Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wherever You Go

Untitled document

Minute Meditations

For Ever and Ever
How glorious, how holy and wonderful it is to have a Father in Heaven.
— from Adventures in Assisi

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." These are the words of Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun called the "Little Flower," who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. (In French-speaking areas, she is known as Thérèse of Lisieux.) And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world. Thérèse Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24. She was canonized in 1925, and two years later she and St. Francis Xavier were declared co-patrons of the missions.

Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thérèse possessed that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering that was indeed her apostolate. Thérèse said she came to the Carmel convent "to save souls and pray for priests." And shortly before she died, she wrote: "I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth."

On October 19, 1997, Saint John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church, the third woman to be so recognized, in light of her holiness and the influence on the Church of her teaching on spirituality. Her parents, Louis and Zélie were beatified in 2008.


Thérèse has much to teach our age of the image, the appearance, the "sell." We have become a dangerously self-conscious people, painfully aware of the need to be fulfilled, yet knowing we are not. Thérèse, like so many saints, sought to serve others, to do something outside herself, to forget herself in quiet acts of love. She is one of the great examples of the gospel paradox that we gain our life by losing it, and that the seed that falls to the ground must die in order to live (John 12:24).

Preoccupation with self separates modern men and women from God, from their fellow human beings, and ultimately from themselves. We must relearn to forget ourselves, to contemplate a God who draws us out of ourselves, and to serve others as the ultimate expression of selfhood. These are the insights of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and they are more valid today than ever.


All her life St. Thérèse suffered from illness. As a young girl she underwent a three-month malady characterized by violent crises, extended delirium and prolonged fainting spells. Afterwards she was ever frail and yet she worked hard in the laundry and refectory of the convent. Psychologically, she endured prolonged periods of darkness when the light of faith seemed all but extinguished. The last year of her life she slowly wasted away from tuberculosis. And yet shortly before her death on September 30 she murmured, "I would not suffer less."

Truly she was a valiant woman who did not whimper about her illnesses and anxieties. Here was a person who saw the power of love, that divine alchemy which can change everything, including weakness and illness, into service and redemptive power for others. Is it any wonder that she is patroness of the missions? Who else but those who embrace suffering with their love really convert the world?

Patron Saint of:

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


Dear Lord as I come to you today
Fill my heart and my whole being
with the wonder of Your presence


If God were trying to tell me something, would I know?
If God were reassuring me or challenging me, would I notice?
I ask for the grace to be free of my own preoccupations
and open to what God may be saying to me.


At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you.
I will leave aside my chores and preoccuptions.
I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.

The Word of God


Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1 jb 9:1-12, 14-16
Job answered his friends and said:

I know well that it is so;
but how can a man be justified before God?
Should one wish to contend with him,
he could not answer him once in a thousand times.
God is wise in heart and mighty in strength;
who has withstood him and remained unscathed?

He removes the mountains before they know it;
he overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth out of its place,
and the pillars beneath it tremble.
He commands the sun, and it rises not;
he seals up the stars.

He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads upon the crests of the sea.
He made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;
He does great things past finding out,
marvelous things beyond reckoning.

Should he come near me, I see him not;
should he pass by, I am not aware of him;
Should he seize me forcibly, who can say him nay?
Who can say to him, "What are you doing?"

How much less shall I give him any answer,
or choose out arguments against him!
Even though I were right, I could not answer him,
but should rather beg for what was due me.
If I appealed to him and he answered my call,
I could not believe that he would hearken to my words.
Responsorial Psalm ps 88:10bc-11, 12-13, 14-15
R. (3) Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Daily I call upon you, O LORD;
to you I stretch out my hands.
Will you work wonders for the dead?
Will the shades arise to give you thanks?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Do they declare your mercy in the grave,
your faithfulness among those who have perished?
Are your wonders made known in the darkness,
or your justice in the land of oblivion?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
But I, O LORD, cry out to you;
with my morning prayer I wait upon you.
Why, O LORD, do you reject me;
why hide from me your face?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Gospel lk 9:57-62
As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
"I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus answered him,
"Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."
And to another he said, "Follow me."
But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father."
But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God."
And another said, "I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home."
Jesus answered him, "No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."

audio    Listen to audio of this reading

video    Watch a video reflection 


 Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.



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 9:57-62

View NAB Reading at

Subscriber? Login to view archives.

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

I will follow you. (Luke 9:57)

Three stories begin in today's Gospel reading—but we don't know how they end! Each one features Jesus and a potential disciple. Let's call them Volunteer One, Volunteer Two, and the Invitee.

Volunteer One enthusiastically pledges to follow Jesus "wherever you go" (Luke 9:57). Jesus invites him to examine his motives and to reconsider his offer. This isn't going to be a rose-strewn path to worldly glory! Is Volunteer One ready for homelessness and rejection? For radical reliance on God rather than earthly security?

Volunteer Two starts off well by calling Jesus "Lord." Then he spoils his offer with two telltale words: "but first ..." (Luke 9:61). His request for a good-bye visit home seems innocent enough, but Jesus sees it for what it is: a conditional offer and a sign of divided loyalties. There is no looking back in the kingdom; no "but firsts"! This is something to remember when we're tempted to put off prayer or a nudging from the Holy Spirit.

Sandwiched between this pair is the Invitee (Luke 9:59-60). He's like Volunteer Two: willing to follow, but at a later date. Maybe even a much later date. The father he asks to go bury may be alive and well. Jewish burials took place on the day of death, so it's unlikely that the Invitee would be out listening to Jesus on that very day. What he seems to mean is, "Let me stay home till whenever Dad dies. Then I'll follow." To which Jesus seems to answer him: Following me is the most important decision you could ever make. Don't put it off. Don't try to control the timing and circumstances. Just come—and come quickly!

This is Jesus' word to us as well. In a sense, we are the Invitee and the Volunteers, our stories still unfolding. Will we say yes and enter into the never-ending story of being loved and called by God?

Which story speaks to you? Place yourself in it, then talk with Jesus from the heart.

"Here I am, Lord. Help me to follow you."


Job 9:1-12, 14-16; Psalm 88:10-15


Job says 'who can discern God's will', who can say what He wants and how He should do it?  Too many say the world should be a certain way if God existed.  Very few will say it is perfect, like today's saint, to accept and would have it no other way, nothing less, and these words from a young woman who died after suffering of illness for months to death.  How can a saint say that?  Today's Psalms prays "Let my prayer come before you Lord" and then it said "will you work wonders for the dead?"  It is all leading to the most Holy words of Jesus in the Holy Gospel.  It all started when Jesus said "Follow Me".  And the excuses began.  Most of them  I catch alot of grief from folks, when I talk about abortions, homosexuality, and guess what else?  Family.  As if to say a family man has no say in things of life, from sexuality, to the unborn and birth, and family life.  The devil wants you to shut up.  I am amused to hear that recently the United Nations has requested that the Vatican re-think and change their stance on abortions and homosexuality.  It is amusing to hear of a priest being asked to come to courts and testify what he heard in the confessional.  I am amused to hear the same threats that have been around for thousands of years.  You see, in things of the Spirit, they don't change.  The bible does not change.  God does not change.  His invitation does not change.  I am ordering copies of CD's of the new songs I've recorded.  One of the songs is called "Yes".  God asks in the song "...will you follow me?"  And the song continues "listen to the answer of a faithful follower..."I Say Yes My Lord!  How can I tell you no???"  And the question will be presented to you, are you ready?  Are you willing?  Are you not afraid?  Are you willing to sacrifice?  I mentioned family, and how often we put them in front of us as a shield, as an excuse so as to not be able  to serve the Lord. It is my ultimate frustration.  God gave you that family and you are now telling Him that His gift to you is the problem?  What if He takes them away?  Do you want that?  He giveth and He taketh away.  Most often, He will not take it away.  And this is in a way sad...because we kept ourselves away.  What's worse?  Having family taken away, or an eternity taken away?  We do it to ourselves, He lets us choose.  The last words of Jesus today seal this deal when He says "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."  I am seeing this play out in reality.  Of the twenty something men signed up for this cursillo this weekend, a handful have dropped out, many had probably family affairs to tend to, work, other "committments".  And of those who do go and are asked personally by the Lord to follow, we've yet to see how that will play out, and with your prayers, it will go well for God's Kingdom.  We can NOT look back when we say yes to Jesus.  We can NOT look back to our sins, our failures, our loves, our passions.  We can NOT look back to see if we've done anything good for Him.  I hate when I hear "I've done so much for the Lord" as if to be charging Him!?  I hate to be complimented on my serving of Christ, it feels as an insult.  I've done NOTHING for God, He has done everything, thank God, not me.  Now, I am laying it hard and thick, and a heavy handed bonified invitation, just tell me, yes or no:  Will you follow Jesus?  When?  RIGHT NOW.  For how long?  Forever.  Can I set things up for my family and loved ones and work and get everything squared away?  No.  Jesus didn't ask "can you come follow me later when it is convenient?"  Because that's the fact of today's culture, convenience.  I am not surprised on attacks.  On the day before I lived MY cursillo, I was almost arrested by local law officers.  Something told me it was all too much of a coincidence it was all happening the day before the cursillo.  The devil wanted to lock me up.  But Jesus chose otherwise, He wanted to set me free.  Here, 10 years later, I have learned more of freedom than ever before.  God is good.  All the time.  What matters right here and right now is the present answer of the past and the future, because for the Kingdom it is forever now.  Will I follow Him?  Where?  Just trust Him.  Isn't He going to the cross on the place of the skull?  What are you afraid of? To die?  LOL.  Yes.  I think people are afraid to their own lives, to their own lifestyle choices, to their own manner of thinking and believing, in essence...their own religion.  So I'm going to say something that will aggrevate; family is not first...God IS.  Otherwise, you will love your family to death, and not to life.  If God is first in every beat of your heart, your family very well could be saved, could you want anything less than their holiness and salvation?  Look at the parents of today's saint as an ideal.  And God is love and Love is God and this love comes before all...or what do I love more?  This must become our obsession until it becomes our Way, and Our LIFE.  JESUS, JESUS, every beat, JESUS, JESUS, every breath, JESUS, JESUS,  out with darkness when I exhale, in with JEsus when I inhale, out with me when my hurt puts out blood, and in with Jesus when blood comes into my heart