Friday, January 16, 2015

He Rose

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Minute Meditations

Perfect Joy Minute Meditations

Perfect joy is the ability to return peace and love to those who cross us. That is indeed the path to sainthood, and few of us manage to walk it perfectly.
— from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy

St. Berard and Companions
(d. 1220)

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Preaching the gospel is often dangerous work. Leaving one's homeland and adjusting to new cultures, governments and languages is difficult enough; but martyrdom caps all the other sacrifices.

In 1219 with the blessing of St. Francis, Berard left Italy with Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo and Vitalis to preach in Morocco. En route in Spain Vitalis became sick and commanded the other friars to continue their mission without him.

They tried preaching in Seville, then in Muslim hands, but made no converts. They went on to Morocco where they preached in the marketplace. The friars were immediately apprehended and ordered to leave the country; they refused. When they began preaching again, an exasperated sultan ordered them executed. After enduring severe beatings and declining various bribes to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, the friars were beheaded by the sultan himself on January 16, 1220.

These were the first Franciscan martyrs. When Francis heard of their deaths, he exclaimed, "Now I can truly say that I have five Friars Minor!" Their relics were brought to Portugal where they prompted a young Augustinian canon to join the Franciscans and set off for Morocco the next year. That young man was Anthony of Padua. These five martyrs were canonized in 1481.


The deaths of Berard and his companions sparked a missionary vocation in Anthony of Padua and others. There have been many, many Franciscans who have responded to Francis' challenge. Proclaiming the gospel can be fatal, but that has not stopped the Franciscan men and women who even today risk their lives in many countries throughout the world.


Before St. Francis, the Rules of religious orders made no mention of preaching to the Muslims. In the Rule of 1223, Francis wrote: "Those brothers who, by divine inspiration, desire to go among the Saracens and other nonbelievers should ask permission from their ministers provincial. But the ministers should not grant permission except to those whom they consider fit to be sent" (Chapter 12).

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


Dear Lord as I come to you today
Fill my heart and my whole being
with the wonder of Your presence


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.


I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord. I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness.  He is my comforter in times of sorrow.

The Word of God

Reading 1 Heb 4:1-5, 11

Let us be on our guard
while the promise of entering into his rest remains,
that none of you seem to have failed.
For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did.
But the word that they heard did not profit them,
for they were not united in faith with those who listened.
For we who believed enter into that rest,
just as he has said:

As I swore in my wrath,
"They shall not enter into my rest,"

and yet his works were accomplished
at the foundation of the world.
For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner,
And God rested on the seventh day from all his works;
and again, in the previously mentioned place,
They shall not enter into my rest.

Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest,
so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 78:3 and 4bc, 6c-7, 8

R. (see 7b) Do not forget the works of the Lord!
What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
That they too may rise and declare to their sons
that they should put their hope in God,
And not forget the deeds of God
but keep his commands.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
And not be like their fathers,
a generation wayward and rebellious,
A generation that kept not its heart steadfast
nor its spirit faithful toward God.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!

Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
"Child, your sins are forgiven."
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk'?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth"
--he said to the paralytic,
"I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home."
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."

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.


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: Hebrews 4:1-5, 11

View NAB Reading at


1st Week in Ordinary time

Let us strive to enter into that rest. (Hebrews 4:11)

Wait a minute! Aren't "striving" and "resting" diametrically opposed to each other? How can you strive to be restful?

Perhaps we think about how we feel at the end of a busy day. We have been trying hard to do well at our work and be kind to the people around us. Then comes the end of the day, when we sink into bed exhausted, grateful to stop "striving" for a few hours before it starts over all again. Finally, we can rest!

But this isn't the kind of "rest" that the writer of Hebrews has in mind. Notice he says that after working the miracle of creation, God rested on the seventh day. Having made all things "very good," he is now peacefully guiding the world as its history unfolds (Genesis 1:31). He isn't idle. He is actively sustaining his creation and intervening in billions of people's lives, urging them to turn to him. And yet God is also at rest, perfectly content as he goes about his work.

This is the kind of "rest" God wants us to experience. He wants us to be at peace with him, at peace with ourselves, and at peace with the people around us. It's the kind of peace we can experience no matter how many responsibilities, concerns, or chores occupy our minds. But beware. If we drift away from his love and his presence, we risk losing sight of that rest. Anxiety creeps in. Perhaps envy or frustration finds a home, too. We become rest-less.

This is where the "striving" comes in. It's up to us to stay close to the Lord, to try to think as he thinks, to feel as he feels, and to let go of what doesn't matter to him.

This may sound like a lot of work, but it's not meant to be. When an obstacle surfaces, just toss it aside, and breathe a little prayer. In that short breath, draw near to the Lord. Lean on him, and let him bring you back to his peace. Make it a habit of turning to him during the day, and you'll find yourself more alert to the attitudes and actions that disturb your peace. You'll find yourself entering into his rest!

"Father, I belong to you. Help me to rely on your strength working in me."


Psalm 78:3-4, 6-8
Mark 2:1-12

The spanish reflection ends today with "...sin destroys us because it encloses us in ourselves and breaks our tie with that forgiving God.  It is not God that closes Himself to us.  It is us that close ourselves to His love.  It is not God who has to change attitude.  For His part, there is always forgiveness.  It is us that have to change to open ourselves to God and let ourselves be recreated anew to His eternal and faithful love.  Forgiveness is being offered now.  It is us who have to take it with faith, gratitude and love."
Love changes everything.
It does.  I can not explain it in words.  And so I try, day after day.  We had a wonderful worship last night.  We left our petitions on paper before the Lord and  focused on praise and worship alone, because so often we get caught up like Father DeGrandis (a charismatic priest) says, we get so caught up in petitioning, with pre-programmed prayers, and most of the time when we petition we focus on self and not on worshipping God, and praising Him for who He is.  There should be, in my opinion, more worship and praise than petitions, as good as they are also in of themselves.  And this was the problem Jesus faced, bombarded with petitions, needy people, and greedy people, so where does the line get blurred from need to greedy?  And we're now getting down to the nitty gritty.  We are now boiling down to the heart of the matter.  Jesus reads thoughts.  He knows when we are not listening to Him, the anti-christ spirit of disobedience.  Don't think that there is a human nature, because things are black or white, evil or good.  Because this is exactly where people come from when they say "oh we're just human".  False.  We are either of the Divine or not, of God or not, of true Love or not.  We Belong to Him. The Psalms pray "Do NOT FORGET the works of the Lord". 
  Our Lord manifested Himself among us last night through the gifts of the Spirit.  Thank you for your prayers.  Speaking in tongues, gift of prohecy, knowledge, wisdom, and more.  Do Not Forget the works!  This is something I was exhorting, before praying, and I said "I hope we don't gather here, experience God and then go back to our old ways".  What then is the point of coming to God?  If I am not to be transformed?  If I am not to be changed?  If I am not to come out healed like the paralytic today?  Yet the focus was in purification, like the time He healed the leper and said "I do will it, be Made CLEAN".  This is a call to holiness.  Jesus said today 'I forgive your sins".  It threw a wrench at the scribes' train of thought and training, they had put God in box as if to say "this is how God is and should be".  What's more, what I am about to say will throw you a wrench because I knew it did for me last night.  We were praising God, worshipping, giving  thanks, then we gathered in a circle to pray, once I prayed for prophecy it came and when the message came, I didn't exactly like what I heard and therefore didn't want to say it to the group, but I heard our Lord say to me sternly "SAY IT!", and out it came "...our Lord says "I Have Been Hurt", and I was dumbfounded, the wrench was thrown into the sprocket gears.  How come or why would God say that?  Here we are, everything is hunky dory, going well, and then the God of the Universe says something like that?  What in the WORLD is going on here?  We pleaded for forgiveness, and I could hear sorry for this and sorry for that, but some didn't say sorry, I can only hope they said sorry in the heart, because God reads hearts and minds. 
Now I know I'm going on with your time, but let me say this...God is moved, He can be provoked, Jesus was amazed, and He cried on earth.  Let's not put God in a box and say He does not feel pain, or joy.  I have tried asking you to make Him happy, and the rest will flow, He will provide.  Please, I know some of you know me, and some do not, but please believe me.  Don't even put me in a box because when God speaks, He speaks through others.  I asked people with cancer and other needs of healing to come get healed and they did not, did they put me in a box? Or did they put God in a box, unbelieving of the invitation?  "I Have Been Hurt" says God, and I didn't want to tell anybody and He said it louder, I felt like the prophet Jonah that didn't want to say to the cruel world what God wanted.  Yet he did, and they repented much to Jonah's amazement.  We can't put God in a box.  The message to you now?  Stop hurting God.


yours in Christ our Lord,