Thursday, December 31, 2015

Came For Testimony

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Minute Meditations

I Am Ready
O my great God, you can do all things and I can do nothing! If you wish to help me, I am ready. I promise to obey you! Accomplish your most adorable will in me and by me. --Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation
— from Sisterhood of Saints

St. Sylvester I
(d. 335)

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.

Daily Prayer - 2015-12-31


Dear Lord, you have called me by my name.
You have carved me in the palm of your hand.
May I grow in trust and never give in to despair.


Lord, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life.
Let me not get caught up with the desire for wealth.
Keep my heart and mind free to love and serve you.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally,
I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings.
Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks.
Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of the Lord

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.

- - -

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • As our year draws to a close, today's scripture brings us back to the beginning of all time. As we stand on the threshold of another year, we take time to recall the greatest event of all: God has entered our world, not just for a day's visit, but has made it his permanent dwelling.
  • Lord, let me set aside some time today, to reflect back on how the light of your presence has impacted on my life during this past year. Let me be grateful and give thanks for all I have received from you directly and through the gift of other people.


Dear Lord, stay by my side always.
Gain for me a trusting heart.
Thank you for loving me.


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: John 1:1-18

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7th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

He was in the beginning with God. (John 1:2)

John's Gospel begins with a beautiful hymn describing "the Word," which was with God since the very beginning. Any Jewish people reading this passage would have recognized this idea. In the creation story told in Genesis, God "speaks" things into existence—"Let there be light... . Let the earth bring forth vegetation," and so on (Genesis 1:3, 11). It's a sign of God's creative power that every single word he utters brings forth something new, vibrant, and wondrous. That's how powerful God's Word is!

But as familiar as the idea of God's creative word must have been, John introduces a whole new revelation: God's Word is not only creative, it's not only powerful, and it's not only eternal. The Word of God is a Person. John wrote that he was with God in the beginning, not it was with God in the beginning. Then John went even further to say that this Person came and dwelt among us: Jesus, the Messiah!

You may have heard the biblical phrase "the Alpha and the Omega" (Revelation 21:6; 22:13). It's a way of talking about how Jesus was at the very beginning of everything and will be at the very end. It's another way of saying he is the first word and the last word of creation.

We're at the end of 2015. Can you see how he was there with you throughout the year? We're also on the cusp of 2016. Can you now expect him to be with you from the very first millisecond after the clock strikes midnight?

When the Word of God is present, he is active, not just a spectator! He is always speaking new life, forgiveness, guidance, and renewal. He is always speaking redirection, encouragement, insight, and love. The sun rises on a new year because he gladly calls it to. And if anything has fallen into darkness in the past year, he only has to speak, and light will shine on it in the year to come.

So with gratitude, thank Jesus for all the blessings of 2015; with trust, surrender to him its sorrows and disappointments; and with hope, ask him, the Alpha and Omega, to speak words of grace into the year to come.

"Word of God, let this day of endings and beginnings be a reminder of your constant presence."

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

Came For Testimony

From today's 1st Holy Scripture with (my insight):  "Children, it is the last hour", it is the end of the year, but is it the end of your life?  Is this it?  Is this going to be a year of decisions?  And judgements? Lest our Lord declare we have been found wanting, lacking.
"...and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour."  The announcement of the antichrist has been proclaimed throughout the bible, scriptures from beginning to end recount an adversary.  Many antichrists have come and we don't even notice who they've been, much less who they will be.  They are the ones that serve to detract you from holiness, the sincere truth, especially that of a Holy Church that joins us to Christ intimately.  They are the ones who ask you to serve them, instead of HIM, our Lord and Savior.
"But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge."  You have the knowledge that was purely granted to Adam and Eve, the first chosen for God our Lord.  You have the sufficient knowledge to go forth and live in His Presence, His blessed Presence in the world, and you have been told where you can find Him always.  Our annointing is a clear desire of our Lord to be one with Him in His flock, a flock that He shepherds.
"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."  You know the truth, and what is against the truth a lie.  Sins are against the truth.  Against the truth means...against our antichrist spirit that also permeates, which a new life calls for a full life of truth, no room for anti-truth.
We pray the Psalms "Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands." What new song?  Find it, write it, how and where? In your heart...let the Holy Spirit write.  It will be a timeless masterpiece because it will be offered to the Master of Heaven.  It's like the value of the gift my child gives me, a scribbled and colored drawing, done with great love, the message given, the heart given is worth more than any store bought gift could've brought to the heart.
"Sing to the LORD; bless his name; announce his salvation, day after day." This tells us how to bless His name: day after day announce His Salvation!  
"Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice" and one of the heavens takes place now with His holy presence among us NOW!

OUr Lord Jesus comes in to our lives today "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God".  What a profound theological truth, the Son of God was with Him. Time has no hold on our Lord.  And we cherish time, measure everything in time, road trips, work periods, and even the minutes at church...yet it is worthless, what is so precious here is worthless with Him because it is not measured, immeasurable at best.  So lose yourself and be with the WORD! ALWAYS.
"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."  What came to be through HIM was LIFE.  When life happens, it is precious, and is to be revered, the dignity of human life.  Unlike those that give their lives to death, our Lord offers life to life, grace in place of grace.  Darkness even death can not overcome our Lord, it has no hold on HIM!  AMAZING!  When I see dead persons, I don't see the true person, because the true person is in the soul.  My dad passed away when electrocuted along with his cousin by powerlines.  He experienced himself leaving his body, and saw his body on the ground and said "that's not me, everyone is going to think that is me!"   LIfe is more than we think and much more than we make it, the value, the care, the love and that is why Jesus our Lord insisted we take care of His little ones...poor in material and in spirit.  Money means nothing, because it is a means, yet the value we have faith in?  You tell me, for a whole new year has begun!
"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."  The story of the owner of the vineyard sending his only Son to take back what was His shows what we did to the owner and son...killed it out of our lives.  You kill it easy.  Kill time.  Kill relationships.  Kill with words of anger, spite, and worse.  Kill the faith out of your soul, the gift from God.  You see, before the killing of a body begins, it had long ago started in the heart.  Immeasurable is the mercy of the Lord, because this atrocity has depraved the world He came to save with the light of life.  If the world fails to recognize the Lord, it is not because He is unfaithful.  You see, only the faithful can see, the pure of heart, holy...all that the antichrist blurs with darkness.
"And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" and no better place is this evident than the manifestation of the Lord in our world.  There was a young girl at our family Christmas gathering we weren't expecting, a relative of an in-law.  I noticed her looking at all the kids opening presents and she had no presents to open.  I did not feel pity, but moved.  As the party went on, and she was cleaning tables, I asked her "is that phone you got a smartphone?" she said yes and I left to my truck, santa clause vehicle, and got a gift that would work with her smart phone but more importantly wrote a note which at one point said "if you have ever experienced love, you have experienced GOD!"    They opened the gift  from a little bag, and were moved and were grateful.   The whole point've got to experience this GOD thing every single moment of your life.  Not just on Sunday, not just reading this now, but from this moment on...SING A NEW SONG!  Be converted.  The flesh converts into love.  The Eucharist converts into flesh, and so much more inside our soul!  The wonder of life is manifested all over again and again!
"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." Being born again, means conversion, means surrendering to God, means not crawling back into your mother's womb, but to be born out of this world, being made His.  This is how I explain baptism, being born into His KINGDOM!  And He gives power to the baptized soul, to have the ability to proclaim the truth that has been given as our only source of hope...JESUS.
"...because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."  Laws are one thing, but Jesus, the fulfilling of the laws is everything.  I ask you then, to fill your life with Christ.  With more confessions, more testimonies, more Eucharist.  I witnessed through the glass windows as we did choir practice, they were having daily Mass.  As we sung a communion song, they were actually taking the Holy Communion, and my eyes were tricking my mind, for what I was witnessing seemed like people coming up to be healed.  Indeed, through His wounds we are healed and it is said the Eucharist is His body, and soul offering to us.  I ask you then to partake of this wondrous gift.  If only I could go on my knees all the way to the altar, yet we go like a bride, that is to be dressed in white...purity, holiness to make a great gift to the groom, honoring Him all the more.  Grace is what is offered and this life in Grace is SPECTACULAR.
"No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him."  And the Word was with God. 

are you with the WORD, the TRUTH, the ALMIGHTY, entirely given to HIM!??
the NEW YEAR of your God given LIfe has started !!



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

She Never Left

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Minute Meditations

Answer the Call Minute Meditations
I feel the Lord is calling me. I feel urged, even when I don't want to think about it.
--Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu
— from Sisterhood of Saints

St. Egwin
(d. 717)

You say you're not familiar with today's saint? Chances are you aren't—unless you're especially informed about Benedictine bishops who established monasteries in medieval England.

Born of royal blood in the 7th century, Egwin entered a monastery and was enthusiastically received by royalty, clergy and the people as the bishop of Worcester, England. As a bishop he was known as a protector of orphans and the widowed and a fair judge. Who could argue with that?

His popularity didn't hold up among members of the clergy, however. They saw him as overly strict, while he felt he was simply trying to correct abuses and impose appropriate disciplines. Bitter resentments arose, and Egwin made his way to Rome to present his case to Pope Constantine. The case against Egwin was examined and annulled.

Upon his return to England, he founded Evesham Abbey, which became one of the great Benedictine houses of medieval England. It was dedicated to Mary, who had reportedly made it known to Egwin just where a church should be built in her honor.

He died at the abbey on December 30, in the year 717. Following his burial many miracles were attributed to him: The blind could see, the deaf could hear, the sick were healed.

Daily Prayer - 2015-12-30


Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.


Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.


In the presence of my loving Creator,
I look honestly at my feelings over the last day,
the highs, the lows and the level ground.
Can I see where the Lord has been present?

The Word of God

Reading 1 1 Jn 2:12-17

I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name's sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:7-8a, 8b-9, 10

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

- - -

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • The life of Anna was hidden away in the temple. The life of Jesus as he grew from childhood to manhood was hidden for thirty years in an obscure village. In this hidden time, Jesus grows. He becomes strong, filled with wisdom and God's favour.
  • Lord, let me value the hidden quality of prayer. "What each one is interiorly unknown to anyone else is of vital consequence to all." Let me never doubt the value of 'wasting time' hidden with you before the Father.


Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord.
I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me.
I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord.
When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.


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: 1 John 2:12-17

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6th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

Do not love the world or the things of the world. (1 John 2:15)

How magical life feels during this week between Christmas and New Year's Day! As far as the Church is concerned, we are still in the Octave of Christmas. And as far as the world is concerned, the holiday season is still in full swing. Candles still give off their warm glow. Christmas trees remain in many homes. Families are spending more time together, and children are still basking in the mirth of the season.

So why, in the midst of all these good feelings, is John warning us not to love the world? Why caution us against "sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life" (1 John 2:16)? Does he like being a killjoy?

Not at all. Just a few verses before these warnings, John gives a litany of all the blessings that are ours because of Christmas: Our sins are forgiven. We can know "him who is from the beginning." We can even know victory over the evil one (1 John 2:12-14). Surely there is much to rejoice over!

John gives us this warning because he knows how tricky life in the world can be. He knows that the Christian life is a matter of ongoing change and transformation. None of us really "arrives" at perfect holiness. It's a journey filled with joy and fear, an adventure that has its triumphs and defeats.

Brothers and sisters, God has so much that he wants to give us. And the devil has so much that he wants to tempt us with. So no matter how far we've come, there is always more awaiting us: more grace and love from the throne of God. Greater transformation into the image of Christ. More healing of our past and more hope for our future. And there will never be an end to the obstacles, the challenges, and the temptation to rest on our laurels and stop seeking after the Lord.

So as the Octave of Christmas winds down, take time to rejoice in the marvelous gifts God has given you. But begin also to make a plan for growth in the coming year. And always remember: Jesus is with you no matter what!

"Lord, protect me from the snares of this world. Today, help me remember who you are and all that you have done in me. Jesus, I want to know you even more!"

Psalm 96:7-10
Luke 2:36-40

In waiting room for wife's sonogram and tests, I share reflections with you:

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at

Meditation: What do you hope for? The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness. Hope grows with prayer and perseverance. Anna was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation that God would fulfill all his promises. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she was found daily in the house of the Lord, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking prophetically to others about the Lord's promise to send a redeemer. She is a model of godliness to all believers as we advance in age.

Advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we do not have our hope placed rightly. Anna's hope in God and his promises grew with age! She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope. Her hope and faith in God's promises fueled her indomitable zeal and fervor in prayer and service of God's people.

How do we grow in hope? By placing our trust in the promises of Jesus Christ and relying not on our own strength, but on the grace and help of the Holy Spirit. Does your hope and fervor for God grow with age?

"Lord Jesus, may I never cease to hope in you and to trust in your promises. Inflame my zeal for your kingdom and increase my love for prayer, that I may never cease to give you praise and worship".

The following reflection is courtesy of Presentation Ministries (c) 2015. Their website is located at

  Please read:


  "If anyone loves the world, the Father's love has no place in him." —1 John 2:15  

Most of us believe that love for the world could detract people from receiving God the Father's love. In contrast, the Lord maintains that love for the world will totally displace the Father's love from our lives. Therefore, we must have no love for the world (1 Jn 2:15), make no provisions for the desires of the flesh (Rm 13:14), and crucify the "flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24). Love for the world is like cancer. Even a little bit of it kills.

The Lord has been extremely clear about our relationship with the world. He chose us out of the world (Jn 15:19), and the world hates us (Jn 15:18; 17:14). Nevertheless, we can choose to be the world's friends and thereby become God's enemies (Jas 4:4; Phil 3:18-19).

As clear as the Lord is about our relationship with the world, many Christians have never gotten the message. Therefore, the Lord has sent as messengers Christians who, like little children, depend on God the Father (see 1 Jn 2:12, 14). These "little ones" are graced by the Holy Spirit to convict us of our worldliness (see Jn 16:8). Fathers especially are anointed to communicate the message of God the Father's all-sufficient love (1 Jn 2:13, 14). In our Father's love, we have everything. We don't need "the world with its seductions" (1 Jn 2:17). Finally, the Lord has chosen young men (1 Jn 2:13, 14) like Paul, Anthony, Benedict, Francis, Dominic, and others to rebel against the world. The message of these young men rocks the world. Because of them, many crucify themselves to the world and live in the Father's love (Gal 6:14).

  Prayer: Father, this Christmas free me from the world. Promise: "She was constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer. Coming on the scene at this moment, she gave thanks to God and talked about the Child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem." —Lk 2:37-38 Praise: James sought Jesus in silence, heard the call to monastic life, and accepted his new vocation.    

 Ours is a life to explore the possibilities of just how much to grow in love with God. Anna grew in age and hope. I thank our Lord for this opportunity. Find out what is holding you from a better love. Then pray for strength to move past this hurdle. Then, move. Move forward.  Courage happens moment by moment.  At the safety meeting this morning, I asked all how we could've avoided an accident earlier this year when one of our drivers got struck by an oncoming vehicle turning in front of us.  And notice, I say 'we' but it was only him driving alone. I said we are all one and what you do alone affects the rest...the same with sin.  It seemed it was unavoidable, but I kept asking how it could've been avoided.  I asked the driver to say what happened and he said something that I called out "the other driver seemed to have hesitated" before taking the risk of almost killing someone.  I said we can look ahead in anticipation of what could happen.  Analyze, search, and don't get distracted.  What was funny is that the guys in various accidents didn't really want to accept their end of the fault. We want to protect our "reputation" and in doing so the other party must be fully blamed. I'm talking about our sin. We don't want to accept we are sinful.  I say this repeatedly because the lines to the confessionals are practically nonexistent and priests do not make it readily available, that what is healing and reconciliation for us all.

A sign of intelligence is to be able to recognize signs and patterns -notice what is transpiring and has transpired for centuries. If I SAT here and recalled everyone's weaknesses including mine what purpose would that serve? It should serve as a sign.  Because the word of the Lord is insistent an incessant. And not only that it is good and it is saving. Much of what I have learned has been from experiences of self and others.

How can I apply the word of the Lord to my life this very day? It said today that the child grew strong and in wisdom and in God's grace. If we are to be Christ followers then rightly so we too shall be a child of God to grow strong in wisdom and in grace. I pray for you to have this grace and wisdom bestowed upon you. And wisdom comes by vindication, humiliation, and often buy a glory we dare not ask for... a total surrender of our lives.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A light to reveal

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Minute Meditations

Commitment to the Poor
Being Sisters of the Poor involves the commitment to never abandon those poor whom God gives us as brothers and sisters. --Blessed Savina Petrilli
— from Sisterhood of Saints

St. Thomas Becket

A strong man who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil and so became a strong churchman, a martyr and a saint—that was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.

His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. When Henry felt it advantageous to make his chancellor the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry's intrusions into Church affairs. Nevertheless, he was made archbishop (1162), resigned his chancellorship and reformed his whole way of life!

Troubles began. Henry insisted upon usurping Church rights. At one time, supposing some conciliatory action possible, Thomas came close to compromise. He momentarily approved the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would have denied the clergy the right of trial by a Church court and prevented them from making direct appeal to Rome. But Thomas rejected the Constitutions, fled to France for safety and remained in exile for seven years. When he returned to England, he suspected it would mean certain death. Because Thomas refused to remit censures he had placed upon bishops favored by the king, Henry cried out in a rage, "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!" Four knights, taking his words as his wish, slew Thomas in the Canterbury cathedral.

Thomas Becket remains a hero-saint down to our own times.


No one becomes a saint without struggle, especially with himself. Thomas knew he must stand firm in defense of truth and right, even at the cost of his life. We also must take a stand in the face of pressures—against dishonesty, deceit, destruction of life—at the cost of popularity, convenience, promotion and even greater goods.


In T.S. Eliot's powerful drama, Murder in the Cathedral, Becket faces a final temptation to seek martyrdom for earthly glory and revenge. With real insight into his life situation, Thomas responds: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

Daily Prayer - 2015-12-29


As I begin this prayer, God is here.
Around me, in my sensations, in my thoughts and deep within me.
I pause for a moment, and become aware
of God's life-giving presence.


"In these days, God taught me
as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius).
I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet,
and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me.


I ask how I am within myself today?
Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
If any of these characteristics apply,
can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God

The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 202

Reading 1 1 Jn 2:3-11

The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 5b-6

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.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia Lk 2:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 2:22-35

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

"Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel."

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
"Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Simeon sings his song of farewell after a lifetime of watching for the sign of God salvation. Attuned to the Holy Spirit, he identifies Jesus from the many children who came up to Jerusalem. Jesus comes not in power but as a babe in his mother's arms. He comes as a light for all who are in darkness.
  • Lord, may your Holy Spirit rest on me today. Like Simeon, may I too recognise that you have come in the form of a vulnerable child.


Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words.
You can see into my heart.
You know my desires and you know my needs.
I place myself into your hands.


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: 1 John 2:3-11

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5th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. (1 John 2:9)

When was the last time your heart got a good spring cleaning? Think about it now: is there anything you've let sit around for too long? Old hurts, perhaps, or jealousies or grievances? We might not even realize they are there. Taken individually, they might be so small or inconsequential as to not even be worth rejecting. Could they really hold us back from God? Yes! If we aren't careful, these little annoyances can accumulate over time, until they become nearly insurmountable.

As today's passage says, when we hate our brother, we are still in darkness. This is strong language, and at first we might not think it applies to us. It's quite possible when you examine your heart you won't find that you hate anyone. But every little thing that we allow to remain in our hearts that isn't of God can have an effect on us. We might not be in darkness, but we certainly might find ourselves in the shade!

God wants us to live in the light of his love and grace. He knows that when we bask in his power—when the obstacles are cleared away—we grow. Like plants that thrive in sunlight, we become spiritually tall and strong as we reach towards the heavens. He wants us to be visible to all around us, living examples of what his grace can accomplish if given a clear path to our hearts.

We're coming to the end of another year. Now is the perfect time to clear away some of the things that are hindering the work that God is doing in us, even the small ones that we don't usually pay attention to. Let's open ourselves to his healing and empowering light. Is anything really worth holding onto if we can exchange it for a little more of his mercy? If you can't think of anything, you can ask him to show you what you can let go of. There's always room for more growth!

"Lord, thank you for your constant light shining down from above and filling me with grace. Help me to identify things that keep me in the shade so that I can put them aside permanently. Jesus, come and fill me!"

Psalm 96:1-3, 5-6
Luke 2:22-35

A light to reveal

Today's 5 minutos ended with the lines "we can examine our lives in light of this Child.  Before Him are only two options: remain in Him or be against Him.  In your heart is the answer".   Today's first Holy Scripture said "Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him."  Our part of the world was hit with a blizzard over the weekend, and some were asking repeatedly if Mass would be cancelled because many churches were cancelling "services" due to the weather.  The storm begins.  And very few make it to Holy Mass.  What if I were to have said that only those that made it to Mass were saved?  Would that sound right?  My sister in law said she was afraid to drive on the roads and I wrote back Sunday morning "then I'll go pick you up".  In reality she was tempted to stay with her husband with a stomache bug.  But we went.  After Mass as we slid around on the roads, I said "any time you are ready to risk your life for the Lord, call me".  Because it is one thing to say you love someone, and quite another to actually give your life for them.  Take St. Thomas Becket, today's saint for example.  He knew he was taking his own life, risking it by returning to his duties as archbishop of London, in England.  He returned, was faithful, and was murdered inside the Sanctuary.  Very few actually love God like that.  Not everyone goes flying straight into Heaven without something that is key...a true love of God.
The Psalms we prayed today said "Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! Announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds."  A new day brings on a whole new chance for love of God.  And it begins with your cross, that what keeps weighing you down, the pressure, what pressure?  It'd be best to turn it a pressure of love than an opression of sin.  His Salvation means just that.  And it is being announced to you and me this very day.  "I want to be yours".  And the life of Christ has begun anew with the birth of the Lord.  Fresh.  There was a Simeon in the book of Genesis.  His mother gave birth; "Then she conceived again, and again bore a son; Fresh gift, said she, is fresh proof the Lord has come to hear of the despite done me; so she called him Simeon, Hearing."  A fresh gift called what? Hearing, which is what Simeon means.  And what we are about to hear is spectacular, and dumbfounding, and a prophecy of how it was and is to be.
Simeon, in the new Testament was awaiting the Christ that the Holy Spirit said he would see in the temple.  Simeon was hearing.  Simeon begins to say things for Joseph and Mary to hear.  And now it is for your ears to hear.  What is there to hear?  Haven't you heard it all already?  What new deal could we possibly hear about in a scripture that has been said over and over again?  Did you hear the message for you?  Or did you think it was just for Joseph and Mary?  Long before the time Jesus had entered the temple as a newborn baby, already Simeon was awaiting.  You see, Simeon in Genesis had along with a brother revenged the rape of their sister Dinah.  Because of this, they had no promised land, and were confined to a certain territory.  And this day, the Lord had been welcomed back to spread the Kingdom and the territory would encompass the world.  It boils down to light and dark:  "Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness..."  How many of us want to put people in their place, especially with revenge?  St. John Paul II went to visit the man in jail that tried to kill him.  This is the way, as we read today "This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked."  And so the question comes down to you and me from Heaven "how much do you really, truly, and honestly love God?".  Out of the handfuls that made to through the stormy weather to Mass only a hand select few there may have an actual love of God.  Because it is one thing to give yourself in body, as we do in many earthly things, but it is a whole other to give one's entire soul.  You see, in my confession, I had said "things of past are haunting me" and the priest/Jesus said "let us unbind those things now".  WHOA!  And here nearly 20 years later, they are finally becoming unbound!?  Simeon all over again.  And the words begin, "this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel (the people of God)" and this child is you, Christ in you!! Let's continue with the Word from Heaven "...and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce)"  A sword pierced Jesus, a sword pierced the flesh of St. Thomas Becket, and the sword touched the heart of Mary in her soul...does it affect yours? And what for?  Let's continue reading words from Heaven to you, " that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."  A revelation takes place when Christ takes center stage of your life.  A revelation to others.  A realization of the actualization of the love of God on earth.  To capture you and others.  To motivate you and others.  When's the last time you said '"I'm tired of living this life, I'm ready for a change" and you actually began the conversion process?  A preparation in self on its way.  For the birth of the Lord, there was preparation.  For the birth of the Lord is a preparation. Make room.  For the bringing of the newborn Jesus, is a preparation of souls for what is going to be encountered.  And what it is shall be tasted by all, a death, the second birth to life eternal, ever alive or dead to Him as it was on earth as it is to be in Heaven.  The solid proclamation of Simeon, is to Hear.  The proclamation of St. John the evangelist is to act on it.  And the proclamation of the Lord is acceptance of total divinity into your life, to pierce the hearts of many, to bleed what was to have bled out, to make room for you in His Home
The Most Sacred Heart of JESUS



Monday, December 28, 2015

Voice Was Heard

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Minute Meditations

Belong to God Alone
From this moment on, anything concerning me is no longer of any interest to me. I must belong entirely to God and God alone. Never to myself.
--St. Bernadette Soubirous
— from Sisterhood of Saints

Holy InnocentsListen to Audio

Herod "the Great," king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his wife, his brother and his sister's two husbands, to name only a few.

Matthew 2:1-18 tells this story: Herod was "greatly troubled" when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of "the newborn king of the Jews," whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report back to him so that he could also "do him homage." They found Jesus, offered him their gifts and, warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Jesus escaped to Egypt.

Herod became furious and "ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under." The horror of the massacre and the devastation of the mothers and fathers led Matthew to quote Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children..." (Matthew 2:18). Rachel was the wife of Jacob/Israel. She is pictured as weeping at the place where the Israelites were herded together by the conquering Assyrians for their march into captivity.


The Holy Innocents are few, in comparison to the genocide and abortion of our day. But even if there had been only one, we recognize the greatest treasure God put on the earth—a human person, destined for eternity and graced by Jesus' death and resurrection.


"Purify us as we serve these, your mysteries, by which you grant justification even to those who lack understanding" (Prayer Over the Gifts, Feast of the Holy Innocents).

Patron Saint of:



Daily Prayer - 2015-12-28


Dear Lord, help me to be open to you
for this time as I put aside the cares of this world.
Fill my mind with your peace, Your Love.


By God's grace I was born to live in freedom.
Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me.
Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended,
with complete confidence in Your Loving care.


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

Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
Lectionary: 698

Reading 1 1 Jn 1:5—2:2

This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ
and proclaim to you:
God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.
If we say, "We have fellowship with him,"
while we continue to walk in darkness,
we lie and do not act in truth.
But if we walk in the light as he is in the light,
then we have fellowship with one another,
and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
If we say, "We are without sin,"
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just
and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
If we say, "We have not sinned," we make him a liar,
and his word is not in us.

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

Responsorial Psalm PS 124:2-3, 4-5, 7cd-8

R. (7) Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Had not the LORD been with us—
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept the raging waters.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Broken was the snare,
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.

Alleluia See Te Deum

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the white robed army of martyrs praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
"Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him."
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Joy at the birth of Christ is short-lived. The cross looms from the outset. He is a hunted child. Mary, Joseph and Jesus must flee the wrath and brutal response of a cruel ruler who has been duped.
  • Lord the massacre of innocent lives continues across our globe. Unjust rulers wreak havoc leaving behind a trail of human misery. Genocide, atrocities, refugee camps, hunger, disease and major displacement are the order of our day. Let me be a witness to non-violence and welcoming presence to all displaced people who are forced to migrate.


Dear Jesus, I can open up my heart to you.
I can tell you everything that troubles me.
I know you care about all the concerns in my life.
Teach me to live in the knowledge
that you who care for me today,
will care for me tomorrow and all the days of my life.


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: 1 John 1:5--2:2

View NAB Reading at

The Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Feast)

He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins. (1 John 1:9)

It's impossible to read the chilling story of Herod's slaughter of the boys in Bethlehem without shuddering. It's also hard not to think of the curse of abortion, which continues to destroy holy innocents in our day—not just one time in one place, but day after day in city after city. But in the face of this horrific truth, God calls us to walk in the light. So stand up, and let that light shine on you today.

Perhaps you have been involved in an abortion, as a client or as a provider. Perhaps you have pressured a pregnant relative or friend to consider one or pretended you didn't know what was going on. If so, know that God's mercy is far greater than your sin. There is forgiveness and healing for you.

Perhaps you have harshly judged a pregnant woman who chose abortion, condemning instead of trying to understand and help her. If so, remember Jesus' caution about not casting the first stone (John 8:7). Ask him to help you love this person more.

Perhaps you have voiced opposition to abortion for many years, but now you are tempted to give up, feeling that the tide will never turn. You too need to seek God's forgiveness and find strength to persevere. Statistics show that a new generation of pro-life young people is rising up. God may be calling you to join these newcomers and become a mentor to them.

St. John says we delude ourselves if we think any of us is without sin. But we are just as deluded if we will not accept the forgiveness he freely offers us.

Every human life is precious to our Father: the life of the unborn baby, the life of the frightened mother, the life of the abortionist, the life of the passive Christian, the life of the discouraged activist. His unconditional love reaches out to each of us, strengthening us to move forward in a life-affirming way. So let's never give up the fight; let's never stop promoting the sacredness of all life. Let's keep trying to heal this devastating wound in our society—and let us do it all with love.

"Father, receive all the little ones slain in our era. Collect the tears of the guilty as well, and use them to bring about change."


Psalm 124:2-5, 7-8
Matthew 2:13-18

Voice Was Heard


Today's first Holy Scripture says that if we say we have not sinned or have no sins, then we are lying, and what's the bad part about it?  It's what we are doing to ourselves.  We arrived a few minutes early to a Saturday evening Mass, a vigil Mass for Sunday to beat the blizzard and to take all the kids.  As we walked in, two confessionals were open, and I could see the feet of one priest, a monsignor waiting.  Who is waiting? It is the Lord.  Yet, I kept on and passed by, "I just confessed two weeks ago, don't really need to go in".  My wife took the bait of the Lord and confessed.  As soon as she came and sat in the pews with us, I took off, even if I didn't need, I knew what was there...something very few go forgiveness of sins and healing.  To tell you the truth, it was one of the most impacting confessions I've ever had.  And even for the first time I was like asked to do some type of deliverance prayer, and ask the Lord Jesus to fill my soul.  But, supposedly, I "had no sins" right?  And we won't know what they are many times until we come to the Lord.  Those open doors to the confessional were little gates to Heaven, and everyone else had passed them by...perhaps.  And perhaps we lie to ourselves all the time in many ways, excusing our sins that we don't want to let go.  We hear that we want to find a cure for cancer...but don't want to give up the causes of cancer, smoking, things we eat and drink, contraception pills, and the list goes on and on.  We want to be saved from a possible demise without facing the reality we are bringing it onto ourselves...the very same with sin.  This salvation thing then, seems like risky business, for us that don't actually take the time to care.
The Psalms pray on: "Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare."  So...we have been saved?  The whole thing about our Lord having saved us, is us actually accepting it.
"Broken was the snare and we were freed."  And this happened when our Lord died on the tree.  He told the little man up the tree, the sinner to come down from there...and the Lord was put on the tree to suffer and die for that little man's sins.  If the little man will not accept he was freed, he is not saved.  If the little man accepts and is saved, converted into Love of God, then salvation has come.  So salvation is there for everybody.
"Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth."  I invite you to do what I did...go into the little gates that lead to Heaven.  Mercy abounds, the doors are not let a little chance go by!!
In the Holy Gospel, our Lord is being sought after, and the angels tell St. Joseph "Rise, take the child and his mother..."  And once again, he takes the mother of the Lord and Jesus and goes...obedience to the max.  And what ensues is exactly like the Book of Revelation says "Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.c 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.* Her child was caught up to God and his throne.d 6The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days".  See how darkness, the devil represented by the dragon pursues to kill the light.  What's worse is that it was a mere manifestation of the demonic we can not always see.  Because most of the time it occurs in secret, in silence, and only speaking loudly when the Lord is more present in your life.  This is a message of great light and hope.  Especially if you find yourself in tough times, like when St. Joseph and our Blessed mother were moving in the middle of the night, with only a message and the child Jesus as their hope and their light.  The atrocities behind the scenes today are many.  People losing faith.  People caring little.  People secretly living in sin.  People carrying little sins instead of Jesus close to their heart.  Only when we go into the gates of mercy will we find Jesus.  Because sin says "I don't care" to any degree.  It is a degree of darkness.  And with Him there is no darkness.  Stop trying to live in sin and live in light, stop trying to have it both ways.  A funny thought hit me through the weekend, 'what if I asked you to be the best hypocrite there is?" of being a Christian.  I mean, go all out, loving Jesus the Christ full heartedly and then trying to live in sin.  Once you truly taste Christ, sin will not win.  It is the truth because Jesus rules with an iron rod.  It is He who has the ultimate say...and victory forever