Showing posts from July, 2015

Daily Thought For July 31, 2015

A Sure Support The more desperate things seem, the more must we hope in God. When man’s aid fails, God’s is close at hand. St. Ignatius of Loyola

Daily Thought For July 30, 2015

Overcoming Vices Mildness overcomes anger, meekness extinguishes fury... patience is the scourge of impatience, gentle words vanquish quarrelsomeness, and humility prostrates pride. St. Peter Chrysologus

Daily Thought For July 29, 2015

Freedom & Virtue The reason that knowledge alone is not enough for success in the moral life stems from the fact that we have inherited a wounded nature. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, human nature is fallen from its original perfection. Saint Paul describes just how wounded our nature is:   We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.… I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:14–15, 18–19, 24). This condition is an effect of original sin (cf. Catechism, no. 1707). Through original sin every individual is born with a human nature that is weak and inclined to commit personal sin (the theological term for this condition is concupiscence). The mind struggles with ignorance, the body suffers pain and dea

Daily Thought For July 28, 2015

Evil Doesn't Get The Last Word Lectio Matthew 13:36–43\ Meditatio “Then the righteous will shine like the sun …” During World War II, Hungary had largely avoided Nazi pressure to persecute the Jews until the spring of 1944, when Adolf Eichmann arrived on the scene. During six weeks of terror, from mid-May to the end of June 1944, Eichmann sent almost 450,000 Hungarian Jews to their deaths. Yet a Swedish diplomat named Raoul Wallenberg managed to get many Jews out of Hungary on Swedish passports. His tireless efforts saved around 30,000 people. His reward? When the Soviets rolled into Hungary, they took Wallenberg prisoner and he disappeared into a Soviet gulag. No one knows exactly what befell him. Despite efforts to get him released, he was never freed and he died, deserted and alone, in a Soviet prison or labor camp. A cynic would say that no good deed goes unpunished. But today’s Gospel offers comfort to all the Raoul Wallenbergs of the world, and to all those who

Daily Thought For July 27, 2015

Important Word of Prophecy From Pope Benedict XVI (Given in 1969) To put this more positively: the future of the Church, once again as always, will be reshaped by saints, by men, that is, whose minds probe deeper than the slogans of the day, who see more than others see, because their lives embrace a wider reality. Unselfishness, which makes men free, is attained only through the patience of small daily acts of self-denial. By this daily passion, which alone reveals to a man in how many ways he is enslaved by his own ego, by this daily passion and by it alone, a man’s eyes are slowly opened. He sees only to the extent that he has lived and suffered. If today we are scarcely able any longer to become aware of God, that is because we find it so easy to evade ourselves, to flee from the depths of our being by means of the narcotic of some pleasure or other. Thus our own interior depths remain closed to us. If it is true that a man can see only with his heart, then how blind we all ar

Daily Thought For July 26, 2015

God's Gift of Peace Peace is the gift that Jesus Christ brought us from heaven, his gift, the gift of God. It is a gift so beautiful, so profound, so all-embracing, and efficacious, that we shall never truly comprehend it. We might say concerning peace what our Lord said of himself to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well: “If you knew the gift of God …” (Jn 4:10). Truly, if we understood this God-given gift of peace, we could appreciate how it is the synthesis, the very peak, so to speak, of all the graces and heavenly blessings we have received in Christ Jesus. Peace is the seal of Christ. It is not just one of his many gifts; it is, in a certain way, his own gift. When Jesus appeared in the world on that unforgettable night in Bethlehem, the angels proclaimed peace. On another unforgettable night, the last that he spent on earth, the pivotal night of the Cenacle and the Eucharist, Jesus left peace to his loved ones as a testament of his love: “Peace I leave with you; my pe

Daily Thought For July 25, 2015

Simple Advice To Maintain Peace Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ. Thomas Merton

Daily Thought For July 24, 2015

A Trap That Worked! A trader from Genoa had to visit Foggia to negotiate an oil sale. One of his friends, who knew he had been away from the Church for a long time, planned to lay a trap for him! The friend asked the trader to make a little detour to San Giovanni Rotondo to deliver a letter to Padre Pio, hoping that his friend would meet the priest. The man accepted this task and took the letter. At Foggia he boarded the bus for San Giovanni Rotondo. Tired out by such a long journey, he had but one thought in mind—to get rid of the letter as quickly as possible. When a Brother opened the door, the trader gave him the letter and said he wanted an immediate reply because he had to be on his way. He was invited into the sacristy to wait until Padre Pio would come down to give him an answer. The trader waited a few minutes in the sacristy and began to grow impatient. Padre Pio arrived but made no impression on his visitor. The priest approached, looked him straight in the eye, and ask

Daily Thought For July 23, 2015

Glimpse into the life of a Saint One of the conversions brought about by Padre Pio resulted in a chain reaction. It was that of the lawyer Cesare Festa, an avowed and prominent Freemason, cousin of Padre Pio’s personal doctor, Giorgio Festa. One day Giorgio challenged his cousin to visit Padre Pio and see for himself the supernatural powers he denounced so strongly. The lawyer accepted the challenge and went to San Giovanni Rotondo. Padre Pio was talking with some people when he noticed Cesare Festa. Immediately Padre Pio left the group and confronted the lawyer: “Well! Why are you here with us? You are a prominent Freemason.” The lawyer agreed. Padre Pio then asked, “What is the duty of freemasonry?” The lawyer replied, “To overthrow the Church.” After this preamble, which no one had expected, Padre Pio changed his clothes, took the lawyer by the hand, and invited him to follow him. Padre Pio told the story of the Prodigal Son simply and effectively. Suddenly Cesare identified w

Daily Thought For July 22, 2015

Put on Jesus Christ     Unless the LORD builds the house,       those who build it labor in vain.     Unless the LORD guards the city,       the guard keeps watch in vain (Ps 127:1–2). You see, my dear brothers and lords, that self-love ruins the city of the soul and ruins, as well as conquers, the cities of this world. I want you to also know that the world has been divided into so many groups of peoples by self-love, which also gives birth to injustice. It seems that you desire to enhance and protect your own city, dearest brothers. This desire has inspired you to write to me, poor, miserable person that I am, so full of faults. I both listened attentively to your letter, and read it lovingly. I certainly hope that I can satisfy your request, and I will certainly exert myself, with God’s grace, to pray continually for your intention. If you act in justice and conduct your government business as I have suggested, without bitter argument, selfishness, or self-i

Daily Thought For July 21, 2015

Everyone Has Access To God's Throne Lectio Matthew 12:46–50 Meditatio “… whoever does the will of my heavenly Father …” Have you ever found yourself admiring other persons for their strength, patience, noble character, or goodness of heart? “Wow, they are truly blessed,” we might think. “They certainly have it all together.” Admiration is appropriate when we witness the best in others, but looked at from another perspective, admiration lets us off the hook. The others are admirable for what they have chosen to do or be. Admiration often implies that others are far above us, doing something we could never aspire to. We might think we live in another realm, one that is mediocre and humdrum. So we can’t expect ourselves to be as great as the ones we admire. Like the woman in today’s Gospel who admired the mother of Jesus, we too might be tempted to only worship, adore, and admire the Son of this mother. While there is nothing wrong with that, Jesus quickly calls us to so

Daily Thought For July 19, 2015

Intense Happiness Comes From Following God's Will When a soul recognizes the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succor under all circumstances. Thus it experiences a great happiness in this advent of God and enjoys it the more, the more it has learned to abandon itself at every moment to his adorable will. De Caussade, J.-P. (2011). Inner Peace: Wisdom from Jean-Pierre de Caussade. (K. Hermes, Ed.) (p. 27). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Daily Thought For July 18, 2015

Avoiding The Tit For Tat Game A central part of any suspense movie is the cat and mouse game between the villain and the hero. Whether it’s a high-speed chase, a game of wits, or a race against the clock, the villain is seeking to trap the hero in some kind of web to render him powerless against the villain’s schemes. For his part, the hero uses his quick reflexes, his street smarts, and his charm to avoid capture and save the day. Well, in today’s Gospel reading, we see Jesus employ a unique strategy that probably wouldn’t play out well in a suspense movie. After he heals a man on the Sabbath, some of the Pharisees set out on an elaborate cat and mouse game in which they hope to trap Jesus in his own words so that they can put him to death. But Jesus, realizing what is going on, decides not to get drawn into their web or provoke a confrontation. Instead, he simply withdraws. He avoids confrontation altogether so that he can keep ministering to the people. That, after all, is wha

Daily Thought For July 17, 2015

The Basis of Evil Most of the time people are so evil towards one another because at the bottom they are afraid of one another. Henri de Lubac

Daily Thought For July 16, 2015

For My Yoke Is Easy & My Burden Light Lectio Matthew 11:28–30 Meditatio “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Probably few people reading this book have ever plowed a field with a yoke of oxen, churning the soil to prepare it for planting. But everyone has sat in a classroom, writing in notebooks, taking tests, or watching the hands of the clock sweep off the minutes until the bell would ring. In fact, the classroom image is closer to what Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel passage. Consider this other Scripture text, “… gain, at no cost, wisdom for yourselves. Submit your neck to her yoke, that your mind may accept her teaching. For she is close to those who seek her, and the one who is in earnest finds her” (Sir 51:25–26). This text aligns acquiring wisdom with being under a yoke. That image is in the background of Jesus’ saying that his burden is light. Jesus is inviting us to go to his school, the school of wisdom. Today’s Gospel needs to be read togeth

Daily Thought For July 15, 2015

The Vengeance of the Cross The world needs God. We need God. But what God do we need? In the first reading, the prophet tells a people suffering oppression that: “He will come with vengeance” (Is 35:4). We can easily suppose how the people imagined that vengeance. But the prophet himself goes on to reveal what it really is: the healing goodness of God. And the definitive explanation of the prophet’s word is to be found in the one who died for us on the Cross: in Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, who here looks at us so closely. His “vengeance” is the Cross: a “No” to violence and a “love to the end”. This is the God we need. We do not fail to show respect for other religions and cultures, we do not fail to show profound respect for their faith, when we proclaim clearly and uncompromisingly the God who has countered violence with his own suffering; who in the face of the power of evil exalts his mercy, in order that evil may be limited and overcome. To him we now lift up our prayer,

Daily Thought For July 14, 2015

Beautiful Insights On The Eucharist Next to the word stands the sacrament. Luke refers to it right away according to what is at its heart: They remained steadfast in the breaking of bread. Ultimately, the Church draws her life from the Eucharist, from this real, self-giving presence of the Lord. Without this ever-new encounter with him, she would necessarily wither. That is why our priesthood, too, draws life from the eucharistic community with the Lord, from the way that the Eucharist is the constant heart and strength of our life. Anyone who repeatedly exposes himself to it and confides in it will be changed. You cannot walk constantly with the Lord, cannot ever anew pronounce these tremendous words, This is my Body and my Blood, you cannot touch the Body of the Lord again and again, without being affected by him and challenged by him, being changed and led by him. We may of course lag behind him, and will again and again lag immeasurably far behind, but in the long run there are

Daily Thought For July 13, 2015

The Joy of Starting Over Again Jesus knows that in this world filled with competition, envy and aggressiveness, true happiness comes from learning to be patient, from respecting others, from refusing to condemn or judge others. As the saying goes: 'When you get angry, you lose.'  Don’t let your heart give in to anger and resentment. Happy are the merciful. Happy are those who know how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, those who are able to embrace, to forgive.  We have all experienced this at one time or another. And how beautiful it is! It is like getting our lives back, getting a new chance. Nothing is more beautiful than to have a new chance. It is as if life can start all over again. Pope Francis Meeting with Young People July 12, 2015 “Costanera” riverside area, AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay

Daily Thought For July 11, 2015

No Fear Just Faith Lectio Matthew 10:24–42 Meditatio “… do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Jesus has just commissioned his apostles, giving them detailed instructions for their preaching. He has also given them some dire warnings about the persecutions they will face as they proclaim the kingdom. They are to be afraid only of the one “who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.” Today’s Gospel also gives us some of Jesus’ words of encouragement to the small band of apostles. They are to speak in the light and proclaim from the housetops. They will need to recall the Father’s care for the sparrows, knowing that they are worth more than many sparrows. They are to believe firmly that, in losing their lives for Jesus’ sake, they will find them. People who assist them will receive their reward, even if they only give them a cup of cold water. When I consider Jesus’ clear instructions, I wonder what a public relations person would think of it all. If

Daily Thought For July 9, 2015

Humility BE NOT troubled about those who are with you or against you, but take care that God be with you in everything you do. Keep your conscience clear and God will protect you, for the malice of man cannot harm one whom God wishes to help. If you know how to suffer in silence, you will undoubtedly experience God’s help. He knows when and how to deliver you; therefore, place yourself in His hands, for it is a divine prerogative to help men and free them from all distress. It is often good for us to have others know our faults and rebuke them, for it gives us greater humility. When a man humbles himself because of his faults, he easily placates those about him and readily appeases those who are angry with him. It is the humble man whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble whom He loves and consoles. To the humble He turns and upon them bestows great grace, that after their humiliation He may raise them up to glory. He reveals His secrets to the humble, and with kind in

Daily Thought For July 8, 2015

Evangelization & The Giving of Oneself Our cry, in this place linked to the original cry for freedom in this country, echoes that of Saint Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). It is a cry every bit as urgent and pressing as was the cry for independence. It is similarly thrilling in its ardor. Brothers and sisters, have the same mind as Christ: May each of you be a witness to a fraternal communion which shines forth in our world! And how beautiful it would be if all could admire how much we care for one another, how we encourage and help each other. Giving of ourselves establishes an interpersonal relationship; we do not give “things” but our very selves. Any act of giving means that we give ourselves. “Giving of oneself” means letting all the power of that love which is God’s Holy Spirit take root in our lives, opening our hearts to his creative power. And giving of oneself even in the most difficult moments as on that Holy Thursday of the Lord when

Daily Thought For July 7, 2015

Called By Name What is your name? (Genesis 32:28) Your name defines you in a significant way. It identifies the family into which you were born. It often has a particular meaning or honors a particular ancestor. Add-ons like “Junior” and “Mrs./Miss/Ms.” further tell who you are. And when you fall in love, your beloved may also have a special name for your ears alone. When Jacob realizes that he has been wrestling with an angel, he begs for a blessing before his heavenly visitor departs. That blessing is expressed as a new name. “Jacob” (one who trips up) is the one who grasped his twin brother’s heel as they were being born; ever since, he’s been using his devious wits to trick people into giving him what he regards as his due. But now he has a new identity: “Israel,” or “one who strives—or sticks—with God.” From this time on, Israel is most true to himself when he relies on God and not on his own clever plans. That’s quite an identity change! When we were plunged into the wa

Daily Thought For July 6, 2015

Bearing The Faults of Others UNTIL God ordains otherwise, a man ought to bear patiently whatever he cannot correct in himself and in others. Consider it better thus—perhaps to try your patience and to test you, for without such patience and trial your merits are of little account. Nevertheless, under such difficulties you should pray that God will consent to help you bear them calmly. If, after being admonished once or twice, a person does not amend, do not argue with him but commit the whole matter to God that His will and honor may be furthered in all His servants, for God knows well how to turn evil to good. Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure. If you cannot make yourself what you would wish to be, how can you bend others to your will? We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults. We wish them to be severely corrected, yet we will not correct ou

Daily Thought For July 5, 2015

Prudence & Social Media Furthermore, when media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload. Efforts need to be made to help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches. True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with o

Daily Thought For July 4, 2015

The Language of Silence Silence, even naturally speaking, invites us to concentrate and think about serious, profound things. For example, when we are in the midst of a forest, or on the ocean, or in a deserted place, we feel the need to concentrate and recollect ourselves. Due to our psychological structure, noise forces us outside of ourselves, distracting us and scattering our powers. It forces our spirit to skip around through external things. But when silence prevails, we can again concentrate and live within. In accordance with this law of our psychology, we need to live within to live with God, because we always find God in the interior of our soul. It is natural that exterior silence is not only an invitation to an interior life, but a necessary condition for that life of intimate communication with God. The atmosphere of the interior life, of the contemplative life, is silence. Hence, the masters of the spiritual life recommend it so highly.… In order to live the cont

Daily Thought For July 3, 2015

Beauty For Ashes by Jennifer Hubard He will create beauty from the ashes. I know this. From the depths of my soul, I know this. Still, there are times I insist on doing it my way. I do it my way until an assaulting blow leaves me on my knees wondering if this is when he stops gluing together the pieces of my brokenness into something anew. I cry out to him and he pulls me into the shelter of his arms. With a gentle whisper he reminds me:  My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9).  He assures me of his promise through the example of Saints Peter and Paul. Through them, he teaches me his glory has no boundaries and love no limit.  Without hesitation, Peter lays down his nets and steps off the boat when Jesus calls. Peter's love is deep-rooted and indisputable. And still, the beloved Peter denies him. Yet, with his faults and cracks, Peter is the rock he uses to build the Church.  And Paul-Paul spit venom at believers and stood watch