Friday, May 22, 2015

“Do you love .."

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Minute Meditations

Change of Heart
Your sins are great? Just tell the Lord: Forgive me, help me to get up again, change my heart! --Pope Francis
— from The Spirit of Saint Francis

St. Rita of Cascia


Like Elizabeth Ann Seton, Rita of Cascia was a wife, mother, widow and member of a religious community. Her holiness was reflected in each phase of her life.
Born at Roccaporena in central Italy, Rita wanted to become a nun but was pressured at a young age into marrying a harsh and cruel man. During her 18-year marriage, she bore and raised two sons. After her husband was killed in a brawl and her sons had died, Rita tried to join the Augustinian nuns in Cascia. Unsuccessful at first because she was a widow, Rita eventually succeeded.

Over the years, her austerity, prayerfulness and charity became legendary. When she developed wounds on her forehead, people quickly associated them with the wounds from Christ's crown of thorns. She meditated frequently on Christ's passion. Her care for the sick nuns was especially loving. She also counseled lay people who came to her monastery.

Beatified in 1626, Rita was not canonized until 1900. She has acquired the reputation, together with St. Jude, as a saint of impossible cases. Many people visit her tomb each year.


Although we can easily imagine an ideal world in which to live out our baptismal vocation, such a world does not exist. An "If only ...." approach to holiness never quite gets underway, never produces the fruit that God has a right to expect.

Rita became holy because she made choices that reflected her Baptism and her growth as a disciple of Jesus. Her overarching, lifelong choice was to cooperate generously with God's grace, but many small choices were needed to make that happen. Few of those choices were made in ideal circumstances—not even when Rita became an Augustinian nun.


For the Baptism of adults and for all the baptized at the Easter Vigil, three questions are asked: "Do you reject sin so as to live in the freedom of God's children? Do you reject the glamor of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin? Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?"

Patron Saint of:

Difficult marriages
Impossible causes

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

Daily Prayer - 2015-05-22


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God's dwelling-place.


Saint Ignatius thought that a thick and shapeless tree-trunk would never
believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture, and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor, who sees by her genius what she can make of it. 

I ask for the grace to let myself be shaped by my loving Creator. 


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

  Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 25:13b-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea
on a visit to Festus.
Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul's case to the king, saying,
"There is a man here left in custody by Felix.
When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews
brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.
I answered them that it was not Roman practice
to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers
and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.
So when they came together here, I made no delay;
the next day I took my seat on the tribunal
and ordered the man to be brought in.
His accusers stood around him,
but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.
Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus who had died
but who Paul claimed was alive.
Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,
I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem
and there stand trial on these charges.
And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody
for the Emperor's decision,
I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar."

Responsorial Psalm PS 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab

R. (19a) The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 14:26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs."
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
He said to him the third time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
"Do you love me?" and he said to him,
"Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go."
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • I put myself in Peter's shoes and listen to that question: Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? Did Jesus at that moment indicate the boat, the tackle, the shoal of caught fish, the way of life that Peter knew and loved? Was this an invitation to a change of career? Or was the question: Do you love me more than these (the other disciples) do? After all, Peter had boasted: Though all desert you, I will never. This time Peter is understating himself: You know that I love you. I feel close to Peter, diffident about my wish to be a disciple, but knowing the Lord's love for me.


What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.


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 21:15-19

View NAB Reading at

Saint Rita of Cascia, Religious

Do you love me? (John 21:15)

In this moving, intimate scene, Jesus gives his final instructions to Peter, his close friend and the one he has named to lead his Church. So what important rules and principles does he lay down?

Love. Rather than give a long list of dos and don'ts, Jesus simply asked Peter if he loved him—three times, in fact! He wanted Peter to understand that love for Jesus, not clever intelligence or heroic courage or resourceful inventiveness or anything else, was the most important thing.

Perhaps we can identify with Peter. So many people look to us. So many expect things of us. How can we possibly meet all their needs? How can we—with all of our shortcomings—reflect Christ to them? How can we—with our own inner wounds and limitations—find the wisdom and patience to care for the "sheep" in our lives? How? How? How?

Love. In the midst of our questions, worries, and concerns, Jesus asks only one question: "Do you love me?" That's all that matters. Everything else flows from that one question.

Don't worry if you have a hard time answering, either. If you slow down your mind and quiet your heart, you'll discover that yes, you really do love him. We all long for his peace, his presence, and his assurance. We all know, deep in our hearts, that he loves us unconditionally—and it's that love from him that begets love in us.

Do you love Jesus? Yes, you do! Let that love stir in you. Let it encourage you. Let it teach you how to share love with the people around you. You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to have all the answers. You don't have to be the most courageous, the most compassionate, or the most anything. That's Jesus' job! All you have to do is love the Lord, and that love will shine out of you. It will guide you and encourage you, and it will warm the hearts of the people around you.

So don't worry about all the shouldn'ts and shoulds of following Jesus or witnessing to the gospel. Just try your best to remain in his love. He'll take care of the rest.

"Jesus, keep me rooted in the simplicity of your love."


Acts 25:13-21; Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20



In today's Holy Gospel, our Lord asks Peter, the Rock, our first pope, "do you love Me?".  3 times he is asked and after 3 times, he was more worried.  Fittingly so, the doubt that sunk him in the water as he tried to walk on water with Jesus, came up again "Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time".  That doubt would drown him in bitter tears when he denied even knowing Jesus 3 times when Jesus was suffering at the hands of those torturing Him.  Jesus knew 3 times he would be denied by the rock, once for each the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, so in our complete denial, we would be completely forgiven, 100 percent.  Like the parent that knows what the child is going to do and has already forgiven them before they do what they do, nothing could avoid what was about to happen.
And so we can reflect on St. Paul, who completely denied Christ when he was Saul.  Now, no longer could he deny Christ.  He requests today to be brought upon the supreme court, the emperor.  In 40 days, Holy Matrimony between a man and a woman will be brought before the supreme court in our country.  Will you deny Christ in Marriage?  Or will you pray with me for Holy Matrimony to remain sanctified for the fruit of the world?  And so right now, I am asking you in the person of Christ "Do You Love Me?"  Will you stand by me?  Because at every moment in our lives, we have a choice, to deny Him, or Love Him.  There is no middle ground my child.  The middle "tolerants", the lukewarm are a brooding ground for disease, but could be a place to find those that will stand for hope, and so the question is, who will you pull?  Will you pull yourself out of the middle of trouble grounds?  Will you Love Him above everything?  If you answer yes, be ready for trouble in the world.  But take it easy, Christ has conquered the world.  And so even if you deny Christ, the world will not end in doom, for He is going to be the ultimate victory. So choosing darkness leads to darkness naturally.  Choosing goodness of remaining with Him, faithful, naturally brings goodness into your life.
St. Peter would suffer darkness for denying Christ...but ultimately, for the greater good of the whole world...a martyr, dying for love of CHRIST!  "He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God."  Jesus knew that St. Peter would actually share of His chalice, a glory of which I'm afraid many are not ready to partake, that of giving Glory to God as HE desires.  He desires your arms to be outstretched for His flock and show the way to Christ.  He does not desire pouty faces upset with one another and not showing the way of Christ.  I see that everywhere.  I shared the other day a story about little puppies by a Padre Gustavo Jamut perhaps of Monterry, Mexico.  Last night, I received a text message asking for prayer for him because he was assaulted and beaten almost to death yesterday.  I remembered what I said that we are to bring Heaven to a vicious world.  Because if it was at one time the government assaulting the priests, now it is the people.  And so who can the priests look to for defense?  The defender of the weak is our Lord.  He is our rock and our salvation.  The reason our Lord perhaps called St. Peter our first pope the "Rock" is because Jesus was the "rock (cornerstone) that the architects rejected".  And so from that moment, Jesus was preparing him for the Holy Spirit, planted at that moment to have strength to die for Him, Jesus for Jesus.
And so today, as we prepare for Pentecost Sunday, which is this Sunday, I want you to fall in love with Christ, because His innocent and Holy Word is asking not just St. Peter "Do You Love Me" but is asking each one of us this day, and let the answer be planted deep in our hearts for what and who is to come...

My Child,  do  you  love  Me ?