Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Clean For You

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Minute Meditations

Working Together
I believe in God and I also believe in the power of faith to transform any life, any situation or any crisis, because it means that we take the best of who we are and look into the eyes of another and work it out. The working it out—that, too, is divine. --Adriana Trigiani
— fromSt. Anthony Messenger

St. Callistus I
(d. 223?)

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The most reliable information about this saint comes from his enemy St. Hippolytus, an early antipope, later a martyr for the Church. A negative principle is used: If some worse things had happened, Hippolytus would surely have mentioned them.

Callistus was a slave in the imperial Roman household. Put in charge of the bank by his master, he lost the money deposited, fled and was caught. After serving time for a while, he was released to make some attempt to recover the money. Apparently he carried his zeal too far, being arrested for brawling in a Jewish synagogue. This time he was condemned to work in the mines of Sardinia. He was released through the influence of the emperor's mistress and lived at Anzio (site of a famous World War II beachhead).

After winning his freedom, Callistus was made superintendent of the public Christian burial ground in Rome (still called the cemetery of St. Callistus), probably the first land owned by the Church. The pope ordained him a deacon and made him his friend and adviser.

He was elected pope by a majority vote of the clergy and laity of Rome, and thereafter was bitterly attacked by the losing candidate, St. Hippolytus, who let himself be set up as the first antipope in the history of the Church. The schism lasted about 18 years.

Hippolytus is venerated as a saint. He was banished during the persecution of 235 and was reconciled to the Church. He died from his sufferings in Sardinia. He attacked Callistus on two fronts—doctrine and discipline. Hippolytus seems to have exaggerated the distinction between Father and Son (almost making two gods) possibly because theological language had not yet been refined. He also accused Callistus of being too lenient, for reasons we may find surprising: 1) Callistus admitted to Holy Communion those who had already done public penance for murder, adultery, fornication; 2) he held marriages between free women and slaves to be valid—contrary to Roman law; 3) he authorized the ordination of men who had been married two or three times; 4) he held that mortal sin was not a sufficient reason to depose a bishop; 5) he held to a policy of leniency toward those who had temporarily denied their faith during persecution.

Callistus was martyred during a local disturbance in Trastevere, Rome, and is the first pope (except for Peter) to be commemorated as a martyr in the earliest martyrology of the Church.


The life of this man is another reminder that the course of Church history, like that of true love, never did run smooth. The Church had to (and still must) go through the agonizing struggle to state the mysteries of the faith in language that, at the very least, sets up definite barriers to error. On the disciplinary side, the Church had to preserve the mercy of Christ against rigorism while still upholding the gospel ideal of radical conversion and self-discipline. Every pope—indeed every Christian—must walk the difficult path between "reasonable" indulgence and "reasonable" rigorism.


His contemporaries, Jesus said, were "like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.' For John [the Baptist] came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, 'He is possessed by a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners'" (Matthew 11:16b-19a).
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


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.


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 gal 5:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

It is I, Paul, who am telling you
that if you have yourselves circumcised,
Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised
that he is bound to observe the entire law.
You are separated from Christ,
you who are trying to be justified by law;
you have fallen from grace.
For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness.
For in Christ Jesus,
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,
but only faith working through love.

Responsorial Psalm ps 119:41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48

R. (41a) Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Let your mercy come to me, O LORD,
your salvation according to your promise.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Take not the word of truth from my mouth,
for in your ordinances is my hope.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will walk at liberty,
because I seek your precepts.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will delight in your commands,
which I love.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will lift up my hands to your commands
and meditate on your statutes.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.

Gospel lk 11:37-41

After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, "Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


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.


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: Galatians 5:1-6

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Saint Callistus I, Pope and Martyr

For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6)

After a televised sports game, detailed analyses are often made by experts in the studio. They seem to enjoy pointing out mistakes each player has made—something easy to do when you're sitting in an air-conditioned room watching video replays! But in the heat of the moment down there on the field, the best players are the ones who make quick, confident decisions without considering what the critics might say afterward.

Do you ever worry that one day God will show you a long, slow-motion video replay of your life, pointing out where you have sinned—both in what you did and in what you failed to do? That's a scary thought, isn't it? But Paul gives some helpful advice to any of us who may be distracted by worries like this. All that matters to God, he says, is faith working through love.

In Paul's day, many Gentile believers were puzzling over whether and to what extent they should adopt Jewish observances. After all, Jesus was a devout Jew, as were Paul and all the other apostles. But Paul saw that many believers had let their concerns about Jewish law eclipse the whole purpose of the Law and the purpose of Jesus' cross and resurrection: loving God wholeheartedly and sharing that love with the people around us. For Paul, the real question is whether our faith is moving us to acts of love, not whether we are being strict enough in our observances.

When the same questions arise in you—"Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough?"— remember that Jesus has already set you free; you don't earn freedom by being especially scrupulous or hardworking. All you need is to exercise whatever degree of faith you already have and see where that takes you.

So how is your faith going to "work through love" today? Will you spend extra time reading Scripture? Excellent! Make it a point to get to Confession? Brilliant! Or will you just make an extra effort to be loving as you do the work you already have planned? Great! Wherever and however you feel the Spirit leading you to love, go for it, joyfully and freely!

"Lord, thank you for the gift of faith; let it always propel me into a life of love!"


Psalm 119:41, 43-45, 47-48; Luke 11:37-41

The father of the family I've been fasting for in the past and praying for constantly said to me in  a text yesterday "...thanks, we owe you a full day of work at the Jamaica (church festival)".  I said in reply "...the Lord needs you and your whole family in action".  The context is in today's Readings.  The first Holy Scripture ended with "only faith working through love" counts for anything.  I read a line from this guy named Edgar Cayce that said "... all that ye may know of good must first be within self. All ye may know of God must be manifested through thyself. To hear of Him is not to know. To apply and live and be is to know!" Pretty fitting for action and what Jesus is about to say.  But first, the Psalm "Let your Mercy come to me O Lord" and "And I will delight in your commands, which I love."  Jesus our King sits at table upon the invitation of a Pharisee.  Upon sitting down to eat, probably a sly or innocent remark that they noticed Jesus didn't do the custom washing before eating, as if to have failed at a Jewish law.  Jesus our King of the Universe replied "You fools".  Not to call names but to say you have been fooled...led astray.  That is to say "wake up!" there are more important things at stake than if someone didn't step right.  We are so good at catching others tripping, but had I helped them walk?  Jesus does.  He helped the crippled walk, and made the mute talk, and the blind see.  This was not just for the physical cures but for the blind souls to see God!  This was not for the cripple to walk but that we all might walk in faith now!  This was not for the mute to speak again or for the first time, but that I might speak about God, perhaps for the first time in my life!  God is amazing!  JEsus is so amazing.  As I meditated before writing, some weird question hit me..."what would it feel like to hug God?" and "what do you think an angel looks like?".  Last night, before friendship group reunion of cursillistas, we prayed the Holy Rosary, this time at the nursing home chapel, because apparently we are aggrevating one or more Jehova's witnesses down the hall.  We were originally praying outside, and then moved inside, and now to a different spot inside to be out of the way and not heard I guess.  So we closed the door and started to pray.  Right after the rosary started, the door opened.  All I could see was a hand holding it open (and I was sitting right by the door).  I see an elderly lady coming in, white hair, dark clear eyes, walking with a walker, and they said she had heard there was "church" going on and she wanted to join.  I stood up "you know we are praying the rosary", but apparently she didn't mind.  We sat her down where I was sitting and continued.  I sat next to her, she spoke softly, didn't say the prayers, but tried, and was affirming the Amen parts, and nodding yes.  She whispered that it was rather warm so I fanned her most of the time with a magazine.  When it was over, she said she didn't know this was going on.  She was very happy and gave kuddos to a little boy that was leading one of the mysteries "how he knows the prayers" and I said "it is strange for a little boy to know prayers nowadays" and she nodded.  When she left, Brother Al, recovering from an accident living at the nursing home affirmed what I felt "she was like an angel that walked in" and I agreed, but then he said "I have NEVER seen that lady in my life" and I was astounded and said "but you live here with them, how could you not have known?".  So we left it at that, an angel, or the Mother herself had joined for that evening, and it lifted our faith.  Funny thing is though, these things happen every day.  As I drove home I told my brother in law that is in RCIA (converting to Catholic), "Jesus appears every day, in those whom you least suspect".  He said "I like that song, what if God was one of us".  If you were to hug God, you would be engulfed in Love.  It would not be a feeling alone, but a total radical transformation.  And this is what He is seeking.  Do not be fooled by what the world tells you to believe and feel.  Do not be fooled by customs that hurt man rather than lift them to Heaven.  It reminds me of a time I told a guy with dark glasses before Mass started ( I knew him personally) and said "hey, you should take off your glasses".  He apologized profusely and said he had an eye condition and I saw the eye was infected or something, and I begged him to leave them on.  We mean well by customs to honor God, but they should not be more than the man.  A year or two later, I was singing at a funeral and I noticed a thug looking dude walk in late, wound up like at the front row, dark glasses, bandana, shirt untucked.  I was watching him closely, because I was watching Jesus come in after it started.  Come time to give peace, I walked up to him across the isle and made sure I not only shook his hand but hugged him.  I don't know who got more out of the hug...but I think I may have hugged God

Lord, turn my inside out so the world may see the truth and let the truth be a burning love of and for you and yours for me.  I want the world to see that I am indeed a fool, a fool in love, my throat hurts as I write, my eyes are watery, let them know that I can't breathe because my body can not contain this consuming love for you, let them feel what loving God feels like, let them know you are alive and are with us at any point in given time.  Let them know that I am beginning to know mercy, Oh how I wish we were to fall in love with mercy, the mercy you give so freely, so amazing, so soothing, so transforming.

Padre Pio's book said in a line I read last night that charity's brothers and sisters are joy and peace.  Giving alms is suddenly revealing its family of Love.  Giving alms is what?  Hmm
Giving alm-my time
Giving alm-my treasure
Giving alm-my talents
Giving alm-my life
alm-my heart
alm-my soul
To Jesus, He knows  what to do with it

Lord I give you my heart, and I give you my soul, I live for you alone
every breath that I take, every moment I'm awake
I give my life to you