Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Unless You Turn

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Minute Meditations

The Face of Jesus
It has taken me many years to be able to see Jesus when I look in the mirror; being able to do this has brought me joy. I have learned that by letting Jesus into my heart and then out again, I can begin to see him in myself.
— from The Gospels According to Saint Francis

St. Philomena
from Catholic Encyclopedia

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Daily Prayer - 2015-08-11


"Come to me all you who are burdened
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek your presence.
I long for your healing power.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Mostly I take this gift for granted.
Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended,
with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You.


To be conscious about something is to be aware of it.
Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life.
Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.

The Word of God


Memorial of Saint Claire, Virgin

Reading 1 Dt 31:1-8

When Moses had finished speaking to all Israel, he said to them,
"I am now one hundred and twenty years old
and am no longer able to move about freely;
besides, the LORD has told me that I shall not cross this Jordan.
It is the LORD, your God, who will cross before you;
he will destroy these nations before you,
that you may supplant them.
It is Joshua who will cross before you, as the LORD promised.
The LORD will deal with them just as he dealt with Sihon and Og,
the kings of the Amorites whom he destroyed,
and with their country.
When, therefore, the LORD delivers them up to you,
you must deal with them exactly as I have ordered you.
Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them,
for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you;
he will never fail you or forsake you."

Then Moses summoned Joshua and in the presence of all Israel
said to him, "Be brave and steadfast,
for you must bring this people into the land
which the LORD swore to their fathers he would give them;
you must put them in possession of their heritage.
It is the LORD who marches before you;
he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you.
So do not fear or be dismayed."

Responsorial Psalm Deuteronomy 32:3-4ab, 7, 8, 9 and 12

R. (9a) The portion of the Lord is his people.
For I will sing the LORD's renown.
Oh, proclaim the greatness of our God!
The Rock--how faultless are his deeds,
how right all his ways!
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
Think back on the days of old,
reflect on the years of age upon age.
Ask your father and he will inform you,
ask your elders and they will tell you.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
When the Most High assigned the nations their heritage,
when he parceled out the descendants of Adam,
He set up the boundaries of the peoples
after the number of the sons of Israel.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
While the LORD's own portion was Jacob,
his hereditary share was Israel.
The LORD alone was their leader,
no strange god was with him.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.

Alleluia Mt 11:29ab

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost."


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Jesus is telling us very clearly that every life is precious in his eyes. Every person I meet is invaluable and irreplaceable. Jesus turns conventional attitudes upside down: the 'little ones', the people whom the world does not rate as important, are the most precious of all. Will my attitudes today reflect this?
  • If I were the only person in the world needing salvation, Jesus would still die for me. Does that thrill me or terrify me? Why?


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: Deuteronomy 31:1-8


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Saint Clare, Virgin (Memorial)

Be brave and steadfast. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Have you ever watched an intense relay race as runners pelt down the track to pass the baton and cheer for the next team member? This passage is a little like that, as Moses formally passes the leadership of Israel to Joshua. After spending years at Moses' side, Joshua had come into his own. Moses had invested so much in his successor, and the time had come for Joshua to take the lead.

Just like Moses, the time will come for each of us to pass the baton to the next generation in the Church. Whether we are actively involved in parish life or trying to make a difference in our communities or living hidden lives of intercession, each of us should start thinking of how those who come after us can continue to advance the work we have been doing for the Lord.

So here's one question: How am I passing on my faith? The answer would include things like taking your children or grandchildren to Mass, praying with them before meals and bedtime, reading them Bible stories, and helping them learn the difference between right and wrong. It also includes more subtle things like encouraging them to dream about how they can live for more than just themselves or trying to provide a loving and prayerful environment in our homes. Our young people need to know that there is so much more to life than the next paycheck, the next weekend's activities, or the next big purchase!

Here's another question: If I could leave the young people around me with just two things to remember, what would they be? God's love? The promise of salvation? Jesus' command to love one another? Think about this for a bit; then try to come up with ways that you can incorporate these points in your conversations and in the way your life honors the Lord. It may not seem like much, but it can make a big difference.

We all have the privilege of passing the baton on to the next generation. So let's try our best to guide and encourage them, to leave a legacy of faith for them, and to release them into God's loving hands. Let's all remember that we are handing on a great treasure!

"Lord, show me how to guide the young people around me to know and love you."


(Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:3-4, 7-9, 12
Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14



Today's 5 minutos leads on (let me translate for you):
  "For all the insignificance that we see a person with that surround us, they have all the dignity of a child of God and it should re-dress the importance to our eyes: 'Our Lord in Heaven does not want that any of these to be lost'.  Jesus came as a Servant, not like the Triumphant.  He did not come to be served but to serve.  He showed us not to seek the first places at meals, but to be simple of heart and humble.  The proud, the self-sufficient like the pharisee that went up to the Temple, nor needed nor desired salvation: and because of this they do not obtain it.  I was at the bus station at a capital, waiting for a bus.  There, in a corner, sitting on the ground, with crippled legs with hands stretched out, a man asked for help to travel.  He wanted to go back to his land that was at a far off place at bay, but he did not have money for the passage/ticket.  The people would pass him and would drop a few coins in his hand.  When would he ever have enough that wasn't so much?  Then, a passenger came up to him and asked him where he wanted to go.  Immediately, without saying anything, he went up to the window, bought the ticket and gave it to him in his hand.  Those who stood by were admiringly looking to one another "and why not?", also looking embarrased for not having come up with the same idea.  The stranger, as if to know everyone's thoughts said with all naturalness: 'That's what money is for."
  In today's first Holy Scripture, Moses has to pass on the baton.  He had accomplished God's will, even though to human thoughts, "we could've done more", Moses "should've done more" we think, because we read of his failures, not listening to God and being punished by not being able to cross the Jordan.  Yet, the Lord continues His plan of savation, with or without you, through you or not.  Ours then is only one task...strict obedience and humility to the God of life, and of salvation.  It is an important lesson, having to learn humility.  I can act pretty humble, appear to be nice, but inside, so much vanity and pride that can be gross if you could see it physically manifested.  That's why demons are ugly to sight.  And so, the difference is like night and day.  What we do not see is what I have noticed by going to Holy Mass every day since last Friday, a beauty that comes upon the Holy Bread, the Holy Communion, just like a soul you do not see, but if you could see it, you would turn white, just as moses became radiant when coming face to face with God.  And still, our minds work against us.  Eventually, Moses would cross that river of the promised land...he dies, with Jesus leading everyone across, saying "do not be afraid, have courage", "I will be with you", "I will never fail you", and this is important, because even though we fail, He does not and that is what we need....HIM.
  The Psalms pray on "The LORD alone was their leader, no strange god was with him." and "The portion of the Lord is his people."   It is said that God does not need us.  Hmm.  Sounds harsh right?  Well, truth is, this means that His Glory is not made less by not having won your heart.  Right now there is a fierce competition for your soul.  So many things and people are vying for your attention.  Sometimes, I notice someone peeking into the Church, coming every once in a while, then a "friend" comes along and snatches them away.  Something caught them, led them away and astray...a strange god even.  Yet, we hear today "the portion of the Lord is His people".  He wants you, may not need you, but WANTS you.  The God of all, this creator, this marvel of Time, this God of humility wants you.  Wants me for what?  What does He do?  Love.
Jesus comes into the Holy Gospel, " Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven."  Such an interesting verse.  Becoming like children seems odd in a world where "adults only" are allowed, with all their "adult stores" and "adult channels" and "adult drinks".  LOL, I took my wife and kids to an RV park earlier this summer, only to realize we were mistakenly parked in an "adults only" RV park.  It was very eery.  Very quiet.  No kids playing on a playground, no laughs, no exuberant joy.  Some old man walked passed us rushing to fish at a little pond, looking over his shoulder, threw the line in and out.  The next thing I hear is "there's been complaints about your children".  My eyes and ears couldn't believe it.  We hadn't even done anything, the kids were outside for a few minutes.  But the kids were not accepted.  Such is the Kingdom of God.  All those not accepted, are those that hate kids...God's kids.  Are your kids yours?  No, they are God's.  Everything and everyone is His.  We are living on borrowed time.  We are not puppets, although we let ourselves be sometimes by letting spirits talk among us.  Watch what your life is saying, sowing, and growing.   I read a quote from a daily email deal I get and today it said ""To convert somebody, go and take them by the hand and guide them."— St. Thomas Aquinas.  It crossed some wires in my head, made a spark.  I've always lived under the assumption (Just remembered Satudurday is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary), that "God converts people, not me". 
But St. Thomas is right.  I'm wrong.  Let that be a stepping stool into humility "God is right, and I'm wrong".  I'm afraid too many want to tell GOd what to do and how to be instead of us doing all the listening.  Jesus takes a nobody into their midst and says they are greater than them in the Kingdom of Heaven because of their humility.  Suddenly, it seems Jesus is asking us to be more welcoming.  The reason my wires get crossed in my brain is because I want so many to convert and I don't really take them by the hand.  I don't really welcome them in my life, in my prayer life, in any part of life, just "do as I say" is the attitude.  Humility is an unwelcomed stranger in our lives.  We do nice things for one another, and more in the name of vanity, more in longing to hear "good boy" or "good girl" with a pat on the head or the back, all for vain glory. 
I invite you then, to get to know this stranger among us.  This stranger is pretty much ignored all day.  This stranger is so common that you commonly mistake him.  The stranger never stood out in your life.  Yet, the stranger could've saved your life.  By millimeters the stranger is revealed, by each sin you ask for forgiveness.  By each time the Blessed Eucharist is consumed.  By each time you reach out to one in need of love.  Suddenly, God's wants seem more like needs...

Litany of Humility

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should...

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