Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Your Father Who Sees

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Minute Meditations

Radiating Christ Minute Meditations

Dear Jesus, help us to spread Your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with Your Spirit and Life. Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of Yours.
— from Seven Saints for Seven Virtues

Blessed John of Fiesole
(c. 1400-1455)

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The patron of Christian artists was born around 1400 in a village overlooking Florence. He took up painting as a young boy and studied under the watchful eye of a local painting master. He joined the Dominicans at about age 20, taking the name Fra Giovanni. He eventually came to be known as Fra Angelico, perhaps a tribute to his own angelic qualities or maybe the devotional tone of his works.
He continued to study painting and perfect his own techniques, which included broad-brush strokes, vivid colors and generous, lifelike figures. Michelangelo once said of Fra Angelico: "One has to believe that this good monk has visited paradise and been allowed to choose his models there." Whatever his subject matter, Fra Angelico sought to generate feelings of religious devotion in response to his paintings. Among his most famous works are the Annunciation and Descent from the Cross as well as frescoes in the monastery of San Marco in Florence.

He also served in leadership positions within the Dominican Order. At one point Pope Eugenius approached him about serving as archbishop of Florence. Fra Angelico declined, preferring a simpler life. He died in 1455.


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


Ash Wednesday
Throughout these 40 days we allow our pride to fade into humility as together we ask for forgiveness.

I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God's dwelling-place.


"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.


How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am.
It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word of God


Ash Wednesday

Reading 1 Jl 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, "Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their God?'"

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading 2 2 Cor 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel See Ps 95:8

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Gospel Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."

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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: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

View NAB Reading at

Ash Wednesday

When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:6)

Can you imagine a worm turning into a bird? This is essentially what happens inside the chrysalis of a monarch butterfly. Scientists still don't understand how, within two weeks, a caterpillar can turn into a completely different creature. Inside that magical chrysalis, the major organs and structures of the caterpillar are all completely dissolved, and new ones are formed. A new heart! New lungs! Wings grow out of nowhere!

It's no wonder that many parishes use the image of a caterpillar in a cocoon to illustrate the season of Lent. If only we could enter a magical chrysalis and emerge six weeks later as a reflection of God's beauty and grace!

Of course, we know it's not magic. It's a combination of God's grace and our effort. And while we have no control over the grace, we have a lot of control over our effort. So here are some things we can try to do this season so that we can find our lives changed come Easter Sunday.

First, prayerfully consider what you want to become. What "old organs" do you need to let go of? What kind of "wings" are you looking for?

Secondly, find a chrysalis. This doesn't mean isolating yourself for forty days. Rather, set aside time each day for prayer. Ponder the Mass readings. Talk to the Lord. Use a journal to record your thoughts. Just fifteen minutes every day can make a huge difference.

Finally, start living your new life. Rearrange your priorities as if you already were that butterfly. Make yourself available to God's grace through prayer, and you'll find yourself changing!

If you do your part, you can be confident that God will do his. If he can turn a caterpillar into a butterfly, imagine what he has in store for you!

"Here I am, Lord, ready for your grace. Come and help me become the person you want me to be."


Joel 2:12-18
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17
2 Corinthians 5:20--6:2


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The Holy Church proposes lent.  A time to do what we are supposed to do all year, or any time of year anyways!  A time for praying to God with our hearts, a time for fasting, and a time for almsgiving.  But we need this, don't we?  If we don't do it normally, now's the time to start.  And forty days is our journey to Heaven, this that leads to the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday.  Soon, the worldly easter bunny and chocoloate temptations will come around.  But this is what happens when we go to the desert to pray...the evil one appears with temptations.  Temptations to what?  To quit.  (Quit on God's Ways?) If anything, emptying ourselves of bad and filling with good will ultimately strengthen us.  And this is the point, because we can not give up something and not have something take its place.  For example, let's say you give up cursing.  Ok well that's nice, but after giving up, you have to fill up.  So when you feel like cursing and you actually don't, then say something nice in its place a praise even.  Another example, let's say you give up going out to eat at restaurants.  Well that's nice, but what will fill its place?  Giving.  Give to the poor that money you would've spent going out to eat!  Suddenly, sacrificing, and giving go hand in hand.  Same thing with fasting.  If you fast like today, then that's nice, but you have to fill up with giving praise to God and praying!  It all ties together nice and neat, just like the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
In today's first Holy Scripture, we read the prophet Joel with the words pleading from God "RETURN TO ME WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART!".  This is the opening lines of Lent!?  WOW.  God is calling you.  God is calling me, saying I WANT YOU BACK.  Isn't that a line of love?  What will it take?  What will I sacrifice?  Will I sacrifice at all?  Because what if I say sacrifiicing is actually ...loving?  Doesn't it take sacrifice to do what you love?  God wants us back, now's our chance to get back on track.  I say this because I think for lent, I'm going to try to stop being a liar.  WHOA!  Did Adrian just say he is a liar?  Yeah.  I lie to God.  I lie when I sin.  I say I'll try, and I lie.  I don't even lift a finger (like the pharisees).  As I was getting ready to go to work this morning, I was thinking about everything and thought to myself "I don't want to come out 40 days later, with a big beard that I let grow out, all these rosaries I prayed, all the food I gave up, all the things I done at church, and not have made a difference in my life with our Lord in Heaven".  RETURN TO ME WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART.
The Psalms prayed today "Be merciful O Lord, for we have sinned".  That's all the prayer a sinner has, a plea for mercy.  It's almost as if all we have to offer to God is sins (some don't even offer them up).  But lent is a time for offering our hearts, filling our hearts with Him as we empty ourselves of ourselves.  Do you want mercy?  Of course we all do, even though the devil makes you think you don't deserve it.  Mercy is awesome, His Divine Mercy is a super power that we can not even fathom.  Thus, for me to be more truthful, I will be mercy if I want mercy in my life.  I will treat those I encounter with love, the light of God, everyone and their mommas!  This is a life of a servant of God.  The second reading said "We are ambassadors of Christ".  That is to say, representatives of Christ.  When someone looks at you, what do they see?  What kind of persona and character have you put on for the world?  Someone said in our friendship group that the mask has to come off.  I am a representative of God and God is love.
The Holy Gospel has our Lord telling us how we are to fast.  Not with gloom, but with a radiant smile, try to have a bigger smile than Pope Francis I !  LOL.  But how can we do that?  Let Jesus pump in your heart.  Try breathing exercises, and when you breathe out, think of the negative you want out, and when you breathe in, breathe in the name of Jesus and praise to God.  Out with the world and in with the Heavenly. 
Ultimately, we actually won't be sacrificing, we'll be loving.  We abstain from meat today and every Friday (even throughout the year has been the custom) but only because of the rememberance of the flesh offered for the life of the world...Jesus the Christ on the cross.  Suddenly, my little sacrifices don't match up to what is really wanted...our everything.  So we begin with little signs of great love

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