Monday, April 27, 2015

Recognize His Voice

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Minute Meditations

Thinking Logically
The Lord has given us human beings the ability to reason. We have an intellect and are able to use our reasoning skills to arrive at logical decisions. As long as our conclusions don't conflict with any of the Lord's teachings, He absolutely expects us to use our intelligence.
— from Faith, Hope & Clarity

St. Louis Mary Grignion de Montfort

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Louis's life is inseparable from his efforts to promote genuine devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus and mother of the Church. Totus tuus (completely yours) was Louis's personal motto; Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II, October 22) chose it as his episcopal motto.

Born in the Breton village of Montfort, close to Rennes (France), as an adult Louis identified himself by the place of his Baptism instead of his family name, Grignion. After being educated by the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, he was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1700.

Soon he began preaching parish missions throughout western France. His years of ministering to the poor prompted him to travel and live very simply, sometimes getting him into trouble with Church authorities. In his preaching, which attracted thousands of people back to the faith, Father Louis recommended frequent, even daily, Holy Communion (not the custom then!) and imitation of the Virgin Mary's ongoing acceptance of God's will for her life.

Louis founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (for priests and brothers) and the Daughters of Wisdom, who cared especially for the sick. His book True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin has become a classic explanation of Marian devotion.

Louis died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, where a basilica has been erected in his honor. He was canonized in 1947.


Like Mary, Louis experienced challenges in his efforts to follow Jesus. Opposed at times in his preaching and in his other ministries, Louis knew with St. Paul, "Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth" (1 Corinthians 3:7). Any attempt to succeed by worldly standards runs the risk of betraying the Good News of Jesus. Mary is "the first and most perfect disciple," as the late Raymond Brown, S.S., described her.


"Mary is the fruitful Virgin, and in all the souls in which she comes to dwell she causes to flourish purity of heart and body, rightness of intention and abundance of good works. Do not imagine that Mary, the most fruitful of creatures who gave birth to a God, remains barren in a faithful soul. It will be she who makes the soul live incessantly for Jesus Christ, and will make Jesus live in the soul" (True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin).


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


Dear Jesus, today I call on you in a special way.
Mostly I come asking for favours.
Today I'd like just to be in Your presence.
Let my heart respond to Your Love.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Mostly I take this gift for granted.
Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended,
with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You.


How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am.
It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Acts 11:1-18

The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
'You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them."
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
"I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me, 'Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.'
But I said, 'Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
'What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.'
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea.
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating.
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man's house.
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
'Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you
by which you and all your household will be saved.'
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
'John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?"
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
"God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too."

Responsorial Psalm PS 42:2-3; 43:3, 4

R. (see 3a) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 10:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 10:1-10

Jesus said:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers."
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."

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Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted 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: John 10:1-10

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4th Week of Easter

The sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. (John 10:4)

Do you hear voices? We all do, you know—all different kinds of voices. Some are actual voices, but there are also the voices in our minds: what we imagine certain people would say if they really knew us, as well as our own inner voice. Some of the voices are spiritual, from the Lord as well as from the devil's tempters. There's a lot going on in our minds, so it's helpful to try to sort through all the voices to make sure we're listening to the right ones.

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus tells us that we are able to recognize his voice. It's the voice of the Good Shepherd, a voice that we, his "sheep," know and respond to (John 10:4). His voice speaks words of care and protection. He points us toward paths of safety and provision. He speaks words of acceptance and love.

What are you hearing? The voice of someone other than your shepherd? Maybe they're words of condemnation or accusation, telling you that you are a failure or a disappointment. Maybe the voices seem like they're coming from outside yourself, or maybe they are clearly your own words, the way you think about yourself. It doesn't matter too much where they're coming from. What matters is that these words do not come from the Good Shepherd, so you need to run away from them like a frightened sheep.

You have the ability to control this inner conversation. You can choose whom to listen to. Blaise Pascal once said, "Man is so made that if he is told often enough that he is a fool he believes it. By telling himself often enough he convinces himself, because when he is alone he carries on an inner dialogue with himself which is important to keep under proper control." Don't let that happen! Don't pay attention to any voice that contradicts what the Good Shepherd is telling you.

Try an experiment today. Try to identify one or two "internal conversations" that you don't think are Jesus' words for you, and shut them down. Then try listening for his voice. Isn't it a far more encouraging—and inspiring—thing to hear?

"Lord, help me to hear and recognize your voice today."


Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4


So, this is the piece where I get to share with you, my faith, and many times, my testimony, and many times that's all I got. And talking about it sometimes  may make it seem like I am hard or proud.  I'm going to tell you what I told the confirmation students yesterday as we had a praise and worship time together with the Holy Spirit, "things are backwards when you are in the light".  If you ever heard of Mother Teresa's moments of darkness, and the world just sees darkness as evil, then you are not seeing things in the light.  She was entered into a mystery, dark night of the soul, a most challenging time as you travel into the life of Christ with Him on earth...and it is an honor.  Say WHAAAT?  It is so.  Things aren't always as they seem.  At the beginning of class I saw a couple of faces, mostly girls that looked down.  In the middle of praying I asked who were sad, it was those same faces that were down that I thought just didn't want to be there that raised their hands.  I have a feeling more than these 5 out of 20 students were experiencing a sadness, a darkness perhaps?  If they only knew what God has in store!  We prayed together and asked for the Holy Spirit to infuse into our lives, to lead our lives asking "who do you want to lead your life?  Your friends?  The world?  How about Jesus?  Who will you allow to lead your life? " And we are speaking about the Holy Spirit.
Such is the case of St. Peter who used to be called Simon.  He was led in the Spirit, and in a trance?  In our praise and worship, I lead in a charismatic style, hollering, asking for an "AMEN" and "Alleluya", and the songs chosen by the Holy Spirit lead us into a trance, in which I can feel the Holy Spirit coming in, or not, and that's when people begin speaking in tongues and many times prophecying or teaching as was the case in class yesterday.  Many messages where "do not be afraid", and "God loves you".  Powerful right?  One stormed out of the room after shaking in prayer "LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION!".  We kept praying.  St. Peter's message was that of holiness.  I told the students "you are Holy!".  We are all holy, we just won't show it.  Evil likes to cover it up and make you put on a front, pride leads the way, and most often to hell.  At the end of today's email I will leave you with a litany of humility, which we learned in Spiritual Theology class after the confirmation class.  I digress.  Do not call evil what God created as good.  Sex?  He created it for the good, for creation, and we make it a selfish pleasure, a sin of gluttony of the flesh, just like drug addictions and so forth (all things we learned in class with Dr. Brant Pitre).  There was a division trying to be created already among Christians, those circumsised or not, and God said His laws are above all, His creation made for the good and for man.
The Psalms pray "Athirst is my soul for the LIVING GOD", and "Send forth your light and your fidelity; they shall lead me on".  I told the students that our Lord says in the bible 365 times "do not be afraid" which means "Trust In Me".  Too often we don't.  The sin of sloth converts into an apathy, a disinterest in the things of God, such is the laziness of spirit that speaks in this manner "I don't really care for what you say god".  Notice the lower case g.  Not important.  I invited an old friend to RCIA class they asked me to start with a muslim background man and another older man.  He sounded like "thanks but no thanks" and said something like "I was raised that if you're good then you'll be alright".  Boy I didn't know what to say, and I said "YEAH! But there's much more to that!  Have you been baptized?" he said with hesitation, "no".  I said we need to get baptized.  If he was in ignorance, now he is not, beacuse God has entered his life through someone like me asking Him to become part of the flock that He shepherds, feeds, and keeps safe...for an eternity.
In comes Jesus in the Holy Gospel; "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber."  You must enter the Way, the way He said.  He is the way through to eternity.  No other way but through God, Jesus our Lord, the Holy Spirit.  Notice the forces at work every day at work for your soul, good and evil.  Our Lord said "A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy".  I asked the students what the wages of sin are, the answer came from an adult in class "death".  But the salary of a saint?  Eternity, saving souls.  I asked "what's the difference between a saint and a sinner?"  Good answers came, then I added this "the saint always gets back up" when knocked down.  Such is the life of the Holy Church, always getting knocked around.  Such will be yours.  Such will be darkness.  The sufferings that open you up more to Christ.  The letting go of self...for the Other
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should...

Litany of Humility

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X