Thursday, March 5, 2015

Someone Should Rise

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Minute Meditations

Pray for Humility Minute Meditations
Humility is possible only for the free. Those who are secure in the Father's love, have no need of pomp and circumstance or people fawning on them. They know who they are, where they've come from, and where they are going. Not taking themselves too seriously, they can laugh at themselves. The proud cannot.
— from 40 Days, 40 Ways

St. John Joseph of the Cross

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Self-denial is never an end in itself but is only a help toward greater charity—as the life of St. John Joseph shows.

John Joseph was very ascetic even as a young man. At 16 he joined the Franciscans in Naples; he was the first Italian to follow the reform movement of St. Peter Alcantara. John Joseph's reputation for holiness prompted his superiors to put him in charge of establishing a new friary even before he was ordained.

Obedience moved John Joseph to accept appointments as novice master, guardian and, finally, provincial. His years of mortification enabled him to offer these services to the friars with great charity. As guardian he was not above working in the kitchen or carrying the wood and water needed by the friars.

When his term as provincial expired, John Joseph dedicated himself to hearing confessions and practicing mortification, two concerns contrary to the spirit of the dawning Age of Enlightenment. John Joseph was canonized in 1839.


John Joseph's mortification allowed him to be the kind of forgiving superior intended by St. Francis. Self-denial should lead us to charity—not to bitterness; it should help us clarify our priorities and make us more loving. John Joseph is living proof of Chesterton's observation: "It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one's own" (G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, page 101).


"And by this I wish to know if you love the Lord God and me, his servant and yours—if you have acted in this manner: that is, there should not be any brother in the world who has sinned, however much he may have possibly sinned, who, after he has looked into your eyes, would go away without having received your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. And if he were not to seek mercy, you should ask him if he wants mercy. And if he should sin thereafter a thousand times before your very eyes, love him more than me so that you may draw him back to the Lord. Always be merciful to such as these" (St. Francis, Letter to a Minister).


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


To be present is to arrive as one is and open up to the other.
At this instant, as I arrive here, God is present waiting for me.
God always arrives before me, desiring to connect with me
even more than my most intimate friend.
I take a moment and greet my loving God.


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.


How do I find myself today?
Where am I with God? With others?
Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks.
Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness. 

The Word of God


Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading 1 Jer 17:5-10

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind
and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways,
according to the merit of his deeds.

Responsorial Psalm PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so, the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse Before the Gospel See Lk 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied, 'My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.'
He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said,
'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'"

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today. Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.


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: Jeremiah 17:5-10

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2nd Week of Lent

I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart. (Jeremiah 17:10)

Jumping off the high dive or watching your child drive off by himself for the first time—events like these can be exhilarating and unnerving at the same time. The same can be said of the thought behind the above verse. It is exciting to learn that God knows what you mean, how you think, and what you truly intend, even when everyone else misunderstands you. He knows your difficulties and supports your efforts to love and serve him. But there's also something unsettling in the way that God sees everything in your heart—even those things you want to hide forever. There's no point in trying to fool the One who is all-knowing!

It's good to know that when God probes us, he is more like a surgeon working with a scalpel than a lumberjack wielding a blunt ax. The light he shines on your life is as warm as the glow of the sun, not the cold glare of searchlights. Carefully, gently, he uncovers the thoughts and intentions of your heart. Skillfully he separates doubts and defenses, hopes and desires, purposes and attitudes. Even when he reveals something that needs to change, he is quick to assure you of his love and to remind you of all that is good in you. He doesn't probe just to point out flaws; he does it so that he can bring you into a deeper relationship with him.

Lent is a good time to let the Lord probe your mind and test your heart. If the thought of doing that gives you pause or fills you with fear, take a minute and remind yourself who is doing the probing: the One who died to bring you eternal life. You are precious and honored in his eyes!

God is endlessly patient with us. He extends his forgiveness and grace in outrageous abundance. He is rich in truth, but also in love. So open your heart to him today. Sit quietly with him in prayer, and ponder a short Scripture passage, perhaps something from Mass that touches your heart. He will do the rest.

"Father, look into my heart today, examine my thoughts, and strengthen me in your love."


Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Luke 16:19-31

3/5/15: Someone Should Rise

Let's listen to the Word of God, from today's 1st Holy Scripture...the prophet of Jeremiah:  "Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD." And this was on the opening line!?  Who do you trust in your moment of desolation?  Lazarus trusted in God as he starved to death.  He didn't have to die the way he did, had the rich man in purple (royalty) had paid attention to the message of God.  Jesus said "EVEN THE DOGS licked his sores" meaning even they took better care of him than did the people of God because that rich man believed in Abraham because after death he called out to Abraham 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house...".  LOL, wait, I thought we weren't supposed to call anyone "father"?  And Jesus is telling this story!  Bible says not to call anyone else but HIM your father, but we do have fathers, like fathers of the church (founders).  The Lord speaks through the prophet Jeremiah "I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart".  The rich man's heart was tested, and so was that of Lazarus.  The poor passed the test.  The Lord tests to "reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds."  Funny then, we are not saved by faith alone because our good deeds go with us, they are a part of us...our ways.
The Psalms pray the life of Christ: "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.  Not so, the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes."  The last part of today's 5minutos said "Don't reveal your weaknesses because they will use you! When you stop producing, you will stop being interesting to people!  When you are dead, you are dead!"  And it is the story of the Nations that use people, people that use people.  For self pleasure, for gaining power, for using each other to death, run down to the ground, abandoned and forgotten...hmmm, guess Lazarus is still alive. 
The Holy Gospel introduces the story of Lazarus and the story is told by God, our Lord Jesus.  Notice that in the story, the only name we hear is of Lazarus, the one Jesus cares for.  The rich man's name is forgotten.  And so it is with the book of Life.  Your name will be written in the book of life, His Kingdom, if all you depend on and can feed on is Him.  Lazarus was a friend that Jesus cared for in His life, and it is well known that when Lazarus died, everyone including our Lord cried. We read in the Gospel of John 11:
35   "Jesus wept.

36   Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"

37   But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"

My oh my, the blind people speak.  "If God were such a good God how could He allow this to happen" is the old faithful addage.  Jesus knew what they said, and He proved He was a good God, He would defeat what they called victory...death.  He raised Lazarus from the dead.  Both in the Old Testament, and the New, and the life to come.  "Oh please give us a chance" are the cries of the dead after death.  God's justice says no.  "Then send someone from the dead".  Father Abraham said "They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuadedif someone should rise from the dead.'"  And it is true.  Because someone did come back from the dead...Jesus.  And still people do not believe.  We have Moses, the law, and the Prophets the pronunciation of the Word of God, and no, people refuse.  They call the Word unholy names, things which have no forgiveness for it is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  So let us be careful when sin comes into our lives for we are treading on forgetting God, forgetting Jesus, forgetting Lazarus at the foot of our door. 
Next time you are tempted to throw away that letter of an orphanage asking for money, think of Lazarus.  Next time you find someone poor in spirit, down and out and aggrevated, there is Lazarus in suffering.  What happened with Jesus and Lazarus?  Jesus did what the other many in earthly royalty did not; He gave Lazarus life...and in turn Jesus would suffer death.  He took on suffering, so we would live.  Suffer for Jesus.  Lent offers some suffering.  Take it.  It is His Body.  His LIFE

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