Thursday, October 23, 2014


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Minute Meditations

Leaning into Love

When we are linked by the power of prayer, we as it were, hold each other's hand as we walk side by side along a slippery path; and thus by the bounteous disposition of charity, it comes about that the harder each one leans on the other, the more firmly we are riveted together in brotherly love. —St. Gregory the Great
— from Love Never Fails

St. John of Capistrano
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It has been said the Christian saints are the world's greatest optimists. Not blind to the existence and consequences of evil, they base their confidence on the power of Christ's redemption. The power of conversion through Christ extends not only to sinful people but also to calamitous events.

Imagine being born in the 14th century. One-third of the population and nearly 40 percent of the clergy were wiped out by the bubonic plague. The Western Schism split the Church with two or three claimants to the Holy See at one time. England and France were at war. The city-states of Italy were constantly in conflict. No wonder that gloom dominated the spirit of the culture and the times.

John Capistrano was born in 1386. His education was thorough. His talents and success were great. When he was 26 he was made governor of Perugia. Imprisoned after a battle against the Malatestas, he resolved to change his way of life completely. At the age of 30 he entered the Franciscan novitiate and was ordained a priest four years later.

His preaching attracted great throngs at a time of religious apathy and confusion. He and 12 Franciscan brethren were received in the countries of central Europe as angels of God. They were instrumental in reviving a dying faith and devotion.

The Franciscan Order itself was in turmoil over the interpretation and observance of the Rule of St. Francis. Through John's tireless efforts and his expertise in law, the heretical Fraticelli were suppressed and the "Spirituals" were freed from interference in their stricter observance.

He helped bring about a reunion with the Greek and Armenian Churches, unfortunately only a brief arrangement.

When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, he was commissioned to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary. He led the army to Belgrade. Under the great General John Hunyadi, they gained an overwhelming victory, and the siege of Belgrade was lifted. Worn out by his superhuman efforts, Capistrano was an easy prey to an infection after the battle. He died October 23, 1456.


John Hofer, a biographer of John Capistrano, recalls a Brussels organization named after the saint. Seeking to solve life problems in a fully Christian spirit, its motto was: "Initiative, Organization, Activity." These three words characterized John's life. He was not one to sit around, ever. His deep Christian optimism drove him to battle problems at all levels with the confidence engendered by a deep faith in Christ.


On the saint's tomb in the Austrian town of Villach, the governor had this message inscribed: "This tomb holds John, by birth of Capistrano, a man worthy of all praise, defender and promoter of the faith, guardian of the Church, zealous protector of his Order, an ornament to all the world, lover of truth and religious justice, mirror of life, surest guide in doctrine; praised by countless tongues, he reigns blessed in heaven." That is a fitting epitaph for a real and successful optimist.

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.


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.


To be conscious about something is to be aware of it.  Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life.  Thank you for the gift of life.   Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.

The Word of God

Reading 1 eph 3:14-21

Brothers and sisters:
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19

R. (5b) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Gospel lk 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

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: Ephesians 3:14-21

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Saint John of Capistrano, Priest

... who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)

Imagine if there were a history book that could capture the story of everyone who has ever made a difference in this world. Do you think your name would be in that book?

It would be! Whether you recognize it or not, you are an important player in the world. You have a key role in the unfolding of God's master plan. Simply by being who you are, you are changing history. Your words, your actions, your demeanor are helping to shape other people and their perception of the Lord. Even your prayers are changing the world!

Sometimes it's hard to fathom this truth. If we're not careful, it can even make us feel a little bit defeated. We may look at our faults and worry that we are making the wrong kind of mark on history. How could we ever advance God's plan when we are dealing with our own mistakes and weaknesses?

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians today urges us not to worry. Why? Because there is a mighty power at work within us! Paul tells us that if we try our best to connect with the Holy Spirit every day, we will be able to "accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine"—even in our little corner of the world (Ephesians 3:20)!

Pope Francis echoes Paul's encouragement in his exhortation The Joy of the Gospel: "To believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone means realizing that he seeks to penetrate every human situation and all social bonds." He reminds us that "evangelization is meant to cooperate with this liberating work of the Spirit" (178).

God needs someone in your corner of the world at this particular time in history. He has placed you here for a reason. He knows what you are capable of doing. Even in your imperfections, you are still the perfect fit for the work God has set out for you.

So let yourself become the instrument that God created you to be. Cooperate with his Spirit, and you'll change the world.

"Lord, help me remember that you are at work in me and through me. Help me surrender to you and rejoice in what we can accomplish together."


Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19; Luke 12:49-53



The reflection above from the Word Among Us took the words out of my mouth about today's 1st Holy Scripture, and the Spanish 5minutos reflection from Sonora, Mexico, took the words out of my mouth about the Holy Gospel, allow me to translate:
  "There is a violence that is provoked by the people.  But there is also a violence that is fruit of life itself; and it is absolutely necessary, because without it, life wouldn't have a place.  From the first moment of life, any life, it has some sort of struggle.  Life suffers violence to be born.  Also to grow, to mature.  All change is painful because it supposes to break what was to start to be a new form.  Jesus was very conscious of this reality.  The change that His preaching and His presence offered to the people of the time could not produce without pain, without violence.  It supposed great changes in society and the interior of the people.  Many were not interested in this change.  That created confrontation in turn to Jesus.  That has created problems to those who have taken serious the Gospel throughout two thousand years.  Today the Kingdom of God also continues to provoke violence.  The Kingdom supposes changes and conversion in our personal and social life.  They are changes that many of us do not like, even though we confess ourselves to be Christians and frequent the church.  But it is the only way to reach the liberty and the life that Jesus offers in the Kingdom of the Father.  Like John Paul II says in his encyclical 'Centesimus Annus, the Christians do not face anyone, we solely fight for justice.  What happens is that, at times, conflict is inevitable with those who oppose it. "

Wow, words supposedly right out of my mouth huh?  These two reflections on the Holy Scriptures are to allow us to see the light through Jesus.  We face great turmoil in a world that does not set well with Christ.  Some people get shot for confessing Christ as King, and some people get to get killed in a variety of ways for Jesus.  Common denominator?  The cause.  The witness.  The authentic Christian is revealed.  What I write here at times causes friction.  What can I do?  Soften the message?  Stop talking about certain things?  Perhaps say it in a nicer sugar coated way?  NO.  My sin is gross.  Your sins are gross.  Sins are offensive and why? Because they tear us from the love of God and neighbor, our community.  And so, this is a place to get your gear to get in gear like today's saint's lifestyle was.  We need a place of recovery, and peace, not like the world offers, like a cold margarita on the beach, but a solid weekly or daily feeding of Jesus Christ our Lord, in groups, in community.  Sure we need alone time for contemplation, but not all the time.  This unity for God is what is being called for.  Aww man, here it comes, the Holy Spirit is asking me to tell you what I done; for our church festival, I did something that was very hard to do, but for years have been wanting to do.  I finally got the nerve "the confidence" as St. Paul said in yesterday's 1st Holy Scripture and reiterates today, the confidence to reach out to other churches in a meager attempt for unity among faiths.  I wrote probably about 30 to 40 invitation letters, one for each of the local churches in our town. The purpose was to invite them to come to our festival and bring a volleyball team to play in our tournament.  There was a zero response, no calls, no shows.  What do you think about that?  You want to know what I think?  It was a step in the right direction.  Sure we have Christian concerts, like the Newsboys are coming next week again, but there is no one on one interaction.  Sure we join like in Holy Mass, but we don't really know each other.  People say they know me from church but I don't have a clue who they are.  Something gots to be done.  It's like a family that doesn't know one another, total strangers living together, even fighting.  In the bible, Micah chapter 7 it says "

Put no faith in a friend, do not trust a companion; With her who lies in your embrace watch what you say. For the son belittles his father, the daughter rises up against her mother,The daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,and your enemies are members of your household. But as for me, I will look to the LORD, I will wait for God my savior;my God will hear me! * Do not rejoice over me, my enemy!*though I have fallen, I will arise;though I sit in darkness, the LORD is my light."

In the gist of it all, it says one thing...the 1st commandment of God, Jesus Himself, Love God first and above all, then everyone else like yourself.  Like this older man said excitedly at my cursillo as he took the microphone from the speaker "...if you love God, how will you fail Him?"  The Psalm we prayed today said " the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness".  Those of us who proclaim Him King of our lives above all, by word and deed, by breath and life, our lifestyle, our life choices, our daily living.  What God wants is good.  God wants you and everyone else.  What God wants the world will prove difficult, when it is really not.  Goodness is there covered in muck.  Mother Teresa would dig out homeless people from the trash to reveal Jesus.  Sin covers us up with trash and muck.  We are in a revealing process as we speak, God is uncovering us little by little and we are falling more and more in love with Christ...
and it is good, and it is AWESOME
Let's set the world on FIRE
with JESUS