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Showing posts from December, 2015

Daily Thought For December 31, 2015

Christians Are A People of Hope

The Te Deum we are raising to the Lord this evening, at the end of a solar year, is a hymn of thanksgiving that opens with praise: “We praise you, O God: We acclaim you as Lord” — and ends with a profession of trust — “in you, Lord, we put our trust; we shall not be put to shame”. However the year went, whether it was easy or difficult, barren or fruitful, let us give thanks to God. Indeed the Te Deum contains deep wisdom, that wisdom which makes us say that in spite of all good exists in the world and that this good is bound to win thanks be to God, the God of Jesus Christ, who was born, died and rose again.

At times of course it is hard to understand this profound reality, because evil is noisier than goodness; an atrocious murder, widespread violence, grave forms of injustice hit the headlines; whereas acts of love and service, the daily effort sustained with fidelity and patience are often left in the dark, they pass unnoticed. For this reason too, we…

Daily Thought For December 30, 2015

The Fulfillment of God's Plan
Lectio

Luke 2:36–40

Meditatio

“And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God.…”

Today we are invited to join the Holy Family in a very intimate and sacred moment. We follow as they gently carry the Infant along the pathways and into the holy city of Jerusalem. Today the child, as the first-born Son, must be offered to God. This is a happy day for the parents of Jesus. They will perform the expected ritual with great joy and thanksgiving. God has entrusted them with such an unexpected treasure in this child.

As they approach the priest who will receive their Son, Mary and Joseph find themselves in a throng of other couples with their sons, other relatives who accompany them, and curious passersby. An old woman stands to the side, an obviously pious grandmother. 

Luke confirms their observation. She is Anna, daughter of Phanuel of Asher’s tribe. Although the Gospel doesn’t mention whether she had children or not, she has been widowed now for mo…

Daily Thought For December 29, 2015

The Right Order Yields The Right Result
The first Christmas carol of history, which determined for all times the inner harmony of Christmas, had no human origins—Saint Luke records it as the song of the angels who were the evangelists of the holy night: Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men, those with whom he is pleased, those of good will. This song sets a standard; it helps us understand what Christmas is all about. It contains the key word, which, in our time especially, commands people’s interest more than just about anything else: peace. The biblical term shalom, which is usually so translated, implies much more than the absence of armed conflict; it means the right order of human affairs, well-being—a world where trust and friendship prevail, where neither fear nor want nor treachery nor dishonesty is found. Yet the song of the angels first lays down a precondition, without which there can be no lasting peace: God’s glory. This is the message of peace at Beth…

Daily Thought For December 28, 2015

Seeking God In Silence
Christmas invites us into this silence of God, and his mystery remains hidden to so many people because they cannot find the silence in which God acts. How do we find it? Mere silence on its own does not suffice to create it, for a man may be silent externally while in himself he is torn this way and that by all the confusion of the world. It is possible to keep silent yet experience a terrible din within oneself.

Becoming silent means discovering a new order of things. It means that I do not limit my attention to those things I myself can produce and display to others. It means that I do not limit my interest to those things men consider important and valuable. Silence means developing the inner senses, the sense of the conscience, the sensitivity to the eternal in us, the ability to listen to God.

Scientists tell us that the dinosaurs died out because they developed in the wrong direction: a lot of armor plating and not much brain, a lot of muscles and not much u…

Daily Thought For December 27, 2015

The Light of Christ Has Come Into The World
Lectio

John 20:1a, 2–8

Meditatio

“[H]e saw and believed.”

One cool, sunny morning, I was enjoying a good conversation over breakfast with a few sisters from my religious community. We were sitting near the window, and the sunlight streamed in at a particular slant, casting bright light on an otherwise imperceptible strand of a cobweb. Someone commented, “When the sunlight touches something, you can see what is otherwise hidden.”

When light figuratively streams into our life as faith, what is hidden becomes manifest. Faith always reveals what the human eye cannot see but which the heart of a believer can perceive. We begin to “see” God, ourselves, others, and the world around us, whether in the ordinary or extraordinary circumstances of our life, in a new light.

Just three days ago, on Christmas Eve, we began celebrating Christ, the Light that has come to shine upon our darkness. Today’s reading brings us to the resurrection, the fullness of Christ’…

Daily Thought For December 26, 2015

Only The Simple Recognize Christ
And why did it happen this way? One of those who did not “see” was Herod, who did not understand anything even when they told him about the Child, who on the contrary became ever more blinded by his own power and the hysterical fear of being challenged that went with it (Mt 2:3). Those who did not see were “all Jerusalem with him” (Mt 2:3). Those who did not see were all those “dressed in fine clothing”—the refined people (Mt 11:8). Those who did not see were the scholars, the Bible experts, the specialists in the interpretation of Scripture, who knew exactly the correct biblical passage but nonetheless understood nothing (Mt 2:6). The ones who “saw”—those were, in comparison to all these renowned people, but “ox and ass”: the shepherds, the magi, Mary, Joseph. How could it be otherwise? In the stable, where he dwells, there you do not find the “fine” people; there you will find, of course, ox and ass. And what about us? Are we so far away from the stab…

Daily Thought For December 24, 2015

The Joy Christmas Eve
ACCORDING TO THE LITURGY, which remembers ancient Jewish ritual custom, a day is reckoned from sunset to sunset. Christmas Eve is truly Christmas with all the trimmings!

On this evening the youngest member of a family places the Christ Child in the manger, songs previously unsung resonate warmth, the fire burns, tree lights glow as does every candle on the mantle, in the window, and on the doorstep. In my family, we enjoy a simple yet special supper. When I was a child we opened one gift this night. After all, it was a long wait till Midnight Mass.

Times change, customs change. But, by all means celebrate!
If you are single and celebrate alone this night, perhaps a good book of Christmas stories will fill your soul with joy. Peter Vance Orullian has an interesting collection entitled At the Manger: The Stories of Those Who Were There. The stories at first seem stilted, rather awkwardly written, not always as our faith teaches. One is tempted to set the book down. Slo…

Daily Thought For December 23, 2015

The Purifying Power of God's Love
As the old man sat looking out the window, the children ran laughing and squealing through the house in anticipation of Christmas Day. Recalling past celebrations, he was filled with painful memories of his impatience and failures. If only he could go back in time and erase all the hurts he had caused. If only he could be sure that God really had forgiven him …

Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever wanted to wipe the past clean so that you can enjoy the present more fully? If so, today’s readings are for you.

Malachi prophesied that a “messenger of the covenant” would purify all the “descendants of Levi” (Malachi 3:1, 3). He promised that God would cleanse his people of all impurities so that they could draw near to him again. As Christians, we know that this prophecy pointed to the blood that Jesus would shed on the cross, divine blood that has the power not only to forgive our sins but to cleanse our consciences as well and bring us right int…

Daily Thought For December 22, 2015

Declare The Greatness of the Lord
Lectio

Luke 1:46–56

Meditatio

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.…”

These words from Luke resonate so well with our hopes and desires. They express the universal experience encountered by one who has met the Lord Mary begins, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.…” And every line that follows echoes this proclamation. It is a song about the Lord, not about her, as her life is about the Lord.

We too can pray these words from the depths of our soul as Mary does. When God becomes the center of our lives, when we recognize God as the protagonist, the Giver of all we have, and Provider for our every need, we too can step aside to let him lead us. Then we spontaneously praise God for such undeserved and abundant care.

With faith to guide us, each of us could write a unique magnificat. How has the Lord blessed me? Let me proclaim the ways! I too can recognize that I am a “lowly servant,” one who doesn’t count for much in the eyes of society, but t…

Daily Thought For December 21, 2015

Power In Weakness
ONLY WHEN I DISCOVER that [God] loves me in spite of all my infidelities, when I really discover the mercy of God to me, only then shall I discover the true, compassionate face of Jesus: only then shall I discover that I was a captive, I was the oppressed. He comes to break the yoke. I am the one who had the yoke on my shoulders and yet, did not know it: I was blind. 

Now you have liberated me ... ; you have made me free .... [Jesus] comes to make us free, to give us the freedom of the Spirit. He takes' away the yoke which crushes our shoulders. This, doesn't mean that he liberates us from worries or administration, these are our problems. But he renders these problems very light if we let the Spirit come into us. "Come to me, all you who labor, and rest." All you who labor in administration, put your worries in the hands of Jesus. 


If we are firmly convinced how weak and incapable we are, how our decisions are frequently tainted by egocentric motivati…

Daily Thought For December 20, 2015

How Our Lord's Love Draws Forth Faith & Charity

BETWEEN the first awakening from sin or unbelief and a final resolve to believe fully there often comes a period in which we can but pray with the father of the demoniac boy: “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” I am no longer plunged in the darkness of total unbelief, yet is my belief faint and shadowy: Lord, help me!

S. Augustine, in a very remarkable passage, very strikingly says, “Hear and understand, O man. Art thou not drawn? then pray that thou mayest be drawn;” wherein he does not allude to the first motion God excites in us when He rouses us from the slumber of sin. No one can ask before he be awakened; but he is speaking of our resolve to be faithful, holding that to believe is to be drawn, and therefore he admonishes them that are drawn to believe in God, to ask the gift of faith. And assuredly none could better know the difficulties arising ordinarily between the first impulse stirred in us by God and the perfect…

Daily Thought For December 19, 2015

And All Flesh Shall See The Salvation of God
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Lk 3:6; Is 40:5). This, right from the start, sets the specific accent intended by Luke: the light of Jesus arises for all nations; it is essential for this salvation to be all-embracing and addressed to everyone, and it is thus present in the individual always with the accent on sharing, with the call to pass it on. You possess God only in community with others; you speak to God only if you call him “Our” Father, using the “we” that includes all of God’s children. Jesus is not the property of just one people or one organization. His domain is oecumenical, universal, as is conveyed in the account mentioning the emperor. Faith is the path offered to all peoples. The era of Jesus, the era of the Church, is the missionary era. Our faith is in touch with Jesus only if we understand and live it as missionaries, only if we truly desire that all flesh shall see the salvation of God. This word of promis…

Daily Thought For December 18, 2015

Unexpected Surprises
Lectio

Matthew 1:18–25

Meditatio

“[Y]ou are to name him Jesus.…”

In his first chapter Matthew goes to great lengths to relate the human ancestry of … Jesus? No, of Joseph, the husband of Mary, to whom was born Jesus the Christ. Through the angel, Joseph is asked to become Jesus’ legal father. And by naming the child, Joseph complies with God’s request. Jesus becomes “Son of David.”

This is another of God’s marvelous interventions in human history. Sarah, Hannah (the wife of Manoah), and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth all conceived sons when conception seemed impossible. Gideon routed the Midianites with only a few hundred men. Samson performed feats of extraordinary strength. The Maccabees fought against overwhelming odds to overthrow the Seleucids. And now, here again, God is entering perceptibly into human events. He is becoming present in an entirely new way.

Yet the Lord is always present! He cares about his sons and daughters! His interventions in our lives are usually clo…

Daily Thought For December 16, 2015

Forgiveness Is Possible
How many times I’ve heard it said to me: “Father, I am unable to forgive my neighbor, my work companion, the lady next door, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law.” We have all felt this” “I am unable to forgive.” But how can we ask God to forgive us, if we are unable to forgive? And to forgive is something great, yet it’s not easy to forgive, because our heart is poor and it cannot do so on its own. However, if we open ourselves to receive God’s mercy for us, we in turn become capable of forgiving. I’ve heard it said so many times: “I couldn’t stand that person: I hated her. But one day I approached the Lord and asked him to forgive my sins, and I also forgave that person.” These are everyday things. And we have this possibility close to us.

Therefore, courage! Let us live the Jubilee by beginning with these signs that imply a great force of love. The Lord will accompany us to lead us to experience other important signs for our life. Courage and forward!

Pope Franci…

Daily Thought For December 15, 2015

How St. Thérèse of Lisieux Learned To Deal With Annoying People
There is in the Community a Sister who has the faculty of displeasing me in everything, in her ways, her words, her character, everything seems very disagreeable to me. And still, she is a holy religious who must be very pleasing to God. Not wishing to give in to the natural antipathy I was experiencing I told myself that charity must not consist in feelings but in works; then I set myself to doing for this Sister what I would do for the person I loved the most.


Martin, R. (2006). The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints (p. 150). Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing.

Daily Thought For December 14, 2015

Remembering The Goodness of God

In one of his Christmas stories, Charles Dickens tells of a man who lost his emotional memory; that is, he lost the whole chain of feelings and thoughts he had acquired in the encounter with human suffering. This extinction of the memory of love is presented to him as liberation from the burden of the past, but it becomes clear immediately that the whole person has been changed: now, when he meets with suffering, no memories of kindness are stirred within him. Since his memory has dried up, the source of kindness within him has also disappeared. He has become cold and spreads coldness around him.

Goethe deals with the same idea as Dickens in his account of the first celebration of the feast of St. Roch in Bingen after the long interruption caused by the Napoleonic wars. He observes the people as they press, tightly packed, through the church past the image of the saint, and he watches their faces: the faces of the children and the adults are shining, mirr…

Daily Thought For December 13, 2015

The Lord's Words To Augustine When He Panicked About His Conversion
Are you incapable of doing what these men and women have done? Do you think them capable of achieving this by their own resources and not by the Lord their God? . . . Why are you relying on yourself, only to find yourself unreliable? Cast yourself upon him, do not be afraid. He will not withdraw himself so that you fall. Make the leap without anxiety, he will catch you and heal you.

Martin, Ralph (2006-07-01). The Fulfillment of All Desire:  A Guidebook to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints (p. 39). Emmaus Road Publishing. Kindle Edition. 


Daily Thought For December 12, 2015

Healing Relationships

Lectio

Matthew 17:9a, 10–13

Meditatio

“Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him.…”

Today’s Gospel and first reading focus on the prophet Elijah. The disciples ask Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” They are probably referring to the text from the prophet Malachi, “Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, Before the day of the LORD comes, the great and terrible day, / To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers …” (Mal 3:23–24). In answering their question, Jesus indicates that John the Baptist is the new Elijah: “I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him.…”
When the angel Gabriel announces to Zechariah the birth of John the Baptist, the angel speaks of John as a new Elijah: “He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children a…

Daily Thought For December 11, 2015

The Holy Spirit Is Meant To Be Shared
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

From the age of the Apostles to our own day, a great cloud of witnesses has been raised up to proclaim Jesus and show forth the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, we recall with gratitude the sacrifice of the Uganda martyrs, whose witness of love for Christ and his Church has truly gone “to the end of the earth”. We remember also the Anglican martyrs whose deaths for Christ testify to the ecumenism of blood. All these witnesses nurtured the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives and freely gave testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ, even at the cost of their lives, many at such a young age.

We too have received the gift of the Spirit, to make us sons and daughters of God, but also so that we may bear witness to Jesus and make him everywhere known and loved. We received the S…

Daily Thought For December 9, 2015

Intimate Friendship with Jesus
WHEN Jesus is near, all is well and nothing seems difficult. When He is absent, all is hard. When Jesus does not speak within, all other comfort is empty, but if He says only a word, it brings great consolation.

Did not Mary Magdalen rise at once from her weeping when Martha said to her: “The Master is come, and calleth for thee”? 

Happy is the hour when Jesus calls one from tears to joy of spirit.
How dry and hard you are without Jesus! How foolish and vain if you desire anything but Him! Is it not a greater loss than losing the whole world? For what, without Jesus, can the world give you? Life without Him is a relentless hell, but living with Him is a sweet paradise. If Jesus be with you, no enemy can harm you.

He who finds Jesus finds a rare treasure, indeed, a good above every good, whereas he who loses Him loses more than the whole world. The man who lives without Jesus is the poorest of the poor, whereas no one is so rich as the man who lives in His gra…

Daily Thought For December 8, 2015

Mary Helps Us Be Quiet To Listen To God
Mary, the undefiled handmaid of the Lord: her message is the feminine willingness to receive and to conceive. At the Rorate High Mass [of the former Ember Wednesday in Advent] the Gospel of the Annunciation and the miraculous conception of the Holy Child was read: “The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin. She was betrothed to a man named Joseph of the House of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. The angel entered and said, ‘Hail to thee, full of grace …!’ ” This is one of the stellar moments in world history—for here and at this spot and in the fullest sense the presence of God began indeed. Here in truth “Advent” came about. But let us be aware that this stellar moment in world history was at the same time one of its quietest moments. A moment overlooked, not reported in any newspaper nor mentioned in any magazine; nor would it have been reported if such means had then been known. What we are told he…

Daily Thought For December 7, 2015

Building Trust
Lectio

Luke 5:17–26

Meditatio

“When he saw their faith, he said,
‘As for you, your sins are forgiven.’ ”

As I read this Gospel, I am struck by the simple love and determination of these unnamed men for their paralyzed friend. They are not idly interested in the possibility of witnessing a miracle. They are men with a purpose, whose love will take them to great lengths to see their friend well again. They are also men who have great faith in the power of God at work through Jesus.
In one translation, the word for “faith” in this Gospel is translated as “trust.” I like this way of thinking about faith. We hear the word “faith” so often, that at times it might bounce off our minds and hearts without hitting the mark. We assume we have faith—after all, we go to Mass on Sundays and say our prayers, right? But in a world where true relationships can be hard to find, the word “trust” can hit our ears and minds in a different way. We know the risks and rewards contained in that simple…

Daily Thought For December 6 ,2015

Amazing Grace of The Sacred Heart of Jesus
"Would that I could exhaust myself in acts of thanksgiving and gratitude towards this Divine Heart, for the great favor He shows us, in deigning to accept our help to make Him known, loved and honored; He reserves infinite blessings for all those who devote themselves to this work.” 
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Daily Thought For December 4, 2015

The Gift of Faith
Let it be done for you according to your faith. (Matthew 9:29)

Google the word “challenge” on the Internet, and more than 1.1 billion results come up. It seems we are a people who crave challenge. Well, Jesus’ words challenge us today to ask ourselves, “What do I have faith for?” Perhaps you have the faith to attend Mass on Sundays, but not to move mountains—at least not yet. Maybe you have the faith to pray for healing of fevers, but not restoration of sight to the blind—not yet.

You see, it’s not a question of what you lack, but of how much faith you already have. Because you do have faith! You read the Scriptures. You want to do better in prayer. You are seeking to know Jesus better. You wouldn’t do any of this if you didn’t believe that God exists and that it’s worth trying to get to know him better. So seeking the Lord, loving him, and serving him—this means that your faith is growing. You are a “work in progress,” and that’s perfectly fine with God. He is patient …

Daily Thought For December 3, 2015

Listening & Acting On God's Word


Lectio

Matthew 7:21, 24–27

Meditatio

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us an important life lesson: nothing happens unless we act. It isn’t enough merely to listen to Jesus. Listening is important, but it’s only the first step. As Scripture says, God’s word is living and active. It prods us into action. It is easier to talk about something than it is to roll up our sleeves and get to work. As long as seeds stay in their packet, they’ll never grow. But plant them and water them, and soon a beautiful garden will grow. Our lives will bear fruit to the extent that we turn our words into deeds.

In baptism, we became members of Christ and were filled with the Holy Spirit. We have two choices about what we can do with that divine life given so abundantly. One choice is to let it lie dormant. If we choose that path, we’ll remain perpetual infants i…

Daily Thought For December 2, 2015

The Peace That Surpasses Understanding
MY PEACE IS SUCH AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING GIFT THAT IT IS INDEPENDENT OF CIRCUMSTANCES. Though you lose everything else, if you gain My Peace you are rich indeed. 

Let that be a deep comfort to you, especially amid the many aspects of your life over which you have no control! When you are feeling at the mercy of your circumstances, My all-encompassing Peace is exactly what you need, even though you sometimes feel unable to receive it. Perhaps that is because you cling to other things-your loved ones, your possessions, your reputation. It's as if you are wrapping your fingers tightly around a small copper coin while I am offering you unlimited supplies of pure gold. My desire is to help you treasure My Peace above everything in the world-recognizing it as a supernatural gift, bequeathed to My followers shortly before My death. 

A man who knows he will soon die wants to leave something precious with those he loves. Therefore, I "willed" My Pe…