Thursday, April 30, 2015

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, April 29, 2015

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, April 28, 2015

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church "The Light of Life"

Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me."

Introductory Prayer: Father, you have blessed me with this opportunity to pray. I come into your presence to please and glorify you. I offer it up for all those who are counting on me for spiritual support.

Petition:  Lord, increase my hope so that I know that you are always guiding me.

1. Our Souls Were Made for the Light: Little children are scared of the dark – after all, monsters and ghosts live in the dark. Flick on the light switch, however, and all the fears dissipate. The real world is so much less scary when the light is on. What’s true for children is also true for us – but on a different level. We have many fears, and so many of them come because we are in the dark. We don’t know the future; we can’t control outcomes. We fear spiritual darkness because our souls were made for the light. But Jesus “came into the world as light.” When we know Jesus, the light has come into our lives, the fears vanish. We don’t know the future, but he does. We can’t control outcomes, but his providence guides all. Like the little child who is relieved when Mom or Dad comes into the dark room, with Jesus we can rest assured that everything will be okay.

2. Living in the Truth: If there is one thing that we should fear, it is ourselves. It is said that Saint Philip Neri used to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and say, “Lord, watch out for Philip lest he betray you again today.” The Lord speaks of a self-inflicted condemnation that comes from not accepting his words. When we feel the inner tug of our pride or sensuality, beckoning us to confide more in ourselves than in Christ, then we need to pause. It is like a spiritual red flag telling us that our adherence to Jesus’ words is waning. If we stick with Christ, and abhor the thought of going our own way rather than his, we will avoid that inner darkness which is far more fearsome than anything in the world.

3. The Father’s Command Is Eternal Life: The philosophy of the 1960’s has left a long trail of wreckage that persists to this day. “Do your own thing!” the Woodstock creed, would have us believe that self-assertion is the key to happiness. As counterintuitive as it may sound, obedience is really the key. Jesus was the man that could walk on water, pacify storms with the snap of the finger, and provide dinner for thousands with a few loaves and fish. Yet he teaches that happiness doesn’t lie in power. Rather it lies in obedience to the Father’s command. Obeying him is the road to eternal life: fulfillment beyond our wildest dreams.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, take away all my fears. I know that my true good is to be found in loving you and following you. Give me the strength to obey the Father and so find the eternal life that I seek.

Resolution: I will fulfill my spiritual commitments perfectly today.



Monday, April 27, 2015

Tuesday of the Fourth 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 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.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter "Going Through the Gate"

Jesus said: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers." Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are here with me. This time with you now in prayer is the most important time in my day. I know that you have prepared many graces for me. I wish to take advantage of them with grateful fervor.

Petition: Lord, help me to go through the gate! May I hear no other voices but yours!

1. Jesus Is the Gate: We all want to be happy. There is no one on the face of the planet who would consciously choose to be frustrated and miserable. Yet how is it that so many people unconsciously choose to be, or are missing the boat on what really makes life worthwhile? Jesus is the gate! If we truly want to fulfill our deepest human aspirations, we have to know and love Jesus Christ. As long as Jesus is second to anything or anyone in our life, we have not fully passed through the gate. Taking the plunge and truly passing through the gate is the best decision we could ever make.

2. The Voice of Strangers: If we don’t go through the gate, we are vulnerable. Those who are not fully committed may find the offers of strangers quite enticing. But Christ’s sheep reject those voices out of fidelity to their Shepherd. Perseverance in our Catholic faith and our Catholic lifestyle requires a constant effort to refocus on the Lord. Even if we are besieged by a cacophony of competing voices, the voice of the Lord will always rise above that din. We must be faithful. Our prayer life is the privileged place to screen out the noise and truly hear Christ, which is why our prayer is the most important time of the day. How vibrant is my prayer life?

3. Abundant Life: The effort to go through the gate and to listen only to the voice of the Good Shepherd pays abundant dividends. “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” What is that life like? Put simply, there’s nothing like it. The abundant life that Christ gives us is the indwelling presence of the Holy Trinity in one’s soul. It is the love that envelops authentically Christian homes and communities. It is the peace that comes from a conscience that has experienced forgiveness and is committed to living in the truth. What could anyone give us that can possibly compare to all of this?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I thank you for this time we have spent together. Many times I have allowed other voices to distract me from yours. I pledge to walk the path of fidelity to you. Grant me the grace to persevere always and to give others an example to help them through the gate.

Resolution: I will reach out to a relative who is estranged from the Church, reflecting some of the love of Christ the Good Shepherd with hopes it will direct him or her to the gate.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fourth Sunday 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.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Feast of Saint Mark, evangelist "Our Turn"


And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for taking the time to be with me. There are things in life, Lord, that attract me, but you attract me more. I hope in you because you are always faithful to your promises, and I love you. Maybe I don’t fully 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 focus on what I can do to tell others of your love.

1. Christ: When Christ blesses, it happens. When he takes yeast and kneads it with three measures of flour, it leavens the dough all through. When he blesses the bread, it multiplies. When he blesses the Eucharist, he is there for us. Christ blesses his apostles. He also wants to bless me and my work. These are not just events of the past, for God’s word is a living word. He also wants to bless me and my work. How can I draw down Christ’s blessing upon me, my family, the people I love, and the work I do? All I have to do is ask him to bless me and believe that he can and wants to. He will take care of the rest.

2. Apostles: Imagine the apostles talking after the Ascension. Andrew would might say  to Peter, “Peter, Christ told us to preach to all nations.” “You are right, Andrew, we need to go to the next town,” Peter would agree. “No,” Andrew would urge, “we have to go to Athens and Rome.” Peter might object, “Athens and Rome! But we don’t know anyone there.” In an attempt to persuade him Andrew would add, “Peter, Jesus wanted us to begin here in Jerusalem because this is the largest Jewish city. However, he has shown that he has also called the Gentiles to the Church. We must go to their capitals, their cities of greatest influence so that they too might hear the message Jesus entrusted to us.” Despite their fears, they obeyed Christ and proclaimed the good news in new places.

3. Us: Now it is our turn. As it always has been, being an apostle today is difficult. As we get older, it gets harder. Nevertheless, it is our turn. We live at a crossroads of history. I know Christ is blessing me. He is sending me. I feel fear, but I know he is asking me to imitate the fidelity of the first apostles. He is only waiting for me to begin preaching so that he can bless all that I undertake in his name.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for coming. Thank you for giving the apostles the strength to resist and persevere. Now it is my turn. Grant me the graces I need to proclaim the good news.

Resolution: I live life but once. So today I will analyze how I use my time and resolve to eliminate one of the bad habits that leads me to waste time.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Friday of the Third Week of Easter "Seeking to Have Your Heart Filled"

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord, help me to face challenges and continue to follow you in faith.

1. What is it I Truly Seek? On the preceding day Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes to feed the multitude. The Jews realize there is something special here, that Jesus may be the Messiah, or at least a prophet. They are curious enough to continue following him and asking him questions. They have liked everything he has said up till now. Some of it they have not understood completely or correctly, but it has been close enough to what they are used to hearing that it causes them no great difficulty. They continue to ask questions, looking for understanding, especially understanding they can be comfortable with. What is my attitude when I question Our Lord about events and challenges in my life? Am I seeking to understand so I can embrace God’s plan better, or does my response depend on how much I comprehend?

2. Opening Our Horizons: Now Jesus has said something truly shocking. He wants them to eat his flesh and drink his blood! Up to this point, most of the crowd has been willing to accept him as a bread-provider. He fed them yesterday. Maybe, if they hang around long enough, he will do it again. Their ideas about the Messiah are too materialistic, based only on the re-establishment of David’s Kingdom at the expense of the Romans. Jesus, on the other hand, wants to take them to a new level. He wants to take them into the mystery of the loving generosity of God. As good as the manna in the wilderness was, he wants to give something much better. As wonderful as David’s Kingdom was, he wants to give a greater kingdom. This is so far beyond what they are looking for, they will not be able to understand what he is offering. It will have to be accepted in faith.

3. Great Gifts Come in Small Packages: We can understand many things, even many spiritual things. In his goodness, God has given us intelligence so that we can understand some of the truths about him. But these simpler truths don’t reveal the full glory of God. They are not as fulfilling as some of the more important truths about him. Jesus wants to give his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. He reveals this to the crowds, and since they lack faith, they don’t understand. Some straggle off to find another “wonder-worker”. Others, looking for understanding, go off to look for a “teacher” who makes sense to them. Hopefully, some are looking for the revelation of the mysteries of God, the greatest gifts that God can offer. They are not looking to fill their stomachs or their minds. They are looking to fill their hearts. These are the kinds of gifts that Jesus intends to give – and in abundance.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, so often I am looking for material gifts from you. Help me to realize that the greatest gifts you give may be beyond my understanding. Yet, if I am willing to accept them on faith, they will fill my heart. Perhaps with time, it will be possible for me to understand something of them as well, but greatness of faith lies in my trusting in you.

Resolution: What spiritual gift I am most in need of? Faith? Charity? Humility? Something else? Today I will set aside some time to ask God in prayer to grant me that gift.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter "Bread for Eternity"

Jesus said to the crowds: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me value more the gift of yourself in the Eucharist.

1. A Gift from the Loving Father: The Father is the one who sent him and who will draw souls to him. “No one can come to me unless the Father draw him.” So, those individuals who heard Christ’s words and were drawn to him that day were doing so because of a gift of faith from the Father. If we today have faith in Christ, it also is a gift from the Father, who wants to draw us to his Son. If we have doubts or weakness in faith, we should ask the Father to draw us nearer to his Son and to help us believe with our whole heart and mind.

2. The Word Was Made Flesh: Christ’s birth took place in the town of Bethlehem, which in Hebrew (bĂȘth-lehem), means "house of bread." He was also laid in a manger, where food for animals would normally be placed. Before becoming bread which would be our food, Christ first became man. Merely giving us some specially blessed bread would not be nearly as significant as giving himself. That is how God always loves: by giving himself completely and without reserve.

3. His Flesh Was Made Bread: The Gospel accounts of Christ multiplying the loaves report he did so out of compassion for the crowd: "I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way" (Matthew 15:32). This same compassion moves him to give himself as our bread in the Eucharist. He does not want us to die for lack of spiritual nourishment. Christ—in the greatest gesture of humility—became man like us, the same in every way except sin. But in an even greater gesture of humility, he descended further still to become our spiritual food.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, how can I not trust in you? You have already become human just like me. Then you descend to an even humbler state of service to become food for my soul. Help me to receive you in the Eucharist with gratitude, fully aware of your loving presence. 

Resolution: I will start preparing my heart today to attend Mass this Sunday and receive Christ lovingly in Communion.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord, help me to have a deeper confidence and trust in you.

1. An Empty Hole the Size of Christ: “It’s like I had a big hole in my heart, and I couldn’t fill it with anything.” So exclaimed someone who recently came back to the sacraments after being away for many years. She was hungering and thirsting for Christ, and, thankfully, Christ didn’t permit anything else to fill the place in her heart where only he belonged. On re-encountering Christ—in his mercy in confession, in his nourishing grace in communion—she was able to experience the benefits promised by Christ himself: “Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away.” Every one of us invariably finds holes in our hearts, small or not so small. Only Christ belongs there. To welcome Christ back in our hearts, we must seek out his mercy and nourishing grace.

2. Then Why Are You Afraid? If what we need is Christ and what we truly long for is Christ, then what keeps us from going to him? Sometimes it is our pride, or spiritual laziness, or maybe superficiality in our spiritual life. But behind these reasons is often a fear that if we open ourselves to Christ, we will somehow lose out. Benedict XVI addressed this fear in his first homily as Pope: “Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundred-fold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ - and you will find true life. Amen” (Mass for the Inauguration of the Pontificate, April 24, 2005).

3. Can You Tell Me Where the Lost-and-Found Is? These are words that Christ has never spoken—nor ever will. It is his Father’s will that Christ lose none of those entrusted to him. Christ never fails in his mission. Rather, in today’s reading he promises: “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” This is our guarantee that we will never be abandoned and left without his grace to support us. There will be no difficulty, obstacle, or temptation too great for him to help us overcome.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I trust in you. Despite the real struggles and obstacles in my path now, I know that you are leading me towards you. You are the only one who can fill the depths of my heart. Somehow, mysteriously, each of these trials is part of making that a reality. 

Resolution: When faced with any obstacle today—even if it is small—I will say a quick prayer entrusting the situation to Christ.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter "The Unbearable Sign"

The crowd said to Jesus, "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.´" So Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." So they said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith in you and in your Eucharistic presence.

1. God Sets the Table: For the Israelites in the time of Exodus, the manna from heaven was a saving gift. It descended daily from heaven so that they would not starve on the journey, but be sustained and strengthened to be able to reach the Promised Land. The passage through the desert was arduous and long, but every morning there was enough manna to collect and sustain them well for that day. The true bread from heaven that the Father gives us—Christ in the Eucharist—does just the same for our souls: It nourishes us that we might not starve here, where spiritual food is scarce. It sustains and strengthens us, so we will be able to reach our eternal promised land.

2. In the Church we are Truly Fed: Those with no hunger need no bread, so they do not ask for it. Those who are hungry make or buy the bread they need. However, every man hungers in his soul for a bread that he cannot produce on his own and that no one can make for him. His only recourse to receive this sustenance is humbly to ask the only one capable of giving it; he must come before the Lord with open hands and an open heart. “Sir, give us this bread always.” It is a bread both from eternity and for eternity. It satisfies our deepest hunger. But the “bread from heaven” is no bread made by human hands. Christ can give himself only to those who recognize their need for him and who ask, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

3. Beyond Our Wildest Dreams: Could anyone have dreamt that God would descend among us as a man? Could anyone have imagined that he would descend further still to be our bread? Is there anything left that he would not do for us? To receive this unimaginable gift of his bread requires two things: “Whoever comes to me…” and “Whoever believes in me….” Coming to Christ requires moving—getting up from where we are, going to where he is, letting go of whatever our hands clench, and turning our palms up to be filled with his gifts. To believe in Christ is to place our faith and confidence in him. It is to take him at his word and to accept in awe the truth of his real presence in the Eucharist.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, your real presence in the Eucharist is something I need to believe more with my heart. I do believe that with your bread I will never hunger and that with faith in you I will never thirst. Help me to grow in faith in your Real Presence. I know you will lead me to love you more through this precious gift of yourself. 

Resolution: I will stop by a Catholic church to spend a few moments with Christ in the Eucharist, speaking with him, asking for a stronger faith in him.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Monday of the Third Week of Easter "The Sincere Search for Christ"


After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea. The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal." So they said to him, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith.

1. Food of Eternal Life: Some television evangelists preach a “Gospel of Prosperity,” promising financial and health benefits or general well-being for those who follow Christ in their church. “Good things will come your way!” they say. While these earthly things are good, Christ shows us that his greatest gifts are not the “loaves that fill,” but the grace and eternal life that can be ours through faith. Faith is both our offering to God and his gift to us. It opens our heart to receive the gift that never perishes: eternal life.

2. No Complacency in Faith: Christ didn’t stay with the crowds, but rather he crossed over to Capernaum. The crowds, still full with the bread of the miracle of the loaves, had to figure out where Christ went, get in their boats, and find him. When Christ seems to have moved on us, we need to get into our boat and row—to look for him, to seek him in prayer, to be renewed in his sacraments. He wants us to follow him pro-actively, not passively sitting on the shore with our boat in dry-dock. We need to shove off into the waters of prayer and row.

3. What Must We Do? “This is the work of God….” Our belief (faith) in the one the Father sent is the result of both God’s work in our lives and our work to use and make that gift of faith grow. Above all, faith is God’s gift to us. But it is a gift that grows only when we exercise it, use it, and ask for more. Just as a runner must run more to be a better runner, to believe more we need to believe more. Only then is our heart open to receive the gift of greater faith.  

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I don’t want to settle for seeking only the “loaves that fill,” but the joy and salvation that comes from believing in you. “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Show me what I must do to follow you. Make your path clear to me, and give me the strength to follow it. 

Resolution: When faced with any difficulty, obstacle, or frustration today, I will exercise my faith in God and seek to do his will.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Third Sunday of Easter "We Are Witnesses to the Risen Lord"

The two recounted what had taken place on the way and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith in your presence in the Eucharist and in my life.

1. Jesus Is Made Known in the Breaking of the Bread: This passage follows Christ’s encounter with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They returned to Jerusalem and reported to the other disciples what they had seen in the Breaking of the Bread – the name the early Church gave to the Eucharist celebration. Luke was not simply recording an apparition of the Risen Lord, he was also teaching that this same Lord is present in the Eucharist.

Jesus loves us, as he revealed so clearly on Calvary. He wants to forgive us our sins and give us eternal life. Not satisfied with the gift of himself on Calvary, he desires to continue giving himself to us and to remain with us always. The Eucharist is a sign of his tremendous love. It is the source and summit of our spiritual life. It is a mystery that we need to meditate upon daily and to experience as frequently as possible in our lives.

2. Peace I Give You: Jesus promised his disciples peace: “Peace I give you” (John 14:27). He would give them his peace – a peace not of this world. If we are convinced of his love, what have we to fear? If we are convinced that he is with us, why be anxious about anything? So he asks his disciples, “Why are you troubled?” They were witnesses to his love on the cross and the glory of his resurrection. They were witnesses to his power and his goodness. If God is for us, who can be against us? Are we troubled? What weighs on our heart and mind? What robs us of our sleep and peace? We need to give it to Jesus. We need to remind ourselves of his love and presence and his gift of peace. As often as worries assail us, we need to go to Jesus and meditate on these things.

3. You Are Witnesses: Jesus still needs witnesses today. How many people don’t know him? How many people don’t know of his love and are still burdened by sin? We who have received the gift of faith have an obligation to share it with others. The world needs witnesses. The world needs to see lives transformed by grace, coherent Catholics who live the faith they profess. We also need to witness to the transforming power of Christ in the Eucharist. Do I bring my family and friends closer to Our Lord in the Eucharist?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I place my worries in your hands. Help me to keep trusting in your providence. Be with me today and help me to live what I believe. I know you are with me, but I have a hard time sharing my faith with others. Give me the courage I need to speak of you and your love. I know that they need you; give me the prudence to know what to do and what to say.

Resolution: Today I will transmit love for Christ in the Eucharist to someone who is close to me.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Saturday of the Second Week of Easter "Walking on the Water"

When it was evening, his disciples went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, "It is I. Do not be afraid." They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.


Introductory Prayer: I come before you, Lord, poor and unworthy. Yet you welcome me with such love. With my effort during this meditation I want to make a small return on your great kindness.


Petition: May I never give into my fears, knowing that you are always at my side.


1. Rough Times: Moments in our lives can be aptly symbolized by this reading: rough waters, darkness and little headway. At times the waters of our soul are stirred up by our unchecked emotions, our pride or vanity; we lose the sense of direction and seem to be rowing with futility. Could it be any other way if Christ is not in our boat? When we are struggling, we should take a look at our prayer life. Therein, perhaps, lies the answer to some of our difficulties.


2. I AM! Jesus’ response to the fear of his disciples is a majestic word indeed. Translated here as “It is I,” literally in Greek it is “I am,” the divine name used by God when speaking to Moses from the burning bush. It is a name that speaks of presence and power. God is not watching our travails ineffectually from afar. He comes to our aid, as he does to the disciples’ in this story.


3. The Safe Port: The immediate arrival of the boat to the shore described in this passage is something very hard to imagine. For the disciples, it must have been almost like waking up from a nightmare, going from the danger of the rough waters in the middle of the sea to finding themselves already with Christ at the shore. What might this be telling us? Perhaps that once we decide to take Christ in our boat, we have, in a sense, already reached our destination.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to not to be swept away by the rough waters of my pride, vanity and sensuality. When I make no progress, whom do I have to blame except myself? Yet I trust in your mercy. Your divine presence reassures me. Lord, never leave my boat!

Resolution: I will make a visit to the Eucharist today to renew my complete trust in Christ.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Friday of the Second Week of Easter "Our Meager Gifts to God"

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples. 
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” 
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. 
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” 
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.


Introductory Prayer: I come before you, Lord, poor and unworthy. Yet you welcome me with such love. With my effort during this meditation I want to make a small return on your great kindness.

Petition: Lord, help me to understand the trials you send me and to value your gift of grace.

1. The Trials of Life: The Gospel tells us that Jesus “tests” the disciples, watching the reaction they have to seemingly impossible situations. This test in the shortage of food may well have induced a panic. As the apostles looked out at the vast crowd, they felt totally inadequate in the face of such need. Perhap

2.The insufficient Gift: While the disciples are confused, a little boy is generous. With innocence and simplicity, he walks up with his basket. With this food, the Lord will do something wonderful. Perhaps Our Lord was thinking about this boy when he said, “Unless you become like a child, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The disciples are being given a beautiful lesson in this trusting child: give everything over to Christ; it doesn’t matter how little it may seem to you or others — with his divine power, great things can happen with our five loaves and two fish.

3. Let Nothing Be Wasted: It’s interesting that Our Lord sends out the disciples as a cleanup crew after this big meal. One insight that we can draw from this is the value of God’s grace. Even though the Lord’s power is infinite, we should not become complacent and view his grace as some commodity in oversupply. It is precious and should not be wasted. Yet, that would seem to be exactly what happens. We have received so many sacraments, but we are far from being saints. This speaks to us again of the marvelous patience of the Lord. Even when we don’t fully appreciate the value of his gifts, he doesn’t stop giving them.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I see the compassion in your eyes when you look out at the vast crowd. They are hungry, but I am poor and weak in the face of such need. Come to my aid! Give the grace I need to cooperate generously with you in the ongoing work of redemption.

Resolution: I will be generous in helping others, trusting more in God’s grace than in myself.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter "Gift From on High"


The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.

Introductory Prayer: I come before you, Lord, poor and unworthy. Yet you welcome me with such love. With my effort during this meditation I want to make a small return on your great kindness.

Petition: Help me to cooperate with your greatest gift, the Holy Spirit.

1. No Rationing: Jesus does not ration the gift of the Spirit. By and through the Holy Spirit, Christ lifts our whole life to another plane. The Lord’s generosity is amazing. Think of the Eucharist. Every time we receive the Lord, he leaves in our soul a renewal and deepening of the Holy Spirit’s presence. With every communion we are preparing our bodies and souls for the immortality of the Resurrection. Of course, such a gift invites a response. In the face of such generosity, how can we be stingy in return?

2. A Gift of Unity: The gift of the Spirit is vital for our human relationships. Jesus’ ardent prayer at the Last Supper was for the unity of his disciples: “that they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you” (John 17:21). For a unity like that, the Holy Spirit is absolutely indispensable. The gift of the Spirit, in order to be effective, provides the antidote for all our tendencies to disunity. The Spirit combats our pride and egotism by reminding us of Christ’s humility. He stirs up the realization that we have to live in charity and provides us with the strength to give without counting the cost. He enables us to persevere in unity.

3. A Personal Gift: The depths of our hearts is where we ultimately experience this gift of the Spirit. But at times we feel more like a dry well than a spring of water welling up to eternal life (cf. John 4:14). The Holy Spirit is at work — in abundance — no less in the moments of dryness than in the moments of consolation. He seeks to purify us of the petty attachments that hold us back. He directs us to seek God for his own sake and not to turn to him only as a divine dispenser of spiritual candy. But still, we should await the moment of consolation with the hope-filled knowledge that the Lord is near. When we experience this consolation, we will experience confirmation that the Lord’s gift of the Spirit is unlike any other!

Conversation with Christ: Lord, the Holy Spirit is the soul of Church. He is the gift you have given us with such generosity. Help us to live more in accord with this truth. Help us to be obedient when we are tempted to pride. Help us to love when we are tempted to reject. May your Holy Spirit constantly reinforce the bond that holds us together.

Resolution: I will foster charity by paying special attention to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter "Children of the Light"


For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know my needs better than I do. I turn to your Spirit to teach me what to ask for in this prayer. I want to fulfill your holy will over my life. I love you, Lord, and I place all my hope in you.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith in the power of the Resurrection.

1. God Loves the World: The tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean countries in 2004 and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 provoked many people to question God’s goodness. How could he, if he is good, have permitted such a catastrophe? But what does our faith teach us? That God loves the world, so much that he sent his only Son. Evil in the world is real and present, and such massive casualties show that nature herself cooperates with the power of death. But that power is being broken. The first decisive blow to the chain that binds the world was Christ’s death on the cross. The execution of Our Lord was the greatest act of moral evil history can ever see, but through God’s power, it has become the source of eternal life for us all, as we now celebrate in this Easter season. Through the power of the Resurrection, we are journeying towards the ultimate defeat of suffering and death.

2. Sin Is the Worst Evil: The physical evil brought by a natural disaster is terrible. But sin is worse. This Gospel reading reminds us of souls who consciously choose evil. The irony is that people make this choice pursuing some form of self-fulfillment. Instead of fulfillment, they encounter the emptiness of a life that carries with it the burden of self-imposed condemnation. They live in darkness as opposed to the light. If we knew someone who freely chose to live in a darkened cave, we would think that person nothing short of insane. But where are the dark patches in our own lives?

3. Christ Leads Us Towards the Light: Christ’s body had been physically destroyed through the evil decisions and cruelty of men. When the risen Lord appeared to the apostles in the Upper Room, his new life of glory pointed in a new direction, and they were flooded with the vision of where we are heading. Through our life in the Church, we are heading to a renewal of all things in Christ, in which death will be no more, and where every tear will be wiped away. The physical evil of natural disasters and the moral evil of sin may try to challenge our faith. But they are the last gasps of a defeated enemy. Let us take heart! We are headed to the light, where Christ is King and Lord of all.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I long to live in the light. Banish from my soul all darkness of sin or disbelief. At times I struggle to see the pattern of your divine plan. But through my faith, I know that you are love and mercy and you are guiding us towards the light that will never end.

Resolution: I will renew my spiritual vision of the world by frequently lifting my mind up to God during the day.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter "Born of the Spirit"

Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know my needs better than I do. I turn to your Spirit to teach me what to ask for in this prayer. I want to fulfill your holy will over my life. I love you, Lord, and I place all my hope in you.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith!

1. You Are the Teacher of Israel: Nicodemus was one of the leading teachers, yet here he tries to make a quiet request for information from Jesus. As a religious teacher he was well versed in the rules and regulations, but there was still a gap in his knowledge. He didn’t know about the Holy Spirit and the new existence that we receive by being born of “water and the spirit.” In a way, he can’t be blamed, since Jesus had not yet revealed it, but it just goes to show us how fundamental spiritual knowledge is in order to be a credible spiritual leader. As committed Catholics, we need to lead others to deeper faith. But will we do so to the degree that we know the faith and are living it in our hearts?

2. Being Born of the Spirit: Are we practical materialists? At times we become so enmeshed in the reality of daily life that we don’t give the slightest thought to the spiritual world, which is infinitely greater than the material one that consumes all our attention. Through our baptism, we are marked out for heavenly things. We bear on our soul the indelible mark that proclaims to the universe that we are children of God. Every time we take a spiritual breath, and glance heavenwards, we renew that birth in the Spirit through which the Lord claimed us as his own. Let us never spend more than a minute as practical materialists!

3. Giving Testimony: Jesus speaks here about giving testimony. He wants us to be his witnesses as well. He wants us to continue to proclaim to the world the reality of the “heavenly things” that he revealed. Possibly the greatest testimony we can give is the happiness and charity of our lives. Joyful, charitable Catholics carry in their very demeanor the sign that their faith is authentic. Before you get angry, upset, or critical, ask yourself, “Is this the testimony of a life filled with the Holy Spirit?”

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life. At times, I don’t always live in accord with the great blessing you have given me, but I know that your patience and mercy always give me another chance. Help me to love others and give them a glimpse of heaven through my charity.

Resolution: In my conversation today, I will try to say something that will plant a spiritual seed in others.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Monday of the Second Week of Easter "Eyes of Faith"



There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother´s womb and be born again, can he?" Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, ´You must be born from above.´ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."


Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know my needs better than I do. I turn to your Spirit to teach me what to ask for in this prayer. I want to fulfill your holy will over my life. I love you, Lord and I place all my hope in you.


Petition: Lord, increase my sensitivity to your Spirit.


1. Human Eyes: What do the eyes of our head see? They see the work of God in creation telling us that he loves us. They see creatures as a means to know and respond to our loving Creator. Our eyes see opportunities to exercise the love that we learn from this Creator. They see the mystery of Christ’s love in the Eucharist. They see around us the work of the Spirit in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. The eyes are the apparatus of faith and serve us well on our way to the everlasting Kingdom. Is this the case for my own eyes?


2. Eyes of the Heart: If the things that flow from the heart can defile a man, so too the things that flow from the heart can sanctify a man. The eyes are also the apparatus of the heart. The eyes will focus on what the heart treasures. Christ stated it so clearly: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in your eye is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22).


3. Eyes of the Soul: “The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, speaks to our souls without the noise of words. The eyes of the soul, guided by the same Spirit, help us to see -- to relish what is right and always rejoice in his consolation. In this Easter season, the Spirit begins to stir, and the Church begins to chant more fervently: “Veni Sancti Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit!” As members of this Mystical Body it is a compelling duty and a delightful right for us to join in this prayer.


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, you promised to send your Holy Spirit upon your Church, and you prepared the disciples on multiple occasions to make themselves ready. Just as the Israelites quickly made ready for the Passover as people prepped for a journey, guide me to be prepared to journey with your Spirit.


Resolution: I will invoke the Holy Spirit in short prayers at three different times today.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Second Sunday of Easter "The Limit of Evil"

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in your grace and your love for me.  This is why I come before you now. I know that through this meditation I can experience your love and be filled with your grace, so that I might fulfill my role in your plan of salvation. You know that I am weak and am sometimes tempted to lose heart. But I know I can count on your generous graces to bolster my courage and love. For my part, I will strive to spend this time with you well.

Petition: Jesus Christ, let me know your heart.

1. Touch His Heart: In this passage, Christ puts himself within touching distance of Thomas’ finger and hand. He invites this apostle, struggling with doubt, to reach into his side and come into contact with that Sacred Heart, filled to the brim with mercy. Not only could there no longer be any doubt about the Savior’s resurrected body, there also could no longer be any doubt about his mercy which he promised in the forgiveness of sins. With Thomas, then, let us come within touching distance of this heart of Christ and peer through his open side to see the heart that so loves all souls.

2. Allowing Him Touch My Heart: Not only do we want to touch Christ’s heart, we also want to invite the Lord to touch our hearts. Just like the lepers who presented their disfigured flesh for Christ to touch and cure, so we present our disfigured souls, asking him to touch and to cure. St. Faustina would say that all that is necessary is for us to leave the door of our heart ajar and God will do the rest. Let us present to his “sacred finger” what in us needs to be touched by his grace, especially through the sacrament of reconciliation.

3. Thirsting for All Hearts: In Christ, the greatest thirsting love is too often met by the most outrageous ingratitude and affront on the part of souls. The Sacred Heart made mention of this in the pangs of his heart voiced to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. He explained to her that his sharpest pain was due to people’s ingratitude. Let us endeavor to bring his thirsting heart into contact with souls, though our prayers, sacrifices and apostolic efforts.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the example of love and mercy you give us through your appearance to the disciples and your kindness to St. Thomas. May my heart always be full of gratitude and remain close to your loving, merciful touch.

Resolution: I will pray that someone I know may experience God’s mercy in the sacrament of confession. If possible, I will help someone directly to make this happen.