Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Ascension of the Lord "Listening to Jesus"


The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you have the power to do all things, even the power to change my heart of stone into a heart that loves you unconditionally. The day ahead of me will be filled with countless activities, but I know that your presence will give me the strength to do all the things you have commanded me to do.

Petition: Jesus, help me to obey your command to spread your message.

1. Trust and Obedience: Obedience and trust in God are not highly touted virtues in today’s society, yet obedience to Jesus’ command to go to Galilee was the door that gave the apostles access to Christ. Any one of the apostles was free to go his own way, but that way would not necessarily lead him to the vision of the Risen Christ. They had trusted him until this point, and they showed by going that they were ready to entrust their lives entirely to his guidance. When we are obedient to the Word of God, to Christ’s teachings, to the teachings of the Church, we are giving God free rein to live in us and to act through us. Obedience of this kind is possible only when we commit ourselves to the Lord, when we trust in him and exercise a living faith that he wishes to guide us through his appointed instruments.

2. Doubt Is an Invitation: “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124). Following Jesus is a challenge because he does not always allow us to perceive his presence. At times we see him acting clearly in our lives; at other times we doubt, just as the disciples did. Instead of causing us alarm, moments of doubt in our hearts should be countered by a firm decision to trust in him always. Christ drew closer to them precisely when the disciples doubted. At the moment when their vision was clouded, he reassured them: “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me.” Do I turn my mind and heart to Our Lord as soon as my spirit is troubled?

3. With God Everything Is Possible: Jesus wants to share his power with us, and he does so through the Sacraments, beginning with Baptism. With his power he also gives us a share in his mission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Friendship with Jesus is also a commitment to teach others to share in the joy of knowing and loving him. Our relationship with Jesus broadens our horizons because we share in his life and in the life of the Father and of the Holy Spirit. The mission to make disciples of all nations might seem daunting, but God himself is on our side: “Behold, I am with you always.” So our trust in the Lord widens the narrow horizon of our own self-seeking. We need to commit our ways to the Lord so that we can be loyal instruments of his mercy and love. We are called to fulfill his command to spread his message far and wide.

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to share in your life and in your mission. I trust in your loving presence in my life. You are my strength in weakness and my light in darkness. Help me to follow your commandments. In them I find you and I find peace.

Resolution: I will build up charity today by saying only good things about others.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary "Pentecost Anticipated"

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary´s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid´s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in your supreme goodness and love. I entrust my entire self to you with all of my hopes, fears and joys. Thank you for giving us the gift of yourself in the Eucharist. Thank you, too, for giving us your own mother to be our mother during our exile on this earth and journey home to you in heaven. Here I am, like her, to do your will.

Petition: Mary, help me to grow in humility.

1. Prompt and Joyful Charity: What has impelled Mary to undertake her perilous journey not only alone, but also in haste? An irresistible force was acting within Mary: the presence of the Holy Spirit overshadowed and filled her since the moment of the Annunciation. This same Holy Spirit has filled the heart of Elizabeth at Mary’s greeting and moved the infant within her womb. What is the first fruit of the fullness of the Holy Spirit? Joy. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comments on the relationship of joy to the truth who is Christ himself: “Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of truth, attracts to himself the heart of every man, dilates it, and fills it with joy. Only the truth is capable of invading the mind and making it fully joyful. This joy expands the dimensions of the human spirit, raising it from the anxieties of egoism, making it capable of authentic love” (Discourse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 10, 2005).

2. Elizabeth – The Unworthy Host: Elizabeth’s moving question reflects the one virtue necessary for a person to be invaded by the Holy Spirit: humility. Elizabeth is profoundly aware of her own lowliness in the face of a visit from the mother of her Lord. Mary herself echoes these sentiments of deep humility throughout her Magnificat. What is the reason her Creator has done great things for her, so much so that all generations will call her blessed? It is not due to any talent or quality she might possess of herself. There is no magnificent grandeur by which she has captivated the Almighty. God has simply “looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness.” Do I rejoice in my own littleness, knowing that it enables the Holy Spirit to make his dwelling within me and do great things for Christ with my life?

3. The Hymn of God’s Praise: Mary is so filled with the Holy Spirit that her whole being bursts forth in a hymn of joy and praise to the Almighty. Pope Emeritus Benedict reflects on Mary’s joy at the infant Lord’s presence within her womb: “This is the joy the heart feels when we kneel to adore Jesus in faith” (Discourse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 10, 2005). The joy of Christ, the joy of the Holy Spirit, gratitude to God for the great things he has done in us, impels us to bring Our Lord to others, just as Mary brought him to Elizabeth even before his birth. As she sings her Magnificat, Mary does not remain closed within herself, but reflects on what God has done for her in light of his saving plan for all his people. May the joy of the Holy Spirit bring about a new Pentecost that radiates from our lives.

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord! The great gift of your Holy Spirit fills our lives with the unspeakable joy of your own presence within us. Help me to respond with haste -- as Mary did -- to the impulses of charity from the Holy Spirit.

Resolution: I will look for occasions to speak about Christ with others and do acts of charity for them with joy and haste, just as Mary did in the Gospel.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter "On Grieving and Rejoicing"

Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition: Lord, give me great peace and interior joy in the midst of life’s trials.

1. “You Will Weep”: Grief is not an agreeable experience in itself. Jesus doesn’t promise his disciples that by following him they will be shielded from the sorrow characteristic of any exile in a foreign land. A Christian’s value system is diametrically opposed to the worldly view. Be honest and the common opinion will consider you backward or naive. Be kind and you will be seen as gullible. Be faithful to the love of your spouse and you will be seen as having repressive tendencies. The list could go on and on. An authentic Christian stands out among the fingers of the world as truly the sorest thumb. Have I accepted this unpleasant and challenging element of Christianity?

2. “I Will See You Again”: “Your grief will become joy.” The disciples were surprised and discouraged by Jesus’ crucifixion, but Jesus’ death would not be the final scene in the play. After the dramatic events of Calvary came the joy of the Resurrection, a new and glorious life. How happy the disciples must have been to see Our Lord again! But even then Jesus seems to play “peek-a-boo” with his disciples. He walks through walls bringing them joy and then he just disappears again. We can have a similar experience in prayer. The alternation of dryness and consolation is an essential part of God’s pedagogy with us. Sometimes it seems that the Lord is right beside us and other times that he is on foreign business. Am I able to exercise my faith in the presence of the Lord beyond the state of my feelings at the moment?

3. “Your Hearts Will Rejoice”: Sometimes the charge is leveled against Christianity that its moral prohibitions are a source of sorrow and frustration. A closer look shows a different picture entirely. The closeness of the Lord, along with the recognition that the goods of this world are fundamentally good gifts lavished by the Father upon his children, brings profound joy. When we are able to distinguish the presence and action of the Lord in every created thing and through every circumstance, we experience a joy unknown to the world. “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” Do I have this joy founded on my faith and the awareness of God’s immense personal love? Does my obedience to the moral law stem from a complete trust in God who desires my happiness?

Conversation with Christ: My Jesus, when you are near me I experience great joy. I know that you are always with me. Help me to exercise my faith and to be able to strengthen the faith of those of my brothers and sisters who need me to show them your love.

Resolution: I will offer up any difficulty that the Lord sends me today for those who do not yet have the joy of his friendship.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter "The Presence of Christ"

"A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me." So some of his disciples said to one another, "What does this mean that he is saying to us, ´A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,´ and ´Because I am going to the Father´?" So they said, "What is this ´little while´ (of which he speaks)? We do not know what he means." Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Are you discussing with one another what I said, ´A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me´? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I need your strength to keep my Christian fight up. Don’t allow me to give in to my weakness of will and laziness. I offer you my diligence and hard work of this day.

Petition: Lord Jesus, stay with me always!

1. Seeing Jesus

Jesus is talking about leaving his disciples and, of course, this causes them great sorrow. They have spent three years with their Master, listening to him preach, being astounded by his miracles and, no less importantly, growing in friendship. The presence of Jesus meant everything to them, so naturally, the thought of his departure filled them with sorrow. What would they be able to do on their own, without his leadership and guidance? They would have to learn that Jesus is present through the Holy Spirit. With faith, we continue to see him.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

The apostles are somewhat hesitant to bring their heavyhearted question to the Lord. We need to be open with Jesus and never hold anything back from him. Perhaps we will not always receive the answers we are looking for, but we can always be sure that he will reaffirm his love and his commitment to always be with us.

3. Having the Last Laugh

“You will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” Ultimate victory will always be had for the follower of Christ. The disciples would learn this in a graphic way that would leave them marked forever. They would experience the most incredible reversal in all of history, going from the darkest experience of Christ’s death with all the sense of doom and disaster that that traumatic event brought, to the glorious joy of the resurrection. If we persevere with Christ, we will experience the joy of his love—starting right now and then through all eternity in heaven.

Dialogue with Christ: Lord, keep me on the right path. Help me to seek a deeper faith, to never be content with a superficial prayer life. If I keep close to you, I will not fall away.

Resolution: I will lift up my mind frequently to God during the day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter "Nothing But the Truth"

Jesus said to his disciples: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition: Lord, allow me to be sincerely and truthfully yours.

1. My Truth Before God: Jesus tells his apostles he has many more things to tell them, but it seems that they are not yet ready to accept the truth. They were not ready, for one thing, to acknowledge the fact that in a few short hours all of them would flee before the prospect of the Cross, leaving Christ quite alone. I, too, may find it hard to see, or to accept, a realistic picture of my relationship with Christ or my state of soul. I may justify myself or my indifference with any number of psychological consolations. I might convince myself that I am not quite as bad off as so-and-so. Perhaps I put up an excellent external show, living all the motions, but with little true conviction and sincerity.

2. Cheap Deceptions: In our consumer-oriented world, first impressions often seem to count more than the goodness or evil of a thing. Opinion polls appear to set the standard for right and wrong, and a false idea of tolerance is a highly held ideal. Truth can be seen as bluntly offensive, and so it is repackaged in a more appealing way. However, none of these attempts by the “spirit of the world” can ever succeed in the end, just as no amount of darkness can ever stop the smallest beam of light. The Holy Spirit is at work in the world declaring the truth loud and clear in the depths of the human soul. Only the truth -- which comes from Christ -- has the power to bring true peace and joy to the human heart when all illusions are shown up as such.

3. Living in the Truth: As Christians we must be on guard against the spirit of insincerity. No one who lives outside the truth can claim to be a disciple of Christ. Little falsehoods in our lives are utterly destructive to the action of the “Spirit of Truth” in our souls. Our Savior never spoke out so strong style="color: #990000"ly against anything as he did against the pretended righteousness of the leaders of his time. How many things have I done recently just to be praised by others? How many good things have I done which are known to God alone? Am I capable of standing firm to my convictions in the face of misunderstanding or ridicule?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, the example of your life and death is one of complete honesty. Empower me through the “Spirit of Truth” to be sincere in all that I do before God and others.

Resolution: I will ask forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation at the first available opportunity for any insincerity in my life.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter "Consolation from the Spirit"

Jesus said to his disciples: "But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ´Where are you going?´ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition: Lord, help me to experience the joy and consolation of the Spirit.

1. Sadness at Jesus’ Parting: As Jesus’ imminent self-sacrifice approaches, the apostles are overwhelmed with confusion and grief. “Who is going to betray him?” “Why is he going?” “What will we do without him?” Questions like these — fruit of their concern for their Master and friend — are whispered to and fro. They have given up everything to follow him. Jesus strives to console them although he is immersed in grief himself. Sorrow is not lacking in the life of any pilgrim, and as Christians we are exiles in a foreign land. Our joy and hope comes from the vision of faith, which enables us to follow in the footsteps of Our Lord. His sacrifice and victory give meaning to our daily trials.

2. The Consoler’s Coming: We are called to an intimate friendship with the Holy Spirit, the “Sweet Guest of the Soul.” Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon us at our baptism to be the craftsman of our holiness, and our consolation and strength as we await Christ’s return. No one would wish to face a criminal trial alone and unaided; nor should we try to face the ordeal against sin without the help of Christ’s advocate. Am I aware of the gentle presence of the Holy Spirit in my soul? Am I attentive and docile to his inspirations and movements?

3. Setting Things Right: Nothing is so unsettling as to see the “bad guy” win. Whether it be in the movies or in real life, somehow it seems written in the very fabric of the universe that good should prevail. Many times evil has appeared to usurp the upper hand momentarily, but a Higher Power has always intervened, causing one tyranny and dictatorship after another to crumble. In our own day, evils abound in societies where the lives of the most vulnerable are greatly undervalued. Christ reminds us, however, that the Holy Spirit is at work. Time and again the Holy Spirit continues renewing the face of the earth and changing hearts, bringing good out of evil. Am I too pessimistic in the face of evil, or do I have the optimism of a Christian? Do I confide in the grace and action of the Holy Spirit?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you have left us to go to the Father and yet you are still with us through the action of your Holy Spirit. Help me to find strength and consolation as I strive to follow his guidance.

Resolution: I will take a moment out of my day today to thank the Holy Spirit for his action in the world and in my life.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter "The Spirit’s Witness"

Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition: Lord God, help me to live as a true witness to Christ.

1. Witness of Christ: Some people try to invoke the Holy Spirit as justification for ideas contrary to Christ’s teaching. A careful look at today’s Gospel illustrates how this can never be according to God’s plan. The Holy Spirit is not at odds with Christ’s message, nor is he working out a plan of salvation distinct from Christ’s Church. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Christ and of the Father; his very purpose in coming is to testify to Christ. Every true inspiration of the Holy Spirit moves us to a greater fidelity to the truth. Am I attentive to the Spirit’s urging me to a greater fidelity to my Christian commitments?

2. Witnesses in the Spirit: Our faith is by no means a static reality. Just as the first disciples experienced Christ’s preaching, miracles and personal love, all Christians serious about their faith discover Christ’s presence throughout their daily experience. This is especially true in the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist. Jesus is always with us, and his forgiveness and closeness are the source of our joy. The Holy Spirit empowers us through the grace of our baptism to give witness to what we have freely received. Do I take seriously my Christian vocation to give testimony to Christ’s love? Do I realize that my first act of testimony needs to be the witness of a truly Christian life? Do I remember that in this seemingly daunting task I should rely heavily on the Holy Spirit as my business partner?

3. Fidelity Amidst Opposition: Christ shares with the apostles gathered in the Upper Room that being witnesses to him will not always be met with acceptance. Opposition seems to be an integral part of being a Christian. Deep-seated and unflinching adherence to Christ and the voice of conscience has never been compatible with the popular mindset. In fact, many times Christians are not called to “fit in” but to “stand out”, and this has inevitable consequences as it did in the life of Our Lord. The wonderful part is that we have been promised the final victory. Christ goes before us and the Holy Spirit is at our side.  

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, it has always been demanding to be an authentic witness to you. Teach me not to rely on my own capabilities, but to grow in strength and coherence through fidelity to the inspirations of your Holy Spirit.

Resolution: I will make some public sign of witness to my faith today.



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sixth Sunday of Easter "Intimacy with God"


Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition: Lord, I want to believe in your personal and passionate love for me.

1. Intimacy with Jesus: When we gaze at the cross, we need to remind ourselves that he died there for each one of us, for “me”. He died to forgive my sins and to pour his divine life into my soul. He wants there to be no divisions between us, barriers caused by sin. He wants us to be united in all things. This is why he says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He wants our wills to be united, for his will represents our true good. He asks for our obedience out of love, not fear. There is a tendency in today’s society to separate love from obedience. Love of God gets reduced to some kind of vague feeling of goodwill toward God and others. Love requires sacrifice. Love is self-donation. Ask Jesus for the grace to love as he has loved us.

2. Intimacy with the Holy Spirit: Jesus promised his disciples another advocate, one who would remain with them forever. The disciples were upset to hear Jesus speak of his death and departure. They were distraught to think of themselves alone in the world, with all their hopes and plans crashing down around them. Jesus didn’t want to leave them alone, nor does he want to leave us alone. He does not leave us orphans in the world; he sends us a helper, a gift of love. In the Holy Spirit we find a guide and friend, another person who abides within us. We are never alone. He is always with us, even when we feel abandoned by others.  

3. Intimacy with the Father: “Whoever loves me, will be loved by my Father.” Now we turn to the Father, and we come to him through Jesus Christ. The Father’s plan from all eternity was to love us in his Son. He wants to love us with a fatherly love, to love us with the same love he has for his only-begotten son from all eternity. How much God loves us! He wants to draw us into his living and eternal relationship of love. In a thousand different ways he is calling us, inviting us, pulling us towards himself. Jesus reveals a Triune God, and he invites us to share in the communion of life and love that is the Holy Trinity. 

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, help me to believe in you and your love. Imprint your love very deeply onto my heart. I want to remain in your love always. I want to remain in the love of the Father and the Holy Spirit, but I need your strength and grace. Help me to set aside anything that displeases you.

Resolution: I will make three spiritual communions with Jesus during the day.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter "The Master and the Slave"

Jesus said to his disciples: "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ´No slave is greater than his master.´ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for granting me the opportunity to be with you. There are things in life, Lord, that attract me, but you attract me more. I hope in you, and I love you. Maybe I don’t really understand what it means to love, and maybe I don’t love the way I should, but I do love you.

Petition: Lord, help me to embrace my cross joyfully.

1. Bearing the Burden: “The world hated me first.” This is the incredible story of the Gospels. Christ came and the culture was against him. As the story of Christ in the Gospel progresses, the forces of antagonism get worse: The dangers increase with the turning of every page. This was a real burden for Christ, the burden of a parent whose children turn against him. Perhaps I, too, feel that burden. Perhaps I experience that rejection from those who love me or from those who don’t believe.

2. Loving Acceptance: Christ courageously and lovingly accepted that burden. He did not complain. Perhaps he asked his Father for an easier way. It is the same in our lives. I often face problems, even when I want to do good. There comes a moment in life when I must accept my limitations and the limitations imposed on me by others. This is a memorable moment in life—the moment I accept my cross, like Christ did. That acceptance isn’t easy, but at the same time it fills my heart with a deep peace and sometimes even joy.

3. Seeking Solutions: After I accept my cross, I experience a new courage, and my imagination fires up. Love always looks for solutions: Christ never stopped searching for ways to get through to the culture. I must do the best I can to evangelize, even though I may encounter opposition. With Christ’s help, no obstacle is too great. He will help me to overcome all the problems I may encounter. The important thing is that I keep focused on the fulfillment of his will out of love. He will take care of the rest.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know my burden. You know what makes me lose sleep, what I wake up worrying about. Help me to accept it, as you accepted your cross.

Resolution: I will stop complaining and see what I can do to alleviate the burdens and sufferings of others.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter "The Command to Love"

Jesus said to his disciples: "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one´s life for one´s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, bove one another."

Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, O Lord, in your great love for me. You are my creator and redeemer. I trust in your friendship; I trust that you will share with me all the insights and desires to love as you have loved. I love you, Lord, for you have loved me first. I want to love you by helping to bring your love and life to others.

Petition: With the love of your heart, inflame my heart!

1. A Commandment: “And can love be commanded?” Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI poses this very objection in his encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est.”. Love is not merely a sentiment; it is an act of will. “God does not demand of us a feeling which we ourselves are incapable of producing” (n. 17). We cannot be ordered to “like” someone or to “fall in love”, but we can “choose to love” our enemies. More importantly, when we experience God’s love for us, the joy of being loved leads us to want to respond to that love. And God has loved us first: “It was not you who chose me….” We experience his love for us as an ongoing reality each time we receive the sacraments, but also each time we reflect on the fact that he is keeping us in existence. This personal experience enables us both to understand love and want to share it.

2. Friends: Like love, friendship is easily misrepresented in today’s world, for it is more than convenience, mutual tolerance or mutual utility. Friends not only share love, they share secrets and intimate knowledge. Love leads “to a community of will and thought” (idem). I want to know what my friend is thinking and desiring so that I can share in those thoughts and even satisfy those desires. “The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God´s will increasingly coincide: God´s will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself” (idem).

3. Chosen to Bear Fruit: Jesus’ commands are few, but they all have to do with love: “Do this in memory of me”; “Love one another”; “Love your enemies”; “Go and make disciples of all nations”, etc. The essential and urgent nature of this command of love is linked to the very mission of Christ. We are chosen and have been appointed to go and love others. If this love is authentic, grown from the vine of his love and great in sacrifice, it will bear fruit. The fruit which lasts, that for which he died, is an eternal life of friendship with God. What others most need from me then, is not material goods or consolation, or even my friendship, but an experience of God’s love for them, namely, knowledge of Christ. “Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave” (ibid., n. 18).

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord Jesus, grant me a constant, growing desire to live your commandment of love. Awaken in me an awareness of your ever-present love in my life. Let this inspire me to love without measure, without distinction of persons, without fears of losing all that is less than love.

Resolution: I will choose to serve someone today, not because I feel the desire to do so, but for love of Christ.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter "My Love for the Church"

Jesus said to his disciples: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father´s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for granting me the opportunity to be with you. There are things in life, Lord, that attract me, but you attract me more. I hope in you, and I love you. Maybe I don’t really understand what it means to love, and maybe I don’t love the way I should, but I do love you.

Petition: Lord, increase my love and appreciation for the Church and her leaders.

1. Christ and His Church: When Christ says, “Keep my commandments and remain in my love,” he is talking not only about the Ten Commandments but also about the Church. What is the Church? It is Christ’s extension through time. We cannot say, “Christ, yes; the Church, no,” because the Church is the mystical body of Christ; the two are inseparable as head and body. The Church, through its sacraments and its solid teachings, makes Christ present for me now, today. It is through this Church that I received the gift of faith. I want to remain in Christ. I want to remain enthusiastically in his Church.

2. God’s Chosen Ministers: You chose the Apostles to continue your work of redemption throughout the ages. Therefore, Lord, I want to love your priests and your bishops. I know how hard their job is. I see their perseverance. The Eucharist is available all over the world because of the fidelity of priests. Thank you for bishops and priests. Thank you for our parish. I want to support the parish with joy; giving of my time and my financial sacrifices.

3. The Pope: Lord, I want to love the Holy Father. He is the rock on which you chose to build your Church. Because he has kept the straight path, the world recognizes his moral authority. Lord, I want to learn more about what he is saying. Today with the Internet, it is so easy. It just takes a little interest and a little time. This is one way I can remain in your love. Thus, my joy will be complete.

Conversation with Christ: When you came, Lord, you wanted to heal us through the sacraments, and you set up the Church to administer them. Because you are present in your Church, it has lasted two thousand years. Thank you for giving us this instrument of salvation.

Resolution: I will read something Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI or Pope Francis has written. (Much can be found on the Vatican website. click here)


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter "Separated From Christ"


Jesus said to his disciples: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for granting me the opportunity to be with you. There are things in life, Lord, that attract me, but you attract me more. I hope in you, and I love you. Maybe I don’t really understand what it means to love, and maybe I don’t love the way I should, but I do love you.

Petition: Lord, help me to grow in my interior life so I can remain united to you.

1. Forgetfulness of God: Lord, it is so easy to forget you when life gets busy. It is easy to forget you when things go well. Almost without realizing it, I begin to separate myself from the vine. My prayer time is a good thermometer: When I am separating myself from the vine, it becomes shorter and shorter until it almost fades. I go my own way. I forget to pray. However, it isn’t necessarily a question of eliminating activities but of doing all of these tasks for God and in union with him.

2. Barrenness: If I separate myself from Christ, the vine, and invest my energies in something else, I know what is going to happen. I will produce no fruit. This is my experience; it has already happened. Eventually I will wither and be thrown out like a dry branch. Lastly, these withered, old, dried-up branches will be gathered and thrown into a fire, and they will be burned. There is no way I can bear fruit if I am separated from the vine.

3. Abundant Fruit: I want to produce abundant fruit. I want to help bring about a change in this world. That is attractive to me. That means a lot to me. I have tried different ways, and I know that only united to the vine can I bear lasting fruits for Christ’s Kingdom. This is the way I will glorify the Father. In this meditation, I already sense the sap running back into my soul. My life will produce fruit for others. Lord, help me to cling to the vine. Help me to strengthen that bond of unity. Help my faith and love for you grow, for you are my all.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, it is easy to trust what I can see, feel and touch. It is wiser, infinitely wiser to trust you, even if you are hidden from me for now.

Resolution: At least three times today I will lift up my thoughts to offer one of my activities to God.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter "Danger of Slavery"

Jesus said to his disciples: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ´I am going away and I will come back to you.´ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for granting me the opportunity to be with you. There are things in life, Lord, that attract me, but you attract me more. I hope in you, and I love you. Maybe I don’t really understand what it means to love, and maybe I don’t love the way I should, but I do love you.

Petition: Lord, help me always to remember who I am, where I come from, and where I am going.

1. Activism: In today´s culture, many people believe, almost religiously, that what they do will eventually make them someone. They believe that from doing flows being, since their activity defines them. This makes it easy for them to be exploited. In nineteenth century America, a slave was often not told his birthday, so he could never really know who he was. He was just made to work. This same temptation exists today. Many people work such long hours — some as a means of escape from difficulties or responsibilities at home; others for the satisfaction they feel seeing a job completed; still others, just to earn more money and to be able to afford a more comfortable life. However, these are all manifestations of the same slavery.

2. My True Identity: With his example, however, Christ shows us a different way of life, a way that goes against the current. First I have to be. Then my doing will flow from my being. Christ says again and again: I am the Son of my Father. Now I will act accordingly. When Moses asked God of the burning bush who he was, he said, “I AM who AM.”

Who am I? What defines me is my relationship to God. Just imagine this: I have the privilege of being a child of God! God has loved me so much that he has adopted me as his child! This is something worthwhile. This is who I really am, and I should act accordingly, as Christ taught me.

3. True Peace: Christ´s great peace comes as a consequence of meditating on and living out who I really am. When I meditate, I discover that I am God’s creature. Suddenly, I find the strength to face reality. Others will be unable to exploit me, and I will stop exploiting others because I am – and they are – children of God. My dignity derives from this fundamental truth: I was created in God’s image and likeness. I came from God, and he is inviting me to return to him and be happy with him for all eternity.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I have the bad habit of focusing on my doing. That is why I am always anxious. I want to be like you, Lord, seeing first who I am and letting my activity flow from that. This will bring me peace. However, Lord, I need your grace. Help me to live as a true son or daughter.

Resolution: Today, I will do two kind acts to someone who is troubled in order to help them experience God’s love for them.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter "A Pledge of Love"

Jesus said to his disciples: "Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him." Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, "Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. "I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name-- he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you."

Introductory Prayer: I believe Lord your words are the words of eternal life. As I begin this intimate dialogue with you, Lord, I humbly kneel in your presence. Free my heart from all fear to surrender my will to yours.

Petition: Jesus meek and humble of heart make my heart more like yours. Place your will in my heart and your word on my lips. May your will be done in my conformity to your law of love.

1. The Commandment of Love 
In medieval times, a maiden would often entrust her valiant knight with a pledge as a symbol of her love: a pendant, a handkerchief, a lock of hair. Christ gives us his pledge in the commandments. Many will say “Lord, Lord” (Cf. Matthew 7:21), but only those who do God’s will can enter his Kingdom. To love God is to do his will, and to do his will is to be loved by him.

2. Love Is Not a Burden 
To command is to have authority. Christ taught his disciples that the Christian’s authority is not like those who lord it over their servants; rather it is to love and serve the souls under their care. The same is applicable too to the authority of the commandments. Divine and Church laws are at the service of our human freedom and not a burdensome yoke or repression to our pursuit of happiness. Our fallen nature resists the reins of the commandments, like an unbroken horse fighting against bridle and bit. Yet once the horse surrenders to the reins, it becomes empowered to do more than aimlessly graze and plod in the fields. Is my perception of the commandments one of repression? or through faith can I see how Christ forges my heart to love like the saints?

3. Love and Do as You Will 
Have you ever had a friend you could trust enough to tell you the truth when others would rather just flatter you? We have such a friend in the Holy Spirit. Many times our consciences are muddled by soothsayers around us who assure us that our actions are really not that bad: After all, “Everyone else does it.” In our heart, however, we know that Christ’s commandments are more than just “guidelines:” Your words Lord are truth and life! To love is to be free, and we are only free when we live in the truth of who we are called to be in the eyes of God. The Holy Spirit is with us until the end of time to softly and persuasively speak the Father’s will for our lives in the sanctuary of our conscience.

Conversation with Christ: Holy Spirit grant to me a docile heart to seek in God’s word the truth of who I am. Grant me faith to see the commandments as the key that opens the lock of my heart to love in freedom and truth.

Resolution: Ignorance of our faith is often the reason why we are opposed to following the moral laws. Today I will read through a part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, under the section of the commandments, in order to give reason to the faith I profess.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fifth Sunday of Easter "It’s All For You!"


Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father´s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ´Show us the Father´? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

Introductory Prayer:Lord, your Easter greeting of peace continues to resound in my heart banishing all that could trouble me. May this peace make it possible for me to take sure steps as you lead me through life’s journey to the heavenly Father. Mark the way for me in this meditation so that I may leave this moment of prayer on sure footing while following in your footsteps.

Petition: Lord Jesus, may I come to know all your love.

1. A Place for You. Jesus spoke often of his Father. He told us that this Father is also our father. He told us that this Father is in heaven. He spoke about this Father’s love and forgiving mercy. He compared him to the type of kind father we may know on this earth who knows how to give good things to his children. Then, he informs us that in this Father’s house there are many dwellings and our ears perk up! And, yes, he indeed is going to prepare a place for us. A place where we will be with this Father, a place that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Anyone who has ever loved understands that to be near their one loved is all that matters. And so Christ goes to prepare a place for us to be with him and with his heavenly Father. As Psalm 62 proclaims, “for your love is better than life!” In Psalm 73 we read, “There is nothing upon earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever… for me it is good to be near God. Lord, Jesus, may I understand that detachment from this world is necessary in order to enjoy your infinite love, a love better than life itself! May I always long for this place that you have gone to prepare for me.

2. A Map for You. Jesus is the map! “I am the way,” he said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus Christ has handed us the map to the place where we will be with him and the Father forever. Jesus Christ is the map to happiness. When you are in him, you know you are on your way. Just as when you know that you are following a map, you are on course and this makes you glad, so when you are on course in Christ you are filled with gladness. If we are deviating from this course and seeking our consolation in others, then we are going to find that we are losing our way. 

3. A Heart for You. The farewell discourse from which today’s Gospel is taken, is an incomparable account of the depths of love contained in the heart of Christ. These lines from the Gospel sustain at length the dialogue that Christ continues to have with the souls he loves. We are with him. We are listening to him. We come to know that this heart is for us and bears the love of the Father. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Where have we seen the Father? In Christ’s love we have seen him; in his heart; in the stories that come from this heart; in his sacrifices; in his words; in his service; in his cures; in his tireless self-offering; in his teachings – in all of these we have an epiphany of the Father’s love.

Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to comprehend all the manifestations of your love for me. Is there anything that you could have done for me that you have not done? Your every act is an act of love for me. All you do is love. Help me to recognize this both at the times that this is easy and at the times that it is more difficult. Thank you for this moment with you. If it be your will, let us continue this conversation as much as possible throughout the day.

Resolution: Read Psalm 62, 73, or a psalm of your choosing.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter "Supernatural Secrets"


Jesus said to his disciples: "If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him." Philip said to him, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ´Show us the Father´? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it."

Introductory Prayer: Father, how empty is the life that doesn’t know the joy of Jesus your Son. I have come to this prayer today to know you and your Son better, to love you more and to imitate your perfections. Thank you for this time of prayer.

Petition:Father, help me to be aware of your presence in my soul.

1. The Father and Jesus Are One: The liturgy gives us a second look at this Gospel passage. The great truth that Jesus is sharing with Philip is that as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus and the Father are one – they are inseparable. We worship Christ. We don’t merely honor him as the best of men; he is the God-man whom we adore. What Jesus is by nature we are empowered to be by grace. With our baptism, we became adopted children of God. Brought into the family of the Trinity, the divine persons dwell in our soul as in a temple. Do we realize the dignity we have been given?

2. Doing the Same Works As Jesus: Herein lies the possibility of doing the works of Jesus. If he lives in us, he can work through us. What an opportunity to cooperate with grace! When we are loving, kind and disciplined, we aren’t merely being good. These good deeds are more than just good; they have an eternal value. After all, they are the “works of Jesus.” We receive the reward for his works. Such is the generosity of the Master whom we serve!

3. Ask and You Shall Receive: The name of Jesus is powerful. He commands us to ask in his name for the things we need so that in granting them to us, the Father may be glorified. When we kneel before the tabernacle, we must approach the Lord with total and absolute confidence. He knows that our faith will grow when we experience his power in action: “Ask and you shall receive!” (Matthew 7:7-9).

Conversation with Christ: Lord, what a consoling thought is it that the Holy Trinity dwells in my soul. I am a child of God! Help me to do the works of God! I ask this in your name.

Resolution: Because God dwells in my soul I will try to treat others as he would treat them.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter "Our Gaze Fixed on Christ"

Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father´s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Introductory Prayer: Father, how empty is the life that doesn’t know the joy of Jesus your Son. I have come to this prayer today to know you and your Son better, to love you more and to imitate your perfections. Thank you for this time of prayer.

Petition:Lord Jesus, grant me a greater intensity in my relationship with you, the Way, the Truth and the Life!

1. Follow Me, I Am the Way: Remember the olden days, when you would stop in a gas station and ask directions? “Follow me” was the easiest way to give directions. Something like that is happening in the Gospel today. To Thomas’ question, “How can we know the way?” Jesus gives himself as the answer. We know the way with infallible precision. A personal and passionate relationship with Christ is the sure way through this confusing world. Let us keep our relationship with Jesus always on our spiritual GPS. Whenever we have a doubt, we should ask ourselves, “How would Jesus act in this situation? What is the path he would follow?”

2. Believe in Me, I Am the Truth: Jesus gives his followers a truth so rock solid, that nothing can shake them. Just as he is the Way, he is also the Truth. “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:12). With the Truth of Jesus, we have the answer to basically any question we need to ask. What a comfort it is to have Jesus as the Truth in this world of jaded souls and in this climate of relativism.

3. Come to Me, I Am the Life: “He’s the life of the party” is a compliment of high regard in certain circles. He’s the spark plug, the guarantee for an entertaining evening. If he’s not there, a deflated feeling hangs in the air and everybody wonders if there isn’t a better way to be spending their time. A life lived with Jesus is never dull. He is the “Life” of more than just a party. The Christian with an intense relationship with Christ is completely fulfilled — he is never bored, nor is he boring.

 Conversation with Christ: Lord, you are the Way, the Truth and the Life. I thank you for giving me the great grace of my Catholic faith. Help me to share with others the immense joy of this personal relationship you have given me.

Resolution: I will speak to someone today about having a personal relationship with Christ.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter "A Life of Service"

When Jesus had washed the disciples´ feet, he said to them: "Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the scripture might be fulfilled, The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me. From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are God. I believe that you became man, suffered, died, rose from the dead and ascended in heaven. I believe that you sent us the Holy Spirit to guide us along our earthly journey towards your heavenly Kingdom. Thank you for your infinite, unconditional love. Thank you for showing me the way. I place all my trust in you and yearn to love you more each day.

Petition:Lord Jesus, make me prefer to serve rather than be served.

1. The Teacher: The disciples called Jesus “Master” during his lifetime. Many others did too –– and rightfully so –– because Jesus is the Master. The third time St. Peter saw the Lord after the Resurrection, he confessed: “Lord, you know everything” (John 21:17). And even if it meant accepting difficult growth lessons in life, St. Peter was able to accept humbly that Christ truly was Master, that he does know all. In contemplating Christ, we must try to remember who it is who is speaking, acting, working miracles, suffering, working and instructing. It is God, the Master of all: a man like us, yes, but also God, holding the keys to all things.

2. The Disciple: The master became a slave. God served men. We can only bow in humble adoration knowing that our all-powerful God came to earth to serve us. Time and time again Christ gives his disciples an example of their own mission: to serve others. Love God by serving others; live like Jesus by humbly submitting to God’s will. This is the essence of Christianity: to live a life of humble service with all people, especially with those we find it most difficult to serve. One word captures it: charity.

3. The Blessing: Christ invites us to serve. Being a servant to others is not easy, because it means we have to be humble. It was not easy for Christ either, but he had a motivation: to love and save us. Serving is a blessing –– even in those situations when our passions flare up and we would like to justify ourselves –– because we can love. Love transforms our world; it transforms hearts and allows the grace of God to touch the depths of the soul. If we have love for souls as our motivation to serve, every opportunity we have to live as servants becomes a blessing, a blessing to live like the Master who came to serve and not be served and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me this day to imitate you as a humble servant of all. Inflame my heart with a great zeal for souls so that in every moment I may desire to bring your love to others.

Resolution: I will do a concrete act of charity today for someone in need.




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle "Intimacy with God"


Jesus said to his disciples: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father´s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one´s life for one´s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition:Jesus, let me fulfill your command of charity.

1. The Greatest Love: Jesus makes a startling comparison: He likens his love for his disciples with the immense love his Father has for him. Before even the world came to be, the Father and the Son were immersed in boundless, mutual love. The Holy Spirit is this bond of love. The intimacy of the union and self-giving of the Blessed Trinity surpasses any human comparison, and yet Our Lord tells his disciples he loves them in a like manner. Do I realize how deeply my Savior loves me? Does the truth of Christ’s personal love for me, proven from the height of the cross, fill me with awe and find an ever more generous response in my spiritual life?

2. The Greatest Treasure: The circumstances and timing surrounding Jesus’ designation of his disciples as friends reiterates the authenticity of the title. Jesus is just a few hours away from being abandoned and betrayed by those he now calls friends. Still, Our Lord is so moved by love that he looks beyond his followers’ betrayal, to the victory he is about to win for them. Jesus also offers me his friendship. He invites me to “remain in his love.” I am not called to be a spectator, but to discover the joy found in accompanying him. To follow the “Crucified One” will always be demanding, but his friendship is a treasure which far surpasses the weight of the cross.

3. Written on Our Hearts: The mutual love of the Father and the Son, which Jesus gratuitously extends to us as his friends, should bear fruit in charity. The first Christians took very seriously Christ’s command of charity. It was their distinctive mark. It set them apart from the peoples among whom they lived. It was the magnetic force that attracted so many to join their ranks. The command to love each other is the logical result of our personal worth as people loved by the Lord. If Jesus loves my brother or sister so much that he gave his life for him or her, can there be any excuse for me not to show respect and deference on their behalf? Charity is the badge of every true Christian. How can I better live Christ’s commandment of love, starting within my own family?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I pray that I will never cease to be astonished by the depths of your personal love for me. You call me your friend even though I have not always lived up to the demands of this calling. I want to be a better and truer friend of yours.

Resolution: I will show a simple act of kindness to a member of my family today.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Tuesday, 4th week of Easter "Nobody Can Steal From Jesus"

The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father´s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father´s hand. The Father and I are one."

Introductory Prayer: Jesus, I believe you are who you say you are. Thank you for granting me this gift of faith. You came so that we, the lost sheep, may be found. Thank you. You brought us knowledge of who we are and what we are worth.

Petition:  Lord, help me to hear your voice when you are calling in the night.

1. Kept in Suspense  Suspense is a state or a character of being undecided or doubtful. How many times have we been in suspense, waiting for Christ to do amazing things in our lives, doubting that he could save such lowly sinners like ourselves? Are we undecided in believing in Christ? He has already told us and shown us through his works who and what he is. We are to be his sheep and await him; sheep know their shepherd’s voice, and they follow their shepherd. Then we can await eternal life. Suspense also means “to have a pleasant excitement as to a decision or an outcome.” What is the outcome of life? It is true salvation, and it is eternity with the heavenly Father. Today, as in every day, we should have a “pleasant excitement” in waiting for our outcome. As we go to bed at night we should look at Christ and say, “Another day closer to heaven.”

2. Spiritually Blind  Christ is always standing right beside us. What in our lives is blinding us from seeing him? In human terms, seeing comes through the senses. However, we need a spiritual connection with our Lord in order to see him: The spirit replaces human sight. Once that connection is made, we see God everywhere: in people, in charitable actions, in the beauty of nature. Then, we see him in ourselves. When we see Christ in us, we begin to have peace and assurance that we may yield abundantly.

3. Yield a Harvest  Christ’s peace flows in us when we are open and begin to see the path to salvation. Think about how the water of spring rain brings forth life that yields a good harvest. We believe in living water. This living water provides us peace and harmony in Christ. It fills us and brings forth in us work accomplished in peace. Believing and abiding in Christ yield great successes, rich harvests. Let us be watered by trust and bear much fruit in the name of Christ. Come, Lord Jesus.

Conversation with Christ:  Lord, you have called me many times. Many times I have turned a deaf ear to you, not believing that you could carry my burdens. Help me today, Lord, to believe in you; help me to testify to you, Lord; help me to be amongst your sheep that I may follow you. When I think it is too hard, help me to seek you in prayer and see what you have told me to believe, so that I may have eternal life in you and through you.

Resolution:  Today I will speak to at least one person about God’s infinite love and mercy.


Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter "I Lay Down My Life"

Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for this opportunity to be with you in prayer. My heart is ready to listen to your words of eternal life so that I may choose to follow you more closely on the path of true love.

Petition: Lord, may I be faithful to your will in my life.

1. I Lay It Down: The Father entrusted Christ with a mission: Christ was to bring about our salvation through a life of unlimited self-giving, even to the point of giving his own life. Being God he could repay the Father for our sins; being man he could identify with our fallen humanity and raise its dignity so that we might become the Father’s children. Christ was the perfect bridge between fallen man and an infinitely holy God. His mission of bridging this chasm came about through freely accepting the Father’s will. Our Lord would receive nothing in return, yet he was faithful even to the point of death.

2. On My Own: Jesus was not ordered to give himself for our sins. He offered himself. Freedom is best used when it willingly embraces God’s will, whatever the cost might be. We have to remember that Jesus knew what lay beyond his preaching and his miracles: the road to Calvary. He spent many nights in prayer on the Mount of Olives in preparation for his hour. He foretold his fate to his disciples and continued forward towards this end despite their misunderstanding. And in the end, when the hour came, he proved faithful. When the hour of darkness sought him, he stepped forward to say, “I am he” (John 18:5). Christ never flinched in front of God’s will. He felt its weight. Sorrow flooded his heart. An easier path tugged at his humanity. But he proved that love is stronger than death, that true freedom can defeat sin and master it.

3. A Life of Love: Perhaps offering ourselves to God frightens us. What will he ask? What will I have to leave behind? Will I be able to do it? However, fear vanishes when we live out of love, like Christ. We need to remember that the Father asked him to die for us – and look at the fruits this bore! Taking on our humanity, Christ left behind the splendor of his divinity and raised us to a new level. He did the impossible by bearing the weight of all our sins. He trusted in the Father to give him strength. Today we might be asked to die more to our self-love, to leave behind a vice we have been struggling with, or to trust that with grace we can live a truly Christian life in a world hostile to Christianity. In the end, if we love Christ, we will not be frightened because he has already shown us the way – and he has already conquered.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, give me the courage to be a faithful Christian at all times and in all places, with whomever I meet and in whatever I say. Help me to give testimony to who you are.

Resolution: I will offer one concrete act of self-mastery for love of Christ today.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fourth Sunday of Easter "Christ Knows and Loves His Sheep"


"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers." Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you so much for your generosity and patience in being with me today. My only desire is to please you. My heart longs to be flooded with your grace so that I may fully accomplish your will in my life.

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to know and love you.

1. Christ Knows Me: “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3). For the Jewish people, to call someone by his name was to touch his deepest identity, his inner core. For them, a name reflected who you were; your meaning as a person. Although, as human beings, we are the fruit of our parent’s love, our soul was made and shaped directly by God. Christ made our souls! Christ knows our innermost selves. He knows not only our names, but he knows our thoughts, feelings, dreams and fears, and even our deepest desires. This fact should be a source of great peace and confidence in my prayer -- Christ does truly know what is going on in my heart. But this knowledge is not all. Christ also loves me. 

2. Christ Loves Me: Through his Incarnation, Christ  emptied himself of his heavenly glory for me! What would life be like without the Mass, without the Eucharist, without confession, without the Gospel (where we discover the path to follow), without the Church and the teachings of the Magisterium? But there was a price, a terrible and costly price for all of these benefits. Christ was asked to pour out his blood on the cross for love of me. And now, Christ turns to each one of us without exception and asks us to do the same. He asks us to be witnesses of his love in a world of darkness and despair. 

3. Christ Offers Me Life in Abundance: By accepting Christ as my Good Shepherd I’m guaranteed to ‘find pasture.’ For a sheep this means sufficient food, safety from predators and peaceful relationships with other sheep. Jesus promises life in abundance for those who accept him. Obviously this ‘life in abundance’ doesn’t mean material wealth and success. The food, safety and peace that he promises are spiritual but no less real. Do I value what he values? Do I truly hunger for spiritual food? Or do I hanker after superficial and vain matters that could never satisfy my soul? The joy Our Lord wishes to pour into my heart can be received only if I permit my heart to be detached and emptied of whatever keeps me from him. Jesus warns us that we cannot serve two masters.

Conversation with Christ: Thank you Christ for reminding me of your great love and my vocation to imitate your love. Help me not to get in your way. Help me not to be afraid of  a life of generous service and self-giving to all the souls that you have entrusted to me.

Resolution: I will make some concrete commitment to increase both the quality and quantity of my Eucharistic life.