Monday, November 13, 2017

One of These Little ones...


God Has Not Abandoned Us

We can write our own psalms of lament and express our prayers of suffering. In a journal or spoken aloud, our cries of abandonment and loneliness should come out.
Perhaps the words that reflect the sorrow of our hearts can come only from our own depths, and maybe they can come out only in forms of music or art or dance. These small steps of prayerful beginning are a movement toward trusting that God has not abandoned us.
—from the book Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis
by Daniel P. Horan, OFM
Categories: God, Faith, Dan Horan, OFM


✞ "You will not see anyone who is truly striving after his spiritual advancement who is not given to spiritual reading."
— St. Athanasius of Alexandria

"For us Christians, the first virtue of godliness is to honor our parents—to pay back the troubles of those who bore us, and to give them whatever comforts we can with all our strength. For if we repaid them as much as possible, we could still never pay them back for their gift of life. Then they will enjoy the comfort we provide, . . . And then won't our Father in heaven accept our good intentions, and judge us worthy to 'shine like the sun in the Kingdom of our Father' (Matthew 13:43)?"
— St. Cyril of Jerusalem, p. 190
Year with Church Fathers

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Isaiah 43:2-3


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St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850–1917)

was the thirteenth child of a modest farming family born near Milan, Italy. Her father would often gather his children in the kitchen to hear him read from a book on the lives of the saints. St. Frances was endeared to the stories of missionaries working in the Orient and desired to become one herself, which in her day was a man's role. Turned away from being a nun twice due to poor health, she prayed at the tomb of her patron, Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary-saint, about founding a new religious order to evangelize the East just as he did. Pope Leo XIII approved of her order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, but instead of sending her to China as she had desired since childhood, he sent her to the West, specifically to America to serve the growing European immigrant population which faced poverty and disenfranchisement. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini moved to New York in 1889 and went on to found 67 institutions—schools, orphanages, and hospitals—throughout the Western Hemisphere. She received American citizenship, and in 1946 became the first United States citizen to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Her ministry left a significant mark on the Americas, creating lasting institutions to educate and care for those in need. She is the patron saint of immigrants, orphans, and hospital administrators. Her feast day is November 13th.


Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin

Reading 1 Wis 1:1-7

Love justice, you who judge the earth;
think of the Lord in goodness,
and seek him in integrity of heart;
Because he is found by those who test him not,
and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him.
For perverse counsels separate a man from God,
and his power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy;
Because into a soul that plots evil, wisdom enters not,
nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin.
For the holy Spirit of discipline flees deceit
and withdraws from senseless counsels;
and when injustice occurs it is rebuked.
For wisdom is a kindly spirit,
yet she acquits not the blasphemer of his guilty lips;
Because God is the witness of his inmost self
and the sure observer of his heart
and the listener to his tongue.
For the Spirit of the Lord fills the world,
is all-embracing, and knows what man says.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 139:1b-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-10
R. (24b) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in
and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
too lofty for me to attain.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Alleluia Phil 2:15d, 16a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples,
"Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,'
you should forgive him."

And the Apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."


Meditation: Psalm 139:1-10
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Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin (Memorial)

Behind me and before, you hem me in and rest your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:5)

There's a reason why a great, big warm hug from a loved one makes us feel peaceful. Scientists have observed that when external pressure is applied over a large portion of our body—as in a big hug—it triggers a part of our nervous system, and that helps decrease our stress levels. Our first reading describes how the Lord does just that for us. He "hems us in" behind and before. He keeps us in his loving embrace each and every moment. Let's see how.

He hems me in from behind. Isaiah spoke of hearing God's word from behind, like an inner voice, saying Yes, that's a good idea or No, don't go that way (Isaiah 30:21). He is your rearguard, the One stationed behind you to protect you from attacks of the enemy. When you are plagued by thoughts of your past sins and failures, he is there to remind you that you are forgiven and covered in his unfailing mercy.

He goes before me. God has a clear vision of what lies ahead. He knows the plans he has for you, and he is more than eager to lead you. He can clear your path, open doors, and level the ground so that you can take the next good step. He may help you remember an encouraging Scripture or put an unforeseen opportunity in your path. He may do something as simple as prompt you to turn to him in prayer in the middle of your day.

His hand rests upon me. God's hand resting on you is a reminder that you are not alone. Like a father placing his hand on his child's shoulder, he affirms his presence with you and his love for you. When you struggle, his hand steadies you so that you can continue following him. His hand is the feeling of his presence you experience when you receive Communion or are stirred by a passage in Scripture. It's the sense of peace you find when you turn to him for strength.

Let your loving Father embrace you today! Let him wrap you with the knowledge of his love.

"Thank you, Lord, for surrounding me and holding me in your arms!"

Wisdom 1:1-7
Luke 17:1-6


The Word said today "...think of the Lord in goodness, and seek him in integrity of heart". What is integrity? It means so much, right? It means being intact, not divided, right? It means being righteous and with a well formed conscience, right? It means then, spiritually speaking, seeking Him full hardheartedly, with all our mind, and heart, soul, and strength. Be mindful, for the Word continues "...For perverse counsels separate a man from God". And these "counsels" these "counselors" are out there all over the world, your world, reaching you with clear reception making the Lord's signals blurry as you tune into the other. I wrote a song last night, and it said at one point, that we seem to dance to other songs and love the heat of "other loves". Where is then, your integrity, your full desire for the love of the Lord?

We pray today " Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way. O LORD, you have probed me and you know me". Did we not read earlier "Because he is found by those who test him not, and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him."? He knows us. He knows our thoughts. Without words on Saturday morning, I was playing worship and praise songs on a bluetooth speaker, the kids were gathering as my wife made breakfast. I had found a passenger van that a youth leader wanted, online. I found it and was texting the owner. I "claimed" with worship and full faith, that the Lord provide this for our church kids and for our family. The owner dropped the price to half when I told him what it was for and everyone was amazed and so happy. It is an older 1992 van but everyone is looking forward to using it...for the Lord, because with faith, it was a miracle again, yet not so much because God's ways are normal in working in miracles, to enlighten faiths, to make faiths grow, to make you understand, He is really with us!

In comes our Lord in the Holy Gospel ""Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. " Now, who is that "woeful" person? Sadly, we may be thinking of so many others, but we need not look further than in a mirror. Woe to you if you do not do as He says. And what did He go on to say?
"If your brother sins, rebuke him" and so, are you rebuking those who are sinning? Or are you stabbing them behind their back, saying how sinful they are?
Our Lord continues "and if he repents, forgive him." Or are you not forgiving even though they asked to be forgiven? WOE TO YOU, for you will not be forgiven either when you die. It is better then, to give "lavishly" to the poor who have no hope, who are flat broke in their faith and they seem so rotten to the human eye. But the heart? Our Lord speaks of uprooting trees with faith, and He is speaking of tremendous power to forgive, to cast into the sea sins, because our Lord said "is it easier to forgive, or to tell the cripple to get up and walk?" What is easier? For some, it is easier to walk, only when forgiven. And we are speaking about walking with the Lord and towards the Lord. For if the Lord allows you to walk, it is to walk towards Him. If He gave you breath, it is so you can breathe Him in. So many times people are depicted as trees in the bible. People would freak out if a tree really uprooted itself and chunked itself into the sea. Would God really do that? Well, He did more than that. He became the tree that chunked into the sea. On that cross He became one with the tree. And, as I will sing shortly in a funeral, ..together, "we shall seek other shores".

God speaks in miracles. Do you want to see one? Every human being is a walking marvel of God, a miracle. A soul created from nothing. Electricity running through a human, and the spark of life ignites the world. We have a huge impact with our attitudes our "counseling" of others. And our Lord desires that He become one with us, to guide others to Himself. It happens through humility. When pride comes in, He is not allowed to speak and work wonders.

I wonder if today I will let Him work in me? Because every day is a new offer



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