Thursday, April 30, 2015

Daily Thought For April 30, 2015

What Does God Have For Us Today?


Meditatio

“… whoever receives the one I send receives me …”

I wonder how easy it was to receive the apostles or disciples, grimy with road dust, hot, tired, and hungry, bearing a message that sounded unbelievable. Was it easy to welcome them? Was it easy to accept their message? I find it amazing that people did come to believe—and in such numbers. In those first years following the resurrection, Christianity spread swiftly throughout the Roman Empire. Only one explanation seems possible: it was a miracle of grace.

If we reflect, we see that our own lives are also marked by grace. We may have received the faith as children from parents and teachers. We may have received it as adults—through books, friends, a counselor or spouse—perhaps after much seeking and soul searching. In any case, how could the faith have come to us except by means of grace?

So, what does the Scripture citation mean for me? I have faith already: who will Jesus send me today? Do I still need an apostle or disciple to show me the way?

Well, I really may. I might want to give this some thought. It’s also possible, however, that Jesus will send someone for me to help—a needy person like those he searched out during his earthly life and ministry. He may want to continue that ministry through me today.
He may want me to greet a lonely neighbor at my door, an annoying relative on the phone, a physically or mentally challenged stranger in the supermarket, a co-worker in the lunch room whose lifestyle I don’t agree with, an acquaintance on the bus whose accent I can hardly understand. He may want me to engage this person in conversation in order to communicate his mercy and unconditional love through me. He probably also wants to communicate to me through this other, even though the other might not measure up to my concept of a devout and knowledgeable Christian—or might not be a believer at all!
So, am I ready?

Oratio

Lord Jesus, our Teacher and Shepherd, you once said that whatever we do to the least ones we do to you (see Mt 25:40). Help me to remember this when I encounter someone in need. Help me not to be so wrapped up in my own needs, wants, and plans that I can’t greet, listen, converse, aid, and learn. Moment by moment, give me the light to see what I am called to say and do. Give me the courage to follow your inspirations. Help me to forget myself more often and focus on you and others instead. Amen.

Contemplatio

Whom might Jesus send me today?


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. TrouvĂ©, Eds.) (pp. 64–65). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Daily Thought For April 29, 2015

The World Needs Credible Witnesses

Our greatest need in the present historical moment is people who make God credible in this world by means of the enlightened faith they live. The negative testimony of Christians who spoke of God but lived in a manner contrary to him has obscured the image of God and has opened the doors to disbelief.

We need men who keep their eyes fixed on God, learning from him what true humanity means.

We need men whose intellect is enlightened by the light of God, men whose hearts are opened by God, so that their intellect can speak to the intellect of others and their hearts can open the hearts of others. It is only by means of men who have been touched by God that God can return to be with mankind.

We need men like Benedict of Nursia, who, in an age of dissipation and decadence, immersed himself in the uttermost solitude. Then, after all the purifications he had to undergo, he succeeded in rising again to the light. He returned and made his foundation at Monte Cassino, the “city on the hill” where, in the midst of so many ruins, he assembled the forces from which a new world was formed. In this way, like Abraham, Benedict became the father of many peoples. The recommendations to his monks with which he concludes his Rule show us, too, the path that leads on high, away from the crises and the ruins:

  Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so is there is a good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and life everlasting.
  Let monks, therefore, exercise this zeal with the most fervent love. Let them, that is, give one another precedence. Let them bear with the greatest patience one another’s infirmities, whether of body or of character.… Let them practice fraternal charity with a pure love. Let them fear God.… Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ. And may he bring us all alike to life everlasting.


Benedict XVI. (2006). Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures. (B. McNeil, Trans.) (pp. 52–53). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Daily Thought For April 28, 2015

Letting God Help Us

So long as we tackle all our troubles ourselves, we shall be always worried and tired, and Our Lord will leave us to our own devices; but when we leave everything to Him, He will look after all our troubles Himself. The interest that God will have for us will be in proportion to the degree that we abandon ourselves to Him. I am not just speaking of temporal things, but also of spiritual ones. The Lord Himself taught this same truth to His beloved Saint Catherine of Siena: "Always think about me, my daughter, and I will think about you." Oh, how happy are those loving souls who know how to observe this rule, thinking only about the Lord, faithfully keeping themselves in His presence, listening to what He has to say to their hearts, obeying His divine inspiration and attractions, and not living or aspiring for anything but to please Him. 

St. Francis de Sales

Monday, April 27, 2015

Daily Thought For April 27, 2015


Live In The Spirit

Since my return from the visit, I felt some symptoms of fever. Our physician would not order me any remedy except rest and I obeyed him. You know also that the remedy I willingly order is tranquillity and that I always forbid excitement. This is why, in this bodily repose, I have thought of the spiritual repose which our hearts ought to feel in the will of God, whatever portion it assigns to us. Let us live as long as it pleases God in this vale of miseries, with an entire submission to his holy and sovereign will. I thought the other day of what writers say concerning the halcyons, little birds which float on the waves of the sea. It is that they make nests so round and compact that the water of the sea cannot penetrate them. At the top of the nest there is a small hole. It is only through this hole that they can breathe. In these nests they lodge their young, so that if the sea surprises them, they may swim safely, the nests floating on the waves without filling or sinking. The air which comes through the hole serves as counterpoise and so balances these little balls or boats so that they never overturn. Oh, how I wish that our hearts were as compact and as well sealed on all sides, so that if the troubles and tempests of the world seized them, they might never penetrate them. How I desire that there were no opening but on the side of heaven, to breathe unto our Savior! While the halcyons build their nests and their young are still too tender to bear the dashing of the waves, God has care for them and pities them, keeping the sea from seizing the nests and carrying them away. O God! In the same way this sovereign goodness will secure the nest of our hearts for his holy love against all the assaults of the world, where he will defend us from being assailed. Oh, how I love those birds which are surrounded with water, living only on the air and seeing only the sky! They swim like the fishes and sing like birds. What pleases me more is that their anchor is thrown on high, and not beneath, to steady them against the waves. May sweet Jesus make us such, that, surrounded with the world and the flesh, we may live in the spirit; that, among the vanities of the earth, we may always look to heaven; that, living among men, we may always praise him with the angels; and that the security of our hopes may always be on high and in paradise. Everywhere and in everything, may holy love be our great love.


Francis de Sales. (2012). Courage in Chaos: Wisdom from Francis de Sales. (K. Hermes, Ed.) (pp. 83–85). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Daily Thought For April 26, 2015

Joy Is Infectious

Let anyone who comes to you go away feeling better and happier. Everyone should see goodness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile. Joy shows from the eyes. It appears when we speak and walk. It cannot be kept closed inside us. It reacts outside. Joy is very infectious.” 

 Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Friday, April 24, 2015

Daily Thought For April 25, 2015

Growth In Discernment


Peace and tranquility of mind alone give great strength to the soul, to enable it to do all that God wishes, while, on the other hand, anxiety and uneasiness make the soul feeble and languid as though sick. Then one feels neither taste for, nor attraction to, virtue; but, on the contrary, disgust and discouragement, of which the devil does not fail to take advantage. For this reason he uses all his pretexts, at one time about self-examination or sorrow for sin, at another about the way we continually neglect grace, or that by our own fault we make no progress; that God will, at last, forsake us and a hundred other devices from which very few people can defend themselves. This is why masters of the spiritual life lay down this great principle to distinguish the true inspirations of God from those that emanate from the devil: the former are always sweet and peaceful inducing the soul to confidence and humility, while the latter are intense, restless, and violent, leading to discouragement and mistrust, or else to presumption and self-will. We must, therefore, constantly reject all that does not show signs of peace, submission, sweetness, and confidence, all of which bear, as it were, the impression of the seal of God; this point is a very important one for the whole of our life.

De Caussade, J.-P. (2011). Inner Peace: Wisdom from Jean-Pierre de Caussade. (K. Hermes, Ed.) (p. 88). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Daily Thought For April 24, 2015

The Holy Spirit — The Divine Artist

How wonderful is the work of the artist! By efforts both ardent and gentle he can infuse hard and shapeless materials with the light of his soul. The instruments he uses, though often crude, can impart to these materials exquisite proportions and shapes.

That is the way one may conceive the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, Artist of souls. Is not sanctity the supreme art? God has only one ideal, which, in its prodigious unity and because it is divine, encompasses all the highest forms of beauty. This ideal is Jesus. The Holy Spirit loves him more than an artist loves his ideal. That love is his being, because the Holy Spirit is nothing but love, the personal Love of the Father and of the Word. With divine enthusiasm he comes to the soul—the soul, breath of the Most High, spiritual light that can be united with uncreated Light, exquisite essence that can be transformed into Jesus, reproducing the eternal idea.

That which the human artist dreams of without ever being able to attain, the divine Artist accomplishes because he is perfect and infinite. His action is not exterior nor intermittent, but intimate and constant. He enters into the depths of our souls, penetrates the innermost recesses, and takes up his permanent dwelling there to produce later on his magnificent work.…

… [T]he first relationship that the Holy Spirit has with us is that of being the delightful Guest—dulcis Hospes animae—as the Church calls him in the inspired prose of the Mass of Pentecost. Without doubt, the entire Blessed Trinity dwells within the soul living the life of grace, as it is to dwell eternally within the soul living the life of glory—the full and joyous expansion of the life of grace.…
Without this dwelling of the Holy Spirit in us we cannot “become Christ.” “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom 8:9). Grace and charity, which are the life of our souls, have relationship with the Spirit who dwells in us, because “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rom 5:5).…

And the Holy Spirit does not come to us in a transitory manner. Infinite Love is not a passing visitor who pays us a call and then goes away. He establishes in us his permanent dwelling and lives in intimate union with our souls as their eternal Guest. Jesus promised this to us on the last night of his mortal life: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you” (Jn 14:16–17).



Martinez, L. (2011). Secrets of the Spirit: Wisdom from Luis Martinez. (G. Santos, Ed.) (pp. 39–41). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Daily Thought For April 23, 2015

God Blesses The Generous

An old man lived a common life with another brother, and he was an old man with a merciful disposition. Once in a time of famine, people began to come to his door to take part in a love-feast, and the old man ministered bread to everyone who came. But when his brother saw this, he said: “Give me my share of the bread, and do what you like with your share.” The old man divided the bread into two, and went on giving away his own share as usual. But a multitude flocked to the old man, hearing that he gave to all comers. And God, seeing his purpose, blessed that bread.

But the brother who had taken his share, gave none away: and he ate up his bread, and said to the old man: “I have only a little of my bread left, Abba: so take me back to a life in common.” And the old man said to him: “I will do whatever you want.” And again they began to live together and have everything in common. Again, they had plenty of food, and again the needy kept coming to receive a love-feast.

One day the brother happened to go in and see that there was no bread left. And a poor man came, asking for the love-feast. So the old man said to the brother: “Give him some bread.” And he said: “There is none left, father.” And the old man said: “Go in, and look for some.” The brother went in, and saw the bin full of loaves. He was afraid at the sight, and took some and gave to the poor man. And he recognized the faith and goodness of the old man, and glorified God.


The Sayings of the Fathers Chadwick, O. (Ed.). (1958). (pp. 148–149). Philadelphia: Westminster Press.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Daily Thought For April 22, 2015

Checking In With The Gatekeeper

Meditatio

“I am the gate for the sheep.”

Nowadays no one leaves doors unlocked. That is considered much too dangerous and far too inviting of criminals. We are trained never to speak to strangers, never to go with anyone we don’t know. Our parents impart these first rules of safety to us from an early age. These two preventives, however, are contrary to the spirit of loving trust a Christian feels by nature. Yet the Lord himself cautions us to beware of thieves and robbers.

We are less wary and less guarded when it comes to the danger we invite into our souls. In fact, it is impossible to walk the ways of the world without bringing home to our minds, our wills, and our hearts some of this danger. These modern thieves and robbers appear so attractive and appealing. They reach out even to what is best in our human nature, and may slowly siphon off some of our fervor, love, and zeal. These are the cultural crooks. We become so accustomed to them that we let our guard down. We wonder: what harm they can do? After all, we reason, this is the world we are living in.
What choice do we have? Just as the sheep had to leave their pen every day and wander among the hills, so we have to live in our world and engage our culture. God wants us to have life and have it in its fullness. God does not ask that we hide from the world around us. Nor does he want us to shun the world. The choice that we do have is to go through the gate, and to check in with the gatekeeper, as the Gospel recommends. In this case, the gatekeeper is a good conscience, kept alert by God’s grace. This grace is our gatekeeper. An attentive conscience nourished and protected by grace enables us to come and go in confidence.

Oratio

Jesus, Good Shepherd, you lead and guide me through this life. Every time I am tempted to wander off, you gently bring me back. So many things attract my attention, call for consideration, beckon for just a glance. Help me by your gift of grace to be always attentive and conscientious, ever grateful for our world and its inventions, but always secure in my faith. Thank you, Lord, for your constant, loving care.

Contemplatio

“I came that they might have life and have it to the full.”



Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. TrouvĂ©, Eds.) (pp. 52–53). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Daily Thought For April 21, 2015

Running The Race

Imagine life as a marathon. The man who has despaired would refuse to train because he would think it was hopeless and no amount of training could change the outcome. The man with presumption would also refuse to train because he would think training was not necessary. Both are destined to fail. But, the man with hope would train hard because he believed that, although he may not presently be in shape to finish the race, through rigorous training he could become so. Because of this fundamental difference in approach, based upon the hope of success, he would gain the stamina and strength he needs to run the race. Saint Paul uses this very example to stress the importance of a rigorous spiritual life:

  Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:24–27).

Because of hope, we are able to endure difficulties with joy. And because of hope we are motivated to love God and to follow Him. Life is a marathon, and in the midst of life we can sometimes become discouraged over our failings and disheartened over the challenges of life. Hope provides us with a purpose in life. For the Christian, hope is not some weak experience of positive thinking. Hope is the rock-solid trust that if we cling to Christ and seek His forgiveness, He will always prove Himself faithful to His promises. The hope of heaven can strengthen us in times of suffering. When the Christian martyrs are tortured for their faith, the hope of heaven and of being with the Lord gives them the strength to endure.
Our Christian faith enables us to be joyful in the midst of suffering and hardship. This is because the Christian knows that, despite the present problems, there is a future glory that awaits us (cf. Rom. 8:18). In other words, we may be two touchdowns behind, but we know that through Christ we are ultimately going to triumph. We can be saddened at the present evils and difficulties that we and those we love must endure, but this sadness is tempered by our knowledge that, in the end, God will make all things right. For in the end “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
It is just such a hope that buoyed Saint Paul’s spirits while he was in chains in a dark prison cell because of his faith in Jesus Christ. One of Paul’s most cheerful letters is to the Philippians, which he wrote from prison. The tone and theme of the letter is joy. Despite Paul’s chains he can say:

  Yes, and I shall rejoice … as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:19–21).

Saint Paul trusted in God, and he knew well that the final goal was heaven. That is why he could say that although he had suffered the loss of all things, he counted them as refuse compared to the glory that awaited him at the end (cf. Phil. 3:8). If we take our eyes off of the final prize, then we can easily lose the desire that hope enkindles in us. If we lose our desire for heavenly glory, we will sink into the pursuit of earthly goods that are poor counterfeits of the eternal; they are mere trinkets compared to the glorious reward that awaits those who hope for heaven. As Saint Peter says:

  By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Pet. 1:3–4).

from Boys to Men: The Transforming Power of Virtue by Timothy Gray & Curtis Martin (pp. 93–95). 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Daily Thought For April 20, 2015

Having The Right Intention

     The place where we look for holiness is in our work, in our relationships with the people who share the same tasks with us, in our social contacts, and in our families. 
     When we come across obstacles, lack of understanding or unjust criticism, we will ask Our Lord for his grace to keep us calm, and, normally, we will not stop doing apostolate. Our Lord did not always find well-intentioned people when he was spreading the Good News. This never stopped him from talking about the marvels of the kingdom of God. The Apostles, at the beginning of the Church, and the first Christians also, found themselves in situations and environments which, at least at first, completely rejected the doctrine of salvation they had in their hearts, but they still managed to convert the ancient world. Why are you so apathetic? If you come across a group at work who are a bit difficult, you lose interest in them. Perhaps they have become difficult because you have neglected them. Yet you throw in the towel and think of them as a dead weight which holds back your apostolic ideals because they do not understand you. .. You may love and serve them with your prayer and mortification, but how do you expect them to listen to you if you never speak to them?
On the other hand there is no such thing as an 
unchangeable or definitive situation. The passage of time always shows in a true light the person who works and deals honorably with everyone, with a right intention and without seeking personal interest. 
     Only those of unsteady character with a superficial formation, and without clear criteria to guide them, allow themselves to be influenced by what people say. Often this attitude, which even humanly speaking is unattractive, is backed up by the desire to avoid having a hard time, or the fear of putting one's job in danger, for example, or the desire not to be different from others in any way….

     In order to get over worrying about what people will say, we need to have a right intention, being more concerned about God's opinion than anyone else's. We also need strength to ignore small criticisms in a cheerful and imperturbable manner, and be ready to communicate the treasure which each disciple of the Lord has found. We need, too, to give good example, which is simply living coherently with the grace our Lord has placed in our hearts. It is one thing we will never regret. Even in the most difficult environments we can win souls for Christ if we really want to make those friends, colleagues and acquaintances of ours happy. Before wanting to make saints out of all those people we love, we must make them happy and joyful, for nothing better prepares a soul for grace than joy. 

from In Conversation with God  by Francis Fernandez Volume 2 pp.390-391

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Daily Thought For April 19, 2015

Avoiding Indifference

To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.


St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Daily Thought For April 18, 2015

Prayer Opens New Horizons

God is good; he is there for all that is small and also for all who are small. That is why we can talk to him without embarrassment about the very personal matters that are in themselves so small yet for us so large. At the same time, however, prayer must become a path for ourselves on which we gradually learn to see more. It must not end in our shutting ourselves off in our egoism. Through prayer we must become more free, we must set less value on ourselves and more on him and thus discover the real purpose of prayer: to ask God for the salvation of the world—even today. Even today we must have confidence that he—and he alone—is able to save the world at this hour. If we, as Christians, lose this conviction and come to believe that the salvation of the world depends on us, if we have no further confidence in God and are willing, at most, to let him enter just our private world, then the door is shut against him and the world becomes ungovernable and beyond salvation. To be a person who prays is to be a person who has faith. And that, in turn, means to be a person who has hope. Or, in other words, it means to be a person who believes not merely that there is perhaps a higher being somewhere, about which we know nothing else and that does not attract attention to itself; on the contrary, it means to be a person who believes that God is God and that we can place our hope in him—who believes that God is God and that the world is neither a matter of indifference to him nor has it fallen out of his hands. It means that we must open the world only to him because he can act and wants to act, even if he does not always do what we expected or asked him to do in our prayers.


Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger pp.299-300

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Daily Thought For April 17, 2015

Suffering In the Light of the Cross Brings Hope

It is a thoroughly Christian impulse to combat suffering and injustice in the world. But to imagine that men can construct a world without them by means of social reform, and the desire to do so here and now, is an error, a deep misunderstanding of human nature. For suffering does not come into the world solely because of the inequality of possessions and power. Nor is it just a burden from which men should free themselves. Anyone who wishes to do that must escape into the distorted world of narcotics in order thus to destroy himself and to find himself in conflict with reality. It is only by enduring himself, by freeing himself through suffering from the tyranny of egoism, that man finds himself, that he finds his truth, his joy, his happiness. He will be all the happier the more ready he is to take upon himself the abysses of existence with all their misery. The measure of one’s capacity for happiness depends on the measure of the premiums one has paid, on the measure of one’s readiness to accept the full passion of being human. The crisis of our age is made very real by the fact that we would like to flee from it; that people mislead us into thinking that one can be human without overcoming oneself, without the suffering of renunciation and the hardship of self-control; that people mislead us by claiming that there is no need for the difficulty of remaining true to what one has undertaken and the patient endurance of the tension between what one ought to be and what one actually is. An individual who has been freed from all effort and led into the fool’s paradise of his dreams loses what is most essential, himself. There is, in fact, no other way in which one can be saved than by the Cross. All offers that promise a less costly way will founder, will prove to be false. The hope of Christianity, the outlook of faith, ultimately rest quite simply on the fact that faith tells the truth. The outlook of faith is the outlook of the truth that may be obscured and trampled upon, but can never perish.

Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger pp.63-64

Daily Thought For April 16, 2015

The Transforming Power of Discipleship

To be a disciple of Jesus means that we can and must follow a way that is directly opposed to our own natural gravity, to the gravity of egoism, to the search for what is merely material and for the maximum pleasure that we confuse with happiness. Discipleship is a way through agitated, stormy waters that we can follow only if we are in the gravitational field of the love of Jesus Christ, if our gaze is fixed on him and therefore supported by the new gravity of grace that makes possible for us the way to truth and to God that we would have been unable to follow by our own efforts. That is why being a disciple of Jesus is more than concurrence with a definite program, more than sympathy and solidarity with a person whom we regard as a model. It is not just Jesus, a human being, that we follow; we follow the Son of the living God. We follow a divine way. Where does Jesus’ way lead us? It leads us to the Resurrection, to the right hand of the Father. It is this whole way that we mean when we speak of following Christ as his disciple. Only thus do we journey the whole way of our vocation; only thus do we really reach the goal of undivided and imperishable happiness. And only from this perspective do we understand why the Cross is also a part of our discipleship as followers of Christ (cf. Mk 8:24). There is no other way for us to come to the Resurrection, to the community of God. We must follow the whole way if we want to be servants and witnesses of Jesus Christ. And every single step is different depending on whether we intend to go the whole way or merely to carve out for ourselves a kind of human party program. We can come to Christ only if we have the courage to walk on the water and to entrust ourselves to his gravity, the gravity of grace.


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year p.140

Monday, April 13, 2015

Daily Thought For April 13, 2015

The Importance of Praying For People

What good is confiding one’s pains, miseries and regrets to those to whom one cannot say at the end, “pray for me"?

Venerable Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Daily Thought For April 12, 2015

Beautiful Insights Into Mercy & Justice from Pope Francis' Newest Document

Mercy is not opposed to justice but rather expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe. The experience of the prophet Hosea can help us see the way in which mercy surpasses justice. The era in which the prophet lived was one of the most dramatic in the history of the Jewish people. The kingdom was tottering on the edge of destruction; the people had not remained faithful to the covenant; they had wandered from God and lost the faith of their forefathers. According to human logic, it seems reasonable for God to think of rejecting an unfaithful people; they had not observed their pact with God and therefore deserved just punishment: in other words, exile. The prophet’s words attest to this: “They shall not return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me” (Hos 11:5). And yet, after this invocation of justice, the prophet radically changes his speech and reveals the true face of God: “How can I give you up, O Ephraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! How can I make you like Admah! How can I treat you like Zeboiim! My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come to destroy” (11:8-9). Saint Augustine, almost as if he were commenting on these words of the prophet, says: “It is easier for God to hold back anger than mercy.”[13] And so it is. God’s anger lasts but a moment, his mercy forever.

If God limited himself to only justice, he would cease to be God, and would instead be like human beings who ask merely that the law be respected. But mere justice is not enough. Experience shows that an appeal to justice alone will result in its destruction. This is why God goes beyond justice with his mercy and forgiveness. Yet this does not mean that justice should be devalued or rendered superfluous. On the contrary: anyone who makes a mistake must pay the price. However, this is just the beginning of conversion, not its end, because one begins to feel the tenderness and mercy of God. God does not deny justice. He rather envelopes it and surpasses it with an even greater event in which we experience love as the foundation of true justice. We must pay close attention to what Saint Paul says if we want to avoid making the same mistake for which he reproaches the Jews of his time: For, “being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, that everyone who has faith may be justified” (Rom 10:3-4). God’s justice is his mercy given to everyone as a grace that flows from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thus the Cross of Christ is God’s judgement on all of us and on the whole world, because through it he offers us the certitude of love and new life.

Pope Francis Misericordiae Vultus (On The Jubilee Year of God's Mercy) #21

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Daily Thought For April 11, 2015

Setbacks In Mission Are Opportunities For Growth


     As soon as the Apostles began with courage and daring to teach the truth about Christ, the obstacles also began to present themselves. And in the course of time persecution and martyrdom followed. But before long belief in Christ had extended beyond Palestine, arriving in Asia Minor, Greece and Italy, and reaching men of every culture, social position and race. 
     We too can expect to meet with misunderstanding, a sure sign of divine predilection, and can be sure that we are following the footsteps of Our Lord, because a disciple is not above his teacher.  We accept our setbacks joyfully as being permitted by God. We welcome them as opportunities to activate our faith and hope and love. They help us to increase our prayer and mortification, confident that prayer and sacrifice always produce fruit, because the Lord's chosen ones will not labour in vain.  And we always treat other people well, with understanding, drowning evil in abundance of good. 

     It should not surprise us that very often we have to go against the current, in this world that seems to distance itself every day more and more from God, that has material wellbeing as its end, giving no importance to spiritual values or simply relegating them to a secondary plane. It is a world some would like to organize with its back turned completely against its Creator. Along with the deep and disordered attraction which material goods exercise on those who have lost all contact with God, there is added the bad example of some Christians; through this, when religious education is neglected, doctrine misleadingly expounded or shortcomings made evident in the religious, moral and social life of believers, then we must admit that the true face of God and of religion is veiled rather than revealed.

from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 2 pp.331-332

Friday, April 10, 2015

Daily Thought For April 10, 2015

The Joy of Helping Others Find Christ

     Our Lord has also foreseen the time and the manner of each person's sanctification, while fully respecting each one's personal correspondence with his grace. On our part we are called upon to be good channels through which his grace will flow and to facilitate the action of the Holy Spirit in ourselves, in friends, relatives, acquaintances and colleagues. .. If Our Lord never gets tired of giving his help to everybody, how can we who are only instruments ever become discouraged? Once the carpenter's hand is firmly placed on the wood, how can the tool ever have any reservations about doing its work? 
     The path that leads to Heaven is not a short one. And God does not usually grant graces that immediately and definitively bestow holiness. Normally our friends will draw close to Our Lord little by little. We will meet with resistance, often a consequence of original sin leaving its mark on the soul, and also of personal sins. For us, it is a matter of facilitating God's action with our prayer and mortification, of truly caring for those concerned, of giving example, of speaking the right word at the right moment, of sincere friendship, of understanding, of overlooking their defects. If our friends are slow in responding to grace, we should be all the more generous with our signs of friendship and affection, thus reinforcing the human basis of apostolate. To intensify our relationship with a person who seems not to want to be committed to something which could bring him or her closer to Jesus is a sign of true friendship on our part and of rectitude of intention, and of the fact that we are motivated by the desire that God may have many friends here on earth, as well as by concern for the good of our friends. 
     The Gospels show us how Our Lord was a Friend to his disciples, giving them as much time as was necessary: He asks them, in order to start the conversation, whether they have anything to eat. He then prepares a meal for them on the shore of the lake. He goes away with Peter and asks him, while John follows behind, to continue trusting him. It ought not to surprise us that some friends treated in this way by the Friend should afterwards give their lives for him in martyrdom, for the salvation of the world. Let us pray to Our Lady that she will help us to imitate Jesus in such a way that in friendship we may not be just passive. You have to become a real friend to your friends. You can help them first with the example of your behavior and then with your advice and with the influence that a close friendship provides.


from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 2 pp.327-328

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Daily Thought For April 9, 2015

A Jubilee Year For Celebrating Divine Mercy

Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought of how the Church may render more clear her mission to be a witness to mercy; and we have to make this journey. It is a journey which begins with spiritual conversion. Therefore, I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). And this especially applies to confessors! So much mercy!

This Holy Year will commence on the next Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will conclude on Sunday, 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and living face of the Father's mercy. I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, in order that it may come to life as a new step on the Church’s journey in her mission to bring the Gospel of mercy to each person.

I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time. Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.

Pope Francis Homily March 13, 2015

**The official document announcing this special Jubilee Year will be released this coming Saturday. Stay tuned for exciting updates. St. Faustina said that "The world will never have peace until it has recourse to God's Mercy." I am totally convinced of this.**


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Daily Thought For April 7, 2015

Proclaiming The Resurrection

This, then, is the announcement that the Church repeats from the first day: "Christ is risen!" And, in Him, through Baptism, we are also risen, we have passed from death to life, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of love. This is the good news that we are called to bring to others in every environment, animated by the Holy Spirit. Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope that He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can offer to the brothers. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is risen! Let us all together repeat it, here today in the square: Christ is Risen! Let us repeat it with words, but above all with the witness of our life. The good news of the Resurrection should shine on our face, in our feelings and behaviors, in the way in which we treat others. We proclaim the resurrection of Christ when His light illuminates the dark moments of our existence, and we are able share it with others; when we know when to smile with those who smile, and weep with those who weep; when we accompany those who are sad and at risk of losing hope; when we recount our experience of Faith to those who are searching for meaning and happiness. With our attitude, with our witness, with our life, we say: Jesus is risen! We say it with all our soul.

Pope Francis Regina Coeli April 6, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Daily Thought For April 5, 2015

Hope & Easter Joy!

Indeed, one of the questions that most preoccupies men and women is this: what is there after death? To this mystery today’s solemnity allows us to respond that death does not have the last word, because Life will be victorious at the end. This certainty of ours is based not on simple human reasoning, but on a historical fact of faith: Jesus Christ, crucified and buried, is risen with his glorified body. Jesus is risen so that we too, believing in him, may have eternal life. This proclamation is at the heart of the Gospel message. As Saint Paul vigorously declares: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” He goes on to say: “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:14,19). Ever since the dawn of Easter a new Spring of hope has filled the world; from that day forward our resurrection has begun, because Easter does not simply signal a moment in history, but the beginning of a new condition: Jesus is risen not because his memory remains alive in the hearts of his disciples, but because he himself lives in us, and in him we can already savor the joy of eternal life.

Pope Benedict XVI Urbi et Orbi Message 2009

Friday, April 3, 2015

Daily Thought For April 3, 2015

The Priesthood of the New Evangelization

Try to imagine a man of action, some sort of explorer, about to set forth on a journey. His powers of persuasion have aroused a few enthusiasts who have decided to follow him. The start of the journey is a triumph. A rain of flowers, wild applause, the delight of the crowds. In towns and villages flags are out, there are displays of lights, the bold travelers are feted. The very countryside revels over their passing through it. 

Yet the joy soon dims. The wayfarers enter new lands which know nothing, understand nothing, and care less. Sometimes also our travelers arouse misgivings. Their passionate desire for the Yea or Nay of the Gospels, excluding all other forms of discourse, assuredly does not recommend them. Little by little the food and fine wines are replaced by potato peelings, and the contents of chamber pots succeed the flowers.

The enthusiasm of his companions is already wholly extinguished. Several of them have withdrawn on various pretexts and have not returned. The faithful few, in their turn, seek means to flee without too greatly disgracing themselves. They had not foreseen that there would be suffering. 

Still, those who are left resign themselves from shame or from pride. As long as there continue to be human dwellings and men good or bad, a little effort still makes the journey bearable. 
But now it happens that both the one and the other become sparse. We are entering into the desert, into solitude. Here are Cold, Darkness, Hunger, Thirst, vast Weariness, dreadful Sadness, the Agony, the Bloody Sweat. 


The rash traveler looks for his companions. He understands, then, that it is God's good pleasure that he be alone amid torments, and he goes on into the black immensity, bearing his heart before him like a torch! 


Leon Bloy

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Daily Thought For April 2, 2015

The Importance of Healing

Then there is the oil for anointing the sick. Arrayed before us is a host of suffering people: those who hunger and thirst, victims of violence in every continent, the sick with all their sufferings, their hopes and their moments without hope, the persecuted, the downtrodden, the broken-hearted. Regarding the first mission on which Jesus sent the disciples, Saint Luke tells us: “he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal” (9:2). Healing is one of the fundamental tasks entrusted by Jesus to the Church, following the example that he gave as he travelled throughout the land healing the sick. To be sure, the Church’s principal task is to proclaim the Kingdom of God. But this very proclamation must be a process of healing: “bind up the broken-hearted”, we heard in today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah (61:1). The proclamation of God’s Kingdom, of God’s unlimited goodness, must first of all bring healing to broken hearts. By nature, man is a being in relation. But if the fundamental relationship, the relationship with God, is disturbed, then all the rest is disturbed as well. If our relationship with God is disturbed, if the fundamental orientation of our being is awry, we cannot truly be healed in body and soul. For this reason, the first and fundamental healing takes place in our encounter with Christ who reconciles us to God and mends our broken hearts. But over and above this central task, the Church’s essential mission also includes the specific healing of sickness and suffering. The oil for anointing the sick is the visible sacramental expression of this mission. Since apostolic times, the healing vocation has matured in the Church, and so too has loving solicitude for those who are distressed in body and soul. This is also the occasion to say thank you to those sisters and brothers throughout the world who bring healing and love to the sick, irrespective of their status or religious affiliation. From Elizabeth of Hungary, Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Camillus of Lellis to Mother Teresa – to recall but a few names – we see, lighting up the world, a radiant procession of helpers streaming forth from God’s love for the suffering and the sick. For this we thank the Lord at this moment. For this we thank all those who, by virtue of their faith and love, place themselves alongside the suffering, thereby bearing definitive witness to the goodness of God himself. The oil for anointing the sick is a sign of this oil of the goodness of heart that these people bring – together with their professional competence – to the suffering. Even without speaking of Christ, they make him manifest.

Pope Benedict XVI Chrism Mass Homily 2011