Saturday, December 30, 2017

Daily Thought For December 30, 2017

The Characteristics Of A Good Friend

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

Henri Nouwen

Friday, December 29, 2017

Daily Thought For December 29, 2017

Why God Allows Difficulties

“God, by placing man in difficult situations, provokes him into performing acts of faith.  These situations, which make us realize our powerlessness, can deepen our yearning for God…
…[H]e may allow or cause you to go through difficult trials of faith when you will not be able to cope with your problems by yourself…

The experience of not being able to cope with something, and the feeling of loss, can cause you to have the desire to look for his coming.  This is a chance for the growth and the deepening of your faith.” 

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer, December Magnificat, p. 202-203.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Daily Thought For December 28, 2017

Great Advice On Overcoming Anger

Anger can be a powerful and fierce emotion. If left unchecked, it can cause us to make rash decisions and lead us to hurt innocent people. Just look at Herod. He heard a king had been born in Israel and he was afraid. This child was a threat, and Herod wanted to get rid of him quickly. When the Magi didn’t cooperate with his plan, he became furious. So he lashed out, ordering the deaths of all young boys in and around Bethlehem.

Such a violent act horrifies us. And it should! It seems so arbitrary and unnecessary. Herod could have taken any number of other less drastic measures to protect himself. But as terrible as his reaction is, the truth is that none of us are immune to the pitfalls of anger.

It can start small. Maybe you get annoyed because your husband eats the lunch you had packed for yourself. It was just one thoughtless action, but you start to generalize and tell yourself he’s always inconsiderate or selfish. You start scolding him even when he has done nothing wrong. You might even find yourself lashing out at your children who aren’t even involved. They don’t deserve your wrath, but it’s too late; your anger is out of hand.

Anger can snowball to the point that we strike out against anyone. But there are some practical steps we can take to keep this from happening:

• First, be attentive to what’s going on in your mind. As soon as you see frustration or annoyance bubbling up, ask God to help you deal with it before it overflows into something more damaging.

• Try to think of one positive quality about the person you’re angry with. It may seem like a small thing, but stopping to see their virtues can give you a better perspective. It can also help you cool down.

• Finally, pray for that person. It’s hard to stay angry with someone you’re lifting up to the Lord. It will help you see them from God’s perspective, and you may even find yourself feeling more compassionate toward them.

Unchecked anger is destructive. But we don’t have to be controlled by it. God can help us break the cycle.


“Lord, help me not to let anger grow in my heart.”

Daily Thought From The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Daily Thought For December 27, 2017

May The Son Illumine Our Vocations

For St. John, as for everyone else, his vocation gave a new meaning even to the most ordinary things. The whole of life is affected by Our Lord's plans for each one of us. The discovery of one's personal vocation, is the most important point in each person's existence. It changes everything without changing anything; just as a landscape, without changing, is different before and after the sun goes down, beneath the light of the moon, or wrapped in the darkness of night. Every discovery gives a new beauty to things, and a new light creates new shadows; one discovery is the prelude to other discoveries of new lights and more beauty.  

John's whole life was centred on his Lord and Master; in his faithfulness to Jesus he found the meaning of his life. He put up no resistance of any kind to His call; he was found on Calvary when all the others had disappeared. This is what our life, too, has to be like,  because even though Our Lord calls some people in a special way, all his preaching comprises a vocation, an invitation to follow him into a new life whose secret he possesses: if any man would come after me ... 


Our Lord has chosen all of us - some of us with a specific vocation - to follow him, to imitate him and to carry on in the world the work of his Redemption. And from all of us he expects a joyful and unshakeable faithfulness like St John's - even in the most difficult moments. 

from In Conversation with God Volume 1 pp.246-247 by Francis Fernandez

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Daily Thought For December 26, 2017

We Need Peace


Lectio

Matthew 10:17–22

Meditatio

“For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

We might suppose that the day after Christmas would bring us another cozy Gospel story of angels and shepherds, or Magi traveling across countries, following the light of a star. But today, instead, we recall one of the first martyrs of the early Church—Saint Stephen.

Stephen’s story seems to break rather abruptly into the Christmas season. The rage of the crowd and Stephen’s violent martyrdom startle us. It seems so much at odds with the utter wonder and simplicity of God coming among us as a newborn baby. New hope was born among us, cause for great joy. The story of Stephen is given to us today as a challenge to bring this joy out into a world that often resists it.

As too soon the lights and decorations begin to come down around us and life quickly returns to more “ordinary” time, it can be difficult to live out the joy and hope that we celebrate each Christmas. When we experience moments of suffering or fear, the peacefulness of the crèche scene may seem very far away. But Jesus promises us that he will always be with us.
Just as Mary and Joseph lived each moment leading up to the birth of Jesus—and after—with trust in God’s faithfulness, Jesus calls us to put our trust in him.

Oratio

Jesus, our world profoundly needs the peace and hope that we celebrate each year at Christmas. Send me your Spirit, that I might speak your words of peace in moments of pain and difficulty. Help me to trust in your promise to always be with me.

Contemplatio

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31)


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 84–85). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Daily Thought For December 25, 2017

Christmas Blessings!

Our Saviour, dearly-beloved, was born today: let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord the destroyer of sin and death finds none free from charge, so is He come to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to pardon. Let the gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fulness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered through that (nature) which he had conquered.

St. Leo I

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Daily Thought For December 23, 2017

Our Amazing Destiny


Lectio

Luke 1:57–66

Meditatio

“What, then, will this child be?”

As each of my nieces and nephews was born (and especially when I had a chance to see them soon after birth), a feeling of awe and wonder struck me. What a little bundle of potential a newborn baby is! Each child is a mystery. What will he become? What will she be like?

We can spot some clues—long feet and toes indicating future height, for example. We can surmise some likely possibilities—the prospect of inheriting gifts and inclinations from artistic, athletic, or musically gifted parents, for instance. But no one except God can know for sure anything about the future deeds, accomplishments, influence, or lifespan of the child. And only a foolish person would claim to know the future.

A child like John, the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, is the focus of wonder because each child is a gift from God to the world—a sign that God has not finished with us yet.

The extraordinary circumstances around John’s birth make people take notice. Obviously, God is involved because this baby would not even have been conceived in the normal way of things. But God is involved in each child’s life, and indeed each person’s, no matter at what stage of life, no matter what a person may have done or not done previously. Every human being has marvelous potential and is a mystery known only to God.

Sometimes we sell each other and ourselves short. We might look at a person or at ourselves and feel that our future paths are already laid out. That is not true. God always provides the grace needed to change. We can always change direction or focus, or deepen our commitment, or repent of our selfishness, and allow God to transform us. The Baby born in Bethlehem reminds us of this.

Oratio

God, my Father, thank you for the gift that every single child is to the world. Thank you for the renewal of wonder, awe, and hope that every baby brings. Is that why your Son came as a baby—to awaken in people a new hope in your grace at work in the world?
I am a mystery of your grace. Thank you for the gift of being able to begin again. Help me never to despair of the possibility of change, either in myself or those around me.

Contemplatio

What will you do in me today, Lord?


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 76–77). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Daily Thought For December 22, 2017

Love & Suffering

Love and sacrifice are closely linked, like the sun and the light. We cannot love without suffering and we cannot suffer without love.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Daily Thought For December 21,2017

Beautiful Insights Into The Visitation


Lectio

Luke 1:39–45

Meditatio

  “… for joy …”

Christmas is just a few days away. Most of us still have lots of things to do as we prepare for our liturgies and our family celebrations. And so, today’s Gospel is especially for us. We find echoes of the pre-holiday hustle and bustle in Mary’s hasty journey through the difficult hill country.

Mary was very young, pregnant, and certainly preoccupied with her own future. For these reasons we are moved by her thoughtfulness, concern, and care every time we read this passage. In announcing to her God’s plans, the Archangel Gabriel tells her, as a means of reassuring her, that her older, barren cousin is also with child. Mary goes quickly to Elizabeth, eager to serve.

We expect exuberance from the young. It is one of life’s delights. Luke recreates this delight in the heart of today’s Advent saint, Elizabeth. We are not told the words or manner of Mary’s greeting to Elizabeth, but we can imagine how it must have been by Elizabeth’s reaction; “The moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” At that moment of encounter, the Holy Spirit has filled the older woman’s heart and she cries out an astonished blessing. How could she have known Mary’s own sweet secret? From where does her prophetic praise arise? How does she know the young girl has brought the Promised One to her humble home?

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas this year, let us return to this scene and imagine the days that followed and try to feel the joy that must have dwelt in every little word and gesture these holy women shared. As the day of Christ’s coming nears, let our hearts leap and our voices cry out in joy.

Oratio

Lord, I address this prayer to your Mother knowing the joy that gives you. Mary, reflecting on your journey and the meeting that took place between you and Elizabeth is to me a portrait of grace. You illustrate the gentle yet exuberant approach of God’s grace to my soul and, in Elizabeth, I see the soul’s astounded but joyful reception. May you, the Mother full of grace, make me a kind and joyful person, willing to serve unselfishly.

Contemplatio

“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 72–73). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Daily Thought For December 19, 2017

Listen In The Silence Of Your Heart

Imagine how difficult it must have been for Zechariah to remain silent for nine long months. How could he conduct business? How could he minister as a priest? How could he relate to his wife, Elizabeth? Scripture gives us little insight into how Zechariah spent that time, but we can be sure he spent a good portion of it learning patience and trust in God.

Whatever Zechariah did, it’s clear that God used this time to prepare him for his role as father of John the Baptist. Raising any child is a challenging venture, so imagine how much higher the stakes were here: Zechariah had to form the new Elijah, the herald of the Messiah. It’s a good thing he had a prolonged period of silence and reflection!

Catholic author and poet Caryll Houselander once talked about the blessings of silence this way: “God speaks silently, God speaks in your heart; if your heart is noisy, chattering, you will not hear.” It’s in silence that we can become aware of our emptiness and our longing for the Lord. Spending too much time caught up in the noise and clutter of the world can dull our spiritual senses. It can make us think that we are fulfilled and satisfied when we may be just bouncing from one distraction to the next. It’s only in silence and emptiness that we can allow the Lord to fill us and speak to us.

In these few days before Christmas, make it a point to seek out the Lord in silence. Maybe you can steal a few moments before the tabernacle during adoration or before the crèche in your home. Don’t say much; just picture Jesus sitting with you, and rest in his presence. It may not appear that anything is happening. You may feel nothing dramatically changing in you. But if you keep this up over time, you won’t be disappointed. God will speak to you. He will bring you peace. He will assure you of his love. He loves to spend time with you!

After John was born, Zechariah’s “mouth was opened,” and he sang God’s praises (Luke 1:64). His silence filled him with joy and confidence in the Lord. The same can happen for each of us as we wait before our God in silence.


“Lord, help me to seek you and find you in the silence of my heart.”

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

Daily Thought For December 18, 2017

He Is Present


Lectio

Matthew 11:28–30

Meditatio

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Who cannot relate to this passage? The feeling of being tired and burdened can last all year and is simply more intense these weeks before Christmas. Yet Advent is the one time we really long to slow down and appreciate the season. We know that we celebrate at Christmas the mystery that holds for us great joy: the birth of our Savior. Children are innately happy, filled with eager anticipation—even the secular world celebrates this season of joy. We long to savor the gift, to get away from the frenetic pace so often connected with this season.

My parents, ever my spiritual models, years ago made the simple decision that they would no longer go the expensive and exasperating mall-crawling, gift-giving route. They give a donation to charity, commit to daily Mass, and spend the rest of Advent a little more calm and less burdened as they visit family and friends.

In the midst of this hectic season, Jesus invites us to take his “light” and “easy” yoke upon our shoulders. But to take up his yoke, we shall have to lay down our own—there is no room for two. We shall have to lay down those “unnecessary anxieties” that weigh on us and squelch our joy. Jesus invites us to let go of whatever weighs us down. In my case this means my perfectionism, worry, unrealistic expectations. The meal doesn’t have to be the best ever; sending cards can be a time of prayer for each person I write to; decorating can be done simply. If I could let go of useless anxieties, I could give more attention to the people and projects that genuinely merit it. I could give more time to prayer.

Only trust in the Lord will allow me to exchange my yoke for his. To accept in faith that Jesus has the compassion, wisdom, and strength to handle my burdens will allow me to let go and be free.

Oratio

Lord Jesus, I fear that if mine is the first move I will never make it. If I must divest myself of my self-made yoke before I take on yours, where will I find the strength? But if you would help me here, if you would give me the grace to trust in your love, to trust in your strength and power to provide—if you make the first move, then I will have courage. Let me taste the sweetness of your yoke so my own pales in comparison and I willingly let it go to embrace yours.

Contemplatio

Lord, help me believe your words: your yoke is easy and your burden light.


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 34–35). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Daily Thought For December 17, 2017

Take His Hand And Walk

As long as you realize that God is holding on to you by your will and resolution to serve him, go on boldly and do not be upset by your little set-backs and falls; there is no need to be put out by this provided you throw yourself into his arms from time to time and kiss him with the kiss of charity. Go on joyfully and with your heart as open and widely trustful as possible; and if you cannot always be joyful, at least be brave and confident. 


Go straight on, and always in God's sight. God takes pleasure in seeing you make your little steps; and like a good father who holds his child by the hand, he will conform his steps to yours and will be quite happy not to go any faster than you. What are you anxious about? Whether you are taking this road or that other way, going fast or slow? All that matters is that he is with you, and you with him.

St. Francis de Sales
(Selected Letters, pp.45-46, Selected Letters, P: 160) 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Daily Thought For December 16, 2017

Trust

When I trust deeply that today God is truly with me and holds me safe in a divine embrace, guiding every one of my steps I can let go of my anxious need to know how tomorrow will look, or what will happen next month or next year. I can be fully where I am and pay attention to the many signs of God's love within me and around me.

Henri Nouwen

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Daily Thought For December 14, 2017

Giving The Glory To God


Ponder

IN ISAIAH’S POETRY, the Lord calls Jacob a worm and Israel a maggot (41:14). Of course, some translations soften it a little by using the word insect. The King James version just says ye men of Israel. In any case, that name-calling jolts us, especially at 7 A.M. Mass. Would we be able to take it if the Lord faced us squarely with our reality?

The text goes on to tell us that the Lord will help even worms and maggots; the promises of prosperity, fertile, fruitful lands, and precious forests continue—in fact, mightily! “You shall rejoice in the LORD; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory” (Is 41:16). The point of the reading: The wonderful things happening to Israel will ultimately be God’s doing, not ours. “The hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it” (Is 41:20).

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus talks to the crowds. Some support him; others object to everything he says and does. He praises the greatness of his cousin, John the Baptist. At the same time, Jesus tells us that the least in the Father’s kingdom is greater than John.
In A Guide to the Eucharist and Hours, Kevin W. Irwin unravels these texts wonderfully. He says that John is a “model of unprecedented self-effacement before God.” John knows his importance, but he “humbly stands aside when the Lord comes.” Irwin goes on, “John, this last and specially chosen prophet, leads us by word and example to realize that we too must be self-effacing before the Lord.”

Isn’t it true: We hope people will like what we did for them, be grateful for our efforts, say “thank you” for the hot chocolate and cookies.… Obviously, we’ve done the deed for ourselves, if we expect thanks.

Irwin’s final comments say it all:

  John’s example functions as a most important Advent model for us, especially as we prepare for the coming holidays. There are cards to send, gifts to purchase, food to prepare, family to please, and neighbors to greet. But, in all this, we ought to remember why we do it—out of love for others and to spread the peace of Christ, the true gift of Christmas. We are to incarnate Jesus’ love in our daily lives among those we love and especially among those who do not love us.

Mary, I can’t quite imagine that you pouted when your Son ran in, grabbed a cookie, and ran off to play with his friends. Well, I can’t imagine that he forgot to say thank you either. Are you smiling? Isn’t this the normal backside of every weaving? Help me not to take myself too seriously!

Act

  Today, do what you do for the doing of it and for the Lord—not for the thanks you will or won’t receive. That’s the stuff of saints!

Pray

  Jesus, teach me to pray like Isaiah: “The hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it” (41:20).


Frisk, M. J. (2005). Joyous Expectation: Journeying through Advent with Mary (pp. 41–43). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Daily Thought For December 13, 2017

Lay It Down


Lectio

Matthew 11:28–30

Meditatio

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.”

Who cannot relate to this passage? The feeling of being tired and burdened can last all year and is simply more intense these weeks before Christmas. Yet Advent is the one time we really long to slow down and appreciate the season. We know that we celebrate at Christmas the mystery that holds for us great joy: the birth of our Savior. Children are innately happy, filled with eager anticipation—even the secular world celebrates this season of joy. We long to savor the gift, to get away from the frenetic pace so often connected with this season.

My parents, ever my spiritual models, years ago made the simple decision that they would no longer go the expensive and exasperating mall-crawling, gift-giving route. They give a donation to charity, commit to daily Mass, and spend the rest of Advent a little more calm and less burdened as they visit family and friends.
In the midst of this hectic season, Jesus invites us to take his “light” and “easy” yoke upon our shoulders. But to take up his yoke, we shall have to lay down our own—there is no room for two. We shall have to lay down those “unnecessary anxieties” that weigh on us and squelch our joy. Jesus invites us to let go of whatever weighs us down. In my case this means my perfectionism, worry, unrealistic expectations. The meal doesn’t have to be the best ever; sending cards can be a time of prayer for each person I write to; decorating can be done simply. If I could let go of useless anxieties, I could give more attention to the people and projects that genuinely merit it. I could give more time to prayer.

Only trust in the Lord will allow me to exchange my yoke for his. To accept in faith that Jesus has the compassion, wisdom, and strength to handle my burdens will allow me to let go and be free.

Oratio

Lord Jesus, I fear that if mine is the first move I will never make it. If I must divest myself of my self-made yoke before I take on yours, where will I find the strength? But if you would help me here, if you would give me the grace to trust in your love, to trust in your strength and power to provide—if you make the first move, then I will have courage. Let me taste the sweetness of your yoke so my own pales in comparison and I willingly let it go to embrace yours.

Contemplatio

Lord, help me believe your words: your yoke is easy and your burden light.


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 34–35). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Daily Thought For December 12, 2017

Light It Up!

If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will 'light up' with a joy that spreads to everyone around us.

Pope Francis

Monday, December 11, 2017

Daily Thought For December 11, 2017

Is Humanity Still Waiting? How Do We Prepare?


But the question is: is the humanity of our time still waiting for a Saviour? One has the feeling that many consider God as foreign to their own interests. Apparently, they do not need him. They live as though he did not exist and, worse still, as though he were an “obstacle” to remove in order to fulfil themselves. Even among believers—we are sure of it—some let themselves be attracted by enticing dreams and distracted by misleading doctrines that suggest deceptive shortcuts to happiness.

Yet, despite its contradictions, worries and tragedies, and perhaps precisely because of them, humanity today seeks a path of renewal, of salvation, it seeks a Saviour and awaits, sometimes unconsciously, the coming of the Saviour who renews the world and our life, the coming of Christ, the one true Redeemer of man and of the whole of man.

Of course, false prophets continue to propose a salvation “at a cheap price”, that always ends by producing searing disappointments.

The history of the past 50 years itself demonstrates this search for a Saviour “at a cheap price” and highlights all the disappointments that have derived from it. It is the task of us Christians, with the witness of our life, to spread the truth of Christmas which Christ brings to every man and woman of good will.

Born in the poverty of the manger, Jesus comes to offer to all that joy and that peace which alone can fulfil the expectations of the human soul.

But how should we prepare ourselves to open our hearts to the Lord who comes? The spiritual attitude of watchful and prayerful expectation remains the fundamental characteristic of the Christian in this Advent Season. It is this attitude that distinguishes the protagonists of that time: Zechariah and Elizabeth, the shepherds, the Magi, the humble, simple people, above all Mary and Joseph’s expectation! The latter, more than any of the others, felt in the first person the anxiety and trepidation for the Child who would be born.

It is not difficult to imagine how they spent the last days, waiting to hold the newborn Infant in their arms. May their attitude be our own, dear brothers and sisters! In this regard, let us listen to the exhortation of St Maximus, Bishop of Turin, cited above: “While we are waiting to welcome the Nativity of the Lord, let us clothe ourselves in clean garments, without a stain. I am speaking of clothing the soul, not the body. Let us not be clad in silk raiments but in holy works! Sumptuous clothing may cover the limbs but does not adorn the conscience” (ibid.).

In being born among us, may the Child Jesus not find us distracted or merely busy, beautifying our houses with decorative lights. Rather, let us deck our soul and make our families a worthy dwelling place where he feels welcomed with faith and love. May the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph help us to live the Mystery of Christmas with renewed wonder and peaceful serenity.

With these sentiments, I would like to offer my most fervent good wishes for a holy and happy Christmas to all of you present here and to your relatives, with a special remembrance for those who may be in difficulty or who are suffering in body and spirit. Happy Christmas to you all!


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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Daily Thought For December 10, 2017

The Lord Is Doing Something New


Lectio

Mark 1:1–8

Meditatio

  “The beginning of the Gospel …”

Beginnings are generally small, even insignificant. Nightfall begins when the first faint star appears. A world-changing technology may begin in a flash of insight entirely hidden to all but the thinker. A life-changing love may have its origin in a subtle glance whose potential could never be fathomed by the two who exchange it. Advent celebrates just this kind of beginning, one bursting with possibilities.

The Gospel itself, “the power of God for salvation” (cf. Rom 1:16), begins with a solitary voice in the desert. Those who heard that call probably thought the eccentric John, with his camel hair and locusts, was the focal point of what was about to begin. But John is not staging an event as if he were launching a new product line or planning an inauguration. Instead, he claims to be no more than an advance messenger; the “one mightier” is drawing near. This is why John pares his existence down to the essentials. This is why John insists on a symbolic baptism of repentance and a confession that is both an admission of sin and a proclamation of hope and praise: John is preparing the way of the Lord. This is the Lord who had spoken through the prophets, anticipating the utter newness that was “impossible to human beings, but not for God” (cf. Mk 10:27): “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you” (Ez 36:26).

For Mark, it isn’t only a written account that starts, as all books do, from “the beginning”: it is the Gospel itself that is just beginning, even now. We even find a new beginning at the end of Mark’s Gospel, where the Lord sends us, like the apostles, to proclaim the Gospel to every creature (cf. Mk 16:15). Mark is telling us that the entire written Gospel is the first breath of something startlingly new.

Oratio

Lord, I admit to a certain amount of fear in the face of what is new, even when I secretly know that the old and familiar no longer work. During this Advent week, let me hear your word in a new way. Renew me in mind and heart, so that I will be able to respond to you in peace. Then I will give you praise for the great things you are bringing about before my very eyes!

Contemplatio

Lord, even here, even now, you are doing something new!

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 26–27). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Daily Thought For December 7, 2017

A Child's Will

     It took having kids for me to start distilling some of Jesus' parables. The first grader, eager to please, jumps when offered a task-that is, until she hears the actual chore. If it doesn't fit her criteria of glamour or overall extraordinariness, you can see the wheels turning as she starts backing out. The four-year-old is more honest; he'd rather just play. The toddler throws things. 
     Their childish flightiness is familiar to me, even as I seek to do the will of my Father in heaven. Often I'm my daughter, raring to fight for a worthy cause du jour, at the risk of missing the daily cases God places before me in which it is difficult, boring, and tiresome to love. To suffer. To obey. I empathize with my son's desire to remain in comfort, and even the youngest's most willful rebelliousness. 
     Jesus warns us, Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father. When my house is beset by storms, whose will have I centered it on? Like my children, I fail at obedience, but Advent is the time for reshoring that foundation. Children also have the incredible capacity to abandon themselves to a task out of sheer love and joy. That's the obedience I long to imitate. 

Reflection based on Matthew 7:21,24-27 
ELIZABETH HANSEN (Magnificat Advent Companion)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Daily Thought For December 6, 2017

The Lord's Compassion & The Gift of Lourdes

Lectio

Matthew 15:29–37

Meditatio

  “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.”

Today’s Gospel visibly demonstrates Jesus’ compassion in word and action. After days of following the Master, the crowd longs for his presence, his words, and his saving deeds. Jesus also knows the people are hungry! “My heart is moved with pity.…”

As the Teacher climbs the mountain and sits before the crowd, the suffering of the sick and the needs of the people stirred his heart with pity. His saving touch heals the physically challenged and those who suffered many kinds of sickness. With seven loaves and a few fish, Jesus multiplies the food so the people will not “collapse on the way.”

The healing of the sick and the feeding of the four thousand show clearly how profoundly God embraces our human condition in Jesus Christ. The heart of God understands the physical suffering, pain, and weakness we experience! He is not only a God who is “for” us in our need, but who experienced hunger and physical pain in his own flesh.

Perhaps images of Lourdes fill our imagination when we read this Gospel. Men, women, and children who suffer from every kind of physical, emotional, and mental illness seek spiritual and physical healing at Lourdes. Accompanied by caregivers and family members, the sick assemble as the Eucharist is celebrated, received, and adored. Jesus’ heart again “is moved with pity” for them as it was on that mountain in Galilee. Lourdes is a place of hope because the presence of God is so deeply felt in prayer, word, and sacrament. How completely Jesus embraces human weakness is so visible and deeply moving at Lourdes.

Jesus never runs away from our pain, sin, or human messiness, but he embraces it in tenderness and mercy. We can bring to our Savior’s compassionate heart whatever weighs us down, wherever we live!

Oratio

Jesus, companion and friend, walk with me when I feel I cannot go on. Feed me with your word and the Eucharist so the needs and hungers of my heart will be fed. Bring healing to whatever is sick in me. May my words and actions give hope to those who journey with me and who feel overwhelmed by problems and concerns. Satisfy the hunger of the world’s poor with bread, and the hunger of all people for love and a meaningful life. May the Eucharist be the icon through which I see the needs and hungers of others.

Contemplatio

Jesus, you satisfy the hungers of my heart.


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 16–17). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Daily Thought For December 5, 2017

The Cross Will Always Stand Against Evil

The image of the naked Galilean hanging from the cross has always inspired great love and fierce hate. Nero sought to make the cross a hateful image by putting Christians to death upon it, pouring pitch upon them, and lighting Rome with these flaming human crosses. Julian the Apostate said that he would make the world forget the Man on the cross, but in his final agony he had to acknowledge, “Thou has conquered, Galilean.” Communists forbid its presence because they fear its power against their evil designs. Hitler has tried to replace the image of our Blessed Lord on the cross with a stupid swastika. Invectives, false philosophies, violence, and every diabolical scheme have been used to tear the Christ from the cross and the crucifix from the church. Nevertheless, like the bombs that were dropped on this chapel, they have only succeeded in making the cross stand out more and more in bold relief. The image we love grows greater in our understanding because of the vehemence of the hate it occasions in wicked men. Each of us has that sacred image stamped upon his soul. Like the chapel, we are Temples of God. And no matter how we are torn by the bombs of tragedy and trial and assault from without, the image of the crucified remains if we want it to. Now at the foot of this cross let us renew our baptismal vows. Let us promise to shield forever His image in our hearts.

Fr. Francis Sampson (the priest who saved the real "Private Ryan") for more information on his remarkable life click HERE.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Daily Thought For December 4, 2017

Our Holy Longing Will Be Fulfilled

Lectio

Matthew 8:5–11

Meditatio

  “I will come …”

In the movie August Rush, the eleven-year-old orphan Evan Taylor hopes to be reunited with his birth parents, whom he has never known. His parents, Lyla and Louis, fall in love but are separated. Lyla has a child, but her father gives the child up for adoption without Lyla’s knowledge. With the vision possible only to the human heart, Evan clings to the hope he will one day be reunited with his parents. Evan can be for us an icon of Advent hope. He longs to know he is not alone, to know that he is loved.

During Advent, we also long for the coming of the awaited Messiah—in Bethlehem, at the end of time, and in each human heart, including our own. Like Evan, we also cry out: “Come!”
Similarly, the centurion in today’s Gospel pleads with Jesus to heal a sick servant. The centurion trusts Jesus so much that he believes Jesus’ word has power to bring relief and healing. Situations of pain or paralysis in our own lives can open us up to cry out for healing. This desire prompts us to reach out to those we trust: a spouse, a close friend or relative, a parent, mentor, spiritual guide, God. Sometimes a simple word or gesture from someone significant reassures us that we are not alone. How powerful are the words: “I’ll be right there,” or, “I am with you.”

Ponder for a moment the first three words of Jesus’ response to the centurion’s request: “I will come …” Every time we call out to him, our loving God says the same thing: “I will come.” Jesus manifests his desire to come and be with us not just at certain moments, but all the time. Just as Evan Taylor’s hopeful expectation for reunion is finally fulfilled, our longing for God’s presence will also be fulfilled. The Lord reassures us: “I am with you always …” (Mt 28:20).

Oratio

Lord, come anew into this heart made by you, hungry for you. Come into my heart, my mind, my life, my entire being, body and soul. Heal what is broken in me; give life to what is paralyzed within me. I believe you can do all things, and that you want to come and heal. Like the centurion, who asked for healing for his servant, I also ask you to bless and heal those for whom I pray today, especially for: (pause to mention names).
Come, Emmanuel, God with us.

Contemplatio

“Come, O Lord. Do not delay.”


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 12–13). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.