Saturday, December 31, 2016

Daily Thought For December 31, 2016

Kindness & Understanding 
     We will never know all the good a simple smile can do. 
     We speak about our God who is good, merciful, and compassionate. Are we a living token of that reality? Those who suffer—can they perceive in us that goodness that forgiveness, that living understanding?
     May no one ever come to you without going away better and happier. Everyone should see kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile. 
 
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Daily Thought For December 29, 2016

A Thief of Hearts
 
Stand alongside the sacred grotto, where our Savior teaches us so many virtues by His silence. And what does He say to us? While He immolates Himself for the love of us, His little heart must set ours on fire. See how lovingly He carries your names within that divine heart that beats out of affectionate desire for your growth in virtue and does not send a single sigh toward His Father in which you do no share, nor a single aspiration that is not aimed at your happiness. The magnet attracts iron and straw and hay; as for us, who are iron by our strength and straw by our weakness, we should unite ourselves to this Infant Who is a true thief of hearts.
 
St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Daily Thought For December 28, 2016

Without A Vision The People Perish
 
     My dear friends, God’s creation is one and it is good. The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable. Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises. Our hearts and minds are yearning for a vision of life where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. This is the work of the Holy Spirit! This is the hope held out by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is to bear witness to this reality that you were created anew at Baptism and strengthened through the gifts of the Spirit at Confirmation. Let this be the message that you bring from Sydney to the world!
 
WELCOMING CELEBRATION BY THE YOUNG PEOPLE
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Barangaroo, Sydney Harbour
Thursday, 17 July 2008

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Daily Thought For December 24, 2016

Don't Try And Get Ahead Of Your Guide
    
One of the principal obstacles one encounters on the way to perfection is the precipitous and impatient desire to progress and to possess those virtues that we feel we don't have. On the contrary, the true means of solidly advancing, and with giant steps, is to be patient and to calm and pacify these anxieties .... Don't get ahead of your guide for fear of getting lost and straying from the path that He indicates, because, if you do, instead of arriving safe and sound, you will fall into a pit. Your guide is the Holy Spirit. By your struggles and worries, by your anxiety and haste, you overtake Him with the pretense of moving more quickly. And then what happens? You stray from the path and find yourself on terrain that is harder and rougher and, far from advancing, you go backwards; at a minimum, you waste your time. 
 
St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Daily Thought For December 22, 2016

Ask & You Will Receive
 
If we have good ideas or good desires but lack strength to put them into practice, we must present them to God with a firm hope that He will help us. Certainly, if we place all our confidence in Divine Goodness, the Lord will not fail to grant whatever is necessary to persevere in His service. 
 
St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Daily Thought For December 21, 2016

To Return Good for Evil

"See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all." (1 Thes 5: 15) 

Not long ago my husband asked me for the second time whether I had found a babysitter for a concert he wanted to take me to. I had to admit that I hadn't even begun the search. He responded with anger - why did he have to ask again? Could it be that I didn't want to go? I was immediately hurt and snapped back. Standing before me was someone who needed me to be present to his needs. And all I could do was return anger for anger, hurt for hurt, evil for evil. I couldn't enter for a moment into his need to have an evening out, to be alone together for a short time away from the pressing needs of our six children. How infantile is the human heart! Our broken condition leaves us defensive and alone, accusing and accursed. The marital spat that played out for the first time in the garden of Eden ("She did it, blame her ... No, he did it!") is played out a thousand times a day. If we are able for a moment to rise above this scenario, to seek the good of the other instead of avenging our hurt, it is only because of a man who has entered our history in an entirely unexpected way. He takes upon himself the curse, he bears in his own body the vengeful wrath of the crowd. He returns good for evil. He transforms the human heart from within. Only his personal presence, the presence of a divine person - not an idea, not an ideal- can enable us really to overcome the sins that we have committed a thousand and one times. In the relationship of love between the soul and Jesus, everything that is low and petty and vengeful can be conquered and transformed. 

Dear Jesus, you know my weakness. Come to me this day. Transform me with your love. 

by Lisa Lickona from Praying With St. Paul by Magnificat Press p.283

Monday, December 19, 2016

Daily Thought For December 19, 2016

The Importance of Forgiveness
 
     Tolerance leads us to live a loving openness towards others, to look on them with constant kindness. It reaches the depths of the heart and knows how to look forward and find out that goodness which is in every person. 
     Only he who is humble is capable of maintaining an understanding attitude. Otherwise, the tiniest faults of others are magnified, and one tends to justify and minimize one's own greater faults and errors. Pride is like a curved mirror that distorts the reality of things. 
     He who is humble is objective, and thus can be respectful and tolerant towards others: forgiveness of others' faults comes easily to him. The humble person is not scandalized by these flaws in his neighbor. There is no sin, writes St Augustine, or crime committed by another which I myself am not capable of committing through my weakness; and if I have not committed it, it is because God, in his mercy, has not allowed me to and has preserved me in good. Moreover, we also learn to discover so many virtues in the people about us, who teach us by their hard work, their self-denial, their joy, that we shall not dwell too much on their defects; only when it is absolutely necessary shall we advert to them in order to help them with fraternal correction.
 
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume II p.132

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Daily Thought For December 13, 2016

Don’t Dwell On The Past
 
     Inner turmoil over past mistakes or sins indicates lack of trust in Jesus. He knows the weakness of our fallen nature. He wants to transform the energy and time you put into self-flagellation into resolute desire to call on his grace so that you can be better, precisely in the area of the shameful sin that haunts you.
     Refusal to accept forgiveness from God can have other bad consequences. After all, if you believe you can’t be forgiven, how well do you forgive others? There were saints who were murders but who lived to repent and became holy: St. Paul was the first. 
     A prayer you might say when bad memories of the past assail you is this:
     “Here I am, Jesus, Savior. You know everything I have ever done wrong. I give you my painful memories. I accept that pain as part of my punishment. 
     “I place in your heart anyone who was victimized by my sins. We are yours. Let me not omit the loving deeds you want of me today through preoccupation with bad ones of the past.”
 
from Help in Time of Need - Encouragement, Practical Advice, & Prayers by Ronda Chervin, PhD pp.39-40

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Daily Thought For December 9, 2016

Advent & Saying "Yes" To God's Plan

Dear Brothers and Sisters, happy feast day! The Readings, of today’s Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, present two crucial passages in the history of relations between man and God: we could say that they lead us to the origin of good and evil. These two passages lead us to the origin of good and evil.

The Book of Genesis shows us the first No, the No of the origins, the human No, when man preferred to look at himself rather than at his Creator; he wanted to be his own head, he chose to suffice unto himself. However, in so doing, removing himself from communion with God, he in fact lost himself and began to have fear, hiding himself and accusing the one close to him (cf. Genesis 3:10.12). These are the symptoms: fear is always a symptom of a No to God; it indicates that I am saying No to God. To accuse others and not look at oneself indicates that I am distancing myself from God. This constitutes sin. However, the Lord did not leave man at the mercy of his evil; He sought him immediately and asked him a question full of apprehension: “Where are you?” (v. 9). As if He were saying: “Stop, think: where are you?” It is the question of a father or a mother who seeks a lost son: “Where are you? In what situation have you ended up?” And God does this with so much patience, until closing the distance created at the origins. This is one of the passages.

The second crucial passage, recounted today in the Gospel, is when God comes to dwell among us, He makes Himself man like us. And this was possible through a great Yes, that of sin was a No; this is a Yes, Mary’s is a great Yes at the moment of the Annunciation. Because of this Yes, Jesus began His journey on the ways of humanity; He began it in Mary, spending his first months of life in the womb of His Mother: He did not appear already as an adult and strong, but followed the whole course of a human being. He made Himself the same as us in everything, except one thing, that No, except sin. Therefore, He chose Mary, the only creature without sin, immaculate. With just one word in the Gospel, she is said to be “full of grace” (Luke 1:28), namely, brimming with grace. It means that in her, immediately full of grace, there was no room for sin. And, when we turn to her, we also recognize this beauty: we invoke her “full of grace,” without the shade of evil. 

Mary responds to God’s proposal saying: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (v. 38). She does not say: “Huh, this time I will do God’s will, I’ll make myself available, then I’ll see …” No, hers is a full Yes, total, for the whole of life, without conditions. And as the No of the origins closed man’s passage to God, so Mary’s Yes opened the way to God among us. It is the most important Yes in history, the humble Yes that overturns the arrogant No of the origins, the faithful Yes that heals the disobedience; the willing Yes that overturns the egoism of sin.

For each of us, there is also a history of salvation made up of Yeses and Noes to God. Sometimes, however, we are experts in half Yeses: we are good at feigning that we do not understand what God would like and our conscience suggests to us. We are also crafty, and in order not to say a true and proper No to God, we say: “I’m sorry, I can’t,” “not today, but tomorrow”; “Tomorrow I’ll be better, tomorrow I’ll pray, I’ll do good, tomorrow.” And this craftiness distances us from the Yes, it distances us from God and leads us to the No, to the No of sin, to the No of mediocrity. The famous “Yes, but …”; “Yes, Lord, but …” But in doing so, we close the door to the good, and evil benefits from these wanting Yeses. Each one of us has a collection of these inside. Let us think about it and we will find so many missed Yeses. Instead, every full Yes to God gives origin to a new history: to say Yes to God is truly “original,” is origin, not sin, which makes us old inside. Have you thought of this? That sin makes us old inside? It makes us old quickly! Every Yes to God originates histories of salvation for us and for others – like Mary with her own Yes.


In this Advent journey, God wishes to visit us and He waits for our Yes. Let us think: I, today, what Yes must I say to God? Let us think about it, it will do us good. And we will find the voice of the Lord within God, who asks us something, a step forward. “I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. May your good will be done in me.” This is a Yes. With generosity and trust, like Mary, let each one of us say today this personal ‘Yes’ to God.

Pope Francis - Angelus, December 8, 2016

Friday, December 9, 2016

Daily Thought For December 9, 2016

Don't Be Afraid of "Stumps"

A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (Isaiah 11:1)

Picture a tree stump. It’s graying, dry, maybe even crumbling away. It seems impossible that a shoot—or any sign of life—could sprout from something so barren. But if you think about it, this kind of image lies at the heart of many of our favorite biblical stories.

For instance, you might think of the act of creation as the original sprouting stump. Out of a formless, shapeless chasm sprang an entire universe! Though they were elderly, Abraham and Sarah produced a bud that would eventually bloom into a whole nation. Mary wasn’t exactly lifeless, but new life came from her in an unexpected way. And then there’s Jesus. Think of how his life and ministry were cut down on the cross, only to shoot up from the grave three days later!

This image of life miraculously springing up from old stumps is deeply embedded in our faith. It has also taken root in you.

Take a few seconds to wander through the garden of your heart. Do you see any stumps poking out? We all have them. Maybe it’s a wounded relationship with a family member or lingering guilt over a sin you have already confessed. It could be anxiety over the future or a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that tells you God is displeased with you. Whatever it is, know that God can bring new life out of any situation, even something that seems as dead as an old tree stump. He can help you become more loving, more patient, and more compassionate.

Don’t let these stumps intimidate you. Any time you stumble upon one, or stumble over one, pray, “Father, I believe that you can bring new life here.” Statements of faith like this can go a long way in helping you experience God’s touch. They can remind you that the Lord is good and patient and loving. They can help you to keep moving forward with the Lord and not get stuck in worry or guilt.

There is so much more to your life than stumps! God has planted a forest full of seeds in you. Take a look around, and see how many of them are bearing wonderful fruit.


“Here I am, Lord. Let every part of me teem with your life and joy.”