Tuesday, June 19, 2018

So Be Perfect

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Assisi Is a Living Prayer

Assisi is a living prayer. Its narrow streets stream with pilgrims year after year, their hearts filled with hope that maybe here in this place their prayers will be answered. They ask St. Francis and St. Clare to intercede for them, to help them know what it is they are looking for. They cross the threshold of the Basilica of St. Clare and kneel before the San Damiano crucifix that gave St. Francis the direction for his life: "Go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin." They pray before the same crucifix the prayer of St. Francis:

Most High, Glorious God,

enlighten the darkness of my heart,

and give me correct faith

sure hope and perfect charity,

with understanding and knowledge, Lord,

so that I may fulfill your holy and true command.


—from Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality


"You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them."
— St. Therese of Lisieux

"O my God, you and you alone are all wise and all knowing! You know, you have determined everything that will happen to us from first to last. You have ordered things in the wisest way, and you know what will be my lot year by year until I die. You know how long I have to live. You know how I shall die. You have precisely ordained everything, sin excepted. Every event of my life is the best for me that it could be, for it comes from you. You bring me on year by year, by your wonderful Providence, from youth to age, with the most perfect wisdom, and with the most perfect love."
— Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman, p. 103
Everyday Meditations

Verse of the DAY
"Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is."
1 John 3:2


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Saint Romuald

(c. 950 – June 19, 1027)

In the midst of a wasted youth, Romuald watched his father kill a relative in a duel over property. In horror he fled to a monastery near Ravenna. After three years, some of the monks found him to be uncomfortably holy and eased him out.

Romuald spent the next 30 years going about Italy, founding monasteries and hermitages. He longed to give his life to Christ in martyrdom, and got the pope's permission to preach the gospel in Hungary. But he was struck with illness as soon as he arrived, and the illness recurred as often as he tried to proceed.

During another period of his life, Romuald suffered great spiritual dryness. One day as he was praying Psalm 31 ("I will give you understanding and I will instruct you"), he was given an extraordinary light and spirit which never left him.

At the next monastery where he stayed, Romuald was accused of a scandalous crime by a young nobleman he had rebuked for a dissolute life. Amazingly, his fellow monks believed the accusation. He was given a severe penance, forbidden from offering Mass, and excommunicated—an unjust sentence that he endured in silence for six months.

The most famous of the monasteries Romuald founded was that of the Camaldoli in Tuscany. Here began the Order of the Camaldolese Benedictines, uniting the monastic and eremetical lives. In later life Romuald's own father became a monk, wavered, and was kept faithful by the encouragement of his son.

Christ is a gentle leader, but he calls us to total holiness. Now and then, men and women are raised up to challenge us by the absoluteness of their dedication, the vigor of their spirit, the depth of their conversion. The fact that we cannot duplicate their lives does not change the call to us to be totally open to God in our own particular circumstances.


Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Kgs 21:17-29

After the death of Naboth the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite:
"Start down to meet Ahab, king of Israel,
who rules in Samaria.
He will be in the vineyard of Naboth,
of which he has come to take possession.
This is what you shall tell him,
'The LORD says: After murdering, do you also take possession?
For this, the LORD says:
In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth,
the dogs shall lick up your blood, too.'"
Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me out, my enemy?"
"Yes," he answered.
"Because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the LORD's sight,
I am bringing evil upon you: I will destroy you
and will cut off every male in Ahab's line,
whether slave or freeman, in Israel.
I will make your house like that of Jeroboam, son of Nebat,
and like that of Baasha, son of Ahijah,
because of how you have provoked me by leading Israel into sin."
(Against Jezebel, too, the LORD declared,
"The dogs shall devour Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.")
"When one of Ahab's line dies in the city,
dogs will devour him;
when one of them dies in the field,
the birds of the sky will devour him."
Indeed, no one gave himself up to the doing of evil
in the sight of the LORD as did Ahab,
urged on by his wife Jezebel.
He became completely abominable by following idols,
just as the Amorites had done,
whom the LORD drove out before the children of Israel.

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments
and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh.
He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued.
Then the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite,
"Have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before me?
Since he has humbled himself before me,
I will not bring the evil in his time.
I will bring the evil upon his house during the reign of his son."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 11 and 16
R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God;
then my tongue shall revel in your justice.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Alleluia Jn 13:34
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment;
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."


Meditation: Matthew 5:43-48

Love your enemies. (Matthew 5:44)

Who is my enemy?

It's easy to adopt the familiar us-versus-them distinctions, especially if we spend most of our time with people who are similar to us. It's tempting to lump outsiders together under negative stereotypes and think, "They are nothing like me."

But try an experiment. Imagine you are at a large party with a wide variety of people. The host asks guests to sort themselves into two groups: blue eyes or brown. As soon as they do, the host asks everyone to re-sort themselves differently. Men are now asked to separate from women. Then they reshuffle and separate visual from auditory learners. Then single from married. Then those who prefer summer versus winter. Then athletes or spectators. If the game goes on long enough, you'll find yourself paired eventually with every person in the room.

We're all different. And we're all equally loved and treasured by our heavenly Father. So the next time you encounter someone who seems very different from yourself, don't think of him as a "stranger" or, much worse, an "enemy." Instead, see him as a friend you haven't yet gotten to know. Then try to discover as much common ground with him as possible. That's always the first step in learning to love.

Where do we find common ground? It starts deep within us, with how we are made. We are all created in the image and likeness of God. We are all his children. We are all sinners who fall short of God's purposes. We all have the same basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, education, and love. Even apart from these common features, we share many similarities with many people—if we dig deep enough.

Once you have identified these similarities and others, you can take the next step: look for some of that person's unique qualities. He probably has his own story of heroic generosity and virtue. She may well be bearing an unseen cross with quiet faith and trust. Because everyone bears the image of God, everyone can reveal a facet of God's nature that you never have encountered.

So are we the same? Or are we different? We are both. And that's exactly how God wants it.

"Father, thank you for giving me so many different brothers and sisters!"

1 Kings 21:17-29
Psalm 51:3-6, 11, 16



"When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued." Poor Ahab, was a miserable mess. Did he ask for all this? Disloyal people? A wife that put him on the hot chair of damnation? Did he ask for a curse from God Himself? Did he...deserve all this? We would like to think not, right? That nobody deserves such accusations and anxieties. But, if we dig deep at the roots, God is seeing the heart. Ahab let things get to him. Temptations. Temperament. Subdued by ways of the world which probably included idols and idols worship. Things that detract us from the true God. To save his life, he broke down in a public penance. To ask for forgiveness, for...mercy.

Let us pray: "For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned." This is the greatest gift Christ has left us with...Himself, mercy. He really, then, loved us. Loved us then, and loves us tomorrow, and today? Accept it.

In comes our Lord and Savior with words of salvation: "I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father..."
Most people are like this, even me, "but..who is my enemy? I don't have any enemies". Right? We think we are good with everybody. We think nobody really hates us. But at the moment you hear someone speak bad about you, oh man, it's on! Slap back time! You get offended, or start dwelling on things. If you don't, praise God. But if you do, then....WALAHH! There's your enemy! Like the little old lady griping out my child at a restaurant, yeah...there it is, someone doing you wrong, right? Love your enemies, says our Lord. Pray for them who persecute us. So, if you are church, and I am too, then, your enemies are my enemies? Enemies of the church are our enemies, right? Through out the last 2,000 years, and beyond, followers of God get persecuted. Who persecutes? Non-believers mostly, non-believers enticed by evil temptations, notions, ideas. It then becomes a deadly chase. An Enemy. The enemy is evil. Shall you love evil then? The enemy? LOL. Love the sinner, not their sin. I should've put love first. God first.

I don't understand hatred, some people actually do hate others. You can't hate people. Hate what they do, not people. Jesus didn't hate prostitutes, nor tax collectors, or anybody dipped and doped in sin. Today, it would be the avid atheist and homosexual, these people need to be reached and touched by Jesus. Deep inside that's what they want...the fulfillment of all desire, a deep love of God our Father. I see things on TV that just make me ask myself why? Why do they have to show these gossip shows called news? Why gossip shows everywhere? It spreads evil, clothed in laughs or drama.

We need the reality of Christ to be shown and lived.
It takes a considerable amount of love on each and everyone's part.
It takes your little faith to ignite a huge fire with my little faith.
We need to energize each other, God has us here for this purpose, a loving purpose, a purpose for darkness to see. And we need darkness to see light, right? We need each other. What God created is good, and for the greater good.
Pray hard.
Love better.
Show me the way.
I want to see Jesus



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