Monday, April 20, 2015

This Is The Work

Untitled document

Minute Meditations

No Reason to Fear
We let the devil exist by continuing to rebel against God. Satan tempts us, but we choose to sin. The devil can't read our minds, but he can see our weaknesses. God has overcome the snares of the devil, though. When we live in Him, we have no reason to fear.
— from A 40-Day Spiritual Workout for Catholics

St. Conrad of Parzham

Listen to Audio


Conrad spent most of his life as porter in Altoetting, Bavaria, letting people into the friary and indirectly encouraging them to let God into their lives.
His parents, Bartholomew and Gertrude Birndorfer, lived near Parzham, Bavaria. In those days this region was recovering from the Napoleonic wars. A lover of solitary prayer and a peacemaker as a young man, Conrad joined the Capuchins as a brother. He made his profession in 1852 and was assigned to the friary in Altoetting. That city's shrine to Mary was very popular; at the nearby Capuchin friary there was a lot of work for the porter, a job Conrad held for 41 years.

At first some of the other friars were jealous that such a young friar held this important job. Conrad's patience and holy life overcame their doubts. As porter he dealt with many people, obtaining many of the friary supplies and generously providing for the poor who came to the door. He treated them all with the courtesy Francis expected of his followers.

Conrad's helpfulness was sometimes unnerving. Once Father Vincent, seeking quiet to prepare a sermon, went up the belltower of the church. Conrad tracked him down when someone wanting to go to confession specifically requested Father Vincent.

Conrad also developed a special rapport with the children of the area. He enthusiastically promoted the Seraphic Work of Charity, which aided neglected children.

Conrad spent hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. He regularly asked the Blessed Mother to intercede for him and for the many people he included in his prayers. The ever-patient Conrad was canonized in 1934.


As we can see from his life as well as his words, Conrad of Parzham lived a life that attracted others because of a special quality, something Chesterton alluded to when he wrote, "The moment we have a fixed heart we have a free hand" (Orthodoxy, p. 71). If we want to understand Conrad, we have to know where he fixed his heart. Because he was united to God in prayer, everyone felt at ease in Conrad's presence.


"It was God's will that I should leave everything that was near and dear to me. I thank him for having called me to religious life where I have found such peace and joy as I could never have found in the world. My plan of life is chiefly this: to love and suffer, always meditating upon, adoring and admiring God's unspeakable love for his lowliest creatures" (Letter of Saint Conrad).


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, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life.
Let me not get caught up with the desire for wealth.
Keep my heart and mind free to love and serve you.


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

Monday of the Third Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 6:8-15

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyreneans, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Then they instigated some men to say,
"We have heard him speaking blasphemous words
against Moses and God."
They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes,
accosted him, seized him,
and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
They presented false witnesses who testified,
"This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law.
For we have heard him claim
that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place
and change the customs that Moses handed down to us."
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him
and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30

R. (1ab) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
R. Alleluia.
Though princes meet and talk against me,
your servant meditates on your statutes.
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
R. Alleluia.
I declared my ways, and you answered me;
teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
R. Alleluia.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Mt 4:4b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:22-29

[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea
saw that there had been only one boat there,
and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat,
but only his disciples had left.
Other boats came from Tiberias
near the place where they had eaten the bread
when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
"Rabbi, when did you get here?"
Jesus answered them and said,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal."
So they said to him,
"What can we do to accomplish the works of God?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today. Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Acts 6:8-15

View NAB Reading at

Subscriber? Login to view archives.

3rd Week of Easter

His face was like the face of an angel. (Acts 6:15)

Imagine the Twelve trying to devote themselves to prayer and ministry as the Church continued to grow and its internal needs increased. And then a problem arose between the more traditional Jews (the Hebrews) and those Jews who had adopted the language and some of the customs of the Greeks (the Hellenists). The potential for division was great, and the apostles needed to address it. But they were getting stretched too thin. So they commissioned several Hellenists to make sure the Greek-speaking members of the Church were being treated fairly.

One of those chosen was a man named Stephen. He was full of the Spirit, but he was not one of the very first Christians, and he may have been considered as somewhat tainted because of his Hellenistic background.

But before long, Stephen was doing "great wonders and signs among the people" and boldly proclaiming the gospel in synagogues (Acts 6:8). That wasn't supposed to happen! You can almost see the apostles discussing Stephen with each other:

"I thought he was assigned to table duty. What was he doing on the streets?" "But Jesus did say that anyone who believes in him would do far greater works than he did. Isn't that what our brother Stephen is doing?" "True, he doesn't neglect his duties; he just goes beyond them." "In the end, God knows his plans. Maybe he's revealing a new path for Stephen."

Stephen didn't box himself into a narrow job description. He may not have been a major leader of the Church, but as a believer filled with the Holy Spirit, his job included following the Spirit's leadings and proclaiming the gospel. And so he did just that!

Never underestimate your potential! You may not be a trained theologian or Church leader or mystic. But the Holy Spirit lives in you and can work powerfully in you! Whether you're a doctor, businessman, teacher, stay-at-home mom, or waiter, the sky's the limit when God has the freedom to do his work through you.

"Jesus, do your work through me. Send me into the harvest. I don't want to wait for someone else to proclaim your word."


Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30; John 6:22-29



So they say the devil can't hear your thoughts...but God can.  In today's 1st reading, the time St. Stephen was brought up to the Sanhedrin, they couldn't tell what he was thinking, they could only see His face, that seems like an angel.  Perplexing, and the hatred ensued, hardened hearts live.  The Psalms pray:  "Remove from me the way of falsehood, and favor me with your law. The way of truth I have chosen; I have set your ordinances before me."  And they continue "Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord".  Where the people accusing St. Stephen, following the law?  Nope.  They twisted it.  And it just goes to show how people are, even to this day, they want to twist the law or the truth to suit their boxed thoughts, and all the people that barely believe see this and see it as an excuse to not believe anymore, blaming the religion instead of the devil.
In comes our Lord, our Savior.  In today's Holy Gospel, the people came back for more, after having been fed by the Lord himself.  They come back for more?  More bread?  More signs?  What do they hunger for?  Truth.  Tired of Rome and tired of the hardness of the elders, chiefs, and leaders oppressions, they knew the truth because...they had just met Him.  Didn't these people have jobs?  What are they all doing chasing after the Lord?  Our Lord speaks "Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. "  Did He say don't have a real job?  Of course not, but He said make it a real job to follow Him, WORK FOR HIM.  At my job, I've gotten many criticisms, the anti-catholic bro. in law said years ago to the boss "...Adrian is always doing stuff for church when he could be doing things like growing your business like this other family business growing in all these towns".  That "other" family business he compared us to, they are no longer going to Mass that I know of.  The oldest of sons is atheist, or possibly believes possibly in a god, and the others...unseen and when seen they do not even want to recognize me it seems.  This after we grew up together as next door neighbors and going to church together.  And here I am stuck "in a rut", stuck in this Jesus, not growing in money, but I feel I'm going crazy for the Lord, I'm even questioning my own self lately "what has taken over", and so we follow and look for Jesus constantly, just like the crowds did in today's Gospel.  You who are reading this are on the journey, and me with you.   They eventually stone St. death.  Such is the way of the world, in a failiure to recognize, but do not be disheartened.  In John 12:25 Jesus says "Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life."  Had St. Stephen loved this life on earth he would've done anything to keep from getting stoned, made fun of, and save his image.  But He chose to save the image of God.  God first.  God first means you love Him above everything especially yourself.  This means choosing Him over sins.  This means I'm in need of that what you feed.  Jesus said the crowd followed Him because they were filled.  Filled with what?  Truth?  Peace?  Joy?  Freedom?