Monday, May 28, 2018

For Men It Is Impossible

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Daughter of God

Mary knew Jesus better than anyone else. Like other mothers, she was the first to encounter and know her child through the intimacy of conception and gestation in her womb. She—more than his closest friends, more than his twelve chosen apostles—understood his thoughts, his expressions, his gestures, and his tendencies.

Her ability to follow him, to learn from him, to orient her life around his teachings and his truth, was augmented by her blessed maternity. It was in part this very motherhood that made Mary such an excellent "daughter" of God.

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


"Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty, then the person may receive your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed. This is because he will feel beholden to you. If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver."
— St. John Chrysostom

"Teresa [of Avila] is as insistent as [St. John of the Cross] that there is no prayer development unless it be accompanied by purification from faults. Given what a love communion with utter Purity demands, one could not conceive the matter to be otherwise: only the pure can commune deeply with the all-pure One. Obvious as this is to the saint, the lesser of us have difficulty in understanding that we have many defects that need to be rooted out. ... In working actively at rooting out what is amiss, we are to be guided by the principles of revelation, not by a naturalistic common sense. There are people, says Teresa, who desire penance that they may serve God the better, but they are overly careful about not injuring their health. 'You need never fear that they will kill themselves . . . their love is not yet ardent enough to overwhelm their reason.' Going on 'at a snail's pace . . . we shall never get to the end of the road . . . So for the love of the Lord, let us make a real effort.'"
— Fr. Thomas Dubay, p. 113
Fire Within

"Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honor. One wise person went up against a city of warriors and brought down the stronghold in which they trusted."
Proverbs 21:21-22


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St. Bernard of Montjoux (c. 923–1008 A.D.), also known as St. Bernard of Menthon, was born to a wealthy and noble family in the Kingdom of Arles (present day France and Switzerland). As an adult he refused an honorable marriage and determined instead to give his life in service to the Church. He became a priest in northern Italy and spent more than four decades doing missionary work in the Alps. He built schools and churches, and is especially known for aiding travelers. The area where he ministered had an ancient, snowy, and dangerous pass winding through the mountains along which pilgrims traveled to and from Rome. To serve the pilgrims St. Bernard built a hospice at the highest point of the pass, 8,000 feet above sea level. Later he founded another hospice along another smaller pass. St. Bernard obtained papal approval for communities of priests to serve in the hospices, which have generously aided travelers for more than a millennium. The priests and their well-trained dogs (the St. Bernard breed named for the saint) would seek and rescue lost pilgrims. St. Bernard was declared the patron saint of skiers and mountain climbers by Pope Pius XI in 1923. His feast day is celebrated on May 28th.


Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Pt 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you
who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 111:1-2, 5-6, 9 and 10c
R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia 2 Cor 8:9
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him,
"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
"You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
"How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!"
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
"Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
"Then who can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God."


Meditation: Mark 10:17-27

Go, sell what you have . . . ; then come, follow me. (Mark 10:21).

Have you ever heard the phrase "Hold your dreams loosely"? Dreams can be a wonderful gift from God. Many times they spring from talents you have or your desires to help the people around you. But clinging to them too tightly can keep you from accomplishing the plans God has in store for you.

St. Ignatius of Loyola learned this lesson the hard way. As a young soldier, he dreamed of attaining glory on the battlefield. But after being severely injured in battle, he ended up confined to bed for months of rehabilitation. Being sidelined like this, he struggled with the direction his life was taking, and he ultimately decided to let go of his dreams for glory. His detachment helped him hear God's call and start down a new path.

For Ignatius, leaving the excitement of military conquests wasn't a defeat. It was a transition. It opened the way for him to found a religious order that has drawn countless people closer to Jesus.

The rich young man in today's Gospel could have learned something from Ignatius. His wealth wasn't his real problem; it was his rigid attachment to it and to his dreams about all he could accomplish with it. That's why Jesus called him to sell his possessions and give to the poor before following him. If he had held his riches with an open hand, he would have found it easier to let them go.

It's all about flexibility. Jesus wasn't condemning the young man for his riches; material wealth can be a blessing from God. Besides, most of us aren't called to literally renounce everything. But if there is something that we are holding so tightly that we can't ever imagine life without it, we need to learn to relax our grip. As we do, we will become more free to accept whatever calling, gifts, or even challenges, that the Lord sends our way.

Picture yourself as this rich young man. You, too, have blessings and dreams. How are you using them? How can you be a little more flexible with them? Remember, your dreams aren't necessarily bad, and your possessions aren't inherently evil. They just aren't as valuable or wonderful as the dreams that Jesus has for you.

"Lord, help me to hold everything, even the blessings you've given me, loosely!"

1 Peter 1:3-9
Psalm 111:1-2, 5-6, 9-10



".... the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold..." said Saint Peter, our first leader, our first Pope. We love although we can not see. Tell our Lord you love Him...and then actually do it. Don't act like you do. Truly love Him. Don't say you do, but show you do, and firstly, show Him. If I love our Lord, yes, we have to take care of ourselves, but our love for Him must be more! Amen?

Let us pray: "He has given food to those who fear him; he will forever be mindful of his covenant. He has made known to his people the power of his works, giving them the inheritance of the nations. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever". The Franciscan "Friars of Renewal" are called to live off of God's providence alone, with only what He provides. They can't go buy stuff, they must pray, and if the Lord provides, they will receive. If is God's will.

In comes our Lord and speaks with the rich young man: " "Why do you call me good?". As if to say, "why are you putting me on?". When someone asks you "how are you?", most reply "good". But only God is Good! AMEN? I always reply "I am ok" or "I am fine", but never good, because I recall that only God is good. If you receive anything from these daily writings, it is God's providence. I am simply a writing tool, or mouthpiece, or instrument of God's will and grace, and the more I am keenly aware and attuned to Him, the more clear the message to you! So pray for me! I digress: the rich young man asks in a way "how do I get eternal life". This is how a spanish reflection proposed it. But it is true. We want this and that, and we can be so astute as to actually set our minds to it and get it; that house, that car, that spouse, that family, that job, that career, that pleasure, that lifestyle, but when it comes to the "good"? Why not? Jesus said to us "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." This is a story of when Jesus makes someone sad. But it's not Him, it's us that walk away sad, isn't it? God is Good. And in this case, the young man didn't hear what he wanted. He wanted to hear "good boy, you are following the commandments, good boy, that's all you need". But he was not "good" enough. Because our Lord said "You are lacking". Just one little thing..."Follow Me". You see, the man had made up religion in his head. He thought he knew everything. And so is the modern day case of moral relativism where the devil teaches "believe whatever you want and that is truth". This has been born of 100 years of psychological babble. Just like the tower of Babylon where people built up themselves, and honored themselves more than God as if to say "we can reach those heights without any help".

What if our Lord said to you today "you are lacking". Stop your life, stop your dreams, goals, and aspirations and choose Me. For some, it doesn't jive. This can't be "good". This makes many stop following our Lord. They want the prosperity gospels, "believe and you'll be rich!" But our Lord says "leave everything", leave your life and follow Me. The rich man knew, he was smart, he knew what following called for, a lot of smears of fellow Jews, a lot of trouble, it would cost him...his reputation. He could see himself losing his riches, but not his...pride.

You see what it boils down to? You or the Lord. You choose. This life God created for us is very peculiar and particular when it comes to faith. And it is a wonderful thing called choice. But the devil loves to take what is good and destroy it, like family, family life, children, and life itself. There in the death world, they call things for abortion and euthanasia "choice". There is a group fighting for death "choice" and they call themselves "compassion & choice". They fight for those who want to kill themselves. The world is caving in on itself. And they say "God is not good, if he were, there would be no violence". Yet it is a lie as we point fingers. We are making the choices.

ME? What? But I'm reading scriptures and going to daily Mass! ME? But I'm praying the rosary almost every day! ME? How am I making the world a mess? They recently voted for death choice, abortions in Ireland, in what was once a capital of Catholics. And still, the majority may be, but they have become insipid, lukewarm, all things spit out from the Kingdom. Most probably didnt' vote, being neutral, and deadly. This happens to our daily lives. Every day matters just as every life matters, even in the unborn.

Tell me, how did you spend your Sunday afternoon? Saturday? Friday night? Was there any time for daily Mass, rosaries, an hour of devotion each day? Was there a time to discuss the bible together as a family? Was there a time to fast, pray, and give? Was there a moment to follow Christ such as suffering for Him?

The rich forget. The rich have too much going on. The rich have many other things to do. And when it comes to God stuff? The rich are ultimately sad. They say our rich country is also one of the saddest, doom and gloom in almost 50% of all living here. Millions upon millions are hooked on anti-depressants, legal, illegal, doctor prescribed or self medicated on drugs, alcohol and such. We are rich. In my little town, I've known of some rich men, business owners, with not a thing missing, yet, they took their own lives. That what detracts, attacks. That what detracts us from following Him. That what makes us lose our focus on Him. I was helping at a wedding anniversary this weekend, Saturday. A cell phone goes off. They turn it off. It goes off again, and this time the lady answers the phone whispering and ducking taking the call. I see a business man look at her funny. Eventually, the business man gets a call and leaves for a long time. They both return. First, the lady comes back with another person, showed him where to sit. The business man finally comes back. Lots of distractions, crazy, phones ringing, people walking out with kids in hand, all while Father is giving his homily, the talk during Mass. So who missed out on the most from Father at that moment?
I let myself lose focus. I am thinking about other things. I am busy. I am into other peoples' business (think gossip). People ask me "weren't you paying attention to the announcements on Sunday?" and I say "well...I was busy getting my guitar ready for singing" (I'm in the choir). You see? Distractions within self. We become our own worst enemy. This is my fight, with number one. I want number one to become number two. God first. Love first. Everything else second. How hard is that?
It's so hard that if you really think about it and pray about it, you could fall on your knees...and actually ask for God's help. You may even ask for what is good.



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