Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fire From Heaven

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Minute Meditations

Mad With Love
O fire of love! Was it not enough to gift us with creation in your image and likeness, and to create us anew to grace in your Son's blood, without giving us yourself as food, the whole of divine being, the whole of God? What drove you? Nothing but your charity, mad with love as your are! --St. Catherine of Siena
— from Accidental Theologians

St. Jerome

Most of the saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced, but Jerome is frequently remembered for his bad temper! It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen, but his love for God and his Son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and St. Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.

He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. He also wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today. He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and a consultant to monk, bishop and pope. St. Augustine (August 28) said of him, "What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known."

St. Jerome is particularly important for having made a translation of the Bible which came to be called the Vulgate. It is not the most critical edition of the Bible, but its acceptance by the Church was fortunate. As a modern scholar says, "No man before Jerome or among his contemporaries and very few men for many centuries afterwards were so well qualified to do the work." The Council of Trent called for a new and corrected edition of the Vulgate, and declared it the authentic text to be used in the Church.

In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic. He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia (in the former Yugoslavia). After his preliminary education he went to Rome, the center of learning at that time, and thence to Trier, Germany, where the scholar was very much in evidence. He spent several years in each place, always trying to find the very best teachers. He once served as private secretary of Pope Damasus (December 11).

After these preparatory studies he traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ's life with an outpouring of devotion. Mystic that he was, he spent five years in the desert of Chalcis so that he might give himself up to prayer, penance and study. Finally he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. On September 30 in the year 420, Jerome died in Bethlehem. The remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.


Jerome was a strong, outspoken man. He had the virtues and the unpleasant fruits of being a fearless critic and all the usual moral problems of a man. He was, as someone has said, no admirer of moderation whether in virtue or against evil. He was swift to anger, but also swift to feel remorse, even more severe on his own shortcomings than on those of others. A pope is said to have remarked, on seeing a picture of Jerome striking his breast with a stone, "You do well to carry that stone, for without it the Church would never have canonized you" (Butler's Lives of the Saints).


"In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert, burnt up with the heat of the scorching sun so that it frightens even the monks that inhabit it, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome. In this exile and prison to which for the fear of hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, I many times imagined myself witnessing the dancing of the Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them: In my cold body and in my parched-up flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion was able to live. Alone with this enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and I tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, but I grieve that I am not now what I then was" ("Letter to St. Eustochium").

Patron Saint of:

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


The more we call on the Lord
the more we can feel his Presence.
Day by day he draws us closer
to his loving heart.


Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate
my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings. 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

Reading 1 jb 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23

Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.
Job spoke out and said:

Perish the day on which I was born,
the night when they said, "The child is a boy!"

Why did I not perish at birth,
come forth from the womb and expire?
Or why was I not buried away like an untimely birth,
like babes that have never seen the light?
Wherefore did the knees receive me?
or why did I suck at the breasts?

For then I should have lain down and been tranquil;
had I slept, I should then have been at rest
With kings and counselors of the earth
who built where now there are ruins
Or with princes who had gold
and filled their houses with silver.

There the wicked cease from troubling,
there the weary are at rest.

Why is light given to the toilers,
and life to the bitter in spirit?
They wait for death and it comes not;
they search for it rather than for hidden treasures,
Rejoice in it exultingly,
and are glad when they reach the grave:
Those whose path is hidden from them,
and whom God has hemmed in!

Responsorial Psalm ps 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8

R. (3) Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
O LORD, my God, by day I cry out;
at night I clamor in your presence.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my call for help.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
For my soul is surfeited with troubles
and my life draws near to the nether world.
I am numbered with those who go down into the pit;
I am a man without strength.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
My couch is among the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom you remember no longer
and who are cut off from your care.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit,
into the dark abyss.
Upon me your wrath lies heavy,
and with all your billows you overwhelm me.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.

Gospel lk 9:51-56

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
"Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?"
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord.  I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me.  I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.

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: Luke 9:51-56

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Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)

The young teacher dragged herself into the faculty lounge one day. To no one in particular, she sighed, "I can't get through to my class. I try everything, from fun games to dire warnings, but I can't get these kids to listen to me. Some days they drive me crazy." An older teacher, well regarded and perceived as the staff's strictest disciplinarian, nodded and said, "Don't forget to love them."

Jesus never forgot to love us. His love is so radically different from what we conceive love to be that it's impossible to fathom it without the grace of the Holy Spirit. For our sakes, Jesus "resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51), even though he knew that horrible suffering and an agonizing death awaited him there. He knew that he would face rejection from those he had taught and loved and that even his closest friends would abandon him. Still, he went. And he went ready to forgive all of them—and all of us.

Too often our approach is like the inexperienced teacher's. We take on some service project, or we do something special for our family with the notion that we will receive thanks, respect, and honor for our dedication. But when things fail to materialize as we had hoped, we feel hurt. Have you ever known the bitter sting of ingratitude or rejection from someone in your family or community? How did you react? Contrast this with the way Jesus reacted to the "unclean" Samaritans in today's Gospel. His disciples, who should have known better by that point, were the only ones to receive a rebuke!

God's Son became flesh and died on the cross so that we could learn how to love each other as his Father loves us. We are all called to love the people in our lives with Jesus' love. And we can do that only as we yield to the Holy Spirit's grace. If we open our hearts to the Spirit, who fills the Church with every good gift, we can learn to serve humbly and selflessly. It is not always easy, but we should never forget that Christ is in us. We can do all things through him who strengthens us!

"Lord, a harvest of souls is ready. Send me out as a laborer filled with your love and compassion."


Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23; Psalm 88:2-8

In today's first Holy Scripture Job said "Those whose path is hidden from them, and who God has hemmed in"...they go and die, seemingly very happy having lived a worldly life.  How many times have you been tempted to say "it's not fair that I suffer for trying to be a good Christian, while the others don't try and are living real happy?".  Watch that temptation, because we prayed the Psalm "Let my prayer come before you, Lord".  What will have my life's prayer been at the moment of death?  Because as I was reading reflections, a voice said to me "either give your life, or it will be taken".  Who do you think said that?  Because it was a voice that was not a voice and many times I've heard it when Life has changed in my life, and more often than not, in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the ark of the covenant, the keeping of the Holy of Holies.  In comes Jesus into our lives today by way of the Most Holy Gospel.  He sends messengers of his coming, so that they may welcome Him into their homes on His journey, and what did the people do?  Rejected Him out of sheer fear.  If their lives were not at stake, sure, by all means they would've accepted Him and welcomed Him so that they may take advantage of Him, maybe a few miracles, maybe a greater status quo, but no, they were seized with fear for their lives instead of giving their lives to Jesus.  The Apostles saw this and were mad asking God if they should burn their houses down to rebuke them, and what does God, Jesus, Do?  He rebukes the Apostles instead.  Hmmmmmm.  Think about that for a second of your life.  He was going to die for those that rejected Him, even on His way to the cross.  That there is a mad love, not mad but madly in love.  Would a Father hurt his disobeying child?  Perhaps, but would he disobey them for being seized in fear?  Think about it and think about God's mercy.  Now we are getting to the heart.  So, He rebukes them and they travel to another village, another place that would accept Jesus.  That village is your place now.  Which village is it? The one afraid to accept Him?  Or the one that accepted Him?  How will I respond to His call?  I am currently swamped, I am getting tons of calls on the church festival I'm directing, and at the same time tons of calls about the Cursillo we will embark on as of Thursday, and I'm getting bombarded with work calls.  I hope not to do a disservice to any.  And I'm noticing I am doing alot of calling myself.  I am calling for help.  I'm asking for prayers from you, from a monastery, from people across the world for the Cursillo.  For the festival I'm asking for donations, sponsors, and manual labor, all very intense work...for the Lord.  Many have not responded to my calls.  Some yes, some no.  But it is not me calling.  When Church calls, it is the Lord asking.  That's why I've been immersed and engulfed with God's calling.  The day I don't get calls is the day I will be calling "hey what's up? Why haven't I got a call?".  We need to feel loved and we need to love.  Jesus loves.  He calls us to follow Him.  We are not to be hard on those who can't and won't.  It is the hardest and saddest reality, to let someone die without having known Christ first in their hearts.  I won't let it happen on my watch.  Job's agony was his obedience.  Christ's agony was obedience.  I read a quote today "God loves those who thank Him even in suffering."— St. Arnold Janssen.  God loves those thankful ones, those obedient ones.  Obeying to bring others to Christ.  Obeying to be merciful and charitable.  Obeying to say "you know what God?  You are not taking my life...I am giving it all to you for you to do as you please, because I Love YOU TOO"