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Showing posts from December, 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

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.

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…

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 so…

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 Chris…

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

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 m…

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 

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 …

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 an…

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 mid…

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) 

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

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 Bap…

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 …

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

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 dis…

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 t…

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 …

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, bu…

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 understand…

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 l…