Friday, October 31, 2008


To hope is to risk frustration. Therefore, make up your mind to risk frustration.---Thomas Merton from his work, "New Seeds of Contemplation"
How many times have we been frustrated in this life?! Some more than others, but we all know frustration well. According to Merton, it means that we are people of hope. And like everything else in our lives, our hopes must be guided by faith. When our hope is in the Lord to do His work in us, we will experience frustration as we learn to trust Him completely. There will come times when God seems so far away from us, as if He is toying with our emotions. We will think that we are all alone and darkness is the only light we see. Silence will be the only sound we hear. The Saints say that this is when God is nearest to us.  It makes no sense, but to them, the dark times meant more to their union with God than any other time. Our Beloved does not toy with us, He is for us always. In every frustrated moment, He is loving us madly! So let us hope again and again and again, no matter how many times our dreams fail, or our spiritual growth seems dried up. When all seems lost, hope again! Yes, our frustrations will grow, but with God's help and grace, we will too.

Thomas Merton in his study

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Study as if you were to live forever. Live as if you were to die tomorrow.---St. Isidore of Seville (7th century)
It is so important that we know the scripture. From Genesis to Revelation, this is God's story of our salvation. It must be studied with diligence and humility. It must never be taken out of context, and it must never be used for selfish gain. This is why we need the guidance of the Church in our individual devotions. One person could read the Sermon on the Mount and say, 'This is what it means.' Another person could say, 'No,  it means this.' Both can't be correct. There is a context to everything in Jesus' words and instructions. When Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter, which means "rock", and said that He would build His Church on Peter, they were standing in Caesarea Phillipi. Caesarea Phillipi is the place of a gigantic rock where the pagans had built their temple. Jesus uses this backdrop to teach the apostles that His Church will be the One True Church that He will build upon the leadership of Peter. When He tells Peter that He is giving Him the Keys to open and shut the things of God, the other apostles knew the context of these keys. They knew that the Steward of every King of the Davidic Kingdom was given the keys of authority and did the King's will concerning the people of God. From this point on the other disciples even called Simon, Peter, and all through the book of Acts, Peter is the leader of the new Church, just as Jesus said he would be. It is so important to dig into the treasure that is God's words! Without understanding the context, people can confuse the words of Jesus, and make them mean whatever they want. This leads to heresy. Whenever you hear someone quoting scripture out of context to make a point for something they are espousing, be very wary until you have studied it in it's full meaning, including what I am saying here.
St. Isidore of Seville

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Do not become swollen-headed if you have served well, because you have only done what you were supposed to do.----St. Ambrose of Milan (4th century)
Jesus told the parable of the worker in the field who came in after a hard day of work and then served his master before serving himself. We are expected to work for God. We are called to serve. Jesus said the greatest among you will be the one who serves the best. We should be trying to outdo one another in kindness, mercy, respect, and service! Beware of the thought that comes to everyone, "I deserve something." This is the beginning of much misery! We deserve one thing, hell. While we were still in our sin, Jesus died for us. We owe Him everything. We owe Him our love, our prayers, our devotion, our honesty, and our respect. We must nurture our fear of God, for it is the beginning of wisdom. We must have a deep and abiding respect for Him and His way. We must beware the swollen-head!
Saint Ambrose in His Study, ca. 1500. Spanish, Palencia. Wood with traces of polychromy. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Whatever He tells you.

Do whatever He tells you.--The Virgin Mary (to the servants at the wedding in Cana.)
The last recorded words of Mother Mary are eternal and relevant to every single person who calls Jesus Lord. She always did whatever He said. We see here her guidance to those at the wedding, and, to all of us 2000 years later, "Do whatever He tells you." What is He telling us to do? He said to take up our cross daily and follow after Him. He said to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner. He said to "Take and eat, this is My Body....take and drink, this is My Blood". He said to persevere in prayer. He said to endure till the end. He said to call God "Father." He said to love and pray for our enemies. He said to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness." Go to the gospels daily and read His commands that are summed up in His greatest, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself."  Our Mother still speaks to us daily, "Do whatever He tells you."
The Virgin Mary and Jesus

Monday, October 27, 2008


We must not, even in a trivial matter, turn aside from the path of truth.---St. Epiphanius of Salamis ( 4th Century )
We will always hear vicious attacks on doctrine in our culture . It seems the devil has even turned many modern day Christians against the importance of doctrine. But what do we have without doctrine? We have teachings that tickle the ears and lead millions away from holiness and right thinking! We have "preachers" on television and in pulpits with huge audiences saying things that have no foundation in the truth of the Church. Without the magisteriam of the Church, we have 33,000 denominations that can't even agree on baptism. The "paths of truth" that St. Epiphanius spoke about in the 4th century are the doctrines handed down from the Apostles, doctrine that stands forever as our faith...Jesus is both fully God and fully Man, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. God is Three Persons in One, and One in Three. He died, descended to the dead, rose from the grave, He ascended into Heaven. He has given us Himself in the Eucharist as our Real Food and Real Drink. He is coming again to judge the living and the dead.... These are a few doctrines that makes us who we are. Without these, and all of the doctrines of the Church as our foundation, we become individual bodies without a Head, just ears waiting to be tickled.
St. Epiphanius

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Holy Zeal

The love of Christ arouses us, urges us to run, and to fly, lifted on the wings of holy zeal. The man who truly loves God also loves his neighbor.--St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop (19th century Bishop of Cuba)
Holy zeal is much different than other forms of zealous action. The terrorist who flew planes into the towers were zealous, mislead, but zealous. Holy zeal is love for Jesus Christ and for every person we come in contact with. Holy zeal wills the good of other as other. The holy zealous person is the one who "burns with the fire of divine love." "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.."-- St. Anthony  We must ask God for this zeal and be ready to receive it, knowing that our lives will not be the same. Love has a way of teaching us detachment from the things that stand in the way of this love. We find a simpler way of seeing the world and living in it. We ache with the reality of our own sin, and we do not rest when we see others being mislead or detoured from knowing the truth and the love of God in Christ Jesus. Our concern is for our neighbor's current well being and their eternal salvation. As St. Anthony also said, "Such are the concerns we observe in the holy apostles and in all who are driven by the apostolic spirit."
St. Anthony Mary Claret

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Blood of Jesus Christ

I greet you in the blood of Jesus Christ, which is eternal and abiding joy.---St. Ignatius of Antioch ( 107 A.D.)
Ignatius wrote many letters to the faithful on his way to be eaten by lions in Rome. He pleaded with them not to interfere in his dying for Jesus. He said he wanted to be "ground like wheat in the teeth of the lions." There was much persecution during the 2nd century. Most were martyred because they would rather die than deny the Eucharist. The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to the early Christians was always connected to His sacrifice in the Mass. They never once had issue with the bread becoming His Body and the wine becoming His Blood. In fact, this teaching and belief is why the pagan Romans thought them "cannibals" and "idol worshippers." We must remember the Blood poured out for our sins and the mystery of this Blood's power to forgive and cleanse us is God's doing, not ours. Jesus is the One Who said, "This is My Body, this is My Blood." We must die for this Blood, maybe not like the Catholic priest in Iraq did a few weeks ago for celebrating the Mass, maybe not by being eaten by lions, but in our every day lives of working, struggling, forgiving, hoping, helping, and giving them away for the gospel. Our joy is in the Blood of the Lamb!
St. Ignatius of Antioch

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Communion of Saints

Let us pray for those who have fallen into any sin, that meekness and humility may be given to them, so that they may submit, not to us, but to the will of God.---Pope St. Clement 1st of Rome ( written between 88-97 A.D.)
Intercession is a the way of our God. Jesus is the High Priest Who intercedes for us. Mary, our Queen Mother, who is in the lineage of the Davidic Kingdom queen mothers, who represented the people to the king is another example of intercession from scripture. St. Paul often spoke of praying for his "children" in the faith, constantly presenting them before the throne of God. The scripture says, "pray for one another." Praying for each other is an extension of loving each other. We have the responsibility and the honor of holding one another up. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that even those Saints who have died and whose souls are with God in heaven are thinking of us, cheering us on! This another form of intercession. It never ends, this caring for and helping one another is our call and journey. There have been many times in my life where the prayers of others have been my only means of receiving grace, otherwise, I may not have made it through. Let us take to heart how important our prayers are to God, not because they change Him, but because they shape us as we learn to give ourselves away in concern and diligence for those around us.
Pope St. Clement 1st of Rome

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jacob's Ladder

The Christian life is the true Jacob's ladder on which the angels ascend and descend. Meanwhile, the Lord stands above, holding out His hand to those who slip, sustaining by His vision the weary steps of those who ascend.---St. Jerome (420 A.D.)
The weary steps are ours. There is never a breath in our sometimes troubled lives that we should not hope and pray to ascend. There will be days when we will feel like we are descending, that everything is going wrong and failure and fear are all we know. But we must remember what Jacob did, he wrestled with an angel until the angel blessed him. We must wrestle with our angels, good or bad. This is a fight down here! This is about life and death. Jesus carried His cross and then was nailed to it. We must carry our crosses knowing that we will at some point be crucified with Christ, so that we might rise with Him. St. Paul meant these things he said, it wasn't conceptual philosophy, it was his daily reality. Is it ours? St. Jerome was correct, our life with God in Christ is the connection of heaven to earth, and Jesus is the only one Who can lift us when we fall. Mercy!

Saint Jerome by Lucas van Leyden

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Holy Mass

Christ prays for us, prays in us, is prayed to by us. He prays for us as our Priest; He prays in us as our Head, is prayed to by us as our God. We therefore recognize our voice in Him and His in us. ----St. Augustine (5th century)
In the book of Hebrews we learn that Jesus is our Great High Priest. We also learn that He is our Sacrifice. He is both Priest and Victim. Why? Why do we need a priest and a victim? Why did God use this kind of language and liturgy for an explanation of how we are saved? It has to do with His Holiness and His justice. Since Eve and Adam grasped at being like God, God began preparing the world to recognize His perfect love and desire for us in the Incarnation, in receiving Him as a human, gaining His flesh through the Virgin Mary. The more one mediates on this, the more amazing it is! What does a priest do? He offers prayers and sacrifice. Jesus offers Himself for us all. He is the sinless Lamb of God. Every single Mass is an entering in to this Sacrifice. It is not the re-crucifying of Jesus, it is the re-membering that Jesus commanded we do. Mass is prayer. The first part is the Word of God, the second part is the Eucharist, the re-membering and entering in to His Sacrifice for our sins. It is THE intimate communion with God. It is a moment that happens every day all around the world in every language ,where we get to join with Heaven and sing Holy Holy Holy with the angels and Saints. We are His body! Glory to God!!
St. Augustine

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


God is not the enemy of our freedom but it's ground. That is something we ought to relearn in these days. Only love that is almighty can ground a joy that is free from anxiety.----Pope Benedict 16
The devil hates our freedom, and therefore, he would try and have us believe that God hates our freedom. Satan tells the world that freedom is to do whatever you want to do. This deception leads to a slavery to the world, sin, and self. Freedom in Christ leads one to liberty, purpose, and a mission of high calling to care for the things of God. The devil knows that our hearts are made for God alone, and that our hearts are restless until they are filled with God. The devil fools us into filling them with selfish pursuits, with greed, lying, drunkenness, sex, money, career, sports, other people, etc... We become slaves to these pursuits and our poor souls hunger for the real Bread of Angels, not the rancid food of ego-drama. We must join with St. Paul who called himself a slave of Jesus Christ. He says it was "for freedom that Christ set us free." St. Paul may have been the most free and fulfilled man in all of scripture. He was detached from the world, and his freedom was in being the servant of Jesus. His life was not his own. Attachment to the world and our fallen nature is anything but freedom, it is a hellish prison of self regard and grasping.
St. Paul

Monday, October 20, 2008

Three Streams

Three streams flow ceaselessly from Jesus' divine heart. The first is a stream of mercy for sinners, giving them a spirit of contrition and repentance. The second is a stream of charity, which brings help to all in need, especially to those who seek perfection and need help overcoming difficulties. The third is a stream of love and light, which flows into those with whom our Lord wants to share His knowledge and commandments so that they, each in their own way, may devote themselves wholly to promoting His glory.-----St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
This is why we must daily desire the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our struggles. It is for Him alone that we live these sometimes less than exceptional lives. Most days will be the simple exercise of pressing in to our Lord. As we deal with bills, tests, loneliness, being misunderstood by those we love, disappointment, illness, depression, anxiety, etc.., we must look to His loving Heart from where our help does come. Those three streams of mercy, charity, and love and light, are the graces that come to us especially in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Lord Jesus, fill us with a deep and abiding thirst for these streams from Your Sacred Heart!
Typical illustration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We need His compassion.

-God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try. --Mother Teresa
 Mother Teresa wasn't afraid to speak the truth anywhere or anytime. She once made Bill and Hillary Clinton very uncomfortable when she said the following at a convention with them sitting only a few feet away, "Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want." We must remember that there is right and wrong. We follow Jesus. He is against the the killing of children inside their mother's wombs. Every chance we get, we must reach out in love to anyone who is facing this horrible choice of killing their child. We must reach out and speak gently with mercy and love, not in judgement. We must pray for the doctors who do this. We must pray for their conversion, and we must encourage adoption as the only possible choice, and then do all we can to help them in this. We are a people of life.
Mother Teresa

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Give it Away

You are worth more than many sparrows.---Jesus
Jesus spoke often about hell. In fact, He spoke as much about hell as anything else. Just before He said these comforting words about us being worth more than sparrows, He had said to fear only the one who can not only kill the body, but can also send the soul to hell. He was serious when it came to the soul of a man. Are we serious enough when it comes to our own souls and those around us? We have been given much and much is required. It is so easy to become lazy and satisfied with our lives, but there lies the trouble, these lives are not our own! St. Paul says that we have been bought with the precious blood of the Lamb. We no longer live the grasping life, we now live the 'give it away' life! We are new creatures. Zacchaeus is the great example of this. He went from hoarding everything he could to giving back everything he had taken, and then some. Conversion always does this to us. It causes us to give. This is the spiritual life, whenever God gives us something, we immediately give it away! When Pope John Paul 2 was a young priest and someone would give him money as a gift, he would immediately give it away. 
Lord, have mercy on us!
Zacchaeus by Niels Larsen Stevns
Zacchaeus by Niels Larsen Stevns

Zacchaeus (Greek Ζακχαῖος, Hebrew זכי, which means pure [1]) was a superintendent of customs; a chief tax-gatherer (Latin:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Offer it up.

Come all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.---Jesus
There is one thing we must remember throughout the days we are given, Jesus gave everything for our souls. Nothing the devil can whisper in our ears can harm us if we meditate on the Passion of our Lord. Go to the chapel or the sanctuary often and gaze upon the crucifix! When the worries of this world overtake us, and sometimes they will, we must fix our eyes upon His wounds. His pain was real. His hurts were real. His suffering was beyond imagining. When we suffer, we must offer it up to Him and ask that our suffering could somehow be used for the good of those around us, as  St. Paul taught the Colossians, chapter 1, verse 24, " Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions." Jesus allows us, as family, to know Him in all things, and to share in all He is. Never tire of gazing upon our Lord. There is great comfort in this. St. Paul said, "I glory in the cross of Christ."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

True Life

I have come that you may have life.---Jesus
One of the many teachings of Fr. Robert Barron that comes to mind often is that God loves us into being. God did not need to make us. He has no need whatsoever. He is complete and entire within Himself. He was not lonely or bored when He decided to create the world and humanity. He did all of this simply because He loves, He is love itself. He created man with free will to choose life and love, but man chose death and true life ended. Man grasped instead of trusting what God had said. After the fall of Eve and Adam, God immediately begins to restore us. He tells our first parents that the Seed of a woman will be the hope of redemption. Jesus comes through Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit, fully man and fully God, fully alive! He says He came to bring us His life. Our sin sick souls need this Physician. Once again, God is loving us into being. . God's will is for man to be fully alive. Jesus called this abundant life.  Once we start to understand even a minute bit of this love for us, we will burn with desire for our Beloved. Our souls will hunger for the life Jesus came to restore us to. Without Him we can do nothing. Apart from His Body and Blood, there is no life.  John 6.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

not about us..

Love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love Him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing His love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.----St. Teresa of Avila (16th century)
The one focus and contemplation of every saint, whether in the first century or our own, is God's love. Today is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. She was born in Spain in 1515 and died in 1582. Love renewed her soul even after she had committed her life to God as a Carmelite nun. For years she taught others to pray but never really prayed herself. When her renewal came, she became God's instrument of renewal. She dedicated her life to the narrow road of service, devotion, and prayer. Love changed her heart. When this very head strong nun realized by grace how much she was loved by God in Christ Jesus, her life was no longer about her. May the Lord impress upon all of our hearts today His love. And may our lives no longer be about us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Ten Virgins

Behold, the Bridegroom comes!----Jesus
Jesus told the parable of the Ten Virgins to teach about the Kingdom of God. Five of the virgins took extra oil for their lamps, and when the Bridegroom took longer to arrive than expected, these five had enough oil to keep their lamps burning. The other five had to return to town to get more oil. While they were gone, the Bridegroom arrived and took the five who were ready into His chamber and closed the door.-- Jesus is the Bridegroom, the Church is the Ten Virgins. The oil for the lamps is prayer, service, and devotion. The lamps are our faith and hope. We must be ready!  We must be like the five virgins who took extra oil for their lamps. We must pray without ceasing. We must persist in prayer and devotion to our Beloved. With God's grace, we must endure the dry deserts, the frustrations, the suffering, the crosses, and the waiting. Jesus said that those who persevere until the end will be saved. How happy were the five prepared Virgins with their lamps burning brightly for their Lord to see! 
Ten Virgins from Peter von Cornelius
Ten Virgins from Peter von Cornelius


Monday, October 13, 2008

The Mystery of Hope

We do not give up hope, for today we may be given the opportunity to tell someone about this hope we hold on to tightly, in spite of the pain and anxiety we may also carry, as we follow after Him. Jesus said we must take up our cross daily and follow after Him.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


My Father's house will be a house of prayer!---Jesus
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray He told them to call God their Father. No Rabbi before Jesus had ever suggested such a thing! He then went on to give them a prayer we call the "Our Father". The early church memorized this prayer and even now many Christians know and pray this prayer daily. In this prayer, Jesus gives us a glimpse of His intimate human heart toward His Heavenly Father. Our Father---not "my" Father,  Who art---God is,  in Heaven---our true home is with God,  hollowed be Thy Name---His name is Holy and we are to regard Him as such in every way,  Thy Kingdom come---God is King not president and we should desire His kingdom and His ways,  Thy will be done---His will is doable,  on earth as it is in Heaven---there is hope for earth,  give us this day our daily bread---the Greek translates "super-substantial" bread which the early Church knew to mean the true Bread from Heaven, the body of Jesus in the Eucharist,  and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us---As children of this Father, we are to be like Him in forgiving one another as He forgives us,  and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil----the evil one is going to do all he can to steal our souls, and therefore, we should cry for mercy and help from our Father always. In other words, pray to your Father in humility and trust, for only He can deliver you. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stilling the Tempest

Urge those who have familiar speech with God to use much prayer, with much perseverance, for the stilling of the tempest that is now wrecking the world.---St. John Chrysostom (5th century)
In these times of panic in the economic markets, the world does not pray. It attacks, complains, worries, dreads, expects the worse, accuses, etc.. We as believers in Jesus, the King of kings, must not fall in to any of these camps. Instead, we must pray. We must put our hope in the One Who is. The world may fall apart and it may not, either way, our goal has not changed! Our goal is to finish the race set before us, to walk in faith and not sight, to feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, to grow in our union with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The devil wants to fill us with anxiety; but if we, in humility, keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and gaze upon His cross of love, we will know His peace that passes understanding.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The tree of relationship with Jesus

There is, of course, great gain in religion----provided one is content with a sufficiency.-----St. Paul to Timothy, the first letter chapter 6.
We have been through years of attacks on the relevance of religion. We have heard and said things like, 'Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.' And the media attacks organized religion every chance it gets, pointing out the failures, but never the successes and good it does. We have grown up in a generation that is weary of religion. St. Paul and Jesus saw religion as very important. Jesus said 'true religion is caring for widows and orphans.' St. Paul tells us there is 'of course, great gain in religion.' True religion is a good thing, it gives us right doctrine, ritual and tradition that allows our relationship with Jesus to mature and deepen. Religion is like the branches on the tree of relationship with Jesus, it allows us to climb out of ourselves and ego, and see the world from a higher perspective of grace and service. True religion does this. It gives us avenues to help others, together, not as lone rangers. It allows us to be family, with all of our warts, personality differences, different backgrounds, race, language, etc... The devil hates true religion.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Faith, not by Sight

We live by faith and not by sight--St. Paul
"If I am asked how the bread is changed into the Body of Christ, I answer, the Holy Ghost overshadows the priest and operates in the same manner in the elements which He effected in the womb of the Virgin Mary."----St. John of Damascus
We have great and wonderful mysteries given to us by The Father that invigorate us in our journey. We have Jesus the Bread of Life as our food! We have the prayers of the Saints. Pray that your soul will hunger more and more for all of His gifts, so that you may know Him deeply. Wake up each day and make the sign of the cross before your feet hit the floor, give this day to your Beloved Lord. And if you do not feel like doing these things, do them anyway. Ask God to give you the strength to walk by faith, not by sight. The devil hopes you won't.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Meditate on the Life of Jesus

The depth of our understanding is up to God. We can never mediate too much on the sufferings of Jesus, the Annunciation, the Resurrection, the Ascension, Jesus' time in the garden of Gethsemane, the wedding at Cana, or any of the mysteries of the Rosary. Remember, when you pray the Rosary, you are meditating on the life of Jesus through the eyes of Mary. What better eyes to see Him with! No one else could have the eyes of that moment when the angel Gabriel came to tell her that she would give birth to the King, the moment when God breaks into time and takes on flesh. We must humble ourselves when we pray the Rosary and say, 'Dear mother, help me to see and love Jesus like you, for your love was both as an obedient disciple and loving mother.' For Jesus said, "who is my mother, brother,....the ones who hear the word of God and do it." No one ever fulfilled this better than Mary. She heard the word of God through the angel and did it. So let us be faithful to meditate on the life of Jesus and ask God to deepen our understanding of Himself. The more we know Him and His Father, the more we know eternal life.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Questions..

Let Him do with me whatever He wants, as He wants, for as long as He wants. If my darkness is light to some soul----even if it be nothing to nobody-----I am perfectly happy----to be God's flower in the field.----Mother Teresa, from "Come Be My Light"
Is there a burning desire deep within us to live only for Jesus? Is there a fire in the soul to be on fire for the things of God? Is there pain inside when we sin against His love? Is there a craving for union with the Trinity?! Is there a growing awareness of the needs of those around us? These are the questions we should stick on our refrigerators. These are the questions that lead us to honesty, humility, hunger, and holiness. Mother Teresa is the worlds example of burning for God and for those around us. She saw Jesus in every person she met, especially the suffering.  In a time when everyone is worried about the economy, let us be people who are concerned with holiness, love, and giving ourselves away.
Lord, have mercy on us all.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Jesus Prayer

Pray without ceasing.---St. Paul
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." This is one of my favorite prayers. This simple prayer becomes more and more important for me over the years. I learned it in 1998 after reading the book, "The Way of a Pilgrim." The author is unknown, but he was a wandering seeker of how to "pray always" in the 19th century. He heard the words of St. Paul one Sunday during the liturgy of the Word at Mass. Paul said to "pray without ceasing". The pilgrim started asking everyone how this could be done in the midst of life's daily toils. His question took him many places and through many experiences. Finally, he learned the "Jesus Prayer" from an old priest who took him in and fed him. It is a very simple prayer, the simplest, but it has within it the key to our deepest longings. The pilgrim prayed the prayer so often during his day that it became a part of his very breath. The prayer slowly began to change his view of the world and the people he met. He became more and more truthful, caring, forgiving, and detached from the things of this world. His love for Jesus overtook his simple little life and joy flooded his soul.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Stop grasping, start receiving!

You will be like God.---Satan
Why did Adam and Eve grasp at the knowledge of good and evil? Some mysteries are only meant to be received from God, not grasped at and taken. It may not have been that God didn't want Adam and Eve to know about good and evil, but it was a sublime knowledge that He alone could give them. As soon as Eve grasped at this, her image of God changed. Satan made God out as a killjoy tyrant who was against her, keeping things from she and her husband. This is why they were afraid and hid from God when He came for their daily walk in the garden. St. Paul tells us that Jesus "did not regard equality with God something to grasped at; but, He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant." The new Eve, our mother Mary, received the word of God and said yes. In doing so, she reversed the "no" of  the first Eve. What did Mary call herself in her prayer of praise to God? She called herself the "handmaid of the Lord." Mary's hands were not grasping, they were receiving. We must stop grasping and start receiving. The new Adam, our Lord and Savior Jesus, received His Father's will and did only what He saw the Father doing. (Isn't it fascinating that Jesus spent so much time in gardens?) Mary received the word from Gabriel, and in her humble yes, she became the means by which God would come to us in the flesh. Jesus gave us His flesh, and blood, for our food and drink; or as He says in John 6, "My flesh is real food, my blood real drink." These are the mysteries of an all loving God Who wants to give us everything pertaining to life and godliness, which is true liberty and joy! He has proved this in His passion, death, and resurrection. When we stop grasping at what Satan tells us is rightfully ours, and receive whatever it is that God wants to give us, we will find Jesus waiting to walk with us in the garden again. We must resist the devil and he will flee from us!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.---St. Francis of Assisi
Today is the feast day of Francis of Assisi. Probably more people have heard of this Saint than any other. He is so prevalent that Walmart keeps plenty of his statues on hand for customers flower gardens all over the country. He is the patron Saint of animals and nature, and he is very misunderstood. Yes, he preached to the birds, he tamed a wolf, he called the moon sister and his own body brother ass. He was a mystic in that he saw God's mercy in both the hardship and victories of life. But more than any of this, he was deeply dedicated to the Holy Trinity, to the Virgin Mary, the Catholic Church, the poor, and to the salvation of souls. He was so intense in his love for Jesus that he wanted to be like Him in every way. So much did he want to be like Christ that he would often refuse any comfort that might cause him to forget his need for the Lord or the suffering of those around him. He was a radical soul. He heard Jesus tell him to rebuild His Church. He obeyed, and by example brought sweeping renewal. He did this by abandoning himself to the strange and upside down ways of the Kingdom of God. He called himself a clown for God. He prayed for God to make him an instrument of peace. This once very comfortable son of a wealthy merchant father became poor for the sake of the poor in his little town. In this, Francis was simply showing the world Jesus.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fully Alive!

For me to live is Christ...St. Paul
Fr. Robert Barron's incredible DVD, "Untold Blessing" (, is an eye opening introduction to what it means to become a friend of God. He talks about the paths to Sainthood. One of the most radical and beautiful statements he makes is this, "Your life is not about you. Yes, it is your life, but it's not about you." He goes on to cogently show that this is the mind of Paul, and how this thinking flies in the face of our culture which screams to us daily, 'It's your life, grab all you can, it's all about you.' Somehow, when we realize that our life is not about us, it fills us with a tangible sense of liberty and detachment. It frees us to focus on the mind of Christ in our daily situations and not the mind of CNN, FOX, or Oprah. We are in a battle and the battle is for our souls. Jesus asked the question, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" We must guard daily against the temptation to make our lives about ourselves. This is hard, we need help. Jesus knew how hard this would be for us. This is why He gave us His Church through the sending of His Spirit. This is why He gave us the Sacraments administered by the Apostles and those who have followed them through the laying on of hands. We cannot do this alone. We need His Body and His Blood, we need His forgiveness, we need His Real Presence, we need the Mass. Paul warned against failing to meet together and going it alone, how these people shipwreck their faith. We need one another in this journey. St. Paul said for him "to live is Christ...", he was truly a friend of God. His life was not about himself, how joyous and alive he truly was!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What Lies Behind

I forget what lies behind...St. Paul
Good memories should encourage us. Bad memories should inspire us. St. Paul was speaking of good and bad memories when he said he forgot what was behind him. He had the memory of being a faithful Jew. He also had the memory of persecuting the Way. He gave his approval to St. Stephen's stoning. His example is vital to our walking with Christ. So often we hang up on our past , good or bad. Maybe we can't let something go or can't forgive someone.(even ourselves)  Or maybe a dream we had prayed for never came true. We blame others, and often, deep down, we blame God. Paul says to forget what lies behind. God is bigger than our memories. His love is a crazy love! He is not against us is any form or fashion. He wants us to move on, to learn, to forgive, to be free to serve Him and others in a way that fills us with even more life. He wants us to be fully alive! St. Paul was fully alive. Even with all of his anxiety, concerns for his "children" in the faith, his imprisonments, his beatings, shipwrecks, arguments with fellow disciples, tangles with Satan, St. Paul lived! And here is the most important part, "It is not that I have reached it yet, or have already finished my course; but I am racing to grasp the prize if possible, since I have been grasped by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not think of myself as having reached the finish line. I give NO thought to what lies behind but push on to what is ahead. My entire attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize to which God calls me---life on high in Jesus Christ."  Paul to the Philippians, chapter 3.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

God's most precious flower..

Unless you become like little children you will not enter the Kingdom of God.---Jesus
Today is the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux. She lived in the late 19th century. She was nobody. She did nothing grand. She died before her 25th birthday. Listen to what she said, "O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love." She sought ways to serve God but realized she could do nothing great. She understood that not everyone in the body of Christ could be the heart, but some had to be an ear or an eye. Something little. She dedicated her life to being one of the little flowers in God's garden, and her life inspires millions around the world today to love Jesus. Her simple childlike faith inspires my sometimes complicated self important "faith" to see the beauty of humility. I hope that I might, by God's grace, become more and more the child I should be. A child simply trusts the Father, no matter where in the garden he or she is planted. One man's weed is God's most precious flower.