Friday, January 12, 2018

Which is easier ?

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United with Christ

Traditional Catholic prayer is fundamentally oriented to Christ and his body, the Church, and its sacraments.

It recognizes that Christ continues to live out his paschal mystery in the lives of the faithful and understands that prayer is the key to remaining united to him at all times.

—from the book Prayer in the Catholic Tradition by Robert J. Wicks
from franciscanmedia



"If you learn everything except Christ, you learn nothing. If you learn nothing except Christ, you learn everything."
— St. Bonaventure

"Man will not consent to drive away the money-changers from the temple of his soul until he realizes that it is a Holy of Holies—not a house of traffic, but in very truth the house of God. We thus reach two striking conclusions: There cannot be entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit's guidance, which is the true meaning of living in Christ, without complete self-renunciation. There cannot be complete self-renunciation without the constant underlying spirit of faith, without the habit of interior silence, a silence where God is dwelling. Many do not see the connection between thoughts about the King and the service of the King; between the interior silence ... and the continual detachment ... If we look closer, it will be seen that there is a strong, close, unbreakable link between the two. Find a recollected person, and he will be detached; seek one who is detached, and he will be recollected. To have found one is to have discovered the other ... Anyone who tries, on a given day, to practice either recollection or detachment cannot ignore the fact that he is doing a double stroke of work."
— Raoul Plus, S.J., p. 39-40
How to Pray Always

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6


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Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

(April 17, 1620 – January 12, 1700)

"God closes a door and then opens a window," people sometimes say when dealing with their own disappointment or someone else's. That was certainly true in Marguerite's case. Children from European as well as Native American backgrounds in 17th-century Canada benefited from her great zeal and unshakable trust in God's providence.

Born the sixth of 12 children in Troyes, France, Marguerite at the age of 20 believed that she was called to religious life. Her applications to the Carmelites and Poor Clares were unsuccessful. A priest friend suggested that perhaps God had other plans for her.

In 1654, the governor of the French settlement in Canada visited his sister, an Augustinian canoness in Troyes. Marguerite belonged to a sodality connected to that convent. The governor invited her to come to Canada and start a school in Ville-Marie (eventually the city of Montreal). When she arrived, the colony numbered 200 people with a hospital and a Jesuit mission chapel.

Soon after starting a school, she realized her need for coworkers. Returning to Troyes, she recruited a friend, Catherine Crolo, and two other young women. In 1667, they added classes at their school for Indian children. A second trip to France three years later resulted in six more young women and a letter from King Louis XIV, authorizing the school. The Congregation of Notre Dame was established in 1676 but its members did not make formal religious profession until 1698 when their Rule and constitutions were approved.

Marguerite established a school for Indian girls in Montreal. At the age of 69, she walked from Montreal to Quebec in response to the bishop's request to establish a community of her sisters in that city. By the time she died, she was referred to as the "Mother of the Colony." Marguerite was canonized in 1982.

It's easy to become discouraged when plans that we think that God must endorse are frustrated. Marguerite was called not to be a cloistered nun but to be a foundress and an educator. God had not ignored her after all..


Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22a

All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, "Now that you are old,
and your sons do not follow your example,
appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us."

Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them.
He prayed to the LORD, however, who said in answer:
"Grant the people's every request.
It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king."

Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full
to those who were asking him for a king.
He told them:
"The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows:
He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses,
and they will run before his chariot.
He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups
of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers.
He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting,
and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will use your daughters as ointment makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves,
and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards,
and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants,
as well as your best oxen and your asses,
and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place,
you will complain against the king whom you have chosen,
but on that day the LORD will not answer you."

The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel's warning and said,
"Not so! There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations,
with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare
and fight our battles."
When Samuel had listened to all the people had to say,
he repeated it to the LORD, who then said to him,
"Grant their request and appoint a king to rule them."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 89:16-17, 18-19
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
For you are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
and to the Holy One of Israel, our King.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia Lk 7:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
"Child, your sins are forgiven."
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk'?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth"
–he said to the paralytic,
"I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home."
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."


Meditation: Mark 2:1-12

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Child, your sins are forgiven." (Mark 2:5)

This is such a spectacular miracle and such an encouraging story about Jesus' power to forgive that we might miss one small but important detail. Jesus forgave this man and healed his paralysis because he saw the faith of his friends. It wasn't the paralyzed man's faith that moved him; it was his friends' faith. These four men stood with their friend and were convinced that if they could just get him to Jesus, he could be healed. Even if it meant tearing up the roof, they loved their friend enough—and they believed in Jesus enough—to do it.

What a moving illustration of true brotherhood! While the paralyzed man doubtless had faith himself, it was his four friends who actually got him to Jesus. Who knows? Maybe the man was too hesitant or afraid on his own. Maybe their faith in Jesus bolstered his faith as well. If it weren't for them, he would never have been able to walk. He would never have known Jesus' forgiveness.

Jesus never intended the Christian life to be a solitary journey. On the contrary, we are stronger when we are surrounded and supported by brothers and sisters in the faith. Whereas the world tells us to be independent and self-reliant, Jesus tells us to lean on each other—and to let others lean on us. That's probably why he sent his disciples to preach two by two. He knew they needed to balance each other out, with one helping the other in moments of weakness or tiredness. He knew they needed each other so that they would not fall to temptations of pride or give up in the face of opposition or hardship.

What about you? Do you have brothers and sisters to help bring you to Jesus? Never doubt that God wants to give you companions along the way. Alternatively, are there people who rely on you for encouragement in their own spiritual walk? Never doubt that you can be such a companion to someone else. Your faith can make all the difference in another person's life.

May we all be open to the generous gift of one another.

"Lord, you promised that you would be with us always. Thank you for fulfilling that promise through faithful friends!"

1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22
Psalm 89:16-19


The Lord said to Samuel: ""Grant the people's every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king." It happened then, about 1,000 years before Jesus, God rejected as king...think of then, Jesus brought before the people of God and Pontious Pilate says "behold the man" and the people yelled "Crucify him!". Pilate sends him off beaten and bleeding to be put on a cross and to say on an inscription "King of the Jews". Even if they didn't want Him king...He was. And He is. King of not only the Jews, but of the whole world you will ever know. Today, fast forward 2,000 do we reject the Lord? When we want things our way. Very simple. Can we not learn from Mother Mary when she said "thy will be done" as our Lord repeated in the garden of Gethsemane? Sin is a rejection of the Lord, thus making another a master...sin's master is death. The saddest die before being one with the Lord. To this day, rejection exists. We would like to say it saddens God, but God is eternally good. The sadness is for the soul that fails to see the light. It's like this my child, I live, we live to lift one another's chin up to see God, an encourager, a sure sign of God working within us...toward salvation.

Let us Pray:
"For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord. For you are the splendor of their strength, and by your favor our horn is exalted. For to the LORD belongs our shield, and to the Holy One of Israel, our King."
Two things:
1.) An inspiration- what if we lived in a world of oddities, like, you know, how people come back from an event and keep talking about it, and that event wound up being talking about how awesome the trip to Mass was, Mass being the trip to Heaven?
2.) Samuel's people rejected Samuel's orders, thus rejecting God. Failed to trust the orders...then from God. Holy Orders. A command...sounds like a suggestion, and they said "nah, we want this other thing instead!". Yikes. Isn't that how sin begins?

Let us go to Jesus in the Holy Gospel. But let us go in the spirit of the men that put a paralyzed man on a stretcher. One guy had his own problems, would love to touch Jesus but he knew the paralyzed wouldn't stand a chance. He put him before himself...others first, other-orientated. God was amazed by this. Another guy that was helping, he wanted to help just because he knew he could, he felt called, and his strength on one of the 4 corners held much of the weight. Jesus was amazed. Jesus touched him with His eyes "thank you" they said. Another man was a fresh convert, he was pushing everyone to help and come up with a plan for this man to be healed...little did he know...this man would be saved! The fourth corner? I'll leave that as we are Going4th.
Jesus does the unmentionable....forgives. DOH!

You know, I did those two funeral services I asked prayer for this week. The first funeral was a prisoner that was about to be cremated after I spoke with the family. There was only two people one one bench and about 6 or 7 on another. It was strange, almost as if I was preaching to a group afraid. One man would not ever look at me, kept looking away. So I kept in prayer mode and saying one thing after another, sounded random to me even, but in the end I kept hacking away at the message of....forgiveness. To be God is to be forgiving and we are called to be like Jesus, with Jesus. The Lord's prayer says "forgive us as we forgive those". The Jews flipped this day, they don't really believe in this forgiveness, theirs is very limited saying "Only God can forgive". WRONG. We can forgive. We can heal. We had 4 out of 7 kids sick with fevers and flu. I prayed a lot. And as I lay my hands on them, I said "I always pray for healing, now, I will heal in the name of Jesus". Fevers dissipated, smiles returned. We can bring mercy and healing to an aching world. Yes, we will face rejection. I do all the time. I invite people all the time to things of God and very few respond. It is a daily rejection really, even these emails are rejected. But it is God calling. There is no person so precious as to His called. If we only knew the gift. We would accept the order, the invite to a complete joy ... and leave dancing, from the Mass, the Confessional, the next Holy Sacrament in which God enjoins HIs holiness into ours! God help us help one another in great moves to salvation...even if it means tearing the roof off our tops to let angels descend and ascend to Jesus...You are the 4th person...what is your testimony?

I came because I was lost. I helped and I saw. I saw and I believed. I believed and I can not believe how much I am heart wants to burst into tears of Joy!!



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