Monday, December 31, 2018

Daily Thought For December 31, 2018

From His Fullness We Have Received Grace in Place of Grace
Lectio

John 1:1–18

Meditatio

“No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God,
who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.”

Have you ever had the chance to see a famous person whom you really wanted to meet? Perhaps a sports star, an actor, a civil leader, or someone else you almost idolized? What was it like for you? How did you feel when you saw your hero in person?

I still recall vividly how thrilled I was to see the Pope in person for the first time, when John Paul II celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium in 1979. After the Mass, he rode around the stadium in the Popemobile, smiling and waving, and I got to see him up close. I felt ecstatic, swept up in the moment and the cheering crowd. It buoyed my spirit for quite a while.

Such things, though, can’t even begin to compare with what it is like to see God. That’s what John is telling us in the prologue to his Gospel. God gave us the greatest gift possible when he sent his Son to earth to suffer and die for us.

Perhaps because it is so familiar to us. We can easily take for granted the incredible gift of the Incarnation. We can hardly begin to grasp the reality of this mystery. But ponder it for a moment. Even though we cannot fully understand it, we can thank God the Father for sending us his Son. He came to this earth to become one of us, to save us from our sins, and to lead us to eternal life with him.

One simple way to acknowledge the mystery it so pray the Angelus.* This simple prayer reminds us of what the Incarnation means. “… the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.…” Hail Mary.…

Oratio

Lord Jesus, I thank you for the amazing gift you gave us by becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Help me to understand this mystery, even if only a little. Pour out your Holy Spirit on me so that I might grasp with my heart what I cannot grasp with my mind. I thank you for being the light of life. Enlighten us all with your truth. You came to earth as our Way, our Truth, and our Life. I believe in you and I love you. Amen.

Contemplatio

“From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace.…”


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 94–95). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Daily Thought For December 30, 2018

An Amazing Exchange!

The humble, simple souls, who are little enough to see the bigness of God in the littleness of a Babe, are therefore the only ones who will ever understand the reason of His visitation. He came to this poor earth of ours to carry on an exchange; to say to us, as only the Good God could say: 'you give me your humanity, and I will give you my Divinity; you give me your time, and I will give you My eternity; you give me your broken heart, and I will give you Love; you give me your nothingness, and I will give you My all.

Venerable Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Daily Thought For December 29, 2018

He Has Pitched His Tent In Our Midst

The grace which was revealed in our world is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, true man and true God. He has entered our history; he has shared our journey. He came to free us from darkness and to grant us light. In him was revealed the grace, the mercy, and the tender love of the Father: Jesus is Love incarnate. He is not simply a teacher of wisdom, he is not an ideal for which we strive while knowing that we are hopelessly distant from it. He is the meaning of life and history, who has pitched his tent in our midst.

The shepherds were the first to see this “tent”, to receive the news of Jesus’ birth. They were the first because they were among the last, the outcast. And they were the first because they were awake, keeping watch in the night, guarding their flocks. The pilrim is bound by duty to keep watch and the shepherds did just that. Together with them, let us pause before the Child, let us pause in silence. Together with them, let us thank the Lord for having given Jesus to us, and with them let us raise from the depths of our hearts the praises of his fidelity: We bless you, Lord God most high, who lowered yourself for our sake. You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable.


On this night let us share the joy of the Gospel: God loves us, he so loves us that he gave us his Son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness. To us the Lord repeats: “Do not be afraid!” (Lk 2:10). As the angels said to the shepherds: “Do not be afraid!”. And I also repeat to all of you: Do not be afraid! Our Father is patient, he loves us, he gives us Jesus to guide us on the way which leads to the promised land. Jesus is the light who brightens the darkness. He is mercy: our Father always forgives us. He is our peace. Amen.

excerpt from the homily of Pope Francis — December 24, 2013

Friday, December 28, 2018

Daily Thought For December 28, 2018

A Plea for Love & Peace!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Gospel according to Luke recounts that when the shepherds of Bethlehem had received the Angel’s announcement of the Messiah’s birth “they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger” (2:16). The first eyewitnesses of Jesus’ birth therefore beheld a family scene: a mother, a father and a newborn son. For this reason the Liturgy has us celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family on the First Sunday after Christmas. This year it occurred the very day after Christmas, and, taking precedence over the Feast of St Stephen, invites us to contemplate this “icon” in which the little Jesus appears at the centre of his parents’ affection and care.

In the poor grotto of Bethlehem — the Fathers of the Church wrote — shines a very bright light, a reflection of the profound mystery which envelopes that Child, which Mary and Joseph cherish in their hearts and which can be seen in their expression, in their actions, and especially in their silence. Indeed, they preserve in their inmost depths the words of the Angel’s Annunciation to Mary: “the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk 1:35).

Yet every child’s birth brings something of this mystery with it! Parents who receive a child as a gift know this well and often speak of it in this way. We have all heard people say to a father and a mother: “this child is a gift, a miracle!”. Indeed, human beings do not experience procreation merely as a reproductive act but perceive its richness and intuit that every human creature who is born on earth is the “sign” par excellence of the Creator and Father who is in Heaven.

How important it is, therefore, that every child coming into the world be welcomed by the warmth of a family! External comforts do not matter: Jesus was born in a stable and had a manger as his first cradle, but the love of Mary and of Joseph made him feel the tenderness and beauty of being loved. Children need this: the love of their father and mother. It is this that gives them security and, as they grow, enables them to discover the meaning of life. The Holy Family of Nazareth went through many trials, such as the “massacre of the innocents” — as recounted in the Gospel according to Matthew — which obliged Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt (cf. 2:13-23). Yet, trusting in divine Providence, they found their stability and guaranteed Jesus a serene childhood and a sound upbringing.

Dear friends, the Holy Family is of course unique and unrepeatable, but at the same time it is a “model of life” for every family because Jesus, true man, chose to be born into a human family and thereby blessed and consecrated it. Let us therefore entrust all families to Our Lady and to St Joseph, so that they do not lose heart in the face of trials and difficulties but always cultivate conjugal love and devote themselves with trust to the service of life and education.

Appeal for peace

The desire for and invocation of the gift of peace have become even more intense in this Season of Holy Christmas. However, our world continues to be marked by violence, especially against disciples of Christ. I learned with great sorrow of the attack on a Catholic Church in the Philippines during the celebration of the Christmas Day rites and also of the attacks on Christian churches in Nigeria. The earth has once again been stained by blood in other parts of the world, as in Pakistan.

I would like to express my heartfelt condolences for the victims of this senseless violence and I repeat once again the appeal to desist from the path of hatred in order to find peaceful solutions to conflicts and to give security and serenity to the beloved populations.


On this day on which we are celebrating the Holy Family that had experienced the drama of having to flee to Egypt because of the homicidal fury of Herod, let us also remember all those — particularly families — who are forced to leave their homes because of war, violence and intolerance. I invite you to join me in prayer to beseech the Lord to move human hearts and to bring hope, reconciliation and peace.

Pope Benedict XVI Sunday Angelus December 26th, 2010

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Daily Thought For December 27, 2018

Don't Play It Safe!

It is not those who commit the least faults who are the most holy, but those who have the greatest courage, the greatest generosity, the greatest love, who make the boldest efforts to overcome themselves, and are not immediately apprehensive about tripping.

St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Daily Thought For December 26, 2018

Send Us Your Spirit!


Lectio

Matthew 10:17–22

Meditatio

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

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

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

As too soon the lights and decorations begin to come down around us and life quickly returns to more “ordinary” time, it can be difficult to live out the joy and hope that we celebrate each Christmas. When we experience moments of suffering or fear, the peacefulness of the crèche scene may seem very far away. But Jesus promises us that he will always be with us.

Just as Mary and Joseph lived each moment leading up to the birth of Jesus—and after—with trust in God’s faithfulness, Jesus calls us to put our trust in him.

Oratio

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

Contemplatio

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

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

Monday, December 24, 2018

Daily Thought For December 24, 2018

Peace Is On The Way!

Lectio

Luke 1:67–79

Meditatio

  “… the daybreak from on high will visit us.…”

This promised daybreak is the One whose birth we celebrate tomorrow. More than two thousand years ago he came to shine on those who lived in darkness. He brought hope and healing and forgiveness of sins. He died out of love for us, and he destroyed the finality of death by his resurrection. He sent his followers to continue his mission, and he said he would be with them until the end of the world.

So … why do we still dwell “in the shadow of death”? Why are we not on the “way of peace,” but instead are on the way of war, confusion, and hatred? Why have we not yet been set free of all this?

Yes, the dawn has broken, but we do not yet enjoy the full light of day. The Incarnation ended the night, but the complete fulfillment of the promise will occur only when Jesus comes again at the end of the world. (The name of the liturgical season that ends today—Advent—means “coming.” It refers to both comings of Jesus—his first coming as a baby, and his final coming at the world’s end.)
In apostolic times, believers ardently looked forward to Jesus’ coming again. From them we have the acclamation, “Maranatha!,” which means, “Come, Lord!” They seem to have thought that the parousia, the second coming, would happen very soon, most likely within their lifetimes.

Over the centuries, as the parousia has not occurred, we have lost much of the expectation and longing the first Christians had. We certainly look askance at those who say they expect the coming of Jesus in their lifetime. But why? Maybe we need some reminders that this world is not all there is. Jesus will come again, and then he will establish endless day!

Oratio

Jesus, I wasn’t there for your first coming, and I have no idea when your final coming will be. But every day you come to me in so many ways. You speak to me in the Scriptures, in prayer, through the kindness of others, and in the opportunities for doing good that are your gift to me. You come to me in the sacrament of Reconciliation and in Holy Communion. Help me renew my expectation for these comings, so that I am always on the watch for you everywhere.

Contemplatio

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 78–79). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Daily Thought For December 23, 2018

Cause For Our Joy!


Lectio

Luke 1:39–45

Meditatio

“For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.”

One of the time-honored titles for Mary is Cause of Our Joy. Do you know anyone who has been a cause of joy to you? Someone who lights up your day just by being present? Someone who always seems to have a kind word and who leaves your heart feeling lighter? Mary is like that. When we let her into our life as disciples of her Son, she brings joy and peace to our hearts. And she never comes alone. She always brings Jesus.

The Gospel tells us that Mary went “in haste” to visit Elizabeth. She knew that the older woman was approaching the last part of her pregnancy and would need help. So without thinking about her own needs, Mary hurries to help Elizabeth. Could we possibly think Mary is any different now? No! In heaven she intercedes for us, and she still hurries to help us in all of our needs.

In these final days before Christmas, it’s easy to get swept into hectic last-minute shopping, parties, and errands. These can take our focus away from Jesus. In the midst of all the chaos, take just a few minutes and spend them quietly with Mary. Close your eyes, breathe quietly, focusing on your heart, and imagine that Mary is there with you. Just feel grateful for her presence, for coming to you, for bringing us Jesus. Ask her to show you how you can bring joy to others, just as she did throughout her life on earth. Then listen. Mary will whisper the answer in your heart. Like Elizabeth, we might ask, “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” It happens because Mary cares about us.

Oratio

Mary, my Mother, I turn to you with great trust, and I ask you for the help I need right now. You who are the Cause of Our Joy, come and bring joy and peace into my life and the lives of all my loved ones. Teach me to act as you did, to be attentive to the needs of others, and to be willing to give of myself. In everything I do, may I be a mirror that reflects the image of your Son, Jesus.

Contemplatio

“And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 62–63). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Daily Thought For December 22, 2018

The Devil Is On A Chain

The devil is like a rabid dog tied to a chain; beyond the length of the chain he cannot seize anyone. And you: keep at a distance. If you approach too near, you let yourself be caught. Remember that the devil has only one door by which to enter the soul: the will.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Friday, December 21, 2018

Daily Thought For December 21, 2018

Rejoice in the Divine Assistance

You must not be discouraged or let yourself become dejected if your actions have not succeeded as perfectly as you intended. What do you expect? We are made of clay and not every soil
yields the fruits expected by the one who tills it. But let us always humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are nothing if we lack the Divine assistance.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Daily Thought For December 20, 2018

One Step At A Time

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be?” (Luke 1:34)

Imagine you are a child, and it’s Christmas morning. You are opening presents in front of the tree, and you spot a large package with your name on it. You open the package, and it’s a model airplane—but the instructions for assembling it are missing. You’re perplexed, and you ask your parents, “How am I supposed to put this together?” But then your parents offer to help you, and with their help, the model gets built.

In some ways, Mary’s initial response to the angel is like this child’s first reaction to his gift. Even as the sinless Mother of God, she still reacts in a human way. She doesn’t deny that her calling is real, but she wonders just how it’s supposed to come about. And so she asks a question—as any of us would. Then, after she hears the angel’s explanation, Mary is ready to take the first step of obedience—even if she doesn’t completely understand God’s plan.

Certainly, Mary’s calling was unique, and we can’t equate our walk with hers. But we can still draw an important lesson here: God’s biggest plans for us don’t always come with detailed instructions. In fact, sometimes they might seem more like problems than blessings! But as he did for Mary, God will unveil his plan for you a little at a time, as you take the next step of faith, and the next one, and the next one. Mary learned more about her calling when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, who greeted her as “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43).

According to Pope Francis, “The Holy Spirit doesn’t come with a full package of certainty.” But if we ask the Spirit, he will guide us one step at a time, and give us “the certainty for that moment, the answer for that moment” (Homily, April 30, 2018).

So don’t be afraid to ask the Holy Spirit about your life or your future. He may not give you a complete blueprint. But he will give you the wisdom to know what to do today, the strength to carry it out, and the trust that tomorrow will work out. Your biggest Christmas presents will get unwrapped—but often that process happens one day at a time!

“Lord, I am trusting you to work things out today. I believe that you hold tomorrow in your hands.”

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


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Daily Thought For December 18, 2018

St. Joseph & How God Works In Marvelous Ways


Lectio

Matthew 1:18–25

Meditatio

  “[Y]ou are to name him Jesus.…”

In his first chapter Matthew goes to great lengths to relate the human ancestry of … Jesus? No, of Joseph, the husband of Mary, to whom was born Jesus the Christ. Through the angel, Joseph is asked to become Jesus’ legal father. And by naming the child, Joseph complies with God’s request. Jesus becomes “Son of David.”

This is another of God’s marvelous interventions in human history. Sarah, Hannah (the wife of Manoah), and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth all conceived sons when conception seemed impossible. Gideon routed the Midianites with only a few hundred men. Samson performed feats of extraordinary strength. The Maccabees fought against overwhelming odds to overthrow the Seleucids. And now, here again, God is entering perceptibly into human events. He is becoming present in an entirely new way.

Yet the Lord is always present! He cares about his sons and daughters! His interventions in our lives are usually cloaked in ordinary events, but they are real nonetheless. Have we ever marveled when a difficult situation was unexpectedly resolved? Have we ever felt gently chided: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (cf. Mt 14:31). As Saint Paul says, when we’re in difficulty and temptation, God will give us a way out (cf. 1 Cor 10:13). Each of us may remember some examples of this in our own lives. “If God is for us,” asks Paul, “who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).
Now, one week before Christmas, we might continue reflecting with Paul on what our Father has done for us: “God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Gal 4:4); “He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not give us everything else along with him?” (Rom 8:32).

Yes! Emmanuel is coming—God with us! Let us prepare our hearts to welcome him.

Oratio

Father in heaven, you sent your Son into the world to be our brother, companion, and Savior. In him your ever-present love for us became visible, and we recognize your care and concern for each of us. Help us to be grateful always that Jesus came into the world as one of us. May we trust firmly in your providence, especially when life becomes difficult and seems to lose meaning, joy, or peace. May we place our hopes in your Son and trust that he is with us, sharing our burdens, our sorrows, our joys.

Contemplatio

“They shall name him Emmanuel.”


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 66–67). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Daily Thought For December 17, 2018

Experiencing Gaudete Joy

True joy is linked to something deeper. Of course, in the all too often frenetic pace of daily life it is important to find time for rest and relaxation, but true joy is linked to our relationship with God. Those who have encountered Christ in their own lives feel a serenity and joy in their hearts that no one and no situation can take from them. St Augustine understood this very well; in his quest for truth, peace and joy, after seeking them in vain in many things he concluded with his famous words: “and our heart is restless until it rests in God” (cf. Confessions, I, 1, 1).


True joy is not merely a passing state of mind or something that can be achieved with the person’s own effort; rather it is a gift, born from the encounter with the living Person of Jesus and, making room within ourselves, from welcoming the Holy Spirit who guides our lives. It is the invitation of the Apostle Paul who says: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:23).


excerpt from Angelus (December 11, 2011) Pope Benedict XVI

Friday, December 14, 2018

Daily Thought For December 14, 2018

Inner Healing

In the inner stillness where meditation leads, the Spirit secretly anoints the soul and heals our deepest wounds.

St. John of the Cross

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Daily Thought For December 13, 2018

Speak To God Without Fear

Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the “Our Father”, we now consider the attitude required by Christ of his disciples as they pray. Jesus invites us to invoke God as “Father” thus encouraging us to beseech him in a way that breaks down barriers of subjection and fear. The prayer’s seven questions are also rooted in our daily experience of life and its basic needs. We are taught, for instance, to ask for our daily bread – a simple yet vital request. Our first prayer, in a sense, was the cry that accompanied our original breath as a new-born child, for it announced our life’s destiny: our continual hunger and thirst and search for happiness. With this prayer, then, Jesus desires that every suffering and anxiety should rise up to heaven and become a dialogue. Indeed, to have faith is to be able to cry out in this way. God is truly a Father who has an immense compassion for us and wants his children to address him without fear. For this reason, we can speak to him about anything, even those aspects of our lives that are flawed or confused. And he has promised, moreover, to remain with us until the end of time.

Pope Francis —General Audience of December 12, 2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

Daily Thought For December 10, 2018

Bringing People To The Lord


Lectio

Luke 5:17–26

Meditatio

“When he saw their faith, he said,
‘As for you, your sins are forgiven.’ ”

As I read this Gospel, I am struck by the simple love and determination of these unnamed men for their paralyzed friend. They are not idly interested in the possibility of witnessing a miracle. They are men with a purpose, whose love will take them to great lengths to see their friend well again. They are also men who have great faith in the power of God at work through Jesus.

In one translation, the word for “faith” in this Gospel is translated as “trust.” I like this way of thinking about faith. We hear the word “faith” so often, that at times it might bounce off our minds and hearts without hitting the mark. We assume we have faith—after all, we go to Mass on Sundays and say our prayers, right? But in a world where true relationships can be hard to find, the word “trust” can hit our ears and minds in a different way. We know the risks and rewards contained in that simple word.

Perhaps what strikes me most in this Gospel is Jesus’ response to the great trust these men have in him. Seeing their perseverance and hope as a sign of great faith, he is moved to action, healing the paralyzed man in spirit and in body.

What might this mean for us? Perhaps it means that we, too, have this gift and this responsibility to bring one another before the Lord in faith. At times, each of us walks through the dark valley, feeling that God is far away and prayer is next to impossible. In these moments of spiritual and emotional paralysis, what would it be like to remember and to believe that my family and friends can bring me before Jesus in faith when I can no longer bring myself?
It remains a message of great hope to realize that I, too, can do this for those whom I love.

Oratio

Lord Jesus, this Advent you are calling me to a deeper trust in you—to a trust that believes in the power of prayer. It can be so painful to watch loved ones wander farther and farther away from you, or fall deeper and deeper into emotional darkness and pain. Today, I am bringing before you those in my life who seem to be wandering in darkness. You are the light that dawns in all hearts. Thank you for your healing light and for the power of your Spirit at work in our lives.

Contemplatio

Jesus, I trust in you.


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 30–31). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Daily Thought For December 7, 2018

A Beautiful Invitation

“So many souls make little or no progress in the holiness that I desire for them because they do not trust in My grace.  They attempt to change themselves by making use of purely human means, and forget that I am all-powerful, all-merciful, and ready at every moment to heal and sanctify those who entrust themselves, with their weaknesses and sins, to My most loving Heart.  I do not ask for perfection from those whom I have chosen to be My friends; I ask only that they give Me their imperfection and the burden of their sins, and allow Me to do for them what, of themselves, they are incapable of doing.” 

from In Sine Jesu p. 163.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Daily Thought For December 5, 2018

Prayer For Advent

Dear Jesus, you are the hope in our messy world. This Advent, help us slow down, listen to your voice, and focus on what’s really important. We place our hope in you as we prepare our hearts to celebrate your birth on Christmas. Amen.

from Dynamic Catholic.Com