Friday, April 29, 2016

I Have Called

"While the world changes, the cross stands firm." — St. Bruno MEDITATION OF THE DAY "In this mortal life, our peace consists in the humble bearing

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"While the world changes, the cross stands firm."
— St. Bruno


"In this mortal life, our peace consists in the humble bearing of suffering and contradictions, not in being free of them, for we cannot live in this world without adversity. Those who can best suffer will enjoy the most peace, for such persons are masters of themselves, lords of the world, with Christ for their friend, and heaven as their reward."
— Thomas รก Kempis, p.73
Imitation of Christ, p73


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St. Catherine of Siena


The value Catherine makes central in her short life and which sounds clearly and consistently through her experience is complete surrender to Christ. What is most impressive about her is that she learns to view her surrender to her Lord as a goal to be reached through time.

She was the 23rd child of Jacopo and Lapa Benincasa and grew up as an intelligent, cheerful and intensely religious person. Catherine disappointed her mother by cutting off her hair as a protest against being overly encouraged to improve her appearance in order to attract a husband. Her father ordered her to be left in peace, and she was given a room of her own for prayer and meditation.

She entered the Dominican Third Order at 18 and spent the next three years in seclusion, prayer and austerity. Gradually a group of followers gathered around her—men and women, priests and religious. An active public apostolate grew out of her contemplative life. Her letters, mostly for spiritual instruction and encouragement of her followers, began to take more and more note of public affairs. Opposition and slander resulted from her mixing fearlessly with the world and speaking with the candor and authority of one completely committed to Christ. She was cleared of all charges at the Dominican General Chapter of 1374.

Her public influence reached great heights because of her evident holiness, her membership in the Dominican Third Order, and the deep impression she made on the pope. She worked tirelessly for the crusade against the Turks and for peace between Florence and the pope

In 1378, the Great Schism began, splitting the allegiance of Christendom between two, then three, popes and putting even saints on opposing sides. Catherine spent the last two years of her life in Rome, in prayer and pleading on behalf of the cause of Urban VI and the unity of the Church. She offered herself as a victim for the Church in its agony. She died surrounded by her "children" and was canonized in 1461.

Catherine ranks high among the mystics and spiritual writers of the Church. In 1939, she and Francis of Assisi were declared co-patrons of Italy. Paul VI named her and Teresa of Avila doctors of the Church in 1970. Her spiritual testament is found in The Dialogue.


Though she lived her life in a faith experience and spirituality far different from that of our own time, Catherine of Siena stands as a companion with us on the Christian journey in her undivided effort to invite the Lord to take flesh in her own life. Events which might make us wince or chuckle or even yawn fill her biographies: a mystical experience at six, childhood betrothal to Christ, stories of harsh asceticism, her frequent ecstatic visions. Still, Catherine lived in an age which did not know the rapid change of 21st-century mobile America. The value of her life for us today lies in her recognition of holiness as a goal to be sought over the course of a lifetime.


Catherine's book Dialogue contains four treatises—her testament of faith to the spiritual world. She wrote: "No one should judge that he has greater perfection because he performs great penances and gives himself in excess to the staying of the body than he who does less, inasmuch as neither virtue nor merit consists therein; for otherwise he would be an evil case, who for some legitimate reason was unable to do actual penance. Merit consists in the virtue of love alone, flavored with the light of true discretion without which the soul is worth nothing."

Patron Saint of:


Sacred Space
Daily Prayer - 2016-04-29


I pause for a moment
and think of the love and the grace
that God showers on me,
creating me in his image and likeness,
making me his temple....


Lord, guide me always
to do your holy will
knowing that your strength
will carry me through.


Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence.
Teach me to recognise your presence in others.
Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.

The Word of God

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1 Acts 15:22-31

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
"The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
'It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'"

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.

Responsorial Psalm PS 57:8-9, 10 and 12
R. (10a) I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.
My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn.

R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD,
I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the skies.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
above all the earth be your glory!

R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 15:15b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

The more I become aware that I am infinitely loved, the more I am able to share that reservoir of love with people who need it. I must not wait for the other person to love me, just as God does not await my love but initiates the relationship.
'I call you friend!' I let the Lord breathe that precious word across the space between us. I let him say it over and over again until it penetrates the thick crust of my disbelief.


Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God?
Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry?
Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me,
I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.


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: John 15:12-17

Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

I . . . chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain. (John 15:16)

Big or small? Eat-in or carryout? Cream and sugar? These are just a few of the many choices we make on a regular basis. They're largely insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they do have an effect on us.

Today, let's focus on one very important choice that Jesus has made and the effect this choice has had on us: his choice for you.

Yes, Jesus chose you, specifically and especially you. You are "precious" and "honored" in his sight (Isaiah 43:4). You belong to him, just as a bride belongs to her husband or brothers and sisters belong to each other in a close family.

Jesus' love for you isn't static; it's dynamic! It inspired him to create the world and give it to you as a gift. It brought you into existence and moved him to become a man for your sake. It compelled him to live like you in all things but sin and to die and to rise. He did it all for you.

What does this say about you? Much indeed! First and foremost, it says that you have been marked by divine love. You have been filled with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. And yes, it shows that you have been chosen—handpicked—by almighty God to "go and bear fruit that will remain" (John 15:16).

Look around: Jesus has placed you in a mission field. Think about your family. He wants you to express your love to them every day—in your speech, in your thoughts, and in your actions. Think about your work. Jesus has placed you there, whatever your daily labor entails, so that you can bring him glory. What about your neighbors, friends, and even strangers? Pray for them, and serve them—and watch with delight as good fruit comes to them as a result.

All around us, there are countless opportunities to bear good and lasting fruit. Why? Because we have been chosen—we have been hand picked and commissioned and empowered—by Jesus himself.

"Lord, thank you for your love for me. Help me, like you, to and go and bear fruit that will last."

Acts 15:22-31
Psalm 57:8-10, 12




In today's 1st Holy Scripture, we read these few words "The ones chosen were...". The chosen ones were sent to deliver a message. Is your message being delivered loud and clear? Because the one doing the appointing is the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is God and God is our Father. And the Holy Spirit inspired people of God received the message with great joy. Last night, we had kicked off our Ultreya (gathering of Cursillistas) to welcome new cursillistas, and then a little busload (literally they came in a little bus) arrives and the leader came in dancing, hootin' and hollering De Colores! It was a fire to the fire that would make a greater fire. This is how the news today reached the people in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Because the Holy Spirit was very evident in their lives, speaking very loudly, very strongly, very clear that the Lord is at work and will always be, so long as there is a soul breathing, and then...forever. God's name is love and love is an action, not an adjective. Keep that in mind as we hear the Holy Gospel.

First the Holy Psalms " I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord." The Holy Eucharist upon the Altar consecrated by priestly hands that were consecrated from the Apostles, consecrated by Jesus Himself, the Eucharist means to give thanks. This is true love at work, true friendship. Therefore, rightly we prayed today "My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and chant praise." My anti-catholic brother in law, now divorcing with my sister once told me about my faith "you know what I like about you? You are constant (in your faith)". My heart is steadfast. What makes it beat is the Lord. Therefore, thoughts going in and out are immersed with Him, by the blood I drink from the Altar. I need Him, probably more than most typical people, for if I appear strong, I am weak, and if I appear weak, it is when I am strong, and the sufferings for friendships are proven. "Awake, O my soul; wake, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn." The sun breaks the night and makes it disappear. The Son of God makes darkness disappear, make evil go away, so long as we tend to the Friend, the BFF, best friend forever, and if He is your bestest friend, then in Him you will trust, and believe, and follow and spend your time with constantly...steadfast.

In comes your best friend (so He calls you). ""This is my commandment: love one another as I love you." It is not a suggestion, it is the New Covenant, making the renewed commandment, to love God and love one another. This command shall cover the earth and a multitude of sins (1Peter4:8) "Above all, keep loving one another EARNESTLY, since love covers a multitude of sins". If you lack in love, then give love. If you don't feel loved, then go love somebody. If you feel like dying then go die for somebody by giving life to them. Last night a new cursillista said she felt like dying, even taking her life in depression, and it seemed it was because she had broken away from her family at a young age, got pregnant, her boyfriend abandoned her and she felt she couldn't go back home. Last night was the prodigal daughter being embraced by the Father. A cursillo team person said on the microphone "take care of her, she is so tender and has had such a beautiful experience with the Lord". This is why God says today "love one another as I love you". Just because we stray doesn't mean He goes away. Her 6.5 ft. tall 300 lb. father was sitting next to me with tears in his eyes, he had been to a cursillo, and this was the last of his 3 daughters to go to a cursillo, now, they were reunited in Love and God is Love, the glue in life that holds everything together. All because we said yes to our Friend our Father, and all because He showed the way, teaching a life of obedience and self surrender, just like His Mom and Dad. "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." If you are going to die (and you will) then what or whom would you have died for?

Jesus is waiting




Thursday, April 28, 2016

MY joy might

"Be peace-loving. Peace is a precious treasure to be sought with great zeal. You are well aware that our sins arouse God's anger. You must change your

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"Be peace-loving. Peace is a precious treasure to be sought with great zeal. You are well aware that our sins arouse God's anger. You must change your life, therefore, so that God in his mercy will pardon you. What we conceal from men is known to God. Be converted, then, with a sincere heart. Live your life that you may receive the blessing of the Lord. Then the peace of God our Father will be with you always."
— St. Francis of Paola

"Jesus is nailed to the Cross. The shroud of Turin gives us an idea of the unbelievable cruelty of this procedure . . . Let us halt before this image of pain, before the suffering Son of God. Let us look upon him at times of presumptuousness and pleasure, in order to learn to respect limits and to see the superficiality of all merely material goods. Let us look upon him at times of trial and tribulation and realize that it is then that we are closest to God."
— Pope Benedict XVI, p.104-05
Way of the Cross, 104-105


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Blessed Buonadonna (Luchesio and Buonadonna)


Luchesio and his wife Buonadonna wanted to follow St. Francis as a married couple. Thus they set in motion the Secular Franciscan Order.

Luchesio and Buonadonna lived in Poggibonzi, Italy, where he was a greedy merchant. Meeting Francis—probably in 1213—changed his life. He began to perform many works of charity.

At first Buonadonna was not as enthusiastic about giving so much away as Luchesio was. One day after complaining that he was giving everything to strangers, Buonadonna answered the door only to find someone else needing help. Luchesio asked her to give the poor man some bread. She frowned but went to the pantry anyway. There she discovered more bread than had been there the last time she looked. She soon became as zealous for a poor and simple life as Luchesio was. They sold the business, farmed enough land to provide for their needs and distributed the rest to the poor.

In the 13th century some couples, by mutual consent and with the Church's permission, separated so that the husband could join a monastery (or a group such as Francis began) and his wife could go to a cloister. Conrad of Piacenza and his wife did just that. This choice existed for childless couples or for those whose children had already grown up. Luchesio and Buonadonna wanted another alternative, a way of sharing in religious life, but outside the cloister.

To meet this desire, Francis set up the Secular Franciscan Order. Francis wrote a simple Rule for the Third Order (Secular Franciscans) at first; Pope Honorius III approved a more formally worded Rule in 1221.

The charity of Luchesio drew the poor to him, and, like many other saints, he and Buonadonna seemed never to lack the resources to help these people.

One day Luchesio was carrying a crippled man he had found on the road. A frivolous young man came up and asked, "What poor devil are you are carrying on your back?" "I am carrying my Lord Jesus Christ," responded Luchesio. The young man immediately begged Luchesio's pardon.

Luchesio and Buonadonna both died on April 28, 1260. He was beatified in 1273. Local tradition referred to Buonadonna as "blessed" though the title was not given officially.


It is easy to mock the poor, to trample on their God-given dignity. Mother Teresa of Calcutta often referred to poverty as Christ's "distressing disguise." Since it is so easy to make people feel unwanted—the poor, the sick, the mentally or physically handicapped, the aged, the unemployed—resisting that temptation indicates the level of generosity in our lives. If the followers of Francis see Christ in the poor as Luchesio and Buonadonna did, they enrich the Church and keep it faithful to its Lord.


Francis used to say, "Whoever curses a poor man does an injury to Christ, whose noble image he wears, the image of him who made himself poor for us in this world" (1 Celano, #76).


Sacred Space
Daily Prayer - 2016-04-28


God is with me, but more, God is within me.
Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence
in my body, in my mind, in my heart,
as I sit here, right now.


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.


There is a time and place for everything, as the saying goes.
Lord, grant that I may always desire
to spend time in your presence.
To hear your call.

The Word of God

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 15:7-21

After much debate had taken place,
Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters,
"My brothers, you are well aware that from early days
God made his choice among you that through my mouth
the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe.
And God, who knows the heart,
bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit
just as he did us.
He made no distinction between us and them,
for by faith he purified their hearts.
Why, then, are you now putting God to the test
by placing on the shoulders of the disciples
a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
On the contrary, we believe that we are saved
through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they."
The whole assembly fell silent,
and they listened
while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders
God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

After they had fallen silent, James responded,
"My brothers, listen to me.
Symeon has described how God first concerned himself
with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name.
The words of the prophets agree with this, as is written:

After this I shall return
and rebuild the fallen hut of David;
from its ruins I shall rebuild it
and raise it up again,
so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord,
even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked.
Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things,
known from of old.

It is my judgment, therefore,
that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God,
but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols,
unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood.
For Moses, for generations now,
has had those who proclaim him in every town,
as he has been read in the synagogues every sabbath."

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 10
R. (3) Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.

R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
R. Alleluia.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.

R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
R. Alleluia.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.

R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep know my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 15:9-11

Jesus said to his disciples:
"As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father's commandments
and remain in his love.

"I have told you this so that
my joy might be in you and
your joy might be complete."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

St Ignatius would have us begin our prayer by considering how God sees us. There is no better place to begin, and no better place to end! Each of us can say, 'You see me as your well-beloved'. Much of our prayer time can be taken up in simply savouring this delightful truth about ourselves.
If we pray like this, the joy of God will fill our hearts. In the Gospels, joy is always linked with closeness to the Lord. So Mary and Elizabeth pour out their joy in the Visitation scene and the shepherds and the Magi are full of joy when they find the Lord. Joy is the best indicator that a person is living close to Jesus.


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: Acts 15:7-21

Saint Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

We ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God. (Acts 15:19)

For centuries, the Israelites had been taught that the Gentiles were unclean. Just entering into the house of a Gentile would render a Jew unclean, and he would have to go through a series of steps to become purified again.

So imagine the apostles' shock when they realized that the Holy Spirit was also calling the Gentiles into the Church. Suddenly, for the first time in history, God was asking them to put aside the traditions of avoiding contact with Gentiles. In fact, he was telling them to embrace the "unclean" new believers and call them brothers and sisters in Christ.

That must have been a lot for the Christians to work through, and it's a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit that the merging of these two peoples went as smoothly as it did.

Today, the ideal of a universal Church made up of people from all over the earth has come to pass. Still, people sometimes complain that Catholics can be overly exclusive. Perhaps we subtly look down on Christians from other traditions. Maybe we avoid making friends with non-Christians. Or maybe we emphasize the things that separate us from the rest of the world instead of the things that unite us.

Pope Francis has made very bold steps to help overcome this division. When he travels, he is often accompanied by two old friends: a Jewish rabbi and a Muslim, both of whom he came to know while he was living in Argentina. These friendships are important to him because they help him keep his horizons wide and welcoming.

Just as Pope Francis has made it a point to develop friendships with people of other faiths—or people who have no faith at all—he encourages us to do the same. Today, consider how you can open your life to people from other backgrounds or traditions. Approach them with friendship, not the goal of converting them. Appreciate the unique person God has created each of them to be, and let the Holy Spirit bind you together in love.

"Lord, give me the courage to open myself to people outside of my faith circle. Help me imitate your love for all people. Jesus, I want to be a friend to all!"

Psalm 96:1-3, 10
John 15:9-11



Powerful words today "...we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus" and this is what Catholics, the first Christians believe. We are saved by grace, not by what we do, not by proclaiming by word and confessing and just believing, but by grace. Grace is an impacting word, and it is very transforming. Let's keep all this in mind for when we hear the Word of God speak...our Lord Jesus.
The Psalms today we prayed said "Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations." So if Grace saves, why do we have to do things for the Lord? LOL, well, we have to be disposed and giving to God, which opens up Grace for us in our hearts, for the light to shine in your home, you have to open the door, or a window! You have to be available. Proclaim! For crying out loud, proclaim with your very life! "Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved; he governs the peoples with equity."
The King has entered our lives, the building is our souls, our temples of our bodies: ""As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love." REMAIN! Quedate! STAY! Do not ever leave. There have been instances in my life, not too many, where I have felt the call to stay, even spend the night, in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Have you ever gone to someone's place and the family asks you to stay with them and not leave? You feel the warmth and love of them opening not just their homes but their hearts, it is the same with the Lord, only He is an entire family of love and life, asking in such a humble way that it is so easy to dismiss. Jesus your Father and brother and friend and in the poor is asking, "will you stay with Me?" For only a little while. For just temporary, for the temporal, into the immortal. "will you pay attention to Me?" asks the Lord today. So many things have got your attention right now...what about ME? And so today's married saint surrenders his life to God and carries Him on His shoulders. What love will you carry on your shoulders? Will it be the Love of God? You see, the Lord is there for the you might take what He is offering....complete Joy, fullness of life. Listen to God's words today which lead us to a life for HIM:

I don't want you to go.
Stay with ME
I Love You