Tuesday, January 8, 2019

⛪ On The Green Grass

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Prayer Ebbs and Flows

Prayer has a huge ebb and flow. When we try to pray, sometimes we walk on water and sometimes we sink like a stone. Sometimes we have a deep sense of God's reality and sometimes we can't even imagine that God exists. Sometimes we have deep feelings about God's goodness and love, and sometimes we feel only boredom and distraction. Sometimes our eyes fill with tears and we wish we could stay in our prayer-place forever, and sometimes our eyes wander furtively to our wristwatches to see how much time we still need to spend in prayer.

—from Prayer: Our Deepest Longing


"Trials, tribulation, anguish, anxiety are permitted by the very One Who gives peace."
— Archbishop Fulton Sheen

"Our Lord never intended that we should merely learn by heart the Our Father and recite it day and night. No doubt it is very beautiful and very simple, and can be meant quite easily by anyone who cares to use it. But that is not the purpose (although it is one purpose) of His gift of it to us. He evidently desires that we should take it to pieces, study its composition, and make it the model of our conversation with Him and the Father. … I must study it carefully, petition by petition, noting the distinct meaning of the words, the arrangement of the order, and the gradual development of the ideas of fatherhood, and so forth. ... Indeed, this prayer is little else than a series of remarks made by a child to his Father. The very want of connection between each petition, the staccato notes that mark off phrase from phrase, seem to suggest that it should be said very slowly, pausing after each group of notes to let their meaning and harmony echo to the base of the soul."
— Fr. Bede Jarrett, p. 300
Classic Catholic Meditations

"When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me."
Psalm 63:6-8


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St. Apollinaris Claudius (2nd c.), also called St. Apollinaris of Hierapolis, was a bishop in what is today Turkey. He became famous for his polemical writings against the heretics of his day, showing that their theological errors were taken from the pagans. His most famous work was an Apologia for the Christians addressed to Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the year 177 A.D. In it he reminded the Emperor of a miracle he received because of the Christians: when his army was nearly defeated in an attempt to conquer the Germanic barbarians, it was the prayers of the Christians among his soldiers which obtained the needed relief and the military victory, even though Christianity was illegal. In light of this miracle, Apollinaris requested the Emperor's protection of Christians from persecution. St. Apollinaris' work earned him the moniker, "Apollinaris the Apologist." His writings are largely lost, and what we know of his work comes to us from other early Christian writers including St. Jerome and Eusebius. His feast day is January 8th.


Tuesday after Epiphany

Reading 1 1 Jn 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
R. (see 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia Lk 4:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:34-44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
"This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat."
He said to them in reply,
"Give them some food yourselves."
But they said to him,
"Are we to buy two hundred days' wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?"
He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see."
And when they had found out they said,
"Five loaves and two fish."
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.


Meditation: Mark 6:34-44

They all ate and were satisfied. (Mark 6:42)

Has anyone ever surprised you with a gift of food? Maybe it was dinner that a neighbor brought over when a family member passed away. Maybe someone at work handed you a cup of gourmet coffee when you were laboring over a tight deadline. Or maybe someone gave you a gift card to your favorite restaurant for your birthday.

The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand was also an unexpected gift. The people who had followed Jesus into a deserted place weren't expecting him or his disciples to give them dinner. No one asked him to perform this miracle. He just chose to do it out of love for these people who had come so far to see him. Jesus fed them because he wanted to spend more time with them rather than have them leave early to find food in the surrounding villages.

What makes Jesus' gesture even more striking is that he was grieving the execution of John the Baptist at the time. He had initially wanted some time alone but changed his plans when he saw the crowd of people eager to hear him teach. Mark tells us that Jesus' "heart was moved with pity," and he decided to put aside his grief and care for the people (Mark 6:34).

This says so much about the heart of Jesus. First, he wants to spend time with us. You could say that he even enjoys his time with us. He will never "dismiss" us when we go to him (Mark 6:36). Second, we can trust that Jesus will give us the gifts we need, even when we least expect it. Even when it never occurred to us to ask, he will pour out his grace and his peace. We just have to make time, like those in the crowd, to come and sit with him.

Jesus' greatest gift to us is the Bread of Life in the Eucharist. Even better, we don't have to travel far to receive this heavenly food. He comes to us on every altar at every Mass and feeds us. And just like the people who ate and were satisfied, we, too, can be filled to overflowing every time we share a meal with Jesus.

"Jesus, thank you for spending time with me and for feeding me in the Eucharist."

1 John 4:7-10
Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8


2 cents :
"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God."
Is it hard to love one another? Is it easier to hate? You know, in the life of seeking sainthood, we have to analyze what is easy and what is hard; what takes effort, and what does not. This is why there are things that are called "spiritual exercises". It is not always easy to workout. A daily routine is hard to achieve, and for some, it may take years to get into a routine. Think prayer. Think of spiritual exercise. Think of the benefits of exercise. Life, quality of life, and quantity of life. Think, eternity we work for. But forget everything if eternity does not revolve around God. What do you think Heaven is all about? I'd say it revolves around Love...because God is Love. Amen? It's funny how we feel and act as if the world revolves around us, but it does not. We are somewhat designed to watch out for ourselves...but what about the love of others? That is work. That is a spiritual exercise. Today, we have much to learn on spiritual exercises, but truth be told, it is to be focused solely on Christ...and His precious Body.


We pray the Psalm: "Lord, every nation on earth will adore you. The mountains shall yield peace for the people, and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor." Forever we hear the devil's song in the world, that one that says God is not good. Why? Because little children die. So they blame God. Yet, the same people do not lift a finger to save a child. Think of the unborn. But God defends them. God fights for them, and it is Christ, Christ among us, fending for the children of the poor.

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord is found in the middle of nowhere, with thousands, and after feeding them with His Word, He feeds them food. Before going forth, don't you think it is amazing how He entered the world? The Word Became Flesh. The angel's word came to be...through Mary. Flesh for the world. And so, in the feeding of thousands, how did this come to be? His Word came to be.
""Give them some food yourselves." They were like "But, but, but....HOW?" He asked the disciples to go look for food. They brought all they found, a few loaves, a couple fish. What does God do? Jesus...He gives thanks to God, for they gave all they had. Mustard seeds. Amen? Just when you think you are so insignificant, our Lord says, "give me what you got". All you got. What can we learn from this? Lots. In serving the Lord, I can see things normal non-servers can not. I see miracles of grace. I see very little given, and I see amazing things happen. It happens on all fronts, time, treasure, talent. I got one thing to say to all those who aren't giving time, talent, and treasure, and you tell them for me: "The church works beautifully without you, but you can make it more beautiful".

Watch this; last night, I was speeding off late to a men's conference meeting. I saw my neighbor, my brother in law was in his truck, lights on. In an instant I called him to join me. He had been drinking, he is fighting the addiction. I know this, I been praying for years. He said "when?" I said "Now", he said "come pick me up". We went. He is not a church goer. I know. He is lost in sin and alcohol. I know. He is a picture perfect sinner. He went to our men that are faithful, a handful. He sat in the meeting, offered all he had. And boy were we all moved almost to tears especially when he said "men, I got something to say to you, I turn on the news and all I see is negative and darkness, and I come here, and I see hope, I see the good that can be, and I want to be a part of that".

We drove home and for the first time he expressed sorrow for his ways and said how he now desired to kick the habits. It is a beautiful example of what I been saying..well, God saying "Give me what you what happens".

I live in this side of the world, where God's Kingdom reigns. It is not a super-power that conquers with brute force, but with the simplicity of humility, those giving love and conquering the world...
Jesus Is Victory
And it is not for the faint of faith, but those soft for Jesus

Jesus, we love you.
Help us love you more and more.
We need you
We need to love you more and better
with all we got...

dove look


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