Sunday, August 19, 2018

Daily Thought For August 19, 2018

Daily Need of Patience 

CHRIST:
My CHILD, though you may plan all things and arrange everything with the greatest care, you will still have many opportunities to exercise the virtue of patience. You cannot eliminate the unexpected, the unforeseen, and the unavoidable. In many cases your best remedy and weapon will be an intelligent patience with yourself as well as with others. 
2. Every man has his daily share of troubles and trials. Sometimes it may be bodily pain and discomfort.  At other times it may be mental or spiritual suffering, some annoyance, disappointment, or anxiety. Sometimes you may feel that I have deserted you. Then again, you may have to bear misunderstandings, misinterpretations, or even bad will from your neighbor. In fact, there are times when you are a burden and a bother to yourself. 
3. Everybody would like to be free of these trials, but it cannot be. They are a part of your earthly life. Wherever you turn, you will always find My cross in one form or another. Patience will help you to bear it more easily. This virtue will help you keep your soul at peace, so that you may continue to walk toward Heaven in time of trials. 

THINK:

l see only too clearly how wonderful a virtue patience is. It is the key to peace, and even joy, in time of trouble and suffering. I need never be surprised, resentful, disappointed, or sad when things go badly for me. Wherever I go, I bring with me one of my greatest troubles and burdens-myself, with all my unreasoning desires and endless wants. Through the virtue of patience I can gain greater possession of myself. I shall more easily see how to deal with the trials facing Me. 

PRAY!

My Jesus, King of true glory, You embraced a life of suffering and trials for love of me. You mounted a throne of shame and agony for my sins. Can I expect, or even desire, a life of ease, with everything going as I wish? When I consider what You chose to suffer for my sake, the disappointments, hatred, ingratitude, humiliation, injustice, and more, can I want a life of planned successes and pleasant friendships? No, Lord. If I really love You, I shall desire a share of Your cross in my daily life. Teach me patience to accept the heartaches, aggravations, and disappointments which come my way. Make me more like You in a life like Yours. No greater glory is possible to any man. Amen. 

from My Daily Bread pp. 340-341

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Daily Thought For August 18, 2018

Who Are The Saints?

The saints are those who struggle right up to the end of their lives, who always get up each time they stumble, each time they fall, and courageously embark on their way once more with humility, love, and hope. 
 
St. Josemaría Escrivá, The Forge

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Daily Thought For August 16, 2018

A Father Speaks To His Son

   My dearest son, if you desire to honour the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and apostolic faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession. Failing to do this, you may be sure that you will not be called a Christian or a son of the Church. Indeed, in the royal palace – after the faith itself – the Church holds second place, first propagated as she was by our head, Christ; then transplanted, firmly constituted and spread through the whole world by his members, the apostles and holy fathers. And though she always produced fresh offspring, nevertheless in certain places she is regarded as ancient.
  However, dearest son, even now in our kingdom the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted; and for that reason she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians lest a benefit which the divine mercy bestowed on us undeservedly should be destroyed and annihilated through your idleness, indolence or neglect.
  My beloved son, delight of my heart, hope of your posterity, I pray, I command, that at every time and in everything, strengthened by your devotion to me, you may show favour not only to relations and kin, or to the most eminent, be they leaders or rich men or neighbours or fellow-countrymen, but also to foreigners and to all who come to you. By fulfilling your duty in this way you will reach the highest state of happiness. Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. Be patient with everyone, not only with the powerful, but also with the weak.
  Finally be strong lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down. Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next. Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately. Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice. Be honourable so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone. Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death.

  All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown and without them no one is fit to rule here on earth or attain to the heavenly kingdom.

Saint Stephen of Hungary (Instructions To His Son from the Office of Readings)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Daily Thought For August 15, 2018

Yes, It Is Really Bad. But Don't Lose Hope.

When we find ourselves in some danger, we must not lose courage, but confide much in the Lord; for where danger is great, great also is the assistance of Him Who is called our Helper in tribulation.”


Saint Ambrose

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Daily Thought For August 14, 2018

Fighting The Good Fight

No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs [e.g. the sacrifice of many victims] of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?

St. Maximilian Kolbe

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Daily Thought For August 12, 2018


 The Beautiful Gift of the Eucharist

     Today our Lord forcefully reminds us that we need to receive him in Holy Communion in order to participate in the divine life, to overcome temptations, to foster and nourish the life of grace born in us through Baptism. Whoever receives Communion in a state of grace participates in the fruits of the Holy Mass and obtains benefits that are proper and specific to the reception of the Sacrament. He receives Christ himself, the source of all grace, really and spiritually. Thus, the Holy Eucharist is the greatest sacrament, the centre and summit of all the rest. The true presence of Christ in this sacrament gives it an infinite supernatural effectiveness. 
     There is no greater joy in this life than to receive our Lord. When we wish to give ourselves to others we often give them something that belongs to us, or something we know to symbolize a deeper attitude of affection, of love. But we always encounter some limitation to our self-giving. In Holy Communion, divine power surpasses all human limitations: under the Eucharistic species, Christ gives himself to us completely. Love achieves her ideal in this sacrament —compete identification with the person loved and longed for. When two pieces of wax are put into the fire, they melt and become as a single thing. Something similar occurs when we participate in the Body of Christ and in his Precious Blood. Truly there is no greater joy or greater good than to receive Christ himself in Holy Communion with dignity. 

From In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 4 P.341-342.



Saturday, August 11, 2018

Daily Thought For August 11, 2018

Experience Transformation

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! Place your heart in the figure of divine substance! And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead itself through contemplation.


St. Clare of Assisi

Friday, August 10, 2018

Daily Thought For August 10, 2018

Indescribable Joy

Every time I hear anyone speak of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or of the Blessed Sacrament I feel an indescribable joy. It is as if a wave of precious memories, sweet affections and joyful hopes swept over my poor person, making me tremble with happiness and filling my soul with tenderness.

St. Pope John XIII

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Daily Thought For August 8, 2018

Care of the Soul
 
The self can be a jealous gatekeeper that clamors for all the attention and does not want us to go deeper. Moreover, the Evil One likes to discourage us and arrogantly charges us with the sole responsibility of fixing ourselves – a dead end! Jean-Pierre de Caussade knew well that when healing is needed for the damaged, dysfunctional self, God seeks to heal the soul, from where the most salutary healing will spring forth and endure. When the soul is tended with care, the self thrives. 

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Daily Thought For August 7, 2018

Trust In God, Use What You Have, Find True & Lasting Joy

Sickness and trouble are not a sign that we are far from God or that he has rejected us. Look at the lives of great saints of our day―for instance, Thérèse of Lisieux and Bernadette of Lourdes. No, we don’t believe in a God of small deeds who lets his favorites win lotteries and capriciously ignores the others. He is too great to act like that. . . He will always respond to real prayer, though! You’ll often see sick people, who know how to pray, getting better. That’s not necessarily miraculous. It is often the natural result of living in the milieu of his peace and grace. I could be cured miraculously of leukemia, and that would be good. If I’m not cured, that’s good too, and it won’t bother me a scrap. All that I am concerned about is what his plans are for me; the only life that interests me is one lived for him. . . one day at a time, supported by prayer. 

Takashi Nagai - A Song For Nagasaki - The Story of Takashi Nagai, Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb by Paul Glynn, S.M. pp.237-238

Monday, August 6, 2018

Daily Thought For August 6, 2018

Words of Encouragement On The Transfiguration

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
Good morning!

This Sunday, the liturgy celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Today’s Gospel passage recounts that the Apostles Peter, James and John were witnesses to this extraordinary event. Jesus took them with him “and led them up a high mountain apart” (Mt 17:1) and, while he prayed, his face changed in appearance, “shone like the sun”, and “his garments became white as light”. Then Moses and Elijah appeared, and began a dialogue with Him. At this point, Peter said to Jesus: “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” (v. 4). He had not yet finished speaking when a bright cloud enveloped them.

The event of the Lord’s Transfiguration offers us a message of hope — thus shall we be, with Him —: it invites us to encounter Jesus, to be at the service of our brothers and sisters.

The disciples’ ascent up Mount Tabor leads us to reflect on the importance of disengaging from worldly matters, in order to make a journey toward heaven and to contemplate Jesus. It is a matter of being attentive to the careful and prayerful listening of Christ, the beloved Son of the Father, seeking intimate moments of prayer that allow for the docile and joyful welcoming of the Word of God. In this spiritual ascent, in this disengagement from worldly matters, we are called to rediscover the peaceful and regenerative silence of meditating on the Gospel, on the reading of the Bible, which leads to a destination rich in beauty, splendour and joy. When we meditate in this way, with the Bible in hand, in silence, we begin to feel this interior beauty, this joy that the Word of God engenders in us. In this perspective, the summer season is a providential time to cultivate our task of seeking and encountering the Lord. In this period, students are free of scholastic commitments and many families take their holidays; it is important that in the period of rest and disengagement from daily activities, we can reinforce our strengths of body and soul, by deepening our spiritual journey.

At the end of the stunning experience of the Transfiguration, the disciples came down the mountain (cf. v. 9) with eyes and hearts transfigured by their encounter with the Lord. It is the journey that we too can make. The ever more vibrant rediscovery of Jesus is not the aim in itself, but spurs us to “come down the mountain”, energized by the power of the divine Spirit, so as to decide on new paths of conversion and to constantly witness to charity, as the law of daily life. Transformed by Christ’s presence and by the ardour of his Word, we will be a concrete sign of the invigorating love of God for all our brothers and sisters, especially for those who are suffering, for those who are lonely and neglected, for the sick and for the multitude of men and women who, in different parts of the world, are humiliated by injustice, abuse and violence.

In the Transfiguration, the voice of the heavenly Father is heard saying: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him!” (v. 5). Let us look to Mary, the Virgin of listening, ever ready to welcome and keep in her heart every word of the Divine Son (cf. Lk 2:51).


May our Mother and the Mother of God help us to be in harmony with the Word of God, so that Christ may become light and lodestar throughout our life. Let us entrust to her the holidays of all, so that they may be peaceful and fruitful, but above all the summer of those who cannot go on holiday due to impediments of age, to reasons of health or of work, to economic restrictions or other problems, so that it may be a time of eased tension, gladdened by the presence of friends and of happy moments.

Pope Francis Angelus Address August 6, 2017

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Daily Thought For August 5, 2018

Food That Endures For Eternal Life

When I see that everything around me is collapsing, increasing evil and darkness that may engulf me, I need to remember the words of Saint Paul: where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Rom 5:20). If I see my personal selfishness or egoism in those around me, I can see it as an opportunity to look for the solution in the one place I can find it. I need to turn to the one who loves me and unceasingly transmits his redeeming graces on the altar. In my difficulties, he is here and now closer to me than ever.

The chosen people’s forty years of wandering in the desert mirrors humankind’s journey towards God. It is an image of my history too. I can detect in it some of my own temptations to doubt in the face of what seems to be overpowering. For Moses, who led the wandering during this time, it sometimes seemed that everything was falling apart. He felt as though his life was one big failure. Perseverance seemed to bring him to the breaking point. The Bible sums up his extraordinary perseverance: He endured as seeing him who is invisible (Heb 11:27).

I need to be reminded that everything is taking place according to God’s will or at least with his consent. After all, he foresees it all from the beginning and decides how opposition to his will can best be utilized. “Wicked men,” writes Saint Augustine, “do many things contrary to God’s will; but so great is his wisdom and power, that all things which seem adverse to his purpose do still tend towards those just and good ends and issues which he himself has foreknown.” And somewhere else: “For almighty God…because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.”


Father Tadeusz Dajczer

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Daily Thought For August 4, 2018

Our Task — To Pray & To Love

     Consider, children, a Christian’s treasure is not on earth, it is in heaven. Well then, our thoughts should turn to where our treasure is.
     Man has a noble task: that of prayer and love. To pray and to love, that is the happiness of man on earth.
     Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvelous light. In this intimate union God and the soul are like two pieces of wax moulded into one; they cannot any more be separated. It is a very wonderful thing, this union of God with his insignificant creature, a happiness passing all understanding.
     We had deserved to be left incapable of praying; but God in his goodness has permitted us to speak to him. Our prayer is an incense that is delightful to God.
     My children, your hearts are small, but prayer enlarges them and renders them capable of loving God. Prayer is a foretaste of heaven, an overflowing of heaven. It never leaves us without sweetness; it is like honey, it descends into the soul and sweetens everything. In a prayer well made, troubles vanish like snow under the rays of the sun.
     Prayer makes time seem to pass quickly, and so pleasantly that one fails to notice how long it is. When I was parish priest of Bresse, once almost all my colleagues were ill, and as I made long journeys I used to pray to God, and, I assure you, the time did not seem long to me. There are those who lose themselves in prayer, like a fish in water, because they are absorbed in God. There is no division in their hearts. How I love those noble souls! Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Colette saw our Lord and spoke to him as we speak to one another.
     As for ourselves, how often do we come to church without thinking what we are going to do or for what we are going to ask.
     And yet, when we go to call upon someone, we have no difficulty in remembering why it was we came. Some appear as if they were about to say to God: ‘I am just going to say a couple of words, so I can get away quickly.’ I often think that when we come to adore our Lord we should get all we ask if we asked for it with a lively faith and a pure heart.

From A Catechism on prayer, by St John Mary Vianney

Friday, August 3, 2018

Daily Thought For August 3, 2018

Fruitful Prayer
God wants us to be his instruments for making his redemptive work present in the midst of secular tasks, in ordinary life. But how can we be good instruments of God if we do not ourselves really cherish our life of piety, if we do not really have a personal relationship with Christ in prayer? Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? The apostolate is the fruit of love for Christ. It is He who is the Light with which we are to give light, the Truth that we must teach, the Life that we have to communicate. And this will only be possible if we are men and women who are united to God through prayer. It is moving to see how, in the midst of so much apostolic activity, Our Lord gets up early in the morning, a great while before day, to talk to his Father God, and to entrust the new day to him, a day that will be full of attention to particular souls. 
 
We must imitate him. It is in prayer, in talking to Jesus, that we learn to understand, to remain cheerful, to welcome and to appreciate the people God places in our path. Without prayer, the Christian would be like a plant without roots. Such a plant quickly dries up, and cannot bear any fruit. Throughout our day we can and we must speak very frequently to God. He is not far away. He is close to us, beside us. He always hears us, but more especially at those times - such as this .....; that we dedicate expressly to speaking to him, without remaining anonymous, in person-to-person contact with him. According to the measure in which we make ourselves open to God's demands, our day will become supernaturally effective and we will find it easier not to interrupt our dialogue with Jesus. It can truly be said that our apostolic life is worth what our prayer is worth. 
 
Prayer is always fruitful. It is capable of sustaining our whole life. It is from prayer that we will obtain the strength to face up to difficulties with the assurance and equanimity of the children of God. We will obtain that perseverance - constancy in our friendship - that all apostolate needs. This is why our friendship with Christ has to grow deeper and more sincere each day. This is why we must seriously make up our minds to avoid any deliberate sin, to keep our hearts for God alone, to try to get rid of the those useless thoughts which often leave the way open for faults and sins. We need frequently to rectify our intention, directing our whole being and all our works to God. 
 
It may sometimes happen that we have to struggle against discouragement, which can make us think that we are not improving in our personal prayer. If this should happen, it is then easy for the devil to tempt us to give up prayer. We must never give it up, even if we are tired and cannot give it all our attention, even though we don't experience any affections at all, even though (without our wanting it) we find we are very distracted. Our prayer is the mainstay of our life and the irreplaceable condition for doing any apostolate. 
 
From In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 3 pp.17-18

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Daily Thought For August 2, 2018

Drawing From Our Storeroom

Here is what I want you to do…to love God’s goodness within yourself, and his immeasurable charity, which you will find in the cell of self-knowledge. In this cell you will find God. For just as God holds within himself everything that shares in being, so you will find within yourself memory, which holds and is well-suited to hold the treasure of God’s blessing. There too you will find understanding, which makes us sharers in the wisdom of God’s Son by understanding and knowing his will, a will that wants nothing but that we be made holy. When we see this, our soul cannot be sad or shaken, no matter what happens, for we know that everything is done with God’s providence and tremendous love….

Getting back to self-knowledge: I tell you, you will also find there the gentle mercy of the Holy Spirit, the aspect of God that gives and is nothing but love. Whatever the Spirit does is done because of love. And this movement of love you will find within your own soul, because our will is nothing but love, and its every affection and movement comes from nothing but love. It loves or hates whatever the eye of understanding has seen and understood.

How true it is then…that within the cell of your soul you will find the whole of God. And he bestows such sweetness, refreshment, and consolation that no matter what may happen we cannot be shaken, because we have been made big enough to hold God’s own will. How? By getting rid of all selfish love, by getting rid of everything that is not God’s will.


Saint Catherine of Siena

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Daily Thought For August 1, 2018

God's Mercy & New Beginnings

As for my God, may his mercy go before me. (Psalm 59:11)

Imagine driving down a crowded street with only the use of your rearview mirrors. The idea is laughable—and more than a bit dangerous. It just doesn’t make sense to drive while looking backward.

This isn’t a bad image for our spiritual lives. Most of the time, we need to be looking forward, not backward. Sure, we need to glance back to check for blind spots or to assess our progress—like when we review our day or learn from past mistakes. But overall, we need to be looking forward if we want to move forward. And so today’s Responsorial Psalm talks about God’s mercy going before us.

You might think of mercy as a gift that deals with your past. And it is. Mercy reaches back to cover your sins. But the Hebrew word for mercy (hesed) here can also mean “God’s grace and favor,” his loving kindness toward us that never fails. This broad, expansive definition tells us to do more than just seek God’s mercy for our past sins and failings. It urges us to entrust our future to his provision as well.

In today’s first reading, Jeremiah is focused on the past. He laments the day he was born, and he recalls how he “sat alone” under the weight of God’s hand (Jeremiah 15:17). It wasn’t easy being a prophet, and Jeremiah struggled bringing God’s words of warning to his people. But as he poured out his heart, God broke in and gave him a vision for his future: “I will free you from the hand of the wicked,” he promised (15:21). Comforted in the knowledge that his future was covered by God’s merciful love, Jeremiah continued on.

God wants to do so much more than forgive our sins. He wants to give us his guidance, his comfort, and his protection. So press forward, confident that God’s mercy and grace will go ahead of you. It’s the difference between driving with just mirrors and driving with a large clear windshield.


“Lord, I entrust my future to you.”

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

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Daily Thought For July 28, 2018

Pray Without Ceasing    
     The children of God express their love in their trusting and persevering prayer. If God seems at times to be slow in responding, it is because He is preparing a better gift. He will not deny us. We well know that the long-awaited gift is all the more precious for the delay in its being granted. . . Ask, seek, insist. Through this asking and seeking you will be better prepared to receive God’s gift when it comes. God withholds what you are not yet ready for. He wants you to have a lively desire for his greatest gifts. All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart. We must never become discouraged in our petitions to God. My God, teach me how to love. My God, teach me how to pray. Love and prayer are inseparably connected.
 
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez p. 464

Friday, July 27, 2018

Daily Thought For July 27, 2018

The Parable of the Sower


Lectio

Matthew 13:18–23

Meditatio

“… the seed sown …”

In today’s reading Jesus explains the parable of the sower, found in all three Synoptic Gospels. Speaking to people who till the soil, Jesus uses images familiar to his hearers. A sower goes out to plant seeds and some of them yield a good crop, but others do not. It all depends on the type of soil where the seeds fall.

Biblical scholars explain that in this parable the sower represents Christ, and the seed is the word of God, or the preaching of the kingdom. The evil one is Satan. The soil symbolizes the heart of each person with its receptivity to the word. Some hearts will accept it, while others will suffocate or even reject the word.
Which kind of soil am I?

Some people do not respond to the preaching of the word. They make no effort to understand and practice what they hear. The seed is plucked away and does not yield any fruit. Am I this shallow soil?

Other individuals are easily won over when they hear the word. But when problems come, or when they are persecuted because of their beliefs, they close their hearts and the seed dies. Am I this hardened, rocky soil?

Still others let themselves become so entwined with wealth, worldly distractions, and the desire to make a name for themselves, that the seed is suffocated. Am I this matted, entangled field?
But others hear the word and respond to it with all their hearts. They joyfully accept the word and the challenges of God’s kingdom. The seed produces an abundant harvest in their lives. Am I this moist, rich, productive soil?

Oratio

Lord Jesus, may the ground of my life be well tilled and prepared to receive your word. I want to welcome you into a heart that is open, receptive, loving. In this way, my life will bear a plentiful, bounteous harvest, with your help, and for your glory.

Contemplatio

I welcome your word in my heart.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 284–285). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Daily Thought For July 26, 2018

Open Wide The Window of Your Soul!

 Keep your soul in peace. Let God work in you. Welcome thoughts that raise your heart to God. Open wide the window of your soul.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Daily Thought For July 25, 2018



Welcoming Others To God’s Mercy
 
 
“He became angry.” (Luke 15:28)
 
     The prodigal has returned to a red-carpet welcome, and the older son is fuming. But what would he rather have happened to his younger brother?
     Did he want to see the scoundrel suffer? To have the door slammed shut in his face? Maybe he hoped to see him humiliated in front of the whole village. Or might he have preferred to hear that his brother had starved to death in a foreign land?
     Such mean-spiritedness seems pretty extreme, doesn’t it? But haven’t we all felt twinges of pleasure over someone else’s misfortune? When a celebrity gains fifty pounds or is caught doing something disgraceful, don’t we sometimes enjoy the news? When friends with the “perfect” family have trouble with their kids, don’t we feel even a little satisfaction?
     Something in the human heart inclines to this perverse, gleeful gloating. The Germans call it schadenfreude—a composite of the words for “misfortune” and “joy.” Schadenfreude means “to rejoice over someone else’s misfortune.” And its flip side was demonstrated by the older son. He would not rejoice at the prodigal’s good fortune. “Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies,” said the writer Gore Vidal. The admission is shocking, but unfortunately many of us have been there.
     Jesus’ parable challenges us to examine how well our desires for other people line up with God’s desires. Do we want what’s good for them? Are we grieved when they experience setbacks? Are we happy when they attain success, honor, and wisdom?
     It isn’t easy to change what makes us happy. In fact, it’s impossible without God’s help because it requires nothing less than a new heart. How incredibly blessed we are, then, that our heavenly Father longs to give us a share in his own heart of mercy. He wants to give us more of his Holy Spirit so that we can generously and wholeheartedly “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Let’s seek that priceless gift!
 
“Create a new heart in me, Lord, and fill it with mercy. Strengthen me to recognize and resist every form of envy and to rejoice in all your works.”
 
Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (March 10, 2012)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Daily Thought For July 24, 2018

Salvation - God's Relentless Search For Us
 
Psychologists tell us that a true friend is someone who has seen us at our worst and still loves us. If you have encountered me only on my best days, when all is going well and I am in top form, and you like me, I have no guarantee that you are my friend. But when you have dealt with me when I am most obnoxious, most self-absorbed, most afraid and unpleasant, and you still love me, then I am sure that you are my friend. The old Gospel song says, "what a friend we have in Jesus!" This is not pious sentimentalism; it is the heart of the matter. What the first Christians saw in the dying and rising of Jesus is that we killed God, and God returned in forgiving love. We murdered the Lord of Life, and he answered us, not with hatred, but with compassion. He saw us at our very worst, and loved us anyway. Thus they saw confirmed in flesh and blood what Jesus had said the night before he died: "I do not call you servants any longer ... but I have called you friends" (John 14: 15). They realized, in the drama of the Paschal Mystery, that we have not only been shown a new way; we have been drawn into a new life, a life of friendship with God.  The author of Psalm 139 wrote: 
 
Where can I go from your spirit? 
Or where can I flee from your presence? 
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; 
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. 
If I take the wings of the morning 
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, 
and your right hand shall hold me fast. (Ps. 139:7-10) 
 
These words take on a new resonance and reveal their deepest significance in light of Easter. No matter where we run from God —no matter how we try to flee - God tracks us down and will not let us go. Paul Tillich read Psalm 139 as the sinner's lament, the cry of the soul who just wants to escape from the press of God: "How can I get away from you?" The answer fully disclosed in the dying and rising of Jesus is: "You can't; so stop trying." Because the Son of God has gone to the very limits of godforsakenness, we find that even as we run away from the Father, we are running directly into the arms of the Son. Unlike most contemporary New Age spiritualities, as we have seen, which emphasize the human quest for God, the biblical spirituality is the story of God's relentless search for us. And this narrative comes to its fulfillment in the recounting of God's journey into the darkest and coldest corner of human sinfulness - even into death itself - in order to find us. This divine finding, this friendship with God despite all of our efforts to avoid it, is salvation. 
 
 
from The Strangest Way - Walking the Christian Path by Robert Barron pp. 97-98

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Daily Thought For July 21, 2018

Being Content

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
 
St. Teresa of Avila

Friday, July 20, 2018

Daily Thought For July 20, 2018

Peace, the Road to Perfection

Experience shows us that peace, which sows charity, the love of God and love of neighbor in your soul, is the road that leads straight to eternal life. 

Take care to never let your heart be troubled, saddened, agitated or involved in that which can cause it to lose its peace. Rather work always to remain tranquil because the Lord says: "Happy are those who are at peace." Do this and the Lord will build in your soul the City of Peace and He will make of you a House of Delight. That which He wants of you is that, whenever you are troubled, you would recover your calm, your peace, on your own - in your work, in your thoughts and in all your activities without exception. 

Just as a city is not built in a day, do not think that you can achieve, in a day, this peace, this interior calm, because it is within you that a home must be built for God, while you yourself, become His temple. And it is the Lord Himself Who must handle the construction. Without Him your work would not exist. 

Remind yourself, moreover, that this edifice has humility for its foundation. 

Juan De Bonilla (Spanish Franciscan of the 16th Century who wrote a little treatise on peace of soul.)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Daily Thought For July 19, 2018

Suffering Illumined by the Cross

Christian love gives value and meaning to our existence even when infirmity and illness have compromised the integrity of the body. There is a life in us not conditioned by our physical state, but by the love we give. "You who are sick, you are strong like Jesus on the cross," exclaimed John Paul II one day. Yes, because our strength is in Christ, in Christ crucified and abandoned! It is when we are weak that we are strong. 

I touched this reality in prison. When I lived through times of extreme physical and moral suffering, I thought of Jesus crucified. To the human eye, his life was a defeat, a disappointment, and a failure. Reduced to the most absolute immobility on the cross, he was no longer able to encounter people, to cure the sick, to teach .... However, in the eyes of God, that was the most important moment of his life, because it was then that he poured out his blood for the salvation of humanity. 
 
"Everyone is invited to cross this threshold," John Paul II said at the Jubilee of the Sick, to cross the threshold of the Door of life, the Door of salvation that is Jesus. John Paul II recalled how pain and sickness are a part of the mystery of humanity on earth. "The 'key' to this reading [of the design of God] is found in the Cross of Christ .... One who knows how to accept it in his own life, experiences how pain, illumined by faith, becomes a source of hope and of salvation."

from Testimony of Hope by Francis Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận pp. 205-206

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Daily Thought For July 18, 2018

A Little Mercy Goes A Long Way

A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.
 
 
Pope Francis

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Daily Thought For July 17, 2018

Confronting Fear
 
No one can take them out of my hand. (John 10:28)
 
When do you feel vulnerable? Maybe flying in an airplane, or being in a boat surrounded by large waves? Or is your fear most exposed in relationships, where you worry about being hurt or let down? Whatever triggers it for you, everyone has times of wondering if catastrophe is just around the corner.
 
Here’s another question: do you ever feel vulnerable in your relationship with God? It’s easy to worry that if we do or say the wrong thing, we may get ourselves into too much trouble. Perhaps you feel you have already alienated God so much that he has given up on you, and you wonder if you will ever make it to heaven.
 
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus confronts these fears head-on. Speaking about those who believe, he says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand” (John 10:28). What comforting words that remind us of God’s love for us! It is very easy to think that we are the primary actors in our spiritual lives. But here Jesus is reminding us that he is the one pursuing us, and he will not allow anyone or anything to snatch us out of his hand. He even goes so far as to say, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all” (10:29).
 
God doesn’t want you to live in fear of rejection from him. He wants you to be more sure of his love for you than you are of anything else in life. That’s because his love is the most sure thing in all the world! You can live in joy and security, safe in the knowledge that God is on your side, and that nothing can separate you from him.
 
Today, try taking a look at some of your fears. What makes you feel most deeply vulnerable? Give these areas over to God, and ask him to replace them with the joy and freedom that he has won for you. Let his greatness and his mercy put all your fears into perspective so that you can live as the son or daughter you are, perfectly safe in your Father’s hand!
 
“Dear Jesus, I am in awe of the way you pursue me. I give my fears over to you today; drive them out with your perfect love.”
 
Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us - April 23, 2013 (www.wau.org)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Daily Thought For July 14, 2018

The Lilly of the Mohawks


Bl. Kateri, the daughter of a Christian Algonquin mother, who had been taken captive by the Mohawk Indians, and of a pagan Mohawk father, was born at Ossernenon (today’s Auriesville, New York) in April 1656. Because she was born at sunrise, she was given the name Ioragade (“Sunshine”). As a result of a smallpox epidemic (1659), she lost her parents, and she was subsequently brought up by an aunt. Because Kateri’s vision had been weakened by the disease, and because she walked with her hands extended in front of her, her uncle gave her the name Tekakwitha (“who stretches out her hands”). Kateri remembered the rudiments of the Catholic faith that her mother had instilled in her, and when Jesuit missionaries visited the camp in 1667, she hesitated, in her shyness, to ask about the God whom her mother had worshiped. It was only in 1675 that she asked the missionary, who then resided at the camp, about becoming a Christian. She was baptized on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1676, and was given the name Kateri (Catherine). Because she had been harshly treated by her aunt and uncle since her conversion, the missionary suggested that she secretly go to the Indian settlement at Caughnawaga, near Montreal, where other Catholic Mohawks were then living. She arrived there in October 1677 and made her First Communion that Christmas. Her three years there were years of peace; she prayed and cared for the sick and elderly. Due to excessive acts of penance, her health failed, and she died at Caughnawaga on April 17, 1680. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980. The monument, which marks the site of her original tomb, bears the inscription: “the most beautiful flower that blossomed.”


Tylenda, J. N. (2003). Saints and Feasts of the Liturgical Year (pp. 129–130). Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Daily Thought For July 13, 2018

Everyone Is Called By Name and Empowered By The Holy Spirit
 
     In fact, from eternity God has thought of us and has loved us as unique individuals. Every one of us he called by name, as the Good Shepherd "calls his sheep by name" (Jn 10:3). However, only in the unfolding of the history of our lives and its events is the eternal plan of God revealed to each of us. Therefore, it is a gradual process; in a certain sense, one that happens day by day.
    To be able to discover the actual will of the Lord in our lives always involves the following: a receptive listening to the Word of God and the Church, fervent and constant prayer, recourse to a wise and loving spiritual guide, and a faithful discernment of the gifts and talents given by God, as well as the diverse social and historic situations in which one lives.
     Therefore, in the life of each member of the lay faithful there are particularly significant and decisive moments for discerning God's call and embracing the mission entrusted by Him. Among these are the periods of adolescence and young adulthood. No one must forget that the Lord, as the master of the laborers in the vineyard, calls at every hour of life so as to make his holy will more precisely and explicitly known. Therefore, the fundamental and continuous attitude of the disciple should be one of vigilance and a conscious attentiveness to the voice of God.
     It is not a question of simply knowing what God wants from each of us in the various situations of life. The individual must do what God wants, as we are reminded in the words that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, addressed to the servants at Cana: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5). However, to act in fidelity to God's will requires a capability for acting and the developing of that capability. We can rest assured that this is possible through the free and responsible collaboration of each of us with the grace of the Lord which is never lacking. Saint Leo the Great says: "The one who confers the dignity will give the strength!".
 
Pope John Paul II - The Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful People #58 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Daily Thought For July 12, 2018

I Attended World Youth Day in Rome In 2000 And This Is Totally True!

Finally, I would like to speak of one last feature, not to be overlooked, of the spirituality of World Youth Days, namely joy. Where does it come from? How is it to be explained? Certainly, there are many factors at work here. But in my view, the crucial one is this certainty, based on faith: I am wanted; I have a task in history; I am accepted, I am loved. Josef Pieper, in his book on love, has shown that man can only accept himself if he is accepted by another. He needs the other’s presence, saying to him, with more than words: it is good that you exist. Only from the You can the I come into itself. Only if it is accepted, can it accept itself. Those who are unloved cannot even love themselves. This sense of being accepted comes in the first instance from other human beings. But all human acceptance is fragile. Ultimately we need a sense of being accepted unconditionally. Only if God accepts me, and I become convinced of this, do I know definitively: it is good that I exist. It is good to be a human being. If ever man’s sense of being accepted and loved by God is lost, then there is no longer any answer to the question whether to be a human being is good at all. Doubt concerning human existence becomes more and more insurmountable. Where doubt over God becomes prevalent, then doubt over humanity follows inevitably. We see today how widely this doubt is spreading. We see it in the joylessness, in the inner sadness, that can be read on so many human faces today. Only faith gives me the conviction: it is good that I exist. It is good to be a human being, even in hard times. Faith makes one happy from deep within. That is one of the wonderful experiences of World Youth Days.

Pope Benedict XVI Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2011


From Fr. Jim.....On a personal note the knowledge that I am loved and that God has a marvelous plan for my life began very early in my own life. I am so grateful for my parents bringing me forward for Baptism and taking me faithfully to Mass each and every Sunday. But it wasn't just my parents but a great number of the "cloud of witnesses" who encouraged and cheered me along the way. My Aunt Lynn will always remain a cherished and beautiful person in my life. She was my Godparent. And I will never forget her taking me to Mass on Sunday while she was battling her cancer that eventually took her life. I watched her kneel down after Communion with her eyes closed and thinking to myself, "What can she possibly be thinking? She is terribly ill with cancer yet her face looks so peaceful." Even then the Lord was showing me that His grace prevails. I didn't quite understand all that back then as a 15 year old, but I understand now the joy being with Jesus brings. 

Let's face it, we aren't spared from suffering while on this earth. Some people get tremendous sufferings while others don't seem to suffer as much. The bottom line is that faith in the Lord transforms the sufferings and solidifies the truth that God's love is stronger than anything we can encounter on this earth. The very event I thought would put a wedge between me and the Lord, He used to literally bring me to my knees in my own poverty to surrender my heart to Him and ask Him for His help. That decision has forever changed my life. 

The greatest sorrow I have experienced over the past 21 years in my service as a priest, is the crisis of faith we are in as a Church and as a world. The sentence I just shared with you in this Daily Thought, "If ever man’s sense of being accepted and loved by God is lost, then there is no longer any answer to the question whether to be a human being is good at all." This is the greatest crisis and threat to humanity in every generation. Everyone is loved and willed by God. We must affirm this. But only a person who has experienced this TRUTH can do so. 

No one is ever too far gone to awaken and come to the Lord, and our little efforts (anointed by the Holy Spirit) will bring great fruits for the Kingdom of God. You may never see the results of your efforts but don't despair when you make an effort to win someone for Christ. Little things mean a lot. Someone just recently shared with me when they were at the end of their rope and thinking that God had abandoned them, while at a drive-through at Starbucks, the worker informed the person that someone had just paid for their order. That gesture of love served as a powerful reminder the Lord was still with them. Little things really do mean a lot!

Join me in prayer today and everyday that we will not miss the opportunities God is giving us to win people back and be a sign of God's immense love for the poor and lonely souls who are in despair. Little things always mean a lot. And there will be a lot of beautiful surprises in heaven when we went out of our way to love people in Christ but didn't see the effect it had in their lives. 

I pray all of you who subscribe to the Daily Thought will be encouraged this day and not lose hope. We are blessed, we are loved, and we have a glorious future to look forward to. 

in Christ,
Fr. Jim Northrop

Daily Thought For July 11, 2018

Chant His Praises!

         My heart is steadfast, God, 
         my heart is steadfast. 
         I will sing and chant praise
        Awake, my soul; 
         awake, lyre and harp! 
         I will wake the dawn. 
         I will praise you among the peoples, Lord; 
         I will chant your praise among the nations. 
         For your mercy towers to the heavens; 
         your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 
         Exalt yourself over the heavens, God; 
         may your glory appear above all the earth.

Psalm 57:8–12

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Daily Thought For July 10, 2018

Judging Others Or Constructive Criticism
 
What's the difference between judging others and constructive criticism? 
 
GOD'S RESPONSE 
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? 
Matthew 7:1-3 (NLT-2) 
 
Don't speak evil against each other, my dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize each other and condemn each other, then you are criticizing and condemning God's law. James 4:11 
 
† One coach berates a player publicly for making a mistake in a game. Another coach waits until the game is over and tells the player privately how to avoid making the same mistake again. Though no one likes criticism----even when it is constructive-we sometimes need it. But it is much easier to receive criticism when it is offered gently and in love, rather than in a harsh or humiliating way. A judge criticizes with no effort to see the person succeed or improve. One who offers constructive criticism invests in building a relationship and helping the other person become who God created him or her to be. 
 
GOD'S CHALLENGE 
You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. COLOSSIANS 3:13 
 
The One Year Men's Mini-Devotional

Monday, July 9, 2018

Daily Thought For July 9, 2018

We Are All Links In A Great Chain
 
I encourage you to think of the gifts you have received from God so that you can pass them on to others in turn. Learn to reread your personal history. Be conscious of the wonderful legacy passed down to you from previous generations. So many faith-filled people have been courageous in handing down the faith in the face of trials and incomprehension. Let us never forget that we are links in a great chain of men and women who have transmitted the truth of the faith and who depend on us to pass it on to others. Being a missionary presupposes knowledge of this legacy, which is the faith of the Church. It is necessary to know what you believe in, so that you can proclaim it. As I wrote in the introduction to the YouCat, the catechism for young people that I gave you at World Youth Day in Madrid, “you need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination” 
 
Pope Benedict XVI excerpt from Message For World Youth Day 2013

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Daily Thought For July 8, 2018

Learning To Be Joyful In All Circumstances
 
 
BEWARE OF FEELING ENTITLED TO My GOOD gifts. Receive blessings from Me thankfully, yet be willing to release them back to Me—without growing resentful. 
 
When you have lost something precious (your job, your house, your health, a loved one), you may think it is irrational to be joyful. But this is a worldly way of thinking. Major losses are very painful, and they do need to be grieved. Nonetheless, with time and effort you can learn to focus on the good things that remain—and find Joy in the One who will never leave you. 
 
Remember that it is possible to be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. The apostle Paul learned the secret of being joyful in all situations through his experiences of multiple hardships. The Holy Spirit empowered Paul to find Joy in the midst of adversity, and He can do the same for you. You must be willing, though, to let go of anything I take from you—no matter how painful the loss. Then direct your attention fully to Me, trusting that I will never let go of you. 
 
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. —Deuteronomy 31:6 
 
In all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God ... as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. —2 Corinthians 6:4, 10 
 

I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. —Psalm 73:23-24 
 
from Jesus Today by Sarah Young pp. 100-101

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Daily Thought For July 7, 2018

Turn It Back To God To Regain Your Peace

Several times during the day, but especially in the morning and evening, ask yourself for a moment if you have your soul in your hands or if some passion or fit of anxiety has robbed you of it. Consider whether you have command of your heart or whether it has slipped into some disorderly passion of love, hatred, envy, covetousness, fear, uneasiness or joy. If you have gone astray, quietly bring your soul back to the presence of God, subjecting all your affections and desires to the obedience and direction of His Divine Will. Just as men who are afraid of losing a precious pearl hold it firmly in their hands, so we must keep a close watch on the precious pearl of our soul. 

Saint Francis de Sales

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Daily Thought For July 4, 2018

God & The Work For God
 
Because of your infinite love for me, Lord, you called me to follow you, to be your child and your disciple. 
Then you entrusted me with a unique mission 
that has the same requirements as every mission: that I be your apostle and witness. 
Still, my experience has taught me that I confuse these two realities: 
God and God's work. 
God gave me the responsibility to carry out certain works- 
some sublime and others more modest; some noble and others more common. 
And so, with a commitment to pastoral work in parishes and with young people in schools, with artists and laborers, 
in the world of the press, radio, and television, I gave my entire energy to everything and poured out all my abilities. 
I did not spare anything, not even my life. 
But, while I was so passionately immersed in action, 
I met the defeat of ingratitude, the refusal to collaborate, 
the incomprehension of friends, the lack of support from leaders, illness and infirmity, insufficient resources ... 
And, then when I happened to enjoy success, when I was the object of everyone's approval, praise, and affection, 
I was suddenly transferred to another position. So there I was, dazed, groping about as if in the dark of night: 
Why, Lord, are you abandoning me? 
I do not want to desert your work I want to complete it. 
I must finish building the Church ... Why do others attack your work? Why do they withdraw their support? 
Kneeling before your altar, close to the Eucharist, 
I heard your answer, Lord: 
"It is me you are supposed to be following, not my work! 
If I will it, you will finish the work entrusted to you. 
It matters little who takes over your work after you; 
that is my business. 
Your business is to choose me!" 

from Prayers of Hope—Words of Courage by Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận pp. 116-117

Monday, July 2, 2018

Daily Thought July 2, 2018

Christian Joy
 
  Christian joy is interior. It doesn’t come from without but from within – like certain alpine lakes which are fed not from a river that flows from outside, but from a spring of water welling up from their very foundations. It comes from God’s mysterious and present action in the human heart through grace. It can cause us to abound with joy in our sufferings (cf. 2 Cor 7: 4). It is the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5: 22, Rom 14:17) and is expressed in peace of heart, fullness of meaning, the ability to love and to be loved, and above all in hope, without which there can be no joy.
 
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa