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Showing posts from March, 2016

Daily Thought For March 31, 2016

The Resurrection Means Seeing With The Eyes Of The Heart
Mary Magdalen is sad and confused. She has seen the grave and found it empty and not desecrated. She cannot understand what has happened, so she calls the disciples, who are also bewildered. Then she sees another person who, she thinks, may possibly be the gardener. Not until she hears his voice does she realize that it is Jesus himself. This failure to recognize Jesus is, in itself, remarkable, but it is consistent with a theme that recurs again and again in the accounts of the Resurrection. The two disciples on their way to Emmaus are joined by the Lord, but they, too, fail to recognize him. It is only in the breaking of bread that their eyes are opened; but at the moment when they recognize him, he disappears. Such events make it clear that Jesus is not just someone like Lazarus or the young man of Naim who has returned from the dead. If he were, recognition after an interval of only two days would hardly constitute a problem.…

Daily Thought For March 30, 2016

Recognizing Christ — Overcoming Disappointments

Lectio
Luke 24:13–35
Meditatio
“… Jesus himself drew near and walked with them.”
It’s easy to imagine those two disciples, grieving and confused, leaving Jerusalem because of their sorrowful disillusionment over Jesus’ crucifixion. Discussing and debating, they are caught up in their own conversation, no doubt reinforcing their disappointment. Nothing remains of the high hopes they had placed in Jesus. Although their whole conversation centers on Jesus, they don’t recognize him when he walks right up to them.
Instead they stop, as if exasperated and ready to give up. They have had it with hope, promises, and dreams. Discontentment is contagious, and quickly clouds our vision. The two disciples impress on Jesus their disappointment, coming to a halt in their walk as if to emphasize that their dreams have died. Unbidden and uninvited, Jesus takes the initiative and draws near to them. Perhaps he discreetly places himself between the two, respect…

Daily Thought For March 29, 2016

Darkness Into Light
From ancient times the liturgy of Easter day has begun with the words: Resurrexi et adhuc tecum sum—I arose, and am still with you; you have set your hand upon me. The liturgy sees these as the first words spoken by the Son to the Father after his resurrection, after his return from the night of death into the world of the living. The hand of the Father upheld him even on that night, and thus he could rise again.

These words are taken from Psalm 138, where originally they had a different meaning. That Psalm is a song of wonder at God’s omnipotence and omnipresence, a hymn of trust in the God who never allows us to fall from his hands. And his hands are good hands. The Psalmist imagines himself journeying to the farthest reaches of the cosmos—and what happens to him? “If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and you…

Daily Thought For March 28, 2016

The Resurrection & Hope
God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. (Acts 2:32)

Remember a time when you had exciting news? You couldn’t wait to tell your family or a close friend. You walked with an extra bounce in your step. Smiling came easy, and your heart was filled with hope. Well, today we have more than enough of a reason to not be silent: Jesus is risen from the dead! He has triumphed over sin and broken the chains of death. Now he offers a new life to all of us. Because of the miracle of Easter, it is clear that nothing is impossible for God.

Everyone needs to have something to hope in. The problem is that the world tells us to limit our hopes to this world—the hope for a peaceful life, the hope for a better future for our children, the hope that we can get ahead a little bit in the world. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with these hopes, but they don’t satisfy the deepest yearnings of our hearts. Only Jesus and his promise of the resurrection can do that. And onl…

Daily Thought For March 27, 2016

He's Back!

Lectio

John 20:1–9

Meditatio

“… she ran …”

Mary Magdalene hastens to the tomb in the darkness before dawn. She cannot remain alone; she cannot hold back her longing to be near her beloved; she cannot wait for dawn. Mary is the model for all of us who must rouse our love in the sleepy hours of the night, when we feel cold, alone, perhaps abandoned by God, who seems to have failed us and all our dreams. She leads us by the hand, urging us to rouse our love and seek for God when he seems to have died and left us behind.

This Gospel passage is full of love’s running haste. Mary runs to Peter and John, fearing that after Jesus’ death she may have lost his body also, the last remaining physical connection to him. Peter and John run to the tomb.

What is Peter thinking? Is he pondering the burden of leadership now that Jesus has died, wondering how to handle it? Or does he faintly hope that his Master, who had claimed he was God’s Son, will surprise them in a wonderful way?

John runs f…

Daily Thought For March 26, 2016

Time For New Leaven!

Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.  Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.


1 Corinthians 5:7–8 (NABRE)

Daily Thought For March 25, 2016

God's Excessive Mercy
Today, during this Holy Thursday of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, I would like to speak of two areas in which the Lord shows excess in mercy.  Based on his example, we also should not hesitate in showing excess.  The first area I am referring to is encounter; the second is God’s forgiveness, which shames us while also giving us dignity.

The first area where we see God showing excess in his ever-increasing mercy is that of encounter.  He gives himself completely and in such a way that every encounter leads to rejoicing.  In the parable of the Merciful Father we are astounded by the man who runs, deeply moved, to his son, and throws his arms around him; we see how he embraces his son, kisses him, puts a ring on his finger, and then gives him his sandals, thus showing that he is a son and not a servant.  Finally, he gives orders to everyone and organizes a party.  In contemplating with awe this superabundance of the Father’s joy that is freely and boundlessly express…

Daily Thought For March 24, 2016

Inexhaustible Love
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1).

God loves his creature, man; he even loves him in his fall and does not leave him to himself. He loves him to the end. He is impelled with his love to the very end, to the extreme: he came down from his divine glory.

He cast aside the raiment of his divine glory and put on the garb of a slave. He came down to the extreme lowliness of our fall. He kneels before us and carries out for us the service of a slave: he washes our dirty feet so that we might be admitted to God’s banquet and be made worthy to take our place at his table—something that on our own we neither could nor would ever be able to do.

God is not a remote God, too distant or too great to be bothered with our trifles. Since God is great, he can also be concerned with small things. Since he is great, the soul of man, the same man, created through eternal love, is not a small thing but great, and worthy…

Daily Thought For March 23, 2016

Faithfulness Minute By Minute

Lectio

Matthew 26:14–25

Meditatio

“My appointed time draws near.”

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus shows us that fidelity to one’s vocation is lived one minute at a time. Jesus’ fidelity is a lived out in a continuous stream of “now” moments: announcing the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, forgiving the sinful, all leading up to the appointed hour.

The Passover is beginning. Pilgrims are streaming into Jerusalem, including Jesus and his closest disciples. Jesus knows what is coming. “My appointed time draws near.” Already in chapter 26 of Matthew he has foretold his crucifixion during the Passover (v. 2). He has declared the anointing at Bethany a preparation for his burial (v. 12). He knows, too, that one of his own disciples will betray him—an inside job.

In the face of betrayal, torture, and death, what does Jesus do? He goes on with his vocation of revealing the faithful love of God for his people. At this precise moment it means preparing and celebrating the …

Daily Thought For March 22, 2016

The Truth Sets Us Free
Don't worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.
Dorothy Day

Daily Thought For March 21, 2016

THE LONGINGS OF OUR HEARTS MUST BE EXAMINED AND MODERATED

THE VOICE OF CHRIST

MY CHILD, it is necessary for you to learn many things which you have not yet learned well.

THE DISCIPLE

What are they, Lord?

THE VOICE OF CHRIST

That you conform your desires entirely according to My good pleasure, and be not a lover of self but an earnest doer of My will. Desires very often inflame you and drive you madly on, but consider whether you act for My honor, or for your own advantage. If I am the cause, you will be well content with whatever I ordain. If, on the other hand, any self-seeking lurk in you, it troubles you and weighs you down. Take care, then, that you do not rely too much on preconceived desire that has no reference to Me, lest you repent later on and be displeased with what at first pleased you and which you desired as being for the best. Not every desire which seems good should be followed immediately, nor, on the other hand, should every contrary affection be at once rejected.

It is som…

Daily Thought For March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday — Amazing Love!

Lectio

Luke 22:14–23:56

Meditatio

“Father, forgive them.…”

The events of the passion are so many and so oppressive that they almost smother us. In reading this account from Luke, I find it helpful to focus on Jesus himself, rather than on what is being done to him. What does Jesus do and say? What thoughts and attitudes does he seem to have?

Throughout his Gospel, Luke focuses on the Lord’s compassion. He continues to do so in his account of Jesus’ sufferings and death. The Savior meets the women of Jerusalem and tells them not to weep for him, but for themselves and for their children. He promises the good thief that on that very day they will be in paradise together.

Of his executioners, Jesus says, “they know not what they do.” We know that the executioners were only following orders. But were the men who gave the orders also ignorant of what they were doing? That wouldn’t surprise me. Motives don’t have to be totally evil to generate injustice. All too often i…

Daily Thought For March 19, 2016

Misjudging Others 
Our souls may lose their peace and even disturb other people's, if we are always criticizing trivial actions - which often are not real defects at all, but we construe them wrongly through our ignorance of their motives.


St. Teresa of Avila

Daily Thought For March 18, 2016

Help My Faith!

Lectio

John 10:31–42

Meditatio

“[M]any there began to believe in him.”

Today’s Gospel begins to prepare us for the momentous events of Good Friday, one week from today. It describes what happened when some people picked up rocks to stone Jesus. He pointed out that he had shown them many good works from his Father and asked, “For which of these are you trying to stone me?” They answered that it was because “you, a man, are making yourself God.” Although they had seen the signs he worked, they did not believe. The people whom John describes at the end of today’s reading, instead, “began to believe in him.” What a contrast: unbelief and belief!

We have received the gift of faith, through which we believe all that God has revealed. How does our faith affect our daily living? For example, we know that Jesus redeemed us. Does our belief lead us to confidently ask for forgiveness whenever we sin? Does our belief that God loves us unconditionally enkindle our trust in his provident c…

Daily Thought For March 17, 2016

We Love Because He First Loved Us
THURSDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.

1 John 3:1

     Can we begin to comprehend a love such as this? It is beyond our wildest expectations. Jesus will never pressure us to love him; he waits for us to be open. And when we make the slightest motion of wanting him in our life, he takes up residence in our souls as a true Friend, through his Holy Spirit. When we unite our wills to his most loving will, we find joy and peace. He is the Way that lovingly leads to the Father, he is our Redeemer and Lover; he is our living covenant with the Father!
     This courteous God struggles to get through to us one simple message: “Delight in me; rejoice in me!”

Prayer: Lord, open my heart so I can truly receive you.


Hermes, K. J. (2009). Minute Meditations for Lent. (C. S. Setticase, Ed.) (p. 46). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Daily Thought For March 16, 2016

Conversion & The Concern For Others
A man is never just material for the future; he is an end in himself. He is not consumed by his relationships but remains always a new question that reaches into eternity, that demands a personal response, that can never be completely planned in advance. That is why there will never be any relationship that will render superfluous the personal, caring, and loving intervention in behalf of a fellow human being.… But the real heart of Christianity is, and will always be, love of neighbor. For, in very fact, each individual is infinitely loved by God and is of infinite value. Christ says to each of us the words so feelingly formulated by Pascal: “In my mortal agony, I thought of you. I shed these drops of blood for you.” If we are able by our love to give meaning to another person, to just one other person, our life will have been infinitely worthwhile. And it will always be so: that men live by their encounter with the love that gives meaning to th…

Daily Thought For March 14, 2016

God's Love & Power Failures
Lectio

John 8:12–20 (alternative reading)

Meditatio

“Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me
will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ ”

It happened on November 9, 1965. The Great Blackout left more than 30 million people in the Northeast and Canada in the dark. I was only nine years old, but I remember the night and the feeling of suddenly being plunged into the dark. At first it was exciting and even fun. But as the novelty wore off and we tried to make supper and do the dishes while stumbling around in the dark, we missed the light we had taken for granted. People were stuck in elevators, trapped in stalled subway trains, and caught in traffic jams. It turned out that a single faulty relay in one power station had failed. That started a cascade effect as overloaded electrical lines gave out, spreading through the power grid like falling dominoes.

As bad as all that was, though, it was nothing…

Daily Thought For March 13, 2016

Getting Set Free From The Hunter's Snare
     You have committed a sin. It may have been from weakness or with malice. Don't panic. Go to God with humility and confidence. "Look what I can do, O Master. When I trust my own strength, I sin."      Let the Lord know you are sorry. Admit it may have been worse if he had not stopped you. Thank God. Love God. He will be generous toward you. Even though what you have done is offensive to him, he will reach out to help you.       Once you have asked God's pardon, don't begin to wonder whether or not he has actually forgiven you. This is a total waste of time, a sickness of the soul. It may seem like a good and reasonable question, but it is not. Fall into the mercy of God and return to your regular life as though the sin had not occurred.       Maybe you will sin again in a short time. Don't let that shake your confidence in God. Return to him again and again. Each defeat will teach you to trust your own strength les…

Daily Thought For March 12, 2016

Overcoming Bias

Lectio

John 7:40–53

Meditatio

“Never before has anyone spoken like this one.”

Today’s Gospel features two groups of people: those who critiqued Jesus from their own viewpoint, education, past experience, prejudice, or fear, and those who listened and tried to discover what Jesus was doing.

These are still the two possible ways of approaching Jesus. In fact, these are the two possible ways of approaching the Church, world events, family situations, and other people. Those who saw Jesus through their own lenses argued. They were divided because they could only see and hear what their personal viewpoint allowed them to see or hear. If they did not like someone’s viewpoint, they honestly could not see or hear it. All the time they missed Jesus completely, never authentically encountering him.

Those who listened to him, such as the guards and Nicodemus, who earlier had come to talk to Jesus by night, observed Jesus. They stated how they felt; they didn’t argue with the others. The…

Daily Thought For March 11, 2016

The Soul — The Throne of God
     When God determines a soul is ready, it takes on the light of the Holy Spirit. It becomes God's brilliantly lit place of residence. The soul is clothed with the beautiful glory of the Spirit. It is illumined. In a way similar to those creatures described in Ezekiel, the soul is totally light, face, and eye. There is no place of darkness. It only faces forward. Like the sun, it shines all over. 
     Our soul is given the privilege of becoming the throne of God. Christ rides it, as it were. Christ drives it, directs it, carries it, nourishes it. He gives it spiritual beauty. 
     Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." What he means is that we are not …

Daily Thought For March 10, 2016

The Demands of Peace
Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.


Thomas Merton

Daily Thought For March 9, 2016

Overcoming Pride — Achieving Humility
In an attempt to open our eyes and show us a way to a deeper spiritual life, God may allow sickness, persecution, and other tests of our fidelity. These things never happen without God's plan or permission.

Our problem is conforming with the will of God. We don't know how to yield to him. We are reluctant to submit to his judgments. We are not able to imitate Christ humbled and crucified. We have not found a way to love our enemies, or to see them as instruments used by God. to train us in self-denial. 

This is the hazard. Our eyes are blinded by self-love. We do good things and then become proud. We think that we are far advanced as religious people and then look down on our neighbor. Our spiritual pride deepens our blindness. We are beyond help, short of a miracle of grace. 

Outright sinners can be reformed with less difficulty than those who hide under a cloak of false virtue. 

The spiritual life does not consist in holy practices that are m…

Daily Thought For March 8, 2016

Do You Want To Be Well?

Lectio

John 5:1–16

Meditatio

“Do you want to be well?”

Jesus asked the man waiting at the pool an important question: “Do you want to be well?” Although he did want to be well, the man admitted to Jesus that he needed help. Jesus then healed the man, commanding him to “rise, take up your mat, and walk.”

As we ponder this man’s experience, we reflect on our own inability to heal ourselves of our spiritual infirmities and sinfulness. We too are weak and incapable of overcoming them on our own. We need Jesus’ help.

Lent is an opportunity for us to ponder more deeply the incredible truth that the Second Person of the Trinity became a human being specifically for this purpose. Jesus died and rose to save us from our sins and to sanctify us. This awareness leads us to turn to him in our need. When Jesus asks us, “Do you want to be well?” we cry out, “Yes, Lord, heal me!”

Through our experience we know that we will not be changed in a dramatic moment, but over the daily livin…

Daily Thought For March 7, 2016

Without God We Are Stunted
Without God, man is stunted. But he is without God if he can no longer talk to God. That is why prayer is not just a private exercise for weak souls, with nothing to offer those who are strong. On the contrary, the real concern of prayer is all that relates to the future of mankind, to the humanity of man as such. For when a person no longer rises above himself in his search for God, he becomes changed—narrower, smaller. Essential organs become atrophied in him. His soul becomes coarser and less discriminating. Eventually he can no longer love the other or even himself. “We can love people only when they bear God within them.” Only when we see God in other people despite all their faults can we be genuinely human. But how can we see a God whom we do not know? And how are we to know him when there is no contact between him and us, when we have forgotten how to speak with him? We must renew the practice of speaking with God; however extensive our knowledge of o…

Daily Thought For March 6, 2016

Living A More Abundant Life
Coming to his senses . . . (Luke 15:17)

At some time or another, we all stand back and assess our lives. Forward-looking people do this on a regular basis, and people who live in the moment wait for some kind of crisis—but everybody does it.

The prodigal son was in this second group. It wasn’t until he found himself in a state of complete misery that he came to his senses.

Surely this young man felt like a failure. Surely he worried that his relationship with his father was beyond repair. Still, he reasoned, “Even the most menial servant in my father’s house is treated better than I’m being treated right now. Even the saddest person back home is happier than me.” So he headed for home.

Maybe he wasn’t sincere. Maybe he didn’t feel sorry for his sins. Maybe all he wanted was a happier, more comfortable life. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that he decided to walk away from the bondage that he was in. Whether his motives were pure, mixed, or completely self-ce…

Daily Thought For March 5, 2016

Spiritual Poverty
Human beings are more than the sum of the good they can accomplish. They are children of God, whether they do good or cannot yet manage to do anything. Our Father in heaven does not love us because of the good we do. He loves us for ourselves, because he has adopted us as his children forever.

This is why humility, spiritual poverty, is so precious: it locates our identity securely in the one place where it will be safe from all harm. If our treasure is in God, no one can take it from us. Humility is truth. I am what I am in God’s eyes: a poor child who possesses absolutely nothing, who receives everything, infinitely loved and totally free. I have received everything in advance from the freely bestowed love of my Father, who said to me definitively: “All that is mine is yours.”


Fr. Jacques Philippe Interior Freedom p.124

Daily Thought For March 4, 2016

The Transforming Power of God's Word
I heard someone give this testimony on a television program in which I was taking part. He was a last-stage alcoholic who could not stop drinking for more than two hours; his family was on the brink of despair. He and his wife were invited to a meeting about the word of God. Someone there read a passage from Scripture. One verse in particular went through him like a ball of fire and gave him the assurance of being healed. After that, every time he was tempted to drink, he would run to open the Bible to that verse, and in rereading the words he felt strength return to him until he was completely healed. When he tried to share what that well-known verse was, his voice broke with emotion. It was the verse from the Song of Songs: “Your love is better than wine” (1:2). Scholars would have turned up their noses at this kind of application of Scripture but—like the man born blind who said to his critics, “I only know that I was blind and now I see” (se…

Daily Thought For March 3, 2016

The Vital Necessity of Scripture
God’s Word, transmitted by Holy Scripture, is a fundamental means by which he calls us and communicates the gift of his life. Living with Scripture is not a luxury reserved for a few people of leisure or those with a taste for biblical exegesis. It is a vital necessity for every Christian, especially in these times of instability, struggle, and confusion. We have an urgent need for Holy Scripture as an inexhaustible source of light and strength, illumination and foundation of our lives. Jesus tells us: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Lk 21:33).


Fr. Jacques Philippe Called to Life, p.30

Daily Thought For March 2, 2016

The Importance of Our Witness

Lectio

Matthew 5:17–19

Meditatio

“Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

I remember a teacher I had in the fourth grade who taught our religion class. I’m sure we learned about the Ten Commandments that year, and probably the Beatitudes, etc. But this teacher yelled at us often and even made insulting remarks to the whole class, especially to certain students. This teacher could have been said to be teaching us the commandments, but she certainly didn’t practice what she preached. The witness of her life contradicted her words, and, unfortunately, her actions are what have stayed in my memory until now, not her class lessons. “Whoever obeys and teaches.…”

In order to teach others, we must obey the commandments ourselves. Our way of life needs to be consistent with what we believe. That’s why Jesus also says, “Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so.…” To give a bad…

Daily Thought For March 1, 2016

Honoring God In All Things
Do not pay any attention to the kind of work you do, but rather to the honor that it brings to God, even though it may seem quite trivial. Desire only to do the Divine Will, following Divine Providence, which is the disposition of Divine Wisdom. In a word, if your works are pleasing to God and recognized as such, that is all that matters. Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God's will. 
St. Francis de Sales