Friday, January 2, 2015

Who Are You

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Minute Meditations

Stigmata of St. Francis
St. Francis kept his stigmata a secret as much as he could because of the danger that it would be misinterpreted, especially that some of his followers might think they were entitled to bask in the glow of this unusual gift to Francis. If the stigmata showed the closeness of Francis to Jesus Christ, it also signaled why self-emptying of selfishness is so important.
— from Peace and Good

St. Basil the Great


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Basil was on his way to becoming a famous teacher when he decided to begin a religious life of gospel poverty. After studying various modes of religious life, he founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor. He is to monks of the East what St. Benedict is to the West, and Basil's principles influence Eastern monasticism today.

He was ordained a priest, assisted the archbishop of Caesarea (now southeastern Turkey), and ultimately became archbishop himself, in spite of opposition from some of the bishops under him, probably because they foresaw coming reforms.

One of the most damaging heresies in the history of the Church, Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ, was at its height. Emperor Valens persecuted orthodox believers, and put great pressure on Basil to remain silent and admit the heretics to communion. Basil remained firm, and Valens backed down. But trouble remained. When the great St. Athanasius (May 2) died, the mantle of defender of the faith against Arianism fell upon Basil. He strove mightily to unite and rally his fellow Catholics who were crushed by tyranny and torn by internal dissension. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition. Even appeals to the pope brought no response. "For my sins I seem to be unsuccessful in everything."

He was tireless in pastoral care. He preached twice a day to huge crowds, built a hospital that was called a wonder of the world (as a youth he had organized famine relief and worked in a soup kitchen himself) and fought the prostitution business.

Basil was best known as an orator. Though not recognized greatly in his lifetime, his writings rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church. Seventy-two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as "the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth."


As the French say, "The more things change, the more they remain the same." Basil faced the same problems as modern Christians. Sainthood meant trying to preserve the spirit of Christ in such perplexing and painful problems as reform, organization, fighting for the poor, maintaining balance and peace in misunderstanding.


St. Basil said: "The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit."


Patron Saint of:


Friday, January 2, 2015
Saint of the Day for 1/1/2015 Saint of the Day for 1/3/2015


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


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


"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.


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


Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

Reading 1 1 Jn 2:22-28

Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.
I write you these things about those who would deceive you.
As for you,
the anointing that you received from him remains in you,
so that you do not need anyone to teach you.
But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false;
just as it taught you, remain in him.

And now, children, remain in him,
so that when he appears we may have confidence
and not be put to shame by him at his coming.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia Heb 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 1:19-28

This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, "Who are you?"
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
"I am not the Christ."
So they asked him,
"What are you then? Are you Elijah?"
And he said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."
So they said to him,
"Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?"
He said:
"I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
'Make straight the way of the Lord,'
as Isaiah the prophet said."
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
"Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?"
John answered them,
"I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie."
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to 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 1:19-28

View NAB Reading at


Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

Who are you? (John 1:19)

The priests and Pharisees almost had it right—almost. They recognized in John an otherness that connected with what they knew about God. He was living an extreme lifestyle, in an extreme situation, and preaching an extreme message. John suggested something of God to them. They were even open to the possibility that he was the Messiah, a new Elijah, or another long-awaited "Prophet" (John 1:21).

But John denied it all. Evidently, these Jewish leaders' ideas about the Messiah didn't align with God's intentions. Their thoughts were based on the prevailing wisdom of the day, along with their own experiences, desires, and biases. They weren't being bad guys here, just human guys, like the rest of us. We all have ideas about who God is, how he works, and what he wants—ideas that are based on our own prevailing wisdom.

God understands. After all, he made us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. That's why he asks us to come to him, with all of our preconceived ideas, and let him teach us about the desires, plans, and intentions that are on his heart. He asks us to let his thoughts become our thoughts, even if it means putting aside some of our old thoughts.

Here are a few examples of thoughts we need to reject. We may think that we're too unimportant for God to bother with. We may think that we're unlovable and not worthy of his attention. Or we may think that we're smart enough and that we don't need God to teach us. Or perhaps, when we think of our heavenly Father, we are hindered by the memory of a neglectful, absent, or abusive parent. But God is so much bigger. He's also much more generous and kind!

So take a little time today to examine some of your thoughts about yourself. Sit quietly with the Lord, and let him show you what he thinks about you. Turn to your favorite Scripture passage and ask him to speak to you through it in a new way. Let him show you how deeply he values you, how much he loves you. Then let him gently and happily rearrange some of your ideas!

"Father, I want to hear from you today. I lay down my own ideas about you. Come, Lord, lead me in your truth and teach me."


1 John 2:22-28
Psalm 98:1-4


From today's 1st Holy Scripture, "...the anointing that you received from him remains in, children, remain in that you may not be put to shame by him at his coming"  The Psalms read "All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God".  The Gospel today recalls the time pharisees and such questioned St. John the Baptist.  Who are you?  Are you some sort of prophet?  Are you the old prophet Elijah?  Just who are you?  Who do you say that you are?  God speaks through Saint John the Baptist in those moments as he lived a life stirred by the Spirit of God that has always existed throughout time and before time "I AM the voice of one crying out in the desert 'Make Straight the Way of the Lord". 
Now let me take a step back and forward.  In today's 1st Holy Scripture speaks about YOUR ANNOINTING.  Your appointing, your being chosen, your un-natural birth of now being a child of God through Holy Baptism.  You are reading this for a good are living the Psalms with the eyes when we read "all the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God".   You then too are to be a voice in the desert to call out for the paths to be made straight for God.  Straigten up.  If you desire peace, then be that peace.  How?  Easy, give up on being you who think you ought to be and be the child you were appointed to be, pure and holy, purely His and wholly His.  The year has started, and started with the Solemnity of the Mother of God (a Mass of Obligation in the U.S. Latin rite) in a year that the Church has designated the year for the Consecrated Life.  We remember those consecrated, give up all their lives for the Lord, and we partake in the same Spirit.  How many of us that are not clergy have "thought about" being clergy?  Many have thought about it, but few were called to it. 
 There is a difference today though.  We are all called to be rightly the children of God.  I want to see the Consecrated Host become the consecrated body.  If you do not know what I just said, for those who are in grace to partake of the Holy Eucharist, the Blood, Body, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus, let yourself become ONE with the blood, body, soul, and Divinity of Jesus our Lord and Savior.  Is it hard?  Sins unchecked become hard, and our Lord becomes hard to the degree we allow Him to be in our lives.  So which hardness would you rather have?  Because we are sealing our eternity with or without Him, because it's not all about what we do, but what we are, and the Spirit is one with the body.  I read a quote that said "all, and ye choose through the will thy relationships--as to whether they shall be for self-exaltation, self-glorification, self-indulgence, self-gratification, or for the love of life, of truth, of hope, of honor, of virtue, of patience, of brotherly love. Ye yourselves show forth these in the manners, the ways ye deal with thy fellow man!"
There is something I been working on last year that I hope this year is finally done.   Actually, theres been many things a brewing. You have to look at life with a plan, a strategy.  "This year I will ____________".  Fill in the blank, and fill it with what?  I went to a gas station with a brother in law to buy him and my mother in law something there in their home town yesterday.  Everybody knows each other in that 1 gas station town, and he took off when we walked in saying to me "oh I see a customer" (he does carpets), turned around and left saying to me  "business comes first" and I said to him "God comes first" and he bowed his head down and said that's right.  Everywhere he goes he's trying to draw up business, but we need to put God first and worries second.  Not to say not to draw up business, but Our Father's business is first. 
  This is becoming the body of Christ tending to His business, His flock, His Kingdom.  This putting Him first means putting me second.   This means His will, will mean you will have to forget yourself, when someone insults you, when someone puts you down, when someone won't listen, you will have to think about God first, His business, His flock, His Kingdom.  Sure you can defend yourself, but for the Victory of God's Kingdom, therefore your only defense will be Jesus.
What more will we possibly need or want this year?  Because all that is goodness awaits, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health with the groom of the bride, of Jesus and His Holy Church...One Body, chosen to shine.

Amen. Hallelujah. 
Praise you Oh Lord in Heaven.