Getting Close

My son was sitting next to me in church.  He slid over, so that he was snug up next to me.  I put my arm around him, pulled him in, and kissed his head.  He wanted affection, and asked for it in his own socially accepted way.  He wanted to be close.  He may not have even been mindful of his tactic, but rather moved on instinct. My response was automatic, reading my son’s need, and responding to him with love.

I was on retreat recently, and I think that is like nudging up next to God.  Like my son, I didn’t need to know what it was that I was searching for, but God will respond.  He  sees exactly what it is that I’m asking, even if I don’t know myself.  Then He embraces me and kisses my head.  

Save The …

Creation is magnificent:  the universe, flowers, puppies, blue whales, mountains, oceans etc.  This beautiful world of ours can be breath taking, and how everything works is mind boggling.  Civilization as we know it is 6000 years old, and we’ve only scratched the surface of our understanding of how it works. All of this complexity is a gift from our Creator.  All of it down to every cell and atom is for His beloved mankind.  Our generous Father moved by love for His children, spoiled us on our birthday with creation. 

We have a responsibility to take care of creation, and we have many causes, announced on bumpers stickers, commercials and political promises. I think though, if we reflect on Jesus, we need only look upon Him crucified, and His message to us is clear….Save the humans!  I think if our primary goal is not that first, we are missing why He came.  I think that God looks at creation and sees it is good, but He thought it finished after He created man and woman. 

It is in every soul, where the Creator has placed Himself, so maybe our “causes” should be each other.

Holding on…

Today’s reading is about Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus.  She is one of my Saint Heroes/ friends.  Mary was one of the very few at the crucifixion, and had the courage to go to the tomb the next day.  She was boldly proclaiming that she loved Jesus.  I mean there were Roman guards placed there at the demands of the High Priests, and here comes Mary. She didn’t know where Jesus was.  She stood outside the tomb, her weeping was inconsolable by the words of angels.  The “Gardener”, Mary assumes, asks her “Why are you  weeping? “Whom do you seek?”  Mary only wants the dead body of her Lord, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”  Then one of my favorite events in the Word of God:  Jesus said to her “Mary”.  I love to think about that.  Hearing my Creator say my name.  He had spoken several words to her, but when her Creator said her name, she instantly knew Him.  What did she hear in her name that was different from all the other words Jesus spoke to her?  He said, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”  Here she was in the physical presence of Jesus, once again, yet He continues to point to Heaven.  As if to say, no, not now, there is more. Mary Magdalene makes me want to hear my name now, but also with great anticipation, in the more. 
Scripture references:  Jn 20: 1-18

A Week of Saints, July 22-29, 2019

Monday, July 22nd: St Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles, (time of Christ)

St. Luke records that she was a notorious sinner, and had seven devils removed from her. She was present at Our Lords’ Crucifixion, and with Joanna and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, at Jesus’ empty tomb.  She was the first to see the resurrected Christ. She was given the rank of “feast” like the Apostles, and is identified as  the Apostle to the Apostles, by Pope Francis (June of 2016).

Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.

Jn 20:18

Patron: penitents, perfumers

Monday, July 23rd: St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) 

St Bridget was born into a rich and pious family. She had visions of Jesus,The Man of Sorrows, as a child. This dream was very vivid. Birgitta asked Him who had done that to Him. His answer: ‘All those who despise my love”.  She married Ulf Gudmarsson, a prince, and was a devoted wife, and mother to eight children. St Catherine of Sweden is her daughter.

“The world would have peace if only men of politics would follow the Gospels”

Patron: Europe, Sweden, widows

Tuesday, July 24th: St. Sharbel Makhluf, Priest, monk, hermit (1828-1898)

Joseph Zaroun Makluf father died when He was three. He lived in Lebanon, and was raised by his uncle.  He took the name Sharbel in honor of a second-century martyr. Following the example of his namesake, he lived as a hermit from 1875, until his death. His reputation for holiness prompted people to seek him, to receive a blessing and to be remembered in his prayers. He followed a strict fast and was very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament.

“The Church of the Christ is a rock upon which are being shattered the waves of evil.

Wednesday, July 25th: St. James, Apostle, Martyr (time of Christ)

James and his brother John were referred to by Jesus as Sons of Thunder.  These brothers along with Peter were the only Apostles at the raising of Jairus’ daughter, garden of Gethsemane and Transfiguration. James was one of the early martyrs. He is thought to have possibly taken the Gospel message to Spain. 

So also Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Jm  2:17

Patron: laborers, farmers equestrians, veterinarians, woodcarvers, pharmacists 

Thursday, July 26th: St. Joachim & Anne, parents of Blessed Mother (time of Christ)

Anne and Joachim are the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is nothing really documented about these two Saints.

Patron Anne: children, pregnancy, homemakers ,the childless , poverty, teacher

Patron Joachim: fathers, grandparents

Friday, July 27th: Bl. Titus Brandsma, Martyr (1881-1942)

He was born in the Netherlands, and became a Carmelite as a young man, and a priest in 1905.  He displayed a dazzling intellect and taught in universities. When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands,Titus was singled out as an enemy because he fought against the spread of Nazism in Europe. Arrested, Titus was sent to various concentration camps where he demonstrated charity and concern. 

Patron:  Catholic journalists, tobacconists

Saturday, July 28th: St Samson, monk, Bishop (late 5th century)

He was a Welsh bishop and evangelizer. On a trip to Ireland, Samson became a hermit with Amon whom he cured of a mortal illness. In Cornwall, he was consecrated a bishop and appointed an abbot. He spent the rest of his life as a missionary, even though he had long searched for solitude. He was one of the foremost (if not relatively unknown) evangelizers of his century.

Sunday, July 29th: St Martha, Disciple of Christ (time of Christ)

“Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus.” This unique statement in John’s gospel tells us of the special relationship Jesus had with Martha, her sister, and her brother.

Martha is busy with the cultural tasks of hospitality, while Mary is listening to Jesus.  He observes that Martha is worried about many things that distract her from really being present to him that is what Mary has done. 

The next time, Martha is grieving the death of her brother, when she hears that Jesus is in the area. She gets up immediately, leaves the guests and mourning, then goes to meet him.  Martha learned to seek Jesus first. 

Martha is the patron saint of servants and cooks.

I’m Late, I’m Late…

Sitting in Adoration, I was ready to unload all of my prayer requests and inquiries regarding God’s Will.  I asked Him, what He wanted of me.  I really got the idea that what my Creator wanted of me right then was to shut up.  So I cleared my head, and sat.  I wasn’t looking for God’s voice and I wasn’t using mine.  It was a beautiful experience.  I was present to Him.I think our lives are so full of time constraints.  Our world revolves around time, and we have come to believe that to give someone our time is the ultimate gift.  Time for us is finite, and we only have so much of it, and from a certain standpoint it is a huge sacrafice for some.  Our Creator, however is not constrained by time.  In fact He is eternal.   The amazing thing is that He loves us so deeply that He wants an eternity with us.  God doesn’t need my time.  He wants my presence of mind, body and soul.  He knows my needs, and doesn’t need my grocery list of petitions all the time.  He wants to engage with my soul.  Intimacy with the Omnipresent God, because He wants me.  How cool is that?

A Week of Saints July 8-14, 2019

Monday, July 8th: St. Priscilla, early Christian  (1sr Century)

Priscilla and her husband Aquila were forced to leave Rome when Emperor Claudius forbade Jewsto live there. They went to Corinth, where St. Paul lived with them.  They suffered martyrdom in Asia Minor or Rome, it’s uncertain. 

Patron: good marriages

Tuesday, July 9th: St Zeno Martyr (c 300)

The leader of an enormous group of martyrs who were all put to death at the command of Emperor Diocletian. The Christians, supposedly numbering more than ten thousand, were forced to labor upon public works constructed on behalf of the emperor, who then commanded all of them to be executed.

Patron: fishermen, newborn babies

Wednesday, July 10th: St Peter Tu, Martyr (died 1840)

Peter Tu was a Vietnamese who became a catechist and was arrested by authorities. He was beheaded. Pope John Paul II canonized him in 1988.

Thursday, July 11th: St Benedict of Nursia, Priest (480-543)

St Benedict set up the monastic rule.  Part of this rule was to listen and pray God’s Word.  The Divine Office, was to be chanted from the breviary at specific times of the day. If a monk could not make it to chapel, he was to immediately fall to his knees in the place where he was and pray.  He founded the Benedictine monasteries. His sister is St. Scholastica.

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart”

Patron: students

Friday, July 12th: St Veronica, Early Christian (time of Christ)

Veronica stepped out of the crowd and boldly wiped the face of Jesus on His journey to the Cross.  His image remained on her veil.

Patron: photographers, laundry workers

Ss Louis (1823-1894) and Zelie Martin(1831-1877)

Louis and Zelie Martin are the parents of St Therese of Lisieux. their five surviving daughters became nuns.  They raised their family in faith and prayer.

Patron: marriage, illness, parenting, widowers

“When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. We lived only for them. They were all our happiness, and we never found any except in them. In short, nothing was too difficult, and the world was no longer a burden for us. For me, our children were a great compensation, so I wanted to have a lot of them in order to raise them for Heaven.”

Zelie Martin

St John Gaulbert (985-1073)

 John’s brother Hugo was killed.  He had planned to avenge his brother’s death, but when John drew his sword, the man pleaded for his life by the passion of Christ.  It was Good Friday.  John was moved by his words, embraced him, and went to church.  Even though it was very hard, Giovanni walked away from him and found a Church.  At the cross John asked Jesus to forgive him for hating the man who killed his brother.  

Patron:  foresters, parks, park rangers

Saturday, July 13: St Henry II, Emperor (922-1024)

Henry was emperor of Germany, and a good one. He strived to have stable peace in Europe.  He was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Benedict VIII. He was also miraculously cured by St. Benedict. It’s thought  that Henry wanted to be a Benedictine and lived as an Oblate. 

Patron: Benedictines, dukes and kings, childless people and the handicapped.

Sunday, July 14: Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680)

Kateri was the first Native American to be canonized a Saint.  When four years old her mother died of smallpox.  Kateri also had the disease, which left her face transfigured. At ten years old missionaries came to her camp, and taught her about Jesus.  Christianity was not widely accepted in her tribe, so she moved to the Christian  village.  Many miracles occurred after her death. 

“I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus.  He must be my only love”

Patron:  environment and ecology