Tuesday, November 10, 2015

When I Am Finished

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Minute Meditations

Opportunity to Serve

We need to think less about our own personal comforts and more about the pain of those who are suffering. We need to look into the face of the poor and see Christ there. Those in need are not a burden they are gifts given by God so we have opportunities to share and to serve.

— from St. Anthony Messenger

St. Leo the Great
(d. 461)

With apparent strong conviction of the importance of the Bishop of Rome in the Church, and of the Church as the ongoing sign of Christ's presence in the world, Leo the Great displayed endless dedication as pope. Elected in 440, he worked tirelessly as "Peter's successor," guiding his fellow bishops as "equals in the episcopacy and infirmities."

Leo is known as one of the best administrative popes of the ancient Church. His work branched into four main areas, indicative of his notion of the pope's total responsibility for the flock of Christ. He worked at length to control the heresies of Pelagianism (overemphasizing human freedom), Manichaeism (seeing everything material as evil) and others, placing demands on their followers so as to secure true Christian beliefs. A second major area of his concern was doctrinal controversy in the Church in the East, to which he responded with a classic letter setting down the Church's teaching on the two natures of Christ. With strong faith, he also led the defense of Rome against barbarian attack, taking the role of peacemaker.

In these three areas, Leo's work has been highly regarded. His growth to sainthood has its basis in the spiritual depth with which he approached the pastoral care of his people, which was the fourth focus of his work. He is known for his spiritually profound sermons. An instrument of the call to holiness, well-versed in Scripture and ecclesiastical awareness, Leo had the ability to reach the everyday needs and interests of his people. One of his sermons is used in the Office of Readings on Christmas.

It is said of Leo that his true significance rests in his doctrinal insistence on the mysteries of Christ and the Church and in the supernatural charisms of the spiritual life given to humanity in Christ and in his Body, the Church. Thus Leo held firmly that everything he did and said as pope for the administration of the Church represented Christ, the head of the Mystical Body, and St. Peter, in whose place Leo acted.


It is said of Leo that his true significance rests in his doctrinal insistence on the mysteries of Christ and the church and in the supernatural charisms of the spiritual life given to humanity in Christ and in his body, the church. Thus Leo held firmly that everything he did and said as pope for the administration of the church represented Christ, the head of the Mystical Body, and Saint Peter, in whose place Leo acted.


At a time when there is widespread criticism of Church structures, we also hear criticism that bishops and priests—indeed, all of us—are too preoccupied with administration of temporal matters. Pope Leo is an example of a great administrator who used his talents in areas where spirit and structure are inseparably combined: doctrine, peace and pastoral care. He avoided an "angelism" that tries to live without the body, as well as the "practicality" that deals only in externals.

Daily Prayer - 2015-11-10


I reflect for a moment on God's presence around me and in me.
Creator of the universe, the sun and the moon, the earth,
every molecule, every atom, everything that is:
God is in every beat of my heart. God is with me, now.


Thank you God for my freedom
May I use this gift to do what I can
for those who are oppressed or burdened.


In the presence of my loving Creator,
I look honestly at my feelings over the last day,
the highs, the lows and the level ground.
Can I see where the Lord has been present?

The Word of God

Reading 1 Wis 2:23--3:9

God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made them.
But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world,
and they who are in his possession experience it.

But the souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19

R. (2a) I will bless the Lord at all times.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
I will bless the Lord at all times.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
I will bless the Lord at all times.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
I will bless the Lord at all times.

Alleluia Jn 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 17:7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles:
"Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
'Come here immediately and take your place at table'?
Would he not rather say to him,
'Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished'?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
'We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'"

- - -

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Slavery was an accepted part of most ancient cultures and Jesus' listeners would easily understand the point he is making here. In the modern world we have rejected slavery and see it as unjust. So to apply this model, as Jesus does, to the relationship between God and ourselves is likely to make us uneasy.
  • But can we at least accept that our obedience to God is required by the very nature of who God is? That it is not something to boast about or seek a reward for? Especially since our obedience is that of a son or daughter to a loving Father


Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words.
You can see into my heart.
You know my desires and you know my needs.
I place myself into your hands.


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: Wisdom 2:23--3:9

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Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

God formed man to be imperishable. (Wisdom 2:23)

As anyone who has suffered the death of a loved one can tell you, loss can be very painful. It's hard to lose someone you love. Your lives have been deeply intertwined, and tearing one away can feel like it will be the end of both. But the truth is that death is not our enemy. God made us for eternal life, and even though it is very difficult to lose someone, our grief speaks to us of our hope for eternal life.

We all experience grief; it's a natural and healthy response to loss. It makes us feel lonely, abandoned, and forgotten. But that's not the end of our story. Grief is a process we go through; it's a phase, not a destination. It is meant to bring us, over time, to peace. As time passes, the hope of heaven shines more and more brightly, and our pain and loss slowly diminish. As we draw closer to the Lord, holding on to the truths of who we are and what we were made for, the veil between this life and the next becomes thinner and thinner—to the point that we begin longing for the Second Coming.

That's why these words from the Book of Wisdom are so comforting. They remind us that heaven is our true home. They tell us that our loved ones are precious to God, and having passed through bodily death, they have the joys of heaven. St. Francis of Assisi proclaimed this as he praised God for "Sister Bodily Death," saying, "Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them."

If you have lost a loved one recently, let today's reading bring you comfort. As you go through the process of grieving, know that the pain won't last forever. Stay close to Jesus, and know that a life lived for him in this world is not all that far from the heavenly life he has in store for you.

"Lord Jesus, I believe that death is not my enemy because you have defeated it! Help me stay close to you so that I can experience your eternal life."

Psalm 34:2-3, 16-19
Luke 17:7-10


Count yourself as honored right now.  Ok?  Count yourself as having been blessed, looked with favor.  Why?  How can I say that?  Because, you have spent this time with the Lord and for the Lord.  "But I didn't really get much out of it" some may think.  Do you need to see results to be satisfied?  Do you need to see how a miracle works to make it valid?  No.  Because this is the gift of faith.  We believe, and believing means blessing.  We read today "Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love.  Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect."  Yours is mercy and grace.  You are chosen to read this today.  See to it that in every ministry you serve that it is "an honor".  If it is a chore, then it is not for Love...for the Lord our Master in Heaven.  If it bothers you then leave...leave it to the Lord.  Why don't you pray about it?  Why don't you be honest with the Lord? Why don't you let Him figure it out?  For we are but servants in the Kingdom of the King of Kings! 
I often read this first scripture in funerals.  It is good, it's from a book that protestants tossed out...Wisdom.  When people are first being proved by God's love, they suffer.  This means a purification into His realms.  Take heart! Have courage!  You are taking the proper steps to the Lord!  Impurities have to be burned off of us.  This is connected with the purification on earth and purgatory. is good to suffer, and even better when it is offered and for the Lord our God!

"I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the LORD;", when our Lord speaks of Glory, many a time it is a sacrificial offering...and ultimately of self to Him.  That is why the St. Francis quote we read today speaks of a second death, the first was already an offering to the's entire life.  The other is a natural death.  Notice the term "natural", for the people today are losing the sense of what is natural.  It is natural to be human, pro-create naturally, naturally love, and unnatural to hate and kill.  This is contrary to blessing the Lord at all times.  So what is happening at all times in my soul?

The Lord speaks, and how wonderful to live another day and to be honored to take Him in to our souls! "'Come here immediately and take your place at table'"  and we participate of what He serves...Himself eternally.  My faithfulness here is then what matters.  For He serves what is divine and I call it mine...but do I call myself His?  Think about the many times the Lord cooks for the people, like the priest consecrating on the altar, the table of abundance.  Jesus appears after HIS resurrection, one time He was on the seashore cooking fish after the men were tired of fishing all day and He commands them to come and eat.  He is the servant.  The servant simply does as He is asked.  What are you asking of the Lord?  Mercy?  Charity?  Then we are to serve mercy and charity.  Giving is a one way street.  I remember as I served at some cursillos, a brother always told everyone how many cursillos and how many years he had served.  It really got under my skin "why are you counting!?" I think I mentioned it to him once.  There is no counting, as if you will send an invoice for it later, as if to say "you can pay me back later".  The Lord is countless.  We can not have an exact figure of the innumerable times He has been graceful, merciful, and saving.  The instances are immeasurable.  During a parish retreat this past Saturday, I almost hurt my neck looking back at the entrance door to see if anyone I invited were to come in.  Why?  Why the worry?  "Oh this would be so good for them" and the whole time losing focus of myself being there.  It is an honor, remember.  Be happy simply that you are His.  One thought did hit me though, "it is good to be here, I wish they were here, it's like being in Heaven waiting for the loved ones, the souls to come in and they never do" so Heaven becomes a place of prayer, intercession, and I started taking notes during the retreat and sending texts out to several about what was going on.  Now, this message is being sent to you.  Those who trust in Him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with Him in love.

What else can I do for you?


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