Thursday, January 31, 2019

Daily Thought For January 31, 2019

A Severe Mercy

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I’m writing to share with you a few thoughts as a follow up to Ralph Martin’s excellent and courageous letter Dear Troubled Catholics, regarding the current crisis in the Church.

Ralph wrote that this current crisis, precipitated by the revelation of Cardinal McCarrick’s moral failures and the failure of leadership in the Church to prevent his rise to prominence, could be a “tipping point” for the Church. He sees in it a possibility for genuine repentance and change for the Church.

I perceive in this crisis—both here in the United States and around the world—an opportunity, given us by our Lord. I believe we are experiencing the discipline of the Lord; it is a severe mercy, a judgment upon the Church that is meant to lead to deep, thorough repentance, healing, and reformation. It’s an opportunity that demands a response from all of us, beginning with the leadership of the Church. If we cooperate with Jesus, with obedient and repentant hearts and total honesty and transparency in the fear of the Lord, Jesus will lead us out of this terrible crisis. If we fail to respond to this time of purification, I believe the Church in America will be severely weakened, the decline we’re witnessing in the Church will escalate, and the flock will scatter.

While on mission in Uganda in 2016, the Lord spoke to me about what we are now living through. Our team from Renewal Ministries was leading a week-long retreat for about 350 priests and bishops from five east-African countries. One morning during daily Mass, right after Communion, I sensed the Lord telling me to get out my journal and to write down the following: “The days ahead will be marked by growing chaos and confusion. I am coming to purify my Church. I am about to bring down the idols that hold my people in bondage; I will expose the hypocrisy of the mighty and the strong, both in the Church and in the world.”

Watching the mighty fall in the past few years—Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, Al Franken, and now former Cardinal McCarrick (now Archbishop McCarrick) and other cardinals and bishops—has been sobering. These revelations are meant to lead all of us to repentance and to instill in us a healthy fear of the Lord. The Captain of the Armies of Heaven, Jesus, the Lord, is purifying His Church and exposing the emptiness and hypocrisy of the world. Scripture tells us that the Lord disciplines those whom He loves.

It’s important for us to understand Jesus’ intent. He doesn’t come to humiliate or destroy; He comes to save. St. Peter tells us that judgment begins with the house of God. Jesus is purifying His Church for the sake of the salvation of the world. The Church is the hope of the world, the sacrament of salvation, the light of the world. When the Church is trapped in sin, her light goes dim and her salt goes flat.

Today, the Church is infected with deep strongholds of sin that are crippling her life and witness. In the period leading up to the Dallas Charter in 2002, Jesus began to expose the horrific corruption of homosexual sins of pedophilia and ephebophilia (sexual attraction to pubescent boys) among the clergy, and the cover up by some of the hierarchy of these crimes. Eighty-one percent of the victims were adolescent males.

Steps were taken at the time to respond to the crisis with the Dallas Charter and the “zero tolerance” policy instituted throughout the Church in the United States. The Charter was a start, but lacked complete honesty and transparency. The efforts by the bishops left the dishonest impression that the primary problem the Church was facing in this crisis was pedophilia and not ephebophilia. This allowed them to deflect attention from the fact that active homosexuality among the clergy was the primary source of the problem.

What’s clear from the revelations about Archbishop McCarrick is that the repentance in 2002 did not go deep enough. There was a cover up, a strategic decision to hide the bigger problem of active homosexuality among the clergy, including some of the hierarchy.

What we are seeing is the means to which Jesus will go to purify His Church. The wound of sin in this area is deeper than most of our brothers in the hierarchy are willing to acknowledge or to confront. But the Lord will not relent.

In the letter to the Church in Ephesus in the Book of Revelation, Jesus tells the leaders of the Church the following:

“I have this against you, that you abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Rv 2:4-5).

Jesus warned the leaders of the Church that even though they had done many things right, they had lost their first love. He then gave them a three-step process to make things right: remember, repent, and act. They were to remember the place from which they had fallen, to repent, and then do the works they had done at first. In this crisis, this is a good guide for all of us, especially our leaders.

Jesus is calling our leaders to remember the purity and holiness to which they have been called, and to make a thorough examination of their lives before Him. They must then act decisively, with zeal and determination, to bring to light all that is hidden in darkness. They must remember that this severe mercy is an act of love that calls for total obedience to the Lord, knowing, “those whom I love I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent” (Rv 3:19).

Just as in Ephesus, so it will be with the Church in America, if we don’t respond wholeheartedly, with complete honesty. If the Church refuses to expose the truth, and in the fear of the Lord to cooperate with Him in this hour of purification, He will “come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

That is what I believe is at stake at this time for the Church in America. To “remove your lampstand” means, in the words of Victorinus of Petovium, to “disperse the congregation.”[i] The Church in many parts of the United States is already in decline. If we as a Church do not cooperate fully with the Lord at this time of visitation, the decline will escalate dramatically.

Cooperation means that policies, good public relations, the advice of lawyers, and the like are not enough. Just looking to the future is not enough. Positive platitudes are not enough. What is needed is action to root out systemic habit patterns of sin, to expose strongholds of sin to the full light of day.

This kind of stronghold of sin will not go away. It will keep producing like a deadly virus in the body or like a festering wound that has only been tended to on the surface. The infection will keep spreading. To date, the words of Jeremiah are a fitting description of the response of the bishops to this serious problem: “They have treated the wound of my people carelessly” (Jer 6:14).

The bishops can no longer continue to treat this wound carelessly; it has to be cut out, to the root. That means having to confront the fear that holds them back. To address this problem head on and to take appropriate action will likely cause serious disruption in the Church for a time, and serious pushback from forces in and outside the Church. There is no easy way forward; it will require great courage.

There is a way out of this: follow Jesus, obey Him. He will give all of us what we need. It’s time to awaken the graces of our confirmation, fortitude that is “prepared to suffer injury and, if need be, death for the truth and for the realization of justice.”[ii] And a healthy fear of the Lord to overcome the fear of men that so often leads to inaction and weak, foolish responses in the face of serious sin. “The man who fears the Lord will not be fainthearted” (Sir 34:14).

We have nothing to fear if we put all our hope in Him. It’s not our job to secure all the potential consequences that may transpire from a radical response to Jesus at this time. Our job is to obey and to entrust everything to His mercy and love, and to the protection and intercession of Our Lady.


Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). Even in the greatest darkness, we can walk in the Light.

from Peter Herbeck from Renewal Ministries (www.renewalministries.net)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Daily Thought For January 30, 2019

Let His Light Shine

Give me, I pray you, Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and my God, that love that does not fail so that my lantern, burning within me and giving light to others, may always be lighted and never extinguished. 

 St. Columban

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Daily Thought For January 29, 2019

The Spirit is God's Yes....and Joy!

Paul and John agree essentially on yet another point. John calls the Spirit “Paraclete”, that is, advocate, helper, defender, comforter. He is thus the adversary of the diabolos, the “prosecutor”, the slanderer, “who accuses our brethren day and night before our God” (Rev 12:10). The Spirit is the Yes, just as Christ is the Yes. Correspondingly, Paul emphasizes joy very strongly. We may say that the Spirit is the Spirit of joy and of the Gospel. One of the basic rules for the discernment of spirits could be formulated as follows: Where joylessness rules and humor dies, we may be certain that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, is not present. Furthermore, joy is a sign of grace. One who is serene from the bottom of his heart, one who has suffered without losing joy, is not far from the God of the Gospel, from the Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of eternal joy.


Ratzinger, J. (2008). The God of Jesus Christ: Meditations on the Triune God. (Brian McNeil, Trans.) (p. 113). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Daily Thought For January 28, 2019

The Greatest Kindness

The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Daily Thought For January 26, 2019

Facing Family Conflicts With God's Help

Lectio

Mark 3:20–21

Meditatio

“When his relatives heard of this.…”

Everyone faces family conflicts. Some erupt quickly and die down just as fast, while others are deep-rooted and longlasting. Today’s Gospel tells us that even Jesus had trouble with his relatives. No wonder he warned us that no prophet is accepted in his hometown, and that one’s enemies are of one’s own household. In this part of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is establishing a new family, a family of disciples. Yesterday we read about his choice of the Twelve as his apostles. They were the first members of his new family. Today we find that his relatives think he’s out of his mind. So they interfere and try to stop him from carrying out his work. Toward the end of this chapter of Mark, Jesus will identify the real members of his family: those who hear the word of God and carry it out. Those who do God’s will are the mothers, sisters, and brothers of Jesus.

Jesus’ radical demand can force us into making some painful choices. Whom do we put first in our lives, God or our family? The other side of this dilemma is that even if we face rejection from our relatives, Jesus will always accept us. The only condition is to do his will. Doing his will, following his commands, is something that he wants us to do freely, to give the gift of our love. It is not a heavy burden, but an easy yoke. Through baptism we have become disciples of Jesus, members of his family. That is our basic Christian vocation. Within it, we receive a further call to live out our discipleship in a unique way: through marriage, single life, consecrated life, or priesthood. Family conflicts often arise over these vocational choices. Sometimes we have to make choices that our relatives may disapprove of—just as Jesus did. But we do so with the secure knowledge that we are doing the will of God, who will never abandon us.

Oratio

Jesus, sometimes I have conflicts with my family members. You know what this is like, since your own relatives opposed you and didn’t understand what you were doing. Despite any disagreements, help me to love my family members just as you loved yours. Help me to do my best to listen to them and understand their point of view, even while putting your will first.

Contemplatio

Jesus, thank you for making me part of your family.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 34–35). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Daily Thought For January 25, 2019

A Sobering Encounter With St. Teresa of Calcutta on the Importance of Prayer

I remember the strong, distressing words of Mother Teresa to a young priest, Angelo Comastri, who today is a cardinal archpriest of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. In his book Dio scrive dritto, there are magnificent passages. Here is his account of that upsetting encounter with the saint, which I relate here with great emotion: 

I telephoned the general house of the Missionaries of Charity so as to be able to meet Mother Teresa of Calcutta, but their answer was categorical: “It is not possible to meet Mother; her engagements do not allow it.” I went there anyway. The Sister who came to open the door for me very politely asked me, “What do you want?” “I would just like to meet Mother Teresa for a few moments.” Surprised, the Sister replied, “I am sorry! That is not possible!” I did not budge and thus made the Sister understand that I would not leave without having met Mother Teresa. The Sister went away for a few moments and came back in the company of Mother Teresa. . . .   

 I was startled and speechless. Mother had me sit down in a little room near the chapel. Meanwhile I had recovered a bit and managed to say: “Mother, I am a very young priest: I’m taking my first steps! I came to ask you to accompany me with your prayers.” Mother looked tenderly and kindly at me, then, smiling, she replied: “I always pray for priests. I will pray for you also.” Then she gave me a Miraculous Medal, put it in my hand, and asked me, “For how much time do you pray each day?” I was astonished and a little embarrassed. Then, gathering my thoughts, I replied, “Mother, I celebrate Holy Mass each day, I pray the Breviary each day; you know that these days that is a proof of heroism [this was in 1969, before the Divine Office was simplified]! I pray the rosary each day also and very gladly, because I learned it from my mother.” Mother Teresa, with her rough hands, clasped the rosary that she always had with her. Then she fixed on me her eyes, which were filled with light and love, and said: “That is not enough, my son! That is not enough, because love cannot be reduced to the indispensable minimum; love demands the maximum!” I did not understand Mother Teresa’s words right away, and, as though to justify myself, I replied, “Mother, I expected from you instead this question: What acts of charity do you do?” Suddenly Mother Teresa’s face became very serious again, and she said in a stern tone of voice: “Do you think that I could practice charity if I did not ask Jesus every day to fill my heart with his love? Do you think that I could go through the streets looking for the poor if Jesus did not communicate the fire of his charity to my heart?” I then felt very small. . . .    

I looked at Mother Teresa with profound admiration and the sincere desire to enter into the mystery of her soul, which was so filled with the presence of God. Enunciating each word, she added: “Read the Gospel attentively, and you will see that Jesus sacrificed even charity for prayer. And do you know why? To teach us that, without God, we are too poor to help the poor!” At that time we saw so many priests and religious abandoning prayer in order to immerse themselves—as they said—in social work. Mother Teresa’s words seemed to me like a ray of sunshine, and I repeated slowly in my heart of hearts: “Without God, we are too poor to be able to help the poor!” 

 Let us devote a lot of time to God, to prayer and adoration. Let us allow ourselves to be nourished abundantly and ceaselessly by the Word of God. We know the hardness of our heart, and it takes a lot of time for it to soften and to be humbled at the contact of the Host and to be imbued with the love of God.


Sarah, Robert Cardinal. The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise (pp. 46-47). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Daily Thought For January 24, 2019

Smooth Sailing

Have Jesus always for your patron, His Cross for a mast on which you must spread your resolutions as a sail. Your anchor shall be a profound confidence in Him, and you shall sail prosperously.

St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Daily Thought For January 23, 2019

Conversion Is The Goal

Grieved at their hardness of heart . . . (Mark 3:5)

During Mass one Sunday morning, a teenager chatted with the man seated next to him. The teen had been invited by a friend, and he clearly hadn’t been to church very often. His speech was peppered with bad language. His mannerisms seemed rough. And he kept speaking at the worst possible times. Offended by the boy’s actions, the man thought, “Doesn’t he know this is a church?”

But something happened that morning at Mass that led this teenager to have a dramatic encounter with the Lord. He began reading the Scriptures and attending Mass regularly. He met with the pastor and joined the parish. Soon he became an altar server and began singing in the youth choir. When the man saw all of this, he felt ashamed for judging this misfit teen harshly.

There’s a similar story in today’s Gospel from Mark. During a synagogue liturgy, Jesus healed a man with a withered hand. But instead of rejoicing at the man’s restoration, some of the leaders chafed because Jesus had done it on the Sabbath. Like the first man, they missed the deeper meaning of the Sabbath—that it was a gift from the Lord, a time for healing and refreshment. But unlike the first man, their hard hearts didn’t soften. On the contrary, Mark tells us that they began plotting Jesus’ death.

So why did the religious leaders get angrier, while the man at Mass had a change of heart? The difference was that the first man softened his heart when he saw how God had worked in the boy’s life. All the Jewish leaders could see was an infraction of the Law; they couldn’t look behind the infraction to see the evidence of God’s mercy and love.

How do you react when someone rubs you the wrong way? How welcoming are you to the “misfits” in your church? Like the man at Mass and the religious leaders in Mark, you have a choice. You can become annoyed at appearances, or you can look beyond appearances to see a heart being changed. Try seeing things from God’s perspective. Maybe that person is nearer to him than you think! The Lord might just use your welcoming, kind words as his instrument of healing.


“Jesus, take the callous places in my heart and soften them. Fill me with your compassion.”

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Daily Thought For January 22, 2019

Finding Favor With God

The main reason why Mary need not be afraid is that she has found favour with God.  The word “grace” speaks of love freely given, not owed.  How much we are encouraged to know that we do not have to earn the closeness and help of God, by presenting a “Curriculum Vitae of excellence”, full of merits and successes!  The angel says to Mary that she has already found favour with God, not that she will obtain it in the future.  And the same formulation of the angel’s words helps us understand that divine grace is continuous, not something passing or fleeting; for this reason, it will never fail.  Even in the future, the grace of God will always be there to sustain us, especially in moments of trial and darkness.

The continuous presence of divine grace encourages us to embrace our vocation with confidence; our vocation demands a commitment of faithfulness that needs to be renewed each day.  Our vocational path is not without its crosses: not only our initial doubts, but also the frequent temptations that crop up along the way.  The feeling of inadequacy accompanies Christ’s disciple to the end.  Yet he or she knows the help of God’s grace.

The Angel’s words descend upon our human fears, dissolving them with the power of the Good News of which we are heralds: our life is not pure chance or a mere struggle for survival, rather each of us is a cherished story loved by God.  That we have “found grace in his eyes” means that the Creator sees a unique beauty in our being and that he has a magnificent plan for our lives.  The awareness of this certainty, of course, does not resolve all our problems nor does it take away life’s uncertainties.  But it does have the power to transform our life deeply.  The unknown that tomorrow holds for us is not a dark threat we need to overcome, but a favourable time given to us for living out the uniqueness of our personal vocation, and for sharing it with our brothers and sisters in the Church and in the world. 

excerpt from Message For World Youth Day 2019 — Pope Francis

Monday, January 21, 2019

Daily Thought For January 21, 2019

Desiring A "Deep" Will

We might imagine that life becomes extremely tedious when we are always bound to God's will, particularly when that will extends to all the details of life. Never again to be able to do what we want! But listening to God and obeying him is precisely what we want. This becomes clearer if we distinguish between a superficial and a deep will in the human person. We often identify a person's will with what is merely his superficial will. The superficial will is usually at the service of egoism. It listens to all its conflicting impulses and lets itself be led by the notorious couple: 
"I like—I don't like." It also obeys reason, to the extent that it egotistically seeks profit and gain. The deep will, on the other hand, is at the service of love; it coincides with our innate desire for God. The deep will "wants" God, moves toward him, and finds its satisfaction in him. 

from "Into Your Hands, Father — Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us" by Wilfrid Stinissen p.68

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Daily Thought For January 20, 2019

Transformation Through the Holy Spirit

I WILL FILL YOU WITH JOY AND PEACE AS YOU wait in My Presence. Spending time with Me demonstrates that you really do trust Me. People who trust mainly in themselves and their own abilities often crowd Me out of their lives. As you learn to trust Me more, you increasingly delight in time spent with Me. And the more you wait in My Presence, the deeper your faith growsincreasing your Joy and Peace. 

Because you belong to Me, My Spirit lives in you. You may sometimes be unaware of His Presence, but He is always aware of you. Moreover, He is continually at work within you transforming you into My likeness with ever-increasing Glory. You cooperate in this process by focusing on Me. As you become more and more like Me, hope grows within you. With the Spirit's help, this hope can well up inside you till it overflowsspilling out and splashing into the lives of other people! 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13 

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. —Isaiah 26:3 

You, however, are controlled not by the Sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. —Romans 8:9 


We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. —2 Corinthians 3:18 


from Jesus Today by Sarah Young pp.178-179


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Daily Thought For January 19, 2019

The Eucharist As A Way Of Life

Significantly, the Synod Fathers stated that “the Christian faithful need a fuller understanding of the relationship between the Eucharist and their daily lives. Eucharistic spirituality is not just participation in Mass and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. It embraces the whole of life.” (216) This observation is particularly insightful, given our situation today. It must be acknowledged that one of the most serious effects of the secularization just mentioned is that it has relegated the Christian faith to the margins of life as if it were irrelevant to everyday affairs. The futility of this way of living—“as if God did not exist”—is now evident to everyone. Today there is a need to rediscover that Jesus Christ is not just a private conviction or an abstract idea, but a real person, whose becoming part of human history is capable of renewing the life of every man and woman. Hence the Eucharist, as the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission, must be translated into spirituality, into a life lived “according to the Spirit” (Rom 8:4ff.; cf. Gal 5:16, 25). It is significant that Saint Paul, in the passage of the Letter to the Romans where he invites his hearers to offer the new spiritual worship, also speaks of the need for a change in their way of living and thinking: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (12:2). In this way the Apostle of the Gentiles emphasizes the link between true spiritual worship and the need for a new way of understanding and living one’s life. An integral part of the eucharistic form of the Christian life is a new way of thinking, “so that we may no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4:14).


Benedict XVI. (2007). Sacramentum Caritatis. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Daily Thought For January 18, 2019

Total Surrender

Many turn to God only when they must make an important or definitive choice in life. They approach God as a computer, so to speak, who gives answers to certain questions. "We cannot put our lives into God's hands," writes Martin Lonnebo, "demanding that his will be done in just one choice. That is wrong. Often we do not get a clear answer when we ask God questions in prayer. We can stand there just as perplexed after prayer as before. The secret of evangelical freedom from care is not that we surrender our life to God only at certain times. The secret is rather that we never leave God! Let your whole life rest in his powerful yet tender hand."

"Into Your Hands, Father — Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us" by Wilfried Stinissen p.55

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Daily Thought For January 17, 2019

The Pace of the Spiritual Life

The fruits of the earth are not brought to perfection immediately, but by time, rain and care; similarly, the fruits of men ripen through ascetic practice, study, time, perseverance, self-control and patience.

St. Anthony the Great

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Daily Thought For January 16, 2019

Baloney or Blarney?

Baloney is flattery laid on so thick it cannot be true, and blarney is flattery so thin we love it.

Venerable Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Daily Thought For January 15, 2019

Astonishing Teaching


Lectio

Mark 1:21–28

Meditatio

“The people were astonished at his teaching.…”

Interesting words: the people were astonished. They don’t clap. They aren’t taken aback. They don’t have an animated discussion after his proclamation. Rather they are stunned into silence. The people are excited that they have finally found a teaching that answers the deepest questions and hungers of their heart.

We want to be taught. We look for a master at living. No matter how smart we may feel ourselves to be, we still are gratefully amazed when we encounter preaching that reveals a dimension of life or truth beyond the commonplace. We long to know there is something more to our lives, a deeper, ultimate meaning to the daily grind, something that makes it all worthwhile.

The astonishment of the crowds listening to Jesus is all the more intriguing when we recall that Jesus preaches values that turn the conventional wisdom of the world upside down, often uncomfortably so. The world’s values don’t astonish. For all their glitter, they tire and bore us, exhaust, confuse, and defeat us.
The values taught by Jesus, on the other hand, even today bring light, hope, and the welcome element of surprise. They almost always point out an unexpected path, one that is inexplicable and incomprehensible, one that reduces us to reverent tears and quiet homage when we encounter it.

Jesus teaches you and me personally. His classrooms are myriad because he understands his students well and knows just how to get a word or light through the slightest crack we sometimes leave open. We find him teaching us in homilies and movies, in the teachings of the Church and the suggestions of a neighbor, in a magazine article or in the innocent prayer of a child. The movie theater becomes a “sanctuary,” and the place where we read a document becomes a chapel. We meet Jesus, personally, like the men in the synagogue or the man with the unclean spirit in today’s reading.

Oratio

Jesus, speak to me a word that will bring water to my parched spirit. A word that will point out an unexpected direction for me in some difficulty I am experiencing.

Contemplatio

Master, I am waiting on your word.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 8–9). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Daily Thought For January 14, 2019

The Grace of Today

The past is no longer yours; the future is not yet in your power. You have only the present wherein to do good.

St. Alphonsus Liguori

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Daily Thought For January 13, 2019

The Battle Has Been Won

“This night a battle has been waged and won for you…The Love that has been coming for you since the beginning—he slays dragons for you.  This is the truest love story of history, and it’s his-story, and it’s for you…
He lays himself down in your mire.
He unfolds himself in the stench you want to hide, in that mess that is your impossible, in the mucked straw you don’t want anyone to know.
Rejected at the inn, holy God comes in small to where you feel rejected and small.  God is with you now.  Wherever you are—in soundless cry or hidden brokenness or in your ache—God always wants to be with you.  You are not ever left alone in this…

This is Love you can’t comprehend.  You can only feel and touch this kind.  There, in the place where you feel rejected, you can be touched by God.  There, in the places you feel small, you can touch God.”  


(Ann Voskamp, December 2018 Magnificat, p. 180.)

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Daily Thought For January 12, 2019

The Constant Call

For in truth we are not called once only, but many times; all through our life Christ is calling us. He called us first in Baptism; but afterward also; whether we obey His voice or not, He graciously calls us still. If we fall from our Baptism, He calls us to repent; if we are striving to fulfill our calling, He calls us on from grace to grace, and from holiness to holiness, while life is given us. Abraham was called from his home, Peter from his nets, Matthew from his office, Elisha from his farm, Nathanael from his retreat; we are all in course of calling, on and on, from one thing to another, having no resting-place, but mounting toward our eternal rest, and obeying one command only to have another put upon us. He calls us again and again, in order to justify us again and again—and again and again, and more and more, to sanctify and glorify us.
It were well if we understood this; but we are slow to master the great truth, that Christ is, as it were, walking among us, and by His hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us follow Him. We do not understand that His call is a thing which takes place now. We think it took place in the apostles’ days; but we do not believe in it, we do not look out for it in our own case. We have not eyes to see the Lord; far different from the beloved Apostle, who knew Christ even when the rest of the disciples knew Him not. When He stood on the shore after His resurrection, and bade them cast the net into the sea, “that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord” (Jn. 21:7).
Now what I mean is this: that they who are living religiously, have from time to time truths they did not know before, or had no need to consider, brought before them forcibly; truths which involve duties, which are in fact precepts, and claim obedience. In this and such-like ways Christ calls us now. There is nothing miraculous or extraordinary in His dealings with us. He works through our natural faculties and circumstances of life. Still what happens to us in providence is in all essential respects what His voice was to those whom He addressed when on earth: whether He commands by a visible presence, or by a voice, or by our consciences, it matters not, so that we feel it to be a command. If it is a command, it may be obeyed or disobeyed; it may be accepted as Samuel or St. Paul accepted it, or put aside after the manner of the young man who had great possessions.
… Many persons will find it very striking on looking back on their past lives, to observe what different notions they entertained at different periods, of what Divine truth was, what was the way of pleasing God, and what things were allowable or not, what excellence was, and what happiness. I do not scruple to say, that these differences may be as great as that which may be supposed to have existed between St. Peter’s state of mind when quietly fishing on the lake, or Elisha’s when driving his oxen, and that new state of mind of each of them when called to be Apostle or Prophet. Elisha and St. Peter indeed were also called to a new mode of life; that I am not speaking of. I am not speaking of cases when persons change their condition, their place in society, their pursuit, and the like; I am supposing them to remain pretty much the same as before in outward circumstances; but I say that many a man is conscious to himself of having undergone inwardly great changes of view as to what truth is and what happiness. Nor, again, am I speaking of changes so great, that a man reverses his former opinions and conduct. He may be able to see that there is a connection between the two; that his former has led to his latter; and yet he may feel that after all they differ in kind; that he has got into a new world of thought, and measures things and persons by a different rule.
… Only one is the truth and the perfect truth; and which that is, none know but those who are in possession of it, if even they. But God knows which it is; and toward that one and only truth He is leading us forward. He is leading forward His redeemed, He is training His elect, one and all, to the one perfect knowledge and obedience of Christ; not, however, without their cooperation, but by means of calls which they are to obey, and which if they do not obey, they lose place, and fall behind in their heavenly course. He leads them forward from strength to strength, and from glory to glory, up the steps of the ladder whose top reaches to heaven. We pass from one state of knowledge to another; we are introduced into a higher region from a lower, by listening to Christ’s call and obeying it.

—Excerpt from: Parochial and Plain Sermons, Book 8. Sermon 2. Divine Calls



Newman, J. H. (2010). Life’s Purpose: Wisdom from John Henry Newman (pp. 3–6). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Daily Thought For January 11, 2019

We Need A Messiah

The message of Christmas is not that we can make peace. Or that we can make love, make light, make gifts, or make this world save itself. The message of Christmas is that this world’s a mess and we can never save ourselves from ourselves and we need a Messiah.

Ann Voskamp

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Daily Thought For January 9, 2019

God Is Here

God is here. This truth should fill our lives, and every Christmas should be for us a new and special meeting with God, when we allow his light and grace to enter deep into our soul.

St. Josemaría Escrivá

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Daily Thought For January 8, 2019

We Love Because He First Loved Us

There is in the Sacred Heart the symbol and express image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love in return.

Pope Leo XIII

Monday, January 7, 2019

Daily Thought For January 7, 2019

True Friends

True friends challenge us and help us to be faithful on our journey.


Pope Benedict XVI

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Daily Thought For January 5, 2019

A Great Intention To Start The Day

I will be kind to everybody, particularly to those whom I find troublesome.

St. Anthony Marie Claret

Friday, January 4, 2019

Daily Thought For January 4, 2019

Cheerfulness

Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Daily Thought For January 2, 2019

A Tree Is Known By Its Fruit

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.


Saint Basil The Great