Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You Bear Witness

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Minute Meditations
Meek and Humble

It's human to feel challenged by the sort of meekness God desires, but with his help, we can be courageous enough to be obedient and faithful enough to believe in our inheritance to come in the next world.
— from Blessed Are You

St. Joseph Calasanz
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From Aragon, where he was born in 1556, to Rome, where he died 92 years later, fortune alternately smiled and frowned on the work of Joseph Calasanz. A priest with university training in canon law and theology, respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise, he put aside his career because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children.

When he was unable to get other institutes to undertake this apostolate at Rome, he and several companions personally provided a free school for deprived children. So overwhelming was the response that there was a constant need for larger facilities to house their effort. Soon Pope Clement VIII gave support to the school, and this aid continued under Pope Paul V. Other schools were opened; other men were attracted to the work and in 1621 the community (for so the teachers lived) was recognized as a religious community, the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools (Piarists or Scolopi). Not long after, Joseph was appointed superior for life.

A combination of various prejudices and political ambition and maneuvering caused the institute much turmoil. Some did not favor educating the poor, for education would leave the poor dissatisfied with their lowly tasks for society! Others were shocked that some of the Piarists were sent for instruction to Galileo (a friend of Joseph) as superior, thus dividing the members into opposite camps. Repeatedly investigated by papal commissions, Joseph was demoted; when the struggle within the institute persisted, the Piarists were suppressed. Only after Joseph's death were they formally recognized as a religious community.


No one knew better than Joseph the need for the work he was doing; no one knew better than he how baseless were the charges brought against him. Yet if he were to work within the Church, he realized that he must submit to its authority, that he must accept a setback if he was unable to convince authorized investigators. While the prejudice, the scheming, and the ignorance of men often keep the truth from emerging for a long period of time, Joseph was convinced, even under suppression, that his institute would again be recognized and authorized. With this trust he joined exceptional patience and a genuine spirit of forgiveness.


Even in the days after his own demotion, Joseph protected his persecutors against his enraged partisans; and when the community was suppressed, he stated with Job, to whom he was often compared: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; /blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:21b).

Daily Prayer - 2015-08-26


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.


"Leave me here freely all alone
In cell where never sunlight shone
should no one ever speak to me
This golden silence makes me free."
Part of a poem written by a prisoner at Dachau concentration camp


At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you.
I will leave aside my chores and preoccuptions.
I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.

The Word of God


Reading 1 1 Thes 2:9-13

You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery.
Working night and day in order not to burden any of you,
we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God.
You are witnesses, and so is God,
how devoutly and justly and blamelessly
we behaved toward you believers.
As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children,
exhorting and encouraging you and insisting
that you walk in a manner worthy of the God
who calls you into his Kingdom and glory.

And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly,
that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us,
you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God,
which is now at work in you who believe.

Responsorial Psalm PS 139:7-8, 9-10, 11-12ab

R. (1) You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall hide me,
and night shall be my light"--
For you darkness itself is not dark,
and night shines as the day.
R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.

Alleluia 1 Jn 2:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 23:27-32

Jesus said,
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous,
and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets' blood.'
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!"

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Are my words and actions, like those of the Pharisees, driven by a preoccupation with truth and orthodoxy; or by justice, mercy and love?
  • How often do I close my eyes to those in need? How can I be of service to those less fortunate than myself?


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: Matthew 23:27-32

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21st Week in Ordinary Time

You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth. (Matthew 23:27)

What would you think if someone called you a "whitewashed tomb"? If you had lived during Jesus' times, you would have been terribly insulted. In his era, tombs were usually carved into a rocky hillside and protected from marauders by a heavy stone door. Oftentimes these tombs were hidden in the landscape, which could be inconvenient because Judaic tradition believed that any contact with a tomb—especially the bones or bodies inside a tomb—would render someone "unclean." The purification process after such contact could take up to seven days.

So to help prevent accidental contact with a tomb, every year around the beginning of March, graves were whitewashed, or marked with lime powder, which would give them a beautiful whitish glow. And so the tombs would become more conspicuous, keeping people from accidently rendering themselves unclean.

As we see, Jesus is being extremely graphic in his words with the scribes and Pharisees—both graphic and pointed. Such an insult must have had a shocking effect on his audience. Even today, the term "whitewash" is used to indicate when someone is deliberately covering up his or her mistakes.

Jesus doesn't want us to be whitewashed tombs either. He doesn't want us to project a fake glowing fa├žade that hides any interior mess. He doesn't want us to try to cover up our mistakes and pretend we are someone we aren't. No, Jesus wants us to be real, inside and out. He wants us to find the courage to open up the unclean parts of our lives and ask for his help.

Here is one way to lower your guard and let Jesus in. The next time you receive the Living Bread at Mass, tell Jesus about one area of your life that needs some attention. Imagine him entering that part of your heart and scrubbing it clean. As you keep praying, see if you can sense his presence. What is he saying to you? How is he helping you? Finally, listen as he tells you how beautiful and valuable you are. You are not a whitewashed tomb; you are his beloved child!

"Dear Lord, open my heart, and clean it out with your unconditional love."


1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
Psalm 139:7-12



What is the greatest feeling in the world?  Not physically, but maybe emotionally, but not so much emotion as to in the mind and spirit.  Think about it.  Have you ever been locked up and alone?  Either physically or in your own mind and spirit?  Who was with you through it all when you were alone?  How can a saint write some of the most beautiful writings in a dark cell in a dungeon?  How can there be so much light where there is no physical light?  I read a reflection before writing and it said that to God there is no darkness to keep Him from seeing everything.  And so what we have then, is His word, and our heart, and the connection is the focus.  St. Paul says today "for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you who believe."  For this reason there is an offering of thanksgiving all day every day...the Holy Mass.  When you receive the Word of God, you realize it is not of this world and it forms you, makes you who you are as you live.
The Psalms pray on "You have searched me and you know me, Lord." and "Where can I go from your spirit?".  Do you remember yesteray I said He is everywhere?  Then how can we be afraid?  How can we sin?  What is sin again?  In a nutshell, being without God...and the atrocity is how it affects your soul and those around you.  Even if you live alone, it has tremendous effects.  And if you don't live alone, tremendous is the slightest effort.  But why would you make it slight when in the world there is a great need of light, a true love of God?  The only reason atheists convert is because not only Has the Lord reached them...He reaches them through you and me.  And the world lives as Christians, but more like atheists.  They say they believe but live another life.
For this reason our Lord comes into our lives today "on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing."  I bet some or all of us have thought "if I only lived in another time in life".  Yet, this is the type of people Jesus was talking to.  You can't say that because you are living the now.  Take full advantage of the now.  Because in Heaven it is the forever now.  Not the forever past, nor future.  You may live in the forever past in hell, because the Lord said in the end today "you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!".  When I read that line in a spanish reflection someone texted me today, it read/sounded more like in translation "now finish what your ancestors started".  In English it sounds more like "now reap what you sow".  It's tied up and binding, for His word is living and active, and can cut to the heart.  Jesus was harsh on two faced people.  Am I two faced?  Am I making big puppy eyes to Him in prayer and to my friends and family making mean faces?  LOL.  Think about it.  Aren't we like that?  Yesterday, I prayed out of town at a Blessed Sacrament, and specifically for those in my life in need of prayer, one asked for prayer because he is hitting rock bottom and wants to sober up, and another does not ask for prayer but needs to sober up.  I prayed for both.  Only one talked to me in the afternoon, and it was kind of a raunchy text, complaining about how crappy the job was when we fixed his front door at his house.  I had at this moment, realized something was going on.  1st, it was strange he was texting me, he never does.  2nd, he was saying thanks, however true that was.  The one that had reached earlier asking for prayer, never met me at church like I had asked.  Now you tell me who the ungrateful dead are.  I say that because as I took a shower this morning, I'm already thinking about God.  And the words hit me "ungrateful dead".  Whitewashed tombs now make sense.  Because we live among ungrateful people, and the horrible part is they can't help it, they reallly REALLY need our help!  So do I believe the raunchy texter family member was ungrateful?  No.  I believe the other was ungrateful.  I believe the Lord touched the raunchy one for he was somehow twistedly reaching out.  It's much to explain, but I know we are short on time.  This morning, I led in prayer our safety meeting, and I emphasized "thank you Lord for the work".  Because if we are truly grateful, we will take care, take care of ourselves and the company and the customer and those around us.  Suddenly, this whole notion is making sense in terms of holiness.  So, have you thought about it, what is the greatest feeling in the world?  To me, looking back at moments of temptations of attempted suicide because of a broken heart, moments of being locked up because of a broken heart, moments of being on the verge of losing everything....being grateful that the Lord was there, and now on the others side enjoying His Prescense, giving thanks for mercy and trying to be merciful and thankful by being there for others.  Because God changed me by saving me.  If you need a savior, be ready for change because your life will not be the same.  I try to give thanks in the most ultimate way there is...Holy Mass, an offering of my life for His and with His.  Walking on clouds gives no justice, but I can be justice and righteousness, a grace of God that gives light like no other.  I invite you then to partake of the greatest feeling there is...being alive in the SPIRIT of GOD!!!!