Monday, March 31, 2014

Daily Thought For March 31, 2014 (We Have To Be Converted Anew)


We Have to Be Converted Anew 

     "Every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17). We for our part cannot weaken this faith and confidence with our human doubting and our timidity. In consequence, we must all be converted anew every day. This is a fundamental exigency of the gospel, addressed to everyone. If we have the duty of helping others to be converted, we have to do the same continuously in our own lives. Being converted means returning to the very grace of our vocation; it means meditating upon the infinite goodness and love of Christ, who has addressed each of us and, calling us by name, has said: 
     "Follow me." Being converted means continually "giving an account" before the Lord of our hearts about our service, our zeal, and our fidelity, for we are "Christ's servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God." Being converted also means "giving an account" of our negligences and sins, of our timidity, of our lack of faith and hope, of our thinking only "in a human way." Let us recall in this regard the warning that Christ gave to Peter himself. Being converted means seeking again the pardon and strength of God in the sacrament of reconciliation, and thus always beginning anew, and every day progressing, overcoming ourselves, making spiritual conquests, giving cheerfully, for" God loves a cheerful giver." Being converted means "to pray continually and never lose heart" (Luke 18: 1). In a certain way, prayer is the first and the last condition for conversion, spiritual progress, and holiness. 

Pope John Paul II Letter to All Priests, Holy Thursday, 1979 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Daily Thought For March 30, 2014


The Gift of Friendship


     After purchasing a house at a sheriff's auction, a Toledo, Ohio, man was understandably excited to move into his new home. When he finally did, however, he was horrified to discover the remains of the previous inhabitant, who had been dead for some time. Apparently, no one had noticed that he was missing or had gone looking for him. 
     This tragic incident is sadly reflective of our increasingly impersonal society, in which genuine human contact is harder and harder to come by. Such isolation takes its toll. Studies have shown that the fewer human connections we have at home, at work, in the community, and in religious institutions, the more likely we are to get sick, be filled with anxiety, and die prematurely. Conversely, these same studies indicate that the more human connections we have, the more likely we are to enjoy a long and healthy life. 
     We weren't made to live alone. "No man is an island," as the poet John Donne reminds us. We are made instead for relationships because we have been created in the image of God the Holy Trinity―a communion of three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit―who share one divine life of perfect, boundless love. It follows, then, that we flourish and prosper when nurtured within loving relationships. As Blessed Pope John Paul II has written: "Human beings are not made for solitude ... they grow to the extent that they enter into relationships with others. They need interpersonal relationships that are rich in inner depth, gratuitousness, and self-sacrifice." 
     Friendships are some of the most important relationships we can have. Jesus himself had many friends. During his earthly ministry, he surrounded himself with disciples and other companions-both men and women. Jesus seeks friendship with us too. 
     Our human friendships can help us to understand and accept Jesus' offer, as was learned by a woman I know well. Although both talented and beautiful, she is very different from her family, who never really understood her. This knowledge was both painful and frustrating for her, and she never really felt loved and accepted by them for who she is. She felt that they always wanted her to be somebody different, somebody else. She wondered if God thought the same way. 
     But then someone came into her life who was able to read her like a book and who knew right away what made her tick. This experience of being understood and accepted was a real turning point in her life. She began to feel lovable, empowered, confident, hopeful, and joyful. And she began to realize, maybe for the first time in her life, that Jesus really loved her. She was able to accept Jesus' acceptance of her because she had been accepted by somebody else. 
     The love of friends, then, can open our eyes to the love of God. Friends can also open our eyes to God's will, as Saint Francis of Assisi once learned. Early in life, he found himself at a crossroads. On the one hand, he thought that perhaps God was calling him to a quiet life of prayer and contemplation. On the other hand, he wondered if God wanted him to be a traveling missionary and preacher of the Gospel. To help decide, he turned to two friends-Saint Clare and Brother Sylvester-whom he asked to pray for him and get back to him. They prayed and then sent a messenger to Saint Francis. When the messenger arrived, Saint Francis asked, "What has my Lord Jesus Christ commanded that I should do?" "That thou go throughout the world to preach," came the reply. Upon hearing these words, Saint Francis jumped up and exclaimed: "Let us be going in the name of God!"
     Friends can also challenge us when we fail to live in God's will, as we all sometimes do. On our own, we can be blind to our faults and shortcomings. As Saint John Climacus observed, "God has arranged that no one can see his own faults as clearly as his neighbor does." That's why God invites friends to correct each other―so they can build each other up in love. 
     God can speak to us through other people; we can hear the voice of Christ through the voices of our friends. And should our friends challenge us, it would be wise for us to listen, because they might be acting as the very mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit. And when that happens, we should be grateful instead of defensive and humble instead of proud. Pride says, "There's nothing wrong with me!" But humility says, "I'm still a work in progress." 
     Speaking though our friends, Jesus can say: "Be open to challenge; be receptive to constructive criticism; don't resist charitable correction!" Acceptance of criticism says to God that we're open to grow. And when we're open to grow, God can fill us with his grace. 
     Different friends can be a blessing to us in different ways. Catholic author Robert Wicks proposes that we need four distinct types of people in our lives: First, we need "prophets" who ask the question: "What guides and shapes the decisions you make?" Second, we require "cheerleaders" who support us when the going gets rough. Third, "harassers" are necessary to tease us so we don't take ourselves too seriously. Fourth, we need "spiritual guides" who encourage us to find meaning in our lives.v In short, we need people who love us, support us, guide us, challenge us, and make us laugh. We need people with whom we can share our sorrows and our joys, reveal our dreams and heartaches, and express our honest feelings. We need other people in order to be fully human. 
     And to be fully human is to reflect the God in whose image we are made-a God of relationships, a God of love. Indeed, "God is friendship," observed Saint Aelred of Rievaulx. And true human friendships can help us to live in friendship with the Lord. That's why Saint Thomas Aquinas could conclude: "There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship." 

from When Faith Feels Fragile―Help for the Wary, Weak, and Wandering by R. Scott Hurd pp.119-122

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Daily Thought For March 29, 2014

Love

     Today, on this day, Jesus invites us to see the fragility of the men and women of our town. Each one has his or her own frailties, and we, who come to God's resting place, are invited to look at the frailties produced by sad, painful stories that rend the heart. He says to us: "Come closer. Take upon yourself the weakness of your brother and sister." And when we want to give someone a tongue lashing, or when we have bad thoughts, we need to remember that the other person is fragile and wounded, and that we could be in his or her place. For that reason treat others as you would want to be treated. 
     The closeness of the risen Lord, who walks unrecognized―with the least of the brethren, who awakens the compassion of the Good Samaritan in so many hearts, is the only thing that enflames in so many hearts the fire of the first charity, to return to society with the lasting enthusiasm that the Emmaus disciples had, and to go out and proclaim the Good News of the Gospel. 
     The one who has means, who has authority, should use them to serve: nothing else matters. Jesus, who is God and man, always has open hands, giving of himself to others. That is why he asks us not to be selfish, because the selfish person has his hands closed, always grasping for himself 
     The worst thing that can happen to us is to be without love, so as to look out only for our self-interest. Mary is the woman of love. Without love, there is no room for life. Without love there is selfishness and one turns in on oneself so as to coddle oneself Today we ask Mary for love so as to care for life. Love and courage! 
      Let us allow ourselves to be renewed by God's mercy; let us allow the power of his love to transform our lives. Let us make ourselves instruments of this mercy, channels through which God can irrigate the land, guard all creation, and make justice and peace flourish. 


from Inspiration from Pope Francis―Jorge Mario Bergoglio pp. 103-105



Friday, March 28, 2014

Daily Thought For March 28, 2014

God's Amazing Love

     We can never imagine how much God loves us. In order to save us, when we were lost, he sent his only begotten Son so that, in giving up his life, he would redeem us from the state we had fallen into. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that those who believe in him may not perish, but have eternal life. This very love moves him to give himself to us in a habitual way, dwelling in our soul in grace: If a man has any love for me, he will be true to my word; and then he will win my Father's love, and we will then both come to him, and make our continual abode with him. And he communicates with us in the intimacy of our hearts, both during these periods of prayer and throughout the day. 
     I will serve you, because I came to serve and not to be served. I am a friend; an associate and head, and a brother and sister, and a mother; I am everything, and all I want is an intimate friendship with you. I have become poor for you, a beggar for you, been crucified for you, buried in a sepulcher  for you; in Heaven I intercede before God the Father for you; and on earth I am his ambassador to you. You are everything to me, brother, co-heir, friend and associate. What more do you want? What more could we want? When we contemplate our Lord in each one of the scenes of The Way of the Cross these words easily come to our lips, from the heart: To know that you love me so much, my God, and yet. .. I have not lost my mind.
     There is none like thee, Lord ... so great thou art, so marvelous in thy doings, thou who who alone art God. One of the greatest marvels is the love He has for us. He loves us with a singular and personal love, each one of us separately, in particular. He has never stopped loving us, helping us, protecting us, talking to us ― not even when we have been most ungrateful or committed the most serious sins. It is, perhaps, on such occasions that we have received the most attention from God as in the parables where he wished to express his mercy in a singular way: the lost sheep is the only one carried on the shoulders, the feast is laid on by the father for the one of his sons who has hurt him most, the lost drachma is carefully sought by its owner until she finds it ... God's attention to and his love for us have been constant throughout our lives. He has been aware of all the circumstances and events which we have had to live through. He is beside us in every situation and at every moment. Behold I am with you all through the days that are coming, until the consummation of the world, until the final moments of our lives.    


from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 2 pp.146-147 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Daily Thought For March 27, 2014

Mission

     We need to come out of ourselves, from a tired and apathetic way of living faith, from the temptation of closing ourselves in our own schemes that ultimately close the horizon of God's creative action. God came out of himself to come among us. He pitched his tent among us through his mercy that saves us and gives us hope. If we wish to follow him and remain with him, we too should not be content with remaining in the pen with the ninety-nine sheep. We ought "to go out," to search with him for the lost sheep, the one who is most distant. Remember well: come out of yourselves, like Jesus, like God came out of himself in Jesus, and Jesus came out of himself for us all. 
     How I wish that the Lord would make us understand and feel that evangelization "is not an optional contribution for the Church. It is the duty incumbent on her by the command of the Lord Jesus, so that people can believe and be saved. This message is indeed necessary. It is unique. It cannot be replaced. It does not permit either indifference, syncretism, or accommodation. It is a question of people's salvation. It is the beauty of the revelation that it represents. It brings with it a wisdom that is not of this world. It is able to stir up by itself faith-faith that rests on the power of God" (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 5). 
     We do not have the right to be indifferent and to love ourselves. How I love myself! No, we do not have that right. We need to go out and proclaim that 2,000 years ago, there was a man who wanted to re-establish the earthly paradise, and he came for that reason. To restore all things. 
     We need to come out of our shell and tell others that Jesus lives, that Jesus lives for him, for her, and to tell them this with joy ... even though one may at times seem crazy. Saint Paul says that the message of the Gospel is foolishness. Our lifetime is not enough to surrender and announce this: that Jesus has restored life. We have to go to sow hope; we have to go into the streets. We have to go out to search. 
     The first thing that the Virgin Mary did when she received the Good News in her womb was to go out, running to be of service. Let us go out running to be of service, in that we believe in the Good News and we want to give it to others. Let this be our conversion: the Good News of Christ yesterday, today, and always 
     We come because we need this place of trust and rest. We come to tell the Virgin how our life is going, and we receive her glance that encourages us to follow the way. This is not usually publicized, but it is what the children live with much faith, and there are many here who have found their place of encounter and blessing. We come here because we need to continue to trust and nourish what is most ours, what gives meaning to our lives. 
     We don't want to be that fearful Church that is locked in the cenacle. We want to be the Church in solidarity that encourages itself to go down from Jerusalem to Jericho, without making detours; the Church that encourages itself to come closer to the poorest of the poor to heal them and to receive them. 

     The proposal of a pastoral missionary spirit comes from the need of a new relationship with those who are "outside," that is to say, the nonbelievers, the distant, the non-practicing, the new cultures, etc., that constitute the most needed area of mission. Such men and women often share the same celebrations, live in the same neighborhoods, work in the same place, and walk in the same city. 

from Inspiration from Pope Francis―Jorge Mario Bergoglio pp.111-115

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Daily Thought For March 26, 2014

Thanks For Sharing

     An acquaintance of mine works in a very tense office environment. Yet in spite of the stress she faces, she's always been able to maintain her composure and a sense of peace on the job. During one especially hard day, a colleague came to her in tears and asked how she was able to handle all the negativity in their workplace. My acquaintance explained that she could do so only on account of her Catholic faith. As it was, she was on her way to the lunchtime Mass at the nearby cathedral, and she invited her coworker to come along. One year later, that coworker was baptized at Easter, and my acquaintance was her sponsor. 
     "Faith," Saint Paul explains, "comes from what is heard" (Rm 10:17). This means that for us to have a measure of faith, we must have heard something, somewhere, and from someone about God and his love for us. Perhaps what we heard came through family, friends, a teacher, clergy, an author, the pages of Scripture, the teachings of a saint, a media figure, or, as with the case of my acquaintance, a coworker. Quite possibly it came from a combination of these―if not all of the above! I love that Scripture speaks of how Saint Timothy came to faith through the witness of Lois and Eunice―his mother and grandmother (see 2 Tm 1 :5). 
     At the same time, it may be that the Lord is inviting us to share our faith with another, just as faith has been shared with us. In fact, it's likely that he is, whether we're aware of it or not. There may very well be people in our lives whom the Lord might be able to reach only through us. Sharing our faith is called "evangelization." That's not a word Catholics have been accustomed to using, but evangelization is at the very heart of Catholicism: "She [the Church] exists in order to evangelize!" insisted Pope Paul VI.  And doing it isn't as hard or as scary as it may sound. "Evangelization" comes from the Greek words for "good news." To evangelize, then, is simply to share the good news at the heart of our faith. 
     But what if our faith feels fragile? Isn't it hypocritical to share our faith when its foundation feels shaky? Wouldn't doing so lead to more harm than good? Not at all! As Blessed Pope John Paul II assures us, "Faith is strengthened when it is given to others!" This is true even when we fear that we don't have much faith to give because God can do amazing things with even the smallest of gifts, like feeding an entire crowd with a handful of loaves and fishes. 
     A shared faith is a strengthened faith for a number of reasons. To start, sharing our faith forces us to examine what it is we really believe, instead of taking it for granted―and that's always a good thing! It can lead us to recall positive faith experiences that we may have forgotten over time, and we can be inspired and renewed by the knowledge that God might be using us as his agent to enter into another's life. And if our faith feels fragile, that may be exactly what another person needs to hear. Our honesty may assure them that they're not alone with their questions, and our common struggle might bring us closer to each other and to God. 
     Sharing faith involves sharing our story. And we all have one! You wouldn't likely be reading this book if you didn't think God had touched your life in some way. Your story may not be dramatic, but that doesn't make it less real. In your faith journey, you may have had ups and downs, struggles and joys, periods of doubt, and moments of great certainty. You may have walked hand in hand with God, and run away from him as fast as you could. Sometimes God has seemed like a stranger, while at other times he was very present, very real. He has taught us hard lessons and wiped away our tears. He has both confused us and guided us. He has brought us to our knees and made us jump for joy. He has spoken to us through other people, through the pages of books, and in those special moments we know weren't coincidences but instead were brushes with grace. Maybe we've thought that God was unfair, maybe we've tried to tell him how to do his job, and maybe we've had no choice other than to trust him. At times we could have cared less about God, and at times we couldn't have cared more. Sometimes we've just gone through the motions, and sometimes we've been driven by love. And then there are those memories we hold dear―of first Holy Communion, of our grandmother who prayed the rosary, of the special teacher or nun who made a difference, of that retreat that changed the course of our life. All of these things we can share with others that they might be challenged and consoled, instructed and inspired. 
     Our Lord doesn't wish for us to keep our faith to ourselves. 
Faith is his gift to us, to be sure, but it's a gift he wants us to share. It's good if Jesus is in our hearts, because that's where he wants to be! But Jesus also wants to be in our workplaces, our schools, our neighborhoods, our homes. And we are the only people who can bring him there. 
     That's why Jesus spoke of us as being the "light of the world" On 8:12). He insisted that we aren't to hide our light but allow it to shine for everyone to see, because he wants the light our faith can bring to dispel the darkness from the lives of those around us. And that can begin to happen, even if our faith's light is only a tiny spark. God can coax that spark into a roaring blaze―for others' lives and for ours. 

from When Faith Feels Fragile―Help for the Wary, Weak, and Wandering by R. Scott Hurd pp. 89-92

Monday, March 24, 2014

Daily Thought For March 25, 2014

Facing Fear


     Often, new things make us fearful, including the new things that God brings us, that God asks of us. We are like the apostles in the Gospels: many times we prefer to keep our own certainties, to stand in front of a tomb, thinking of a deceased person, who in the end only lives in historical memory, like the famous people of the past. We are afraid of God's surprises; we are afraid of God's surprises. He always surprises us. 
     We are, perhaps, often tired, disillusioned, sad; we feel the weight of our sins, and we think we cannot achieve things. Let us not withdraw into ourselves; let us not lose confidence; let us not resign ourselves. There is no situation that God cannot change; there is no sin that he cannot forgive if we open ourselves to him. 

     The Spirit of the resurrected Christ drives out fear from the apostles' hearts and impels them to come out of the Cenacle to proclaim the Gospel. Let us also have more courage so as to witness to our faith in the resurrected Christ! We ought not to fear being Christians and living like Christians! We ought to have this courage and go and announce the resurrected Christ, because he is our peace. He has made peace with his love, with his forgiveness, with his mercy. 


from Inspiration from Pope Francis―Jorge Mario Bergoglio pp.57-58

Daily Thought For March 24, 2014


     We Are Being Prepared For Glory
   
     You are being renewed day by day. So do not be weighed down by yesterday's failures and disappointments. Begin this day anew, seeking to please Me and walk in My waysfocusing on today! As you do, I am able to transform you little by little. This is a lifelong processa journey fraught with problems and pain. It is also a journey full of Joy and Peace because I am with you each step of the way. 
     Notice that you are being renewed. This is not something you can do by your effort and willpower alone. My Spirit is in charge of your renewal, and He is alive within youdirecting your growth in grace. Do not be discouraged when you encounter problems and pain along your way. These are vital parts of the renewal process. Muster the courage to thank Me when you are going through painful experiences. Find hope through trusting that I continually hold you by your right handand I am preparing you for Glory! 

We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. ―2 Corinthians 4:16 

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. ―Romans 8:9 

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. ―Psalm 73:23-24 

from Jesus Today by Sarah Young pp.150-151

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Daily Thought For March 23, 2014


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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Daily Thought For March 22, 2014

Forgiveness

     Have you thought about God's patience, the patience that he has for each one of us? That is his mercy. He always has patience, patience with us. He understands us, he waits for us, he does not tire of forgiving us if we know how to return to him with a contrite heart. "Great is your mercy, O LORD," says the psalm (119:156). 
     Let us not forget this: God never tires of forgiving. Never. "And, Father, what is the problem?" The problem is we get tired, we don't want it, we get tired of asking forgiveness. God never tires of forgiving, but sometimes we get tired of asking forgiveness. May we never weary of it, may we never weary of asking forgiveness. God is a loving Father who always forgives, who has a merciful heart for us. 
     God is patient with us because he loves us, and he who loves understands, hopes, gives confidence, does not abandon, doesn't burn bridges, and knows how to forgive. Let us remember in our Christian life: God always waits for us, even when we have separated ourselves from him. He is never far away, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us. 
     Dearest brothers and sisters, let us allow ourselves to be enveloped in God's mercy. Let us trust in his patience, for he always gives us his time. May we have the courage to return home, to live in the wounds of God's love. allowing him to love 
us and encountering his mercy in the sacraments. We will feel his tenderness, which is so beautiful. We will feel his embrace, and we too will be more capable of mercy. patience, forgiveness, and love. 
     It isn't easy to entrust oneself to God's mercy, because it is an incomprehensible abyss, but we must. "Oh, Father, if you knew about my life, you would not speak to me that way." "Why? What have you done?" "Oh, Father! I have sinned so much." "Even more, then, go to Jesus! He likes it when [people] tell him these things." He forgets, he has a great capacity for forgetting, a very special one. He forgets, he kisses you, he hugs you and solemnly tells you, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again" Jn 8: 11). He gives you only that advice. After a month, we may find ourselves in the same condition . . .  Let us return to the Lord. The Lord never tires of forgiving, never! We are the ones who tire of asking for forgiveness. And we ask for the grace to never tire of asking for forgiveness, because he never tires of forgiving. Let us ask for this grace. 



From Inspiration from Pope Francis―Jorge Mario Bergoglio pp.65-68

Daily Thought For March 21, 2014

The Importance of Gratitude


Perhaps gratitude's greatest benefit is that it opens our eyes to goodness and kindness in our world-things we might otherwise be blind to or take for granted. And, when we recognize that all these blessings, however small, come from the hand of God and are signs of his love and care for us, we come to know how present God is to us, and our faith will grow. That's why, when our faith feels fragile, it's good to make an intentional effort to count our blessings. In other words, cultivating gratitude can cultivate a stronger faith. 

And gratitude does need to be cultivated! Gratitude is not something we're born with but rather something we need to learn. Parents have to teach and remind their children to say the magic words "Please" and "Thank you." However, our apprenticeship in gratitude should continue through adulthood because we inhabit a consumer culture that reminds us, all the time, of everything we don't have. It can tempt us to live beyond our means, confuse our needs with our wants, be envious of what others may have, and conclude that we're entitled to them. That's why it's a good practice to regularly count our blessings and make an intentional effort to call to mind all the things for which we should be grateful. 

from When Faith Feels Fragile ― Help for the Wary, Weak, and Wandering  by R. Scott Hurd p. 125

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Daily Thought For March 20, 2014

How To Fight The Enemy


Nothing paralyzes the devil more effectively than closing the doors of our souls to the most fertile agents of evil: our imagination and our memory. 

Rather than the peace that Christ brings, the devil carries with him the root sins of pride, greed, anger, envy, and lust―using the faculties of our souls as instruments of evil. 

In a soul kept open to every memory and welcoming to every imagining it becomes difficult to recognize the difference between what our best soul has wrought and what the devil has brought. 

With memory and imagination comes not just evil, but sicknesses of the soul: weariness, sadness, moodiness, and above all, constant distractions from the one thing that matters―our commitment to moving beyond what we can understand to a life with the God who exceeds all our attempts 
at understanding. 

Keeping the doors closed to memory and imagination frees up our souls for the ascent we have begun. 

from "30 Days with a Great Spiritual Teacher―Fear Not The Night―Based on the Classic Spirituality of John of the Cross" pp. 161-163

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Daily Thought For March 19, 2014

A Pope's Prayer



Lead in truth, O Christ, the fathers and mothers 
of families in the Church, 
urged on and strengthened by the sacramental grace of marriage, 
and aware of being on earth the visible sign of 
your unfailing love for the Church. 
Lead in truth, Christ, the young people of the Church. 
Let them not be attracted by the new idols, 
such as exaggerated consumerism, prosperity at all costs, 
moral permissiveness, protest expressed with violence, 
but rather let them live with the joy of your message, 
which is the message of the Beatitudes. 
Lead in truth, O Christ, all the faithful of the Church. 
May we become before the world courageous 
witnesses to your mission of salvation, 
happy to be sons and daughters of God- 
with You-and all humanity! 
Lead us in truth, Christ, always! Amen. 

Blessed John Paul II

Monday, March 17, 2014

Daily Thought For March 17, 2014

The Gift of Mission

The greatest service man can offer God is to help convert souls.

St. Rose of Lima

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Daily Thought For March 16, 2014

An Ardent Desire For God



O MOST kind, most loving Lord, Whom I now desire to receive with devotion, You know the weakness and the necessity which I suffer, in what great evils and vices I am involved, how often I am depressed, tempted, defiled, and troubled.


To You I come for help, to You I pray for comfort and relief. I speak to Him Who knows all things, to Whom my whole inner life is manifest, and Who alone can perfectly comfort and help me.


You know what good things I am most in need of and how poor I am in virtue. Behold I stand before You, poor and naked, asking Your grace and imploring Your mercy.


Feed Your hungry beggar. Inflame my coldness with the fire of Your love. Enlighten my blindness with the brightness of Your presence. Turn all earthly things to bitterness for me, all grievance and adversity to patience, all lowly creation to contempt and oblivion. Raise my heart to You in heaven and suffer me not to wander on earth. From this moment to all eternity do You alone grow sweet to me, for You alone are my food and drink, my love and my joy, my sweetness and my total good.Let Your presence wholly inflame me, consume and transform me into Yourself, that I may become one spirit with You by the grace of inward union and by the melting power of Your ardent love.


Suffer me not to go from You fasting and thirsty, but deal with me mercifully as You have so often and so wonderfully dealt with Your saints.
What wonder if I were completely inflamed by You to die to myself, since You are the fire ever burning and never dying, a love purifying the heart and enlightening the understanding.



From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas À Kempis Book 4 Chapter 16



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Daily Thought for March 15, 2014

When You Feel God Isn't Listening To You

If at times it seems that the Lord is not listening to us, we must be careful not to lose heart. It may be that He wants us to shout a little louder into the ears of His goodness, to prove as a result the greatness of His mercy ... When the Lord withdraws His consolations in prayer, He does not do this to discourage us or create a gulf between us, but to force us to come closer to His goodness, to practice perseverance and to give some proof of our patience. (Sermons 58; O. X, p. 229)

St. Francis de Sales

Friday, March 14, 2014

Daily Thought for March 14, 2014

Remember God's Gifts

OPEN my heart, O Lord, to Your law and teach me to walk in the way of Your commandments. Let me understand Your will. Let me remember Your blessings -- all of them and each single one of them -- with great reverence and care so that henceforth I may return worthy thanks for them. I know that I am unable to give due thanks for even the least of Your gifts. I am unworthy of the benefits You have given me, and when I consider Your generosity my spirit faints away before its greatness. All that we have of soul and body, whatever we possess interiorly or exteriorly, by nature or by grace, are Your gifts and they proclaim Your goodness and mercy from which we have received all good things.

If one receives more and another less, yet all are Yours and without You nothing can be received. He who receives greater things cannot glory in his own merit or consider himself above others or behave insolently toward those who receive less. He who attributes less to himself and is the more humble and devout in returning thanks is indeed the greater and the better, while he who considers himself lower than all men and judges himself to be the least worthy, is the more fit to receive the greater blessing.

He, on the other hand, who has received fewer gifts should not be sad or impatient or envious of the richer man. Instead he should turn his mind to You and offer You the greatest praise because You give so bountifully, so freely and willingly, without regard to persons. All things come from You; therefore, You are to be praised in all things. You know what is good for each of us; and why one should receive less and another more is not for us to judge, but for You Who have marked every man's merits.

Therefore, O Lord God, I consider it a great blessing not to have many things which human judgment holds praiseworthy and glorious, for one who realizes his own poverty and vileness should not be sad or downcast at it, but rather consoled and happy because You, O God, have chosen the poor, the humble, and the despised in this world to be Your friends and servants. The truth of this is witnessed by Your Apostles, whom You made princes over all the world. Yet they lived in this world without complaining, so humble and simple, so free from malice and deceit, that they were happy even to suffer reproach for Your name and to embrace with great affection that which the world abhors.

A man who loves You and recognizes Your benefits, therefore, should be gladdened by nothing so much as by Your will, by the good pleasure of Your eternal decree. With this he should be so contented and consoled that he would wish to be the least as others wish to be the greatest; that he would be as peaceful and satisfied in the last place as in the first, and as willing to be despised, unknown and forgotten, as to be honored by others and to have more fame than they. He should prefer Your will and the love of Your honor to all else, and it should comfort him more than all the benefits which have been, or will be, given him.

From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas À Kempis Book Three Chapter 23

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Daily Thought For March 13, 2014

Seeing Things With A Heavenly Perspective


TRY TO SEE THINGS more and more from My perspective. Let the Light of My Presence so fully fill your mind that you view the world through Me. When little things don't go as you had hoped, look to Me lightheartedly and say, "Oh, well." This simple discipline can protect you from being burdened with an accumulation of petty cares and frustrations. If you practice this diligently, you will make a life-changing discovery: You realize that most of the things that worry you are not important. If you shrug them off immediately and return your focus to Me, you will walk through your days with lighter steps and a joyful heart. When serious problems come your way, you will have more reserves for dealing with them. You will not have squandered your energy on petty problems. You may even reach the point where you can agree with the apostle Paul that all your troubles are light and momentary, compared with the eternal glory being achieved by them. 

A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?―PROVERBS 20:24 

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ―2 CORINTHIANS 4:17-18 

from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p.275

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Daily Thought For March 12, 2014

Cast Your Worries Aside & Trust in God


Live humbly, gently and lovingly with your divine Spouse. Do not be worried, but put behind you the memory of your small failings by confessing them. As we fail so often without realizing it, so we also rise again without realizing it. It is said that the just person falls seven times, not that he sees or feels the fall. Even if he falls seven times seven without realizing it, he also rises. Do not be too worried about this, but with frankness and humility say to your confessor what you remember, leaving everything else to the gentle mercy of God. He puts His hand under those who fall without malice, provided they do no harm and do not remain wounded. He raises and heals them so quietly that they do not even realize that they have fallen, because the divine hand has caught them. They fail to realize what has happened because God's help came so quickly that they did not even have time to notice it. 

St. Francis de Sales

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Daily Thought For March 11, 2014

Taking The Light Of Christ To The World


In the liturgy you altar servers are far more than mere helpers of the parish priest. Above all, you are servants of Jesus Christ, the eternal High Priest. Thus you especially are called to be young friends of Jesus. Strive to deepen and foster this friendship with him. You will discover that in Jesus you have found a true friend for life. The altar server often holds a candle in his hand. How can we not think of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: "You are the light of the world" (Matt. 5: 14)? Your service cannot be restricted to the inside of a church. It must shine out in your everyday life, at school, in the family, and in the different social contexts, for those who want to serve Jesus Christ in a church must be his witnesses everywhere. Dear young people, your contemporaries are awaiting the true "light of the world" (John 1:9). Do not hold your candlestick only inside the church, but take the light of the gospel to all who live in darkness and are going through a difficult time in their lives. 

Pope John Paul II - Undated Letter to Altar Servers, 2002