Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We Have Given

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Minute Meditations
A Mended Heart
Your heart needs to be broken, and broken open, at least once to have a heart at all or to have a heart for others.
— from Breathing Under Water

St. Louis of Toulouse

When he died at the age of 23, Louis was already a Franciscan, a bishop and a saint!

Louis's parents were Charles II of Naples and Sicily and Mary, daughter of the King of Hungary. Louis was related to St. Louis IX on his father's side and to Elizabeth of Hungary on his mother's side.

Louis showed early signs of attachment to prayer and to the corporal works of mercy. As a child he used to take food from the castle to feed the poor. When he was 14, Louis and two of his brothers were taken as hostages to the king of Aragon's court as part of a political deal involving Louis's father. At the court Louis was tutored by Franciscan friars under whom he made great progress both in his studies and in the spiritual life. Like St. Francis he developed a special love for those afflicted with leprosy.

While he was still a hostage, Louis decided to renounce his royal title and become a priest. When he was 20, he was allowed to leave the king of Aragon's court. He renounced his title in favor of his brother Robert and was ordained the next year. Very shortly after, he was appointed bishop of Toulouse, but the pope agreed to Louis's request to become a Franciscan first.

The Franciscan spirit pervaded Louis. "Jesus Christ is all my riches; he alone is sufficient for me," Louis kept repeating. Even as a bishop he wore the Franciscan habit and sometimes begged. He assigned a friar to offer him correction — in public if necessary — and the friar did his job.

Louis's service to the Diocese of Toulouse was richly blessed. In no time he was considered a saint. Louis set aside 75 percent of his income as bishop to feed the poor and maintain churches. Each day he fed 25 poor people at his table.

Louis was canonized in 1317 by Pope John XXII, one of his former teachers.


When Cardinal Hugolino, the future Pope Gregory IX, suggested to Francis that some of the friars would make fine bishops, Francis protested that they might lose some of their humility and simplicity if appointed to those positions. Those two virtues are needed everywhere in the Church, and Louis shows us how they can be lived out by bishops.


"All the faithful were edified by the fervor of his devout celebration of Mass, the efficacy of his deep humility, his tender compassion, his upright life, the harmonious congruity in all his actions, words and bearing. Who without wonderment could look upon a most charming young man, the son of so mighty a king, outstanding for his generosity, raised to such dignity, renowned for his influence, preeminent for humility, living a life of such mortification, endowed with such wisdom, clothed in so poor a habit yet renowned for the charm of his discourse and a shining example of upright life?" (contemporary biography).


Daily Prayer - 2015-08-18


I remind myself that I am in your presence O Lord.
I will take refuge in your loving heart.
You are my strength in times of weakness.
You are my comforter in times of sorrow.


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.


In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?

The Word of God

Reading 1 Jgs 6:11-24a

The angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah
that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite.
While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press
to save it from the Midianites,
the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said,
"The LORD is with you, O champion!"
Gideon said to him, "My Lord, if the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened to us?
Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers
told us when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?'
For now the LORD has abandoned us
and has delivered us into the power of Midian."
The LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have
and save Israel from the power of Midian.
It is I who send you."
But Gideon answered him, "Please, my lord, how can I save Israel?
My family is the lowliest in Manasseh,
and I am the most insignificant in my father's house."
"I shall be with you," the LORD said to him,
"and you will cut down Midian to the last man."
Gideon answered him, "If I find favor with you,
give me a sign that you are speaking with me.
Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come back to you
and bring out my offering and set it before you."
He answered, "I will await your return."

So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and a measure of flour
in the form of unleavened cakes.
Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot,
he brought them out to him under the terebinth
and presented them.
The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and unleavened cakes
and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth."
When he had done so,
the angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held,
and touched the meat and unleavened cakes.
Thereupon a fire came up from the rock
that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes,
and the angel of the LORD disappeared from sight.
Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the LORD,
said, "Alas, Lord GOD,
that I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!"
The LORD answered him,
"Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die."
So Gideon built there an altar to the LORD
and called it Yahweh-shalom.

Responsorial Psalm PS 85:9, 11-12, 13-14

R. (see 9b) The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD--for he proclaims peace
To his people, and to his faithful ones,
and to those who put in him their hope.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

Alleluia 2 Cor 8:9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
"Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible."
Then Peter said to him in reply,
"We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Jesus had failed to separate the rich young man from his wealth. The trouble with possessions is that they can too easily possess us. Jesus calls for radical change in our lives, a change that can seem unattainable. However, he reminds us that, while something may seem impossible for mortals, "for God, all things are possible".
  • Do I believe that God will ask nothing of me that I am not, with his help, capable of doing?


What is stirring in me as I pray?
Am I consoled, troubled, left cold?
I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with 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 6:11-24

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20th Week in Ordinary Time

The Lord is with you, O champion! (Judges 6:12)

Put yourself in Gideon's sandals for a moment. As a child, you grew up with stories of God rescuing his people from oppression. Years later, you watched the nation of Midian overpower Israel, and your faith in God suffered a major blow. He doesn't fight for us anymore, you thought. Then one day, a messenger from God shows up. He tells you to go save Israel, because the Lord is with you! Doubts begin to flood your mind, and instead of stepping forward, you turn your gaze backward. Where was God when ... ?

What do you do when God nudges you forward? If you're like most of us, you may find yourself contemplating the past instead of dreaming about the future. You may dwell on the times when it didn't work out and forget all the times God was with you.

"I don't know if anyone I've ever prayed for has been healed, so what's the point?" "Peace with that person would be wonderful, but our relationship is beyond repair." "I've never been able to overcome this habit; why should this time be any different?" "I don't think they'll ever come back to church, so there's not much use in inviting them."

Nevertheless, God is overflowing with patience and kindness toward us! He knows how quickly we can doubt. He also knows that we can be genuinely uncertain as to whether or not we're hearing his voice correctly. That's why he will sometimes confirm his message. He did this with Gideon, not just once, but three separate times!

What's more, he assures us that as we step forward, he is going to be with us. The angel's first words to Gideon were "The Lord is with you" (Judges 6:12). This ultimately allowed Gideon to turn his focus from his strength—small as it was—to God's strength. Indeed, nothing is impossible for God. Eventually, of course, Gideon answered the Lord's call, and God rescued his people again.

Today, when you sense God nudging you forward, don't let your gaze shift backwards! Keep looking to him for confirmation and courage. Working with him step-by-step, there's no limit to what he can accomplish through you.

"I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength!"


Psalm 85:9, 11-14
Matthew 19:23-30

You have to experience a little darkness to know the light.  Such was the case before the fight with Gideon.  Don't we all experience some type of darkness?  Like, "boy I wish God were with me on this", but it had to be an abandonment.  This abandonment happened to Gideon, the lowliest of the families chosen by God, the last of the last, and lo and behold the hand made this man the first to save down to the last would be taken care of, and Gideon foreshadows Jesus in another way, first by being the lowliest and faithful, and then by offering a sacrifice that would be consumed by the fire of God.  Realize what is going on, because what we don't realize is that we are living a sacrifice, aren't we?  Maybe not, maybe some are not living the sacrifice.
And so the Psalms pray on "The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps."  Why did Gideon call the place he met the angel and offered sacrifice "Yahweh-shalom"? They say Yahweh was the name for God and they say that shalom means peace.  Peace can be between man and God or between countries.  When Gideon met this angel from God, and made a sacrifice, he made peace, a peace offering of thanksgiving.  This foreshadows the peace and thanksgiving Jesus would do on the cross.  This foreshadows the destruction of every last enemy, and foreshadows "you shall not die" as Jesus says if you partake of His bread.
Partake of His bread we shall, and of His peace?  And of His sacrifice?  Gideon made efforts and sacrifice and so did Jesus our Lord.  It is now boiling down to you.  Are you making efforts and sacrifices for the Lord?  Are you making an effort of unification?  Why should I partake of the bread of God and not share the unification of Love?  It would be contradictory.  It would be selfish.  Therefore, i would not give up anything but take in everything, because God is everything, especially in our spirit, in the Eucharist.  Why don't we give up?  Why don't we give up in sacrifice to God?  There's this young man that works for us at work, and he and his wife have tried for years, as long as I've known him, maybe 7 years, they've been trying to conceive, have a child.  At one point I made a suggestion "make a promise to God" and he did, and they conceived.  They lost the baby at 3 months.  They felt let down, by the doctors and all they done, maybe even let down by God.  Fast forward to today.  She is a little over 3 months pregnant to their shocking surprise.  I asked him what did he do, another promise?  This after us still uniting for bible study and me praying for them to go to church.  "No" he said, "I didn't make a promise, but I do remember my wife saying she was giving up on the thousands of miles travelling to Mexico for fertility treatments, and she said 'If God wants we will conceive".  And right after, they got pregnant.  Apparently, she gave up, right?  And she put it in God's hands, totally.  What is to say, all these years of treatments was just lacking one thing?  Faith.  Because all those years God was gone in Gideon's life seemingly, it came down to one moment of faith, and this made all the difference.  I ask you then, to give up.  Give up lands, give up homes, give up family and see what happens.  Because we pretend like the world will fall apart if we don't keep on, but it is God's world, and you are His child.   What God needs, first is your heart and soul.  Stop giving it up to other people or things.   Why not offer it all for and to God>  You'll notice things you sacrifice become enriched, 100 times.  And 100 times over faith is enriched.  I ask you then, be first to be last, fight for the chance to lose and be humble.  Weird huh?  In a world where we are taught to be above everyone else in a competition?  In God's world, we raise up everyone else above, in offer of sacrifice.  The cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back! 


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