Thursday, December 18, 2014

Into Your Home

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Minute Meditations

Ready to Celebrate
God of love, as I come to the end of this Advent season, my heart is ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I join with Mary in saying, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Nothing is impossible with you, O God.
— from Rediscover Advent

Blessed Anthony Grassi

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Anthony's father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father's devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17.
Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a "walking dictionary" who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some time he was tormented by scruples, but they reportedly left him at the very hour he celebrated his first Mass. From that day, serenity penetrated his very being.

In 1621, at age 29, Anthony was struck by lightning while praying in the church of the Holy House at Loreto. He was carried paralyzed from the church, expecting to die. When he recovered in a few days he realized that he had been cured of acute indigestion. His scorched clothes were donated to the Loreto church as an offering of thanks for his new gift of life.

More important, Anthony now felt that his life belonged entirely to God. Each year thereafter he made a pilgrimage to Loreto to express his thanks.

He also began hearing confessions, and came to be regarded as an outstanding confessor. Simple and direct, he listened carefully to penitents, said a few words and gave a penance and absolution, frequently drawing on his gift of reading consciences.

In 1635 he was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory. He was so well regarded that he was reelected every three years until his death. He was a quiet person and a gentle superior who did not know how to be severe. At the same time he kept the Oratorian constitutions literally, encouraging the community to do likewise.

He refused social or civic commitments and instead would go out day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else needing his services. As he grew older, he had a God-given awareness of the future, a gift which he frequently used to warn or to console.

But age brought its challenges as well. He suffered the humility of having to give up his physical faculties one by one. First was his preaching, necessitated after he lost his teeth. Then he could no longer hear confessions. Finally, after a fall, he was confined to his room. The archbishop himself came each day to give him holy Communion. One of Anthony's final acts was to reconcile two fiercely quarreling brothers.


Nothing provides a better reason for reassessing a life than a brush with death. Anthony's life already seemed to be on track when he was struck by lightning; he was a brilliant priest blessed, at last, with serenity. But his experience softened him. He became a loving counselor and a wise mediator. The same might be said of us if we put our hearts to it. We needn't wait to be struck by lightning.

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


To be present is to arrive as one is and open up to the other.
At this instant, as I arrive here, God is present waiting for me.
God always arrives before me, desiring to connect with me
even more than my most intimate friend.
I take a moment and greet my loving God.


"I am free."
When I look at these words in writing
They seem to create in me a feeling of awe.
Yes, a wonderful feeling of freedom.
Thank You, God.


Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.

The Word of God


Reading 1 jer 23:5-8

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
"The LORD our justice."

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, "As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt";
but rather, "As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north"--
and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.

Responsorial Psalm ps 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19

R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds.
And blessed forever be his glorious name;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mt 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

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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 1:18-25

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3rd Week of Advent

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. (Matthew 1:24)

Many of us know George Bailey as the main character in the classic film It's a Wonderful Life. This beloved movie tells the story of Bailey's crisis of faith. When a rival steals his bank deposit, Bailey faces the prospect of imprisonment and comes close to throwing himself off of a bridge. But an angel named Clarence appears and shows him what life would have been like for other people if he had never been born. Seeing the positive impact he has had on so many, Bailey changes his mind.

Joseph also went through a moment of crisis. Hearing about Mary's surprise pregnancy, he must have wondered what God was up to. How could this happen to the most virtuous woman in Israel? He was ready to give up the whole idea, but he too had a visit from an angel, who convinced him to trust in God's plan. Imagine how different things would have been if Joseph had said no!

What would the world look like if you had never been born? Perhaps it seems like a pointless reflection, but there are people who count on you in this world. And not because of what you do for them but because of who you are. It may be your friendly manner, your smile, or your patience that puts them at ease. You are one way they have—sometimes the only way—of meeting Christ in the flesh.

Take it a little further. In a sense, your presence has eternal consequences. You may be the one who steers someone toward God, perhaps someone who is at the point of giving up or never had any faith to begin with. Even if you don't see it yourself, you are part of the invisible glue that holds things together in your parish or church community. There are a lot of bricks in a wall, and each one is important. Those people you influence will influence other people. And so on, and so on.

So as you venture out today, thank the Lord for blessing you with the gift of yourself!

"Lord, thank you for the gift of life. Today, in my small corner of the world, give me a chance to show someone how big your love is!"


Jeremiah 23:5-8
Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19

Yesterday I heard on the radio a man calling in on EWTN satelite radio saying that one time his baby was teeting and crying uncontrollably and the people downstairs called CPS on him thinking he was beating on the baby, to which he had to go through follow up visits with CPS afterwards and they told him "we get alot of calls on screaming kids".  He said "people on the outside don't know whats going on in the inside and just call it".   As our youth were in the church hall last night, a heavenly setting, a couple of teens were outside in the dark, one girl on the cell phone and another young man hanging out with a mischievous look.  I passed them to put up my guitar after posadas ending at the hall.  As I was coming back, I decided to walk in the side door to pray at the Blessed Sacrament.  As I closed the door, I could hear the young teens, the young man kept saying over and over a bad word to the girl, and I opened and closed the door to let them know someone was inside on the other side.  Today, many do not know what is going on in the inside.  The kids didn't know people were trying to pray on the other side and they were bothering, hurting in a way.  It is not the first time I kneel and pray and hear people cursing up a storm.  So we must focus on what is on the other side.  On the other side and very close in proximity is the spirit.  Here, it is susceptible to grace or fall.  We are a peculiar flock that God shepherds.  Beginning the life of Jesus with Mary and Joseph found in a peculiar predicament, shotgun wedding, she was with child and from GOD!?  Who would possibly believe that?  Joseph believed it when he was told by an angel.  That is a big pill to swallow, and that is faith, and that is what we are talking about this day. 
On the outside people will deduct and confuse and accuse.  On the inside God knows best.  We got home from a busy evening at church, I was even happy because after praying with the men a rosary during the winter carnival, I walked in and was told by many as I walked in the hall that I had won one of the prizes.  As we got home to drop off my sister in law and kids, neighbors, they said my brother in law was "drinking again in his truck like every single night".  I said I would go say hello.  That would be the beginning of my test.  Earlier in the day I had thought that my faith had not been challenged as the days when we would pray in front of the abortion clinic, yet here it came.  By the time I left the brother in law, he had called me a liar, a hypocrite, a spoiled brat, and everything else he could throw at me.  The challenge was that I was not able to hold my own as he was not able to hold his licquor.  I told him he was proud and envious, mad at the world and cursing each one on the way, because he talked so much of money and all he does for everyone.  The devil knew where to strike at me, because a couple weeks ago an estranged cousin I hadn't seen in 15 or 20 years said to me and my wife after realizing we had 6 kids said to us "oh well that's easy for you rich folks".  Richness.  They don't know what's going on in the inside, we struggle to not have insufficient funds in the bank, we haven't bought Christmas presents yet, and I've been sharing our home with in-laws for the last two years and we buy practically all the groceris and pay bills.  I tried selling the one thing that bothers me that makes me feel priveleged, a 7 year old motorhome, worth about 55k, for a solid year tried to sell to no avail.  They offer me a raise and I turn it down being the VP/GM of family business with a university degree, where some are not educated at work for us and make as much as me or more.   And as much as I'd look to lose it all, my family must be provided for.  But thinking straight and praying, God would take away what He sees fit.  God would provide what He decides to bless.  After my brother in law apologized by text by the time I drove home, I texted back "we are all equal in God's eyes".  He knows I've been praying for him alot, this past lentent sacrifices I did for 40 days was for him and his family, he knows how much I've done for him and his family especially when he was locked up in jail, but the devil will make you feel like the scum of the earth.
For this darkness and those children in the dark, the message is to open your eyes of your heart to what is on the other side.  Someone who is praying for you and pulling for you and waiting for you.  The banquet halls are full, and the Blessed Temple empty.  What does it mean?  That there is plenty of room.  On the inside, mercy and grace abound, there for the taking and blessing.  Stop cursing in the dark, lost, no direction, wanting and desiring good and not opening the door. 
Because ultimately the Posadas are the re-enactment of Joseph and Mary, pregnant before getting married, asking for room in people's homes, and had they let them in, open their doors...God would've presided in their homes forever. 
Yet the rejection still is absolved in reconciliation.  This Sacrament is promise and a blessing.  God still is knocking, hidden in the most peculiar of ways...because He lives among the flock that He shepherds