READING OF THE DAY: 23 MAY, 2015

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“Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”

When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”

Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come?

What concern is it of yours?

You follow me.”

So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die.

But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? (What concern is it of yours?)”

It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.

There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.” -John 21:20-25.

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SAINT OF THE DAY: 20 MAY, 2015

Saint Bernardine of Siena

Franciscan Missionary Preacher
(1380-1444)

Saint Bernardine of Siena

One day in the year 1408 the great apostle Saint Vincent Ferrer suddenly interrupted his sermon, to declare that there was among his hearers a young Franciscan who would be one day a greater preacher than himself, and who would be placed in honor by the Church before himself.

This unknown friar, who would be canonized only six years after his death, was Bernardine, then 28 years old.

Of noble birth, he had spent his youth in works of mercy, caring for the sick before he entered religion at the age of 24.

Owing to a speech defect, Bernardine’s success as a preacher at first seemed doubtful, but by the prayers of Our Lady, this obstacle was miraculously removed in 1417, and the Franciscan friar began an apostolate which lasted until he died.

One day, preaching in praise of the Blessed Virgin, he applied to Her the verse of the Apocalypse: A great sign appeared in heaven, a Woman clothed with the sun… At once a brilliant star appeared over his head. He was understood, when he spoke in Italian, by listeners of the Greek language who knew only their maternal tongue.

He obtained miraculous conversions and reformed the greater part of Italy by his burning words and by the power of the Holy Name of Jesus.

He preached that devotion, displaying at the end of his sermons, the Holy Name written on a tablet.

He was also a zealous apostle of the cult of Saint Joseph.

It is said that during sixteen years, and some say eighteen, he did not pass a single day without preaching.

But his success had to be purified by the cross. The Saint was denounced as a heretic, and his devotion as idolatrous.

After many trials he lived to see his innocence proved.

In 1427 he refused the bishopric of Siena, and a few years later two others, in order to continue his preaching.

He miraculously cured lepers and other sick persons, and raised to life several deceased persons.

The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, established in 1530, was extended to the entire Church in 1721 by Pope Innocent XIII.

Saint Bernardine was appointed Vicar General of his Order in 1438, which office he held for five years, then preached again for a time until his last illness forced his retreat in 1444.

He died on Ascension Eve of that year, while his brethren were chanting the antiphon, Father, I have manifested Thy Name to men.

Already in 1450, a Jubilee year, he was canonized.

(SOURCE: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Heavenly Friends: a Saint for each Day,by Rosalie Marie Levy (Saint Paul Editions: Boston, 1958).)

READING OF THE DAY: 20 MAY, 2015

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“Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.

When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled.

But now I am coming to you.

I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.

I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.

They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

Consecrate them in the truth.

Your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.

And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”” -John 17:11b-19.

READING OF THE DAY: 19 MAY, 2015

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“Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come.

Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him.

Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.

I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.

Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.

They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me.

I pray for them.

I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.

And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.

Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.”” -John 17:1-11a.

…LET’S GET ONE THING STRAIGHT….

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Lately, in this world of confusion and ignorance, I have seen more and more people not only NOT praying for someone, but actually REFUSING to pray for someone…simply because of their faith.

To make matters WORSE (as if anything COULD make it worse) they are coming after ME, and those like me, who ARE.

See, when Jesus (my Master) walked this Earth He left VERY specific instructions as to WHAT His disciples, and those who CLAIM to follow His teachings, should do. Those specific instructions are found in The Word.

He said (and I QUOTE!) : The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:29b-31

He instructed us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER…and, as you may have noted, He was a little unspecific about WHOM.

“Love your neighbor”….that means your white neighbor, your Muslim neighbor, your Buddhist neighbor…yes…EVERYONE.

Now, in today’s world of shifting political climate, and rumor mill spouting out grist for the mindless, it is easy to forget those simple commandments.. or misinterpret them in some ignorant manner so as to further some hidden agenda…but I would also refer to John’s first letter which, in my opinion, sort of ENHANCES and REFINES what that whole “Love your neighbor” is supposed to mean…

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love.

Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

There is no fear in love.

But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us.

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.

For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” – 1 John 4:7-21

So…given what you just read…HOW DARE YOU COME TO ME AND TRY TO TELL ME TO GO AGAINST THE WORD OF GOD!

We are SUPPOSED to pray for one another…we are SUPPOSED to lift others in supplication before The Throne..coming at ME and saying things like “But they are Muslim” or “They are not Christian”, or “They are not worthy of Him” is NO EXCUSE for that kind of action. PERIOD.

WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE ANOTHER!?!? Who are YOU to say “This person is unworthy to pray for”??

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5

The Bible is not JUST The Word of God… not JUST some Holy Book..not something to be pulled out, thump upon, shouted out against someone whom YOU believe is ‘unworthy’… not JUST something to level out that wobbly coffee table leg…IT IS AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL ON HOW TO BECOME THE TYPE OF PERSON GOD WILL LOOK FAVORABLY UPON TO ALLOW TO ENTER INTO HIS KINGDOM!

Imagine, if you will, you are dead…go on, give it a try…and there you are, standing before The Throne. There are all of the Archangels, singing and praising God…there are the Saints and Martyrs standing in their white robes..There is JESUS sitting on His Throne to JUDGE YOU.

He looks you dead in the eye and says “Sorry, nope”…and you say “But Lord, I went to church…I prayed for the poor in my town…I gave money to the church…I read the bible every day…why not?”

BECAUSE YOU FAILED TO FOLLOW THE MOST SIMPLE OF HIS INSTRUCTIONS, THAT’S WHY.

You think simply because you attend church that you are going to Heaven? You think that simply because you say “I am a Christian” you are bound to be allowed in?

My Master’s next words should scare the living daylights out of you…and with good reason:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’

Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” – Matthew 7:21-23

GOING TO CHURCH DOES NOT MAKE YOU ANY MORE OF A CHRISTIAN THAN STANDING IN A GARAGE MAKES YOU A CAR! You have to ACT like a Christian…you have to SPEAK like a Christian…you have to DO like a Christian…

YOU CANNOT SIMPLY SAY, YOU MUST APPLY AND DO!

Although I cannot know the mind of God, nor of my Master, I CAN read HIS WORD with my own eyes…and in it I see this: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

And I know that if you EXCLUDE ANYONE from that love simply because they are of a different faith, it goes against EVERYTHING He tried to teach us.

Just because someone is Muslim does NOT mean they are not deserving of prayers. PERIOD.

I am a servant…not great like The Pope…nor like a Bishop in some fancy Cathedral…but even I, the LEAST of His servants, can see that to exclude ANY religion that promotes peace is NOT a good thing.

“But” some will say “you are not MY priest”…silly people..when are you going to wake up and UNDERSTAND?

ALL PRIESTS ARE HIS PRIESTS…ALL MINISTERS, HIS MINISTERS…and therefore, if you follow the logic, ALL MINISTERS AND PRIESTS ARE YOUR PRIEST!…if they are following HIS WORD and not some hidden agenda or political scheme, but TRUE SERVANTS OF GOD.

If any of them has Apostolic Succession, then THEY ARE ONE OF HIS PRIESTS. If ANY of them recognize God as the God of Heaven and Earth,His Son as Ruler of Heaven and Earth, THEN THEY ARE YOUR PRIEST AS WELL! Attacking them and trying to tell AN ORDAINED SERVANT OF GOD that YOU know more than they, or that YOU want them to do this or that differently, is much the same as you trying to tell GOD that YOU do not want Him to allow a person into His kingdom because they “are not of my church”…

Does not His Word say “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” -John 10:16???

Then, if you please, EXPLAIN TO ME how (as His Servant) I am supposed to “Bring them also” if I cannot SHOW THEM the SAME RESPECT AND COURTESY that HE would! To lead by example of how a Christian is SUPPOSED to be…? How can I say “We are a religion of PEACE” when they see IDIOTS saying things like “They should all be killed”..???

Don’t kid yourself…HE IS WATCHING YOU!

EVERYTHING you say…EVERYTHING you do…EVERYTHING is being recorded for when YOU get before His Throne.

“Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” – 2 Corinthians 5:9-10

“He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves.” -Job 34:11

“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” -Romans 2:5

“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister ? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:

“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ”b

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.

If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.

Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.”  -Romans 14:10-18

You will not be able to ‘hide in the crowd’, and when you..yes, YOU as an INDIVIDUAL are judged for YOUR actions, YOUR words, how will you be able to justify hating others, and attacking His servants?

The Parable of The Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18:23-35 says it all…

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’

The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.i He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.

When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’

In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

In His time there were others, like The Samaritans, who were ‘undesirables’…and yet…He spoke to them, used them as examples to teach His disciples… because they recognized Him…He INCLUDED them in His instructions to His disciples…to pray for them, minister to them, TEACH THEM.

And yet, here YOU come…’all knowing’ of God’s Will…or ‘all filled with the Holy Spirit’ claiming to know better that JESUS…to know WHAT GOD THINKS OR WANTS..!?!? I AM HIS SERVANT…and even I DO NOT KNOW the mind of My Master, nor of His Father!

Until MY MASTER HIMSELF tells me with His OWN mouth I am doing something wrong by praying for another person of another faith, then I will CONTINUE TO DO SO…for I will not let something as PETTY and VILE as religious intolerance, or political scare mongering stop ME from doing my ORDAINED AND APPOINTED DUTY as was COMMANDED by HIM!

I do not answer to the mouths of men, nor do I CARE to…I ANSWER TO MY MASTER. If I am wrong, then it is for HIM to chastise me, for HIM to correct me…not someone who does not have the strength of spirit to don a collar, or take Holy Vows, or MAKE the time to actually BE His servant, to try and tell me MY duties…I, who gave up EVERYTHING to follow Him…I, who READ and UNDERSTOOD His Word…I, who guided those YOUR CHURCH abandoned because of MAN’S LAW, BACK to their faith in Him…YOU have NO say in whom, how, or WHAT I pray for…for it is HE AND HE ALONE who commands me.

If YOU have a problem with this, then I suggest you should look to YOUR OWN faith…and if you DO have a complaint as to what I do, as His servant,  then I have one more suggestion for you: TAKE IT UP WITH MY BOSS!

SAINT OF THE DAY: 17 MAY, 2015

Saint Paschal Baylon

Franciscan Lay Brother
(1540-1592)

Saint Paschal Baylon

From his childhood Saint Paschal seems to have been marked out for the service of God.

Amid his daily labors as a shepherd, he found time to instruct and evangelize the rude herdsmen who kept their flocks on the hills of Aragon.

At the age of twenty-four he entered the reformed Franciscan Order near the town of Monfort, Spain, where he remained, out of humility, a simple lay brother, occupying himself by preference with the roughest and most servile tasks.

He was distinguished by his ardent devotion and love for the Blessed Sacrament.

He would spend hours on his knees before the tabernacle, often being raised from the ground in the fervor of his prayer.

And there, from the authentic and eternal Truth, he drew such stores of wisdom that, unlettered as he was, he was considered by all a master in theology and spiritual science.

Shortly after his profession he was sent to Paris on business connected with his Order.

The journey was full of perils, owing to the hostility of the Huguenots, who were numerous at the time in the south of France; and on four separate occasions Paschal was in imminent danger of death at their hands.

Twice he was taken for a spy; but it was not God’s will that His servant should obtain the crown of martyrdom which he so earnestly desired, though he regarded himself as unworthy of it.

He returned in safety to his convent, where he would later die in the odor of sanctity in 1592.

Multitudes witnessed the miracles which took place during the three days his body was exposed for veneration.

He was canonized in 1690, and in 1897 declared patron of all Eucharistic congresses and confraternities.

Reflection. One day, as young Paschal was watching his sheep on the mountainside, he heard the consecration bell ring out from a church in the valley below, where the villagers were assembled for Mass.

The Saint fell on his knees, when suddenly there stood before him an Angel of God, bearing in his hands the Sacred Host, offering it for his adoration. How pleasing to Jesus Christ are those who honor Him in this great mystery of His love; to them especially this promise is fulfilled: I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you. (John 14:18)

(SOURCE: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Heavenly Friends: a Saint for each Day,by Rosalie Marie Levy (Saint Paul Editions: Boston, 1958).)

READING OF THE DAY: 17 MAY, 2015

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Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.

When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled.

But now I am coming to you.

I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.

I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.

They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

Consecrate them in the truth.

Your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.

And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”” – John 17:11b-19.