Friday, February 25, 2011


Sirach 6:5-17; Mark 10:1-12

Today's first reading is truly a beautiful portrait of what a friend is suppose to be.

The writer really paints a particular impressive picture of friendship.

"a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum canbalance his worth. a faithful friend is a lfe saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds; for he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself."


What is even more amazing is that this reading is coupled with Jesus' discourse on marriage, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Therefore what God has joined let no man separate."

Marriage and friendship go hand in hand. In fact, couples who drift apart lose sight of their friendship; they lose sight of what they have in each other.

They forget the bond of friendship welded by the grace of God. They let everything trump the gift of each other to themselves. They get busy being parents or being wife and husband or they try to make each other like the other or they seek to change the other and forget that it was their differences as well as their similiaities that enabled the bond of friendship to form.

They forget they are called to be a sturdy shelter, a life savig remedy for one another.

closer look at friendship.

Most languages have words for "friend" such as the following, amigo in spanish, rafiki in swahili, droog in Russian, tomodachi in japanese, homey, chum, mate and the list goes on.

In greek the word achates is used for friend and it literally means Armor-bearer. The one who goes before the other and protects and prepares the way.

Think about that. How many of us, who are friends, consider ourselves the armor-bearer or protector of the other. Certainly we are companions but yet we are so much more.

No wonder Jesus on the night he dies looks at his disicples and says I no longer call you servants but friends. He is the one who goes before us protecting us and freeing us moursleves with the gift of his self on the cross.

Friendship is the one bond that remains eternal.
Pray to be a good friend, one that fears God and is faithful. More friends like this will slowly change the world for the better.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hagah or mental floss

Sirach 5:1-8; Psalm 1 Blessed are they who hope in the Lord; Mark 9:41-50

We read from the very first Psalm today in the response. It is a beautiful psalm that details the path of the righteous and the path of the wicked.

It is like the famous quote from Frost, about two paths diverging in the roads and he chose the one less traveled.

Certainly this could be said of the path of righteousness and the path of the wicked.

The popular path, the one that is well traveled is certainly not the path of righteousness though it is gaining ground.
So let us look at this beautiful psalm that is the gateway to the psalter.

One thing to note is that Psalm one begins with an invitation to obedience, in following the path of God and if we do this faithfully and daily then we embark on a journey that gradually turns into a journey of praise. Gradually the psalter itself moves from an invitation to obedience in Psalm 1 toward an invitation to full praise in Psalm 150.

Obedience leads to praise, unadulterated praise of God. IT is certainly the path worth taking.

Psalm 1 today as this to offer, "Blessed the man who follows not the counsel wicked, who stands in the way of sinners, nor sots in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night."

First we look at the of the wicked; these are the ones that walk in counsel wicked, stand in the way of sinners, and sits in the company of the insolent.

Notice the progression of the verbs used to describe the state of the of the one who follows this path. He walks, then stands, then sits. Eventually He becomes immobilized or paralyzed, unable to move, frozen and cold by the choosing to linger in the path of wickedness.

This is the same methodology used by Dante to describe the descent into Hell. The closer you get to the center the less movement there is. In fact, Satan is frozen in ice, there is no movement because there is no love of the other. Self enclosed loved leads to isolation, coldness and zero movement.

This is the state of the one who choses the path of the wicked.

But what of the other. He is the one who delights in the Law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.

the word delight already suggest warmth. The word meditate in Hebrew is worth looking at. The word meditate is Hagah. This word is used to describe an action. The action is that of a Lion eating his pray and the sound he makes as he fills himself with nourishment. Or it can be used to describe the noise and action produced when a Dog is enjoying a good bone.

To meditate means to chew on, to get every ounce of goodness and nourishment from this thing before you.

Meditating isn't about emptying your mind but rather about filling it. As G.K. Chesterton says, An open mind is like opening your mouth, you do so only to close on something solid.

This is what it means to meditate on the law of the Lord day and night, continually being fed by Goodness.

Most of us only chew on mental junk food. The Psalmist invites us to do a little mental flossing by allowing the law of God to replace the junk.

Unlike the sinners who are frozen and immobile the righteous who meditate on the law flourish like a Tree planted by streams of water bearing fruit and whose leaves never fade.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

wise simply

Sirch 4:11-19; Psalm 119 O Lord, great peace have they who love your law; MArk 9:38-40

In today's first reading we encounter the beautiful imagery of Lady Wisdom who "breathes life into her children and admonishes those who seek her. He who loves her loves life; those who seek her will be embraced by the Lord. He who holds her fast inherits glory..."

Wisdom, the gift of wisdom imparted to the soul, is that which enables and empowers the soul to understand the highest causes of things and to order his life accordingly. The one who is wise simply is the one that sees more clearly and thus chooses most perfectly the path that leads to the Highest Cause, God, in all that unfolds in life. HE is the one that taste things as they really her.

Wisdom enables us to direct our life according to God's plan and thus the first fruit of wisdom in the soul is Charity, responding in love to the one who is Love and thus we become wise simply.

Today in the church we celebrate the memorial of St. Polycarp. He was a student at the feet of St. John the Evangelist, the guy who wrote the gospel of John and other things.

Polycarp knew the man who the Man, Jesus Christ. So he got first hand experience of what JEsus was like through St. John. Imagine what that would have been like. Talk about a "rock" star.

Polycarp eventually becomes a bishop in the church and he served in Smryna, which is in modern day Turkey. At the age of 86 years he was arrested by the Roman Pro-counsel and was asked to die or renounce his faith in christ.

Polycarps response was the following, "For 86 years I have served Him and He has never wronged me. How Can I renounce the one who has saved me."

Thus, Polycarp was led to the amphitheater where he was put to death.

Polycarp was wise simply...He knew the Highest Cause of things and thus he was empowered to order his life accordingly. Martyrs like Polycarp don't choose death but rather they choose life, they choose to live for Him from whom all life comes and all life returns.

Here is man who was filled with wisdom and nothing could deter him from returning the favor to the One who favored Him.
His words to the Po-counsel are filled with wisdom, "For 86 years I have served Him and He has never wronged me. How can I renounce the one who has saved me!"

St. Polycarp pray for us!

Lady Wisdom "comes back to bring him happiness and reveal her secrets to them and she will heap upon him treasures of knowledge and an understanding of justice..."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chair of Peter: a seat at the table for all

1 peter 5:1-4; Psalm 23 The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want; Matthew 16:13-19

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Chair of Peter.

This an intriguing feast dedicated not so much to a piece of furniture but to the office it represents: The cathedra of Peter, is the office of teaching in faith and morals given to Peter and his successors.

When in St. Peter's Basilica, by the final altar in the apse, we encounter the Chair of Peter, which is a beautiful Artistic rendition by Bernini.

What is most striking about the Chair is that the apostle Peter is missing; he is not present. The Chair floats above , supported by great teachers of the east and West and yet remains empty.

What is also striking is at the center of the chair is a window that is flooded with light depicting a dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

The dove reminds us that God is the source of light and illumination. The Church itself becomes a place of encounter, a window, where the world is permeated by his radiance, his light.

The Church becomes a meeting place, where God meets us and we find God. All this is empowered by the gift of himself. This meeting place, this authentic place of encoutner is guaranteed by christ who makes Peter the rock upon which the church is built, the one the Father speaks to.

The chair, the empty throne also reveals much. It reveals the abiding presence of the apostle, who as teacher remains present in his successors. It is the throne of truth and faith that recalls the words of Jesus in today's gospel,

"Blessed are you Simon, Son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father...You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, the gates of the nether world shall not prevail. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven...what you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. What you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

The empty space of the chair recalls the authority Jesus gives to Peter and his successors, illumined by the Spirit and light from above, to lead the flock and to gather them to Christ the Good Shepherd.

The chair of Peter is not about Peter, primarily it is about Peter and his successors leading us to Christ and then back to God himself, who started it all.

In faith in God we allow Peter, the one Jesus chooses, to lead us to Christ himself so that Christ can lead us to the Father of lights.

The chair is not about who Lords over the people but it is the hard chair of service, primacy of faith and the primacy of love reign in service to mankind, in service to Christ.

Only where faith leads to love can we truly encounter hope and the three gather together around the chair upon which the church is built as a meeting place between God and man and back to God.

Here truth is made known in loving service to all.

Simon, son of are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.

The church is the Father' s gift to the world. What a gift!

view pictures of the chair of Peter Here

Monday, February 21, 2011

It is not fair

Leveticus 19:1-2,17-18; Matthew 5:38-48

Just a few soundbites from the gospel on sunday:
"you have heard that it was said an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth but I say resist no evil"

"someone strikes you on the cheek turn and offer them the other"

"someone takes you to court over your tunic, give them your cloak"

"someone presses you to go 1 mile then go with them two"

"you have heard it was said love your neighbor hate your enemies but I say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you might be children of your heavenly Father who let's the sun shine on good and wicked and rain fall on just and unjust"

"be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect"

So what's the deal. Doesn't sound fair does it.
Someone hits on your cheek give them the other; go the extra mile; they want the shirt off your back then give them your cloak and stand naked before them; to your enemies give your love and prayers.

What about restitution? What about compensation for injury and hurt? What about redeeming our honor? What about getting even or getting back? Where is the fairness?

Here is the deal! Jesus does not come to teach us how to play fair! Jesus comes to show us how to be like God!

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect! Be holy for I am the lord your God is holy!

God is not about getting even or getting back He is always from all eternity the one who gives!

Even Jesus stands naked giving everything as he is stripped before the crowd as he is crucified. When people want to make themselves his enemies he prays for them: Father forgive them they know not what they do.

Give! Godlike! Is this not how we encounter true life: glory of God is man alive!

Friday, February 18, 2011

true grit

Words from Pope Benedict

"First of all, we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its "popularity" or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response."

Now for the words of Jesus in today's gospel, "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 and that of the gospel will save it

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?

What could one give in exchange for his life?

Whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels

It takes a lot of grit to hear the words ofd Christ and follow them. JEsus needs disciples that are gritty, willing to get their hands and knees dirty. Those that let nothing stand in their way.

A disciple should have the mentality of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood in the Westerns. We walk with swagger and ride high in the saddle unafraid of the high noon challenge knowing that we all get called out in the end.

True Grit...rugged and worn from bring love to the world. Nothing should stand our way; no obstacle should interfere. We gather our possse, the communion of believers, living and deceased, Church triumph, church militant and church suffering and we ride out full speed ahead.

We may not be popular, we may get bad press, people will scoff and even spit in our direction but in the end being unashamed him will make all the difference.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

return to innocence

Today we continue our reading of the creation account and we pick up where Noah gets out of the ark and embraces this new beginning.

In some sense the new beginning parallels the original beginning. We hear similar words of commissioning. Just like Adam and Eve, Noah and his family is given the commission to "Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth."

However there is a difference. Adam and Eve were told to subdue the earth and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on it."

Noah and his family were not given this proclamation. Different words are used. The sacred writer uses the words that we encounter into today's reading, "dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about the ground and all the fishes of the sea."


It is a new beginning but it is not the same. Things can never be the same. Something of the innocence of the original experience of Adam and eve in paradise is lost.

The tragedy of sin.

Yet it isn't lost for ever only for a time. That innocence can be ours but it comes at a price. His blood must be shed, our life must be lived in faith in the power of the cross, purification must take hold, and only then can we truly return to innocence.

Is this not why we hear those words in the gospel, "He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days."

The price of innocence!

Until then we must deal with fear and only perfect love cast out fear as St. JOhn tells us in his letters. Love of Him whom conquerors, this love alone can destroy fear and bring about a return to innocence.

Here is a little pick me up song

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

new beginnings...

The day the dove did return, what a glorious day that must have been, a sign of hope,a promise of a new beginning that awaited man who was kept safe and sound on the ark.

New beginnings...

How often do we encounter that gift from God?
How often does he grant us new beginnings?

In order for the new beginning to be granted and accepted the dove had to not return. Something was lost in order for the new day to begin.

This is important for us to remember. We cannot retain everything if we wish to start over and begin anew.

Some things must be lost in order for the new beginning promised by God to take hold of our lives.

What do we refuse to let go of?
What do keeps us bound?
What in our life wards off the new beginning promised by God?

heart was grieved

Yesterday we had quite the moving reading from Genesis.

The beautiful story of creation and all its imagery of life abundant streaming forth out of Paradise, Eden, quickly turns sour. In just a short 2 chapters after the creation account, God's heart is grieved and destruction comes.

God chooses to undo his hard work, as the first reading ends with those dreadful words, "the waters of the flood came upon the earth."

It seems throughout human history God has watched man turn away from Him and choose something less. He has watched man afflict pain on himself because of those choices. He has offered us the world, given us paradise, promised us the highest standard of living and time and time again we have chosen to settle for less.

Is This not why Jesus gives us those words of warning in the gospel, "be on guard against the leaven of the Pharisees..."

Be on guard!

Jesus invites us to no longer throw caution to the wind, but rather precede cautiously in life, attentive to the choices we make. How easy we are distracted!

HOw easy we focus on the wrong things!

Even the disciples start to lose sight of the most important as they begin to worry about the loaf of bread they brought with them in the boat.

Here they are with the one they saw multiply the loaves and fish, not once but twice, and yet they find themselves again concerned for all the wrong things.


Jesus says it best, "And do you not remember?"

Here is the problem we encounter in our faith. How often do we forget what God can do? How often we fail to recall his power, his promise, his guiding hand, his abiding presence?

How often our struggle in faith is really a struggle with our forgetfulness.
It is our inability to recall that slowly weakens our faith and causes deterioration.

Is this not why Jesus at the last supper invites his disciples, invites us, to "do this in memory" of him. Our memory is intimately tied to our faith life.

They must go together.

THis is how we keep from settling for less. This is how we keep from turning away from Him.
Be on guard, that is guard your memory, hold fast to the things God has revealed and let them fill your cerebral folds time and time again.

So today recall, remember, be strengthen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day: fools rush in

Gensis 4:1-15, 25; Psalm 50 offer to God a sacrifcie of praise; Mark 8:11-13

Valentine's day is quite a magnifiscent day for folly. It is a day when fools rush in, as the song goes, rush forth to express their love, their longing; their hidden reserves become actual as the invisible and interior reality of love that had captivated and captured them now becomes visible and in some sense unleashed on the world.

The sweet taste of chocolates caresses the taste buds. The fragrant aroma of freshly blooming flowers, a garden of love, activates memory glands. Dinner reservations are filled. Soft music can be heard playing softly to the rhythm of hearts unaware of love's seduction.

On the lips, love's fresh scent lingers and longs for reunion when the clock strikes 5.

Valentine's Day where folly is unleashed on the world and the world has never been better for it.

Folly and love, in deed in order for one to give himself to love completely then the fool he must learn to play, for the risk involved kills softly the selfishness that hinders loves growth. It takes the genius of folly to truly love deeply.

Is this not what the Cross reveals daily, moment by moment. Folly triumphs so that love can stand victorious, stronger than death.

The folly of the cross, the foolishness of dying to self, carrying the cross, seeking the will of God has set the world a blaze with love flaming like fire. Is this not the sign the pharisees sought in today's gospel.

And what comes of this love between human hearts set ablaze with divine touch.

As the book of Genesis recounts for us today on this feast of love, "The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying "I have produced a man with the help of the Lord..."

True love longs to give birth, to bring forth a community. True love breeds that seed of immortality as a child is born into the world. The child stands forever, whether wanted or not, an immortal reality of love shared touched by the hand of God.

Love is meant to be forever. Human love with the help of God enters into eternity and brings eternity into time.

As is said in a latin proverb, "A man is not where he lives, but where he loves."

Again, Love is not just looking at each other, but looking in the same direction, a gaze set on eternity.

Today is the feast of St, Cyril and Methodius. These brothers were missioanries who brought the gospel to the Slavic people. They were the ones who carried love with them where ever they went.

It is fitting to celebrate their feast today. For as we recall from the Sound of Music, " a bell is not a bell until you ring it; a song is not a song until you sing it; and love in you heart was not put there to stay; love is not love until you give it away."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

St Ephrem

Lord, who can comprehend even one of your words? We lose more of it than we grasp, like those who drink from a living spring. For God’s word offers different facets according to the capacity of the listener, and the Lord has portrayed his message in many colors, so that whoever gazes upon it can see in it what suits him. Within it he has buried manifold treasures, so that each of us might grow rich in seeking them out.

The word of God is a tree of life that offers us blessed fruit from each of its branches. It is like that rock which was struck open in the wilderness, from which all were offered spiritual drink. As the Apostle says: They ate spiritual food and they drank spiritual drink.

And so whenever anyone discovers some part of the treasure, he should not think that he has exhausted God’s word. Instead he should feel that this is all that he was able to find of the wealth contained in it. Nor should he say that the word is weak and sterile or look down on it simply because this portion was all that he happened to find. But precisely because he could not capture it all he should give thanks for its riches.

Be glad then that you are overwhelmed, and do not be saddened because he has overcome you. A thirsty man is happy when he is drinking, and he is not depressed because he cannot exhaust the spring. So let this spring quench your thirst, and not your thirst the spring. For if you can satisfy your thirst without exhausting the spring, then when you thirst again you can drink from it once more; but if when your thirst is sated the spring is also dried up, then your victory would turn to your own harm.

Be thankful then for what you have received, and do not be saddened at all that such an abundance still remains. What you have received and attained is your present share, while what is left will be your heritage. For what you could not take at one time because of your weakness, you will be able to grasp at another if you only persevere. So do not foolishly try to drain in one draught what cannot be consumed all at once, and do not cease out of faintheartedness from what you will be able to absorb as time goes on.

big as we ought ot be

Sirach 15:15-20; Psalm 119 blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord; 1 corinthians 2:6-10; Matthew 5:17-37

Did you hear the words that Jesus spoke in today's gospel. If you did you should be starled, aghast, left scratching your head. Here is the one who comes ot show us God's love and yet he speaks these harsh words, "if your eye cause you to sin then tear it out...if your arm cause you to sin then cut it off, better to go through life lame then have your whole body thrown into Gehenna."

Wow!startling indeed. Talk about a gut check. Jesus means business. We love to speak these words to criminals and wicked people, but we must remember these words were spoken to Jesus' disicples, the ones who sat at his feet, who chose to follow him. These words are spoken for you and me.

How many of us should have glass eyes and missing appendages?

Is Jesus realy speaking about self-mutilation.
Or even worse, he equate sin with Gehenna. Gehenna was a real place in the time of Jesus. It was the ravine in Hinnon. Ravine in hebrew is "ge" thus we get Ge-Henna.

This was a place that was notorious for the place of pagan worship where men and women would sacrifce their children to this pagan god, Moloch. In the time of Jesus this ravine became a dump, a place of refuse.

Jesus is equating sin with sacrificing your own life and becoming like garbage, refuse.

what an image for Hell.
Striking indeed.

So what are we to do...

Obviousy Jesus doesn't mean for us to take it literally but he does mean for us to take it seriously.

Sin is big becasue love is bigger.
When we down play sin we ultimately downplay love and this is exactly what Jesus does not want us to do.

In order to get at the heart of the word of Jesus, from his lip to our ears we need to go to the beginning of today's gospel.

Jesus tells his disciples, "that unless yor righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and pharisee you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

"Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and pharsees."

Sounds like more pressure ot perform.
What is righteousness?

This is a big word in the biblical record. Remember Jesus tells John the baptist to baptize him to fulfill all righteousness.

What is it and how does it impact us.


Recently my brother and his family inhereted some land. On this land is a house, some brush and a small stream.

So my brother would take his chidlren to this stream to seine for bait. IT was cheaper this way. When they would go to the river fishing or to my dad's pond fishing, they would first go to this stream for bait.

On one of these excurssions, they pulled out of this stream a little catfish.

My nephews and neices were instantly smitten. they wanted it as a pet. At the time it was the size of a bottle cap lid. so my brother indulged them. They put it in a coke bottle and took it home.

Eventually it graduated to a bowl, then a bigger bowl, then a small aquarium. My little nephew began to notice that the bigger the bowl then the bigger the fish got.

He began to be curious about how big this fish could be. He wanted it to be as big as it was created to be, unhindered.

So he pestered my brother and his wife and they bought a 24 gallon aquarium. And the fish, now named 'muddy' really thrived in this big take and got really really big.

So my nephew thought that they needed a bigger aquarium so he wanted to buy a 50 or 100 gallon aquarium. Well, fortunately, my brother put his foot down before it got out of hand.

Noentheless, the reached a compromise and they decided to release the fish back into the wild so that in its natural element it could get as big as it possibly could be. My nephew wanted thte fish to reach its maximum potential, to be as big as it ought to be.

This is what righteousness means. It means in some sense to be as big as we ought to be. Jesus wants to maximize our true potential.

We all love to maximize things. We want to maximize our income, our profit margin, our tax retrun. we want to maximize our job security and our home security.

This is why he invites us to surpass the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees.

We should go beyond, be more, be superabundant in the goodness we embrace and live. We should maximize our potential.

The scribes and pharisee reduced or limited goodness to external acts or observances.

The minimum requirement became their maximum responsibility.
This is what JEsus is getting at. True goodness, to maximize our potential we can not limit ourselves to external acts, external performance. We are not just external beings, we have an interior life.

Jesus wants to get inside of us. This is where Jesus directs his gaze.

Exetrnal is merely a fruit of the internal.

This is why it is not enough to not murder but we should be attentive to the anger, resentment, ill-will. These are the seeds that produce murder.

Again it is not enough to not commit adultery, to have an illicit affair with the one who is not your spouse. Rather we must be attentive to the thought and desires, lustfullness that cause us to burn. This is where we direct our gaze.

The interior life becomes our hindrance. What we think about and what we desire acts like the walls of the aquarium either limiting our growth or maximizing our potential, allowing us to be as big as we ought to be, inside and out.

So we should be serious and aggresive. We should root it out. No thought or desire should go unheeded. Our minds are like gardens in need of cultivation and weeding. You only get what you plant.

Interior love is just as important as the external manifestation that everyone sees.

To be as big as we were meant to be, to maximize our goodness, to be superabundant, inside and out. is our call as a disciple.

This is the goodnews, from His lips to our ears.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


In reading and praying the morning office in Spanish, I came across this little opening hymn. It is very simple and yet deeply spiritual. It struck me as a gentle invitation to change, to simply be present to the Lord.

So here it is in it's natural form:

Gracias, Senor, por la aurora
Gracias, por el Nuevo dia
Gracias, por la eucaristia
Gracias, por nuestra Senora.

Y Gracias, por cada hora
De nuestro andar peregrino

Gracias, por el don divino
De tu Paz y de tu Amor
La alegria y el dolor
Al compartir tu camino.

Simple y moving.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Our lady of lourdes

Today marks the anniversary of the blessed virgin Mary's appearance to St Bernadette in Lourdes France right near the Gave river. In 1858, Mary appeared and over the next few months appeared and conversed with St Bernadette announcing to her that she is the "immaculate Conception."

Today the place is filled with countless visitors on pilgrim seeking healing of a variety forms. There ate beautiful processions to the baths where the sick are lowered and faith becomes a visible reality once again. From the grotto walls, the words of the blessed mother continue to echo forth, pray for the conversion of the world and fast and do penance.

Our mother cares for all.

Today is marked as the world day of the sick. Below I have attatchef pope benefict's letter to the world as he reflects on the sick and suffering in the world.

* *

Dear brothers and sisters!

Every year, on the occasion of the memorial of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes, which is celebrated on Feb. 11, the Church proposes the World Day of the Sick. This circumstance becomes, as the venerable John Paul II desired, the propitious occasion to reflect on the mystery of suffering and, above all, to make our communities and civil society more sensitive to sick brothers and sisters. If every man is our brother, much more are the weak, the suffering and those needful of care, and they must be at the center of our attention, so that none of them feel forgotten or marginalized; in fact, "the true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer. This holds true both for the individual and for society. A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through 'com-passion' is a cruel and inhuman society" ("Spe Salvi," No. 38). May the initiatives that individu
al dioceses promote on the occasion of this day be a stimulus to make care for the suffering more and more effective, also in view of the solemn celebration that will take place at the Marian shrine in Altötting in Germany.

1. I still have in my heart the moment when, during the course of the pastoral visit to Turin, I was able to pause in reflection and prayer before the sacred Shroud, before that suffering countenance, that invites us to meditate on him who took upon himself man's suffering of every age and place, even our sufferings, our difficulties, our sins. How many faithful over the course of history have passed before that sepulchral winding sheet, which covered the body of a crucified man, which in everything corresponds to what the Gospels transmit about the passion and death of Jesus! Contemplating him is an invitation to reflect on what St. Peter writes: "By his wounds we have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24). 

The Son of God has suffered, he has died, but he is risen, it is precisely because of this that those wounds become the sign of our redemption, of our forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father; they become, however, a test for the faith of the disciples and our faith: every time that the Lord speaks of his passion and death, they do not understand, they reject it, they oppose it. For them as for us, suffering is always charged with mystery, difficult to accept and bear. Because of the events that had occurred in Jerusalem in those days the two disciples of Emmaus walk along sadly, and only when the Risen One walks along the road with them do they open up to a new vision (cf. Luke 24:13-31). Even the apostle Thomas manifests the difficulty of believing in the redemptive way of suffering: "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25). 

But before Christ who shows his wounds, his response is transformed into a moving profession of faith: "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). What was at first an insurmountable obstacle, because it was the sign of Jesus' apparent failure, becomes, in the encounter with the Risen One, the proof of victorious love: "Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith" (Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter 2007).

2. Dear sick and suffering ones, it is precisely through the sufferings of the Christ that we are able to see, with eyes of hope, all the maladies that afflict humanity. Rising, the Lord did not take away suffering and evil from the world, but he defeated them at their root. To the arrogance of Evil he opposed the omnipotence of his Love. He has shown us, then, that the way of peace and joy is Love: "As I have loved you, so must you love one another" (John 13:34). Christ, victor over death, is alive and in our midst. And while with St. Thomas we also say: "My Lord and my God!" we follow our Lord in readiness to spend our life for our brothers (cf. 1 John 3:16), becoming messengers of a joy that does not fear pain, the joy of the Resurrection.

St. Bernard said: "God cannot suffer, but he can suffer with." God, who is Truth and Love in person, wanted to suffer for us and with us; he became man to suffer with man, in a real way, in flesh and blood. Into every human suffering, then, there has entered One who shares suffering and endurance; he offers consolation in all suffering, the consolation of the participating love of God, which makes the star of hope rise (cf. "Spe salvi," 39).

I repeat this message to you, dear brothers and sisters, so that you become witnesses through your suffering, your life and your faith.

3. Looking forward to the meeting in Madrid, in August 2011, for World Youth Day, I would also like to address a special thought to young people, especially those who live the experience of sickness. Often, the Passion and the Cross of Jesus cause fear, because they seem to be the negation of life. In reality, it is exactly the contrary! The cross is God's "yes" to mankind, the highest and most intense expression of his love and the source from which flows eternal life. From the pierced heart of Jesus this divine life flows. He alone is capable of liberating the world from evil and make his kingdom of justice, of peace and of love grow, the kingdom to which we all aspire (cf. Message for World Youth Day 2011, 3). 

Dear young people, learn to "see" and to "meet" Jesus in the Eucharist, where he is present for us in a real way, to the point of making himself food for the journey, but know how to recognize and serve him also in those brothers who are poor, sick, suffering and in difficulty, who have need of your help (cf. ibid., 4). To all of you young people, sick and healthy, I repeat the invitation to create bridges of love and solidarity, so that no one feels alone, but near to God and part of the great family of his children (cf. General Audience, November 15, 2006).

4. Contemplating Jesus' wounds our gaze turns to his most sacred Heart in which God's love manifests itself in the supreme way. The Sacred Heart is Christ crucified, with his side opened by the lance, from which blood and water flow (cf. John 19:34), "symbol of the sacraments of the Church, that all men, drawn to the Heart of the Savior, might drink from the perennial font of salvation" (Roman Missal, Preface for the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus). Especially you, dear sick ones, should feel the nearness of this Heart full of love and draw from this font with faith and with joy, praying: "Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. In your wounds, hide me" (Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola).

5. At the end of this message of mine for the next World Day of the Sick, I would like to express my affection to each and every one, feeling myself a participant in the sufferings and hopes that you have daily in union with Christ crucified and risen, that he give you peace and healing of the heart. May the Virgin Mary keep watch over you together with him. We invoke her confidently under the titles Health of the Infirm and Consoler of the Suffering. At the foot of the cross there is realized through her Simeon's prophecy: her Mother's heart is pierced (cf. Luke 2:35). From the abyss of her pain, a participation in her Son's, Mary is made capable of accepting her new mission: to become the Mother of Christ in his members. In the hour of the cross Jesus presents her to all of his disciples: "Behold your son" (cf. John 19:26-27). The maternal compassion for the Son becomes maternal compassion for each one of us in our daily sufferings (cf. Homily at Lourdes, Sept. 15, 2008). 

Dear brothers and sisters, for this World Day of the Sick, I also invite the political authorities to invest more and more in health systems that are a help and a support for the suffering, above all the poorest and the most needy, and, addressing all the dioceses, I offer an affectionate to the bishops, the priests, consecrated persons, seminarians, health workers, volunteers and all of those who dedicate themselves with love to care for and sooth the wounds of every sick brother or sister, in hospitals or nursing homes, in families: in the faces of the sick know how to see always the face of faces -- that of Christ.

I assure everyone a remembrance in my prayer, while I impart to each of you a special apostolic blessing.

From the Vatican, Nov. 21, 2010, Feast of Christ the King of the Universe

Thursday, February 10, 2011

suitable partner: help mate

we continue to read the story of creation. This account certainly has caused a great stir in many circles, especially when it comes to the question of evolution in relation to creation and the creator's hand.

"The story as we have it of dust of the earth meeting the breath of GOd, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. The theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe the biological developments. But in doing so it cannot explain where the "project" of human persons come from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. Thus creation and evolution are complementary." These are words spoken by cardinal ratzinger prior to being Pope Benedict.

He underlies that microbiologist & biochemist have brought revolutionary insights into the inmost mystery of life. They have helped us become aware that there is much in common between machines and organisms, that there seems to be an underlining plan in both. Chance does not seem to be a sufficient explanation for the complexity discovered. just a side note.

So we go to the reading of today where Adam is busy naming the animals, but he isn't naming them to simply name them but he is looking for something, someone.

He is naming them in hopes to find that special someone like himself with an intelligence and free will, made in the image and likeness of God.

He is working in order to discover meaning and value. To name something is to know it and understand it.

He doesn't find it in the animal world.

Animals are lacking something that the human person needs. Animals are not like humans. This is very important. Just a note, when someone describes the inhumane treatment of animals they are describing the fault of the human person to be what it should be not describing the necessity of treating animals like humans.

SO Adam is looking for a suitable partner, a help mate, someone, who in Hebrew word means that whom will help them remember who they are, where they come from and where they are going.

This can be one interpretation of suitable partner or help mate, one who helps the other remember.

Then at last we get the "bone from my bone, flesh from flesh" exclamation.

We see the great gift that man and woman are for each other. The longing is over, the mystery is solved, a soul mate has arrived.

May couples experience that same moment that Adam experienced when he peered across the garden and his eyes met this gift from God, and he knew instantly that this was the one.

For all you who are married, perhaps you can relive that moment of encounter when you were awaken to the gift God had given in your spouse. Go back to the beginning, relive the toil and exhaustion seeking a help mate, and then relive the moment the gift came upon the scene and be grateful and perhaps your love will be given a boost.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

living being

Genesis 2:4-9,15-17

We stare into the beginning as recounted in the book of Gensis. We see the formation of man, how God from the dust formed and then gave life to man with his breath and man becomes a "living being."

In hebrew the word Nephesh, "being" means the following: "soul, self, person, creature, passion, appetite,, mind, desire, emotion."

To be a living being means to be all of that and so much more.

Before we even begin to ponder that reality we must understand and appreciate that to be a "living being" means to be part of God's project

First and fore most we are God's project, his handiwork.

The accout tells us that we have life because we have God's breath within us, "he blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being."

We must never forget we did not make ourselves. we can never be the self-made man or woman we are often tempted to be.

We did not make ourselves. We are not the rulers of the universe. We are limited in our reach, our scope. We do not make ourselves, but rather we can only recieve ourselves as a gift.

We are dust alive in the hands of God, fashioned from God's good earth, carrying within us the very breath of God that animates us.

Here alone discover what we all have common. The great unifying force, from dust we come to dust we go and only in God is life ours.

We are all one humanity formed from God's one earth. In the words of Pope Benedict, "It is this thpught that is at the heart of the creation account and the whole of the Bible. In the face of all human division and human arrogance, where one person sets himself over or against another, humanity is declared to be one creation of God from his one earth."

This is both humbling and consoling; there is no room for racism there is only room for gratitude in diversity.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Genesis 1:20-2:4; Psalm 8 O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth; Gospel Mark 7:1-3

Today is the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita. Born around 1869 in Darfur in Sudan. At the age of nine she was kidnapped by slave traders, beaten til she bled, and sold five times in the slave markets of Sudan

She found herself working for a general where she was flogged every day until she bled; as a result she bore 144 scars on her body throughout her life.

Finally, in 1882, she was bought by an Italian merchant, sent to Italy where she encountered a new master, unlike the terrifying "masters"who owned her up to that point; she used the name "Paron" for the living God, the God of Jesus Christ.

She came to know that she was more than a slave, more than despised, but rather that she was loved.

She had come to know this master who himself accepted his destiny of being flogged and now He was awaiting her at the right hand of the Father.

She now had hope, no longer just looking for a mAster who would not mistreat her but a home where she was, "loved and whatever happens to me-I am awaited by this love. And so my life is good."

She was baptized in 1890 and joined the congregation of the Canossian Sisters she made several trips promoting the missions. The liberation she encountered in Christ, she wanted to extend to others.

The hope born in her that redeemed her, she could not keep to herself.

She sought to share her "Paron" with all, the one whose love moves the sun and stars above.

"God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good."

Monday, February 7, 2011

gravity of salt and light

A reflection on yesterday's readings: you are the salt of the earth and light of the world.

But first a bit of poem by Ron Padget....

Gravidanza is the Italian word
for pregnancy, which sounds
more serious than the English word
and may remind us of sentences such as
"The situation is very grave."
Every situation has gravity,
it's a question of how much.

People too have gravity—
of manner, of morals, and of body.
It is good to have gravity
but not too much of it:
like a bag of cement,
you might not be able to move
around or make ethical distinctions.
But with too little of it
you are flighty, your feet
hardly touch the ground.
Though cement and flightiness
have their charms,
it's better to find
your center of gravity
and have it be the place
you radiate out from.

What is our center gravity and from it what radiates outward.

You are the salt of the earth and light of the world: sounds like our center of gravity as christians. PErhaps we no longer need to search for it, but really just need to live it.

Christ the center of gravity that pulls us forward, keeps us in motion, keeps us in rather than out.

Salt and light that which radiates outward.

Salt is that which makes food taset better and preserves the goodness and integrity of food so that it can be good for longer periods of time.

Light illuminates the path, makes known the way. It also warns oncomers of pending danger and possible harm, like lights on railroad crossing or blinking ights in a school zone, we are meant to slow down and be attentive.

Thus, has Christians we are called to make the world taste better, adding spice to life, enriching the natural flavorsof the good world God created. We are called to preserve goodness in every nook and cranny of the world. Our Presence becomes salty and thus maintains integrity of goodness imbedded in the created world, int he human heart and mind.

We must illumine the path. Like night lights to feet our presence is for the world, not blinding or glaring but simple illiminating.

While we illuminate we must warn of pending danger of decisions made in haste or error.

We can not force not coerce but simple shine. What others do in response to light that is laid bare is really up to them, but in the end it is shining that matters most.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Salt and light: laity

This weekened we will hear in the gospel the famous saying of Jesus: "your are the salt of the earth and light of the world."

This is an important thing to wrap our minds and hearts around. To be salt and to be light isn't primarily about recieving but about giving. How often people judge their spiritual life on the consolation they recieve rather than the gift they bring to others.

how often people we complain about not "getting" anything out of the mass but yet they never once stop to think about what they are bringing or giving.

In the sermon of the mount, Jesus primariyl speaks about our role, what we are to live out, the action that should eminate from us not toward us.

So as a primer for this Sunday's gospe,l below are some aspects and quotes from the Church's teaching on the role of the laity. For the longest time we have expected the priest to do everything while the laity sit back and just do nothing but recieve the benefits. But this not what the church has in mind.

There are lot more of laity then their are of ordained priest & Deacons and religious in the world. So the greater task falls to you, Laity.

So get off your butt, stop compalining about what you don't get and start giving

Here are the excerpts from Lumen Gentium on the Laity

What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature. It is true that those in holy orders can at times be engaged in secular activities, and even have a secular profession. But they are by reason of their particular vocation especially and professedly ordained to the sacred ministry. Similarly, by their state in life, religious give splendid and striking testimony that the world cannot be transformed and offered to God without the spirit of the beatitudes. But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.

The laity are gathered together in the People of God and make up the Body of Christ under one head. Whoever they are they are called upon, as living members, to expend all their energy for the growth of the Church and its continuous sanctification, since this very energy is a gift of the Creator and a blessing of the Redeemer.

The lay apostolate, however, is a participation in the salvific mission of the
Church itself. Through their baptism and confirmation all are commissioned to that apostolate by the Lord Himself. Moreover, by the sacraments, especially holy Eucharist, that charity toward God and man which is the soul of the apostolate is communicated and nourished. Now the laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth (2*).

Thus every layman, in virtue of the very gifts bestowed upon him, is at the same time a witness and a living instrument of the mission of the Church itself "according to the measure of Christ's bestowal".

Upon all the laity, therefore, rests the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all men of each epoch and in every land. Consequently, may every opportunity be given them so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church.
34. The supreme and eternal Priest, Christ Jesus, since he wills to continue his witness and service also through the laity, vivifies them in this Spirit and increasingly urges them on to every good and perfect work.

For besides intimately linking them to His life and His mission, He also gives them a sharing in His priestly function of offering spiritual worship for the glory of God and the salvation of men. For this reason the laity, dedicated to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and wonderfully prepared so that ever more abundant fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. For all their works, prayers and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily occupations, their physical and mental relaxation, if carried out in the Spirit, and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne—all these become "spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ".(199) Together with the offering of the Lord's body, they are most fittingly offered in the celebration of the Eucharist. Thus, as those everywhere who adore in holy activity, the laity consecrate the world itself to God.

The faithful, therefore, must learn the deepest meaning and the value of all creation, as well as its role in the harmonious praise of God. They must assist each other to live holier lives even in their daily occupations. In this way the world may be permeated by the spirit of Christ and it may more effectively fulfill its purpose in justice, charity and peace. The laity have the principal role in the overall fulfillment of this duty. Therefore, by their competence in secular training and by their activity, elevated from within by the grace of Christ, let them vigorously contribute their effort, so that created goods may be perfected by human labor, technical skill and civic culture for the benefit of all men according to the design of the Creator and the light of His Word. May the goods of this world be more equitably distributed among all men, and may they in their own way be conducive to universal progress in human and Christian freedom. In this manner, through the members of the Church, will Christ progressively illumine the whole of human society with His saving light.

Each individual layman must stand before the world as a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and a symbol of the living God. All the laity as a community and each one according to his ability must nourish the world with spiritual fruits.(212) They must diffuse in the world that spirit which animates the poor, the meek, the peace makers—whom the Lord in the Gospel proclaimed as blessed.(213) In a word, "Christians must be to the world what the soul is to the body."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blood that speaks eloquently

Hebrews 12:18-19,21-24; Psalm 48 O GOd, we ponder your mercy within your temple; Mark 6:7-13

What beautiful readings today to get us moving in the right direction.

St. Paul in the letter to Hebrews expounds on the the reality of Christ as the new theophany of God. Unlike in the Old Testament in the ancient days when God would appear in a frightening form of light and thunder as a darkness enveloped a mountain, God appears in a different way,a more perfect manifestation has come in the person of JEsus Christ.

No longer in dense cloud of fear but now in the warmth embrace of arms outstretched for all.

In Christ, in this new manifestation of the presence of God we now have access to "mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of ABel."

There it is! What beauty!

All of that has been made accessible to all of us through the simple and yet profound encounter of Christ in the world. His simple yes to the Father for our sake and for the sake of Love.

Why did Jesus say yes to the cross? Because he did not want nor could he betray love.

The psalmist portrays the most perfect sentiment as we stare into the heavenly reality opened to us through Christ. As we glimpse a piece of eternity, what is our response but , "'O God we ponder your mercy within your temple!"

"As we have heard so we have seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, In the city of God; God makes it firm forever."

It is for all of this, that Jesus gathers the disciples and sends them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick-no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They could wear sandals but not a second tunic.

The only thing they carried with them was the authority over unclean spirits.

No material things could ever substitute for that authority.

But how far have we fallen today. We have lost sight of the gift for the sake of the many things we fill our life with. We substitute all that stuff and have forgotten the one thing that we carry with us in faith that matters most, the presence of Jesus empowering us to cast out unclean spirits.

Today we should rediscover the spirit of detachments to things, rediscover the virtue of poverty, where we depend on God more and less on stuff that fills our cabinets and keeps us weighed down.

We let stuff clutter and the blood of JEsus that speaks eloquently can no longer be heard through us as we journey forth unto the unknown. True poverty is about making sure that what is heard is the blood that has been shed, a blood that speaks of God's plan, God's justice. Where Abel's blood cried for vengeance and justice, Jesus' blood does not cry for vengeance or justice but reveals it, proclaims it, offers it anew to all.

This blood speaks eloquently of God' sjustice that has been revealed in his mercy! For God Mercy and Justice embrace in Christ.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

presentation of the Lord

Malachi 3:1-4; Psalm 24 Who is this king of Glory; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40

You know instantly today must be important because instead of just one reading and the psalm and the gospel we have two readings a psalm and the gospel.

Today is a feast, in fact it is the feast of the presentation of the Lord in the temple, the 4th joyful mystery of the rosary if you are keeping beads, or track which ever you prefer.

In the first reading the prophet Malachi informs us that "suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire."

These words should be taken as a prologue to the words of JEsus the night before he died when gathered in the upper room with his apostles he spoke those words we continue to speak every time we gather at the altar, "this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you." Lk 22:19

This is why on this day, the presentation, there was often a procession of candles to signify the light of the world has come and the covenant as been ratified.

The words of Simeon ring true, "a light for revelation to the gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."

This covenant is a covenant of light. Instantly we should go back to the first moment of creation when God spoke, "let light be, light was."

From the beginning God has wanted to fill the world with light to drive away the chaos and darkness. And now in Christ that light comes to illuminate the path before us. The light comes to be radiant. We now share in that radiance, that brilliance, that light.

We become the candles that carry the torch to brighten up the day and illuminate the night.

A prayer of Mother Teresa

O God, we believe You are here
We adore and love you with our whole heart and soul
because you are most worthy of our love.
We desire to love You as the blessed in Heaven.
We adore all the designs of Your divine Providence, resigning ourselves entirely to your will.
We also love our neighbor for Your sake as we love ourselves
We sincerely forgive all who have injured us, and ask pardon of all whom we have injured.

Dear JEsus help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and posses our whole being, so utterly,
that our lives may only be a radiance of Yours.

Shine through us, and be so in us,
That every soul we come in contact with may feel Your presence in our soul.

Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus.
Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine as You shine.

So to Shine as to be a light to others.

The light O Jesus will be all from You, non of it will be ours.
It will be you shining on others through us.

Let us thus praise You in the way You love best by shining on those around us. AMen

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Today we read two beautiful readings, one from Hebrews and the other from the gospel of Mark.

Paul tells us to keep our eyes fixed on jesus the giver and perfecter of our faith. Unlike him we have not yet resisted sin to the point of shedding blood. This is a necessary boost for us.

Many of us struggle with sinful habits or reoccurrent vices that seem to trap us and keep us down. Yet Paul informs and encourages us to keep pushing forward. We are to keep resisting and only in the struggle will we encounter the strength. Only in choosing to fight will we come to know the grace of victory.

We have not resisted to the point of shedding old which means there is still work to be done. It also means that the easy way is no way at all.

Secondly in the gospel we encounter Jesus performing miracles. He cures the woman with the affliction and raises the daughter of Jarius, the 12 year old girl.

We like the miracle stories. They come across like a Hallmark special or made for tv program where things turn out swell.

But the question remains, "what exactly does the cure cure."

The miracles do not cure them of the problem of pain and death. These still remain. In fact the woman and little vigil still need to face the harsh reality of the ultimate darkness.

So what is the point. The miracles are meant to get us to look beyond. They invite us to redirect our gaze on the one who shows us the way through the darkness. They give us pause to check where our focus is. Are we just looking out for today or do we have our gaze set for something more,

In Calcutta in a home for the dying and destitute run by the sisters of charity, there is a sign on the morgue that reads, "I am on my way to heaven."

We must not blink but rather fix our gaze. As mother Teresa stated once, "I've never known anyone who feared death who witnessed the love of God in this life."