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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful!

20051031

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, October 31, 2005
The Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 11:29-36
Psalm 69:30-31, 33-34, 36
Luke 14:12-14

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In the First Reading, St Paul says "How deep are the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God, How inscrutable His judgments, how unsearchable His ways." It is a pleasant reminder that although we know a lot about the Almighty, He is a mystery beyond the grasp of our human understanding.

The saints understood that God calls all of us even in this life to know and enjoy Him more deeply. Experience convinced them that God’s ways became ever clearer the more they sought His company in habitual prayer, and became more converted from their sins and imperfections.

It is the same for us; we’re all called to the same degree of intimacy with God that the very holiest of people enjoyed. It is important that we remember that the saints became holy not by just wanting to be holy, but by working and cooperating with God’s grace to become holy.

Let us not waste any more of the precious little time we have. Let us work toward our goal with determination and joy, with the certainty that God wants us to know and enjoy Him fully, eternally.

- 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


20051030

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, October 30, 2005
The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Malachi 1:14b-2:2b, 8-10
Psalm 131:1, 2, 3
1 Thessalonians 2:7b-9, 13
Matthew 23:1-12

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Ascend to the Lowest Place

Our Lord reminds us that, to embrace Truth, one truly ascends to a lower place. He exalts the Father acknowledging there are none greater -- One Teacher, with none surpassing. Jesus ordains His apostolic successors stripping all to don a towel, embrace a wash basin, lowering Himself beneath their feet, as soberly His beloveds receive from their God the Way to prepare souls for the miracle of the Eucharist. Baptized souls require the cleansing grace of confession prior to receiving the Eucharistic meal just as dusty soles are washed prior to this Passover meal.

The attention and honor the exalted ones exact, contrasts with Jesus’ solitary agonizing in the garden and despicable crucifixion to passionately redeem man's sins through His ascent to the lowest places, the cross, the tomb, the dead, to raise all to union with God.

Beloved Lord, You passionately show Your beloveds the Way, the Truth, and the Life to be ambitious for souls in You. Let us hasten to ascend to the lowest places to embrace souls to You. Let us soberly seek forgiveness in confession, to be made ready to be Eucharistically One with You.
Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

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


20051029

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, October 29, 2005
Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 11:1-2a, 11-12, 25-29
Psalm 94:12-13a, 14-15, 17-18
Luke 14:1, 7-11

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's First Reading we hear St. Paul saying something that we often forget; or if we remember, don't pay much attention to it. It is that God's promises are everlasting. Just because things seem to be going awry doesn't mean God has utterly rejected His people, changed His mind, or gone back on His word.

Paul reminds the Jews that God doesn't change His mind and that the Israelites will always be God's chosen people, the inheritors of the promises made to Abraham. But God being just, He demands that they act in accordance with the law He made so clear.

What is more interesting, Paul said that the conversion of Israel will not happen until the Gentiles are fully converted. It is as if we, the branch grafted onto the vine of Israel must first be fully healthy and strong before the main vine can grow sufficiently and bear its promised fruit.

What a responsibility, to give back to the primordial vine, what they refused and we have been given the opportunity to accept; the sacrificial love of Christ. Then one day both vine and branch will grow and Israel will be reconciled by the mysterious witness of us who really were "called out of Darkness into His own marvelous Light." Pray, let us do our part.

- Donna Raye Nelson,
OCDS

____________________

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


20051028

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, October 28, 2005
Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Simon and St. Jude, apostles

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Ephesians 2:19-22
Psalm 19:2-5
Luke 6:12-16

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

". . . And he spent the night in prayer to God."

Jesus retired a little from the world and went up on a mountain to pray to God. Why? He had a huge, literally earth-shaking decision to make. From His followers He had to select the core group with whom He would trust the good news of His revelation to the world.

One would think that Jesus, being God, would know,without consultation what to do. But here we have the example of the full humanness of the incarnate Godhead. We also have the example of what we are to do in like circumstances. How often do we spend an entire night, or its equivalent in prayer? And why a night, why not a day? A day has its work--you can retire from it and try to cut yourself out and do the same work that you could get done at night, but the press of the issues of the day--even so minor as concerns about traffic, about finances, about health, etc. press in upon you. At night things are somewhat different. There is a clarity that comes from silence all around, from the deep stillness of your environment.

In this silence, the voice of God may be more clearly heard. The concerns of the day have passed, there is no one pressing upon you the concerns of a new day. So you are free to take your primary cares to God and implore His help.

Let us pray for the strength always to go to God with these concerns and worries. Let us pray for the strength to pray through the night for all things that affect us. And let us thank God for the provision He makes that we may always know Him thus--in silence, in stillness, and in the heart.

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

____________________

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


20051027

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, October 27, 2005
The Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 8:31-39
Psalm 109:21-22, 26-27, 30-31
Luke 13:31-35

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:


"Jerusalem, how I yearned to gather together your children, but you were unwilling!"
(see: Luke 13:34)

In today's first reading St. Paul emphatically tells the Roman converts that they must never despair when the world reviles and condemns them for their faith in Christ. They may suffer even death, but only one thing should matter, their commitment to Christ in life's every circumstance. Paul lists all the possible conditions that could challenge their faith, but through them all they must cling to the truth that nothing can ever separate them from the love of God made known and given to them in Christ.

Today's Gospel affirms the reason we must remain firmly dedicated to Christ, His total giving of Himself for our sakes. He responds to those warning Him that He is being targeted for death by refusing to flee. He will not allow fear to stand in the way of completing His mission, that of providing us the chance of achieving a new life in God. We then see Jesus mourning over Jerusalem, for He knows that God's holy city would soon be destroyed by the people's lack of faith in their saving God.

The latter statement requires explanation. Too often when disasters strike, many think it is God wreaking vengeance. But prayerful study of Scripture reveals that humanity must take the blame. God entrusted this world and its people to our care; but in separating ourselves from Him, from His love and truth, we have broken the chain of command. By choice, man and, in consequence, nature now behave anomalously. Having shut the door to God's grace, we have opened ourselves to suffering from every mischief we commit against our fellow humans and nature. God merely allows us to experience stupidity's consequences.

Savior God,
touch our hearts and minds so as to restore us
to a loving, obedience toward You,
that Your peace and order may at last prevail 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


20051026

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 8:26-30
Psalm 13:4-6
Luke 13:22-30

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today’s First Reading from Paul to the Romans gives one a sense of hope!

If we go first to the Gospel we hear Christ advising His followers to enter by the narrow gate. In other words they are to follow the most difficult path in their attempt to gain eternity. He adds that many will attempt this path, but will not be able to do so due to lack of strength. What discouraging words for us, given our human frailties!

The first reading however, has already built us up with hope to hear the words of Christ. In that reading we hear St. Paul reassuring us that "all things work for good for those who love God."
(Romans 8:26-30) In addition, that reading reminds us that we have the Holy Spirit to assist us, even to help us in prayer.

Perhaps the first important step for us in going down that path to the narrow gate is to realize that we are human and weak, and that we really do need the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Also, we might ask ourselves whether we are walking down that path with a strong love of God or just to seek the glories of a better world for ourselves.

"Guide us Lord, along this straight and narrow path."
Amen.

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


20051025

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 8:18-25
Psalm 126:1-6
Luke 13:18-21

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

I have never seen a mustard seed. Here where I live, over a mile high in the Rocky Mountains, we do not grow much mustard. But, we grow some mighty tall pine trees in our mountains and I know they come from pine seeds which are incredibly small. So, while I don't know a thing about mustard, I know quite a bit about pines.

Pines start from very tiny seeds. What is interesting is that it takes fire to make them grow. While many may think forest fires are so damaging -and they are - they are essential for these large tree's cones to pop open and spread their seeds. These tiny seeds take root on the sparse, rocky soil and spend most of their early years covered with snow. As they grow and mature they face terrible winds, cold, disease and attacks from insects and animals. But grow they do, into large majestic trees that provide shelter for countless of God's creatures.

Our lives as Christians are not much different. Our conversions start many times under the fires of sin and the wrongs the world teaches us. We take root as small things in sparse soil. For great periods of time we find ourselves buried in the icy cold of the world, but with the Lord's help we persevere. We continue to grow and as we fight off the attacks we face in our growth, we become mature. The next step is to share our strength and maturity with those who need it, similar to the many creatures who seek shelter in the great pines.

So, mustard seeds must be like pine seeds which are like our lives as Christians. I’m convinced God watches over every pine seed that hits the ground and sprouts. Is there any doubt He watches over each one of us?

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

____________________

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


20051024

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, October 24, 2005
The Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 8:12-17
Psalm 68:2, 4, 6-7, 20-21
Luke 13:10-17

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's Gospel, Jesus seems to notice the woman who is in need of healing before anyone says anything to Him about her or asks for His help. This is different then many of the other stories about Jesus' healing where some extraordinary efforts are made to get Jesus' attention.

In contrast, this woman didn't do anything extraordinary yet Jesus recognized her need and subsequently healed her.

This small Gospel passage tells us something about Jesus that we may not have appreciated. Namely that He anticipates our needs. Isn't it true and often barely acknowledged that Jesus is always looking out for us? Seeking us before we seek Him, intervening before we even know there was danger or need? How many unknown disasters has the hand of God averted on our behalf!

Let us take a little time to beg God's grace to be sensitive to the presence of the Lord who is always present, looking out for us, trying to steer us from what could harm us. Let us, then, with hearts full of gratitude, thank Him for His merciful love and concern for our littleness and vulnerability.


- 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


20051023

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, October 23, 2005
The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Exodus 22:20-26
Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 51
1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Matthew 22:34-40

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

“The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Matthew 2:34-40

Jesus, in reply to the question posed to test Him, graces us with the central understanding of our relationships with God and others. The greatest commandment in the law and the second which is like unto it, depicts the Way to live this Truth of what Love begets in relationship with us. Made by God for God, espoused and in that espousing, freely giving all we are in love to our Beloved, our love begets the love that we, as one in Him, love unto others.

The Father’s infinite Love for His only begotten Son extends to each soul who freely and completely beloves Him as one in the mystical body of Christ, His bride, the Church. Begotten in love, each reciprocates His Love and through Him, with Him, and in Him, brings that relationship of love to life with others.

Beloved by God, beyond measure, one ‘wills’ and desires to reciprocate with one’s whole heart, soul, and mind and with all one’s strength, recognizing that to know, love and serve God Who is the joy beyond telling and the truth of our existence. “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.”

Commanded, one measures what one’s relationships beget; does one beget with God new life, the souls of others beloved into Him?

O Lord, may our prayer be one in Yours, that our love is for others; “Father, may they be one in Us, as I am in You and You in Me, May they also be One.”
Amen.


- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

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


20051022

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, October 22, 2005
Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 8:1-11
Psalm 24:1-6
Luke 13:1-9

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today's readings are all about "Flesh" and "Spirit" -- about "Sin" and "Freedom." As listeners to this discourse by St. Paul, we are definitely convinced that the life of freedom in the Spirit is definitely the better choice than slavery to the flesh.

It seems so obvious. But, of course, experiencing the pull of the flesh (meaning sin in all its forms) even as soon as fifteen minutes after hearing this scripture reading it and being swayed by it, we know how fickle human nature really is. "The spirit (meaning OUR spirit) is willing, but the flesh is weak" expresses the human condition. What is so remarkable is that Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, took on our human nature with all its tendency to sin. Remember that St. Paul says that Jesus took on sinful flesh. That implies that Jesus allowed himself to experience the effects of Original Sin. Though Jesus was sinless Himself, He allowed this terrible power to exert influence on His thoughts and His feelings!

Incredible!

O Jesus, Your emptying Yourself of divinity was the greatest proof of Your love. I will never doubt Your love again! How close I feel to You now, because You know what my temptations are like. You can understand my shame at being so impatient, insensitive, unforgiving, and selfish. This thought makes Your absolution in the Sacrament of Penance all the more precious. You really understand me, don't You!

Yes, I accept Your Spirit, and will gladly sacrifice my will, my desires, my plans to Your will, Your desires, and Your plans for me. Amen.


- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins@frontiernet.net)

____________________

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


20051021

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, October 21, 2005
Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 7:18-25
Psalm 119:66, 68, 76-77, 93-94
Luke 12:54-59

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?"

Sometimes we do not see clearly--our judgment is so clouded and so obscured by our worries and desires of the moment that we cannot see what is right before our eyes. This is most particularly true when we are looking at God's law. It is perfectly clear what He desires from us, but those desires are at odds with what we see as immediately good for us.

True judgment involves the whole person mentally--memory, intellect, and will. Memory assists us in recognizing the pattern or the action from the past. Intellect helps us discern what is the proper course of action. The will must be invoked to act on the proper course of action.

Of course all three of these are covered by grace. By ourselves we can do no good--it is only with God's assistance that we can discern and act upon the proper way. God has clearly marked out the path for us and gives us the grace for the strength to follow it. We must learn to reorder our faculties to desire what God desires for us and not to desire that God should change His express will.

If we rely upon the judgments of those around us (and too often we have in the past) we are led down the societal path of least resistance and we participate in the culture of death. When we know and do God's will we in some small part spare the world some of the suffering it would otherwise endure. More than that, through grace we teach the world by our lives and actions what is the proper direction for all to follow.

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

____________________

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


20051020

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, October 20, 2005
The Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Paul of the Cross, priest

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 6:19-23
Psalm 1:1-6
Luke 12:49-53

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:


"I have come to set the earth on fire...."
(Luke 12:49)

Those well informed in world history and current events see that people remain divided and conflicted along varied lines--political, religious, moral, racial, ethnic, etc. St. Paul's letter to the Roman converts to Christianity deals with healing the breach between the all-holy God and sinful man. His implication is that accepting and living in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ, is the only way all humanity can be united and at peace with God and one another.

In today's Gospel Jesus reveals that He has been sent into this world to set it free through God's purifying and transforming love to be ministered to man through the Holy Spirit. But before this can take place, Jesus said He must suffer the "baptism" of death for the remission of human sin and also offer us His new, resurrected life so that all may be reunited with our heavenly Father. Ironically, Jesus also tells us that His saving act will also serve to create further divisions on this earth; for man's "free will" always remains operative.

It is human pride and ignorance that hinder our seeing the need to die to our personal sins and being born again to live in a Christlike manner. Many are too comfortable and self-satisfied while exercising their free will, "doing their own thing." The truth is that they are like dull-witted sheep, attracted by the many different voices of this world's "trendsetters." The latter noisemakers, for power, pleasure and profit, lure the unaware into a false sense of freedom by providing them with an endless line of options and distractions, focusing them on self rather than God, the only Source of all good.

Saving Lord, enkindle within our hearts the desire to be imbued with Your blessed life. May we truly reflect Your goodness in this world, that all may share in the joy only You can give.
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


20051019

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Jean de Brebeuf, St Isaac Jogues, priests, martyrs
and their companions, martyrs

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 6:12-18
Psalm 124:1-8
Luke 12:39-48

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The readings for today are so appropriate for this Memorial Feast of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues and their companions. This writer has the humble priviledge of living in the Mohawk Valley in New York State, near the Shrine of Auriesville. The shrine is on the site of their martyrdom and serves as a memorial to their faith. We feel so blessed to have this shrine so near! We speak of the blood of martyrs which ran through the Valley via the Mohawk River.

These priests and their companions lived the words of this scripture, using their bodies to serve God and their fellow men and women, even at the risk and later cost of their lives. After one session of torture the priests had left the site and returned to France. Once they recovered, they realized that their desire to convert the natives was stronger than their fear, so they returned to the site, only to face torture and martyrdom. While some people choose to use their bodies as a weapon of wickedness, these priests and their companions served as witnesses of the sacredness of our bodies!

"Blood of the North American Martyrs, wash us."

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


20051018

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Luke evangelist

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
2 Timothy 4:9-17
Psalm 145:10-13, 17-18
Luke 10:1-9

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals
...
(Luke 10:3-4)

Today's gospel reading is so rich, one could write an entire book about it! However, let's take a close look at only a very small part that’s mentioned above. Why would Jesus tell the seventy to travel so light and carry hardly anything? Well, most certainly it has something to do with His warning that He is sending them like lambs among wolves. The allusion to lambs and wolves is found in other places in scripture. It contrasts the peaceful, defenseless and extremely vulnerable nature of the lamb with the powerful, stalking packs of wild beasts, all with a nearly insatiable hunger. Just mentioning these two animals together was enough to develop a sharp image in the minds of those hearing the message and the seventy disciples must have known immediately what they were facing.

They were sent forth to deliver a radical new message and they were sure to face the wolves in the form of Pharisees and other Jewish sects, pagan Romans, members of the Sanhedrin, Samaritans, certainly atheists and countless others that would do anything from just ignore them to being openly hostile. The disciples had to be prepared and ready to deliver the message and this required them to concentrate only on that one thing. Therefore, taking a load of personal belongings would only distract them from their mission which required total dedication.

Jesus said that it is impossible to serve two masters; and countless others have realized this too, such as St. Francis of Assisi who insisted his brothers own no property. Today, we are called to carry the Lord's message and to continue the mission. Our vowed religious remain unmarried in order to concentrate focus on the ministry. Those of us in the laity must also lighten our material load to center on the mission and the message. Part of our religious activity should be to reflect on our lives and eliminate those things that move our focus away from our mission and Christ’s message.

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

____________________

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


20051017

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, October 17, 2005
The Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Ignatius, bishop and martyr

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 4:20-25
Luke 1:69-75
Luke 12:13-21

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's Gospel, Jesus gets right to the point and says, “Avoid greed in all its forms.” A well-informed conscience knows exactly what He's saying, while those who have not so well an informed conscience might miss some of the circumstances where greed is an issue and indeed a sin.

Jesus, therefore, goes on to tell a story of a man who pulled down his barns to build newer and bigger ones, ones that could store more wealth and perhaps insure him a future time of comfort. Jesus calls that man “foolish”, while we might call him “practical” and a “good planner.” Why is it, that there might be this discrepancy in opinion about the man's actions?

It is precisely because Jesus always focused on the need for attention, first to the behaviors that would insure everlasting life, not those that provided temporal pleasure or comfort. He knew what things are most important and preached it.

For us, and indeed even the man in the Gospel story, it doesn't mean that we don't provide for the possibility of future temporal needs; but that we don't forget that there is something more important at stake than the concerns of this world. Yes, far more important!

Let us then get things straight, in order that we might not be considered foolish in the eyes of God, or risk the opportunity to share with Him everlasting life.

O Wisdom of God, be with me, always at work in me.

- 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


20051016

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, October 16, 2005
The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 45:1,4-6
Psalm 96:1, 3-5, 7-10
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5
Matthew 22:15-21

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

“What belongs to Caesar and What belongs to God”
Matthew 22:15-21

Indeed, Jesus’ response to malicious intentions for His entrapment is to render respectively to Caesar and to God what is theirs.

“What is God’s?” and “What is Caesar’s?” Jesus invokes immediate personal recognition that all one is and has is from God and is for God. Yet, time and mortality leads man to formulate structures of temporal governance for situations when man fails to act completely in love for his God-given purpose: to know, to love and to serve God and others as one’s self. Where love is lacking, justice steps in. This system of governance is justly supported by the society that forms it, in the form of taxes, service, leadership, patriotism, and loyal stewardship.

In love one gives to God all that God as “Love” gives to us. In justice, one gives to the government all that government exacts in justice.

O Lord, may we grow in knowledge, love and service of You and Your body, the Church. May we serve, lead, support, obey the laws, and respect those we elect to govern us in charity and justice. Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

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


20051015

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, October 15, 2005
Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary time

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), virgin, doctor of the Church

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 4:13, 13-18
Psalm 105:6-9, 42-43
Luke 12:8-12

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today is the feast of a woman who, in worldly terms, could have been a Helen of Troy or a Cleopatra--or a Queen Elizabeth I. She possessed talent, charm, and the strongest of stubborn wills. Her temperament abhorred whatever was trivial and shallow. Had it not been for her strong character, she might so easily have succumbed to an easy religiosity in the lax atmosphere of her convent that merely "dabbled" in the sacred. Born to be a leader, she led a spiritual revolution in the Carmelite order against such an affront to true spiritual values. As a result, she is a splendid example of the bold discipleship described in today's Gospel. Teresa was a woman of the greatest courage, enduring a an opposition from her fellow-religious that can only be described as persecution. Calumniated, mistreated, and subjected to the cruelest of punishments by the religious authorities of Rome and the Carmelite superiors, she emerged from it all as a true saint.

What is the lesson for ourselves? The lesson is one of total reliance on God's grace. In God alone is our salvation, and in Him alone can we trust. Without the searing experiences she underwent, I doubt she would ever have written the great spiritual masterpieces which still guide thousands of devout souls who seek perfection. While, in all probability, we will never write great spiritual treatises, we can imitate her humility and total abandonment to the loving purifications of our God. No one ever succeeded in following Christ without also accepting His Cross. When we accept that fact, we will know joy even as God leads us through fire.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins@frontiernet.net)

____________________

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


20051014

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, October 14, 2005
Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Callistus I, pope and martyr

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 4:1-8
Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 11
Luke 12:1-7

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Whatever is said in darkness will be heard in the light. . ."

In the Epistle of James we are warned to bridle the tongue, the cause of much evil. We are told to keep a watch over what we say because we speak out of the fullness of our hearts. Idle words and hurtful words are reflective of the state of our hearts.

Here Jesus tells us that what is spoken in darkness will be heard in the light, proclaimed from the housetops. What is the practical meaning of this? Well, if James tells us to bridle our tongues, he does not mean merely when we are talking to others, but when we are talking to ourselves as well. We are not to bear false witness even in the privacy of our own heads. We are not to "speak" ill of anyone by words or by thoughts. We are not allowed the luxury of silent lips and active mind. What we speak in the darkness of our own minds will be heard aloud. How many times do we think something that, if we were to hear it aloud, we would be absolutely mortified?

This is what Jesus cautions us against. How can we take such extreme measure? How can we keep so close a watch over what we say? Really, it is very easy when our focus is right. Why would we want to say anything at all about other people (save good things) if our focus is on loving God? Why would we worry about what is said in darkness if Christ is our Light? If we follow Jesus' admonition, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," then we’ll find little cause to clamp down on stray thoughts, because all of our thoughts will belong to Him.

May it be so for all of us.

- JuandelaCruz

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20051013

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, October 13, 2005
The Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 3:21-30
Psalm 130:1-6
Luke 11:47-54

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

...the Wisdom of God said, "I will send prophets and apostles, some of whom they may kill or persecute."
(Luke 11: 49)

Paul's letter to the Romans states that we gain the righteousness of God through faith in Christ, our Savior, Who offers us new life as a gift of grace. He emphasizes this to counter the teachings of the religious experts of his day who stressed works as the means of achieving righteousness in God's eyes and salvation. St. Paul is telling converts to Christianity that simply fulfilling a long list of empty rules, performing external works, was useless. Faith is not merely a state of mind, blind belief; faith is also a condition of the human heart that has been touched by God and so enabled to reflect His love to others.

It was a wonderful stroke of irony on the part of God who used the murderous act of the religious leaders against Jesus as the means of bringing salvation to humanity. Sadly, the blind heartlessness of these men who lived selfishly, in self-righteousness rather than in the righteousness of God, hindered or delayed many from entering His kingdom. In keeping with recorded history, once again the innocent were deprived and left to suffer along with the guilty who had separated themselves from God's life and salvation.

We are reminded of the truth learned from St. James' epistle when he wrote, "Faith without works is dead." We can now validly add from today's readings that "works without faith" are also dead.

Father God, may Your love, exercised in keeping with Your will, always impel our works, thereby causing their recipients to be drawn to You to praise Your goodness and generosity. Amen.

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

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20051012

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 2:1-11
Psalm 62:2-3, 6-7, 9
Luke 11:42-46

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The readings of today focus primarily on the topics of 'love' and 'judgment', important topics to consider. In a way, one topic correlates with the other, in that if you love others and God in an appropriate manner, our own eternal judgment might be a positive one.

Any experienced teacher can relate numerous stories of how a student will approach them at the beginning of the semester and inform the teacher about the course grade that they need and expect. They say it with conviction, as though if I tell the teacher early enough that is the grade they will receive. Of course, the teacher immediately will inform the student that the ability to receive any grade lies in the hands of the student, not the teacher. This is the theme of the readings today in that we determine our eternal destiny, now that we have been redeemed by Christ. Our final judgment rests with us and how we use our free will and all the numerous gifts God has bestowed upon us!

Today’s readings also remind us to let God know frequently of our love for Him. Good works are very important, but so is prayer.

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

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20051011

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 1:16-25
Psalm 19:2-5
Luke 11:37-41

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

One week ago I was blessed to write about the sisters Martha and Mary and how they prepared for the Lord's visit to their home and asked the question: would the Lord feel welcome in our homes? Today, we read about Jesus visiting a Pharisee for a meal, so I ask this week, would Jesus feel welcome at our dining table and what would He find there?

In one of many instances in His ministry, today we see Jesus violating another of the old laws by failing to wash his hands prior to the meal. This brought some indignation from the Pharisee who never would have imagined not following the law down to the last letter. The result was that Jesus taught the Pharisee a lesson in what is truly righteous and how hypocritical the Pharisee and his sect were. They cleaned the outside (the hands), but the inside (the heart and soul) was dirty and corrupt.

What would Jesus find at our dining table? Would He find both the outside and inside of our cups, in other words our souls clean? Or, would He find us just going through the hand washing motions with no meaning since our insides were corrupt? Would He find true Christian love and friendship, or would He find a table of hypocrites so busy making our outside appear perfect that our insides were dying a slow death of neglect?

Like Jesus told the Pharisee, "But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you." This giving of ourselves, our alms, in love, kindness, friendship, forgiveness and mercy is the road to cleaning up our insides. Yes, our Lord would be hard on us, but He always shows us the way to redemption and perfection.

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

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20051010

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, October 10, 2005
The Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 1:1-7
Psalm 102:16-21, 29, 22-23
Luke 9:46-50

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's Gospel Jesus says to the people of His time that they are living in an evil age that seeks a sign. He goes on to tell them that just as Jonah was a sign for the Ninevites, He will be the sign for the present age.

It is clear that unless our hearts are open to the teachings of Jesus we and the world in this evil age will fail to read the signs of our times, fail to do what the Almighty wants and will see accomplished.

For our part, may we use the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as the road map for our salvation and share it with others that they too may gain everlasting life.

And simply put, what is the message of Jesus' incarnation, passion and glorious Resurrection? It is none other than this: we are to love God with our whole heart -- and our neighbor as ourselves - an age old message, an age old sign.

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

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20051009

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, October 9, 2005
The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 25:6-10
Psalm 23:1-6
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Matthew
22:1-14

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.... Many are invited, but few are chosen."
(see Matthew 22:2 and 14 )

The wedding feast of the Kingdom is ‘the new and everlasting covenant’ into which God proposes to each soul eternal, beloving union in Him. Each soul is gifted with a ‘free will’ to consent, pledge one’s troth, and to be espoused to the Lord. The choice to accept this covenantal “proposal” from the Lord requires a corresponding and freely vowed, “I do”.

Many express disinterest in this “proposal” for eternal union with their BeLoved God, and although repeatedly invited, they choose to ignore, despise and dispose murderously of the life extended generously to them, preferring recreation, business, and anything else before God.

Thus, these invited are rebuked and punished and the invitation is extended to any that ‘will’ come, rich and poor alike. The only requirement is that one dress in the wedding garment supplied by the King.

Yet even in this generous invitation and providential ‘dressing,’ some choose to be indifferent and are likewise cast out in the darkness with those who first rejected the invitation.

O Lord, help us choose the great gift extended in Your proposed espousing. May we put on the garment of Your saving love, washed clean in Your sacrificial beloving, to be held, one in You, forever. May we seek Your bounteous mercy in confession and at each Mass as You belovingly ‘redress’ your beloved spouse, washing us more and more from our guilt, making us whiter than snow. May we wholeheartedly, freely, and worthily pledge our troth through Him Who is our salvation. Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

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20051008

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, October 8, 2005
Saturday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Joel 4:12-21
Psalm:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
Luke 11:27-28

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

How sincerely and simply that unknown woman raised her voice to praise the mother of Jesus. I'm sure, from heaven, that Mary has become close to her! And I'm sure that Mary in no way resented the response of her Son--for Mary's whole life was a meditation on the words of the the Angel Gabriel, and a living out of the plans of Providence. Indeed, blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it!

With our work ethic, we are so intent on measuring success in terms of action, while God measures success in terms of faith, hope and love. It is far more important for God to see the intentions of our hearts, and to measure the value of our service in terms of His own unconditional love for us. Without in any way diminishing the greatness of His mother, He greatly increases it by identifying the source of its power--doing always the Will of the Father, even when it seemed contradictory to one's choicest vows--in Mary's case, that of virginity. And God blessed her for her blind trust--and graced her with both virginity and motherhood.

If only we could saturate our hearts with the Word of God, putting his Will before our own plans and ambitions, then we too would be blessed beyond measure with the praise of Jesus and the reward of God the Father.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins@frontiernet.net)

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20051007

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, October 7, 2005
Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Our Lady of the Rosary

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2
Psalm 9:2-3, 6, 16, 8-9
Luke 11:15-26

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Whoever does not gather with me, scatters. . ."

Jesus utters some of His most ominous words here. But He speaks the warning through time. We do nothing worthwhile outside of Him. We do nothing worthy outside of Him. If all of our efforts are not gathered to Him, they are scattered. If we are not for Him, if we are for anything else, then we stand against Him.

What does it mean to be "for" Jesus? For one thing, it means caring for His brothers and sisters. For another it means not giving our hearts and souls to anyone or anything else. It means living a life of prayer. But it also means living a life of pure joy.

Once we are for Jesus there is nothing but joy. Our joy dies out when we move far from Him. It is like the children's game of warmer and colder. As we move closer, our own souls and own lives reflect the living flame of love that desires more than anything else to burn all that is not God out of us. It desires more than anything else to take up residence within us and shine out through us. It desires more than anything that we should become more and more like Him.

- JuandelaCruz

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

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20051006

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, October 6, 2005
The Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher, virgin

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Malachi 3:13-20
Psalm 1:1-6
Luke 11:5-13

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.
(see Luke 11:13)

Today's readings should draw us to examine our motives behind our approaching God in prayer. Some go to Him only when they or someone they care about is troubled or in need. Others reserve their visits to Him when they are angered by a person or a situation, leading them to complain and seek personal satisfaction. Often they may simply ask God to change another's behavior or circumstances to suit themselves rather than to promote the good of a person for whom they should be praying. God always welcomes His children's visits regardless of their motivation; for, at least, they are pointed in the right direction, toward Him. We should ask ourselves, however: "When was the last time we approached Him simply to express love and thanks?"

Jesus tells us in today's Gospel that one prayer is dearest to our Father's heart, our asking to be imbued with His Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of humility which will enable us to accept God's living Word, Christ, in Whom we can learn to live in divine love and truth. Indeed, it was the fullness of the Holy Spirit in Christ that enabled Him to accept the cross that expresses the self-giving love of God on our behalf. In asking for the Holy Spirit we are asking God to create us anew in the selfless image of His Son. Then being reborn and refreshed by the living waters of life, we will bear much fruit as we share God's love and truth overflowing from us to our fellow humans.

O Blessed God, teach us, Lord, that Your gifts of sanctification leading to salvation was given to be shared, to draw others to seek You, the only Source of all the goodness they see in Your people. Amen

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

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20051005

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, October 5, 2005
Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Jonah 4:1-11
Psalm 86:3-6, 9-10
Luke 11:1-4

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Poor Jonah! Life was so hard for him that he was praying to die. Sometimes when things aren't going our own way, or are just plain difficult, we wonder how to pray. The Gospel for today reveals what a wonderful opportunity we have with the prayer we know as the “Our Father.” Christ Himself taught us this prayer at the request of His apostles.

Christ starts His teaching by His own example. The apostles went to Him as He came from praying and asked Him how they were to pray. Often in the Gospels we hear that Christ was seeking a place to pray, or had just come from prayer. Lesson #1 for us: pray, and pray often.

Christ then went on to pray the Our Father. It is a beautiful prayer that is powerful, especially when said slowly and with thought. It is a good source for meditation, even over just one word -- such as the word “Our” at the beginning. For instance: we can reflect how everyone can call God Father, which means we are ALL brothers and sisters! So why are there wars and why are so many children starving?

Today might be a good time to ask ourselves the question "How often am I saying this beautiful prayer, taught to us by Christ Himself, and do I pray it in a slow, thoughtful and meaningful manner?


Our Father


Who art in heaven


hallowed be Thy name!


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

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20051004

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, October 4, 2005
Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

St. Francis of Assisi, religious

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Jonah 3:1-10
Psalm 130:1-4, 7-8
Luke 10:38-42

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today we hear about the Lord visiting the home of his friends, the sisters Mary and Martha. Visiting friends, and sometimes some skeptics, was a habit Jesus made in His ministry and one gets the sense that He enjoyed meeting people in their homes. And why not -- there is no better way to get to know a friend intimately than in their home where one can see how they live, what they value and how they truly are.

Martha, the servant sister seems to have been the housekeeper of the pair. I wonder what preparations Martha made for Jesus' visit? Did she cook and clean for days in preparation? Did she panic when the time for the Lord to arrive drew near and her meal was not yet complete? Was everything just in the right place?

Mary, I assume, had practically no part of this cleaning and cooking routine. I imagine she spent her time in prayer and reflection, preparing her soul, her "inner home" for the Lord.

While we see Martha's frustration and the Lord's answer to her, one thing is clear: both sisters prepared their homes for the reception of the Lord in their own ways. This causes me to reflect and and ask if my home has been prepared for the Lord. Would Jesus feel welcome in my home? Does He feel welcome in the inner home of my soul? Would he be pleased with the way I live and with the preparations I make for His visit?

I ask you to reflect on the same question: Would the Lord be welcome and find comfort in your home?

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

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20051003

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, October 3, 2005
The Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Jonah 1:1--2:1, 11
Jonah 2:2-5,8
Luke 10:25-37

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

I love today's story from the book of Jonah. It is one that we have heard many times in Holy Scripture and perhaps have even experienced in our own lives. Like Jonah, God calls each of us to to do something special to extend the Kingdom of God. Yet, to many of us, the call doesn't seem extraordinary -- we think it really isn't a call from God and choose to ignore it.

God, however, is not One to be ignored. Infinitely patient and creative, He waits and waits, planting knowledge and love of Him in our path so that one day we might wake up and realize that the call was indeed from God and not something that we can inconsequently brush aside.

Perhaps we haven't been swallowed by a whale; but there are times, I’m sure, that we feel we might as well have swallowed by that whale! Let’s be sure to recognize Who it is that we are reckoning with and not make God have to resort to such dramatic extents -- of which He is capable -- in order to get our attention. Instead, may God grant us the grace of docile, humble hearts that we might hear His voice and obey Him with all the strength of our will.

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

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20051002

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, October 2, 2005
The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:9, 12-16, 19-20
Philippians 4:6-9
Matthew 21:33-43

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

“The Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
(see Mt 21:33-43)

Jesus explains to the chief priests and elders, through this vineyard parable, that those to whom the Owner’s kingdom was entrusted, killed His servants and then His heir, expecting to “acquire His inheritance.” The Owner “will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease His vineyard to other tenants who will give Him the produce at the proper times."

Directed to those first entrusted to lead God’s people, now each baptized soul must heed His expectation. One cannot despise, reject and eradicate from one’s life, the Source for all that one is and has. One is expected to produce a return on what one receives. The Trust is taken back and given to those who will produce fruit.

The life that is murderously refused, becomes the cornerstone upon which is built the very Body incorporate, each soul that remains in Christ, His Church; “…by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes…” Baptized and incorporated into His very self, one graciously serves Him as a ‘priest, prophet and king’, and shares His labor to bounteously produce the fruit of souls for God’s kingdom to His honor.

O Lord, we are so wonderfully blessed to be one in You; to be entrusted to share in Your labor to bring souls to the harvest. Grace us to recognize this great gift we receive, united in You, and help us labor tirelessly to produce to Your honor and glory, the building of Your Kingdom. Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

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20051001

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, October 1, 2005
Saturday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary time

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29
Psalm 69: 33-37
Luke 10:17-24

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Ambition can have a good meaning, and a bad one. Our parents so prayed for ambitious sons and daughters who would eventually be eager to help on the farm for an aging father, or helping a tired mother, worn out with taking care of children and cooking and cleaning from morning until night. That kind of ambition is best summed up as industriousness. But Jesus in today's Gospel condemns his disciples for being "ambitious" for praise and self-glorification. After all, they have cast out demons and cured diseases. Jesus rebukes them, telling them that such ambition will not win them the kingdom, bur, rather, they should seek a childlike spirit.

How fitting is such a message for the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux. She won sainthood by her "little way", consistently child-like in accepting pain and suffering, and delighting to serve God through insignificance. In turn, her Beloved was delighted with her, and, in turn, has fulfilled her every prayer from her heavenly workbench. May we take this lesson to heart this day, seeking to fuse our pains and sufferings with the Passion of Jesus Christ. While we will in all probability never be canonized, we will achieve a spirit of peaceful serenity and joy that can be attained in no other way.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins@frontiernet.net)

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