Friday, February 20, 2015

Taken Away

Minute Meditations
Soak It All In Minute Meditations
Hail Mary, lowly handmaid of the Lord, Glorious Mother of Christ, teach us to persevere in listening to the Word, and to be docile to the voice of the Spirit, attentive to His promptings in the depths of our conscience and to His manifestations in the events of history.
— from Seven Saints for Seven Virtues

Friday after Ash Wednesday
Together we join our small sacrifices to Jesus’ complete and perfect one.

Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto
(1910-1920; 1908-1919)

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  Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.
At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary “to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary’s final apparition on October 13, 1917.

Less than two years later, Francisco died of influenza in his family home. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1952. Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1951. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000. Sister Lucia died five years later. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.


The Church is always very cautious about endorsing alleged apparitions, but it has seen benefits from people changing their lives because of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. Prayer for sinners, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and praying the rosary—all these reinforce the Good News Jesus came to preach.


In his homily at their beatification, Pope John Paul II recalled that shortly before Francisco died, Jacinta said to him, “Give my greetings to Our Lord and to Our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of sinners.”


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



I remind myself that I am in your presence O Lord.
I will take refuge in your loving heart.
You are my strength in times of weakness.
You are my comforter in times of sorrow.
Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom
may orchestrate
my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.

Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am.  How has the last day been, and how do I feel now? I share my feelings openly with the Lord.
The Word of God

Reading 1 Is 58:1-9a

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19

R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
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. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
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. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before the Gospel See Amos 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.

Gospel Mt 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”

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    Watch a video reflection
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?
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 9:14-15

Friday after Ash Wednesday
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn. (Isaiah 58:8)
A frail, elderly widow living alone was visited by her son, who had been traveling for a long time. Opening the front door, he was shocked by the disrepair her home had fallen into. Over the years she had accumulated a lot: furniture, clothing, books, toys her children had played with. Since she was no longer able to keep it all tidy, it was piled in every room in boxes and bundles. But worse than the clutter was the darkness. The windows, where he could see them, were covered in layers of dust.
So the man set to work. He organized the clutter, storing much of it in the attic. Then he cleaned the windows and aired out the house until it was once more filled with light.
Like the widow’s home, we also house two potential blockages to the light of Christ: clutter and dust. Clutter is what happens when your human treasures—material possessions, habits, hopes and dreams, old memories—take priority over the Lord. They aren’t necessarily bad things, but they need to be reorganized and put in their proper place. The dust is the sin that can build up on the windows of our hearts, keeping us in shadows and darkness.
We can consider fasting as a way of dealing with the clutter and repentance as a way to clean off the dust. By fasting, we reorder our lives so that Jesus gets top priority, and in repentance we let his light shine in us—and through us—more brightly. Fasting is like spring cleaning, as we spruce up our spiritual lives and put away some unnecessary baggage. Often, as we take up the call to fast, we get a better view of the sins that have been blocking the light in the first place.
So try to put aside a few things—time on the computer, a favorite food, a fun activity that is swallowing up too much time—so that you can focus better on window washing. Make it your goal to let in as much sunlight as possible. As you do, you’ll discover how much joy there is in choosing a simple, clutter-free life.
“Lord you are my light! Come and break forth like the dawn in my heart.”

Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 51:3-6, 18-19

audio 2cents

Fasting has been around for thousands of years.  And there are some that do it throughout the year for various reasons, but mostly for the love of God and faith which is the whole point.  Today's 5minutos recounts:
  "The love of neighbor is what pleases our Lord, more than any sacrifice.  When John passed down the street, many would make signs "Look at the crazy man".  He called attention by his strange manner of being a saint. . . One day, the churches of Granada started ringing the bells desperately, because some calamity was happening.  The hospital was on fire.  People came from everywhere with buckets of water, but no one had the courage to enter the hospital to take out the patients. The fire had blocked the doors and was suffocating the patients.  Then, all of a sudden there appeared a man who made way thorugh the masses.  "It's the crazy man! Hold him.  He wants to lunge himself into the fire!" Before anyone could hold him, he crossed the door of the hospital, putting at risk his life, and started to take out quickly the sick people.  The less grave would come down through the windows.  The others, he would carry on his back.  His clothes, his hair, his eyebrows, all were burned by the fire.  He only abandoned the building when there was nobody else to save.  Completely exhausted and half suffocated, John crossed the multitude/masses that was astonished by so much heroism.  He wanted to escape but hundreds of hands acclaimed: "Look at the saint! !...St. John of God is one of the most baffling saints in history.  ""
  I read a lenten text someone sent in spanish, and it was about a couple of little boys that were out on an icy lake.  The ice broke and one of the little boys fell through and under the ice.  The other little boy rushed and found a rock and was hitting the ice until he broke through and was able to take out the boy from the water.  When it was found out what happened on the lakeshore, the fire department and other grown ups were shocked at such a feat and asked "how did you do that? the ice is way too thick!! it is impossible that you could've broken it with that rock and those little hands!!"  and in an instant an elderly man appeared and said: "I know how he did it", they asked "how??", and he said "there wasn't anybody around to tell him that he couldn't".  And so today, Isaiah is asking what type of fasting we are doing.  A closed fast?  Closed to God?  The Psalms pray "My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."  And so comes in our Lord.  "So why aren't you guys fasting?" they dare to ask the King of the Universe.  Jesus did everything the Jews taught, but not everything they did.  He said "Do as they say, but not what they do".  Same for all of us.  Listen to your parents, listen to your priests, but not what they do if it is contrary.  The alcoholic parent says "don't drink", then don't.  Obey.  Don't follow their lead.  God wants a contrite heart, an honest heart, an obedient heart.  What if I told you something that I could catch flack for; what if I said you could get points in Heaven?  I know a protestant brother that turned Catholic is always telling me ways how we can score points in Heaven, many of which I didn't know, and this from a man I got to meet at daily Mass.  What's being said though, is not what we do, but our heart for God.  Don't say a rosary on this certain day out of selfish convenience, all because of what's in it for me.  Do it because it will benefit the Kingdom of God.  Because once we are with the King, all bets are off.  Everything we think we know about Him changes, because God can do that, for the good.  Because the disciples weren't fasting, but they were celebrating an eternal Mass once living with the Lord.  We fast before Mass, but once we are in Mass we are in celebrating and feast mode, singing, praying, praising, and eating.  Take for example, last month I was taking workers to eat, me being their boss let's say.  They broke the rules of having only a 30 minute lunch.  Others probably resent the fact that they don't get to have an hour lunch.  But all bets are off because the boss makes the rules and we all have to follow them.  Hmm, suddenly things are getting real.  Suddenly, respect comes into play.  Suddenly, a truthful heart and loyalty come into play.  One of the people that always comes to mind in my life is a man named Uriah, Bathsheba's husband.  This man was faithful to the king, King David, the predecessor of Jesus.  But King David goofed and took Uriah's wife while Uriah was off battling for the King, but Uriah was faithful. King David couldn't shake him and make him go with his wife to appear as if he got her pregnant.  He slept at the King's door instead of his home.  He wouldn't go get drunk, he remained strong and sober and faithful until death.   The skepticism of all those that didn't get to go out to eat lunch prevailed in the times of Jesus.  The wrong attitude to have towards God.  And this is what Lent is teaching us today.  Break away from your trains of thought.  Have a sincere heart for our Lord, our King.  Because in the end, it is Jesus who redeems all the mistakes, and all we have to do is open our door to faithfulness to the end....

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