Friday, April 24, 2015

I In Him

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Minute Meditations
Gift of Grace
There are many things we must do to grow in holiness and faith. But our actions are one-millionth of what we need to be saved and to have a relationship with God. God's free gift of grace covers the rest of it.
— fromA 40-Day Spiritual Workout for Catholics

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

  If a poor man needed some clothing, Fidelis would often give the man the clothes right off his back. Complete generosity to others characterized this saint's life.

Born in 1577, Mark Rey (Fidelis was his religious name) became a lawyer who constantly upheld the causes of the poor and oppressed people. Nicknamed "the poor man's lawyer," Fidelis soon grew disgusted with the corruption and injustice he saw among his colleagues. He left his law career to become a priest, joining his brother George as a member of the Capuchin Order. His wealth was divided between needy seminarians and the poor.
As a follower of Francis, Fidelis continued his devotion to the weak and needy. During a severe epidemic in a city where he was guardian of a friary, Fidelis cared for and cured many sick soldiers.
He was appointed head of a group of Capuchins sent to preach against the Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. Almost certain violence threatened. Those who observed the mission felt that success was more attributable to the prayer of Fidelis during the night than to his sermons and instructions.
He was accused of opposing the peasants' national aspirations for independence from Austria. While he was preaching at Seewis, to which he had gone against the advice of his friends, a gun was fired at him, but he escaped unharmed. A Protestant offered to shelter Fidelis, but he declined, saying his life was in God's hands. On the road back, he was set upon by a group of armed men and killed.
He was canonized in 1746. Fifteen years later, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which was established in 1622, recognized him as its first martyr.


Fidelis's constant prayer was that he be kept completely faithful to God and not give in to any lukewarmness or apathy. He was often heard to exclaim, "Woe to me if I should prove myself but a halfhearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain." His prayer against apathy, and his concern for the poor and weak make him a saint whose example is valuable today. The modern Church is calling us to follow the example of "the poor man's lawyer" by sharing ourselves and our talents with those less fortunate and by working for justice in the world.


"Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation" ("Justice in the World," Synod of Bishops, 1971).

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, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


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.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings.
Do I have something to be grateful for?
Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for?
Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God

  Friday of the Third Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm PS 117:1bc, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 6:56

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood,
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever."
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

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Remembering that I am still in God's presence,
I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me,
and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart,
speaking as one friend to another.


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: Psalm 117

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Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Priest and Martyr

Steadfast is his kindness toward us. (Psalm 117:2)
"Alleluia" resounds during this joyful season. Christ is risen from the dead! That's good news, right? Do you know—really know—what the good news is? It's not just that the Jews conspired with the Romans to crucify Jesus, yet he rose from the dead. It's not just that we're sinners, and Jesus saved us. No, it's that while we were sinners, God loved us. That's good news! No sin, no failing, no weakness ever has disqualified you from being the object of God's love.
Even though we fall short of the glory of God, his love isn't dependent on how well we respond to him. He loves us because he created us. Period. He loves everything that exists. He hates nothing that he has made. He wouldn't create anything he hates, would he? This is good news indeed. When we let his love touch our lives, it melts our hearts and overtakes us. We want to shout it out: God loves us—always and forever!
Today's Scripture readings reveal the depths of God's love. He loves us when we're breathing murderous threats, as Saul did. He loves us when we're blindly trying to respond to his word, as Saul was. He loves us when we say, "Here I am, Lord" and also when we disagree with him or try to tell him his business, as Ananias did. He loves us when we quarrel and oppose and find fault with his ways, as the Jews in today's Gospel did. And he loves us when we just plain don't understand, or fail to respond, or react incorrectly, as some of Jesus' disciples did.
God loves us all the time. Nothing can change that. This is news that everyone needs to hear. You can't earn God's love; he's already given it freely. No one who wants to know it is beyond its reach. When you call to him, when you seek his presence, he will hear you. When you seek him with all your heart, you will find him, and he will lavish his love on you. He has nothing but steadfast kindness for us. His faithfulness endures forever.
"Father, steady me in your love today. Hold me upright in it. Reassure me of it when I've fallen short, and strengthen me in it where I am weak."
Acts 9:1-20; John 6:52-59

Let the words of Christ strike at your heart, afflict you, and cut it open, so His blood is poured in, out with mine, and in with His.  In today's 1st Holy Scripture, Saul was charging at the Christians, charging them with the "law", persecuting them to ultimately kill them.  To silence bascically...our Lord, Jesus.  When He is struck by a light, that's all he sees, and hears the message loud and clear "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?".  How could Saul persecute Jesus?  He was chasing the men and women to lock them up, not Jesus, not "personally", but Jesus is the truth and He says Saul was persecuting HIM!  This is a serious truth about the Body of Christ, those who eat the Body of Christ are ACTUALLY the Body of CHRIST, the Person of Him in them, that is us!  That's why we are called, called to be Holy.   Saul goes into darkness for 3 days, until the laying of Hands upon which the Holy Spirit is infused upon him, and he regains sight and strength after eating, and I bet the first Christians, Catholic, broke bread the way Jesus said to do it...the Mass already in place, Jesus feeding Himself.
The Psalms pray today "Go out to all the world and tell the Good News".  Saul did that, and he took on a new name, Paul, St. Paul as we know him now.  He began a learning process, didn't know everything yet but was already spreading the news of his testimony.  You see, we are not to worry about what we will proclaim, because the Holy Spirit will speak.  Question though now is, are you going out to all the world to tell the Good News?  What good news?  Don't got any?  The world feeding you bad news?  Well DUH!  LOL, that's all the world will show through the media overpowered by greed and money.  Tune into this Good News.  God wants you for Him.  And when you experience Him in a profound way, you too will find yourself exasperated trying to spread the news as I have been now through these emails for going on like 10 years.  It never gets old, and that's what heaven is like...always new, and that's why it is called new in plural, news.  Smile, Jesus loves you and lives among us.
And our Lord speaks in the Gospel, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you"
Say WHAAAT?  This is where it gets to the nitty gritty, to the food we eat, to the very core that makes up our body.  This is where many followers...stopped following.  The first protestants have a type of communion but it is not true, full communion, because they are not bound to the first Holy Communion.  They stopped following, and started following their own ways; allbeit for noble reasons, and all the wrong way.  You don't leave the Holy Church because you disagree with it.  You don't try to make it suit to your fancies.  You follow death, because it means following Jesus to the core as He did in obedience to the Father.  Yet this is where people turn their backs.  My mom is a Eucharistic minister, and one time many years ago, she took the Holy Communion to a lady that couldn't get up, and then she motioned to a man next to her, for him to receive the Communion, and they say he got angry from that moment on and never stepped foot back in the church again.  Why is it?  Because she tried to press upon Him the good?  Why did he see it as bad?  Why did he turn his back?  For sure, he must not understand.  And this is the cause to spread the good news.  For people do not die for a lie.  The resurrection is not a lie.  His body is not a lie.  He is the Truth, the Life, and the Way.  His body gives life forever.   If you do not have His body, you do not have life.  And the word Jesus used for "eat" is "trogo" which means to chew.  Actually chew on this body.  It is not then, just a figure of speech as protestants try to make it say.  And why do I keep bringing up protestants views?  Because, their views are misconstrued, and can confuse.  They say that catholics are idol worshippers because of the bread we call the body of Christ.  False allegations are lies.  You are lying about me and my faith.  What's worse?  You are calling Jesus a liar.  Because He said TAKE THIS, THIS IS MY BODY, and He said this while breaking the bread and serving wine, saying THIS IS MY BLOOD.  What He says becomes.  When He raised the dead from tombs, all He did was SAY IT, and it came to be.  And this moves me to the point of why I said yesterday what I said...I am ready to give my life for that.  And I would not give my life for a lie, but lay my life for a friend, and HE is my friend, my Master.  Most songs that I've written lately are saying that I want to introduce you to my friend, offering my best friend to be your best friend.  He gives me of Himself to eat when I am dying.  He gives me of Himself to drink when I am dying of thirst.  Dying in a world that is flying by.  Thirsting for truth that has not been quenched in a world of lies.  And the more I eat and drink of Him, especially with a heart asking for a conversion, the more ... I can't explain...I want to die for the life of the world.  Is it Jesus in me now? 
It should be, because we are the BODY of CHRIST

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