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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful!

20050531

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Zephaniah 3:14-18
Isaiah 12:2-6
Luke 1:39-56

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today’s gospel reading, we hear the wonderful Magnificat, the prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary that is recited in the evening prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours each day. We hear this powerful message not only in the Liturgy, but in song and in our scripture reading as well. But have we ever really stopped to realize what Mary is telling us in her message?

Here are the facts. Mary was an "unwed" mother, probably very young by today’s standards. She faced possible stoning for this under the laws of the time. At the very least, she might be cast out and ostracized. She most certainly knew what her pregnancy would bring over the course of her son’s life; and as a result that, her life, would be full of trials, testing, suffering and pain. And what did she do?

She rejoiced, saying, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.” There was no complaining, no fear, no sorrow--only gladness and joy. This is why Mary is such a wonderful model and inspiration for us all. She showed total faith in her God in the face of potential trouble and she rejoiced.

Let us join in Mary’s prayer today with a new realization that the Lord is truly with us, regardless of the circumstances we face.

- Don Claunch,
SFO
(dlclaunch at bresnan dot net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050530

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, May 30, 2005
Monday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Tobit 1:3;2:1-8
Psalm 112:1-6
Mark 12:1-12

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's First Reading from the Book of Tobit we see the exercise of the Corporal Works of Mercy in action. In addition we see how those who practice them often become the source of criticism and in some circumstances, persecution. It is however, in the practice of merciful acts, that we emulate the greatest attribute of God, which is love in action.

Let us think about it and realize that love is not just a matter of thinking but doing, and ask the Lord to give us the grace and growing virtue to go beyond just knowing what is good, to doing good.

It is not a small matter, but one that requires God's help and our determination to grow in love. Perhaps putting a little list of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy on our bathroom mirror might remind us daily what discipleship must include. Then, please God, may no day go by that we should fail to demonstrate love of God and love of neighbor by these simple but necessary acts of love.

Corporal Works of Mercy:

Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Harbor the harborless
Visit the sick
Ransom the captive
Bury the dead

---------------------------

Spiritual Works of Mercy:

Instruct the ignorant
Counsel the doubtful
Admonish sinners
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive offenses willingly
Comfort the afflicted
Pray for the living and the dead

- Donna Raye Nelson,
OCDS
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050529

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, May 29, 2005
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
(Corpus Christi)

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16
Psalm 147:12-15,19-20
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
John 6:51-58


A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Living Bread, Living Father, live forever. . . .
(see John 6:1-58)

Jesus reveals He is the Living Bread sent by the Living Father so that we will live forever. He gives His flesh for the life of the world. Whoever eats this Bread will live forever. He continues one must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood to have Life within, eternal life, and will be raised up on the last day. This is how one remains in Him and He in us. It is our most holy and precious communion.

Consumed by what we consume, the very Life of Christ remains in us, reforming us in His very image and likeness, and sending us forth, transfigured to belove souls to Him. He remains in us as we will to remain in Him, humbly emptying ourselves of self to make Him more and more present. St. John the Baptist speaks truly for the soul receiving Him, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” It is one’s complete shedding of self in gift to our Lord, as He has first loved us and gives Himself to us, that we, His bride, His Church, become and remain as One with Him. This is the way for bringing Him to the world, for feeding others with the bread of Life.

O Lord,
grace me to give myself completely in holy love to You who beloves and gives Yourself completely to us.
Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050528

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, May 28, 2005
Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 51:12-20
Psalm 19:8-11
Mark 11:27-33

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Our reading today from the Book of Sirach, comes at the end of the writer's life. He has pursued Wisdom all his life, and declares that he will continue to pursue it while he has breath in his body. To pursue Wisdom is to seek God. There is no greater goal in life, for Wisdom continually instructs us in the meaning of life and the meaning of God's Word, adjusts our priorities, and clarifies our directions. To seek Wisdom is to know peace of soul, growth in friendship with God, and confidence in dealing with every sort of human relationship.

Wisdom leads us to true obedience to the Church and to our own particular role in the Church, whether it be that of baptized Christian, teacher, visitor for the sick, or leader in worship. Maybe your main work is to pray. Wisdom gives heart and vitality to all these roles--and much joy besides.

In the Gospel, Jesus has little patience with those who, lacking in wisdom, try to tell God what Church and life is all about, and practice their religion without understanding or love. May we never fall into that trap, but seek knowledge and practice virtue with dignity and humility.

- Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore
(smartins at twcny dot rr dot com)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050527

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, May 27, 2005
Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Augustine of Canterbury, bishop

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 44:1,9-13
Psalm 149:1-6,9
Mark 11:11-26

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"...but believes that what he says will happen it shall be done for him."

In Chapter 4 of Luke we are told that Jesus could not perform miracles in his own country because the people there were too skeptical, too unbelieving.

Miracles are impossible if you do not believe. But miracles are all around you every day if you open your eyes to the work of Christ in the world. If you believe you will come to understand that every breath is a small miracle. Every birth is an amazing miracle. Every death is another miraculous birth into the life beyond.

If you believe in the word of God all that it says will come through in you and through you. You will become a miracle for someone else. Belief, faith, surrender are the keys. Believe and God will make the miracles happen. God will bless you, but more importantly He will bless others through you.

Hold true to your faith. Let it shine through you. For in your faith Christ changes the world through you. Faith makes you a good and faithful servant, a miracle worker through His grace.


- JuandelaCruz
(http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050526

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, May 26, 2005
Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Philip Neri, priest

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 42:15-25
Psalm 33:2-9
Mark 10:46-52

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me."
(Mark 10: 47)

A fuller meaning of today's Gospel is gained by considering the requests made of Jesus earlier in this chapter. Before encountering the blind beggar, He met a rich young man who wished to know how to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him first to follow the Commandments to which the youth replied that he had always kept them. Our Lord then tells him that to be perfect in God's eyes he should divest himself of his great riches to benefit the poor and follow Him. At this, the young man became sorrowful and departed from Christ.

The second request came from Christ's disciples, James and John, who reminded Him that they had sacrificed everything to follow Him and in recognition now requested to be given seats of honor when Jesus came into His kingdom. He told them that these were not His to give and left the impression that theirs was a purely selfish request, a payment expected for their work. While the young man sought eternal life but also desired to continue in worldly comforts, prominence and prestige, the disciples wanted to gain the importance and position they lacked in this world.

In contrast, the beggar's request of gaining his sight was granted, for it would transform him into a contributing member of society. It was the beggar's faith and springing into action, his quick response to Jesus' call, that brought about this miracle. God reads our minds and hearts and in His mercy answers those prayers that are not motivated by purely selfish desires.

O Blessed Lord,
teach us self-forgetfulness,
self-sacrifice and self-giving,
all those virtues that reflect Your Presence in this world.
Amen

- Marie Bocko,
OCDS
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050525

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Bede the Venerable, priest, doctor of the Church
St. Gregory VII, pope
St. Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi, virgin

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 36:1, 4-5a, 10-17
Psalm 79:8, 9, 11 and 13
Mark 10:32-45


A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all"
(Mark 10:43-44)

When we attempt to align ourselves with the Word of Jesus in the Gospels, we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to aid our understanding in making Jesus' words a living reality in our lives. When Jesus speaks about putting ourselves last in the power ranking--not setting ourselves above others--it isn't just soft sentiment. There's a particular purpose why we need to adopt this mentality.

When we mentally set ourselves above others, we create an identity for ourselves which we need to maintain and up-keep. We begin to feed our ego rather than our soul. Fear of loss of face, or fear of being 'discovered' keeps us stuck in a cycle of serving our ego. When we are placed in a position of power, it is sometimes easy to fall into this trap.

However, the challenge in a position of power is to remain free, not to be afraid of loss, not to build an illusion of ourselves that we feel we must keep up at all costs. The challenge is to look at our position as a gift from God, where, for a particular period of time we are called to serve others through our gifts and talents. When we realise the power is not our own, that is when it can be used for beneficial purposes -- this is real power -- the power to heal and to transform.

- Cliodhna Doyle

(cliadoyle at hotmail dot com)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050524

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 35:1-12
Psalm 50:5-6, 7-8, 14 and 23
Mark 10:28-31

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today's gospel begins, "Peter began to say to Jesus, 'We have given up everything and followed you.'" (Mark 10:28) And the Lord immediately cuts him off. As I reflect on this reading, I find myself wondering what Peter intended to say further, had Jesus allowed him to continue. I assume it would have been something like this: "We have given up everything and followed you. Now, where is this kingdom you have been promising and all the things that will come with it?" The gospels are just too full of incidents where people misinterpreted what Jesus was saying and were looking for a political messiah to free their nation from the Romans and bring them to greatness once again.

But today, Jesus does not even let Peter finish. He does tell him that there will be rewards, greater than can be imagined....

Jesus said,
"Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel,
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first."
(Mark 10:29-31)

The key to this passage is in the next to the last line. "With persecutions" is how Jesus says these rewards will come. Following the Lord is not an easy path and any rewards He gives us will certainly come with the reward of persecution. But then, the ultimate reward of eternal life with Him for those who persevere. If we are truly following Him we should be persecuted - it is one of the promised rewards. Then, we should rejoice and be thankful for it and all the wonderful things he gives us as we anticipate eternity with Him.

- Don Claunch,
SFO
(dlclaunch at bresnan dot net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050523

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, May 23, 2005
Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 17:20-24
Psalm 32:1-2,5-7
Mark 10:17-27

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's First Reading from the Book of Sirach we hear how God "provides a way back," for those who repent and "encourages those who are losing hope." What is the "way back" and the source of encouragement? The answer like most good answers is not complicated and not so far out of reach that it is impossible to grasp. It is in those gifts that Christ gave His Church: The Sacraments, and in what God gave to the world: The Word.

Therein are the remedies for our problems; Sacred Scripture which teaches us all we need to know, lifts us up and gives us direction and hope, and the Sacraments that give us the grace to put into practice what we have heard and learned.

It almost sounds too simple; but that's just the point. God didn't intend us to fail, but to succeed -- that we might have access to His power and one day share eternally in His glory.

Let us then, not "muck up the program" and make it something troublesome and complicated. Repent! Believe the Good News!


- Donna Raye Nelson,
OCDS
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050522

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, May 22, 2005
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
Deuteronomy 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
John 3:16-18



A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

So Loved
(John 3:16-18)

God So Loved the world, (each soul for all of time) that He gave His only Son -- so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life... that the world might be saved through Him.

Each of us is So Loved by God. He proposes to each of us eternal life together with Him. This is only possible through His Son who tenderly cleanses, and clothes in His grace, each of us as a beautiful beloved.

The Father sees each So Loved soul made beautiful through Him Who is our new and ever lasting Covenant.

Beloved, be loved...

We belove and are loved when we will to believe, through the gift of His grace of Faith, to live eternally as One. God’s only Son transforms every hideous vestige of our sins, the disfiguring, battered distortion and death that sin imposes through His Perfect beLoving of Self to the Father in His passion and death for us.

O Lord,
help me to enter in to the covenant with my fiat in my daily, hourly, moment-by-moment profession of faithfulness. I believe it is through, with and in You that eternal life is ours. I know Your only desire is that all might have eternal life. You give all that is needed. I need simply reply with a lifelong, “I do.”


- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050521

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, May 21, 2005
Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
St. Christopher Magallanes, priest and martyr
and his companions, martyrs


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 17:1-15
Psalm 103:13-14, 15-16, 17-18
Mk 10:13-16

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The Book of Sirach is truly filled with the wisdom it expounds! It's words come with soothing comfort into the complicated tensions and business of our lives. How simple God is! Of course, that's one of His attributes. His simplicity brings all His power and splendor and beauty into a serenity that confounds us. "Slow down” Sirach counsels us. "Don't let the world pass by without extracting its meaning. It's the work of God's hands, and shows forth His glory, from the thunder and lightening of a storm, to the quiet beauty of a flower.”

But even more, wisdom is found in God's laws, designed to provide us with grounds for right choices, steering us from evil and pointing us always to the good, making sure that our short journeys keep on track to the Kingdom.

If only we could live with the simplicity of children, we would not get so distracted into folly. "Simplify, simplify," Jesus seems to be telling his disciples, so intent on controlling who gets to see the Master, and who doesn't. Only the children, and those who are childlike, will inherit the kingdom. If only we could follow the simple focus of the wise, keeping our gaze always on the face of God, how joyful our days could be!

- Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore
(smartins at twcny dot rr dot com)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050520

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, May 20, 2005
Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

St. Bernardine of Siena, priest

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 6:5-17
Psalm 119:12, 16, 18, 27, 34, 35
Mark 10:1-12

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Because of the hardness of your hearts. . ."


The law granting Moses divorce, was done not because divorce was right, good, or proper, but because of the hardness of heart that came from a people who looked to their own good first and God only second or third. Often today some of the things we charge ourselves with, result not from love of God but from ourselves, from our own hardness of heart, often toward ourselves.

Some of us tend to be overly scrupulous in very small matters thinking that if a complete Rosary cannot be prayed all at once in the proper manner with all the bells and whistles, then perhaps it should not be prayed. And yet how much do we miss by not seizing a brief opportunity to offer praise to God and invoke the aid of the Blessed Virgin.

Jesus came to do away with hardness of heart, to define the law so that it became a structure of freedom -- not oppression. The Law is not a set of rules or a stick to smack people upside the head with, it is a law of love. It is God's word to us on how we might live well. It's chief proponent and example is Jesus Himself, temperate in all things EXCEPT the love of God. Our love of God should be intemperate, overwhelming, and life-defining. When it is so, all of the law will be fulfilled in listening to Him day by day.

So, do not cleave to a law that cannot redeem but only burdens. Accept instead the yoke of Christ which frees you to love God as you are.

- JuandelaCruz
(http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050519

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, May 19, 2005
Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 5:1-8
Psalm 1:4,6
Mark 9:41-50

A reflection on today's Scripture. . . .

"And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out."
(Mark 9:47)

The current religious climate is often cold towards Christ's teachings. A case in point is today's Gospel in which Jesus speaks of the serious consequences of sin, a theme repeatedly ignored by some of today's clergy and theologians. It appears that they fear alienating those espoused to secular morality, so they placate their flocks by stressing that God's love is all-forgiving. They are of the opinion that they must not risk bruising anyone's tender self-image. However, telling their members that God's love cancels their sin is only half true. Sin is lovingly forgiven if the sinner acknowledges his wrong-doing, thinking or speaking, is truly repentant and firmly resolved to reform his behavior.

Jesus surely did not advocate self-mutilation. He tells us that figuratively speaking we must put to death those members of our bodies that prompt us to sin. Christ calls His followers to "die to self," embrace His cross by denying themselves behavior toward others that "flies in the face" of God's law of love. Genuine Christians are to see all people as God's children whose rights they are to respect, never harming nor maligning them. Christ's remedy to bad behavior is to "be salted with the Holy Spirit," He who gives us both the will and the power to love all people as God loves them. Recall that God loved us sinners so much that He sent His Son to pay the price of death we deserved. Faith in Christ does save us; but genuine faith requires obedience to God's Word, Jesus Christ.

Father of all truth and love,
pour out Your Spirit upon this earth;
make our hearts receptive to Him who reforms our lives
to resemble that of Your holy Son.
Amen

- Marie Bocko,
OCDS
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050518

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, May 18, 2005
The Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

St. John I, pope and martyr

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 4:11-19
Psalm 119:165,168,171-172,174-175
John 12:44-50

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The readings for today on Wisdom (First Reading) and Evangelization (Gospel) might bring to mind several common sayings, such as 'God's ways are not man's ways' or 'don't judge a book by it's cover'. Sometimes in our enthusiasm to reach out to another person for the purpose of evangelization we forget that the Holy Spirit is not limited by our enthusiasm. In God's plan it might not be the right time for that person to be touched by us. Perhaps we are not using the right means or their soul may not yet be ready and open for our words. Worse yet, we might be injecting ourselves into the agenda instead of God.

Our recently deceased pope, John Paul II, in his role as an evangelizer was very astute in reading the movings of the Holy Spirit . Our newly elected Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has promised to follow in the footsteps of Pope, John Paul II in his attempts at evangelization on an ecumenical level.

Let us pray that our Holy Father and all who evangelize may be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit, our true source of wisdom.

- Joan of Jesus,
OCDS
(jmurphy at utica dot edu)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050517

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Seventh Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 2:1-11
Psalm 37:3-4,18-19,27-28,39-40
Mark 9:30-37

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's gospel we hear how the disciples had been arguing about whom among them was the greatest. What a shock it must have been to them to learn from their master that they had it all wrong. "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Jesus told them. I can just imagine how some of their heads must have dropped as they backed away realizing that the things they had been doing to be "the greatest" were completely wrong.

Who is the greatest among us today? Movie stars, politicians, musicians, and professional athletes? Definitely not. The world would call them the greatest, but our Lord would certainly disagree. The greatest are those who dedicate their lives in service to the poor, some barely making a living themselves. Those who give willingly of themselves and their wealth for those who cannot help themselves: these are among our Lord's greatest. Many of today's greatest will never be known outside the small circle where they minister tirelessly day after day. Others will become saints recognized by the church for the good the Lord did through them.

Find those in your community who are truly great and thank them personally for what they do. Pray for them and that we may realize what true greatness is in God's eyes.

- Don Claunch,
SFO
(dlclaunch at bresnan dot net)



____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050516

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, May 16, 2005
Seventh Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 1:1-10
Psalm 93:1-2,5
Mark 9:14-29

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today's First Reading is from the Book of Sirach. In it we hear how the seat of wisdom is God and that He "lavishes" wisdom upon those who are His friends.

Reflection on the Sacred Word leads us to ask, who are God's friends and how did they get that way. The answer lies first in the fact that God invites all to be and remain His friends through a dialogue of love that we call prayer.

Teresa of Jesus, a Doctor of the Church and teacher par excellence on prayer tells us that prayer is nothing more than a conversation with "One who we know loves us." She tells us that we are not to be concerned about "saying much in prayer, but in loving much." She tells us to begin simply by "looking at Him."

What would happen to us if we lovingly and attentively looked at Jesus, alone in the Garden or in any number of other familiar Gospel scenes? Would our hearts perhaps be moved with love to utter spontaneous words of adoration and praise? We will only know if we take the time to enter into a conversation with Him, or as it is sometimes with lovers, we just look at one another.

- Donna Raye Nelson,
OCDS
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)


20050515

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, May 15, 2005
Pentecost Sunday


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34
1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13
John 20:19-23

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
John 20:22

Entombed by their fears, the disciples remain locked in their room. On the evening of that first day of the week, Jesus stands in their midst and raises them to new life, "Peace be with you." This proclamation reveals the restored covenant in Jesus, between God and man as He shows them the wounds of his hands and side from which the blood of the new and everlasting covenant was shed for the remission of sins.

The sorrowing eyes of their souls open in this enlightenment as Jesus proclaims again, "Peace be with you." He continues most earnestly and with urgency for His beloveds now released and free, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them,

"Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

In this act, Jesus, breathing His own Holy Spirit of Life into them, recreates them into His very image and likeness. Enlightened, inspired, and empowered to extend His covenantal forgiveness, Jesus dispatches them. They carry the very breath of He who is Life within, to the waiting world.

O Lord,
may I see this as my own experience today and open to you my locked-away self, my sinful perils and entombing fears. Announce Your covenant of Peace, breathe into me Your most Holy Spirit, and dispatch me to extend the good news of Your covenantal forgiveness to souls.
Amen.


- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050514

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, May 14, 2005
Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter

St. Matthias, apostle

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 1:15-17,20-26
Psalm 113:1-8
John 15:9-17

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"All roads lead to Rome" is a famous saying. Responding to today's readings, one finds that saying particularly appropriate. Why? They deal with the conclusions of both the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of St. John. Now, it's true that in the Acts, St. Paul is definitely singing his "swan song" in the Holy City of Rome, while Jesus in the Gospel of John is probably in Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, it was Jesus' plan that his first Vicar, Peter, should establish his Church at the center of the Roman empire. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Rome became the new Jerusalem, the nerve center (political) and the grace center (spiritual) of the Kingdom of God on earth. Both Peter and Paul, pillars of the Church, suffered martyrdom in Rome. On the foundation of their blood poured out, the modern center of the Catholic Church flourishes.

On this last Saturday before Pentecost, how fitting it is that we praise God for the tangible power of the Holy Spirit present in modern Rome these last few weeks. Can anyone doubt that it was anything other than the Divine Presence that drew the attention of millions of people to witness the saintly death of John Paul II and the election of the humble and holy Benedict XVI? If ever there was a doubt as to the true center of Christianity being in Vatican City, that doubt was dispelled during the 9 day media blitz in April, 2005.

"All roads lead to Rome!" May our spiritual journey be defined and energized by the vision of St. Peter's, the Sistine Chapel, and that window on the third floor as the goal of our allegiance and the source and model for our prayer and action." They are symbols of deep spiritual power, flowing daily from the throne of God into the hearts and lives of millions of seekers for Truth.


- Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore
(smartins at twcny dot rr dot com)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050513

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, May 13, 2005
Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Our Lady of Fatima

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 18:9-18
Psalm 47:2-7
John 16:20-23

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Do you love Me more than these. . ."


While this is an intimate conversation between Simon Peter and our Lord, there is much here for us to reflect upon. Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves Him. Classical interpretations of this encounter have suggested that these three questions are asked to make reparation for the three times Peter denied Jesus. Also it is in this passage that Jesus definitively established Peter as the first leader of the early Church. In Matthew we know that Peter has been named as the future leader, here Jesus says clearly that Peter is to be the pastor--the one who feeds the sheep.

But what does Jesus say to us in the course of this passage? The three questions are asked to remind us of the critical and central importance of this question in our own lives today. Do you love Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Do you love Jesus? What then do we do to show it? Do we, like Peter, lead an entire Church and start an entire faith rolling into the future? No, that's already been done. Do we like Paul go about preaching and teaching through the entire landscape of the Roman Empire--nope, Rome doesn't exist any more.

How then do we show Jesus we love Him? The answer comes from earlier in the Gospel of John. "If you love me you will keep my commands." Now, which ones in particular are we to keep? Most importantly I think, "to love one another as I have loved you." In the first letter of John we are told that if we cannot love what we do see and touch here on Earth, how can we hope to love what cannot be seen or touched in heaven. So loving one another is a way of learning to love God. Keeping Christ's commandments are a way of showing how we love Him.

O Lord,
lead us and guide us in your paths,
show us your ways
and help us always to love one another
with your love, not our own.
Amen


- JuandelaCruz
(http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/)

____________________

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20050512

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, May 12, 2005
Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, martyrs
St. Pancras, martyr

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 20:30; 23:6-11
Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-11
John 17:20-26

A reflection on today's Scripture. . . .

"I will continue to reveal [God] so that your love for me
may live in them and I may live in them."
(John 17:26)

As long as sin exists in the world, so will suffering; for it is the nature of sinners to continue victimizing both friends and foes. In our First Reading, Paul faces whipping because the Sanhedrin disputed his proclaiming Christ's resurrection. Paul reveals his being born a Roman citizen, so he invokes his right to be sent to Rome for judgment. What might have ended with Paul's repeated scourgings and perhaps death, turned into an opportunity for him to expand God's kingdom by bearing witness to Jesus in Rome.

Some may wonder why anyone would subject himself to torture and imprisonment for the sake of spreading the "good news." The answer is love. Those who sincerely seek God, who draw close to Him in prayer to Christ and who submit themselves to the Holy Spirit's direction will gain an increasingly deeper, secret knowledge of God's love. Within the depths of their hearts He reveals His goodness and beauty, inspiring in them a firm faith in His holy Word. Such was Paul's inner disposition, and it can also be ours.

In today's Gospel, Christ speaks of this very love instilled by God into receptive hearts. This is true of His contemporaries and future disciples called to convey to others what they have received from God through Christ and His Spirit. It is God's burning desire to unite all of humanity to Himself through His Son. Put simply, Jesus is telling the world that through faith and in obedience to God's Word, we will be drawn to exist in God's trinitarian stream of love, beginning now and brought to perfection in eternity.

Father God,
we praise and bless Your Holy Name
for having brought us into being
to share Your infinite and perfect love with us,
creatures You created in Your image.
Amen

- Marie Bocko,
OCDS
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)

____________________

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20050511

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 20:28-38
Psalm 68:29-30,33-36
John 17:11-19

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"I ask you not to remove them from the world. . ."

Today we hear yet another small portion of one of the most powerful and wonderful prayers in the Bible. We are blessed by Jesus' words as He calls upon the Father to bless us.

But one thing I find most interesting about this prayer is the caveat quoted in the line above. Throughout the ages many saints have tried to remove themselves from the world. What does that mean? Often, it is misinterpreted as meaning that they hated the world and wanted nothing to do with it. But I prefer to think of it as St. John of the Cross explains it. You do not hate the world, but you avoid attachment to it.

Jesus offers that to us in the prayer. We are to remain here as beacons and signals for those lost in the darkness of the world. Yet while we are in the world we are to be One, as Jesus in God is One, and we are to be as that same One. We are called to love God so intently that our attention does not stray to things of the world. Yet, we are to remain in the world, and not despise it (after all, God called the earth and the living things within it "good" and one could ask for no higher commendation). We are to be part of the world, even as we are set apart. We are to serve as living examples, as beacons of thoughtfulness and love.

But before we become too self-important, let us remember why we are here. Jesus prayed: "I pray not only for these, but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in me."

Our duty, and our great privilege while we live as God's people on earth is to help fulfill Jesus' prayer.

- JuandelaCruz
(1994)

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20050510

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Blessed Damien de Veuster of Moloka'i, priest

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 19:1-8
Psalm 68:2-7
John 16:29-33

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him."
(John 17:1)

O what a truly wonderful and mysterious gift we have received! What a marvelous plan God had for us for all time. He gave His Son authority over all of us so he could give us eternal life. It is a pure and complete gift, freely given to all. Praise God!

But the gift is more than eternal life. Jesus continues, "Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ." The gift is of the Father and the Son themselves, and by our receiving this free gift of the Son and eternal life, we glorify both the Father and the Son.

Thank you Lord for your eternal Gift!


- Don Claunch,
SFO
(dlclaunch at bresnan dot net)

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20050509

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, May 9, 2005
Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 19:1-8
Psalm 68:2-7
John 16:29-33

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's gospel we hear the beautiful Last Supper prayer of Jesus. It's a prayer that demonstrates the loving dynamic between The Almighty and His Son and ultimately between the Heart and mind of the Creator and us. Knowing that His time had come and that soon all the pieces of His earthly life would soon converge by His death on the Cross, Jesus' prayer is very solemn. The surprising thing is that we get to overhear something so filled with emotion and seemingly private. What we may learn from this is that with Jesus there is nothing private, nothing that He doesn't want us to be "in on" and have recourse to. This desire of Jesus that the Father be known as He is known, is an unfathomable characteristic of divine love. There is no holding back, all are welcome, all are invited to be His special friends.

This attitude of selfless openness and sharing is something that we, as Christ's followers, are expected to imitate. We're not to reserve good behavior and manners just for some people and some occasions, but to be always and everywhere freely loving and giving -- not reserving our bounty as if goodness might run out.

In the realm of spiritual matters, it is just the opposite - the more we give, the more we have. So let us be less concerned about appearances or what others might think or know of us. Instead, may we be imitators of Jesus and be able to say in some measure, "Father, I have done what You have asked, and by this may You be glorified."

- Donna Raye Nelson,
OCDS
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050508

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, May 8, 2005
Seventh Sunday of Easter

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 1:12-14
Psalm 27:1,4,7-8
1 Peter 4:13-16
John 17:1-11

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Now this is eternal life, that they know you,
the only true God, and the one you sent, Jesus Christ."
(John 17:4)

Jesus reveals eternal life consists in our 'knowing' God the Father, the only true God, and the one He sent, Jesus Christ.

Jesus reminds us that in 'knowing' the only begotten, beloved, Son of God, we know the Father. For He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. Jesus prays that we may be one, just as He and the Father are one in eternal life.

Jesus continues that He "glorifies the Father by accomplishing the work the Father gave Him to do".

Our first learned truth, that we are created to know, to love and to serve God, just as the Son knows, loves and serves the Father, expands in the filial gift to glorify God by accomplishing the work the Father gives me to do.

The intimate knowledge the Father and the Son have of one another, and expressed in the deepest love they share, begets eternal life for all who desire to know the only true God and the One He sent. Knowing this one who loves us first, inspires reciprocative knowing, begets love, and compels us to give our all, as Jesus did, to serve God. We too, glorify Him by accomplishing the work He gives us to do.

O God,
we are in awe that You desire to know, love and serve us and desire us to reciprocate and know, love, and serve You. May we glorify you by accomplishing the work the You give us to do. Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050507

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, May 7, 2005
Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 18:23-28
Psalm 47:2-3,8-10
John 16:23-28

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Apollos, in today's Reading, like so many of us, was fervent in faith and truly committed to the Lord. Yet, his knowledge of the teaching of Jesus was limited. He needed a guide. Fortunately, a wonderful husband and wife team was available. Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos under their wing, brought him home, sat him down to a good meal, and proceeded to update him on Jesus' teaching. After that, he was much more effective in his own teaching.

There are many husband and wife teams in the Church who let the light of their love for each other and for Christ to spill over into the Church, to strengthen the Church with the power of their own marriage bond. Those of you who are married may well ask, "Am I and my spouse sharing what God has given us with others?" "How may we do this in our own circumstances?"

As we prepare for the great feast of Pentecost, let us daily implore the Holy Spirit to come in increasingly greater power into a world in crisis. As the Spirit dramatically changed the face of the earth on that first Pentecost, let us implore Him to work new miracles of grace in us, that we may more effectively witness to the Truth that brings justice and peace to individuals and nations.

- Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore
(smartins at twcny dot rr dot com)

____________________

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20050506

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, May 6, 2005
Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 18:9-18
Psalm 47:2-7
John 16:20-23

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"But your grief will become joy. . ."

Jesus tells us that when a woman is in labor all that she knows for that time is the pain and "grief" of the labor -- the hardship. Once she has given birth she knows the joy of the little one she holds in her hands.

We who are in the world, labor in grief to bring forth new life. Jesus is the one who bestows this new life in God, but we labor shedding the old person and putting on the new person. In a sense we are both the ones who are in labor and the one who is born. We are born from the Holy Spirit of God. One of the Church Fathers said, "Every man is conceived twice, once in the flesh and once in the spirit. But it is the birth in the spirit that is the birth unto eternal life."

So our labor has a meaning and an end. At that end we will be born again into the life of the world hereafter. God will take us in His arms and hold us close to Him, as a father rejoicing in the birth of a child, in the addition of a new member to the family.

- JuandelaCruz
(http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050505

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, May 5, 2005
The Ascension of the Lord

(Holy Day of Obligation)

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47:2-3,6-9
Ephesians 1:17-23
Matthew 28:16-20

A reflection on today's Scripture. . . .

"Make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe
all I have command you"
(see Matthew 28:19,20)

During a conversation at lunch, I overheard a young woman remark that she would have nothing to do with any religion that creates a sense of guilt by suggesting we are sinful and in need of salvation. Youth, inexperience and pop-psychology had convinced her that we live in "the best of all possible worlds" and must not accept any thought that injures our self-esteem. Were the latter true, then God, the Father was very cruel in sending His only Son to suffer extreme torture and die uselessly for a humanity that was already perfect. The truth is that sin, our pride and Godlessness, blinds us to humanity's actual condition.

While the Easter season began on a note of sorrow and repentance, it now continues with hope and joy. Christ put human sin to death in His own flesh on the cross, conquering evil; now we, through faith and obedience to Him, by grace, are called and enabled to conquer our every temptation to sin. This same Holy Spirit Jesus promised to His Apostles in our first reading is given to all sincere "believers," not only for their personal salvation, but also for the benefit of all those with whom they come in contact, those with whom they share God's love and truth made manifest in Christ. Such is our Savior's exhortation to His followers, to become like Him, broken bread and poured out wine for the life of the world.

Guilt is a very positive, God-given, emotion; without it we would lack a conscience, have no ability to discern good from evil, no desire to repent of harmful actions and words, no wish to redirect our steps leading to our living eternally with God. Christ's Ascension is the foreshadowing and fulfillment of God's desire to have all of humanity united with Him, that our joy may at last be perfect.

O God of all goodness, bring Your self-giving love and truth shown to us by Christ to full fruition in each one of us, that we may share Your blessings with others and draw them to You. Amen

- Marie Bocko, ocds
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050504

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 17:15,22--18:1
Psalm 148:1-2,11-14
John 16:12-15

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

What strength we see in Paul after his conversion! It shows the power of God in our souls! Paul was not afraid to stand up and proclaim that people should not be worshipping false gods, gods made of human hands. He also reminded people that one day they would be held accountable for their false worship.

What would Paul have to say to us today about our "gods' of power, money, materials? His message is a timely one. How much time do we spend in prayer and worship in contrast to false worship of the gods of our present age?

The message of Christ in the Gospel reassures us, in that we are all free to turn to the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit can guide us in our actions in order that we keep our priorities straight in life.

O Holy Spirit, enlighten us!

- Joan of Jesus,
OCDS
(jmurphy at utica dot edu)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050503

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

St. Phillip, St. James, apostles

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 8:5-8,14-17
Psalm 66:1-7,16,20
John 14:15-21

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Ever since Moses, God's people had longed to see Him and look upon His face. But to look directly at the glory of God's face was to risk death. Even speaking and writing His name came with risks. In essence God was something far away that no one saw and no one spoke about in an intimate way. The priests were necessary for everyday people to commune with God and even they had strict rules on how this was to take place.

Given this, it is no wonder that when our Lord came his followers did not recognize Him for what He really was. In today's first reading Paul goes to great lengths to tell us just who saw the risen Lord and in the Gospel we learn of two apostles - those closest to Jesus - did not see Him for what He really is. The Lord tells Thomas that since he has seen Jesus he has seen the Father only to immediately be asked by Philip, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." How they longed to look directly at God, but also how hard-hearted they must have been! These men had been conditioned their entire lives to believe they could never see God so this should be no surprise.

Jesus continues to show Himself to us today, most wonderfully in the Eucharist. As He told his followers, "Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father." What a wonderful and glorious gift He has made to us, a gift which countless followers prior to the Lord's visit to us would have given anything to receive. And how blessed we are to receive this gift and see our God in daily mass and adoration.

- Don Claunch,
SFO
(dlclaunch at bresnan dot net)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050502

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, May 2, 2005
Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
St. Athanasius, bishop and doctor of the Church


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 16:11-15
Psalm 149:1-6,9
John 15:26--16:4

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's Gospel reading Jesus tries to prepare His disciples for the time when He is no longer physically present and for the difficulties thatfaithful discipleship will entail. It is a scene that could bring any believing person to tears and despondency if it were not for the great gifts of faith and hope, without which there would be real cause for real despair.

But, thanks be to the Almighty, He has given us Jesus who spoke the will and pleasure of the Father that all who would believe in Jesus, might live forever in His presence in heaven.

That is what we believe, that is what gives us hope in the face of otherwise certain and irrevocable death. And how is it that we have come to have this belief and why is it that such belief is trustworthy? It is through the gracious will of God who has revealed to us in the Flesh, His Divine Son who lived and taught and suffered and died on our behalf. And the rest of the story is....

"Very early, just after sunrise, on the first day of the week they came to the tomb. When they looked they found that the stone had been rolled back. On entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, dressed in a white robe. This frightened them thoroughly, but he reassured them. "You need not be amazed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was crucified. He has been raised up; He is not here." (Mark 16:2,4-6)

The Lord has risen as He promised! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia


- Donna Raye Nelson, OCDS
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050501

TThe Catholic Calendar for Sunday, May 1, 2005
Sixth Sunday of Easter


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 8:5-8,14-17
Psalm 66:1-7,16,20
1 Peter 3:15-18
John 14:15-21

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"I am in my Father. You are in me and I in you."

Beloved Pope Benedict XVI in his homily on the day prior to his ascent to the papacy, voiced the desire of Jesus to be a 'friend' to us. Benedict's consolation finds voice in today's gospel as Jesus explains we 'love' Him by keeping His commandments. This gift of our 'will' Jesus adds, multiplies love: "the Father will love you and I will reveal myself to you."

Jesus' revelation of self to us is possible because we "will" to remain in Him through an obedience of freewill that intensifies our giving of God-like love. We want to give generously, all we are, completely, wholly and fully to He who first loves us in this way, inviting us to love as He loves -- in the Father. The honor, joy and beauty of this "beFriending" is the beloving covenantal espousing; a union so intimate that our lives become one with the Trinity who is One.

Jesus, who is perfectly and humbly obedient, confidently reveals the reciprocating generosity of His Father and ours, "I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot accept because it neither 'sees' nor 'knows' Him. You know Him because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans I will come to you. You will see me because I live and you will live."

O Lord,
may we understand from You who are the Truth,
that remaining in You, and You living in us,
enables us to see and know You.
Amen

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

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