Thursday, April 5, 2018

These Are My Words

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Love God, Love Your Neighbor, Build Peace

It is tempting to think of peacefulness as merely the refusal to be violent—especially when we live in a culture that emphasizes the duty to leave others alone. But if it is truly Christian peacefulness, it must involve loving action or charity. Christian charity requires that we imitate Jesus' active loving-kindness for all. This fulfills Jesus' central command to love our neighbor as ourselves. Especially if that neighbor is in need, Christianity requires that we come to his or her aid and actively seek justice. This kind of work is so important that, should we fail to perform it, Jesus tells us that we risk cutting ourselves off from God altogether.

—from For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action
franciscan media


"I urge you to remain steadfast in faith, so that at last we will all reach heaven and there rejoice together."
— St. Andrew Kim Taegon

"And let me make it quite clear that when Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean simply something mental or moral. When they speak of being 'in Christ' or of Christ being 'in them', this is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean that Christ is actually operating through them; that the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts—that we are His fingers and muscles, the cells of His body. And perhaps that explains one or two things. It explains why this new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion. It is not merely the spreading of an idea; it is more like evolution—a biological or superbiological fact. There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it."
— C.S. Lewis, p. 64
Mere Christianity

"Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than the sacrifice offered by fools; for they do not know how to keep from doing evil. Never be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be quick to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few."
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2


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St. Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419) was born in Valentia, Spain, the son of a knight. From his parents he learned virtue and generosity to the poor. As a child he fasted every Wednesday and Friday and was tenderly devoted to the Passion of Christ and the Blessed Mother. He excelled in his studies and joined the Dominican Order with the support of his parents. He flourished in both austerity and scholarship, and became famous for performing more miracles than any other saint. His miracle-working powers began in the womb with the healing of a blind woman who touched his mother's pregnant belly. He began a preaching career across Europe that continued for twenty years. He was followed by a train of priests, nuns, penitents, and pilgrims that numbered in the thousands. When he arrived in a village his retinue would set up camp, and St. Vincent would preach to great crowds on the subjects of sin, death, heaven, and hell. He would also celebrate Mass and hear confessions daily. He slept on the floor and maintained a perpetual fast. Twice a day the "Bell of Miracles" was rung when all the sick and infirm were brought to him for cures; it was not unusual for him to perform one hundred miracles in a day. He also made scores of converts among the Muslims and Jews. St. Vincent believed that he was a special messenger of penance sent by God to prepare men for the final judgment; at that time the Black Death was ravaging across Europe killing millions, and the Great Schism was rending the Church in two. Through him multitudes were brought to penance and conversion. St. Vincent Ferrer's feast day is April 5th.

Saint Vincent Ferrer is the Patron Saint of:


Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 3:11-26

As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John,
all the people hurried in amazement toward them
in the portico called "Solomon's Portico."
When Peter saw this, he addressed the people,
"You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
and why do you look so intently at us
as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence,
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And by faith in his name,
this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong,
and the faith that comes through it
has given him this perfect health,
in the presence of all of you.
Now I know, brothers and sisters,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,
and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment
and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration
of which God spoke through the mouth
of his holy prophets from of old.
For Moses said:

A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
will be cut off from the people.

"Moreover, all the prophets who spoke,
from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.
You are the children of the prophets
and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors
when he said to Abraham,
In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you
by turning each of you from your evil ways."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 8:2ab and 5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
R. Alleluia.
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
R. Alleluia.
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia 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 Lk 24:35-48

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
"Peace be with you."
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have."
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?"
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
"These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled."
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
"Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things."


Meditation: Acts 3:11-26

Why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power? (Acts 3:12)

Naturally, the people would have thought that Peter was something special—he had just healed a man! But Peter went to great lengths to point them to the true source of the healing: Jesus, "the Holy and Righteous One and . . . the author of life" (Acts 3:14, 15). It was his power, and his alone, that made this man able to walk. Peter, bold apostle that he had become, was still just an instrument of that healing power.

Imagine: Peter, the rough-hewn fisherman from Galilee, the zealous one who always promised more than he could deliver, the cowardly disciple who denied knowing Jesus—this is the fellow who healed the poor man? But that's the exact point he was making: God's healing power can work through anyone, not just the holiest or the most devout. That's because it comes from his Holy Spirit, who has been poured into each of our lives.

We may not think we have enough faith to perform a great miracle, but that's not our role. Like the "great St. Peter," our role is to become instruments in the hands of the Lord. Our role is to cooperate with him and allow him to work through us.

Always remember that the Holy Spirit lives in you. You already are an instrument of the Lord! Every act of love, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion already ministers his healing presence to the people around you. And that's just the beginning. Day after day, prayer time after prayer time, you can become an even more effective instrument in his hands. Who knows? Maybe God will even use you to heal someone's illness.

This is wonderful news! The world needs God's healing touch, and he has commissioned you—yes, you—to be his vessel. You are an instrument of the Lord, and he is working through you. Just as he worked through Peter, despite his ups and downs, he is doing the same for you. Give him time, and watch him work. Better yet, give him your time in prayer, and let him continue to mold you and shape you.

"Thank you, Lord, for making me an instrument of your love! Here I am, Lord; use me."

Psalm 8:2, 5-9
Luke 24:35-48



Our first Holy scripture ended with:
"For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways." Saint Peter, with the power of the Holy Spirit says phenomenal things. How God came to liberate us is inexplicable. From a whole other world. A world most would care not to believe because they have not seen. We would believe them "ghosts", yet, indeed, it was the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, alive, able to do things no one would think possible. Eating, appearing, disappearing, and speaking through prophets, the principle prophet makes Himself known...our savior.

God loves His creation so much. He notices the fallen sparrow, and all the hairs in your head. And we pray: "You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor." Think Jesus. Think the incorporation. The Body of Christ.

"You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!"
In our Good Friday retreat, we began in a boneyard, junkyard, and we began reading the book of Genesis. Man has been given dominion. Think spirit. Think of the Holy Spirit. Think of our calling with Christ our Lord.

Jesus appears suddenly to His chosen ones: " "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?" As if He were asking "why are you afraid". And they were afraid. Timid. Shaking. Why? They didn't know what to do now. Now what? Something completely unexpected happened. Their savior had died and was suddenly appearing and disappearing. What are they to make of this? To this day, our Lord appears. He even appears to Muslims in dreams. What are we to make of all this? For sure one thing: Emmanuel. God is with us. We should be confident, and unafraid. Right? But what about when our world is rocked? The Holy Spirit must come in. And He sits down, and asks "why are you troubled?" Do you love others more than ME? He may ask. Is that why? Have you trusted others more than ME? Think Divine Mercy. The world is a great place to start a campaign, always on tour, always on pilgrimage, always rounding up souls for God. This is your job for reading this. He appears before one, and two, and 11, and hundreds. People die because of this. They know what they saw. They know what they heard. Saint John The Baptist did the same. He believed.
Much is being asked when God says to trust in Him. Think Faith.
"...repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name". If Jesus showed us anything, bearing the cross, and dying, it was trust, this faith. And we must take it on, because in the end today, He says "you are witnesses of these things". You have witnessed what? The power of God. What is the power of God? The cross? It's more. He defeats it by embracing it. Just like your hatred, and sin, if it were to come into contact with Him, it would die. Should you die with it? He wants us freed from it, to save us, to live life eternal.

May I remind you, we are not of this world.
We belong to Him, through one another.....



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