Thursday, June 4, 2015

You Shall Love

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Minute Meditations
When We Grieve
Gracious God, look down on us in our sorrow and grief. Comfort us in our mourning; give us certainty in our doubt; and the courage to live through this hour. Increase our faith, that we may come to know better your eternal love. Amen.
— from What Do I Say

Blessed Angeline of Marsciano
(1374-1435)Listen to Audio
Blessed Angeline founded the first community of Franciscan women other than Poor Clares to receive papal approval. Angeline was born to the Duke of Marsciano (near Orvieto). She was 12 when her mother died. Three years later the young woman made a vow of perpetual chastity. That same year, however, she yielded to her father's decision that she marry the Duke of Civitella. Her husband agreed to respect her previous vow.
When he died two years later, Angeline joined the Secular Franciscans and with several other women dedicated herself to caring for the sick, the poor, widows and orphans. When many other young women were attracted to Angeline's community, some people accused her of condemning the married vocation. Legend has it that when she came before the King of Naples to answer these charges, she had burning coals hidden in the folds of her cloak. When she proclaimed her innocence and showed the king that these coals had not harmed her, he dropped the case.
Angeline and her companions later went to Foligno, where her community of Third Order sisters received papal approval in 1397. She soon established 15 similar communities of women in other Italian cities.
Angeline died on July 14, 1435, and was beatified in 1825.


Priests, sisters and brothers cannot be signs of God's love for the human family if they belittle the vocation of marriage. Angeline respected marriage but felt called to another way of living out the gospel. Her choice was life-giving in its own way.


Blessed Pope Paul VI wrote in 1971: "Without in any way undervaluing human love and marriage— is not the latter, according to faith, the image and sharing of the union of love joining Christ and the Church?— consecrated chastity evokes this union in a more immediate way and brings that surpassing excellence to which all human love should tend" (Apostolic Exhortation on the Renewal of Religious Life, #13).

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

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    Daily Prayer - 2015-06-04


    At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
    He is always waiting, listening for our call.
    What a wonderful blessing.
    No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.


    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. 


    My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
    When I turn my thoughts to you,
    I find peace and contentment.

    The Word of God


    Reading 1 Tb 6:10-11; 7:1bcde, 9-17; 8:4-9a

    When the angel Raphael and Tobiah had entered Media
    and were getting close to Ecbatana,
    Raphael said to the boy,
    "Tobiah, my brother!"
    He replied: "Here I am!"
    He said: "Tonight we must stay with Raguel, who is a relative of yours.
    He has a daughter named Sarah."

    So he brought him to the house of Raguel,
    whom they found seated by his courtyard gate.
    They greeted him first.
    He said to them, "Greetings to you too, brothers!
    Good health to you, and welcome!"
    And he brought them into his home.

    Raguel slaughtered a ram from the flock
    and gave them a cordial reception.
    When they had bathed and reclined to eat, Tobiah said to Raphael,
    "Brother Azariah, ask Raguel to let me marry
    my kinswoman Sarah."
    Raguel overheard the words; so he said to the boy:
    "Eat and drink and be merry tonight,
    for no man is more entitled
    to marry my daughter Sarah than you, brother.
    Besides, not even I have the right to give her to anyone but you,
    because you are my closest relative.
    But I will explain the situation to you very frankly.
    I have given her in marriage to seven men,
    all of whom were kinsmen of ours,
    and all died on the very night they approached her.
    But now, son, eat and drink.
    I am sure the Lord will look after you both."
    Tobiah answered,
    "I will eat or drink nothing until you set aside what belongs to me."

    Raguel said to him: "I will do it.
    She is yours according to the decree of the Book of Moses.
    Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven!
    Take your kinswoman;
    from now on you are her love, and she is your beloved.
    She is yours today and ever after.
    And tonight, son, may the Lord of heaven prosper you both.
    May he grant you mercy and peace."
    Then Raguel called his daughter Sarah, and she came to him.
    He took her by the hand and gave her to Tobiah with the words:
    "Take her according to the law.
    According to the decree written in the Book of Moses
    she is your wife.
    Take her and bring her back safely to your father.
    And may the God of heaven grant both of you peace and prosperity."
    Raguel then called Sarah's mother and told her to bring a scroll,
    so that he might draw up a marriage contract
    stating that he gave Sarah to Tobiah as his wife
    according to the decree of the Mosaic law.
    Her mother brought the scroll,
    and Raguel drew up the contract, to which they affixed their seals.

    Afterward they began to eat and drink.
    Later Raguel called his wife Edna and said,
    "My love, prepare the other bedroom and bring the girl there."
    She went and made the bed in the room, as she was told,
    and brought the girl there.
    After she had cried over her, she wiped away the tears and said:
    "Be brave, my daughter.
    May the Lord grant you joy in place of your grief.
    Courage, my daughter."
    Then she left.

    When the girl's parents left the bedroom
    and closed the door behind them,
    Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
    "My love, get up.
    Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us
    and to grant us deliverance."
    She got up, and they started to pray
    and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
    And they began to say:

    "Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,
    praised be your name forever and ever.
    Let the heavens and all your creation
    praise you forever.
    You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
    to be his help and support;
    and from these two the human race descended.
    You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone;
    let us make him a partner like himself.'
    Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
    not because of lust,
    but for a noble purpose.
    Call down your mercy on me and on her,
    and allow us to live together to a happy old age."

    They said together, "Amen, amen," and went to bed for the night.

    Responsorial Psalm PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

    R. (see 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
    Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
    who walk in his ways!
    For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
    Blessed shall you be, and favored.
    R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
    Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
    in the recesses of your home;
    Your children like olive plants
    around your table.
    R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
    Behold, thus is the man blessed
    who fears the LORD.
    The LORD bless you from Zion:
    may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life.
    R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

    Alleluia See 2 Tm 1:10

    R. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
    and brought life to light to through the Gospel.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

    Gospel Mk 12:28-34

    One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
    "Which is the first of all the commandments?"
    Jesus replied, "The first is this:
    Hear, O Israel!
    The Lord our God is Lord alone!
    You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
    with all your soul, with all your mind,
    and with all your strength.

    The second is this:
    You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
    There is no other commandment greater than these."
    The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
    You are right in saying,
    He is One and there is no other than he.
    And to love him with all your heart,
    with all your understanding,
    with all your strength,

    and to love your neighbor as yourself
    is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
    And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
    he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
    And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

        Listen to audio of this reading

        Watch a video reflection

    Some thoughts on today's scripture

    • Real prayer brings us into the kingdom of God; in prayer the kingdom or reign of God grows within us. Prayer that does not reach the heart can leave us dry, unenthusiastic about the things of God and dissatisfied.


    I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?


    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: Tobit 6:10-11; 7:1, 9-17; 8:4-9

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    9th Week in Ordinary Time
    Be brave, my daughter. May the Lord grant you joy in place of your grief! (Tobit 7:17)
    One of the joys of wedding celebrations is that everybody gets to hear how the bride and groom met and fell in love. It can be quite moving to learn how the Holy Spirit answered the couple's prayers, intersected their paths, sparked their affection, and brought them together in this beautiful sacrament.
    This may explain why a part of today's first reading has become one of the most commonly used readings at weddings. After all, the story of Tobiah and Sarah can sound like a magical "how they met" story. Imagine the scene: just as Sarah is praying to God in anguish because of the death of her seventh husband, Tobiah's father prays for relief from his blindness and poverty. In response, God sends the angel Raphael to accompany Tobiah to Media, arrange his marriage to Sarah, and return home to heal his father. Imagine the stories this young couple will tell their children!
    What is your "how we met" story? How did God hear and answer your prayers? And more important, how did you find the courage to follow the Spirit's promptings? Sarah's mother encouraged her to be brave and marry Tobiah, even though she knew such a union was risky. What risks did you face? They were probably a lot less dangerous than Sarah's, but they were still there. After all, you decided to give yourself to another person, and that's always a little scary!
    Looking back on your marriage—or your religious profession or your ordination or any other vocation you chose—can do more than just kindle a warm nostalgia. It can help you recall the lessons that you learned as you took that risk. It can remind you that it never hurts to trust in God as you move forward into the future, ready to face whatever comes your way.
    If you feel God nudging you down a certain path, know that he will be traveling that path with you as well. So go ahead, and take that next step. Remember all the past times that you've seen the Spirit move in your life, and know that he will grant you joy as you step into the future he has planned for you.
    "Lord, give me courage to walk in the path you have set out for me."

    Psalm 128:1-5
    Mark 12:28-34

    Today, we heard that Tobias listened to the angel Rafael, archangel.  Because of this, he dared to venture into a covenant, a marriage, a sacrament as it is in the Holy Church, something unbreakable.  This is what God is inviting us to, and more especially in the sacrifice of the Mass.  This Sunday, we will celebrate Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ.  He, our Lord Jesus, offered Himself in obedience to this covenant which is renewed at every Mass.  The contract reads "Do you accept this man as your husband?" and it is our Father in Heaven asking if we the Holy Church accept Jesus as our groom, the husband.  You see, our Lord Jesus, He is the fulfilment of all the prophecies in the Old Testament. 
    And so the Psalms pray the life of Christ "Blessed are those who fear the Lord", and "Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; Your children like olive plants around your table."  This is not the first time we read about a vine and olive plants in the bible.  Jesus is the vine, we are joined with Christ in the nuptial marriage which is made joyful (relations are had) in the Holy Mass, when Jesus offers Himself totally to come in to us and be one with us in a relation that is not of this world, more than symbiotic or symbolic, it is a joining of spirits, ours with His Holiness. 
    Jesus answers in the Holy Gospel, today,  which is the greatest, the first and foremost commandment?  Because Jewish laws had about 600 laws or commands, but God has one that He cares about for Himself and us on Love God with ALL your heart, and with ALL your soul, and with ALL your mind, and with ALL your stength, basically with all you've got!   And the second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.  Well, let's put things into perspective.  If you love God with all you got, then how do you think you'll love your neighbor!?  THAT is the question.  YET, not everyone, or better said, hardly anyone loves God with ALL they got, that is why we see such a lack of love in the world, they love other things or people more than God, who is LOVE itself!  And so this should be a real eye opener, shouldn't it?  God is calling.  Have you heard His voice?  Perhaps you haven't really prayed.  Perhaps you haven't really been silent in prayer, too much vocal prayer and not enough contemplation, or meditation, which are forms of prayers the Holy Catholic Church teaches.  Best of all, is all at once, especially in His Holy presence, where consumation takes place after consecration, the blessing and invocation upon the altar. 
    This Sunday we will have many little children that will consume the Body and precious Blood of Christ upon the altar, which the Holy Priesthood established by the hand of God, Jesus will consecrate and give.  First, they will confess, and before that, they were baptized.  Baptism purifies, and confession even more, and the Holy Eucharist seals the deal...whatever deal you are bringing to the Altar, and this is why you can NOT come with dirtiness...that is, unfaithfulness, sealing your own fate.  If you are not Catholic and are reading this, consider these truths.  Sunday we will read the readings; from Exodus, Moses makes an altar/and today they made a bed for Tobias/Jesus is set upon the altar.  Moses makes a covenant/ Tobias was written contract/Jesus says in Sunday's readings that He is the NEW Covenant sealed with His blood...and body.  Consider the very real realities in the Spirit that are happening.  This is beyond comprehension, yet simple enought to take in...just as is the Holy Eucharist, the Body of Christ.  And so we should be afraid of afraid that we will NEVER sin, so when He comes, we are ready.  Prayers were offered, asking for mercy with Tobias and Sarah.  In the Holy Mass, we pray LOTS of prayers before consummation, prayer for mercy.  So that we might be is the vine
    As is Christ
    As we are ONE with Him and together