed to waste his log for his political adversary.   A third person was badly dressed and he hid away in his clothes the log, and seeing his neighbor that he could notice was a rich person.  Why waste his log for a leisurely rich?  The rich was sitting thinking of his goods, his mansions, on his new automobiles, in his abundant bank account.  He had to conserve his piece of wood at all costs and not waste it for that group of lazy and inept useless people.  The dark face of the immigrant showed an anxiety for vengeance in that little light of fire almost extinguished.  He gripped strongly his piece of log.  He knew very well that all those "whites" despised him.  He would never be capable to offer his log; the moment for revenge had come.  The last member of that little group was a bitter and untrusting individual.  He would not do anything if he did not get something in return.  Give to who gives, was his favorite saying.  He thought; 'they should pay me very high for this piece of log'... And so they found them like that, holding tight to their logs, immovable and FROZEN!  Our world dies, but we continue to "cling" to our logs.  "

 This is what evil does, it freezes you and seizes you.  Last night a family member claimed to have seen what appeared to be a devil.  He seemed paralyzed with fear.  They ran to our house for asylum.  We prayed, and he could not talk.  I noticed the hairs standing up on my back as they tried to explained what happened, strange noises, scary sights.  And I can not help but wonder, what is it that paralyzes us?  Today's 1st Holy Scripture tells us "the curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked".  Who's home is wicked?  And why a curse?  Simply put, the curse is the departure from God.  And then the Lord says "but the dwelling of the just He blesses".  So who does He bless?  Those on fire for the Lord, those that are not frozen.  The zeal for the Lord consumes me, this fire, and how I wish the world was set ablaze!  The Psalm we prayed was "The just one shall live on your Holy Mountain O Lord".  But who will go up the mountain with Jesus?  Certainly not those that are freezing.  This is why we need the light, the fire of the Lord.  In comes the Holy Gospel, and Jesus says that no one lights a light and hides it.  Those who can barely see, make up in their minds what could be there.  Those who are afraid make up and feed fear and the devil feeds off fear.  That is why the world needs a light, those not afraid to go up the mountain with Jesus.  Those like the saints we heard of today, not afraid to turn their backs on Jesus.  Those who will warm and thaw out those that are too frozen to come to Church, those that are too frozen to confess.  Those that are too frozen to come to the fire on their own.  I told Monsignor Gully after the cursillo closing last night that I am hardly home with so many ministries, that I miss my family very much many times.  It's like I'm off to work, but more like off to war.  He said to take a break.  And the dilemma then is, the sacrifice.  To save souls costs what?  To save souls from the clutches of evil at what cost?  Let's go up the mountain of the Lord and find out...