Monday, February 29, 2016

Daily Thought For February 29 2016

God Working In Ordinary Ways

Lectio

Luke 4:24–30

Meditatio

“[T]here were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elijah the
prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

In today’s Gospel we see Jesus rejected by the people of Nazareth, his hometown. Jesus comments, “no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” In the section of the Gospel preceding this passage, Luke tells us that Jesus had begun his ministry in Galilee, and word about him spread rapidly. He returned to Nazareth and spoke in the synagogue, amazing his neighbors by his words. They found him too much for them, and sarcastically said, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” They could have added, “We saw him grow up. We know his family and where he comes from. Where does he come off preaching to us?” They expected that if God were to speak to them, it would be in some extraordinary way. Jesus was just too ordinary.
Jesus reminded them about the story of Naaman the Syrian, who was cured of leprosy by the prophet Elisha. Naaman at first got angry at the prophet, who told him to wash in the Jordan. There was nothing special about that. Couldn’t he have done that at home? But his servant reasoned with him, telling him that if the prophet had asked him to do something special, he would have done it. So why not do what he was asked, even if it seems too ordinary? Naaman let go of his preconceived idea, went down to the river to wash, and was cured.

Sometimes God shatters our expectations by working in ordinary ways, through ordinary people. But we can miss what God is doing if we always look for something extraordinary or expect him to act in spectacular ways. The sacraments use ordinary things: water, bread, wine, oil, words. They’re so ordinary that we might take them for granted and receive them routinely. Lent is a good time to pause and meditate on what we are doing when we participate in the Eucharist, and to receive it with fresh eyes and new love.

Oratio

Jesus, help me to see and appreciate all the ways that you act in my life through ordinary people. Open my eyes to see if I have any preconceived ideas about what you can do. I don’t want to miss the action of your grace because it all seems too ordinary. I don’t want to be like the people of Nazareth who rejected you because they couldn’t see beyond their own ideas about you. Instead, help me to be like Naaman, willing to let go of my own expectations so that you can act freely in my life.

Contemplatio

“[N]o prophet is accepted in his own native place.”


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 56–57). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Daily Thought For February 26, 2016

Expanding Our Understanding of How God Works

He sent a man before them, Joseph, sold as a slave. (Psalm 105:17)

It’s not hard to see that God’s viewpoint doesn’t always match our own. The sons of Israel saw their brother Joseph, their father’s favorite, as a threat to their status. So rather than try to work out their differences, they tried to get rid of him. But God had a different perspective: he saw Joseph as one sent ahead of his brothers to save them from famine.

Now God had even more in mind than the survival of these twelve brothers and their families. He used Joseph to save the whole region from destruction. Along the way, he also put an end to his siblings’ competitiveness, to bring them to repentance for their murderous jealousy, and to bring about a true reconciliation.

The story of Joseph and his brothers aptly illustrates how narrow our vision of God can be. We petition him and thank him for supplying for our material needs, but we don’t ask him to help us grow in compassion and holiness. This, we presume, is all up to us. Or we get to the point at which we are able to give up resentment and try to forget how someone has hurt us, but we don’t ask God to help us make the next step toward actual reconciliation. Or we faithfully pray for the needs of our families and friends, but we think our prayers won’t make any difference when it comes to world events like famine or war or injustice.

Don’t let this happen! Remember who you are—a beloved child of God. You are important to him! He wants to do good things for you—and through you. He hears all of your prayers, even your “impossible” ones, and he answers them in his time and according to his wisdom.

God is constantly at work, not only saving individuals, but also restoring his whole creation to the beauty, peace, and fruitfulness he has intended for it. So take a step back today, and try to look at life from his perspective. Let this God-focused vision move you to pray the bigger prayers he delights in answering.


“Father, I know you love me, and I know you love your world. Help me see this world through your eyes of love so that I can pray more effectively.”

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Daily Thought For February 25, 2016

Who Are The Lazuruses In Our Lives?

Lectio

Luke 16:19–31

Meditatio

“ ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets …’ ”

Jesus, I have heard this parable so many times that it may have lost its effect. Lazarus has become an icon of the plight of the poor. I see so many Lazaruses on television and on the streets. But deep down inside I too have become like the rich man, unmoved by their unspoken cry. Why?

Today, I heard your story proclaimed again. I was struck not by the rich man or Lazarus, but by the rich man’s brothers. “I beg you, father,” pleads the rich man, “send [Lazarus] to my … five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.” Abraham responds that they have received the message of Moses and the prophets and should listen to it. Knowing that they have not listened, the rich man reasons with Abraham that they would listen to someone who came back from the dead. Wisely, Abraham answers, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

In my heart, I have at times smugly reasoned, “I would listen if someone came back from the dead.” The reality is that someone has come back from the dead—you, Jesus—but have I listened if I too am numb before the many Lazaruses in my life? Am I like the rich man’s brothers?

The root of the issue is selfishness, which is so embedded in human nature that not even Jesus’ resurrection has moved us to uproot it. My own selfishness enters so automatically into what I say and how I act. Something deep within me directs me to seek my comfort, fulfill my desires—to satisfy myself. I put so much energy into my own pursuits that I often don’t even notice or don’t have the energy to respond to the Lazaruses around me.

Oratio

Jesus, you promised that your Holy Spirit would remind us of all that you have said. I beg you to send your Holy Spirit to remind me of your message and to open my heart to receiving and acting on it. May your rising from the dead touch my heart and heal me of my selfishness. During this season of Lent, help me to deny myself in little ways, and take up my cross so that I may follow you instead of myself.

Contemplatio

“Be compassionate as your heavenly Father is compassionate.”


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 44–45). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Daily Thought For February 24, 2016

On A Lighter Note

A priest told his congregation, “Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17.”

The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, Father asked for a show of hands.

He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17.

Every hand went up.


Father smiled and said, “Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Daily Thought For February 23, 2016

Detachment

To allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God, we need great compliance and adaptability, and we can acquire these little by little by practicing detachment. We should make an effort not to “hang on to” anything, either materially, or affectively, or even spiritually. The detachment we should aim for is not that of saying “to hell with all of it,” or of becoming indifferent to everything, or of practicing a sort of forced asceticism and stripping ourselves of everything that makes up our lives; that kind of detachment is not what our Lord normally asks for. But we need to keep our hearts in an attitude of detachment, maintaining a sort of freedom, a distance, an inner reserve, that will mean that if some particular thing, or habit, or relationship, or personal plan is taken from us, we don’t make a drama out of being deprived of it. Such detachment should be exercised in all aspects of our lives.


From In the School of the Holy Spirit by Fr. Jacques Philippe p.35

Monday, February 22, 2016

Daily Thought For February 22, 2016

We've Been Chosen For Great Things

Upon this rock I will build my Church. (Matthew 16:18)

God seems to enjoy choosing the most improbable people to move his purposes forward. The great King David committed adultery and conspired in a murder (2 Samuel 11:2-27). A cowardly Jonah fled from God’s commission to preach to the Ninevites (Jonah 1:1-3). A childless Sarah became the mother of all Israel (Genesis 18:1-14). Again and again, God has manifested his power by turning weakness into strength and sinners into saints. And so in keeping with this tradition, he chose a brash fisherman to be the rock upon whom he would build his Church.

Peter was the first to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, and for this insight, Jesus entrusted him with the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:13-19). Peter was a man of great love and loyalty, but he also had his flaws and failings. He frequently acted impetuously—he once boasted that he was ready to die with Jesus, only to reverse himself under pressure and deny knowing him (Luke 22:34).

Yet Peter also knew that Jesus loved him unconditionally, and his humble knowledge of this love kept him from giving in and giving up. During the final years of his life, this chief apostle led the Christian community in Rome and, true to his Master’s call, gave up his life there in the ultimate act of love and devotion. Even with his imperfections, Peter was able to fulfill the commission Jesus had given him.

Like Peter, we, too, have been called to follow Jesus. The call may appear daunting at times, but God wants to give us confidence that we can accomplish much if we try to rely on the Holy Spirit in spite of our weaknesses and imperfections.

When God chose Peter, he had a vision for what this zealous, hotheaded man could become. Jesus didn’t give up on him when he fell but kept urging him to put off his old attitudes. God has a beautiful vision for each of us too, and he never loses sight of it. All he asks is that we cooperate with him in his desire to purify us so that this vision can become a reality.


“Jesus, I want nothing more than to love and follow you. Have your way with me, and make me into your faithful servant.”

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

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Daily Thought For February 21, 2016

Letting Go & Letting God

To LIVE IN My Presence consistently, you must expose and expel your rebellious tendencies. When something interferes with your plans or desires, you tend to resent the interference. Try to become aware of each resentment, however petty it may seem. Don't push those unpleasant feelings down; instead, let them come to the surface where you can deal with them. Ask My Spirit to increase your awareness of resentful feelings. Bring them boldly into the Light of My Presence, so that I can free you from them. 

The ultimate solution to rebellious tendencies is submission to My authority over you. Intellectually you rejoice in My sovereignty, without which the world would be a terrifying place. But when My sovereign will encroaches on your little domain of control, you often react with telltale resentment. 

The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise: The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Remember that all good things—your possessions, your family and friends, your health and abilities, your time-are gifts from Me. Instead of feeling entitled to all these blessings, respond to them with gratitude. Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of My hand! 

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. — PSALM 139: 23-24 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand. 1 PETER 5:6 


And he said: ... "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." — JOB 1:21  

from Jesus Calling  by Sarah Young p. 308

Friday, February 19, 2016

Daily Thought For February 20, 2016

Take Time To Rest

For the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B), the lectionary of the Catholic liturgy has selected a Gospel that shows us how even the disciples of Jesus had to face the problem of stress and recuperation (Mk 6:30–34). The apostles return from their first mission, full of what they have experienced and achieved. They are totally preoccupied with recounting their successes; in fact, it has become a whole business operation, and things have gone so far that, with all the coming and going, they no longer have time to eat. Perhaps they are expecting to be congratulated on their zeal; but instead, Jesus summons them to go with him to a solitary place where they can be alone and rest.

I believe it is good that we should discern the humanity of Jesus in an event like this; he is not always uttering sublime words only, nor is he constantly wearing himself out in order to deal with everything that forces itself upon him. I can just imagine his face as he says these words; whereas the apostles are positively beside themselves and, full of zeal and self-importance, neglect their meals, Jesus brings them down from the clouds: Have a rest for awhile! One can sense his quiet humor, his friendly irony as he brings them down to earth. It is precisely in this humanity of Jesus that his divinity becomes visible; here we see visibly what God is like. Any kind of hectic activity, even in religious affairs, is utterly alien to the New Testament picture of man. We always overestimate ourselves when we imagine we are completely indispensable and that the world or the Church depends on our frantic activity. Often it will be an act of real humility and creaturely honesty to stop what we are doing, to acknowledge our limits, to take time to draw breath and rest—as the creature, man, is designed to do. I am not suggesting that sloth is a good thing, but I do want to suggest that we revise our catalogue of virtues, as it has developed in the Western world, where activity alone is regarded as valid and where the attitudes of beholding, wonder, recollection and quiet are of no account, or at least are felt to need some justification. This causes the atrophying of certain essential human faculties.

All this is illustrated by our use of leisure time. Often it is nothing but a change of scene, and many people would be ill at ease if, afterward, they did not plunge once more into the mass and return to their work routine—from which they originally wanted to escape. That is why it is so necessary for us, who live constantly in an artificial world of man-made things, to leave it behind and seek to encounter creation in its natural state.

I would like to mention a small but significant thing of which the Holy Father [John Paul II, then Karol Wojtyła] spoke in his retreat addresses for Paul VI. There he tells of his conversations with a scientist, “a first-class research scientist and a fine man”, who told him: “Scientifically, I am an atheist …”; yet the same man once wrote to him: “Whenever I am confronted with the majesty of nature, of the mountains, I feel that he exists.”

God does not come to light in the artificial world of man-made things. So it is all the more necessary for us to leave our workaday world behind and go in search of the breath of creation, in order that we may meet him and thus find ourselves.


Benedict XVI. (2007). Seek that which Is above: Meditations through the Year. (G. Harrison, Trans.) (Second Edition, pp. 152–156). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Daily Thought For February 19, 2016

Joyful Living

REMEMBER THAT JOY is not dependent on your circumstances. Some of the world's most miserable people are those whose circumstances seem the most enviable. People who reach the top of the ladder career-wise are often surprised to find emptiness awaiting them. True Joy is a by-product of living in My Presence. Therefore you can experience it in palaces, in prisons ... anywhere. 

Do not judge a day as devoid of Joy just because it contains difficulties. Instead, concentrate on staying in communication with Me. Many of the problems that clamor for your attention will resolve themselves. Other matters you must deal with, but I will help you with them. If you make problem-solving secondary to the goal of living close to Me, you can find Joy even in your most difficult days. 

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. -HABAKKUK 3:17-19 

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. -1 CHRONICLES 16: 27 


from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p. 292

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Daily Thought For February 18, 2016

Jesus Never Lets Us Down

I want to tell you about a personal experience. Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the day when I heard the calling from Jesus within my heart.  But I say it not to have you bring me a cake here, no it's not that. But that memory, 60 years from that day, I will never forget, the Lord made me feel strongly that I had to go forward on that path. 

I was 17 years old, several years had passed before making this decision, this invitation, became real, definitive. Then several years of joy and success went by. But also of failures, of sin. Sixty years on the path of our Lord, within him, beside him, always with him, and I want to say this: I do not regret it! Why not? Because I feel like Tarzan, and that I'm strong enough to keep going forward? No. I do not regret it because always, even in moments of darkness, moments of sin, in moments of weakness, in moments of failures, I have looked to Jesus and I have trusted Him, and He has never left me alone.


Always trust Jesus. He always goes forward. He goes with us. But listen, He never lets us down. He is faithful, a trusting companion. Think of this as my testimony, I am happy of these 60 years with the Lord. 

Pope Francis

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Daily Thought For February 17, 2016

Real Hope Is Built On Love & Responsibility

In our time, the word “hope” has become a kind of magnet that attracts to itself all manner of intellectual movements. This is a clear indication of man’s profound dissatisfaction with his life and with the world as he experiences it. He is searching for a new, different, better world. Since the revolution of 1789 and even more through the teachings of Hegel and Marx, the dominant theme of world history has become the building of a new world. But the more man attempts to do this, the more he discovers that the world cannot be made new while its inhabitants cling to their old ways. If the world is to become different, the first requirement is that man become different. Sociology, psychology, the whole gamut of the social sciences, are now trying to discover how this new man is to be created. In the drama of liberation, our contemporaries have been vigorously beating on the bars that allegedly limit their freedom; but it is apparent now that what they are actually demolishing are the pillars so toilsomely erected in the spirit of freedom to support humanity and that, to our horror, primeval barbarism is breaking out again. No century before ours has known such brutal means of torture, murder, and human self-destruction. We are relearning with dread the meaning of heathendom, of the “old Adam”. The search for the new man is an affirmation, not a negation. It is not based on contempt for creation and the obligations and possibilities it entails. Christian hope has nothing to do with anarchy or fanaticism. The Christian does not flee from the obligations of this age; he does not malign the world, but takes his place fully realizing what is demanded of him. To be a Christian means to be realistic. The Christian does not flee to utopia and does not let the present world go to ruin in the name of utopias. His life is built day by day on love and responsibility. Without such Christian realism and the humble love in the small coins of everyday life, the great treasure of a new life and its eternal love cannot come into being.


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. 93–94). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Daily Thought For February 16, 2016

Like A Hushed Child

DEMONSTRATE YOUR TRUST IN ME by sitting quietly in My Presence. Put aside all that is waiting to be done, and refuse to worry about anything. This sacred time together strengthens you and prepares you to face whatever the day will bring. By waiting with Me before you begin the day's activities, you proclaim the reality of My living Presence. This act of faith-waiting before working-is noted in the spirit world, where your demonstration of trust weakens principalities and powers of darkness. 

The most effective way to resist evil is to draw near Me. When you 
need to take action, I will guide you clearly through My Spirit and My Word. The world is so complex and overstimulating that you can easily lose your sense of direction. Doing countless unnecessary activities will dissipate your energy. When you spend time with Me, I restore your sense of direction. As you look to Me for guidance, I enable you to do less but accomplish more. 

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear .... Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" -LUKE 12:22-25 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. -EPHESIANS 6:12 


Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. -PROVERBS 16:3

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p. 252

Daily Thought For February 15, 2016

Looking For Opportunities For Growth


THANK ME IN THE MIDST of the crucible. When things seem all wrong, look for growth opportunities. Especially, look for areas where you need to let go, leaving your cares in My able hands. Do you trust Me to orchestrate your life events as I choose, or are you still trying to make things go according to your will? If you keep trying to carry Out your intentions while I am leading you in another direction, you deify your desires. 

Be on the lookout for what I am doing in your life. Worship Me by living close to Me, thanking Me in all circumstances. 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 PETER 5:6-7

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 

from Jesus Calling Sarah Young p.140


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Daily Thought For February 14, 2016

Moving On

Consider all the past as nothing, and say, like David: Now I begin to love my God.


Saint Francis de Sales

Friday, February 12, 2016

Daily Thought For February 12, 2016

Transformation Through The Doors of Repentance

The Holy Door of Jubilee is one of the symbols most deeply imprinted in our minds. All of us are searching, so to speak, for the road that leads to freedom, for the door through which we finally emerge into freedom. But we are, at the same time, searching for the door that leads to security. We are searching for the place where freedom and security coexist. In our innermost being we are looking for the paradise that was lost to us, that is, as it were, inscribed as a primeval memory in every human heart. The Holy Door of Jubilee does not, it is true, immediately symbolize the Gate of Paradise, but it is a reminder of the door that was opened to us in the morning of our life, the door of holy Baptism. In our lives, the door of Baptism is above all the Door of Repentance. If we are to be truly numbered among the baptized, we must, as it were, bow our heads again and again in order to enter by this Door of Repentance. How consoling it is when we can say of another man that he tries to improve himself, that he knows his faults and tries to correct them. He seeks a transformation not only in me, but also in himself, and tomorrow I can begin again with him. How terrible, on the other hand, when an individual is no longer even aware of his faults. The Door of Repentance requires that we let our eyes be opened, that our self-righteousness be shattered, that we learn to bow down and, in doing so, become new persons—persons who have been redeemed. We are told that the Gate of Paradise is guarded by a cherub with a flaming sword. Penance means that in the grace of forgiveness we can pass through the flames without being consumed. To be sure, we will be burned, because there is much in us that must be burned away. That is why I earnestly pray that I may pass through this door.


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. 80–81). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Daily Thought For February 11, 2016

Taking Up Our Cross

Lectio

Luke 9:22–25

Meditatio

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must …
take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Today’s Gospel challenges us to true discipleship, to follow a Messiah who defies all our human expectations. In the verses immediately preceding today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples, “… who do you say that I am?” Peter replies, “The Messiah of God” (v. 20). In this context of Peter’s confession of faith, Jesus defines the kind of Messiah he is, challenging Peter (and each of us) to a deeper faith. Jesus reminds us that he did not choose to come into our world in glory and triumph. Instead, he chose to come into the world as a suffering Messiah who would be rejected, killed, and raised on the third day.

Jesus calls his disciples to follow in his footsteps and to take up our cross daily.… That word “daily” stands out for me. Jesus is asking us for commitment—a resolute decision to carry our cross—not just through this season of Lent, or when big sufferings come our way, but every day. Yet how are we to do this?

For those of us seeking to live the Christian life, we won’t have to look far to find the cross. We are called to daily lay down our lives by letting go of our own preferences, desires, strong opinions. We make choices for the sake of Christ and his Gospel and not on the basis of our own immediate feelings or reactions. On any given day, this may mean many things. Perhaps it will mean setting aside my own need for recognition while seeking to encourage others in their gifts, or choosing not to act out of feelings of anger when a family member says something that hurts. In each circumstance, we are called to choose Christ and to place the good of others before our own. Yet the cross never has the last word! With every death to self, the cross leads to resurrection and new life in Christ.

Oratio

Jesus, I do not always understand your ways. Sometimes, your cross feels like folly to me. Why would you choose suffering and death over triumph and glory? Teach me the mystery of your ways, and how to choose the good of others before my own. This Lent, I renew my commitment to carry my cross daily. May this laying down of my life unite me with you and bring life to others, allowing me to share more deeply in your Easter joy. For if I die with you, I will also live with you.

Contemplatio

“For to me, ‘life’ is Christ …” (Phil 1:21).


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 8–9). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Daily Thought For February 10, 2016

Christ Became Poor So We Could Become Rich

By making himself poor, Jesus did not seek poverty for its own sake but, as Saint Paul says "that by his poverty you might become rich". This is no mere play on words or a catch phrase. Rather, it sums up God’s logic, the logic of love, the logic of the incarnation and the cross. God did not let our salvation drop down from heaven, like someone who gives alms from their abundance out of a sense of altruism and piety. Christ’s love is different! When Jesus stepped into the waters of the Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist, he did so not because he was in need of repentance, or conversion; he did it to be among people who need forgiveness, among us sinners, and to take upon himself the burden of our sins. In this way he chose to comfort us, to save us, to free us from our misery. It is striking that the Apostle states that we were set free, not by Christ’s riches but by his poverty. Yet Saint Paul is well aware of the "the unsearchable riches of Christ" ( Eph 3:8), that he is "heir of all things" ( Heb 1:2). 


So what is this poverty by which Christ frees us and enriches us? It is his way of loving us, his way of being our neighbor, just as the Good Samaritan was neighbor to the man left half dead by the side of the road (cf. Lk 10:25ff ). What gives us true freedom, true salvation and true happiness is the compassion, tenderness and solidarity of his love. Christ’s poverty which enriches us is his taking flesh and bearing our weaknesses and sins as an expression of God’s infinite mercy to us. Christ’s poverty is the greatest treasure of all: Jesus’ wealth is that of his boundless confidence in God the Father, his constant trust, his desire always and only to do the Father’s will and give glory to him. Jesus is rich in the same way as a child who feels loved and who loves its parents, without doubting their love and tenderness for an instant. Jesus’ wealth lies in his being the Son; his unique relationship with the Father is the sovereign prerogative of this Messiah who is poor. When Jesus asks us to take up his "yoke which is easy", he asks us to be enriched by his "poverty which is rich" and his "richness which is poor", to share his filial and fraternal Spirit, to become sons and daughters in the Son, brothers and sisters in the firstborn brother (cf. Rom 8:29).

Pope Francis Message for Lent 2014

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Daily Thought For February 9, 2016

Why St. Francis of Assisi is So Loved

During the lifetime of Saint Francis of Assisi people experienced a deep yearning for a Church of the Spirit; they longed for a better, purer, more meaningful Christianity and anticipated that this new Church would bring about a change in the course of history as well. To many of those who suffered from the inadequacies of institutional Christianity, Saint Francis seemed to be a God-sent answer to their expectations, and, in fact, Christianity of the Spirit has seldom been so genuinely exemplified as it was in him. But there was something unusual about him, too. His Christianity of the Spirit was based on an entirely literal obedience to the word of the Bible. The new principle that he opposed to the lukewarm Christianity of casuistry was sine glossa (without gloss): he heard the word of God without the barrier of explanations that might serve to moderate it, to make it safe and harmless. He heard it without the academic sophistries that made it an object of controversy for scholars but far removed from the realities of everyday life. He heard it and accepted it as it was, as a word of the Lord addressed to me personally without an “if” or a “but”. And this is the wonderful part: it is the word taken literally that is also the wholly spiritual word. The Spirit appears to be, not in contradiction to the word, but in the word, and the more deeply we penetrate the word, the more true this becomes.… But Saint Francis appears in an entirely different light to people today. We know him as the friend of animals, as the patron saint of conservationists. Given the increasing exploitation of the world by our greed, the effort to conserve nature is certainly something good and necessary. But in the vehemence of its loudest defenders we detect a certain fatal error. They obviously regard men as the real mischief-makers in nature and their spirit as responsible for endangering the peaceful balance of nature. What they say often comes close to contempt for men and even to a desire to limit their ardor. Among the followers of Saint Francis, the attitude toward nature was quite different. He is the one in whom the seraphic idea of man found its fulfillment, that is, he is the one in whom the creature learns to soar and to sing; in whom it transcends itself and becomes a model of self-emptying and self-giving. Wherever this happens, the deepest longing of creatures is fulfilled; their hidden sadness is changed into confidence, into joy. It is not by denying the spirit that nature will be saved but by releasing it into the pure atmosphere of adoring love.


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. 323–324). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Daily Thought For February 8, 2016

Temples of the Holy Spirit

The Lord’s glory had filled the temple. (1 Kings 8:11)

If you were to walk into an old church on a weekday, you might see something unusual and beautiful: a few men and women silently, gently dusting down pews and setting hymnals aright. Some may even be on their hands and knees, carefully cleaning the floor! All of this work happens week after week, out of reverence for the place where Mass is celebrated and God’s people gather. It’s quite an act of love!

In today’s first reading, we see another scene of reverence and love: Temple worship. “All the people of Israel” have gathered, as well as King Solomon (1 Kings 8:2). The sacrifices before the ark of the Lord are rich and full—“sheep and oxen too many to number”—all out of love and gratitude for the God who had saved them and protected them (8:5).

Now consider yet a third sacred space: you! You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Unlike the scene in today’s reading, you don’t need to offer great sacrifices. All you have to do is come before God as you are. Invite him to help you examine your conscience, and then let him clean and polish you. Know that he will exercise even more thoughtful care, gentleness, and love with you than those devoted parishioners did with their church.

You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. You are a sacred space in which God dwells! Much more precious and beautiful than a church with marble floors, and more so even than the Temple in today’s first reading, you are glorious because you are made in his own image and likeness.

How does the knowledge that you are a precious dwelling place for God compel and inspire you? Perhaps it can change the way you look at yourself. Or perhaps it changes the way you look at your the people around you. Just as you are, you are a light to the world. As a flame of a candle draws the eye, you radiate as well. Even without trying hard to say or do the right things, you show the world what it’s like to have Jesus in your heart.

So today, try to remain aware of God’s presence within you. Just rest in him, and let his light shine out.


“Lord, thank you for making me your temple. Help me to shine your light into any darkness I encounter today.”


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

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Daily Thought For February 7, 2016

Trust

 Trust in the LORD and do good  that you may dwell in the land and live secure. 

Psalm 37:3



Saturday, February 6, 2016

Daily Thought For February 6, 2016

The Works of Mercy

For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favorable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practicing the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need. By taking this path, the “proud”, the “powerful” and the “wealthy” spoken of in the Magnificat can also be embraced and undeservedly loved by the crucified Lord who died and rose for them. This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches. Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell. The pointed words of Abraham apply to them and to all of us: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29). Such attentive listening will best prepare us to celebrate the final victory over sin and death of the Bridegroom, now risen, who desires to purify his Betrothed in expectation of his coming.

Pope Francis excerpt from Message for Lent 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Daily Thought For February 5, 2016

The Grace That Changes Hearts

If we—all of us—accept the grace of Jesus Christ, he changes our heart and from sinners makes us saints. To become holy we do not need to turn our eyes away and look somewhere else, or have as it were the face on a holy card! No, no, that is not necessary. To become saints only one thing is necessary: to accept the grace that the Father gives us in Jesus Christ. There, this grace changes our heart. We continue to be sinners for we are weak, but with this grace which makes us feel that the Lord is good, that the Lord is merciful, that the Lord waits for us, that the Lord pardons us—this immense grace that changes our heart.

Pope Francis Address to Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome June 17, 2013

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Daily Thought For February 4, 2016

Important Truth To Remember For Year Of Mercy

To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved. 

Catechism of the Catholic, #2476-2478

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Daily Thought For February 3, 2016

Three "Consequences" of Praying In The Holy Spirit

And now I would like to underline three consequences in Christian life when we let work within us not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of Christ as the interior principle of our entire action.

First, with prayer animated by the Spirit we are enabled to abandon and overcome every form of fear and slavery, living the authentic freedom of the children of God. Without prayer which every day nourishes our being in Christ, in an intimacy which progressively grows, we find ourselves in the state described by St Paul in his Letter to the Romans: we do not do the good we want, but the evil we do not want (cf. Rom 7:19). And this is the expression of the alienation of human beings, of the destruction of our freedom, the circumstances of our being because of original sin: we want the good that we do not do and we do what we do not want to do: evil. The Apostle wants to make us understand that it is not primarily our will that frees us from these conditions, nor even the law, but the Holy Spirit. And since “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17), in prayer we experience the freedom given by the Spirit: an authentic freedom, which is freedom from evil and sin for the good and for life, for God. The freedom of the Spirit, St Paul continues, is never identified with licentiousness, nor with the possibility to choose evil, but rather with “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control” (Gal 5:22). This is true freedom: actually to be able to follow our desire for good, for true joy, for communion with God and to be free from the oppression of circumstances that pull us in other directions.

A second consequence occurs in our life when we let work within us the Spirit of Christ and when the very relationship with God becomes so profound that no other reality or situation affects it. We understand that with prayer we are not liberated from trials and suffering, but we can live through them in union with Christ, with his suffering, in the hope of also participating in his glory (cf. Rom 8:17). Many times, in our prayer, we ask God to be freed from physical and spiritual evil, and we do it with great trust. However, often we have the impression of not being heard and we may well feel discouraged and fail to persevere. In reality, there is no human cry that is not heard by God and it is precisely in constant and faithful prayer that we comprehend with St Paul that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). Prayer does not exempt us from trial and suffering, indeed—St Paul says—we “groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom 8:23). He says that prayer does not exempt us from suffering but prayer does permit us to live through it and face it with a new strength, with the confidence of Jesus, who—according to the Letter to the Hebrews—“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him [God] who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear” (5:7). The answer of God the Father to the Son, to his loud cries and tears, was not freedom from suffering, from the cross, from death, but a much greater fulfillment, an answer much more profound; through the cross and death God responded with the Resurrection of the Son, with new life. Prayer animated by the Holy Spirit leads us too to live every day a journey of life with its trials and sufferings, with the fullness of hope, with trust in God who answers us as he answered the Son.

And, the third, the prayer of the believer opens also to the dimensions of humanity and of all creation, in the expectation that “creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19). This means that prayer, sustained by the Spirit of Christ speaking in the depths of each one of us, does not stay closed in on itself. It is never just prayer for me, but opens itself to sharing the suffering of our time, of others. It becomes intercession for others, and like this deliverance from me, a channel of hope for all creation, the expression of that love of God that is poured into our hearts through the Spirit whom he has given to us (cf. Rom 5:5). And precisely this is a sign of true prayer, which does not end in us, but opens itself to others and like this delivers me, and thus helps in the redemption of the world.

Dear brothers and sisters, St Paul teaches us that in our prayer we must open ourselves to the presence of the Holy Spirit, who prays in us with sighs too deep for words, to lead us to adhere to God with all our heart and with all our being. The Spirit of Christ becomes the strength of our “weak” prayers, the light of our “darkened” prayer, the fire of our “barren” prayer, giving us true inner freedom, teaching us to live facing the trials of existence, in the certainty of not being alone, opening us to the horizons of humanity and of creation which “has been groaning in travail” (Rom 8:22). Thank you.


Benedict XVI. (2013). General Audiences of Benedict XVI (English). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Daily Thought for February 2, 2016

Bearers of Good News!

When we receive good news, or when we live a beautiful experience, it is natural to feel the need to share it with others. We feel within us that we cannot keep the joy that was given to us: we want to extend it. The joy aroused is such, that it pushes us to communicate it.

And it should be the same when we encounter the Lord: to communicate the joy of this encounter, of His mercy, of the Lord’s mercy. In fact, the concrete sign that we have truly encountered Jesus is the joy we experience in communicating it also to others. And this is not “engaging in proselytism,” this is to make a gift: I give you what gives me joy. Reading the Gospel, we see that this was the experience of the first disciples: after the first encounter with Jesus, Andrew went immediately to tell his brother Peter (Cf. John 1:40-42), and Philip did the same with Nathaniel (Cf. John 1:45-46). To encounter Jesus is the same as encountering His love. This love transforms us and enables us to transmit to others the strength that it gives us. In some way, we can say that from the day of Baptism each one of us was given a new name, in addition to the one already given by our mother and father, and this name is “Cristoforo”: we are all “Cristofori.” What does it mean? “Bearers of Christ.” It is the name of our attitude, an attitude of bearers of the joy of Christ, of the mercy of Christ. Every Christian is a “Cristoforo,” that is a bearer of Christ!


The mercy we receive from the Father is not given to us as a private consolation, but it makes us instruments, so that others can also receive the same gift. There is a stupendous circularity between mercy and mission. To live mercy makes us missionaries of mercy, and to be missionaries enables us to grow ever more in God’s mercy. Therefore, let us take seriously our being Christians, and commit ourselves to live as believers, because only thus can the Gospel touch the heart of persons and open it to receive the grace of love, to receive this great mercy of God who welcomes all.

Pope Francis excerpt from Jubilee Audience of February 1, 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

Daily Thought For February 1, 2016

Refuge

And in every disappointment, great or small, let your heart fly directly to your dear Savior, throwing yourself in those arms for refuge against every pain and sorrow. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton