Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I will come back

A Dwelling Place Do you have a "dwelling place" of the Blessed Mother where you can pray and reflect? St. John Paul II said that a dwelling place for

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A Dwelling Place

Do you have a "dwelling place" of the Blessed Mother where you can pray and reflect? St. John Paul II said that a dwelling place for Mother Mary can be "a special corner in the home or little wayside shrines adorned with an image of the Mother of God, to chapels and churches built in her honor." Wherever it is, place yourself near Mary's Immaculate Heart while you are in prayer. Confide to her all of your interests and desires. Ask her to grant her graces to you and bring you closer to her Son Jesus.

–from: Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions


✞ ✞ "I have been all things unholy; if God can work through me, He can work through anyone."
— St. Francis of Assisi

"On the whole, God's love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him. Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.' He will give us feelings of love if He pleases. We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right. But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him."
— C. S. Lewis, p. 132
Mere Christianity

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
Ephesians 2:13


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St. Simon Stock (1165-1265) was born in Kent, England. He was strongly drawn to God as a child, and at the age of twelve he began to live as a hermit in the hollow of an oak tree. After two decades of this solitary and penitential life, he entered the world again to study theology and become a priest. His studies complete, he then returned to his hermitage. At this time the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him, intructing him to join the Carmelite Order that was just entering England. St. Simon became a Carmelite in 1212. By 1215 he became the Order's leader and worked to establish it across Europe, especially at the great universities. He also traveled to Rome and Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land, and revised the Carmelite Rule to make them mendicant friars instead of hermits. Tradition holds that the Virgin Mary appeared to him again and presented him with a brown scapular, the habit of his Order, promising that those who wore it would not be eternally lost in hell. This apparition is known as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and her "scapular promise" is that she will intercede with her Son to ensure that the wearer of the scapular obtains the grace of final perseverance, that is, of dying in a state of grace. This is the origin of the Brown Scapular devotion which soon spread to the laity to obtain the graces promised by Our Lady, a devotion later encouraged by many Popes. St. Simon Stock's feast day is May 16th.


Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 14:19-28

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God."
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:10-11, 12-13ab, 21
R. (see 12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See Lk 24:46, 26
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 14:27-31a

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
'I am going away and I will come back to you.'
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me."


Meditation: John 14:27-31
5th Week of Easter

Do not let your hearts be troubled. (John 14:27)

"Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow." So go Romeo's famous lines to Juliet in Shakespeare's play. It's one of the most memorable farewell scenes in Western literature, made all the more poignant because their two families are bitterly opposed to one another.

Today's Gospel is also a farewell scene, one no less dramatic, no less bittersweet. Imagine the sorrow and fear the disciples must have felt at the thought of Jesus, their teacher and best friend, leaving them—and in such a violent way. He tried to explain that he would rise again, but they still could not fully grasp his words. So he gently told them, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. . . . I will come back to you" (John 14:27, 28).

We can all relate to the struggle with fear and anxiety that the disciples felt that night. As we wait for God to answer a prayer request or intervene in a loved one's life, we may be tempted to wonder: Where is Jesus? Has he left me? What does the future hold?

In these moments, Jesus offers us the same comforting words that he gave to the disciples: Do not let your heart be troubled. He knows exactly what we are going through and knows the glory he wants to bring us into. It may not always be easy to remember that Jesus is with us, but we can look to Scripture passages like today's Gospel and remember that God keeps his promises to all his disciples. We can also recall God's faithfulness to us in the past. All this can help us conclude that Jesus is with us, he is in control, and he has a good plan.

Right now, close your eyes, and talk to Jesus about whatever burdens you. Picture him telling you, "Do not let your heart be troubled. I will come to you." You may taste "sweet sorrow" or anxiety or fear now, but as you lean into his promises, you'll become more confident that he wants nothing more than to fill you with his peace and strength.

"Jesus, give me the grace to trust in you today."

Acts 14:19-28
Psalm 145:10-13, 21


Today in the Word of God we heard: "They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead." Then his brothers came and picked him up, he got up and went back to the city, and to other cities. There is something important here going on. God says "do not be afraid, I am with you". As a matter of fact, ever since I woke up that song has been playing nonstop in my head. Saint Paul got beat down, and the Lord raises him again. It is not easy to be a person of God. Perhaps that is why there are few that lay down their lives for Him. And this Word has reached your eyes for this reason...will you?
We prayed today " Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom." So many of us want to be His friend and so many of us say we are His friend, but how many of us are good friends, or the best of friends with Him whom we call friend and brother? Because when God presented Himself in the world, He sent Himself as the Son to the children of God. His brothers of Israel rejected Him in Jerusalem, at the temple that was created for God...had now been filled with themselves. When my little ones quarrel, a younger one takes something from the older and to avoid crying I say "just let him have it". Share. Let go. I know to you it is not fair, but you don't need it, listen to me. And it is all leading to words of not be afraid.
Our Lord is telling us how it is and how it is going to be "'I am going away and I will come back to you.'" I wrote a song about Him saying these words "Going Away". And the only way to follow Him is death, but death to self, and to do only God's will. God our Lord Jesus gave His life to the world long before the world ripped it out of His sacred body. You see? Share. Not fair. But share. On Mother's day, we ate at a restaurant. My wife wanted to give a gift to the waitress for Mother's day. She doubted, and I said "no, go ahead and give it to her". It was a small mother's day purse. When she came, we gave it to her. And I just had to ask "you do got children right?" And her face changed a smidge, she softly said, "I had a 4 year old that passed away". Boy, was it hard to save this one; "so you have an angel in Heaven". Yes, she said, and it kind of ended there. How hard it must be to lose your only child. I've seen her alone most of the time throughout the last few years. The love of her life ripped out. Like the young father that died, and left a young mother and young children, these are the most devastating funerals I've attended, my own cousin, and friends. Now what? God says "Do not be afraid". Have faith. Our priest lost his sister and his cousin who is a priest came yesterday from Illinois to celebrate a Mass for "Sister Angela". A Godly woman who always visited us from Africa. In the homily, Father Martin said that Father Joe not only lost a sister, but basically a mother. She had become so much for so many people. And she died in an accident on the road to visit someone. She was spreading the love of Christ. Now what?

I helped at a funeral vigil last week, and I spoke to the crowd of strangers "this man you say, was cheerful, hospitable, a role model, a father to the fatherless, and you must know the source of his joy...Jesus (in the Eucharist)", and you are now to take on the roles they left, shoes to fill, big shoes to fill at times. Do not be afraid. Christ died so that He could live in us. Our loved ones died so they can live in us in a more intimate way. And it is true, in the life of the Holy Spirit of God.
I gave a church announcement to the large crowd on Mother's day, inviting everyone to join ministries on a "ministry fair" we will have on the day of Pentecost. I said "I know many are afraid, like the disciples were on the day of Pentecost, but when the Holy Spirit came, they went out of their shell and into the world".

I am speaking to you because God is speaking to you. Do not be afraid to start a fire of God's love in the world.
I told some brothers yesterday "I went to confession on Saturday at the Carmelite Hermitage and I didn't really want to confess, thinking 'do I really got to?, I don't feel like it', as if the Lord of Mercy wasn't waiting on the other side of that veil". So I went, it wasn't as scary as I thought.

And today, I feel there is more mercy, more faith, more grace availed...if I let go, and let Him in....