Monday, January 29, 2018

Announce To Them....

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The Desires of Our Souls

We as human persons are made with infinite desires that only God can fulfill. But because we're fallen, we tend to live at the level of our superficial desires—desires for comfort, fun, fame, wealth, pleasure, success. These desires are not bad, but the rosary helps us be more aware of the soul's deepest desires, which are for God. As Saint Catherine of Siena taught, the greatest gift we can give to God in prayer is not the finite work of saying the words but our "infinitely desirous love" for God that is expressed in those words and that is being drawn out of our souls in prayer.

—from the book Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth by Edward Sri
franciscan media


"When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than the proceedings from the mouth."
– St. Bonaventure

"Prayer, considered as petition, consists entirely in expressing to God some desire in order that He may hear it favorably; a real desire is, therefore, its primary and essential condition; without this, we are merely moving the lips, going through a form of words which is not the expression of our will; and thus our prayer is only an appearance without reality. The way, then, to excite ourselves to pray, to put life and fervor into our prayer, and to make of it a cry which, breaking forth from the depths of the soul, penetrates even to heaven, is to conceive the real desire mentioned above, to excite it, to cherish it; for the fervor of our prayer will be in proportion to the strength of the desire we have to be heard; just as what we have but little at heart we ask for only in a half-hearted way, if even we ask it at all; so what we desire with our whole soul we ask for with words of fire, and plead for it before God with an eloquence that is very real."
— Rev. Dom Lehody, p. 4-5
The Ways of Mental Prayer

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near."
Philippians 4:4-5


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Servant of God Brother Juniper

Servant of God Brother Juniper's Story
"Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers," said Francis of this holy friar.

We don't know much about Juniper before he joined the friars in 1210. Francis sent him to establish "places" for the friars in Gualdo Tadino and Viterbo. When Saint Clare was dying, Juniper consoled her. He was devoted to the passion of Jesus and was known for his simplicity.

Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis illustrate his exasperating generosity. Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig's feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper's superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars!

Another time Juniper had been commanded to quit giving part of his clothing to the half-naked people he met on the road. Desiring to obey his superior, Juniper once told a man in need that he couldn't give the man his tunic, but he wouldn't prevent the man from taking it either. In time, the friars learned not to leave anything lying around, for Juniper would probably give it away.

He died in 1258 and is buried at Ara Coeli Church in Rome.

What can we make of Juniper? He certainly seems to be the first of many Franciscan "characters." No doubt some of the stories about him have improved considerably in the retelling. Although the stories about Juniper may seem a little quaint, his virtues were not. He was humble because he knew the truth about God, himself, and others. He was patient because he was willing to suffer in his following of Jesus.


Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 Sm 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13

An informant came to David with the report,
"The children of Israel have transferred their loyalty to Absalom."
At this, David said to all his servants
who were with him in Jerusalem:
"Up! Let us take flight, or none of us will escape from Absalom.
Leave quickly, lest he hurry and overtake us,
then visit disaster upon us and put the city to the sword."

As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing.
His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot.
All those who were with him also had their heads covered
and were weeping as they went.

As David was approaching Bahurim,
a man named Shimei, the son of Gera
of the same clan as Saul's family,
was coming out of the place, cursing as he came.
He threw stones at David and at all the king's officers,
even though all the soldiers, including the royal guard,
were on David's right and on his left.
Shimei was saying as he cursed:
"Away, away, you murderous and wicked man!
The LORD has requited you for all the bloodshed in the family of Saul,
in whose stead you became king,
and the LORD has given over the kingdom to your son Absalom.
And now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer."
Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said to the king:
"Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?
Let me go over, please, and lop off his head."
But the king replied: "What business is it of mine or of yours,
sons of Zeruiah, that he curses?
Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David;
who then will dare to say, 'Why are you doing this?'"
Then the king said to Abishai and to all his servants:
"If my own son, who came forth from my loins, is seeking my life,
how much more might this Benjaminite do so?
Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction
and make it up to me with benefits
for the curses he is uttering this day."
David and his men continued on the road,
while Shimei kept abreast of them on the hillside,
all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went.

Responsorial Psalm PS 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
R. (8a) Lord, rise up and save me.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
"There is no salvation for him in God."
R. Lord, rise up and save me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.
R. Lord, rise up and save me.
When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.
R. Lord, rise up and save me.

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 5:1-20

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
"What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!"
(He had been saying to him, "Unclean spirit, come out of the man!")
He asked him, "What is your name?"
He replied, "Legion is my name. There are many of us."
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
"Send us into the swine. Let us enter them."
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
"Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you."
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.


Meditation: Mark 5:1-20

4th Week in Ordinary Time

No one was strong enough to subdue him. (Mark 5:4)

How frightened this man's loved ones must have felt! When Mark mentions this man's family, he could mean parents or siblings, perhaps a wife and children. Imagine the impact that this man's spiritual ordeal had on them. Anxiety about his harming himself. Ridicule and marginalization from the rest of the village. And above all, a sense of helplessness in the face of evil.

Don't rule out the possibility that the ones trying to hold him down with chains were those who loved him—the ones who thought they could intervene with the right words or who just wanted to keep him safe even if it meant restraining him. Still, "No one was strong enough to subdue him," and the whole family's suffering continued (Mark 5:4).

Jesus saw not only the man's pain but theirs. Having undergone spiritual attack himself, he could identify with the tormented man. But he also knew what it was like to worry and to be mocked, so he could identify with this family. So Jesus didn't seek only to deliver this man from his plight; he wanted release for his family too. As soon as he liberated the man, Jesus sent him back to his town to proclaim the good news of what had happened to him. Finally the man's entire family could experience joy and freedom!

Everyone has family members going through adversity. Often it feels like your best human efforts to solve a family member's problems just don't work. Every safeguard or solution put in place to help that person gets pulled apart and smashed. But God's love is even greater than ours. When or how he answers prayers sometimes doesn't make sense to us, but his response is always the best one.

What's more, he doesn't just work with those at the center of these situations, but with everyone involved. He sees the parents of the sick infant, the spouse of the addict, the children of the couple experiencing financial difficulties. Each one he blesses and strengthens in a unique way.

In the lives of people close to you, there will always be circumstances that seem out of hand, that you feel unable to do anything about. Trust in the power and love of the Lord—and remember that he works with you too!

"Lord, heal every family that is struggling right now!"

2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13
Psalm 3:2-7



"David and his men continued on the road, while Shimei kept abreast of them on the hillside, all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went."
This weekend we loaded ourselves on some charter buses and traveled 6 hours to our pro-life rally at the state capitol. We arrive and the rains stopped and the sun broke through. God's hand. We began our march. We continued on the road (as King David). These people that looked like they were from India were wearing blue bandanas and walking alongside, my left side. They were praying the rosary ever louder. On my right side were my kids and my wife and along them, some nuns, and some seminarians passed us along the way wearing long black robes and looked of great cheer. As we huffed, I kept pushing a jogging stroller, filling up with jackets and blankets as we went, and my baby boy Jayden, which means "thankfulness". Suddenly, I witnessed oncoming traffic, one vehicle a blonde lady sticking her head out, waving her hand and yelling, as we came across her, I could hear her rants, it was cursing and insults and it was obscene gestures, after curses I could hear her saying something like "planned parenthood gives' and I thought "yeah, they give baby body parts to the highest bidder". As we passed each other, I looked back some, and I caught on my left side praying a older priest, just kept looking ahead and praying, he was between me and her...
Let us keep going.

Pray "Lord, rise up and save me. But you, O LORD, are my shield; my glory, you lift up my head! When I call out to the LORD, he answers me from his holy mountain." The previous night, me and a brother met another brother, we are brothers in Christ. We met for group reunion, a cursillo method of living out our Christianity. One brother was saying he never votes, and was totally against the president's immigration therefore against the president. We told him that life begins in the womb, therefore, if that don't matter, nothing else matters. He didn't seem totally convinced. I wish that brother would've been with us to see if he still sided with those cursing us, because you side with those cursing at us marching for life, whether you like it or not. We got to the gates of the capitol. And you could hear a study drumming, and chanting, as we got closer, it was a handful of pro-choice (pro-death) people chanting, mostly young girls, some dressed in red robes and white bonnets chanting things about "you don't care about women's lives....women die". Funny how they point the finger, planned parenthood sends more women to emergency rooms than our Life centers who do not make women bleed to death. My brother in law who has been wondering in faith went with us, and he took me aside "you are so right Adrian, you could feel evil in them". Yes, little children mentioned how the "mood changed" as we passed by them. I prayed, for them and for the truth....and we kept going...and went through the gates. As we entered the gates you could hear from this majestic building, the capitol, powerful music of praise and worship and we went up the nicely trimmed park looking roads and came up to a water fountain, I saw my elderly mother in law drenched and sat at the fountain to rest and the kids played with the water and played and laughed on the grass, some other lay down sun-bathing and I said to my wife "man, I'd love to just roll around and sun bathe like that...with not a care in the world!". This my friend is our path to Heaven.

Let us join our Lord, embark, and land, to proclaim, and once again, like King David, and like the pro-lifers, and like our Lord, encounter those who curse us along the way. But what did David do? What did Jesus do? Mercy. They taught mercy by their way. Only Jesus took it further. His mercy saved...not one, but launched a saving power where that possessed man once lived in darkness. The man was possessed by perhaps 1,000 demons. Funny how we can get possessed no? How does it happen? You let one demon in, and another tries to come in, like mice in a home or lice, even smaller. Until, it becomes an invasion that makes for a nest, a brooding ground. This story becomes one of not a stranger, but it's about us! Jesus traverses from another realm to reach us, to save us, to leave us with a mission to save as He saved. Funny how the only one converted was the most possessed, no? There is hope for all those who curse us. Jesus reaches them. I believe I caught the attention of an accuser, and I desired the truth for their hearts...Jesus.

"As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him..." This touches the heart. "Please don't go Lord." Whereas at first "I adjure you by God, do not torment me!" and pleaded Him to leave. Please stay Lord. I wrote a song called "Son Goes". It was inspired by a sunset. Darkness was coming. But God promises to come back. What's more, when God embarks the boat, the wood figure, the cross, and awaits. He left us as His Ascension, "Go and make disciples of all nations".

Today, people still curse, curse our Lord, but they are possessions. There is a soul to be had. Mercy to be had. And it begins with you and me, here and now. When Jesus left, He left the Holy Spirit. He left Himself. Especially in the Holy Eucharist. So this song goes, and we keep going....
See you past the gates!!



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