Thursday, December 31, 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 cannot stop at reading the news if we wish to understand the world and life; we must be able to pause in silence, in meditation, in calm, prolonged reflection; we must know how to stop and think. In this way our mind can find healing from the inevitable wounds of daily life, it can penetrate the events that occur in our life and in the world and can attain that wisdom which makes it possible to see things with new eyes.

It is above all in the recollection of the conscience that God speaks to us, so that we can learn to evaluate truthfully our own actions and also the evil present within us and around us. In this way we are able to start out afresh on a journey of conversion that makes us wiser and better people, more capable of generating solidarity and communion and of overcoming evil with good. Christians are people of hope, even and above all when they face the darkness that often exists in the world and has nothing to do with God’s plan but is the result of the erroneous choices of human beings, for Christians know that the power of faith can move mountains (cf. Mt 17:20): The Lord can illuminate even the thickest darkness.

Te Deum & First Vespers from Benedict XVI 
St Peter’s Basilica Monday December 31, 2012

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Daily Thought For December 30, 2015

The Fulfillment of God's Plan


Luke 2:36–40


  “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 most of her life.
Anna has a special calling from God. She is a prophet. It is not recorded whether she ever prophesied before or after this day, but today she speaks for God, introducing the Christ Child to all who are present. And she continues throughout the ages to proclaim him to all who are awaiting redemption, whenever this passage of Luke is read. Not only does she proclaim him to us with her words, but her life was a prophecy of the life he was beginning that day. Jesus, we are told, went on to grow and become strong, filled with wisdom and the favor of God. Anna had spent her years foreshadowing this. “She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.” She invites us today, not to stay in the temple, but to have hearts attuned to God, hearts that, by their very attentiveness, worship night and day. Then, not just in this season, but every day, our lives will be a prophecy of the Lord’s coming.


Lord, let me live each day before you that I may be aware of your approach. You come most often in weakness, in poverty, in ordinariness, from the midst of my everyday routine. Prepare me to witness to you as Anna was prepared, by a life of prayerfulness lived in your presence. May my life be filled with your wisdom, strength, and favor today and always. Amen.


“… and [she] spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 92–93). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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 Bethlehem: peace among men results from God’s glory. Those who are concerned about the human race and its well-being have to be concerned about God’s glory first of all. God’s glory is not some private concern, left to the personal choice of the individual; it is a public affair. It is a common good, and wherever God is not honored among men, there man as well will not remain honorable. The reason why Christmas affects the peace of man lies in this: because it has restored God’s glory among men.

Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (pp. 408–409). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Monday, December 28, 2015

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 understanding. Are not we, too, developing in the wrong direction: a lot of technology, but not much soul? A thick armor plating of material know-how, but a heart that has become empty? Have we not lost the ability to perceive the voice of God in us and to recognize and acknowledge the good, the beautiful, and the true?

Benedict XVI. (2007). The Blessing of Christmas. (B. McNeil, Trans.) (pp. 91–93). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Daily Thought For December 27, 2015

The Light of Christ Has Come Into The World


John 20:1a, 2–8


“[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’s light upon us. John, the beloved disciple, brings us from the darkness of the tomb to the light of faith. As Peter and the beloved disciple peer into the tomb and see the burial cloths, the reality and light of the resurrection flood their being. John “saw and believed.”

In the beginning of the First Letter of Saint John, we read: “what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life—for the life was made visible … what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you” (1 Jn 1:1–3). Blessed are we, too, for we “see and hear” Christ in Scripture, in the Eucharist, in our neighbor, and in the community of believers. In the light of the gift of faith, we can “see” Christ everywhere. As the light of the sun allows us to see more clearly, so the light of faith can open up unimaginable dimensions of truth, beauty, and goodness around us!


Thank you, God, for the gift of faith. In moments of darkness, may faith be the invisible lantern to guide my steps. In moments of joy, may faith allow me to share your light. Thank you for coming to dwell among us, to be our Light. Incarnate God, I adore you. I want to see you in all the circumstances of my life: cobwebs, world events, relationships, job, ministry, family, challenges, beauty … everything! Increase my faith and increase my ability to see with new eyes. Lord, you are my one and true Light!


May I see with the eyes of faith.

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 86–88). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

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 stable because we are much too refined and too smart for that? Do we not get all entangled in scholarly exegesis, in the proof or disproof of historical authenticity to the extent that we have become blind and deaf to the Child himself? Do we not really all too intensely dwell in “Jerusalem”, in a palace, withdrawn within ourselves, in our self-sufficiency, our fear of being challenged, too much so to be able to hear the voice of the angels, to set out to worship? Thus, in this holy night, the faces of ox and ass are turned toward us questioningly: My people does not understand, do you recognize the voice of your Lord? When we put the familiar figures in our crèche, we would do well to pray that God would bestow on our heart the kind of simplicity that recognizes the Lord in this Child—just like Francis in Greccio. Then this might happen also to us: everyone returned home, full of rejoicing.

Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (p. 406). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

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. Slowly, the stories weave together, and in the final story the Christmas Eve scene is fulfilled. “Other faces were familiar to me. Standing in their company, and all of us attendant to the beautiful child, I felt a quiet within, a sureness, I had never known.…” Weeks after reading the book, I recalled “those who were there” even if the sharing is silent.

Each of us, alone in our identity, alone in the singular, unique way we stand before the little King in the manger, nevertheless senses the inner bond of all who find their way to the crèche. Here we are together. We may never have spoken, perhaps we never will, but here in the dark shadows of the stable—and in the shadows of the pillars of our churches—we sense one another. We know we share a common destiny. Our little Lord has come to call all of us close to his heart and take us home one day, but he also would have come for just one of us. So, during this holy night, I quietly wish my neighbors well, for I know they love as I do.

Ours is a universal Church. We can be there for everyone by the universality of our intentions, even when we are alone. Prayer knows no distance or boundaries. Our focus is the newborn child in the manger. Our lens is to lay at his feet our lives, our intentions, our interests, our material goods or lack of them, but especially whatever love we can muster.


  Celebrate! By all means celebrate! Most of all, celebrate with worship!


  Mary, the hour of your delivery has come! Emmanuel within you will now be Emmanuel in your arms, and you will let us hold him for a while till he needs your warmth and nourishment again. Can any joy compare with the joy of his needing you? He who is Lord and King really made himself so small as to need you. Mary, when I’m holding him tonight, maybe he will show me, too, how he needs me. Allow me to be an instrument in his hand.

Frisk, M. J. (2005). Joyous Expectation: Journeying through Advent with Mary (pp. 115–118). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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 into the presence of God.

Psalm 25 tells us that God “guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way” (25:9). This is the best way to prepare for Christmas. Rather than running around trying to do everything right, we would do better simply to take on a disposition of quiet humility and openness to Jesus.

Try an experiment in your prayer today. In your mind, step away from all the demands of Christmas preparations, and sit quietly in Jesus’ presence. Picture his love raining down upon you, soaking through your body and into your heart. Imagine this rain washing you clean. See the dust and dirt of life in this world washing off of you and disappearing. Once you are clean, draw near to God—again, not by trying to make yourself lovable, but just by resting in his presence.

Next, look up at the sun. See how its rays warm you and give you light. With this in mind, let Jesus warm your heart and give light to your path today. Just stay with him. Just be humble. L et Jesus draw close to you.

“Lord Jesus, thank you for setting me free. I rejoice in you. I ask you to draw near to me.”

Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Daily Thought For December 22, 2015

Declare The Greatness of the Lord


Luke 1:46–56


  “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 that God has looked upon me with favor and become my Savior. As I look back on my life with the eyes of faith and consider my life today, I can rejoice that whatever my need, God has been there to provide for me. God will always be there.

As I look back in faith, I see that God has shown me mercy in the many times I have received healing through the sacrament of Penance, in the good health and other blessings I and my loved ones have received, in the opportunities for growth through the painful events of life.

God has been at work even in circumstances that allowed me to be “thrown down” or when I was “arrogant of mind and heart.” But I have always been “lifted up” anew. When I have been self-satisfied, God has allowed me to lack the affirmation or applause I would have liked. Instead, when I willingly allow others to shine, the Lord provides without hesitation.


Lord God, help me to see only and always with the eyes of faith. You are at work in my life, in the lives of my loved ones, and in every circumstance I encounter. Help me trust that you will always bring good out of each moment, even if I am presently unable to see it. Help me to believe that your love for me is far more powerful than anything I may encounter.

Mary, you who recognized God’s goodness even in your most difficult sufferings, help me to believe with your faith.


Lord, at all times and in every circumstance may I proclaim your greatness.

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 74–75). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Monday, December 21, 2015

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 motivations, how unfaithful we are to the Spirit, how sinful and unloving we really are, he will transform our hearts and give us a new strength. Conscious of our weakness, we must at the same time maintain a living and burning hope, and a confidence that he is with us; that he helps us, that he loves us and guides us. Then we can begin to live without too much worry. 

Jean Vanier (from The Magnificat Year of Mercy Companion p.23)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

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 resolution to believe; he who was so variously moved by the words of the great S. Ambrose, by the conversation of Pontilianus, and manifold other means, and yet hesitated so long ere he could decide; so that truly to none were more fitly said that which he said thereafter to others: “O Augustine, if thou be not drawn, if thou believest not, pray that thou mayest be drawn and believe!”

Our Dear Lord draws hearts by the attractions with which He sets forth His Heavenly Truths, but before they are altogether won to perfect submission the enemy likewise exercises his craft in temptation. Meanwhile we are fully free to accept or reject those Divine attractions, but if we do not repulse the grace of holy love, it will go on for ever swelling within our soul, until we be wholly converted, like to a mighty river overspreading a plain.

If that inspiration which has led us to believe be not resisted, it will lead us on further to penitence and love. S. Peter, like those birds we wot of, moved by the inspiration of his Master’s look, and letting himself be freely borne by the kindly breeze of the Holy Spirit, gazed into the life-giving Eyes which had stirred him, and reading there, as in a book of life, the blessed promise of pardon, he drew thence a lawful hope; and going forth, he realized and abhorred the greatness of his sin; he wept bitterly, and poured forth his sorrowful heart before the Merciful Heart of his Lord, asking pardon for his sin, and resolving perfect faithfulness for the future. So by this progressive course, fostered by continual grace, he attained remission of sin; going on from grace to grace, even as S. Prosper says, “Without grace we cannot follow after grace.”

In short, thus it is that the soul prevented by grace, experiencing its leadings and yielding to them, comes, so to say, to itself, and breaks forth: “Draw me, I will run after Thee.” Thy fruit is sweet to my taste, the savor of Thy ointment is refreshing. The Bride would not so cry out to her Beloved were she not moved thereto by His charms; but directly that she feels these, she prays Him to draw her, and being drawn, she runs; but she would not so run were she not won and revived by the sweetness of those perfumes; and the closer she wins to her Heavenly Bridegroom the more delicious those perfumes become, until at last He Himself flows into her heart with the very fulness of all possible sweetness and perfection.

Thus it is that heavenly inspiration comes and prevents us, kindling our will to holy love. And if we reject it not, it envelops us, urging us ever onwards; if we fail it not, it will never fail us until it bring us to that haven of perfect love, fulfilling towards us the office of the Archangel Raphael to Tobias, guiding us through the journey of penitence, shielding us from the assaults of Satan, and comforting and strengthening us under all difficulty.

Francis de Sales. (1888). Of the Love of God. (H. L. S. Lear, Trans.) (pp. 86–88). London: Rivingtons.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

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 promise and joy thus turns into a question for us, making visible the challenge and meaning of Advent. Only when all flesh beholds God is his coming complete; the new heavens and the new earth can come about only when available to all. This word constantly intends to open the heart of Christianity, indeed our own heart. Adveniat regnum tuum [thy Kingdom come]—this plea of Advent, put on our lips by the Lord himself, is prayed by us correctly only if we allow it to transform us; if we let it open us up to all of God’s children, all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (pp. 398–399). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Daily Thought For December 18, 2015

Unexpected Surprises


Matthew 1:18–25


“[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 cloaked in ordinary events, but they are real nonetheless. Have we ever marveled when a difficult situation was unexpectedly resolved? Have we ever felt gently chided: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (cf. Mt 14:31). As Saint Paul says, when we’re in difficulty and temptation, God will give us a way out (cf. 1 Cor 10:13). Each of us may remember some examples of this in our own lives. “If God is for us,” asks Paul, “who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).
Now, one week before Christmas, we might continue reflecting with Paul on what our Father has done for us: “God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Gal 4:4); “He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not give us everything else along with him?” (Rom 8:32).

Yes! Emmanuel is coming—God with us! Let us prepare our hearts to welcome him.


Father in heaven, you sent your Son into the world to be our brother, companion, and Savior. In him your ever-present love for us became visible, and we recognize your care and concern for each of us. Help us to be grateful always that Jesus came into the world as one of us. May we trust firmly in your providence, especially when life becomes difficult and seems to lose meaning, joy, or peace. May we place our hopes in your Son and trust that he is with us, sharing our burdens, our sorrows, our joys.


“They shall name him Emmanuel.”

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 66–67). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

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 Francis — excerpt from Wednesday Audience of December 15, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

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.

Monday, December 14, 2015

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, mirroring the joy of the festal day. But with the young people, Goethe reports, it was otherwise. They went past unmoved, indifferent, bored. And he gives an illuminating explanation: they were born in evil times, had nothing good to remember and consequently had nothing to hope for. In other words, it is only the person who has memories who can hope. The person who has never experienced goodness and kindness simply does not know what such things are.

Recently a counselor who spends much of his time talking with people on the verge of despair was speaking in similar terms about his own work: if his client succeeds in recalling a memory of some good experience, he may once again be able to believe in goodness and thus relearn hope; then there is a way out of despair. Memory and hope are inseparable. To poison the past does not give hope: it destroys its emotional foundations.

Sometimes Charles Dickens’ story strikes me as a vision of contemporary experience. This man who let himself be robbed of the heart’s memory by the delusion of a false liberation—do we not find him with us today, in a generation whose past has been poisoned by a particular program of liberation that has stifled hope? When we read of the pessimism with which our young people look toward the future, we ask ourselves, Why? Is it that, in the midst of material affluence, they have no memory of human goodness that would allow them to hope? By outlawing the emotions, by satirizing joy, have we not trampled on the root of hope?

These reflections bring us straight to the significance of the Christian season of Advent. For Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to run through her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope. All the feasts in the Church’s calendar are events of remembrance and hence events of hope. These events, of such great significance for mankind, which are preserved and opened up by faith’s calendar, are intended to become personal memories of our own life history through the celebration of holy seasons by means of liturgy and custom. Our personal memories are nourished by mankind’s great memories; in turn, it is only by translating them into personal terms that these great memories are kept alive. Man’s ability to believe always depends in part on faith having become dear on the path of life, on the humanity of God having manifested itself through the humanity of men. No doubt each of us could tell his own story here as to what the various memories of Christmas, Easter or other festivals mean in his life.
It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.

Benedict XVI. (2007). Seek that which Is above: Meditations through the Year. (G. Harrison, Trans.) (Second Edition., pp. 13–17). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

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. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Daily Thought For December 12, 2015

Healing Relationships


Matthew 17:9a, 10–13


“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 and … to prepare a people fit for the Lord” (Lk 1:17).

John the Baptist’s mission, like Elijah’s, involves healing family relationships. Our society today sorely needs such healing. Many people have been deeply hurt in various ways by other family members. Jesus took all of that pain and nailed it to the cross. We can unite our pain to his and he will heal us of our wounds. We can confess whatever ways we may have hurt others. Saint Paul says, “And you who once were alienated … he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him …” (Col 1:21–22).

Is there some relationship in your life that needs healing and reconciliation? Ask the Lord to give you the healing you desire. Even if the other person cannot or will not respond, Jesus can remove the pain from your heart. Our peace of mind does not depend on the attitudes that other people hold toward us. It depends only on what the Lord is doing in us. And he always brings grace.


Lord Jesus, I ask you for the grace of healing in my life. Restore broken relationships, especially the ones in which I have suffered the most pain. Forgive me, too, for any ways in which I may have hurt other persons. If I am still clinging to any resentment or bitterness, help me to let go of it and to forgive. Bring peace and joy to my family, so that together we may celebrate your coming at Christmas with love and reconciliation.


“Then the disciples understood.”

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 40–41). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, December 11, 2015

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 Spirit when we were reborn in Baptism, and we were strengthened by his gifts at our Confirmation. Every day we are called to deepen the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life, to “fan into flame” the gift of his divine love so that we may be a source of wisdom and strength to others.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is a gift which is meant to be shared. It unites us to one another as believers and living members of Christ’s mystical Body. We do not receive the gift of the Spirit for ourselves alone, but to build up one another in faith, hope and love. I think of Saints Joseph Mkasa and Charles Lwanga, who after being catechized by others, wanted to pass on the gift they had received. They did this in dangerous times. Not only were their lives threatened but so too were the lives of the younger boys under their care. Because they had tended to their faith and deepened their love of God, they were fearless in bringing Christ to others, even at the cost of their lives. Their faith became witness; today, venerated as martyrs, their example continues to inspire people throughout the world. They continue to proclaim Jesus Christ and the power of his Cross.

If, like the martyrs, we daily fan into flame the gift of the Spirit who dwells in our hearts, then we will surely become the missionary disciples which Christ calls us to be. To our families and friends certainly, but also to those whom we do not know, especially those who might be unfriendly, even hostile, to us. This openness to others begins first in the family, in our homes where charity and forgiveness are learned, and the mercy and love of God made known in our parents’ love. It finds expression too in our care for the elderly and the poor, the widowed and the orphaned.

The witness of the martyrs shows to all who have heard their story, then and now, that the worldly pleasures and earthly power do not bring lasting joy or peace. Rather, fidelity to God, honesty and integrity of life, and genuine concern for the good of others bring us that peace which the world cannot give. This does not diminish our concern for this world, as if we only look to the life to come. Instead, it gives purpose to our lives in this world, and helps us to reach out to those in need, to cooperate with others for the common good, and to build a more just society which promotes human dignity, defends God’s gift of life and protects the wonders of nature, his creation and our common home.

Dear brothers and sisters, this is the legacy which you have received from the Uganda martyrs – lives marked by the power of the Holy Spirit, lives which witness even now to the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This legacy is not served by an occasional remembrance, or by being enshrined in a museum as a precious jewel. Rather, we honor them, and all the saints, when we carry on their witness to Christ, in our homes and neighborhoods, in our workplaces and civil society, whether we never leave our homes or we go to the farthest corner of the world.

May the Uganda martyrs, together with Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us, and may the Holy Spirit kindle within us the fire of his divine love!

Homily of Pope Francis —Holy Mass For The Martyrs for Uganda (November 28, 2015)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

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 grace.

It is a great art to know how to converse with Jesus, and great wisdom to know how to keep Him. Be humble and peaceful, and Jesus will be with you. Be devout and calm, and He will remain with you. You may quickly drive Him away and lose His grace, if you turn back to the outside world. And, if you drive Him away and lose Him, to whom will you go and whom will you then seek as a friend? You cannot live well without a friend, and if Jesus be not your friend above all else, you will be very sad and desolate. Thus, you are acting foolishly if you trust or rejoice in any other. Choose the opposition of the whole world rather than offend Jesus. Of all those who are dear to you, let Him be your special love. Let all things be loved for the sake of Jesus, but Jesus for His own sake.

Jesus Christ must be loved alone with a special love for He alone, of all friends, is good and faithful. For Him and in Him you must love friends and foes alike, and pray to Him that all may know and love Him.

Never desire special praise or love, for that belongs to God alone Who has no equal. Never wish that anyone’s affection be centered in you, nor let yourself be taken up with the love of anyone, but let Jesus be in you and in every good man. Be pure and free within, unentangled with any creature.

You must bring to God a clean and open heart if you wish to attend and see how sweet the Lord is. Truly you will never attain this happiness unless His grace prepares you and draws you on so that you may forsake all things to be united with Him alone.

When the grace of God comes to a man he can do all things, but when it leaves him he becomes poor and weak, abandoned, as it were, to affliction. Yet, in this condition he should not become dejected or despair. On the contrary, he should calmly await the will of God and bear whatever befalls him in praise of Jesus Christ, for after winter comes summer, after night, the day, and after the storm, a great calm.

Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The Imitation of Christ (pp. 75–77). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

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 here is therefore first and foremost a mystery of stillness. What is truly great grows outside the limelight; and stillness at the right time is more fruitful than constant busyness, which degenerates all too easily into mindless busywork. All of us, in this era when public life is being more and more Americanized, are in the grip of a peculiar restlessness, which suspects any quietness of being a waste of time, any stillness of being a sign of missing out on something. Every ounce of time is being measured and weighed, and thus we become oblivious to the true mystery of time, the true mystery of growing and becoming: stillness. It is the same in the area of religion, where all our hopes and expectations rest on what we do; where we, through all kinds of exercises and activities, painstakingly avoid facing the true mystery of inner growth toward God. And yet, in the area of religion, what we receive is at least as important as what we do.

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. 386–387). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Daily Thought For December 7, 2015

Building Trust


Luke 5:17–26


“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 word.

Perhaps what strikes me most in this Gospel is Jesus’ response to the great trust these men have in him. Seeing their perseverance and hope as a sign of great faith, he is moved to action, healing the paralyzed man in spirit and in body.

What might this mean for us? Perhaps it means that we, too, have this gift and this responsibility to bring one another before the Lord in faith. At times, each of us walks through the dark valley, feeling that God is far away and prayer is next to impossible. In these moments of spiritual and emotional paralysis, what would it be like to remember and to believe that my family and friends can bring me before Jesus in faith when I can no longer bring myself?
It remains a message of great hope to realize that I, too, can do this for those whom I love.


Lord Jesus, this Advent you are calling me to a deeper trust in you—to a trust that believes in the power of prayer. It can be so painful to watch loved ones wander farther and farther away from you, or fall deeper and deeper into emotional darkness and pain. Today, I am bringing before you those in my life who seem to be wandering in darkness. You are the light that dawns in all hearts. Thank you for your healing light and for the power of your Spirit at work in our lives.


Jesus, I trust in you.

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 30–31). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

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 and faithful; having begun the work of faith in you, he will keep right on helping you grow in it, just as long as you keep trying to follow him.

So embrace the faith you have today! Rejoice in it. Thank God for it. Trust your heavenly Father to increase your faith today, tomorrow, and throughout Advent.

Now, ask yourself again, “What do I have faith for?” Sit quietly and reflect. The Holy Spirit will help you see your faith; don’t worry if it seems little to you. Remember Jesus’ promise that faith the size of a tiny seed can move mountains.

Maybe your faith today will seem as basic as believing that you will hear God’s voice a little more clearly this Advent. Or perhaps it will help you choose to forgive, even when you don’t see any immediate change in the person you are forgiving. You will see yourself growing closer to the Lord as you let your faith, not your feelings or temptations, lead you through your days. If you make mistakes or see what looks like failure, don’t worry. That’s all part of learning and growing! One day you might actually move mountains!

“Lord, thank you for the gift of faith! Help me be as patient with myself as you are with me.”

Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Daily Thought For December 3, 2015

Listening & Acting On God's Word


Matthew 7:21, 24–27


“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 in the spiritual life. We’ll be like those seeds that just stay in the packet and never grow into anything. At the end of our life, we’ll say, “Lord, Lord.” But God will ask us what we did with the gift he gave us.

There is another choice: to listen to Jesus and then to act on his words. You don’t have to do big things, showy things, things that attract attention. Instead, practice love of God and love of neighbor. Pray every day. Follow the commandments. Do some small act of kindness. Participate in the Sunday Eucharist each week. If you wish to turn your life around spiritually, start with something small. Take some desire that you’ve had about growing spiritually and make it a goal. For example, have you always wanted to read the Bible but been daunted at its sheer size? Of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament, seventeen of them have six chapters or fewer. Try reading those first. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop.


Lord Jesus, help me to listen to the words you speak to me and to act on them. I want to put my life in your hands, and I trust in your plan for me. In the Gospel, you tell me that if I listen to your words and put them into practice, I will be like those wise persons who build their lives on rock. When the winds of life threaten to blow me down, I will not fear because you are my rock.


“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 18–19). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

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 Peace to My disciples and all who would follow Me. I knew this was a difficult gift to accept, especially in the midst of adversity. So, after My resurrection, the first words I spoke to My disciples were "Peace be with you!" They needed this reassurance to reinforce what I taught them before I died. You also need to be reminded of the divine nature of this gift, for it is not the world's peace I give you: It is Peace that transcends all understanding! 

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  
JOHN 14:27 

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 
JOHN 20:19 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 


from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young pp. 116-117

Daily Thought For April 2, 2020

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