Saturday, December 31, 2016

Daily Thought For December 31, 2016

Kindness & Understanding 
     We will never know all the good a simple smile can do. 
     We speak about our God who is good, merciful, and compassionate. Are we a living token of that reality? Those who suffer—can they perceive in us that goodness that forgiveness, that living understanding?
     May no one ever come to you without going away better and happier. Everyone should see kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile. 
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Daily Thought For December 29, 2016

A Thief of Hearts
Stand alongside the sacred grotto, where our Savior teaches us so many virtues by His silence. And what does He say to us? While He immolates Himself for the love of us, His little heart must set ours on fire. See how lovingly He carries your names within that divine heart that beats out of affectionate desire for your growth in virtue and does not send a single sigh toward His Father in which you do no share, nor a single aspiration that is not aimed at your happiness. The magnet attracts iron and straw and hay; as for us, who are iron by our strength and straw by our weakness, we should unite ourselves to this Infant Who is a true thief of hearts.
St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Daily Thought For December 28, 2016

Without A Vision The People Perish
     My dear friends, God’s creation is one and it is good. The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable. Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises. Our hearts and minds are yearning for a vision of life where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. This is the work of the Holy Spirit! This is the hope held out by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is to bear witness to this reality that you were created anew at Baptism and strengthened through the gifts of the Spirit at Confirmation. Let this be the message that you bring from Sydney to the world!
Barangaroo, Sydney Harbour
Thursday, 17 July 2008

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Daily Thought For December 24, 2016

Don't Try And Get Ahead Of Your Guide
One of the principal obstacles one encounters on the way to perfection is the precipitous and impatient desire to progress and to possess those virtues that we feel we don't have. On the contrary, the true means of solidly advancing, and with giant steps, is to be patient and to calm and pacify these anxieties .... Don't get ahead of your guide for fear of getting lost and straying from the path that He indicates, because, if you do, instead of arriving safe and sound, you will fall into a pit. Your guide is the Holy Spirit. By your struggles and worries, by your anxiety and haste, you overtake Him with the pretense of moving more quickly. And then what happens? You stray from the path and find yourself on terrain that is harder and rougher and, far from advancing, you go backwards; at a minimum, you waste your time. 
St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Daily Thought For December 22, 2016

Ask & You Will Receive
If we have good ideas or good desires but lack strength to put them into practice, we must present them to God with a firm hope that He will help us. Certainly, if we place all our confidence in Divine Goodness, the Lord will not fail to grant whatever is necessary to persevere in His service. 
St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Daily Thought For December 21, 2016

To Return Good for Evil

"See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all." (1 Thes 5: 15) 

Not long ago my husband asked me for the second time whether I had found a babysitter for a concert he wanted to take me to. I had to admit that I hadn't even begun the search. He responded with anger - why did he have to ask again? Could it be that I didn't want to go? I was immediately hurt and snapped back. Standing before me was someone who needed me to be present to his needs. And all I could do was return anger for anger, hurt for hurt, evil for evil. I couldn't enter for a moment into his need to have an evening out, to be alone together for a short time away from the pressing needs of our six children. How infantile is the human heart! Our broken condition leaves us defensive and alone, accusing and accursed. The marital spat that played out for the first time in the garden of Eden ("She did it, blame her ... No, he did it!") is played out a thousand times a day. If we are able for a moment to rise above this scenario, to seek the good of the other instead of avenging our hurt, it is only because of a man who has entered our history in an entirely unexpected way. He takes upon himself the curse, he bears in his own body the vengeful wrath of the crowd. He returns good for evil. He transforms the human heart from within. Only his personal presence, the presence of a divine person - not an idea, not an ideal- can enable us really to overcome the sins that we have committed a thousand and one times. In the relationship of love between the soul and Jesus, everything that is low and petty and vengeful can be conquered and transformed. 

Dear Jesus, you know my weakness. Come to me this day. Transform me with your love. 

by Lisa Lickona from Praying With St. Paul by Magnificat Press p.283

Monday, December 19, 2016

Daily Thought For December 19, 2016

The Importance of Forgiveness
     Tolerance leads us to live a loving openness towards others, to look on them with constant kindness. It reaches the depths of the heart and knows how to look forward and find out that goodness which is in every person. 
     Only he who is humble is capable of maintaining an understanding attitude. Otherwise, the tiniest faults of others are magnified, and one tends to justify and minimize one's own greater faults and errors. Pride is like a curved mirror that distorts the reality of things. 
     He who is humble is objective, and thus can be respectful and tolerant towards others: forgiveness of others' faults comes easily to him. The humble person is not scandalized by these flaws in his neighbor. There is no sin, writes St Augustine, or crime committed by another which I myself am not capable of committing through my weakness; and if I have not committed it, it is because God, in his mercy, has not allowed me to and has preserved me in good. Moreover, we also learn to discover so many virtues in the people about us, who teach us by their hard work, their self-denial, their joy, that we shall not dwell too much on their defects; only when it is absolutely necessary shall we advert to them in order to help them with fraternal correction.
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume II p.132

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Daily Thought For December 13, 2016

Don’t Dwell On The Past
     Inner turmoil over past mistakes or sins indicates lack of trust in Jesus. He knows the weakness of our fallen nature. He wants to transform the energy and time you put into self-flagellation into resolute desire to call on his grace so that you can be better, precisely in the area of the shameful sin that haunts you.
     Refusal to accept forgiveness from God can have other bad consequences. After all, if you believe you can’t be forgiven, how well do you forgive others? There were saints who were murders but who lived to repent and became holy: St. Paul was the first. 
     A prayer you might say when bad memories of the past assail you is this:
     “Here I am, Jesus, Savior. You know everything I have ever done wrong. I give you my painful memories. I accept that pain as part of my punishment. 
     “I place in your heart anyone who was victimized by my sins. We are yours. Let me not omit the loving deeds you want of me today through preoccupation with bad ones of the past.”
from Help in Time of Need - Encouragement, Practical Advice, & Prayers by Ronda Chervin, PhD pp.39-40

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Daily Thought For December 9, 2016

Advent & Saying "Yes" To God's Plan

Dear Brothers and Sisters, happy feast day! The Readings, of today’s Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, present two crucial passages in the history of relations between man and God: we could say that they lead us to the origin of good and evil. These two passages lead us to the origin of good and evil.

The Book of Genesis shows us the first No, the No of the origins, the human No, when man preferred to look at himself rather than at his Creator; he wanted to be his own head, he chose to suffice unto himself. However, in so doing, removing himself from communion with God, he in fact lost himself and began to have fear, hiding himself and accusing the one close to him (cf. Genesis 3:10.12). These are the symptoms: fear is always a symptom of a No to God; it indicates that I am saying No to God. To accuse others and not look at oneself indicates that I am distancing myself from God. This constitutes sin. However, the Lord did not leave man at the mercy of his evil; He sought him immediately and asked him a question full of apprehension: “Where are you?” (v. 9). As if He were saying: “Stop, think: where are you?” It is the question of a father or a mother who seeks a lost son: “Where are you? In what situation have you ended up?” And God does this with so much patience, until closing the distance created at the origins. This is one of the passages.

The second crucial passage, recounted today in the Gospel, is when God comes to dwell among us, He makes Himself man like us. And this was possible through a great Yes, that of sin was a No; this is a Yes, Mary’s is a great Yes at the moment of the Annunciation. Because of this Yes, Jesus began His journey on the ways of humanity; He began it in Mary, spending his first months of life in the womb of His Mother: He did not appear already as an adult and strong, but followed the whole course of a human being. He made Himself the same as us in everything, except one thing, that No, except sin. Therefore, He chose Mary, the only creature without sin, immaculate. With just one word in the Gospel, she is said to be “full of grace” (Luke 1:28), namely, brimming with grace. It means that in her, immediately full of grace, there was no room for sin. And, when we turn to her, we also recognize this beauty: we invoke her “full of grace,” without the shade of evil. 

Mary responds to God’s proposal saying: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (v. 38). She does not say: “Huh, this time I will do God’s will, I’ll make myself available, then I’ll see …” No, hers is a full Yes, total, for the whole of life, without conditions. And as the No of the origins closed man’s passage to God, so Mary’s Yes opened the way to God among us. It is the most important Yes in history, the humble Yes that overturns the arrogant No of the origins, the faithful Yes that heals the disobedience; the willing Yes that overturns the egoism of sin.

For each of us, there is also a history of salvation made up of Yeses and Noes to God. Sometimes, however, we are experts in half Yeses: we are good at feigning that we do not understand what God would like and our conscience suggests to us. We are also crafty, and in order not to say a true and proper No to God, we say: “I’m sorry, I can’t,” “not today, but tomorrow”; “Tomorrow I’ll be better, tomorrow I’ll pray, I’ll do good, tomorrow.” And this craftiness distances us from the Yes, it distances us from God and leads us to the No, to the No of sin, to the No of mediocrity. The famous “Yes, but …”; “Yes, Lord, but …” But in doing so, we close the door to the good, and evil benefits from these wanting Yeses. Each one of us has a collection of these inside. Let us think about it and we will find so many missed Yeses. Instead, every full Yes to God gives origin to a new history: to say Yes to God is truly “original,” is origin, not sin, which makes us old inside. Have you thought of this? That sin makes us old inside? It makes us old quickly! Every Yes to God originates histories of salvation for us and for others – like Mary with her own Yes.

In this Advent journey, God wishes to visit us and He waits for our Yes. Let us think: I, today, what Yes must I say to God? Let us think about it, it will do us good. And we will find the voice of the Lord within God, who asks us something, a step forward. “I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. May your good will be done in me.” This is a Yes. With generosity and trust, like Mary, let each one of us say today this personal ‘Yes’ to God.

Pope Francis - Angelus, December 8, 2016

Friday, December 9, 2016

Daily Thought For December 9, 2016

Don't Be Afraid of "Stumps"

A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (Isaiah 11:1)

Picture a tree stump. It’s graying, dry, maybe even crumbling away. It seems impossible that a shoot—or any sign of life—could sprout from something so barren. But if you think about it, this kind of image lies at the heart of many of our favorite biblical stories.

For instance, you might think of the act of creation as the original sprouting stump. Out of a formless, shapeless chasm sprang an entire universe! Though they were elderly, Abraham and Sarah produced a bud that would eventually bloom into a whole nation. Mary wasn’t exactly lifeless, but new life came from her in an unexpected way. And then there’s Jesus. Think of how his life and ministry were cut down on the cross, only to shoot up from the grave three days later!

This image of life miraculously springing up from old stumps is deeply embedded in our faith. It has also taken root in you.

Take a few seconds to wander through the garden of your heart. Do you see any stumps poking out? We all have them. Maybe it’s a wounded relationship with a family member or lingering guilt over a sin you have already confessed. It could be anxiety over the future or a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that tells you God is displeased with you. Whatever it is, know that God can bring new life out of any situation, even something that seems as dead as an old tree stump. He can help you become more loving, more patient, and more compassionate.

Don’t let these stumps intimidate you. Any time you stumble upon one, or stumble over one, pray, “Father, I believe that you can bring new life here.” Statements of faith like this can go a long way in helping you experience God’s touch. They can remind you that the Lord is good and patient and loving. They can help you to keep moving forward with the Lord and not get stuck in worry or guilt.

There is so much more to your life than stumps! God has planted a forest full of seeds in you. Take a look around, and see how many of them are bearing wonderful fruit.

“Here I am, Lord. Let every part of me teem with your life and joy.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Daily Thought For November 15, 2016

Short But Great Advice
    The fool immediately shows his anger, but the shrewd man passes over an insult.
Proverbs 12:16

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Daily Thought For November 12, 2016

The Grace of Surrender

WHEN THINGS ARE NOT GOING YOUR WAY, refuse to get flustered. Stop what you're doing and take some deep breaths. Seek My Face-spend a few moments enjoying My Presence. Tell Me about the matters that are frustrating you. I will help you see things from My perspective and sort out what is really important. Moreover, I will open up the way before you as you press on in trusting dependence, remaining in communication with Me. 

Your desire to feel in control is often the culprit behind your frustration. You plan your day and expect others to behave in ways that expedite your plans. When that doesn't happen, you face a choice: to resent the situation or to trust Me. Remember that I am in control and My ways are higher than yours-as the heavens are higher than the earth. Instead of getting agitated about setbacks to your schedule, use them as reminders: I am your Savior-God, and you are My beloved follower. Relax in My sovereign control, trusting in My unfailing Love. 

Come,” says my heart, “seek his face”;  your face, LORD, do I seek! —Psalm 27:8

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.—Isaiah 55:9

Why are you downcast, my soul? Why do you groan within me? 
Wait for God, for I shall again praise him, my savior and my God. —Psalm 43:5

from Jesus Always by Sarah Young p.17

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Daily Thought For November 8, 2016

God’s Providence 

I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God, that my whole life down to the smallest details . . . has a completely coherent meaning in God’s all-seeing eyes. And so I am beginning to rejoice in the light of glory wherein this meaning will be unveiled to me.

St. Teresa Benedicta Of The Cross (Edith Stein)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Daily Thought For November 7, 2016

An Examination of Conscience Based on The Beatitudes
     The best way to take the Gospel beatitudes seriously is to use them as a mirror for an examination of conscience that is truly "evangelical." All of Scripture, says Saint James, is like a mirror into which the believer should gaze calmly and without haste in order to know what he or she is truly like (see James 1:23-25), but the beatitudes provide a unique mirror. 
     Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Am I poor in spirit, poor within, having abandoned everything to God? Am I free and detached from earthly goods? What does money mean to me? Do I seek to lead a sober and simple lifestyle that is fitting for someone who wants to bear witness to the gospel? Do I take to heart the problem of the terrible poverty that is not chosen but imposed on so many millions of my brothers and sisters? 
     Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Do I consider affliction a misfortune and a punishment, as some people in the world do, or as an opportunity to be like Christ? What are the reasons when I am sad: the same as God's or the same as the world's? Do I seek to console others or only to be consoled myself? Do I know how to keep an adversity a secret between God and me, not talking about it every chance I get? 
     Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Am I meek? There is a violence of action but also a violence of speech and thought. Do I control anger outside of and within me? Am I kind and friendly to those around me? 
     Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.Do I hunger and thirst for holiness? Do I strive for holiness, or am I at times satisfied with mediocrity and lukewarmness? Does the physical hunger of millions of people lead me to question my continual search for comfort, my middle-class lifestyle? Do I realize how much I and the world in which I live resemble the rich man who feasted daily? 
     Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Am I merciful? When a brother, a sister or a coworker demonstrates a fault, do I react with judgment or with mercy? Jesus felt compassion for the crowd; do I? Have I at times been the servant who was forgiven but does not forgive others? How many times have I casually asked for and received the mercy of God for my sins without taking into account the price that Christ paid for me to receive it? 
     Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Am I a peacemaker? Do I bring peace to different sides? How do I behave when there are conflicts of opinion or conflicts of interest? Do I strive always to report only good things, positive words, and strive to let evil things, gossip and whatever might sow dissension, fall on deaf ears? Is the peace of God in my heart, and if not, why not? 
     Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Am I ready to suffer in silence for the gospel? How do I react when facing a wrong or an injury I have received? Do I participate intimately in the suffering of brothers and sisters who truly suffer for their faith or for social justice and freedom? 
     Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Am I pure of heart? Are my intentions pure? Do I say yes and no as Jesus did? There is a purity of heart, a purity of lips, a purity of eyes, a purity of body: Do I seek to cultivate all these kinds of purity that are so necessary-especially to consecrated souls? The clearest opposite of purity of heart is hypocrisy. Whom do I seek to please by my actions: God or other people? 
     Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Am I a peacemaker? Do I bring peace to different sides? How do I behave when there are conflicts of opinion or conflicts of interest? Do I strive always to report only good things, positive words, and strive to let evil things, gossip and whatever might sow dissension, fall on deaf ears? Is the peace of God in my heart, and if not, why not? 
     Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Am I ready to suffer in silence for the gospel? How do I react when facing a wrong or an injury I have received? Do I participate intimately in the suffering of brothers and sisters who truly suffer for their faith or for social justice and freedom? 
Beatitudes - Eight Steps To Happiness by Fr. Raniero Cantalmessa

Friday, November 4, 2016

Daily Thought For November 4, 2016

True Security Rests In God Alone
      If you choose me as your companion you will not be alone; my love will always be with you.      You will never fear anyone or anything, for you will find your security in me. 
      With me as your companion you will live in the light of faith with hope and fortitude, with true patience and perseverance, all the days of your life. 
     I loved you before you existed, and knowing this you can place your trust in my love and set aside every fear. 
    Enjoy my love, live in me and take from me the light of my wisdom. 
    Confront the princes and tyrants of this world with my strength. 
    Take from me the fire of my Spirit and share with all my mercy and my burning love. 
    You are not alone.     You have me. 
St. Catherine of Siena - Set Aside Every Fear 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Daily Thought For November 3, 2016

Our Cloud of Witnesses Cheers Us On

Today, with the entire Church, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. In doing so, we remember not only those who have been proclaimed saints through the ages, but also our many brothers and sisters who, in a quiet and unassuming way, lived their Christian life in the fullness of faith and love. Surely among them are many of our relatives, friends and acquaintances.

Ours, then, is a celebration of holiness. A holiness that is seen not so much in great deeds and extraordinary events, but rather in daily fidelity to the demands of our baptism. A holiness that consists in the love of God and the love of our brothers and sisters. A love that remains faithful to the point of self-renunciation and complete devotion to others. We think of the lives of all those mothers and fathers who sacrifice for their families and are prepared to forego – though it is not always easy – so many things, so many personal plans and projects.

Yet if there is one thing typical of the saints, it is that they are genuinely happy. They found the secret of authentic happiness, which lies deep within the soul and has its source in the love of God. That is why we call the saints blessed. The Beatitudes are their path, their goal towards the homeland. The Beatitudes are the way of life that the Lord teaches us, so that we can follow in his footsteps. In the Gospel of today’s Mass, we heard how Jesus proclaimed the Beatitudes before a great crowd on the hill by the Sea of Galilee.

The Beatitudes are the image of Christ and consequently of each Christian. Here I would like to mention only one: “Blessed are the meek”. Jesus says of himself: “Learn from me for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29). This is his spiritual portrait and it reveals the abundance of his love. Meekness is a way of living and acting that draws us close to Jesus and to one another. It enables us to set aside everything that divides and estranges us, and to find ever new ways to advance along the path of unity. So it was with sons and daughters of this land, including Saint Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad, recently canonized, and Saint Bridget, Birgitta of Vadstena, co-patron of Europe. They prayed and worked to create bonds of unity and fellowship between Christians. One very eloquent sign of this is that here in your country, marked as it is by the coexistence of quite different peoples, we are jointly commemorating the fifth centenary of the Reformation. The saints bring about change through meekness of heart. With that meekness, we come to understand the grandeur of God and worship him with sincere hearts. For meekness is the attitude of those who have nothing to lose, because their only wealth is God.

The Beatitudes are in some sense the Christian’s identity card. They identify us as followers of Jesus. We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus. Thus we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy. Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart. Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness. Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him. Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians. All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness, and surely they will receive from him their merited reward.

Dear brothers and sisters, the call to holiness is directed to everyone and must be received from the Lord in a spirit of faith. The saints spur us on by their lives and their intercession before God, and we ourselves need one another if we are to become saints. Helping one another to become saints! Together let us implore the grace to accept this call with joy and to join in bringing it to fulfillment. To our heavenly Mother, Queen of All Saints, we entrust our intentions and the dialogue aimed at the full communion of all Christians, so that we may be blessed in our efforts and may attain holiness in unity.

Pope Francis - Holy Mass at Swedbank Stadion in Malmö (November 1, 2016)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Daily Thought For November 1, 2016

All Saints! — Surprises in Heaven!

All Saints (Solemnity)

. . . a great multitude, which no one could count. (Revelation 7:9)

Imagine you’ve been invited to a dinner party. You’re a close friend of the host, so you think you know who will be there. But when you arrive, you’re surprised that along with the people you were expecting, you see many whom you’ve never seen before.

This is probably how we’ll feel when we get to heaven. We may expect to see our grandmother or childhood pastor. But seeing a convicted criminal we recognize from the news or the kid who bullied us in middle school may catch us off guard.

That’s why today’s feast is so valuable. Today we celebrate, not the saints whose names we know, the saints who appear on our Catholic calendars, but all those unrecognized, hidden saints who have blessed the Church in every age. We celebrate each person in the “great multitude” described in our first reading (Revelation 7:9).

This multitude of saints includes parents who persevered in raising their children in the faith. It includes gas-station attendants and lawyers, dockworkers and movie stars who struggled with their sins and weakness but relied on God’s grace to help them through their ups and downs. They are prison inmates and refugees who believed in God’s love and trusted in his care for them. They are people who believed from childhood, as well as those who converted in their old age. They all knew it wasn’t their efforts, but God’s power made perfect in their weakness, that could make them holy.

Heaven is vast! It’s made up, not only of the great saints, but of everyone who lived for the Lord. Let this truth fill you with hope for yourself and for your family—even the ones you worry about the most. No one is excluded. No one is ever too far gone. The Lord is a God of miracles, and that means that anyone can become a saint!

“Thank you, Lord, for your grace and mercy. Help us all to be holy as you are holy!”

Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Daily Thought For October 29, 2016

Asking For Grace
We must consider our neighbor in relationship to God, Who wants us to love him ... and we are to be interested in him even when this is distasteful for us. The resistance of the inferior part of our soul will be overcome by the frequent performance of good acts. To this end, however, we must center our prayers and meditations of the love of our neighbor, having first implored the love of God. We must ask for the grace to love especially those we do not like very much.
St. Fancis de Sales

Friday, October 28, 2016

Daily Thought For October 28, 2016

Fight The Good Fight
     Every Christian must be thoroughly convinced that his spiritual life can in no way be viewed as the quiet unfolding of an inconsequential life without any problems; rather it must be viewed as the scene of a constant and sometimes painful battle, which will not end until death ―a struggle against evil, temptation and the sin that is in him. This combat is inevitable, but is to be understood as an extremely positive reality, because, as Saint Catherine of Siena says, “without war there is no peace”; without combat there is not victory. And this combat is, correctly viewed, the place of our purification, of our spiritual growth, where we learn to know ourselves in our weakness and to know God in His infinite mercy. This combat is the definitive place of our transfiguration and glorification.
Searching For & Maintaining Peace ― A Small Treatise On Peace Of Heart p.9 by Fr. Jacques Philippe

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daily Thought For October 27, 2016

What Faith Is Really All About

For what faith basically means is just that this shortfall we all have in our love is made up by the surplus of Jesus Christ’s love, acting on our behalf. He simply tells us that God himself has poured out among us a superabundance of his love and has thus made good in advance all our deficiency. Ultimately, faith means nothing other than admitting that we have this kind of shortfall; it means opening our hand and accepting a gift. In its simplest and innermost form, faith is nothing but reaching that point in love at which we recognize that we, too, need to be given something. Faith is thus that stage in love which really distinguishes it as love; it consists in overcoming the complacency and self-satisfaction of the person who says, “I have done everything, I don’t need any further help.” It is only in “faith” like this that selfishness, the real opposite of love, comes to an end. To that extent, faith is already present in and with true loving; it simply represents that impulse in love which leads to its finding its true self: the openness of someone who does not insist on his own capabilities, but is aware of receiving something as a gift and of standing in need of it. 

from What It Means To Be A Christian by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) pp. 74-75

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Thought For October 23, 2016

Our Mission Is Set
     "My soul aches for the loneliness of this generation. Too many are unloved. Too many do not know the secure love of a holy family. Too many are unaware of the great love their God has for them. This must change. Dear soul of the Kingdom, you are chosen to assist Me in this mission of love. You must bring My words to others. Do you know of someone who is sad and struggling? Do you see pain or bitterness in your friends? Bring My words to them and I promise you that I will minister to their souls. I will surround them with heavenly love and tenderness. Any mistakes they have made will be forgiven. I do not seek to condemn anyone. I came to the world to save souls, to rescue them. I am returning to the world to reclaim it for souls. You are My blessed apostle. You must assist Me. You know that I love you. I will heal you and place you on the path that is marked out for you. And then you must bring Me to others. You must comfort others with the comfort that was given to you. Will you do this for Me? I will do all of the work. You must allow My Spirit to reside in your soul and through this Spirit of Truth others will return to Me. I am all powerful. I am capable of healing the most hardened sinner. You may think that you cannot do this because the pain of others is too great. I assure you, little soul, even the greatest pain and bitterness is nothing for Me to heal. I have cleansed the darkest, most hardened sinners. And they became some of My most loyal servants. I am calling others from the darkness. And I am using you to do so."

from Climbing The Mountain from "Anne" a lay apostle pp.248-249

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Daily Thought For October 22, 2016

Salt For The Earth — Light For The World

"You are the salt of the earth!
You are the light of the world!"
 (Mt 5:13-14)
Dear Young People of the Seventeenth World Youth Day,
Chers Frères et Soeurs,

1. On a hillside near the lake of Galilee, Jesus's disciples listened to his gentle and urgent voice; as gentle as the landscape of Galilee itself, as urgent as a call to choose between life and death, between truth and falsehood. The Lord spoke words of life that would echo for ever in the hearts of his followers.

Today he is speaking the same words to you, the young people of Toronto and Ontario, of the whole of Canada, of the United States, of the Caribbean, of Spanish-speaking America and Portuguese-speaking America, of Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Listen to the voice of Jesus in the depths of your hearts! His words tell you who you are as Christians. They tell you what you must do to remain in his love.

2. But Jesus offers one thing, and the "spirit of the world" offers another. In today's Reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul tells us that Jesus leads us from darkness into light (cf. Eph 5,8). Perhaps the great Apostle is thinking of the light that blinded him, the persecutor of Christians, on the road to Damascus. When later he recovered his sight, nothing was as before. He had been born anew and nothing would ever take his new-found joy away from him.
You too are called to be transformed. "Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light" (Eph 5, 14), says Saint Paul.

The "spirit of the world" offers many false illusions and parodies of happiness. There is perhaps no darkness deeper than the darkness that enters young people's souls when false prophets extinguish in them the light of faith and hope and love. The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.

3. The Lord is calling you to choose between these two voices competing for your souls. That decision is the substance and challenge of World Youth Day. Why have you come together from all parts of the world? To say in your hearts: "Lord, to whom shall we go?" Who has the words of eternal life? "You have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6,68). Jesus - the intimate friend of every young person - has the words of life.

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

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

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

5. Even a tiny flame lifts the heavy lid of night. How much more light will you make, all together, if you bond as one in the communion of the Church! If you love Jesus, love the Church! Do not be discouraged by the sins and failings of some of her members. The harm done by some priests and religious to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame. But think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good! There are many priests, seminarians and consecrated persons here today; be close to them and support them! And if, in the depths of your hearts, you feel the same call to the priesthood or consecrated life, do not be afraid to follow Christ on the royal road of the Cross! At difficult moments in the Church's life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent. And holiness is not a question of age; it is a matter of living in the Holy Spirit, just as Kateri Tekakwitha did here in America and so many other young people have done.

You are young, and the Pope is old, 82 or 83 years of life is not the same as 22 or 23. But the Pope still fully identifies with your hopes and aspirations. Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope, the young are our hope.

Do not let that hope die! Stake your lives on it! We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father's love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.
6. I finish with a prayer.

O Lord Jesus Christ, keep these young people in your love. Let them hear your voice and believe what you say, for you alone have the words of life.
Teach them how to profess their faith, bestow their love, and impart their hope to others.

Make them convincing witnesses to your Gospel in a world so much in need of your saving grace.

Make them the new people of the Beatitudes, that they may be the salt of the earth and the light of the world at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium!

Mary, Mother of the Church, protect and guide these young men and women of the Twenty-first Century. Keep us all close to your maternal heart. Amen.

St. Pope John Paul II - Closing Homily - World Youth Day 2002 Toronto

Friday, October 21, 2016

Daily Thought For October 21, 2016

Christians & Politics
    Christian cooperation in building a just and peaceful society does not stop at paying taxes; it must also extend itself to the promotion of common values such as the family, the defense of life, solidarity with the poor, peace. There is also another sphere in which Christians must make a contribution to politics. It does not have to do with the content of politics so much as its methods, its style.
     Christians must help to remove the poison from the climate of contentiousness in politics, bring back greater respect, composure and dignity to relationships between parties. Respect for one’s neighbor, clemency, capacity for self-criticism: These are the traits that a disciple of Christ must have in all things, even in politics.
     It is undignified for a Christian to give himself over to insults, sarcasm, brawling with his adversaries. If, as Jesus says, those who call their brother “stupid” are in danger of Gehenna, what then must we say about a lot of politicians?
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Daily Thought For October 20, 2016

The Effects of Charity In Daily Life
1. My CHILD, when true charity fills your soul, it brings many wonderful effects into your daily life. These effects are due to the fact that charity looks for Me in all things. In his desire for a more perfect union with Me, the charitable man seeks to be more like Me in his daily life. 
2. Since love always seeks to express itself in some form of self-sacrifice, the charitable man seeks to offer his attention and help to his fellowmen for My sake. Following My words, "You did it to Me," he seeks to serve Me in the people who need his help. 
3. The man of charity is patient in many circumstances which arouse others to anger or disgust. He refuses to become impatient because he is keenly aware of My great patience with him and with all sinners. In his love for Me he prefers to reflect My patience and meekness, rather than anger or revenge. When compelled to defend his rights, he does so without harshness or meanness. 
4. His kindness brings confidence and encouragement to those who are afraid or downhearted. Others never hesitate to ask for his assistance because they know that he will not willingly refuse. 
5. The charitable man never envies those who have more earthly goods, greater talents, or better success. He is content to possess My love and to accept My Will in all things. 
6. In his dealings with others he is considerate and fair, because he is not over-eager for his own gain. His love for Me has freed him from all unreasonable ambition and from the vain desire to appear better than others. 
7. One whose heart is filled with true charity refuses to judge others rashly. He prefers to believe good of others rather than evil. When people do him wrong, the charitable man is more pained at the offense to Me than at the harm done to himself. 
8. The holy virtue of charity makes one so honest that he can admit the truth, even when it points out his limitations and defects. True charity makes one humble enough to face all facts, even disagreeable ones. 
9. These are some of the effects flowing from genuine charity. When this divine virtue is earnestly developed, it fosters many other virtues needed in daily life. The way of charity is the shortest to God because it is the fastest way to Christian perfection. If you strive to develop this glorious virtue in your daily life, you may rest assured that you are walking toward eternal life each moment of the day. 

The charitable man is the most perfect reflection of God on earth. When he is near, those around him feel a certain awareness of God's presence. His love for God overflows in his soul and touches the hearts of those around him. Being charitable means being a saint. This is the answer to my dreams of success. I can become an eternal success. By my unselfish charity I can draw closer to God in my earthly life, and I can also bring others closer to Him. I can earn the eternal glory of helping others gain Heaven. Through charity I can do most for God, most for my fellowmen, and most for myself. 

Dear Lord of love, You are continually giving Your assistance to me and to all things created. Every moment of existence is a gift from You. I can rise to my highest glory by imitating You. The more I give of myself for Your sake, the more will I resemble You. My greatest proof of love for You will be this effort to become more God-like, since this is Your greatest desire for me. Grant me the grace to favor You in the future as consistently as I have favored myself in the past. Take the place of self in my thoughts, desires, and actions. I ask only that I may never become so rash as to follow my own will, not even in this holy desire to prove my love for You. The higher I aim, the more obedient must I be to my spiritual director. Otherwise the devil will succeed in drawing me away from You through some foolish extreme. Lord, make me generous enough to try, and humble enough to follow direction in an honest daily effort to give myself entirely to You. Amen.  
from My Daily Bread pp. 284-287

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Daily Thought For October 18, 2016

How To See The World

There are ten thousand ways of looking at this world, but only one right way. The man of pleasure has his way, the man of gain his, and the man of intellect his. Poor men and rich men, governors and governed, prosperous and discontented, learned and unlearned, each has his own way of looking at the things which come before him, and each has a wrong way. There is but one right way; it is the way in which God looks at the world. Aim at looking at it in God’s way. Aim at seeing things as God sees them. Aim at forming judgments about persons, events, ranks, fortunes, changes, objects, such as God forms. Aim at looking at this life as God looks at it. Aim at looking at the life to come, and the world unseen, as God does. Aim at “seeing the King in his beauty.” All things that we see are but shadows to us and delusions, unless we enter into what they really mean.

It is not an easy thing to learn that new language which Christ has brought us. He has interpreted all things for us in a new way; He has brought us a religion which sheds a new light on all that happens. Try to learn this language. Do not get it by rote, or speak it as a thing of course. Try to understand what you say. Time is short, eternity is long; God is great, man is weak; he stands between heaven and hell; Christ is his Savior; Christ has suffered for him. The Holy Ghost sanctifies him; repentance purifies him, faith justifies, works save. These are solemn truths, which need not be actually spoken, except in the way of creed or of teaching; but which must be laid up in the heart. That a thing is true, is no reason that it should be said, but that it should be done; that it should be acted upon; that it should be made our own inwardly.

Let us avoid talking, of whatever kind; whether mere empty talking, or censorious talking, or idle profession, or descanting upon Gospel doctrines, or the affectation of philosophy, or the pretence of eloquence. Let us guard against frivolity, love of display, love of being talked about, love of singularity, love of seeming original. Let us aim at meaning what we say, and saying what we mean; let us aim at knowing when we understand a truth, and when we do not. When we do not, let us take it on faith, and let us profess to do so. Let us receive the truth in reverence, and pray God to give us a good will, and divine light, and spiritual strength, that it may bear fruit within us.

—John Henry Newman Excerpt from: Parochial and Plain Sermons, Book 5. Sermon 3. Unreal Words

Newman, J. H. (2010). Life’s Purpose: Wisdom from John Henry Newman (pp. 23–25). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Daily Thought For October 17, 2016

The Glorious Struggle of Prayer

At the start of today’s celebration, we addressed this prayer to the Lord: “Create in us a generous and steadfast heart, so that we may always serve you with fidelity and purity of spirit” (Collect).

By our own efforts, we cannot give ourselves such a heart. Only God can do this, and so in the prayer we ask him to give it to us as his “creation”. In this way, we come to the theme of prayer, which is central to this Sunday’s scriptural readings and challenges all of us who are gathered here for the canonization of new Saints. The Saints attained the goal. Thanks to prayer, they had a generous and steadfast heart. They prayed mightily; they fought and they were victorious.

So pray! Like Moses, who was above all a man of God, a man of prayer. We see him today in the battle against Amalek, standing atop the hill with his arms raised. From time to time, however, his arms would grow weary and fall, and then the tide would turn against the people. So Aaron and Hur made Moses sit on a stone and they held up his arms, until the final victory was won. This is the kind of spiritual life the Church asks of us: not to win by war, but to win with peace! There is an important message in this story of Moses: commitment to prayer demands that we support one another. Weariness is inevitable. Sometimes we simply cannot go on, yet, with the support of our brothers and sisters, our prayer can persevere until the Lord completes his work.

Saint Paul writes to Timothy, his disciple and co-worker, and urges him to hold fast to what he has learned and believed (cf. 2 Tim 3:14). But Timothy could not do this by his own efforts: the “battle” of perseverance cannot be won without prayer. Not sporadic or hesitant prayer, but prayer offered as Jesus tells us in the Gospel: “Pray always, without ever losing heart” (Lk18:1). This is the Christian way of life: remaining steadfast in prayer, in order to remain steadfast in faith and testimony. Here once again we may hear a voice within us, saying: “But Lord, how can we not grow weary? We are human… even Moses grew weary…!” True, each of us grows weary. Yet we are not alone; we are part of a Body! We are members of the Body of Christ, the Church, whose arms are raised day and night to heaven, thanks to the presence of the Risen Christ and his Holy Spirit. Only in the Church, and thanks to the Church’s prayer, are we able to remain steadfast in faith and witness.

We have heard the promise Jesus makes in the Gospel: “God will grant justice to his chosen ones, who cry to him day and night” (cf. Lk 18:7). This is the mystery of prayer: to keep crying out, not to lose heart, and if we should grow tired, asking help to keep our hands raised. This is the prayer that Jesus has revealed to us and given us in the Holy Spirit. To pray is not to take refuge in an ideal world, nor to escape into a false, selfish sense of calm. On the contrary, to pray is to struggle, but also to let the Holy Spirit pray within us. For the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray. He guides us in prayer and he enables us to pray as sons and daughters.

The saints are men and women who enter fully into the mystery of prayer. Men and women who struggle with prayer, letting the Holy Spirit pray and struggle in them. They struggle to the very end, with all their strength, and they triumph, but not by their own efforts: the Lord triumphs in them and with them. The seven witnesses who were canonized today also fought the good fight of faith and love by their prayers. That is why they remained firm in faith, with a generous and steadfast heart. Through their example and their intercession, may God also enable us to be men and women of prayer. May we cry out day and night to God, without losing heart. May we let the Holy Spirit pray in us, and may we support one another in prayer, in order to keep our arms raised, until Divine Mercy wins the victory.

Homily of Pope Francis on the Canonization of 7 Blesseds (October 16, 2016)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Daily Thought For October 15, 2016

Staying On The Path God  Has Chosen
   If a fowler goes straight to a partridge’s nest, the bird will show herself to him and pretend to be weak and lame. She will rise up as if to make a great flight and then fall down all of a sudden as though unable to go any further. All this is done so that the hunter will keep after her, think he can catch her easily, and thus be distracted from finding her little ones outside the nest. When he has chased her for a while and fancies he has caught her, she takes to the air and escapes. 
     Thus too, when our enemy sees a man who by God’s inspiration undertakes a profession and way of life suitable to his advancement in heavenly love he persuades him to take some other path, apparently of greater perfection. Having once lured the man from his first path, little by little he makes it impossible for him to follow the second. Next he proposes a third way to the man. All this is so that by busying himself with a continual search for different new ways to perfect himself, he is kept from using any and consequently from arriving at the end which he seeks them―namely, perfection.
Finding God’s Will For You ― St. Francis de Sales pp.55-56

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Daily Thought For October 13, 2016

God’s Love Always Sustains Us
    Awareness of God's undying love sustains us in our laborious and stimulating work for justice and the development of peoples, amid successes and failures, in the ceaseless pursuit of a just ordering of human affairs. God's love calls us to move beyond the limited and the ephemeral, it gives us the courage to continue seeking and working for the benefit of all, even if this cannot be achieved immediately and if what we are able to achieve, alongside political authorities and those working in the field of economics, is always less than we might wish. God gives us the strength to fight and to suffer for love of the common good, because he is our All, our greatest hope.
Pope Benedict XVI - Caritas en Veritate #78 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Daily Thought For October 9, 2016

Helpful Words To Guide This Day In The Love of God & Love Of Neighbor

Live totally for God and for the love He has poured out on you. Put up with all your defects. Being a good servant of God does not consist in living in the midst of consolations and delights, without any dislike or repugnance for the good. If that were the case, neither Saint Catherine of Siena nor others would have served the Lord worthily! To be a good servant of God means to have a great love for your neighbor; to have an inviolable resolution to follow the Divine Will; to have a deep humility and simplicity in trusting God and in being able to rise from your falls. It means having patience with yourself in your daily failings and peacefully tolerating your neighbor with all his or her imperfections. 

Saint Francis de Sales (Letters 409; O. XIII, pp. 313-314)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Daily Thought For October 8, 2016

Help Amidst Stormy Seas

The disciples struggled to cross the stormy sea, straining at the oars all night long until Jesus finally came to them in the fourth watch—which would have been between three and six o’clock in the morning!
That’s a long time to be fighting such violent seas. You would think that, after having seen Jesus multiply the loaves and fishes, they might have called out to him—or at least to God—for help. But instead, they kept on trying to make the crossing on their own. Then, when Jesus did appear, they were so scared that they didn’t recognize him. Even Peter, the chief apostle, wavered in his faith and sank into the raging waters!
What a contrast when Jesus and the disciples landed in Gennesaret! The people recognized him and immediately sent out word so that people far and wide could come and hear him. There was excitement in the air, as many were healed by doing nothing more than touching Jesus’ cloak!
Isn’t it funny that the disciples showed this lack of faith? Among all the other lessons in this story is a warning: Some situations can come upon us with all the force of an unexpected and violent storm. These storms can be so powerful that we panic and forget who Jesus is. Even when he is right there with us, we may not recognize him, because we are so caught up in everything else around us.
How can we keep this from happening? One strategy is to get used to turning to Jesus frequently during the day, even when everything is going along just fine. As we learn how to find him in our everyday lives, we will know—almost by instinct—to look for him when the storms come.
Every day, the world tries to tell us to be self-sufficient. And every day, the Holy Spirit wants to teach us to fix our eyes on Jesus. In the end, it comes down to our decision. We can learn how to be prepared for any situation by walking with the Lord, or we can try to go it alone and be at the mercy of every storm that blows our way. Which way sounds better to you?
“Holy Spirit, help me to be filled with wonder and expectancy as I approach every new day walking with Jesus!”
Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (August 4, 2009)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Daily Thought For October 7, 2016

Love Is Always Within Reach
     Love is within reach of the child, of the invalid who has been confined to a hospital bed for a lengthy period, of the businessman, of the doctor who hardly has a minute to spare ... because sanctity is a matter of love, and of the effort we make to reach the Master with the help of grace. We have to give a new meaning to life, together with all its joys and exhilarations, its pains and woes. Sanctity requires a fight against conformity, against lukewarmness, against an easy-going worldly attitude. It demands heroism - not in extraordinary situations that we are unlikely to encounter, but in continual fidelity to our task in the unremarkable duties of each day. 
from In Conversation with God