Friday, May 4, 2018

You Are My Friends

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Call Your Mother

Mother Mary knows each voice singularly. She hears the call, perceives the need, and rushes to her child's side. This sweet Mother of mercy and grace will be there for her children in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts, and fears.

Mary knows your voice. She will hear your call, she will perceive your need, and then she will rush to your side. Call her now. She is waiting to hear your voice above all the others.

—from Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace
franciscan media


"If we wish to make any progress in the service of God we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves in the presence of God as much as possible and have no other view or end in all our actions but the divine honor."
— St. Charles Borromeo

"My Jesus, it is truly easy to become holy; it just takes a little good will! And if He finds this minimum of good will in a soul, He quickly gives Himself to her. And nothing can stop Him, neither our faults nor our falls, absolutely nothing. Jesus hurries to help that soul; and if the soul is faithful to this grace from God, she can in a short time reach the highest levels of holiness that a created being can attain here below. God is very generous and does not refuse His grace to anyone. He gives even more than we ask for. The shortest road is faithfulness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit."
— St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, p.142
Diary of St. Faustina

"God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7b


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St. Florian (C. 250-304 A.D.) was a commander in the Roman army in what is now Austria. He served during the reign of Emperor Diocletian, who violently persecuted Christians. Among Florian's military duties was the organization of firefighting brigades. St. Florian was secretly a Christian and was known for miraculously saving a town from being destroyed by fire; after praying to God for help, he extinguished a raging fire with a single bucket of water. Word reached the Emperor that Florian was not enforcing the ban against Christianity in his territory. He was put under investigation and was discovered to be a Christian. In one account, it was for refusing to offer sacrifice to the gods; in another, for refusing to execute a group of Christians. He was then condemned to be tortured and executed for his Christian faith. Refusing to recant, St. Florian was then flayed alive, scourged, and martyred by being dumped in the river with a millstone attached to his body. His body was later recovered, and today his relics are venerated at a church named for him in Kraków, Poland. St. Florian is the patron saint of firefighters, chimney-sweeps, brewers, drowning victims, Austria, Poland, and against floods, fires, and battles. St. Florian's feast day is May 4th.


Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 15:22-31

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
"The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
'It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'"

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 57:8-9, 10 and 12
R. (10a) I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.
My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn.
R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD,
I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the skies.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
above all the earth be your glory!
R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 15:15b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
For I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another."


Meditation: John 15:12-17

As I love you. (John 15:12)

You have probably heard this Gospel reading many times; you might even pass over it because it's so familiar. Of course you know we're supposed to love one another the way Jesus loves us. You also suspect it's easier to love people when you know God's love for you.

But how does Jesus love you?

You know that he loved you enough to lay down his life for you two thousand years ago. But when Jesus says, "Love one another," he tells you to do it "as I love you" (John 15:12). He doesn't say, "as I have loved you." He isn't talking about something that he did in the past. He's talking about today. Right now. Because he's always loving you!

When you think about feeling Jesus' love here and now, you might immediately think about being moved or gaining a new insight while you're in prayer or at Mass. And you would be right. But what about those times when you're not engaged in "spiritual" activities? Surely Jesus is loving you at those times as well. Isn't he?

Absolutely! Jesus doesn't have to wait for you to come to him in prayer. He's always reaching out to you. He is loving you every time someone does you a kindness—even if they aren't aware that God is working through them. He is loving you every time you feel your burdens lifting just a little bit. What about that cashier who opens her register just when you feel you can't stand in line another minute longer? Or that coworker who leaves a treat on your desk when you're having a rough day? Or how about your spouse who gets up to change the baby's diaper at 3 a.m. so that you can sleep? They are all bringing God's love to you, right here. Right now.

Jesus is loving you today. It's not a vague, theoretical love. It's real. It's tangible. It's personal. He doesn't want it to be just a thing of the past that you remember. He wants you to experience it each and every day.

So be alert. Something is going to happen to you today. In some way, Jesus is going to show you his love. Receive it!

"Jesus, thank you for loving me!"

Acts 15:22-31
Psalm 57:8-10, 12


" agreement with the WHOLE CHURCH" we read today. The Church is in action with the apostles then, and still is today. They sent representatives with a letter, and when the people got the letter "they were delighted with the exhortation." This letter now reaches you. Our Lord desires that we are delighted in Him and with Him.

We pray and sing: "I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord. My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast; I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn." We will be the light for the world once we are joined in the light of Christ!

In comes our Light and our Salvation: "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you." Not as the world teaches love, but as God teaches, as Jesus teaches love, and here it goes: "No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one's life for one's friends". What? You mean I have to give up my life for others? Why don't THEY have to do it? Why me?

Are you ready for the answer? Here it comes: "I have called you friends...
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you".

Were you ready for that answer? Not everyone receives this, but you have. Not everyone does this...but you can, and you do. Our Lord continues "...and I appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain". Earthly fruit rots, His fruit does not. So let us bear everlasting fruit.
I woke up at 5 am, couldn't go back to sleep, and did something unusual; I went to adoration. As I walked in, I saw our future deacon walking in with the host, the Blessed Sacrament in his hands to put Him in the monstrance on an altar in the chapel. He was carrying the light in the dark. And when we met with our eyes, there were smiles both ways. He reminds me of Padre Pio for some odd reason. We kneel and chant. And in the moments following, a burning begins, and my eyes blur, and a tear wants to roll as I pray "Lord, I want to see what Heaven is like as I gaze into your Blessed Sacrament, your offering to us". And soon enough, and without words the message comes "This is what Heaven is like... you with Me". And that was enough for the rolling of the tears to begin. So simple. So plain. Friends.

Today is the first Friday, tomorrow the first Saturday. Begin these first devotions.
First Friday to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
First Saturday to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Great promises are promised to those who keep this devotion.
A devotion of hearts.
Yours to Heaven.
First to God.


Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

† Adorable Heart of Jesus, the tenderest, the most
amiable, the most generous of all hearts, penetrated with
gratitude at the sight of Thy benefits, I come to consecrate
myself wholly and unreservedly to Thee! I wish to devote all
my energies to propagating Thy worship and winning, if
possible, all hearts to Thee. Receive my heart this day, O

Or rather take it, change it, purify it, to render it
worthy of Thee; Make it humble, gentle, patient, faithful and
generous like Thine, by inflaming it with the fire of Thy
love. Hide it in Thy Divine Heart with all hearts that love
Thee and are consecrated to Thee; never permit me to take my
heart from Thee again. Let me rather die than grieve Thy
Adorable Heart. Thou knowest O Heart of Jesus, that the
desire of my heart is to love Thee always, to be wholly Thine
in life and in death, in time and eternity. Most Sacred
Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I
trust in Thee.

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