Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Other Side

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Minute Meditations

Pray and Meditate Minute Meditations
Formal prayers can help us entrust ourselves to God's care. Moreover, the psalmists praised God but also shared their hearts and bared their souls in the most gut-wrenching emotions. We can do the same.
— from St. Anthony Messenger

St. Raymond of PeƱafort

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Since Raymond lived into his hundredth year, he had a chance to do many things. As a member of the Spanish nobility, he had the resources and the education to get a good start in life.

By the time he was 20, he was teaching philosophy. In his early 30s he earned a doctorate in both canon and civil law. At 41 he became a Dominican. Pope Gregory IX called him to Rome to work for him and to be his confessor. One of the things the pope asked him to do was to gather together all the decrees of popes and councils that had been made in 80 years since a similar collection by Gratian. Raymond compiled five books called the Decretals. They were looked upon as one of the best organized collections of Church law until the 1917 codification of canon law.

Earlier, Raymond had written for confessors a book of cases. It was called Summa de Casibus Poenitentiae. More than simply a list of sins and penances, it discussed pertinent doctrines and laws of the Church that pertained to the problem or case brought to the confessor.

At the age of 60, Raymond was appointed archbishop of Tarragona, the capital of Aragon. He didn't like the honor at all and ended up getting sick and resigning in two years.

He didn't get to enjoy his peace long, however, because when he was 63 he was elected by his fellow Dominicans to be the head of the whole Order, the successor of St. Dominic. Raymond worked hard, visited on foot all the Dominicans, reorganized their constitutions and managed to put through a provision that a master general be allowed to resign. When the new constitutions were accepted, Raymond, then 65, resigned.

He still had 35 years to oppose heresy and work for the conversion of the Moors in Spain. He convinced St. Thomas Aquinas to write his work Against the Gentiles.

In his 100th year the Lord let Raymond retire.


Raymond was a lawyer, a canonist. Legalism can suck the life out of genuine religion if it becomes too great a preoccupation with the letter of the law to the neglect of the spirit and purpose of the law. The law can become an end in itself, so that the value the law was intended to promote is overlooked. But we must guard against going to the opposite extreme and seeing law as useless or something to be lightly regarded. Laws ideally state those things that are for the best interests of everyone and make sure the rights of all are safeguarded. From Raymond, we can learn a respect for law as a means of serving the common good.


"He who hates the law is without wisdom,/and is tossed about like a boat in a storm" (Sirach 33:2).

Patron Saint of:


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


"Come to me all you who are burdened
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek your presence.
I long for your healing power.


 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.


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 4:11-18

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

Responsorial Psalm PS 72:1-2, 10, 12-13

R. (see 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia See 1 Tm 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to you, O Christ, proclaimed to the Gentiles.
Glory to you, O Christ, believed in throughout the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
"Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!"
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one 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: 1 John 4:11-18

View NAB Reading at

Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest

Perfect love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18)

Recently, an episode of a children's television show was banned from Australian television. It wasn't because of any scandalous content, it was just common sense. The episode taught children not to be scared of spiders, which was fine for the country the show was made in. But in countries like Australia, where there are many poisonous spiders, children need to learn to be frightened of them!

It can be right and proper to experience fear where there is a good chance of something bad happening—whether it's a spider bite, some other kind of negative consequence, or even a "punishment," as John puts it in today's reading. Fear is a natural, healthy response to a perceived threat.

But fear can get uncaged and start attaching itself to other areas of our lives. If not kept in its proper perspective, it can infect areas where God wants us to have joy and excitement: thoughts about the future, the question of our relationship with God, or our relationships with people who genuinely do love us.

These fears don't have the last word; God does!  He wants to give you a deep sense of security in his love. He wants to shine his light on the hidden places within you and drive out fear from where it lurks. You don't have to be afraid. Your heavenly Father's love and protection reach into all the days, weeks, and years that lie ahead. Remember that all fear is based on some kind of punishment or negative consequence. But for the one who embraces the Lord there is no punishment. No threat, no evil, can overcome that love.

So when danger and uncertainty rear their heads, lean into the love God has for you. As you dwell on that love, the fear will decrease. And even when you're not afraid, focus on his love. Enjoy it, revel in it, and refract it to the world. Fear will lose its foothold, and you'll feel more and more of God's freedom!

"Lord, remind me always of your steadfast love. Come and reassure me, driving out my fears."


Psalm 72:1-2, 10, 12-13
Mark 6:45-52

Many of the songs I've written to sing to the Lord speak as if our Lord is asking "where are you going?" and "I'll be here waiting for you".  Just because we lose sight of love, doesn't mean Love isn't there.  And so the Holy Scriptures today speak of this.  Remain in Him, says the first.  The Psalm says today "...he shall rescue the poor when he cries out".  And what happened today in the Holy Gospel?  Jesus dismissed everyone (we should be with Him in Mass until we are dismissed and not leave after we think we can leave).  The disciples were told to go off, they were sent off ahead of him, and the storms came, and they became afraid...and poor.  How many times do we face a storm in our lives and we feel somewhat alone, or in distress?  Your whole world seems to focus on that one thing, and where was Jesus the whole time?  In the Holy Gospel, He was watching them, walking by them, until they cried out when they saw Him, but at first they were even afraid of Him thinking it was a ghost.  Indeed, it was the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, Jesus. 
This is a message of hope for all of us who are imperfect.  For all of us who are poor.   For all of us who find ourselves in need, Jesus is walking in the storm, until you invite Him into the boat, your home, your heart.  The disciples learned a valuable lesson that they had not learned in the feeding of the thousands with only a few loaves of bread and fish.  Even though the Sacred Heart of Jesus had become softened to feed the thousands, theirs were hardened, failing to realize the goodness and power of the Lord.  Notice, hardening of hearts, at the breaking of the bread.  This is the danger for all of us who would dare go in mortal sin to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  We would swallow damnation in the desecration of what was consecrated for the Lord.  It is a matter of stealing and dishonoring.  Not to say we do not deserve, but the message is of one to repent, believe, to become soft in the heart for the Love we heard of in the first Holy Scripture;
"This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world."
We get to partake of the Savior's Spirit.  This is a beauty of living on earth.  For as long as we live on earth, we have an opportunity to cry out to Jesus as we are sent forth.  If this opportunity is not taken advantage of right now, it will be too late in the life after.  Take advantage of this day for Him, and remain with Him until He says to go, because when He says go, He means to spread His Love, His Spirit, His Body to the world.  This is the send off and final part of the Mass, a co-missioning to remain one with God and one another.  I was asked to be a "minister" at a funeral a few days ago.   I absolutely had no clue what I would say, but I knew I could trust in God.  I remember standing at the pulpit in the funeral home, saying words after reading the Gospel, and I thought as I spoke "wow, this is not me speaking" I knew it was the Spirit, and I was a channel.  I remember speaking of others faith, of my cousin's death in a train accident, and how all his little children and wife were seemingly at peace, such faith as if we'll see him again soon.  It is moving to see the faith of others alive.  I am deeply moved.  I also remember saying that now, the children of the deceased mother would now have to be visited by everyone present, not just at this moment but from here on out, and they too would have to reach out.  Unity.  And this is the Love of God we read about.  Reaching out to one another, in forgiveness, in charity, humility, all in the name and Spirit of Love
And God Is Love


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