Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Daily Thought For February 28, 2018

Great Advice from Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Let us be very sincere in our dealings with each other and have the courage to accept each other as we are. Do not be surprised or become preoccupied at each other’s failure; rather see and find the good in each other, for each one of us is created in the image of God. Keep in mind that our community is not composed of those who are already saints, but of those who are trying to become saints. Therefore, let us be extremely patient with each other’s faults and failures.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Daily Thought For February 27, 2018

Praying For A Sense Of Humor

Lord, give me a sense of humor so that I may take some happiness from this life and share it with others.

St. Thomas More

Monday, February 26, 2018

Daily Thought For February 26, 2018

Radiating Christ To The World

     “Live”, then, “by the truth!” Radiate the light of faith, hope and love in your families and communities! Be witnesses of the holy truth that sets men and women free! You know from bitter experience that, in comparison with the sudden, destructive fury of evil, the work of rebuilding is painfully slow and arduous. Living by the truth takes time, effort and perseverance: it has to begin in our own hearts, in the small daily sacrifices required if we are to be faithful to God’s law, in the little acts by which we demonstrate that we love our neighbours, all our neighbours, regardless of race, ethnicity or language, and by our readiness to work with them to build together on foundations that will endure. Let your parishes become communities where the light of God’s truth and the power of Christ’s reconciling love are not only celebrated, but proclaimed in concrete works of charity. And do not be afraid! Even if it means being a “sign of contradiction” (Lk 2:34) in the face of hardened attitudes and a mentality that sees others as a means to be used, rather than as brothers and sisters to be loved, cherished and helped along the path of freedom, life and hope.
     Let me close by addressing a special word to the young people of Angola, and to all young people throughout Africa. Dear young friends: you are the hope of your country’s future, the promise of a better tomorrow! Begin today to grow in your friendship with Jesus, who is “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6): a friendship nurtured and deepened by humble and persevering prayer. Seek his will for you by listening to his word daily, and by allowing his law to shape your lives and your relationships. In this way you will become wise and generous prophets of God’s saving love. Become evangelizers of your own peers, leading them by your own example to an appreciation of the beauty and truth of the Gospel, and the hope of a future shaped by the values of God’s Kingdom. The Church needs your witness! Do not be afraid to respond generously to God’s call, whether it be to serve him as a priest or a religious, as a Christian parent, or in the many forms of service to others which the Church sets before you.

excerpt from the Homily of Pope Benedict XVI, March 22, 2009 at Cimangola Square in Luanda

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Daily Thought For February 25, 2018

Shine Jesus Shine!


Lectio

Mark 9:2–10

Meditatio

“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!”

Before the humiliation and loss of his crucifixion and death, Jesus gives three of his apostles an experience of his glory. Jesus knows of what we are made. He knows we are fitful and frightened creatures. He knows that we dread the cross, that we fear loss. So he brought these apostles to Mount Tabor to experience with him the glory that is his.

Our community receives prayer intentions from many people who entrust to us their most heartfelt desires or deepest fears and problems. We pray for these persons who are encountering the cross and bearing life’s burdens. Though we all bear the cross in some way, in order to be like Jesus and to be with Jesus, we need to remember our own Mount Tabor moments. We all have had them.
These joyfully transfigured moments may have been celebrations of weddings, watching sunsets or sunrises with someone we love, the birth of a child, an experience of God’s presence at prayer or the liturgy. If we can’t remember a Mount Tabor experience, then perhaps our eyes have become more accustomed to the cross than to the transfiguration. Though the crucifixion and death of Jesus play an important part in redemption, they are only a part of the great paschal mystery, which includes the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. John even refers to the death of Jesus as his glorification.

Even in the midst of the crosses we carry we need to keep our sight attuned to Jesus, who bursts in upon our lives with light, with hope, with the sudden surprise of resurrection.
It is hard to do this. Contradictions, failure, or fear can wear us down unless we are invincible in our courage. The best place to begin anew to expose ourselves to the transfiguration of Jesus is in prayer—not the prayer that pleads for what we think we absolutely must have, but the prayer that quietly asks for light and surrenders to hope.

Oratio

Jesus, now, today, in this moment, in this place I drop all thought, memories of the past, figuring out of the future. You want to meet me today. You want to shine in my life. Sometimes you immerse me in gentle light. Other times when I encounter you in your glory, it is like coming out of a tunnel into broad daylight. Today—how will you come to me? How will you transfigure my life? How will you prepare me for my share in your cross? Come, Jesus, come.

Contemplatio

How will you come to me today?


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 34–36). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Daily Thought For February 24, 2018

Loving Our Enemies     

     Our Lord did not tell us we were to love only those who we liked, but everyone without distinction. Unless we are constantly watchful and unless we have faced the truth about ourselves, we are bound to discriminate.
     It can easily happen that we pass for very kind people, ever ready to lend a hand or do a good turn, and in our own heart we may think we are. But there will be one or two left out of this benevolent radiance. We shall be courteous to them, for we must not spoil the image we have of ourselves as charitable persons, but we shall be critical, ready to find fault in a discrete way, ready to use them as scapegoats. We shall find it hard to be fair in judgment where they are concerned. We shall come up with rational explanations of why we think as we do, but if we were really honest we would have to admit that in some way these people cut us down to size. In some way they challenge and threaten us. They may seem to undervalue us, perhaps are critical of us, and this makes us feel insecure. We don’t like feeling like this so we must find some way of destroying these people – not literally but in so far as they have power over us. We pull them down in our estimation or keep them severely at a distance. Even the heathen can love those who love them, as our Lord says. His disciples must love their enemies and do them good. Few of us have enemies but we all have those who hurt us in one way or another and we can be refusing our love to these.
     Because we are good people we don’t do outrageous things, and therefore our consciences are kept untroubled. We fail to see the great importance of the small acts of injustice, or attitudes of rejection which we hold. They are sin and come between us and God. To leave one person out of our love is proof positive – we need no other – that our love for others is not really pure, not the love of Jesus. Our own self will be involved in one way or another. It has always seemed to me that what we experience in our form of community life is exactly the same as we would anywhere else in the world, only more concentrated. We have the same dangers and the same struggles. 

from Magnificat Meditation of the Day by Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Daily Thought For February 23, 2018

Daily Opportunities To Share Our Faith
  
We have to show everyone that Christ is still alive by living heroically the events of our daily lives. The apostolic vocation which we all received at Baptism means giving witness in word and deed to the life and teaching of Christ. People said of the early Christians See how they love one another. The pagans were really edified by this behavior and those who conducted themselves in this way had favor with all the people as the Acts of the Apostles tell us. As a result, the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47)  Those who were converted to the faith made good use of every opportunity to explain the reason for their hope, (cf. 1 Peter 3:15) and in order to spread their joy to others: Those who were scattered went about preaching the word. 
 
Many gave the supreme witness of martyrdom to the faith they professed. We too are ready to go to that extreme if Our Lord asks for it. In his apparent madness the martyr becomes a powerful attractive force that leads people to Christ: many conversions are the result of having beheld a martyr's example. Hence the name martyr, meaning witness, signifies having given testimony for Christ. 
 
Normally Our Lord asks us to give a Christian witness through our ordinary lives, engaged in the same ways of earning a living, tackling the same concerns as other folk. We have to act in such a way that others will be able to say, when they meet us: This man is a Christian because he does not hate, because he is ready to understand, because he is not a fanatic, because he is willing to make sacrifices, because he shows that he is a man of peace, because he knows how to love.
 
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 4 pp.438-439

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Daily Thought For February 22, 2018

A Powerful Moment of Conversion

        As I went up to Communion I asked for that single gift, for a genuine, enduring faith. As I returned to my seat I stood with my eyes closed repeating that same prayer. At that moment I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. A man I had never met was standing next to me. He said that he was sitting about six rows behind me and that while I was standing in line for Communion he saw me and he  felt a very strong urge from the Holy Spirit to come and tell me something. He told me, “The Lord Jesus wants you to know that the faith and love that you seek shall be granted to you because he loves you and has died for you.”
    As soon as he spoke those words I felt a tremendous rush of power from my head to my toes. I felt an intense heat running through my body accompanied by a vivid experience of the presence of the risen Christ. It seemed to me that the Lord was present, that he was drawing near and that the closer he came the more overwhelming and total the experience became. My heart was filled to overflowing with joy and an experience of Jesus’ personal love for me. In that moment, without thinking I reached out to the man who had spoken to me and I embraced him. I began to weep tears of joy. I couldn’t believe how real Jesus seemed, how present, how personal and powerful was his presence. As I hung on to the man I remember looking up, my eyes filled with tears, and seeing a stadium filled with the power of the presence of Jesus. Everywhere I looked it seemed people were being touched by the presence of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Just then I heard the voice of the Lord, not an audible voice, but an interior voice, clear and direct, in a way I had never heard it before, yet I knew it was Jesus. He said, “Welcome the reign of God is at hand, you are part of a whole new order, my Kingdom.”

from When The Spirit Comes In Power by Peter Herbeck #34-35


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Daily Thought For February 21, 2018

Don't Be Afraid of Failure

Deepest failure is the fertile seed of highest resurrection.

Blessed Henry Suso

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Daily Thought For February 20, 2018

Obtaining Inner Peace
  
     There is a serenity of spirit that is extremely valuable in the spiritual life. It is not easy to acquire because we are inexperienced and face powerful foes. 
     Sometimes we are completely out of control. Our minds are confused. This is the time to get right into prayer. Remember how our Lord prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane before his betrayal. It is only in conversation with God that we can find refuge. Pray that God will replace the chaos in us with tranquility. 
     Don't be bothered by the continuous and meaningless hustle of the business world. When we go to work we can take care of business without getting rattled. We can lighten up a bit. We do not need to be intimidated by a crowded calendar. Some work can wait. 
     The thing we should concentrate on is an awareness of God's holy presence. A desire to please God should be our top priority. If we let other business take precedence, our souls will quickly become fearful and anxious. 
     Forbid thoughts that depress and distress you from entering your mind. Try to preserve tranquility. Christ said, "Blessed are the peacemakers." God will surely bless your work and give you a peaceful soul. The only thing he requires of you is a genuine effort to still the storms in your life. 
     You can't build a house in a day. Neither will you be able to build this castle of inner peace in your soul in an instant. It is a gradual accomplishment. 

Lawrence Scupoli: The Spiritual Combat

Monday, February 19, 2018

Daily Thought For February 19, 2018

Amen!

Music, great music, distends the spirit, arouses profound emotions and almost naturally invites us to raise our minds and hearts to God in all situations of human existence, the joyful and the sad. Music can become prayer.

Pope Benedict XVI

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Daily Thought For February 18, 2018

Press Forward And Fear Nothing

If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them. Let us open wide our hearts. It is joy which invites us. Press forward and fear nothing.

St. Katharine Drexel

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Daily Thought For February 17, 2018

A Relationship That Changes Us & The World

Follow me. (Luke 5:27)

These two words changed everything for Levi, for Simon and Andrew, for Philip, for unnamed disciples—and for us. Jesus is not pleading or begging. He is inviting, earnestly and lovingly. Follow him, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Follow him, who is the light in the darkness, the spring of water that never fails, the One who promises to guide you always.

Follow me, just as you are. Not because you’re particularly good or talented or holy. According to Jewish law, Levi was “impure” because of his association with Gentiles. He was also probably dishonest and greedy. Peter was impulsive and stubborn. James and John wanted places of honor. All of the disciples had issues, but Jesus called them just the same—just as he is calling you.

Follow me, and be part of my Church. Once you were no people, and you had not received mercy. But everyone who follows him becomes part of God’s people and receives mercy. Once you were in darkness, and now you are in God’s wonderful light. You are chosen, royal, holy, a people belonging to God himself (1 Peter 2:9-10). That is who you are. That is how your heavenly Father sees you.

Follow me, and your heart will begin to change. You may not start out as an ideal disciple, but remember that this is just the beginning. What you are now isn’t an obstacle to what you can become—not to the Lord. He has had a vision for your life from the moment you were conceived. And that vision is one of blessing, not of curse. It’s a vision of fullness, not emptiness. It’s a vision in which every part of your personality—your talents, your character traits, and even your unique quirks—is filled with his life and is used to build his kingdom.

We all know that following Jesus has its ups and downs. But no matter what challenges we may face, we can always face them knowing that we belong to Jesus and that he will never abandon us. For not only are we following Jesus, but he is leading us, always calling us to his side with words of love and peace.


“Yes, Jesus! I will follow you. I want to walk in your light every day of my life.”

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

Daily Thought For February 16, 2018

Preparing For The Wedding Feast

Lectio

Matthew 9:14–15

Meditatio

“Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?”

Today’s reference to the bridegroom is one of many uses of marriage imagery in the Gospels. Jesus refers to himself as the “bridegroom” and tells a parable about a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son. In another passage, the familiar story of the wise and foolish virgins also centers on the arrival of the bridegroom. Those who were ready went in with him to celebrate the wedding feast. In John’s Gospel the Baptist declares: “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete” (Jn 3:29). A major wedding connection is also made in the Gospel of John with the marriage feast at Cana, when Jesus turned water into wine. In the Old Testament we find the Song of Songs and, in the prophets, the heart-rending love God has for his people who turned away from him adulterously to follow false idols.
Augustine also used this nuptial imagery, speaking of Jesus’ coming into the world in terms of marriage. For Augustine this imagery of bride and bridegroom is a symbol of Jesus’ spousal desire for us, his love that blindly gives itself over to union whatever the cost, the beginning of a love affair born in eternity, to be consummated on the marriage bed of the cross, and finally raised in glory to the right hand of the Father.
When disciples fast today, it is a fasting of faith because Jesus has ascended into heaven. More than the lack of food, it is the absence of the sight of the bridegroom. It is a continual search for him and a longing for his return. Fasting from food, from TV, from complaining, or whatever else we decide to fast from, is a discipline that helps us keep focused on why we are here: we are invited to a forever wedding feast, not simply as a guest, but as the bride.

Oratio

Jesus, when we could not come to you, you came to us to forge an unbreakable bond between us and God, a bond of love that will last for eternity. At the beginning of these days of penitence, I feel this bond strengthening. I feel that you care about me and my life. I feel that you want me to realize how close you are to me. Help me to let go of whatever habits have become obstacles to living in your presence.

Contemplatio

You have come into the world as to a marriage.


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 10–11). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Daily Thought For February 15, 2018

Prayer & Beauty

Observe this beautiful fact: By bringing us into communion with God, prayer makes us share in God’s creativity. Contemplation nourishes our creative faculties and our inventiveness, particularly in the realm of beauty. Contemporary art is cruelly lacking in inspiration and very often produces nothing but painful ugliness, when people are so thirsty for beauty. Only a renewal of faith and prayer will enable artists to rediscover the sources of true creativity, so that they will once again be able to provide people with the beauty they so badly need, as was done by Fra Angelico, Rembrandt, or Johann Sebastian Bach.

Fr. Jacques Philippe, Thirsting for Prayer

Daily Thought For Ash Wednesday (February 14, 2018)

Lent - Allow God To Surprise You!

Lectio

Matthew 6:1–6, 16–18

Meditatio

“… [Do not] perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them
… your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

“What are you going to do for Lent?” As children each year we had to answer this question. We gave up cookies, candy, TV, video games …; the list was made up of our most precious pleasures. We struggled through the forty days of Lent, flexing our spiritual muscles as we raced toward the Easter Day finish line. As adults we’ve settled into a more sophisticated Lenten spirituality, but often we end up giving up the same things we did as kids, perhaps hoping to lose a little weight or gain a little time.
Today’s Gospel reading prods us to go deeper. It centers around theatrics. We all are mini-celebrities of our own lives, imagining a trail of adoring fans following us. We can even make Lent into a minor Hollywood production. We conceive the idea for our Lenten penance. We write the script. We are producer, director, actor, and audience all wrapped in one. And we end up at the Easter Day finish line as self-absorbed as we were on Ash Wednesday.
Perhaps these words of Jesus spoken to us today are asking us to go backstage, take the last seat, sit down, and wait for God to reveal to us the script he has written for us this Lent. Perhaps as adults we should be asking at the beginning of Lent: What is God going to do for me in these next forty days? What is it that I desire God to do for me in this long Lenten retreat?
Instead of theatrics, Jesus is inviting us to simple honesty. To smallness. To just being there and sensing his grace, quiet enough, still enough to feel the gentle tugs of the Spirit to newness, to giving up obstacles to the growth of a treasured relationship, to finding a few moments daily to read the Word of God, to surrender fear.… What God is going to do in your life will surprise you. Expect it.

Oratio

Jesus, I am not accustomed to telling you to do whatever you want in my life. In fact, it’s kind of scary to see what you would do if I let you write my life’s script. I think I am doing a pretty good job at my life on my own. But it seems you want something more of me now. Instead of Lent being my focus, you are placing me front and center in your focus. I am expecting you to show me what you want to give me at this stage of my life. I trust you.

Contemplatio

I expect you, God, to do something with me this Lent.

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 6–7). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Daily Thought For February 13, 2018

Humility & Forgiveness
 
     All of us should work for peace. But to obtain that peace all of us have to learn from Jesus to be meek and humble of heart. Only humility will lead us to unity, and unity to peace. To that end, let us help each other draw closer to Jesus, so that we learn the lesson of humility with joy.
     Let us think about oppressed countries. The greatest need of Bangladesh is forgiveness — there is so much bitterness and hatred! It is impossible to imagine how those people suffer. If they realize that we care for them, that we love them, perhaps they will find strength in their hearts to forgive. I think this is the only thing that can bring them peace. 
     We want this year to be, above all, a year of peace. With that aim, we will try to talk more with God than with men. 
     Let us spread Christ’s peace as he did. He planted good everywhere. He did not forsake his works of charity because the Pharisees and others rejected him and tried to spoil his Father’s work. 
     Cardinal Newman wrote: “Help me, wherever I may be, to spread your perfume. May I preach you without preaching — without words but with my example, through the force of attraction, the example of my actions, the obvious fullness of love that carries my heart to you.” 
 
Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Daily Thought For February 11, 2018


Pray With Confidence
 
Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray. 
 
St. Louis De Montfort

Saturday, February 10, 2018

February 10, 2018


Giving God Permission
 
     If you want a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit, give God a blank check. Decide in your heart that you want whatever he wants for you, no matter what it is. Don’t put limits on him. Be willing to come out of your comfort zones and the grooves you’ve dug to ensure your safety, comfort, and security. Tell the Lord every morning that your life is his and that you give him permission to do with it whatever he wants. Then walk throughout your day with one ear turned toward the Spirit. Don’t leave the Spirit at home or in church. Be conscious of his presence; attempt to listen even amidst the noise and frantic pace of life. When you hear him, or sense his prompting or gentle nudge, act on it. Don’t hesitate, do what he wants you to do. If you do this consistently, the Spirit will become your intimate friend and he will make something beautiful out of your life. 
     Pope John Paul II told the whole Church as we entered the third millennium, that the Spirit is leading us to, “put out into the deep.” It’s time for the Church to leave the shallow end of the pool; the purposes of Christ and the power of the Spirit are being released in the deep end. It’s time for each one of us to dive into the deep water of the Spirit’s purpose and will for us. 
     
When the Spirit Comes in Power - by Peter Herbeck p.148

Friday, February 9, 2018

Daily Thought For February 9, 2018

The Christian Perspective
 
 People who come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it. 
 
Henri Nouwen

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Daily Thought For February 8, 2018

On Not Being Overly Sensitive
 
      Christians who are too sensitive about their good names and reputations are like those who take medicine for a slight indisposition. They think they are taking care of their health, but they are ruining it. When we are overly protective of our reputation, we may lose it completely. This is because our tenderness makes us argumentative and unbearable. This provokes our detractors even more. 
     Ignoring a negative comment about yourself is a better remedy than becoming resentful and planning revenge. Contempt for injuries makes them vanish. If we become angry, we tacitly admit the truth of the accusation. Fear of losing our good name is the result of not trusting its foundation-a good life. Souls firmly anchored on Christian virtue can pay little attention to the torrent of a critical tongue. 
     Reputation is like a sign. It points to virtue. If your reputation is taken away by wagging tongues, don't be disturbed. Like a beard, it will grow out again. If God permits it to be taken from us, he will either give us a better one or help us with holy humility. 
     I would make only a few exceptions. If the unjust accusation refers to horrible crimes, no one should be expected to put up with it. Let the accused justly acquit himself of it. Additionally, if an individual needs a spotless reputation in order to help others, that person should quietly seek a correction. 
 
St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Daily Thought For February 7, 2018

A Haven Of Rest
     A friend once sent me a snapshot that had been taken four decades ago, when we were in the novitiate together. The photo shows me as a seventeen-year old sitting on a park  bench talking with my father. . . . I was struck by how peaceful and contented I looked in the photo. I remember asking myself, “How in the world did this boy ever survive all these years? He looks so terribly vulnerable.”
     Survival at best―that has literally been my experience. But I have survived the swirling tides of life because I discovered a little harbor inside my soul―a haven that I didn’t build, a refuge that I didn’t set apart from the winds of life. Sometimes, in the midst of storms, I  couldn’t find this sanctuary, but I knew it was there anyway.
     Because he is the God of peace, the Father provides this inner haven for each of us, a shelter that allows us to survive during difficult times, a place where we can receive the light of grace. If we are trying desperately to hold onto him, God will allow us to find this precious place of peace. He will hold out his hand. 

from Quiet Moments with Benedict Groeschel #80

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Daily Thought For February 6, 2018

Choosing To Be Merciful - Never Easy But The Key To Peace
     
 
It should be of no concern to you how anyone else acts; you are to be My living reflection, through love and mercy. I answered, "Lord, but they often take advantage of my goodness." That makes no difference, My daughter. That is no concern of yours. As for you, be always merciful toward other people, and especially toward sinners. 
 
O God, give me a deeper faith that I may always see in [my neighbor] Your Holy Image which has been engraved in [his] soul.
 
Have great love for those who cause you suffering. Do good to those who hate you. I answered, "O my Master, You see very well that I feel no love for them, and that troubles me." Jesus answered, It is not always within your power to control your feelings. You will recognize that you have love if, after having experienced annoyance and contradiction, you do not lose your peace, but pray for those who have made you suffer and wish them well. 
 
St. Faustina

Monday, February 5, 2018

Daily Thought For February 5, 2018

 Whatever Did I Do? 
"What did I ever do to deserve this?" I kept asking as I stood looking out over the muddy Monongahela River from my dormitory window. It was September, 1964 and I had just arrived at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh to begin my freshman year. The resident assistant told me how lucky I was to have a room "with a view." "Some view!", I grumbled inwardly. I was convinced I had made a huge mistake by coming to Duquesne. It certainly wasn't Plan A. 

You see, I had set my heart on going to Boston College after a visit to its beautiful campus. Although I was accepted at BC, I received no financial aid. A full tuition scholarship from Duquesne lured me there instead. After my choice was made, I won a larger scholarship which could have been used at any school, including Boston. However, I decided to hold fast to my choice of Duquesne, even though I had never seen the campus. 

Words cannot describe my dismay when I first laid eyes on Duquesne University that September. It was thoroughly unimpressive compared to Boston College. Many departments were housed in old homes along the Bluff of the river. Other homes were boarded up and vacant. A few poor families still remained in the dying neighborhood. I found the surroundings absolutely depressing. Victory Gardens in the middle of the campus was made to look like a park in the Duquesne catalog; in actuality it was a small patch of grass. "I could be at beautiful Boston College or at any school in the country," I groaned, "and instead I chose this awful place." 
That first night on campus my parents took me out to dinner. 

My disappointment with Duquesne was so intense I broke down crying. Weakened by my tears, my father was too upset to even finish his meal. "Drive home with us, honey," Daddy said. "You can transfer to Boston College next semester." 
"No," I protested, playing the martyr, "I'll stick it out here for a semester." So, reluctantly, they left me in Pittsburgh. 
Within just a few weeks, as I got to know the students and faculty at Duquesne, I really grew to love the school and decided to make it my home. That decision profoundly affected the course of my entire life. Although I didn't realize it at the time, it was God's providence that led me to Duquesne. He had plans for me there I would never have dreamed nor imagined possible. 

In God's inscrutable wisdom, He chose to visit Duquesne University in February, 1967 when a group of us made a weekend retreat on the theme of the Holy Spirit. Until that time, my prayer followed these general lines: "Lord, bless my plans, do my will, according to my timetable. Amen." 
During that retreat I realized my deep need for conversion. On Saturday night I knelt in the chapel and made an unconditional surrender to God. I prayed that I might do the Father's will, learn to follow Jesus and be filled with His love. In answer to my simple prayer of faith, God baptized me in His Holy Spirit. As I fell prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament I felt inundated with the incredibly merciful, totally unmerited love of God. Within a short time I was joined by the other students in the chapel where we experienced a sovereign outpouring of the Spirit of the living God. From that moment on, my life has never been the same. 
That retreat, now known as the "Duquesne Weekend," was much more than a moving personal experience. It marked the beginning of the worldwide outpouring of God's Spirit we call the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. The spark that was ignited at Duquesne has become a fire that is inflaming the hearts of millions of people across the face of the earth! God visited Duquesne. It was His choice. What a privilege to be there when He arrived! 

Shortly after my conversion, I was walking along the Bluff, looking out over the muddy Monongahela River once again. It was the same view I saw on my first day on campus, but I was a different person. Gratitude welled up within my heart for the grace of experiencing His visitation. "What did I ever do to deserve this, Jesus?" I asked in prayer, filled with amazement and awe. Of course, I had done nothing to deserve it. No one could ever merit God's gift of the Holy Spirit. But, in His mercy, the Lord guided me to a place where I could encounter His love. Choosing Duquesne was not a huge mistake after all. In fact, it was one of the greatest graces of my entire life! 

In the summer of 1988 I returned to Duquesne for the first time since my graduation in 1968 . . . a kind of 20 year reunion. A sense of awe came over me as I considered how the Holy Spirit has moved since the Duquesne weekend. Walking across the small campus, I marveled anew at what a humble place Duquesne really is. 

God didn't choose the most impressive, prestigious or influential school for His first stop in this modern day outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Instead, He visited an ordinary group of people at an ordinary campus in the Pittsburgh hills. God's wisdom and His way always defy human understanding. Perhaps the Duquesne story serves as a reminder that we can never merit His gifts. Rather, it is the Father's good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. Of ourselves we deserve nothing, in Jesus we receive everything! Praise God for His grace and mercy! 

from More of God— Inspirational Selections from the Notebook Column by Patti Gallagher Mansfield p.96-99

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Daily Thought For February 3, 2018

Grace For The Present Moment
 
 
     The past casts its shadow over the present whenever we brood about old failures and yesterday's choices. Of course we should ask God's forgiveness for our faults and should learn from them where appropriate. But once we've said we're sorry and meant it, that is enough. While seeking to make amends where possible for the harm we have caused, most of the time we should simply leave things in God's hands, trusting him to put everything right. We must put a stop to attitudes or thoughts that keep us from living trustingly in the present moment. 
    Sometimes we feel we've wasted much time and missed all too many opportunities to love and grow. If the feeling leads to real repentance and to starting again courageously and trustingly, then it is something positive. But if the sense of time wasted gets us down and makes us feel we have ruined our lives, we must reject it. To lock ourselves in the past would only add another sin to those already committed. It would be a serious lack of trust in the infinite mercy and power of God, who loves us and wants always to offer us a new chance to become holy, despite the past. When the thought of how little progress we've made threatens to overwhelm us, we must make an act of faith and hope, such as: "Thank you, my God, for all my past. I firmly believe that you can draw good out of everything I have lived through. I want to have no regrets, and I resolve today to begin from zero, with exactly the same trust as if all my past history were made up of nothing but faithfulness and holiness." Nothing could please God more than that! 
 
from Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe p.86.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Daily Thought For February 1, 2018

The Gentleness & Mercy of Christ 
   A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench. 
     Jesus' mercy for people never faltered for a moment, despite all the ingratitude, difficulties and hatred he encountered. His love for men is so great because He is concerned above all for their souls, and to bring them with his powerful help to eternal life; at the same time, it knows no bounds and extends to all mankind. He is the Good Shepherd of our souls, who knows us all and calls each one of us by our name' and leaves none abandoned on the mountainside. He has given his life for each man and woman. When a soul strays, Christ's immediate reaction is to do all He can to help it return, and we can visualize him watching daily to catch a glimpse of it in the distance. Whenever someone offends him grievously, He tries to draw him to his merciful Heart. He doesn't break the bruised reed, he doesn't finally snap it off and throw it away. Instead, he mends it very carefully, giving it all the attention it needs. 
     What does He say to those who are devastated by sin, or who no longer give any light because the divine fire in their soul has gone out? Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest? He has pity on the great misfortune they have suffered on account of sin, and leads them to repentance without judging them harshly. He is the father who embraces his prodigal son after he has fallen into disgrace through his own fault. He it is who pardons the adulterous woman who is being threatened with stoning. He receives the repentant Magdalen and immediately opens to her the mystery of his intimate life. He speaks about eternal life to the Samaritan woman in spite of her waywardness; He promises heaven to the good thief Truly in him are fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah: 'A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly-burning wick he will not quench.
     No one ever loved us, or will love us, as Christ does; no one understands us better than He. When the faithful of Corinth went about, divided, saying to one another: 'I belong to Paul, I belong to Apollos, I belong to Cephas, I belong to Christ,' Saint Paul writes to them: Was Paul crucified for you. That is the ultimate argument. 
     We can never lose hope. God wants us to be saints, and puts his power and his providence at the service of his mercy. Therefore, we cannot pass the time dwelling on our evil fortune, losing sight of God, getting discouraged by our failures, feeling tempted to say: 'What's the use of trying, considering how much I have sinned, how much I have failed my Lord?' No, we must trust in the love and power of Our Father God, and in his Son, sent into the world to redeem and strengthen us.
      It is very good for our soul to see ourselves, in Our Lord's sight, like a bruised reed which needs a lot of care, like a flickering wick which needs the oil of divine love in order to burn as God wants! We never lose hope as long as we realize that we are weak, full of defects and dirt. Our Lord never leaves us; we just need to use the means and not reject the hand that He offers us. 

from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 4 pp.169-170