IMPORTANT!! Saturday - August 17; 9am-1pm Ministers of the Altar Retreat; Sunday - August 18; 9:15am-10:15am Altar Server Training.

Minute Meditations

All of Us Are Holy

Holiness comes in all shapes, sizes and walks of life. The father gazing on his sleeping child has as much potential to be holy as the monk gazing upon the tabernacle. There is no great divide between the prayer of the monastery and the prayer of the marketplace. There is no fundamental difference between the frantic pre-exam prayer of the college kid and the quiet prayer of the monk contemplative. Contemplative prayer is not about leaving this world. It is not an otherworldly experience. Those who pray contemplative prayer accept and embrace this world and the Creator who dwells therein. Contemplative prayer is not exclusively for monks and nuns. The college kid, the father, the lawyer and all everyday people can pray contemplatively.

—from the book Armchair Mystic: How Contemplative Prayer Can Lead You Closer to God by Mark Thibodeaux, SJ

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Call Forth the Good News in Others

In their dramatization of the Gospel, the brothers rewrote the script of life that included: the primacy of God, a spirit of prayer and penance, a life of simplicity and poverty, ministry to lepers (the outsiders), brothers from every walk of life or social status living together, living among the little people, the poor, working with their hands and caring for the needy, being messengers of peace and reconciliation and doing all this within the church. From this new style of life, the Good News of the gospel was once again made visible. This shocked the people and made them wonder. We all believe we have the ability to give—love, friendship, the Good News. But the ability to receive the treasure buried in the heart of another who looks and thinks and believes differently than I do is quite something else. We have to call forth the Good News inside another by humbly coming before that person in our weakness and receiving the treasure of life, the beauty of God’s gift that is there.

—from the book In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare by Roch Niemier, OFM

 

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Living the Gospel Every Day

The Gospel is only ever lived out during the seemingly little things of the everyday. In office cubicles, on subway cars, along rural highways, at home or at play—in these places is where the quotidian reality of Christian life unfolds, or it doesn’t, according to our choices. Too often we look to saints or other exemplars of Christian living and romanticize their famous actions or behaviors. We forget that Francis and Clare of Assisi, Ignatius Loyola, Catherine McAuley, and Dorothy Day all woke up each morning, went to bed each evening, and tried their best to follow Christ during the hours in between. What makes them models of Christian life is not some singular display of faithfulness, but instead the culmination of a lifelong effort to make the little things, like lunch or work, into moments of encountering others that then help proclaim the good news of God’s love to the world.

—from the book God Is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

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Like Mary, We Bring Christ to the World

Francis recognized that there are two moments in our life with God. There is the moment when we are passive, when God’s grace overwhelms us, when we are forgiven, when we receive our new life in Christ. At this moment God is active; God does for us what we could never do for ourselves. But there is another moment when we become active, when we respond to God’s grace, when we become sources of blessing in the lives of others, when we share the new life we have received, namely, Christ. We are then the Mothers of Christ. We receive Christ as Mary did, by God’s grace, but then like Mary we are to bring Christ forth, to present Christ to a world in need. Francis’ Marian spirituality was not limited to singing Mary’s praises. It moved Francis to action, to share with those in need. Our shrines to Mary ought to be the shelters for the homeless who share her poverty. Our words in praise of Mary ought to be the words and deeds we say and do to bring an end to war and terrorism in the name of the Queen of Peace. Our pilgrimages in her honor might be a walk for the poor. And although Francis’ words about Mary are steeped in the sentiment characteristic of the church of his day, his piety went far beyond mere sentiment.

—from the book In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare by Roch Niemier, OFM

 

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Learn to Fail Well

If you want to be a successful painter, you will at first fail on numerous canvases. And if you want to be a successful mathematician, you will at first fail in solving the equations. If you want to be a successful writer, your manuscripts will be rejected endlessly until one of them isn’t. But there will never come a point when you stop failing, because that’s what creativity is about. What works can only be known against the backdrop of what doesn’t—and if you’re too afraid to ever risk establishing that backdrop, personally and professionally, then you’ll never know what success is like. In the Hebrew Bible, we have the beautiful images in Jeremiah, for example, in the potter’s house where he comes to understand that even as Israel screws everything up over and over again, God—like a potter with clay in hand—is patient and allows the remodeling to take place, allows us to try again, to become the beautiful creation intended from the beginning. If we cannot live because we fear failure, then we cannot be good Christians because it is a faith predicated on being often diametrically opposed to worldly success. If you want to be successful, you need to learn to fail well.

—from the book God Is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

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The Risk of Appearing Foolish

The risk of appearing foolish never stopped Francis from embracing the Gospel as best he could, protesting the injustices of certain social systems, and letting nothing get in the way of his relationship with others. The virtue between the two foolish vices of avoidance and exploitation is the embrace of evangelical foolishness to become one of God’s fools. It is the counterintuitive and gratuitous foolishness of God’s love revealed in the healing of the broken and brokenhearted, forgiving the unforgiveable, and loving the unlovable. So becoming a fool for God’s sake isn’t something to avoid out of fear or exploit for personal gain, but a vocation to embrace in revealing the love of God in our lives. I challenge you—and remind myself all the time—to consider why, where, and how to be a fool for Christ.

—from the book God Is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

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Empty Your Pockets

When we allow others to do things for us, God’s goodness shines through them. Poverty is not so much about want or need; it is about relationship. Poverty impels us to reflect on our lives in the world from the position of weakness, dependency and vulnerability. It impels us to empty our pockets—not of money— but the pockets of our hearts, minds, wills—those places where we store up things for ourselves and isolate ourselves from real relationship with others. Poverty calls us to be vulnerable, open and receptive to others, to allow others into our lives and to be free enough to enter into the lives of others. While Clare (and Francis) call us to be poor so that we may enter into relationship with the poor Christ, they also ask us to be poor so as to enter into relationship with our poor brothers and sisters in whom Christ lives.

—from the book Clare: A Heart Full of Love by Franciscan Sister Ilia Delio

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