Tuesday, November 8, 2016

We were obliged..

Reaching Out Lord, help me to be faithful in the small things, so that one day you will say, "Well done!" Give me courage, Lord, to act in love even

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Reaching Out

Lord, help me to be faithful in the small things, so that one day you will say, "Well done!" Give me courage, Lord, to act in love even when it's hard.

–from Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta


† "When we contemplate the sufferings of Jesus He grants us, according to the measure of our faith, the grace to practice the virtues He revealed during those sacred hours."
— St. Angela Merici


"Now, as he was riding one day over the plain of Assisi he met a leper, whose sudden appearance filled him with fear and horror; but forthwith calling to mind the resolution which he had made to follow after perfection, and remembering that if he would be a soldier of Christ he must first overcome himself, he dismounted from his horse and went to meet the leper, that he might embrace him: and when the poor man stretched out his hand to receive an alms, he kissed it and filled it with money. Having again mounted his horse, he looked around him over the wide and open plain, but nowhere could he see the leper; upon which, being filled with wonder and joy, he began devoutly to give thanks to God, purposing within himself to proceed to still greater things than this."
— St. Bonaventure, p. 4
The Life of St. Francis


click to go there


Blessed John Duns Scotus

Saint of the Day for November 8
(c. 1266 – November 8, 1308)

Blessed John Duns Scotus' Story

A humble man, John Duns Scotus has been one of the most influential Franciscans through the centuries. Born at Duns in the county of Berwick, Scotland, John was descended from a wealthy farming family. In later years, he was identified as John Duns Scotus to indicate the land of his birth; Scotia is the Latin name for Scotland.

John received the habit of the Friars Minor at Dumfries, where his uncle Elias Duns was superior. After novitiate, John studied at Oxford and Paris and was ordained in 1291. More studies in Paris followed until 1297, when he returned to lecture at Oxford and Cambridge. Four years later, he returned to Paris to teach and complete the requirements for the doctorate.

In an age when many people adopted whole systems of thought without qualification, John pointed out the richness of the Augustinian-Franciscan tradition, appreciated the wisdom of Aquinas, Aristotle and the Muslim philosophers—and still managed to be an independent thinker. That quality was proven in 1303 when King Philip the Fair tried to enlist the University of Paris on his side in a dispute with Pope Boniface VIII. John Duns Scotus dissented and was given three days to leave France.

In Scotus's time, some philosophers held that people are basically determined by forces outside themselves. Free will is an illusion, they argued. An ever-practical man, Scotus said that if he started beating someone who denied free will, the person would immediately tell him to stop. But if Scotus didn't really have a free will, how could he stop? John had a knack for finding illustrations his students could remember!

After a short stay in Oxford, he returned to Paris, where he received the doctorate in 1305. He continued teaching there and in 1307 so ably defended the Immaculate Conception of Mary that the university officially adopted his position. That same year the minister general assigned him to the Franciscan school in Cologne where John died in 1308. He is buried in the Franciscan church near the famous Cologne cathedral.

Drawing on the work of John Duns Scotus, Pope Pius IX solemnly defined the Immaculate Conception of Mary in 1854. John Duns Scotus, the "Subtle Doctor," was beatified in 1993.


Father Charles Balic, O.F.M., the foremost 20th-century authority on Scotus, has written: "The whole of Scotus's theology is dominated by the notion of love. The characteristic note of this love is its absolute freedom. As love becomes more perfect and intense, freedom becomes more noble and integral both in God and in man" (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1105).


Sacred Space
Daily Prayer - 2016-11-08

I pause for a moment
and reflect on God's life-giving presence
in every part of my body, in everything around me,
in the whole of my life.


I try to let go of concerns and worries
that may be dragging me down at this present moment.
I place any concerns I have in Gods hands
- at least for these few minutes of prayer.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally,
I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings.
Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks.
Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God

Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ti 2:1-8, 11-14

You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine,
namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior,
not slanderers, not addicted to drink,
teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women
to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers,
under the control of their husbands,
so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves,
showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect,
with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech
that cannot be criticized,
so that the opponent will be put to shame
without anything bad to say about us.

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 37:3-4, 18 and 23, 27 and 29
R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart's requests.

R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.

R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
The just shall possess the land
and dwell in it forever.

R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

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.
R. 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

This text can be hard to understand. The central point would be that humble service done out of love for the Lord is its own reward. It can be helpful to compare the words of Jesus spoken at another time, when he was speaking of who is the greatest - 'for who is the greater; the one at table or the one who serves? The one at table surely? Yet here am I among you as one who serves!'
It can be hard to grasp the depth of the relationship that Jesus has with us if we fail to understand his great love and service of us in his passion and death.


I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read.
What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to 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 17:7-10

32nd Week in Ordinary Time

Come here immediately and take your place at table. (Luke 17:7)

Wouldn't it be wonderful to come home from a long day at work and have dinner ready and waiting for you? It's not just the fact that you are being sustained nutritionally; there's also the delight of walking into the house to the wonderful smell of food, the warmth of the kitchen, and the kindness behind the act of having a meal ready. You can't help but feel the sense of love and honor flowing from the one who has served you this way.

Now imagine being a servant during Jesus' time and coming home to find that your master has prepared a meal for you in appreciation for all of your hard work. If it's a surprising thought to you, imagine how shocking that image would have been to Jesus' audience. They would not have seen servants as equals and would certainly not expect to see masters treat them to a meal!

Jesus makes it clear that his attitude is different. He knows that sometimes our daily life isn't easy. Sometimes being faithful to him and serving one another can leave us feeling spent. So, out of love, he himself sets the table for you when you come home tired and weary. He welcomes you and calls you inside. He has a refreshing, enjoyable meal prepared for you—the gift of the Eucharist, maybe, or a special grace from the Holy Spirit or time spent with a dear friend.

"Come here immediately" (Luke 17:7). Such a delightful order—Jesus is eager to take care of you! Hold on to those words and the promise that they offer you. Reflect on them when you feel discouraged or "unprofitable" (17:10). Remember that Jesus loves you so much that, not only is he willing to serve you a nourishing meal, but he is ready to offer his life for you.

So come to him whenever you're feeling weary. Receive the kindness and love he is ready to pour out on you. Let your Master serve you so that you can continue to go out and serve his people.

"Lord, you are such a gracious Master, as well as the perfect Servant. Thank you for all you do to welcome me, sustain me, and fill me with your love and grace."

Titus 2:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 37:3-4, 18, 23, 27, 29



We heard the Word today "For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope..."
The key word standing out in tune with the word grace, to me, is the word "temperate". This means "moderate or self-restrained; not extreme in opinion, statement, etc" but it means more when it comes forth naturally, and it comes forth naturally when you are living in grace. God offers grace through Holy Sacraments. Where forth Grace comes in the senses, in the ears, the eyes, the mouth, and the touch into the spirit. I invite you here, out of this world...
We prayed today "The salvation of the just comes from the Lord." and "Trust in the LORD and do good, that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will grant you your heart's requests". A young man shows up to our group reunion and I find out he is moving in, looking for work, and trying to study. I said to him that he must have a plan of action for his life, either revolve work around study, or study around work, and the whole of life should be us revolving around the Son, just like the planets revolve around the sun. They don't revolve around us.

And so the Lord comes into our lives today "When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants". If you haven't had a chance, check out this song I wrote called "The Broom" (click to hear), it speaks about the Lord and myself. I learned this at a weird retreat called "School of the Cross" a twisted cursillo type deal. It spoke on how the priest is often neglected and the priest is the person of Christ, as if the Lord, the groom, and the bride; the Holy Church, and the children are those born in baptism. But the song says "pick me up" and "hide me behind the door when you're through". Just use me. I want the Lord to use me. The song says "The only one that touches me, I adore". Nobody needs to know who I am, only God. I don't need to get mad or cry. I remember when I was younger, my dad would always make me feed the cows and horses before eating breakfast myself, when he himself was already eating, I'd approach the table and he'd ask "have you fed the animals?" and if not, I'd have to take off to feed the animals first, and my dad would be eating, and I would be last. The flock ate first, my dad ate first, and I was last. The question would arise "why can't I be full first? to have energy and stuff?". But it makes for a most important lesson...I am not first.

In this world, we want to be considered first, and this is why self-esteem issues are a big deal. People with "low self-esteem" consider themselves worthless, or unworthy, and sink into a bottomless me-me spiral. The only way out is the way God says...serve HIM. I told that young man "consider your life, your career...but also consider that God may be calling you to Himself". You know, I receive the Lord in Holy Mass every day of the week. Something humbling has been happening. For the first time, in years, I feel so honored to be asked to come to His table. And I come as a servant, with my guitar, with my actions, my gifts, my money, my .... life. I say this because He receives our love in our honoring of Him through actions. For many years, I would go to daily Mass and in my heart, I knew of so many that could be in Mass, and they chose not to be, they chose work, they chose going out to eat, they chose something ...else. Why was I called? I'm just now realizing the huge honor. And so, my vision of Heaven is the following bestowed onto my soul which I will now share with you: In the Heavens, in eternity, the brightest and most beautiful light is at the center, and angels, archangels and saints surround the Glory of God which is a gentle gravitational force. The ultimate and highest point of life, is to be one day totally united with Him, to where you are no longer distinguishable because God has so overcome and engulfed your soul with His light. I don't fully understand this, but it means so much. It is a wanting, a total desire to totally surrender to Him, where life is about Him, not me, and if I could make His love light brighter and stronger, then I would give my life for it to be....