Monday, August 17, 2015

Come, Follow Me

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Minute Meditations

Consensual Salvation
God is more anxious to save us than we are to save ourselves, and he has given us all the means required to embrace him and abide in him unconditionally. Only one thing is needed: our consent, which must be re-ratified every day, through every choice we make.
— from The Enduring Faith and Timeless Truths of Fulton Sheen

St. Joan of the Cross

An encounter with a shabby old woman many dismissed as insane prompted St. Joan to dedicate her life to the poor. For Joan, who had a reputation as a businesswoman intent on monetary success, this was a significant conversion.

Born in 1666 in Anjou, France, Joan worked in the family business—a small shop near a religious shrine—from an early age. After her parents' death she took over the shop herself. She quickly became known for her greediness and insensitivity to the beggars who often came seeking help.

That was until she was touched by the strange woman who claimed she was on intimate terms with the deity. Joan, who had always been devout, even scrupulous, became a new person. She began caring for needy children. Then the poor, elderly and sick came to her. Over time she closed the family business so she could devote herself fully to good works and penance.

She went on to found what came to be known as the Congregation of St. Anne of Providence. It was then she took the religious name of Joan of the Cross. By the time of her death in 1736 she had founded 12 religious houses, hospices and schools. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 1982.


The downtown areas of most major cities hold a population of "street people." Well-dressed folks usually avoid making eye contact, probably for fear of being asked for a handout. That was Joan's attitude until the day one of them touched her heart. Most people thought the old woman was crazy, but she put Joan on the road to sainthood. Who knows what the next beggar we meet might do for us?


Daily Prayer - 2015-08-17


As I sit here, the beating of my heart,
the ebb and flow of my breathing, the movements of my mind
are all signs of God's ongoing creation of me.
I pause for a moment, and become aware
of this presence of God within me.


Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate my desires
in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.


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

Reading 1 Jgs 2:11-19

The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals.
Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers,
who led them out of the land of Egypt,
they followed the other gods of the various nations around them,
and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD.

Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth,
the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel,
and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them.
He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about
whom they were no longer able to withstand.
Whatever they undertook, the LORD turned into disaster for them,
as in his warning he had sworn he would do,
till they were in great distress.
Even when the LORD raised up judges to deliver them
from the power of their despoilers,
they did not listen to their judges,
but abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods.
They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken,
and did not follow their example of obedience
to the commandments of the LORD.
Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge
and save them from the power of their enemies
as long as the judge lived;
it was thus the LORD took pity on their distressful cries
of affliction under their oppressors.
But when the judge died,
they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
following other gods in service and worship,
relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.

Responsorial Psalm PS 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43ab and 44

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They did not exterminate the peoples,
as the LORD had commanded them,
But mingled with the nations
and learned their works.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They served their idols,
which became a snare for them.
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They became defiled by their works,
and wanton in their crimes.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
and abhorred his inheritance.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Many times did he rescue them,
but they embittered him with their counsels.
Yet he had regard for their affliction
when he heard their cry.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Alleluia Mt 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
"Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"
He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
He asked him, "Which ones?"
And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The young man said to him,
"All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Interestingly, the commandments which Jesus recites to the rich young man do not include the first three, which all relate to our relationship with God. Instead, he lists those which address our relationships with each other. The message is clear -- we do not live in isolation. Love for our neighbour is the door to eternal life.
  • What attachments in my life are holding me back from a deeper relationship with my neighbour and with God?


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.


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: Judges 2:11-19

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20th Week in Ordinary Time

It was thus the Lord took pity on their distressful cries of affliction under their oppressors. (Judges 2:18)

Have you ever hesitated to go to Confession because you feel like you'll just say the same things you confessed last time? Have you felt a bit discouraged because it seems you're still struggling with a sin pattern that has been hard to get over? If so, just look at God's relationship with Israel under the Judges.

God's people seemed to have had trouble being faithful to him. Even when the Lord raised up judges to lead them and rescue them from their enemies, the people kept returning to the same patterns that separated them from God in the first place. Surrounded by temptation, they lost sight of God. But God didn't give up on them. He kept sending them judges to protect and lead them, to save them from the consequences of their choices to abandon his ways. Moved by mercy, God sent them a new judge over and over and over again.

Now, these judges were precursors to Jesus. But none of them were perfect. Each had his own flaws, which could make it hard for God's people to enter fully into the salvation that God was offering them. Think of Samson falling for the seductions of Delilah and losing his strength. Think of Jephthah's rash vow, which led to his daughter's death. Not one of the judges was the perfect answer. They all struggled with some kind of sin or weakness or failing—just as we do.

When you find yourself feeling hopeless and caught up in a struggle, take a moment to recall who Jesus is and what he has done. He is the perfect Savior and Judge, and he hasn't given up on you. Even if you can't see it, he is by your side, offering you his strength and his comfort. And if Christ is with you, you can be sure that you are making progress—even if it doesn't look like it.

So don't hesitate to go to Confession. God's mercy won't fail. He won't give up on you! Jesus, your perfect Redeemer and Deliverer, is waiting for you, ready to lift the burden of guilt and give you more strength to turn away from sin.

"Lord, even when I feel defeated, I trust in your mercy and forgiveness. Strengthen me so that I can come to you in confidence and be reconciled."


Psalm 106:34-37, 39-40, 43-44
Matthew 19:16-22


Our Lord said before ascending into Heaven "I will be with you until the end of time".  What He didn't say direct but we know is "I have been with you since the beginning of time", and "since before you were formed in the womb", since before you could dream while you were in the womb, since before you could hear and recognize voices while you were in the womb, since before your heart started beating only days after you were conceived, since before you heart started beating in your mother's womb, He was there sending angels among us to guide us and protect us, and in the case of today's 1st Holy Scripture, the Lord send judges to guide the people of God, to set the example, to have hope in salvation.  You are now being led by angels, and yourself are supposed to be one with your angel and lead others in the hope of salvation. 
The Psalms pray "Many times did he rescue them, but they embittered him with their counsels. Yet he had regard for their affliction when he heard their cry." They sacrificed their children to demons we read in the Psalms.  And what does Jesus do with the non-Jewish woman that comes to her asking for dog scraps/help?  Her daughter was possessed with a demon, no thanks to the mother who had probably sent her to a witch doctor or horoscope card reader or something.  But now, she was ginding herself in affliction, and the Lord heard her cry.  This means the hope of salvation is among us, in the poor, destitute and needy.  Evil seeks to destroy, your life, your family, in every which way possible, ours is the hope, so long as we breathe, that God has been among us from the beginning...
Jesus comes into our life today and the good boy asks the Lord "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" and the Lord asked in return "why do you ask about the good" and said "there is only one good and it is God".  This answer basically says, seek God first above all, not ways that will get you into Heaven without having to give up your worldly life!  Let's say that most of us are not attached to material things, or so we say.  Let's say we don't love money more than our Lord.  Yet, we don't really give until it  hurts our budget week after week to the Lord.  And then excuse it "I got to take care of my family and bills" and then spend on miscelanous things every single day.  Let's say you don't have money and can't give that way but you don't even have time to serve the Lord in church "I just don't have time", means "I just have no will".  This means something else is more important than God and have other gods.  Even your kids can become more impoprtant than God, some nowadays even let the kids make adult decisions for themselves as toddlers, in other words, anything they say goes, but not what God says...other gods, other gods means anything and anyone more important than our Lord, and this is why Jesus said God is good and only He is good, everything else...not so good, and this is why the young man went away sad, back to how he loves to live, trying to serve God and himself, where God isn't so much the center of his life, yeah, some part of his life, but not all his life.  And when the lady looking for dog scraps got a morsel, she and her daughter were saved because Jesus has mercy on those who seek Him above all.  Let's not live a sad life, where we can't go see God in the Blessed Sacrament, or even consume the bread of life.  Let's  not live a sad life where we are so ashamed that we can not confess, and not confessing that God is the Lord of all and above all!  Let's not live a sad life where anything is more important than our Lord, and so the challenge is one of love, loving our Lord above all, every day, every hour, and every minute, in every breathe you have started to take.  Let the Lord be the air you breathe in your prayer and intimate conversations with Him, like the beggar who told St. Joan that's how she lived and St. Joan wanted that too.  What if an angel is trying to guide you under the guise of a poor person, that person you really don't care about?  And that person winds up being Jesus offering salvation...