Fifteen Minutes with Jesus

I went to visit Jesus today at the adoration chapel named after his grandmother, St. Anne, whose feast day is fast approaching (July 26). I was glad that I went because there was no one there. It was bad enough to hear the account of Jesus’ disciples falling asleep in the garden of Gethsemane, but seeing the place empty caused a sadness to fall over me. This feeling was short-lived as Jesus had me look around to remind me that He was in the good company of the Holy Family. Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph were behind on either side and in a corner was St. Anne. The quietness was briefly interrupted by the noise of someone manicuring the grass outside. After this initial interlude of sadness and noise I settled in mentally to start my visit with the Lord.

Of the many visits I have made over the years, one would think that I would have some sort of routine down pat by now. But that isn’t so. It seems that no two visits are the same. I’ve come at times with a lot on my heart where I’ve done a lot of the talking and there have been times when I came and just sat and tried to listen. I found that being still and listening is the harder of the two – heck, there have been a few times where I have even dozed off just like the disciples.

I’ve tried many things such as praying the rosary, reading scripture or a book on the life of a saint. I’ve even spent a span of time when I would write what was on my mind in a journal while visiting Jesus. Even though I would often leave feeling more at peace I was still looking for that moment such as Moses hearing God in the burning bush. I had created a certain expectation in my relationship with God and since this wasn’t being met, according to my human mind, I felt that I was doing something wrong.

A few years ago I came across a book, Manual for Eucharistic Adoration, and feeling that I needed some help, I bought it. Most times I take it with me although at times it feels like it is taking me along because of what it has revealed. I have never read this book of 220 pages cover to cover, but I have opened it to different places and have been surprised by what I’ve read at random. It truly seems that the Lord is choosing the selections because I couldn’t or wouldn’t have chosen any better.

Being a Secular Franciscan, I recently found starting on page 93 a section titled, Adoring Jesus Christ with St. Francis, immediately followed by St. Clare, Seraphic Lover of the Blessed Sacrament. These have been the pages I go to often unless guided differently.

Today was one of those different days. On page 133, I discovered a section headed, Fifteen Minutes in the Company of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It started out with, “My child, you need not know much in order to please Me.

Wow! I thought. He’s speaking to me. I continued reading.

“Only love me dearly. Speak to Me simply, as you would talk to your mother, if she had taken you in her arms.” These words had really captured my attention and melted any concerns or worries I had when I came in.

They jumped off the page when next I read; “Have you no one to recommend to Me?”

Oh, do I, Lord! Where do I start?

I started with my children and grandchildren, however, just in case I had no one in mind He had me tell Him the names of my relations. It turned out that this was no different than having a conversation with a very intimate friend.

The Lord kept asking questions and providing even many suggestions just to jar my memory. He had a way of putting me at ease. I immediately thought of the passage that said, “Before you were born I knew every hair on your head.”

At the end of the fourth page I was being dismissed with the instruction to, “Love My mother, who is also your mother, the Blessed Virgin, and return again tomorrow, bringing Me a heart even more devoted and loving. Tomorrow I shall have new favors for you. In My heart, you will always find new love, new benefits, new comforts.”

These words which I soon found out, attributed to St. Anthony Mary Claret, were exactly what I needed to read today. I turned to one of St. Francis’ prayers for Adoration; “You are holy, Lord, the only God, You do wonders.” (Psalm 76:15)


Are You Wasting Your Leftovers?

To answer this question, we need to look at the readings from the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 25, 2021). In both the first reading (2 Kings 4:42- 44) and the Gospel (John 6: 1-15) we have different people assessing a situation where there is a scarcity of resources. Although the numbers to be fed vary greatly – 100 in the first reading versus 5000 plus in the Gospel – the results come about strictly in relying on God’s abundance. This abundance creates leftovers but before we address that let us look at how each person tries to deal with this situation.

In the first reading the servant objects at Elisha’s instruction to give the twenty barley loaves and fresh grain in the ear to the people to eat. He responds, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” He makes a mathematical evaluation and sees the scarcity of resources. Elisha, the man of God, insists saying, “Give it to the people to eat. For thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’” His faith and reliance are on God. The servant did as he was told and the reading ends with, “And they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.” (2 Kgs 4:44)

In the Gospel, Jesus sees a large crowd coming to Him. He asks Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Philip seems to be overwhelmed by how much it would cost to meagerly feed the crowd. Another disciple, Andrew, finds a boy in the crowd who has five barley loaves and two fish but again just like the servant of the first reading he looks at the scarcity of resources and says, “but what good are these for so many?”

The responses and reactions we have read of so far begs to ask ourselves, how do we see the world? Do we only see the scarcity or the Divine abundance? Do we make God part of the solution? Do we pray?

“Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them.” They also had as much fish as they wanted. When they had their fill, Jesus told the disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”  

The leftovers

Leftovers brought to memory the meals I would have with family, especially when my mom was alive, where I would not only be filled but I was sent home with leftovers. Do you know that some Italian dishes such as lasagna and eggplant parmesan are better the next day, when all the ingredients have had a chance to rest and form that perfect marriage between the pasta, cheeses, sauce and herbs.?

There were twelve baskets of leftovers in John’s Gospel, one for each of the twelve disciples. There are always leftovers when we get fed from God, especially at Mass. We have the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist. We are fed and leave the church filled by the Eucharist and we are to bring that excess to others we meet. Our sharing of what God has done in our lives with others is like sharing a piece of yesterday’s lasagna. It is all done out of God’s abundance and love for every one of us. Please do not waste the leftovers.