Monday, February 12, 2018

He Left Them....

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We Are Made in God's Image

To be a human creature, a person that somehow bears the image of God, means that love is properly at our core. When we move in proper relation to the world we move with affection. And it is this affection that guides our action and directs the boundaries of our limits.
God may love the world, but we live into God's image by reflecting such love on a proper scale—among particular places and people. We live into our love when we love our neighbors.

–from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life by Ragan Sutterfield
franciscan media


"Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity."
— St. Francis of Paola

"Now man need not hide from God as Adam did; for He can be seen through Christ's human nature. Christ did not gain one perfection more by becoming man, nor did He lose anything of what He possessed as God. There was the Almightiness of God in the movement of His arm, the infinite love of God in the beatings of His human heart and the Unmeasured Compassion of God to sinners in His eyes. God was now manifest in the flesh; this is what is called the Incarnation. The whole range of the Divine attributes of power and goodness, justice, love, beauty, were in Him. And when Our Divine Lord acted and spoke, God in His perfect nature became manifest to those who saw Him and heard Him and touched Him. As He told Philip later on: Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father [John 14:9]."
— Fulton J. Sheen, p. 21
Life of Christ

"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"
John 7:37-8


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St. Julian the Hospitaller (4th c.) came from a wealthy noble family in Europe. Little of his life is known with certainty. According to legend he married a noble widow, and was put under a curse at some point in his life. The curse was that he would one day kill his parents. To prevent this from happening, Julian and his wife moved far away from them. Julian's parents later found their whereabouts and made an unexpected visit while Julian was away. Julian's wife offered them her bed to sleep for the night. When Julian arrived home and found his bed occupied with a couple, he slew them both assuming it was his wife with another man. When Julian learned the truth, he was horrified by his actions and spent the rest of his life in penance. He and his wife went on a pilgrimage to Rome, and on their return established a hospital to continue their penance, dedicating their lives to caring for the poor and sick. One day a leper came to stay in the hospital; after Julian cared for his wounds, the leper revealed himself to be an angel and told Julian that God granted him absolution for his sins. The hospital was built near a river that was often crossed by pilgrims on their way to the Crusades. St. Julian the Hospitaller is the patron saint of hospitality, travelers, innkeepers, boatmen, pilgrims, and knights. His feast day is celebrated on February 12th.


Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Jas 1:1-11

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings.

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters,
when you encounter various trials,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
And let perseverance be perfect,
so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
But if any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly,
and he will be given it.
But he should ask in faith, not doubting,
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea
that is driven and tossed about by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,
since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.

The brother in lowly circumstances
should take pride in high standing,
and the rich one in his lowliness,
for he will pass away "like the flower of the field."
For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass,
its flower droops, and the beauty of its appearance vanishes.
So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76
R. (77a) Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I hold to your promise.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
You are good and bountiful;
teach me your statutes.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I may learn your statutes.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
I know, O LORD, that your ordinances are just,
and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Let your kindness comfort me
according to your promise to your servants.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.

Alleluia Jn 14:6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
"Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation."
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore.


Meditation: James 1:1-11

God who gives to all generously . . . (James 1:5)

James' letter can read like a long list of advice, kind of like a supersized to-do list: be joyful when you suffer. Persevere perfectly. Ask in faith. Recognize you will fade like a flower. But James doesn't give us a bunch of "shoulds" and then leave us to work away at it. He reminds us of something very important: God is generous and ungrudging with his grace.

God is not a stingy accountant looking for our shortcomings, and we are not slaves to a list of rules, left to sweat away on our own strength. God has given us his grace, and he delights in giving us even more of it. There's no reason to doubt that.

As an exhortation on ethical conduct, the Letter of James has much in common with the Wisdom books of the Old Testament. James describes what the "just man" looks like, not simply by virtue of obeying the Law, but by virtue of the grace he receives in Christ. That's the lens through which James speaks to us. And that's why he is quick to remind us how much Jesus loves to give us good gifts.

You have received this grace James talks about. How can you tell? As you continue to grow in prayer, you might find yourself becoming more willing to forgive a coworker or friend. You might find yourself just a bit more patient with your children than you were last year. You might be more likely to pray for someone in need rather than shrug your shoulders or feel powerless. These are all signs that God is continuing to pour grace upon grace into your heart.

A to-do list might leave you feeling discouraged, especially when you struggle to accomplish everything on it. But listen to James: God never tires of giving us his gifts. You can ask him for the wisdom you need. You can ask him for help when you find yourself lacking. So go ahead and try to follow James' advice, but be sure to seek out the grace and help you need. You don't have to do it on your own!

"Father, I trust your generosity. I believe that you have poured grace into my life and that you have even more grace waiting for me!"

Psalm 119:67-68, 71-72, 75-76
Mark 8:11-13



Please let us look at the first Holy Scripture again:
"But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,
since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways."
Have you ever asked the Lord for something with doubts? I know I've been really stressed, like last week, physical ailment worries, worries at work and the prison retreat coming. So my prayers were filled with stress and anguish...and perhaps doubt mixed in. But something happened over the weekend. First, let us pray:

" Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes." First comes Love, then comes marriage, then comes fruit in the baby carriage. Love is from Heaven. Love is shown by Jesus in its totality. Love comes down. Love gives to the end. Love dies for its love. Learn these statutes, because they are a perseverance and tenacity, and life changing.

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord is asked for a sign by the Pharisees. Jesus looks around, with a sigh like no other "... no sign will be given to this generation." Something for nothing. As if to say "Do a trick for me Lord", and MAYBE I'll believe. That's what we like. We don't want to lift a finger. We don't want to suffer, we don't want the cross, we don't, I know we don't, because I know personally I shriek at the thought of suffering. I shudder at the thought of shouldering a cross. So I asked God to heal me during the week. But suffering does something to me: it makes me unite tighter to God. And so, LOL, my prayers are like "God I know you want me near but can I not suffer please?" It's like saying "I appreciate the offer, but can we do it on my terms?" So I hunker down. I wait for the Lord. I wait on the Lord. I go to the prison retreat, not having a clue what's going to happen. Turns out they really needed my guitar and singing and they were very appreciative and receptive. That's fine. No big deal. Used to it. Remember, I do lots of funerals, retreats and weekly and daily Masses, I am literally used to it. Let me you in on a secret, another stresser for the week last week or two, was an ex-worker who has never called or contacted us was calling daily and harassing all of us and making threats too. I'm sighing now. What a sign, right? That's the sign doubting people get, a sigh from God. I didn't really want to be joyful with prisoners. But I went.
Well, by an odd turn of events, I see adoration in the corner of the gym where we were. Constant adoration. And before I knew it, the Lord was exposed, an exposition of His Holy Essence in Presence. The sun pierced through windows high above and I told the guys on the microphone, "it is interesting to see how the Lord of thousands of years is right here, the sun coming through and His holy Presence with you". Most were not Catholic but they understood by the end what it was about. The rosary we did opened the eyes of many. I was asked to explain it and start it, and before, I had sung a song for Mary.

On the last day, I had to wash the feet of some of the prisoners. Some tattooed guys wanted to walk out "you will NOT wash MY feet". I told my co-table-leader, "he is like St. Peter". As a matter of fact, I was battling an inner conundrum, the stresser threat, harrassing the earlier weeks was a factor.

I witnessed perhaps 70 men have their feet washed by older men coming from hours away to put on the retreat. Jesus had come in. He kissed their feet. These lonely men, tortured by evil, Jesus came to them. I do not have time to tell you of their amazing testimonies, but I do have time to say...
Thank you.
For your prayers. Your thoughts. Your consideration.
I was in need of God without me knowing.
I was sent to be with God, locked up with Him.
I needed prisoners in my life.
I needed Jesus in my life.
It was humiliating, the humble way was shown.
I was a nervous wreck, and I walked away spaced the marvelous nature of God.
I developed some type of sinus deal over the weekend. And here we are again...seeking a sign.
Torrential floods for Noah?
Locusts and deaths for Egypt?
What sign do we want?
Those are signs God sends at times.

How about finding an angel you were serving...hidden in the untouchable?

Seek the sign.
Seek the sign of the cross.



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