Showing posts from October, 2015

Daily Thought For October 31, 2015

Why The Church Is Important To put it quite concretely: It is the Church that, despite all the human foibles of the people in her, gives us Jesus Christ, and only through her can we receive him as a living, authoritative reality that summons and endows me here and now. Henri de Lubac formulated this state of affairs as follows: “Do they realize that if they still receive Christ, it is to the Church they owe it?… Jesus lives for us. But without the visible continuity of the Church, the desert sands would have long since swallowed up, if not perhaps his name and his memory, certainly the influence of his gospel and faith in his divinity.… ‘Without the Church, Christ evaporates or is fragmented or cancels himself out.’ And without Christ what would man be?” This elementary acknowledgment has to be made at the start: Whatever infidelity there is or may be in the Church, however true it is that she constantly needs to be measured anew by Jesus Christ, still there is ultimately no opposi

Daily Thought For October 30, 2015

The Importance of The Sabbath Lectio Luke 14:1–6 Meditatio “… on the Sabbath.…” Oh, that thorny Sabbath! It seems that every time Jesus turns around he is locking horns with someone over this day of rest. Today a man appears, suffering the joint pain and fever of edema, and everybody else wrangles over what’s “lawful.” Since Jesus is sharing a meal with lawyers of the Torah, whose giftedness lies in their razor-sharp minds, Jesus shrewdly frames his question to them in legal terms. Then, typically, he takes everyone a step further, from a father’s—and his Father’s—perspective, effortlessly healing the man in the process. They’re dumbfounded. Apparently they forgot who heals. If God heals—they suppose that this Jesus has no curative power of his own—then God must want to make his loved ones whole even on the Sabbath, especially on the Sabbath. With his example, Jesus challenges them to examine what this rest is really for. They know that it hearkens back to Genesis, when Go

Daily Thought For October 29, 2015

Do Not Stifle The Holy Spirit The Scriptures say without hesitation that God's Spirit lives in us, gives us life, speaks to us in silence, inspires us, and that it is so much a part of us that we are united with the Lord in Spirit. This is basic Christian teaching.  The Spirit of God is the soul of our soul! We are blind if we think that we are alone in the interior sanctuary. God is actually more present in this place than we are. We are constantly inspired, but we suppress the inspiration. God is always speaking to us, but the external noise of the world and the internal churning of our passions confuse us. We can't hear him speaking. Everything around us needs to be silent, and we must be quiet within. We need to focus our entire being to hear the soft whisper of his voice. The only ones who hear it are those who listen to nothing else.  It is unfortunate that the soul is so infrequently still.  Our selfish desires interfere with the voice within us. We are aware th

Daily Thought For October 28, 2015

Worship—God Invites & We Respond The so-called Didache of the apostles, a book that dates from about 90 or 100 A.D., records a tradition that had long been accepted as a matter of course: “Assemble together on the Lord’s Day, break bread, and give thanks, having first confessed your sins so that your offering will be pure” (Did 14:1). We can be certain of this, then: it is not the role of the Church or of any individual Christian to decide whether or when we should celebrate the divine liturgy or what we should decide to do with our Sunday. Someone may object: But I dislike the bad air in the church and the worn-out hymns. It bothers me to kneel crowded together with all kinds of people whom I do not know and to hear the priest recite prayers that I cannot understand. I prefer to go up into the mountains, into the woods, or on the water, and I am more pious in God’s free nature than in a congregation that has nothing to offer me. In reply one might say: It cannot be that we cho

Daily Thought For October 27, 2015

Groaning We all do it—groaning. Something goes wrong, and we sigh dejectedly. We hear bad news, and we moan in disappointment. Disappointment in itself is a natural thing, but when you feel moved to groaning, what does it tell you about the situation? And more important, what will your groaning move you to do? When you come right down to it, groaning is a sign that deep down, we recognize that all is not as it should be. We all have an inner, hidden sense of the glory God wants us to experience. And we all know that we fall short of that glory. We understand too that we are still works in progress, that we don’t yet experience the fullness of the life we were made for. And so we groan longingly, like a woman in labor. She knows that her baby is coming, but isn’t here yet. She knows that the process is painful, but she also trusts that the result will be glorious. Believe it or not, groaning is actually a sign of hope! We groan because we know and believe that we are meant for m

Daily Thought For October 25, 2015

Powerful Message From Pope Francis The three Readings for this Sunday show us God’s compassion, his fatherhood, definitively revealed in Jesus. In the midst of a national disaster, the people deported by their enemies, the prophet Jeremiah proclaims that “the Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel” (31:7).  Why did he save them?  Because he is their Father (cf. v. 9); and as a Father, he takes care of his children and accompanies them on the way, sustaining “the blind and the lame, the women with child and those in labour” (31:8).  His fatherhood opens up for them a path forward, a way of consolation after so many tears and great sadness.  If the people remain faithful, if they persevere in their search for God even in a foreign land, God will change their captivity into freedom, their solitude into communion: what the people sow today in tears, they will reap tomorrow in joy (cf. Ps 125:6).   We too have expressed, with the Psalm, the joy which is the fruit of the Lo

Daily Thought For October 24, 2015

Afire With God's Love For myself, I say this to you: The man who burns with the fire of divine love is a son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and wherever he goes, he enkindles that flame; he deserves and works with all this strength to inflame all men with the fire of God's love. Nothing deters him: he rejoices in poverty; he labors strenuously; he welcomes hardships; he laughs off false accusations; he rejoices in anguish. He thinks only of how he might follow Jesus Christ and imitate him by his prayers, his labors, his sufferings, and by caring always and only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”  faith St. Anthony Marie Claret

Daily Thought For October 23, 2015

A Prayer From St. Teresa of Avila May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing that you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.  It is there for each and everyone of you. St. Teresa of Avila

Daily Thought For October 22, 2015

A Church Is Not Just A Building A church is not just a building in which something takes place every morning but which is then empty for the rest of the day. On the contrary, the universal Church is always present in a church because the Lord always bestows his presence there, because the mystery of the Eucharist is always present there, and because, when we enter it, we are always assumed into the divine worship of the whole believing, praying, and loving Church. There is today a great danger that our churches will become museums and will share in the fate of our museums: when they are not locked, they are robbed. They are no longer living. Only the presence of those who pray can protect the Church from within; only those who pray can preserve the houses of God as “open churches”. In the troubled times of World War II, Reinhold Schneider wrote these words: “Only those who pray can succeed now in keeping the sword from our heads.” A single hour of quiet listening to the word of God

Daily Thought For October 21, 2015

Great Advice from My Favorite Saint Several times during the day, but especially in the morning and evening, ask yourself for a moment if you have your soul in your hands or if some passion or fit of anxiety has robbed you of it. Consider whether you have command of your heart or whether it has slipped into some disorderly passion of love, hatred, envy, covetousness, fear, uneasiness or joy. If you have gone astray, quietly bring your soul back to the presence of God, subjecting all your affections and desires to the obedience and direction of His Divine Will. Just as men who are afraid of losing a precious pearl hold it firmly in their hands, so we must keep a close watch on the precious pearl of our soul.  Saint Francis de Sales

Daily Thought For October 20, 2015

Stay Focused THE VOICE OF CHRIST MY CHILD, do not be curious. Do not trouble yourself with idle cares. What matters this or that to you? Follow Me. What is it to you if a man is such and such, if another does or says this or that? You will not have to answer for others, but you will have to give an account of yourself. Why, then, do you meddle in their affairs? Behold, I know all men. I see everything that is done under the sun, and I know how matters stand with each—what is in his mind and what in his heart and the end to which his intention is directed. Commit all things to Me, therefore, and keep yourself in good peace. Let him who is disturbed be as restless as he will. Whatever he has said or done will fall upon himself, for he cannot deceive Me. Do not be anxious for the shadow of a great name, for the close friendship of many, or for the particular affection of men. These things cause distraction and cast great darkness about the heart. I would willingly speak My word

Daily Thought For October 19, 2015

All That We Need Lectio Luke 12:13–21 Meditatio “… one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Some scripture scholars think that Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles were written for Gentile Christians, in particular Christian communities struggling with equity among the haves and have-nots. Today’s passage is about greed and wanting to keep what we view as “ours.” Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t say that we should get rid of all our possessions. Instead, Jesus points out that neither the quantity nor the quality of possessions should define the quality of one’s life. Jesus is speaking about the difference between possessing “things” and being possessed by them. The former points to an inner freedom, while the latter points to a kind of slavery. In this parable, the man is a fool not because he is rich, but because he hoards his belongings; he is a slave to “having.” We too can fall victim to our possessions. We become slaves to them when we are overly concerned abo

Daily Thought For October 18, 2015

Love & Not Feelings Must Guide The Soul Have great love for those who cause you suffering.  Do good to those who hate you…..It is not always within your power to control your feelings.  You will recognize that you have love if, after having experienced annoyance and contradiction, you do not lose your peace, but pray for those who have made you suffer and wish them well. St. Faustina Kowalska

Daily Thought For October 17, 2015

When God Touches A Soul When God touches his soul man learns to see aright. Even if he had all possible possessions in heaven and earth, what would that be? The happiness of mere success, of mere power, of mere wealth, is always an illusory happiness; a glance at the world of today, looking into the tragedies of those powerful and successful people who have sold their souls for wealth, will show us how true this is. For those great fits of despair, against which all the refinements of desire and of its gratification are deployed in vain, do not occur among the poor and the weak but among those people who seem unacquainted with the troubles of life. Everything in heaven and on earth would be empty were it not for God, who has made himself our portion forever. “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”, says the Lord in the Gospel of John (17:3). This is exactly the discovery expressed in Psalm 73. The supplicant sees God and dis

Daily Thought For October 16, 2015

HOW ONE SHOULD FEEL AND SPEAK ON EVERY DESIRABLE THING THE VOICE OF CHRIST      MY CHILD, this is the way you must speak on every occasion: “Lord, if it be pleasing to You, so be it. If it be to Your honor, Lord, be it done in Your name. Lord, if You see that it is expedient and profitable for me, then grant that I may use it to Your honor. But if You know that it will be harmful to me, and of no good benefit to the welfare of my soul, then take this desire away from me.”      Not every desire is from the Holy Spirit, even though it may seem right and good. It is difficult to be certain whether it is a good spirit or a bad one that prompts one to this or that, and even to know whether you are being moved by your own spirit. Many who seemed at first to be led by a good spirit have been deceived in the end.      Whatever the mind sees as good, ask and desire in fear of God and humility of heart. Above all, commit the whole matter to Me with true resignation, and say: “Lord,

Daily Thought For October 15, 2015

Patience & The Purification of the Soul When flowers appear in our land,” says the Divine Spouse, “the time of cleansing and pruning is come.” What are the flowers of our hearts, Philothea, but good desires. Now, as soon as they appear, the hand must be put to the knife, to prune off from our consciences all dead and superfluous works. A foreign maid, when about to marry an Israelite, was to put off the robe of her captivity, to cut short her nails, and shave her hair; thus the soul that aspires to the honour of being spouse to the Son of God, ought to put off the old man, and clothe herself with the new; to cast off sin, and then cut and shave away all manner of impediments which may divert her from the love of God. The beginning of our health is to be purged from offensive humours. St. Paul, in a moment, was cleansed in a perfect manner; so were St. Catherine of Genoa, St. M. Magdalen, St. Pelagia, and some other saints; but this sort of purgation is wholly miraculous and ex

Daily Thought For October 14, 2015

Pope Francis' Visit To Prisoners (Wow!) Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning. I am going to speak in Spanish because I don’t speak English, but he [pointing to the interpreter] speaks good English and he is going to translate for me. Thank you for receiving me and giving me the opportunity to be here with you and to share this time in your lives. It is a difficult time, one full of struggles. I know it is a painful time not only for you, but also for your families and for all of society. Any society, any family, which cannot share or take seriously the pain of its children, and views that pain as something normal or to be expected, is a society “condemned” to remain a hostage to itself, prey to the very things which cause that pain. I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother, to share your situation and to make it my own. I have come so that we can pray together and offer our God everything that causes us pain, but also everything that gives us hope, so that we ca

Daily Thought For October 13, 2015

Obeying The Spirit Obeying the Spirit. Luke portrays Philip as an evangelist who is guided by the Spirit in extraordinary ways. Even if we are not literally “snatched away” from one place to another, Philip’s example can awaken in us a more expectant faith in the Holy Spirit’s active guidance in our lives and ministry. Philip, like Peter and Paul (see Acts 10:19; 16:6–10), was attuned to the Spirit’s voice and quickly obeyed his promptings. For us too, obeying the Spirit brings a fruitfulness that goes beyond what is possible by our own resources (see John 14:12; 15:8–10). The word of God is not chained. God is often forced to “write straight with crooked lines” to accomplish his saving plan. Neither the killing of Stephen, the persecution of Christians in Jerusalem, the Samaritan misinterpretation of Christian miracles as magic, or even the status of being a eunuch—none of these could hinder God’s plan to spread the good news of salvation to all nations and all classes of indivi

Daily Thought For October 10, 2015

The Priestly Blessing The LORD said to Moses: Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them:  The LORD bless you and keep you!  The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!  The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.  Numbers 6:22-27

Daily Thought For October 9, 2015

The Healing Power of Jesus Lectio Luke 11:15–26 Meditatio “But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” A woman in her fifties was an alcoholic without a job. She was heartbroken. I met her on a retreat, where she told me her story, and I prayed with her. We went back in prayer to the place in her life that needed the most healing: the birth of her first child. Her daughter had been taken away from her because she was “not suited to be a mother.” She was in her teens, unwed, afraid. She was never allowed to see her daughter, or the two children born after that. Now, almost forty years later, she still bore the scars of the shame and sorrow. In prayer she took Jesus’ hand and returned to the hospital where she had given birth to her daughter. She remembered what was happening around her, words people said, what she felt. Then she stopped and observed Jesus looking at her with such compassion and love. When her daught

Daily Thought For October 7, 2015

Rising Up From A Fall If you commit some fault, do not get all worked up or make a big fuss about it; having acknowledged the fact that you have done something wrong, gently humble yourself before God and try to put your soul at rest, saying to yourself, "Ah, well! I have tripped but now I must walk slowly, watching my steps." Every time you fall, do the same and when you fall frequently, even though in minor matters, try to make as many acts of love as you can, because Our Lord says, "If you can trust a man in little things, you can also trust him in greater..." [Lk 16:10]  St. Francis De Sales

Daily Thought For October 6, 2015

Obedience To Christ Brings True Freedom “Authority” … “obedience”. To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a “stumbling stone” for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ—“the way and the truth and the life”—we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. “In his will is our peace”. Real freedom, then, is God’s gracious gift, the fruit of c

Daily Thought For October 5, 2015

Great Proverb Those who conceal their sins do not prosper,  but those who confess and forsake them obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Daily Thought For October 4, 2015

Unless You Become Like A Child Lectio Mark 10:2–16 Meditatio “… the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Children. To us children are lovable (most of the time), and bring smiles to our faces as we play with them, watch them at their games, or even put up with their tantrums. We put children first, denying ourselves what we need to make sure a child is provided for. In Jesus’ day, however, children were last. Sixty percent of children never reached adulthood. During their minor years they were on the same level as slaves. So when Jesus puts his arms around the children in a protective hug, he is sending a countercultural message. “This is what you can have if you live with the dependence of a child, counting solely on God for everything you need: intimacy with God, protection, safety, someone to look after you. This is the way I live with the Father, and I am inviting you to do the same.” It is significant that this story follows that of the Pharisees testing Jesus, t

Daily Thought For October 3, 2015

An Important Question & Challenge For Young People Dear young people, let me now ask you a question. What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the “power” which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What difference will you make? The power of the Holy Spirit does not only enlighten and console us. It also points us to the future, to the coming of God’s Kingdom. What a magnificent vision of a humanity redeemed and renewed we see in the new age promised by today’s Gospel! Saint Luke tells us that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of all God’s promises, the Messiah who fully possesses the

Daily Thought For October 2, 2015

Disarming The Autopilot Lectio Luke 10:13–16 Meditatio “Will you be exalted to heaven?” Sometimes we might seem to live our faith almost on autopilot. It’s not that we don’t believe. We know we possess faith because we received that gift at Baptism. Our faith is evident because we faithfully attend Mass each Sunday. However, how have we assimilated faith into life? Is it obvious in our daily life? Today’s Gospel helps us reflect on these questions. God is disappointed with the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida. Why? In both towns, Jesus had performed signs and probably miracles, yet the inhabitants failed to accept his Gospel message. “Woe to you,” Jesus warns them for squandering a gift. If the cities of Tyre and Sidon, both notorious through Jewish history for their sinfulness, had heard Christ’s preaching and witnessed his signs, they would have repented. Jesus is saying, in a sense, that it is better to be wicked and know it, than to be so unaware, so unconcerned with sp

Daily Thought For October 1, 2015

Rejoicing in the Lord is Our Strength Rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10) What a wonderful occasion! After decades of exile, the people of Israel finally heard the Law of the Lord proclaimed in a holy ceremony. Special preparations had been made for the festive day, from the rich food and drinks right down to the distinctive platform Ezra used to read out the Law. So why did the people start weeping when they heard Ezra proclaim God’s word? Why did the Levites have to go through the crowd trying to calm people down? Because they began to feel overwhelmed and discouraged by the gap between the life Ezra was describing and the life they had been living. They saw how distant from the Lord they had become, and they began to grieve. It was only after the Levites’ words of encouragement that the people saw God’s Law as something more than a burden meant to condemn them. It was a precious gift that revealed not only the justice of God, but his faithful love