Tuesday, May 1, 2018

When It Happens

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Mothers Imitate Christ

When a mother gives birth to a child, she uniquely imitates Christ in how she mirrors the paschal mystery: through the pains of labor and the resulting gift of newborn life, she enters into the sacrifice of Christ, taking up her cross and following him all the way to resurrection. Every mother who delivers a child offers her body and sheds her blood to give life, just as Christ did on the cross. And at every Mass, Mother Church continues to offer this sacrifice of Christ's Body and Blood in union with the faithful.

—from The Church Is Our Mother: Seven Ways She Inspires Us to Love
franciscan media


"Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to Him, 'Lord, here I am. Tell me what You would have me do.' If He gives me some task, I am content and I thank Him. If He gives me nothing, I still thank Him since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that. And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart. I tell Him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen. If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen. God always speaks to you when you approach Him plainly and simply."
— St. Catherine Laboure

"If favored souls are sometimes sensibly conscious of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in our churches, how much more must holy Joseph, whose spiritual senses were so delicate and refined, have felt his heart burn within him with divine charity, from the nearness of Him who now dwelt in Mary as His living tabernacle!"
— Edward Healy Thompson, p. 168
The Life & Glories of Saint Joseph

"Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful."
Colossians 3:14-15


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Saint Joseph the Worker

Saint of the Day for May 1

To foster deep devotion to Saint Joseph among Catholics, and in response to the "May Day" celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 1955. This feast extends the long relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers in both Catholic faith and devotion. Beginning in the Book of Genesis, the dignity of human work has long been celebrated as a participation in the creative work of God. By work, humankind both fulfills the command found in Genesis to care for the earth (Gn 2:15) and to be productive in their labors. Saint Joseph, the carpenter and foster father of Jesus, is but one example of the holiness of human labor.

Jesus, too, was a carpenter. He learned the trade from Saint Joseph and spent his early adult years working side-by-side in Joseph's carpentry shop before leaving to pursue his ministry as preacher and healer. In his encyclical Laborem Exercens, Pope John Paul II stated: "the Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to help to guide [social] changes so as to ensure authentic progress by man and society."

Saint Joseph is held up as a model of such work. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, "The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work."

To capture the devotion to Saint Joseph within the Catholic liturgy, in 1870, Pope Pius IX declared Saint Joseph the patron of the universal Church. In 1955, Pope Pius XII added the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. This silent saint, who was given the noble task of caring and watching over the Virgin Mary and Jesus, now cares for and watches over the Church and models for all the dignity of human work.


Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 14:19-28

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God."
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:10-11, 12-13ab, 21
R. (see 12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See Lk 24:46, 26
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 14:27-31

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
'I am going away and I will come back to you.'
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me."


Meditation: John 14:27-31

Do not let your hearts be troubled. (John 14:27)

The disciples had more than enough reason to be troubled. Jesus was telling them that he was about to leave and that the "ruler of this world" was on his way. But while the disciples were troubled, Jesus was happy. He knew that his departure would bring them peace. With Jesus at the Father's right hand, he could pour his Spirit into their hearts, and the Spirit would reveal God's love to them in new and deeper ways. Thus would their anxious hearts be put to rest.

How can we come to know God's love in the same way that the disciples did? How can we experience the peace that Jesus promised them? The key lies in prayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that prayer should engage "thought, imagination, emotion, and desire" (2708). Mobilizing our God-given faculties in this way can bring the truths of our faith to life and help us feel God's presence in new ways. Prayer works best when we ask the Holy Spirit to take our imagination and fill it with insight.

St. Ignatius of Loyola often relied on his imagination when he prayed. With a Bible before him, he would picture the setting and time of whatever story he was reading, and then imagine himself in the scene. He would pay close attention to the details in the scene and imagine himself asking Jesus questions about what was going on. He especially liked to picture himself in the Last Supper, at the Sermon on the Mount, or on Calvary as Jesus was dying on the cross.

Try it yourself. Imagine yourself at one of Ignatius' favorite scenes, or one of your own. What is Jesus saying and doing? What is the expression on his face? What does his voice sound like? Now, imagine Jesus talking directly to you as the scene is playing out. What message do you think he has for you? And more importantly, what does his peace feel like now?

"Jesus, I want to know you more! Come relieve my anxieties with a taste of your love."

Acts 14:19-28
Psalm 145:10-13, 21



"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." Believe it, or not. I've noticed some brothers of the church, they've gone to the deaconate, and had to undergo many hardships to become a deacon, many were rejected. I've noticed, many converts to our faith, they have to go through many hardships to accept the fullness of the Christian faith, Catholicism. I've also noticed many saints have to undergo much pain and suffering...for this faith. All the apostles had to undergo sufferings and most had to face martyrdom...for the faith, this Kingdom of God. It is not for the faint of heart, is it? The only reason I am in this thing called "cursillo movement" is because it is hard, has been hard. It means one thing....this is for real, this is where the good is coming from. All these sacrifices are for the good of the Kingdom. St. Paul knew it, as all the apostles and saints, and now, the faithful. It is admirable to see those having faith where Christianity is persecuted. But on the same note, and oddly enough, it is admirable in my country to see someone having faith at all!

"May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD, and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom". This Psalm is important, (aren't they all?), Jesus spoke in Psalms. He made known the Glorious splendor of His Father's Kingdom. He commanded all flesh to bless His Holy Name forever. Our mouths are to speak the praises of God. How else will people hear Him? He's only spoken in clouds a couple of times in the Life of Jesus and another time with Moses. The rest of time He's spoken, has been through people, just as He said He would be doing, dwelling among us. Believe it or not. Even evil uses human voices to speak, and is basically the only way it can speak. Distorting voices. Causing chaos and confusion. Through flesh, a spirit speaks. I ask you to be always in grace to be attentive to God's grace, thus His living voice.

Our Lord says "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."
The anti-christ offers a false peace that actually destroys true peace. What does this false peace look like? It looks like betrayal. It costs something. For instance, when you avoid a poor person in need, you betray peace. Or for instance, when you fail to forgive, you betray peace. You betray the Prince of Peace, our Lord. When you side with things against the faith, you betray peace. The anti-christ says "if you give up your religion, I will offer you peace". It costs your soul. The anti-christ says: "If you do not pray, you will avoid trouble". All flat out lies. The anti-christ continues "the thing in the womb is a blob, you do not want that trouble, get rid of it" and that thing is a blessing from God...a cross. A deacon gave a talk at our cursillo meeting last week. He, again, spoke of his late father that he had to take care of in his old age until he passed away, had to change his diapers, and deal with his particular dementia which he would seemingly hallucinate and see people. I approached him as everyone else was walking out "you know, nobody else in your family wanted to take care of your father, but you. This was your cross, and you speak of it now as if it were the greatest thing you learned about God, it was your cross". Nobody else wanted to accept the cross, the peace God offers. I went on and said "you know, in my mom's family, they had 9 children, one of them suffered from polio (they lived in Mexico). Their parents died (my grandparents) and they were left with "Tio Jilo" who was crippled and had the brain of a 1 or 2 year old, terrible twos, bad tempered, always had messy diapers, nobody wanted to take care of him. Once I heard that an aunt let him out on the street when her turn was up to take care of him. It was the cross nobody wanted. My mom actually held him the longest. He died about the age of 33 many years ago. I noticed one thing, it was this cross, this burden that was holding the family together though, they had to deal with him and constantly communicate about him". The cross holds us together. The suffering. The love. The love of God.

So when our Lord says He offers a peace, not of this world, He is absolutely right. Believe it, or not. His peace is a triumphant peace over sin, and death. His peace comes at a betray the world, to hate the world, and all that is in it...for Him. You see, the devil offered the world to Jesus in the desert, and Jesus did not accept. Because the devil offers lies and deception. You see, the world had already been handed to Jesus. This is why Jesus says "Do NOT BE AFRAID". Accept this cross, to cross over to peace, love of God, and grace. It may not be what you want to hear with your worldly ears, but if you listen with the heart, you will see what matters.

The last thing we heard our Lord say today was this truth, "...the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me."
And He shows us the way to true love, and peace, and joy....forever



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