Sunday, November 30, 2008


Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts. Neither intelligence nor talents. He cherishes simplicity.---St. Therese of Lisieux
We do not have to try very hard to please our Beloved, He is easily taken with us. Our faith need only be the size of a mustard seed according to Jesus. But even that is a gift from Him to help us in loving Him. We can't outgive God. There is no way to even come close.
 Lord, help us try daily with simplicity to love one another, our enemies, and especially, You, our Breath and Light. 
Therese in color

Saturday, November 29, 2008

One thing..

     "Abide in peace, banish cares, take no account of all that happens, and you will serve God according to his good pleasure and rest in him."--St. John of the Cross
This quote made me think of Curly in the old movie "City Slickers". Billy Crystals character asks Curly what is the meaning of life. Curly holds up one finger. He says that life is about One thing. He was speaking a great truth. Why do we live? What do we live for? What gives us meaning? If the answer is anything except life in, with, and for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then we still haven't learned the One thing that truly matters. When Union with God in Christ is our One thing, we naturally love those around us better. We naturally do better work, whether in school or at a career. We are more creative. When we are about the One thing, we find harmony in our relationships and in our daily dealings. This does not mean that everything goes as we plan, but we fight with faith against our doubts and fears that rise up when our plans crumble. The One thing is devotion to Jesus through His Church, the Sacraments, prayer, study and service.  Let us ask our Father to help us desire the One thing.

Friday, November 28, 2008


"The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain." --St. Padre Pio
What is so great about struggle? Why did Jesus have to suffer? What is the big deal about the gap between getting what we want and what we need? The answer is this, the Beatific Vision. This is what every human being, whether they know it or not, is made for. We are made to see God! In other words, we are made for union with Him alone. What does the scripture say? , "When we see Him we shall be like Him." But we cannot look upon Him until we are full of Him alone. There is a purging that has to take place, an emptying, and if you doubt this, look at the cross. St. Paul said that Jesus "emptied Himself." Even Jesus learned obedience from what He suffered the scripture tells us. One Saint said this, "The greatest gift we are given is our crosses." What the heck was he talking about?! Suffering awakens and challenges our falleness. C.S. Lewis said, "Suffering is God's megaphone..."  We need awakening often from our lukewarm tendencies, especially us Americans. We don't want to end up vomit, do we? ( He will spew the lukewarm from His mouth, Revelation 3) This is serious stuff. God is not kidding about how much He loves us and requires our everything, soul and body. He is a jealous God. He is jealous for our eternal happiness in the presence of the Trinity. So, let us humbly admit that we have failed once again and fly unto our Mother Mary, asking her prayers for our wayward souls. She will take us, as she does better than anyone, to her Son Jesus, our Lord. We need all the help we can get! Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble...". Let us turn to our Beloved Jesus in this moment and be brutally honest about everything. He is always there for us. Life is a mystery of faith, do not assume anything.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Good Shepherd

The Lord knows how to rescue devout men from trial...--St. Peter (in his second letter, chapter 2:9)
This is very encouraging, but also very demanding. "Am I devout?", should be the question that comes to our minds when we read this verse. This verse of course is taken out of a very important context. St. Peter was warning the church against men who act like beast, who say anything to make a buck, and who act as if they are sheep when really they are wolves. We need to make sure that we are sheep. Sheep focus on things like knowing where the shepherd is at all times. They must not wander off from the herd. They learn to know the voice of the shepherd and will not follow any other voice. Here is a great beginning to being devout. We must not wander from Jesus.  We must learn His voice so as not to be misled. We must pray at all times and earnestly desire His nearness for our protection and comfort. But without the staff, the lamb would never learn to be a wise sheep. These are the beginnings and foundations of a devout life. Then we must cry out, MERCY! We must press in to our Lord, learn to hate our sin, and seek Him first every moment of every day. And when we fail, we must rely on His staff to guide us back to the fold.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Great Treasure

"Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall keep you then more effectively than during my life."
    — Saint Dominic's last words to his brothers
There is a great treasure that many Christians never look for. It is a great help that comes from God alone, but it reaches us through the prayers of the Saints. We on earth are the Church militant, those in Heaven are the Church triumphant. There is much to gain from our family in heaven. If I ask you, my earthly brother or sister, to pray for me, why should I not ask a heavenly brother or sister the same? They are more alive than we are being in the unveiled presence of the Trinity! The writer of Hebrews paints an amazing picture of them cheering for us as they watch our progress from heaven. We have Jesus with us in the Eucharist, and we have our brothers and sisters urging us on. They have no tears, for they have experienced the Beatific Vision. Even as I write this, they are gazing upon the face of God!!!!! This should light a fire within our souls for holiness and living our lives in abandon for Jesus! This should cause us to tremble and to humble ourselves, asking for their prayers often. Why not call upon those alive in Christ to remember us as we fight the good fight?! This is a great treasure of grace for us. We are family in Christ. We can do nothing alone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I intend to recall these things to you constantly, even though you already understand and are firmly rooted in the truth you possess. I consider it my duty, as long as I live, to prompt you with this reminder.---St. Peter ( writing from Rome just before his death, 1 Peter 1: 12-21)
St. Peter goes on to remind them that he was there when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain. He tells them that Jesus, "received glory and praise from God the Father when that unique declaration came to Him out the majestic splendor." He says for the Church to remember that he possesses this prophetic message as something reliable. You and I were not there, neither were the first century believers he was writing to. He was passing on this moment, this apostolic moment, to those who did not see this so we would embrace even deeper that Jesus is Lord. St. Peter pleads with them to keep their attention fixed on this "prophetic message" as something reliable, as if it were a "lamp shining in a dark place until the first streaks of dawn appear and the Morning Star rises in your hearts." He goes on to explain that this is not open to "personal interpretation", this is the way it happened. Here is the first Pope ( Papa) of the Church establishing a firm foundation to build everything on. Think of it, this leader of the early Church is simply passing on the truth to us here in 2008. How did these words survive and get all the way to this computer this morning?, through the Church! And praise God Almighty, hell still hasn't been able to prevail over the apostolic teachings and traditions of the Church of Jesus. Read the words of Pope Benedict and you will see this message of Jesus Christ is still as prophetic, fresh, sound, and alive as ever! There is so much to take in, do not waste a second on anything else! There is only one true light worth gazing upon.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Soul of a nation is under the knife, death is standing in the doorway of life, in the next room a man is fighting with his wife over dignity.--Bob Dylan (from his Tell Tale Signs version of the song "Dignity".)
How is it that we are made in the image of God? Life is from God, and our lives are given so that we may in turn give them back to Him. When I heard these words from Dylan I knew he was talking about abortion, "The soul of a nation is under the knife, death is standing in the doorway of life..." We must pray with sincerity this morning for all people who believe that life begins at conception, and the scientist who now know that it does, to raise one voice for abortion to become uncool. Our society is driven by what is in style and what isn't. Let's pray that killing babies goes out of fashion quickly. Let's even hope that it becomes financially rewarding to stand up for life. If people saw a way to make money saving the unborn, the tide would turn....What is so amazing about the absurdity of these ideas is that they are true! If somehow  babies in the womb could become as important as baby seals... God have mercy on us!!! We must pray with great fervor that Barack Obama and his people will have an awakening to the Truth. Nothing is impossible with God. Jesus said He came that we may have life, and have it to the full, so many never get this chance. If anything should bring all believers together it is this, there is nothing more basic or elemental as the gift of life.
"Man's likeness to God, if preserved, imparts high dignity."--St. Columban (7th century)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christ the King

They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty; then He will send out the angels...-Jesus (from Mark's gospel 13th chapter)

Today the Church celebrates Christ the King. St. Paul tells the Ephesians, "All things are under His feet! He is the exalted Head of the Church, which is His body." Glory to our King! This is the last Sunday before Advent begins, before the waiting begins! We go out of "ordinary time" into the time of great expectation! The Church is constantly reminding us of the Salvation Story. We are constantly in it! When we call Jesus our King, we are also saying we are a Kingdom. We do not call him president, we do not live in a democracy as followers of Jesus. He is King forever! We live in a kingdom. And where does this kingdom exist until He comes in the clouds?, within each of us. Jesus said people will say, "there it is.", or "it is there.", but no, the Kingdom of God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit making Their Home within us. Our lives are where God wants to be! How amazing! He loves us so much! Therefore, Christ reigns in each of His holy ones. So we must stop sinning and living as though we can do what we want! This idea is not part of the Kingdom life, the Kingdom of God is not the American Dream. In fact, it is mostly opposed to it. So when we pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, and say, "Thy Kingdom come..", remember that we are asking Him to come and live within us again. We are saying, 'I do not want to rule over myself, I turn from a life of selfishness.' We are asking Him to rule over us. We give Him the key to our lives and souls. And if Jesus is truly King of our hearts, one day we will see Him coming in the clouds, and we will be ready to stand on His right with the other sheep when the angels are sent out to gather every soul.


Christ the King, a detail from the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


When we are whom we are called to be, we will set the world ablaze.--St. Catherine of Sienna
St. Paul says we are new creatures in Christ Jesus. We are driven by love! Our faith and hope are in the love of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are a new creation now, moving and being within the eternal perfect love of the the Trinity. This all sounds well and good, but why are we not setting the world ablaze? Why are we ripped apart by disagreements and individual declarations of the truth? St. Catherine knew why, she knew it was because we do not embrace the call! We think too often that being a Christian is some kind of osmosis. We think that saying it and believing it is enough. James says that even the demons believe and they shudder! In order to set the world ablaze we must pray without ceasing, press in and press on to the call in Christ Jesus! This is not a bystander religion, this is a Liturgy! This is a ritual! This is a daily taking up the cross and following after Jesus. Do we really want this safe little world of ours to be ablaze? It will mean humbling ourselves, it will mean seeking harder than ever, it will mean trusting Jesus when everything seems lost, it will mean loving our enemies, it will mean being whom we are called to be.

Friday, November 21, 2008


See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.--Jesus  (Mt.18:10)
This is one more command to love from our Lord. How do we "see that we do not despise"?, by loving the little ones. Who are the little ones? They are the unborn child in the womb, the young child abandoned in Darfur, the elderly abandoned by family and left in homes to die, the prisoner forgotten and wasting away in a local jail we drive by daily, the teenager who seeks happiness in all the wrong places, the college student who hopes there is more to life than getting a degree and a job. The "little ones" are all of the us at some point in our lives. Jesus was talking about the child who is innocent when He said these words, but at one point this was all of us. We never lose our Guardian Angel. We always have this appointed creature doing the work God has assigned. Let us pray that our hearts will be ever grateful for this help. The Angel to remember today is Gabriel, sent to speak to the Virgin Mary and call her by her real name, "Full of Grace". Remember that all of this is for our salvation. Glory to God!
Guardian Angel

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our Joy

"Faith guides even us and we follow its sure light on the way which conducts us to God and His homeland." Padre Pio  
The joy in the heart of those who trust Him for all things shows on their faces. Even when they suffer persecution, sickness, confusion, or any other trial, their joy never wavers. It is not a naive, clownish, or shallow feeling; it is something more real and gritty than life itself. Lord, help us trust You like this! Lord, help us love You like this! Lord, be our joy!
Padre Pio - Our lady of Grace

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When will I find You again?

Have you ever been through something
and don't know why,
Even after some time,
You could break down and cry?

It's like you've lost someone dear,
sweet and near to your heart,
and the memory alone,
Simply tears you apart?

Beloved, my soul is looking for You,
Beloved, my soul doesn't know what to do,
Beloved, why do You leave and where do You go.
when will I find You again?

I ask everyone if they have seen You,
and most of them lie through their teeth,
I keep walking and talking to You Dear,
Hoping soon it's my name You will speak

I can't be happy without You my Dear,
I fail every time that I try,
I just end up looking to the sky for a sign
Hoping somehow I will capture Your Eye

Beloved, my soul is looking for You,
Beloved, my soul doesn't know what to do,
Beloved, why do You leave and where do You go.
when will I find You again?
Life on this side of the curtain
Is nothing without Your caress,
All I can do is keep searching,
Without You my soul cannot rest.
Beloved, my soul is looking for You,
Beloved, my soul doesn't know what to do,
Beloved, why do You leave and where do You go.
when will I find You again?
Oxford MS
art by Blake Hill

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Strolling Alone

It is possible to offer frequent and fervent prayer even at the market place or strolling alone. It is possible also in your place of business, while buying or selling, even while cooking.---St. John Chrysostom
St. Paul said, "pray without ceasing." Prayer is based in faith and trust. But sometimes we pray when we feel no faith or trust. Sometimes we pray while beset with doubt and fear. We feel as if our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and landing like feathers around us on the floor. These are the greatest moments in our journey! When we pray in spite of how we feel, by grace, we are willing these prayers to our Beloved. This is when true love for Jesus grows, and this is when we best obey the scripture to pray without ceasing. Much of our lives are lived in these rooms with the hard ceilings of doubt and fear. Jesus knows about these rooms, and He knows that our hearts and minds are always tempted to turn from His Divine Mercy. Cry out and be honest with the Lord, He can take it! There is nothing He cannot get us through, and in the "going through", we must call out to Him. He knows our weakness well, and His love for us never changes. He will not betray us.

St. John Chrysostom ( 4th century)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Like a Kiss

Suffering is like a kiss that Jesus hanging from the cross bestows on persons whom He loves in a special way. Because of this love He wants to associate them in the work of the redemption.--St. Bonaventure ( 13th century )

Why does God allow His dear ones to suffer so much? One cannot read the scripture or the lives of the Saints and not see this is so. What is it about suffering, whether it be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual? Jesus did say that in this life we will have much trouble, and then He said, "Take heart, I have overcome the world!" We must see that our will is involved in His word "take". It is by grace we are saved, Paul makes clear, but we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling, Paul says this to the Philippians. We cannot save ourselves, but He gives us the great responsibility and honor of working with His work within us. This is where suffering comes in so often. In these wills of ours lies the battle for our souls. God allows suffering to teach us obedience, redeem us, and ultimately to set us free from self. When this happens, we experience detachment, and a joy so deep that words cannot explain it. The things of this world and there enticement to be our idols fade. We learn to offer up our suffering for those we love and suffering in whatever form becomes useful and a great help to help keep our eyes on Jesus an dour hearts hungry for the things of Father. Where did this teaching come from? The cross of Jesus. Our Beloved carried His cross and now He helps us with ours. By grace, we will accept His kiss from the cross and set our wills to follow Him to Jerusalem, where we will share in all of His glory!



Sunday, November 16, 2008

His Rest is Enough

Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.---St. Augustine

We live these mysterious and weary lives as best we can. "We struggle and we scrape", sings Bob Dylan in his song 'Mississippi'. Within the cold rainy days, our souls stand naked without shelter, and still we know beyond explanation that God has placed eternity in our anxious hearts. We may be successful, have many things, or, we may be very frustrated as we live paycheck to paycheck; whatever the case, our hearts are restless until they rest in God. Don't even try to fight this truth, you will not win. Close your eyes, ask Mary to pray for you. Ask Augustine to pray for you. Ask Padre Pio the same. Ask any of the Saints who learned this while they walked through this valley of tears, and who now find themselves in the presence of perfect love and rest. The writer of Hebrews says very clearly that they are now cheering us on from the portals of Heaven. Then turn the eyes of your shivering damp soul to your Beloved Jesus. Give Him a big smile of hope and gratitude in spite of any confusion or frustration you may have. Say these incredible words, "Jesus, i trust in You." He will bring you close to the eternal fire of His Divine Mercy. He is Lord forever, and He wants to give you His rest. His rest will be enough. 

Lansford PA

St. Augustine

Saturday, November 15, 2008

With Devotion

"Every Holy Mass, heard with devotion, produces in our souls marvelous effects, abundant spiritual and material graces which we, ourselves, do not know...It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!" St. Pio
"Heard with devotion," is the key to what St. Pio is saying. God has so ordered His work in our lives that we are given the ability to choose to participate or not.  A person could never miss a daily Mass for years and still be far from the Heart of God. We must combine our faith with the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and with all the Sacraments. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him.", the book of Hebrews reminds us. There is a simple prayer that will help, "Jesus, I trust in You." Say this often, at first light, and just before sleep. Say it as many times as you can during the day. What can it hurt?! And if you combine a heart of desire with this simple prayer, you will find much more devotion each time you attend Holy Mass.
Padre Pio
a young Padre Pio

Friday, November 14, 2008

Humility Humility Humility

"Always humble yourself lovingly before God and man, because God speaks to those who are truly humble of heart, and enriches them with His gifts." Padre Pio
Someone asked St. Jerome which are the three most important virtues, he replied, "humility, humility, and humility." Humility is not thinking or saying, 'i am a worm, a wretch, a horrible sinner, etc..' of course these things are true, but humility is more, it is acknowledging these things while staring at the crucifix and whispering with joy, "I am loved, everything is grace." It is proclaiming to your own soul, 'apart from Him i can do nothing, with Him i can do all things!' Mother Teresa was humble, but she was not a wallflower. Padre Pio was humble but he was also confident in his and every ones need for holiness in all things. It's an honest virtue, because as soon as one thinks, ' i am humble', they are no longer humble. Humility dissolves like sugar poured into hot coffee when one becomes proud of ones humility. Humility sneaks into our lives as we focus our eyes on Jesus and others as more important than ourselves. It thrives when we are living the Theo-Drama instead of the ego-drama.
 by Blake Hill

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ready for Anything

I am ready for anything in order to do His will. Only pray, I beseech you, that I spend whatever little life is left in me for His glory...--St. Pio
Padre Pio was in his twenties when he wrote these words. He lived until he was 81 glorifying his Lord. I pray this be our prayer, our motto, our creed. "Ready for anything,...whatever.. for His glory.." It sounds so simple, so holy, so spiritual, and it is, but it looks like serving others when we would rather go home and sit on the couch, visiting people in jail and reminding them that God has not forgotten them, going through our closets ever so often and giving away clothes we don't need, helping out with the nursery at church, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle, praying the rosary daily, smiling at people when we don't feel like it, growing in the virtues of faith, hope, and love,... Padre Pio's life was not his own, it belonged to His Savior and Friend. Every baptized child of God is being led to this deeper love, whether they know it or not. "Whatever little life is left in me for His glory.", Lord, let this be our prayer too. Help us in this Lord, and pray for us Padre Pio.
St. Francis

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It is a journey totally sustained by grace, which nonetheless demands an intense spiritual commitement and is no stranger to painful purifications (the "dark night"). But it leads, in various possible ways, to the ineffable joy experienced by the mystics as "nuptial union."---Pope John Paul 2, from his apostolic letter, Novo Millennio Inuente
St. John of the Cross must have inspired our late Holy Father in these words of encouragement. St. John of the Cross wrote many poems about this "nuptial union", or marriage, and how it is attainable in this life. Do not let these words scare you. These words are taken from the Old Testament understanding of the intimate life one could experience with God because of the Bridegroom ( Messiah) coming to call His bride. Read the Song Of Solomon or Isaiah 61. The Church is the bride, and Jesus is the Groom. We are given the call to trim our lamps and keep them burning until the Bridegroom comes. Remember the parable Jesus told about the virgins who had brought extra oil so they would be ready? Well, this extra oil is the vibrant, eager, relentless and deep longing for Jesus in every part of our lives. By God's gift of grace, we can find this oil of desire in scripture, His Sacraments, Holy Mass, the prayers and examples of the Saints, and most especially through our Mother Mary' prayers and example of always saying yes to her Son; and in this, we can have the "intense spiritual commitment" that Pope John Paul 2 wrote about. In this journey we will experience trial and suffering, Jesus said so, but with His divine mercy we can hold on ,and inch by inch, most times on our knees, be like those waiting virgins madly in love with the Groom before He ever opens the door and lets us in. Come Lord Jesus!
Ioannes Paulus PP.II 16.X.1978 - 2.IV.2005

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What Depths!

We who have received the grace of believing in Christ, the Revealer of the Father and the Savior of the world, have a duty to show to what depths the relationship with Christ can lead.---Pope John Paul 2, from his apostolic letter, Novo Millennio Ienuente 
" what depths the relationship with Christ can lead." Aren't these words riveting?! Doesn't it fill the heart with wonder and deep longing for a deeper intimacy with Jesus?! Pope John Paul had an incredible love for Jesus, and his desire and hope were to show all the ever mysterious depths that a life in Christ can fathom. What depths! Is this our thought in the mornings when we are having our coffee? This is the call to every single person baptized into the new life of Christ Jesus the Lord. We cannot be stagnant in our seeking or in our devotion to Jesus. We must, by grace, press in more and more to our Beloved Lord. We can never get close enough! If we do not feel like it, we must ask Him to give us this desire. He will. The closer we get, the more we will love. We will love the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and learn to move within Their Love. We will love those around us with a sacrificial love. We will love the Saints and learn from their journeys of faith. We will love our enemies and pray as ardently for them as we do our friends. We will carry crosses we never dreamed we could carry. We will suffer through many dark nights of the soul as we are mercifully purged more and more of self. This is not a spectator sport! Walking with Jesus is real, more real than anything else, and its end is seeing His beautiful Face! 
Pope John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver (Colorado)

Monday, November 10, 2008


I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.---Jesus, (John 17:23)
Are we one? Christians are splintered, separated by pride, fear, shallowness, laziness, ego, deception, opinion, and heresy. How will the world ever see this love Jesus prayed about?! We must all look in the mirror and ask one simple question, 'Why are we not one?' No wonder the world is lost and running further and further away from the God Who loves all souls madly! Look at our broken, dismembered, and bickering Christianity! 33,000 denominations and growing by the day, and each with its own interpretation of scripture. Martin Luther said on his death bed that he regretted turning people away from the Magisterium of the Church; he said, "There are now as many interpretations of scripture as there are heads." There are "christians" today who do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, or that He is fully God and fully man. There are "christians" today who think that abortion is a choice. There are arguments about baptism, the need for baptism, free-will versus predestination, works verses faith, and on and on and on. Someone has to be correct, someone has to be in error. Jesus did not say to Peter, 'You are Peter, and on this Rock I will build many churches that will disagree on most everything.' Protestants still protest what they do not know, and many Catholics do not know the basic mind blowing, beautiful tenants of the 2000 year old, never changing, Truth of the Catholic Church. We are too lazy when it comes to seeking. We are easily offended by the tough realities of the Narrow Way. We must humble ourselves and fall on our knees before our loving Father and cry, MERCY! Have mercy on us Lord, bring all who call on the Holy Name of Jesus together at Your Alter where we can share the One True Meal and Sacrifice that unifies and strengthens our hearts, souls, and minds in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then the world know Him Who You have sent. St. Paul said there is one Lord, one baptism, one offering for sins, and one table of the Lord, one. When you read the early Church Fathers, you find their concern for unity priority number 1. They often died to protect this unity. From the very beginning of the Church, there has been an evil spirit of division trying to destroy the unity so needed if we are to be to the world what Jesus prayed we would be. But it seems for the past 500 years, the Christian world has allowed and vigorously accepted this evil spirit that keeps us apart. Why are babies being killed in their mother's wombs by the millions in this "christian country", might it indirectly be one horrid consequence of our division?! God have mercy on us all!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not alone.

"Teach everyone the spirit of St. Francis which is the spirit of Jesus Christ." - St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Do not try this alone. Jesus did not send the 70 disciples out alone, He sent them out in pairs. We will experience enough isolation without even trying. We have our soul's pain, doubt, disappointment, failures, and fears within the loneliness of our own skin, so we must have those we can share this journey with, those who share in the Body and Blood of our Lord with us are our fellow travelers. This is why the Church must be our home base in all of our seeking. We need a confessor, a spiritual guide, the Sacraments, the Holy Mass! Jesus gave us all of these things because He knows our hearts and the temptations we face, do not forget Gethsemane. He did not leave us as orphans. We are now a part of the Eternal family. God is our Father, Jesus our Elder Brother, Blessed Mary is our mother, the Holy Spirit our Helper, the Saints in heaven our brothers and sisters urging us on, and the Church our tent on earth, Heaven is our true home. Think of it, we are fighting not against flesh and blood, we are fighting against the unseen, and therefore we live by faith in the unseen work of God our Father through His Sacraments given to us through His Son, and administered by His Holy Spirit. Do not try this alone, it won't work.

November 9 - Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome


Saturday, November 8, 2008


I will willingly boast of my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I am content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecution and difficulties for the sake of Christ; for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.---St. Paul (to the Corinthians in his second letter.)
Read the words of St. Paul outloud , slowly. Listen to how foreign these words sound in our health, wealth, and success driven culture. If he were alive today and was asked to speak at Joel Olsteen's mega-church and spoke these words, he might not be asked back. These words, read them again, are like some strange language to our modern Christianity. I have seen this lived out though in a nun in Birmingham Alabama named Mother Angelica. She is weakness personified. Her difficulties with her health are chronic , and relentless, yet, she smiles at everyone and Jesus' name is always on her lips. She has reached millions with the good news of God's love. I have seen this in the Franciscan Friars of New York who have given everything so as to associate with the poor and forgotten in those mean streets and alleys. I have seen it in the recently widowed woman who never misses daily Mass and encourages me before I can ever encourage her. Our weaknesses, distresses, persecutions, these are our friends. They allow us to rely on His strength, and then, we become strong. This is a hard teaching.
Mother Angelica

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hard Bread

"In order to attract us, the Lord grants us many graces that we believe can easily obtain Heaven for us. We do not know, however, that in order to grow, we need hard bread: the cross, humiliation, trials and denials." Padre Pio
Jesus said that unless we deny ourselves, take up our cross, despise all possessions, we can not be His disciples. This journey is a narrow road, not a wide road. It is a road of sacrifice, digging, trust, and child like hearts. Our Lord is serious about our sanctification, without it, we cannot look upon Him. Our journey's goal is to see Him. When we see Him, we shall be like Him. Imagine it! St. Paul counted all things loss to knowing Jesus, ALL THINGS! Isn't that what Jesus said must happen to each of us?  The Virgin Mary, St. Peter, St John, St. Paul, St. Francis, St. Pio, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux,  etc...what do we know about all of these people? We know that their lives meant nothing to them, they lived for their Beloved. Oh Lord, do not let us settle for anything less, no matter how hard the bread. Mercy Lord!
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St. Pio

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Wisdom of Francis

"When you look at a poor person, you are looking at a mirror of the Lord and His poor mother. So, too, in the sick, you are contemplating the kind of infirmities He took upon Himself for us."  - St. Francis of Assisi
So many people today think St. Francis was some kind of medieval hippie, or an early version of a modern day tree hugger. He wasn't in the least. Trees, birds, and all of nature was simply a gift from the Lord. For Francis, nature  glorified the Lord and taught us all about His mercy, love, and grace. Francis went through much hardship and it formed the man of Jesus he became. Most don't know that the young Italian spent time in jail as a prisoner of war. He was beaten and starved, and in this secluded dungeon, he found the words of Jesus. A fellow prisoner had a copy of the gospels. When he got out of prison, he saw a new world around him. His heart had changed, he was no longer the spoiled child of a wealthy merchant, he now wanted to associate with the poor and forgotten. He wanted to be like Jesus. He found an abandoned and run down church on the outskirts of Assisi and heard Jesus say, "rebuild My church". Francis thought He meant the little rundown church with the Byzantine Crucifix. He rebuilt it, and then Jesus used this poor man to renew His Church in all of Italy and the world. We are in strange times today, and we all need the heart of Francis, which is a heart for Jesus alone. The renewal of Francis brought renewal to the world. We all need renewal, and must remember that His Church needs it too from time to time. Jesus said to let the wheat and the weeds grow together, but He also said that the gates of hell will never overcome His Church. I am glad Francis renewed Jesus' Church from within and did not go off and start his own church. Praise God for the wisdom and obedience of Francis!
Francis of Assisi by Francisco de Zurbarán

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A heavy sigh

In every act we do, in every step we take, let our hand trace the Lord's cross.--St. Jerome (5th century)
There will be days in this life when all we will be able to do is make the sign of the cross, and then heave a heavy sigh. We must pray, the Lord hears our groans.
Image:William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - Compassion (1897).jpg

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Love Jesus, love Him very much, but to do this, be ready to love sacrifice more.--St. Pio
When I was with the Friars of the Renewal in New York, I saw the joy of sacrifice. These men from all over the world, with varied backgrounds, come together to dedicate themselves to serving Jesus through the poor and forgotten. They do this by example more than any other way. Each man wears the drab gray robe of St. Francis. Rosaries hang from their waste, and huge crucifixes dangle with every step. They own nothing except a robe, rosary, bible, and prayer book. They greet everyone the same way, with an authentic and genuine warmth, and eyes of child like interest. They fed me, gave me shelter, and we sat till 2:00 in the morning talking about the world and music. They have given everything to follow Jesus, and Jesus has given them His peace, His humility, and His joy. If there is one word to describe these modern day vagabonds for God, it is joy. I am challenged in my world of attachment to learn to love sacrifice. I want to be as detached as possible from the things that keep me from knowing the real joy of Jesus that these simple disciples carry and give away wherever they go. St. Pio, pray for us.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Monday, November 3, 2008

Outside the Box

Every family should have a room where Christ is welcome in the person of the hungry and thirsty stranger.---St. John Chrysostom (4th century)
Wouldn't it be amazing if every home that knew Jesus as Lord were this concerned with the lonely and those in need? The 25th chapter of Matthew is where St. John Chrysostom gained this wisdom of caring for the stranger. Jesus said, "When I was hungry you took me in...If you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me." Jesus went on to say that those who had lived this way in this life will inherit eternal life in the one to come. Those who do not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the lonely, will not inherit eternal life, but will be separated from Him and His Father. He is very clear in this. This is all very sobering and should fill us with great zeal in living for Jesus. Not for fear of being separated, but for the great promise of being with The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit forever, sharing in Their perfect love! This lifestyle is a great challenge in our selfish I-pod, I-mac, I-tunes, I-I-I generation. For the sake of souls, ours and others, we must think outside the box of "I."
St. John Chrysostom

Sunday, November 2, 2008


When it is in your power to do good, do not hold back, because alms deliver you from death.--St. Polycarp of Smyrna ( 1st Century disciple of St. John the Apostle)
Alms are the giving of money, goods, time, and self to those in need. Having a spirit of giving delivers us from death's grip of grasping. "God loves a cheerful giver." We are living in a culture of death. Abortion, stem cell research on embryos, and euthanasia prove this. A spirit of giving opposes this horror. If we are a people of life, we must give whatever it is that God wants us to give. In fact, the true Christian life is giving away everything that God gives to us as quickly as possible, especially love and forgiveness. His desire is for us to be fully alive, and this is not possible as long as we are hoarding His goodness. He wants us to take every opportunity to do good, this promotes life, and this brings health to our souls and to those around us, even to our enemies. Abortion and the culture of death must be defeated with love, speaking truth, fasting, and prayer.
Yonkers, New York

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Scourging

The omnipotent God engaged in combat with His most bitter enemy, not in strength of His own majesty, but in our human infirmity.---Pope St. Leo the Great (5th century)
When you are praying the rosary, and are on the second decade of the Sorrowful Mysteries, take your time. The scourging of Jesus took time. They beat Him mercilessly and each wound was for our sins. Each chunk of flesh that was ripped from His back was for our prideful will that does not turn to Him in humility, love, and trust. When you are meditating on this Mystery, realize with what great love you are loved, and hold on to each word a bit longer.
Image:William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1880).jpg