Monday, May 8, 2017

This is Why

Invitation to Serve In the Gospel, the Lord invites us to accept our mission without placing conditions. It is an important message which we must nev

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Invitation to Serve

In the Gospel, the Lord invites us to accept our mission without placing conditions. It is an important message which we must never forget. Mary is an example of discipleship for us who, like her, have received a vocation. Her trusting response, "Be it done unto me according to your word," reminds us of her words at the wedding feast of Cana: "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:5). Her example is an invitation to serve as she served.

–from the book Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis


✞ "Have caution in not allowing yourself to be struck down by adversity nor becoming vain by prosperity."
— St. Clare of Assisi

"Do you know what it is to be truly spiritual? It is for men to make themselves the slaves of God—branded with His mark, which is the Cross. ... Unless you make up your minds to this, never expect to make much progress, for as I said humility is the foundation of the whole building and unless you are truly humble, Our Lord, for your own sake, will never permit you to rear it very high lest it should fall to the ground. Therefore, sisters, take care to lay a firm foundation by seeking to be the least of all and the slave of others, watching how you can please and help them, for it will benefit you more than them. Built on such strong rocks, your castle can never go to ruin. I insist again: your foundation must not consist of prayer and contemplation alone: unless you acquire the virtues and praise them, you will always be dwarfs; and please God no worse may befall you than making no progress, for you know that to stop is to go back—if you love, you will never be content to come to a standstill."
— St. Teresa of Avila, p.209-10
Interior Castle

"The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their refuge in the time of trouble. The LORD helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him."
Psalm 37:39-40


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St. Victor Maurus (d. 303 A.D.), also known as Victor the Moor and Victor of Milan, was born in Mauretania (North Africa) in a Christian household. He later relocated to Milan, Italy, as a soldier of the Praetorian Guard that served Roman Emperor Maximian during his persecution of Christians. Although Victor was a Christian since childhood, this fact was not widely known until he destroyed an altar to a pagan god. The Emperor, infuriated, had Victor imprisoned and starved for six days. The Emperor then gave him every chance to recant his faith, including offering him riches, but Victor refused each attempt. He was then tortured mercilessly, unless he would offer sacrifice to the gods, by being stretched on the rack and having molten lead poured over his body. Victor remained steadfast and boldly proclaimed his faith in Christ, declaring that the Roman gods were demons. Finally the saint was beheaded on May 8 in the year 303 A.D. The Emperor refused him burial so that wild beasts would consume his body. However, after six days the body was discovered untouched with two beasts guarding it at the head and foot. The local bishop then received permission to bury the body. A church was later erected over Victor's grave and many miracles occurred there. St. Victor's feast day is May 8th.


Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 11:1-18

The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
'You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them."
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
"I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me, 'Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.'
But I said, 'Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
'What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.'
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea.
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating.
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man's house.
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
'Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you
by which you and all your household will be saved.'
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
'John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?"
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
"God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
R. (see 3a) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 10:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 10:11-18

Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father."

Catholic Meditations
Meditation: John 10:11-18

4th Week of Easter

They will hear my voice. (John 10:16)

Is it really possible to hear the voice of the Lord? Well, Moses heard God speaking from a burning bush. St. Joseph heard him in dreams.

St. Faustina heard him in a vision so clearly that she could describe to an artist the picture he asked to be painted of him.

These stories may seem fantastical to us. But if you stop and think about it, you have probably had times when you've experienced God's presence and sensed that he has a message for you. These senses—even if fleeting—show that we really do have spiritual instincts and that they can be cultivated.

It might be easier to understand if we start thinking of simple human instincts. For instance, a mother may be in a room full of crying toddlers, but when her little one starts to cry, she knows the voice immediately and springs into action. A basketball player instinctively knows how to control his arm, his jump, and his aim as he throws the ball through the net. With practice, these responses become automatic. We get to a level where we are confident whenever we engage these instincts. In a similar way, with practice and experience, we can become better at sensing when Jesus is speaking to us.

Practice listening to the Lord during the day today—you may be surprised at how available he is! In fact, a good foundation of prayer and Scripture reading can prepare you to recognize his presence in the people around you and in his creation. Gradually, the question shifts from if God will speak to you to how he will speak and what he will say.

So listen for God's voice in the child crying for his father's attention. Be ready as he whispers to your heart the words to say to a friend who is sick. Hear his encouragement in the little successes and failures of life.

Don't worry if you don't "hear" anything right away. The more you practice, the more you will recognize when Jesus is moving in you. The more you spend time with him, the stronger your spiritual instincts will become.

"Jesus, you love me so much that you are always with me. Thank you for letting me hear you in so many ways."

Acts 11:1-18
Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4


The Lord said today "If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?" What happens in faith, ultimately means that this is a gift. A treasured gift? A sought after gift? I've prayed for this gift to be given to some. And I seek that mine is nourished and remains.
We prayed today "As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God. Athirst is my soul for God, the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God?" To be lost is one thing right now, but to be lost in eternity? That is the real loss. To have that sense of loss...forever, and then hope disappears. And so you live a life of debauchery. Where is your thirst for God? Don't you want more? As I was writing a song this weekend, the thoughts that pervaded it were "there's more that awaits us, if you ....believe".

In comes our Holy Lord our God: "This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again." These were the words that inspired me to write a song that said in Spanish "Aleluya Gloria Dios". He inspired me inside to say without saying, much like in these 2 cents, the hidden message that is not said "follow Me, and the way through is death". Oh man! That is scarier than walking on water! That is scarier than approaching someone that needs help in faith! That is scarier than reaching out to a killer! That is scarier than...not believing. But it is a step in the direction that God has designed. As if death were the end. As if God didn't design it for something. Another thought pervaded, and it is somewhat related to what Mother Teresa says about people in the world and no room for them: here, angels are born. What a strange phenomenon, like a caterpillar, a mere worm that takes flight after it is put in its coffin, the cocoon.
Bishop Barren ended his daily reflection today with:
"Imagine the difference between humans and sheep; and now multiply that difference infinitely. That would give you some idea of the difference between God and humanity. And yet God is willing to lay down his life for the likes of us"

God knows how to value what we don't. What we call useless and worthless, like an unborn child, like an animal, He calls precious. What we call trash, like a hobo, or an addict, or a useless person, God calls invaluable. We fail to see, because we fail to see God. And when we fail to see, we fail to love....God. Suddenly, walking on water seems impossible. But all it takes is this great gift from Don't got any? ASK! "I do Believe! Help my unbelief". This is a prayer. I want you to have faith, so much so that it changes the world. This is the faith that Jesus had. That it would take that much love, to conquer the world...our world. And it's not about all the people all over the globe right's you silly. He stretched out on the cross for you. Do you accept this man to be your love of your life? Do you accept this God to be your Father? Do you accept Him to love and to hold for as long as you may be.............