Monday, March 19, 2018

Daily Thought For March 19, 2018

Practicing Works Of Mercy
   Imitating Jesus in his merciful compassion for those in need can often mean giving support and company to the lonely, to the sick, to people who suffer a shameful or barefaced poverty. We try to share their pain and help them sanctify it, as well as trying to remedy their situation as far as we can. Think of how consoling it can be for such a person to have a spell of company, made possible perhaps by sacrificing a bit of free time we may have been looking forward to enjoying. Our simple and friendly conversation with some sick or old person, which should never lack a certain supernatural tone — some uplifting news about the apostolate, maybe — leaves them with a little more faith and confidence in God. Tactfully and helpfully, we can offer them some little service, making their bed perhaps, or reading them part of some agreeable or possibly even amusing spiritual book.
     Every day it is getting more and more necessary to ask God to give us a merciful heart towards all, because as society becomes more dehumanized men's hearts are becoming harder and more insensitive. Justice is a fundamental virtue, it is true, but justice of itself is not enough: charity is needed too. No matter how much social legislation and working conditions improve, men will always need the warmth of a human heart, fraternal and friendly, which is able to identify with those situations that justice alone cannot remedy, because Christian charity cannot be limited to giving things or money to the needy. It seeks, above all, to respect and understand each person for what he is, in his intrinsic dignity as a man and a child of God.
     Mercy should cause us to forgive promptly and from the heart, even though the other party isn't sorry for what has happened or rebuffs our attempts to make up. The Christian cannot harbor any resentment in his heart; he is not at loggerheads with anybody. We have to love also those who are unhappy through their own fault, or even through their own evil actions. The only question God asks us is if that person is unhappy, if he is suffering, because that is enough to make him worth your interest. Try, of course, to protect him from his evil passions, but the moment he suffers, be merciful. 'You shall love your neighbor, not when he deserves it, but because he is your neighbor.'
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 4 pp. 522-524

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Daily Thought For March 18, 2018

Surprises In Heaven
     I have often thought that perhaps I owe all the graces with which I have been blessed to some little soul whom I shall know only in heaven.
     Some time ago, I was watching the almost imperceptible flicker of a tiny night light. One of the sisters came up and, having lit her own candle in the dying flame, passed it round to light the candles of the others, and the thought came to me: Who dares glory in her own works? 
     Just one such faint spark can set the whole world on fire. We are so aware of the bright light of the saints set high on the church’s candlestick, and we think we are receiving from them grace and light. But from whence do they borrow their fire? Very possibly from the prayers of some devout and hidden soul whose inward light is not apparent to human eyes, some soul of unrecognized virtue, and in her own sight, of little worth—a dying flame!
     What mysteries shall we one day see revealed! For it is God’s will that here below, we shall give to one another the heavenly treasures with which our Father has enriched us. 

from Simply Surrender Based on the Little Way of Thérèse of Lisieux

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Daily Thought For March 17, 2018

God Always Offers A Helping Hand

Peter stayed on his feet - even when facing the greatest difficulties - as long as he acted with supernatural outlook, with faith, with confidence in the Lord. Later, in order to stay afloat, to receive God's help, he had to cooperate, because when our cooperation is lacking divine help also ceases. It was our Lord who helped him to go on. 

Peter recovered his faith and confidence in Jesus. He climbed aboard the boat with him, and at that moment the wind ceased and calm was restored to the seas and to the hearts of the disciples. They recognized Jesus as their Lord and God. Those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, Truly, you are the Son of God. 
The experience of our personal weakness will serve for us to find Jesus who puts out his hand and enters our heart, giving us great peace in the midst of any trial. We should learn never to be afraid of God, who presents himself in ordinary things, as well as in the physical or moral sufferings we may experience in our lives. Have confidence; it is I, do not fear. God never delays coming to our rescue, and never fails to remedy every need. He arrives — at times in a hidden and mysterious way — at the opportune time. And when, for whatever reason, we find ourselves in a difficult situation — with the wind against us — He comes close to us. He may pass as if to continue on so that we will call out to him, but He will not delay in coming to our side when we do. 

If at times we realize that we are out of our depth, that we are sinking, we should repeat with Peter, Lord, save me! We should neither doubt his Love nor his merciful hand. We should not forget that God does not demand the impossible. Instead, when He makes a request, He asks that we do what we can do, that we ask for what we cannot do and for his help to carry it out.  

What certainty our Lord gives us! He has guaranteed his protection. I do not depend on my own strength. I have in my hands his written word. This is my strength, my certainty, my tranquil haven. Even if the entire world is shaken, I read the written word I carry with me, for it is my fortress, my defense. And what does this word tell me? 'I will be with you until the end of the world, ' it says. 

Christ is with me. What shall I fear? Let the waves of the sea and the fury of the powerful come upon me. That will not weigh me down any more than a spider's web. Let us not let go of his hand. He does not let go of ours. 

from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 4 pp. 337-338

Friday, March 16, 2018

Daily Thought For March 16, 2018

Apply The Brakes! The Need For Holy Leisure

     Have you ever found yourself wishing for a big snowstorm that would shut everything down for a few days? Sure, snow can give rise to any number of headaches. But at the same time, snow days can force us into slowing our life's pace a little bit. When work, school, and activities are canceled (and possibly the Internet is down too), we receive a gift of time during which we can play board games, bake treats, reconnect with one another, curl up with a good book, and take a much needed "breather." 
     Taking breathers is not something we Americans are especially good at doing. Surveys reveal that we spend more time on the job than workers in almost every other nation. Our children's lives are typically overbooked as well, their days being filled with sports practices, music and dance lessons, club activities, and increasing amounts of homework. 
     All sorts of negative consequences can arise from excessive activity. We become candidates for burnout and place' ourselves at risk for stress and the related problems of eating disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, depression, drug and alcohol abuse-even suicide! We rob ourselves of opportunities to daydream, reflect, and have fun. Parents don't spend time enjoying their children and passing along their values and adult wisdom. Friends and spouses don't communicate with one another as they should. And we deprive ourselves of the sleep we need, making us crabby, less productive on the job, vulnerable to illness, and dangerous behind the wheel. Giraffes may sleep only thirty minutes a day. We, however, need at least seven or eight hours of restful sleep. 
     Excessive activity can compromise our spiritual life as well, as Jesus himself cautions us. "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy," he warned, "from ... the anxieties of daily life" (Lk 21:34). When he spoke these words, he was referring to his coming again in glory at the end of time. He didn't want his listeners to be so distracted and busy that they wouldn't be prepared to greet him when he came. But his words are intended for us too. He knows that frenzied activity can produce a flimsy faith, and he longs for us to recognize him when he comes into our lives today. 
     Jesus invites us to slow down, just as he encouraged his disciples to slow down. Once, the disciples had come back together after having been away on missionary journeys, and they surely must have been exhausted. We can also imagine that they wanted to swap tales and share their experiences with each other. Yet so many people were pressing in to speak with Jesus, and with them, that they couldn't find an opportunity to rest and reconnect. And so Jesus, recognizing the disciples' need, invited them to get away from the crowds and spend some time together in a deserted place (sec Mk 6:30-32). 
     The challenge for us is this: If Jesus thought it important to rest and spend quality time with those he loved, shouldn't we do the same? In other words, if as Christians we are to live in imitation of Jesus, then we need to make time for family, friends, and refreshment. The earliest Christians knew this. Their leaders, such as Saint Augustine, emphasized the need for Otium Sanctum, Latin for "holy leisure," which we might understand as slowing down by stepping back from work, not in order to waste time, but use it to nourish our relationships with God and others. 
     We need "holy leisure" because we all can benefit from a measure of balance in our lives. In fact, this is such an important topic that our Church has stressed, in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, that leisure is necessary to foster "familial, cultural, social, and religious life." Elsewhere, this same document hopes: "May this leisure be used properly to relax, to fortify the health of soul and body through spontaneous study and activity." Understood this way, leisure time is not wasted time, a conclusion sometimes made in our productivity-obsessed world. Instead, leisure allows us to fulfill our need to spend time with ourselves, spend time with each other, and spend time with the Lord. 
     For the health of our bodies and souls, let's find time for leisure time. Let's gather around our tables and share our stories with each other. Let's open a book or watch a movie that might stretch our minds or soften our hearts. Let's exercise and get the blood really flowing through our veins. Take a good hard look at your commitments and obligations and consider cutting out a few things. Reach out and touch that person you've been meaning to call for so long. Stare at the clouds and dream dreams. Rediscover an old hobby or take up a new one. Play with your kids. Take a mental health day. Take a nap. Say a prayer. 
     Scripture shares that God himself rested after having created the heavens and the earth (Gn 2:2). In the Ten Commandments, God actually insists that we rest like he did, on the Sabbath day, which for us is Sunday. If we truly honored that, we'd enjoy the equivalent of nearly seven weeks of vacation each year! 
     It's claimed that psychologist Carl Jung concluded that hurry isn't of the devil―it is the devil. So if it's the devil we're looking for, by all means, let's speed things up! But if it's God we're seeking, then for heaven's sake, let's slow things down. 

from When Faith Feels Fragile―Help for the Wary, Weak, and Wandering by R. Scott Hurd pp.131-134

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Daily Thought For March 15, 2018

Deliverance From A False Inferiority

God has given different gifts to different people. There is no basis for feeling inferior to another who has a different gift. Once it is realized that we shall be judged by the gift we have received, rather than the gift we have not, one is completely delivered from a false sense of inferiority.

Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Daily Thought For March 14, 2018

Thank You, Lord, for all Your gifts of love, especially for those we often overlook. 
Thank You for friends; 
they increase our love for You. 
Thank You for enemies; 
they increase our tolerance. 
Thank You for joys and happiness; they strengthen our faith in You. 
Thank You for trials and tribulations; 
they strengthen our trust and perseverance. 
Thank You for times when all goes well; they teach us serenity. 
Thank You for days when things are rough; they teach us patience. 
Thank You for our successes; they increase our confidence. 
Thank You for our failures; they increase our humility. 
Thank You, Lord, for the "ups" and "downs" of life. 
Thank You, Lord, for the precious gift of life itself. 
Comfort us when we are disturbed; 
disturb us when we become too comfortable. 
Thank You, Lord, for being by our side. Amen. 
from Our Lady of Fatima — Book of Prayers pp.222-223

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Daily Thought For March 13, 2018

A Prayer For Peace of Mind

Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul that I may be free from all needless anxiety, solicitude and worry. Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to You so that Your will may be my will.

St. Francis Xavier Cabrini