Monday, March 31, 2014
Sunday, March 30, 2014
The Gift of Friendship
Saturday, March 29, 2014
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.
Friday, March 28, 2014
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.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
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.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
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.
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 ways―focusing on today! As you do, I am able to transform you little by little. This is a lifelong process―a 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 you―directing 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 hand―and 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
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Friday, March 21, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
How To Fight The Enemy
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
A Pope's Prayer
Monday, March 17, 2014
Sunday, 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
Friday, March 14, 2014
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.