Thursday, December 4, 2014

These Words

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Minute Meditations

An Enlightened Eye
The Lord who comes to us, the presence of Christ who abides in us, will enlighten our eyes. I would like to suggest it is both the inner eye of the heart as well as the outer eyes that are indeed enlightened, so we can see everything in the interconnectivity and greatness.
— from Let Us Adore Him

St. John Damascene

John spent most of his life in the monastery of St. Sabas, near Jerusalem, and all of his life under Muslim rule, indeed, protected by it. He was born in Damascus, received a classical and theological education, and followed his father in a government position under the Arabs. After a few years he resigned and went to the monastery of St. Sabas.

He is famous in three areas. First, he is known for his writings against the iconoclasts, who opposed the veneration of images. Paradoxically, it was the Eastern Christian emperor Leo who forbade the practice, and it was because John lived in Muslim territory that his enemies could not silence him. Second, he is famous for his treatise, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, a summary of the Greek Fathers (of which he became the last). It is said that this book is for Eastern schools what the Summa of Aquinas became for the West. Thirdly, he is known as a poet, one of the two greatest of the Eastern Church, the other being Romanus the Melodist. His devotion to the Blessed Mother and his sermons on her feasts are well known.


John defended the Church's understanding of the veneration of images and explained the faith of the Church in several other controversies. For over 30 years he combined a life of prayer with these defenses and his other writings. His holiness expressed itself in putting his literary and preaching talents at the service of the Lord.


"The saints must be honored as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God, as John the theologian and evangelist says: 'But as many as received him, he gave them the power to be made the sons of God....' Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering, and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory" (Exposition of the Orthodox Faith).

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


At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
He is always waiting, listening for our call.
What a wonderful blessing.
No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.


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 can afford to be honest about how I am. How has the last day been, and how do I feel now?
I share my feelings openly with the Lord.

The Word of God

Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 178

Reading 1 is 26:1-6

On that day they will sing this song in the land of Judah:

"A strong city have we;
he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us.
Open up the gates
to let in a nation that is just,
one that keeps faith.
A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace;
in peace, for its trust in you."

Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.

Responsorial Psalm ps 118:1 and 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a

R. (26a) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This gate is the LORD's;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Is 55:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call him while he is near.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mt 7:21, 24-27

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted 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: Matthew 7:21, 24-27

View NAB Reading at

Saint John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church

It did not collapse. (Matthew 7:25)

A family finds their house in danger of flooding because of local landscaping changes. To make things worse, they live in Ireland, where the most beautiful day can become a torrential downpour in the blink of an eye. Although they cannot control the weather, they learn that they can still be prepared. They buy sandbags, learn the early warning signs, and enlist help from friends. And so, even in the wettest weather, their house escapes devastation.

Today's parable, which Jesus used to conclude his Sermon on the Mount, depicts two men who experience identical storms—but only one of them is ready for it. You see, Jesus knew there was no way for people to avoid crises. Hard times are bound to come, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. But that's okay, because by putting into practice Jesus' words in this sermon, we can learn how to survive every natural and spiritual storm. If his teaching forms the foundation of our lives, we won't collapse at the first sign of trouble.

Sometimes you will receive a metaphorical slap on the cheek—snide criticism or unfair treatment perhaps. If you remember Jesus' words about turning the other cheek, then instead of slapping back, you'll remember God's forgiving heart, and you'll find the grace to react with peace instead of aggression and anger (Matthew 5:39).

Maybe the looming storm is the feeling that you may miss out on something you think you need or deserve. Rather than collapsing in anxiety, let your foundation be the promise that your heavenly Father will clothe and feed you in every way you need (Matthew 6:25-34).

Jesus promises that if you ask, you will receive (Matthew 7:7). If you keep this in the forefront of your mind, the first thing you will remember in any challenging circumstance will be how generous God is. Instead of trying to get through on your own strength, you will remember to ask the Lord for grace to overcome a temptation, for resources to perform a task, or for the energy you need to serve joyfully.

Isn't Jesus marvelous? Not only does he teach us the right way to live; he also promises to support us in every storm of life!

"Lord, help me build on the solid foundation of your words."


Isaiah 26:1-6
Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27


First let me say our God is awesome.  Ok that's it.  I'm done.  Enough said. LOL. 
Alright, I bet you want to know why I said that, right? 
Every time I read the Holy Scriptures it is mind boggling.
God loves in a special way, beyond human comprehension, or will.
Take today's first Holy Scripture from the prophet Isaiah, about a strong city that lets in a nation that is just, ONE THAT KEEPS FAITH. 
Now, you are probably imagining nations in the world, certain big countries right?  Let's look at a defintion of a nation "a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own", or "an aggregation of persons of the same ethnic family, often speaking the same language or cognate languages."  So we are a people that seek a law, and speak the same language.  We are the Nation that seeks God, we are of the tribes of Isaiah, seeking first Faith and being just.  So the law we follow is of God, and the just are Holy, and most often forgotten and abandoned. 
Does that sound right?  That the most Holy is most abandoned?  Stay with me: we prayed "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord".  Now when we say "he" we mean everybody, man or woman, because we are talking about "man", short for all huMANs with a soul, and souls are granted at the moment of conception.  And so Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, walking and talking, but walking the talk, because many pray, many do this and that for the Lord, heck, their whole schedule is filled up doing stuff for the church, but what about the Church?  Notice I capitalized the C in Church, the actual body of Christ!  Because we forget the best part is the heart. 
Sure you have good intentions, nice thoughts, but what about actions? And I'm talking about faith.
Here I am opening your heart to faith.  I will pry it open, because it means salvation.  How many times did people encounter Christ and He sent them away and saying "go, your faith has saved you".  What a gift! 
Now can you begin to agree with me that our God is an awesome God?
Stop saying the rosary and start PRAYING the rosary. 
Stop saying Mass and start breathing in Christ, the Holy Spirit, praying, sacrificing, offering, and finally taking in the TRUTH.
Stop saying God bless you and you curse the people around you.
Stop saying Lord, Lord and you not really make Him the Lord of your entire life, of every moment, of every situation.
Because you will be like a fool, saying one thing and doing another, and the ones you are fooling are looking at you, even that one person in the mirror.
What happens when a storm hits your life?  LOL, many start saying LOL, Lord Oh Lord, don't we?  And our Lord will be like "are you talking to me?  Are you now going to let me in your life?  Or are you using me?".  Think about it.  Deny me.  Tell me I'm wrong!  I dare you to tell me I am wrong!  Because your Holy Roller is ready for an answer.  I'm ready to hear that you don't say the Lord's prayer, yet do all on the contrary it says in prayer.  We can't even say "our Father" without being a liar, if you don't think we have the same Father, that we are all brothers and sisters in Him, that we are of Him who art in Heaven. 
Now the city gates are waiting for the Nation, the people of God, those that will truly come in His name to live a Nation of truth under the Law of Love because God is Love.
Jesus wants to be your Lord.
Our God is an awesome God just because of the fact that He wants to be all ours, our Lord, our center, our very LIFE