Friday, July 29, 2016

Daily Thought For July 29, 2016

The Unity of Prayer & Action

In commenting on the episode of Martha and Mary St Ambrose urges his faithful and us too: “Let us too seek to have what cannot be taken from us, dedicating diligent, not distracted attention to the Lord’s word. The seeds of the heavenly word are blown away, if they are sown along the roadside. May the wish to know be an incentive to you too, as it was to Mary, this is the greatest and most perfect act”. And he added that “attention to the ministry must not distract from knowledge of the heavenly word” through prayer (Expositio Evangelii secundunm Lucam, VII, 85 PL 15, 1720).

Saints have therefore experienced a profound unity of life between prayer and action, between total love for God and love for their brethren. St Bernard, who is a model of harmony between contemplation and hard work, in his book De consideratione, addressed to Pope Innocent II to offer him some reflections on his ministry, insists precisely on the importance of inner recollection, of prayer to defend oneself from the dangers of being hyper-active, whatever our condition and whatever the task to be carried out. St Bernard says that all too often too much work and a frenetic life-style end by hardening the heart and causing the spirit to suffer (cf.II, 3).

His words are a precious reminder to us today, used as we are to evaluating everything with the criterion of productivity and efficiency. The passage from the Acts of the Apostles reminds us of the importance — without a doubt a true and proper ministry is created — of devotion to daily activities which should be carried out with responsibility and dedication and also our need for God, for his guidance, for his light which gives us strength and hope. Without daily prayer lived with fidelity, our acts are empty, they lose their profound soul, and are reduced to being mere activism which in the end leaves us dissatisfied. There is a beautiful invocation of the Christian tradition to be recited before any other activity which says: “Actiones nostras, quæsumus, Domine, aspirando præveni et adiuvando prosequere, ut cuncta nostra oratio et operatio a te semper incipiat, et per te coepta finiatur”; that is, “Inspire our actions, Lord, and accompany them with your help, so that our every word and action may always begin and end in you”. Every step in our life, every action, of the Church too, must be taken before God, in the light of his word.

In last Wednesday’s Catechesis I emphasized the unanimous prayer of the first Christian community in times of trial and explained how in prayer itself, in meditation on Sacred Scripture, it was able to understand the events that were happening. When prayer is nourished by the word of God we can see reality with new eyes, with the eyes of faith and the Lord, who speaks to the mind and the heart, gives new light to the journey at every moment and in every situation. We believe in the power of the Word of God and of prayer. Even the difficulties that the Church was encountering as she faced the problem of service to the poor, the issue of charity, was overcome in prayer, in the light of God, of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles did not limit themselves to ratifying the choice of Stephen and the other men but “they prayed and laid their hands upon them” (Acts 6:6). The Evangelist was once again to recall these gestures on the occasion of the election of Paul and Barnabas, where we read: “after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:3). He confirms again that the practical service of charity is a spiritual service. Both these realities must go hand in hand.

With the act of the laying on of hands, the Apostles conferred a special ministry on seven men so that they might be granted the corresponding grace. The emphasis on prayer — “after praying” — they say, is important because it highlights the gesture’s spiritual dimension; it is not merely a question of conferring an office as happens in a public organization, but is an ecclesial event in which the Holy Spirit appropriates seven men chosen by the Church, consecrating them in the Truth that is Jesus Christ: he is the silent protagonist, present during the imposition of hands so that the chosen ones may be transformed by his power and sanctified in order to face the practical challenges, the pastoral challenges. And the emphasis on prayer also reminds us that the response to the Lord’s choice and the allocation of every ministry in the Church stems solely from a close relationship with God, nurtured daily.


Dear brothers and sisters, the pastoral problem that induced the Apostles to choose and to lay their hands on seven men charged with the service of charity, so that they themselves might be able to devote themselves to prayer and to preaching the word, also indicates to us the primacy of prayer and of the word of God which, however, then result in pastoral action. For pastors, this is the first and most valuable form of service for the flock entrusted to them. If the lungs of prayer and of the word of God do not nourish the breath of our spiritual life, we risk being overwhelmed by countless everyday things: prayer is the breath of the soul and of life. And there is another precious reminder that I would like to underscore: in the relationships with God, in listening to his word, in dialogue with God, even when we may be in the silence of a church or of our room, we are united in the Lord to a great many brothers and sisters in faith, like an ensemble of musical instruments which, in spite of their individuality, raise to God one great symphony of intercession, of thanksgiving and praise. Many thanks!

Pope Benedict XVI General Audience April 25, 2012

**The next Daily Thought will be on August 1, 2016**

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Daily Thought For July 28, 2016

Beautiful Prayer To Practice Works of Mercy

Help me, O Lord, 
…that my eyes may be merciful, so that I will never be suspicious or judge by appearances, but always look for what is beautiful in my neighbors’ souls and be of help to them;
… that my ears may be merciful, so that I will be attentive to my neighbors’ needs, and not indifferent to their pains and complaints;
… that my tongue may be merciful, so that I will never speak badly of others, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all;
… that my hands may be merciful and full of good deeds;
… that my feet may be merciful, so that I will hasten to help my neighbor, despite my own fatigue and weariness;

… that my heart may be merciful, so that I myself will share in all the sufferings of my neighbor”

St. Faustina Kowalksa (Diary 163)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Daily Thought For July 27, 2016

Walking In Freedom

WALK WITH ME in the freedom of forgiveness. The path we follow together is sometimes steep and slippery. If you carry a burden of guilt on your back, you are more likely to stumble and fall. At your request, I will remove the heavy load from you and bury it at the foot of the cross. When I unburden you, you are undeniably free! Stand up straight and tall in My Presence, so that no one can place more burdens on your back. Look into My Face and feel the warmth of My Love- Light shining upon you. It is this unconditional Love that frees you from both fears and sins. Spend time basking in the Light of My Presence. As you come to know Me more and more intimately, you grow increasingly free. 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. — PSALM 68:19 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 JOHN 1:7-9 


There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. —1 JOHN 4:18 

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young p.278

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Daily Thought For July 26, 2016

The The Righteous Will Shine Like The Sun


Lectio

Matthew 13:36–43

Meditatio

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun …”

During World War II, Hungary had largely avoided Nazi pressure to persecute the Jews until the spring of 1944, when Adolf Eichmann arrived on the scene. During six weeks of terror, from mid-May to the end of June 1944, Eichmann sent almost 450,000 Hungarian Jews to their deaths. Yet a Swedish diplomat named Raoul Wallenberg managed to get many Jews out of Hungary on Swedish passports. His tireless efforts saved around 30,000 people. His reward? When the Soviets rolled into Hungary, they took Wallenberg prisoner and he disappeared into a Soviet gulag. No one knows exactly what befell him. Despite efforts to get him released, he was never freed and he died, deserted and alone, in a Soviet prison or labor camp.

A cynic would say that no good deed goes unpunished. But today’s Gospel offers comfort to all the Raoul Wallenbergs of the world, and to all those who were herded into cattle cars and dumped into gas chambers. Evil will not triumph. Evil will not have the last word. No matter the degree to which justice is perverted in this world, justice will be done in the next. In the parable of the weeds and the wheat, Jesus counsels us to have patience now, for we are still in the time of mercy. While it lasts, God never stops calling his wayward children to repentance. But at some point the judgment will come, and the angels will reap the harvest of the earth. Some wrongs will never be righted on this earth. But they will be righted—not in our time, but in God’s. And that should reassure us that though it tarries, the day of justice will not be put off forever. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Oratio

Jesus, this Gospel makes me fear the day of reckoning, but at the same time I find it comforting. I don’t like to dwell on the face of evil in the world. Yet I cannot deny its existence and I can’t make sense of it. You tell us quite plainly that the enemy, the devil, is at work in the world sowing seeds of evil. But the power of your love is stronger than the power of evil. In the end, your love will triumph. Lord, I believe in your love and its power to overcome evil. Increase my faith.

Contemplatio

“Explain to us the parable.”


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 296–297). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Daily Thought For July 25, 2016

St. James 


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are continuing the series of portraits of the Apostles chosen directly by Jesus during his earthly life. We have spoken of St Peter and of his brother, Andrew. Today we meet the figure of James. The biblical lists of the Twelve mention two people with this name: James, son of Zebedee, and James, son of Alphaeus (cf. Mk 3:17, 18; Mt 10:2–3), who are commonly distinguished with the nicknames “James the Greater” and “James the Lesser”.

These titles are certainly not intended to measure their holiness, but simply to state the different importance they receive in the writings of the New Testament and, in particular, in the setting of Jesus’ earthly life. Today we will focus our attention on the first of these two figures with the same name.

The name “James” is the translation of Iakobos, the Graecised form of the name of the famous Patriarch, Jacob. The Apostle of this name was the brother of John and in the above-mentioned lists, comes second, immediately after Peter, as occurs in Mark (3:17); or in the third place, after Peter and Andrew as in the Gospels of Matthew (10:2) and Luke (6:14), while in the Acts he comes after Peter and John (1:13). This James belongs, together with Peter and John, to the group of the three privileged disciples whom Jesus admitted to important moments in his life.

Since it is very hot today, I want to be brief and to mention here only two of these occasions. James was able to take part, together with Peter and John, in Jesus’ Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and in the event of Jesus’ Transfiguration. Thus, it is a question of situations very different from each other: in one case, James, together with the other two Apostles, experiences the Lord’s glory and sees him talking to Moses and Elijah, he sees the divine splendor shining out in Jesus.

On the other occasion, he finds himself face to face with suffering and humiliation, he sees with his own eyes how the Son of God humbles himself, making himself obedient unto death. The latter experience was certainly an opportunity for him to grow in faith, to adjust the unilateral, triumphalist interpretation of the former experience: he had to discern that the Messiah, whom the Jewish people were awaiting as a victor, was in fact not only surrounded by honor and glory, but also by suffering and weakness. Christ’s glory was fulfilled precisely on the Cross, in his sharing in our sufferings.

This growth in faith was brought to completion by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, so that James, when the moment of supreme witness came, would not draw back. Early in the first century, in the 40s, King Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great, as Luke tells us, “laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword” (Acts 12:1–2).

The brevity of the news, devoid of any narrative detail, reveals on the one hand how normal it was for Christians to witness to the Lord with their own lives, and on the other, that James had a position of relevance in the Church of Jerusalem, partly because of the role he played during Jesus’ earthly existence.

A later tradition, dating back at least to Isidore of Seville, speaks of a visit he made to Spain to evangelize that important region of the Roman Empire. According to another tradition, it was his body instead that had been taken to Spain, to the city of Santiago de Compostela.

As we all know, that place became the object of great veneration and is still the destination of numerous pilgrimages, not only from Europe but from the whole world. This explains the iconographical representation of St James with the pilgrim’s staff and the scroll of the Gospel in hand, typical features of the travelling Apostle dedicated to the proclamation of the “Good News” and characteristics of the pilgrimage of Christian life.

Consequently, we can learn much from St James: promptness in accepting the Lord’s call even when he asks us to leave the “boat” of our human securities, enthusiasm in following him on the paths that he indicates to us over and above any deceptive presumption of our own, readiness to witness to him with courage, if necessary to the point of making the supreme sacrifice of life.

Thus James the Greater stands before us as an eloquent example of generous adherence to Christ. He, who initially had requested, through his mother, to be seated with his brother next to the Master in his Kingdom, was precisely the first to drink the chalice of the passion and to share martyrdom with the Apostles.

And, in the end, summarizing everything, we can say that the journey, not only exterior but above all interior, from the mount of the Transfiguration to the mount of the Agony, symbolizes the entire pilgrimage of Christian life, among the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, as the Second Vatican Council says. In following Jesus, like St James, we know that even in difficulties we are on the right path.


Benedict XVI. (2013). General Audiences of Benedict XVI (English). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. (June 21, 2006)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Daily Thought for July 22, 2016

The Importance of Silence

Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Daily Thought For July 21, 2016

Insight On Saints

The Saints were not superhuman.  They were people who loved God in their hearts, and who shared this joy with others.

Pope Francis

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Daily Thought For July 20, 2016

Anyone Who Has Ears Ought To Hear

Lectio

Matthew 13:1–9

Meditatio

“And [Jesus] spoke to them at length in parables …”

I picture the day in my mind’s eye: the blue sky, the rocky shore, the waves bobbing the boat that holds Jesus, the crowd of people hanging on his words. Jesus speaks, and his words float out over the crowd like a soft breeze of the Spirit.

What refreshment the teaching of Jesus gives these people, whose lives are burdened with cares, sickness, financial worries, even the tragedies that can stop a person cold with heartbreak.… They feel as if Jesus is addressing them individually, and really, he is. Jesus’ Good News is miraculous in many ways. But the way it has penetrated to the hearts of people all over the world through the ages is a miracle that goes on continually.

I think of the way my life was changed as I heard or read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or his seven last words from the cross. For a moment, I feel a sense of connection with Jesus’ audience on that shore in Palestine.

Jesus preferred parables when teaching the people, who could easily learn to use the book of nature as a springboard to the deep realities that he presented. I can do this, too. The Holy Spirit’s gift of understanding helps me to go in faith from created realities to their Creator.

Then the “soil” of my soul will be fertile ground for the seed of the Good News that the Lord sows in my life.

Oratio

Jesus, enlighten me with the wisdom of your Gospel, you who alone have the words of everlasting life. Help me to be good soil for the seed of your teaching. Nourish that seed with your grace, so that it will grow and flourish as I resolve to live for your kingdom.

Contemplatio

“Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 280–281). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Daily Thought For July 18, 2016

Living By The Spirit

You LIVE BY THE SPIRIT: HE IS THE VERY SOURCE OF YOUR ETERNAL LIFE. When you were dead in trespasses and sins, it was impossible for you to receive Me as Savior. The Holy Spirit had to make you alive before you could respond to Me. So you do quite literally live by the Spirit. 


I want you to go forward along your life-path in step with the Spirit. He will not help you go backward, so beware of seeking refuge in the past. You need to keep moving forward and also to walk in the direction I choose. Moreover, it's vital to pace yourself according to My timing: neither dashing ahead nor lagging behind. The Spirit will help you in all these matters, as you live in reliance on Him. You can engage His help any time, any place-simply by asking. If you find yourself anxiously rushing, pray, "Slow me down, Holy Spirit." If you're uncertain about your direction, ask Him to show you the way. When you don't know how to pray as you should, cry out, "Help me, Holy Spirit!" He will intercede for you with groanings too deep for words. 


The more you seek My Spirit's help and yield to His loving guidance, the better your life will be. As you keep in step with the Spirit, you find yourself walking close to Me. 

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 
GALATIANS 5:25 

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world. 
EPHESIANS 2:1-2 

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 
PSALM 25:4-5 

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 

ROMANS 8:26 

From Jesus Lives by Sarah Young pp. 252-253


Daily Thought For July 17, 2016

Martha & Mary

Lectio

Luke 10:38–42

Meditatio

“… you are anxious and worried about many things.”

Let’s imagine the scene: in one room Jesus is speaking to his disciples. One of his dearest friends, Mary, the sister of Martha, sits at his feet listening attentively. Martha, who had welcomed Jesus to her home, is working in the next room that serves as a kitchen, busily preparing the meal. As she works, she keeps looking over at the circle of disciples, and becomes more and more agitated. She’s alone doing all the serving. Martha goes from one pot to another, fussing and growing more angry and resentful. Mary is just sitting there, unconcerned about all the work that needs to be done. Martha’s resentment fuels her frantic work. Finally, she bursts into the room to speak her mind to Jesus and ask him to do something. Instead of telling Mary to get up and help, Jesus points out to Martha that she is “anxious and worried about many things.” He knows she loves him too, but in her service for him she is focusing on the burden she is carrying, rather than on what is really important. Mary has chosen to listen with love and humility to the word of Jesus. Martha’s frenetic activity has, for the moment, sapped her of her love and her peace of mind and heart.

We, too, are often plagued by worry and anxiety in our family setting, workplace, and even our prayer life. How can we escape from our worries and endless activity and find peace of mind and heart? Jesus invites us to pause and make our priorities clear, to seek first his will for us, and to spend some time with him. The word of God gently yet powerfully penetrates our minds and hearts, and keeps us focused on our relationship with God. We all do so many things, but our motives can make us feel anxious—or they can help us feel at peace with ourselves and God. It all depends on where we have set our priorities. Martha was serving the Lord, but other “things” distracted her from the “better part” that could also be hers.

Oratio

Lord, I want to take today as an opportunity to reassess my priorities. I want to take time today for spiritual and physical renewal. Sunday is a day for the “better part,” but I so often spend it like any other day. I want my relationship with you to grow and deepen. May it be a balm or spiritual ointment to lessen my anxieties and build up my trust in your care for me. Bless and complete what I have begun. Amen.

Contemplatio

Lord, your kingdom come, your will be done.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 274–275). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Daily Thought For July 16, 2016

Staying Positive When Things Get Tough


Lectio

Matthew 12:14–21

Meditatio

“He will not contend or cry out …”

Jesus has just healed a man with a shriveled hand. In the process he has a dispute with the Pharisees. At the beginning of today’s Gospel passage, these men who seriously lived according to the laws of their religion “went out” and began to plot the death of Jesus, who to them is obviously not concerned with keeping the Law.

What amazement! Jesus doesn’t descend into arguing with them. He doesn’t withdraw to protect himself or to hide. He doesn’t try to reframe his message so it will be more palatable to those plotting his death. Instead he withdraws and quietly carries on with healing, not just one person as in the last healing story, but healing “them all.”

Have you lived in a situation in which you or your plans and beliefs were being attacked? It takes enormous strength of character not to descend into arguing, rationalizing, pleading, capitulating, or just plain being nasty tempered. We might express our ugly or angry feelings to safe persons outside the situation. Nevertheless, a cycle of antipathy and ill will can be started that is difficult to break. And in the end nothing good is accomplished. Sometimes groups have to be dissolved, friendships ruined, marriages broken apart.
Jesus shows us another way. He quietly goes forward doing what his Father has sent him to do. “He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.” I remember once being angry at a group of people who were angry with me. A sister I was working with just laughed and said that was the way it was with this group. Her pleasant attitude shocked me as I realized that it was possible to react differently in the situation. She taught me by her attitude how to be like Jesus, how not to get wrapped up in the problem so much that I could no longer see what had to be done. It was a lesson that freed me from a lot of negative energy.

Oratio

Jesus, I too have a mission. My life has meaning. I am here for others. Make me capable of gently pursuing the will of God for me. Don’t let me get caught in a negative cycle, but show me a way out into the wide expanse of goodness and trust.

Contemplatio

I adore you, Jesus, gentle Healer and good Master.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 268–269). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Daily Thought For July 15, 2016

The Value of Adversity

NO MATTER WHAT HARDSHIPS THE WORLD MAY THROW AT YOU, YOU HAVE—IN MEEVERYTHING YOU NEED TO PERSEVERE. Despair is a deep pit, and sometimes you totter around its edges, precariously close to falling in. Your only hope at such times is to fix your eyes on Me. The more perplexed you arebewildered by complex circumstancesthe easier it to lose your balance. To keep from falling, you must change your focus from your circumstances to My Presence. This requires strenuous effort on your part because you have not fully accepted the limitations of your mind. Your natural tendency is to keep thinking about a difficult situation ad nauseamtrying to figure it out. However, I am always nearby, eager to help you change your focus time after time. 

Though you may be hard pressed on every side, you need not be crushed by your difficulties. You are not alone in your battles because I will never ever abandon you. Even if you are struck down by a fatal blow, you will not be destroyed. I am the Shepherd and Guardian of your soulthe part of you that is indestructible. I give you eternal Life, and you will never perish. No one can snatch you out of My hand! 

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  
— 2 CORINTHIANS 4:8-9 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
— HEBREWS l2:2 

For you were continually straying like sheep. but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 
— 1 PETER 2:25

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 
— JOHN 10:28 


from Jesus Lives by Sarah Young pp.40-41

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Daily Thought For July 14, 2016

Great Insights Into Being "Yoked"


Lectio

Matthew 11:28–30

Meditatio

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Probably few people reading this book have ever plowed a field with a yoke of oxen, churning the soil to prepare it for planting. But everyone has sat in a classroom, writing in notebooks, taking tests, or watching the hands of the clock sweep off the minutes until the bell would ring. In fact, the classroom image is closer to what Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel passage. Consider this other Scripture text, “… gain, at no cost, wisdom for yourselves. Submit your neck to her yoke, that your mind may accept her teaching. For she is close to those who seek her, and the one who is in earnest finds her” (Sir 51:25–26). This text aligns acquiring wisdom with being under a yoke. That image is in the background of Jesus’ saying that his burden is light.

Jesus is inviting us to go to his school, the school of wisdom. Today’s Gospel needs to be read together with yesterday’s, in which Jesus tells us about knowing his Father. Only Jesus reveals the Father to us. That is where wisdom lies. In the school of Jesus, we can learn about what really matters in life. In today’s society, education offers people a boost up the ladder of success. That is surely important to pursue in the business of making a living. But what about making a life?

Jesus offers all of us the knowledge that we need to succeed in making a life. In his school, we can all have scholarships and we can all be honor students. He imparts knowledge freely to anyone who wants it. He teaches us about love. He’ll ask us to ponder questions like this: at the end of life, how will we see the times we made selfish choices, and the times that we sacrificed ourselves for someone else? On the balance scales of life, love outweighs everything else. Jesus the Teacher will help us tip the scales in the right direction.

Oratio

Jesus, you are the Teacher of truth, Wisdom incarnate. Teach me to value what really matters in life. Don’t let me get so caught up in pursuing other things that I forget that love is what counts most. Help me to build up my family relationships and pay attention to the needs of the people around me.

Contemplatio

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 264–265). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Daily Thought For July 12, 2016

Into Your Hands I Commend My Crazy Day

God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him. Then you will be able to rest in Him -- really rest -- and start the next day as a new life.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Daily Thought For July 11, 2016

Benedict of Nursia

Our greatest need in the present historical moment is people who make God credible in this world by means of the enlightened faith they live. The negative testimony of Christians who spoke of God but lived in a manner contrary to him has obscured the image of God and has opened the doors to disbelief.

We need men who keep their eyes fixed on God, learning from him what true humanity means.

We need men whose intellect is enlightened by the light of God, men whose hearts are opened by God, so that their intellect can speak to the intellect of others and their hearts can open the hearts of others. It is only by means of men who have been touched by God that God can return to be with mankind.

We need men like Benedict of Nursia, who, in an age of dissipation and decadence, immersed himself in the uttermost solitude. Then, after all the purifications he had to undergo, he succeeded in rising again to the light. He returned and made his foundation at Monte Cassino, the “city on the hill” where, in the midst of so many ruins, he assembled the forces from which a new world was formed. In this way, like Abraham, Benedict became the father of many peoples. The recommendations to his monks with which he concludes his Rule show us, too, the path that leads on high, away from the crises and the ruins:

Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so is there is a good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and life everlasting.

Let monks, therefore, exercise this zeal with the most fervent love. Let them, that is, give one another precedence. Let them bear with the greatest patience one another’s infirmities, whether of body or of character.… Let them practice fraternal charity with a pure love. Let them fear God.… Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ. And may he bring us all alike to life everlasting.


Benedict XVI. (2006). Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures. (B. McNeil, Trans.) (pp. 52–53). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Daily Thought For July 10, 2016

Insights On The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Lectio

Luke 10:25–37

Meditatio

“… a Samaritan …”

As followers of Christ we are called to a high standard of love. I was especially impressed by something that happened at the Superdome in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As help was arriving to rescue people, many pushed forward—even violently—to be taken first. A small group of Vietnamese Catholics quietly remained in their places, praying the rosary, asking that the others be taken first. Another moving example occurred in October 2006, when the Amish community in Pennsylvania publicly forgave a gunman who had brutally shot and killed five Amish schoolgirls.

When I witness families, communities, and parish committees who have a communication style marked by passive aggression or angry bitterness, I wonder where our high standard of love has gone. How are we different from those who have no faith? We have no gun (usually) so the violence isn’t reported in the papers, but it is still hateful violence. Can we still rise to the challenge that Jesus gives us with the parable of the Good Samaritan?

'When we hear “Good Samaritan,” our hearts are warmed by the gentle kindness of the man who went out of his way to help someone who was down and out. When Jesus’ listeners heard “Samaritan,” they felt at least intense disgust if not outright hatred. Strong animosity existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. They didn’t live together, eat together, pray together, or even communicate. A centuries-long standoff kept the two groups apart. Jesus is saying that the one you hate, the one you think is no good, may be the one who will someday save you. In a way, Jesus is describing himself as the Good Samaritan for the human race. Jesus is also showing us how to behave when we are the labeled outsider, and he is humbling those who label others as good or bad. Finally, Jesus is calling us as his followers to communion, mutual forgiveness, and personal service.

Oratio

Jesus, what you say is hard. I’m not sure I can do this. How can I create communion in the difficult situations in which I live? I hear your answer: “You can’t create communion. Only I can. All I ask you to do is to forgive, to serve the other people in your life, even your ‘enemies,’ and to love everyone.”

Contemplatio

All that you ask of me, Lord, I cannot do on my own. I depend on you to accomplish it in me.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 256–258). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Daily Thought For July 8, 2016

Love The Life of The Heart

Love is the life of our heart. Just as weights give movement to the movable parts of a clock, so love gives to the soul whatever movement it has. All our affections follow our love; when divine love reigns in our hearts, it tames sensual love, reduces it to obedience, and puts under its sway all sensual passions. In sum, the love of God is the saving water of which Our Lord has said, "...whoever drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty." 

St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Daily Thought For July 7, 2016

God's Pity Is Stirred

My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. . . . For I am God and not man. (Hosea 11:8, 9)

Well, of course he’s God and not man—isn’t that obvious? Still, our vision of God can often be colored by our experience of human relationships. We are parents or children; we are friends or siblings. We have been disappointed or angered or pleased by all of them. We can think God will react to situations the same way any of us would. But God likes to surprise us.

When Hosea prophesied in Israel around 750 BC, many of God’s people were comfortable and prosperous—so much so that they had started drifting toward the idols that their neighbors and trading partners believed in. Humanly speaking, the people’s infidelity could have given God reason to abandon them or revoke their status as his chosen people. Like a mathematical equation or a contractual arrangement, their betrayal could have provoked a harsh response. But God is not man. He offers relationship and redemption, not revenge and recrimination.

This is how God relates to you, too. His heart is filled with love for you; he wants nothing more than to deepen your friendship with him. So why would he ever reject you? As Pope Francis once said, “Jesus never strikes. He cleanses with tenderness, mercy, love.”

Do we need to be cleansed? Of course. But how will Jesus go about it? Perhaps our experience of having been hurt or rejected in the past can lead us to expect Jesus to condemn us as well. But he won’t. He came to save, not to condemn.

As you reflect on this passage, try something different today. Think of the worst thing you’ve ever done. Now, imagine that Jesus is sitting with you, looking into your eyes. Can you see the mercy and gentleness there? What if he raised your face to his cheek or kissed you on the forehead as you might do to a child? Can you feel the forgiveness and love? Even if you didn’t feel especially repentant, it wouldn’t take long for your heart to melt in the face of such tenderness.

Let Jesus disarm you with his compassion today. Let him cleanse you with his tenderness.


“Lord Jesus, I gaze into your eyes. Your love can’t be explained in human terms. Thank you, Lord, for embracing me!”

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Daily Thought For July 6, 2016

Overcoming Worry

THE ULTIMATE PROTECTION AGAINST SINKING DURING LIFE'S STORMS IS DEVELOPING YOUR FRIENDSHIP WITH ME. You waste a lot of time, however, worrying about storms you can see forming along the horizon of your life. In the past many of the storms you had anticipated veered off in another direction, never reaching you. Although some of them did actually hit, usually they had lost much of their power by the time they got to you. I urge you to switch your focus from difficulties that may come your way to My Presence, which is always with you. 

You will never find security by trying to anticipate all the storms that may reach you someday. Remember that I control the atmosphere of your life. Trust Me by relaxing and releasing your concerns into My capable care. It saddens Me to see you obsessing about possible problems rather than bringing these matters to Me. When you find yourself anxiously scanning the horizon of your life, use that as a reminder to seek My Face. You will not find Me off in the distance. I am here beside you, nearer than you dare believe. 

Instead of wasting time worrying, devote that time to building close friendship with Me. Talk with Me about everything that concerns you-your pleasures as well as your problems. I am interested in everything that matters to you because I am your perpetual Lover. Remember that I am holding you by your right hand. I guide you with My own counsel, based on eternal wisdom; so there's no need to worry about the future. When the time comes, I will personally take you into Glory. For now just live near Me. My friendship is your best refuge in the storms of life. 

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. 
— 1 CHRONICLES 16:11 

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." 
— JEREMIAH 31:3 

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory .... But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. 

— PSALM 73:23-24, 28 


from Jesus Lives  by Sarah Young pp. 272-273

Monday, July 4, 2016

Daily Thought For July 4, 2016

A Prayer For The 4th of July

God our Father, 

Giver of life, 
we entrust the United States of America to Your loving 
care. 

You are the rock on which this nation was founded. 
You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to 
life, 
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Reclaim this land for Your glory and dwell among Your 
people.

Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation´s 
leaders. 
Open their minds to the great worth of human life 
and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.
Remind Your people that true happiness is rooted in 
seeking 
and doing Your will. 

Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, 
Patroness of our land,
grant us the courage to reject the "culture of death." 
Lead us into a new millennium of life. 
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Daily Thought For July 3, 2016

Allowing Ourselves To Be Guided

Blessed the one whom you guide, LORD, whom you teach by your instruction, To give rest from evil days, while a pit is being dug for the wicked. For the LORD will not forsake his people, nor abandon his inheritance.

Psalm 94:12-14

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Daily Thought For July 2, 2016

The Gift Of Trust

The Lord tenderly loves those who have the happiness of abandoning themselves totally to the fatherly care of Divine Providence. They do no stop to consider if it is advantageous or not to their own interests. Let us be convinced that the fatherly heart of God will never allow anything that is not for our greater good. 

St. Francis de Sales

Friday, July 1, 2016

Daily Thought For July 1, 2016

The Choice For Mercy

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

How many times, during these first months of the Jubilee, we have heard talk of the works of mercy! Today the Lord invites us to make a serious examination of conscience. In fact, it is good never to forget that mercy is not an abstract word, but a style of life: a person can be merciful or not merciful; it’s a style of life. I choose to be merciful or I choose not to be merciful. It is one thing to speak of mercy and another to live mercy. Paraphrasing the words of Saint James the Apostle, (cf. 2:14-17), we can say: mercy without works is dead in itself. It is in fact like this! What renders mercy alive is its constant dynamism in going to meet the needs and necessities of all those in spiritual and material hardship. Mercy has eyes to see, ears to listen, hands to resolve …

Daily life enables us to touch with our hand so many needs regarding the poorest and most tested persons. Requested of us is that particular attention that leads us to be aware of the state of suffering and need in which so many brothers and sisters are. Sometimes we pass before dramatic situations of poverty and it seems that they do not touch us; everything continues as if there were nothing, in an indifference that in the end renders us hypocrites and, without realizing it, it results in a form of spiritual lethargy, which renders our mind insensitive and our life sterile. People that pass by, who go forward in life without being aware of the needs of others, without seeing the many spiritual and material needs, are people that pass by without living, people that do not serve others. Remember <this> well: he who does not live to serve, does not serve to live.

How many aspects there are of God’s mercy to us! In the same way, how many faces turn to us to obtain mercy. One who has experienced the Father’s mercy in his own life cannot remain insensitive in face of the needs of brothers. The teaching of Jesus, which we just heard, does not allow ways out: I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was naked, a refugee, sick, in prison and you assisted me (cf. Matthew 25:35-36). One cannot beat about the bush in face of a person who is hungry: he must be given to eat. Jesus says this to us! The works of mercy are not theoretical subjects, but concrete testimonies. They oblige one to rollup one’s sleeves to alleviate suffering.


Because of the changes of our globalized world, some material and spiritual poverties have multiplied: hence let us make room for the imagination of charity to identify new operative ways. Thus the way of mercy will become ever more concrete. Requested of us, therefore, is to remain vigilant as watchmen, so that it will not happen that, in face of the poverties produced by the culture of wellbeing, the eyes of Christians are weakened and become incapable of looking at the essential. What does it mean to look at the essential? To look at Jesus, to look at Jesus in the hungry, the imprisoned, the sick, the naked, in the one who has no work and must lead his family forward. To look at Jesus in these brothers and sisters of ours; to look at Jesus in one who is alone, sad, in one who errs and is in need of counsel, in one who needs to walk with Him in silence, to feel he is in company. These are the works that Jesus asks of us! To look at Jesus in them, in these people. Why? Because that is how Jesus looks at me, <how He> looks at all of us.

Pope Francis — 8th Jubilee Audience on Mercy (June 30, 2016)