Monday, June 22, 2015

See Clearly

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Minute Meditations

Mud On Our Shoes
Again and again Pope Francis reminds us that we're to go out to meet people where they are, not wait for them to come to church. And we can't wait at the top while people struggle on the way up. We need to join them on the journey. We need to bring Christ to them on the way.
— from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy

St. Thomas More


His belief that no lay ruler has jurisdiction over the Church of Christ cost Thomas More his life.

Beheaded on Tower Hill, London, on July 6, 1535, he steadfastly refused to approve Henry VIII's divorce and remarriage and establishment of the Church of England.

Described as "a man for all seasons," More was a literary scholar, eminent lawyer, gentleman, father of four children and chancellor of England. An intensely spiritual man, he would not support the king's divorce from Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Nor would he acknowledge Henry as supreme head of the Church in England, breaking with Rome and denying the pope as head.

More was committed to the Tower of London to await trial for treason: not swearing to the Act of Succession and the Oath of Supremacy. Upon conviction, More declared he had all the councils of Christendom and not just the council of one realm to support him in the decision of his conscience.


When the executioner offered to blindfold him, More said that he would do this himself. But after he had stretched his head over the low block—it was merely a log of wood—he made a signal to the man to wait a moment. Then he made his last joke: His beard was lying on the block and he would like to remove it. At least that had committed no treason. The heavy axe went slowly up, hung a moment in the air and fell.


Four hundred years later in 1935, Thomas More was canonized a saint of God. Few saints are more relevant to our time. In the year 2000 in fact, Saint John Paul II named him patron of political leaders. The supreme diplomat and counselor, he did not compromise his own moral values in order to please the king, knowing that true allegiance to authority is not blind acceptance of everything that authority wants. King Henry himself realized this and tried desperately to win his chancellor to his side because he knew More was a man whose approval counted, a man whose personal integrity no one questioned. But when Thomas resigned as chancellor, unable to approve the two matters that meant most to Henry, the king had to get rid of Thomas More.

Patron Saint of:

Civil servants
Court clerks
Politicians, public servants

Daily Prayer - 2015-06-22


The more we call on God
the more we can feel God's presence.
Day by day we are drawn closer
to the loving heart of God.


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.


I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord. I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness.  He is my comforter in times of sorrow.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Gn 12:1-9

The LORD said to Abram:
"Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father's house to a land that I will show you.

"I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you."

Abram went as the LORD directed him, and Lot went with him.
Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
Abram took his wife, Sarai, his brother's son Lot,
all the possessions that they had accumulated,
and the persons they had acquired in Haran,
and they set out for the land of Canaan.
When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land
as far as the sacred place at Shechem,
by the terebinth of Moreh.
(The Canaanites were then in the land.)

The LORD appeared to Abram and said,
"To your descendants I will give this land."
So Abram built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.
From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel,
pitching his tent with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east.
He built an altar there to the LORD and invoked the LORD by name.
Then Abram journeyed on by stages to the Negeb.

Responsorial Psalm PS 33:12-13, 18-19, 20 and 22

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Alleluia Heb 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,'
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother's eye."


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Arrogance can make us believe that we are morally superior to others and can act as judges over them. As Jesus' imagery suggests it is all too easy to see others' faults and remain blind to our own. Becoming obsessed with a small failing in another person can distract us from being aware of a much greater shortcoming in ourselves.
  • Pray for an enlightened self-knowledge and a non-judgmental attitude (generosity of spirit) towards others.


What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.


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: Genesis 12:1-9

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Saints John Fisher, Bishop, and Thomas More, Martyrs

Abram journeyed on by stages to the Negeb. (Genesis 12:9)

If you don't do much traveling, you may think that distant journeys sound exciting and adventurous. And they can be! But many people who are constantly traveling eventually find themselves bored and frustrated with the long trips. By the time of today's first reading, Abram had already traveled from Ur to Haran; that's about 650 miles, or the distance from Paris to Berlin. It's an astounding distance, when you consider that he traveled without a plane or car. But then God called him to go even further, to the land of Canaan!

As the Lord led Abram there, there were many stops: Bethel, Damascus, even a detour to Egypt. His most famous encounters with God happened in places like these. But in between the cities lay vast miles of desert and years of waiting to hear the Lord. In these desert years, you can imagine Abram feeling as dry and lifeless as the arid landscape around him. Was it really worth all the effort?

We all experience unexciting stretches—even the great saints of the Church. Just like the liturgical year, our own life tends to be a mixture of special seasons and ordinary time. Times when faith and virtue don't feel heroic or glorious. Times when we don't hear God clearly. Whether it's sadness, doubt, or boredom, the dry spells often come upon us gradually, until we wake up one day and feel as if we were in a desert.

In times like these, it's good to remember what Scripture tells us: that we walk with a faithful God who is able to make springs break out in desert places; he can even draw water from a rock!

So spend some time today reflecting on a little blessing, maybe a friendship or a promise in the Bible, and let that blessing reassure you. You may be surprised how much life you can draw from a very small reminder of God's goodness. Even when you're in the desert, God is with you, offering you untold blessings. Don't miss them!

Remember, too, that when you find yourself in the desert, it doesn't mean God has abandoned you. How could he? He loves you so much!

"Lord, whether I find myself in a dry season or a fruitful one, show me how to enjoy your generosity at all times."


Psalm 33:12-13, 18-20, 22
Matthew 7:1-5


Today's 5minutos ended with,
  "A woman was complaining to her "comadre" (comadre means usually godparents/sponsors of sacraments or just friends),  that was visiting and complained about how "dirty" and irresponsible her neighbor was: "..just look from here, from the window of my kitchen so you can see how dirty her children are and her house. It is a disgrace to have to live in such a neighborhood.  Look how dirty her clothes are hanging outside on her patio. " The friend came to the window, saw outside and said:  It looks to me like those clothes and those children are perfectly clean.  What is dirty and stained is the glass on your windows! "
  So many times I overhear of people just talking about other people.   I don't like to catch myself doing it and I don't like to catch others doing it.  For sure it seems to judge in the gossip.  For sure it seems we're not even trying to help get the straw out of their eyes.  For sure it is going against the gracious act of Love and charity.  Thus, for sure, it is a sin.  Take work for instance.  Right now in the morning, we are aggrevated because some workers did not show up, about a handful.  It is stressful.  And we have a tendency to start complaining about them, and their attitude, their work ethic and so forth.  None of that needs to be said.  It should be noted, and proceed, no need to dwell on their character right?  I don't know where we get all this gossiping from.  And I don't know where we get this notion that we are better than others.  This is the exact same attitude as the young guy that walked in and shot people, thinking he was going to show them what was right, although he was deeply wrong, misconstrued at best, or better yet...possessed.  What possesses you to do such things?  It is so tempting right? 
Back to the first Holy Scripture.  Abram (not yet called Abraham by God), was asked by God to leave his life, leave his land, and take his wife to a new promised place for the life of the world.  Sounds to me like one of the prophecies of Jesus the Christ.  Because Jesus came, and in obedience (as was Abram), and took His wife to a promised new place.  Only Jesus has a wife called a Holy Church.  And Holy means "set apart".  Now the Gospel of the Lord teaches us to be Holy, not like the rest of the world that does not know holiness.  This is where we're at right now. 
The Psalms proclaim "Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own" and they continue "See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness".  Aren't you afraid to offend God?  Not very many are afraid of God.  This is the same as saying, not many are Holy...well, let me pause, we are Holy but not living it out!  This is then the challenge.  I am a lay person in the Church.   This means, I am not clergy, a priest, or deacon or "religious" (which in this context means I am not in a vocation like a monk or a nun).  But I am religious.  What does this mean?  I mean I have a religion.  What is a religion?  In its definition, it means a set of beliefs.  My beliefs are the creeds and dogmas set forth by the Holy Church Jesus founded...the Holy Catholic (Universal) Church.  I believe in one HOLY Catholic and Apostolic Church.  So what am I getting at?  This is very critical.  What I believe is who I am.  False beliefs set forth false prophets.  Those in ignorance are susceptible to God's grace lived according to moral truths.  But, what I know must be known in the whole of the world.  St. Thomas More lived this as a lay person in the Church.  He stood for marriage, especially the marriage of Jesus Christ to His Holy Church.  He believed in the HOLY Church, set apart for God, and belived this being set apart means bringing everyone to be set apart for Christ, set apart from the world, and this is being Apostolic. 
Right now, nations are considering Marriage to be whatever you want it to be, between men and men, women and women.  And if I stick my neck out for traditional marriage as has been since the dawn of time, people will want to strangle you or kill you with their words and say "you are judging".  I am only noting the sin, never hating the sinner.  It would be bad, a sin for me to squander the holiness of another, but it is not a sin to bring up your sin and make you more holy...even if it means sticking my neck out like the father of 4 children who died for marriage...St. Thomas More.  You see, what's going on right now, is that this whole marriage thing is an exact representation of our faithfulness to God.  Moral relativism (a heresy) says this: "religion is what you think is truth, so whatever you think truth is, that is the truth" and this is a lie from the prince of lies and darkness and the same is being said about marriage "whatever you think marriage ought to be, that's what it is true marriage".   The devil tricks and fools our minds, especially when we are most vulnerable and weak, when we can easily cave into temptation.  What's going on is not a war, but a battle.  The war has been won at the cross when Jesus came to earth.  The battle is for what then?  For who?  It is for you.  Your soul.  Which side do you want to win your heart?  Because what comes out of the heart is what is in the soul...Heaven or hell, damning or forgiving.  Which one do you think wins souls?
JESUS FORGIVES and loves a truly repented heart