Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Daily Thought For July 1, 2015

We Can't Abandon Ship When The Storms Come

“You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds…. What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.” 

 St. Thomas More

Daily Thought For July 2, 2015

How Does The Church Survive?


Question: In the course of two thousand years of Christian history, the Church has divided time and again. In the meantime, there are around three hundred distinguishable Protestant, Orthodox, or other churches. There are way over a thousand Baptist groups in the United States. Over against these there is still the Roman Catholic Church with the pope at her head, which claims to be the only true Church. She remains at any rate, and despite every crisis, indeed the most universal, historically significant, and successful Church in the world, with more members today than at any time in her history.

Answer from Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) I think that in the spirit of Vatican II we ought not to see that as a triumph for our prowess as Catholics and ought not to make much of the institutional and numerical strength we continue to enjoy. If we were to reckon that as our achievement and as our right, then we would step outside the role of a people belonging to God and set ourselves up as an association in our own right. And that can very quickly go wrong. A Church may have great institutional power in a country, but as soon as faith is no longer there to back it up, the institution will break down.

Perhaps you know the mediaeval story of a Jew who traveled to the papal court and who became a Catholic. On his return, someone who knew the papal court well asked him: “Did you realize what sort of things are going on there?” “Yes,” he said, “of course, quite scandalous things, I saw it all.” “And you still became a Catholic”, remarked the other man. “That’s completely perverse!” Then the Jew said, “It is because of all that that I have become a Catholic. For if the Church continues to exist in spite of it all, then truly there must be someone upholding her.” And there is another story, to the effect that Napoleon once declared that he would destroy the Church. Whereupon one of the cardinals replied, “Not even we have managed that!”

I believe that we see something important in these paradoxical tales. There have in fact always been plenty of human monstrosities in the Catholic Church. That she still holds together, even if she groans and creaks, that she is still in existence, that she produces great martyrs and great believers, people who put their whole lives at her service, as missionaries, as nurses, as teachers, that really does show that there is someone there upholding her.

We cannot, then, reckon the Church’s success as our own reward, but we may still say, with Vatican II—even if the Lord has given a great deal of life to other churches and communities—that the Church herself, as an active agent, has survived and is present in this agent. And that can only be explained by the fact that he grants what men cannot achieve.

Ratzinger, J., & Seewald, P. (2002). God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time: A Conversation with Peter Seewald. (H. Taylor, Trans.) (pp. 63–65). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Daily Thought For June 30, 2015

Seeking Jesus


It is the Presence of Christ which makes us members of Christ: “neither shall they say, Lo here! and Lo there! for the kingdom of God is within us.” Others marvel; others try to analyze what it is which does the work; they imagine all manner of human causes, because they cannot see, and do not feel, and will not believe the inward influence; and they impute to some caprice or waywardness of mind, or to the force of novelty, or to some mysterious insidious persuasive, or to some concealed enemy, or to some dark and subtle plotting, and they view with alarm, and they fain would baffle, what is really the keen, vivid, constraining glance of Christ’s countenance. “The Lord turned and looked upon Peter”; and “as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so also is the Presence of the Son of man.” It is come, it is gone, it has done its work, its abiding work, before men see it.

And what took place in the first years of His Kingdom, when it was brought into being, holds good, in its measure, of all times of the Church; whether before the Law, or under the Law, or in this late and dark age, when Christians have divided into parties, and fight against each other.

… Look round, I say, and answer, why it is that there is so much change, so much strife, so many parties and sects, so many creeds? Because men are unsatisfied and restless; and why restless, with every one his psalm, his doctrine, his tongue, his revelation, his interpretation? They are restless because they have not found. Alas! So it is, in this country called Christian, vast numbers have gained little from religion, beyond a thirst after what they have not, a thirst for their true peace, and the fever and restlessness of thirst. It has not yet brought them into the Presence of Christ, in which “is fullness of joy” and “pleasure for evermore.” Had they been fed with the bread of life, and tasted of the honeycomb, their eyes, like Jonathan’s, had been enlightened, to acknowledge the Savior of men; but having no such real apprehension of things unseen, they have still to seek, and are at the mercy of every rumor from without, which purports to bring tidings of Him, and of the place of His abode. “By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loveth. I sought Him, but I found Him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek Him whom my soul loveth; I sought Him, but I found Him not.” “I sought Him, but I could not find Him; I called Him, but He gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me; they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me” (Song 3:1, 2; 5:6, 7). Mary wept because they had taken away her Lord, and she knew not where they had laid Him. She was in trouble because she sought Him, yet in vain. Poor wanderers, helpless and ill-fated generation, who understand that Christ is on earth, yet do but seek Him in the desert or in the secret chambers—Lo here! and Lo there! O sad and pitiable spectacle, when the people of Christ wander on the hills as “sheep which have no shepherd”; and instead of seeking Him in His ancient haunts and His appointed home, busy themselves in human schemes, follow strange guides, are taken captive by new opinions, become the sport of chance, or of the humor of the hour, or the victims of self-will, are full of anxiety, and perplexity, and jealousy, and alarm, “tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive”;—and all because they do not seek the “one body” and the “one Spirit,” and the “one hope of their calling,” the “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,” and find rest for their souls!


Newman, J. H. (2010). Life’s Purpose: Wisdom from John Henry Newman (pp. 37–40). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Daily Thought For June 29, 2015

Powerful Reflection On Marriage & Family

In contemporary culture, we often see an excessive exaltation of the freedom of the individual as an autonomous subject, as if we were self-created and self-sufficient, apart from our relationship with others and our responsibilities in their regard. Attempts are being made to organize the life of society on the basis of subjective and ephemeral desires alone, with no reference to objective, prior truths such as the dignity of each human being and his inalienable rights and duties, which every social group is called to serve.

The Church does not cease to remind us that true human freedom derives from our having been created in God’s image and likeness. Christian education is consequently an education in freedom and for freedom. “We do not do good as slaves, who are not free to act otherwise, bur we do it because we are personally responsible for the world; because we love truth and goodness, because we love God himself and therefore his creatures as well. This is the true freedom to which the Holy Spirit wants to lead us (Homily for the Vigil of Pentecost, 9 June 2006).

Jesus Christ is the perfect human being, an example of filial freedom, who teaches us to share with others his own love: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love” (Jn 15:9). And so the Second Vatican Council teaches that “Christian married couples and parents, following their own way, should support one another in grace all through life with faithful love, and should train their children, lovingly received from God, in Christian doctrine and evangelical virtues. Because in this way they present to all an example of unfailing and generous love, they build up the brotherhood of charity, and they stand as witnesses and cooperators of the fruitfulness of Mother Church, as a sign of and a share in that love with which Christ loved his Bride and gave himself for her” (Lumen Gentium, 41).

The joyful love with which our parents welcomed us and accompanied our first steps in this world is like a sacramental sign and prolongation of the benevolent love of God from which we have come. The experience of being welcomed and loved by God and by our parents is always the firm foundation for authentic human growth and authentic development, helping us to mature on the way towards truth and love, and to move beyond ourselves in order to enter into communion with others and with God.


Benedict XVI. (2013). Homilies of His Holiness Benedict XVI (English). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Daily Thought For June 28, 2015

What Makes a False Prophet?



A false prophet is not one who predicts false things, but one whose guiding principle is not the true, one who has an ear more to the world than to God, who fondles the spirit of the age whether it is embodied in the "princes", the "influential" or the "mass". He takes up the cause of generous ideas just when these are beginning to rot; he enters the field of action just at the moment when such engagement promises more advantages than dangers. He does not always do what is evil, but his activity is, at the very least, full of vanity. This often discourages the person who can glimpse the impending disaster from agreeing with him. And he always conspires against the true prophets. 

from Paradoxes of Faith by Henri de Lubac p. 168

Friday, June 26, 2015

Daily Thought For June 26, 2015

Jesus Our Divine Physician 


Lectio

Matthew 8:1–4

Meditatio

“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”

I open the sacred text today and step into it, knowing that this story of salvation is also my story. It’s easy to immediately get caught up in today’s reading. I begin by watching Jesus as he comes down the mountain. I join the ranks of the great crowds following him, and keep my eyes and heart open.

An outcast approaches Jesus—a leper. The crowd draws back in fear of the disease. I hear the man with leprosy simply say “if you wish, you can.…” It would be such an ordinary request if it weren’t a healing that he wanted! For Jesus though, it is a simple matter. “I will do it,” and it’s done, just like that. The leper is cured immediately, so great is Jesus’ power to heal.

I dwell on the leper’s words, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” This phrase is so powerful, packed with so much confidence. “If you wish” presupposes that the one making the request believes that the Lord does care, does really desire one’s good. In this case, it is to be made clean. We have so many things to be cleansed of! They could be outright sin, unhelpful attitudes, or a myriad of other possible burdens.

How many times have I asked the Teacher to cleanse me, desiring renewed wholeness through the sacrament of Reconciliation! I have requested this in words similar to the leper’s, desiring pardon or asking for any needed healing of body, mind, or spirit.

Yes, Lord, you can make me clean. The leper in the Gospel story has walked away, and I stand there in his place, looking up expectantly. I know that you can do this. I trust that you want to do this. I just need the faith today to see how you are working in my life, making me clean. No one desires my good as much as you do.

Oratio

Lord, thank you for your love for me. No one is as much on my side as you are. You keep on working on me, consistently, fashioning me into a true disciple who looks to you to teach me through everything that happens. I trust that you will help me keep my heart open to you so you can continually mold me in your divine image. In all the circumstances of my life, you are with me. Thank you for walking with me.

Contemplatio

I know that the Lord desires my good. I delight in his care.



Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 212–213). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Daily Thought For June 24, 2015

Preaching & Opposition 



One who preaches to the people the word of faith is not saying things that are likely to please them, but must expect to meet with opposition. Jesus did not promise upholstered chairs or Cabinet posts, but only his Baptism and his chalice. In saying that, we have identified the two fundamental sacraments, Baptism and Holy Eucharist, as the essence of his gift to humanity. But we have also made clear what it means to receive Baptism and Holy Eucharist: being ready to suffer for the truth and for love. The Pope knows this. That is why, in an address to the American bishops, he alluded to the words of Saint Paul: “Brothers in Christ, when we preach the truth in love, we must expect to be criticized, for we cannot please everyone. But we do, nevertheless, have a genuine contribution to make to the salvation of everyone. For that reason, we are humbly convinced that God is with us in our service to the truth and that he ‘does not give us the spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline’ (2 Tim 1:7).” The spirit of cowardice—that is assuredly not a characteristic that one would attribute to John Paul II. That is why it had to be realized from the beginning [of his papacy] that one day, sooner or later, he would have to face opposition. Significantly, that opposition was strongest when the Pope, in his talks in America, addressed the world that is typically Western—when he addressed our world, when he brought into it the salt of the Gospel, when he exposed our wounds to the light of Christ’s message and revealed them as wounds. In this criticism there are some elements that we might even find humorous. In the so-called “position papers” with which we were bombarded before the papal election, we were told: above all, a Pope must be open to the world. And I find it somewhat comical that the same people are telling him now that he should not go so much into the world, but should spend more time at home and read. We were also told: the Pope must be charismatic, not bureaucratic. And I find it amusing that it is precisely the individual who customarily speaks of the hierarchy as a “Church of wolves” who now reminds the Pope that the Church cannot be led by charism alone. But there are other, more serious, criticisms that must be taken more seriously. We are told, for example, that the Pope is the product of a conservative theology that is appropriate for a conservative country, but that he is obviously not familiar with the West and its quite different situation. It is said, moreover, that, by reason of his pastoral role, he should not simply decree and decide; he should discuss and convince. But one who truly listens knows that this Pope has not spent his life in a small and narrow world—and not just because he has already traveled widely in the world, because he has always been surrounded by young people whose enthusiasms, problems, and questions about a world that is, in this sense, still undivided are everywhere the same, but also, more especially, because, as a man, he has himself known and endured all the depths of human life and its sufferings. In the realm of the human heart, he has discovered the world of the human being and has pondered and suffered it anew. By reason of such journeyings into the adventure of human existence, he can speak with intimate knowledge and can make the word of faith perceptible again in all its permanence—the word that, in that sense, is certainly conservative, for it protects the ground of human nature. But, precisely in so doing, it is creative because it thus bestows on the individual the possibility of maturity and progress, which cannot exist without a goal. One who listens carefully to the Pope’s words, sees as well that they are not issued as commands, but bear within them the whole history of a life that has been nourished by the centuries-long history of the Faith, and regards humanity anew from this perspective; that he looks at himself with self-criticism, whereas we usually turn away and do not look at ourselves. Thus the Pope makes visible to us why what is permanent is also always something new.


Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (pp. 204–206). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Daily Thought For June 23, 2015

Freeing Ourselves From Worry

Worry is a weakness from which very few of us are entirely free. We must be on guard against this most insidious enemy of our peace of soul. Instead, let us foster confidence in God, and thank him ahead of time for whatever he chooses to send us.

Venerable Servant of God Solanus Casey

Monday, June 22, 2015

Daily Thought For June 22, 2015


On Supporting Injuries as a Sign of True Patience


Christ

What are you saying, my child? Instead of complaining, consider my passion and the sufferings of the saints. “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb 12:4). What you suffer is little in comparison to those who suffered so much, who were strongly tempted, grievously afflicted, tried and tested in many ways.

Therefore, you must recall the gravity of the tribulations that others have suffered, so that you may more easily bear your own small miseries. And if they do not seem small to you, make sure that your judgment does not stem from your impatience. But whether they are small or great, try to bear them with patience.

The better you dispose yourself to suffer, the more wisely you will act, and you will have greater merit. If your mind has been prepared for it and has become accustomed to it, you will find it easier to suffer. Do not say: “I cannot tolerate these things from this person. I shouldn’t have to suffer these things, because he has done me great harm and has reproached me for things I never thought of doing. I will suffer willingly, however, at the hands of another, and in the manner that I shall deem best.” Such thoughts are foolish because they do not consider the virtue of patience, nor the One who will bestow the crown. Rather, they consider only that person and the offense that has been given.

You are not truly patient if you want to suffer only so much, and only from those you choose. A truly patient person does not mind who does the testing, whether that person excels over you, is your peer, or is subordinate: whether a good and holy person, or someone wayward and unworthy. One who is patient will be indifferent toward the source of the adversity, receiving all with gratitude from the hands of God, and with a positive outlook. Nothing, no matter how small, if suffered for God, will go unrewarded.

Therefore, be prepared to fight if you want to gain the victory, for “no one is crowned without competing according to the rules” (2 Tim 2:5). So if you do not want to suffer, you are refusing to be crowned. If, however, you desire to be crowned, fight bravely and endure with patience. Without labor one cannot rest. Without fighting one cannot be victorious.

Disciple

Lord, may your grace make possible to me what seems, by nature, impossible. You know how little I can suffer and how quickly I am discouraged by a small difficulty. For your name’s sake, help me find all trials lovable and desirable, knowing that to suffer affliction for your love is very good for my soul.

Thomas à Kempis. (2010). Solace in Suffering: Wisdom from Thomas à Kempis. (M. L. Hill, Ed.) (pp. 39–41). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Daily Thought For June 21, 2015

Resisting Temptation

SO LONG as we live in this world we cannot escape suffering and temptation. Whence it is written in Job: “The life of man upon earth is a warfare.” Everyone, therefore, must guard against temptation and must watch in prayer lest the devil, who never sleeps but goes about seeking whom he may devour, find occasion to deceive him. No one is so perfect or so holy but he is sometimes tempted; man cannot be altogether free from temptation.

Yet temptations, though troublesome and severe, are often useful to a man, for in them he is humbled, purified, and instructed. The saints all passed through many temptations and trials to profit by them, while those who could not resist became reprobate and fell away. There is no state so holy, no place so secret that temptations and trials will not come. Man is never safe from them as long as he lives, for they come from within us—in sin we were born. When one temptation or trial passes, another comes; we shall always have something to suffer because we have lost the state of original blessedness.

Many people try to escape temptations, only to fall more deeply. We cannot conquer simply by fleeing, but by patience and true humility we become stronger than all our enemies. The man who only shuns temptations outwardly and does not uproot them will make little progress; indeed they will quickly return, more violent than before.

Little by little, in patience and long-suffering you will overcome them, by the help of God rather than by severity and your own rash ways. Often take counsel when tempted; and do not be harsh with others who are tempted, but console them as you yourself would wish to be consoled.

The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are.
Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.

Someone has said very aptly: “Resist the beginnings; remedies come too late, when by long delay the evil has gained strength.” First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination, followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.

Some suffer great temptations in the beginning of their conversion, others toward the end, while some are troubled almost constantly throughout their life. Others, again, are tempted but lightly according to the wisdom and justice of Divine Providence Who weighs the status and merit of each and prepares all for the salvation of His elect.

We should not despair, therefore, when we are tempted, but pray to God the more fervently that He may see fit to help us, for according to the word of Paul, He will make issue with temptation that we may be able to bear it. Let us humble our souls under the hand of God in every trial and temptation for He will save and exalt the humble in spirit.

In temptations and trials the progress of a man is measured; in them opportunity for merit and virtue is made more manifest.
When a man is not troubled it is not hard for him to be fervent and devout, but if he bears up patiently in time of adversity, there is hope for great progress.

Some, guarded against great temptations, are frequently overcome by small ones in order that, humbled by their weakness in small trials, they may not presume on their own strength in great ones.


Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The Imitation of Christ (pp. 20–22). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Daily Thought For June 20, 2015

The Quest For Truth


Lectio

Matthew 5:33–37

Meditatio

“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ ”

Jesus is asking his disciples, and he asks us, too, to live in the truth, so we will have no need for oaths. As a part of the Sermon on the Mount, this injunction of Jesus takes on added solemnity. If I were in the crowd on that day, I would probably notice the silence that seems to settle over the people as Jesus speaks these words. Who has not told a lie, little or big, seriously or jokingly?

I look at our society today and see what it means to manipulate truth to one’s own advantage. Advertisements, contracts, tax laws, and even marriage oaths are sometimes written with loopholes one can use to wriggle loose from a commitment. One can slip through a loophole instead of upholding one’s word when that would mean sacrifice, inconvenience, or loss of money. So often the sad injustices of our world take off from the launch pad of untruth.
Then I look within my heart to see if what I say or promise reflects what I think or intend. I have to bow my head in sorrow for the “social” lies, the little white lies, and the vague euphemisms that I, as a member of this society, may have committed, ignored, or condoned.

The most vulnerable of our society, the children and the aged, seem to be the ones who suffer the most from untruth. I try to imagine what happiness and relief they would have if they could know for certain that they will be given what they are promised, and will receive what is their due.…

An atmosphere of truth is the only place where real security and justice can flourish. It is important enough for Jesus to remind me with his immortal words that I must stand in the truth or not at all.

Oratio

Good Master, you teach me the way to the kingdom. I see by your clear teaching that I have to work on my own failings before I can be free enough to walk with joy and love on that way. Redeemer, help me to understand my place in the world and to walk in it with humility and trust, confident that you will guide me when I waver and help me up when I fall.

Contemplatio

Lord, may my words always ring true.



Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 178–179). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Daily Thought For June 19, 2015

Cultivating Peace

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.


James 3:18

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Daily Thought For June 18, 2015

What Happens When Faith Is Truly Lived?

When faith is truly lived, when God, who is now and forever the Lord of the world, is glorified, something happens that touches and changes the world to its most profound depths. We cannot probe more deeply into the roots of the world in order to change it than by resting on the Heart of God, thus making it possible to call upon the living Ground and Power that supports everything and is alone capable of restoring all things. If we speak to God, if we open ourselves to God, we are ourselves renewed, and vice versa: if the world closes itself to God, if it turns away from him, it becomes like a planet that has broken loose from its magnetic field and is roaming aimlessly through nothingness. It becomes like an earth that is no longer lit by any sun and on which life has been extinguished. If we lose God, we can no longer be what we were supposed to be because we have lost our fundamental standard, and if we break away from our proper standard, everything else is immoderation and perversion. We can become “right”, we can, so to speak, be “made right”, only if we are made right interiorly. But we are “right” interiorly only when we are conformable to the truth of our being. And this truth is that God made us and that he is our way. There can be no rightness that does not begin in us, and it cannot be in us if we deny the very basis of our rightness.


Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 211). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Daily Thought For June 16, 2015

The Reason Many Don't Feel Valued

We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have - for their usefulness.

Thomas Merton

Monday, June 15, 2015

Daily Thought For June 15, 2015

Praying & Interceding For Difficult People

Is Jesus serious? What about terrorists? What about the guy next door who is always insulting me and seems to have it out for me? Even if Jesus is talking only about not trying to get even with people who have hurt us, these words can be hard to swallow. Does he really expect me to turn the other cheek to insults and injuries?

We might as well admit it up front: this is a difficult teaching. But it’s not one that we can ignore. After all, Jesus didn’t avoid it. Without ever looking like a weakling, he showed that radical forgiveness is possible. In fact, his steadiness in the face of misunderstanding, gossip, and persecution was probably a major reason why he made such an impression on his followers—and on us.

“How can I be like that?” we wonder.

The answer is simple, but challenging: by loving. Love kept Jesus going through all the hardships involved in announcing the kingdom. Love made it possible for him to forgive, even as he hung on the cross. Love—both the desire and the decision to forgive—formed the foundation for everything he said and did.

So let’s ask Jesus to fill us with his heavenly perspective today. Looking at others with eyes of mercy goes a long way toward undercutting the tendency to revenge. Maybe this week we can try to perform at least one act of kindness toward someone who has hurt us or who rubs us the wrong way. Perhaps we can get more serious about following the promptings of the Holy Spirit—especially those that touch on relationships we find difficult. Praying and interceding for people who are out to hurt us can also help cultivate an attitude of forgiving as we have been forgiven.

How much effort even these little steps require! And yet, how abundant is the grace God is willing to give us! He has poured out his Spirit to make the impossible possible. All we have to do is keep trying, knowing that the one who began a good work in us will bring it to completion.


“Jesus, though I find some of your teachings very hard, I want to follow you all the way. I put my trust in you and in your saving power.”

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

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Daily Thought For January 14, 2015

The Parish—All Things Mission

The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration.  In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach. We must admit, though, that the call to review and renew our parishes has not yet sufficed to bring them nearer to people, to make them environments of living communion and participation, and to make them completely mission-oriented.

Pope Francis The Joy of the Gospel (Evangeli Gaudium) #28

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Daily Thought For June 13, 2015

An Atmosphere of Truth


Lectio

Matthew 5:33–37

Meditatio

“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ ”

Jesus is asking his disciples, and he asks us, too, to live in the truth, so we will have no need for oaths. As a part of the Sermon on the Mount, this injunction of Jesus takes on added solemnity. If I were in the crowd on that day, I would probably notice the silence that seems to settle over the people as Jesus speaks these words. Who has not told a lie, little or big, seriously or jokingly?

I look at our society today and see what it means to manipulate truth to one’s own advantage. Advertisements, contracts, tax laws, and even marriage oaths are sometimes written with loopholes one can use to wriggle loose from a commitment. One can slip through a loophole instead of upholding one’s word when that would mean sacrifice, inconvenience, or loss of money. So often the sad injustices of our world take off from the launch pad of untruth.
Then I look within my heart to see if what I say or promise reflects what I think or intend. I have to bow my head in sorrow for the “social” lies, the little white lies, and the vague euphemisms that I, as a member of this society, may have committed, ignored, or condoned.

The most vulnerable of our society, the children and the aged, seem to be the ones who suffer the most from untruth. I try to imagine what happiness and relief they would have if they could know for certain that they will be given what they are promised, and will receive what is their due.…

An atmosphere of truth is the only place where real security and justice can flourish. It is important enough for Jesus to remind me with his immortal words that I must stand in the truth or not at all.

Oratio

Good Master, you teach me the way to the kingdom. I see by your clear teaching that I have to work on my own failings before I can be free enough to walk with joy and love on that way. Redeemer, help me to understand my place in the world and to walk in it with humility and trust, confident that you will guide me when I waver and help me up when I fall.

Contemplatio

Lord, may my words always ring true.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 178–179). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Daily Thought For June 12, 2015

Fear Drives Away Compassion

Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Daily Thought For June 10, 2015


Calling Upon God and Blessing Him in Time of Trouble


May your name be blessed forever, Lord, for you have been willing to allow that I should have this trial and suffering. I cannot escape it, so of necessity I come to you, so that you may help me and turn it to my good.

Lord, I am presently in tribulation and my heart is troubled; I am greatly afflicted by my present suffering. “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’?” (Jn 12:27). No, this is the reason I am here, that you might be glorified when, in my humiliation, I am delivered by you. “Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me” (Ps 40:13), for poor unfortunate one that I am, what can I do and where shall I go without you? Give me patience, Lord, even for this time. Help me, my God, and I will not fear, no matter how distressed I am.

And now, in the middle of all this, what shall I say? Lord, your will be done: perhaps I have deserved this affliction and this oppression. In any case, I must bear it until the storm passes and things get better. God, if you are willing I will endure it with patience, But your almighty hand is also able to remove this temptation from me and lessen its force as you have so often done in the past, O my God, my Mercy, so that I may not fall under it. The more difficult this is for me, the easier it is for your mighty arm to effect this change.


Thomas à Kempis. (2010). Solace in Suffering: Wisdom from Thomas à Kempis. (M. L. Hill, Ed.) (pp. 59–60). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Daily Thought For June 9, 2015

Life is A Pilgrimage — Keep Moving!

A pilgrimage is a symbol of life; it makes us think that life is to walk, it is a path. If a person does not walk and stays still, it’s no good, he does nothing. Think of water, when water is not in the river, it doesn’t go forward but stops and is corrupted. A soul that does not walk in life doing good, doing the many things that must be done for society, to help others and who also does not walk through life seeking God moved by the Holy Spirit from within, is a soul that ends in mediocrity and spiritual misery. Please: do not stop in life!

Pope Francis Address to the Macerata-Loreto Pilgrims June 8, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

Daily Thought For June 8, 2015

The Challenge of the Beatitudes

Lectio

Matthew 5:1–12

Meditatio

“He began to teach them.”

How do you feel when you look over the edge of a cliff or the ledge of a tall building? Do you feel dizzy? Do you feel thrilled to look out over a beautiful vista or at the tiny cars and people below? Or do you feel fear at such a great height and back away to safety? Reading the Beatitudes can make us feel much the same as being on a height with an amazing view. They are a bold challenge to our instinct for self-preservation!

Living the Beatitudes means to forget myself and live for others. This is harder than it sounds, but more rewarding than I could ever imagine. When Jesus tells his disciples, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt 10:39), he is summarizing the Beatitudes.

Each Beatitude calls me to lose my life in some way. To obtain the blessedness that Jesus describes I need to let go of grudges, of desiring revenge, of setting my heart on things I don’t need. I must let go of the security of being a silent bystander when others call for help or need a caring word, perhaps at the risk of being persecuted. Each one of us is called to live the Beatitudes in a unique way. I have to search my heart and find that place where I feel dizzy or faint in my spirit. That is where the Beatitudes need to take effect!

The teaching of the Beatitudes is truly Good News coming from God himself: “He began to teach them.…” Jesus is teaching us how to become fully human, in the image of our Divine Creator. When I falter before his teaching and want to back away from the view, I remember that Jesus is the Word of God and he has power to transform my inner being. By his word he can bring a beautiful creation out of the chaos of my life. In Christ, I can climb to the heights and live the Beatitudes.

Oratio

Jesus, you are the Divine Teacher. You spoke the Beatitudes so they would take root in my heart, not just remain on paper. With you I desire to contemplate the heights to which the Beatitudes call me, and to experience in my life today the joy of letting go of my desires so I can live for others.

Contemplatio

Jesus, teach me your way of truth and holiness.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 168–169). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Daily Thought For June 7, 2015

Prayer for Trust & Confidence In God's Mercy

O Lord, we ask for a boundless confidence and trust in Your divine mercy, and the courage to accept the crosses and sufferings which bring immense goodness to our souls and that of Your Church. Help us to love You with a pure and contrite heart, and to humble ourselves beneath Your cross, as we climb the mountain of holiness, carrying our cross that leads to heavenly glory. May we receive You with great faith and love in Holy Communion, and allow You to act in us as You desire for your greater glory. O Jesus, most adorable Heart and eternal fountain of Divine Love, may our prayer find favor before the Divine Majesty of Your heavenly Father.


St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Friday, June 5, 2015

Daily Thought For June 5, 2015

The Foundation of Confidence—Trust In God

The foundation of our confidence does not rest in us, but in God. Hence we trust in our Lord and we draw near to him, tranquil and sure, not because of what we are, but because of what he is. We can be miserable sinners, wayward and headstrong. But our ingratitude, our sins, and our wrongdoing should not diminish at all the trust that we should have in our Lord, for the simple reason that our trust is not based in ourselves but in him. Jesus is the same forever, ever good, ever loving, ever merciful. I was the one who changed, but these changes in no way affect my confidence, since my confidence is based on God, not on myself.…


Martinez, L. (2011). Secrets of the Spirit: Wisdom from Luis Martinez. (G. Santos, Ed.) (p. 12). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Daily Thought For June 4, 2015

Do We Walk By Faith?


Do you, then, habitually thus unlock your hearts and subject your thoughts to Almighty God? Are you living in this conviction of His Presence, and have you this special witness that that Presence is really set up within you unto your salvation, viz. that you live in the sense of it? Do you believe, and act on the belief, that His light penetrates and shines through your heart, as the sun’s beams through a room? You know how things look when the sun’s beams are on it—the very air then appears full of impurities, which, before it came out, were not seen. So is it with our souls. We are full of stains and corruptions, we see them not, they are like the air before the sun shines; but though we see them not, God sees them: He pervades us as the sunbeam. Our souls, in His view, are full of things which offend, things which must be repented of, forgiven, and put away. He, in the words of the psalmist, “has set our misdeeds before Him, our secret sins in the light of His countenance” (Ps. 90:8). This is most true, though it be not at all welcome doctrine to many. We cannot hide ourselves from Him; and our wisdom, as our duty, lies in embracing this truth, acquiescing in it, and acting upon it. Let us then beg Him to teach us the mystery of His Presence in us, that, by acknowledging it, we may thereby possess it fruitfully. Let us confess it in faith, that we may possess it unto justification. Let us so own it, as to set Him before us in everything. “I have set God always before me,” says the psalmist, “for He is on my right hand, therefore I shall not fall” (Ps. 16:8). Let us, in all circumstances, thus regard Him. Whether we have sinned, let us not dare keep from Him, but with the prodigal son, rise and go to Him. Or, if we are conscious of nothing, still let us not boast in ourselves or justify ourselves, but feel that “He who judgeth us is the Lord.” In all circumstances, of joy or sorrow, hope or fear, let us aim at having Him in our inmost heart; let us have no secret apart from Him. Let us acknowledge Him as enthroned within us at the very springs of thought and affection. Let us submit ourselves to His guidance and sovereign direction; let us come to Him that He may forgive us, cleanse us, change us, guide us, and save us.

This is the true life of saints. This is to have the Spirit witnessing with our spirits that we are sons of God. Such a faith alone will sustain the terrors of the Last Day; such a faith alone will be proof against those fierce flames which are to surround the Judge, when He comes with His holy angels to separate between “those who serve God, and those who serve Him not” (Mal. 3:18).



Newman, J. H. (2010). Life’s Purpose: Wisdom from John Henry Newman (pp. 33–35). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Daily Thought For June 3, 2015

The Example of Mary & The Corruption of Youth

What a great gift to have Mary Immaculate as mother! A mother resplendent with beauty, the transparency of God's love. I am thinking of today's young people, who grow up in an environment
saturated with messages that propose false models of happiness. These young men and women risk losing hope because they often seem orphans of true love, which fills life with true meaning
and joy. This was a theme dear to my Venerable Predecessor John Paul II, who so often proposed Mary to the youth of our time as the "Mother of Fair Love". Unfortunately, numerous experiences
tell us that adolescents, young people and even children easily fall prey to corrupt love, deceived by unscrupulous adults who, lying to themselves and to them, lure them into the deadends of
consumerism; even the most sacred realities, like the human body, a temple of God's love and of life, thus become objects of consumption and this is happening earlier, even in pre-adolescence.
How sad it is when youth lose the wonder, the enchantment of the most beautiful sentiments, the value of respect for the body, the manifestation of the person and his unfathomable mystery!

Pope Benedict XVI Angelus December 8, 2007

Daily Thought For June 2, 2015

Don't Worry About Status


Lectio

Mark 12:13–17

Meditatio

“You do not regard a person’s status.…”

The Pharisees and Herodians had sized up Jesus accurately—at least in this regard. Cultural anthropologists tell us that in the cosmopolitan Mediterranean world of Jesus’ day, status and honor were extremely important. Yet Jesus showed no interest in them at all. This was one of the aspects of the so-called “divine reversal” that Jesus brought into the world.

Disregard for status, however, didn’t catch on quickly in the Christian community. For we find both James and Paul having to admonish their flocks for choosing the first places and failing to share their sumptuous meals (see Jas 2:1–9; 1 Cor 11:17–22). Competition for status seems ingrained in the human psyche. Even centuries after Christ—and in a democratic society—the problem still remains.

We followers of Jesus need to be alert to the danger of striving to be successful in the eyes of others. For example, if we are doing well financially and use our money responsibly—perhaps providing for aging parents, giving our children a good education and contributing to Church and civic causes—we may believe we’re doing everything we should. But what will Jesus say when we appear before him? He might ask: “How much love did you put into all that?” Someone with almost no means but more loving concern may be doing much more for his or her dependents than a person of “status” with his or her large gifts of money.

Sunday Mass can be a great leveler, especially in city parishes. Everybody is there. (Remember that description of the Church: “Here comes everybody!”) Packed into those pews are the rich and the poor, the famous and the unknown, the educated and the simple, the descendant of the Pilgrims and the newest immigrant. Among them are many holy souls, but we don’t know which ones they are.

It’s food for thought.

Oratio

Jesus, it seems that status is a necessary evil in our world (perhaps an aspect of rendering to Caesar). Please help me to remember, however, that your standards are far different from those of our culture. In reality, your standards are the only ones that matter. Help me, insofar as I can, to treat each person with respect, recalling that everyone has been created in your image. Each person reflects different aspects of you. Each is like a musical note or chord, and together all of us can make a symphony.

Contemplatio

Lord, I want to shine in your eyes.



Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 152–153). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Daily Thought For June 1, 2015

Be Overwhelmed by God's Blessings!

Now, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD, your God, carefully observing all his commandments which I give you today, the LORD, your God, will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and overwhelm you when you obey the voice of the LORD, your God: 


Deuteronomy 28:1-2