Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Daily Thought For December 31, 2014

Giving Thanks For The Gift of Faith

Another year is drawing to a close, as we await the start of a new one: with some trepidation, with our perennial desires and expectations. Reflecting on our life experience, we are continually astonished by how ultimately short and ephemeral life is. So we often find ourselves asking: what meaning can we give to our days? What meaning, in particular, can we give to the days of toil and grief? This is a question that permeates history, indeed it runs through the heart of every generation and every individual. But there is an answer: it is written on the face of a Child who was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, and is today the Living One, risen for ever from the dead. From within the fabric of humanity, rent asunder by so much injustice, wickedness and violence, there bursts forth in an unforeseen way the joyful and liberating novelty of Christ our Saviour, who leads us to contemplate the goodness and tenderness of God through the mystery of his Incarnation and Birth. The everlasting God has entered our history and he remains present in a unique way in the person of Jesus, his incarnate Son, our Saviour, who came down to earth to renew humanity radically and to free us from sin and death, to raise us to the dignity of God’s children. Christmas not only recalls the historical fulfilment of this truth that concerns us directly, but in a mysterious and real way, gives it to us afresh.


How evocative it is, at this close of a year, to listen again to the joyful message addressed by Saint Paul to the Christians of Galatia: “when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5). These words penetrate the heart of the history of us all and illumine it, or rather, they save it, because since the Day of the Lord’s Nativity, the fullness of time has reached us. So there is no more room for anxiety in the face of time that passes, never to return; now there is room for unlimited trust in God, by whom we know we are loved, for whom we live and to whom our life is directed as we await his definitive return. Since the Savior came down from heaven, man has ceased to be the slave of time that passes to no avail, marked by toil, sadness and pain. Man is son of a God who has entered time so as to redeem it from meaninglessness and negativity, a God who has redeemed all humanity, giving it everlasting love as a new perspective of life.

Pope Benedict XVI Vespers December 31, 2011

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Daily Thought For December 30, 2014

Jesus Never Fails His Friends

How little too is our faith when we doubt whether the storm will abate! Too often we allow ourselves to be discouraged by circumstances: sickness, work, reverses of fortune, opposition to us in our surroundings. Fear is a phenomenon which covers almost every aspect of life. It is often the result of ignorance or of selfishness stemming from an excessive concern for oneself or anxiety over things that perhaps will never happen. But, above all else, fear often stems from the awareness that the security of our life is based on very weak foundations. Here we are forgetting an essential truth: Jesus Christ is our constant security. This does not mean to say that we are insensitive to events, but that we should have more confidence in using the human means at our disposal. We must never forget that to be close to Jesus, even when he appears to be asleep, is to be safe. When we are confused and going through unpleasant times, Jesus does not forget us. As St Teresa said: he never fails his friends.



from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 1 p. 270

Monday, December 29, 2014

Daily Thought For December 29, 2014

The Struggle For Justice

In the final analysis, the establishment of justice and peace in the world finds its solution in the human heart. And, when the heart is not centered on God, man reverts to his original state of slavery and is subject to every kind of oppression from his fellow creatures. 

Thus, we can never forget that when, through our personal apostolate, we try to make the world around us more Christian, we are also making it more human. And, to the extent that we succeed in this, by creating a more just and more human environment in social, family and working conditions, we are at the same time creating a climate in which Christ can be more easily known and loved. 

A decision to put into practice the virtue of justice, without reservations, will lead us to pray daily for the leaders of government, business enterprises, welfare services etc. For the solution to the major social and human problems of today depends to a great extent on such people. And in doing so we must endeavor to live up to this standard, without inhibitions and without leaving to others the practice of justice which the Church urges upon us. This means full payment for services rendered. It entails a serious effort to improve the living conditions of people in need. It presupposes exemplary behavior in carrying out our work competently and well, showing responsibility and initiative in the exercise of our rights and duties as citizens. Finally, the practice of justice will lead us to join movements in which, together with other people of good-will, we can foster more human and more Christian ideals. And all this, though it may seem to take up more time than is normally at our disposal, is not impossible; for if we really make an effort, God will enlarge our day. 

Our Lord has left us a program of life which, if put into practice, is capable of completely transforming mankind. He has told us that we are all children of God and therefore brothers. This has a profound impact on the relations between, men. God has given the goods of the earth to all to administer them well. To all he has 
promised eternal life. The doctrine of Christ has, over the centuries, led to great achievements: the abolition of slavery, the recognition of the dignity of women, the protection of orphans and widows, the care of the sick and the handicapped. They are a consequence of the sense of the brotherhood of man resulting from the Christian faith. In our own professional and social surroundings, can it really be said that in word and deed we are truly contributing towards making the world more just and more human? 

Let us recall the words of Monsignor Escriva:  Perhaps you bring to mind all the injustices which cry for redress, all the abuses that go uncorrected, the discrimination passed on from one generation to the next with no attempt to find permanent solutions. 


... A man or a society that does not react to suffering and injustice and makes no attempt to alleviate them is still distant from the love of Christ's heart. While Christians enjoy the fullest freedom in finding and applying various solutions to these problems, they should be united in having one and the same desire to serve mankind. Otherwise their Christianity will not be the word and life of Jesus; it will be a fraud, a deception of God and man. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son...

from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 1 pp. 263-265 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Daily Thought For December 28, 2014

Why The Family Is So Important

One of the great challenges of the family today consists in attempts at its privatization, running the risk of forgetting that the family is “the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another” (EG, 66). What needs to be clearly delineated is the idea of the family as a resource in society, that is to say, a source of the essential virtues for a life in community. In a family, a person learns a sense of the common good and experiences the goodness of living together. Without the family, a person is unable to emerge from his individualism, since it is the only place to learn the power of love to sustain life, and “without a love which is trustworthy, nothing could truly keep men and women united. Human unity would be conceivable only on the basis of utility, on a calculus of conflicting interests or on fear, but not on the goodness of living together, not on the joy which the mere presence of others can give” 

The Pastoral Challenges Of The Family In The Context Of Evangelization (INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS) #33


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Daily Thought For December 27, 2104

Do We Allow God To Love Us? 

On this holy night, while we contemplate the Infant Jesus just born and placed in the manger, we are invited to reflect. How do we welcome the tenderness of God? Do I allow myself to be taken up by God, to be embraced by him, or do I prevent him from drawing close?  “But I am searching for the Lord” – we could respond. Nevertheless, what is most important is not seeking him, but rather allowing him to find me and caress me with tenderness. The question put to us simply by the Infant’s presence is: do I allow God to love me?

More so, do we have the courage to welcome with tenderness the difficulties and problems of those who are near to us, or do we prefer impersonal solutions, perhaps effective but devoid of the warmth of the Gospel? How much the world needs tenderness today!

The Christian response cannot be different from God’s response to our smallness. Life must be met with goodness, with meekness. When we realize that God is in love with our smallness, that he made himself small in order to better encounter us, we cannot help but open our hearts to him, and beseech him: “Lord, help me to be like you, give me the grace of tenderness in the most difficult circumstances of life, give me the grace of closeness in the face of every need, of meekness in every conflict”.


Dear brothers and sisters, on this holy night we contemplate the Nativity scene: there “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Is 9:1). People who were unassuming, open to receiving the gift of God, were the ones who saw this light.  This light was not seen, however, by the arrogant, the proud, by those who made laws according to their own personal measures, who were closed off to others.  Let us look to the crib and pray, asking the Blessed Mother: “O Mary, show us Jesus!”.


Pope Francis Christmas Eve Mass 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Daily Thought For Christmas Day, 2014

Christmas—Jesus Is Here For You!

Merry Christmas! Today is the day when we celebrate the light of Christ, a light that pierces all our darkness! While some of us find it easy to rejoice today, others may struggle to celebrate. Still, the truth remains: the Word became flesh for all of us. His grace and truth and glory are available for everyone. And so, whatever darkness seems to enfold you, God calls out: “Come into my light! Darkness has not, and cannot, overcome it.” To all of us he says, “I came for you.”

“Lord, I’m so worried about my children.”

“I came for you—and for them!”

“Lord, I’m locked in a prison cell all by myself.”

“I came for you; let me join you and keep you company.”

“Lord, I can’t find my way out of sin. I feel guilty, ashamed, and too afraid to go to Confession.”

“Don’t be afraid. I came to light the way for you.”

“Lord, life feels so overwhelming, and I don’t seem to have time for you.”

“That’s okay. Come to me whenever you can. I always have time for you.”

“Lord, I’m struggling to believe that you love me.”

“Don’t worry. I have enough love for both of us. Come rest your head on my shoulder.”

“Lord, I don’t love the people who will be at my dinner table today.”

“Let me help you love the unlovable.”

“Lord, I’m all alone today. I have no one to celebrate with.”

“I’m here with you. Let’s celebrate together, just you and I.”

On this great day, listen as Jesus cries out, “I came for you. Now come to me! Let me walk with you so that you can know my peace.”


“Thank you, Jesus, for shining your light in my life! Thank you for lighting my way when darkness makes it hard. Lord, I rejoice in you!”


Daily Meditation from The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)

Daily Thought For December 24, 2014

Prepare For Christmas

Christmas is a privileged opportunity to meditate on the meaning and value of our existence. The approach of this Solemnity helps us on the one hand to reflect on the drama of history in which people, injured by sin, are perennially in search of happiness and of a fulfilling sense of life and death; and on the other, it urges us to meditate on the merciful kindness of God who came to man to communicate to him directly the Truth that saves, and to enable him to partake in his friendship and his life. Therefore let us prepare ourselves for Christmas with humility and simplicity, making ourselves ready to receive as a gift the light, joy and peace that shine from this mystery.

Pope Benedict XVI General Audience December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Daily Thought For December 23, 2014

Ordering Things Towards God

Speaking to men and women striving to reach sanctity in the midst of the world - businessmen, academics, agricultural laborers, office-workers, mothers and fathers - Monsignor Escriva said: The ordinary Christian has to reconcile two aspects of his life that can at first sight seem contradictory. There is on the one hand 'true poverty' which is obvious and tangible and made up of definite things. This poverty should be an expression of faith in God and a sign that the heart is not satisfied with created things and aspires to the Creator; that it wants to be filled with love of God so as to be able to give this same love to everyone. On the other hand, the ordinary Christian 'is and wants to be one more among his fellow men', sharing their way of life, their joys and their sorrows, working with them, loving the world and all the good things that exist in it, using all created things in order to solve the problems of human life and to establish the kind of spiritual and material environment that will foster personal and social development. 
Achieving a synthesis between these two aspects is to a great extent a personal matter. It requires interior life, which will help us assess in every circumstance what God is asking of us.

If we struggle effectively to live detached from the things we have and use, Our Lord will find our hearts clean and wide open to him when he comes to us again on Christmas Night. What happened in the inn at that time will not happen in our hearts: it was full, and they had no room for him there at all. 

from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 1 pp. 210-211

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Daily Thought For December 21, 2014

The Annunciation—Opening To God

I would like to emphasize another important point: the opening of the soul to God and to his action in faith also includes an element of obscurity. The relationship of human beings with God does not delete the distance between Creator and creature, it does not eliminate what the Apostle Paul said before the depth of God’s wisdom: “How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom 11:33).

Yet those who — like Mary — open themselves totally to God, come to accept the divine will, even though it is mysterious, although it often does not correspond with their own wishes, and is a sword that pierces their soul, as the elderly Simeon would say prophetically to Mary when Jesus was presented in the Temple (cf. Lk 2:35). Abraham’s journey of faith included the moment of joy in the gift of his son Isaac, but also the period of darkness, when he had to climb Mount Moriah to execute a paradoxical order: God was asking him to sacrifice the son he had just given him. On the mountain, the Angel told him: “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Gen 22:12). Abraham's full trust in the God who is faithful to his promises did not fail, even when his word was mysterious and difficult, almost impossible to accept. So it is with Mary. Her faith experienced the joy of the Annunciation, but also passed through the gloom of the crucifixion of the Son to be able to reach the light of the Resurrection.

It is exactly the same on the journey of faith of each one of us: we encounter patches of light, but we also encounter stretches in which God seems absent, when his silence weighs on our hearts and his will does not correspond with ours, with our inclination to do as we like. However, the more we open ourselves to God, welcome the gift of faith and put our whole trust in him — like Abraham, like Mary — the more capable he will make us, with his presence, of living every situation of life in peace and assured of his faithfulness and his love. However, this means coming out of ourselves and our own projects so that the word of God may be the lamp that guides our thoughts and actions.

Pope Benedict XVI - General Audience, December 19, 2012

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Daily Thought For December 20, 2014

Is This True?

In youth the days are short and the years are long. In old age the years are short and day's long.

Venerable Servant of God Pope Paul VI

Friday, December 19, 2014

Daily Thought For December 19, 2014

In God Is The Joy Of My Soul

My hope is that the Good News of Christ will enter every home and help families to rediscover that only in Christ can man find salvation. In him it is possible to find the interior peace, hope and strength necessary to face life's various situations each day, even those most onerous and difficult. In the letter accompanying the Gospel, I recalled that Jesus is not a figure of the past. He is the Word of God who even today continues to shed light on man's path; his actions are the expression of the Father's love for every human being.

St. Pope John Paul II

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Daily Thought For December 17, 2014

Make A Difference By Following This!

Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

St. Thérèse de Lisieux

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Daily Thought For December 16, 2014

Surrender To The Ocean of God's Goodness

Obedience is not an act of coercion, it is letting go, surrendering to the ocean of God's goodness All this leads to a fundamental change in the way we deal with the whole of reality, everything appears in a new light, it is therefore a true "conversion," faith is a "change of mentality" because the God who has revealed Himself in Christ, and has made known His plan, seizes us, draws us to Himself, becomes the meaning that supports life, the rock on which it can find stability. In the Old Testament we find an intense expression on faith, which God entrusts the prophet Isaiah to communicate to the king of Judah, Ahaz.

God says: "Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm" (Is 7.9 b). There is therefore a link between being and understanding that expresses how faith is a welcoming into our lives God's vision of reality, letting God guide us through His Word and Sacraments to understand what we must do, the path we must take, how to live. At the same time, however, it is precisely understanding according to God, seeing with His eyes that makes our lives more solid, which allows us to "stand", not to fall.


Dear friends, Advent, the liturgical season that we have just begun and that prepares us for Christmas, places us before a the luminous mystery of the coming of the Son of God, the great "Benevolent Plan" with which he wants to draw us to Himself, to help us live in full communion of joy and peace with Him Advent invites us once again, in the midst of many difficulties, to renew our awareness that God is present: He came into the world, becoming a man like us, to bring His plan of love to fullness. And God demands that we become a sign of his action in the world. Through our faith, our hope, our love, He wants to enter the world again and again He wants to shine His light in our night. Thank you.

excerpt from The Wednesday Catechesis of Pope Benedict XVI (December 5, 2012)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Daily Thought For December 15, 2014

 The Call To Rediscover The Joy Of The Lord

Dear brother and sisters, dear children and young people, good day.

For the last two weeks, the season of Advent has invited us to spiritual vigilance so as to prepare the way of the Lord, the Lord who comes. On this third Sunday, the liturgy proposes to us another interior attitude for living this awaiting of the Lord, that is, joy. As this sign says [indicating a sign in the crowd: "Con Gesù la gioia è di casa"]: With Jesus, joy is part of the home. That proposes to us the joy of Jesus.

The heart of man desires joy. All of us aspire to joy. Every family, every people aspires to happiness. But what is the joy to which the Christian is called to live and to give witness? It is that that comes from the closeness of God, of his presence in our lives. Since Jesus entered history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity has received the seed of the Kingdom of God, as the earth receives a seed, the promise of a future harvest. We don't need to look elsewhere. Jesus came to bring joy to everyone and for ever.

It is not a joy that is merely anticipated or set in paradise -- "here on earth we are sad but in paradise, we'll be happy." No. It's not that. Rather, [it is] a joy that is already real and that can be felt now, because Jesus himself is our joy, is our home.

As that sign of yours says, "With Jesus, joy part of the home," let us repeat this again, "With Jesus, joy is part of the home." And without Jesus, is their joy? No. Jesus is alive. He is the risen one and he works in us, especially with his word and the sacraments.

All of us who are baptized, the children of the Church, are called to welcome ever again the presence of God in our midst and to help others to discover it, or to rediscover it if we've forgotten it. It is a beautiful mission, similar to that of John the Baptist: to point people toward Christ -- not to ourselves -- because He is the final goal toward which the human heart reaches when it seeks joy and happiness.

Again St. Paul in today's liturgy indicates for us the conditions for being a "missionary of joy": to pray with perseverance, to always give thanks to God, to follow his Spirit, to seek the good and avoid evil. If this would be our style of life, then the Good News could enter into so many houses and help people and families to discover that salvation is in Jesus. In Him, it is possible to find interior peace and the strength to face daily the various situations of life, even the most difficult and costly.

A sad saint or a saint with a face of mourning was never heard of. It's never been heard of. It would be a contradiction.

The Christian is a person who has his heart full of peace, because he knows how to place his joy in the Lord, even when the difficult moments of life arise.

To have faith does not mean to not have difficult moments, but to have the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone. And this is the Peace that God gives to his children.

With eyes set on Christmas, which is approaching, the Church invites us to give witness that Jesus is not a figure from the past. He is the word of God who today continues illuminating the path of man. His actions, the sacraments, are the manifestations of the tenderness, of the consolation, of the love of the Father for each human being. The Virgin Mary, "cause of our joy" always brings us back to joy in the Lord, who comes to free us from so many interior and exterior slaveries.

Sunday Angelus of Pope Francis (December 14, 2014)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Daily Thought For December 13, 2014

Our Weakness Shows God's Strength

There is no need to doubt that we possess faith in God, simply because we find it difficult to keep clear of sin, or find ourselves diffident or even fearing that we will not be able to resist occasions of temptation. No! Diffidence in our strength of will is not due to lack of resolve but is a true acknowledgement of our misery. The fear of being able to resist temptations is better than considering ourselves strong and secure, because all that we do not expect from our own strength we hope to receive by means of God's grace...We must simply be on our guard and be humble so as not to fall victim to temptation.

St. Francis de Sales

Friday, December 12, 2014

Daily Thought For December 12, 2014

A Family Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of our family. Enlighten our hearts and minds that we may live more fully this vocation to love.

In our daily life and work, may we reflect the self-giving love which you, O Father, eternally show with your Son and the Holy Spirit.

Let your love be evident in the peace that reigns in our home and in the faith we profess and live. May our family always be a place of generosity, understanding, forgiveness and joy.

Kindly give us the wisdom and courage to be witnesses to your eternal design for the family; and grant that the Holy Family of Nazareth may always guide our path to holiness as a family.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Knights of Columbus


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Daily Thought For December 11, 2014

Great Reflection On Grace

Mary, on the day she received the announcement of the Angel, was in deep recollection and at the same time open to listening to God. In her there was no obstacle, no screen, nothing that separated her from God. This is the meaning of her being without original sin: her relation with God was free from even the slightest flaw; there is no separation, there is not a shadow of selfishness, but perfect harmony; her small human heart is perfectly “centered” in the great heart of God. So it is, dear brothers and sisters, that coming here to this monument to Mary in the heart of Rome reminds us primarily that God’s voice is not recognized in noise and bustle; his plan for our personal and social life is not perceived by remaining on the surface but rather by descending to a deeper level, where the active power is not economic or political but moral and spiritual. There Mary invites us to come down and to put ourselves in tune with God’s action.

There is something else, something even more important which Mary Immaculate tells us when we come here, and it is that the world’s salvation is not the work of human beings — of science, of technology, of an ideology — but it comes from Grace. What does this word mean? Grace means Love in its purity and beauty, it is God himself as he revealed himself in salvation history, recounted in the Bible and in its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Mary is called “full of grace” (Lk 1:28) and with her specific identity she reminds us of God’s primacy in our life and in the history of the world, she reminds us that the power of God’s love is stronger than evil, that it can fill the void that selfishness creates in the history of individuals, families, nations and the world.

These forms of emptiness can become hells where human life is drawn downwards and towards nothingness, losing its meaning and its light. The world suggests filling this emptiness with false remedies — drugs are emblematic — that in reality only broaden the abyss. Only love can prevent this fall, but not just any kind of love: a love that contains the purity of Grace — of God who transforms and renews — and can thus fill the intoxicated lungs with fresh oxygen, clean air, new energy for life. Mary tells us that however low man may fall it is never too low for God, who descended even into hell; however far astray our heart may have gone, God is always “greater than our hearts” (1 Jn 3:20). The gentle breath of Grace can dispel the darkest cloud and can make life beautiful and rich in meaning even in the most inhuman situations.


And from this derives the third thing that Mary Immaculate tells us. She speaks of joy, that authentic joy which spreads in hearts freed from sin. Sin brings with it a negative sadness that leads to withdrawal into self. Grace brings true joy that does not depend on possessions but is rooted in the innermost self, in the depths of the person, and nothing and no one can remove it. Christianity is essentially an “evangelo”, “Good News”, whereas some think of it as an obstacle to joy because they see it as a collection of prohibitions and rules.


Pope Benedict XVI Address at the Spanish Steps December 8, 2012

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Daily Thought For December 10, 2014

Hidden Strength

      An uncle of mine, who married into the family, likes to recall the first time he knew there was more to my grandfather than meets the eye. 
     One day he was helping his future brothers-in-law put up a basketball hoop, and it took all three of them to lift the hoop’s large metal pole. All of a sudden, the pole slipped from the grasp of the other men and brought the full weight of the solid iron pole upon his shoulder. He could hardly breathe due to the weight. However, a moment later the weight of the pole was taken from him, for my grandfather had single-handedly lifted it and thrown it away. After having recovered, my uncle realized that his future father-in-law was not a man to be taken lightly: hidden behind his kind demeanor slept a tremendous strength. 
     We can have a similar experience with our Lord. Sometimes we may find ourselves in impossible situations where a tremendous weight is placed upon our shoulders that we cannot carry alone. Rather than panic at the lack of help from our peers, it is essential to let the Lord come in and take up our burdens with us. If we allow the Lord to help us in those moments, he may surprise us with his tremendous strength. 

from Fr. Ambrose Little, O.P. Magnificat Advent Companion p. 30

     

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Daily Thought For December 9, 2014

One Reason We Need To Pray For Our Youth

Young people are threatened... by the evil use of advertising techniques that stimulate the natural inclination to avoid hard work by promising the immediate satisfaction of every desire.


St. Pope John Paul II

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Daily Thought For December 4, 2014

Fill In The Valleys of Fear & Discouragement

St. John gives some particulars in today's Gospel. Make straight the way of the Lord, fill up the valleys, lower the mountains and hills. They, as well as the ditches and valleys, trouble travelers. Make straight the paths. Those that twist and turn and fatigue the pilgrim greatly. Our life too contains many hills, valleys and tortuous ways which can be put right only by penitence. Penitence fills up the valleys, lays low the mountains, makes straight and smoothes the ways. Do penance, says St. John; lower those mountains of pride, fill up those valleys, those ditches of lukewarmness and tepidity. 

The valleys which the glorious St. John wants us to fill up are none other than fear which, when it is excessive, leads to discouragement at the sight of our sins. Fill up the valleys; that is, fill your heart with confidence and hope because salvation is near at hand. [Lk. 21:28; Rom. 13:11]. The sight of our great faults brings with it a certain horror and shock, a certain fear and terror which unnerves the heart and often leads it to discouragement. These are the ditches and valleys that must be filled up for Our Lord's coming. 

St. Francis De Sales The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales For Advent & Christmas pp.45-46

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Daily Thought For December 3, 2014

Great Thought From Our Saint of the Day

We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.

St. Francis Xavier

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Daily Thought For December 2, 2014

God Loves The Simple & Humble

It is indeed true that our dear Savior and Master came to teach both the little and the great, the learned and the simple. Yet we almost always find Him among the poor and simple. How different is God's Spirit from that of the world, which esteems only appearance and pomp. Ancient philosophers received into their schools only those who had a good mind and sound judgment. Of those who did not possess these qualities they said openly, "Such a canvas is not suited to our brush." Today we see many simple folk despised by some people who become irritated and wearied by their conversation and who take pleasure only in being among lofty minds. No matter how haughty, proud and arrogant these people may be, the world still tolerates them. But God's Spirit does quite the contrary; It rejects the proud and converses with the humble. Our Lord even numbers this among His miracles: "Relate to John that the poor have the Gospel preached to them." 

St. Francis de Sales from The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales For Advent & Christmas p.14

Monday, December 1, 2014

Daily Thought For December 1, 2014

Prisons

     The world is now fully aware of the unspeakable horrors of concentration camps such as Dachau and Auschwitz, which are situated in historic reality, in specific geographic locations, and as a shadow in the human memory. 
     Today there are new Dachaus and Auschwitzes. In new camps, whether known or unknown, visible or hidden, victims of injustice and oppression are confined. Only attentive observers are aware of their existence. Yes, concentration camps still exist, enclosed behind the barbed wire of injustice and raised by those who oppress and despoil. But my indifference also helps to build these enclosures!
     Each day so many of my brothers and sisters of Asia, Africa, Latin America, Vietnam, China, Cuba, and Iran walk the way of their passion and climb their Calvary. They are Jesus, abandoned, forgotten, and rejected by cruelty and injustice. 
     Because I am afraid of soiling my hands, of compromising myself, because I do not want to give up my comforts, well-being, and gratification, I try to forget them, to not think of them any more. . . But their reality is ever present and weighs heavily on my conscience. 
     Lord, give me the courage to break down the enclosures of selfishness , cowardice, discrimination, and greed that encircle the world and hold if prisoner. And forgive me for my contribution in building up prisons of injustice and oppression. 

Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Daily Thought For November 30, 2014

The Holy Spirit ― Soul of the Church

The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. He gives life, he brings forth different charisms which enrich the people of God and, above all, he creates unity among believers: from the many he makes one body, the Body of Christ. The Church’s whole life and mission depend on the Holy Spirit; he fulfills all things.

The profession of faith itself, as Saint Paul reminds us in today’s first reading, is only possible because it is prompted by the Holy Spirit: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3b). When we pray, it is because the Holy Spirit inspires prayer in our heart. When we break the cycle of our self-centredness, and move beyond ourselves and go out to encounter others, to listen to them and help them, it is the Spirit of God who impels us to do so. When we find within a hitherto unknown ability to forgive, to love someone who doesn’t love us in return, it is the Spirit who has taken hold of us. When we move beyond mere self-serving words and turn to our brothers and sisters with that tenderness which warms the heart, we have indeed been touched by the Holy Spirit.

It is true that the Holy Spirit brings forth different charisms in the Church, which at first glance, may seem to create disorder. Under his guidance, however, they constitute an immense richness, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which is not the same thing as uniformity. Only the Holy Spirit is able to kindle diversity, multiplicity and, at the same time, bring about unity. When we try to create diversity, but are closed within our own particular and exclusive ways of seeing things, we create division. When we try to create unity through our own human designs, we end up with uniformity and homogenization. If we let ourselves be led by the Spirit, however, richness, variety and diversity will never create conflict, because the Spirit spurs us to experience variety in the communion of the Church.

The diversity of members and charisms is harmonized in the Spirit of Christ, whom the Father sent and whom he continues to send, in order to achieve unity among believers. The Holy Spirit brings unity to the Church: unity in faith, unity in love, unity in interior life. The Church and other Churches and ecclesial communities are called to let themselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, and to remain always open, docile and obedient. It is he who brings harmony to the Church. Saint Basil the Great’s lovely expression comes to mind: “Ipse harmonia est”, He himself is harmony .


Ours is a hopeful perspective, but one which is also demanding. The temptation is always within us to resist the Holy Spirit, because he takes us out of our comfort zone and unsettles us; he makes us get up and drives the Church forward. It is always easier and more comfortable to settle in our sedentary and unchanging ways. In truth, the Church shows her fidelity to the Holy Spirit in as much as she does not try to control or tame him. And the Church shows herself also when she rejects the temptation to look only inwards. We Christians become true missionary disciples, able to challenge consciences, when we throw off our defensiveness and allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit. He is freshness, imagination and newness.

Pope Francis―Apostolic Journey to Turkey—excerpt of homily from the Holy Mass at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Instanbul, November 29, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Daily Thought For November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Subscribers to The Daily Thought,

I just wanted to wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving and thanks for subscribing to the Daily Thought. There are approximately 696 subscribers. I consider you my "online" family. 

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with a renewed awareness of God's love, the importance of Faith, Family, and the freedom we enjoy. 

A special word of thanks to all who serve in our military and who can't be together today because of their service to our country. 

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Jim Northrop

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Daily Thought For November 25, 2014

No Fear

Do not be terrified. (Luke 21:9)

Hearing about “wars and insurrections” can certainly be terrifying. On our shrinking globe, violence halfway around the world is streamed to us almost instantaneously. We may not understand all the factors involved, but most of us can find a personal link. Maybe we have a classmate or a coworker from that part of the world. Maybe a family member is serving in the government or the military, or someone on our street has been robbed or abused. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by such events and to wonder how much worse things will get before Jesus comes back and brings the world to an end.

But what do we really need to know about the end of the world?

Jesus refuses to answer the “when” question that agitates his followers. He tells them to expect natural as well as man-made disasters and not to be taken by surprise when they happen. He cautions them not to believe any prophet of doom. There are only a few things they need to know.

First, God is in charge. Nothing happens outside his providence. He is making use of everything to build his kingdom.

Second, God doesn’t act alone. He has chosen to act on earth through his body, the Church. That means Christ living in us. We are a part of his plan to redeem the world!

Third, God doesn’t intend for us to act alone. He calls us together and interweaves our individual strengths and weaknesses in an amazing pattern.

Sometimes, God’s work involves a degree of deconstruction as we find our limited structures crumbling. Through hardship or struggle or calamity, we realize that we don’t have everything we need to survive in this world. This is where things can get frightening for us and cause us to react rashly. Yes, it may seem that everything is falling apart, as in today’s Gospel reading. But God is always at our side. He is constantly assuring us that whatever he dismantles, he will rebuild—only stronger, purer, and holier.

So don’t be afraid if you find something falling apart. Instead, turn to the Lord, and ask him what he is building up in its place.


“Father, reveal your loving hand to guide me through everything that tempts me to tremble in fear.”


Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Daily Thought For November 24, 2014

Refurbishing The Soul

When the soul is completely restored to health by that balm of charity which the Holy Spirit places in its heart, then it can go forward and stand on its own feet, although this is still by virtue of its new health and the sacred medicine of holy love. For this reason, although it can walk by itself, it must still render all the credit to God, who has... given it such vigorous and sturdy health. In fact, whether the Holy Spirit strengthens us by movements that He impresses on our hearts or supports us by the charity He infuses into them; whether He saves us by lifting us up and carrying us forward or strengthens our hearts with His invigorating and entwining love, it is always in Him and by Him that we live, move and work.

St. Francis de Sales

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Daily Thought For November 22, 2014

Developing A Friendship With God

I LOVE YOU with an everlasting Love, which flows out from the depths of eternity. Before you were born, I knew you. Ponder the awesome mystery of a Love that encompasses you from before birth to beyond the grave. 

Modern man has lost the perspective of eternity. To distract himself from the gaping jaws of death, he engages in ceaseless activity and amusement. The practice of being still in My Presence is almost a lost art, yet it is this very stillness that enables you to experience My eternal Love. You need the certainty of My loving Presence in order to weather the storms of life. During times of severe testing, even the best theology can fail you if it isn't accompanied by experiential knowledge of Me. The ultimate protection against sinking during life's storms is devoting time to develop your friendship with Me. 

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." —JEREMIAH 31:3 

Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. —LAMENTATIONS 3:22-26 

from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p. 352


Friday, November 21, 2014

Daily Thought For November 21, 2014

Do You Believe This?

Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful soul. I make the first move to come to you, for I know that by yourself you are unable to lift yourself to me. Child, do not run away from your Father; be willing to talk openly with your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish his graces on you. How dear your soul is to Me! I have inscribed your name upon My hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart.

St. Faustina Kowalska Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1485

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Daily Thought For November 20, 2014

The Journey To Holiness

God gives you the grace to become a saint. God communicates with you." Always and everywhere you can become a saint, that is, by being receptive to the grace that is working in us and leads us to holiness. Are you a parent or a grandparent? Be holy by passionately teaching your children or your grandchildren to know and to follow Jesus. And this takes a lot of patience, to be a good parent, a good grandfather, a good mother, a good grandmother, it takes a lot of patience and this patience is the holiness exercising patience.  Are you a catechist, educator or volunteer? Be a Saint by becoming a visible sign of the love of God and of His presence at our side. This is it: every state of life leads to holiness, always!  At home, on the streets, at work, at church, in the moment and with the state of life that you have, a door is opened on the road to sainthood. Do not be discouraged to travel this road. God gives you the grace to do so. And this is all that the Lord asks, is that we are in communion with Him and serve others. If lived in communion with the Lord and in the service of others.


At this point, each of us can examine our conscience, we can do it now, everyone answering for himself, inside, in silence: So far how have we responded to God's call to holiness? But do I want to improve, to be a better Christian? This is the path to holiness. When the Lord calls us to be saints, he does not call us to something hard or sad... Not at all! It is an invitation to share His joy, to live and offer every moment of our lives with joy, at the same time making it a gift of love for the people around us. If we understand this, everything changes and takes on a new meaning, a beautiful meaning, to begin with the little everyday things. An example. A lady goes to the market to shop and meets another neighbor and starts talking and then comes the gossip and this lady says, "No, no, no I will not gossip about anyone." That's one step towards holiness, this helps you to become more holy. Then, at home, your son asks you to talk to him about his fantasies: "Oh, I'm so tired, I worked so hard today..." - "But sit down and listen to your son, he needs this." And you sit, you listen with patience... This is a step towards holiness. Then at end the day, we are all tired, but prayer... We must pray! That's one way to holiness. Then Sunday comes and you go to Mass and to take Communion, at times, a good confession that cleans us up a little. This is a step towards holiness. Then, Our Lady, so good, so beautiful, I take up the Rosary and pray. This is a step towards holiness. And so many steps towards holiness, little ones... Then I go down the street, I see a poor person, someone in need, I ask him, give him something, another step towards holiness. Small things are small steps toward holiness. And every step towards holiness will make us better people, free from selfishness and being closed in on ourselves, and open us up to our brothers and sisters and their needs.

Pope Francis Weekly Catechesis (General Audience) November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Daily Thought For November 19, 2014

Praying in the Power of the Holy Spirit

Pray to the Holy Spirit that you may know Christ in the fullness of His gospel and the love of the Father that you may understand He is the source of power, the Holy Spirit. Our Lord said, “I will send you power from on high.”. Every day of my priestly life I pray for the power of the Holy Spirit. The power that is not human, not physical, not intellectual; rather a power coming solely from living the Christ life, the power to influence people, the power to impress you with the divinity of the Holy Spirit.  We tell ourselves that we are not meant to be saints, yet we know we are. Pray for us.

Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Daily Thought For November 18, 2014

The Grace of Being Faithful

The first Christians had the custom of speaking of their fellow Christians as the faithful. This terminology came into common use during a period of harsh external difficulties, persecution, campaigns of slander and coercion. The pagan world of that time did its level best to impose its beliefs and practices on the Christian community, yet they remained faithful despite the most grievous consequences. St John records these words in the Book of Revelation: Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. This is the challenge facing Christians of every age: Be faithful unto death. The Evangelist gives this warning from the same passage: Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days. These ten days may be understood to symbolize our time on earth. We do not have a lot of time. When we suffer some contradiction, even some discrimination because of our beliefs, how do we react? Do we firmly resolve to be faithful, no matter what people may say? Pope John Paul II has stated: It is easy to be consistent for a day or two. It is difficult and important to be consistent for one's whole life. It is easy to be consistent in the hour of enthusiasm; it is difficult to be so in the hour of tribulation. And only a consistency that lasts throughout the whole of life can be called faithfulness.

Sometimes the obstacles do not arise from our environment, but rather spring from within our being. Pride is the principal obstacle to fidelity. Next to pride there is lukewarmness, the spiritual disease that robs us of our joy in following Christ. Lukewarmness leads us to 

indulge in ridiculous fantasies. We may suffer from a period of spiritual obscurity or dryness. This problem may arise from our lack of struggle, or it may be God's way of purifying our intention. Whatever the cause may be, the solution will normally lie in humble recourse to spiritual direction and in persevering prayer to the Lord. If we are willing to be led, God will take us by the hand. The Venerable Josemaria Escriva once recalled: One of my most vivid childhood memories is of seeing, up in the mountains near my home, those signposts they planted alongside the hill paths. I was struck by those tall posts usually painted red. It was explained to me then that when the snow fell, covering up everything, paths, seeded fields and pastures, thickets, boulders and ravines, the poles stood out as sure reference points, so that everyone would always know where the road went. 

Something similar happens in the interior life. There are times of spring and summer, but there are also winters, days without sun and nights bereft of moonlight We can't afford to let our friendship with Jesus depend on our moods, on our ups and downs. To do so would imply selfishness and laziness, and is certainly incompatible with love. 


Therefore, in times of wind and snow, a few solid practices of piety, which are not sentimental but firmly rooted and adjusted to one's special circumstances, will serve as the red posts always marking out the way for us, until the time comes when Our Lord decides to make the sun shine again. Then the snows melt and our hearts beat fast once more, burning with a fire that never really went out It was merely hidden in the embers, beneath the ashes produced by a time trial, or by our own poor efforts or lack of sacrifice. 

from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 5 pp. 497-498

Monday, November 17, 2014

Daily Thought For November 17, 2014

Forgiveness Prayer

Please contemplate the words of this prayer 
And pray them from your heart with all sincerity. 


FATHER, I choose to forgive everyone that has ever offended or hurt me in any way, and I ask for the grace to be able to forgive them from my heart. Give me Your Love for everyone that has ever hurt me. JESUS, I ask you to come into my heart, take control of my life, and fill me with the healing power of your HOLY SPIRIT. Heal my body, soul and spirit. Heal me of all painful memories and release me from the bondage to them. Cleanse my mind of anything that I have read or seen that was not pleasing to you. Set me free of anything that is not a part of your plan. I want only the power of the Holy Spirit operating in me. Give me a hunger for the word of God; open it up to me with greater understanding. Let me experience your love for me in a greater way than I have ever known before. Let the love of Jesus flow out of me to everyone I meet. Grant this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen 

Adapted from a prayer written by Lorraine Dolan


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Daily Thought For November 16, 2014

Great Insights Into The Gospel Reading For Today

But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. When the lord asked this servant to give an accounting, all he could offer were excuses. He said: Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours. This last servant represents man when he is not faithful to God. This person is overcome with fear and self-love. He attempts to justify his behavior by alluding to the purportedly unjust expectations of the lord who reaps where he has not sown. The master angrily responds to this lazy fellow: You wicked and slothful servant! He had disregarded an essential truth — that man was created to know, love and serve God in this life. Then he is to see him and possess him in Heaven. When God is known well, it is not hard to love him. And when God is truly loved, it is not difficult to serve him. Nor is it humiliating. In fact, it even becomes a pleasure to serve him. A person who truly loves does not even think that it is degrading and dishonorable to serve his beloved He never feels humiliated while serving the one he loves. Now then, the third servant knew his master well. At least he had had as many opportunities to know him as the other two servants had And in spite of that it is obvious that he did not love him. And when love is missing, serving becomes very difficult. We can see into this servant's heart from his cold description of the master as a hard man. 


This lazy servant did not serve his master because of an absence of love. It is interesting to note that the opposite of laziness is diligence. The Latin root of diligence is diligere, to love, to choose after careful study. Love motivates a person to give true service. Laziness is the result of a failure to love. The Lord uses this parable to reprove those who either fail to develop their gifts, or pervert their use for the sake of self-love. Let us examine our conduct today. How do we use our time? Are we punctual and orderly in our work? When we are at home, do we give our full attention to family matters? Do we practice a lively apostolate of friendship and confidence? Are we seriously striving to extend the Kingdom of Christ to all souls? 

from In Conversation With God by Francis Fernandez Volume 5 pp. 471-472

Daily Thought For November 15, 2014

Be Strong & Courageous

Be strong and courageous even when you are feeling very weak. However, the weaker you feel, the more effort it takes to choose to be strong. It all depends on where you look. If you gaze at yourself and your problems, your courage will melt away. The choice to be bold rests on your confidence that I am with you and for you. Through eyes of faith, see Me on the path before you, beckoning you on, one step at a time. Looking to Me consistently will increase your strength and valor. 

When everything seems to be going wrong, refuse to get discouraged. Remember that I am a God of surprises: I am not limited by the way things are or by the paltry possibilities you can see. I am infinitely creative and powerful. With Me all things are possible! The longer you wait for your prayers to be answered, the closer you are to a breakthrough. Meanwhile, waiting for Me-aware of My loving Presence-is a blessed way to live. I am good to those who wait for Me. 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9 

Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:25-26 

from Jesus Today by Sarah Young pp. 90-91

Friday, November 14, 2014

Daily Thought For November 14, 2014

Our New Identity

Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.


St. Paul (Galatians 2:20)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Daily Thought For November 12, 2014

Salt For The Earth−Light For The World

The world you are inheriting is a world which desperately needs a new sense of brotherhood and human solidarity. It is a world which needs to be touched and healed by the beauty and richness of God's love. It needs witnesses to that love. The world needs salt. It needs you - to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. 

Salt is used to preserve and keep. As apostles for the Third Millennium, your task is to preserve and keep alive the awareness of the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, the memorial of his saving death and glorious resurrection. You must keep alive the memory of the words of life which he spoke, the marvelous works of mercy and goodness which he performed. You must constantly remind the world of the "power of the Gospel to save" (Rom 1, 16)!


Salt seasons and improves the flavor of food. Following Jesus, you have to change and improve the "taste" of human history. With your faith, hope and love, with your intelligence, courage and perseverance, you have to humanize the world we live in, in the way that today's Reading from Isaiah indicates: "loose the bonds of injustice ... share your bread with the hungry ... remove the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil.... Then your light shall rise in the darkness" (Is 58,6-10). 

St. Pope John Paul II World Youth Day Toronto Homily July 28, 2002 #3-4

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Daily Though For November 11, 2014

Being Content

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.

St. Teresa of Avila

Personal Note: A special word of thanks for the service and sacrifice of our military men and women as we remember them all on this Veteran's Day. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Daily Thought For November 10, 2014

The Love of Christ Knows No Limits

Whoever is near us and needing us must be our ''neighbor''; it does not matter whether he is related to us or not, whether he is morally worthy of our help or not. The love of Christ knows no limits. It never ends; it does not shrink from ugliness and filth.


St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Daily Thought For November 9, 2014

Prayer of Pope Francis

Lord, take care of your people in expectation of the Holy Spirit. Take care of young people, take care of families, take care of children, take care of the sick, take care of priests, consecrated men and women, take care of us Bishops, take care of all. And grant us that holy intoxication, that of the Spirit, that which makes us speak all languages, the languages of charity, always close to brothers and sisters who need us. Teach us not to fight among ourselves to have an extra bit of power; teach us to be humble; teach us to love the Church more than our party, than our internal “quarrels”; teach us to have an open heart to receive the Spirit. Send your Spirit, O Lord, upon us! Amen


Pope Francis (Address to Participants in the 37TH National Convocation of the Renewal of the Holy Spirit−Jun 1, 2014)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Daily Thought For November 8, 2014

Pope Pius XII On Sports

Sport, properly directed, develops character, makes a man courageous, a generous loser, and a gracious victor; it refines the senses, gives intellectual penetration, and steels the will to endurance. It is not merely a physical development then. Sport, rightly understood, is an occupation of the whole man, and while perfecting the body as an instrument of the mind, it also makes the mind itself a more refined instrument for the search and communication of truth and helps man to achieve that end to which all others must be subservient, the service and praise of his Creator.

Pope Pius XII

Friday, November 7, 2014

Daily Thought For November 7, 2014

All Work Can Give Glory To God

Do not pay any attention to the kind of work you do, but rather to the honor that it brings to God, even though it may seem quite trivial. Desire only to do the Divine Will, following Divine Providence, which is the disposition of Divine Wisdom. In a word, if your works are pleasing to God and recognized as such, that is all that matters. Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God's will. 

St. Francis de Sales


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Daily Thought For November 6, 2014

The Reality of Faith

Faith is not a mere intellectual assent of the human person to specific truths about God; it is an act with which I entrust myself freely to a God who is Father and who loves me; it is adherence to a “You” who gives me hope and trust. Of course, this adherence to God is not without content; with it we are aware that God has shown himself to us in Christ, he has made us see his face and has made himself really close to each one of us. Indeed, God has revealed that his love for man, for each one of us, is boundless: on the Cross, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God made man, shows us in the clearest possible way how far this love reaches, even to the gift of himself, even to the supreme sacrifice. With the mystery of Christ’s death and Resurrection, God plumbs to the depths of our humanity to bring it back to him, to lift it up to his heights. Faith is believing in this love of God that is never lacking in the face of human wickedness, in the face of evil and death, but is capable of transforming every kind of slavery, giving us the possibility of salvation. Having faith, then, is meeting this “You”, God, who supports me and grants me the promise of an indestructible love that not only aspires to eternity but gives it; it means entrusting myself to God with the attitude of a child, who knows well that all his difficulties, all his problems are understood in the “you” of his mother. And this possibility of salvation through faith is a gift that God offers all men. I think we should meditate more often—in our daily life, marked by problems and at times by dramatic situations—on the fact that believing in a Christian manner means my trusting abandonment to the profound meaning that sustains me and the world, that meaning which we are unable to give to each other but can only receive as a gift and which is the foundation on which we can live without fear. never lacking in the face of human wickedness, in the face of evil and death, but is capable of transforming every kind of slavery, giving us the possibility of salvation. Having faith, then, is meeting this “You”, God, who supports me and grants me the promise of an indestructible love that not only aspires to eternity but gives it; it means entrusting myself to God with the attitude of a child, who knows well that all his difficulties, all his problems are understood in the “you” of his mother. And this possibility of salvation through faith is a gift that God offers all men. I think we should meditate more often—in our daily life, marked by problems and at times by dramatic situations—on the fact that believing in a Christian manner means my trusting abandonment to the profound meaning that sustains me and the world, that meaning which we are unable to give to each other but can only receive as a gift and which is the foundation on which we can live without fear. And we must be able to proclaim this liberating and reassuring certainty of faith with words and show it by living our life as Christians.


Pope Benedict XVI 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Daily Thought For November 5, 2014

Cling To Prayer

No soul ever fell away from God without giving up prayer. Prayer is that which establishes contact with Divine Power and opens the invisible resources of heaven. However dark the way, when we pray, temptation can never master us. The first step downward in the average soul is the giving up of the practice of prayer, the breaking of the circuit with divinity, and the proclamation of one’s owns self sufficiency.

Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Daily Thought For November 4, 2014

An Evangelizing Community Gets Involved

The Church which “goes forth” is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The Lord gets involved and he involves his own, as he kneels to wash their feet. He tells his disciples: “You will be blessed if you do this” (Jn 13:17). An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. Evangelizers thus take on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to hear their voice. An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be. It is familiar with patient expectation and apostolic endurance. Evangelization consists mostly of patience and disregard for constraints of time. Faithful to the Lord’s gift, it also bears fruit. An evangelizing community is always concerned with fruit, because the Lord wants her to be fruitful. It cares for the grain and does not grow impatient at the weeds. The sower, when he sees weeds sprouting among the grain does not grumble or overreact. He or she finds a way to let the word take flesh in a particular situation and bear fruits of new life, however imperfect or incomplete these may appear. The disciple is ready to put his or her whole life on the line, even to accepting martyrdom, in bearing witness to Jesus Christ, yet the goal is not to make enemies but to see God’s word accepted and its capacity for liberation and renewal revealed. Finally an evangelizing community is filled with joy; it knows how to rejoice always. It celebrates every small victory, every step forward in the work of evangelization. Evangelization with joy becomes beauty in the liturgy, as part of our daily concern to spread goodness. The Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy, which is both a celebration of the task of evangelization and the source of her renewed self-giving.

Pope Francis The Joy of Evangelization (Evangelii Gaudium) #24

Monday, November 3, 2014

Daily Thought For November 3, 2014

Suffering Illumined by the Cross

Christian love gives value and meaning to our existence even when infirmity and illness have compromised the integrity of the body. There is a life in us not conditioned by our physical state, but by the love we give. "You who are sick, you are strong like Jesus on the cross," exclaimed John Paul II one day. Yes, because our strength is in Christ, in Christ crucified and abandoned! It is when we are weak that we are strong. 

I touched this reality in prison. When I lived through times of extreme physical and moral suffering, I thought of Jesus crucified. To the human eye, his life was a defeat, a disappointment, and a failure. Reduced to the most absolute immobility on the cross, he was no longer able to encounter people, to cure the sick, to teach .... However, in the eyes of God, that was the most important moment of his life, because it was then that he poured out his blood for the salvation of humanity. 


"Everyone is invited to cross this threshold," John Paul II said at the Jubilee of the Sick, to cross the threshold of the Door of life, the Door of salvation that is Jesus. John Paul II recalled how pain and sickness are a part of the mystery of humanity on earth. "The 'key' to this reading [of the design of God] is found in the Cross of Christ .... One who knows how to accept it in his own life, experiences how pain, illumined by faith, becomes a source of hope and of salvation."

from Testimony of Hope by Francis Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận pp. 205-206

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daily Thought For October 31, 2014

Practicing Freedom As Children of God

In answer to your seventh point, about the spirit of liberty, I shall tell you what I think it is. Every good person is free of committing mortal sins and has no willing attachment to them. Such freedom is necessary for salvation, but that's not what I'm talking about here. The freedom I'm referring to is the "freedom of the children of God" who know they are loved. And what is that? It's the detachment of a Christian heart from all things so that it is free to follow the known will of God. You will readily understand what I'm trying to say if God gives me the grace to explain to you the characteristics and effects of this freedom, and the occasions when it is practiced. 

We pray to God above all, that His name may be hallowed, that His kingdom come, that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. All this is nothing other than the spirit of freedom; for, provided that the name of God is hallowed, that His kingdom is coming in us, that His will is being done, a free spirit has no other concern. 

First characteristic: The heart that enjoys this freedom is not attached to consolations, but accepts affliction with as much docility as nature can manage. I'm not saying that the person doesn't like or long for these consolations, but just that her heart isn't bound to them. Second characteristic: A person who has this spirit is not emotionally bound to her spiritual exercises; so, if she can't do them because of illness or some emergency, she doesn't get upset. Again I'm not saying that she doesn't like them, but that she is not attached to them. Third, she hardly ever loses her joy, for no deprivation can sadden a person whose heart is attached to nothing. This isn't to say that she can't lose her joy, but if she does, it's never for very long. 


The effects of this freedom are a great inner serenity, a great gentleness and willingness to yield in everything that isn't sin or an occasion of sin; it's a flexible disposition, able gracefully to do the virtuous or charitable thing. For example: try interrupting the meditations of someone who is very attached to her spiritual exercises and you will see her upset, flustered, taken aback. A person who has this true freedom will leave her prayer, unruffled, gracious toward the person who has unexpectedly disturbed her, for to her it's all the same—serving God by meditating or serving Him by responding to her neighbor. Both are the will of God, but helping the neighbor is necessary at that particular moment. We have occasion to practice this freedom whenever things don't go the way we'd like them to; for anyone who is not attached to her own ways will not get impatient when things go otherwise.


from Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal Letters of Spiritual Direction pp. 138-139