Monday, October 19, 2015

Good Things Stored

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Minute Meditations

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Set time aside each day for quietness. It is in the stillness that you can hear the voice of God. Take five minutes a day to unplug, logout, and disconnect. Simply rest in the presence of God.
— from Created to Relate

Blessed Paul VI

Born near Brescia in northern Italy, Giovanni Battista Montini was the second of three sons. His father, Giorgio, was a lawyer, editor, and eventually a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. His mother, Giuditta, was very involved in Catholic Action.

After ordination in 1920, Giovanni did graduate studies in literature, philosophy, and canon law in Rome before he joined the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1924, where he worked for 30 years. He was also chaplain to the Federation of Italian Catholic University Students, where he met and became a very good friend of Aldo Moro, who eventually became prime minister (1963-68 and 1974-76). Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigade in March 1978, and murdered two months later. A devastated Pope Paul VI presided at his funeral.

In 1954, Montini was named archbishop of Milan, where he sought to win disaffected workers back to the Catholic Church. He called himself the "archbishop of the workers" and visited factories regularly while overseeing the rebuilding of a local Church tremendously disrupted by World War II.

In 1958, Montini was the first of 23 cardinals named by Pope John XXIII, two months after the latter's election as pope. Cardinal Montini helped in preparing Vatican II and participated enthusiastically in its first sessions. When he was elected pope in June 1963, he immediately decided to continue that Council, which had another three sessions before its conclusion on December 8, 1965. The day before Vatican II concluded, Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras revoked the excommunications that their predecessors had made in 1054. Pope Paul worked very hard to ensure that bishops would approve the Council's 16 documents by overwhelming majorities. 

Paul VI had stunned the world by visiting the Holy Land in January 1964, and meeting Athenagoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in person. The pope made eight more international trips, including one in 1965, to visit New York City and speak on behalf of peace before the United Nations General Assembly. He also visited India, Columbia, Uganda, and seven Asian countries during a 10-day visit in 1970.

In 1965 he instituted the World Synod of Bishops and the next year decreed that bishops must offer their resignations on reaching age 75. In 1970, he decided that cardinals over 80 would no longer vote in papal conclaves or head the Holy See's major offices. He had increased the number of cardinals significantly, giving many countries their first cardinal. Eventually establishing diplomatic relations between the Holy See and 40 countries, he also instituted a permanent observer mission at the United Nations in 1964. Pope Paul wrote seven encyclicals; his last one in 1968, on human life (Humanae Vitae) prohibited artificial birth control.

He died at Castel Gandolfo on August 6, 1978, and was buried in St. Peter's Basilica. He was beatified on October 19, 2014.


Blessed Pope Paul's greatest accomplishment was the completion and implementation of Vatican II. Its decisions about liturgy were the first ones noticed by most Catholics, but its other documents—especially the ones about ecumenism, interfaith relations, divine revelation, religious liberty, the Church's self-understanding, and the Church's work with the entire human family—have become the Catholic Church's roadmap since 1965.


His 1975 post-synodal apostolic exhortation, "Announcing the Gospel," completed the work of the previous year's synod on evangelization. In that text, Blessed Paul VI noted that people listen more carefully to witnesses than to teachers— or rather, to teachers who are witnesses.

Daily Prayer - 2015-10-19


At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
He is always waiting, listening for our call.
What a wonderful blessing.
No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.


I ask for the grace
to let go of my own concerns
and be open to what God is asking of me,
to let myself be guided and formed by my loving Creator.


Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit.  If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.

The Word of God

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs

Reading 1 Rom 4:20-25

Brothers and sisters:
Abraham did not doubt God's promise in unbelief;
rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God
and was fully convinced that what God had promised
he was also able to do.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
But it was not for him alone that it was written
that it was credited to him;
it was also for us, to whom it will be credited,
who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
who was handed over for our transgressions
and was raised for our justification.

Responsorial Psalm Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75

R. (see 68) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

Alleluia Mt 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
"Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me."
He replied to him,
"Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?"
Then he said to the crowd,
"Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one's life does not consist of possessions."

Then he told them a parable.
"There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, 'What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?'
And he said, 'This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, "Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!"'
But God said to him,
'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?'
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God."

- - -

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • What are we, in fact, living for? The demands of our way of life can make it difficult to put first things first.
  • It is only in our relationship to Jesus, that we can discover who we truly are, and the person of value he sees us to be.


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


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: Luke 12:13-21

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Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs (Memorial)

Eat, drink, be merry! (Luke 12:19)

If you've ever piloted a small aircraft, you know that navigation needs to be an essential part of your skill set. You should be able to use visual recognition, comparing your charts to features on the ground such as roads, railroad tracks, and rivers. You should also know your instruments so that you can fly at night or in bad weather or cloud cover. You would never get in your plane, close your eyes, and ask yourself, "Now, what's the best way to get to where I want to go?" You'd be lost within minutes!

That's precisely the mistake that the landowner in this parable makes. He has to decide what to do with all the produce from his harvest. It's more than he can possibly use. You'd think perhaps he would ask other landowners what they would do in his situation. Or you might even hope that he would ask God about it. Or at least he could find some way to share his harvest with people who are struggling. But all he does is consult himself (Luke 12:17). And so, with no input from anyone else, he comes up with the answer that benefits him the most—just keep it all.

So many of our decisions have to do with how to spend our resources—our time, our abilities, our affections, and so much more. It's not just about our money; it's about our hearts. If we don't ask God to help us in these decisions, we risk flying blind. But when we do seek his guidance through the Church, in prayer, and through the people he has placed in our lives, new paths open up. Life stops being just about us. We discover opportunities to help people and to build his kingdom on earth.

God may not give us a precise map to follow into our future, but he does give us plenty of guidance. More than anything, he wants us to acknowledge, along with Pope Francis, that "the gift of the earth with its fruits belongs to everyone" (Laudato Si', 71). We can't do what the selfish landowner in today's parable did and keep all our possessions locked up for ourselves. Every gift we have is meant to be shared!

"Lord, everything belongs to you. Thank you for sharing it with us so generously. By your Spirit, teach us how to be just as generous!"

Romans 4:20-25
(Psalm) Luke 1:69-75

It would be safe to say that the world is full of greedy and needy people, and that it is safe to say, the world is enough to sustain every human life, but there is starvation, the scales not balanced with the greedy and the needy.  The temptation is too great.  If there is a large bowl of food for the day, a family might be tempted to hog up the whole thing, to look out for themselves, afterall, everyone else does it...right?  What do you do in secret?  Because greed manifests itself in secret.  Lust is greed for sensual pleasures.  Gluttony is greed for self.  And richness in wealth, no different, just another form of greed, another form of satisfying self.  There are things in my life that I can not have, because something would have to be sacrificed to get, either family time, or family itself, or even more...time with God and God Himself!  This is why St. Paul speaks of a faith, of not just one, but one that makes faith for the rest, and in summation, the life of Christ for all of us.
The Psalms pray on "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people. He has come to his people and set them free."  It is said that Abraham, was well to do, he had no need for going on a crazy journey for God.  He had it made in the shade.  Yet God called, and yet...He obeyed.  Eventually the Lord promises Him a promised land, and so many descendants that you could never count...but first Abraham had obeyed.  What we have here is the Lord entering our lives...and taking control.  Or else...what has control of your life right now?  Your problems?  Your infatuations?  Your obessessions?  Your depression?  What has control of your life?  Because read the Psalm again and let it sink into your heart "Blessed be the Lord...He has come to His people, He has come to set them free".  Freedom?  From what? From who?  From sin and death.  Those things that have you in the clutches, because He is freedom.  Living simply is to simply live with Him, in total surrender and love.
So many tragic and divisive family stories I've heard hinge on greed like today's Holy Gospel.  Like when my mom's parents died when she was 11 years old.  It was a tragedy, to be orphans in a remote village in Mexico.  9 Children, fending for themselves, and the devastation grew as the greed grew "those were my cows!" and "that's my land!".  Because the dad was killed on the farm by a tractor crushing him while working alone.  And the mom would soon die of a brain tumor, suffering til the end.  It was to the point that one brother would threaten another, and one sister get really mad at another.  Who could save them now?  Only our Lord could...and did.  Because the faith had been implemented, because the Lord's presence was among them.  I often symbolize that Lord among them as the crippled and mentally retarded uncle "Jilo" they all had to take care was a cross.  He was a cross many did not and supposedly "could not" carry. Imagine changing a grown man's pampers every day and washing him and this retarded man would often yell and pinch and bite!  Who wants that cross?  Not many.  Yet, it is the faith and it is what unites.  The Lord knew how to keep them together, and He still does, and forever will.  The other day I heard of an elderly couple on a show called "American Greed".  They had invested all their stock in a lie, and they lost all their retirement, their farm, and their homes thanks to some conniving liar.  How can I say mean words like "canniving liar"?  Because I'm speaking of the devil.  The poor old couple got so bent out of shape that they died within months.  This would not be the case in the life of a Christ centered family.  Many people lose it all, but why lose your life?  And we're speaking a life with Christ.  Living simply with Him is now taking on a whole new dimension.  I would agree 100% with the pope that the economy is suffering because of greed.  Let economists and politicians blame it on the moon and the rain, but we all know the crunch comes from a past that haunts.  I've studied micro and macro economics, and mostly I was surprised at how many theories involved in its study.  Never though, never was it mentioned the factor of greed.  Now, do you have to be a millionaire to be considered possibly greedy?  Because I know many poor folks that are very greedy and don't share with the needy.  They say "they don't need my help, that loser just needs to get a job".  Now, did these words come from a rich or poor person?  I've heard it from both.  Suddenly, greed is a factor of the heart.  Many friends of Jesus were rich in wealth, and poor in health.  Money is not a factor until it is the center of your life.  LOL.  The other day my little neighbor nephew said "my mommy says you are rich".  Woops! What could I say?  Hmm, I started thinking, "why would she say that about me?" I've pleaded them to pray with us, got to church with us and they don't.  The mommy goes alone now after years of prayer, but the rest?  Well, I'm still praying.  Is it because I have one more car than them?  Is it because I have more kids than them?  Is it because my house has one more bedroom? Or the type of tile in my house?  Is it because I bought my kid a gas four wheeler and they bought theres an electric one (cost same)?  Truth is, I am rich.  I have running water, whereas where I grew up in Mexico, we had none.  I am rich because I have tapped into a source that many will not and can not, and that source of water to make for fertility and abundance is Jesus Christ.  Long before we knew, it was worked out. God had a plan.  I want you to live that plan out of salvation.  Let God have His way with your life, which obey God like Abraham.  Not because what's in store for me, for Abraham never got to the promised land, neither did Moses, but it was all about the journey.  I like the show's name by Marcus Grodi "The Journey Home".  It's a story about how protestants find their way back to the original Christian faith...the Catholic Faith.  But the Journey Home is only the beginning.  Can you imagine all this life you've lived is only the beginning?  And if it is so, we should cherish every moment that is passing.  Surrender yourself to God.  This is freedom, the Master calls, and we belong to Him.  It feels really good to have a Master.  He feeds me, He feeds us.  He takes care of me, He takes care of us.  Surrender, obey, to His way, which is against selfishness and greed, in a caring form of giving, more and more until it hurts...and then still more...

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