Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In The Breaking

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Minute Meditations

The Resurrection

When it comes to our salvation, God doesn't take chances...He gives them. The life of Jesus demonstrates the fulfillment of God's promises.
— from Tweet Inspiration

St. Julie Billiart
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Born in Cuvilly, France, into a family of well-to-do farmers, young Marie Rose Julie Billiart showed an early interest in religion and in helping the sick and poor. Though the first years of her life were relatively peaceful and uncomplicated, Julie had to take up manual work as a young teen when her family lost its money. However, she spent her spare time teaching catechism to young people and to the farm laborers.

A mysterious illness overtook her when she was about 30. Witnessing an attempt to wound or even kill her father, Julie was paralyzed and became a complete invalid. For the next two decades she continued to teach catechism lessons from her bed, offered spiritual advice and attracted visitors who had heard of her holiness.

When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, revolutionary forces became aware of her allegiance to fugitive priests. With the help of friends she was smuggled out of Cuvilly in a haycart; she spent several years hiding in Compiegne, being moved from house to house despite her growing physical pain. She even lost the power of speech for a time.

But this period also proved to be a fruitful spiritual time for Julie. It was at this time she had a vision in which she saw Calvary surrounded by women in religious habits and heard a voice saying, "Behold these spiritual daughters whom I give you in an Institute marked by the cross." As time passed and Julie continued her mobile life, she made the acquaintance of an aristocratic woman, Fran├žoise Blin de Bourdon, who shared Julie's interest in teaching the faith. In 1803 the two women began the Institute of Notre Dame, which was dedicated to the education of the poor as well as young Christian girls and the training of catechists. The following year the first Sisters of Notre Dame made their vows. That was the same year that Julie recovered from the illness: She was able to walk for the first time in 22 years.

Though Julie had always been attentive to the special needs of the poor and that always remained her priority, she also became aware that other classes in society needed Christian instruction. From the founding of the Sisters of Notre Dame until her death, Julie was on the road, opening a variety of schools in France and Belgium that served the poor and the wealthy, vocational groups, teachers. Ultimately, Julie and Fran├žoise moved the motherhouse to Namur, Belgium.

Julie died there in 1816. She was canonized in 1969.


Julie's immobility in no way impeded her activities. In spite of her suffering, she managed to co-found a teaching order that tended to the needs of both the poor and the well-to-do. Each of us has limitations, but the worst malady any of us can suffer is the spiritual paralysis that keeps us from doing God's work on earth.


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


"Be still and know that I am God."
Lord, Your words lead us to the
calmness and greatness of Your Presence.


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.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am.  How has the last day been, and how do I feel now? I share my feelings openly with the Lord.

The Word of God

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 3:1-10

Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o'clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called "the Beautiful Gate" every day
to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, "Look at us."
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you:
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk."
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one
who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.

Responsorial Psalm PS 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

R. (3b) Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations—
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Ps 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus' disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
"What are you discussing as you walk along?"
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
"Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?"
And he replied to them, "What sort of things?"
They said to him,
"The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see."
And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?"
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, "Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
"Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
"The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!"
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

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Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?


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: Luke 24:13-35

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Wednesday within the Octave of Easter

What are you discussing as you walk along? (Luke 24:17)

You've heard of the expression "meeting someone where they're at," but what does that mean? You could say that it means first of all just being available to someone. That's what Jesus does in today's reading. He meets these two men on the road to Emmaus and walks with them for several miles. He takes the time to listen to their story before offering any opinions of his own. And during the entire journey, he never tells them who he is. That's showing a lot of restraint, considering who the conversation is about!

But there's more to meeting people where they are at than just offering a listening ear. Listening to these two disciples, Jesus determines what their problem is and helps them address their grief. They haven't understood that the very thing they're distraught over—Jesus' suffering and death—is part of God's grand plan of salvation for everyone, including themselves. So he explains that plan to them by telling them what his Father has done for him.

What a perfect model for all of us as we take up the call to evangelize! Every day, we meet people like these Emmaus disciples—people who are wandering, unsure of themselves, or on a path leading them away from God. As Jesus did, we can make it a point to be present to them—to get to know them and build a friendship with them. Remember Jesus' words, "Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles" (Matthew 5:41). It's in the context of friendship that we can begin sharing our stories with each other, and that's when the gospel is proclaimed!

Sometimes this process can happen quickly, and sometimes it can take months. But sooner or later, you'll know when the time is right. But before that time comes, it's best to have something prepared. So spend some time today writing down what you might tell someone about what the Lord has done in your life. Then, as you pray, you'll find points of contact between your story and theirs. And you'll know what to say and how to say it.

"Lord, give me the grace to journey with those searching for you. Teach me how to listen to them and to share your love with them."


Acts 3:1-10; Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9


Sometimes I pray talking to our Lord in Heaven "...please forgive us Father, we are incapable of thinking for ourselves".  We act like lemmings, robots, just mindless creatures and don't realize what's happening or what we should be doing.  Such was the case of being at a loss when our Lord was "lost" for 3 days, and the loved ones become anxious "what do we do now?".  
The first Holy Scripture gives a glimpse of what we should not give up on doing...going to pray.  A glimpse is given of what our Lord offers, not gold, not silver, but healing that brings salvation, because the crippled man didn't go home running, he went HOME to the Savior to give thanks in the temple!  Excited!  Jumping.  Not too shabby for a man that could never walk, or at least walk right, always "wrong" as the Jews saw.  This is a clear example of the Church teaching, healing, offering all its got to the poor, healing and salvation, and the Lord works through the Holy Church, something that the devil stands against.
And why bring up the devil?  Why give it credit?  Well, we have to realize the danger to own it.  Much like in safety programs I've learned, "if you see it, own it".  During our easter egg hunt after Mass, tons of children headed directly from Mass to the school across the street to hunt for eggs the Catholic Women's Organization had put together.  I was walking my one year old boy looking down and found a large piece of iron, a piece of bent rebar.  I thought to myself, "this could hurt someone, if a kid falls on it".  And I kept walking passed it, LOL.  But on the way back after much thinking, still walking my toddler by the hand "it's like a parent that says they love their child alot, but never really cares about them being seatbelted in the car", and I picked up the rebar and threw it away.  And the same is of the Loving Father, that came back to life forever and joins His followers and explains from square one why He died.......because He loves us THAT much!
I mean, it is a psycho kind of love, to think someone is stalking you, watching you, waiting for you to notice Him, sending angels, people to talk to you about Him, and all for you to realize that He is MADLY in love with you.  Mad in a Holy sense.  Mad, not in revenge mode but in offense mode, like the Father waiting for the prodigal Son, just waiting to throw a huge party because you came home, Home to safety and holiness, from darkness.  Can a creator love His creation THAT Much?  To say "I"m going down there myself to show you what LOVE IS"...the Great I AM Who I AM.  He had Himself scourged, from head to toe, wounds everywhere, and nails in the most painful parts of the human body that should cause you to shrivel and pull your chest apart and then had Himself stabbed in the heart.  I LOVE YOU THAT MUCH.  And He came back to say it.
Do you believe?
I do.
I look at the shroud of Turin and see the markings covering the body of a man, wounds at the chest and wrists, and He looks at peace, perfectly content with what had just happened...defeating the devil as it went crazy on Him unleashing the fury of hell.
I'm asking you, do you BELIEVE?
Because if you don't get it (because we don't LOL), God just told you right now He is MADLY IN LOVE WITH YOU.
OK?  "Uhh, so what am I supposed to do?"
Give my body to Him?  Give my heart to Him perhaps?  How about your soul?  Because, our body is HIS not ours, we are made of His creation.  Our soul?  Oh, you mean stuff He's made of?  A part of Him?  That's a good question, should we give it back?  Now, let's get to the heart.  The Psalms pray "Rejoice! OH Hearts That Seek The LORD!"  Rejoice because you are made to Love LOVE itself.  You were designed with a capability no matter if you are crippled (like today's saint) or not.  No matter where you are in this world, you were designed to love.  And our failure to do so, that's what  Your sins hurt US, not just you.  If I sin, I'm hurting my family, and the family of GOD.  How and why?  Because we were designed to Love.  He is so MADLY in love with you that He designed you to love Him back!  It's that coming to realization and letting it be that is our pilgrimage on earth, the place of second chances.
Because in eternity the chance is to have love for Him ...or not, which is decided here and now.