Friday, April 13, 2018

Gather the Fragments...says our Lord

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Gifts from God

In prayer we discover what we already have. You start where you are and you deepen what you already have, and you realize that you are already there. We already have everything, but we don't know it and we don't experience it. Everything has been given to us in Christ. All we need is to experience what we already possess.

—from The Art of Thomas Merton: A Divine Passion in Word and Vision
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"You must make a sound and firm resolution to submit yourselves totally to His will and, with a lively and steadfast faith, to receive from Him what you have to do for love of Him. And in this (whatever may happen) to persevere with constancy to the very end."
— St. Angela Merici

"I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one to one—you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in the chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace; He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying 'I Thirst' in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person—not just the idea."
— Saint Mother Teresa, p.129-30
Manual for Eucharistic Adoration

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
Deuteronomy 6:5-9


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Bl. Margaret of Castello (1287–1320) was born to noble Italian parents who were awaiting the birth of the child of their dreams. Instead, they bore a daughter who was blind, dwarfed, lame, and hunchbacked. Margaret's parents were horrified by the physical appearance of their newborn child, so they hid her and kept her existence secret. A servant had her baptized and named her Margaret, meaning, "Pearl." When she was six years of age she was nearly discovered, so that her father confined her to a cell inside the wall of a church with her necessities given through a window. The parish priest took it upon himself to educate Margaret. She lived in this way until age sixteen, when her parents took her on pilgrimage to a shrine famous for miraculous healings. There they prayed earnestly for their daughter to be cured of her deformities, which they loathed. When no cure came, her parents abandoned her in the streets and returned home, never to see her again. Margaret begged for food and was helped by the town's poor who took turns sheltering her in their homes. She became a Dominican Tertiary and took up the work of serving the sick, dying, and imprisoned. Margaret was known for her great joy, sanctity, and profound mystical experiences. She died at the age of 33, and hundreds of miracles were credited to her intercession both before and after her death. Her body is incorrupt. She is the patron against poverty, and of the disabled, handicapped, and unwanted. Her feast day is April 13th.

also Saint of Day: Saint Martin


Friday of the Second Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 5:34-42

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
and said to the Sanhedrin, "Fellow children of Israel,
be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important,
and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed,
and all those who were loyal to him
were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him,
but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.
So now I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God."
They were persuaded by him.
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14
R. (see 4abc) One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
One thing I ask of the LORD
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Mt 4:4b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?"
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
"Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little."
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?"
Jesus said, "Have the people recline."
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
"Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted."
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
"This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world."
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.


Meditation: Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14

Saint Martin I, Pope and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

The Lord is . . . (Psalm 27:1)

There are so many ways to pray. We can intercede, recite the Rosary, adore the Eucharist, or ponder Scripture. But we can also spend our prayer time praising the Lord. We may not be so comfortable with this type of prayer, but its blessings are innumerable. Praising God can lift up your heart. It can make the truths of his gospel come alive for you. It can deepen your faith as you recall all of his goodness and mercy.

Praising God is not difficult! At its heart, it is simply recalling and proclaiming the truths about who God is.

Let's take today's psalm and see how we can use it to praise God today:

The Lord is my light: You can thank the Lord that he is not just the light, he is your light. Think of all the ways his word dispels darkness for you. By his own example, he shows you how to live as a child of God. His light helps you make decisions during the day: you begin to understand how to handle a sticky situation. If you are confused and don't know what to do, the light of his word in Scripture can cut through the darkness and give you insight. His light can lead you in righteousness because he himself is righteous.

The Lord is my salvation: You can praise the Lord for having saved you from sin. When it was impossible for you to do it on your own, Jesus reconciled you to your Father in heaven. He gladly took on, not just "the sins of the world," but your own sins and failings. Jesus has redeemed and saved you. He has opened up heaven for you to enter. How can you not praise him for such a generous gift?

The Lord is my refuge: You can give glory to God because he is your protector, your refuge. He is strong and dependable and trustworthy. You can cling to him when life throws one of its curve balls at you. He can shield you when you are buffeted by temptation. Jesus has promised to be with you always, and he is faithful to all of his promises. So you can always trust him to be there for you.

Practice praising the Lord today. Recall his goodness, and praise him for his love.

"Lord, teach me how to praise you today."

Acts 5:34-42
John 6:1-15



"So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name." Listen to these words, contrary to what the world teaches: "...worthy to suffer...". Let's not think about the bodily suffering, even though the Apostles did. Let's not think about them being stoned to death, although many did. Let's not think even of today, as Christians are killed, or being bombed in their own Church on Christmas, or gunned down on a Sunday Morning. Let's not think of the bloodshed, even though Christ shed it all on the cross. Let's think of, though, before the shedding. The first offerings, the first sacrifice. What is this we are to think of? Thanksgiving. The true meaning of conversion. The first offering.

"One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid?" I will tell you whom you should be afraid of...yourself? Maybe. One saint said as he looked in the mirror, "Lord watch out for this guy, they may betray you". What is this? A psychological nutcase? Or someone being honest and sincere in their prayers for self...seeking holiness? A correct fear is fear to offend God. A fear to ever lose His sight, the love of/for God. Never turn away, no matter what you've done, or how hard you've fallen. Mercy will help you Heaven.

In our Holy Gospel today, the impossible happens. Our Lord our God feeds thousands as He tells them to repose on green pastures just like the Psalm says. He feeds His flock. He is the Good Shepherd. With what does He feed them? Two ingredients:
1.) Our offering (meager but 100%).

2.) Secret ingredient: Thanksgiving. Our Lord gave thanks to God. Please hear me, these two, what God does with these two are amazing. Think of what you can offer God! Just think! "Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more than all the others into the treasury". All the rich folks had given hundreds even thousands, but God was amazed that the widow...gave 100%. You see? You see what love can do? Sow with tears. Reap rejoicing. Ps 126.
If you get heavily involved in the church, which I believe I have, for years now, you will at some point have to shed tears. I've seen it with our current priest, as soon as he stepped in, troubles, tests, awaited. Tears were shed. I have shed tears for being "too involved" as some would say. Is it possible to be "too involved"? Let me tell you a secret. Humility. Sacrifice yourself. The more you empty yourself of your big head, when that fool in the mirror can move away and make room for Jesus, all things are possible. Mother Teresa was asked what she thought about "too many children in the world" (hinting at a need for abortion) and she said "how can you say there are too many children? It is like saying there are too many flowers in the world". This is truth. How can you tell me I'm too involved? Just say something better and more positive to me "how can you love God so much!" Nobody has ever asked me that.

So, does my love show? Can people see that I'm not in it for me? Or is it?
And so I look in the mirror again. "Who are you?" Are you a fool for Christ or a fool for yourself?
The "outlaw" motorcycle clubs take pride in being 1 percenters. They claim to be hardcore to the bone, to the death. In the things of God, there are what I would say are the 10 percenters. It is a much larger group that are hardcore, these are the coals and embers that keep the fire alive, the light. In our Knights magazine, they said when the Catholic Church was persecuted a little over 100 years ago in Mexico, there were 4500 priests. By the end of it, there were only 393 accounted for. The embers survived. And it always has. And it always will, thanks to the sheer will...of God. It is apparent, then, that we can be an ember, or fuel for the fire. If you have shed tears for serving God, you shall rejoice. If you have shed tears for yourself, God is there for you. You my child, you are reading this because you are an ember. However small it may be, it can ignite with the proper combustion a huge source of light and power. This is how your car operates, with a small spark. Scientists say we operate with the slightest detectable electricity. That my child, is the spark of life given by God. You are a walking miracle. You have what it takes to be a burning ember, hot for His Kingdom.
And I love you for it. And I encourage you to persevere. How? Simply ask God for this gift. And simply give what you got. You may think it is nothing, but to someone else, it means everything.
Like for Easter, my brother in Christ was alone, he is from out of town living in our town. I texted him to come celebrate after Mass at our home. When he got there, he kept on and on with "thank you so much, this means so much to me". I finally asked him at the end of the day when we were alone putting up chairs "why do you keep saying that?" He said it's because he couldn't go home to see his family, and he felt as part of a family that day. I said, "to me that is nothing, I invited tons of families to come and they didn't, just you came". No big deal. I am crass and rough, I know. But He was so happy all day. You see how small potatoes work? I give and sow seeds like it's nobody's business. I get tons and tons of rejections. Daily it seems. But I continue sowing, with tears even.

And then, this happens....Joy.

Pray with me:
Lord, I may be small potatoes,
this spud's for you!



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from my daughter

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