Tuesday, August 28, 2018

⛪ The Weightier Things

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Become a "Little Christ"

The Peace Prayer challenges peacemakers to offer the shade of self-confidence and the refreshment of persistent, God-centered faith to those who walk in the desert of doubts occasioned by their upbringing or the Dark Night. In so doing, they fulfill their vocations as "little Christs" who call the world to faith.

—from Instruments of Christ: Reflections on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Franiscan Meditations Blog


"Let us love the cross very much, for it is there that we discover our life, our true love, and our strength in our greatest difficulties."
— St. Maria de Mattias

"To the extent that we abandon our personality to Him, He will take possession of our will and work in us. We are no longer ruled by commands coming from the outside, as from a cruel master, but by almost imperceptible suggestions that rise up from within. We feel as if we had wanted all along to do those things He suggests to us; we are never conscious of being under command. Thus our service to Him becomes the highest form of liberty, for it is always easy to do something for the one we love."
— Fulton J. Sheen, p. 182
Peace of Soul

"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor have this in common."
Proverbs 22:1-2


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Saint Augustine of Hippo
Saint of the Day for August 28
(November 13, 354 – August 28, 430)
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Saint Augustine's Story
A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience.

There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures, redirected Augustine's love of life to a life of love.

Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent: politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism.

In his day, Augustine providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. "I say to myself, I will not mention him/I will speak in his name no more/But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart/imprisoned in my bones/I grow weary holding it in/I cannot endure it" (Jeremiah 20:9).

Augustine is still acclaimed and condemned in our day. He is a prophet for today, trumpeting the need to scrap escapisms and stand face-to-face with personal responsibility and dignity.

Saint Augustine is the Patron Saint of:


Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1 2 Thes 2:1-3a, 14-17

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly,
or to be alarmed either by a "spirit," or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
Let no one deceive you in any way.

To this end he has also called you through our Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm
and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught,
either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope through his grace,
encourage your hearts and strengthen them
in every good deed and word.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 96:10, 11-12, 13
R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia Heb 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 23:23-26

Jesus said:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity.
But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.
Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean."


Meditation: Matthew 23:23-26

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

Cleanse first the inside of the cup. (Matthew 23:26)

Ice cream sundaes, quickly consumed, can leave a lovely fluted dish splotched with leftover cherry pits, chocolate sprinkles, and nuts. The dish looks pretty on the outside, but the inside is a sticky mess. That's like the image Jesus used to get these Pharisees' attention. We know some Pharisees, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, believed in Jesus and became his disciples. But these Pharisees despised him.

Jesus' rebuke might sound harsh; it might even make you squirm inside. After all, most of us know his words could just as easily apply to us. But Jesus isn't trying to shame the Pharisees (or us) into change. He is trying to draw our gaze to the truth: only Jesus can cleanse the "inside of the cup," our hearts (Matthew 23:26).

No matter how forcefully Jesus' words strike you, be assured of this: God is not mad at you. He loves you intensely, and he is trying to open your eyes to the leftover mess in your heart. His rebuke is meant as an invitation to turn back to him.

St. Augustine, whose memorial we celebrate today, once told God, "You made me see that there was something to see." Augustine saw Jesus and his holiness, and that shed light on his own need for God and his potential to be like Jesus. "You called and shouted," he acknowledged, "and broke through my deafness."

Jesus was shouting to break through the Pharisees' deafness. God, who is good and gentle, is also powerful and wise. Don't be frightened by the power of his voice. He isn't screaming at you, "Hey you, your cup is filthy!" He's inviting you closer so that you can hear him calling out, "Here I am! Let me help you."

Jesus wants to help you. He wants you to be holy just as he is holy. He wants to hold your hand and guide you as you deal with whatever separates you from him. Perhaps he will lead you to look at what is gumming up your sundae dish. Perhaps it will lead to the confessional for a thorough scrubbing. Once everything is cleared away, the Spirit will deepen your faith in Jesus—and give you a deeper experience of his love.

"Jesus, cleanse me from the inside out."

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17
Psalm 96:10-13


The Holy Spirit comes to us and says:
"Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught,either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." My protestant family take note; both ORAL and Letter are important. We have not lost the oral tradition in the Catholic Church. What is written, scriptures are still carried as well by our Holy Church (not perfect). But the good news is the affirmation, to keep going, to stand firm, and to hold fast, be constant, be faithful, and this is what God is calling us to. Love you God.

Let us pray His words: "The Lord comes to judge the earth. Before the LORD, for he comes; for he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy." And His constancy is good. It is more than good! His mercy endures forever. Psalm 136:1 "O GIVE thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." Some versions and translations say His Love Endures forever. Love equals mercy. Doesn't it? Do you love God? Are you merciful? Are you like Him, faithful?

In comes our Heavenly Lord and we thank Him: "You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity." Some of us go to pay our dues. Some of us go to get the Sacraments and Scram. Some of us just want the good stuff and not any bad stuff. Some of us want to lead without following. Are you following Him? Truly? Our Lord goes on: " hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence." It's what's inside that counts, right? What's inside of you? Self indulgence? You doing things that suits your fancy and only makes you feel good? Like food indulgence. Like lust indulgence. Like ego indulgence. Like pride indulgence. Like focus on yourself indulgence. I dare say, all these gadgets, phones, tablets, etc. make you focus on yourself, therefore, depression is on the rise, because we are not designed to focus on ourselves! We are designed for GOD! Even scientists can affirm, we are wired in a peculiar way that is peculiar because we want to focus on self, but we can't! Contradictions right? "cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean." An inner spiritual healing brings about an outer physical healing. When Jesus healed, it was a spiritual healing "go, your sins are forgiven". These are words only heard in the Sacrament of Confession. Shall you scram after that? Shall you go back to feed on the sin? Or shall you be grateful? Of course. Grateful means holy. That's how you can be grateful. Amen?
I've had an interesting analogy popping into my head, and it has to do with with appearances. So, we ask you to appear before the Lord and here comes Mr. T, the turtle. He shows up to church, right?, and he parks somewhere in the middle pews. And as church begins, he kind of closes his eyes. And as it gets heavier into church, he starts pulling his head into his shell. Before you know it, his hands and feet are in the shell. As the words of salvation are pronounced to get to Heaven, and God appears, he is inside his shell, watching flicks and games, eating snacks. When he comes out of his shell, nobody is there, they are gone. He opens his eyes and sees nothing. {Think Mass}. What if he had gone inside and found a reminder to be faithful to God? This is what this meditation is for. For the internal to push you forth and out. Meditations are so important, but they could turn fruitless if they don't push you forth into the Love of Christ and fellowship with Him who is in the world but not of the world. We too, we are called out of this world. Look around you, everything is temporary, but the Word of God remains. Buildings fall to pieces, cars rot, people in and out. But the Word, just the Word and His Church remains, the law and the letter. Shall we be faithful to His Word? I stared at a rainbow yesterday, the lightning all around it, the sun behind me and the clouds in front of me. I thought "what is amazing is all of this was created with a Word from God". Watch His words carefully. To some in prophetics, and visions, the words became visible, falling out of the angel's lips. What is coming out are realities being made.

Old Mr. T had nothing inside his shell. He got lost, in himself. Let us do this then, realize what are wants in our lives and what are needs. Who has set the benchmark in your life in where you want to be at this point in life? Is it Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates? Or is it Saint Augustine? Or better yet...JESUS the Son of God, the Savior of the world? Too many times we compare ourselves wrong. Many lukewarm people say "i'm good, I'm not Adolf Hitler". It's like saying "I'll settle for this brand new cadillac, cuz I don't want to appear over the top with a Lamborghini". Who can, then, guide you to truth? Jesus. Where can you find Him? In the Sacraments. How can He come in? Spirits abound in this world. How can the Holy Spirit dwell in you?

Yesterday as work was winding down, I was listening to some Holy Spirit songs, one of them really got me going. I had to stop what I was doing, because the tears started to well up, why? Because my heart began to burn. It is the Lord! So Mr. T pops his head out. I literally walked outside seeing the clouds. I had been praising God in my heart, and I went outside to praise him. I feel the sprinkles in the sunlight, the clouds making beautiful formations. I walk further and hear thunder rolling. God spoke. I kept walking and I saw something I'd never seen before. As I got closer, I saw a large bunch of colorful balloons dancing in the wind. I went closer and closer, and realized what was strange is how they were caught in a barbed wire fence. Immediately I thought, "these are for my friend's birthday at the nursing home who has been telling me he is so happy I'm going to make him hot dogs for him and his friends this Friday". I tried to pull them from the fence and a couple of them popped. I hope they stay inflated. They are making a ruckus in my backseat right now. But the sight of it all. How God speaks to a heart to one who goes out to praise Him.

Mr. T, when you show up, be ready to be amazed, and to leave your shell behind.....



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