Monday, April 2, 2018

They Will See Me

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Sons and Daughters of God

What Thomas Merton sought was an awareness of "the presence of God in this present life." His abiding witness in his several vocations is that men and women might find their deepest freedom in God; and, holding firm to the central mystery of Christian faith, he acknowledged that "in order to become myself I must cease to be what I always thought I wanted to be....and in order to live I have to die." In his refusal to conform, to give way, to settle for a quiet life, he continues to encourage those who go beyond the conventions of life and dare to claim for themselves the freedom of the sons and daughters of God.

—from The Art of Thomas Merton: A Divine Passion in Word and Vision
franciscan media


"If you wish to strengthen your confidence in God still more, often recall the loving way in which He has acted toward you, and how mercifully He has tried to bring you out of your sinful life, to break your attachment to the things of earth and draw you to His love."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori

"God will forgive you if you ask him to. Though your sins be numerous as the grains of sand on the shore, God's merciful forgiveness is far greater than your sins. Do not be afraid. Trust in his love. Repent of your sins without delay and return to the house of the Father. He is waiting for you. "
— Patrick Madrid, p.15
A Year with the Bible

"May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 15:5-6


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Saint Francis of Paola

(March 27, 1416 – April 2, 1507)

Saint Francis of Paola's Story
Francis of Paola was a man who deeply loved contemplative solitude and wished only to be the "least in the household of God." Yet, when the Church called him to active service in the world, he became a miracle-worker and influenced the course of nations.

After accompanying his parents on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, he began to live as a contemplative hermit in a remote cave near Paola, on Italy's southern seacoast. Before he was 20, he received the first followers who had come to imitate his way of life. Seventeen years later, when his disciples had grown in number, Francis established a Rule for his austere community and sought Church approval. This was the founding of the Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi, who were approved by the Holy See in 1474.

In 1492, Francis changed the name of his community to "Minims" because he wanted them to be known as the least (minimi) in the household of God. Humility was to be the hallmark of the brothers as it had been in Francis's personal life. Besides the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Francis enjoined upon his followers the fourth obligation of a perpetual Lenten fast. He felt that heroic mortification was necessary as a means for spiritual growth.

It was Francis's desire to be a contemplative hermit, yet he believed that God was calling him to the apostolic life. He began to use the gifts he had received, such as the gifts of miracles and prophecy, to minister to the people of God. A defender of the poor and oppressed, Francis incurred the wrath of King Ferdinand of Naples for the admonitions he directed toward the king and his sons.

Following the request of Pope Sixtus IV, Francis traveled to Paris to help Louis XI of France prepare for his death. While ministering to the king, Francis was able to influence the course of national politics. He helped to restore peace between France and Brittany by advising a marriage between the ruling families, and between France and Spain by persuading Louis XI to return some disputed land.

Francis died while at the French court.

The life of Francis of Paola speaks plainly to an overactive world. He was a contemplative man called to active ministry and must have felt keenly the tension between prayer and service. Yet, in Francis's life it was a productive tension, for he clearly utilized the fruits of contemplation in his ministry, which came to involve the workings of nations. He responded so readily and so well to the call of the Church from a solid foundation in prayer and mortification. When he went out to the world, it was not he who worked but Christ working through him—"the least in the household of God."

Saint Francis of Paola is the Patron Saint of:


Monday in the Octave of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 2:14, 22-33

On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
"You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.

"You who are children of Israel, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:

I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit
that he received from the Father, as you both see and hear."

Responsorial Psalm ps 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, "My Lord are you."
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.

Allelluia Ps 118:24
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 28:8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me."

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, "You are to say,
'His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.'
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.


Meditation: Matthew 28:8-15

Jesus met them on their way. (Matthew 28:9)

For centuries, believers all over the world have retraced Mary Magdalene's steps in their own search for the risen Lord. We're not talking about a pilgrimage to the Holy Land—although that would be wonderful. No, we're talking about something as ordinary as opening the day with prayer.

Let's play with this analogy a little. Every morning, you leave the "tomb" of sleep and rise to face the day, just as the two women left the empty tomb right after dawn. While they were "on their way," Jesus appeared, just as he wants to come to you (Matthew 28:9). Whether you're rushing off to work or shuffling to the breakfast table, he is there with you, inviting you to spend some time with him.

In today's Gospel, Jesus was the first to speak. He greeted the women, probably by calling out their names. Right now, try to imagine him standing before you. He is calling you by name and saying, "Good morning! Let's spend some time together." When the women realized who was talking to them, they were overjoyed and knelt before him in awe.

But the encounter wasn't complete. Jesus spoke again, this time to the tempest of their emotions: "Don't be afraid. I'm with you." And so it is with us: When we sense Jesus' presence, we are amazed that he is so near, and our hearts are filled with joy. Then Jesus speaks directly to us. His word brings us peace, fills us with hope, and gives us the strength to face the challenges of our day. He shares with you the same good news that Mary Magdalene and her friend heard on Easter Sunday: "I am with you. I will never leave you. I have defeated death and sin because I love you."

Every morning, Jesus is waiting to greet you. He is waiting to encourage you to leave fear behind and to embrace him and his grace. So make it a point every morning this Easter season to be still and listen for his voice in prayer. Let him meet you as you're "on the way" to open a new day. He has so much to share with you!

"Jesus, I want to encounter you on the way today."

Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11



"Exalted at the right hand of God, he poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit that he received from the Father, as you both see and hear." Thanks again for your prayers, I am still taken aback at what transpired: An illumination as we were Son-Baked and wind burnt. But I also want to share with you a resurrection story that transpired through lent. Once on the 40 days, I was asked to lead the stations of the cross because Father was unavailable. Loaded up the family, we arrived: I walk around inside the church to the first station, to pray with the parishioners. It is quiet. I see an old worker I haven't spoke to in years. I seen him coming around the church more and more. So, I decided to break the ice, and say hi. "Hello ____, how are you?". "GET AWAY FROM MY DON'T Talk to me!" was the loud yell in reply. Totally uncalled for. Luckily another parishioner was coming around to give me something and, to spare the man and the parish a scandal, I pretended I was talking to the other guy the whole time.

We began the stations, the way of the cross. During the 2nd station, I notice a dark figure walking out of the church, out of the corner of my eye. The man had left. I had to continue the rest of the stations, with this cross.

I waited for everyone to leave the church, including my family, and I went immediately to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament "Please Lord, forgive this man, make evil get away from him, and bring him back as my brother, to be complete with you....".

Fast forward a couple weeks. Penance service (confessions) with various priests. I'm outside watching the kids as my wife goes inside to confess. During the time outside I see many parishioners walking in, and I seen that man walk in. For about an hour, slowly people walk out, with tears in their eyes, having encountered Jesus in confessions, that afternoon was so beautiful, you could feel Christ.
Then, that man walks out. I see him walking towards me and the kids. "Hey guys, how are you doing?" and he is the most loving guy, I said "Kids, say hi to our brother _____." He says bye. That was great. I said thanks to our Lord.

Apparently, it wasn't over. Fast Forward another 1 or 2 weeks. Holy Thursday. Beautiful Mass, I'm singing on the guitar with the other choirs, during the washing of the feet, and on the last song, as I am singing and playing the guitar, someone starts tapping me on my left shoulder, I turn around and it was that man again. "I want to wash your feet". I stopped singing, put down my guitar, and we go to the washing of feet. The water was cold, he was trying to be so gentle, and the humility of Jesus shown. I said, in my head "Thank you Jesus" as I looked at this man wash my feet.

Fast forward to Easter Sunday. LOL, you thought it was over huh? Beautiful Mass, love it. It ends, after the last song "Trading My Sorrows" I put my guitar down, and that man comes up again, this time with tears in his eyes and choking up "man, I'm 60 years old, and this is the first time I could really feel the Holy Spirit coming when you all were singing". I said "Thank you Lord!" I got some chills on my back when he said this. Good chills. The kind another brother always talks about when he recalls always the times God has touched his life.
A resurrection occurred.

"Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence; Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope"

Our Lord said to Mary Magdalene ""Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me."
Couple notes. Mary had been dead. She now was alive, super grateful, the kind that is a devoted slave of Christ.

1.) Do Not Be Afraid.
2.) Go tell my brothers.
Once you do this, "There they will see Me".

Do you want this kind of encounter with Jesus? It is possible. Simply Seek Him. My theory lives: Everyday, our Lord can disguise Himself in any soul He desires, maybe in that person that ticks you off, maybe in that person that keeps bugging you about church, maybe in that person you simply ignore, or maybe in that person in need, or maybe as a simple encouragement, and the maybes go on and on. For sure, the encounter is in the Holy Sacraments. For sure when we gather in group seeking Him more deeply and true.
I thank you for your prayers.

We encountered God in a whole new way. Just so God reassures me "you will never outdo my Love".

And it is soooooo gooooood



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