Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Your Heavenly Father

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Minute Meditations

True Friendship

Some judge friendship by the number of friends they have...instead of by the number of friends they'd die for.
— from Tweet Inspiration

St. John Francis Regis
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Born into a family of some wealth, John Francis was so impressed by his Jesuit educators that he himself wished to enter the Society of Jesus. He did so at age 18. Despite his rigorous academic schedule he spent many hours in chapel, often to the dismay of fellow seminarians who were concerned about his health. Following his ordination to the priesthood, he undertook missionary work in various French towns. While the formal sermons of the day tended toward the poetic, his discourses were plain. But they revealed the fervor within him and attracted people of all classes. Father Regis especially made himself available to the poor. Many mornings were spent in the confessional or at the altar celebrating Mass; afternoons were reserved for visits to prisons and hospitals.

The Bishop of Viviers, observing the success of Father Regis in communicating with people, sought to draw on his many gifts, especially needed during the prolonged civil and religious strife then rampant throughout France. With many prelates absent and priests negligent, the people had been deprived of the sacraments for 20 years or more. Various forms of Protestantism were thriving in some cases while a general indifference toward religion was evident in other instances. For three years Father Regis traveled throughout the diocese, conducting missions in advance of a visit by the bishop. He succeeded in converting many people and in bringing many others back to religious observances.

Though Father Regis longed to work as a missionary among the North American Indians in Canada, he was to live out his days working for the Lord in the wildest and most desolate part of his native France. There he encountered rigorous winters, snowdrifts and other deprivations. Meanwhile, he continued preaching missions and earned a reputation as a saint. One man, entering the town of Saint-Andé, came upon a large crowd in front of a church and was told that people were waiting for "the saint" who was coming to preach a mission.

The last four years of his life were spent preaching and in organizing social services, especially for prisoners, the sick and the poor. In the autumn of 1640, Father Regis sensed that his days were coming to a conclusion. He settled some of his affairs and prepared for the end by continuing to do what he did so well: speaking to the people about the God who loved them. On December 31, he spent most of the day with his eyes on the crucifix. That evening, he died. His final words were: "Into thy hands I commend my spirit."

He was canonized in 1737.


John longed to travel to the New World and become a missionary to the Native Americans, but he was called instead to work among his own compatriots. Unlike many famous preachers, he isn't remembered for golden-tongued oratory. What people who listened to him heard was his own fervent faith, and it had a powerful effect on them. We can recall homilists who impressed us for the same reason. More importantly for us, we can also remember ordinary people, neighbors and friends, whose faith and goodness touched us and brought us to deeper faith. That is the calling most of us must follow.


Daily Prayer - 2015-06-16


Dear Lord, help me to be open to you
for this time as I put aside the cares of this world.
Fill my mind with your peace, Your Love.


It is so easy to get caught up

with the trappings of wealth in this life.

Grant, O Lord, that I may be free

from greed and selfishness.

Remind me that the best things in life are free.

Love, laughter, caring and sharing.


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 2 Cor 8:1-9

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God
that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction,
the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty
overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For according to their means, I can testify,
and beyond their means, spontaneously,
they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part
in the service to the holy ones,
and this, not as we expected,
but they gave themselves first to the Lord
and to us through the will of God,
so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun,
he should also complete for you this gracious act also.
Now as you excel in every respect,
in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness,
and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

I say this not by way of command,
but to test the genuineness of your love
by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Responsorial Psalm PS 146:2, 5-6ab, 6c- 7, 8-9a

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, my soul!
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Loving our enemies is among the most challenging precepts taught by Jesus. Notice how he finds motivation and a standard in the love shown by our Father in heaven - a love that is all-embracing, indiscriminate, inclusive. Modelling our love on that of the Father is the way to be perfect.
  • Ponder on how Jesus himself modelled this love. Do I want to live and love like him?


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: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9

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11th Week in Ordinary Time

Their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity. (2 Corinthians 8:2)

If someone is experiencing poverty, wouldn't you expect him to rein in his spending and conserve his resources? If he is hurt or suffering, wouldn't you expect him to rest, nurse his wounds, and rebuild his strength? Instead, Paul tells us that the faith and joy of the Macedonian Christians overflowed in generosity—they even begged for the privilege of helping!

In his letter, Paul gives a key for understanding such unstinting generosity. "They gave themselves first to the Lord" (2 Corinthians 8:5). You can just imagine them praying: I'm yours, Lord. All that I am and everything I have comes from you and belongs to you. How do you want me to use the resources that you have entrusted to me?

Because they prayed with this kind of openness, they didn't object when God asked them to give generously to the church in Jerusalem during a time of famine. This involved great trust on their part. They had to believe that God would take care of their needs if they gave priority to the needs of other members of the body of Christ.

How did the Macedonians find the grace to respond in this way? Again, Paul gives us an answer: "You know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). It wasn't just Jesus' example that prompted them to be generous. It was his life within them as well.

How generous are you when you come face-to-face with the needs of another person? Perhaps you count up your resources and see if you can spare a little after you've taken care of your own priorities. That's a good start. But maybe the Spirit is nudging you to make it more personal and more self-sacrificial. Come before the Lord, and ask him to help you see him in the faces of his needy children. Bring the resources he has given you, and try to make them all available for his use.

"Father, I can never outdo you in generosity. Open my eyes and my heart to the needs of all your children."


Psalm 146:2, 5-9
Matthew 5:43-48



Today's 5 minutos said:
  "From the elderly nursing home, an 84 yr. old lady tells us her story: "I am an old woman, I am tired, the heart is fatigued by so many hits it has taken.  I live in a tiny room with my husband, an alcoholic.  A disaster, or a hell.  Fights, desperation, a repugnance that is unsupportable and it drowns me.  I would even for a time go to confessions crying, and I'd repeat once and again; I can not any more, I just can't. ..The priest would yell at me and would impart on me dry orders: 'You have to be quiet.  You have to stop lamenting, it is of no use.  You have to be able to, you have to support, it is your cross, you have to have pity, for you say you are a Christian, you have to give a good example to others.'  I would promise, and I would ask help from God, but by the afternoon, I was about to leave.  Anxious, exhausted, humiliated, with an invincible nausea atop.  Then I read a commentary on Psalm 5:"You, on the contrary do not tell me "you have to".  You whisper simply "you can".  It is what I needed, that word "you can" is engraved into my head and it won't leave me.  And so it is, the most disagreeable realities, the most unsustainable situations, can change if we confront them by not striking with "you have to", but pushed by a hunch: "you Can...". The 'you have to" sounds like a canon blast. It could even paralyze.  The "you have to" is something that comes from outside.  The "you can" is a provocation, a calling, that resounds from the depths of my soul.  All those so many "you have to's" seem like stingers that trespass, nailing us to obligations.  The "you can" in change, is a push that comes from the inside.  An almost irresistable push to attempt to be free. "
  Today's 1st Holy Scripture brings to our attention that we must give, "I say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others."  Ah HA!  So there is a test of love.  How do you Love?  Who do you love?  What do you love?  Why do you Love?  Where do you Love?  All questions pertain to love, and this comes to be through grace that is accomplished through us that comes from above, "...they gave themselves first to the Lord and to us through the will of God, so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun, he should also complete for you this gracious act also."
The Psalms pray "Praise the Lord my Soul".  And then they say at one point "The LORD gives sight to the blind."  They say that today's saint one time was approached, this time not by people insulting him, this time not by people lining up to hear him speak, this time, not to get struck in the face, but this time by a 40 yr. old man that had gone blind for the last 8 years.  Saint Regis made the sign of the cross over him and the blind man instantly regained his sight.  How did I find out about this?  As I was typing, a distant cousin (distant only by way of mileage and proximity, and hardly knowing each other) sent a daily saint text link which I decided was a message from God, and aren't they all if they are Godly?  And so the blind man that got to see was me.  I got to see!  I got to see faith in action.  I got to see what it means to give.  And this is what the world needs to see.
In comes our Lord in the Holy Gospel, "...if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that?" That is to say, if you only love those that love you back, then are you really loving He is asking?  Same thing here, if you only respect those that respect you back, are you really loving?  If you only forgive those who ask you for forgiveness, are you really forgiving?  YIKES!  {Insert a scooby doo yelp here LOL}.  I have to laugh a little because we are spiritually retarded, and I'm getting this after having studied spiritual theology with professor Brant Pitre.  We are stunted in growth to the point that we can only love so far.  So far and so long:
So long as you care for me, I'll care for you.
So long as you show me respect, I'll respect you too.
So long as you don't cheat on me, I'll be with you.
So long as you don't slap me, I won't slap you back.
So long as you don't hurt me, I'll treat you as a brother in Christ.
So long as you don't get on my nerves, I won't treat you bad.
So long as you are not different from me, I won't look at you as weird.
So long as God doesn't ask anything of me, I'll be believe in Him.
OH SNAP!  Did any of those sound like you at any given point in time?
Yet, this is retarded spirituality, stunted in growth, plateaued in many a soul.  What is a plateau?  It's when you were growing or going up, and then flatlined, getting nowhere anymore.  And this is the case for many a baptized Christian.  Happy where they are at, they begin to be stagnant, where algae starts to grow, because no longer does the Holy Spirit flow.  My aim is to say "you know what?  You CAN".
You can let go.
You can let Him.
You can love more.
You can forgive.
You Can be forgiven.
You Can be loved.
You Can Love.
You Can love even though you are not loved.
You can have a faith that moves mountains.
You can heal.
You can live in the Spirit of Jesus.
You can be saved.
You can save with Jesus.
You can be a hero with His Holy Spirit.
You can be spit on and trampled on and be Ok.
You can suffer, and suffer in Joy with Christ.
You can anything with Jesus and saying this then,