Wednesday, December 31, 2014

In Place of Grace

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Minute Meditations
Full of Gratitude Minute Meditations
Oh Jesus, I am full of gratitude that you have taught me about your real presence and the joy that comes from spending time with you. Give me the grace to be faithful, because the most important thing in my life is to surrender to you and know you better. Teach me to serve others—to give my time and resources to those in need. Let me lose myself and find you.
— from A Eucharistic Christmas

St. Sylvester I
(d. 335)
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When you think of this pope, you think of the Edict of Milan, the emergence of the Church from the catacombs, the building of the great basilicas, Saint John Lateran, Saint Peter's and others, the Council of Nicaea and other critical events. But for the most part, these events were planned or brought about by Emperor Constantine.

A great store of legends has grown up around the man who was pope at this most important time, but very little can be established historically. We know for sure that his papacy lasted from 314 until his death in 335. Reading between the lines of history, we are assured that only a very strong and wise man could have preserved the essential independence of the Church in the face of the overpowering figure of the Emperor Constantine. The bishops in general remained loyal to the Holy See and at times expressed apologies to Sylvester for undertaking important ecclesiastical projects at the urging of Constantine.


It takes deep humility and courage in the face of criticism for a leader to stand aside and let events take their course, when asserting one's authority would only lead to useless tension and strife. Sylvester teaches a valuable lesson for Church leaders, politicians, parents and others in authority.


To emphasize the continuity of Holy Orders, the recent Roman breviary in its biographies of popes ends with important statistics. On the feast of Saint Sylvester it recounts: "He presided at seven December ordinations at which he created 42 priests, 25 deacons and 65 bishops for various sees." The Holy Father is indeed the heart of the Church's sacramental system, an essential element of its unity.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Saint of the Day for 12/30/2014 Saint of the Day for 1/1/2015

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 I am in your presence O Lord.
I will take refuge in your loving heart.
You are my strength in times of weakness.
You are my comforter in times of sorrow


Lord, may I never take the gift
of freedom for granted. You gave
me the great blessing of freedom of
spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and
Your joy.


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 1 jn 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Responsorial Psalm ps 96:1-2, 11-12, 13

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia Jn 1:14a, 12a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel jn 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man's decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father's only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
"This was he of whom I said,
'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'"
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side,
has revealed him.

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: John 1:1-18

View NAB Reading at

From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace. (John 1:16)

Lord, I thank you for this year. I thank you for all the little things you have done for me. I thank you for giving me parking places when I needed them and for finding my keys when I misplaced them. I thank you for all the times of laughter and happiness I have had this year. I thank you just as much for the times of pain and suffering—even though they did not come from you—because they moved me to turn to you for consolation and comfort.

I thank you, Lord, for my family and the friends you have placed in my life. Help me love them more. Show me how I can be a better servant to them. Show me how to draw my loved ones who have gone astray back to you.

I thank you also for all the times when you brought me back to you. All too often, I have done what I wanted to do. Not often enough did I do what you were calling me to do. Yet you are always there, reaching out to me and calling my name. When I do repent, I feel you pouring your mercy on me and forgiving my sins.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the Bread of Life. I become what I eat. I see my development as a person influenced by what I eat. I see my desire for you increase because of what I eat. I see my love for others grow because of what I eat. I see a power at work in me, and I know it is not of me. I know it is you abiding in me. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me!

I thank you for the Church, which never gives up on me. Of course, we are a Church of sinners who make mistakes and hurt each other. But we are also a Church of saints—the gathering of "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own" (1 Peter 2:9). Lord, may your Church, of which you are the head, be blessed by you, be drawn closer to you, and be more loving toward everyone!

"Thank you, Jesus, for being with me this year. Please draw me closer in the year to come."


1 John 2:18-21
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13


My oldest daughter asked me yesterday me why we are having Mass on New Years day, "how is that in the bible?" or fit in our beliefs.  I said it wasn't but that we offer Holy Mass in thanksgiving.  Yet, what a new year signifies is what we read today, about the beginning, and the beginning is The Word.  I asked the youth at the Posadas "who is the Word", eventually the answer came out, unfortunately by some older folks not students, but it works.  Then I asked "what does it mean He DWELLS among us?", total silence again.  I began to explain, as I walked to a young man that had read the Gospel, I held my projector that projected the Gospel on the wall up to his chest, as the projection was lighting up his chest I said "the Word is Jesus and He lives in each and every soul" as I pointed to people directly.  Conception brings a soul into the world because God chose so to be this way.  A baptism brings about an un-natural birth, ours with Him to be His children of the light.  The Word will always be.  It will NEVER be extinguished even if it goes out of you, the light will always continue to shine.  This is why I will not get off this train, because it will get there with our without me, so I better hold on like those poor children that cross Central America for weeks or months on a journey for a better world on trains or on foot, some give up, some lose their lives, but God knows, they had their hearts set on the Promise.  This coming year, we know not what the future holds, some may lose loved ones, so cherish every single moment with them, if you ain't talking then get to talking and sharing, because the journey is on, and it is the story of our life.  The Psalm says "Let the Heavens be Glad and the earth rejoice!".  The 1st Holy Scripture says we have the annointing of the Holy One, those children of the light of God.  I can tell when someone has not the light of God in their life.  The perplexing thing then becomes one of a challenge for me, "how can we get the lights to turn on in this dwelling?".  And so the same is for you this year, because only when we turn on the lights of our dwelling can we see the mess, or what or who is missing, and that what or who is Jesus in our hearts.  So new year's will be a beginning for many.  Many resolutions, but what about conversions?  Because we don't seem to be very resolute.  It is hard to train oneself, so let yourself be trained, and this is following a discipline, being a disciple, and we are being trained by the best in the world...Jesus Himself. 
The grace and truth of our Lord be with you always.