Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Go Out And Work

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Minute Meditations

Only One Chance
Remember you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and there is only one glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be a great many things about which you care nothing. --St. Teresa of Avila
— from Rediscover Advent

Blessed Honoratus Kozminski

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He was born in Biala Podlaska (Siedlce, Poland) and studied architecture at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw. When Wenceslaus was almost 16, his father died. Suspected of participating in a rebellious conspiracy, the young man was imprisoned from April 1846 until the following March. In 1848 he received the Capuchin habit and a new name. Four years later he was ordained. In 1855 he helped Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska establish the Felician Sisters.

In 180 Honoratus served as guardian in a Warsaw friary. He dedicated his energies to preaching, to giving spiritual direction, and to hearing confessions. He worked tirelessly with the Secular Franciscan Order.

The failed 1864 revolt against Czar Alexander III led to the suppression of all religious orders in Poland. The Capuchins were expelled from Warsaw and forced to live in Zakroczym, where Honoratus continued his ministry, and began founding 26 male and female religious congregations, whose members took vows but wore no religious habit and did not live in community. They operated much as today's secular institutes do. Seventeen of these groups still exist as religious congregations.

The writings of Father Honoratus are extensive: 42 volumes of sermons, 21 volumes of letters as well as 52 printed works on ascetical theology, Marian devotion, historical writings, pastoral writings--not counting his many writings for the religious congregations he founded.

In 1906, various bishops sought the reorganization of these groups under their authority; Honoratus defended their independence but was removed from their direction in 1908. He promptly urged the members of these congregations to obey the Church's decisions regarding their future.

He "always walked with God," said a contemporary. In 1895 he was appointed Commissary General of the Capuchins in Poland. Three years earlier, he had come to Nowe Miasto, where he died and was buried. He was beatified in 1988.


The story is told that Francis and Brother Leo, his secretary, were once on a journey and Francis volunteered to tell Leo what perfect joy is. Francis began by saying what it was not: news that the kings of France, England, as well as all the world's bishops and many university professors had decided to become friars, news that the friars had received the gift of tongues and miracles, or news that the friars had converted all the non-Christians in the world. No, perfect joy for them would be to arrive cold and hungry at St. Mary of the Angels, Francis' headquarters outside Assisi, and be mistaken by the porter for thieves and beaten by the same porter and driven back into the cold and rain. Francis said that if, for the love of God, he and Leo could endure such treatment without losing their patience and charity, that would be perfect joy (cited in Francis and Clare: The Complete Works, by Regis Armstrong, O.F.M. Cap., and Ignatius Brady, O.F.M., pages 165-166).

Honoratus worked very zealously to serve the Church, partly by establishing a great variety of religious congregations adapted to the special circumstances of Poland in those years. He could have retreated into bitterness and self-pity when the direction of those congregations was taken away from him; that was certainly a "perfect joy" experience. He urged the members of these groups to obey willingly and gladly, placing their gifts at the service of the Good News of Jesus Christ.


When the Church removed Honoratus from the direction of his religious congregations and changed their character, he wrote: "Christ's Vicar himself has revealed God's will to us, and I carry out this order with greatest faith.... Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that you are being given the opportunity to show heroic obedience to the holy Church."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


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.


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day,
starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
I attend to the shadows and what they say to me,
seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God


Reading 1 zep 3:1-2, 9-13

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted,
to the tyrannical city!
She hears no voice,
accepts no correction;
In the LORD she has not trusted,
to her God she has not drawn near.

For then I will change and purify
the lips of the peoples,
That they all may call upon the name of the LORD,
to serve him with one accord;
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
and as far as the recesses of the North,
they shall bring me offerings.

On that day
You need not be ashamed
of all your deeds,
your rebellious actions against me;
For then will I remove from your midst
the proud braggarts,
And you shall no longer exalt yourself
on my holy mountain.
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
Nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
They shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

Responsorial Psalm ps 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 and 23

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, O Lord, do not delay;
forgive the sins of your people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mt 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
"What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.'
The son said in reply, 'I will not,'
but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, 'Yes, sir,' but did not go.
Which of the two did his father's will?"
They answered, "The first."
Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the Kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.


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 21:28-32

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3rd Week of Advent

He changed his mind and went. (Matthew 21:29)

The heroes of the faith make quite a lineup! Moses the murderer, David the adulterer, and Jeremiah the complainer are only the start. There's also Francis the libertine, Ignatius of Loyola the vain soldier of fortune, and Augustine the womanizer. But despite their broad array of vices, all these saints had one thing in common. Like the first son in this parable, they had a change of heart that radically altered their lives. Because their no became a yes, they have left us a legacy of holiness that we can all relate to.

It may be tempting to think that all of the saints knew what would happen when they said yes to God's call, but that's probably not what happened. It's more likely that they experienced a gradual softening of their hearts, and with each softening, the yes became more confident and more apparent, leading to dramatic conversions and history-changing events.

Every day—many times during the day, in fact—we face the choice of responding to God with a no or a yes. Sometimes, it is a distinct change. Other times, it's more subtle. For example, when we say yes to prayer, to Mass, or to kindness and patience, we are saying yes to the One who has called us. Do we always know the outcome of our response? No. Do we always do it perfectly? No, but the Father isn't looking for perfection. He's looking for soft hearts.

One of the best ways to ensure a soft heart is by going to Confession. There is a grace in this beautiful sacrament of mercy that cuts through our excuses and our objections. Through Confession, we find the grace to say yes to the Lord more and more often, simply because we are tasting his love, and that love is changing us.

Today, spend a few minutes making a list of the key times when you have said no. Then take that list with you to Confession. Let your Father forgive you. Let him fill you with the grace to make a fresh start. You can become a hero of the faith just like Moses, Augustine, and so many others!

"Father, give me a soft heart so that I can hear and answer your call."


Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13
Psalm 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-19, 23

It's not easy to translate, but I am led by the Holy Spirit, here is today's 5minutos:
  "The first Scripture is taken from the Prophet Zephaniah, whom was the first to give a spiritual sentiment/meaning to the term of the poor of Yaweh.  It is the poor according to the spirit of the beatitudes.  It is the poor, totally empty of self and trusting solely in the Lord and follows the way of righteousness and justice with absolute fidelity to God and brothers/sisters, without giving cult to pride and riches.  The Gospel contains the parable of the children sent by their father to the vineyard.  As it goes, whome obeys is the one that seemed least disposed to do it; his conduct reflects the way of the sin to repentance.  God always gives a second chance.  In the second son, that accepts to go to the vineyard and then does not go, is representative of those who know the will of God and appear to be following it, but as it goes they empty the contents of fulfillment of what God asks for.  In which of the two sons does the parable reflect you and me?  I believe that the secon attitude deserves our attention.  We give a yes to God, and we practice a no.  What is asked of us by God, before everything/all, is opening to His offering of salvation, being poor who crave and receive it joyfully as a major treasure.  These are "the poor" that win the heart of God.  We bless you, Father, with the poor of the land, .  The salvation of God is arriving to our world!  Too many times Lord we give you a yes and practice a no.  But You are the one who gives a second chance.  "

What can one say?  Last night we spoke in group reunion of the forgotten "thrown like dogs" said a brother, and we were speaking of the poor in the nursing home, and I said "a hidden treasure" yet spoken of as a fairy tale.  So I am attracted in today's Scriptures to the poor.  The Psalm says  "The Lord hears the cry of the poor".  Our Virgin Mother Mary was poor, had nothing but God.  Rich in ways we will not be able to fathom, yet this is the richness our Lord offers.  Yet we leave it as a fairy tale.  The latest gallup poll shows a growing trend of people falling away from faith up to like 20% and they say these people believe the Word of God is fables, fairy tales, nice stories perhaps.  History is becoming myths? Twisted by Hollywood in movies, twisted by word of mouth, by people that are far from Church, atheists making the movies about our bible, people talking about other things than the bible because nobody understands the Word.  People afraid to teach because of this and that.  Too rich in worldly possessions, and not just money, but full of life worries, full of family problems, the devil fills up your plate, anything and everything you want to pay attention to, to divert your attention from our Lord, and it works.  And so our Lord comes, poor.  The world would not let them in in the Inn.  The Inn of our hearts.  The Inn He is asking for.  To accept Christ fully.  As I said last night after our men's rosary "to be a REAL Christian".  That is what I feel calling.  And I have been cheating this Advent.  There is a 40 days before Christmas fasting one can do.  Counting 40 days was easy, just google days til Christmas and walahhh, I knew I could begin.  Today begins a novena (a nine day prayer/offering) and we begin the Posadas.  Asking people from house to house to let in Mary and Joseph.  Yet, thanks to splits and denominations, Mary and Joseph are not let Inn.  They are not welcome, they will only accept Jesus.  Thank God for second chances, thank God He does not judge as we do, thank God His justice is real and not biased or of hypocrites.  Thank God for every soul that we encounter and bless as they bless, with good or bad, all ultimately figured for the good of the Lord.  Yes, thank God for the poor because they are showing me the way.  I said last night in group "in spiritual growth this weak, piety, what's helped me is my loved ones striving to live their faith, it is encouraging".   Some may look to me for faith but they do not know I am looking at them for faith.  I am looking for the poor that trust and depend on God and do His will.  The "No" they live will one day be a "yes".  My yes one day will be a total yes, and it is when we say yes with our lives that God takes care of the rest.

Poor people exist, often rejected by the world, and still they offer everything for God.

Total surrender to Love, the coming of the Light