Thursday, March 1, 2018

Then I beg you

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The Sound of Silence

In our noisy, cluttered world, we need silence. Silence heals, refreshes, energizes, inspires, sharpens, clarifies. It simplifies. It is the medium of truth. And it is the font of the pure single Word that both perfectly communicates it and leads back to it. If we consciously turn off the TV or close the computer, restrain unnecessary speech, avoid out smartphones, look people lovingly in the eye, we are enhancing the same direct work of silence that we return to meeting in our meditation. And we are making the world a more silent and awakened place.

—from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditation during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB
franciscan media


"It is not that I want merely to be called a Christian, but to actually be one. Yes, if I prove to be one, then I can have the name."
— St. Ignatius of Antioch

"He does not come down from Heaven each day to stay in the gold ciborium. He comes down to find another Heaven He cherishes infinitely more than the first, the Heaven of our souls, made in His image, living temples of the Most Blessed Trinity!"
— St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 31
Meditations with the Little Flower

"By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked."
1 John 2:3-6


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Saint David of Wales

(d. March 1, 589)

David is the patron saint of Wales and perhaps the most famous of British saints. Ironically, we have little reliable information about him.

It is known that he became a priest, engaged in missionary work, and founded many monasteries, including his principal abbey in southwestern Wales. Many stories and legends sprang up about David and his Welsh monks. Their austerity was extreme. They worked in silence without the help of animals to till the soil. Their food was limited to bread, vegetables and water.

In about the year 550, David attended a synod where his eloquence impressed his fellow monks to such a degree that he was elected primate of the region. The episcopal see was moved to Mynyw, where he had his monastery, now called St. David's. He ruled his diocese until he had reached a very old age. His last words to his monks and subjects were: "Be joyful, brothers and sisters. Keep your faith, and do the little things that you have seen and heard with me."

Saint David is pictured standing on a mound with a dove on his shoulder. The legend is that once while he was preaching a dove descended to his shoulder and the earth rose to lift him high above the people so that he could be heard. Over 50 churches in South Wales were dedicated to him in pre-Reformation days.

Were we restricted to hard manual labor and a diet of bread, vegetables and water, most of us would find little reason to rejoice. Yet joy is what David urged on his brothers as he lay dying. Perhaps he could say that to them—and to us—because he lived in and nurtured a constant awareness of God's nearness. For, as someone once said, "Joy is the infallible sign of God's presence." May his intercession bless us with the same awareness!

Saint David of Wales is the Patron Saint of:


Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading 1 Jer 17:5-10

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind
and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways,
according to the merit of his deeds.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so, the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse Before the Gospel See Lk 8:15
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied, 'My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.'
He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said,
'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'"


Meditation: Luke 16:19-31
2nd Week of Lent

Lying at his door was a poor man . . . covered with sores. (Luke 16:20)

Many drivers discover blind spots the hard way, by having an accident. Driving instructors remind us that it's not enough to check the mirrors in our car. We also need to check our blind spots to make sure that there isn't anything hidden from view. They tell us that there's only one way to be sure: "Turn your head." It sounds obvious, but people who fail to turn their heads often pay the price.

The rich man in today's Gospel had a blind spot right by his front door. Every day he walked in and out of his home, oblivious to the hungry beggar lying there. Perhaps he saw Lazarus, but he never perceived him—never noticed his sores, never spoke to him, never looked him in the eye. He probably never considered offering him food or nursing his wounds. He was blind to Lazarus.

Like this rich man, we may have blind spots. We may fail to notice people in need, even the ones right on our doorsteps. It can be easy to miss them, even when they are right in front of us. We are too busy, too tired, or too stressed. So we walk right by. Our "Lazarus" may be the homeless woman begging at the corner near our office. He may be an anxious child or weary spouse in our own home. He may be our neighbor getting his mail in slippers and bathrobe, hungover from the night before. All these people need love, and God wants us to see them and take care of them.

Where do you start? Take a lesson from the driving instructors: turn your head. Pay attention to the people in your blind spots. You can turn your head to sense their hunger, their loneliness, their weariness. Turn your head to look them in the eye. Take a chance by turning your head so that you can encounter a person with love.

Ask the Spirit today to shine light into your blind spots. Ask him to show you who is lying by your door. And when you see them, turn your head, look them in the eye, and treat them with love and dignity.

"Holy Spirit, help me to show your love."

Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1:1-4, 6



Scripture, Word of God opens today "Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD." It is a self-curse, to turn from God, isn't it? I told the CCD class last night that God cast Lucifer from Heaven, like this: He let him do whatever he pleased....and it produced his own living hell. And misery loves company. The world can be miserable, easily, without our Lord, turning from our Lord. Yet Jesus comes saying many times over "Blessed is he who...". Over and over Jesus says you can be a blessed soul and a blessing in the world by being blessed, but not with your riches. People think riches are blessings, Jews really believe to this day that this is the case, even buying the front row seats in the temple. Money doesn't buy you closeness to God.

Let us pray: "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night."
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance."

Our Lord gives us the parable of the rich and the poor. The rich live life as if "you only live once", kids call this nowadays YOLO. But it is a grain of truth. You get one shot. What will it say for the Kingdom of God? My question to you is about death. What would you have offered your whole life for? The world? Or your family? What about God? That is my question to the entire world...when I look into anyone's eyes, my soul asks that other soul "what about God?" I see people come from poor Mexico. Here they are promised riches, and work, and more things. They come, they work, work hard, scrubbing toilets, hoeing fields, and perhaps getting better jobs, and two or 3 jobs into the night...soon, just to make ends meet. And then they try to relax, and listen to a song "Jaula de Oro", the Golden Cage. It's a trap. Some depict Heaven as having streets of gold. I say Gold might be everywhere in Heaven, like dirt....worthless. What we value in our material world is not in Heaven. Backwards. I told the kids last night that suffering awaits a good Christian. I grabbed the crown of thorns on the table "this is what awaits". Why? Why suffering? Because it is good. Good for you. Backwards. I said "some saints would ask if they could take your suffering for you, because they understand the value".

But the devil whispers in temptations "you don't have to suffer" and "you don't have to take that from anybody". LIES. You do have to suffer, and you do have to take it. Saint Bahkita suffered for seeking Christ. She was a slave and would get whipped for not being home 24/7. I feel whips for not being home too. I feel pains for not being with my wife and children when I am gone in ministries. Sometimes we used to bicker and fight about it. But the real pains were my own, sacrificing time, sacrificing my loves, for greater Glory. Today, my children are beginning to see. They know daddy has to work the fields of God's Kingdom. I asked them last night as they were all busy playing, have you all prayed the rosary? "Yes" they all said. "Oh yeah?" I asked. "What where the mysteries today?" They said "Glorious, but mom says we should do Sorrowful in Lent, so we did Sorrowful". Great answer. So I began my own rosary as they continued to pray. For years, let's say, 13 years I've dreamed of my kids praying the rosary. My 4 year old bouncing on the couch at the same time was telling me "daddy, I pray the Hail Mary in my head". My labors and tears, and heartaches will not go for nothing. God knows, He is tremendously awesome. I thought about our homeschooling too yesterday "you know, my wife decided to homeschool, and sure, my kids won't be the quarterback star, or the best in theatre or band, but, they will know the rosary by heart, and they will appreciate the Holy Mass we try to attend daily. I can find no better education than to know to love God above all". I was hard on the students last night. There probably about 12 of them, whereas last time there were only 5. "Where were you?" I picked on them one by one. "This is God's time". I called for punctuality, so we would not rob God of a single minute.

What happens when God calls?

It's going to cost you something. Here's where trust has to come in. Trust God's ways. He sees everything you think all day and all night long. He knows exactly where you stand. If for self, you will fall. If for will rise.



A spanish reflection ended today with:

What can be bought with money ?:
The best bed in the world, but not the dream or peace.
The richest food, but not the appetite.
A book, but not intelligence.
A house, but not a home.
Luxury, but not beauty.
The most expensive medicine, but not health.
Sex, but not love
Fun, but not happiness.
A golden crucifix, but not the Faith.
A beautiful tomb in the cemetery, but not Heaven.
If we have faith in God, money is not everything in life.
God does not always give you what you ask, but he will always give you what you really need.

Second Thursday of Lent

"Fortified by the wall of the Incarnate Word,
the Church will continue in peace and
security until the end."

On returning to the United States after a long trip
to Europe, Mark Twain once remarked that reports
of his death had been greatly exaggerated.
Reports of the Church's demise have been
greatly exaggerated for centuries. Although its
members have often been countersigns to their
Baptism, God is infinitely patient, constantly inviting us to conversion and thus to genuine happiness.

Praying with Saint Anthony

Heavenly Father, you sent Jesus for our peace and
security. Help us not to seek those elsewhere and at
some supposedly cheaper price.

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