Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Have Come
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Minute Meditations
Source of Greatness Minute Meditations
By His life, death and resurrection, Jesus opens the way for us to claim the very source of God's wealth, God Himself. He alone is the true source of the greatness of creation and all that is good and true and beautiful.
— from Inspired

St. John Ogilvie
(c. 1579-1615)
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John Ogilvie's noble Scottish family was partly Catholic and partly Presbyterian. His father raised him as a Calvinist, sending him to the continent to be educated. There John became interested in the popular debates going on between Catholic and Calvinist scholars. Confused by the arguments of Catholic scholars whom he sought out, he turned to Scripture. Two texts particularly struck him: "God wills all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth," and "Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you." Slowly, John came to see that the Catholic Church could embrace all kinds of people. Among these, he noted, were many martyrs. He decided to become Catholic and was received into the Church at Louvain, Belgium, in 1596 at the age of 17.
John continued his studies, first with the Benedictines, then as a student at the Jesuit College at Olmutz. He joined the Jesuits and for the next 10 years underwent their rigorous intellectual and spiritual training. Ordained a priest in France in 1610, he met two Jesuits who had just returned from Scotland after suffering arrest and imprisonment. They saw little hope for any successful work there in view of the tightening of the penal laws. But a fire had been lit within John. For the next two and a half years he pleaded to be missioned there.
Sent by his superiors, he secretly entered Scotland posing as a horse trader or a soldier returning from the wars in Europe. Unable to do significant work among the relatively few Catholics in Scotland, John made his way back to Paris to consult his superiors. Rebuked for having left his assignment in Scotland, he was sent back. He warmed to the task before him and had some success in making converts and in secretly serving Scottish Catholics. But he was soon betrayed, arrested and brought before the court.
His trial dragged on until he had been without food for 26 hours. He was imprisoned and deprived of sleep. For eight days and nights he was dragged around, prodded with sharp sticks, his hair pulled out. Still, he refused to reveal the names of Catholics or to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the king in spiritual affairs. He underwent a second and third trial but held firm.
At his final trial, he assured his judges: "In all that concerns the king, I will be slavishly obedient; if any attack his temporal power, I will shed my last drop of blood for him. But in the things of spiritual jurisdiction which a king unjustly seizes I cannot and must not obey."
Condemned to death as a traitor, he was faithful to the end, even when on the scaffold he was offered his freedom and a fine living if he would deny his faith. His courage in prison and in his martyrdom was reported throughout Scotland.
John Ogilvie was canonized in 1976, becoming the first Scottish saint since 1250.


John came of age when neither Catholics nor Protestants were willing to tolerate one another. Turning to Scripture, he found words that enlarged his vision. Although he became a Catholic and died for his faith, he understood the meaning of "small-c catholic," the wide range of believers who embrace Christianity. Even now he undoubtedly rejoices in the ecumenical spirit fostered by the Second Vatican Council and joins us in our prayer for unity with all believers.

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

"Come to me all you who are burdened
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek your presence.
I long for your healing power.
Lord, may I never take the gift
of freedom for granted. You gave
me the great blessing of freedom of
spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and
Your joy.
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day,
starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
I attend to the shadows and what they say to me,
seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.
The Word of God

Reading 1 Dt 4:1, 5-9

Moses spoke to the people and said:
"Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.'
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?

"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children's children."

Responsorial Psalm PS 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Verse Before the Gospel See Jn 6:63c, 68c

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel Mt 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."
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: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9

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3rd Week of Lent
What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us? (Deuteronomy 4:7)
When a well-known singer comes to town, a local radio station will often hold a contest in which the prize is the chance to meet the singer backstage. This can be thrilling for an avid fan. But it can also be rather impersonal. There's no real interaction between the fan and the singer, just a handshake, a few words, and a photo opportunity.
Now imagine getting a backstage pass to meet God. Wouldn't that be a whole different thing? He wouldn't just shake your hand and smile for the camera. He'd embrace you warmly, look you deep in the eyes, and make sure you knew he was very glad to see you!
This comparison is a good way of looking at how Moses described the Israelites' special status. They were about to enter the Promised Land, which was surrounded by nations who believed in many types of gods. But not one of these gods could compare with the one true God. Which of these false gods would love them? Which would move heaven and earth to redeem them from slavery? Which of them would be closer than a brother? Only the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!
Likewise, we are surrounded by people and things that promise fulfillment. But none of them can give us what God offers. Who can compare with the One who fashioned you and continues to call you by name? Who can compare with a God who has laid down his life for you?
God has many rivals. Many forces compete for our attention and affections. But these rivals are like celebrities we might meet backstage. They aren't committed to us, and they aren't interested in us in any significant way.
Today in prayer, try to make a list of all the different ways God has been involved in your life. Think first about the truths of the faith: he created you, and he redeemed you. But think also about the ways he has shown himself to you personally. Write them down, and post them someplace prominent. Let these stories prove to you that your Father loves you deeply and completely.
"Lord God, thank you for being so close to me, so committed to me. Lord, I want to know you and your love today."

Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
Matthew 5:17-19

I agree with the Word.  Whenever we do not agree with the Word, we are against the Word.  Wrestle with it as you may, but to forget the Word is departing from the Lord, and once again, against the Word.  It is hard to take this pill, but we only have to read what's happened in history with the people of God and we notice a circle, a pattern on how people forget the Word, and then wonder off into the darkness and then find themselves against the Word, only again to find themselves in great need of our Lord's mercy.  The first Holy Scripture ends with,
 " be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children's children."
Be on guard, or else other things will come in...other gods, as eventually would happen to those who entered the promised land.  When we were in adult lenten longings class Monday night, a couple people said that it seemed a whole generation of faithful catholics have gone dormant or disappeared, some other meetings I've heard others say "since vatican II".  Well, to be honest, it is true in my opinion.  First let me explain how.  Vatican II opened the doors for the faithful to become enriched and more involved in the faith, but at the same time the devil introduced a revolutionary sexual idea that said people should be "free" to express themselves however they want.  And so the devil launched an attack at the same time the Church opened up the doors to more enrichment of faith.  Decades later we are just now beginning to notice the after effects.  A generation is gone that has forgotten to teach their children, because a majority were involved in the battle of the devil in total chaos, into darkness.  Not only that, millions and millions of children are dead, a generation, because the sexual revolution brought about contraception, a "birth control" mentality that included killing the innocent creation inside the womb of a mother. 
I am only bringing the Holy Scriptures into life by applying the reality of our world today.  The Psalms pray "He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel" and "Praise the Lord, Jerusalem".  He has proclaimed His word to and through the prophets, his laws to His people.  We Christians are His people.  Praise the LORD, the new Jerusalem is the people of God.
Our Lord speaks today.
"Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."
Moses talked about teaching.  Jesus is the embodiment of all the prophets.  He takes the teaching of the generations a step further and says whoever teaches against the commandments, any one of them, is the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.  But whoever OBEYS and TEACHES is greatest.  This means in your very life it is becoming a reality.  The obedience and teaching is bringing into your life a holiness.  Teach your children.  Bring back the faithful.  Teach the children, even if they are not yours.  I find myself in company of others' children, and I'm teaching them about the Lord, thus, opening their eyes and hearts to the Lord.  If I forget to teach them about the Lord, I've already disobeyed, because another love has become more important.  Can you see why it is critical to remember?  And so we have to live a disciplined life in the Lord, so we will not forget.  Jesus at the Last supper said it again, "Do This In REMEMBERANCE of Me".  He is asking us not to forget, to do what He did in rememberance.  What did He do?  Gave Himself totally to the Father...for all of us...
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