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Showing posts from March, 2019

Daily Thought For March 30, 2019

Leaving Fear Behind
John Paul II began his pontificate with a charge to the faithful: “Be not afraid.” At the Mass marking the start of his pontificate, Benedict XVI issued the same charge: “Be not afraid of Christ. He takes away nothing and gives all.”
As a Church, as a body of believers, we must heed that charge. We must not be afraid to proclaim Christ, in all His mystery and majesty, to the world. We must not be afraid to proclaim Christ to our own, either. We must do our part regarding the things we can control, and trust that God will take care of the rest.
There is so much fear in our world today. There is so much fear in each of us: fear of failing, of being rejected, of making waves and ruffling feathers. There is fear of being unpopular, of being thought extreme. There is fear of losing parishioners and losing students, fear of the collection baskets coming back empty and capital campaign goals going unmet.
Those aren’t foolish fears. Of course we all want to be successful, …

Daily Thought For March 29, 2019

Mother Teresa — A Life Ventured For Christ
 Mother Teresa hardly fits the portrait of a superhero. She had no special physical or psychic abilities or powers. She did not confront evil and overthrow it by a show of force. In fact, she was a short, slight, and unimposing person. And yet she displays in a marvelous way what the follower of Christ is to be. She came to know that real transformation and power is achieved by allowing Christ to dwell fully in her and to offer herself completely for Christ. In her case, this meant giving herself in a radical way to the poorest of the poor. Through her own example and through the religious order she founded, Mother Teresa became a source of inspiration to many. But if we look more deeply, we see something much more than someone doing good things for others. We now know that she suffered deeply in the life she chose to live-she knew the reality of the cross profoundly. In the deeply etched lines of her face, we can see the costly beauty of a li…

Daily Thought For March 28, 2019

Still Working On This
Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings, and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Daily Thought For March 27, 2019

The Beautiful Power Of A Simple "Yes"
Sometimes I've been asked how it feels to have been at Duquesne when a tiny handful of Catholics were baptized in the Spirit in 1967, and to witness today the spread of the Charismatic Renewal around the world. My answer may surprise you. I feel very humbled, and I feel very united to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In some mysterious but very real way, I have been caught up in Mary's response to God. It's amazing to see what the ''yes'' of this one simple woman could do! Mary said ''yes''when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and as a result Jesus, the Savior of the whole world, was born. Mankind's salvation hinged on the activity of the Holy Spirit and the response of a creature. Mary's ''yes''was essential for the unfolding of God's plan, and so is yours and mine. 

Each one of us who says "yes" to God when the Holy Spirit overshadows us becomes like Mary, anothe…

Daily Thought For March 26, 2019

Prayer of Blessed John Henry Newman
Dear Jesus, help us to spread Your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through us, and be so in us that every soul we come in contact with may feel Your presence in our souls. Let them look up and see no longer us, but only Jesus! Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine as You shine; so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You, none of it will be ours; it will be You shining on others through us. Let us thus praise You in the way You love best: by shining on others through us. Let us preach You without preaching, not by words but by our example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to You. Amen. 

Daily Thought For March 25, 2019

The Beautiful Grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
First of all, it must be emphasized that nothing is more personal and intimate that this sacrament, in which the sinner stands alone before God with his sin, repentance and trust. No one can repent in his place or ask forgiveness in his name. There is a certain solitude of the sinner in his sin, and this can be seen dramatically represented in Cain with sin “crouching at his door,” as the Book of Genesis says so effectively, and with the distinctive mark on his forehead;(190) in David, admonished by the prophet Nathan;(191) or in the prodigal son when he realizes the condition to which he has reduced himself by staying away from his father and decides to return to him.(192) Everything takes place between the individual alone and God. But at the same time one cannot deny the social nature of this sacrament, in which the whole church-militant, suffering and glorious in heaven-comes to the aid of the penitent and welcomes him again in…

Daily Thought For March 24, 2019

Turn On Your Heartlight
God is in love with us and keeps using you and me to light the light of love in the world. 
Let His light of truth be in your life so that God can continue loving the world through you and me. Put your heart into being a bright light. 
St. Teresa of Calcutta

Daily Thought For March 23, 2019

Great Insights On The Prodigal Son
Lectio
Luke 15:1–3, 11–32
Meditatio
“While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.”
Luke’s parable of the prodigal son moves me every time I hear it. It is too close to home. Who among us has not known the comparison and competition that makes us look at one another as rivals rather than brothers and sisters? We fear there will not be enough (of whatever), and we’d better protect our share. Who will look out for Number I, if I do not? Our loved ones look on in sorrow, but we take our share and off we go. The younger son wants his inheritance, and he wants it now.
Without question, the father grants his son’s request, gives him his portion of the estate, and lets him go. He knows his son, knows he does not yet have the maturity, the experience, or the wisdom to make all the “right” choices. How vulnerable he will be in this cold and dangerous world! The son has to make his own mistakes, perhaps many of the…

Daily Thought For March 22, 2019

Her Favorite Child
      Some of the best homilies I've heard were preached by a priest in campus ministry. He drew skillfully from his experiences of growing up in a large Irish Catholic family to both entertain and instruct us. We were captivated when he spoke because his stories always revealed something of God and the nature of His love. 
     Even now I vividly remember the story he told us about his mother. Having had nine children, she knew well the joys and challenges of motherhood. One day while she was ironing, a neighbor dropped in for a cup of tea. As usual, the conversation turned to the children. 
     "I don't know how you manage with such a large family and so many demands on you," commented her neighbor. Then lowering her voice the neighbor asked, "Come on, you can tell me. Which child is your favorite? There must be one who is easier than the rest. Surely there is one you love more than the others." 
     Listening from another room, the pries…

Daily Thought For March 21, 2019

Pray For The Lord To Send More Workers Into The Vineyard
Heralds of the Gospel are needed, who are experts in humanity, who know the depths of the heart of man in today’s world, who share his joys and hopes, his concern and his sadness, and who at the same time are contemplatives, people in love with God. For this, new saints are needed. We must beg God to increase the spirit of sanctity in the Church and to send us saints to evangelize today’s world.
St. John Paul II - Address October 11, 1985

Daily Thought For March 20, 2019

The Amazing Grace of God's Mercy
With our eyes fixed on Jesus and his merciful gaze, we experience the love of the Most Holy Trinity. The mission Jesus received from the Father was that of revealing the mystery of divine love in its fullness. "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8,16), John affirms for the first and only time in all of Holy Scripture. This love has now been made visible and tangible in Jesus' entire life. His person is nothing but love, a love given gratuitously. The relationships he forms with the people who approach him manifest something entirely unique and unrepeatable. The signs he works, especially in the face of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy. Everything in him speaks of mercy. Nothing in him is devoid of compassion.
Pope Francis — Misericordiae Vultus #8

Daily Thought For March 19, 2019

How To Deal With Difficult People
To avoid dissensions we should be ever on our guard, more especially with those who drive us to argue with them, with those who vex and irritate us, and who say things likely to excite us to anger. When we find ourselves in company with quarrelsome, eccentric individuals, people who openly and unblushingly say the most shocking things, difficult to put up with, we should take refuge in silence, and the wisest plan is not to reply to people whose behavior is so preposterous.
Those who insult us and treat us contumeliously are anxious for a spiteful and sarcastic reply: the silence we then affect disheartens them, and they cannot avoid showing their vexation; they do all they can to provoke us and to elicit a reply, but the best way to baffle them is to say nothing, refuse to argue with them, and to leave them to chew the cud of their hasty anger. This method of bringing down their pride disarms them, and shows them plainly that we slight and despise them…

Daily Thought For March 18, 2019

More Great Advice From The "SaintMaker"
     We should invoke God often during the day and say, like St. Paul when he was converted: "Lord, what do you want me to do? Do you want me to serve you in the lowliest tasks of your house? I would consider it a privilege! Provided that I serve you, I don't care what I do." And when we come upon something specific that we find difficult to do, we should say: "Do you want me to do such and such a thing? Lord, I am not worthy to do even that, but I will do it very gladly." Thus we will practice humility. O my God, what treasure we will acquire — greater, without doubt, than we can possibly imagine. 
     Rivers that flow gently through the plains carry along large boats and rich merchandise, and rains that fall gently on open fields make them fruitful in grass and grain. But just as torrents and rivers that flood over the land ruin the neighboring countryside and are useless for commerce, so in like manner heavy, …

Daily Thought For March 16, 2019

Hope
     Hope is the opposite of fear. It is serious to feel separated from God; we grow timid and weak. As a ship is tossed about in a tempest, without sailor or pilot, heading for shipwreck wherever the wind carries it, so it is with our little boat that lacks hope. I would never want us to be without hope, but I would want us to weep when we lose sight of God. May Jesus come to bring help when we are overwhelmed with fear. 
     I hope that God will strengthen you more and more; and when you become afraid that your present attention and fervor may not last, respond once and for all to that thought, or rather to that temptation to sadness, that those who trust in God will never be confounded, and that in spiritual as well as physical and temporal matters, you have "cast your care upon the Lord and he will support you." 
     Let us serve God well today; he will provide for tomorrow. Each day has its own burden to bear; do not worry about tomorrow, for the same God who reigns…

Daily Thought For March 15, 2019

Everyone's Gone To The Moon 
The man of today looks toward the future. His slogan is “Progress”, not “Tradition”; “Hope”, not “Faith”. He is moved, it is true, by a certain romanticism about the past. He delights in surrounding himself with precious things of history, but all of this serves only to confirm that these times are past and that the empire of the man of today is tomorrow, the world he himself is going to build. For that to which he looks forward is not, as in the early Church, the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of man, not the return of the Son of Man, but the final victory of a rational, free, and brotherly order among men who have discovered themselves. The development through which we are living presents itself, not as a gift from on high, but as the product of hard work, of planned, calculated, and inventive activity. Thus, for the man of today hope no longer means looking for things over which we have no control, but action by our own power. Man expects redemption…

Daily Thought For March 14, 2019

One Family's Journey Through Grief
     It was the kitchen table that hurt. It was the extra space in the house that hurt. It was the empty seat in the car. It was the driveway too wide as three, not four, children walked home after school. I asked David, "What's the hardest time?" He said, "Playtime. The other kids just don't play like Johnny did." People can say all they want about a brother in heaven. But that does not make playtime any better. Once, he prayed, "Dear Jesus, I thank you for John-Paul and I ask you to bless the man who hit him." After family prayer I asked him why he prayed for the driver. He said, "So he won't feel so bad." He continued, "Dad, I miss John-Paul." "How do you miss him?" "I just see his face everywhere. I see him everywhere." I know this feeling: seeing him everywhere and nowhere. Then his eyes welled up, and I knew that this child's heart was broken. Everything ..…

Daily Thought For March 13, 2019

The Peace That Surpasses Understanding
     We must try to keep our hearts continually, unshakably serene throughout the vicissitudes of life. Even though everything turns and changes around us, we must ever remain steady-always looking, striving, and aspiring toward God. No matter what course the ship takes, no matter whether it sails to the east, west, north, or south, no matter what winds drive it on, the mariner's needle never points in any direction except toward the polar star. Everything may be topsy-turvy, not only around us, but within us as well. But whether we are sad or happy, full of sweetness or bitterness, at peace or disturbed, filled with light or darkness, troubled or at rest, delighted or disgusted, experiencing aridity or consolation, scorched by the sun or refreshed by the dew-for all that, the fine point of our heart, our spirit, our higher will, which is our compass, must ever look and tend toward the love of God, its Creator, its Savior, its sole and soverei…

Daily Thought For March 12, 2019

One Lesson of Lent: God Alone Is Enough
     Lenten seasons long ago, my parents taught us to recognize that many things we considered essential to daily life — especial
ly favorite foods and entertainments — were, in fact, secondary and that we could live without them with just a little effort. I often groaned in compliance with Lent's penances. But even though their full meaning escaped me in those days, they made a lasting impression. I knew Lent was important. I knew God was important. 
     I once had a parishioner who was not in the habit of going to Sunday Mass. His wife and I good-naturedly chided him about his Sunday obligation, but he knew we were serious. He makes special effort from time to time, but inevitably he slides off track again. One Lent, however, he resolved to start going to Mass every Sunday without fail. He sent me this email message: 
     "Bishop Sartain, as my Lenten resolution, I decided to start going to Mass every Sunday. But the other day, my wife …

Daily Thought For March 11, 2019

Taming Our Distractions With Loving Desire
     Watching cable television news, I am amazed at the amount of information streaming across the screen - weather forecasts, sports scores, stock market quotes, headlines about a wide range of stories. Each stream distracts from the others, making it difficult to focus on any of them. Each network competes with the others using high-tech distractions. 
     Have we become so mesmerized by diversions and distractions that they have become the point? The sheer volume of news and entertainment available at the flip of a switch seems to say that it is better to be distracted than focused. 
     I can conjure up enough distractions on my own, without any help from the media. I am distracted in prayer, in work, in reading, in driving, in conversation. I am distracted by hunger, by worry, by noise, by snow, by fatigue. 
     Sometimes people think it would be easier to avoid distractions if one joined a monastery. Poor Clare nuns and Benedictine or Tr…

Daily Thought For March 10, 2019

Our Father's Kingdom
     We have an old family photo of my brother pouting from behind a garbage can at the old Palisades Amusement Park. It was time to go home, but he wanted to stay. An amusement park, after all, is heaven for a little boy. 
     Now imagine if, when he peered out from his hiding place, my five-year-old brother had not seen our parents? Would he have gone alone on any rides or played any games or bought any cotton candy? Or would he have desperately sought his mommy and daddy? When a child finds himself lost in an amusement park, what had been heaven immediately becomes hell. Don't our hearts ache and even fear when we hear the PA announcement that a child is separated from his parents? 
     When the devil offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, his one condition is that Jesus not worship the Father. Jesus, the Eternal Beloved Son, knows that any·aspect of reality loses all of its consistency, all of its worth, all of its goodness, if it is perceived and …

Daily Thought For March 9, 2019

This Is So True!
Whenever the Spirit intervenes, he leaves people astonished. He brings about events of amazing newness; he radically changes persons and history.
St. John Paul II — Meeting with Ecclesial Movements & New Communities (May 30, 1998)

Daily Thought For March 8, 2019

Help Us Be Merciful

Holy Spirit, Spirit of Counsel, who can teach each of us to surrender our burdens of hurt and anger, help us to be merciful. Instruct us on how to read the hearts of those who need our help, our compassion, our understanding. Give us ears to hear the unspoken cry for mercy that comes from so many we meet every day. Help us to know where and when mercy is required of us as we make our way on the journey toward you. Teach, us, above all, the freeing quality of mercy, the grace to be delivered from the prison of our wounded and self-absorbed egos. Grant that we may be merciful and that, at the end of our days, we may obtain that mercy which we so much desire and which we so much need. 

from Quiet Moments with Benedict Groeschel 120 Daily Readings #78

Daily Thought For March 7, 2019

Lent — A Time Of Spiritual Harvest
Lent is the autumn of the spiritual life during which we gather fruit to keep us going for the rest of the year. Enrich yourselves with these treasures, which nobody can take away from you and which cannot be destroyed. I am accustomed to say that we will not spend Lent well unless we are determined to make the most of it. Let us, therefore, spend this Lent as if it were our last, and we will make it well. Listen to the sermons, because holy words are pearls; they are ships of infinite mercy - the true ocean of the East. 
St. Francis de Sales — Letters 329; O. XIII, p. 144

Daily Thought For March 6, 2019

Praying For A Fruitful Lent
Dear brothers and sisters, the “lenten” period of forty days spent by the Son of God in the desert of creation had the goal of making it once more that garden of communion with God that it was before original sin (cf. Mk 1:12-13; Is 51:3). May our Lent this year be a journey along that same path, bringing the hope of Christ also to creation, so that it may be “set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain! Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion. Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch. Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them. In this way, by concretely welcoming Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives, we will also radiate its transforming power to all of creation.
Pope Francis - Message For Lent 2019 (excerpt)…

Daily Thought For March 5, 2019

Tips For Growth In Charity

     Do not start thinking, "I would like to be a hermit. I would commit fewer sins against charity." On the contrary, profit from life in common with others to become better - to become holy. We are, without intending it, excellent instruments of humiliation and mortification for each other. Love others, not in spite of that, but because of it. 
     In the same way as strength is made perfect in weakness, charity is made perfect in temptations against charity. The occasion does not make the man; it shows what he is. It would be easy to be patient if there were no occasion for impatience. 
     I have spoken to you at length about abandonment. It rests above all on obedience. It must go further; it must go to the point of accepting, with a smile on your lips, the pinpricks, the thorns, and the contradictions which come to you every day, and very often during the day, from those near you. You have there a goldmine to exploit with many sacrifices. 
    …

Daily Thought For March 4, 2019

Live Life Well!

Lectio

Mark 10:17–27

Meditatio

“Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said.…”

I don’t think Jesus liked flattery. When the rich man runs up, falls to his knees, and hails Jesus as “Good Teacher,” the Master objects at once. Their dialogue doesn’t have a happy beginning. But Jesus does reply to the man’s question. He summarizes some of the commandments, including deference to parents—which suggests that the man is young.

Jesus’ questioner replies eagerly that he has kept all the commandments since early adolescence.

Now the dialogue reaches its high point. Jesus looks at the rich young man with love and invites him to take the further step of selling his property and becoming an itinerant disciple. The man’s face falls, and he leaves in sadness.

What had he expected? Perhaps he had wanted to be a disciple part time, without having to sell his possessions and give away the proceeds. It seems that the rich young man wanted the best of two worlds.

This makes me reflect: how importan…

Daily Thought For March 1, 2019

Remember This When Life Gets Tough
The most holy and important practice in the spiritual life is the presence of God - that is, every moment to take great pleasure that God is with you. 

Brother Lawrence