Friday, August 10, 2018

⛪ Where I Am...

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Simplicity Leads to Spiritual Wisdom

Gathering the ordinary teaches when enough is enough and allows our senses to be fed with simplicity. We view life with eyes of wonder and awe, and we care for one another with reverence. We discover how to be humble and simple of heart. Humility and ordinariness flow with rich spiritual wisdom.

—from Your Spiritual Garden: Tending to the Presence of God


"If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive."
— St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"Natural love is sufficient for earthly parents, but the love which our saint bore to Jesus, as His appointed father, was not a mere human love, it was also a supereminently divine love; for, in loving his Son he was exercising the most perfect love of God; since He whom he called his Son was at the same time his God. As in creatures all is finite, so all is capable of increase. What, then, may we imagine, must have been the growth of this ardent love in the heart of our saint during the long period which he spent with Jesus! Those things which tend naturally to add to human love, in him ministered fresh fuel to the divine flame within him. The constant association with the Son of God made Man and given to him as his own Son, the serving Him and being served by Him for thirty years, and, we must add, their marvelous resemblance created a bond between them which was unequalled of its kind."
— Edward Healy Thompson, p. 363
The Life & Glories of Saint Joseph

I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.
Ecclesiastes 3:14-15


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Saint Lawrence's Story

The esteem in which the Church holds Lawrence is seen in the fact that today's celebration ranks as a feast. We know very little about his life. He is one of those whose martyrdom made a deep and lasting impression on the early Church. Celebration of his feast day spread rapidly.

He was a Roman deacon under Pope Saint Sixtus II. Four days after this pope was put to death, Lawrence and four clerics suffered martyrdom, probably during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian.

Legendary details of Lawrence's death were known to Damasus, Prudentius, Ambrose, and Augustine. The church built over his tomb became one of the seven principal churches in Rome and a favorite place for Roman pilgrimages.

A well-known legend has persisted from earliest times. As deacon in Rome, Lawrence was charged with the responsibility for the material goods of the Church, and the distribution of alms to the poor. When Lawrence knew he would be arrested like the pope, he sought out the poor, widows, and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had on hand, selling even the sacred vessels of the altar to increase the sum. When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he imagined that the Christians must have considerable treasure. He sent for Lawrence and said, "You Christians say we are cruel to you, but that is not what I have in mind. I am told that your priests offer in gold, that the sacred blood is received in silver cups, that you have golden candlesticks at your evening services. Now, your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures—the emperor needs them to maintain his forces. God does not cause money to be counted: He brought none of it into the world with him—only words. Give me the money, therefore, and be rich in words."

Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. "I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory." After three days he gathered a great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned, and widowed persons and put them in rows. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, "These are the treasure of the Church."

The prefect was so angry he told Lawrence that he would indeed have his wish to die—but it would be by inches. He had a great gridiron prepared with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence's body placed on it. After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his famous cheerful remark, "It is well done. Turn me over!"

Once again we have a saint about whom almost nothing is known, yet one who has received extraordinary honor in the Church since the fourth century. Almost nothing—yet the greatest fact of his life is certain: He died for Christ. We who are hungry for details about the lives of the saints are again reminded that their holiness was after all, a total response to Christ, expressed perfectly by a death like this.

Saint Lawrence is the Patron Saint of:


Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

Reading 1 2 Cor 9:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 112:1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9
R. (5) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.

Alleluia Jn 8:12bc
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness
but will have the light of life, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 12:24-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me."


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: John 12:24-26

Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Feast)

If a grain of wheat dies, it produces much fruit. (John 12:24)

Most of what we know about St. Lawrence concerns his final days. A third-century deacon in Rome, Lawrence was responsible for distributing alms to the poor. He was loved and respected by all the people, and he was like a son to Pope Sixtus II. In AD 257, Roman Emperor Valerian issued edicts forbidding the practice of Christianity. He later commanded that all bishops, priests, and deacons be killed. Pope Sixtus was put to death, and Lawrence was soon to follow.

Before his death, Lawrence was required to bring the riches of the Church to the emperor. According to tradition, Lawrence asked for three days to make a full accounting. He proceeded to distribute all of the Church's holdings to the poor, blind, and sick. He then gathered them into one place and presented them to the emperor. "These are the treasures of the Church," he said. Unimpressed, Valerian sentenced him to death on a gridiron on August 10, 258.

Lawrence's martyrdom was his final act of love and the fruit of many daily "deaths" to sin and selfishness as he cared for the poor. Like Jesus, Lawrence understood that no cost was too great, no suffering too dire, considering how much Jesus had given him.

We may think, "I could never do what Lawrence did." Or we may want to do great things for God but not know where to begin. Jesus gives us a clue: "Whoever serves me must follow me" (John 12:26). Every meal Lawrence offered to the poor, every act of kindness to the sick, was another stride in the footsteps of his Master. As he served, Lawrence became more and more like Jesus until he took on the final likeness: death in the service of God's people.

Your acts of service may feel monotonous or insignificant, especially when it comes to the people under your own roof. But your family is a real "treasure" of the Church. Like Lawrence, your simple efforts to provide for them, to prepare meals for them, or to create a welcoming home environment can help make you more like Jesus. With every little "death" to selfishness, you can bear much fruit for God.

"Jesus, thank you for St. Lawrence's example. Help me to treasure and serve my family."

2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Psalm 112: 1-2, 5-9



The Holy Scripture, the Holy Word of God began today: "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." And it goes on: "Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need...for every good work". Jesus works. He talks about works. He works. His word becomes work. How can we be generous then? How can we sow sparingly? As I was writing, a co-worker came in, and the boss said "why didn't you give a burrito to the sales guy that asked?" I blurted "you should always give to the one who asks". And now, nobody wanted the burrito, it was hard to find a taker, one finally reluctantly took it. I've learned this the hard way. People ask for a reason. Consider the reason. Consider being a cheerful giver. We are stewards then, of God's gifts. He gives each a gift. And what a gift to be...a giver.

Let us pray: "Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; He shall never be moved; the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance." Let's read this again in layman's terms: Good for the person who has grace and gives, who does things in holiness; that person will be constant: they will see God's face! To see God's face means a transformation has taken place. For that, let us turn to our Lord.

In comes our Lord and Savior: "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life." Ah ha. This is like the time Jesus said "Eat my flesh" and people just turned around and walked away from Him. "Eat my flesh, drink my blood, and you shall have eternal life". Yep. Nope. Yes, and no. Those are the two reactions to our Lord we may have. Either, you love God, or you don't. Can I tell you something? I've been revealed a hard lesson lately, and it goes like this: Mechanical Mike, robot servers have no heart..for God. I believe I've surrendered myself to Him, but mostly in body, not in spirit. What God wants, He can't just take from us. A free beautiful love of Him. How can you love someOne you don't see? You don't touch. You can't hear. How can you love someone the physical senses can not wrap themselves around? That is the great question of faith. People will tell you "God loves you". Ok. Then they walk away. "Thanks for telling me that, but it doesn't matter." Eeesh. Ouch! Word must become work. What good was God's preaching without real signs of real love? And He sent a beautiful sign that most of us are perplexed by...Jesus, His Son, on a cross. He gave us the most beautiful thing in the universe, and what did we do with it? The only ridiculous thing we know destroy. Let me let you in on another revelation: Jesus calls us the bride, His bride. He died for His bride. His Church. Right? He died for all to have the hope of salvation. So, let me ask you something; have you ever thought about, what it would be like, if you could kiss the Lord, even on His cheek? A kiss to me, is a great sign of affection. When I see people greet with a kiss, it's weird, not my custom. It is meant to be a sign. A sign of love and affection, and intimacy. With what lips would you dare kiss the Lord? With what filth have they been splurging? With what indulgences have they been pigging through? Or how much have they been sealed when atrocities happen on your watch?

No. We should have pure lips, to touch Christ. Pure lips for Him to feel a spark of energy, a true heart warming love. God feeds off love, and we feed off love. People taking their lives nowadays feel no love. They are a plant withering. A song says "What the world needs now, is love sweet love". Yeah, but what is love? God is love.
The world needs God. If a soul tells you they are not loved, they have imploded. A black star has formed, a black hole that only takes in love. We have to learn to be givers of love.

Jesus our Lord said "Whoever serves me must follow me" follow means get on with it, get on with the life of Christ.
"and where I am, there also will my servant be." Christ is re-appearing, over and over. In the Eucharist, and in the lives of His followers. He is speaking in the groups that follow. Church is extremely important, for this is where He appears. Never to a loner, always for the people. The message is not for you to keep to yourself, it is for the whole world. Your horn to exalt God. Finally our Lord says:
"The Father will honor whoever serves me." God honors who serves Him? All honor is for God alone isn't it? Ahhh. Remember, love works both ways. We feed off Him and He feeds off us. Our love is what is sowed and reaped. That is why saints, have thousands and sometimes half a million at their funeral or canonization, why? Because, they sowed abundantly and without reserve. Most always gave their shirts right off their backs in the name of love, in the name of God.
Serve Jesus.

Our Father will honor.
What and how to serve Jesus?

Good question. Shall I serve him like a robot? Or like a mindless animal? Or shall I serve Him with the finest of compassions? The service makes a difference. Treat Him like royalty by treating Him like your King. But even better, treat Him like you love Him more than anyone else. Treat him like you're ready for that transformation. No longer about you, but all about Him



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