Monday, January 18, 2016

Fullness Pulls Away

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Minute Meditations

Encountering Christ
As Catholics, we believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Pope Francis, like so many people before him, has a firm commitment to spending time in prayer before the Eucharist. This might seem odd or awkward if we're not familiar with it. But if you give it a fair trial, you might discover some amazing graces that flow from this time-honored practice.
— from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy

St. Charles of Sezze


Charles thought that God was calling him to be a missionary in India, but he never got there. God had something better for this 17th-century successor to Brother Juniper.

Born in Sezze, southeast of Rome, Charles was inspired by the lives of Salvator Horta and Paschal Baylon to become a Franciscan; he did that in 1635. Charles tells us in his autobiography, "Our Lord put in my heart a determination to become a lay brother with a great desire to be poor and to beg alms for his love."

Charles served as cook, porter, sacristan, gardener and beggar at various friaries in Italy. In some ways, he was "an accident waiting to happen." He once started a huge fire in the kitchen when the oil in which he was frying onions burst into flames.

One story shows how thoroughly Charles adopted the spirit of St. Francis. The superior ordered Charles — then porter — to give food only to traveling friars who came to the door. Charles obeyed this direction; simultaneously the alms to the friars decreased. Charles convinced the superior the two facts were related. When the friars resumed giving goods to all who asked at the door, alms to the friars increased also.

At the direction of his confessor Charles wrote his autobiography, The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God. He also wrote several other spiritual books. He made good use of his various spiritual directors throughout the years; they helped him discern which of Charles' ideas or ambitions were from God. Charles himself was sought out for spiritual advice. The dying Pope Clement IX called Charles to his bedside for a blessing.

Charles had a firm sense of God's providence. Father Severino Gori has said, "By word and example he recalled in all the need of pursuing only that which is eternal" (Leonard Perotti, St. Charles of Sezze: An Autobiography, page 215).

He died at San Francesco a Ripa in Rome and was buried there. Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1959.


The drama in the lives of the saints is mostly interior. Charles' life was spectacular only in his cooperation with God's grace. He was captivated by God's majesty and great mercy to all of us.


Father Gori says that the autobiography of Charles "stands as a very strong refutation of the opinion, quite common among religious people, that saints are born saints, that they are privileged right from their first appearance on this earth. This is not so. Saints become saints in the usual way, due to the generous fidelity of their correspondence to divine grace. They had to fight just as we do, and more so, against their passions, the world and the devil" (St. Charles of Sezze: An Autobiography, page viii).

Daily Prayer - 2016-01-18


Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.


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.


My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
When I turn my thoughts to you,
I find peace and contentment.

The Word of God

Reading 1 1 Sm 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
"Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night."
Saul replied, "Speak!"
Samuel then said: "Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
'Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.'
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD."
Saul answered Samuel: "I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal."
But Samuel said:
"Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler."

Responsorial Psalm PS 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Responsorial Psalm Heb 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
"Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them,
"Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."

- - -
Some thoughts on today's scripture
  • Jesus joined our human race in order to raise it, by adoption, to the sphere of God in heaven. At the first Christmas, heaven was wedded to earth. The arrival of Jesus and the announcement of this great offer, then, was an occasion for deep rejoicing -- just as any wedding is.
  • Practices like the Pharisees' fasting, on the other hand, belonged to a more humdrum era. (Not that Christ's followers were always going to be spared pain -- persecutions would one day come).
  • Joy and celebration are key to the Christian life.


Dear Jesus, I can open up my heart to you.
I can tell you everything that troubles me.
I know you care about all the concerns in my life.
Teach me to live in the knowledge
that you who care for me today,
will care for me tomorrow and all the days of my life.


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: 1 Samuel 15:16-23

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2nd Week in Ordinary Time

I did indeed obey the Lord. (1 Samuel 15:20)

Poor King Saul! Until Samuel confronted him, he had no idea he had disobeyed God. As far as he was concerned, he had just wiped out a formidable enemy, as God had instructed. He just hadn't gotten around to dealing with their king yet. Surely that was a minor omission. He had even improved on God's commandment: instead of destroying all the livestock, he had set aside the choicest animals to offer as a sacrifice. Was that really such a bad thing?

Sometimes what God asks of us is very clear. We gladly carry out most of it, except for one minor detail. We work through our painful memories until we can forgive everyone who hurt us—except one person. We're willing to extend the kiss of peace to anyone at Mass—except that man whom you saw at the mall walking arm in arm with another man.

It's also tempting to add to God's simple commands and then impose our additions on other people. For instance, in situations where we're tempted to swear, we may decide to refrain from speaking at all, even when our strong reaction might provide a holy perspective.

Today begins the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Are there ways in which we are tempted to add to or take away from what God requires for the sake of unity? Maybe we go beyond what God commands, insisting that everyone adopt every detail of Catholic worship or Church governance. We forget that multiple perspectives can provide a fuller picture and that God is honored in many ways. Or do we seek unity at the expense of the fundamental truths of the gospel, minimizing the importance of any belief or practice that seems to divide us?

St. Augustine shows us a path to unity that is both simple and challenging: "In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity."

Knowing that Jesus, the Bridegroom, is dwelling with all of his people, let's ask him to show us the way forward. Let's seek out those "fresh wineskins" that can bear his potent love to a world longing for hope and meaning (Mark 2:22).

"Jesus, you urgently desire for all of your people to be one. Show us how we can cooperate with this great work of yours."

Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Mark 2:18-22

Fullness Pulls Away


What was so bad about King Saul today?  He took out the army he was told to take out.  Yeah...but, he didn't listen.  He was commanded to eliminate.  He was commanded to exterminate.  This means to wipe out, terminate their existence.  And if we are talking about exterminating the enemy, and now since Jesus came, the enemy is the devil, then it means for us to exterminate, completely wipe out our enemy from our lives.  Out with the same old same old, isn't it?  Out with our ideas of what we think we say is good and better.  I read a long text message reflection in spanish just now, and it brings up the story of a city man that took his young son to a poor part of town to show him a lesson on just how blessed they are.  They spent a whole day and night at a farm with a very humble family.  When the trip was over, and on returning home, the father asked his son: What did you think about the trip?
-'It was great dad!'
Dad:  "Did you see how poor and needy people can be?"
Dad: "And what did you learn son?"
-'That we have one dog at home, and they have four.  We have a 25 meter pool, and they have a stream without end.  We have imported lamps on the patio, and they have thousands of stars.  Our patio reaches to the end of the house, and theirs to the end of the horizon.  Especially, dad, I noticed that they have time to talk and live together in family.  You and my mom always have to work and I hardly ever see you and it is rare when you talk with me. 
When the talk was over, the father remained muted...and his son added: 'Thank you father, for showing me how rich we could one day be.'
Happiness is a trajectory, not a destiny."
Out with the old ideas, of what you have settled with...your sins!
The Psalms we pray today say " To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?"  We do what the Lord says...but fully?  With what kind of heart are you doing what He says?  This is the core of just about every single message sent to you.  Where is your heart?  "Thanks for the can I see your face?"  It's like when The Lord asked Adam and Eve, "where are you".  Of course they where in His garden...but where did they go?  Our Lord wanted that intimate relation to last forever, and we drifted, and the old became brittle, and fell apart.  "He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."  The trajectory, we can change and aim to Heaven.  Point there in everything you do.  What is being said here, when you take your eyes off the screen, it should re-phase your life.  It should get you away from the old, and prepare for the new, and let the new pour in.
The New comes in...Jesus,  "no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins"  and now the question is, are you ready for the new wine?  The new life?  I remember a saint said that upon a glimpse of Heaven, she said "everything there is always new".  If you've grown to love your life, then you love the old.  You are not ready for the new.  What have I just said?  Simple.  Love God more.  "I'm happy where I'm at".  This is where most people settle.  Settled for living in sin and lies, where the devil offers a false peace, the antichrist truly alive.  You should never be happy where you are at.  Not in your spiritual life.  Not at your level of holiness.  "So, Mr. Adrian, are you saying I should be unhappy?"  LOL! No!  If you are to grow to Jesus, you will grow in joyfulness.  I'm saying be free from sin and all the more the better.  If not for you, then the whole world!  If your light turns on and you dress in white with and for the groom, then the world will be that much brighter!  How do I grow more in love with Christ?  Grow in faith.  How do you get more faith?  Let's say it is a gift from God.  And do you think He will say no if you ask Him for more faith?  LOL.  He gives good things always.  It is for the better...of your soul.  A brand new piece of cloth won't work on an old piece, and new wine is too rich for the old.  On Sunday, we heard that our MOther Mary asked our Lord to perform His first miracle...turning water to wine.  It happened at a wedding.  His first miracle happened at a wedding.  Jesus provides.  Jesus is the groom.  This means He made it possible for human beings to be divine (like gods, God's children)...through Him.  He turns the world upside down with His last miracle as a human...when upon that cross, as He died for His bride (me and you), His blood had turned to water, as a sign of how He gave up His divinity for us.  Now His wine had become water.  That is to say "I have died for you, I have loved you more, and no one on earth can possibly love you more or better".  Let this be a lesson.  We who think we have it made in the shade in our spiritual life.  You are nowhere close to where you need to be to prance right into Heaven.  I say this so you will not settle for the lie you have mettled into.  I do not see long lines to confesion.  People live lies, I live lies.  I do not see long lines of people waiting to come into see prisoners or those abandoned in nursing homes.  "Too busy".  Lies.  I see long lines to movie theatres, and at stores.  Not too busy to suit ourselves.  And the lines to salvation are short.   Just because you say you believe and do what He says doesn't mean you have fully fallen in love with the truth.  "Good for you" if you've thought you done something good for the Lord.  "Oh, you helped feed the homeless? Oh that's wonderful, you gave them food...and you gave them a jacket?" That's nice.  Now, aside from that "sacrifice" of pennies it cost you, did you take the time to sit with them?  Did you find out what they REALLY need?  Why do you think they are abandoned?  It's because you never came.  They got lost.  I sent you to find them and be with them.  But you say I am not available.
I am to get under your skin.
I am to be your new blood.
And this blood will not have any of your old life and style of living in a false peace of the world.

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