Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pleasing To Him

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Minute Meditations

Choosing Beauty
Lord, you have made me beautiful. You have crowned me with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5). I choose to allow your beauty to shine in me. Let it flourish, Lord, that I may be your spotless bride.
— from Woman of Strength

St. Catherine of Genoa

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Going to confession one day was the turning point of Catherine's life.

When Catherine was born, many Italian nobles were supporting Renaissance artists and writers. The needs of the poor and the sick were often overshadowed by a hunger for luxury and self-indulgence.

Catherine's parents were members of the nobility in Genoa. At 13 she attempted to become a nun but failed because of her age. At 16 she married Julian, a nobleman who turned out to be selfish and unfaithful. For a while she tried to numb her disappointment by a life of selfish pleasure.

One day in confession she had a new sense of her own sins and how much God loved her. She reformed her life and gave good example to Julian, who soon turned from his self-centered life of distraction.


Julian's spending, however, had ruined them financially. He and Catherine decided to live in the Pammatone, a large hospital in Genoa, and to dedicate themselves to works of charity there. After Julian's death in 1497, Catherine took over management of the hospital.

She wrote about purgatory which, she said, begins on earth for souls open to God. Life with God in heaven is a continuation and perfection of the life with God begun on earth.

Exhausted by her life of self-sacrifice, she died September 15, 1510, and was canonized in 1737.


Regular confessions and frequent Communion can help us see the direction (or drift) of our life with God. People who have a realistic sense of their own sinfulness and of the greatness of God are often the ones who are most ready to meet the needs of their neighbors. Catherine began her hospital work with enthusiasm and was faithful to it through difficult times because she was inspired by the love of God, a love which was renewed in her by the Scriptures and the sacraments.


Shortly before Catherine's death she told her goddaughter: "Tomasina! Jesus in your heart! Eternity in your mind! The will of God in all your actions! But above all, love, God's love, entire love!" (Marion A. Habig, O.F.M., The Franciscan Book of Saints, p. 212).


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


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God's dwelling-place.


Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.


I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Reading 1 Nm 21:4-9

From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
"Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!"

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
"We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us."
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
"Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live."
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21

R. (2) O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
"The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die."
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

Verse Before the Gospel

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.

Gospel Jn 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come."
So the Jews said,
"He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"
He said to them, "You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins."
So they said to him, "Who are you?"
Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world."
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
"When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him."
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


Jesus, You always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that You will never abandon 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: Numbers 21:4-9

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5th Week of Lent

Whenever anyone who had been bitten ... looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. (Numbers 21:9)

How strange it must have been for the Israelites who had been bitten by a snake to be told to look upon a bronze serpent if they wanted to be healed! But it worked. The venom that most certainly would have killed them lost its power, and they were delivered. They had to gaze at the thing that caused their pain, the very consequence of their unbelief, if they wanted to be healed. They had to confront their sin head-on if they wanted to be delivered from it.

Now fast-forward to the time of Jesus. He too was expressing a contradiction. He knew that he had to be lifted up on a cross in order for us to be set free from the sting of sin and death. He knew that the instrument of his death would become the source of life for everyone. All we have to do is gaze on the cross.

So spend some time today looking closely at a crucifix. See there the consequences of your sin—and the sins of everyone in all of history. See the One who took the consequences upon himself. See Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, willingly embracing the fate that should have been yours.

Keep looking. See on that cross the perfect definition of love. Jesus said that the greatest love is "to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13). Let his love for you—his personal, warm love for you—melt your heart. Let his compassion for you—his willingness to suffer for you—move you to offer him your life, your will, and your plans.

Now look around. See your brothers and sisters who are also gazing on the cross. They too have been redeemed. Their destiny is your destiny. Let their lives, their stories, their needs and hopes and dreams, move your heart with love. You are not alone! Together with them, you can move mountains in this world. As one body, we can tell everyone else: "Look! Here on the cross! Here is the answer to all your needs!"

"All praise to you, Jesus, for your cross! May we become signs of hope, reflecting your love and passion for souls!"


Psalm 102:2-3, 16-21
John 8:21-30



Pleasing To Him-audio
"We are DISGUSTED!..." with what?  The people were complaining big time, and big time leading to a sin, of a desecration, a life of un-appreciation rather than being grateful.  Now let me interject: last night I asked them at the lenten longings class about their homework.  One said she visited this sick person, and made a face like she wasn't welcomed, didn't receive appreciation for her efforts.  At this point I chuckled saying "so, you were expecting something in return for giving?"  LOL.  It's the same story of years ago in another lenten longings type class then called Arise all by Renew International, when I asked about their homework a lady said she did go forgive someone but that person she forgave told her "I didn't do anything to you".  I laughed again as I explained a re-enactment, I said as if I were that lady "so I come to forgive you......" and just stare at that person expecting something in return.  What part of giving do we not understand?  Giving is one way.  Now, in the Old Testament, God was giving to the people, now going on about 40 years wandering in the desert, as if purifying them to enter the promised land.  I told the student last night, what you don't know is that you suffered and it is good, for Christ, because you have been revealed the cross of His Love.  I began a series of explanations of sufferings and how they are God's gifts because Christ was obedient and was made perfect through suffering obedience.  Thus, this is the way He was able to be put on a cross for the savlation of the entire world.
The Psalms pray "O LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you."  Now listen to the Psalms ""The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die."  Now was the Lord speaking of those in the Old Testament or in the New?  What about the new in today?  They say that God does not tempt us with evil, it is the devil that tempts us.  God sends a punishment?  All I know is that sin naturally brings punishment, it must be payed for if you are going to be justified and made perfect.  I hope I explained it so you understand, if you are going through tests it is because God loves you, it is evident when serpents bit the people, that sin represented in snakes again from Genesis, that darn sin will bite you if you lose site of faithfulness and we are speaking about Jesus, the Savior.
In comes the Savior.  As I read the Holy Gospel, a song I recorded for Him started playing, and it was today's scriptures.  You can listen at  Jesus begins to say some words that had affected me at that moment a couple years ago.  "I Am going away".  My heart says "where are you going Lord", like a feeling the disciples had when He said this to them and they'd ask "where will we go Lord? You have words of eternal life".  To whom shall we turn if we have no Lord?  Yet, we turn away from Him, it is the story of the unfaithful bride throughout the ages, the church, the people of God.  "Where I am going you can not come".  Sounds to me like a challenge from the Lord.  "Oh no sir, nu uh, now I really want to go where you are going".  But, what if He is going to the cross?  Ah, so you still want to come along?  Uhhhhh, let me think about what I got to lose.  "he who loves this life will lose it".  The people in the old loved being slaves and not living the challenge.  We must die to the relaxing mentality.  I told the student "when you come to this side of the Lord, it is never all flowers and easy life...but it is better".  That is to say, living His way is better.  I told her "because I love God more and my wife does too, now we are really loving with true love that is everlasting because God is love".  Even statistics show that a truly devout catholic couple using NFP as well have a nearly 1% divorce rate compared to the non=believing, non-active Christians and Catholic Christians whose divorce rates are nearing 60%.  Science is getting advanced, and when it finally is all revealed it will reveal Christ, the creator one with our Father.  I digress.  People leave the Catholic faith, "I am not being fed" they say, and so go somewhere else where the music is better or the preaching is to their excitement level.  Nevermind that Jesus said "do this in rememberance of Me" until He returns.  Nevermind that the Lord was lifted up as He is elevated in the Holy Mass.  Nevermind that salvation is at hand in the way He proposed.  Nevermind that He is the new Manna, the bread from Heaven.  Nevermind He said He is the flesh for the life of the world.  No, I have a family member that doesn't like crucifixes, I used to call him the anti-catholic and he asked me to stop calling him that now that I've been closer to him in explanation of the faith, LOL, softening to truth?  Jesus is the whole of our Catholic faith.  "Why do you Catholics have crucifixes?"  The answer is simple, we don't see it as an object of death, it is a sign of God's love and mercy for me, salvation for the soul.  "Why don't you have a resurrected image instead?" Wait, you forget the whole point of life, giving ourselves totally to the Father, God, LOVE
How can I give as I ought?  Thankfulness.  Oh great thankfulness, brings such joy.  Oh, and by the way, the Eucharist means Thankfulness, and thanksgiving.  Who is giving thanks at this pivotal moment in life?  Jesus?  Is Jesus giving thanks to the Father with hands raised up?  Am I talking about the cross or the priest on the altar?  What is going on here?  Here is where the bride is taken over by the faithful...JESUS oh sweet Heavenly groom and Master, Lover of all.  Raise up the sign and let Him be praised forever...

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