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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful!

20050831

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Colossians 1:1-8
Psalm 52:10-11
Luke 4:38-44

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Scripture is so direct in letting us know how we are to live our day to day lives as Christians. In the first reading, today, we see an example of one person giving thanks to God for them and praying for them. Many people do this for others when they are ill or under some significant stress, but we see how we might do this at any time.

The gospel reading is the beautiful story of Jesus curing Simon's mother-in-law of a fever. It is a very human, touching story. One can almost feel the concern of the family in the days before modern medicine. They humbly appealed to Christ for His assistance,which gave evidence of their faith and hope.

It is particularly significant to note that even the Great Healer, Christ, prayed both before and after He cured Simon's mother-in-law. When He was first approached about her illness, He was coming out of the synagogue. Once the healing had taken place and He spent some time with the family, He again withdrew to a deserted place. We can never underestimate the significance of prayer, otherwise we are giving glory only to ourselves, a gesture that will fade with the first passing breeze.

"Thy will be done through me, O Lord"

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


20050830

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
Luke 4:31-37

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

“What is this word?” ask those who witnessed Jesus in today’s gospel. He spoke with such authority and power that unclean spirits fled, and the crowds were amazed. I have often wondered what it would have been like to hear him “live and in person.” How was he able to preach to thousands without the use of modern public address systems? How was he able to convert people using only his words, without the use of flip charts, Power Point presentations or streaming video? What is this word that commands such authority and power?

The Word is our God, live and in person. As St. John begins his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” We all know that with God anything is possible and that is why He had no need of modern contraptions for thousands to hear him, be touched in their hearts and follow Him. The Word is God. The Word is complete. The Word has all power and authority.

The same is true today. The Word is there for us if only we’ll choose to listen -- it will teach us, transform us, chase away our troubles and bring us to eternal life. What is the Word saying to you today?

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

____________________

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


20050829

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, August 29, 2005
The Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Psalm 96:1 and 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13
Mark 6:17-29

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today's First Reading reminds us of how the virtue of hope assists us on our spiritual way. Hope, one of the theological virtues is a supernatural gift from God that helps us develop a habitual way of thinking and acting. Hope, like all virtues, is something that must be "lived" in order to be effective. It's like having the potential of an electrical light switch - it only works if we we active it.

What then does hope do for us? St. Paul made it clear that hope helps us not succumb to grief, as if death were the end of us. It also helps us in the daily struggle that we face in a world where everything seems upside down, wrong or decadent. If it were not for hope we might think that the Evil One has won and God and goodness have been overpowered.

If we we don't nurture hope in ourselves and others we might give up the good fight, get lazy and listless as if a negative outcome was inevitable. What we might fail to understand is that the outcome is inevitable, but that it is God and those who remain steadfast in His love who are the ultimate victors.

O Lord, grant us ever-increasing hope so that we might be buoyed up and not drowned in the world's sorrows and woes. Keep before the eyes of my soul the vision of everlasting life with You in heaven. Amen.

- 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


20050828

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, August 28, 2005
The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Jeremiah 20:7-9
Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Romans 12:1-2
Matthew 16:21-27

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Placing One’s Will Before God’s Befalls Human Nature;
Embracing the Cross Ascents to Divine Nature
(see Mt 16:21-27)

Peter’s reactive and protective response to Jesus’ revelation that He Will sacrificially suffer and rise from the dead, actually imposes Peter’s personal will before God’s will. Jesus immediately checks that sentiment, sourcing it from Satan, the evil tempter.

Intending neither arrogance nor malice, one might consider Peter’s reaction a reflection of the beloved protection He desires for his Lord. Truly, any one of us could voice this desire in our professed love for Him.

Jesus’ instructs that desiring what brings Life and what is of imminent value, is Truth. The Truth, He reveals, is that His Passion, Suffering and Death redeem all souls from the death of sin to the life of holiness. All is gloriously magnified in His resurrection. This Truth continues, Jesus indicates in reply to Peter, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

O Lord, grace us to perpetually recall that our fallen human nature shrinks from discomfort, suffering, and inconvenience. When we are tempted to deny redemptive suffering, help us instead to ask for God’s will to be done. Help us embrace tenderly, that which unites us to Your redemptive suffering, so we may achieve the Good which you intend. Let us see assuredly, that ‘self-denial’, ‘self-sacrifice’, and ‘obedience to the will of God’ contradicts human nature, but humbly elevates us to the supernatural sharing of our victorious cross, as we follow You. Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

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


20050827

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, August 27, 2005
Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary time
St. Monica

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Psalm 98:1, 7-9
Matthew 25:14-30

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The Thessalonians were noted for strict sexual morality as well as for great charity. Our society tends to see them as contradictory, whereas true love respects not only one's own body, but the bodies of others as temples of the Holy Spirit. St. Monica, whose feast we celebrate today showed true charity toward her gifted son, St. Augustine, for she offered the last years of her life to constant prayer for his conversion to Christianity. Rarely has a mother's love been better exemplified than through this heroic woman's sacrifice. The most touching scene in Augustine's “Confessions” reveal the mutual love of mother and son. With her last breath, she urges her son not to shed useless tears over her grave, for she knows her work is finished, and she is at joyful peace.

And how well the Gospel parable fits with this heroic woman who must have recognized very early how extraordinarily talented a son she had borne. Rather than leave him to shine as a brilliant pagan teacher of rhetoric, she persisted in persuading him to exchange his beloved classics for the treasures of Scripture. While we ourselves could never equal his colossal gifts, we can certainly imitate his wisdom in preferring always the Word of God to the attractions of worldly learning and earthly success. And when our hearts finally grasp the beauty and depth of Gospel truth, may we then cry with Augustine, "Too late have I loved thee, O beauty ever ancient, ever new.”

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

____________________

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


20050826

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, August 26, 2005
Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 10-12
Matthew 25:1-13

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Therefore, stay awake. . ."

Live each day as though there were no tomorrow, because indeed, we are not promised a tomorrow. Jesus' central message here is to be prepared at all time to meet the King--don't be caught unawares.

How can we prepare to meet the King? First, we can pray daily. The best of these prayers is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and that is supplemented by the perfection of the Liturgy of the Hours. But we can also pray the Rosary, the Divine Mercy, and adore God in silence. We can sit in joyful wonder and await the word of the Lord. We can pray our work and our sorrow. We can offer each day up with the Morning Offering and we can seal each day with an Examination of Conscience and a small confession asking God to strengthen us and see us home.

There are a great many writers today who have books about the coming apocalypse--writers who claim to know the time and the way that Jesus will appear. But Jesus tells us with certainty--no one knows that. Jesus Himself did not know it in His time on Earth and no earthly prophet can predict it. Moreover, even if one could say with certainty when the world will end for everyone, no one can say with certainty when it will end for anyone. There is nothing to say that we will not be called to meet the King before the time all are called. So heed Jesus' words and like the wise Virgins, be prepared to greet the King whenever He may come.

- JuandelaCruz

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

____________________

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


20050825

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, August 25, 2005
The Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

St. Louis
St. Joseph Calasanz

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Thessalonians 3:7-13
Psalm 90:3-5, 12-14, 17
Matthew 24:42-51

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
(Matthew 24:42)

A prevalent human trait common to both young and old is presenting ourselves to others in the best possible light, especially in situations that can prove to our benefit. This may even extend into our relationship with God. Our successes and failures with fellow humans depend on two related talents--a good memory that retains prevarications or lies, and an acting ability keeping us consistently "in character." Obviously, this trait in not conducive to relaxation, for it springs from a lack of self-worth, fear and distrust.

Our gaining a knowledge of God in Christ is a journey into freedom, since it teaches us to live in the absolute truth of who and what we are. In this world we may feel a need to create fictions; but venturing into God requires that we become completely naked to ourselves, see ourselves as He sees us, wounded by sin, imperfect and in need of healing grace. Nothing is hidden from Him, as He is the very environment in which we exist. St. Paul said, "In Him we live and move and have our being." God, being eternal, is also beyond time and knows our every thought word and deed before we express them.

Since engaging in pretense is impossible before God, our major goal in life should be to become living examples of His love and truth. Living in this way frees us from "watching" for the Lord's coming. God excludes no one from His kingdom; it is we who exclude ourselves through hypocrisy and pretense, the refusal to grow in Him to our full humanity.

O Blessed Redeemer, You showed us that obedience is not a sign of weakness but of true strength; for Your assent to the Father's love and truth won us freedom from sin and death. 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


20050824

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

St. Bartholomew, apostle

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Revelation 21:9b-14
Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18
John 1:45-51

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The readings of today give us a sense of expectation.... of looking toward the future. In the first reading we see the description of the beautiful heavenly Jerusalem. Then in the gospel, Christ tells Nathanael that he will see even greater things.

As we get caught up in the everyday details of life, it’s easy to take up the attitude of Nathanael before he met Christ: His statement, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?"
(John 1:46) Jesus’ statement, which has persisted throughout time, can no longer be our attitude because we have met Christ. We are to see the blessedness of each moment and each detail of our lives even though what we are doing in our own place in the universe may not seem important at the time. This in fact is the meaning of 'the little way' as pointed out by St. Therese, The Little Flower. Everything we do has tremendous potential to change the universe and even beyond. We just cannot see it now!

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


20050823

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Tuesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

St. Rose of Lima, virgin

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Psalm 139:1-6
Matthew 23:23-26

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

I often wondered why Jesus' criticism of the Pharisees was so harsh. He stopped at nothing to show the hypocrisy of their ways and many times sounded as if insulting them was not even a concern. I have come to realize that His criticism of them was warranted due to the fact that their errors were so egregious.

For instance, in today's gospel, Jesus points out that the Pharisees took the time to measure their tithes on mint, dill and cumin, all spices which could not have amounted to much. But at the same time they missed the more important part of the law: judgment, mercy and fidelity. Jesus says they are blind and points out once again that they are too concerned with the immaterial things, like gnats, while neglecting the important aspects of the law.

The simple truth is the Pharisees had gotten so immersed in the smallest details of the law, that they lost sight of the most important message God ever gave. This is the message of love which results in charity and mercy. While the Pharisees stood counting the small amounts of spices for their tithes, the poor stood at the temple entrance begging alms while starving and suffering.

We run the risk of the same problem today, getting caught up in the details at the expense of the important part of our faith. Jesus made this easy for us by telling us that two commandments are the mst important: to love God with our entire being and to love others as ourselves. Like they say, the rest is just details.

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

____________________

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


20050822

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, August 22, 2005
The Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 8b-10
Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
Matthew 23:13-22

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's Gospel the Scribes and Pharisee's are severely condemned by Jesus. In part, He tells them that they make devils out of those they convert, who end up being twice as bad as they were before.

Jesus sees through what seems to be good, and calls the Scribes and Pharisees frauds. He knows the disposition of their hearts and their self-serving ways. It reminds me that unless our hearts are aligned with the Heart of Jesus and our intentions pure, then we too could be deceived; and what's more, we could deceive others as well.

How greatly should we fear being called a fraud on the Day of Judgment! Yet, without the continual action of grace in our lives, it isn’t an impossibility. We must live in allegiance to the Lord doing all for love of Him and our neighbor.

“Instruct me, Lord, in your way;
on an even path lead me.”
(Psalm 27:11)

- 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


20050821

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, August 21, 2005
The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 22:15, 19-23
Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8
Romans 11:33-36
Matthew 16:13-20

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Blessed are you, Simon, Son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And upon this rock, I will build my Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."
(Matthew 16: 13-20)

“Who do you say that ‘I Am’?”

One immediately identifies that a soul that receives from the Father, the revelation of Who the Son is, becomes 'rock' upon which Christ's church may be built with the promise that the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it.

Apostolically, Peter is chosen by the Father as the rock through which Christ's successive authority is enlivened. "Son of Jonah", Christ characterizes Peter, is to extend Christ's redemption through the forgiveness of sins. Like Jonah, Peter, and indeed the body of Christ as His Church, is “sent” to extend this good news beyond the Jewish nation to those souls willing to repent.

Through apostolic succession, forgiveness of sins for each baptized soul builds the body of Christ as His Church. One receives ‘He Who is Truth’ through the actions of the Holy Spirit and Christ present in the sacraments. One's very life, conformed to these graces and actions of God, builds His church within and extends this to the waiting world. “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

O Lord, open our hearts to receive and extend your presence of Truth to all with the blessed assurance that the gates of hell will not prevail against us, your holy Church. May we see in our Lady, the image of the first, "full of grace", beholding You, conforming her life at each moment to Your perfect will, and faithfully cooperating in your redemptive actions, thus serving You in this purpose. Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

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


20050820

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, August 20, 2005
Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary time
St. Bernard, abbot, doctor of the Church

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Ruth 2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17
Psalm 128:1-5
Matthew 23:1-12

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

How tremendously important is the virtue of humility. It is the one virtue that God cannot resist, meriting God's mercy and forgiveness of sin. Humility opens God's heart to bestow gifts in abundance, as he does to Ruth in today's first reading. Left a widow, she generously follows her mother-in-law, Naomi, in order to care for her in her old age. When noticed by Boaz, she falls at his feet, protesting his deferential treatment of her. Boaz is captured by her humble charm, and marries her. Thus does Ruth, a non-Jew, become the great-grandmother of King David. How God uses the humble as the instrument of his providence!

In today's Gospel, Jesus urges his followers to practice humility, whether we are in a position of great authority or small authority. Only then can He use us as He desires.

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

____________________

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


20050819

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, August 19, 2005
Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
St. John Eudes, priest

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14-16, 22
Psalm 146:5-10
Matthew 22:34-40

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Which Commandment in the law is the greatest. . ."

It is said that the whole of the law and prophets, the
entire revelation of the Old Testament, and much of
the meaning of the new is bound up in Jesus' response
to this question.

The greatest commandment is that which encompasses all
the others. Love. Love with all your heart, all your
soul, all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.
In this all of the law is fulfilled and the Spirit of
God is lived out.

It is for the truth of this law that Jesus spread out
His arms upon the cross and died.

And the hardest thing for us to understand is that the
greatest commandment is God Himself. When we are told
to love we are being told to be God to others--not in
a bossy, authoritative, destructive way, but in the
way that Jesus is brother, Lord and God to us.

This is the greatest of the commandments.

- JuandelaCruz

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

____________________

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


20050818

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, August 18, 2005
The Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Jane Frances de Chantal, religious

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Judges 11:29-39
Psalm 40:5, 7-10
Matthew 22:1-14

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Sometimes it is difficult to discern the message that the readings from Holy Scripture are meant to communicate. Often I have erroneously thought it was one thing, but learned after reading a commentary that it was something else. That does not necessarily mean that what I thought was altogether wrong, but that it was not the central message.

In order that we may learn what the Holy Spirit intends, it is important that we always have prayer as a companion whenever we read the Word of God. Let the Spirit be our good and certain guide.

"Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience."
(see Psalm 40:7)

- Donna Raye Nelson, ocds

____________________

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


20050817

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Judges 9:6-15
Psalm 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Matthew 20:1-16

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"So the last will be first, and the first will be last"

Did you ever notice how hard this parable is to swallow sometimes? How often have you read these words of Our Lord and sympathized with those who were in the field all day? It often strikes me that this is grossly unfair. Why should this be so?

But think about it -- those in the field earlier had been approached earlier. The people standing to the side were not idle, they simply had not yet been reached. Would it be fair to deprive a person who, through no fault of their own, had been overlooked? Indeed, because they had been so long neglected, perhaps compassion demands something more.

Many of you reading these meditations -- going to church, feeding the poor, helping your friends, reaching out in love -- you've been called to the fields for a long time. You've had time to grow used to the job, and are perhaps even a little weary now. Perhaps your work in the last half of the day was not so vigorous as your work in the early part of the day. Perhaps, instead of seeing injustice, we should rejoice in the replenishment of the workers. We should delight in the fact that there are more of us to share the difficult labor.

Perhaps those called late in the day had a weary wait. And they too rejoice in being called to the fields. We are all workers together. Let us all delight in our togetherness, and not fret over when and where God chooses each to work His will. Rather let us all pray that we might be the instruments of that will when we are called.

- JuandelaCruz

____________________

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


20050816

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Stephen of Hungary

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Judges 6:11-24
Psalm 85:9, 11-14
Matthew 19:23-30

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

On the surface, today’s gospel seems to be a little confusing and contradictory. Was Jesus really against wealth and the wealthy? How could this be when He had many close associates who had wealth and power and, in fact this gospel was written by a tax collector, certainly a man of some wealth.

The truth is that Jesus had no problem with wealth. He regularly associated with the rich as well as the poor. He dined with the wealthy and attended a wedding hosted by a man with some means. What Jesus had an issue with, was the problems wealth can cause if we are not cautious.

Wealth has a habit of becoming an idol. It can and does require much in the way of time and attention and can also provide a number of things that have the potential of drawing us away from God, essentially becoming idols themselves. In another gospel passage, Jesus tells us it is difficult to serve two masters, God and money.

The problem with idols is they cannot deliver. They may make us feel secure, protected and untouchable, but that is not the case. The same is true with wealth or the things wealth can provide when we allow them to become idols in our lives. We may think our riches give us security and protection, but that is rarely the case. There are some things money just cannot buy.

Only God can provide us true security, protection and even eternal life. Anything that draws us away from Him is an idol and only draws us away from the truth. Jesus had no problem with money, only what money could become. He did not say it was impossible for the rich to enter the Kingdom, only hard to enter. His warning is all the more true today and we must be vigilant that our wealth does not bring us unreal security.

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

____________________

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


20050815

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, August 15, 2005
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(today is a Holyday of Obligation -
see this)

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16
1 Corinthians 15:20-27
Luke 1:39-56

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's Gospel we hear Jesus speak about the blessedness of those who hear and keep the word of God. It is no trivial statement, but the pledge of the Almighty One, who remembers those who love Him.

Today the Church celebrates the Assumption of Mary into heaven. It is a Solemnity that presages the victory over the power of sin and death in our own lives. Unlike Mary who was sinless from her conception and throughout all her life, we have suffered the many mutilating effects of sin. In His infinite mercy however, God has allowed us access to His grace which obliterates the grip of sin on us and allows us the opportunity to imitate Mary. In the end we are promised what she obtained: eternal happiness in heaven.

Our lives are filled with joys, sorrows and challenges. Like Mary, may we proclaim the greatness of the Lord who has looked on us, His servants, with mercy. Let us rejoice! "The mighty God has done great things for me and His mercy will reach from age to age. And holy is His name."

- 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


20050814

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, August 14, 2005
The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Psalm 67:2-3. 5-6, 8
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Pray and Hope in the Lord in Whom we Trust

The melody of the dialogue between the woman and our Lord, as she pleads for His removal of an evil spirit inhabiting the eternal soul of her child, is the example for us to pray, adore, pay homage, persist and intercede for God's merciful life within every soul. She demonstrates the exercise of the virtues of faith, hope, and love for God and their growing expression through her.

Our Lord creates each soul to indwell, and correspondingly to know, love and serve Him. Through baptism one begins that shared life as He bestows the treasured gifts of faith, hope and love by which one grows in that purpose. Faith, evidenced in the recognition of Who He is in relation to His creature, begets the Love that preserves, protects, honors, and shares that union. Hope voices the desire to know and love Him more and more.

O Lord, may we pray with trust in Your providential and merciful love, to give life to all. May we likewise grow in faith, hope, and love for You and hasten to bring You to others. Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

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


20050813

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, August 13, 2005
Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Joshua 24:14-29
Psalm 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 11
Matthew 19:13-15

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today we praise God for the glory that innocent children give to Almighty God. Without power and without agenda, they are the most open to showing God's glory, and least likely to oppose His Will. We thank God for all children. How many times parents or others will exclaim, "What a pity they have to grow up!” Or, "I hope they will always stay as good as they are now!”

And that is just what Joshua says to the people of Israel in today's first reading. He warns them to remain as good as the promise they have just solemnly made to God--to serve Him always, and to reject allegiance to any other gods. "If you are not,” he says to them, "you yourselves will be the ones to condemn yourselves on the day of judgment!”

And how about ourselves, who are far away from the innocence of our childhood? If we have not remained truthful, open, and faithful to God, who will condemn us? We ourselves will be the ones to acknowledge our guilt. We will throw ourselves out of heaven!

Dear Lord of the Covenant, strengthen those of us who, in weakness, have strayed from the covenant made long ago for us at Baptism. Forgive us, the wandering children. In the humility of Christian childlikeness, restore us to favor, and set us again on the path of spiritual growth. Amen.

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

____________________

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20050812

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, August 12, 2005
Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
St. John Eudes, priest

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Joshua 24:1-13
Psalm 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22 and 24
Matthew 19:3-12

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Because of the hardness of your hearts,
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives. . ."
(Matt. 19:8)

Because of the hardness of our hearts, the perfection of God's law was denied in this. How many times each day is the perfection of God's law denied? How many provisions must be made for the weakness of human feeling and flesh?

But God does make these provisions. He does not want His law to break us, but rather to make us. He wants it to bring us to Him in love, in wonder, in beauty and in worship. His law is perfection, our practice of it imperfection. His law is love, our practice of it often mere legalism. How often do we find ourselves judging another over matters that are not central to the faith--by the music one listens to, by the books one reads, by the movies one watches.

We should not flaunt our freedoms and cause scandal to others. But neither should we hide our freedom to engage the world. The world has a heart that is hard enough for us all--we needn't make it harder by adding to the burden of judgment that is already rife in our society. Let us not cause God's laws to change by the hardness of our hearts, but let the laws break hard hearts, change them into fleshly hearts. A hard heart cannot worship God in love--it is too lost in judgment. But God can change the hardest heart into a heart of love.

- JuandelaCruz

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

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20050811

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, August 11, 2005
The Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Clare, virgin

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Joshua 3: 7-11, 13-17
Psalm 114: 1-6
Matthew 18: 21--19: 1

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Should you not have mercy on your fellow servant as I had mercy on you?
(see Matthew 18: 33)

During its two thousand years Christianity has suffered many attacks. One of the deadliest now presents God in disguise. No longer is He shown to be the Source of all love and truth whom His children are to obey; instead our Father is depicted as an overindulgent parent offering us blanket forgiveness for our transgressions through His Son sent by Him to be our "buddy." Were sin of no consequence, as this absurd attitude suggests, then Christ's death on the cross can be considered a mere cruel and empty charade.

Sin against God is a deadly, grievous offense, for it is willful separation from His goodness that opens us to behavior destructive to this world's peace and justice. Yet, while we were existing in this abominable, immoral state, Christ offered Himself sacrificially to satisfy God's justice and win our forgiveness. His death, an act of selfless love, invites us to join Him by also dying to our sin and, by His grace, learning to live in God's goodness and peace.

This relates to today's Gospel because refusing forgiveness only perpetuates anger and alienation. God forgave us to reestablish peace between Himself and His children; therefore He expects us to extend this same forgiveness that He gave us to those who have offended us. Heartfelt forgiveness embraces the offender in God's love; and while that person may refuse our offer of reconciliation, being genuinely Christian calls us to participate in and direct Christ's forgiving love toward all.

O Loving Father, open our hearts ever more widely to Your forgiving love, that this world may see in action, the only means to its enjoying true peace and justice. Amen.

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

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20050810

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Psalm 112:1-2,5-9
John 12:24-26

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Some very basic and important principles are covered in our readings for today. First, the obvious, discussed in the gospel. If anyone is to call themselves a Christian , they must follow Christ. We find this even in the secular world. If you call yourself a member of an organization you are expected to carry out the mission of that organization. Why would this even be brought up? Perhaps it is because a person might be doing good works for reasons other than those proposed by Christ. One might have inappropriate motives, such as to make themselves look better in the public eye. One could elaborate on this.

'Burnout' is a popular word these days. People who get very involved in their work and/or community ventures may feel pulled in too many directions at once. The first reading assures us that God will provide the means for us to continue 'sowing the seed'. We do not need to worry about coming up 'empty'. Common sense is called for however. We need to meet our first obligations first, such as to our family, our jobs and our own health. It takes living a balanced life of prayer, devotion to our families and work -- and yet time for ourselves. God needs us to be attentive to Him, so that He can nourish us. Sometimes it takes awhile to get comfortable with this balance, but it is important to work at it.

O Lord, help me to find the balance,
so that your seed in me
can produce much fruit for your Kingdom.


Joan of Jesus,
OCDS

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20050809

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, August 9, 2005
Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, religious, martyr

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Deuteronomy 31:1-8
Deuteronomy 32:3-4,7-9,12
Matthew 18:1-5, 10,12-14

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?" He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. Matthew 18:1-5

What is it to be humble like a child? Well, I'm blessed with two grandsons, one just two years old and the other 18 months old. They broadcast what it is like effortlessly. Here is just a bit of what I have learned:

An ant can be the source of tremendous fascination.
Trees make the best mobiles on a warm, breezy day.
God loves a dirty face, especially if it is caused by watermelon juice.
Holding hands during grace is mandatory.
So is a loud AMEN! at the end.
God gave us so many wonderful colors to fill our eyes.
Children naturally know they can go to their fathers for:
love, comfort and a helping hand.

They also know that fathers can:
scold, but all is soon forgotten
and a father’s love goes on without end.
They also trust that their fathers will deliver.
Rain was meant to be enjoyed in all its wetness,
and not watched from inside the house.
Shoes separate us from the earth He created for us.
Waking up each morning with a big stretch,
means it is going to be a great, new day.
God made fire, hot -- and ice cold to warn us and protect us.
There is no end to the wonders of creation to be found in an open field.

And the list goes on from there. Being childlike is realizing the true wonders of God’s creation. It is knowing that we have an all forgiving, all loving, all caring and an infinite provider in the Father. My grandsons in two short years have taught me so many new things about God, most of it without saying a word. These truly are the greatest in the Kingdom.

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

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20050808

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, August 8, 2005
Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Dominic, priest and religious

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20
Matthew 17:22-27

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's First Reading from Deuteronomy Moses asks the people what the Lord expects from them. It is a question we too seem to ask. Frequently however, it is not because we want to do what is most pleasing to the Lord, but what will give us a greater temporal advantage, more comfort and happiness. Is it any wonder then that we seldom get an answer from the Lord.

Like many, I have often spent more time and energy on matters of every day life then on those that determine my spiritual well being. Though it is important to make "good" life decisions, gaining eternal life (which is ultimately more important), it is not a matter of deciding what house to buy or what job offer to take, but of following exactly what God has commanded of us.

Unlike the path to worldly success, the path to eternal life has been mapped out for us, it is not a mystery or a matter of choosing things that seem mutually equal. It is far more cut and dry, a matter of life and death.

Unfortunately we can become anesthetized to what is good vs what is evil -- what promotes life or degrades it. That is why we need a vibrant prayer life and faithful participation in all that the Church teaches. Let us then listen to the words of Holy Scripture which daily and with far more accuracy than the weather forecasts or predictions of "wise" pundits, help us decide where things are at or where they are going.

"Your Word, Lord, is a lamp to my feet."

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

____________________

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


20050807

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, August 7, 2005
The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Kings 19:11-13
Psalm 85:9-14
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:22-33

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Why did you doubt?

The question for Peter is whether he can trust that he is seeing the Lord in the dark night and raging storm. It is the question the prayerful soul experiences in times of dark or turbulence. Like Peter, one may have difficulty distinguishing our Lord in all that distracts one from Him and pleads, “command me to come to You.”

Jesus encourages, “do not to be afraid,” extending the invitation to “come.” Peter trusts that voice, the One whom he loves. He steps out in faith and approaches his beloved Lord. The torrents around him distract Peter’s focus from His Lord that he begins to fear and lose his way. This is likewise the way one finds and loses the Lord in the storms of life.

Perhaps one might consider how remaining focused on the Lord, seeking His commands, and then coming to Him as He bids, even amidst seemingly torrential circumstances, is the way to navigate all of life. There is calm in the eyes of the Lord, and one does well to remain in Him, still, calm, sure, protected. Yes the wind, waves and darkness will envelope one making the seeing of Jesus difficult. One need only to cry out to Him to command one to Come, and He will be-love the seeking soul to Himself.

O Lord,
when the storms of life overwhelm me
and make it difficult to distinguish you,
help me to be not afraid;
command me to come to you
and then let me trust you
to bring me to yourself.
Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

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20050806

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, August 6, 2005
Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary time
The Transfiguration of the Lord

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
2 Pt 1:16-19
Matthew 17:1-9

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration in which the divine nature of Jesus was revealed. To keep everything in perspective, Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a mountain to pray with Him. By God's grace and design, these three men who accompanied Jesus were given the vision of "Jesus Glorified" in conversation with God the Father so that we, an unbelieving people, might understand the divinity of Jesus.

Sadly, even to this day many don't believe, or are greatly burdened with the overpowering cares of this passing world. Oh, how many enter before the Sacred Presence of the Lord in Catholic churches and fail to give Him a profound gesture of deep respect! As our work-week progresses and we become even more lost in our mad scramble to make money and please ourselves, any thought of the Son of God present among us in the Tabernacle is normally far from our minds.

If we really believed in the sacredness of Jesus as shown at the Transfiguration, would we allow ourselves to consider Jesus in such an off-handed manner?

Let us resolve today, to listen carefully to the scripture readings at Mass this weekend and to ponder deeply the profound truth of the Transfiguration of Jesus, the Son of God, now actually present among us.

- Joachim,
OCDS

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20050805

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, August 5, 2005
Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Dedication of the Basilica of Mary Major in Rome

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Deuteronomy 4:32-40
Psalm 77:12-13, 14-15, 16 and 21
Matthew 16:24-28

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Whoever wishes to come after me
must deny himself, take up his cross,
and follow me."
(Matthew 16:24)

We are known as Christians, not by the denial of the cross in the world, but by our embrace of it. For each person the cross means something different. Too often we look at others and find ourselves wishing for their better-crafted, handmade, velvet-covered crosses. But our crosses are our own and we cannot carry another's. It simply doesn't fit us.

How do we carry our crosses? By forgetting ourselves in the work of God. We best carry our crosses by not thinking about carrying them at all. We are not free of them, but we are sufficiently free of self to be able to do whatever God wishes. Others see our trials more clearly than we do. And when we function as God wishes despite our limitations and our trials, the cross is triumphant and people see that as well.

The Christian life is about denial of self, about always choosing God. This doesn't mean it is sad, joyless or full of angst and sorrow. Rather it means that we function best as God's people when we function as God Himself in the world. We are His hands, feet, eyes, and voice. But we are only so when we are not busy being ourselves.

- JuandelaCruz

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

____________________

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


20050804

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, August 4, 2005
The Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

St. John Mary Vianney, priest

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Numbers 20:1-13
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
Matthew 16:13-23

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Blessed are you, Simon [Peter], for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven."
(Matthew 16:17)

Saint Paul tells us that "In him [God] we live and move and have our being." In other words, God is the very environment in which all of creation exists. He is an infinite ocean of love and truth encompassing all reality, both physical and spiritual, keeping everything in Him in being. Yet, not all of humanity acknowledges their origin in a divine Source of Life. Many are so attracted to and entrapped by the physical world that they grow insensitive to the spiritual reality that we are gifted with a soul and spirit that enable us to live in communion with our Creator who made us to participate in and reflect His goodness.

Today's Gospel illustrates this principle when Jesus searches His disciples' hearts by asking them, "Who do people say I am?" Only Peter, without hesitation, dismissed mere opinions and identified Jesus as the Son of the living God, their awaited Messiah. Jesus calls Peter "blessed;" since his being attuned to God's Spirit enabled him to perceive this truth. Jesus then entrusted His Church to Peter, a man truly committed to Christ, to the One whom he recognized as personifying, bearing within Himself, God's love and truth.

Yet, we are also shown that even those sensitive to God and receptive to His Word may suffer brief lapses in faith such as when Peter tried to persuade Jesus to avert danger. Christ's strong correction of His apostle Peter, is assurance that in those times when our finite minds blind us to God's larger purposes, He will save us from falling into error provided we are humble enough to accept correction.

Blessed Source of all,
gentle our human spirits
and enable us to receive Your love and truth.
May we then be living witnesses of Your holy Life.
Amen.

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

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20050803

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, August 3, 2005
Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Numbers 13:1-2, 25-14:1, 26-29, 34-35
Psalm 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-23
Matthew 15:21-28

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

If there was ever an intriguing, puzzling, and inspiring story in the Bible, this is it. Read it. Aren't you puzzled? Who else had Jesus ever treated in this fashion? He as much as calls the Canaanite woman a dog--is that the Jesus we know and love as Lord?

Yes, it is. What Jesus knew, how we cannot say, was the strength of this woman's faith. He knew that she loved her daughter so much that she would do anything to help her. He knew that she would stand up and publicly proclaim her faith and confidence, even when she had good reason to believe she was deceived.

Jesus would have saved this woman's child regardless. But what Jesus showed us here was the power of unremitting, unrelenting, unselfish, pure love. He was showing us how we are all in the position of this Canaanite woman, and all too often, we are more concerned for ourselves than for those that we love. Should we suffer a slight, or an embarrassment in pursuing our goal, we would more likely relent than continue in the pursuit.

Not so with the Canaanite woman. Her purpose was pure, her motive unspoiled, her certainty unalloyed, even when seemingly rebuffed. She had the invincible armor of unselfishness, of complete love of another. "Greater love has no one than that they lay down their life for a friend."

Jesus presented us with a human example of what the kingdom of God is filled with. People who are convicted, who are spirit-filled, and who are unafraid of being thought foolish in this world!

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

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20050802

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Eusebius
St. Peter Julian Eymard

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Numbers 12;1-13
Psalm 51:3-7, 12-13
Matthew 15:1-2, 10-14


A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

I sometimes wonder if the Pharisees ever had time for real prayer, the kind where a soul becomes totally enveloped in the Father’s love. It is during those times that we find what is deep within us, what really has the potential to defile us. It is during those times that we allow God to come into us and make us whole through his infinite grace and love.

As Jesus teaches us today, it is not what goes into our mouths that defiles us, but what comes out. They are the things deep within us that can lead us to sin, to hypocrisy and trouble. We must be constantly diligent of what is going on in our hearts to weed out these things and cleanse our souls.

The Lord is there for us. He is the one who can help us throw out those things that tempt us, those things that wait for us to become weak and allow them out. He alone can heal us of all things.

Ritual is important; there is no doubt about this. But ritual without prayer and deep communion with Him is all white wash and not worth the time spent on it. Now is the time to get rid of the Pharisee within, and allow Jesus in to heal us with His infinite love.

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

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20050801

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, August 1, 2005
Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor of the Church

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Numbers 11:4-15
Psalm 81:12-17
Matthew 14:22-36

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today's Reading and Gospel illustrate some very important points for us to examine. First of all, as in the Reading from Number's, we see how Moses when faced with the difficult Israelites, asks God to let him die so that he won't have to put up with them any more. It is a familiar theme; God gives us a task that becomes more like a cross and we ask Him to do it and carry it Himself. We fail to recognize the privilege we have received in having been called to participate in God's plan for salvation. Flattered at first we often fail in time, to remember that it is God who will provide us with the strength and grace to accomplish it.

Jesus demonstrates this in the Gospel when He encourages the disciples to do what seems impossible by man's standards - to feed the huge crowd with only "five loaves and a couple of fish." What Jesus says is very important, "bring them here," and in so doing they find access to divine intervention and have more left over than anyone could imagine.

The lesson for us is to turn to God when we are weary and then to cooperate with Him as He patiently and lovingly shows us the way He has chosen. It is not always an easy thing for we are used to coming up with our own solutions and less inclined to be sensitive to God's. We will however get better at it if daily prayer and frequent reception of the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation are what we depend on for direction and wisdom.

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

____________________

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