Thursday, September 24, 2015

Whom I Hear

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Minute Meditations

Love and Be Loved Minute Meditations

Herein lies the answer to how we can be of service to one another and to the world: love. We must grow in our capacity to love one another; we must grow in our openness to receiving love.

— from Life's Great Questions

Blessed John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman, the 19th-century's most important English-speaking Roman Catholic theologian, spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both Churches.

Born in London, England, he studied at Oxford's Trinity College, was a tutor at Oriel College and for 17 years was vicar of the university church, St. Mary the Virgin. He eventually published eight volumes of Parochial and Plain Sermons as well as two novels. His poem, "Dream of Gerontius," was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar.
After 1833, Newman was a prominent member of the Oxford Movement, which emphasized the Church's debt to the Church Fathers and challenged any tendency to consider truth as completely subjective.
Historical research made Newman suspect that the Roman Catholic Church was in closest continuity with the Church that Jesus established. In 1845, he was received into full communion as a Catholic. Two years later he was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome and joined the Congregation of the Oratory, founded three centuries earlier by St. Philip Neri. Returning to England, Newman founded Oratory houses in Birmingham and London and for seven years served as rector of the Catholic University of Ireland.

Before Newman, Catholic theology tended to ignore history, preferring instead to draw deductions from first principles—much as plane geometry does. After Newman, the lived experience of believers was recognized as a key part of theological reflection.
Newman eventually wrote 40 books and 21,000 letters that survive. Most famous are his book-length Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, Apologia Pro Vita Sua (his spiritual autobiography up to 1864) and Essay on the Grammar of Assent. He accepted Vatican I's teaching on papal infallibility while noting its limits, which many people who favored that definition were reluctant to do.

When Newman was named a cardinal in 1879, he took as his motto "Cor ad cor loquitur" (Heart speaks to heart). He was buried in Rednal (near Birmingham) 11 years later. After his grave was exhumed in 2008, a new tomb was prepared at the Oratory church in Birmingham.

Three years after Newman died, a Newman Club for Catholic students began at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In time, his name was linked to ministry centers at many public and private colleges and universities in the United States.

Pope Benedict XVI beatified Newman on September 19, 2010, at Crofton Park (near Birmingham). The pope noted Newman's emphasis on the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society but also praised his pastoral zeal for the sick, the poor, the bereaved and those in prison.


John Henry Newman has been called the "absent Father of Vatican II" because his writings on conscience, religious liberty, Scripture, the vocation of lay people, the relation of Church and State, and other topics were extremely influential in the shaping of the Council's documents. Although Newman was not always understood or appreciated, he steadfastly preached the Good News by word and example.


Newman composed this prayer: "God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.

"I have a mission; I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons; He has not created me for naught.
"I shall do good—I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace while not intending it if I do but keep his commandments. Therefore, I will trust him."

Daily Prayer - 2015-09-24


The more we call on God
the more we can feel God's presence.
Day by day we are drawn closer
to the loving heart of God.


I try to let go of concerns and worries
that may be dragging me down at this present moment.
I place any concerns I have in Gods hands
- at least for these few minutes of prayer.


How wonderful it is to be able
to enter into your presence Lord.
No matter what time it is.
No matter which land I am in.
I need only to speak your name.

The Word of God

Reading 1 Hg 1:1-8

On the first day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius,
The word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai
to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
This people says:
"The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD."
(Then this word of the LORD came through Haggai, the prophet:)
Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses,
while this house lies in ruins?

Now thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
You have sown much, but have brought in little;
you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;
You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated;
have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed;
And whoever earned wages
earned them for a bag with holes in it.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
Go up into the hill country;
bring timber, and build the house
That I may take pleasure in it
and receive my glory, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
The Lord takes delight in his people.

Alleluia Jn 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
"John has been raised from the dead";
others were saying, "Elijah has appeared";
still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen."
But Herod said, "John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?"
And he kept trying to see him.

- - -

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Herod's curiosity is aroused by the stories circulating around Jesus. God is knocking at his door. This is his moment of grace. The moment passes and does not return until Jesus is brought before him for trial. Again God knocks on his door and grants his wish. He indeed sees Jesus, and Saint Luke says that he was very glad of this. But he rejects the grace offered him because his wish is too small. He wants Jesus to perform some amusing sign, no more. But Jesus says and does nothing, so Herod has his troops mock him and then sends him back to Pilate. His door is closed.
  • Lord, may I recognise you in the moments of grace that come my way. May I be open to you, no matter under what disguise you come to me.


Dear Lord, stay by my side always.
Gain for me a trusting heart.
Thank you for loving me.


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: Haggai 1:1-8

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25th Week in Ordinary Time

On the first day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius ... (Haggai 1:1)

What a curious way to start a book! Wouldn't it be better to hear "Once upon a time" or "Long, long ago in a land far away"?

Not really. Many times when we read the Old Testament, it can seem so remote that we start to wonder if it really happened. It's easy to be so familiar with these stories that we look at them as fables or fairy tales.

But the Bible isn't a "once upon a time" story! The specific dates at the beginning of the Book of Haggai can help us see that Haggai was a real person, and so were King Darius of Persia, the governor of Judah, and the high priest to whom Haggai delivered his prophecy. Or to put it more bluntly, these things really happened!

The dates were probably inserted into Haggai's prophecy by a later editor to clarify the historical chronology. But these details show us that God works in actual history. It's similar to the way Luke begins his Gospel. He places the birth of John the Baptist "in the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah" (Luke 1:5). And he tells us that the birth of Jesus took place during the reign of Caesar Augustus (2:1).

Of course, not every part of the Bible is meant to be read as history. There are parables and fables and stories as well as historical accounts. Still, the point remains that God worked wonders in ancient times—and he continues to do so today. Think, for instance, of St. Polycarp, in the second century, being protected from the flames when he was burned as a martyr; or Narcissus turning water into oil for the Easter Vigil lamps in the fourth century. Think of people like Padre Pio, drawing people to conversion and reconciliation, or Mother Teresa, touching the poor with the hands of Christ.

God's gracious involvement in history is a true story; it's our story! His definitive action is not just in the past. He is working today, and he wants to act in our lives just as dramatically. So don't look at salvation history as a fable. Instead, expect to see God's personal extraordinary action right here, right now!

"Father, I want to see your works—not just once upon a time, but today!"

Psalm 149:1-6, 9
Luke 9:7-9

Today's 1st Holy Scripture said that the people said "The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD."  They sat spinning their wheels.  Never enough money.  Never enough drink.  Never enough anything to satisfy their souls.  Last night, in our co-worker bible study, an ex-worker stopped by.  I had seen him at the chicken place and it looked like he didn't see me, and then he did.  He was getting an application, was looking for work.  I reproached him "why do you always quit on us?".  He really had no good reason, and he is always in dire need of money, but it seems to me, he needs more affection than money, more His soul.  So my question to you is, what do you need?  The rich need nothing...not even God.  The prophet demanded they build up and fix the church whereas nobody else felt it needed it.  As it crumbled to peaces...God stepped in.
The Psalms pray on "The Lord takes delight in His people" and "Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king."  This here earth, this here world, this here life, this is a training ground, even a proving ground, a ground to grow to Heaven.  We prayed the other night for healing, in praise and worship night.  The sick that I wanted to see there, one that was suicidal and is going blind, and another with cancer that has returned, those sick did not go.  It left me wondering "why Lord?"  Am I spinning my wheels?  Why Lord?  How can God allow this to be?  Usually, the question is "why does God allow evil to happen?".  Me too! LOL.  Why did he not "allow" them to come so we could pray for their healing.  It is a heavy duty learning lesson.  The people seemingly don't need God.  Yet, this is a superficial statement.  Of course they need God, they just can't make it to Church.  Nobody is pushing them.  Nobody is inviting them.  Nobody has shown them the way.  But I know in these two cases, they have faithful spouses, I'm sure they plead and pray for them every single day, living angels at their side.  So why won't they come?  So with nobody to pray for what do we do?  What does the church do?  Often times, we wind up gathering to pray for those that can not come, intercessions galore!  This is an intercessory Church then.  And this is what God wants.  For us to reach out to one another, pray for one another, and bring one another to Heaven.  Rebuild, renew, it's on me, and it's on you!
Jesus speaks to us today "....", not a word.  This time in evangelization, Jesus does not speak as He is being tossed around from district to district, judge to judge, king to king.  And He gets tossed around until He gets killed.  This is a statement of how we treat our Lord, and this the Holy Church we are to take care of, especially our faith.  I dusted off my book "The Imitation of Christ" by Kempis.  The part that says about God speaking without words said
"Listen, O my soul, to what has been said, and close the door of your senses that you may hear inwardly what the Lord Jesus speaks within your soul. 
2.  This is what your Beloved says: I am your salvation, your peace, and your life; keep close to Me, and in Me you will find peace.  Abandon the love of passing things and seek those that are everlasting.  What else are the things of time but deceptive?  And how can any creature help you if your Lord abandons you?
Therefore, leaving all creatures and worldly things behind you, do your best to make yourself pleasing to Him, so that after this life you may come to life everlasting in the kingdom of Heaven."
King Herod wants to know who Jesus is...but not really.  King Herod keeps trying to see Jesus....but not really.
Is it the same case of the rich among us that try to see and hear and know Jesus?  Rich meaning we are full and need nothing else?  So rich and so weak in the faith!  It costs way too much to help at church, too much time and effort.  So let it crumble...right?  It costs way too much for me to know that everyone else is right...right?  It costs too much to surrender, right?  Do you think I doubted God the night nobody came for healing?  Can you imagine God offering Healing (AND HE DOES) and nobody comes to Him?  So the church crumbles.  Oh sure, we say we are trying...but are you really?  Are you really seeking a conversion?  Why is everything so hard for you My Child?  The Imitation of Christ says "The moment you begin to grow lukewarm, everything is a big effort and you willingly receive distractions from without.  But as soon as you begin to conquer yourself and walk uprightly in the way of God, then the effort expended seems little which before you thought was insurmountable."
It is proof that Christ and I are an overwhelming majority, living a life of grace, living a life like no other, growing to Heaven.  Turns out, some of the people we pray for at these healing/charismatic healings get healed.  Some as far as Alaska, not physically present, but there is no distance for the Spirit.  I'm asking you to have this faith, that we can.  We CAN.  We can give glory to God.  And Glory means concrete and living proof of faith in action, faith alive and not dying.  God will not convert king Herod, because king Herod made himself above all.  It's time to live a Christ-centered life...and at the center is the heart.

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