Friday, August 21, 2015

Depend On These

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Minute Meditations
Staying Mindful

Whenever you do anything stupid, cruel, evil, or destructive to yourself or others, you are at that moment unconscious, and unconscious of your identity. If you were fully conscious, you would never do it. Loving people are always highly conscious people. To rely on any drug or substance is to become unconscious.
— from Breathing Under Water

St. Pius X

Pope Pius X is perhaps best remembered for his encouragement of the frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children.

The second of 10 children in a poor Italian family, Joseph Sarto became Pius X at 68, one of the 20th century's greatest popes.

Ever mindful of his humble origin, he stated, "I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor." He was embarrassed by some of the pomp of the papal court. "Look how they have dressed me up," he said in tears to an old friend. To another, "It is a penance to be forced to accept all these practices. They lead me around surrounded by soldiers like Jesus when he was seized in Gethsemani."

Interested in politics, he encouraged Italian Catholics to become more politically involved. One of his first papal acts was to end the supposed right of governments to interfere by veto in papal elections—a practice that reduced the freedom of the 1903 conclave which had elected him.

In 1905, when France renounced its agreement with the Holy See and threatened confiscation of Church property if governmental control of Church affairs were not granted, Pius X courageously rejected the demand.

While he did not author a famous social encyclical as his predecessor had done, he denounced the ill treatment of indigenous peoples on the plantations of Peru, sent a relief commission to Messina after an earthquake and sheltered refugees at his own expense.

On the 11th anniversary of his election as pope, Europe was plunged into World War I. Pius had foreseen it, but it killed him. "This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me. I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge." He died a few weeks after the war began and  was canonized in 1954.


His humble background was no obstacle in relating to a personal God and to people whom he loved genuinely. He gained his strength, his gentleness and warmth for people from the source of all gifts, the Spirit of Jesus. In contrast, we often feel embarrassed by our backgrounds. Shame makes us prefer to remain aloof from people whom we perceive as superior. If we are in a superior position, on the other hand, we often ignore simpler people. Yet we, too, have to help "restore all things in Christ," especially the wounded people of God.


Describing Pius X, a historian wrote that he was "a man of God who knew the unhappiness of the world and the hardships of life, and in the greatness of his heart wanted to comfort everyone."

Daily Prayer - 2015-08-21


I remind myself that, as I sit here now,
 God is gazing on me with love and holding me in being.
 I pause for a moment and think of this.


Lord, you granted me the great gift of freedom.
In these times, O Lord, grant that I may be free
From any form of racism or intolerance.
Remind me, Lord, that we are all equal
in Your Loving eyes.


I ask how I am within myself today?
 Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
 If any of these characteristics apply,
 can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God

Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope

Reading 1 Ru 1:1, 3-6, 14b-16, 22

Once in the time of the judges there was a famine in the land;
so a man from Bethlehem of Judah
departed with his wife and two sons
to reside on the plateau of Moab.
Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died,
and she was left with her two sons, who married Moabite women,
one named Orpah, the other Ruth.
When they had lived there about ten years,
both Mahlon and Chilion died also,
and the woman was left with neither her two sons nor her husband.
She then made ready to go back from the plateau of Moab
because word reached her there
that the LORD had visited his people and given them food.

Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth stayed with her.

Naomi said, "See now!
Your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god.
Go back after your sister-in-law!"
But Ruth said, "Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you!
For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge,
your people shall be my people, and your God my God."

Thus it was that Naomi returned
with the Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth,
who accompanied her back from the plateau of Moab.
They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Responsorial Psalm PS 146:5-6ab, 6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
Blessed is 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!
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
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!
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

Alleluia Ps 25:4b, 5a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Teach me your paths, my God,
guide me in your truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
He said to him,
"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

•The understanding of Christian love does not solely focus on passion or affection, but also on acts of mercy. I cannot choose how I feel, but I can choose how I act.


Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read.
 What part of it strikes a chord in you?
 Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently -
 will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness.
 If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?


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: Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14-16, 22

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Saint Pius X, Pope (Memorial)

Wherever you go, I will go. (Ruth 1:16)

One of the truths about God that we learn in Scripture is that he is eager to protect the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. He favors those in distress. But how does he do this? He doesn't just reach down from heaven and pluck them out of their problems. He uses people, often people who are struggling themselves or who have experienced past trials, to accomplish his will. For who better to help someone in need than someone who knows what it's like to be alone or downtrodden?

We see this principle at work in the lives of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi is a childless widow, crushed in spirit. She even changes her name to "Mara," which means "bitter" (Ruth 1:20). Her daughter-in-law Ruth has also been widowed and has no children of her own. But Ruth's heart goes out to Naomi, and so rather than return to her father's house, she opts to accompany Naomi when she decides to return to Israel. In the process of rescuing Naomi, Ruth ends up marrying Boaz, a wealthy and upright landowner. Not only is Naomi rescued, but so is Ruth—and she is brought closer to God!

The story of Ruth tells us that we don't have to be perfect ourselves before we can minister God's love. We simply have to be willing to offer ourselves as best we can. We may feel inadequate because we are facing our own challenges, but that may be just as God wants it. After all, the very word "compassion" means "to suffer with."

When we give ourselves to help another person, something wonderful happens. By picking up that person's cross, we meet Jesus in a powerful way—just as Simon of Cyrene did on the way to Calvary. Those who serve from the heart experience a reward in the service itself. Not only is Ruth a proof of that, but she foreshadows Jesus, whose whole life was one of service. Just as he was raised up to the Father's right hand because he emptied himself, we can be too.

"Lord, you ask us to bear each other's burdens and so fulfill your law of love. Fill me with your Spirit, so that I can bring that love to the people you've called me to serve!"


Psalm 146:5-10
Matthew 22:34-40


The 5minutos said today:
"In the 3rd Century, Alexandria had just come out of a bloody civil war, when in the proud city an epidemic broke out.  There was not a house where the tragic executioner of pestilence had not charged at least one victim.  Many took out their sick to the street to avoid being infected without finding if anyone could take care of them.  The cadavers started piling up on the streets and in the plazas, and even more the contagiousness increased.  There were in those days, a good number of Christians that, during the persecution, they had to abandon the city and seek refuge in the desert or hide in abandoned boats.  When they found out what was going on, they left their hiding places and started to rush to help the epidemic victims. It was as if a wave of love and surrender entered the gates for the stigmatized of the city.  They helped the dying, carried the dead on their shoulders, saved many lives.  Many of these brave volunteers were captured by the plague.  Hundreds of priests, deacons and lay persons were sacrificed, dying like victims of charity.  In other times, Alexandria had persecuted and tortured the Christians.  Today, they are avenged by weapons of love.  A contrasting consoler: Alexandria was saved by those exact ones that were condemned.  Today, they are venerated as martyrs of charity."
It is a case of fight or flight.  We have two instincts.  Fight for your life, or run for your life.  In the case of a true Christian, we give up our life for the love of others.  Ruth proved the point, faithful to her husband by not leaving her dead husband's mother, and more importantly, fidelity to God.  It is amazing, that still today, in what would be known as Alexandria, there is still a famine that makes people fight or flight.  Coptic Christians are still persecuted today.  Muslims kill Christians.  Is that a fair statement?  Watch this;  if you are an extreme radical Muslim, you will kill Christians.  If you are an extreme "radical" Christian, you will lay your life to save a life.  Totally different, fight...or flight.  We take flight as Christians.  We ride and depend on the Holy Spirit of God to guide our lives.  We may be going through famine, but we don't give up the faith, and God rewards a faithful lover of God.
The Psalms pray "The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia."  Praise the Lord My SOUL.  Take heart, and praise the Lord!  For nothing will knock down the gates of the Church of God, for Jesus is with us, He is Emmanuel which means He is with us, and Jesus means He Saves.  Why doesn't He save those being killed for their faith?  There's nothing to save...they are giving glory to God...which their lives to God.  And you?  Today?  Are you giving glory to God?  Because the alternative to that is darkness.  Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?  Too many is the answer. Too many afraid of the wrong force.  You are to fear God...nobody or nothing else.  And this is turning into love, surrendering to love.
In comes Jesus in the Holy Gospel, with another "trick question", this time, on the commandments.  Our Lord states and makes it known what was given to Moses for the people of God to know God's will, the first and foremost command (not a suggestion), ""You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment."  It is said in Deuteronomy, that we are to teach our children this every day before they go to sleep.  With this commandment, we need no other, yet we need to know "love your neighbor as yourself".  How will a killer love his neighbor?  That is an oxymoron.  A killer does not love, for they have imploded, and this gives darkness instead of light.  Notice, as children of God, we are to give light.  I ask you now, how much do you love God?  Have I ever asked you that question?  I asked my daughter that is going to start school last night "how much do you love me?" and I made a sign with my fingers this little?  She said "no" and meant more than that, so I used my two hands "this much?" as I stretched them out a little, and she said "yes".  Hmm, I thought, well, I thought she was going to signal for more love than that.  But she doesn't know that.  She doesn't know we can signify more.  She doesn't know I was waiting to hear she loved me more than that.  She is innocent.  Before writing to you, I saw a picture of an innocent girl who's face was burnt by Muslims in India.  They say that 80% of all persecutions in the world are and have been against Christians.  What's worse than that?  A Christian persecuting another, not loving another.  Ghandi said he liked the Jesus in the bible but didn't like the Christians he met.  This means we do not do as we say we do.  We don't follow Christ and what He asks of us truly.  Now, is this a message of doom and gloom or fight or flight?  Because to me, it's as if we have to fight to love God.  And this fight many a times means to retreat.  Not to retreat from the devil, but to retreat into God's hands, His heart, His Sacred heart.  It is a giving into Him.  A saying of "I Love You" without words.  Saying "I love you with words" too, so that one day I hope it sinks in.  Say it to God.  Do not be afraid.  Be afraid to not love God.  Be afraid to sin.  Be afraid to ever step out of the light.  Be afraid to live in darkness.  Be afraid to ever lose His love.   We can't lose His love, but we seem to lose ours for Him. 
And this is why God makes the biggest deal of the first commandment when God says "LOVE ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART, with ALL YOUR SOUL, and with ALL YOUR MIND".
That's all He is really asking, that what He gives...Love to Love