Thursday, March 22, 2018

Are You Greater than......

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A Prayer of Love


God of community and love,

there are many times when

we are too quick to abandon Christ

on the cross.

Like those disciples who

feared for their lives,

things great and small cause

us to fear for ours.

Help us to see the two sides

of your Son's passion,

the love and suffering that Jesus reveals to us,

models for us, calls us to live.

Open our eyes to the

truest meaning of bearing the name Christ,

so that we too may strive to love as you love,

while embracing the suffering that such true love entails.

We offer our gratitude for the community formed

that day beside the cross:

formed out of great love, formed amid great suffering.

We make this prayer in your name.


—from The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering by Daniel P. Horan, OFM
franciscan media


"We ought to speak, shout out against injustices, with confidence and without fear. We proclaim the principles of the Church, the reign of love, without forgetting that it is also a reign of justice."
— Blessed Miguel Pro

"We've been taught that God did not make the world for no reason, but for the sake of the human race. As I said before, he takes pleasure in those who imitate his attributes, and is displeased with those who embrace what is worthless, whether in word or deed."
— St. Justin Martyr, p. 324
A Year with the Church Fathers

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13


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Saint Nicholas Owen

(? – 1606)

Nicholas, familiarly known as "Little John," was small in stature but big in the esteem of his fellow Jesuits.

Born at Oxford, this humble artisan saved the lives of many priests and laypersons in England during the penal times (1559-1829), when a series of statutes punished Catholics for the practice of their faith. Over a period of about 20 years, Nicholas used his skills to build secret hiding places for priests throughout the country.

His work, which he did completely by himself as both architect and builder, was so good that time and time again priests in hiding were undetected by raiding parties. Nicholas was a genius at finding and creating places of safety: subterranean passages, small spaces between walls, impenetrable recesses.

At one point he was even able to mastermind the escape of two Jesuits from the Tower of London. Whenever Nicholas set out to design such hiding places, he began by receiving the holy Eucharist, and he would turn to God in prayer throughout the long, dangerous construction process.

After many years at his unusual task, Nicholas entered the Society of Jesus and served as a lay brother, although—for very good reasons—his connection with the Jesuits was kept secret.

After a number of narrow escapes, he himself was finally caught in 1594. Despite protracted torture, Nicholas refused to disclose the names of other Catholics. After being released following the payment of a ransom, "Little John" went back to his work. He was arrested again in 1606. This time he was subjected to horrible tortures, suffering an agonizing death. The jailers tried suggesting that he had confessed and committed suicide, but his heroism and sufferings soon were widely known.

Nicholas Owen was canonized in 1970 as one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales.

Nicholas was a clever builder and architect who used his skills to protect endangered priests. Without his help, hundreds of English Catholics would have been deprived of the sacraments. His gift for spotting unlikely places to hide priests was impressive, but more impressive was his habit of seeking support for his work in prayer and the Eucharist. If we follow his example, we may also discover surprising ways to put our skills to God's service.


Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Reading 1 Gn 17:3-9

When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
"My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
I will maintain my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
throughout the ages as an everlasting pact,
to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
I will give to you
and to your descendants after you
the land in which you are now staying,
the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession;
and I will be their God."

God also said to Abraham:
"On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Verse Before the Gospel Ps 95:8
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Gospel Jn 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death."
So the Jews said to him,
"Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.'
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?"
Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, 'He is our God.'
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad."
So the Jews said to him,
"You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM."
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.


Meditation: Psalm 105:4-9

Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought. (Psalm 105:5)

Whether it's forgotten birthdays, straying pens, or faces we can't place, it's annoying to lose track of the little things. Forgetfulness becomes downright tragic, though, if we lose sight of the big picture—what life is all about. This is why today's psalm urges us to remember and praise God for his wondrous deeds.

This is perfect encouragement as we prepare to celebrate the most wonderful deeds ever this Holy Week. So how can we fight forgetfulness and take on the kind of remembering that leads to gratitude, joy, and transformation? By taking God's wondrous deeds personally.

Handing down their stories from one generation to the next, the people of Israel have been recounting how God made them a people for thousands of years. Especially in recounting the pivotal story of their deliverance from slavery, the retelling took the form of a "You Are There" Passover meal. Observing biblical and traditional customs, they recall their liberation in a way that makes it personal and present: "This is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt" (Exodus 13:8).

In Christ, we can say the same. Israel's wondrous deeds have become part of our history as well, and they are fulfilled in Jesus' death and resurrection. As Catholics, we believe that every Eucharist recalls these saving acts and makes them present to us. We are there in the upper room with Jesus!

This Holy Week and Easter, take the story personally. Place yourself at the Last Supper. In your imagination, observe the Passover meal; Jesus provided a way for you to remember and receive him. He did this for me. Watch with Jesus in the garden, where he suffers so intensely as he awaits his betrayer. He did this for me. See him dragged before the high priest, Herod, Pilate, the jeering crowd. He did this for me. Walk to Calvary, stand at the cross, mourn with Mary.

Recall and relive these wondrous deeds that God has wrought. Let this one truth sink into your heart: he did this for me. This is how much he loves me.

"Jesus, I am in awe at your love for me and your commitment to me!"

Genesis 17:3-9
John 8:51-59



Our Lord said ""On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages." Keep what? HIS Covenant. There was at a time, around our area a men's deal called "Promise Keepers". I haven't heard much about it, but apparently, men would go to these things in the Coliseum, and come out fired up about being a "Promise Keeper", something about being true to the Lord and bringing it to their families. This sensation came to me, although I never attended one. So where are the "Promise Keepers" now? You ready? It's you!

"The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. Look to the LORD in his strength; seek to serve him constantly. Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought, his portents, and the judgments he has uttered." Recall, keep retelling these stories, keep re-living them. This is exactly what happens with the Bible and the Mass. We re-live the history of our faith, the theology of our faith, and we get to, (let me re-emphasize that) WE GET TO re-live, live always this ordeal WITH GOD. For God said I AM. This is beautiful, as Fr. Barron, sorry, Bishop now, Bishop Barron said today:

"Friends, today Jesus refers to himself as "I AM," the name God revealed to Moses. So, let's reflect on this episode from Genesis. While tending sheep in the hill country, Moses sees a strange sight. There an angel of the Lord appears to him in fire, flaming out of a bush. God sees him and calls him by name: "Moses, Moses. I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob." This is a very familiar God, one who knows Moses' ancestors.

Moses makes bold to ask, "If the Israelites ask me, 'what is his name?' what am I to tell them?" "God replied, 'I am who I am.'" What does that mean? God is saying, in essence, "I cannot be defined, described, or delimited. I am not a being, but rather the sheer act of to-be itself."

"This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you." The sheer act of being itself cannot be avoided, and it cannot be controlled. It can only be surrendered to in faith. How shocking and strange Jesus' listeners must have found it when Jesus took this name for himself! "

Now imagine this, for example, when God spoke through the burning bush, imagine something crazy like this: imagine the voice of Jesus speaking through that bush to Moses. Suddenly, it puts everything into a whole new perspective. Imagine, Jesus breathing over the seas when time began. Suddenly, Jesus is more amazing than ever...He IS GOD!

And so, when He comes in our lives today: ""Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death." Keep in mind He has said "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal." Jn12:25 What if I threw a weird thing like this in with Elmer Fudd ears LOL. "He who wuvs his wife woses it, and he who hates his wife in this world will keep it to eternal" I remember we used to have co-workers' bible study group weekly. Some guys been asking we start it up again. To me it was a Lenten thing that lived on for a couple years. Anyhoot, one time an older worker was told he had to love God more than his wife, and he had to hate her, and mother and father to boot. Boy he was so aggrevated, he never ever participated in bible studies again. This silly story demonstrates the mentality of the Jews when they heard Jesus said "I AM. "Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM."
So they picked up stones to throw at him. Our stones are of rejection. Sin is rejection. Although we like to sugar coat it, we sugar coat a lump of yuck, a lump of feces, poo for the simple terms. In the end, it stinks and is bad for you. Lent peals off sugar coatings and reveals truth. God is with us. He told the Jews I AM right here, I AM right now, and when Moses was there, I AM with them. I AM revealed Himself in the transfiguration. And guess what? I AM is revealed in every Holy Mass, to those who can accept...or reject.

Because when you go in and "get nothing" out of Mass, you didn't accept.

So who hates his wife anyways? Of course nobody in a loving relationship. But you have to hate the loves of the fleeting world. Our focus must be I AM, Jesus. The reason the worker quit on bible study is because he could not accept a greater love. You see? Yet, the rest, to this day, 3 years later, have not become faithful followers of Christ, except one. My God-son now. He says now "it's like God hit me on the back of my head with a two by four" meaning "I been here all along and you didn't know it". What about all the people on the fence? Those that can't decide? It's like they got one foot in and one foot out. One foot in hell, one foot in heaven. Don't many of us live like that? Trying to have cake and eat it too? Trying to dabble in the world but be Christian too? God doesn't like lukewarm souls. You must be hot or cold. Lukewarm, neutral people let abortions continue. Lukewarm, neutral people let God be silenced at work, at school, and even at home.

One participant in Be My Witness said "I don't want to force my kids to come to church, like I was forced". I said "then let them choose, and the world will gladly accept them and train them the way it wants" and the devil is in the world feeding off the weak. One older lady said "I always told my son to go to church for years and years" and that day her son was with us in class, giving witness to his coming back to faith because of his mom.

What am I trying to say? Perseverance. It's a gift. Ask for this gift. And faith is a gift. It's a gift from God, I AM, to us, and a gift from what I am to God. I AM means being. You are either Christ or not. You are either Christian (of Christ) or not of Christ.

You are of God. You belong to God. You belong in Heaven.

I was thrown into a new class last night, as a 9th grade teacher. I was pretty hard on the poor kids but I kept saying "I want you in Heaven!" like a drill sergeant in God's army.

I want you praying your rosary daily, attending Mass daily if at all possible, because there grace abounds. I AM
And the way I will prove love exists is by proving that God exists. I AM
And the way to the Way will live for I AM
I AM a promise keeper
I AM of God
I AM made in His image.
I AM one with OUR FATHER
I AM responsible for souls
I AM in love with souls
I AM zealous for souls
I AM thirsty for souls
I AM hurting for love of souls
I AM immensely hungry for life
I AM Love, the love the world needs to see alive and well.
I AM, as Pope JPII said as his motto, "Totus Tuus" totally yours!



Fifth Thursday of Lent

"If we are standing together and I have a rose in
my hand, the rose is mine, and yet you no less
than I rejoice in its beauty and its perfume.
So shall it be in eternal life: My glory shall
be your consolation and exultation,
and yours shall be mine."

Not every situation is a zero/sum event. If you cut
yourself a very large piece of pie, not much is left
for anyone else. Blessings are not diminished when
they are shared. If we perceive some scarcity, we are
anxious that we not be left out and may be ready
to use any means to guarantee that we receive what
we think we deserve.

Praying with Saint Anthony

God of all creation, you give us no reason to try
to hoard your blessings. Allow our hearts to be
stretched by your grace.

want one more quick prayer?
Franciscan Meditation

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