Friday, December 19, 2014

Because Your Prayer

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Minute Meditations

Give Thanks

Jesus does not demand great actions from us but simply surrender and gratitude.
— from The Little Way of Advent

Blessed Pope Urban V

Listen to Audio


In 1362, the man elected pope declined the office. When the cardinals could not find another person among them for that important office, they turned to a relative stranger: the holy person we honor today.

The new Pope Urban V proved a wise choice. A Benedictine monk and canon lawyer, he was deeply spiritual and brilliant. He lived simply and modestly, which did not always earn him friends among clergymen who had become used to comfort and privilege. Still, he pressed for reform and saw to the restoration of churches and monasteries. Except for a brief period he spent most of his eight years as pope living away from Rome at Avignon, seat of the papacy from 1309 until shortly after his death.

He came close but was not able to achieve one of his biggest goals—reuniting the Eastern and Western churches.

As pope, Urban continued to follow the Benedictine Rule. Shortly before his death in 1370 he asked to be moved from the papal palace to the nearby home of his brother so he could say goodbye to the ordinary people he had so often helped.

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


What is present to me is what has a hold on my becoming.
I reflect on the Presence of God always there in love,
amidst the many things that have a hold on me.
I pause and pray that I may let God
affect my becoming in this precise moment.


God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.


How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am.
It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word of God


Reading 1 jgs 13:2-7, 24-25a

There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites,
whose name was Manoah.
His wife was barren and had borne no children.
An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her,
"Though you are barren and have had no children,
yet you will conceive and bear a son.
Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink
and to eat nothing unclean.
As for the son you will conceive and bear,
no razor shall touch his head,
for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb.
It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel
from the power of the Philistines."

The woman went and told her husband,
"A man of God came to me;
he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed.
I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.
But he said to me,
'You will be with child and will bear a son.
So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean.
For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb,
until the day of his death.'"

The woman bore a son and named him Samson.
The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him;
the Spirit of the LORD stirred him.

Responsorial Psalm ps 71:3-4a, 5-6ab, 16-17

R. (see 8) My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother's womb you are my strength.
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
I will treat of the mighty works of the LORD;
O God, I will tell of your singular justice.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Root of Jesse's stem,
sign of God's love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel lk 1:5-25

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest
in his division's turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord."

Then Zechariah said to the angel,
"How shall I know this?
For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
And the angel said to him in reply,
"I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time."
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah
and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary.
But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them,
and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary.
He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.

After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived,
and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,
"So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit
to take away my disgrace before others."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Luke 1:5-25

View NAB Reading at

3rd Week of Advent

The angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. (Luke 1:11)

Zechariah was thunderstruck. Not only had he seen an angel up close and personally; this angel spoke directly to him.

Most of us can only imagine what that heavenly encounter must have felt like because we've never seen an angel or heard God's audible voice. So does this mean that supernatural encounters are rare? Zechariah's experience probably is. But the truth is, you can encounter God every day.

In a way, encountering God is easier and harder than we often think. Easier, because when we're attentive, we start finding him all over the place. Harder, because we have to actually begin paying attention. Angels don't usually drop in for an informal chat!

Listen as Pope Francis speaks about a secret to encountering God: "Finding God in all things is not an 'empirical eureka.' When we desire to encounter God, we would like to verify him immediately by an empirical method. But you cannot meet God this way. God is found in the gentle breeze perceived by Elijah."

Did you catch the secret? It's in learning to sense this gentle breeze. Many people who learn to encounter God start by listening for his gentle voice. They describe God's voice as sounding, or feeling, just like one of their own thoughts. They say it's the tone, the content, and the effect of these special thoughts that give them away as actually coming from God. His tone is kind and encouraging. His words are pure and holy. And their effect is to draw us closer to him.

Here's a way that you could learn to sense his voice. Try to start a little conversation with God right now by asking him a question. It doesn't have to be a solemn prayer. Have a little fun! Remember the wide-eyed curiosity you had when you were a child? You felt there was so much about the world you didn't know. You didn't have any problem approaching your parents with a question. Well, there's so much about God that you don't know!

So ask him a question, and then listen for his gentle voice. Remember it may feel just like one of your own thoughts. Here's one to get you started ...

"Lord, how much do you love me?"


Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17

Are you ready? 
Because God is.
Are you ready to be a good boy or girl?  Because God is good.
Thing of it is, you were made good, and ready.  At any point given in time, you are disposed to Him, and this is a marvelous beauty of living right now.  The mother of Samson, whatever her name was, barren, was blessed. Because back in the day, being pregnant was considered a blessing, otherwise, having no children meant or felt like a curse.  Nowadays, some see pregnancy as a curse, and to cure it, a false healing of pride, a butchery of what is consecrated from the womb. 
Now back to the children, the good boy, the good girl.
My child, before you were formed in the womb, God knew you, because time does not exist, only the Spirit of Love.  Before I typed to you this morning, a couple workers came into my office, and I looked at one on purpose, eyes would not lock, "Eric, I'm watching you", I said.  "What?  What did I do!?"  Guilty feelings come upon judgement.  LOL, I wasn't accusing, he just out came with it himself!  I said "It's about what you didn't do".   After a moment of confusion I said "it's not about need to pray, you need to talk to don't have to know any prayers, you just talk".  His eyes looked down for a moment, "you're right".  Thing of it is, I didn't plan on saying any of that, I don't even know him that well, much less if he prays or not, it is the Holy Spirit that inspires.
 We have a tendency to forget where we are and where we stand before our God.
And so the birth of Samson announced by an angel brings brute strength and crushes the enemies nobody else could crush. 
And so the birth of John the Baptist announced by an archangel brings about a cleansing of minds and bringing in a flock that no one else could do.
And so the birth of Jesus announced to our Blessed Mother brings about a crushing end to sin and death, which means the opposite is now intact...holiness and life.
In other words, God wills and we are to be what we are already designed to be, His and ready.
And for HEaven's sake, don't stand-by ready, be involved ready.  How?  I just told you Eric, I mean, my child, pray.  Last night at the Posadas, upon reading Holy Scripture, we discussed the 3 gifts of the wise men; Gold, Frankincense, and Myrhh.  Everyone knew what Gold is, and it is treasure, and so what do we treasure?  GOD is our treasure.
Nobody could explain the incense, until I brought it down "like the smoke in Church" our prayers going to Heaven, our lives.
And myrhh, the Holy Oils upon which the life of Christ would be wrapped from beginning to end.  3 gifts from God; Samson, John, Jesus.  And what other?  You.  You are a gift from God.
You are the little lights that turn on for CHRIST's MASS on Christmas.  You are the twinkle in His eye, the baby you so wish you had, you are it. 
I want you to consider this as we rapidly approach another Christmas on earth, a day we remember the birth of God on earth.  A specially designated angel has been appointed to you too, and everyone else.  These angels stand before God, faces always turning to Him. 
Isn't it time that my face too faces the truth?
The truth that God can't wait for you to be opened.