Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Final Test

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Minute Meditations

Spiritual Nutrition Minute Meditations
Just as God, in his loving providence, nourishes and sustains our bodies with food, so does he nourish and sustain our souls in the sacraments, the spiritual nutrition that animates, heals, and strengthens us during our sojourn in this earthly life. Receiving the sacraments often will help you live out the faith and keep you on the road to heaven.
— from Now What?

Our Lady of the Rosary

St. Pius V established this feast in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716.

The development of the rosary has a long history. First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus' life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as "the apostle of the rosary." He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present form—with the 15 mysteries (joyful, sorrowful and glorious). In 2002, Pope John Paul II added five Mysteries of Light to this devotion.


The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus—his birth, life, death and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus' Father is the initiator of salvation. The Hail Marys remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The Glory Bes remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity.

The rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.


"The rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christ-centered prayer. It has all the depth of the gospel messge in its entirety. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb.... It can be said that the rosary is, in some sense, a prayer-commentary on the final chapter of the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium, a chapter that discusses the wondrous presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church" (Pope John Paul II, apostolic letter The Rosary of the Virgin Mary). 

Daily Prayer - 2015-10-07


I pause for a moment, aware that God is here.
I think of how everything around me,
the air I breathe, my whole body,
is tingling with the the presence of God.


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.


I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
I will take refuge in His loving heart.
He is my strength in times of weakness.
He is my comforter in times of sorrow.

The Word of God

Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
Lectionary: 463

Reading 1 Jon 4:1-11

Jonah was greatly displeased
and became angry that God did not carry out the evil
he threatened against Nineveh.
He prayed, "I beseech you, LORD,
is not this what I said while I was still in my own country?
This is why I fled at first to Tarshish.
I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God,
slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish.
And now, LORD, please take my life from me;
for it is better for me to die than to live."
But the LORD asked, "Have you reason to be angry?"

Jonah then left the city for a place to the east of it,
where he built himself a hut and waited under it in the shade,
to see what would happen to the city.
And when the LORD God provided a gourd plant
that grew up over Jonah's head,
giving shade that relieved him of any discomfort,
Jonah was very happy over the plant.
But the next morning at dawn
God sent a worm that attacked the plant,
so that it withered.
And when the sun arose, God sent a burning east wind;
and the sun beat upon Jonah's head till he became faint.
Then Jonah asked for death, saying,
"I would be better off dead than alive."

But God said to Jonah,
"Have you reason to be angry over the plant?"
"I have reason to be angry," Jonah answered, "angry enough to die."
Then the LORD said,
"You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor
and which you did not raise;
it came up in one night and in one night it perished.
And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city,
in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons
who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left,
not to mention the many cattle?"

Responsorial Psalm PS 86:3-4, 5-6, 9-10

R. (15) Lord, you are merciful and gracious.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship you, O Lord,
and glorify your name.
For you are great, and you do wondrous deeds;
you alone are God.
R. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.

Alleluia Rom 8:15bc

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons
through which we cry: Abba! Father!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • When the Incarnate Son of God, the one closest to the Father, is asked to put into words the elements of true prayer, this is what he says.....
  • Luke mentions five petitions in the Our Father: 1) we call on God as the caring, provident, gracious and loving parent. 2) May all the evils which defile your creation be removed, especially those in my heart. 3) Sustain us with the food we need. 4) As we forgive others, so please forgive us our sins. 5) Do not test me beyond my strength nor allow me to be led into occasions of sin.
  • Jesus calls God by the intimate name of 'Abba' or 'Dad'. He knows that God, 'father almighty' is as close to us as the air we breathe. 'The father is only a whisper away from the cradle of the world' (McBride). Because of love we want what Abba wants, and these are the first two prayers of the Our Father. The rest is to tell what we want ourselves - to be safe from hunger, including our spiritual hungers, to be free of bitterness and to be safe in danger. Many spend time in prayer just saying over and over again the words of the 'Our Father.'
  • It is difficult to forgive even small hurts. What about the hurts of injustice, abuse, neglect? Jesus encourages us to think of these in prayer. One step towards forgiveness to pray for someone. Even when we can't talk to a person, or think kindly of them, maybe we can pray for them.


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: Jonah 4:1-11

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Our Lady of the Rosary (Memorial)

I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish. (Jonah 4:2)

Have you ever wished you could have an extreme makeover?

Extreme-makeover television shows are very popular these days, probably because people enjoy seeing how a plain-looking person or a run-down old house can be transformed into a stunning display of poise and beauty. These shows always end with the "big reveal" of the newly transformed person or home, to the breathless adulation of the people witnessing it. Who wouldn't be impressed? Something average has been turned into something outstanding!

Perhaps this is why the story of Jonah is so popular. The city of Nineveh was one of the largest and most powerful cities of its time. As capital of the Assyrian empire, it was also known as one of the meanest cities. Gobbling up land and overthrowing kingdoms throughout the Fertile Crescent, the Ninevites were ruthless in the way they waged war and tortured their captives.

So when God first sent Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh to repent, Jonah balked. Converting all those darkened violent hearts? Impossible. All he could see was their brutality. But God saw something more. He saw their potential.

As the story unfolds, we see that Jonah was wrong; Nineveh underwent an extreme makeover of biblical proportions! But even that wasn't enough for God. He went out of his way to soften Jonah's hardened heart and show him just how deep his mercy runs.

God believed in the people of Nineveh and Jonah even before they believed in themselves. In the same way, God believes in our potential, even when we don't understand it or we don't believe it ourselves. He knows that he can do great things with us. He never loses faith in what we can become or what we can do.

Today, remember that God has an extreme makeover ready for you. No matter how weak or flawed you may think you are, he sees something beautiful and valuable: a person created in his own image and likeness. He can work with that and turn you into something outstanding.

"Lord, thank you for seeing such potential in me. Help me to see myself—and the people around me—through your eyes."

Psalm 86:3-6, 9-10
Luke 11:1-4


The happennings of Jonah are a very human story.  We are sort of obstinate, hard headed, sometimes angry.  We don't believe even terrorists can change their hearts...but God does.  Our desire is to see them die just as bad or worse than how they killed others.  Yet we have the gall to pray "forgive we forgive those".  Jonah believed he was blessed with a plant that covered him, when it was God our Lord that covered him.  Then the plant was removed, like when a family member passes away.  Wasn't it God's? Can He not do as He wishes especially with His mercy?  Am I mad because deep inside we can not be merciful?  Let's give you a real life example if you do not believe all this fancy talk you've just read.  Yesterday at work, I was joking with a worker, and he was not in a good mood.  My smile started to fall, and I poked him with one finger on his arm, to see if he would explode in his anger.  Granted I shouldn't have poked him, but at the same time I said "what are you angry about?".  I could tell if one wrong move happened there could be an explosion of temper tantrums, and if I were anybody else, maybe even fists could start flying.  It was a very bad vibe, and I just went back into the office quietly.  My mind went through the circumstance "this man is possessed! such a cold evil vibe! what could be happening?" and the more I thought, the more I recalled that most of the time these hurts are pains, and I put myself in his shoes, he hasn't seen his family in years, we're basically all he's got, maybe he's about had it.  So I prayed for him (thus for me).  I prayed for his temperment, and I prayed for the Lord to help him.  He hasn't been to bible study with co-workers for years.  Just like another co-worker who was coming who is now locked up in jail...I went outside to get parts and I saw him feeding our shop dog "Blue" a blue heeler.  I remembered he had asked me to get more dog food like last week.  I shouted "hey, what are you going to tell me for forgetting about the dog food huh?" he just smirked and made hand gestures.  I got the parts and dog food and had him help me unload it.  As he restocked the dog food I started taking some jabs at him, "come on man" and as I got more comfortable with the jabs I went for it...I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him "come on don't get mad, why are you getting mad at me?"  It was kind of a tear jerker moment.  At least for me.  He said "es que me siento" (it's because I feel bad easy).  I said he shouldn't be that way making it a point of what's important.  What we have then is healing.  But notice the person that instigated the anger (me) even though most would say he had a problem, it was me that had to come up with the guts to apologize even though apparently I wasn't the one that should be apologizing.  This train of thought is backwards to the worldly way.  We think everybody owes us an apology and we never bend over backwards to apologize.  We are so "proud" that we think we never need to say sorry.  We are so "proud" that we never need to confess.  We are so "proud" that we rather see the other suffer.  And the "other" is our neighbor.  "Better him than me" is the addage used nowadays.  Yet, this is not the point of the Lord's prayer.
The Psalms pray on "Lord, you are merciful and gracious. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for to you I call all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul."  I will not be merciful if I am not grateful.  If I am not thankful, if I am not full of thanksgiving, I will not be merciful, I will only be giving if I get something back.  The Lord is merciful and gracious.  And we begin the Lord's prayer with "Our FATHER" and continue "Holy Be Thy Name".  If He is truly your Father, and He is Holy, we are called to follow in His footsteps...of holiness.   These steps, especially the first can be brutal, and some can't seem to get out, life is up and down.  The secret to get beyond...keep giving, more to the Lord.  Keep searching until you begin to find the life of grace.  When we pray "give us this day our daily bread, we are praying for the bread of thanksgiving, of appreciation, of gratitude, of beginning to be strong in His life.  And guess what?  He provides.  That is why Abraham called the mountain where he was going to kill his beloved son, he named the mount "The Lord Provides".  Because the Lord stepped in and provided HIS only Beloved Son instead.  Gratefulness then...counts.  It counts alot!  The reason I can hug a mad man full of rage is because I am reaching out for the grace to do so...and this is the sign of a man on a cross, who died for me and you so we could do the same.
The Lord speaks today, and He shows us how to pray.  He shows us the Lord's prayer.  We have to be careful when reciting this prayer, otherwise you'll be just blabbering words without meaning.  If it is a prayer, it is a conversation with the Lord.  That is why the rosary is a tricky weapon to learn how to use.  Used wrong, it can hurt you more than help.  How can it hurt me?  If I do not properly give glory to God then you drag it down.  But it is worse not to pray at all, rather get hurt trying and learning.  It's the story of a loser and a winner.  A loser never tries or tries and gives up.  A winner is the one who kept trying until something happened.  This is why we P.U.S.H., Pray, Until, Something, Happens.  The rosary is a different type of prayer.  If I take my time and contemplate truly the prayer and go into meditation, a simple rosary could take me an hour to pray.  I know because it happened one time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, exposed.  Unfortunately, there is hardly any time to pray the rosary, no time to deepen our faith.  Take the time!  Let the words of the Lord cut your heart open.  Let the sting of the truth mix with your blood.  Let the Eucharist be what it is, the Body of the Lord mixed with yours so that yours can be made more...Holy, and wholey His!  When we pray "thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven", we are in a sense saying "what we do on earth let it be done in Heaven".  This is a powerful set of words, and critical.  What you are doing now, counts for later, and counts in Heaven.  You be the one to humble down.  You be the one who can change the world.  You be the one that sets the tone for peace.  You be the one that becomes the least...the servant of the Master, and that Master is Our Father...who is in Heaven, Holy is His Name, who we pray for His Kingdom, to be one with us, and we beg for bread to feed our souls, and we beg for mercy, as we are merciful on one another, and we beg not to be led into temptations a world of darkness, but delivered from this evil.

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