Friday, February 28, 2014

Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time "Children of the Kingdom"

People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he became indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Introductory Prayer:Lord, I believe in your love and care for me and for my family. I believe that you call me to help protect, guide and inspire innocence and holiness in others. I trust that you will show me how to do this better. I love you, Lord, for the purity of your love, and I wish to love you with the fullness and innocence of my baptismal faith.

Petition: Lord Jesus, restore my innocence so I can draw nearer to you.

1. Two Visions: Again the poor disciples seem to miss the point, so Jesus sternly speaks to them: “Do not stop them!” Today many of us also fail to understand, and by our lack of understanding we prevent children from coming to Jesus. We think there are so many important activities for them to do—they need to keep up with the other kids, they need to compete, they need to do what they want—and the world heartily agrees. “Let the little children come to ‘me,’” it says with the raspy voice of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Only Jesus has the courage to insist, “Bring them to me, now.” Why is Jesus so anxious to touch, bless, teach and receive these children? Might it be that this is the critical age for them to know and love him as a friend? Do I do enough to let this happen, or do the customs of the world dwarf my efforts? To whom should my efforts belong?

2. “To Such as These” We all struggle to “enter the Kingdom” every day. We tend to be impatient to grow up and be independent. But then, as adults, we wish we had the innocence and simple lives of children, so better to love God. What has become of our innocence? We now know good and evil, and evil makes its presence felt, like the ring carried by Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. Is innocence worth preserving? Is it possible to recover? Our Lordsuggests “yes” to both questions. If I desire to fight for the Kingdom, my battle should start by defending innocence, the only door to the Kingdom. Do I fight for it at home, in the media, on the Internet, at school, in the neighborhood, at work?

3. Receiving the Kingdom: “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child” applies to me each day of my life. Now, the grace of baptism does not disappear. It is renewed each time I pray, each time I offer God my life and day, and each time I prayerfully listen to his Word speak to me. So also, each time I gaze upon Jesus through the eyes of Mary with a rosary in hand, and each time I thank God for his many blessings. The more I experience Christ in the sacraments of the Eucharist and reconciliation, the more powerfully he renews this grace of receiving the Kingdom. The one common condition—that I trust like a little child—is the act of faith through which I enter in contact with the King. Innocence can be recovered and restored, but not without a childlike faith. How deliberately do I exercise this rejuvenating faith? Do I desire that Jesus take me up in his arms, lay his hands on me, and bless me each day?

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, renew my relationship with you. Make it as simple and sincere as that of a child. Renew my innocence as I strive to love you without pride or vanity. Increase my faith, as total and pure as when I was a child, so that I can live my baptism to the full.

Resolution: I will commit to fight for innocence in a more practical way: control the use of Internet or TV at home, get my children involved in a faith/virtue program, pray with them at night, take my family to confession, study Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, find a chastity program for young adolescents, etc.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time "One Flesh"

Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them. Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, I believe in your immeasurable love reflected in your gift of the Eucharist. I believe that you call me to share in this gift with my own gift of self. I trust that you will grant me the light and desire to sacrifice myself and purify my love for you and others. I love you, Lord, with this prayer. May it increase the authenticity of the love expressed in my daily life.

Petition: Lord, help me to penetrate the meaning of “loving in the flesh.”

1. Docile or ‘Un-teachable’? Jesus taught those who gathered to learn from him that they should keep their hearts open and docile. The Pharisees gather not as learners, but as those who “know better.” They constantly look for problems and difficulties in Jesus’ teaching. Their aim is to test him, to find what is wrong, or to trap him in his words. This they never manage to do. From his teaching in the Temple at the age of 12 till the present, no one has spoken like him—with authority and truth. How do I approach the teaching of Jesus and his Church? Am I, with faith, open to learn and change my behavior, if necessary? Or do I, with a hardened heart, look for a way to affirm my own truth?

2. Hardness of Heart: To divorce or not to divorce? This question is not right! The correct question is: “How does God want us to love?” The difference lies in the state of our heart. The one who is open and loves God seeks to know his will. The one who is closed-minded is usually a slave of sin and so lacks the freedom to seek or know the truth.

Such a person’s only objective is to justify what he or she wants. Divorce can be justified—it was by Moses. Why?Because of our hardness of hearts, our not being ready to live the fullness of real love. Jesus speaks the truth and gives the grace to live it. Do I allow him to challenge me to live beyond the minimal, beyond the borders of “Thou shalt not,” and to desire what he desires? What do I do to free myself from the sin and imperfections that keep me ignorant of God’s true will in my life?

3. The Flesh of God’s Plan: The “flesh” that God created was holy, a gift: a Temple of God and destined for eternal life. Jesus became flesh and then left us his flesh, because we had lost sight of its true value and sacredness. It may be only in the Eucharist that we can regain the truth of our flesh and of our vocation to love, to self-donation. Crucified-Christ shatters our fleshy tendency to self-gratification. It substitutes “one flesh,” one body, given for the life of others. The unity and indissolubility of marriage declare the key of love: We are no longer two but one flesh, one life, one interest, one vocation. Just as Jesus no longer can talk about “his own life” after giving us the Eucharist, so a married couple no longer can talk of “self,” but only of the gift of “what God has joined together.” What is my flesh for? The life of others?

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, free my heart from all its attachment to sin and selfishness. Grant me a desire to know your will. Purify my respect, love and appreciation for the sacredness of my body and that of others, the sacred unity of marriage, and the sacred gift of your flesh in the Eucharist.

Resolution: I will spend one hour in adoration reflecting with Christ on the gifts of life, love, marriage and the Eucharist, all seen more clearly in “his flesh.”


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time "Price of the Kingdom"

Jesus said to his disciples: “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose their reward. If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, I believe in your presence in my life. I believe that you consider those around me your children and that you ardently desire to possess them with love for all eternity. I trust that you will help me treat others as your brothers and sisters. I love you now with my prayer. May this prayer increase my desire to honor and serve you with my life.

Petition: Jesus, help me to set a good example for others out of love.

1. You Are Priceless: Jesus leaves us with no doubt: We are valuable. We all carry within us a God-given dignity. And this dignity is identified and enhanced when we bear his name. Every human being has an intrinsic dignity because every human being is created in God’s image. But this image of God is perfectly incarnated in Christ, God made man. So a baptized Christian—a Christ bearer—carries a more perfect image: Christ, in whom we are made children of God. It is little wonder, then, that Jesus assures a reward to anyone who serves us for his sake!

2. Every Little One Is Priceless: To carry his image is also a responsibility. We must live up to this dignity and show to others a life worthy of the image we carry within. Others may be “little” due to their age, the newness and immaturity of their Christian life, or even their weakness and struggle. We put a stumbling block in their way, we scandalize them, when our behavior causes them to doubt or become discouraged about living the ideals of faith. A “millstone” suggests that anything would be better for us than this. How damaging then are my bad examples given to “little ones”! Damaging for them and for me! What can I do to avoid such scandal? On the other hand, what a great reward awaits those who do the contrary, giving these little ones good example! If I loved “these little ones” just half as much as Jesus does, would it not be much easier to avoid giving bad example?

3. Better to Lose Anything Else: In today’s world, the value of something is measured in comparison to other items of the same kind: stocks, food, clothes, even music and films are judged against each other. Yet, there are some things that have absolute value: the value of a soul. Nothing compares! Jesus paints this total non-comparison in terms of cutting off whatever becomes an obstacle. You are so valuable that you must be ready to deny, subdue, silence and even sacrifice your own body, or any of its members, rather than risk losing your soul. Do I value my immortal soul, my vocation to eternal life? If so, do I show this by the self-denial I exert in controlling what makes me (and eventually others through me) stumble? How often do I prefer my “things” to the loved ones who depend on my example of Christ? How radical is my faith?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, open my eyes to understand a little more just how valuable I am to you, how priceless my eternal life is. Make me sensitive to value each and every person in my life. I know you want me to help save them. Never allow me to become a stumbling block for anyone. If I have, may my love and efforts of faith be used by you now to restore what was lost.

Resolution: I will repair a past act of “scandal” (outburst of anger, foul language, gossip or slander, dishonesty, etc.) with a period of quality time given to the “little ones” so as to rebuild the trust and Christ-like behavior they expect from me.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wednesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time "The Zeal of Charity"

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, I believe in you and in all the expressions of your goodness and love in my life. I believe in your Eucharist, where you have made yourself my bread and a prisoner of love to teach me goodness of heart. I trust that you can train my heart to react more as you do, with forgiveness and blessing. I love you, Lord; I wish to love you with my prayer and increased charity. Mary, teach me to love with the heart of your son.

Petition: Make my heart more like yours, Lord.

1. A Son of Thunder: The young apostle says with uncontrolled fervor, “We tried to prevent him.” They obviously acted first and consulted Jesus only afterwards. What moved them? What so often moves us––a sense of righteous zeal! We know or think we know what is right. “Let no one step out of line, or we will let him know!” Moreover, this person “does not follow us,” so he should not be able to act in your name! What is this “Son of Thunder” missing? Is not the mightiest deed an act of charity? How often do I make rash judgments without really knowing the full picture and without consulting Jesus first?

2. Judgments of Gospel Charity: Jesus does not hesitate to offer a positive judgment. Mighty deeds in his name can be found only in one speaking well of him. Moreover, beyond logic, Jesus possesses a deeper insight. He reads all actions with a heart of charity. His judgments will always be colored by his looking to find the very best in each person. His every action will be interpreted by love. In such manner he interprets well the actions of the woman who wipes his feet with her tears and hair, of the paralytic lowered from the roof, of the tax collector who climbed a tree to see him. Do I judge others with a heart filled with gospel charity, or am I very quick to spot faults? Are my impulses modified by my experience of Christ’s love for me?

3. For or Against Him? Jesus presents a simple principle for judging. Unless a person shows himself to be against us, consider him for us. We should fight to help others be “for us.” “Believe all the good you hear and only believe the evil you see.” This supposition of goodness runs contrary to our tendency to judge and speak evil of others with a minimum of evidence while demanding disproportionate proofs to credit them for good. Is it my job to find deformities in a member of the Body of Christ? A good person sees with eyes of goodness. Why can I not find excuses for the weakness and failings I see in others? Why is it so easy to speak poorly of others, to point out their defects and to fall into slander or gossip? Would the answer be found in the narrow or stingy dimensions of my own heart?

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, grant me a heart overflowing with your love. Make charity my first reaction, my constant hope and my irresistible tendency. Open my eyes in faith to see you working in people of all backgrounds and faiths. Help me to dismiss all personal, unnecessary judgments with an assumption of charity. May I win souls with my goodness and never be without charity in my fight for your Kingdom.

Resolution: I will counter every thought against charity with two thoughts of charity. I will counter every word against charity with two words of sincere charity for the one maligned. 


Monday, February 24, 2014

Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time "The Journey Away from Self"

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise." But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me."

Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, I believe in you, present and interested in my life. I believe you await my prayer to guide my heart, my visits to the Eucharist to strengthen my will, and my challenges to help my surrender. I trust you will give your life to me in exchange for my self-denial. I love you and want to love you more by embracing and living out your will. Mother Mary, teach me to say with you, “Let it be done unto me.”

Petition: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening”

1. Apostolic Training: This was one journey Jesus chose to do in secret. Why? Because he wanted to dedicate all his attention and efforts to teaching his apostles the deepest and most important secret of his life: He must die! All that they had lived so far was thus incomplete, merely a preparation for the final act of his mission: the consummation of his love, his total immolation on the cross. Would they understand the need for the seed to die before rising to new life? How hard it would be for them to listen! He was their Lord, the powerful, Messianic king coming to free them and establish his kingdom of truth and love. They still imagined scenarios of new victories, cures, defeat of demons, the silencing of their opposition…. How far their dreams were from Jesus’ message! We too have our own desires and needs. Can we detach ourselves from these dreams long enough to understand in prayer his will and his plan of salvation for us?

2. Slow Learners: Not only did they “not understand the saying,” but “they were afraid to question him.” In other words, they did not want to know. How often our communication problem is not something intellectual, but rather something of the will! Our desire is more to “get our way,” “make our point” or “affirm ourselves.” Learning Christ’s way requires that we in some way unlearn our own ways. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). This explains why no one can be neutral before Christ; he challenges us to change our life. Jesus occasioned the fierce opposition of those who would ultimately put him to death. How open am I to his challenges? Do I listen in prayer in order to respond with a docile but firm “Amen”?

3. The Hardest Lesson: Like little boys caught in the act, the apostles don’t dare admit that they have been arguing about who among them is greatest. Not only do they fail “to listen” to Jesus; to the contrary, they are busy asserting their will. What would it take to teach them this most difficult but vital truth? So Jesus, with a father’s love, holds a child before them and begins the lesson anew. This small child is the greatest! To be last, to serve, to give your life makes you great, since this is how God comes to us. Only the sight of Jesus crucified would burn this lesson more deeply on their hearts. Am I learning this lesson of sacrificial love to become the greatest I can become?

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, open my heart to listen to your will for me. Free me from my own self-love, ideas and dreams. Teach me to die to myself as I enter into prayer and as I enter into work. Help me to work, pray and live so that you and your love can rise up in my life in place of the poverty of my own qualities and efforts.

Resolution: I will listen well before trying to offer my own thoughts or desires in prayer and in interacting with family and others, so better to hear the Lord.



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Catholic Services Appeal 2014


The Catholic Services Appeal Foundation of the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Area (CSA) was recently established as an independent tax-exempt non-profit corporation to receive and distribute all CSA donor dollars.

Timothy Healy, president of the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation, was one of the officers who signed the paperwork filed with Minnesota’s secretary of state.

“Donors can be sure that through this foundation, which will have its own separate bank account, and through ongoing outside auditing of receipts, that every ­single dollar goes to the identified beneficiaries and only the identified beneficiaries,” said Healy, who with his wife Helen are serving as the 2014 CSA chair couple.

The foundation’s two other officers are Bill Mohrman and John Norris (see sidebar below).

All dollars collected by the CSA will be used only for the benefit of the designated ministries of the CSA.

Timothy Healy said the recent media reports about clergy sexual abuse have been frustrating and disappointing. He stressed that these failures do not define what it means to be Catholic.

“There are so many people in need, and we can’t not help them,” he said. “We need to do what God has called us to do. We are the instruments to help these people.”

Essential ministries

Many people throughout the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and beyond benefit from the appeal: Funds are used for parish out-reach, Catholic school tuition aid, the Rediscover: initiative, seminarian support and the work of Cath­olic Charities, and other essential Church ministries. The fund­raising goal is $9.3 million.

Mohrman said the CSA gives people in the archdiocese the opportunity to pool their resources to help a number of ministries and charities, many of which don’t have the means and ability to do their own fundraising.

“Because of the CSA, these groups can focus on their mission and continue to do the good work they’re known for,” Mohrman said.
In upcoming issues, The Catholic Spirit will fea­ture stories about how the Catholic Services Appeal has helped tens of thousands of people over the years. The 2014 CSA officially launches at parish Masses throughout the archdiocese on the weekend of Feb. 22-23, with the theme “Seek First the Kingdom of God,” from Matthew 6:24-34.

The foundation’s website — csafspm.org — is scheduled to go live at the end of January. To learn more about the 2014 CSA, visit the website or call (651) 291-4448.

video

Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time "A Step beyond Justice"

Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I wish to open my heart and let your Gospel message penetrate me and change my life. I believe that you love me and that you died for me; yet when tested by the demands of the Gospel, my faith and generosity waver. Nevertheless, once more I confess my faith in you and my determination to work to please you alone.

Petition: Jesus, teach me true charity!

1. Revenge or Justice. “An eye for an eye…” - Revenge has a tantalizing attraction. Oh, how we enjoy those movies where the down-and-out hero suddenly gets the upper hand, pays back all of the evil the villain has been inflicting on others, and justice prevails. But is this really justice? Jesus speaks clearly: “But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.” Our virtue must go beyond that of the Scribes and the Pharisees.

2. Perfect Justice. Christ invites us to go beyond the “tit-for-tat” mentality: “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” Jesus is not trying to teach us passivism; rather, he is inviting us to discover that love is the perfection of justice. Humility and forgiveness are the pillars of this radically new mentality. Only in the light of these can we hope to build true and enduring peace in the world, amongst those around us and even within ourselves.

3. Self-giving Love: Fulfillment of this attitude is not merely to avoid direct retaliations but rather to form a generous and magnanimous heart which knows how to give itself without ever giving up. Jesus gave not only his tunic and cloak, but all of his clothes to those who were to crucify him (cf. John 19:23). Jesus walked the extra mile, which brought him to the top of Calvary (cf. John 19:17). Jesus promised salvation to the criminal who asked him to remember him (cf. Luke 23:42-43).

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you are God. You came down from heaven to teach me how to love, but I have such a hard time loving those around me and even loving myself sometimes. By your almighty grace, help me to be more like you, to forgive and to give myself to others so that I can help make their lives just a bit happier.

Resolution: I will perform one small act of charity today: thinking or speaking well of someone, or offering myself to help someone.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Chair of Saint Peter, apostle "Answer this Question"

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know how much I need you and depend on you for everything. You know my weakness and my faults. I put all my confidence in your love and mercy in my daily actions. I trust in your power, your promise and your grace.

Petition: Lord, let me acknowledge you with my words and actions.

1. Public Opinion, Private Convictions: People give all sorts of answers to the question of who Jesus is. No figure in history has provoked more comment or more debate than Jesus Christ. And it is fair to say that in every case, how we answer the question of who Christ is determines how we live our lives: the values and moral convictions we will have, the hope we have for the life to come, the charity and service we live now in our daily lives. All of this is inspired by the stance we take on the person of Jesus. “Who do yousay that I am?” is a question that necessarily involves a commitment on our part. The answer to this question requires a change in our attitudes and behavior.

2. The Son of the Living God: For Peter, this was a moment of true openness to the grace of the Holy Spirit. He grasped in a moment that Christ was no mere prophet or enlightened teacher of moral truths, but something much more. He was the Christ, that is, the Savior. And not only Messiah, he was the Son of the Living God—Jesus was equal to God in all things. This profession of faith would change Peter’s life from that moment on. In the Creed, we profess the same faith as Peter did. Every time we receive the Eucharist, we join our response to that of Peter: We believe you are the Son of God, and there is no salvation by any other name. What changes does this faith require of me? Can I continue to be the same as before?

3. A New Task: Peter’s profession of faith was no simple intellectual response to a question. It was the taking of a position, a definitive stance before God and before the world. Peter embraced the truth about Christ, and in return, Christ entrusted him with the care of the Church. He would be “Rock,” the foundation of his Church, and Christ offered him the guarantee that the Church would persevere forever. When we profess our faith, Christ gives us a task also. We are made “apostles” and sent out as “ambassadors of Christ” to the world. Our stance before this truth has consequences: We must be consistent with our faith each day.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, teach me not only to acknowledge you with my mind, but to embrace the truth that you are the Son of the Living God with all my life, words, and actions. Let the conviction I have become a way of life, so that I can give witness to you before all men.

Resolution: I will examine my life and evaluate what sort of witness I give to my faith that Christ is the Son of the Living God.


Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time "The Transforming Power of the Cross"

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."

Introductory Prayer: O Lord, this day you wish to take away from me any false ideas about what it means to be your friend. I believe that by attending to the sacred message of your cross,  I can learn authentic love of you and your Kingdom. In your cross is an example of every virtue I need and every goal I wish to attain. In the cross there is hope, an all-powerful hope that transcends every human disappointment. I wish to carry my cross with joy as a token of my love and gratitude to you.

Petition: Lord, make the cross a singular place of friendship with you in my life.

1. Becoming Through SufferingMost people move through the day with self-preservation and self-interest influencing their decision-making. Choosing a harder road can still be a self-interested affair, if people seek their own advancement in life. Christ’s message is not simply about a work ethic—sweating, toiling and sacrificing to be successful. The self-denial that is asked of a Christian goes deeper than that. It must reach into that place where we try to preserve ourselves and our most cherished desires. Nothing teaches Christ’s lesson better than the crosses that have surprised us, the crosses that were not planned or wanted. Every step with these crosses on our backs is true following, true loving, true salvation without delusion or bitterness.

2. Following or Leading?One day Mother Teresa saw one of her sisters headed out into the streets with a long face. She called her over and said, “What did Jesus say, to carry the cross in front of Him or to follow Him?” The sister responded, smiling, “To follow Him.” Mother then asked, “Why are you trying to go ahead of Him?” (Mother Teresa: Come be My Light, p.221) “The cross of Christ” is not just the rightful assumption of the weight of a holy life, it is also an attitude. The wrong attitude can crush our spirits and make us suffer like a pagan: alone. Humble faith reveals the One we follow, who shows us the way, who sustains our hope, and who leads us to profound Christian joy.

3. Sacrificial Love and Life Are InseparableSeeing the Kingdom in power is a consequence for those who suffer for Christ. Our Lord guarantees this: Love will never be defeated in this life or the next. Although they might seem to have suffered in vain, many saints saw the glory of the Lord in special moments during their life and in abundance after they passed to heaven. The incorrupt, the documented miracles of intercession, the great movement of spirituality in the Church—all these attest that God will never let love for him be separated from the coming of his Kingdom in power.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, bring my soul to the cross without fear, trusting in its mysterious power to change me and the world around me. I should not withdraw from life when it wounds me. May I resolve in every low moment, when Christ asks for more from me, to live the resolution of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: “A hearty ‘Yes’ to God, and a big smile for all” (Mother Teresa: Come be My Light, p.217).

Resolution: At night I will examine well my attitudes towards difficulties and ensure that they reflect the spirit of a true disciple.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time "Can Christ Count on Me?"

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" And they answered him, "John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Messiah." And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, reveal to me the awesome mystery of your person. In you is hidden my beginning; in you is hidden the mission for my life; in you is hidden my future happiness. Let me not measure the future by what I think I can do for you, but rather by what your power can do with my generosity. May this prayer convince me of the necessity of welcoming you daily through prayer, contemplation, and a sacramental life of grace and conversion.

Petition: Lord, grant me an experience of you strong enough to overcome all spiritual laziness and tepidity.

1. Who Has Christ Been for You? -Our prayer must lead us to respond to Christ’s question, “Who do you say that I am?” This is the only test, the only examination question we need to pass in life. We must reflect and respond to the question from this perspective: “Who has Christ been for you?” This question does not so much define Christ, but the one who answers it. What experiences have we had of him? What have we been learning about Christ personally, through experiences that we cannot have known by solemn definitions, by routine external piety or by what others say? Christ’s history and our personal history must intertwine to become a single chapter which we both share.

2. Who Have You Been for Christ? - If I have little to say as far as my firsthand knowledge of Jesus, if my interior experiences have been eclipsed by a mundane and materialistic spirit, I must take Christ’s question to the next level: “Who have I been for Christ?” Who I have been for Christ will be determined largely by who I have been for him in prayer. The “inner Christ” is known only by those to whom it is revealed. It will not happen by a merely flesh-and-blood approach, nor by just going with the flow of human events. Peter’s interior life was fertile ground for the Father. His testimony was not luck, but was a divine intervention in his soul from which his faith drew its strength. “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). May I seek in a special way the grace of greater sensitivity to let my interior life of prayer define me and shape my character.

3. Can Christ Count on Me? -Poor Peter! In one moment he is revealing the thoughts of the Father, in the next, Satan’s. Peter’s living experience of Christ is the target of Satan’s attempts to break his faith. Christ’s suffering will be the pledge that the faith of the apostle will not fail: “I have prayed for you…” (Luke 22:32). Ultimately Christ’s prayer would prevail: Peter is reborn on Pentecost, fearlessly accepting and launching the mission of the Church. A strong interior foundation in Christ ultimately leads to one last reality check of the spiritual life: Can Christ build on me because I am built on him? Christ’s fidelity will uphold me if I stay in the battle, if I hold firm and don’t let the reality of my falls keep me from advancing. Satan cannot break my faith if I keep fighting, and for this I always have to have new goals, to begin fresher, better and more generously than before.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, according to the riches of your glory, grant that I may be strengthened in my inner being with power through your Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. Being rooted and grounded in love, I pray that I may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that I may be filled with all the fullness of you.  (Cf. Ephesians 3:16-20)

Resolution: I will spend some time before our Lord in the Eucharist today, asking that he deepen my experience of him.




Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time "Jesus, His Way"

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, they brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on him and asked, "Do you see anything?" Looking up he replied, "I see people looking like trees and walking." Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. Then he sent him home and said, "Do not even go into the village."

Introductory Prayer:Lord, I believe you are leading me, but sometimes I sense insecurity creeping within me. So I renew my confidence in you once more. I know that you can desire only what is good for me. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. In return, take my love and my desire to please you in everything.
Petition: Deepen my humility and increase my trust in you, dear Jesus!

1. Jesus Leads: From the very get-go, we push ahead for self-sufficiency. Think of a little child who strives to walk by himself, without his parents helping him keep his balance. In the spiritual life, it’s the opposite: We need to reach out to Christ for guidance, support and strength. Admitting our faults can be a humbling, but fruitful experience. Pride prevents us from doing this gracefully, but––have faith––if we do, Jesus will unleash his power within our lives. “Holiness is not in one exercise or another, it consists in a disposition of the heart, which renders us humble and little in the hands of God, conscious of our weakness but confident, even daringly confident, in his fatherly goodness” (St. Therese of Lisieux).

2. Patience, God has a Plan: “I want it now” is a modern cliché. Our wanting it now, though, doesn’t always work with God. His plan is a plan for our greater good—even if it isn’t our plan. The blind man’s sight wasn’t healed instantly, but gradually. How we want to be holy now and never return to the valley of filth and pride! Yet we seem to fall again and again. Holiness is always a work in progress, but that doesn’t faze Jesus. He knows the power his grace can work in our lives. Simply turn your difficulties over to him and keep trying. Our failures teach us to be humble, and this can only bring us closer to God. “This I know very well: although I should have on my soul all the crimes that could be committed, I would lose none of my confidence; rather, I would hasten, with my heart broken into pieces by sorrow, to cast myself into the arms of my Savior. I know how greatly he loved the prodigal son; I have marked his words to Mary Magdalene, to the adulterous woman, to the Samaritan. No, no one could make me afraid, because I know to whom to cling by reason of his love and mercy. I know that all this multitude of offenses would disappear in the twinkling of an eye, as a drop in a roaring furnace” (St. Therese of Lisieux).

3. Humble Jesus: He tells the man not to go into the village. Is Jesus afraid or in a hurry? No, his humility simply beckons him to move on quietly without anyone knowing. Jesus is fascinated with humility and thus practices it. We, on the other hand, love to get the credit; we crave recognition. Simply enter a professional office and behold the recognition plaques lining the walls like wallpaper. Jesus had no plaques; he had only a reputation of doing good deeds. He teaches us the power of purity of intention, which shuns any type of self-aggrandizement.  

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, help me to abandon myself to your care; I trust in you completely. Knowing that I am weak and you are my strength gives me confidence. Help me to keep in mind that I am little and you are great. You are the one who deserves the glory, and you ought to be the protagonist in my life. Help me to go about quietly doing good like you.

Resolution: I will make an act of charity, praying, “Jesus, I do this only because I want to prove my love for you.”


Monday, February 17, 2014

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time "Having a Memory for God"


Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, "Watch out--beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod." They said to one another, "It is because we have no bread." And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" They said to him, "Twelve." "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" And they said to him, "Seven." Then he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"

Introductory Prayer:Lord, I know you have worked in my life, and yet I take so little account of it. Just knowing the truth of your presence in my past would be enough to convert my heart totally to a future of commitment to you. Knowing your history will make me long for you. I hunger for goodness that will make this day fruitful in ways that will last, that will not deceive me. I intend to not let my mundane passions leave me blind and crippled before the opportunity to be your apostle today.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to commit myself more to your will through a deeper trust in you.

1. Missing the Foundation“Is it because we have no bread?” We can see how easy it is to miss the messages God wishes to send us in prayer, because we are preoccupied only with what is immediate. We can be hungry for success, want a friend or family member to make peace with us, or we become obsessed over the finances. The insecure heart is pulled away from a healthy vision of life because it is not founded on rock. The soul that lives from the true foundation knows that as long as it has Christ and is doing his will, all is well.

2. Remembering the Works of GodAnd do you not remember?” One of the worst sins of the people of Israel was to have forgotten God’s great works on their behalf. It is important to reflect often and with gratitude on the many benefits we have received from Our Lord. Each of us should remember: It is God who created us and who has begun the work of our holiness. If he has brought us this far with only a modest amount of cooperation on our part, how much further could we go if we were to give him our total dedication? How much more good would flourish in our lives? How many problems would find God’s hand shaping them for our benefit?

3. Wishing to See AgainOn any given day, every follower of Christ should have a healthy mistrust of what he thinks is the absolute need for his life. Oftentimes, a spiritual “detox” is in order to free us from becoming obsessed over secondary goals. This detox is found in the school of prayer. St. Augustine notes prayer is where we exercise desire, where we let our heart purify itself from its distractions, and where we let affection and devotion for the Beloved expand. The fire of divine love can heal many divisions and complexes in our psychology, if we consistently open ourselves up to it.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, keep me from that spiritual anorexia that makes me lose the hunger for your presence in my life. I can let daily pressures and disordered passions block my ability to love you as I should. How I endanger myself; how I destroy my happiness in this world of illusion. Free me, Jesus, from my own folly! Give me back the hunger to love you again, as I promise never again to let myself be carried away by activism and pride.

Resolution: Today I will write down the things I have been seeking that could take me away from Christ. I will honestly renounce them in an attitude of holy indifference, wanting them only in as much as Jesus wants them in my life.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time "Loving Christ for Who He Is"

The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, "Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation." And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I can be so cold to your salvific presence as I hurry about living the moment and becoming so sufficient unto myself. There is little wonder that I find it hard to bring myself to prayer—to use faith to know you, divine love to live in you, and theological hope to trust in you. I approach you now, wanting only to be a more faithful disciple of your Kingdom.

Petition: Lord, grant a faith that will console your heart.

1. Sending Christ away: G. K. Chesterton once asserted, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” Jesus truly loves us and would never refuse a humble soul the true goods he needs for fulfillment and salvation. If our wants, like those of the Pharisees, end up leaving God silent and our spiritual life cold, it may be a call for us to purify our hearts of the remaining dregs of our self-centeredness. We should carefully avoid the attitudes and words that repel Christ. Christ will not let himself be loved for who he is not, and he will not indulge the desires we have for who we are not. We can want our happiness to be many things, but Christ wants us to accept that his will is the heart of our fulfillment.

2. Prayer Is My Daily Breath of Air for the Soul: Jesus converses with our souls in a language that flows from supernatural attitudes of faith, hope and love. He will remain silent, however, if we drag him down to the small, narrow framework of our reason and calculations—wanting to “figure it out for ourselves” before we will act. Jesus does not want to be Superman, who comes into our lives only when things are really bad and all is lost. Rather, Christ intervenes because he wants a life of communion and grace day after day, sharing his life with each and every soul. He wants our living in fidelity and childlike trust to be like breathing the air.

3. The Signs That Bring Christ to Us: Christ did give us sure signs of his daily presence in our lives. The first is the sign of the cross. Only faith will unlock its mystery and bring us to the encounter between our sin and God’s mercy. Sin is at the heart of the worst that can go wrong with our life; the sign of the Crucified One is its cure. Faith will permit us, as it did the good thief, to see Christ’s love at the center of the universe and the world being drawn towards it as if into a vortex. Another sign he left us is the Eucharist. It is the most powerful sign because it contains the author of the sign himself. Christ humbles himself to stay with us at all costs. Under the appearance of bread and wine, he reveals what he wants to be for our souls; Under the veil of the sacrament, we learn to encounter Christ personally as pure love. “On the night he was betrayed he showed the depth of his love…” Let these signs be the “love language” by which we talk to Christ in the way he wants to be known, loved and adored.

Conversation with Christ: Christ, let my prideful demands melt away before a mature encounter with your divine love. Keep my immaturity from impeding the expansion of your Kingdom; rather, let me humbly accept my need to change the way I relate to your true plan for my life.

Resolution: I will spend some time today acknowledging and thanking Jesus for the signs he has given me to know, love and serve him better in my life.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time "Fraternal Reconciliation"

Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ´Raqa,´ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ´You fool,´ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God´s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Let your ´Yes´ mean ´Yes,´ and your ´No´ mean ´No.´ Anything more is from the Evil One. "

Introductory Prayer:Lord, I can be so cold to your salvific presence as I hurry about living the moment and becoming so sufficient unto myself. There is little wonder that I find it hard to bring myself to prayer—to use faith to know you, divine love to live in you, and theological hope to trust in you. I approach you now, wanting only to be a more faithful disciple of your Kingdom.

Petition: Christ, help me to be reconciled with others.

1. It Was Said to Your Ancestors That You Shall Not Kill … But I Say to You: In the Old Testament God gave the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This seems difficult enough to do, but in the New Testament, Our Lord requires much more. The night before he died, Jesus said to his disciples—and he says now to us—, “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). How did Jesus love us? We have only to look at the crucifix. He laid down his life for us so that, purified by his Precious Blood, we might be united with the Most Blessed Trinity in the eternal happiness of heaven.

2. “Be Reconciled with Your Brother” - Jesus does not say “neighbor,” but “brother.” In taking upon himself our human nature, Jesus Christ became our brother and the head of the whole human race. He has raised us all, through him, to the dignity of the divine adoption, in such a manner that all Christians compose only one family of which God is the Father and Jesus the first-born Son. Each person we meet is—or is potentially—our brother or sister in Christ. Each is—or is potentially—a member of the family. Therefore, Jesus teaches us that, “whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me.”

3. “Go First and Be Reconciled With Your Brother, and Then Come and Offer Your Gift.” - The great St. Thomas More was about to offer God the gift of his martyrdom. It was the month of July 1535. As soon as the unjust court pronounced the sentence of death, Sir Thomas asked to say a few words. He reminded these noblemen that St. Paul and St. Stephen were once on opposite sides and yet, as saints now in heaven, they remain friends forever. He continued: “I shall therefore rightly pray, that though your lordships have now here on earth been judges to my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in heaven all meet together, to our everlasting salvation.” What heroic charity! How was it possible? It was possible because St. Thomas saw his judges with the eyes of Christ. He sees them as human beings who are beloved of God and destined for heaven. So he prays that they will repent of their injustice and receive God’s mercy.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to see my brother as you see him: a person so valuable that you laid down your life for him. Help me to love my brother as you have loved us, with humility and generosity, without counting the cost. I pray especially for those who have injured me or those whom I have injured.

Resolution: I will offer this day for the eternal salvation of all those whom God has, in some way, entrusted to my care. 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time "Goodness in Abundance"

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, he summoned the disciples and said, "My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance." His disciples answered him, "Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?" Still he asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" "Seven," they replied.  He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over -- seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed them and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, how quickly I lose faith and begin to trust more in things that I can touch and see than in your promises and strength. But I do believe in you, that you are the Bread of Life, and that only you can satisfy the deepest longings of my heart. As you are my Creator, you know what I need and provide for me each day. As you are my Redeemer, you lead me along the pathway of the cross and forgiveness. I want to follow you more closely.

Petition: Lord, strengthen my faith, so that I can be magnanimous like you.

1. “I feel sorry for all these people.” Jesus shows compassion for the crowd, even for their temporal needs. He knows how earthly they can be, seeking only to satisfy their need for bread and water. In another passage he says, “Why worry about what you are to eat, or drink, or what you are to wear? … All these things the pagans seek” (Matthew 6:25-33) –– “pagans,” that is, those with no faith or trust in the heavenly Father. Our Lord does not worry about food and clothing for himself, although he does seek to provide them for others. But his charity doesn’t end there. He sincerely desires their greatest good, and for this reason gives them much more than a passing meal. Together with bread and water, he gives them the gift of faith. After all, man does not live on bread alone” (Luke 4:4).

2. “Where could anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted place like this? The apostles ask a very human question, revealing the poverty of their faith in Jesus. Such a question, without faith, would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since the task seems impossible, why try at all? How often does this way of thinking rein us in from doing great things for God and expecting great things from him? How often do we resign ourselves to defeat, content to mourn and lament seemingly hopeless situations, as if God were not almighty and willing to help us? We need the faith of the Blessed Virgin, who believed the impossible and became the mother of all who believe.


3. "They ate as much as they wanted and they collected seven basketfuls of the scraps left over." Jesus offers the fullness of life and love, an abundance of goodness and grace, to all who follow him.  His ways are the ways of life. He allows us to suffer want in this life so that we will tap into the true source of abundance through faith, hope and love.  Those who seek themselves by seeking purely material goods - which are limited by definition - will always be in want and will always feel the threat of losing what they have.  Those who seek Christ and his grace - which is unlimited by definition - will never fear when they lose their earthly goods.  That is why Jesus says that anyone who has (faith, hope, love, grace, the gifts of the spiritual life), more will be given, and from the one who has not (none of these spiritual gifts), even what he seems to have (material possessions which are here today and gone tomorrow, always decaying and coming to an end) will be taken away. (Luke 8:18)

Conversation with Christ: Lord, give me the gift of compassion, so that I may serve others with your heart. Give me the gifts of faith, hope and love so that I will understand that your goodness knows no bounds or limits, and that you wish to pour out your grace on all until our cups are overflowing.  

Resolution: I will be magnanimous in my charity towards others today.

 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Memorial of Saints Cyril, monk and Methodius, bishop "Immutable"

Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Introductory Prayer:Lord, I truly sense your love in my heart. I hope in you, for you have won my confidence by revealing your sacrificial love to me. I love you, Lord, and I wish to be a witness of your love to all.

Petition: Lord, open my heart to your love so I may be a convincing witness to the world that your love exists.

1. Who Would I Be if I Did Not Have the Faith? We can be so familiar with and immersed in our Catholic heritage that we take for granted the truths we have received from our Catholic Church, much like most of us take for granted our ability to hear or speak. Today’s Gospel gives us an opportunity to contemplate a man who from birth did not enjoy either of these common faculties. There are people who cannot embrace Jesus’ revelation not because it isn’t given, but because they are not prepared to receive it. Let us rejoice in the grace we have received and honor it with our fidelity. What type of person would I be (or soon become) if I didn’t have the gift of faith to support, guide or mold my values?

2. Christ Is the Revelation of the Father and His Love: Christ revealed himself to this man, and his power gave him hearing and good speech. Christ … by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and his love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear(Gaudium et Spes, no. 22).Inasmuch as we are deaf to divine revelation we are like this man. Unable to speak the message of the meaning of our lives, unable to give ourselves to God and others, life just passes us by. But if God touches our ears and tongue, if he cures and empowers us with his grace, our lives take on a whole new direction and significance. God does touch our ears and tongue, but we must embrace his grace and purpose in our lives.

3. We Are Witnesses to the World that Love Exists: Our Lord restored to this man the health of his ears and tongue. Christ thus revealed to him his real identity: He, who is ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Colossians 1:15), is himself the perfect man” (Redemptor Hominis, no. 10). How difficult his life must have been before this revelation! How hard must it have been for him to believe and love! Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it” (Ibid). With his health restored, the man became an agent of God’s redemption. Who could keep him silent now about this wonderful experience of his Savior he has had? How loved by God this man must have felt that day when Christ restored his health! This man believed and so he speaks! Why am I silent? Do I not know that as a Catholic I am to be a witness to the world that love exists?

Conversation with Christ: 

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!

You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. 

In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things, which you created. 

You were with me, but I was not with you. 

Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not             have been at all. 

You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.

You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. 

You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. 

I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. 

You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

(The Confessions of St. Augustine)

Resolution: Today, I will share an aspect of my faith with a friend or family member.