Archive for “November, 2015”

Lectio Divina 12/4/2015

Friday, December 4, 2015 ~ First Week in the Season of Advent

Saint John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church

 

Holy Gospel: Matthew 9:27-31 As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.

 

Meditation: God wants to change and transform our lives to set us free to live as his sons and daughters and citizens of his kingdom. Faith is key to this transformation. How can we grow in faith? Faith is a gift freely given by God to help us know God personally, to understand his truth, and to live in the power of his love. For faith to be effective it must be linked with trust and obedience – an active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever he commands. The Lord Jesus wants us to live in the confident expectation that he will fulfill his promises to us and bring us into the fullness of his kingdom – a kingdom of  righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

 

Prayer: Grant, we pray, O Lord, that we may be helped by the prayers of the Priest Saint John Damascene, so that the true faith, which he excelled in teaching, may always be our light and our strength. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Are there any blind-spots in your life that keep you from recognizing God’s power and mercy? When two blind men heard that Jesus was passing their way, they followed him and begged for his mercy. The word mercy literally means “sorrowful at heart”. But mercy is something more than compassion, or heartfelt sorrow at another person’s misfortune. Compassion empathizes with the sufferer. But mercy goes further; it removes suffering. A merciful person shares in another person’s misfortune and suffering as if it were their own. Note also that when the two blind men approached Jesus, he questioned their earnestness. “Do you believe that I can do this?” Jesus put them to the test, not to rebuff them, but to strengthen their faith and trust in God’s mercy. He touched their eyes, both to identify with their affliction and to awaken faith in them. Their faith grew as they responded to his word with confident hope. Jesus restored their sight – both physically and spiritually to the reality of God’s kingdom. Faith opens the way for us to see the power of God’s kingdom and to experience his healing presence in our lives.

 

Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;

prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;

information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.

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DURING THIS ADVENT SEASON…

The Advent Season is filled with preparation and expectation. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning. Too often, however, we are so busy with the material preparations that we lose sight of the real reason for our activity: the Word made flesh coming to dwell among us. Christians are urged to preserve the spiritual focus of Christmas amidst the prevailingly secular and consumer-driven society. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, let us strive to keep Advent a season of waiting and longing, of conversion and hope, meditating often on the incredible love and humility of our God in taking on flesh of the Virgin Mary.

 

In our shopping and baking, let us remember to purchase through our CATHEDRAL GIVING TREE  something for the poor and less fortunate in residence at Bryden House, and for the clients served by JOIN. Always remember, too, people where we live – perhaps an older neighbor or single person down the street who doesn’t have family nearby. When we clean our homes, let us distribute some of our possessions to those who lack many necessities. While we are decking the halls of our homes, let us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts wherein our Savior may come to dwell.

 

 

 

Lectio Divina 12/3/2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015 ~ First Week in the Season of Advent

Saint Francis Xavier, Priest

 

Holy Gospel: Matthew 7:21, 24-27 Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

 

Meditation: Since most of us are not in the construction business, some might ask what the significance is of this story? The kind of foundation we build our lives upon will determine whether we can survive the storms and challenges of life that are sure to come. Builders usually lay their foundations when the weather and soil conditions are at their best. It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up against adverse conditions. Building a house on a flood plain, such as a dry river-bed, is a sure bet for disaster; same with building them on ground level next to the beach, versus up on stilts. Jesus prefaced his story with a warning: We may fool humans with our speech, but God cannot be deceived. He sees each of our hearts as they truly are – with all of our motives, intentions, desires, and choices (Psalm 139:2).

 

Prayer: O God, who through the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier won many peoples to yourself, grant that the hearts of the faithful may burn with the same zeal for the faith and that Holy Church may everywhere rejoice in an abundance of offspring. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: There is sure way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved, and that is by the way one lives one’s life – their habits, their practices, the choices they make. Talk is cheap; words can never replace good deeds. And so looking back on our lives we can ask: Did I cheat on an exam or on my income taxes?  Did I lie, or cover-up, when disclosing the truth would have caused me injury or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, one’s neighbor and oneself – all of the time, not just when it is convenient.  His or her word can be counted on – his or her word is a bond that can be trusted. If we heed God’s word and live according to it then we need not fear when storms assail us. God will be our rock and our refuge.  Two more questions to think about: Is my life built upon the sure “rock” of Jesus Christ?  Do I listen to his word as if my very life (and eternal life) life depended on it?

Lectio Divina 12/2/2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 ~ First Week in the Season of Advent

 

Holy Gospel: Matthew 15:29-37 At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel. Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” The disciples said to him,
“Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.”  He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

 

Meditation: When the disciples were confronted by Jesus with the task of feeding four thousand people many miles away from any source of food, they exclaimed: “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?” Jesus, himself provides bread in abundance for the hungry crowd who came out into the desert to seek him. The gospel records that all were satisfied and they took up what was leftover. In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does. God knows our needs better than we do, and he cares to provide for what we “need” versus what we “want” – there is a difference. When God gives, he gives in abundance. The gospel account records that the leftovers from the miraculous meal was more than seven times the amount they began with. Seven is a symbol of completion and wholeness. When God gives, he gives until we are satisfied. When God works for his people he gives abundantly – more than we could deserve and more than we need. He nourishes us with his life-giving word and with the bread of heaven. In the kingdom of heaven God will feast us at his banquet table. Are you satisfied with what God provides for you? If not, wh not?

 

Prayer: Look with favor, Lord God, on our petitions, and in our trials grant us your compassionate help, that, consoled by the presence of your Son, whose coming we now await, we may be tainted no longer by the corruption of former ways. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Who can satisfy the deepest hunger and longing of our human hearts? Isaiah prophesied that God would provide a heavenly banquet for all peoples and would destroy death once and for all (Isaiah 25:6-8). Jesus came to fulfill that promise. Jesus’ miracles are both a sign of God’s kingdom and a demonstration of God’s power. They also show the magnitude of God’s love, mercy and compassion for us. Challenging as it may be for some of us during this Christmas shopping season, let’s look at what we really need – and perhaps shifting our focus toward the needs of others, and less on what “I want.”

Lectio Divina 12/1/2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 ~ First Week in the Season of Advent

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 10:21-24 Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

 

Meditation: We would do well to read and meditation on this most wonderful prayer that Jesus reveals to us in today’s Gospel (Luke 10:21-22). Notice that this prayer tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything, giving goodness and loving care for all of his children. All fatherhood and motherhood are derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15). Jesus’ prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God. Pride closes the mind to God’s truth and wisdom for our lives. Jesus contrasts pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are not “simpletons” – they are not wearing rose-colored glasses calling themselves Pollyannas – rather they see purely without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in God who is the source of all wisdom and strength. They seek one thing – the “summum bonum” or the “greatest good” which is God himself. Simplicity of heart is wedded with humility – the queen of virtues – because humility inclines our human hearts towards grace and truth. Just as pride is the root of every sin and evil we can conceive, so humility is the only soil in which the grace of God can take root. It alone takes the right attitude before God and allows him as God to do all. Recall that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). The grace of Christ-like humility inclines us towards God and disposes us to receive God’s wisdom, grace, and help. Nothing can give us greater joy than the knowledge that we are God’s beloved and that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).

 

Prayer: Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God, as we await the advent of Christ your Son, so that, when he comes and knocks, he may find us watchful in prayer and exultant in his praise. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Our knowledge of God is not limited simply to knowing something about God – who he is and what he is like. As we are called to know, love and serve God, each of us can come to know God personally – on an intimate level – and be united with him in a relationship of love, trust, and friendship. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a Father who cares genuinely and intensely for each of us, his children, and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the cross. Contemplating on God’s love for us should fill us with great joy and confidence knowing the extremes (by our human standards) he has gone to in order for us to share eternal life in Heaven.

Lectio Divina 11/30/2015

“Advent is the ‘sacrament’ of the presence of God in His world, in the Mystery of Christ at work in history… This mystery is the revelation of God Himself in His Incarnate Son. But it is not merely a manifestation of the Divine Perfections, it is the concrete plan of God for the salvation of men and the restoration of the whole world in Christ.”

~Fr. Thomas Merton, OCSO

 

Monday, November 30, 2015 ~ First Week in the Season of Advent

Saint Andrew, Apostle

 

Holy Gospel: Matthew 4:18-22 As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.

 

Meditation: Notice that when Jesus began his public ministry he went everywhere he could to speak to those who would listen to him about the kingdom of God. He chose as his closest friends and coworkers those who were ready to follow as his disciples and he gave them an unusual mission – “to catch people for the kingdom of God.” And what kind of disciples did Jesus choose? He starts by choosing hard working, hard playing, everyday people, beginning with fishermen. In the choice of the first apostles we see a characteristic feature of Jesus’ work by choosing ordinary, everyday people like you and me. They were non-professionals, had no wealth or position of power or fame in society. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special marks of education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these individuals, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and guidance. So when the Lord calls each of us to be his disciples, we must not think we have nothing to offer him in exchange. The Lord takes what ordinary people like us can offer, and uses it for greatness in his kingdom.  So don’t shortchange yourself – we all have something to offer by following Christ and taking life’s cues from him.

 

Prayer: We humbly implore your majesty, O Lord, that, just as the blessed Apostle Andrew was for your Church a preacher and pastor, so he may be for us a constant intercessor before you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: God wants others to see the light of Christ in us in the way we live, speak, and witness the joy of the gospel. Paul the Apostles says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15). And so we might ask ourselves today: Do I show others around me the joy of the gospel by living my life in witness to Christ’s teachings? Do I pray for my neighbors, co-workers, and relatives that they may come to personally know the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of his love?

Lectio Divina 11/27/2015

Friday, November 27, 2015 ~ Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 21:29-33 Jesus told his disciples a parable. “Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

 

Meditation: Jesus used the image of a fig tree to teach his disciples an important lesson about reading the “signs of the times.” The fig tree was a common and important source of food for the Jews. It bore fruit twice a year, in the autumn and in the early spring. The Talmud (teachings and commentaries of the ancient rabbis on the Jewish Scriptures) said that the first fruit came the day after Passover. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would usher in the kingdom of God at Passover time. The early signs of a changing season, such as springtime, summer, or autumn, are evident for all who can see and observe the changes. Just so are the signs of God’s kingdom and his return in glory on the day of judgment. The “budding” of God’s kingdom begins first in the hearts of those who are receptive to God’s word. Those who trust in God’s word will bear the fruits of his kingdom. And what are the fruits of that kingdom? “The kingdom of God…is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). The Lord gives the first-fruits of his kingdom to those who open their hearts to him with expectant faith and trust in his word. We do not know the day nor the hour when the Lord Jesus will return again in glory. But the Lord does give us signs, not only to “wake us up” as a warning, but also to “rouse our spirits” to be ready and eager to receive his kingdom when he comes in all his power and glory. The “Day of the Lord” will strike terror in those who have ignored or rejected God, but it will be a day of joy and rejoicing for those who long to see the Lord face-to-face. The Lord Jesus wants us to be filled with joyful anticipation for his coming again.

 

Prayer: Stir up the will of your faithful, we pray, O Lord, that striving more eagerly to bring your divine work to fruitful completion, they may receive in greater measure the healing remedies your kindness bestows. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: While we wait for the Lord’s physical return in glory, we can know his presence with us through the work and action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts, and by our constant and ongoing  communication with him in prayer. The Lord Jesus comes daily and frequently to those who long for him and he speaks tenderly to our hearts. He comes to show us the way to our heavenly Father and to give us the hope of eternal life. Listen to him so that you may embrace him and follow him – and do so with love.

 

Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;

prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;

information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.

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The new Liturgical Year commences with the first Sunday of Advent, November 29.

In this new liturgical year, the Church not only wishes to indicate the beginning of a period,

but the beginning of a renewed commitment to the faith by all those who follow Christ, our Lord

and Savior. This time of prayer and path of penance that is so powerful, rich and intense,

endeavors to give us a renewed impetus to truly welcome the message of Christ our Savior.

 

Lectio Divina 11/26/2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015 ~ Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

~ Thanksgiving Day ~

Begin Thanksgiving Day by going to Mass and giving thanks to God.

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 17:11-19 As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

 

Meditation: Today’s gospel, translated and shortened into a news headline: “Only one out of ten people thank God.” Think about this. When was the last time you paused and thanked God for anything?  Sometimes in the busyness of our lives we simply expect God to give us certain things, but we never thank him.  Today is a national holiday set aside to give thanks to God for everything.  Everyday should be Thanksgiving Day for all of us – thanking God our Father, with love from his children. None of us should ever think we are “above” thanking God because we feel we achieved everything on our own, attributing nothing to God – “enlightened” people often think this way. Thanking God is not a quaint thought or anything old fashioned – it is the right thing to do for all of the right reasons.  I am reminded of a story that was told to me years ago.  An old farmer once had a less-than-faithful relative visit him. After the farmer had bowed his head and thanked God for the food they were about to eat, the relative rudely said, “What did you do that for? There’s no God. We live in an age of enlightenment.” The old farmer smiled and said, “There is one on the farm who doesn’t thank God before he eats.” The relative sat up and said, “Who is this enlightened one?” To which the farmer quietly replied, “My pig.”

 

Prayer: Father all-powerful, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite; as we come before you on Thanksgiving Day with gratitude for your kindness, open our hearts to have concern for every man, woman, and child, so that we may share your gifts in loving service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Saying thank you to God should be part of our daily examen, part of our daily prayers, part of our spiritual life.  Each of us has so much to be thankful for – and it all begins with God.

Lectio Divina 11/25/2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 ~ Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 21:12-19 Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

 

Meditation: Jesus tells his disciples that if they endure to the end they will gain their lives – they will inherit abundant life and lasting happiness with God. And so endurance is an essential strength which God gives to those who place their hope and trust in him. Endurance is the patience which never gives up hope, never yields to despair or hatred. Patience is long-suffering because it looks beyond the present difficulties and trials and sees the reward which comes to those who persevere with hope and trust in God. That is why godly endurance is more than human effort. It is first and foremost a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to bear up under any trial or temptation. Endurance is linked with godly hope – the supernatural assurance that we will see God face to face and inherit all the promises he has made. Jesus is our supreme model and pioneer who endured the cross for our sake (Hebrews 12:2). “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus willingly shed his blood for us – to win for us pardon and peace with God. Our joy and privilege is to take up our cross each day to follow the Lord Jesus.

 

Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, who gave Saint Catherine of Alexandria to your people as a Virgin and an invincible Martyr, grant that through her intercession we may be strengthened in faith and constancy and spend ourselves without reserve for the unity of the Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Have you ever wondered what attracts others to the truth and power of the Gospel? More often than not it is when they see Christians loving their enemies, being joyful in suffering, patient in adversity, pardoning injuries, and showing comfort and compassion to the hopeless and the helpless.  And while “fear” is a very natural human emotion, Jesus tells us that we do not need to fear our adversaries because God will give us sufficient grace, strength, and wisdom to face any trial and to answer any challenge to our faith. Knowing this, are you ready to lay down your life for Christ and to bear witness to the joy and freedom of the Gospel?

Lectio Divina 11/24/2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 ~ Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 21:5-11 While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’  Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

 

Meditation: No doubt there have been many times throughout human history when people thought “this is it…these are the end times.” World War II and the evils of the Nazis for one; the cold war era with the former Soviet Union and threat of nuclear war; our current times as well with the evil of ISIS and terrorism and wars taking place around the world. “Teacher, when will this happen…” is on the tips of many tongues today as it has been throughout human history. Of course Jesus says in scripture that we do not know the day nor the hour of his second coming, of the end times, but the important question is are you ready? As you read this, are you ready for the second coming of Christ?  If you have an intimate, loving relationship with Christ and love him above all things then yes, you are probably ready. Of course we need to ask: When did you make your last confession?  Have you done any works of mercy?  Have you lived your life in witness to Christ and the teachings of his Catholic Church?  Okay, so maybe you’re not as ready as you originally thought, and perhaps your relationship with Christ is not what it should be. But there is no time like the present to undergo a radical conversion of mind and heart so that you are, in fact, living a life worthy to be called a disciple of Christ, and in a manner defined by sacred scripture, not the way of the world and the plethora of false prophets who pander teachings based on the “do whatever you want” attitudes of moral relativism.  Be ready for him always and everyday – not out fear, but out of love of him, eager and ready to give an accounting of your life to Jesus at the throne of judgment.

 

Prayer: O God, source and origin of all fatherhood, who kept the Martyrs Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions faith to the Cross of your Son, even to the shedding of their blood, grant through their intercession, that, spreading your love among our brothers and sisters, we may be your children both in name and in truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: There are times when we don’t fully recognize the moral crisis and spiritual conflict of the age in which we live, until something wakes us up to the reality of this present condition. God reminds us that a future judgment and outcome awaits every person, as each of us were created by God. The reward for doing what is right and good and pleasing to God – doing God’s will – and the penalty for sinful rebellion and rejection of God are not always experienced in this present life, but this is sure to come the day of final judgment. The Lord Jesus tells us that there will be trials, suffering, and persecution in this present age until he comes again at the end of the world. God intends our anticipation of his final judgment to be a powerful deterrent to unfaithfulness and wrongdoing. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation Jesus extends grace and mercy to all who have a contrite heart, who recognize that we have strayed from following him and have sinned. Do not pass up, even for one day, the profound two word invitation of Jesus – “follow me” – and to receive his grace and mercy through a good confession. Remember, too, not to cling simply to human laws but instead to divine laws and teachings. Following the flawed human opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court justices will not get you to heaven; following the divine laws of God and faith and moral teachings of God’s prophets and of his son, Jesus Christ, will get you to heaven. Turn a deaf ear to anyone and anything (especially advocacy groups) that lead you astray from following our one Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, for they offer nothing and achieve nothing; Jesus offers love and eternal life with him.

 

 

Lectio Divina 11/23/2015

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments

is not the truest of guides for human life?” ~Saint Benedict, from the Rule of Saint Benedict (73:3)
O Lord, grant us that love which can never die, which will enkindle our lamps but not extinguish them, so that they may shine in us and bring light to others. Most dear Savior, enkindle our lamps that they may shine forever in your temple. May we receive unquenchable light from you so that our darkness will be illuminated and the darkness of the world will be made less. Amen.~Prayer of Saint Columban

 

 

Monday, November 23, 2015 ~ Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Clement I, Pope and Martyr; Saint Columban, Abbot;

Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, Priest and Martyr

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 21:1-4 When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

 

Meditation: Jesus teaches that real giving must come from the heart, because a gift given out of love, with a spirit of generosity and sacrifice, is precious. The amount or size of the gift doesn’t matter as much as the cost to the giver. The poor widow could have kept one of her coins, but instead she recklessly gave away all she had! Jesus praised someone who gave barely equaled a penny because it was literally everything she had – her whole living – that she offered to God. What is your weekly Offertory on Sunday to God?  On a percentage if income basis, is it truly a significant offering to God, given out of love for him and his son, Jesus Christ, and the Church he founded?

 

Prayer ~ Pope Saint Clement I: Almighty ever-living God, who are wonderful in the virtue of all your Saints, grant us joy in the yearly commemoration of Saint Clement, who, as a Martyr and High Priest of your Son, bore out by his witness what he celebrated in mystery and confirmed by example what he preached with his lips. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Prayer ~ Saint Columban: O God, who in Saint Columban wonderfully joined the work of evangelization to zeal for the monastic life, grant, we pray, that through his intercession and example we may strive to seek you above all things and to bring increase to your faithful people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Prayer ~ Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro: Our God and Father, who conferred upon your servant Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro the grace of ardently seeking your greater glory and the salvation of others, grant, through his intercession and example, that by faithfully and joyfully performing our daily duties and effectively assisting those around us, we may serve you with zeal and ever seek your glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: During the Mass the Offertory collection is really important. Whether we put in the “widow’s mite” as today’s Gospel refers or have the means to give much more, our financial contribution represents the gift of ourselves to God – literally my personal offering to God. As the Offertory brought forward at the presentation of the gifts, along with the bread and wine, our financial contribution serves as a sign of our self-offering. While the Bible speaks of tithing – and many Christian denominations insist on the 10 percent of income basis referenced in the Bible – the Catholic Church does not insist on tithing. But is your Offering to God a noteworthy amount given back to God out of love for him, his son Jesus Christ, and the Church that Jesus founded? If not, shouldn’t it be? As Advent quickly approaches, and a new Church Year begins, now is a good time to revisit the amount we give each Sunday through the Offertory during Mass so that it reflects more closely our love for God – our offering to him made in thanksgiving and love. Let us pray that each of us will give freely and generously in gratitude for all that God have given to us.