Sunday, November 30, 2014

Daily Thought For November 30, 2014

The Holy Spirit ― Soul of the Church

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

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

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

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


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

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

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Daily Thought For November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Subscribers to The Daily Thought,

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

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

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

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Jim Northrop

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Daily Thought For November 25, 2014

No Fear

Do not be terrified. (Luke 21:9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Daily Thought For November 24, 2014

Refurbishing The Soul

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

St. Francis de Sales

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Daily Thought For November 22, 2014

Developing A Friendship With God

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

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

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

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

from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p. 352


Friday, November 21, 2014

Daily Thought For November 21, 2014

Do You Believe This?

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

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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Daily Thought For November 20, 2014

The Journey To Holiness

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


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

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Daily Thought For November 19, 2014

Praying in the Power of the Holy Spirit

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

Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Daily Thought For November 18, 2014

The Grace of Being Faithful

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

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

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

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


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

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

Daily Thought For November 17, 2014

Forgiveness Prayer

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


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

Adapted from a prayer written by Lorraine Dolan


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Daily Thought For November 16, 2014

Great Insights Into The Gospel Reading For Today

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


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

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

Daily Thought For November 15, 2014

Be Strong & Courageous

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

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

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

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

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

from Jesus Today by Sarah Young pp. 90-91

Friday, November 14, 2014

Daily Thought For November 14, 2014

Our New Identity

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


St. Paul (Galatians 2:20)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Daily Thought For November 12, 2014

Salt For The Earth−Light For The World

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

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


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

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Daily Though For November 11, 2014

Being Content

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

St. Teresa of Avila

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

Daily Thought For November 10, 2014

The Love of Christ Knows No Limits

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


St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Daily Thought For November 9, 2014

Prayer of Pope Francis

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


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

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Daily Thought For November 8, 2014

Pope Pius XII On Sports

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

Pope Pius XII

Friday, November 7, 2014

Daily Thought For November 7, 2014

All Work Can Give Glory To God

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

St. Francis de Sales


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Daily Thought For November 6, 2014

The Reality of Faith

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


Pope Benedict XVI 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Daily Thought For November 5, 2014

Cling To Prayer

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

Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Daily Thought For November 4, 2014

An Evangelizing Community Gets Involved

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Daily Thought For November 3, 2014

Suffering Illumined by the Cross

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

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


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

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