Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Told Them, Engage

Minute Meditations

Virtuous Obedience  
Most saints were convinced that obedience was the first among virtues. At the heart of virtuous obedience is the attitude of careful attention to the divine will.
— from Fearless

St. Agnes of Assisi

Agnes was the sister of St. Clare and her first follower. When Agnes left home two weeks after Clare’s departure, their family attempted to bring Agnes back by force. They tried to drag her out of the monastery, but all of a sudden her body became so heavy that several knights could not budge it. Her uncle Monaldo tried to strike her but was temporarily paralyzed. The knights then left Agnes and Clare in peace.
Agnes matched her sister in devotion to prayer and in willingness to endure the strict penances which characterized their lives at San Damiano. In 1221 a group of Benedictine nuns in Monticelli (near Florence) asked to become Poor Clares. St. Clare sent Agnes to become abbess of that monastery. Agnes soon wrote a rather sad letter about how much she missed Clare and the other nuns at San Damiano. After establishing other Poor Clare monasteries in northern Italy, Agnes was recalled to San Damiano in 1253 when Clare was dying.

Agnes followed Clare in death three months later, and was canonized in 1753.


God must love irony; the world is so full of it. In 1212, many in Assisi surely felt that Clare and Agnes were wasting their lives and were turning their backs on the world. In reality, their lives were tremendously life-giving, and the world has been enriched by the example of these poor contemplatives.


Charles de Foucauld, founder of the Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus, said: "One must pass through solitude and dwell in it to receive God’s grace. It is there that one empties oneself, that one drives before oneself all that is not God, and that one completely empties this little house of our soul to leave room for God alone. In doing this, do not fear being unfaithful toward creatures. On the contrary, that is the only way for you to serve them effectively" (Raphael Brown, Franciscan Mystic, p. 126).

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


I remind myself that, as I sit here now,
God is gazing on me with love and holding me in being.
I pause for a moment and think of this.

Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.

How do I find myself today? Where am I with God? With others? 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 rv 4:1-11

I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven,
and I heard the trumpetlike voice
that had spoken to me before, saying,
“Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.”
At once I was caught up in spirit.
A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one
whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian.
Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald.
Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones
on which twenty-four elders sat,
dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads.
From the throne came flashes of lightning,
rumblings, and peals of thunder.
Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne,
which are the seven spirits of God.
In front of the throne was something that resembled
a sea of glass like crystal.

In the center and around the throne,
there were four living creatures
covered with eyes in front and in back.
The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf,
the third had a face like that of a man,
and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight.
The four living creatures, each of them with six wings,
were covered with eyes inside and out.
Day and night they do not stop exclaiming:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty,
who was, and who is, and who is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks
to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
the twenty-four elders fall down
before the one who sits on the throne
and worship him, who lives forever and ever.
They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming:

“Worthy are you, Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things;
because of your will they came to be and were created.”

Responsorial Psalm ps 150:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (1b) Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his sovereign majesty.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

Gospel lk 19:11-28

While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
“A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’
Then the second came and reported,
‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
‘You, take charge of five cities.’
Then the other servant came and said,
‘Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.’
He said to him,
‘With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’
And to those standing by he said,
‘Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.’
But they said to him,
‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’
He replied, ‘I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.’”

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

audio    Listen to audio of this reading

video    Watch a video reflection

Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?

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: Revelation 4:1-11

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33rd Week in Ordinary Time
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty! (Revelation 4:8)
Have you ever been part of a choir? Or maybe you have joined an enthusiastic crowd in a stadium as they belted out the national anthem? It can be a rousing experience, can’t it? So consider this: God has invited you to join the biggest choir there will ever be—any time you want!
Where does this choir perform? In your local parish, each time Mass is celebrated. Notice how, as he begins the Eucharistic prayer, the priest says that “with angels and archangels, with thrones and dominions, and with all the hosts and powers of heaven, we sing the hymn” of God’s glory. Not like them, but with them! It’s as if at every Mass we are lifted up to heaven, to stand in the presence of the millions of saints and angels who are constantly worshipping the everlasting God.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty!” (Revelation 4:8). These words sound familiar, don’t they? You’ve probably sung them many times. Still, it’s easy to gloss over the stirring prayers in today’s first reading—just as it’s easy to become distracted during Mass. Maybe the petitions in the prayer of the faithful cause you to start listing everything you want God to intervene in. Then, the next thing you know, you’ve been preoccupied through the whole Eucharistic prayer! Instead of being lifted into the heavens, you feel as if you’ve come farther down to earth.
Don’t let this happen! All of heaven is opened to you at every single Mass. Jesus, the glorified Lamb of God, is there. So is your heavenly Father, who is looking on you with love and joy. Your family members and ancestors who have already passed from this life are there as well, joyfully singing the praises of their Redeemer. So are David, Elijah, Mary, Sarah, Martha, and all the other heroes of the Bible. During the celebration, your church, however humble it may appear, is transformed into a gleaming sanctuary. The people around you, however imperfect they (and you) are, now stand bathed in heavenly glory. If only for those few moments, let the cares of this life melt away. Lift up your heart to the Lord!
“Lord, you have always been, and you always will be; you are the Creator, the King, the eternal God. Praise be to you forever!”

Psalm 150:1-6; Luke 19:11-28

In the ancient language of centuries ago a talent was a unit of measure and also money.  And so we have today a presentation from God.  In today's 1st Holy Scriptures we read from the Book of Revelation the words we say before our Holy Lord's Holy Presence upon the consecration of the gifts brought to the Altar turned from earthly material to divine.  That is what God is aiming for.  Yesterday's my2cents started with the question, "do you think what God wants is Holy?".  It is a rhetorical question, because it needs no answer, because God is Holy, and we are of God, made in His image.  And today's Revelation ended with,
"“Worthy are you, Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things;
Now, I will be honest, there was this sense in me, this concupiscence (tendency of sin) that said while reading the scripture as if the worldly body speaking "who does this being think he is people bowing down to him and worshipping, dropping their crowns...isn't he supposed to be down here serving in humility?"  Now answer me, who is asking this kind of question?  Evil.  Evil is jealous.  Evil is envious.  Evil wants praise.  Evil wants glory.  Evil wants to be in the news.  Evil is proud.  Evil wants to be the king.  Quite contrary to the Psalms of hundreds of years before Christ, and the Psalms during Christ on Earth, and the Psalms of eternity, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord Mighty God!".  Saints and angels accompany us in Mass when we say this.  We lay our crowns, at the feet of Jesus, and we cry Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lamb of God, seated at the right hand of the Father.  He came to earth to tell us this parable today of talents, remember those units of measure?  Those coins?  Yes, He is speaking about you and your talents, your time, your treasure, your talents!  He has given us talents for the time on earth.  How will I invest?  You know, we read this in Sunday Mass, and after Mass I asked the kids in our van, "what did you learn?"  and they agreed it was the abilities to serve God.  Silly kids, what do they know right?  I mean, who wants to talk about abilities to serve God?  I mean...uh oh.  Wait a minute, who is trying to put themselves in place of God?  I started to write a song Monday night, and I only got a couple of lines down, but it said "woe me, Lord don't let me do what I want to....I might really believe I have the right to choose...I might choose to lose".  And I'm speaking about losing Heaven, being slain from Heaven just like the devil that wanted to be God.  Now we are boiling down to self, selfishness in a world that says "it's all about me" singing that song that starts with that tone "Mi, mi, mi, Meeeee!". 
Can you begin to see the danger we live in?  To say to God "Lord, I was afraid because you are a cruel man" to the King of the Universe.  I'm afraid we are afraid of being afraid.  Listen to what I said; afraid of being afraid.  Because a true fear like the other servants propelled them to be obedient and faithful servants.  A true fear means a true love.  Because I truly love my wife I am truly afraid to fail her in infidelity.  If I lose my fear, it means I've lost my love, don't care.  So that person rightly was not truly afraid of God for they had placed themselves in jealousy of God that would collect what was not HIS!  OUCH!  Does it hurt yet you selfish person you!  I know it hurts me because maybe it's just me that is selfish and wants vain glory.  I want people to know what I did, I want people to say "oh look he's such a good boy" while inside I am a wretched sinner.  NO.  What God told me after Holy Mass was this (after I asked the kids what they had learned) it hit me....a man was given 10 talents and he earned 10 more.  What percentage is that?  100%  That means He gave EVERYTHING TO GOD.  The man with only 5 talents got the king back how many?  FIVE more.  He got the King 100% back.  And the other with only one talent?  NOTHING.  This is where I get really mad (perhaps at myself???)  Because he didn't even lift a finger, or put it in a bank to get at least 10 % for the King.  And I wouldn't be so mad if I didn't see it every day of my life.  I'm aiming for 100% and I don't see anyone else giving.  About 10% of a parish probably gives 10%, so that's a tenth of 10, so like 1%?  What is going on?  Am I mad about money?  LOL, I wish it was about money, but money reflects somewhat of our giving attitude.  No, talents means more, because also in the ancient language it meant "will" and "desire".  Notice I did not say intentions.  It is to say to give all of our will to God.  That is to say give all of our honor and praise and glory to God.  That is to say, the focus will turn away from me and all to Him.  100% of my life. 
Hmmm, should I be sitting here pondering and wondering about it?  That is not my intent on writing to you.  It is an attempt to get you off the sidelines of intentions.  It is to move in ways you've never moved.  It is to mobilize.  It is for you to evangelize.  What God wants is not for you to come back to Heaven alone, because His treasure is His children.  What if His first question to you in Heaven were to be "...nice to see uhhhh... where is your spouse, and all your friends and family?"  Where are they?  Because bringing yourself isn't 100%, that's just the beginning!  So COME ON. 
The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a step. 
Jesus is inviting us to a 100% life with Him where life is real and forever...