Friday, June 7, 2019

⛪ When You Were Younger ⛪

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Appreciate Where You Are

It seems almost against our nature to be happy where we are, and probably to a certain extent it is. For were we not somewhat restless, were we not uncomfortable with staying too long in one place, we would not find the drive, the desire, to discover and create new things, and we would not look outside ourselves in search of relationships to enrich and improve our lives and offer us the reward of love. Yet, amid this restlessness, if we are not able to find some appreciation for our lives at this moment, we will miss out on the graces available to us in the here and now, and never find the peace to which God invites us. One of the first challenges of the spiritual life, therefore, is to appreciate where we are, even if it's not where we want to be. Appreciating where we are doesn't mean ignoring the past and pretending everything is awesome, as we're sometimes made to believe. No, the freedom to live our life comes in recognizing where we are, in all its glory and misery and accepting that reality. Accepting that reality doesn't mean that we're content just to leave things the way they are. Indeed, it is the catalyst for change, freeing us to see the truth and redirect our lives.

—from the book Already There: Letting God Find You, by Mark Mossa, SJ


Saint Quote

"Do not be anxious: go straight on, forgetful of self, letting the spirit of God act instead of your own."
— St. Julie Billiart

"As St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only 'as harmless as doves', but also 'as wise as serpents'. He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim."
—C.S. Lewis, p. 77
Mere Christianity

"For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you."
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8


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Bl. Anne of St. Bartholomew (1549–1626) was born in Spain, one of seven children. Her parents died when the plague swept through Spain, leaving her an orphan at the age of ten. She then became a shepherdess tending her brother's sheep. From a young age she had an extraordinary spiritual life, including being graced with many visions. In one of them the Blessed Virgin Mary told her she would become a nun, which was further encouraged by a vision of Jesus. When she tried to enter the monastery she was turned away for being too young. Years later, when her family tried to arrange her marriage, she finally entered the Carmelite monastery at the age of 21, the same one in which St. Teresa of Avila lived. St. Teresa chose Anne as her personal secretary and assistant, even though she had to teach Anne how to write. For five years St. Anne was the companion of St. Teresa of Avila, traveling with her and assisting her in the establishment of new foundations. It was in Anne's arms that St. Teresa died in 1582. After Teresa's death, Anne assisted in the foundation of several other monasteries in France, becoming prioress at three of them. She went on to found a monastery in the Netherlands where she remained until her death. After her death over 150 approved miracles (and more that have not been officially approved) were attributed to her intercession. Her feast day is June 7th.


Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 25:13b-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea
on a visit to Festus.
Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul's case to the king, saying,
"There is a man here left in custody by Felix.
When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews
brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.
I answered them that it was not Roman practice
to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers
and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.
So when they came together here, I made no delay;
the next day I took my seat on the tribunal
and ordered the man to be brought in.
His accusers stood around him,
but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.
Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus who had died
but who Paul claimed was alive.
Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,
I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem
and there stand trial on these charges.
And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody
for the Emperor's decision,
I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab

R.(19a) The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 14:26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs."
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
He said to him the third time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
"Do you love me?" and he said to him,
"Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go."
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."


Meditation: John 21:15-19

7th Week of Easter

Do you love me? (John 21:17)

With each repeated question, Peter's eyes swell with tears and his voice trembles. After proudly announcing at the Last Supper that he would lay down his life for Jesus, he is now ashamed at having denied him three times. He also wonders why Jesus keeps asking the same question. Is he just increasing the suspense until he delivers a stinging rebuke?

Somber yet full of compassion, Jesus doesn't scold Peter. He doesn't bring up Peter's denial at all. Instead, he gives him the space he needs to confirm to Jesus—and, more important, to himself—that he really does love the Lord.

So Jesus forgives and encourages Peter as he had done many times before. After so many mistakes, Peter probably expected Jesus to write him off this time. But he didn't. Peter's past sins and weaknesses were simply not enough for Jesus to stop loving him and caring for him.

Like Peter, we can think that because we have fallen short in the past, Jesus is no longer interested in our friendship. But that's just not true! Jesus hasn't moved on, leaving us with nothing but memories of his love. His heart continues to be wide open and full of forgiveness. He is standing before us asking us if we can still open our hearts to him. Can we move past shame and confess that no matter what we have done, there's still a love for Jesus in our hearts?

What's keeping you from having a heart-to-heart encounter with Jesus today? Regret? Shame? Fear? Everyday embarrassment? Whatever it is, let him into that part of your heart and tell him what you're feeling and why. Don't worry about his reaction; he has already decided to forgive you. His love always precedes his forgiveness. Just remember how he chose to reveal himself to Peter and even fed him a hearty breakfast before their pivotal discussion. He loves to care for you, in every way.

It's your turn now. Go ahead and talk with Jesus. Tell him how much you love him. Let the barriers fall away and receive his mercy. Again.

"Jesus, help me to return to you and repent as often as I need to. Lord, I place my confidence in you and your great love."

Acts 25:13-21
Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20



Something was missing in my life in the area of active worship. In Mass I found what the earliest Christians found. [The Mass] was deeply satisfying and life-changing . . . I found Jesus in a tangible form.
from The Mass


"For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us. The Lord has established his throne in heaven."
How far is Heaven? That is a question that is to be pondered. How far is the east from the west? As far as the eye can see? Heaven could be worlds away. To travel west to find east, you'd have to travel across the world if you mark the starting point. Now things can be put into perspective...about God's love and mercy. And this mercy is extended to us all, whether we like it or not! Whether we want it or not. Whether we love it or not. Whether we take to it. How does living in God's mercy feel though? It is Heaven.

"The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all I told you." Often, there are courses offered, bible studies, online programs, TV, radio, all sorts of things offered to learn about Christ. We have groups and reunion in Christ too. In the good ones, you will have the group begin with a prayer to the Holy Spirit. The Good Teacher is invited. We did something different yesterday, as we had choir practice; we invited the Holy Spirit, and it was good. It is highly recommended that every ministry begin with prayer. So we are taught, and reminded. That is the beauty of remaining with Him. Reminders sometimes change my life.


In the Holy Gospel today, we hear the conversation of our Lord with His follower, the chosen one to lead the Holy Catholic Church of all Christians:
""Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep." Three times our Lord asks "do you love Me".
He said Feed, He said tend to the flock, and then again, Feed MY sheep". Jesus fed Himself to the sheep. The Good shepherd saved His sheep. The Good Shepherd to this day saves His sheep.

What a strange notion, that one should lay down their lives for the Lord. Right? That is to die, right? For one's friend? Our Lord continues "...when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Today, I will sing in Mass with my guitar at the nursing home. My kids like rolling the elderly away after Mass, and off they push them to the living room. They enjoy it. But do the elderly like being taken all day? Some can't talk there. Some just moan. Some, you can't understand a word they are saying. But some smile, and that makes one's day. And some I smile to, and maybe I make their day. Hope for hope, amen? And so Peter fed the flock, tended, and fed. Today, He still feeds us and tends to us. Tending to the flock is work. Sacrificial work. When tending to the flock, you can't do your own thing. You must be leading and feeding. That is how a shepherd works. But you are not always a shepherd! You are also a lamb. We must be led and fed by the Good Shepherd...the Holy Spirit called Jesus. And we are not called to understand but to be simply called. He is ready to feed us and tend to us.

Lord, without you, I am nothing.

With you, I am loved.
And this is life.
I want life with you.
I accept you as my Shepherd, give me the grace, that humility to love you as I ought.


hear it read


Random Bible Verse1
1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (Listen)

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [1] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Thank You Jesus

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