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Showing posts from March, 2017

Daily Thought For March 31, 2017

Keeping Our Cool       If you should temporarily lose your sense of well-being, don't be too quick to despair. With humility and patience, wait for God, who is able to give you back even more profound comfort.       There is nothing novel about this to those who are familiar with God's ways. The great saints and ancient prophets frequently experienced the alternation of up and down, joy and sorrow. One of them, while he was enjoying a mountain-top experience said: When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken." O LORD, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.       And yet, even while he was going through this, he did not feel crushed. With renewed passion he prayed: Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help.       In time, his prayer was answered. This is his report: You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.       If the great saints are exposed to such var…

Daily Thought For March 30, 2017

Probing The Scriptures
Lectio

John 5:31–47

Meditatio

“… I say this so that you may be saved.”

Jesus is on trial. He has cured a sick man on the Sabbath, and has been accused of breaking the Sabbath rest. Appealing to his Father’s activity on the Sabbath (such as giving new life) and saying that he simply does the same, Jesus has aroused his accusers to further wrath: he calls God his Father. In addition, they seem to think that Jesus’ hint of equality with the Father means that he is setting himself up as God’s rival.

In yesterday’s Gospel passage, Jesus explains that he is God’s obedient Son, who does only what the Father wishes. (Therefore, he is not the Father’s rival.) In today’s passage, since the Law requires that someone being tried have witnesses, Jesus accepts that condition. He wants to give his accusers every opportunity to believe in him and be saved. As witnesses, he appeals not only to the invisible Father but also to John the Baptist and to the life-giving miracles he himself…

Daily Thought For March 29, 2017

Beauty For Ashes Sing out. . . . For the Lord comforts his people. (Isaiah 49:13) Have you ever noticed how much sadness and self-pity there is in blues music? The singer has unjustly lost his lover, his dreams have led to disappointment, his life is a shambles, or he has nothing to look forward to. The music is in a minor key, and the rhythms are mournful, all to reinforce the mood. Well, the Israelites had reason to sing the blues. Their enemies had destroyed their city and their Temple. Those who weren’t killed were taken into exile far from home. When their captors asked them to sing one of their traditional songs, they protested, “How could we sing a song of the Lord in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4). In the midst of this depressing situation, God’s prophet begins to proclaim a message of hope: God is on the move! He is going to liberate the prisoners and make a way for the exiles to return to their land. The prophet reminds the people who God is. He is the One who “leads them and…

Daily Thought For March 28, 2017

Waiting In The Upper Room If you wish to rise above a life of imperfection, you must, like the apostles, prepare yourself for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Remain watchful and persevere in humble and continual prayers.

When you are ready, my Spirit will come to you as he did to the apostles waiting in expectant faith in the upper room.

You will be given the courage to leave your safe house of prayer and fearlessly announce to the world what you have come to know of my truth and my love, not fearing pain and rejection, but seeing the glory of whatever comes to you.

I will give you a fire of charity strong enough to overcome your fears, your love of comfort, and all the temptations of the Devil.

Having the taste of my charity in your soul you can arise and give birth to it in your neighbors. For you cannot love me without loving your neighbor, nor can you love your neighbor and not love me.
St. Catherine of Sienna

Daily Thought For March 27, 2017

Christian Joy      The Lord wants us to make the effort to overcome our tendency to react badly to things or to hold back an intemperate word. Yet joy is not something we can order up. Joy is the fruit of love. There is no human love that can sustain a lasting joy. It often seems that human love is the source of more sorrow than joy. . . This is not the case in the Christian religion. A Christian who does not love God is a contradiction in terms. A Christian who does not radiate joy because of his love for God needs to take a closer look at his spiritual life. For the Christian, joy is something natural since it springs from the most important Christian virtue —love. Christian life and joy are essentially bound up together. There is also a relationship between sadness and lukewarmness, between sadness and egoism, between sadness and loneliness.       Joy can be increased or even recovered, if it is temporarily lost, with true prayer face to face with Jesus. This prayer ought to be perso…

Daily Thought For March 26, 2017

Never Give Up!
I plead with you--never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.
St. John Paul II

Daily Thought For March 24, 2017

How Big Is My Emotional Footprint?   I am surprised there are any functioning pedestrian street-crossing buttons in Seattle, considering the way we mistreat  them. Since I walk to the office most days, I cross a number of streets, often amid heavy traffic, and I make frequent use of those sturdy-looking metal buttons.  One day, it dawned on me that I often pressed the button twice — for emphasis, I suppose, or in the vain hope that doing so would speed things up. Then I began to notice that other people did the same, and that often they hammer the button with their fists so ferociously that it's a wonder it even works (I read that in some cities the buttons are purposely deactivated) .  When I realized that my habit of pushing the button twice was irrational, I stopped doing so. I figured a little less violence toward an inanimate object, and a little less insistence on my presence, would do Seattle and its traffic technology some good.  Years ago I decided that when flying I would alw…

Daily Thought for March 23, 2017

Overcoming The "Strong Man"

Meditatio

“… if it is by the finger of God that [I] drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Luke’s Gospel recounts the delightful scene of the Visitation, when the Spirit enabled Elizabeth to recognize the coming of the Lord among his people. Here in the doorway of a simple Jewish home, the Good News is first proclaimed between two women! This moment of great joy stands in stark contrast to the response of the crowds in today’s reading. Rather than recognizing that God is in their midst, some accuse Jesus of colluding with the devil, while others seek to test him as Satan once did in the desert. They have not recognized the moment of their visitation—the moment when God has come to dwell with them.

During this Lenten season, I think the Lord desires to remind us that “the Kingdom of God has come upon [us]”—it is not a distant reality, but is present here and now, even as we await the final fulfillment of this promise. Do we recogn…

Daily Thought For March 21, 2017

Troubleshooting Prayer        In the battle of prayer, we must face in ourselves and around us erroneous notions of prayer. Some people view prayer as a simple psychological activity, others as an effort of concentration to reach a mental void. Still others reduce prayer to ritual words and postures.     Many Christians unconsciously regard prayer as an occupation that is incompatible with all the other things they have to do: they "don't have the time." Those who seek God by prayer are quickly discouraged because they do not know that prayer comes also from the Holy Spirit and not from themselves alone.      We must also face the fact that certain attitudes deriving from the mentality of "this present world" can penetrate our lives if we are not vigilant. For example, some would have it that only that is true which can be verified by reason and science; yet prayer is a mystery that overflows both our conscious and unconscious lives. Others overly prize productio…

Daily Thought For March 20, 2017

In Search of the Lost Sheep 
Another picture that our Lord loves to use is that of the shepherd who goes out to look for the sheep that is lost (Mt 18: 12ft). So long as we imagine that it is we who have to look for God, then we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about: he is looking for us. And so we can afford to recognize that very often we are not looking for God; far from it, we are in full flight from him, in high rebellion against him. And he knows that and has taken it into account. He has followed us into our own darkness; there where we thought finally to escape him, we run straight into his arms.  So we do not have to erect a false piety for ourselves, to give us hope of salvation. Our hope is in his determination to save us. And he will not give in!  This should free us from that crippling anxiety which prevents any real growth, giving us room to do whatever we can do, to accept the small but genuine responsibilities that we do have. Our part is not to shoulder th…

Daily Thought For March 19, 2017

Daily Thought For March 18, 2017

Focus On Rising & Getting Back on Course  Never let us be discouraged with ourselves; it is not when we are conscious of our faults that we are the most wicked; on the contrary we are then less so. We see by a brighter light; and let us remember for our consolation that we never perceive our sins till we begin to cure them. We must neither flatter nor be impatient with ourselves in the correction of our faults. Despondency is not a state of humility; on the contrary, it is the vexation of despair of a cowardly pride ― nothing worse; whether we stumble or whether we fall, we must think only of rising again and going on our course. Our faults may be useful to us, if they cure us of vain confidence in ourselves, and do not deprive us of a humble and salutary confidence in God. Let us bless God with as true thankfulness if He have enabled us to make any progress in virtue as if we had made it through our own strength, and let us not be troubled with the weak agitations of self-love; le…

Daily Thought For March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Confession of Faith
I give unceasing thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the day of my testing. Today I can offer him sacrifice with confidence, giving myself as a living victim to Christ, my Lord, who kept me safe through all my trials. I can say now: Who am I, Lord, and what is my calling, that you worked through me with such divine power? You did all this so that today among the Gentiles I might constantly rejoice and glorify your name wherever I may be, both in prosperity and in adversity. You did it so that, whatever happened to me, I might accept good and evil equally, always giving thanks to God. God showed me how to have faith in him for ever, as one who is never to be doubted. He answered my prayer in such a way that in the last days, ignorant though I am, I might be bold enough to take up so holy and so wonderful a task, and imitate in some degree those whom the Lord had so long ago foretold as heralds of his Gospel, bearing witness to all nations.
  Ho…

Daily Thought For March 16, 2017

Those Who Seek With A Sincere Desire Will Always Be Assisted
This is the gift of my providence, which has seen to your need for salvation in so many different ways from the beginning of the world until today, and will continue to do so right up to the end. I, the true and just doctor, give you whatever I see your weakness needs to make you perfectly healthy and to keep you healthy. My providence will never fail those who want to receive it. Whoever wants to experience my goodness in my providence has only to look at those who hope in me, who knock and call out not just with words but with love enlightened by most holy faith. I do not mean those who knock and shout only with empty words, calling out to me, “Lord! Lord!” I tell you, unless they make their requests of me with some other virtue, I will acknowledge them not with mercy but with justice. So I tell you, my providence will not fail those who truly hope in me, but it will fail those who hope not in me but in themselves. 
from The…

Daily Thought For March 15, 2017

Be Witnesses Of God's Love
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, today we consider the joy that hope brings to our daily exercise of charity. We know how difficult it is to love as our Lord commands us, and how often our love can be tainted by self-interest. It is important to remember that love – charity – is a grace, the fruit of our saving encounter with God’s own love. Saint Paul reminds us that the Lord’s grace forgives our sins, heals our hearts and enables us to become channels of his own unconditional love. Our efforts to love our brothers and sisters with a pure and disinterested love are really our response to the love we have been shown in Christ. Conscious of our human weakness, let us ask our Lord daily to renew the gift of his love within us and to enable us to be witnesses of that love to others, especially those in greatest need. In this way, we will fulfill the Apostle’s command to “rejoice in hope” (Rom 12:12), as we strive to …

Daily Thought For March 14, 2017

Insights On The Pharisees Lectio Matthew 23:1–12
Meditatio “They preach but they do not practice.”
It’s comfortable to say, “Oh, those Pharisees!” and move on, thinking that this passage isn’t relevant today. But is that really true? Let’s look at the Pharisees.
They were lay religious leaders who wanted to observe God’s law so perfectly they had built up another body of laws to help them do so. They also wanted other people to follow the same rules. These rules were difficult, so some of the Pharisees prided themselves on their strict obedience. They acted superior to people who failed. Some seem to have become so bogged down in laws of human making that they placed these above the commandments of God. Jesus was open to the Pharisees. He accepted their hospitality. He welcomed Nicodemus, who came to him as a sincere seeker of truth. But Jesus had a problem with the way some Pharisees lived. And Matthew reported this for the benefit of his Christian community.
In religious movements there’s a…

Daily Thought For March 13, 2017

A Real Life Example of Meekness
Real-life stories are often the best means of illustrating a virtue. On a June morning in 1993, David Gelernter, a Yale University computer scientist, opened what he thought was an unsolicited doctoral dissertation. The package exploded in his hands, nearly blowing off his right hand and severely damaging his eyesight, hearing, and chest. Gelernter had joined the list of casualties of the “Unabomber,” Theodore Kaczynski. If anyone had a right to see himself as a victim, one might say, it is David Gelernter. But he will not wear that badge, and he will not invite the outpouring of public sympathy that goes with it. Nor does he want to be seen as a survivor. He does not want to be relegated to categories that are suspiciously “politically correct.” He wants to be known as a human being, a husband, and a father. We know a great deal about David Gelernter and his struggles with adversity, assault, and affliction, because he has written eloquently and insightf…

Daily Thought For March 12, 2017

The Quality of Meekness
The irony is that meekness, indeed a virtue, is the one virtue above all that allows us to remain ourselves in the midst of adversity. It allows us to maintain self-possession when adversity strikes, rather than be possessed by the adversity itself.

Meekness is more synonymous with empowerment than it is with weakness because, as Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote, meekness makes a man self-possessed. Dionysius said that Moses, surely no Milquetoast, “was deemed worthy of the divine apparition on account of his great meekness.” According to Saint Hilary, “Christ dwells in us by our meekness of soul.” When we are overcome by anger, we lose the sense of ourselves that allows God to dwell within us. Anger excludes God; meekness invites His presence.

Since meekness is self-possession in the face of adversity, it enables a person to do good in response to evil. Meekness is not cowardliness, timidity, or servility; it is the power that restrains the onslaught of anger and subje…

Daily Thought For March 11, 2017

God Will Provide For All Our Needs We must have a vibrant, living faith and a firm confidence that God will not refuse the assistance necessary to serve Him faithfully and work out our salvation. A soul rekindled with this holy confidence is like a sacred vessel, into which Divine Mercy pours the treasures of His grace; and the larger the vessel, the greater the abundance of Heavenly blessings it receives through prayer. For how can God, Whose power is limitless, and Whose goodness is alien to all deception, ever refuse His gifts to those whose petitions He has encouraged, and whose perseverance and faith He has promised to reward with the blessings of the Holy Spirit? Spiritual Combat - Lorenzo Scupoli Chapter 44

Daily Thought For March 10, 2017

Daily Thought For March 9, 2017

Cast Your Cares Upon Him
Lectio Matthew 7:7–12 Meditatio “Ask and it will be given to you …” We have heard or read these words countless times—at Mass, on a retreat, reading Scripture. Their very familiarity could make them lose their impact unless we really think about them. I once met a young woman who was not very religious. We were talking about the Bible, and I was amazed when she quoted this passage and told me that she tried to live her life by these words. She confided that she had been searching for meaning in her life and one day read this saying of Jesus. It struck her, and she found in it an answer to her yearning. She realized that God was the one she had been searching for, and that she could trust in God and his promises. Jesus understands our needs, desires, and wants. How can we not be touched by Jesus’ assurance that he hears us knocking and he sees us searching? This is not the only place in Scripture where Jesus makes this promise. For example, Jesus says in the Gospel of…