The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

The Precious Blood Leadership Lenten reflections website is finally working, somewhat. I will point you to them each day, since the site itself is not exactly user friendly yet. The experiences are pretty rich.

The HRI conference I am at is very exciting. I wish you were all here.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:47 PM link
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Wednesday of the First Week

The Readings
Jonah 3:1-10 God sends Jonah to preach to Nineveh
Psalm 51 A heart contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not spurn.
Luke 11:29-32 No sign given except the sign of Jonah

St. Gaspar
Let us praise God who makes use of the weakest of instruments for the great work of his glory"

Sometimes the means that seem to us to be the weakest are the ones that God makes use of for the great works of his glory, and from the lives of the saints this appears to be quite evident. Stress to all that they are to pray and offer frequent prayers; that they often kiss the wounds of Jesus (at least in spirit); that from time to time they mentally return to Calvary; that they consider their own wretchedness - and any other thoughts that you find helpful according to the needs that those souls have.

“A Book to be read. It is the Crucifix.”

The book of Jonah is an amazing story. Since no sign except the Sign of Jonah will be given this generation, it is important to read and understand this whole story. There is a great deal more to this prophet than just three days in the belly of a whale. Jonah was an irreverent and disobedient Hebrew prophet. The pagan sailors had a greater respect for life and reverence for God. God desired repentance. Jonah preached destruction. Still God accomplishes his purpose through the prophet Jonah. God’s instructions to Jonah were very clear and even at the end of the story Jonah does not get it. Still God is compassionate and so at the end is gently respecting Jonah’s feelings while quietly reminding Jonah of the truth.

The Sign of Jonah is not some mystical vision or magical locution. We don't trust in magic or long for grand occurrences. The Sign of Jonah is the presence of God in unlikely places. God is found in foreign lands and among foreign people. He is found among the stranger, the pagan, the enemy. He is found in our struggles, our difficulties and in our sorrows. He is found in the crucified one. God reveals himself in second chances, remaining faithful to his word yet accomplishing his work even through the disobedient. The intensity of God's love is for all people, as well as plants, and the cattle. For St. Gaspar, reading the book of the cross was a place to find the sign of Jonah. In Jonah God accomplishes his work through the weakest of servants and on the Cross God is revealed in the presence of a beaten, broken, condemned criminal. The cross was the unlikely place to find God. It is there we find mercy in his blood.

• Where in my weakness and disobedience might I find the presence and action of God?
• Where do I need the greatest change?
• How might I allow God to use me for the great work of his glory?

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:30 PM link
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Tuesday of the First Week

The Readings
Isaiah 55:10-11, The Word drenches the earth, bearing fruit, doing God's will.
Psalm 34 From all their distress God rescues the just.
Matt 6:7-15, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray.

St. Gaspar
The more one prays, the more good can be done.

Let us develop everything by the use of prayer.

Here, then, is the method which I would like to have you adopt:

1. After the noon meal, no application of the mind. Rather, a visit to the church, a bit of a walk into the countryside at a scheduled time, and a few soft, ejaculatory prayers will be sufficient, or, a brief glance into your relationship with God as seen through all things. It will be useful for you to sing the praises of the things of God, as found, for example, in the Psalms etc.; but also, a bit of the customary repose, since you are obliged likewise to preserve your health.

2. Meditations made from books are no longer your thing, but, rather, at an opportune time in the morning to place yourself in a state of silence. Do nothing, but only listen to the voice of God. You might say: "Lord, here I am at your beck and call." Allow your heart to speak with God, uttering its deep affection; do not get into reflective thoughts, except those that God himself arouses; rather, say: Lord speak to your servant ... oh would that I had always loved you." Then, look with tender glances at the crucifix and be filled with sentiments of confidence and trust in the Lord.

3. Offer only a few vocal prayers. Maintain a continuous realization of the presence of God; utter continual stream of aspirations as an incessant plea in the presence of God.

4. However, be occupied also in external works ... the Oratory ... the sick. All of this, of course, depending on your strength. Try this method for a bit, and you will begin to see the effects.

The Lord teaches his disciples to pray. Prayer is so central to this intimate relationship. This prayer he teaches is so simple, we learn this as children. It is so complete, the ancients call it the summary of the whole gospel and use it as an outline for their treatises on Prayer. So direct and intimate is addressed to "Abba". How comfortable are we to call God, “daddy”? Sometimes we seem to have trouble with using such familial terms with God so we resort to the more proper and formal "Father". Jesus rests easily and trustfully in that intimate communion with his Father, and he, in this prayer, gives us too the capacity for God. We can scarcely contain the whole world, yet we have been given the privilege of being home for God. This intimate communion with God and the realization of his mercy leads us to forgiveness of others and communion with all. For St. Gaspar prayer was the key to everything, to heaven itself. It was the anchor. . It would accomplish everything and nothing could be accomplished without it.

• Describe how it feels to be able to speak with God as with a friend?
• What do I want to accomplish this week? How have I made prayer part of the plans?
• How do I hear the call to service and forgiveness in this prayer?

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 12:05 AM link
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