Monday, December 3, 2018

⛪Have I Found Such Faith

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A Season of Transition

Transitions are tender seasons, not unlike the nine months when a woman gestates a seed prior to the birth of a child. New awareness can be fragile, and our old ways of being have the strength and energy of long-lived habits to give them considerable momentum and power. As the image of being attentive to a seed implies, you have to become more watchful. Care needs to be exercised. Fresh insights and new awareness have not yet been tested outside of your own heart, nor subjected to the gaze of others. It takes practice.

—from the book Stars at Night: When Darkness Unfolds As Light


"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."
— St. Francis de Sales

"The experience of the Church and the saints demonstrates a general law: what comes from the Spirit of God brings with it joy, peace, tranquility of spirit, gentleness, simplicity, and light. On the other hand, what comes from the spirit of evil brings sadness, trouble, agitation, worry, confusion, and darkness. These marks of the good and the evil spirit are unmistakable signs in themselves."
— Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 51
In the School of the Holy Spirit

"And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."
2 Timothy 2:24-26


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Saint Francis Xavier

(April 7, 1506 – December 3, 1552)

Saint Francis Xavier's Story
Jesus asked, "What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" (Matthew 16:26a). The words were repeated to a young teacher of philosophy who had a highly promising career in academics, with success and a life of prestige and honor before him.

Francis Xavier, 24 at the time, and living and teaching in Paris, did not heed these words at once. They came from a good friend, Ignatius of Loyola, whose tireless persuasion finally won the young man to Christ. Francis then made the spiritual exercises under the direction of Ignatius, and in 1534, joined his little community, the infant Society of Jesus. Together at Montmartre they vowed poverty, chastity, obedience, and apostolic service according to the directions of the pope.

From Venice, where he was ordained a priest in 1537, Xavier went on to Lisbon and from there sailed to the East Indies, landing at Goa, on the west coast of India. For the next 10 years he labored to bring the faith to such widely scattered peoples as the Hindus, the Malayans, and the Japanese. He spent much of that time in India, and served as provincial of the newly established Jesuit province of India.

Wherever he went, Xavier lived with the poorest people, sharing their food and rough accommodations. He spent countless hours ministering to the sick and the poor, particularly to lepers. Very often he had no time to sleep or even to say his breviary but, as we know from his letters, he was filled always with joy.

Xavier went through the islands of Malaysia, then up to Japan. He learned enough Japanese to preach to simple folk, to instruct, and to baptize, and to establish missions for those who were to follow him. From Japan he had dreams of going to China, but this plan was never realized. Before reaching the mainland, he died. His remains are enshrined in the Church of Good Jesus in Goa. He and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux were declared co-patrons of the missions in 1925.

All of us are called to "go and preach to all nations—see Matthew 28:19. Our preaching is not necessarily on distant shores but to our families, our children, our husband or wife, our coworkers. And we are called to preach not with words, but by our everyday lives. Only by sacrifice, the giving up of all selfish gain, could Francis Xavier be free to bear the Good News to the world. Sacrifice is leaving yourself behind at times for a greater good, the good of prayer, the good of helping someone in need, the good of just listening to another. The greatest gift we have is our time. Francis Xavier gave his to others.

Saint Francis Xavier is the Patron Saint of:


Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest

Reading 1 Is 2:1-5

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come,
The mountain of the LORD's house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
"Come, let us climb the LORD's mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths."
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the LORD!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 122:1-2, 3-4b, 4cd-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
prosperity in your buildings.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Because of my relatives and friends
I will say, "Peace be within you!"
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Alleluia See Ps 80:4
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come and save us, LORD our God;
let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
"Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully."
He said to him, "I will come and cure him."
The centurion said in reply,
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes;
and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes;
and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
"Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven."


Meditation: Isaiah 2:1-5

Saint Francis Xavier, Priest (Memorial)

All nations shall stream toward it. (Isaiah 2:2)

Nearly eight hundred years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah promised that whole nations would come to Israel to learn about the Lord. "From Zion," he promised, "shall go forth instruction," and that instruction would draw people back to God (Isaiah 2:3). Now here we are, two-and-a-half millennia later, and Isaiah's prophecy continues to come true, but in a new way—one that shows how the Old Testament is fulfilled in Jesus. It's his good news that now "goes forth" and draws people from every background into his presence.

The gospel goes out, and the people stream in. It's a theme that runs throughout Scripture. In Genesis, we hear God telling Abraham that the nations would "find blessing" in him (18:18). Then, in Exodus, we see foreigners following the Israelites out of Egypt to worship God (12:38). Later Ruth—a woman from Moab—leaves her homeland and her gods behind to follow Naomi into Israel (Ruth 1:16). And the stories go on and on.

Then, in today's Gospel, we see Jesus healing the servant of a Roman centurion—a pagan with no direct ties to the covenant with Moses. But Jesus declares that "many will come from the east and the west" to dine in God's kingdom (Matthew 8:11). Finally, we look on as people "from every nation, race, people, and tongue" gather around the throne of God in the glory of heaven (Revelation 7:9).

Today, the gospel goes out through missionaries laboring in foreign lands or sharing the love of Christ in homeless shelters just down the road from us. And people are streaming in as a result.

You have a part to play as well. You don't have to be a prophet like Isaiah or a missionary for the good news of Christ to ring out from your life. You can offer everyday acts of love and kindness to the people around you. You can visit a neighbor who is sick and offer to pray for them—or even with them! You can include that lonely coworker in your plans for the holidays. You can help teach a catechism class or set up at your parish's "Welcome Sunday" social.

In all these ways, the gospel can "go forth" from you, and people will come closer to God (Isaiah 2:3).

"Lord, make me a witness to your love."

Psalm 122:1-9
Matthew 8:5-11


2 cents :
"They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks". Advent is kicked off with words of peace. Is there peace? In your heart? Or is the season kicking up feelings of anxiety, and despair? Some actually are thinking these times to take their own lives. Why? Why doesn't the prince of peace overcome the prince of darkness? The prince of true light, the light itself is in the climax of advent, the birth of our Lord. What does this mean to you? What is being prepared right your heart? Prepare a way for the Lord to enter in a most unique way. You were created unique. To Love God in a unique way, in a way no one else has. How creative is God? Extremely, beyond understanding. Love is not understood, but can be lived.


Let us pray: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your walls". May those who love God prosper. May Jerusalem prosper. May God's peace be within. For most in the unbelieving world don't know, but God offers joy to the world. Joy is more permanent, whereas many make Christmas a "happy time" with gifts and fake songs in modern times, but God offers a peace like no other, and it stems from grace.


In comes our Heavenly Lord: "When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith." I've often equated the word faith with the word love. So this what our Lord said would sound like this: "In no one in Israel have I found such LOVE". And I have to go from here on this tangent. I've often pondered the centurion's statement, which we say before eating the Body of Christ, ""Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and...". It is amazing faith. It is though, amazing love. So much faith, so much trust. I have to wonder, why would this Roman Centurion go all the way to Jesus? He himself had servants and soldiers under his name. Why go personally to Jesus for this one slave? I can only summize one thing: Love. Love made all the difference. Boy do we need this kind of faith in our day in age. I myself am a work in progress in this aspect. I think I have faith but I see a lack of love. Can that match? Can I have faith in a loved one and not love them? Or, can I love someone and not have faith in them? Hope gets involved when faith gets involved. I see an unfaithful spouse in my world. And his wife waits for him...suffering. I admire her love. He is brutal, alcoholic, unfaithful, never home, a wretch of a sinner. She waits, yes, with a broken heart. But I see hope. I pray for hope, and I pray with faith. Yes. Yes God can intervene. I see another one in my world, boy she is a rowdy one, but I see hope. I believe. I believe in Love. I see a tremendous amount of negativity in the media, for the country, for the Holy Church, but, I believe. I believe in hope. Advent then, the coming of our Lord kicks off with hope.

And so, I hope in you. When this message reaches your eyes, let it penetrate your heart. So when I see you I can too say with our Lord "I have never seen such love". Amazing Love. God can be amazed. He creates us to be able to have this particular trait...amazement. A gift of the Holy Spirit. God is amazing. Don't believe? Come see. Come...believe. Come, let us worship. Come, let us adore.

I asked the heavens last week, "how in the world can I be thankful? Please! Tell me how can I show you I am so thankful?". Never did I receive an answer. But something happened inside. And the answer came to be: "Be Holy". Be afflicted. Be amazed.

The centurion's slave/friend was healed. The centurion believed in "seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened" and "taste and ye shall see!". Amen? If you'd only see what I can see. I see amazing things. But it comes after much work and dedication, being sincere. In prison, a guy turned to me and whispered to me "Adrian, you are a humble man". I smiled and said thank you, but when I stood back, I prayed silentely, "get behind me Satan". I'll have nothing to do with this credit. To God all the honor and glory. If anything, I am trying to be a sincere man of God.

You come at me with flattering words and I'll take out my sword, and I'll begin to pray, because if something good has shown through me, it was God, not me. "But Adrian, I thank you for allowing God to work through you". Again, it's not me! It's the Holy Spirit! Do you really want to thank me? REALLY? Ok, then be holy.

Be sincere. Be ready. Be found ready. I need to see Jesus.

Holiness takes work. When you go to Church, you probably don't go all pumped up and happy, most drag themselves, and to ministries. It's like going to the gym, I'd say many dread going. I know I used to for both. But I'd go. And go. And keep going. And the results? More capability. More power, more strength. "To the one who has....more will be given". Do you have what it takes? Yes. Love. Can you make this a beautiful advent? Of course. Amaze God. I once wrote tiny books for loved ones for Christmas. I wrote them sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I wrote with Love.

How extravagant is that? Writing a personal book to one you love, for their eyes only? Jesus created your personal world. It is a story of a billion worlds at once. Yet each one is so unique. And out of it, the ability for God to be shown...Love.



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