Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Greater Than

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Minute Meditations

Open to Love

Minute Meditations

For me, forgiveness has been key.
In forgiving, I have eased my own burden and this
allows me to generate more love, to live and do
as Jesus, who is all about love. --Patty

— from St. Anthony

Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio


Sebastian's roads and bridges
connected many distant places. His final
bridge-building was to help men and women recognize
their God-given dignity and destiny.
parents were Spanish peasants. At the age of 31 he
sailed to Mexico, where he began working in the fields.
Eventually he built roads to facilitate agricultural
trading and other commerce. His 466-mile road from
Mexico City to Zacatecas took 10 years to build and
required careful negotiations with the indigenous
peoples along the way.

In time Sebastian was a wealthy farmer and rancher. At
the age of 60 he entered a virginal marriage. His
wife's motivation may have been a large inheritance;
his was to provide a respectable life for a girl
without even a modest marriage dowry. When his first
wife died, he entered another virginal marriage for the
same reason; his second wife also died young.

At the age of 72 Sebastian distributed his goods among
the poor and entered the Franciscans as a brother.
Assigned to the large (100-member) friary at Puebla de
los Angeles south of Mexico City, Sebastian went out
collecting alms for the friars for the next 25 years.
His charity to all earned him the nickname "Angel of

Sebastian was beatified in 1787 and is known as a
patron of travelers.

Comment: According to the Rule of St. Francis,
the friars were to work for their daily bread.
Sometimes, however, their work would not provide for
their needs; for example, working with people suffering
from leprosy brought little or no pay. In cases such as
these, the friars were allowed to beg, always keeping
in mind the admonition of Francis to let their good
example commend them to the people. The life of the
prayerful Sebastian, still hard at work in his 90's,
certainly drew many closer to God.

Quote: St. Francis once told his followers:
"There is a contract between the world and the friars.
The friars must give the world a good example; the
world must provide for their needs. When they break
faith and withdraw their good example, the world will
withdraw its hand in a just censure" (2
, #70).


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



Dear Jesus, I
come to you today longing for your presence. I
desire to love you as You love me. May nothing
ever separate me from You.


God is not
foreign to my freedom. Instead the Spirit
breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good. I
ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by
the Spirit.


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

First Reading

1Then the
word of the LORD came to Jonah the second
time, saying,
2"Arise, go
to Nin'eveh, that great city, and proclaim to
it the message that I tell
3So Jonah
arose and went to Nin'eveh, according to the
word of the LORD. Now Nin'eveh was an
exceedingly great city, three days' journey
in breadth.
began to go into the city, going a day's
journey. And he cried, "Yet forty days, and
Nin'eveh shall be
5And the
people of Nin'eveh believed God; they
proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from
the greatest of them to the least of
tidings reached the king of Nin'eveh, and he
arose from his throne, removed his robe, and
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in
7And he
made proclamation and published through
Nin'eveh, "By the decree of the king and his
nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor
flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or
drink water,
8but let
man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and
let them cry mightily to God; yea, let every
one turn from his evil way and from the
violence which is in his
9Who knows,
God may yet repent and turn from his fierce
anger, so that we perish
10When God
saw what they did, how they turned from their
evil way, God repented of the evil which he
had said he would do to them; and he did not
do it.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19
1Have mercy
on me, O God, according to thy steadfast
love; according to thy abundant mercy blot
out my transgressions.
2Wash me
thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me
from my sin!
10Create in
me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and
right spirit within me.
11Cast me
not away from thy presence, and take not thy
holy Spirit from me.
16For thou
hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give
a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be
sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken
spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God,
thou wilt not despise.

Luke 11:29-32
29When the
crowds were increasing, he began to say,
"This generation is an evil generation; it
seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to
it except the sign of Jonah.

30For as Jonah became a sign to the men
of Nin'eveh, so will the Son of man be to
this generation.
31The queen
of the South will arise at the judgment with
the men of this generation and condemn them;
for she came from the ends of the earth to
hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold,
something greater than Solomon is
32The men
of Nin'eveh will arise at the judgment with
this generation and condemn it; for they
repented at the preaching of Jonah, and
behold, something greater than Jonah is


What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I
consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus
himself standing or sitting at my side and
share my feelings with him.


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: Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19

View NAB Reading at

1st Week of Lent

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you
will not spurn. (Psalm 51:19)

Imagine a group of nuns building a chapel by
hand. They have one cart between them for
carrying sand. One morning, that cart tips over
six times in a row. Their leader comes and
points out that maybe the trouble is that they
need to repent for something. So the sisters
pause, pray together, and realize that they
have been criticizing one another in their
hearts. After this admission and apologies all
around, everyone is much more at peace. And the
cart doesn't tip over anymore!

This story is from Basilea Schlink, leader of
the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. In her book
Repentance—The Joy-Filled Life, she
shows how repentance is crucial if we want to
grow in our relationship with the Lord.

Schlink writes that just as an earthly father
"is waiting for a response from his children
. . . our Father, who created us
and who loves us with an unfathomable love,
waits." He waits for us to turn to him in
repentance. He waits, oh so patiently, for us
to turn back to him. Think of the "good thief"
who hung on the cross next to Jesus. With just
a few short words, he confesses that he has
sinned, and he turns to Jesus for salvation.
And right then and there, Jesus promises
heaven! There, at the last hour, God's patience
paid off, and this man found the salvation he
was longing for.

Jesus has not come "to call the righteous to
repentance but sinners" (Luke 5:32). That's all
of us! His invitation is wide and generous.
Whether we have committed horrible sins or just
told little white lies, he asks us to come
clean—and to come to him. He wants to shower us
with his mercy, but he needs us to take the
first step toward him in repentance.

As we come to Jesus with humble honesty about
how we have fallen short, he will take care of
the rest. This simple, honest confession, "I
have sinned," is all that he asks. That brief
moment, when we are exposed before the Lord, is
a moment of great joy for him. We have come
back to him, and now he can embrace us, forgive
us, and heal us!

"Father, thank you for your mercy! Help me
always to be open and honest with you."

Jonah 3:1-10 Luke 11:29-32


my2cents: Johah, oh Jonah, the
great little prophet, and still a
pre-figurement of Christ!  Now, who do you
suppose is asking you to repent?  It's not
that prophet, for he is being used as God's
voice, an instrument of faith, a calling to
reunification with the creator.  A calling
in the desert to where we are leading in
lent.  Jonah though, was thrown into the
sea.  He had to suffer hardships for God,
but mostly because he would not repent
himself!  He wouldn't give himself, and so
went into the sea running away from his duties
to God, upon which the sailors in a storm
decided it was Jonah's fault the gods were
angry. Over and out, and into the sea he was
flung, only to be swallowed by a whale for 3
days and spit back Ninevah. 
Funny how God writes with crooked lines and we
have to zoom out to see the greater picture of
what is being said here. Let's take into
account our own lives.  Jonah thought
Niniveh didn't DESERVE God's mercy.  God
was wanting to reach them through Jonah, but he
was blocking the way to grace and mercy. 
Let's take this to heart.  How many times
does God want to work mercy and grace through
us but we keep running away and trying to
hide?  And so the beauty is that Jonah
realized God's will, and His will was done, one
way or the other LOL!  The people
amazingly repented.  They offered
sacrifices the 40 days.  They turned from
sin and violence.  And the marvelous gift
of our Lord was this:  That Nothing
Happened.  I hope one day our Lord will
show you how many evil things could've happened
in your life, but they didn't happen, because
of His mercy for you.  How many times I
could've gotten killed or wound up on the wrong
side one more time.  How many times I
could've hidden from our Lord but He relented
and allowed me to stay with Him.  And this
is where we leading with Jesus.  But
first, the Psalms pray today "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and
put a new and right spirit within
...The sacrifice
acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken
and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not
despise."  Ahh this is what it's all
about.  A new creation.  In comes our
Lord our King, Jesus.  He speaks and says
an evil generation seeks signs and no sign will
be given except that of Jonah.  Yes, 3
days dead to the world, and once back,
repentance and salvation forever.  Jesus
dies, resurrects and brings the ultimate sign
of salvation for all and forever.  Jesus
shows the way.  He fasted 40 days, why
can't I?  He was Holy, why can't I be
Holy?  He died for the love of God in
obedience and the love of all mankind, to make
all things whole, and so why can't I? 
Because Lent is a discipline.  We
discipline ourselves in a way that disposes us
to God.  Self-mortification in
ascetism.  The word asceticism
comes from the Greek askesis which
means practice, bodily exercise, and more
especially, athletic training.  We are in
training, lest we show up to the battle in bad
shape, kind of like I did in an arena race last
month, and I got severely beat up for not being
ready! and so the same is for the Spirit. 
Be ready to resist temptation.  Be ready
for Him to come in.  Be ready for the time
and the hour that God says go, and we go. 
Jesus went into training, boot camp, and this
is where we are now.  How serious we are
is how serious we are taking the sign of Jonah
in Jesus.  Because ultimately, it is of
self surrender to our Lord.  That is why
evil seeks signs, as Father Alberto Cerezo of
Food for the Poor said in our Mass a few weeks
ago "signs are a substitute for faith". 
People want signs for the wrong reasons. 
The signs that are provided are the ones that
God wants to give, not the ones we want to
see.  The humble and contrite heart will
see the sign...of LOVE
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