Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Daily Thought For June 24, 2014

Building The Kingdom

The kingdom aims at transforming human relationships; it grows gradually as people slowly learn to love, forgive and serve one another. Jesus sums up the whole Law, focusing it on the commandment of love (cf. Mt 22:34-40; Lk 10:25-28). Before leaving his disciples, he gives them a "new commandment": "Love one another; even as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34; cf. 15:12). Jesus' love for the world finds its highest expression in the gift of his life for mankind (cf. Jn 15:13), which manifests the love which the Father has for the world (cf. Jn 3:16). The kingdom's nature, therefore, is one of communion among all human beings-with one another and with God.

The kingdom is the concern of everyone: individuals, society, and the world. Working for the kingdom means acknowledging and promoting God's activity, which is present in human history and transforms it. Building the kingdom means working for liberation from evil in all its forms. In a word, the kingdom of God is the manifestation and the realization of God's plan of salvation in all its fullness.

from Mission of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Missio #15)
by St. John Paul II

**I am out of the country. This will be the last update until July 4, 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Daily Thought For June 22, 2014

The Power of The Eucharist

St John Mary Vianney liked to tell his parishioners: "Come to communion.... It is true that you are not worthy of it, but you need it" (Bernard Nodet, Le curé d'Ars. Sa pensée - Son coeur, éd. Xavier Mappus, Paris 1995, p. 119). With the knowledge of being inadequate because of sin, but needful of nourishing ourselves with the love that the Lord offers us in the Eucharistic sacrament, let us renew this evening our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We must not take this faith for granted! Today we run the risk of secularization creeping into the Church too. It can be translated into formal and empty Eucharistic worship, into celebrations lacking that heartfelt participation that is expressed in veneration and in respect for the liturgy. The temptation to reduce prayer to superficial, hasty moments, letting ourselves be overpowered by earthly activities and concerns, is always strong. When, in a little while, we recite the Our Father, the prayer par excellence, we will say: "Give us this day our daily bread", thinking of course of the bread of each day for us and for all peoples. But this request contains something deeper. The Greek word epioúsios, that we translate as "daily", could also allude to the "super-stantial" bread, the bread "of the world to come". Some Fathers of the Church saw this as a reference to the Eucharist, the bread of eternal life, the new world, that is already given to us in Holy Mass, so that from this moment the future world may begin within us. With the Eucharist, therefore, Heaven comes down to earth, the future of God enters the present and it is as though time were embraced by divine eternity.

Dear brothers and sisters, as happens every year, at the end of Holy Mass the traditional Eucharistic procession will set out and with prayer and hymns we shall raise a unanimous entreaty to the Lord present in the consecrated host. We shall say, on behalf of the entire City: "Stay with us Jesus, make a gift of yourself and give us the bread that nourishes us for eternal life! Free this world from the poison of evil, violence and hatred that pollute consciences, purify it with the power of your merciful love". "And you, Mary, who were the woman "of the Eucharist' throughout your life, help us to walk united towards the heavenly goal, nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ, the eternal Bread of life and medicine of divine immortality". Amen!

excerpt from the homily of Pope Benedict XVI (Corpus Christi Celebration) June 11, 2009

Friday, June 20, 2014

Daily Thought For June 21, 2014

Insights On Prayer

Prayer is like a field. In this field, there is a treasure: the union with God. We must dig for it without giving up. 

It is a rendezvous of love.

He wants to hear us and speak to us. We just have to be aware of it through faith. It is a type of awakening.

In order to pray, we must follow Saint Benedict's advice: "First, with fervent prayer, beg of Him to finish the good work begun ... " (RB, Prologue).

We must expect that God seems to withdraw, but this withdrawal is only to invite us to go further in our search for him. It is a divine process arranged so that we don't stop when we have reached just the small part of God that we only have begun to find. From God's viewpoint, it is a forward flight. He touches us, excites us, flees, and then comes back to incite us again. This heart-to-heart is never interrupted by God. If we interrupt it, he will come back to it through another path or road. We must be firm, accept the trial, leave what encumbers us behind, and prefer God to everything and in everything, imitate Jesus Christ, renew our desire and expectations of him through hope, finding our satisfaction in no one else. Thus, he will draw us out of ourselves, rip us from ourselves, and pour a greater degree of charity into our hearts.

The Lord hides himself so that the heart will seek him more ardently. The meeting is put off so that the person will find his own capacity for God and so that, one day, the believer will more fully find what he seeks. By appearing not to respond to our immediate desires, God intends to fulfill us even more. God neglects our request so that he can respond to his deeper intention.

The Lord calls the soul to a higher mountain, thus a greater love and then, in this way, little by little, he lifts it and makes it grow. But in order to unite with it at the summit that he shows us now, it must descend into the valley (see RB, 7), descend as deeply as the summit is high.

from 15 Days of Prayer With Saint Benedict by André Gozier pp.126-127

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Daily Thought For June 18, 2014

What Does Love Like?

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men and women. That is what love looks like.

St. Augustine

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Daily Thought For June 17, 2014

Pope Francis On The Holy Spirit

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to let ourselves be imbued with the light of the Holy Spirit, so that He introduces us into the Truth of God, who is the only Lord of our lives. In this Year of Faith let us ask ourselves if we have actually taken a few steps to get to know Christ and the truths of faith more, by reading and meditating on the Scriptures, studying the Catechism, steadily approaching the Sacraments. But at the same time let us ask ourselves what steps we are taking so that the faith directs our whole existence. Do not be a ‘part-time” Christian, at certain moments, in certain circumstances, in certain choices, be Christian at all times! The truth of Christ, that the Holy Spirit teaches us and gives us, always and forever involves our daily lives. Let us invoke him more often, to guide us on the path of Christ's disciples.

Pope Francis−Wednesday Audience May 15, 2013

Monday, June 16, 2014

Daily Thought For June 16, 2014

Living Life In The Spirit Brings Joy

Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Daily Thought For June 14, 2014

A Celebration of God's Faithfulness

O Lord, your life in me is a wonderful gift! A blessing and a privilege, it is unexpected, unmerited, and unwarranted. And yet you give it so freely! To have a relationship with you is a “portion” beyond measure. To feel your presence and to hear your voice—thank you for this gift! To hide myself in the shadow of your wings—thank you for the protection you offer me.
Because you are my inheritance, Father, you hold me close to your heart, and I am safe. I trust that no one and nothing can snatch me out of your hands! No one is stronger than you. No one can outsmart you or trick you into letting me go. I am in awe of the fact that you, almighty God, keep me secure. Your eyes are ever upon me, even as you rule over all creation!
Nothing, O Lord, compares to this portion, this inheritance, that I have received from you. If I were to own everything in the world but still not have this inheritance, I would be poor indeed. I would have nothing of eternal value, nothing to delight me and sustain me in all the ups and downs of life. Only you give me wisdom and instruction, direction and guidance, counsel and correction and consolation.
Therefore, Father, I will remain confident in you. I know that you will never abandon me. Though I sometimes exert my will in opposition to you and find myself battered and worn, you lead me back to yourself with compassion and kindness. I bless you, Lord! I want to be as faithful to you as you have been to me. May I never abandon you or wander far from your protecting hand!
Thank you, Lord, for giving me every reason to be glad and rejoice! Thank you for giving me every reason to remain confident! Thank you for giving me an inheritance that can never be spent or exhausted, a portion that will never lose value. I am so grateful that you live in me. I take comfort knowing that you are with me every minute of every day.
“Yes, Lord, my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices!”

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

Friday, June 13, 2014

Freedom & The Eucharist

No one is closer to his master than the servant who has access to the most private dimensions of his life. In this sense "to serve" means closeness, it requires familiarity. This familiarity also bears a danger: when we continually encounter the sacred it risks becoming habitual for us. In this way, reverential fear is extinguished. Conditioned by all our habits we no longer perceive the great, new and surprising fact that he himself is present, speaks to us, gives himself to us. We must ceaselessly struggle against this becoming accustomed to the extraordinary reality, against the indifference of the heart, always recognizing our insufficiency anew and the grace that there is in the fact that he consigned himself into our hands. To serve means to draw near, but above all it also means obedience. The servant is under the word: "not my will, but thine, be done" (Lk 22:42). With this word Jesus, in the Garden of Olives, has resolved the decisive battle against sin, against the rebellion of the sinful heart. Adam's sin consisted precisely in the fact that he wanted to accomplish his own will and not God's. Humanity's temptation is always to want to be totally autonomous, to follow its own will alone and to maintain that only in this way will we be free; that only thanks to a similarly unlimited freedom would man be completely man. But this is precisely how we pit ourselves against the truth. Because the truth is that we must share our freedom with others and we can be free only in communion with them. This shared freedom can be true freedom only if we enter into what constitutes the very measure of freedom, if we enter into God's will. This fundamental obedience that is part of the human being—a person cannot be merely for and by himself—becomes still more concrete in the priest: we do not preach ourselves, but him and his Word, which we could not have invented ourselves. We proclaim the Word of Christ in the correct way only in communion with his Body. Our obedience is a believing with the Church, a thinking and speaking with the Church, serving through her. What Jesus predicted to Peter also always applies: "You will be taken where you do not want to go." This letting oneself be guided where one does not want to be led is an essential dimension of our service, and it is exactly what makes us free. In this being guided, which can be contrary to our ideas and plans, we experience something new-the wealth of God's love. 

"To stand in his presence and serve him": Jesus Christ as the true High Priest of the world has conferred to these words a previously unimaginable depth. He, who as Son was and is the Lord, has willed to become that Servant of God which the vision of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah had foreseen. He has willed to be the Servant of all. He has portrayed the whole of his high priesthood in the gesture of the washing of the feet. With the gesture of love to the end he washes our dirty feet, with the humility of his service .

from Heart of the Christian Life—Thoughts on Holy Mass by Pope Benedict XVI pp. 108-109

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Daily Thought For June 12, 2014

Don't Forget Our Great Destiny—Heaven!

The present life is given to us only to earn eternal life. If we forget this, we tend to concentrate all our affections on the things of this world, where we are but birds of passage. So it happens that when we have to leave this world we become frightened and upset. Believe me, if we want to live as happy pilgrims, we must always have in our hearts the hope of finally reaching that country where we will settle down forever. But at the same time we must believe, and believe with all our hearts (this is a most sacred truth!), that God keeps a loving eye on us as we walk toward Him, and never lets anything happen to us that is not for our greater good. 

St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Daily Thought For June 11, 2014

Share The Treasure

     To be committed to the new evangelization means that we are convinced that we have something of value to offer to the human family at the dawn of the new millennium .... It is not enough to offer a "merely human wisdom, a pseudoscience of well-being.t'" We must be convinced that we have "a pearl of great price" (see Mt 13:46), a great "treasure" (see Mt 13:44), which is fundamental to the earthly existence and eternal salvation of every member of the human race .... 
     At a time like this, when many are confused regarding the fundamental truths and values on which to build their lives and seek their eternal salvation; when many Catholics are in danger of losing their faith-the pearl of great price; when there are not enough priests, not enough religious sisters and brothers to give support and guidance, not enough contemplative religious to keep before people's eyes the sense of the absolute supremacy of God, we must be convinced that Christ is knocking at many hearts, looking for young people like you to send into the vineyard, where an abundant harvest is ready ....
     Let us earnestly pray to the Lord of the harvest that the youth of the world will not hesitate to reply: "Here am I! Send me!" "Send Us!"

from Breakfast with the Pope—120 Daily Readings #87

Monday, June 9, 2014

Daily Thought For June 9, 2014

The Holy Spirit—The Artisan of God's Works

Let us invoke the Holy Spirit: he is the artisan of God’s works. Let his gifts shape you! Just as the Church travels the same journey with all humanity, so too you are called to exercise the Spirit’s gifts amidst the ups and downs of your daily life. Let your faith mature through your studies, work, sport, music and art. Let it be sustained by prayer and nurtured by the sacraments, and thus be a source of inspiration and help to those around you. In the end, life is not about accumulation. It is much more than success. To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God’s love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you too can transform your families, communities and nations. Set free the gifts! Let wisdom, courage, awe and reverence be the marks of greatness!

Pope Benedict XVI—VIGIL WITH THE YOUNG PEOPLE Randwick Racecourse Saturday, 19 July 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Daily Thought For June 8, 2014

Wow! Amazing Testimony By Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

In 1975, while I was a professor of Ancient Christianity at the Catholic University of Milan, I began hearing about a new move in the church, a new spirit, a new way of praying. In the beginning I was very "anti." I told the lady who described this activity to me: "You should never go again to that particular retreat house." I was surprised to see that these people, whom you already realize were part of the charismatic renewal, were not offended by my criticism. They loved me and even asked me to give them teachings.

I once gave a university course about the charismatic and prophetic movements in the early church just to try to understand what was going on now. Some manifestations were exactly like those which had occurred in the first Christian communities, in Corinth, for instance. But, as you may imagine, I was unprepared to accept other things, like speaking in tongues.

In 1977, a lady from Milan received four all-inclusive tickets to go to America to attend a conference in Kansas City. This was to be a large interdenominational gathering of 40,000 people, half Catholics and half other Christian denominations. I was given one of these tickets because I was coming to the States to start learning English. I thought to myself: "After all, in a week I shall be over all this annoyance."

In Kansas City, there was one thing which particularly impressed me and I must share it with you. At one moment during the conference someone began to speak prophetic words. Prophetic words are authoritative messages spoken in the name of God: "You bishops, mourn and weep because the body of my Son is broken. You priests, mourn and weep because the body of my Son is broken. You lay people, mourn and weep because the body of my Son is broken." One after another, almost all the 40,000 people fell to their knees. This huge crowd in Kansas City was crying out as one in repentance. And above the stadium a huge sign proclaimed: "Jesus is Lord."

I was looking at all this as an outsider but I couldn't help being moved. I said to myself: "This is a prophecy for the future of the church. One day the church shall be reunited in one single visible body. This is how it will happen; through all of us repenting, praying and weeping together, under the I,ordship of Christ." But can you imagine, I was still very critical and said to myself: "This is very beautiful. No doubt this comes from the Lord, but I cannot accept it." I was unprepared to understand the expressions of other Christian denominations, especially Pentecostals.

Choose Jesus as Lord of your Iife One of the hymns sung on this occasion said: "Lift high the banner of love; Jericho must fall." It's the story of Jericho falling before the sound of the trumpets. When the crowd sang the refrain, "Jericho must fall," my fellow Italians (there were five of us) nudged me and said: "Listen carefully, because Jericho is you."

And Jericho did fall. It was a spectacular fall that began in Kansas City, Missouri, and ended in Convent Station, New Jersey. There was a prayer meeting to be held in New Jersey and someone invited me to attend. A priest said: "Stay with us this week." I remember thinking to myself: "This, after all, is not a house of perdition or prostitution. It is a house of prayer, and staying there won't do me any harm." I decided: "Lord, I will stay. I will give you another chance to speak to me."

After this decision everything went smoothly, even though I resisted with all my strength. You must realize that I did my best. There was a moment during the prayer meeting when we were in the chapel praying, and I remember saying to myself: "I am a son of St. Francis of Assisi. I have a beautiful spirituality. What am I looking for among these lay brothers?" At that moment a lady opened her Bible and started reading. It was the passage where John the Baptist said to the Pharisees: "Don't say in your hearts, We are sons of Abraham, we are sons of Abraham."'

I assure you, this is the way the Holy Spirit builds when he is present in a gathering. He speaks in a simple but very, very strong way. So I stood up (speaking Italian because I did not know any English then) and everybody seemed to understand my Italian. I said: "Lord, I don't want to say any longer that I am a son of St. Francis of Assisi. I ask you to make me a true son of St. Francis of Assisi. Baptize me with your Holy Spirit." Then they prayed over me. I recall somebody saying: "Choose Jesus as Lord of your life."

The Cross of Jesus Christ Why am I mentioning my experience? Because if we are to receive the Holy Spirit in this new, dramatic way scripture says that we must be baptized. But if we have already been baptized, there is need of a new baptism or a renewal of our baptism. For me, baptism in the Spirit was precisely this-a chance the Lord gave me to ratify and renew my baptism.

For most of us, baptism is a bound sacrament. That means that while we have received baptism in the church, the church gave it in the hope that at some point in our adult life we would confirm our "I believe" in a personal, free act of faith. Until there is this act of faith in the life of a Christian, baptism remains a bound sacrament. Baptism allows us to receive Holy Communion but it also reveals why there are so many inactive Christians, passive and lacking any power. Jesus promised power to his believers, power enough to cast out demons and convict the world. Why, then, are we so powerless?

Coming back to my experience, my perception was that I was simply renewing my baptism, choosing Jesus as my Lord, and renewing my ordination-my religious profession. There was a moment when somebody said: "Choose Jesus as your Lord." At that very instant I lifted up my eyes and saw the crucifix. It was as if Jesus was waiting to tell me a very important thing. "Careful, Raniero." Of course there was no audible speaking by Jesus. Nothing visible-only a deeper communication.

This is the way God communicates something without verbal expression, without visible images. He speaks directly to the heart. He was speaking to my heart. "Be careful. This Jesus you are choosing as your Lord is not an easy Jesus. Not a rosewater Jesus. This is the crucified Jesus." This was when all my doubts fell away. If I was still wondering if the charismatic renewal was something superficial and emotional-just a lifting of our arms to impress each other, I was convinced at that moment that this renewal goes straight to the heart of the gospel, which is the cross of Jesus Christ!

A Love for the Word of God Nothing spectacular happened during this moment of my baptism in the Spirit. Nothing. But there was prophecy. Somebody said: "You will experience a new joy in proclaiming my word." At that time I was more a professor than a preacher. For a while, this remained for me a kind of question mark. Now, after seventeen or eighteen years, I can tell you that this prophecy has come true. I have experienced a new joy in proclaiming the word of God.

On the plane from Newark to Washington I had one of my first experiences as I found that in just praying my breviary the scriptures came alive. The psalms were not just words I knew by heart; no, they came alive. I was astonished. I read: "One generation proclaims to the other the greatness of the Lord." And a whole world opened in front of me. I remembered what is written in the New Testament: "Then at that moment Jesus opened their minds so that they were able to understand the scriptures."

This is what the Holy Spirit does. One of the first actions of the Holy Spirit is to open our minds to understand scripture, to see how true it is and that it is the word of God-the passionate word of a father to his children, for use in very personal situations. The love of scripture which results from receiving the Holy Spirit is unbelievable. I know people who cannot separate themselves from the Bible.

For example, I know a young widow who, after she lost her husband, was lost in fear. The first months were terrible. Then she discovered the Bible, so much so that sometimes when she went to bed she placed the Bible on became a woman filled with an understanding of scripture which sometimes enriches and instructs me.

When I came to Washington, I realized that I had a new desire for prayer. Something was attracting me to the chapel, and prayer opened to me the world of the Trinity. The Father spoke to me about the Son; the Son spoke to me about the Father; the Father and the Son about the Holy Spirit. I discovered the law of love which is the law of the Trinity.

Do you know what the law of love is? The law of love consists of not speaking of oneself, but speaking always of the other person. This is why the Father reveals the Son. The Son doesn't speak very much about himself; he speaks about the Father. When the Holy Spirit comes, what does he say? He doesn't start revealing his name; he doesn't proclaim ruah, ruah (r~cah is the Hebrew name for the Holy Spirit). When the Spirit comes, he says: "Abbe, Abba." This is the law. Imagine if this law of love were to be applied in a family. Imagine a father speaking to his children always of the good of their mother, and the mother always telling them of the goodness of their father. Oh, this would change many, many things.

Leave Everything and Come
A few months after my return to Italy, something happened which visibly and practically changed my life. One day as I was praying in my cell in the friary, I prayed for the first time in a manner vaguely like speaking in tongues; not exactly the same, but somewhat similar. For a moment there was a very deep-down communication-nothing verbal or visible-but I sensed that Jesus was passing in front of me. It was the same Jesus who came back from the Jordan after his baptism in the Spirit and he was saying to me: "If you want to help me in proclaiming the kingdom of God, leave everything and come. 'I understood that he meant that I was to leave my teaching position. At that time I was head of a department at a huge university. I felt an instant of panic. This university had established this chair especially for me. But I understood that Jesus was inviting me-a man who has many things to do and is always in a hurry. I was afraid that I would not be ready to answer "yes." At the end of this hour of prayer, however, by the grace of God, I found in my heart a full 'yes, Lord, I can." The Lord called me to leave my professorship and become an itinerant preacher of the gospel. Because I am a religious man with a vow of obedience, I went to my superior general and told him: "Father, I think the Lord is asking me to do something completely different." He said (as any good bishop or pastor would), "Let us wait one year more." So I went on teaching for one year. At the end of this time I went to my superior general in Rome. We both prayed and then he said: 'yes, it is the will of God. They will say that you and |I are both mad, but in ten years maybe they will change their opinion."

On the very day when the superior general gave me permiission to start a new life, the breviary contained this beautiful passage from the prophet Haggai, in which God sends Haggai to encourage the people. The people stopped rebuilding their own houses and started rebuild-ing the temple of God. God was pleased and sent prophets to encourage them. Haggai said: "Now take courage you Joshua, son of Jehozadak; take courage Zerubbabel: take courage, you people of the land and work, because I am with you, says the Lord" (Haggai 2:3-5).

Do you know what the law of love is? The law of love consists of not speaking of oneself, but speaking always of the other person. This is why the Father reveals the Son. The Son doesn't speak very much about himself he speaks about the Father.

After reading this in the breviary, I went to St. Peter's Square to ask St. Peter for a new gift of faith for my new ministry. It was a rainy October day, and St. Peter's Square was completely empty. Something compelled me to look at the window of the Pope-you know, where the window of the Pope is in the Square. It was as if the word of God were crying through me: "Take courage, John Paul II; take courage, you cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church; and work, because I am with you, says the Lord." So far so good. Except that three months later I was appointed preacher to the Pope!

"Take courage, John Paul II; take courage, you cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church; and work, because I am with you, says the Lord." So far so good. Except that three months later I was appointed preacher to the Pope!

Take Courage. I am with You. Preacher to the Pope! Maybe it would be worth while to say a little about what this means. Many Catholics don't know that every Friday during Lent and Advent the Holy Father takes time to listen to a sermon, a meditation given by a priest of the Catholic Church, which, for the last sixteen years, has been me. He never misses a sermon. Once when he was traveling around Central America, he missed two Fridays. When he returned he came straight to me, apologizing for having missed two sermons. It's really he who gives the sermons to me through his humility, his example.

The first time I was in front of this very unusual audience I couldn't help telling what had happened to me in St. Peter's Square, just below the Pope's window. So again I quoted Haggai the prophet-not just as a quotation but as a living prophecy. I heard him say to this audience: "Take courage, John Paul II; take courage, you cardinals and bishops, you people of the land, and work, because I am with you, says the Lord." And I could see in the eyes of my listeners the word of God becoming an active reality at that very moment.

Very often when the Lord sends me around the world to proclaim the word of God, I repeat this prophecy of Haggai. Now I have the pleasure, the joy, of proclaiming it for you: 'Take courage, you bishops of this country; take courage, you priests; take courage, you lay people, and walk, because I am with you, says the Lord."

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM, CAP

(Fr. Cantalamessa is the preacher to the Papal Household. This ministry began in 1980. He leads numerous formation sessions and retreats throughout the world. Fr. Cantalamessa is a prophetic voice speaking to many people throughout the world. He has a deep passion for Christian unity.)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Daily Thought For June 7, 2014

Get To Know The Holy Spirit

My dear young friends, the Holy Spirit continues today to act with power in the Church, and the fruits of the Spirit are abundant in the measure in which we are ready to open up to this power that makes all things new. For this reason it is important that each one of us know the Spirit, establish a relationship with Him and allow ourselves to be guided by Him. However, at this point a question naturally arises: who is the Holy Spirit for me? It is a fact that for many Christians He is still the “great unknown”. This is why, as we prepare for the next World Youth Day, I wanted to invite you to come to know the Holy Spirit more deeply at a personal level. In our profession of faith we proclaim: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed). Yes, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the love of the Father and of the Son, is the Source of life that makes us holy, “because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). Nevertheless, it is not enough to know the Spirit; we must welcome Him as the guide of our souls, as the “Teacher of the interior life” who introduces us to the Mystery of the Trinity, because He alone can open us up to faith and allow us to live it each day to the full. The Spirit impels us forward towards others, enkindles in us the fire of love, makes us missionaries of God’s charity.

Pope Benedict XVI Message For World Youth Day 2008 #5

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Daily Thought For June 5, 2014

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Oh, God, when I have food, 
help me to remember the hungry; 
When I have work, help me 
to remember the jobless; 
When I have a warm home, 
help me to remember the homeless; 
When I am without pain, 
help me to remember those who suffer; 
And remembering, help me 
to destroy my complacency 
and bestir my compassion. 
Make me concerned enough to help, by word and deed, 
those who cry out 
for what we take for granted. 

Samuel F. Pugh 
(found on a Salesian Missions Prayer Card)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Daily Thought For June 3, 2014

The Holy Spirit & Being Fruitful

Because we do not always see these seeds growing, we need an interior certainty, a conviction that God is able to act in every situation, even amid apparent setbacks: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7). This certainty is often called “a sense of mystery”. It involves knowing with certitude that all those who entrust themselves to God in love will bear good fruit (cf. Jn 15:5). This fruitfulness is often invisible, elusive and unquantifiable. We can know quite well that our lives will be fruitful, without claiming to know how, or where, or when. We may be sure that none of our acts of love will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force. Sometimes it seems that our work is fruitless, but mission is not like a business transaction or investment, or even a humanitarian activity. It is not a show where we count how many people come as a result of our publicity; it is something much deeper, which escapes all measurement. It may be that the Lord uses our sacrifices to shower blessings in another part of the world which we will never visit. The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. We know only that our commitment is necessary. Let us learn to rest in the tenderness of the arms of the Father amid our creative and generous commitment. Let us keep marching forward; let us give him everything, allowing him to make our efforts bear fruit in his good time.

Keeping our missionary fervour alive calls for firm trust in the Holy Spirit, for it is he who “helps us in our weakness” (Rom 8:26). But this generous trust has to be nourished, and so we need to invoke the Spirit constantly. He can heal whatever causes us to flag in the missionary endeavour. It is true that this trust in the unseen can cause us to feel disoriented: it is like being plunged into the deep and not knowing what we will find. I myself have frequently experienced this. Yet there is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten, guide and direct us, leading us wherever he wills. The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful!

from Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of Evangelization) by Pope Francis #'s 279-280

Monday, June 2, 2014

Daily Thought For June 2, 2014

Repairing Sin's Damage 

Penance is closely connected with reconciliation. Reconciliation with God, with oneself and with others implies overcoming that radical break which is sin. And this is achieved only through the interior transformation or conversion which bears fruit in a person's life through acts of penance .... 

Sacred Scripture speaks to us of this reconciliation, inviting us to make every effort to attain it. But Scripture also tells us that it is above all a merciful gift of God to humanity. The history of salvation ... is the wonderful history of a reconciliation: the reconciliation whereby God, as Father, in the blood and the cross of his Son made man, reconciles the world to himself. He thus brings into being a new family of those who have been reconciled. 

Reconciliation becomes necessary because there has been the break of sin from which derive all the other forms of break within man and about him. Reconciliation, therefore, in order to be complete necessarily requires liberation from sin, which is to be rejected in its deepest roots. Thus a close internal link unites conversion and reconciliation. It is impossible to split these two realities or to speak of one and say nothing of the other. 

from Breakfast with the Pope 120 Daily Readings―Pope John Paul II #34

Daily Thought For June 2, 2014

Our Stubborn Wills 

Repent therefore and be converted. ACTS 3:19 

Becoming a Christian is a once-for-all event when we repent of our sins and cast ourselves on Christ alone for our salvation. When we are converted, God takes us "out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9). 

But being a Christian is a daily, ongoing experience. It is a lifelong process of daily repentance and faith, of turning from sin and seeking to live for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is where our wills come in. Although we have been converted and God has come to live in us, our old nature is still alive and kicking. Our stubborn wills still demand to put self first instead of Christ. It isn't easy to bring our stubborn wills into submission to Christ, but when we do, it is as if a misplaced vertebra has snapped back into place. Instead of the stress and tension of a life out of harmony with God, we discover the serenity of His presence. 

Who will control your will today? You-or Christ? 

from Hope For Each Day by Billy Graham p. 508