Friday, March 13, 2015

All Your Heart

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Minute Meditations

Unending Love Minute Meditations
God is love. And we move towards the light to find the love of God. But is God's love within us, even in the dark moments? Is the love of God there, hidden away? Yes, always! The love of God never leaves us. It is always with us.
— from The Spirit of Saint Francis

St. Leander of Seville
(c. 550-600)

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The next time you recite the Nicene Creed at Mass, think of today's saint. For it was Leander of Seville who, as bishop, introduced the practice in the sixth century. He saw it as a way to help reinforce the faith of his people and as an antidote against the heresy of Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ. By the end of his life, Leander had helped Christianity flourish in Spain at a time of political and religious upheaval.

Leander's own family was heavily influenced by Arianism, but he himself grew up to be a fervent Christian. He entered a monastery as a young man and spent three years in prayer and study. At the end of that tranquil period he was made a bishop. For the rest of his life he worked strenuously to fight against heresy. The death of the anti-Christian king in 586 helped Leander's cause. He and the new king worked hand in hand to restore orthodoxy and a renewed sense of morality. Leander succeeded in persuading many Arian bishops to change their loyalties.

Leander died around 600. In Spain he is honored as a Doctor of the Church.

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.


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.


I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord. I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness.  He is my comforter in times of sorrow.

The Word of God

Reading 1 Hos 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, 'Our god,'
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion."

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
"I am like a verdant cypress tree"--
Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 81:6c-8a, 8bc-9, 10-11ab, 14 and 17

R. (see 11 and 9a) I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
An unfamiliar speech I hear:
"I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"Unseen, I answered you in thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;
O Israel, will you not hear me?"
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

Verse Before the Gospel Mt 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Gospel Mk 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself

is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


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: Mark 12:28-34

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3rd Week of Lent

Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31)

In his work with individuals at a L'Arche community, Fr. Henri Nouwen described his growing awareness of two kinds of love. The second love, or human love, he said, is but a reflection of the first love, which comes from God. God's love has no shadows. It has no conditions, and we need not fear his rejection.

Clearly, in loving us, our Father has set a very high bar for himself—as high as the heavens! Yet today's Gospel reading reminds us that the bar for our human love is set pretty high, too. Love your neighbor. Period. No qualifications. Just love. Will our love be perfect? Probably not. Fulfilling the call to love is—and always will be—an ongoing challenge. So rather than expecting yourself to do it perfectly from Day One, try a more gradual approach.

Here's one suggestion. Take a piece of paper, and make a chart with three columns. In one column, write all the words that you associate with God's love for you: kind, faithful, merciful, compassionate, and so on. In the second column, write all the things that love does: it protects, comforts, disciplines, hopes, rejoices. Then, in the third column, write down the names of saints or people in Scripture who have demonstrated these characteristics.

Now, pick a saint on your list, and try to find out how he or she came to demonstrate a certain aspect of God's love. Pick an aspect that you most want to work on in your own life, something that can use a little help. Find a book about this person, or do an online search for stories and articles. You'll most likely discover that this person wasn't born perfect. It probably took many years for him or her to learn how to be so generous, humble, compassionate, or whatever other virtue you are looking at.

Next, as you discover this saint's path, try to find points of contact with your life. How can you imitate him or her as you try to become more loving? Think of one small change you can make over the next week or two, and write it out. Make it your aim to grow in this "second love," so that you can more fully reflect the "first love," which comes from Almighty God.

"Lord, help me to love my neighbor as you love me."


Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17



The first Holy Scripture said " Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them."  Last night we got home from our 2 day spring break.  I grabbed the guitar and a song was trying to come out, as if the Holy Spirit was tuning in as He does and then I go off and record the song.  I didn't write it down or record it, but it was something like "Lord, I will follow you into the desert...I will follow your foot steps that I can see in the sand...I don't know where they go but I will follow, because I trust in you, and I want to be with you".  Walking we don't see Him with human eyes, that is saved for the Spirit, and in Heaven.  Here on earth, we walk the steps He has walked on earth.  He left us love letters, the Bible.  He wrote with His life and continues to write to this day, because His is an eternal love.  It is a path that people can walk, but sinners stumble, and they fall, and they get hurt, we get hurt along the way.  But the story of Love is that God never gives up on His people.  If in the Old Testament He punished, His Sacred Heart is revealed.  I can only relate it to when a parent disciplines their children, spanks them, and then feels regret, even though the parent knows it was for the good.  It is good love, not abusive.  Giving children all they want is not good for them.  I thought about that on our way back yesterday, "whenever I give the kids something, like a used video game I bought them, their minds are programmed to believe what I just gave them was good" and so I have to watch what I give my kids, I don't give them all they want, whenever they want, and how they want...that is not good.   And so it is the story of walking and loving everything God does in my life.  He gives blessings and reserves blessings, and I have to love everything He does and says...this is the path of light.
The Psalms pray on "I Am the Lord your God, hear My voice" and ""If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways, I would feed them with the best of wheat".  Again, He asks for us to walk in His ways.  Loving is trusting and doing as He asked us to hear and listen, then we would accept His wheat, the best in the world, and we are talking about His Sacred Heart in the body, the Eucharist.  And so it goes to say without saying, loving Him above all, naturally brings Himself to You.
In comes our Lord Jesus in the Holy Gospel.  He is asked which is the first, thus the greatest of the commandments.  Our Lord lays out the Old Testament and with an exclamation point, all what the prophets and the law had been trying to say for thousands of years brought back to the simple point
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
And then what?  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Love them how you would love to be loved.  Not how you would "like to" be loved, but would love to be loved.  I find myself among people that seem to know how to love.  I hope I can love like that.  Or maybe it is God loving on me through all these people?  Interesting, because He lives among us.  The key is appreciation, gratitude, how much do I value this love from Heaven?  I don't know.  I don't know if I'm loving right, for all I do for everyone, I don't know that I know how to love.  What is love anyway?  The world tries to tell you this and that, and explains in different types of loves, but it always misses the mark, because it is not "what" is love, it is "WHO" is love.  So my studies focus on who Love is.  Who is this God that loves us?  I am curious.  Where is He that I might find Him?  Why do I want to find Him?  When me and you meet in person, what you don't know about me is that I am continuously analyzing your soul, I am looking for God in you, sending a spiritual message "is it you Lord?"  Like a lost child "mommy?", or "daddy is that you?".  It's much more like a little lamb that can barely see, and so all it can do is follow the trail, the path that leads the way.  This is me and you.  This is all we can do.  The reason God wants us to love one another is because that's all we got as far as flesh goes for Him to manifest Himself in.  And so I spend a great deal of time letting souls analyze my soul, so that my soul responds to your analysis saying "yes my Child, it is me, I love you very VERY MUCH".  Because my soul has to radiate that finest bread that I eat.  My soul has to light those words of Love God infuses into my mind, and my heart, and then infuse into my heart and our soul
THE FIRST COMMAND meant to save our souls for an eternity




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