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Showing posts from April, 2016

Daily Thought For April 29, 2016

Gratitude For God's Encouragement
Blessed be Your words, O Lord, sweeter to my mouth than honey and the honeycomb. What would I do in such great trials and anxieties, if You did not strengthen me with Your holy words? If I may but attain to the haven of salvation, what does it matter what or how much I suffer? Grant me a good end. Grant me a happy passage out of this world. Remember me, my God, and lead me by the right way into Your kingdom.


Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The Imitation of Christ (p. 222). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Daily Thought For April 28, 2016

Complete Joy

Lectio

John 15:9–11

Meditatio

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”

Taken out of context, John’s chapter 15 is simply one of the loveliest passages in the Bible. But put into perspective it becomes both stunningly gorgeous and gut-wrenchingly painful at the same time. Jesus sits at table with his disciples. They must sense the tensions that surround the Master, but do they realize what events will unfold on that evening and the following day? Jesus stands on the brink of his passion and death, and he speaks of joy being complete. Eighteen hours later, these words will seem ironic at best.

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.…” In the short run this love doesn’t look so inviting. The Father has sent the Son on what looks like a wild goose chase after God’s wayward people. Jesus’ whole ministry is about to come crashing down, ending brutally on the cross. The Father’s love has set the Son an impossible task—or so it seems—ye…

Daily Thought For April 27, 2016

From The Office of Readings: "The Christian In The World"
     Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.
  And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share the…

Daily Thought For April 26, 2016

Wisdom From Dr. Seuss
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
Dr. Seuss

Daily Thought For April 25, 2016

Aim High!
Nothing is more certain in matter of fact, than that some men do feel themselves called to high duties and works, to which others are not called. Why this is we do not know; whether it be that those who are not called, forfeit the call from having failed in former trials, or have been called and have not followed; or that though God gives baptismal grace to all, yet He really does call some men by His free grace to higher things than others; but so it is; this man sees sights which that man does not see, has a larger faith, a more ardent love, and a more spiritual understanding. No one has any leave to take another’s lower standard of holiness for his own. It is nothing to us what others are. If God calls us to greater renunciation of the world, and exacts a sacrifice of our hopes and fears, this is our gain, this is a mark of His love for us, this is a thing to be rejoiced in. Such thoughts, when properly entertained, have no tendency to puff us up; for if the prospect is no…

Daily Thought For April 24, 2016

The Holy Spirit Our Interior Teacher!
My dear young friends, the Holy Spirit continues today to act with power in the Church, and the fruits of the Spirit are abundant in the measure in which we are ready to open up to this power that makes all things new. For this reason it is important that each one of us know the Spirit, establish a relationship with Him and allow ourselves to be guided by Him. However, at this point a question naturally arises: who is the Holy Spirit for me? It is a fact that for many Christians He is still the “great unknown”. This is why, as we prepare for the next World Youth Day, I wanted to invite you to come to know the Holy Spirit more deeply at a personal level. In our profession of faith we proclaim: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed). Yes, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the love of the Father and of the Son, is the Source of life that makes us holy, “becaus…

Daily Thought For April 23, 2016

The Power of Singing To The Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song. (Psalm 98:1)

Why should we sing? Because singing engages our hearts as well as our minds, and God cares about the whole person, emotions included. He wants to breathe life into our spirits and minds and bodies. Singing offers him entry into our whole being in a way that ordinary speech doesn’t. And if we have difficulty opening our hearts, singing can open the pathway for his Spirit to move in us.

So sing! Sing of Jesus’ victory on the cross, his victory over sin. Sing because God has given you victory through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Sing because you do not have to live mired in guilt and shame. Sing because you have access to the Father through the blood of Jesus’ cross. Sing because he who is faithful will cleanse you in the pure water of life. These aren’t things we just hope will happen; they are steadfast promises of God!

Yes, sing a new song to the Lord! Sing of God’s justice, revealed in his unfathomable mercy and…

Daily Thought For April 22, 2016

Resisting Anger
“Do you ask how to resist anger? As soon as you feel the slightest resentment, gather together your powers, not hastily or impetuously, but gently and seriously. For as in some law courts, the criers make more noise in their efforts to preserve quiet than those they seek to still, so, if we are impetuous in our attempts to restrain our anger, we cause greater discomposure in our hearts than before; and once thrown off its balance, the heart is no longer its own master.” 

St. Francis de Sales

Daily Thought For April 21, 2016

Grace In The Midst of Struggle
MY CHILD, when you feel the desire for everlasting happiness poured out upon you from above, and when you long to depart out of the tabernacle of the body that you may contemplate My glory without threat of change, open wide your heart and receive this holy inspiration with all eagerness. Give deepest thanks to the heavenly Goodness which deals with you so understandingly, visits you so mercifully, stirs you so fervently, and sustains you so powerfully lest under your own weight you sink down to earthly things. For you obtain this not by your own thought or effort, but simply by the condescension of heavenly grace and divine regard. And the purpose of it is that you may advance in virtue and in greater humility, that you may prepare yourself for future trials, that you may strive to cling to Me with all the affection of your heart, and may serve Me with a fervent will.

My child, often, when the fire is burning the flame does not ascend without smoke. Likew…

Daily Thought For April 20, 2016

Avoiding The Dangers of Apathy
In the knowledge of his imminent death on the Cross, he felt immense anguish at the closeness of death. In this situation an element appeared that was of great importance to the whole Church. Jesus said to his followers: stay here and keep watch; and this appeal for vigilance concerns precisely this moment of anguish, of threats, in which the traitor was to arrive, but it concerns the whole history of the Church. It is a permanent message for every era because the disciples’ drowsiness was not just a problem at that moment but is a problem for the whole of history.

The question is: in what does this apathy consist? What would the watchfulness to which the Lord invites us consist of? I would say that the disciples’ somnolence in the course of history is a certain insensitiveness of the soul with regard to the power of evil, an insensibility to all the evil in the world. We do not wish to be unduly disturbed by these things, we prefer to forget them. We thin…

Daily Thought For April 19, 2016

Seeking A Deeper Relationship With The Lord
Lectio

John 10:22–30

Meditatio

“No one can take them out of my hand.”

Jesus didn’t respond to the ultimatums and the timetable of those who demanded to know if he was the messiah. They were looking for easy answers, unwilling to walk the journey of faith and surrender. Because they had already made up their minds, they could not accept it when Jesus told them his true identity: “The Father and I are one.”

God does marvels for those who listen to his voice, who follow his invitations and the movements of his Holy Spirit. Saint Paul referred to Jesus’ followers as temples of the Spirit. The more receptive we are to his presence and peace, the more we become worthy temples where God is pleased to dwell. No matter our struggles, temptations, or difficulties, God invites us into a deeper relationship with him. God knows us personally, and the more we wholeheartedly seek him, the deeper that relationship will grow.

Human relationships grow when persons c…

Daily Thought For April 18, 2016

The Security of Knowing The Good Shepherd
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today’s Gospel (JN 10: 27-30) gives us some expressions spoken by Jesus during the feast of the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, which was celebrated at the end of December. He is right in the temple area, and perhaps that enclosed sacred space suggests the image of the sheepfold and the shepherd. Jesus presents himself as “the Good Shepherd” and says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.”(vv. 27-28). These words help us to understand that no one can be said to be a follower of Jesus, if one does not listen to His voice. And this “listening” should not be understood in a superficial, but in a very involved, way, as to make possible a true mutual understanding, which can come from a generous following, expressed in the words “and they follow me” (v. 27). It is not only a listening ear, but…

Daily Thought For April 17, 2016

The Purifying Power of Prayer
Saint Augustine, in a homily on the First Letter of John, describes very beautifully the intimate relationship between prayer and hope. He defines prayer as an exercise of desire. Man was created for greatness—for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched. “By delaying [his gift], God strengthens our desire; through desire he enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity [for receiving him]”. Augustine refers to Saint Paul, who speaks of himself as straining forward to the things that are to come (cf. Phil 3:13). He then uses a very beautiful image to describe this process of enlargement and preparation of the human heart. “Suppose that God wishes to fill you with honey [a symbol of God’s tenderness and goodness]; but if you are full of vinegar, where will you put the honey?” The vessel, that is your heart, must first be enlarged and then cle…

Daily Thought For April 16, 2016

Approaching God With Confidence
Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.


Blaise Pascal

Daily Thought For April 15, 2016

Love, Sorrow, & Fruitfulness
One of the most important things in the spiritual life is to understand well the close relationship between love and sacrifice. It is easily understood that love is the basis of perfection, and the soul delights in confirming it. For love marvelously corresponds to something deep that the soul bears in its interior: a vital yearning that is vehement and, in a certain sense, unparalleled. And when we come in contact with what is fleeting and superficial, the emptiness of the affections of earth, we impetuously fling toward divine love. That love is so profound that it reaches to the deepest part of our soul, into regions that mundane affections never touch. It is so perfect that it satisfies forever without ever tiring. It is so enduring that it is immortal and so abiding that nothing and no one can uproot it when it has implanted itself in our heart.

Frequently, however, one has an inexact concept of love.… It [the soul] does not understand that in this …

Daily Thought For April 14, 2016

Lord You Have The Words of Eternal Life

Lectio

John 6:44–51

Meditatio

“I am the bread of life.”

Do you want to live forever? How much would you pay for eternal life? I did an Internet search for the words “how to live forever” and got almost 52 million hits! Some people are going to great lengths to try and live forever, from having their dead bodies frozen in liquid nitrogen in hopes of future revival, to developing gene therapy that short-circuits the aging process. Perhaps a better question is: where do you want to live forever? Do you want to live forever on an earth filled with suffering and sadness, or do you want eternal life with God in the perfect happiness of heaven?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us: “This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.… Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Jesus is telling us the secret of eternal life, the secret that so many desperate people are paying huge amounts of money to discover. It’s ironic and a lit…

Daily Thought For April 13, 2016

Only Love For God Moves Us Forward

Let us then put aside vain excuses; and, instead of looking for outward events to change our course of life, be sure of this, that if our course of life is to be changed, it must be from within. God’s grace moves us from within, so does our own will. External circumstances have no real power over us. If we do not love God, it is because we have not wished to love Him, tried to love Him, prayed to love Him. We have not borne the idea and the wish in our mind day by day, we have not had it before us in the little matters of the day, we have not lamented that we loved Him not, we have been too indolent, sluggish, carnal, to attempt to love Him in little things, and begin at the beginning; we have shrunk from the effort of moving from within; we have been like persons who cannot get themselves to rise in the morning; and we have desired and waited for a thing impossible—to be changed once and for all, all at once, by some great excitement from without, or…

Daily Thought For April 12, 2016

God's Concern Is For People - Not Structures
What matters to God is people, not structures. It is souls that make the church beautiful, and therefore she must adorn herself with souls. God is concerned about the hearts of His people, the love of His people, and everything else is meant to function as a support to that priority.
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

Daily Thought For April 11, 2016

The Presence Of The Risen Lord Transforms Everything
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The Gospel of today tells of the third apparition of the Risen Jesus to the disciples, at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, with the recounting of the miraculous catch (cf John 21:1-19). The story is placed in the framework of the daily life of the disciples, when they have returned to their lands and their work as fishermen, after the distressing days of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. It was difficult for them to understand what had happened. But while everything seemed to have ended, it is once again Jesus who “seeks” his disciples. It is he who goes in search of them. This time he finds them on the lake, where they have spent the night in the boats without having caught anything. In some sense, the nets appear empty just as the outcome of their experience with Jesus seems: They had met him, they had left everything to follow him, full of hope… and now? Yes, they had seen him…

Daily Thought For April 10, 2015

Lower Your Net For A Catch

Lectio
John 21:1–19
Meditatio
“Cast the net.…”
The boat rocks gently on placid waters that mirror the coloring sky. Vague shapes can be seen in the semidarkness as the fishermen move about swiftly, casting the net. Once the mesh sinks into the water, the sea boils with fish and the net fills quickly. It almost bursts. All this happens because the disciples had obeyed the dim figure standing on the lake-shore.
In his document for the beginning of the third millennium, John Paul II wrote about another marvelous catch—one recounted in the Gospel of Luke. In that document, the Holy Father urged the Church—urged us—to “put out into the deep” (see Lk 5:4) and lower our own nets.
The Pope sent out a call to each of us, and that call needn’t frighten us. Lowering the nets doesn’t have to involve great things. It needn’t require much time. Often it just asks a little effort. We don’t need to be gifted speakers or have winsome personalities. We simply need to ask the Lord to…

Daily Thought For April 9, 2016

Are We Deeply Rooted in Christ?
POPE BENEDICT HAS FREQUENTLY SPOKEN ABOUT faith as the foundation of all Catholic life and put particular emphasis on this fundamental truth when he designated an entire year devoted to growth in faith. This call to faith is not an optional extra for our daily prayer. In highlighting faith, Pope Benedict has chosen wisely and well in the power of the Holy Spirit. Each of us is being called to a level of faith we have not known before. The Holy Spirit seeks to increase and, in fact, to fan into a flame this gift of faith given in Baptism. This booklet will show us the absolute necessity to do all we can to respond to the grace God is offering us so that the roots of our faith may go deeper in Christ to sustain us in the battles ahead. 

Let me give you a very concrete example from nature of the power of living faith. Many years ago when I was teaching at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I lived on a street that had a literal canopy of large, strong, a…

Daily Thought For April 8, 2016

The Gravitational Pull Of Grace
To be a disciple of Jesus means that we can and must follow a way that is directly opposed to our own natural gravity, to the gravity of egoism, to the search for what is merely material and for the maximum pleasure that we confuse with happiness. Discipleship is a way through agitated, stormy waters that we can follow only if we are in the gravitational field of the love of Jesus Christ, if our gaze is fixed on him and therefore supported by the new gravity of grace that makes possible for us the way to truth and to God that we would have been unable to follow by our own efforts. That is why being a disciple of Jesus is more than concurrence with a definite program, more than sympathy and solidarity with a person whom we regard as a model. It is not just Jesus, a human being, that we follow; we follow the Son of the living God. We follow a divine way. Where does Jesus’ way lead us? It leads us to the Resurrection, to the right hand of the Father. It is …

Daily Thought For April 7, 2016

He Does Not Ration His Gift Of The Spirit
Lectio

John 3:31–36

Meditatio

“… The one whom God sent …”

I can hear in this passage the response to a genuine, profound human need—that of knowing who can be believed. So many television shows are based on this premise. With such a plethora of mystery and courtroom dramas on television, it’s hard to believe that new programs based on the same basic plots can make it. Yet they do. What’s even more fascinating is that they hold our attention. Why? Because of this deep need—perhaps obsession—to know who is telling the truth. Whose testimony is true?

That is what’s happening in this passage from John. It seems to form the conclusion to a disagreement between John the Baptist’s “camp” and “a Jew” regarding ceremonial washing. John realizes that the Person of Jesus is at the heart of the disagreement. What he hears in the disagreement is an underlying need to know if Jesus can be believed—is he telling the truth?

Through the gift of the Spirit, it has bee…

Daily Thought For April 5, 2016

The Holy Spirit & Generosity
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own. (Acts 4:32)

“Mine, mine, mine!” chirped the crowd of seagulls in the movie Finding Nemo as they eyed a baby crab. Each of them was trying to claim it for dinner—and very loudly! Isn’t that how we can feel sometimes?

Today’s first reading shows us a different way. We see the first Christians generously sharing their possessions so that “there was no needy person among them” (Acts 4:34). Rather than shouting “Mine,” “no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own” (4:32). Something had happened in them when they were baptized and filled with the Spirit. They began to feel responsible for each other and committed themselves to caring for one another.

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we have been hearing a lot about how Jesus wants us to be agents of his love and compassion. We have been hearing a lot about our call to be as merciful with…

Daily Thought For April 4, 2016

Apostles of Mercy
In God’s mercy, all of our infirmities find healing. His mercy, in fact, does not keep a distance: it seeks to encounter all forms of poverty and to free this world of so many types of slavery. Mercy desires to reach the wounds of all, to heal them. Being apostles of mercy means touching and soothing the wounds that today afflict the bodies and souls of many of our brothers and sisters. Curing these wounds, we profess Jesus, we make him present and alive; we allow others, who touch his mercy with their own hands, to recognize him as “Lord and God” (Jn 20:28), as did the Apostle Thomas. This is the mission that he entrusts to us. So many people ask to be listened to and to be understood. The Gospel of mercy, to be proclaimed and written in our daily lives, seeks people with patient and open hearts, “good Samaritans” who understand compassion and silence before the mystery of each brother and sister. The Gospel of mercy requires generous and joyful servants, people who …

Daily Thought For April 2, 2016

Behold, He Stands At The Door And Knocks

Lectio

Mark 16:9–15

Meditatio

“When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.”

Imagine being in the upper room. Apostles and disciples, men and women, are gathered for safety. The disciples are close to despair, hovering on the edge of hope. Their dreams have been shattered. They had asked Jesus what they would receive if they followed him—and he had promised them so much! Now he was dead. His life ended ignobly—or so it seemed. Someone in the group reminds them that Jesus had said he was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If he was the Life, the speaker wonders, then how do we understand his death?

Suddenly Mary Magdalene bangs on the locked door. They all look at each other, afraid to open it. Mary continues knocking. The door finally opens and Mary bursts into the dark room with her message, light streaming into each darkened corner: “He is alive! He is alive! I saw him! I spoke with him!” Mary goes to each person…