Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What can I compare

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Mother Teresa's Holy Face

Mother Teresa's was a face demanding that we look, finally, upon the least among us, who are a bother and a reproach, and whose suffering haunts us, and whose suffering continues not because we lack social programs, or scientific advances, or literary or theological wit, but because very few have the strength to bear the shame of failure, of ineffectiveness.

Mother Teresa's was the face of a woman whose eyes were difficult to read, fathomless, as if behind them burned an unseen light: not a soft glow but a fierce, blistering, scorching conflagration of a light that had been endured for a lifetime—for two thousand years—in silence. It was the face of a woman who had so loved the poor that, at last, she became one of them.

—from the book Stumble: Virtue, Vice, and the Space Between by Heather King


✞ "Christ Himself is our mouth through which we speak to the Father, our eye through which we see the Father, our right hand through which we offer to the Father. Without His intercession neither we nor all the saints have anything with God."
— St. Ambrose

"Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence."
— St. Faustina Kowalska (741)
Diary of St. Faustina


All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween, is the vigil of All Saints (All Hallows) Day, which is a major feast on the liturgical calendar and a Holy Day of Obligation. Halloween (October 31st) is connected with All Saints Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd). These three days are the "Days of the Dead," a triduum also known as Allhallowtide or Hallowmas, reminding the faithful of the reality of heaven and hell; the communion of saints; and our obligation to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."
Romans 12:14-18


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Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg

(c. 924 – August 31, 994)

Wolfgang was born in Swabia, Germany, and was educated at a school located at the abbey of Reichenau. There he encountered Henry, a young noble who went on to become Archbishop of Trier. Meanwhile, Wolfgang remained in close contact with the archbishop, teaching in his cathedral school and supporting his efforts to reform the clergy.

At the death of the archbishop, Wolfgang chose to become a Benedictine monk and moved to an abbey in Einsiedeln, now part of Switzerland. Ordained a priest, he was appointed director of the monastery school there. Later he was sent to Hungary as a missionary, though his zeal and good will yielded limited results.

Emperor Otto II appointed him Bishop of Regensburg, near Munich. Wolfgang immediately initiated reform of the clergy and of religious life, preaching with vigor and effectiveness and always demonstrating special concern for the poor. He wore the habit of a monk and lived an austere life.

The draw to monastic life never left him, including the desire for a life of solitude. At one point he left his diocese so that he could devote himself to prayer, but his responsibilities as bishop called him back. In 994, Wolfgang became ill while on a journey; he died in Puppingen near Linz, Austria. He was canonized in 1052. His feast day is celebrated widely in much of central Europe.


Wolfgang could be depicted as a man with rolled-up sleeves. He even tried retiring to solitary prayer, but taking his responsibilities seriously led him back into the service of his diocese. Doing what had to be done was his path to holiness—and ours.


Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Rom 8:18-25

Brothers and sisters:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
For in hope we were saved.
Now hope that sees for itself is not hope.
For who hopes for what one sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 126:1b-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6
R. (3a) The Lord has done marvels for us.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

Alleluia See Mt 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 13:18-21

Jesus said, "What is the Kingdom of God like?
To what can I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.
When it was fully grown, it became a large bush
and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches."

Again he said, "To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?
It is like yeast that a woman took
and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened."


Meditation: Romans 8:18-25

The sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed. (Romans 8:18)

Who doesn't like a happy ending? Everyone cheers when the prince rescues the princess or when the bad guy is defeated.

In today's first reading, we see another happy ending. Though he has suffered many hardships as a missionary, Paul writes about joy: the joy of being redeemed, the joy of receiving the Holy Spirit, the joy of knowing God's love, and so much more. But the greatest joy Paul talks about is the fact that on the other side of whatever trials he has faced or what he will face in the future, heaven awaits him. His current circumstances—both the good and the bad—are "nothing compared to the glory to be revealed" (Romans 8:18).

God has eternal life on the other side of our trials as well. While we will experience challenges in this life, they all work together to produce for us "an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Corinthians 4:17).

While we experience sorrow now, our every tear will be wiped away in heaven, and we will never grieve again.

While we endure aches and pains now, we will one day dwell with God forever in whole, glorified bodies.

While we struggle to forgive and overcome division in our relationships now, the day is coming when nothing will keep us from perfect unity, both with God and with one another. All our divisions will be healed! But as we wait for that glorious day, we can continue pray and work for unity and reconciliation.

Today marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Christians of all different backgrounds will come together today to pray for unity and reconciliation between the churches. They will proclaim their trust that the suffering caused by our divisions will ultimately give way to glory when all God's people are finally gathered around one altar celebrating our redemption together.

What a happy ending! Not just for us, but for all our brothers and sisters in Christ. So let the glory of the Lord, which will one day be yours in full, give you hope for your life as well as the life of the whole Church. God has glorious things planned for us!

"Thank you, Lord, for the promise of future glory! Help me keep my eyes on you."

Psalm 126:1-6
Luke 13:18-21



"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us." If you want some quotes from saints that talked about suffering, check it out: catholicreader saint quotes. Here are just few that popped out at me:
* Blessed be He, Who came into the world for no other purpose than to suffer. --St. Teresa of Avila

▪ All the science of the Saints is included in these two things: To do, and to suffer. And whoever had done these two things best, has made himself most saintly. --Saint Francis de Sales
▪ I desire to suffer always and not to die. I should add: this is not my will, it is my inclination. It is sweet to think of Jesus; but it is sweeter to do His will. --Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified "The Little Arab"
All the science of the Saints is included in these two things: To do, and to suffer. And whoever had done these two things best, has made himself most saintly. --Saint Francis de Sales
I desire to suffer always and not to die. I should add: this is not my will, it is my inclination. It is sweet to think of Jesus; but it is sweeter to do His will. --Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified "The Little Arab"

*In suffering love and in loving, suffer! --Blessed Maria Lopez of Jesus

*When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly. --St. Sebastian Valfre

*He who wishes to love God does not truly love Him if he has not an ardent and constant desire to suffer for His sake. --St. Aloysius Gonzaga

*If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love. --St. Gemma Galgani

*Pain is never permanent. -- Saint Teresa of Avila

We prayed today in the Holy Psalms, the very words that would come out from our Lord's mouth too: "The Lord has done marvels for us.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing." He must have spoke these especially to His disciples because they were chosen for a special mission...called a cross. And he'd continue "Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, They shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves." Indeed, it is of a crucifixion, and a resurrection. No gain. No glory.

And so our Lord speaks to all the incredulous, those who want to see but can not see....His Kingdom: "It is like a mustard seed" and "It is like yeast". One song I sing many times at a funeral in spanish is called "Entre Tus Manos" which means "In Your Hands". It says "Within your Hands, there is my life Lord, in Your hands I put my existence. Let us we can live". It is a touching and moving prayer of a song. Indeed, the mustard seed must die to give life. No longer will it be a seed, but transformed. It was detached from its parent, carried off, and buried in the earth, and it gave life and it gave life in abundance. Such is the marvel and beauty of our Lord. And He teaches us to have confidence in His creation. My kids won't go outside the house much since we got a new puppy. It is such an energetic dog, small, like a chihuahua, so gentle, and we named her Chica. The kids don't seem to trust me that it's Ok. They are scared, or don't like it jumping all over them. It just wants attention, and truth is, it is trained quickly, it would obey, if only my kids would obey me. It is the story of our Lord, He has created us His children and commands us to obey so that all He created would obey us in turn. The cross my brother, my sister, the cross is obedience. The greatest faults I see and failures too, is that of disobedience and it comes by way of pride. As if to say "I just know better than you". Suffering goes out the door. Rejected. The cross then...thrown on the ground. It happens when we say "this ain't working...I give up". I see it all the time. It is a great temptation. To take the easy road, instead of the road less traveled.

I write to you, to encourage you to take to the path of our Lord, and follow His footsteps. Look how big His footprints are! One step print is bigger than the grand canyon! Yet, He was born a baby, with tiny feet, and a human heart to feel what we feel. I told a brother last night "thank God for His mercy". It is the greatest gift....without it, we are nothing. It is love. And the cross is love. My brother said "I want to get engaged and propose, and she knows that in our lives God will be first" and I said "that's good, because you will be saying "Love Comes First".
Now lets take these words and truth, and put them into action...which cause great reactions like yeast, in rising, to feed hungry souls....



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Monday, October 30, 2017

To Have Been Set Free

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Opening Ourselves to God

I would like to emphasize the beauty of a simple contemplative prayer, accessible to all, great and small, the educated and those with little education. It is the prayer of the Holy Rosary. In the Rosary we turn to the Virgin Mary so that she may guide us to an ever closer union with her Son Jesus, to bring us into conformity with him, to have his sentiments and to behave like him. Indeed, in the Rosary while we repeat the Hail Mary we meditate on the Mysteries, on the events of Christ's life, so as to know and love him ever better.

The Rosary is an effective means for opening ourselves to God, for it brings peace to hearts, to the family, to society and to the world.

—Pope Francis, as quoted in the book The Blessing of Family: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis


✞ "Don't spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: Lift up your spirit, and love God."
— St. Padre Pio

✞ "We should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, and do, and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better or for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death."
— Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

"In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory."
Ephesians 1:13-14


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Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez

(1533 – October 30, 1617)

Tragedy and challenge beset today's saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer.

Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter, and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business, and with his young son, moved into his sister's home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation.

At the death of his son years later, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits' college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations.

His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including Saint Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus' life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but centuries later he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems.

Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.


We like to think that God rewards the good, even in this life. But Alphonsus knew business losses, painful bereavement, and periods when God seemed very distant. None of his suffering made him withdraw into a shell of self-pity or bitterness. Rather, he reached out to others who lived with pain, including enslaved Africans. Among the many notables at his funeral were the sick and poor people whose lives he had touched. May they find such a friend in us!

Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez is the Patron Saint of:



Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Rom 8:12-17

Brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a spirit of adoption,
through which we cry, "Abba, Father!"
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 68:2 and 4, 6-7ab, 20-21
R. (21a) Our God is the God of salvation.
God arises; his enemies are scattered,
and those who hate him flee before him.
But the just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
R. Our God is the God of salvation.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R. Our God is the God of salvation.
Blessed day by day be the Lord,
who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.
R. Our God is the God of salvation.

Alleluia Jn 17:17b, 17a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
"Woman, you are set free of your infirmity."
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
"There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day."
The Lord said to him in reply, "Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?"
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.


Meditation: Luke 13:10-17

This daughter of Abraham . . . (Luke 13:16)

Occasionally, we receive stories from readers telling us how God has worked in their lives. We thought that today's Gospel reading was the perfect opportunity to share the story below.

"I was serving on the prayer ministry team at my church a few years ago when a woman came asking for prayer. 'It's my heart,' she said, 'Sometimes it feels like I'm going to have a heart attack and die.' Even to my untrained eye, she didn't look healthy. So my first thought was 'You really need to see a doctor!' But I remembered that Jesus has the power to heal, so I began to pray for her heart.

"As we prayed together, however, my thoughts shifted. I began to feel that I should also pray about another kind of heart problem: that she would know how much God loves her as his daughter. So my words changed from prayers for physical healing to declarations of God's love. 'You are created out of love and for love,' I told her. 'You are created to know God's love and to overflow with it. You are a daughter of the King, his beloved princess.' I asked God to make these truths more real to her.

"All of a sudden, she began to weep. She told me she had never really known God as her Father. She had always been somewhat afraid of him, but she could feel her fear fading away. As we finished praying, she wiped her eyes, and I saw the most beautiful, radiant smile on her face.

"My new friend is seeing a doctor and making it through day by day. Her prognosis remains unsure, but she knows deep in her heart that God loves her, and that has made all the difference in her life."

Perhaps the greatest healing that this woman or any of us could receive is to hear God say, "You are my son, my daughter." It was those words, "daughter of Abraham," that unbent the crippled back of the woman in today's Gospel. They can help all of us stand tall with dignity and gratitude.

So don't be afraid to ask God to speak these words to you. He may heal you in ways that surprise you.

"Jesus, you know better than I that I need healing. Open my heart to hear the words that will set me free."

Romans 8:12-17
Psalm 68:2, 4, 6-7, 20-21



"For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Nobody asked me to write to you, but the Lord. Nobody told me to bombard you with these messages from various websites and my reflection upon several reflections, but the Lord. It is the Spirit of God that puts an end to the spirits that enter the flesh that holds the soul. His aim is for us, for Him, for unison, and a love that is a super power beyond human comprehension.

We pray today "Our God is the God of salvation. God arises; his enemies are scattered, and those who hate him flee before him. But the just rejoice and exult before God; they are glad and rejoice." If you are coming to God, it is a growing in knowing. And the growing is in love. Therefore, if you are getting further from, that is moving away from Him, it is to know love less. If you remain, God remains. Not that he ever leaves, but that He accepts the invitation to your love. It is the story of the poor, the ones knocking at the door, and those before your very eyes, you do not see. Deacon Harold Burke, the Catholic "Dynamic Deacon" spoke at our Guadalupe Radio network benefit this weekend, and he spoke of an RCIA student he had, that finally spoke after months of not speaking much and said to him before class "what color is the tiger's nose on the cereal box of Frosted Flakes". Deacon Burke said "black, everyone knows tiger noses are black" but the student "Dan" said "no, it is not, it is blue, bright blue even". Deacon said he didn't have time to argue and left it at that until next class. His wife asked him to get milk and Deacon Burke flew to find a box of Frosted Flakes in the cereal isles. He looked at all the flavors, and types of cereal and AH HA, he found it....and looked at it....and was BLUE. He got back with the student and the student got to finish what he wanted to say. You see, he was an avid atheist and was very talented, he could dictate things one said word for word from years ago. And after 3 months of class with deacon he wanted to tell him "just like that cereal box you've had in front of you all your life and never noticed the nose, that's how I was with God, He was always right in front of me and I had never noticed". Deacon asked him what happened and Dan simply replied "I prayed for the first time in my life....". And this day, in Portland Oregon, Dan is the RCIA teacher as a new Catholic in love with the Lord.

The Lord once was sitting in the temple, as He always is on the Sabbath. He decides to hear a prayer of a faithful woman. He heard her prayer and new what was going to happen. His heart for hers was moved and would offer a moment of sacrifice, a mini-crucifixion to be had by the Jews and Him, Himself a Jew, but God. He says to her " "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid His hands on her and soon after the Jews would lay their hands on Him. Only, His hands healed, and their hands killed. What kind of spirit is moving you? To do what? Every Singe day. An interesting chain of events happened Friday. We took our youngest daughter to get a tooth pulled that had broke in half. This was in a nearby city. We went to the next city to make the lunch time daily Holy Mass. We had our meal, the Sacred Heart and Blood and Body of our Lord. My wife got to confess, I had just confessed at the Men's conference 6 days earlier. Right before Mass I remembered I had my guitar in my truck, I asked a helper leader if I could help sing, he said yes. I ran, got it, we agreed on a song we both knew and 2 minutes later the priest enters, a new very young Priest Fr. Tim. We begin singing and when he enters, I sense his spirit, as if the room lit up when he walked in, and indeed later he said how much he enjoyed the musical surprise. During the time of receiving the Holy Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I receive it from Fr. Tim's pious hands, and I say this for the reverence which He handles Christ as some priest's do. I go to my seat. My soul is deeply praying with God, "I am worthless God, I know I am nothing Lord....and the Lord spoke some words that make my eyes tear up automatically even as I write to you "who told you, you are worthless?". And I had an inner-vision of my tears being gulped inside and they fell into a waterfall of what I can only explain as mercy as it glimmered in light.

I had to dry my tears and my heart was burning. It was the Lord. A spanish reflection (5minutos) ends today "All of our life is like a Great "Sabbath" where no other activity fits except to practice love. Do not profane the Day of the Lord without practicing love!". Next time your heart burns and you shed tears of joy, IT IS THE LORD! Did we not pray today "But the just rejoice and exult before God; they are glad and rejoice." And we continue on praying "Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation."


Day by day, hour by hour, minute to minute, second to second, BLESSED BE THE LORD


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