Saturday, June 30, 2018

Daily Thought For June 30, 2018

Letting Good Things Run Wild!

The more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

Friday, June 29, 2018

Daily Thought For June 29, 2018

Sharing In The Anointing of Christ Means Sharing In The Cross of Christ

The readings we have just heard link us to the apostolic Tradition. That Tradition “is not the transmission of things or words, an assortment of lifeless objects; it is the living stream that links us to the origins, the living stream in which those origins are ever present” (BENEDICT XVI, Catechesis, 26 April 2006) and offer us the keys to the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 16:19). A Tradition ancient yet ever new, that gives us life and renews the joy of the Gospel. It enables us to confess with our lips and our heart: “‘Jesus Christ is Lord’, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11).

The entire Gospel is an answer to the question present in the hearts of the People of Israel and today too dwells in the hearts of all those who thirst for life: “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Mt 11:3). Jesus takes up that question and asks it of his disciples: “But who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:15).

Peter speaks up and calls Jesus by the greatest title he could possibly bestow: “You are the Christ” (cf. Mt 16:16), the Anointed, the Holy One of God. It is good to think that the Father inspired this answer because Peter had seen how Jesus “anointed” his people. Jesus, the Anointed One, walked from village to village with the sole aim of saving and helping those considered lost. He “anointed” the dead (cf. Mk 5:41-42; Lk 7:14-15), the sick (cf. Mk 6:13; Jas 5:14), the wounded (cf. Lk 10:34) and the repentant (cf. Mt 6:17). He anointed with hope (cf. Lk 7:38.46; 10:34; Jn 11:2; 12:3). By that anointing, every sinner – the downcast, the infirm, pagans, wherever they found themselves – could feel a beloved part of God’s family. By his actions, Jesus said in a very personal way: “You are mine”. Like Peter, we too can confess with our lips and our heart not only what we have heard, but also concretely experienced in our lives. We too have been brought back to life, healed, renewed and filled with hope by the anointing of the Holy One. Thanks to that anointing, every yoke of slavery has been shattered (cf. Is 10:27). How can we ever lose the joyful memory that we were ransomed and led to proclaim: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (cf. Mt 16:16).

It is interesting to see what follows this passage in the Gospel where Peter confesses his faith: “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Mt 16:21). God’s Anointed kept bringing the Father’s love and mercy to the very end. This merciful love demands that we too go forth to every corner of life, to reach out to everyone, even though this may cost us our “good name”, our comforts, our status… even martyrdom.

Peter reacts to this completely unexpected announcement by saying: “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you” (Mt 16:22). In this way, he immediately becomes a stumbling stone in the Messiah’s path. Thinking that he is defending God’s rights, Peter, without realizing it, becomes the Lord’s enemy; Jesus calls him “Satan”. To contemplate Peter’s life and his confession of faith also means learning to recognize the temptations that will accompany the life of every disciple. Like Peter, we as a Church will always be tempted to hear those “whisperings” of the evil One, which will become a stumbling stone for the mission. I speak of “whispering” because the devil seduces from hiding, lest his intentions be recognized. “He behaves like a hypocrite, wishing to stay hidden and not be discovered” (SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, Spiritual Exercises, n. 326).

To share in Christ’s anointing, on the other hand, means to share in his glory, which is his cross: Father, glorify your Son… “Father, glorify your name” (Jn 12:28). In Jesus, glory and the cross go together; they are inseparable. Once we turn our back on the cross, even though we may attain the heights of glory, we will be fooling ourselves, since it will not be God’s glory, but the snare of the enemy.

Often we feel the temptation to be Christians by keeping a prudent distance from the Lord’s wounds. Jesus touches human misery and he asks us to join him in touching the suffering flesh of others. To proclaim our faith with our lips and our heart demands that we – like Peter – learn to recognize the “whisperings” of the evil one. It demands learning to discern and recognize those personal and communitarian “pretexts” that keep us far from real human dramas, that preserve us from contact with other people’s concrete existence and, in the end, from knowing the revolutionary power of God’s tender love (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 270).

By not separating his glory from the cross, Jesus wants to liberate his disciples, his Church, from empty forms of triumphalism: forms empty of love, service, compassion, empty of people. He wants to set his Church free from grand illusions that fail to sink their roots in the life of God’s faithful people or, still worse, believe that service to the Lord means turning aside from the dusty roads of history. To contemplate and follow Christ requires that we open our hearts to the Father and to all those with whom he has wished to identify (cf. SAINT JOHN PAUL II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49), in the sure knowledge that he will never abandon his people.


Dear brothers and sisters, millions of people continue to ask the question: “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Mt 11:3). Let us confess with our lips and heart that Jesus Christ is Lord (cf Phil 2:11). This is the cantus firmus that we are called daily to intone. With the simplicity, the certainty and the joy of knowing that “the Church shines not with her own light, but with the light of Christ. Her light is drawn from the Sun of Justice, so that she can exclaim: ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’ (Gal 2:20)” (SAINT AMBROSE, Hexaemeron, IV, 8, 32).

Pope Francis, Address on The Solemnity of St. Peter & St. Paul, June 29, 2018

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Daily Thought For June 28, 2018

One Reason Why We Need Discernment

Error never shows itself in its naked reality, in order not to be discovered. On the contrary, it dresses elegantly, so that the unwary may be led to believe that it is more truthful than truth itself.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Daily Thought For June 26, 2018

Casting Your Pebbles

What we would like to do is change the world - make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do....We can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend.

Dorothy Day

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Daily Thought For June 20, 2018

God Will Make A Way

No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it. 


I Corinthians 10:13

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Daily Thought For June 19, 2018

Taking A Stand For Christ
 
By contrast, the person who is always seeking the approval and applause of others can easily deform his own conscience. The rule of action then becomes what people will say, rather than the Will of God. Concern for the opinion of others can easily become fear of the environment. It is easy then to neutralize the apostolic activity of Christians, who have taken upon themselves the urgent task to fulfill on earth the evangelization of the world. 
 
Sometimes, in order not to appear out of step, one easily begins not to be consistent with one's principles. One falls into the temptation of leaning to the side from which approving smiles and handshakes more readily come, or at least in the direction of mediocrity. This is what happened to the Pharisees. Vanity and cowardice were what led them away from God That is what led them to seek another theatre for their struggles, and is what lost them: because once you begin to try pleasing your spectators, the battles you fight are the ones they want to see. On the contrary, those who truly seek Christ have to accept that their conduct will be unpopular and often criticized, particularly if they live in an environment that is not very Christian. 
 
The first thing we have to do with our actions is to please Christ. If I were still concerned about pleasing men, I would not be a servant of Christ.  And St Paul also replies to some Corinthians who were criticizing his apostolate: Not that it makes the slightest difference to me whether you, or indeed any human tribunal, find me worthy or not. I will I not even pass judgement on myself... The Lord alone is my judge.  
 
Human judgements are often wrong. Only God can judge our actions and our intentions. Among the surprises which await us on the day of judgement, not least will be the silence with which Our Lord will greet those actions of ours which merited the applause of men. .. On the other hand it can happen that he will weigh in positive terms some actions which have drawn down criticism and censorship upon us. Our Judge is the Lord. It is He whom we have to please.  We must ask ourselves many times each day: Am I doing what I should be doing now? Do I seek the glory of God, or am I trying to show off, to make sure people like me? If we are sincere on those occasions we will obtain light to rectify our intention if necessary, and direct it towards God. 
 
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez pp.394-395

Friday, June 15, 2018

Daily Thought For June 15, 2018

Spending Time With Jesus Is Never A Waste Of Time

“Even for you this remains a struggle.  There are so many lesser things that pull you away, that eat up your time, that put stumbling blocks in the path of your coming to be with Me.  Learn to recognize these obstacles for what they are. Some of them are your own doing; others are the work of the Evil One; still others come from the ordinary cares of life in a world that has forgotten how to be still in My presence.  Do not let yourself be stopped by any of these things.  Learn to come to Me quickly, generously, and gladly.  I wait for you in the Sacrament of My love, and you will not be disappointed in coming to Me.  This is really all I ask of souls…that they come to Me.  And I will do the rest.” 

In Sine Jesu, p. 104

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Daily Thought For June 14, 2018

Refuge

And in every disappointment, great or small, let your heart fly directly to your dear Savior, throwing yourself in those arms for refuge against every pain and sorrow. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Daily Thought For June 9, 2018

Knowledge & Love

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Friday, June 8, 2018

Daily Thought For June 8, 2018

Saints Have Complicated Problems

The two, Paul and Barnabas, disagreed at the beginning of the second missionary journey because Barnabas was determined to take with them as a companion John called Mark, whereas Paul was against it, since the young man had deserted them during their previous journey (cf. Acts 13:13; 15:36–40).

Hence there are also disputes, disagreements and controversies among saints. And I find this very comforting, because we see that the saints have not “fallen from Heaven”. They are people like us, who also have complicated problems.

Holiness does not consist in never having erred or sinned. Holiness increases the capacity for conversion, for repentance, for willingness to start again and, especially, for reconciliation and forgiveness.

So it was that Paul, who had been somewhat harsh and bitter with regard to Mark, in the end found himself with him once again. In St Paul’s last Letters, to Philemon and in his Second Letter to Timothy, Mark actually appears as one of his “fellow workers”.

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

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Daily Thought For June 6, 2018

Love Is.....

Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

St. Augustine

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Daily Thought For June 5, 2018

What Is Gossip?

We are tubes, open at both ends. And what we do with our lower end in the smallest and plainest room in our house, we often do with our upper end in the largest and fanciest room.

Peter Kreeft — A Turn of the Clock (A Book of Modern Proverbs) p.28

Monday, June 4, 2018

Daily Thought For June 4, 2018

The Fountain of Grace
 
The fountain of grace heals us and strengthens the life of grace by guiding the flow of purest love to the deep recesses of the heart. So often we forget the depths for which we are created. We rush through the day from one thing to another, without realizing the meaning available in this very moment. As the Holy Spirit moves within us a change takes place and an interior conversion emerges. The mysteries of the faith more easily suffuse the soul's most original depths. The heart itself becomes contoured to receive a deeper influx of the life of grace. Like a fountain, the Holy Spirit generates his love from the very center of our existence. This is not automatic or without difficulty. We do not become immune to the ups and downs of life, but we find a deeper stability and purpose in them. A fountain is always transcending itself by giving itself away, pouring itself out. Through grace, the Holy Spirit's gift of love encounters our weaknesses, our faults and bad habits, our secrets, and also our sins. The Spirit's love transforms us so that today, in this time and space, our love can be renewed. We will still feel the same pressures and stress. We will still encounter difficulties and burdens. But we will discover a new momentum, a new spaciousness opening up even in anxious moments. This newness invites us to respond with love where we used to become upset, flustered, or angry. This new momentum comes from grace and prompts us to make a self-giving sacrifice of obedience by which we live the life of virtue on the way to salvation. 
 
from Living the Beatitudes -A Journey to Life in Christ  J. Brian Bransfield pp. 189-190

Friday, June 1, 2018

Daily Thought For June 1, 2018

Humility & Freedom

Humility is rooted in self-knowledge and knowledge of God. Knowledge of our own sinfulness, the shortness and fragility of human life, the great mercy and goodness of God, and the length of eternity all deepen humility and enable us to practice patience. Patience is impossible without the humility that brings with it a deep knowledge of and confidence in the goodness and providence of God.

Catherine explains that even though nobody can avoid physical pain in this life because of the fragility of our bodies, the deeper pain is rooted in the opposition of our will to God’s will. As our will comes into greater and greater conformity with God’s will—one of the definitions of holiness used by many of the saints—the spiritual and psychological anguish of being in opposition to God subsides and the physical pain can be more easily endured, as all the virtues grow.

    This is why I told you that they suffer physically but not spiritually, because their sensual will—which afflicts and pains the spirit—is dead. Since they no longer have a selfish will, they no longer have this pain. So they bear everything with reverence, considering it a grace to suffer for me. And they want nothing but what I will … They pass through life joyfully, knowing themselves and untroubled by suffering.

Catherine strikingly describes the freedom and joy that can come to those who are made perfect in detachment and humility, willing what God wills in complete trust.

    They may suffer at the hands of others, or from illness or poverty or the instability of the world. They may lose their children or other loved ones. All such things are thorns the earth produced because of sin. They endure them all, considering by the light of reason and holy faith that I am goodness itself and cannot will anything but good. And I send these things out of love, not hatred.… They learn that all suffering in this life is small with the smallness of time. Time is no more than the point of a needle, and when time is over, so is suffering—so you see how small it is. Therefore they endure it patiently.

      I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me
         and heard my cry. (Ps. 40:1)



Martin, Ralph. (2006). The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints (pp. 244–245). Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing.