Monday, March 16, 2015

His Way Back

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Minute Meditations

Overcoming Fear
In Jesus's divine wisdom, He knew that fear would be one of the many things the human heart would contend with during life. Thus, he continually offered sheltering words, recorded in Scripture, such as, "Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
— from The Princess Guide

St. Clement Mary Hofbauer

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John, the name given him at Baptism, was born in Moravia into a poor family, the ninth of 12 children. Although he longed to be a priest there was no money for studies, and he was apprenticed to a baker. But God guided the young man's fortunes. He found work in the bakery of a monastery where he was allowed to attend classes in its Latin school. After the abbot there died, John tried the life of a hermit but when Emperor Joseph II abolished hermitages, John again returned to Vienna and to baking. One day after serving Mass at the cathedral of St. Stephen, he called a carriage for two ladies waiting there in the rain. In their conversation they learned that he could not pursue his priestly studies because of a lack of funds. They generously offered to support both him and his friend, Thaddeus, in their seminary studies. The two went to Rome, where they were drawn to St. Alphonsus' vision of religious life and to the Redemptorists. The two young men were ordained together in 1785.

Newly professed at age 34, Clement Mary, as he was now called, and Thaddeus were sent back to Vienna. But the religious difficulties there caused them to leave and continue north to Warsaw, Poland. There they encountered numerous German-speaking Catholics who had been left priestless by the suppression of the Jesuits. At first they had to live in great poverty and preached outdoor sermons. They were given the church of St. Benno, and for the next nine years they preached five sermons a day, two in German and three in Polish, converting many to the faith. They were active in social work among the poor, founding an orphanage and then a school for boys.

Drawing candidates to the congregation, they were able to send missionaries to Poland, Germany and Switzerland. All of these foundations had eventually to be abandoned because of the political and religious tensions of the times. After 20 years of difficult work Clement himself was imprisoned and expelled from the country. Only after another arrest was he able to reach Vienna, where he was to live and work the final 12 years of his life. He quickly became "the apostle of Vienna," hearing the confessions of the rich and poor, visiting the sick, acting as a counselor to the powerful, sharing his holiness with all in the city. His crowning work was the establishment of a Catholic college in his beloved city.

Persecution followed him, and there were those in authority who were able for a while to stop him from preaching. An attempt was made at the highest levels to have him banished. But his holiness and fame protected him and the growth of the Redemptorists. Due to his efforts, the congregation, upon his death in 1820, was firmly established north of the Alps.

He was canonized in 1909.


Clement saw his life's work meet with disaster. Religious and political tensions forced him and his brothers to abandon their ministry in Germany, Poland and Switzerland. Clement himself was exiled from Poland and had to start all over again. Someone once pointed out that the followers of the crucified Jesus should see only new possibilities opening up whenever they meet failure. He encourages us to follow his example, trusting in the Lord to guide us.


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


At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
He is always waiting, listening for our call.
What a wonderful blessing.
No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely.
Instil in my heart a desire
To know and love you more each day.


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 Is 65:17-21

Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b

R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
"Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper."
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Verse Before the Gospel Am 5:14

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

Gospel Jn 4:43-54

At that time Jesus left for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
"Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe."
The royal official said to him,
"Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live."
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
"The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon."
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
"Your son will live,"
and he and his whole household came to believe.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.

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    Watch a video reflection


Conversation requires talking and listening.  As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen.  I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me.  I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares.  I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts.  I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for me.


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: John 4:43-54

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4th Week of Lent

This was the second sign Jesus did. (John 4:54)

In the first chapters of John, Jesus performs two miraculous "signs" in the village of Cana. The first, of course, is his changing water into wine at a wedding celebration. The second is today's story of Jesus healing a royal official's son who was on the brink of death. Both stories end on a similar note: those who witness the sign put their faith in Jesus (John 2:11; 4:53). Whenever Jesus performs a miracle, it is an invitation to belief, an opening for deeper faith.

Think about the contrasting settings of these two stories. The wedding at Cana is a Luminous Mystery of love, joy, and new beginnings. A young couple is starting their life together. What a contrast to today's sorrowful scene, where a young life is about to be cut short! If we put these two stories together, we can see how everyday life is a swing between luminous events and sorrowful ones. More important, we can see how Jesus wants to be close to us no matter what our situation is.

If you're in a happy moment, don't forget the One who has been so good to you. Thank him for all of your blessings. If you're in a sad moment, try your best to put your faith in the Lord. Jesus told the royal official, "Go; your son will live" (John 4:50). Likewise, in these sad moments in our lives, Jesus tells us to "go"—to believe before seeing.

John's Gospel is filled with many more "signs" than these two. Over and over, he tells us to pray for miracles so that our faith can deepen. He tells us to look at the signs of God's presence that are already around us so that we can believe even more.

At the wedding in Cana, Mary was full of faith. She knew that Jesus would act to save the banquet. The royal official in today's reading didn't have as much faith as Mary did, but he had enough. We don't need perfect faith to see God work miracles. We just need to go to Jesus and ask. Then, when we see the signs, our hearts will rejoice!

"Jesus, help me to deepen my faith in you—in good times and in bad times."


Isaiah 65:17-21
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13




His Way Back


The words of the prophet Isaiah said " Thus says the LORD: Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth;".  If we skip to the last book in the bible we read in Revelation 21:"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.* .  Something happened between the time of the prophet Isaiah and Revelation.  There was indeed a new creation of earth and Heaven, and the world has not been the same since......Jesus entered the earth, the very earth we live in today.  And this speaking of Heaven and earth is something we touched upon in Dr. Brant Pitre's Spiritual Theology course.  Where is this new Heaven?  From what I understood in our class yesterday evening, the Kingdom of Heaven is yes at hand, yet not fully revealed, as if to be veiled.  "It's like the parable of the man that found a treasure in field and then went and sold everything he had to buy that field".  That is to say, once you've seen and found the Kingdom, you'll do anything and everything to obtain the Kingdom.  The only way I can explain things are from my point of view, and that is why many times I use the first person perspective.  So what does Mr. Adrian see as far as the Kingdom of God goes?  I see a tremendous amount of work, or better said, opportunity.  Funny though, the  world sees darkness and problems, but the true child of God sees a place where light is needed and takes the light there.
Today the Psalms pray "I will praise you Lord, for you have rescued me".  The people of God, after the prophet Isaiah, were kicked out of their land by the Babylonians.  After 70 years they returned, and a few hundred years later, our Lord comes in.  To the rescue?  Or had He already rescued?  Because, how can a prophecy mean in any particular time frame?  We are on God's time.  And the time we are talking about is when Jesus enters.
Now enter the Holy Gospel, now enter our Lord into the Picture, the Savior.  Where was He when He was most needed in the hundreds and thousands of years before ?  And after?  He never left the picture, He has always been with His people.  It is His people that abandon Him.  And this is what I see in our people today, in His Kingdom, they reject the King.  It is a hard pill to swallow, God isn't hurt, it is us that hurts ourselves and that is what He does not like.  And so, when Jesus is asked for help by a non-follower to save his son, it is the story of a non-faithful person in need of a savior.   "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe." said our Lord.  And He performs for the faithful.  In other words, in my perspective, you have to be faithful to the Lord, and only then will the veil of His Kingdom be taken off.  In my world, I live seeing signs constantly.  Signs of His wonders and love.  If I talk to you about them, it won't help you, but I still do it.  I fight an uphill battle in the faith.  It is hardly ever easy.  But it is the hard stuff we are called to do when we are called to work for the Lord.  People complain alot.  People whine, alot.  People fight, alot.  People leave, alot.  I don't want to be like that.  I want to be like Jesus.  Something I've given up for lent is complaining, but that doesn't mean I can't say something constructive!  I still bring up to attention matters that need attention, things that I will myself get in and help with.  If you're going to whine, then let it be in prayer with Jesus, because he turns whines into His wine, bad to good.  If you're going to fight, don't fight each other, fight the devil in prayer and fasting.  If you are thinking about leaving the Church, first leave all your doubts and sell all you have to see Jesus.  For we do not yet shed blood and we give up.  I wouldn't leave you without something to chew on, but neither does Jesus.  He left His sacred body in the Eucharist.  Something we fail to see with our hearts is His body, and where His body is, there is His Kingdom.  Now it enters my body.  Yesterday the "B" team choir was asked to sing, me.  I pretty muched messed up in every song, and especially the communion song because I went to take in the Body of Christ, Jesus, and my heart was burning and pumping and it was pumping out tears or trying to anyways, and as I tried to swallow them, the lump wouldn't let my throat clear up enough to sing.  What in the world was going on with me?  Jesus had engulfed my soul with great love and peace and joy all at once.  I wasn't sad or mad, I was, I don't know, I can't explain the loving Grace of God, it is a gift.  How can we accept the gift?  And what do I do with it?  
Hmm, that's what we're working on as we are involved with the Savior of the world.  The new Kingdom is the new me, because it is in the heart of man, all humans in the world...


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