Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I Sent Them

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Minute Meditations

Unending Love
God is love. And we move towards the light to find the love of God. But is God's love within us, even in the dark moments? Is the love of God there, hidden away? Yes, always! The love of God never leaves us. It is always with us.
— from The Spirit of Saint Francis

St. Bernardine of Siena

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Most of the saints suffer great personal opposition, even persecution. Bernardine, by contrast, seems more like a human dynamo who simply took on the needs of the world.

He was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following St. Francis of Assisi's admonition to preach about "vice and virtue, punishment and glory."

Compared with St. Paul by the pope, Bernardine had a keen intuition of the needs of the time, along with solid holiness and boundless energy and joy. He accomplished all this despite having a very weak and hoarse voice, miraculously improved later because of his devotion to Mary.

When he was 20, the plague was at its height in his hometown, Siena. Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital. Bernardine offered to run the hospital and, with the help of other young men, nursed patients there for four months. He escaped the plague but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. He spent another year caring for a beloved aunt (her parents had died when he was a child) and at her death began to fast and pray to know God's will for him.

At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later. For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer, but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach. He always traveled on foot, sometimes speaking for hours in one place, then doing the same in another town.

Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol—IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek, in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. This was to displace the superstitious symbols of the day, as well as the insignia of factions (for example, Guelphs and Ghibellines). The devotion spread, and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings. Opposition arose from those who thought it a dangerous innovation. Three attempts were made to have the pope take action against him, but Bernardine's holiness, orthodoxy and intelligence were evidence of his faithfulness.

General of a branch of the Franciscan Order, the Friars of the Strict Observance, he strongly emphasized scholarship and further study of theology and canon law. When he started there were 300 friars in the community; when he died there were 4,000. He returned to preaching the last two years of his life, dying while traveling.


At Bologna, Bernardine preached mightily against the evils of gambling. As was the custom, a huge bonfire was made in the public square, to be a holocaust consuming all the instruments of vice—playing cards, dice and the like. A manufacturer of playing cards complained that Bernardine was taking away his livelihood The saint told him to start making the symbol IHS, and he made more money than ever before.


Another dynamic saint once said, "...I will not be a burden, for I want not what is yours, but you.... I will most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your sakes" (2 Corinthians 12:14). There is danger that we see only the whirlwind of activity in the Bernardines of faith—taking care of the sick, preaching, studying, administering, always driving—and forget the source of their energy. We should not say that Bernardine could have been a great contemplative if he had had the chance. He had the chance, every day, and he took it.

Patron Saint of:

Gambling, compulsive behavior
Public relations


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

Daily Prayer - 2015-05-20


"I stand at the door and knock," says the Lord.
What a wonderful privilege
that the Lord of all creation desires to come to me.
I welcome His presence.


If God were trying to tell me something, would I know?
If God were reassuring me or challenging me, would I notice?
I ask for the grace to be free of my own preoccupations
and open to what God may be saying to me.


Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Acts 20:28-38

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
"Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.

Responsorial Psalm PS 68:29-30, 33-35a, 35bc-36ab

R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Show forth, O God, your power,
the power, O God, with which you took our part;
For your temple in Jerusalem
let the kings bring you gifts.
R. Sing to God, O Kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,
chant praise to the Lord
who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.
Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:
"Confess the power of God!"
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Over Israel is his majesty;
his power is in the skies.
Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See Jn 17:17b, 17a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 17:11b-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
"Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • No, Lord, do not take me out of the world. I belong there, with all its messiness, just as you belonged there, and took all the risks it involved. I do not seek a lily-pure existence untouched by the struggle for survival. But I do beg you to protect me from the evil one, from the malice in my own heart.


Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord.  I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me.  I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.


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: John 17:11-19

View NAB Reading at

Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest

They do not belong to the world. (John 17:16)

It's natural for us to regard God as being outside of this world. After all, he created it. He breathed life into everything that lives. He sent his Son, Jesus, into it, where he showed that he had power over all the forces in the world: he calmed storms, healed the sick, raised the dead, and multiplied bread and fish.

And to top it all off, he showed that not even death had sway over him. He simply rose, and then ascended out of this world back to heaven, where he had come from.

So if Jesus is outside of this world, does that mean that we are not? Are we, mere creatures, meant to remain bound by the limitations of this fallen world?

No! Twice in today's Gospel, Jesus told his Father, "They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world" (John 17:14, 16). What an amazing statement! Even though we are still part of this world and we still need to be protected from the evil one, we are also one with Christ.

Think of it: the lives we now live, we live by faith in Christ who died for us (Galatians 2:20). That faith is the belief that our old selves did die on the cross. It's faith that we can live a new life and that he who began a good work in us will see it to completion (Philippians 1:6). Faith that we will never lack the power, energy, and resources we need to live in union with Christ. Faith that the love of the Father will always be available to fill us and flow out of us, just as it did in Jesus' life.

You do not belong to this world any more than Jesus does. Though you are not impervious to the evils that are part of life in this world, you can say no to them and not submit to their attraction. You can say no to greed and avarice. You can be freed from anger and lust. You no longer have to overeat or drink irresponsibly. You belong to God.

Declare that this is true today, and look for all the opportunities God will give you to choose to live his new life. Remember: you belong to Jesus!

"Thank you, Jesus, for rescuing me from this fallen world. Show me today how to live as a citizen of heaven."


Acts 20:28-38; Psalm 68:29-30, 33-36




Today, St. Paul calls everyone together, for a special message, a farewell, for he knows what's ahead of his life and what will happen to theirs...for the sake of the Word...our Lord.  Today's 5 minutos said:
  "Jesus prays for His disciples: so they will not be lost, be one, have joy, be preserved from evil and be sanctified in the truth.  Fortified through the gifts of the Father, they can be sent.  While you meditate, think of our "shipments/gifts" of today are accompanied by the gifts that Jesus asks the Father for us; that is to say, for the unity, for the joy, for the truth....Don Amador had eight children and a huge house.  Every one had their room and a piece of land to cultivate.  Seemingly, all respected and venerated their father, an honest man and hard worker.  They always came from work or from a trip and never forgot to bring a gift for their parents.  Before they went to bed, all the children asked for a blessing.  They had abundance and prosperity.  Many head of cattle populated their hacienda; the grain bins were stuffed with food.  Regardless, a rare thing: the father was always sad.  What could be missing to complete that joy in their family?  One day, the elderly father reunited all his children and said: I would give all the money I have, all the lands and herds, and all for one thing: that you all would be united.  I am sad because I see you disunited and with schemes.  You all have done what's possible to treat me right, but within yourselves you lack love, there is much jealousy and desires for vengeance.  This way, I will never be happy.  This way, we will never be happy.  To me, as a father, I do not like to see my children fighting. "
  St. Paul left them in tears as if in 'persona Christi' and rightly so, he must've been a priest, a father, in the "person of Christ".  And being so, loved them to the end.  They cried, and he cried.  Jesus cried, and the disciples including His mother cried.  It is a human feeling, to feel a loss; For Jesus, the Father, the loss of love from the children, and from the children, tears of being alone.  And we do this to ourselves for not living in charity and obedience to the Lord our Father, of what He truly wants.  Yeah, your tithing is good, and yeah, you serving the Church is good, but if you have no love, then might as well have an animal send in the money and work for you.  But no, we are more than animals and called to be more human than we really are.
In today's Holy Gospel, just like St. Paul, Jesus prays today.  He looks to the skies as He prays.  The psalms pray the life of God today "Over Israel is his majesty; his power is in the skies. Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people."  Our Lord prays today for us and with us "Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one."  Did you catch that?  Unity in Love, unity with Him.  Yesterday I said in my2cents, that my personal belief of Heaven, just like I told the RCIA class I taught last night, is that ultimately we will be able to be more united with God than we can on earth, unlimited as we are limted on earth, but we are given just enough as we can bear.  I want you to pray with me, come Holy Spirit:  "Lord, open my eyes of my heart, what is causing disunity in my life with You?  What is causing disunity between You in others?"  As I prayed with you, it was made known that ultimately what disunites is sin.  Your tendency to sin is your tendency to remain disunited more fully.  When He asks us to be one with Him, He wants us to be Him.  Just like St. Paul, being another Christ yet the same Christ, because that is to say it was no longer St. Paul or Saul that was living but Christ in Him?  What is to say that He didn't take over St. Paul's body, mind, and soul?  Would you allow that to happen in "your so called life"? 
Because in this world, we allow many other things to take possession of us, and our time, and our money, and our attention...our love.  A young man hung himself this weekend.  They say the mother cried out "where is this so called God when he needed Him?"  Is this a good or bad question?  Because our Lord is right there the whole time, yet so far away.  Close He is and far we are.  I told a worker yesterday to call the boss, he's only a phone call away, and he said something like "yeah, he's right here then as he patted his phone".  Now pat your heart.  That's how close Jesus is to us.  Someone said "oh that guy was just on drugs", and I asked "what led him to drugs"?  It surely wasn't our Lord, it was something else, the opposite.  I told the class last night "you see, something else is at work in the world  and is pulling us from life leading to death, and it is not the Lord".  And so we blame the Church, even God for everything and all the while the rest of the fingers point back.  I took a fly swatter and missed a fly this morning as a new worker saw the whole thing and I joked "it's the fly swatter, too short and stiff, it wasn't me cuz i'm perfect".  I joke like that to make a  point.  We blame everyone else and their mommas for not being perfect.  And to tell you the truth, who cares?  Who cares if you're perfect?  God doesn't, He KNOWS we are not perfect.  So what does He ask for?  Unity.  Unity with Him.  And the Holy Sacraments provide just the right doses of Unity with Him according to our disposition, openness to Him, and it leads to our sincerity of faith.
He perfects, while we unite to Him, and His ideal is holiness, and this doesn't consist of doing a bunch of right things, but loving Him rightly, above all in the whole world.  You can do this, I know you can

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