Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Daily Thought For May 31, 2016

The Journey of Faith — Step by Step

POUR ALL OF YOUR ENERGY into trusting Me. It is through trust that you stay connected to Me, aware of My Presence. Every step on your life-journey can be a step of faith. Baby steps of trust are simple for you; you can take them with almost unconscious ease. Giant steps are another matter altogether: leaping across chasms in semidarkness, scaling cliffs of uncertainty, trudging through the valley of the shadow of death. These feats require sheer concentration, as well as utter commitment to Me. 
     Each of My children is a unique blend of temperament, giftedness, and life experiences. Something that is a baby step for you may be a giant step for another person, and vice versa. Only I know the difficulty or ease of each segment of your journey. Beware of trying to impress others by acting as if your giant steps are only baby ones. Do not judge others who hesitate, in trembling fear, before an act that would be easy for you. If each of My children would seek to please Me above all else, fear of others' judgments would vanish, as would attempts to impress others. Focus your attention on the path just ahead of you and on the One who never leaves your side.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. —PSALM 23:4 

''Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." — MATTHEW 7:1-2 

Fear of man will-prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. — PROVERBS 29:25 

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p. 280

Monday, May 30, 2016

Daily Thought For May 30, 2016

The Importance of Self-Examination

My brethren, let us consider how it can happen so often that someone hears something unpleasant and goes away untroubled, as if he had not heard it; and yet sometimes he is disturbed and troubled as soon as he hears such words. What is the cause of this inconsistency? Is there one reason for it or many? I recognise several, but one in particular is the source of all the others. As someone has put it: it all comes from the person’s state of mind at the time.

If someone is engaged in prayer or contemplation, he can easily take a rebuke from his brother and be unmoved by it. Or again, his affection toward a brother may be a strong reason; love bears all things with the utmost patience. Yet another reason may be contempt: if a person despises the one who is trying to trouble him, and acts as if he is the vilest of all creatures and considers it beneath his dignity even to look at him, or to answer him, or to mention the affront and insults to anyone else, he will not be moved by his words.

All in all, then, no-one is disturbed or troubled if he scorns and disregards what is said. But on the other hand, it is also possible for someone to be disturbed and troubled by his brother’s words, either because he is not in a good frame of mind, or because he hates his brother. There are a great number of other reasons as well.

Yet the reason for all disturbance, if we look to its roots, is that no one finds fault with himself. This is the reason why we become angry and upset, why we sometimes have no peace in our soul. We should not be surprised, since holy men have taught us that there is no other path to peace but this.

We see that this is true in so many other people; and yet we hope, in our laziness and desire for peace, we hope or even believe that we are on the right path even when we are irritated by everything and cannot bear to accept any blame ourselves.

This is the way things are. However many virtues a man may have – they could be innumerable, they could be infinite – if he has left the path of self-accusation he will never have peace: he will be afflicted by others or he will be an affliction to them, and all his efforts will be wasted.

from A Colloquy by St. Dorotheus

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Daily Thought For May 28, 2016

Courage & Conviction

They feared the crowd. (Mark 11:32)

One day in 1844, former slave and abolitionist Sojourner Truth happened to be the only black woman at a tent revival. When a mob of young troublemakers disrupted the meeting and appeared to be turning violent, Sojourner joined everyone else in hiding in fear for her safety. But then she had a moment of conviction: “Shall I run away and hide from the devil? Me, a servant of the living God? Have I not faith enough to go out and quell that mob?”

Compelled by faith and her identity in Christ, she left her hiding place and walked toward the crowd of young men, singing a hymn about Jesus’ resurrection. Club-wielding rioters surrounded her, but instead of attacking her, they asked her to sing some more, to talk with them, and to pray with them. Faith won out over fear!

As Sojourner did that day, Jesus encountered angry crowds and intimidating opponents throughout his ministry. The exchange he has with the chief priests and elders in today’s Gospel is no exception. But here, as in so many other instances, he is filled with courageous conviction. He knows that his authority comes from God—because he is God—and this confidence carries over into his encounters with his opponents.

By contrast, Mark tells us that the religious leaders “feared the crowd” (Mark 11:32). Although they no doubt possessed knowledge of the Scriptures and the Law, they chose to avoid the risks inherent in open dialogue. While it may sometimes be a mark of humility to stay out of a conflict, it is also a mark of courage to answer respectfully when we are posed a challenging question—something these leaders failed to do.

The most important thing is that we open ourselves to God’s guidance about how to act. It’s natural to be afraid in challenging situations. But Jesus’ example—and Sojourner’s—can give us hope. If you believe that God is calling you to take on some courageous act, it’s worth the risk and the effort. Who knows how many lives will be changed because you heard God and tried to obey him?


“Lord, give me the courage to respond to your promptings today. Help me to walk in your ways without fear.”

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

Daily Thought For May 27, 2016

Love, Forgiveness, & The Family

Jesus taught us how to forgive out of love, how to forget out of humility. So let us examine our hearts and see if there is any unforgiven hurt - any unforgotten bitterness! It is easy to love those who are far away. It isn't always easy to love those who are right next to us. It is easier to offer food to the hungry than to answer the lonely suffering of someone who lacks love right in one's own family. The world today is upside down because there is so very little love in the home, and in family life.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Daily Thought For May 26, 2016

Master, I Want To See!

Lectio

Mark 10:46–52

Meditatio

“Master, I want to see.”

Did you ever play childhood games in which you were blindfolded and therefore dependent on sounds and touch to know where you were? Imagine a lifetime of blindness: depending on the help of others, not seeing where you are and the beauty that surrounds you or the nonverbal communication of body language or a glance!
Bartimaeus is blind. He longs to be able to see. When he learns that Jesus is passing by, he repeatedly cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” His perseverance and faith are rewarded, for Jesus hears him and tells the bystanders to call Bartimaeus. When Jesus asks what he wants, the blind man replies, “Master, I want to see.” And Jesus heals him.

Can we imagine what he first saw? Perhaps he first looked upon the face of Jesus. What was communicated in that gaze? Whatever Bartimaeus learned caused him to follow Jesus on the way.
We too might suffer from poor vision and wish to be able to see. Even more than physical blindness, however, we might suffer from spiritual blindness. Then our vision of success or happiness may be limited to having a good-looking body, a house filled with the latest gadgets, or a prestigious job. This blindness inhibits our ability to see God’s presence in our day, or to recognize God’s love and care. Our life could be so different if we had the vision of faith.

What can we do? Let us imitate Bartimaeus, recognize our blindness, and strongly desire to see. Let us turn to Jesus and cry out longingly, “Jesus, Master, I want to see!” Jesus never refuses this prayer. Bartimaeus immediately received his sight, but the spiritual vision that we seek grows gradually. As we continue to ask for this gift, we will begin to notice God’s presence and action. We will come to understand life with its circumstances differently. This is the type of vision that we long for. Therefore let us repeatedly cry out, “Jesus, I want to see!”

Oratio

Jesus, when I stop to consider how I look at life, at its circumstances, and even at things, I realize that my vision is so superficial. I truly suffer from spiritual blindness. Sometimes I forget that there is more to reality. Sometimes I don’t even remember you and how essential you are to me. Lord, heal my blindness, as you healed Bartimaeus. I want to see with new eyes, with faith. Grant me this vision. Reveal your presence to me today. Help me to see as you see so that I, too, can more closely follow you on the way.

Contemplatio

Lord, grant that I may truly see.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 138–139). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Daily Thought For May 25, 2016

Walk In Him

"As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him, and established in the faith." (Col 2: 6-7) 

"Walk in Him," we are told. What does that mean? "Walking" is about lifestyle. I think it means that our style of life is to reflect his. It means we are to be at home in him and that, being so at home, we are to behave as if conforming our ways to his were the most natural thing in the world. 

We are to be "rooted in him:' Roots are living things. So to be rooted in him is to draw our principle of life from him. It is to wither from lack of conscious contact with him. 

On the other hand, to be "built upon" him suggests that growth in him is not something that happens automatically. A house does not build itself but only happens as a result of human choice and execution. Holiness is not an accident but happens because human beings decide that their free choices, organically related, are governed by the pattern of his own self-giving. 

Finally, to be "established" in him suggests that because of him our lives have a kind of official and divine significance, that they have this permanently, and that they have this in plain view, open to the entire world to see. 



Father John Dominic Corbett, O.P. 

Daily Thought For May 24, 2016

Power In Weakness

GROW STRONG in the Light of My Presence. Your weakness does not repel Me. On the contrary; it attracts My Power, which is always available to flow into a yielded heart. Do not condemn yourself for your constant need of help. Instead, come to Me with your gaping neediness; let the Light of My Love fill you. 

A yielded heart does not whine or rebel when the going gets rough. 
It musters the courage to thank Me even during hard times. Yielding yourself to My will is ultimately an act of trust. In quietness and trust is your strength. 

The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. PSALM 116:5-7 

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. EPHESIANS 5:20 

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it." —ISAIAH 30:15 

from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p.320



Monday, May 23, 2016

Daily Thought For May 23, 2016

What Constitutes True Knowledge

What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone.


Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The Imitation of Christ (pp. 1–2). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Daily Thought For May 22, 2016

A Simple But Powerful Prayer

Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what You want me to be – and becoming that person.

St Thérèse of Lisieux

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Daily Thought For May 21, 2016

Perspective

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another. (James 5:9)

Sometimes perspective can make all the difference. Looking down from the air, you see only the green foliage of a tree merging into all the trees around it. However, the same tree, viewed from below, manifests a delicate, tapering spread of branches. The tree may be developing flowers or fruit that can only be seen from the ground.

In a similar way, when we look down on our brothers and sisters, our vision may also be very limited. Everyone melds together into an indistinguishable group of “others” whose faults and shortcomings make us want to distance ourselves from them. But if we join them “on the ground” and look at them as our equals in God’s eyes, we would see details that we may have missed before. We would see strengths as well as weaknesses. We would see acts of love as well as actions that disturb us. And most important, we would see how similar to us they really are.

This lower place is a place of respect. It’s the place where God can show us what he finds so lovable about our brothers and sisters. It’s also the place where we can see how God is at work in them, always in love, encouragement, and joy. It’s the place where, rather than trying to change people’s hearts and actions, we find our hearts beginning to change. 

So James tells us not to complain about each other. It’s not our role to judge—that belongs to God. Rather than being judges, we should become traveling companions who live to encourage each other. We should be patient with each other, just as God has been patient with us.

As you’ve been reading this meditation, someone probably came to mind. Try looking at this person from below, not above. Take the lower place of respect, and see this person through God’s eyes of love and mercy. Don’t become discouraged if this seems hard. Remember, “the coming of the Lord is at hand,” the Lord who “is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:8, 11). He will help you every step of the way.


“Holy Spirit, give me your eyes and your heart so that I can cherish each brother and sister you have placed in my life.”

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Daily Thought For May 19, 2016

Our Hope & Our Refuge

WHAT, Lord, is the trust which I have in this life, or what is my greatest comfort among all the things that appear under heaven? Is it not You, O Lord, my God, Whose mercies are without number? Where have I ever fared well but for You? Or how could things go badly when You were present? I had rather be poor for Your sake than rich without You. I prefer rather to wander on the earth with You than to possess heaven without You. Where You are there is heaven, and where You are not are death and hell. You are my desire and therefore I must cry after You and sigh and pray. In none can I fully trust to help me in my necessities, but in You alone, my God. You are my hope. You are my confidence. You are my consoler, most faithful in every need.

All seek their own interests. You, however, place my salvation and my profit first, and turn all things to my good. Even though exposing me to various temptations and hardships, You Who are accustomed to prove Your loved ones in a thousand ways, order all this for my good. You ought not to be loved or praised less in this trial than if You had filled me with heavenly consolations.

In You, therefore, O Lord God, I place all my hope and my refuge. On You I cast all my troubles and anguish, because whatever I have outside of You I find to be weak and unstable. It will not serve me to have many friends, nor will powerful helpers be able to assist me, nor prudent advisers to give useful answers, nor the books of learned men to console, nor any precious substance to win my freedom, nor any place, secret and beautiful though it be, to shelter me, if You Yourself do not assist, comfort, console, instruct, and guard me. For all things which seem to be for our peace and happiness are nothing when You are absent, and truly confer no happiness.

You, indeed, are the fountain of all good, the height of life, the depth of all that can be spoken. To trust in You above all things is the strongest comfort of Your servants.

My God, the Father of mercies, to You I look, in You I trust. Bless and sanctify my soul with heavenly benediction, so that it may become Your holy dwelling and the seat of Your eternal glory. And in this temple of Your dignity let nothing be found that might offend Your majesty. In Your great goodness, and in the multitude of Your mercies, look upon me and listen to the prayer of Your poor servant exiled from You in the region of the shadow of death. Protect and preserve the soul of Your poor servant among the many dangers of this corruptible life, and direct him by Your accompanying grace, through the ways of peace, to the land of everlasting light.


Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The Imitation of Christ (pp. 227–228). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Daily Thought For May 18, 2016

Streams of Living Water

LEARN TO LISTEN TO ME even while you are listening to other people. As they open their souls to your scrutiny, you are on holy ground. You need the help of My Spirit to respond appropriately. Ask Him to think through you, live through you, love through you. My own Being is alive within you in the Person of the Holy Spirit. If you respond to others' needs through your unaided thought processes, you offer them dry crumbs. When the Spirit empowers your listening and speaking, My streams of living water flow through you to other people. Be a channel of My Love, Joy, and Peace by listening to Me as you listen to others. 

"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." — EXODUS 3:5 

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 
You are not your own. 1 CORINTHIANS 6:19 


Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. —JOHN 7:38-39


from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p. 318
                                   

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Daily Thought For May 17, 2016

One of My Favorite Scripture Passages


Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.


Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Daily Thought For May 15, 2016

The Joy of Pentecost!


Lectio

John 20:19–23

Meditatio

“When the doors were locked.…”

Today we celebrate Pentecost, and the Church asks us this great question: Is your heart open to the Holy Spirit? He has been sent to us through the door of salvation opened by the death and resurrection of Christ. Yet, like the apostles and disciples who had witnessed the marvels of the life, teaching, suffering, and death of the Lord, and then the glorious, astounding events of his life resurrected, we may have closed and locked our door.

Why? It isn’t that we don’t believe all that Christ taught, or what we have experienced of the power of his grace in the sacraments and in our daily lives. It is perhaps that our faith has been stunned by the realization of what has taken place. Salvation is more than we hoped for, we who live our days in this world.

We often plod along from day to day hoping for the best. We may only have a vague idea of what that best might be. Our daily concerns and cares may cloud our vision of faith. And so, we may be hiding in fear of the stunning act of love we have just lived in the Lent and Easter seasons. Fear is the natural reaction. We fear our very fearfulness.

Today we open the doors of our hearts and let in hope and healing, like the sun’s rays coming through the clouds. Today the Holy Advocate comes to fill us with wisdom, fortitude, and zeal. The Spirit brings all these things to our minds. He strengthens our resolve to live as true followers of Christ, and he fills our heart with fire.

Oratio

Lord, you stand at the door of my heart and knock. Sometimes I keep you waiting. I hesitate to open my door. I am unsure of your request. Other times I am distracted. Let me just finish with what I am doing before I let you come in. Why do I wait? Why do I fear your visit? Come to me with the fire of your love. Fill me with wisdom; fortify my spirit; make me zealous for your reign. Send your Spirit. Come to me, Lord, you are always welcome!

Contemplatio

“He breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ ”


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 130–131). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Daily Thought For May 14, 2016

God Has A Name

The Revelation of John speaks of the adversary of God, the “beast”. This beast, the power opposed to God, has no name, but a number. The seer tells us: “Its number is six hundred and sixty-six” (13:18). It is a number, and it makes men numbers. We who lived through the world of the concentration camps know what that means. The terror of that world is rooted in the fact that it obliterates men’s faces. It obliterates their history. It makes man a number, an exchangeable cog in one big machine. He is his function—nothing more. Today, we must fear that the concentration camp was only a prelude and that the universal law of the machine may impose the structure of the concentration camp on the world as a whole. For when functions are all that exist, man, too, is nothing more than a function. The machines that he himself has constructed now impose their own law on him: he must be made readable for the computer, and this can be achieved only when he is translated into numbers. Everything else in man becomes irrelevant. Whatever is not a function is—nothing. The beast is a number, and it makes men numbers. But God has a name, and God calls us by our name. He is a Person, and he seeks the person. He has a face, and he seeks our face. He has a heart, and he seeks our heart. For him, we are not some function in a “world machinery”. On the contrary, it is precisely those who have no function that are his own. A name allows me to be addressed. A name denotes community. This is why Christ is the true Moses, the fulfillment of the revelation of God’s name. He does not bring some new word as God’s name; he does more than this, since he himself is the face of God. He himself is the name of God. In him, we can address God as “you”, as person, as heart. His own name, Jesus, brings the mysterious name at the burning bush to its fulfillment; now we can see that God had not said all that he had to say but had interrupted his discourse for a time. This is because the name “Jesus” in its Hebrew form includes the word “Yahweh” and adds a further element to it: God “saves”. “I am who I am”—thanks to Jesus, this now means: “I am the one who saves you.” His Being is salvation.

In the Church’s calendar, today (March 8) is the feast of Saint John “of God”, the founder of the Hospitaller Brothers who continue even today to care for the sick. From the time of his conversion onward, the life of this man was a continuous pouring out of himself for other people, for the suffering and the rejected, as well as for those who were poorest of all at that time, the mentally ill and prostitutes, for whom he sought to make a new life possible. The letters he wrote give a striking impression of the passion with which this man was consumed for the oppressed. “I am working here in debt, and I am a captive for the sake of Christ. Often I owe so much that I dare not go out, in case I am seized for my debts. And when I see so many of my brethren in poverty and my neighbors suffering beyond their strength, oppressed in mind or body by so many cares, and am unable to help them, it causes me exceeding sorrow. But I trust in Christ who knows my heart.” I find it profoundly significant that this man was given the sobriquet “of God”. In this life, totally spent in the service of men, we see in an incomparable manner who God is—the God of the burning bush, the God of Jesus Christ, he who is the right of those who have no rights, he who is eternal and close at hand; he who has names and who gives names. May we, too, be ever more “of God”, so that we may have an ever-deeper knowledge of God and become for others a path to the knowledge of God.


Ratzinger, J. (2008). The God of Jesus Christ: Meditations on the Triune God. (Brian McNeil, Trans.) (pp. 23–25). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Daily Thought For May 13, 2016

From The Pentecost Novena

Day Eight Receiving the Spirit “Submission” Hebrews 12:9: If we respected our earthly fathers who corrected us, should we not all the more submit to the Father of spirits and live? Romans 5:3-5: More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Meditation: I believe that complete surrender of my life to God is the foundation to serenity. God has prepared for us many mansions. I do not look upon that promise as referring only to the after-life. I do not look upon this life as something to be struggled through in order to get the rewards of the next life. I believe that the kingdom of God has begun within us and we can enjoy eternal life here and now. Prayer for the Day: I come before you on my knees Lord, for I believe in my heart that you raised Jesus from the dead and I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord of my life. Lord, you promised that as many as receive you, you give them the power to become children of God, who are born of God. In submission to you, I receive you as Lord, and I pray to be filled continually with your Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Daily Thought For May 12, 2016

With God Setbacks Become Opportunities

EVERY TIME something thwarts your plans or desires, use that as a reminder to communicate with Me. This practice has several benefits. The first is obvious: Talking with Me blesses you and strengthens our relationship. Another benefit is that disappointments, instead of dragging you down, are transformed into opportunities for good. This transformation removes the sting from difficult circumstances, making it possible to be joyful in the midst of adversity. 

Begin by practicing this discipline in all the little disappointments of daily life. It is often these minor setbacks that draw you away from My Presence. When you reframe setbacks as opportunities, you find that you gain much more than you have lost. It is only after much training that you can accept major losses in this positive way. But it is possible to attain the perspective of the apostle Paul, who wrote: Compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, I consider everything I once treasured to be as insignificant as rubbish. 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
COLOSSIANS 4:2 


But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. 
PHILIPPIANS 37-8 

from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p. 322

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Daily Thought For May 11, 2016

The Mission Of The Holy Spirit In The Church

When the Son completed the work with which the Father had entrusted him on earth, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost to sanctify the Church unceasingly, and thus enable believers to have access to the Father through Christ in the one Spirit. He is the Spirit of life, the fountain of water welling up to give eternal life. Through him the Father gives life to men, dead because of sin, until he raises up their mortal bodies in Christ.

The Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful as in a temple. He prays in them and bears witness in them to their adoption as sons. He leads the Church into all truth and gives it unity in communion and in service. He endows it with different hierarchical and charismatic gifts, directs it by their means, and enriches it with his fruits.

By the power of the Gospel he enables the Church to grow young, perpetually renews it, and leads it to complete union with its Bridegroom. For the Spirit and the Bride say to the Lord Jesus: “Come!”

In this way the Church reveals itself as a people whose unity has its source in the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  The whole company of the faithful, who have an anointing by the Holy Spirit, cannot err in faith. They manifest this distinctive characteristic of theirs in the supernatural instinct of faith (‘sensus fidei’) of the whole people when, from the bishops to the most ordinary lay person among the faithful, they display a universal agreement on matters of faith and morals.

This instinct of faith is awakened and kept in being by the Spirit of truth. Through it the people of God hold indefectibly to the faith once delivered to the saints, penetrate it more deeply by means of right judgement, and apply it more perfectly in their lives. They do all this under the guidance of the sacred teaching office: by faithful obedience to it they receive, not the word of men but in truth the word of God.

Moreover, the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies and guides God’s people by the sacraments and the ministries, and enriches it with virtues, he also distributes special graces among the faithful of every state of life, assigning his gifts to each as he chooses. By means of these special gifts he equips them and makes them eager for various activities and responsibilities that benefit the Church in its renewal or its increase, in accordance with the text: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for a good purpose.


These charisms, the simpler and more widespread as well as the most outstanding, should be accepted with a sense of gratitude and consolation, since in a very special way they answer and serve the needs of the Church.

From Lumen Gentium Second Vatican Council 4.12

Monday, May 9, 2016

Daily Thought For May 9, 2016

The Holy Spirit Opens Us To Great Things

The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit.  Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin.  There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one’s own gain; by rigid legalism – seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as “hypocrites”; by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways.  The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers.  The world needs the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22).  The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity, that we may sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace.  Strengthened by the Spirit and his many gifts, may we be able uncompromisingly to battle against sin and corruption, devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace.


Pope Francis Pentecost Sunday Homily 2015

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Daily Thought For May 8, 2016

The Gospel Must Be Our Guiding Light - Not Society

Because we lack a divine Center our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things. We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. 'We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like'. Where planned obsolescence leaves off, psychological obsolescence takes over. We are made to feel ashamed to wear clothes or drive cars until they are worn out. The mass media have convinced us that to be out of step with fashion is to be out of step with reality. It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick. Until we see how unbalanced our culture has become at this point, we will not be able to deal with the mammon spirit within ourselves nor will we desire Christian simplicity.” 


Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Daily Thought For May 7, 2016

Resting In God's Heart


The holy Gospel relates that after the apostles first went out on their apostolic mission, Jesus said to them: “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while” (Mk 6:31). The Gospel tells us nothing of how they took that rest, but we can easily conjecture what peace, love, and happiness that secret, intimate retreat with Jesus must have held for them.

On some occasions in life, God approaches the soul and speaks similar words, inviting it with immense tenderness to rest sweetly within his divine heart and—dare I say it?—asking it to allow him to rest in it.

Heaven is complete rest in God, because earth is always a place of labor, vicissitudes, and sorrow. The soul sighs to be freed from the anxieties of this life, as Saint Paul desired: “… [M]y desire is to depart and be with Christ” (Phil 1:23). But God, the divine friend, is pleased to grant to souls that love him an experience of beatitude on this earth, in the heaven of his heart—is not that incomparable heart a heaven?—by inviting them to the repose of purity, love, and peace within himself.

Our poor heart longs for that rest because we are born for heaven. The work, pain, and sufferings of this world do not constitute the definitive atmosphere of our soul. Our atmosphere is rest in God and it is formed by those divine elements of which I have spoken: light, purity, love, and peace.

The divine oasis of the Sacred Heart, that secret and entrancing heaven, is opened up to the chosen soul who will find an indescribable repose within it. Let the soul hasten to cast its cares and worries into the flames of Christ’s heart, to be totally consumed. Trustful and happy, let it enter into the place of repose to dwell in holy abundance, transported with life and with love. At the same time, the individual must forget earthly things in order to be content with Jesus only, to bask in the splendor of the heart that loves so much, and to be filled with the holy fire, the heavenly tenderness and the immortal life enclosed in that divine vessel.
The soul that would rest in God must dwell in self-forgetfulness and surrender. The forgetfulness of love! The surrender of love! Is it not love, possibly, that is forgotten and abandoned? In order to love, one must forget everything and center one’s gaze, heart, and life upon the Beloved.

The heart of Jesus is an unfathomable abyss of love. “God is love,” said Saint John (1 Jn 4:16). Blessed Angela of Foligno relates that on one occasion God said to her: “Look at me well. Is there anything in me that is not love?” All in him is love, an inexhaustible, unique, eternal love. On account of our slight experience with love, we see only faintly that it is noble and heavenly, that it fulfills our aspirations and seals our happiness. But on earth love is limited because mere creatures cannot contain the infinite. If we wish to drink that heavenly draught in human hearts, sooner or later we drain all that earth’s fragile, limited chalices contain of it. Our thirst is never satisfied, because our capacity and our desires are infinite—our only infinite possession.The only fountain of love that is never exhausted is God, and that fountain is in the divine heart of Jesus. We can drink eternally from it without ever emptying it, because our soul’s capacity makes our thirst for love infinite. The fountain of love in Jesus’s heart is infinite, because it springs from the divine fullness. “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it,” says the Scripture (Ps 81:10). Open your mouth, the mouth of desire with which you drink love; open it wide and I shall fill it. Blessed are the souls who dwell in the interior of Jesus’s heart! They will always drink from that sweet fountain without ever exhausting it.

An inexhaustible love! Who understands this mystery of happiness? Everything on earth runs out: joy and sorrow, fecundity and life itself. All created things, however beautiful, however perfect, have a limit, a measure, an end. We are so accustomed to finish things and use them up that we do not comprehend the mystery of an inexhaustible love. In its endless desire for love, our heart glimpses infinite love as one dimly glimpses the vast firmament when the spirit wanders from star to star in the immensity of the night.

—Excerpts from Only Jesus, pp. 219–220, 179–180



Martinez, L. (2011). Secrets of the Spirit: Wisdom from Luis Martinez. (G. Santos, Ed.) (pp. 35–38). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Daily Thought For May 6, 2016

The Gift of Companionship 

He sailed for Syria, together with Priscilla and Aquila. (Acts 18:18)

Some people thrive on change, but not all of us. We like to have some sense of order and a feeling that we know what is going to happen next. The reality is, however, that life is full of changes: new jobs, new homes, children, grandchildren, and so much more—our lives can be very unpredictable. Yet from Paul’s example, we can see that companionship is an important key to help us embrace all these transitions.

Paul spent many years traveling far and wide to preach the gospel. He would stay in one place for a year or so and then move on to a different city. In today’s passage, for example, we are given a glimpse of his time in Corinth, and then we read of his departure for Syria. Yet in all of his journeying, Paul was rarely alone. Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Luke, and Priscilla and Aquila—these are just a few of the people who accompanied him. They probably taught and preached together, prayed and shared their lives together, and, above all, helped each other keep their eyes on Jesus in the midst of the challenges and trials they faced. Imagine how much more challenging Paul’s constantly changing circumstances would have been if he were on his own!

We may not be missionaries like Paul, but companionship is just as important for us. Friends support us by listening to our joys and struggles. They encourage us and cheer us up when things look dim. They offer us a different perspective when we are stumped by a challenge. They even let us vent about things that are annoying! Most of all, they add stability to our lives as we experience the transitions and upheavals that life can throw at us. Because of them, life can become a shared journey and not a solitary adventure.

Are you facing some kind of change or transition right now? Imagine it as a kind of voyage. Who would you take with you? Maybe your companions are facing their own challenges—you can help each other along the way! Give someone a call today, and share what’s going on in your life. Ask them how they are doing. May the Lord deepen our friendships, especially when everything else seems up in the air!


“Thank you, Lord, for the gift of companionship.”

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Daily Thought For May 4, 2016

The "Unknown" God

In the opening paragraph of his encyclical Faith and Reason, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself.” Today’s first reading depicts the Athenians as a people who earnestly desired to rise to that contemplation of truth, and it tells us how Paul offered them the good news as a way to strengthen their “faith wing.”

In the time of Paul, the city of Athens was full of temples and shrines to various deities. Using human reason, the Greeks came to the correct, but incomplete, conclusion that there was a vast spiritual realm that we can’t fully see or comprehend. Their society was built on the idea that a people would thrive so long as they kept the gods happy and be punished if they did not. So a sense of fear became a built-in part of their spirituality. They were so anxious about keeping every single god happy that they erected a shrine—probably several, according to archaeologists—to an “Unknown God,” in case they had left anyone out (Acts 17:23).

Notice how gracious Paul is—and how smart. Instead of accusing the Greeks of idolatry, he commends their search for the truth. Then he uses their concept of an unknown god to introduce a new idea: this god has made himself known—and he is the one true God! Not only that, but he has stepped out of the shadows to walk with us.

Recalling this story highlights the miracle of the Incarnation, the miracle of God making himself known to us in a personal way. God saw our longing for the truth, so he sent Jesus to come be with us and to show us the truth. He is no longer unknown. In everything he said and did, especially in his cross and resurrection, Jesus revealed the invisible, all-powerful God. And wonder of wonders, he showed us that God is our Father, our Redeemer, and our Friend!


“Thank you, Jesus, for showing me the face of God. Help me know how close you are today.”

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

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Daily Thought For May 3, 2016

The Holy Spirit & Understanding


Lectio

John 16:5–11

Meditatio

“… it is better for you that I go.”

Jesus seems to leave his disciples in the lurch when he tells them, “… it is better for you that I go.” They wonder why after leaving everything to answer his call to “come and follow me,” he is now saying, “you cannot come.” Earlier Peter had asked: “Master, where are you going?” Jesus assured Peter by saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me” (Jn 14:1). Thomas pushed the question a little further. He reminded Jesus that they didn’t know where he was going. How could they know the way? This question prompted Jesus’ wonderful self-definition: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). In chapter 16 of John’s Gospel the disciples are no longer asking Jesus where he is going or why he must go. Grief has filled their hearts.

There will be times in our life of faith when Jesus seems to disappear and nothing makes sense. Perhaps these are times when our understanding of God is being purified. Our longing for God increases as we descend into this unknowing. Our love of God is growing beyond our limited understanding of God’s ways. We enter a trial of trust only because God has great trust in us. The disciples dreamed big dreams. They hoped to sit at the right and left of Jesus when he entered his kingdom. They had to let go of their image of the Messiah, for Jesus’ promise is so much bigger than they could imagine. The Spirit, the love of the Father and the Son, will reveal it to them in the depths of their being.

In the Divine Comedy, when Dante enters heaven, Saint John the Apostle asks him whom he loves and why. The Spirit helps us refine our answer, proving the world wrong about sin, about justice, about condemnation, by revealing the truth of who we are and the truth of God’s great love.

Oratio

Send us your Spirit, Lord. You do not leave us alone; your Spirit abides with us and in us. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being my companion and healer during my pilgrimage of life. Bring your light into the night of my soul, and breathe your life anew in me every day.

Contemplatio

Come, Holy Spirit!


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 96–97). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Daily Thought For May 2, 2016

For Those Who Were Confirmed Last Night

On his return, the master judges what they have done: he praises the first two while he throws the third one out into the outer darkness because, through fear, he had hidden his talent, withdrawing into himself. A Christian who withdraws into himself, who hides everything that the Lord has given him, is a Christian who... he is not a Christian! He is a Christian who does not thank God for everything God has given him!

This tells us that the expectation of the Lord’s return is the time of action — we are in the time of action — the time in which we should bring God’s gifts to fruition, not for ourselves but for him, for the Church, for others. The time to seek to increase goodness in the world always; and in particular, in this period of crisis, today, it is important not to turn in on ourselves, burying our own talent, our spiritual, intellectual, and material riches, everything that the Lord has given us, but, rather to open ourselves, to be supportive, to be attentive to others.


In the square I have seen that there are many young people here: it is true, isn’t it? Are there many young people? Where are they? I ask you who are just setting out on your journey through life: have you thought about the talents that God has given you? Have you thought of how you can put them at the service of others? Do not bury your talents! Set your stakes on great ideals, the ideals that enlarge the heart, the ideals of service that make your talents fruitful. Life is not given to us to be jealously guarded for ourselves, but is given to us so that we may give it in turn. Dear young people, have a deep spirit! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!

Pope Francis General Audience of April 24, 2013

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Daily Thought For May 1, 2016

When God Is Not Praised - Things Collapse

In the beginning of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians we detect the enthusiasm of the new converts, for whom being Christians was an unexpected gift, a blessing, great riches bestowed on them by God. It is good for us to realize this—for us who, as Christians, live for the most part with wrinkled brows and such an anxious awareness of the problems it entails that we feel almost guilty when we are happy about being Christians—that might be a form of triumphalism! Fundamentally, the joy of this epistle derives from the fact that the Apostle has dared to look directly at the heart of Christianity, at the triune God and his eternal love.… We have been eternally present in God’s thought because we belong to his Son. In consequence, we share in his eternity and in his preexistence before all the things of this world. We are, as it were, always already present to him. God sees us in his Son, with the eyes of his Son. We are better able to understand what such certainty means in an age when man is disgusted with being human, when he is denounced as a naked ape, as an especially treacherous rat; when he is regarded as the real mischief-maker in nature, so that the fear of being human, the hatred of man for man, is growing in himself and in others. But the person who knows that he is seen through the eyes of the Son has a certainty that is stronger than any such fear. His “whence” is an answer to the urgent questions as to the “why” and the “whither”. The Letter to the Ephesians describes this in a series of four closely interrelated concepts. It speaks of the universe and of heaven and earth; it speaks of the elimination of differences; of alienation; and of an undivided unity in which everyone and everything will be in harmony—that is, the redemption. But how? The Apostle says—three times in an all-embracing refrain—that we are here “for the praise of his glory”. That is the answer to this “how”. For when a persons dares to forget himself, to turn his face to the Creator, then all else will follow: inheritance of the earth, unity, redemption. Is not Francis of Assisi a shining example of this seemingly all too simple unity? When God is no longer praised, everything else collapses. Only when we begin again to turn our faces to God and to turn away from our obsession with self will our involvement with self be diminished and will redemption dawn upon us.


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. 145–146). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.