Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sixth Sunday of Easter "Make Me Your Holy Temple"



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. 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.”

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: May the Blessed Trinity dwell in me.


  1. How Can God Dwell in My Stony Heart? We have no writings of Our Lord. The only time we see Our Lord writing, he was bent over writing something in the sand with his finger. However, as his finger traced in the sand, it was also etching into the hardened hearts of the surrounding crowd. They dropped the stones with which they intended to kill the adulterous woman. It is curious how these stones also symbolized the hardness of their hearts. They dropped them because their hearts had also softened. In the Old Testament we see Moses coming down from the mountain with a stone tablet that contained the written law of God, the Ten Commandants. Christ came to crush our stony hearts and to write his law of love there. Christ wants us to give him a blank slate so that he can write whatever he wants in our hearts.



  1. Christ Knows We Need Reassurance: It is scary when we learn that a loved one will be leaving us for an undetermined amount of time. We can think of the soldiers who go off to war and how hard it must be for their spouses and children to deal with the loneliness and uncertainties that naturally arise. Yet the good soldier assures them he will return, and he is confident that they will be strong and live upright lives. How hard it must have been for the apostles when Christ told them he would be leaving them. They had left everything to follow him, and now it seemed as if they would be alone. Christ knew how heavy their hearts were, so he assured the apostles that he needed to leave in order that he and the Father could send the Holy Spirit into their hearts. The Holy Spirit enlightens our hearts too, as he enlightened the hearts of the apostles.



  1. We Should Rejoice Because Christ Is Going Home: Christ is the Prince of Peace. He sought to uplift the apostles, who were dragged down by sadness and fear at being left alone in the world. Christ tells them, and he tells us, that they should rejoice because he is going home. Christ wants us to rejoice not only because he is going home to the Father, but also because if we keep his word, he and the Father will make their dwelling in us. Their abode will be in our hearts. He wants us to trust the Holy Spirit who will give us the clarity of thought and the strength to live Christ’s teachings coherently. How open am I to the promptings of the Holy Spirit within my soul? What keeps me from perceiving Him within me? Do I need to be more detached from the goods of this life so my friendship with my Lord and Creator can grow?


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to trust in your word -- in the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Help me to let go of the anxieties that at times paralyze my thoughts and actions. I open my heart so that you, the Blessed Trinity, can dwell within me. This gives me supernatural joy, a joy that the world cannot give or take away.

Resolution: I will look to comfort someone who is lonely, helping him or her to know that you are always with us.

Friday, April 29, 2016

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. 



  1. 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.



  1. 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, April 28, 2016

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church "Loving to the Extreme"


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, 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: 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 New 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.



  1. Friends Forever: 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).



  1. 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, April 27, 2016

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.



  1. 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.



  1. 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 has written. Much can be found on the Vatican website


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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.



  1. 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.



  1. 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, April 25, 2016

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.



  1. 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.



  1. 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, April 24, 2016

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. 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. 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.



  1. Apostles: Imagine the apostles talking after the Ascension. Andrew 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,” would urge Andrew, “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.



  1. 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.

"I Thirst”: Mother Teresa’s Devotion to the Thirst of Jesus


Audio version: 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NRVu1exlui0

Text version:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” (Rev.3:20)
(Meditation based on the spiritual teachings of Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

It is true. I stand at the door of your heart, day and night. Even when you are not listening, even when you doubt it could be Me, I am there. I await even the smallest sign of your response, even the least whispered invitation that will allow Me to enter.

And I want you to know that whenever you invite Me, I do come always without fail. Silent and unseen I come, but with infinite power and love, and bringing the many gifts of My spirit. I come with My mercy, with My desire to forgive and heal you and with a love for you beyond your comprehension- a love every bit as great as the love I have received from the Father ( As much as the Father has loved me, I have loved you…”[John.15:9]). I come – longing to console you and give you strength, to lift you up and bind all your wounds. I bring you My light, to dispel your darkness and all your doubts. I come with My power, that I might carry you and all of your burdens; with My grace, to touch your heart and transform your life; and My peace I give to still your soul.

I know you through and through – I know everything about you. The very hairs of your head I have numbered. Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me. I have followed you through the years, and I have always loved you – even in your wanderings. I know everyone of your problems. I know your needs and your worries. And yes, I know all your sins. But I tell you again that I love you- not for what you have or haven’t done – I love you for you, for the beauty and dignity My Father gave you by creating you in His own image. It is a dignity you have often forgotten, a beauty you have tarnished by sin. But I love you as you are, and I have shed My Blood to win you back. If you only ask Me with faith, My grace will touch all the needs changing in your life; and I will give you the strength to free yourself from sin and all its destructive power.

I know what is in your heart- I know your loneliness and all your hurts- the rejections, the judgments, the humiliations. I carried it all before you. And I carried it all for you, so you might share My strength and victory. I know especially your need for love – how you are thirsted in vain, by seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside you with passing pleasures- with the even greater emptiness of sin. Do you thirst for love? “Come to Me all of you who thirst…”(John 7:37). I will satisfy you and fill you. Do you thirst to be cherished? I cherish you more than you can imagine – to the point of dying on a cross for you.

I thirst for you. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you: I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to Me. I THIRST FOR YOU. Come to Me and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds. I will make you a new creation and give you peace, even in all your trials. I THIRST FOR YOU. You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live My life in you. I THIRST FOR YOU. If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I THIRST FOR YOU. Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give Me your life- and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart.

Don’t you realize that My Father already has a perfect plan to transform your life, beginning from this moment? Trust in Me. Ask Me every day to enter and take charge of your life- and I will. I promise you before My father in heaven that I will work miracles in your life. Why would you I do this? Because I THIRST FOR YOU. All I ask of you is that you entrust yourself to Me completely. I will do all the rest.

Even now I behold the place My Father has prepared for you in My kingdom. Remember that you are a pilgrim in this life, on a journey home. Sin can never satisfy you or bring the peace you seek. All that you have sought outside of Me has only left you more empty, so do not cling to the things of his life. Above all, do not run from Me when you fall. Come to Me without delay. When you give Me your sins, you give Me the joy of being your Saviour. There is nothing I cannot forgive and heal, so come now and unburden your soul.

No matter how far you may wander, no matter how often you forget Me, no matter how many crosses you may bear in this life, there is one thing I want you to always remember, one thing that will never change: I THIRST FOR YOU – just as you are. You don’t need to change to believe in My love, for it will be your belief in My love that will change you. You forget Me, and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day- standing at bthe door of your heart and knocking. Do you find this hard to believe? Then look at the cross, look at My Heart that was pierced for you. Have you not understood My cross? Then listen again to the words I spoke there – for they tell you clearly why I endured all this for you:”I THIRST….”(John 19:28). Yes, I thirst for you – as the rest of the psalm-verses I was praying says of Me: “I looked for love, and I found none…”(Ps 69:21). All your life I have been looking for your love- I have never stopped seeking to love you and be loved by you. You have tried many other things in your search for happiness; why not try opening your heart to Me, right now, more than you ever have before.

Whenever you do open the door of your heart, whenever you come close enough, you will hear Me say to you again and again, not in mere human words but in spirit: “No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake. Come to Me with your misery and your sins, with your troubles and needs, and with all your longing to be loved. I stand at the door of you heart and knock…Open to ME, for I Thirst for you!

“Jesus is God, therefore His love, His thirst is infinite. He the creator of the universe, asked for the love of His creatures. He thirsts for our love…These words: I thirst- do they echo in our souls?” (Mother Teresa)


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fifth Sunday of Easter "They Will Know Us by Our Works"


When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once.  My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another.  This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are here with me. I am privileged to have this private audience with you. Aware of my weakness, I hope in your mercy and love. I open my heart now to you, to the wisdom, mercy and good news of your Gospel, for through it you wish to guide me home to rest eternally with you in heaven. Thank you for your boundless love. Take my weak, poor love in return, as it is all I have to offer you.

Petition: Lord, help me to imitate you by accepting and forgiving others.


  1. This Is How They Will Know You Are My Disciples:Nowadays, words alone are empty; they need to be backed up by actions. All too often we have experienced that zealous politician or marketer who makes promises that we instinctively know are too good to be true. We want to believe the good they promise, but experience has taught us to have a healthy sense of skepticism. Unfortunately, this contemporary disbelief of “too good to be true” could also be said of Christianity. Christians are to be known by their love for one another. In my marriage, with my children, and in my social circle, am I known for my Christ-like love? In particular, am I capable of accepting others as they are, of seeing their way of being in a good light? Though I set high standards, do my spouse and children truly find rest, light and solace in my company?



  1. Love Has High Standards: The film “Love Story” had a classic line: “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” As Christians, though, we are aware of our weak nature and tendency to sin. We need to ask pardon – frequently. More often than not, the souls we hurt are those closest to us: our spouse, a child, a parent or in-law. The disciples, too, had their squabbles with each other. The love that bound them, exhorted them to make peace with one another as Christ makes peace with his Church: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Is my love great enough to overlook the weaknesses of those who hurt me and turn my wounded ego to compassion and pardon? To err is human, but to forgive is divine.



  1. Love Is from the Heart: Christ told his disciples, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). This applies as well to harboring grudges in our hearts. Love goes beyond kind words and actions to the very heart of man: to our thoughts. Although it may initially cause distress to our will to think well of those who have hurt us, it is truly therapeutic! Our Lord said, “From the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false witness, blasphemy” (Matthew 15:19). Likewise, a heart that actively looks for the good in others will form the habit of speaking well and acting kindly towards those who naturally are displeasing. Thinking well of others renews our faith in God’s mercy. If we are merciful, how much more we can expect Our Lord to be patient and merciful with us!


Conversation with Christ: My Jesus, your life is witness of love to me. You forgave your enemies and even prayed for them. My love is to mirror your love, but I realize I can love so much more than I have loved until now. Help me today to increase my love and let go of those remnants of egoism that hold me back from a Christ-like love.

Resolution: Today I will make a list of those souls immediately before me for whom I can do a hidden act of charity. I will pray for them, speak well of them, and look for a significant way to serve their needs as I would if they were Christ himself.


Friday, April 22, 2016

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?



  1. 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!



  1. 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, April 21, 2016

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter "Our Gaze Fixed on Christ - relationship with 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?”



  1. 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.



  1. 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 20, 2016

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.
  1. 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. 
  1. 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 19, 2016

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter "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.



  1. 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.



  1. 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 18, 2016

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.”



  1. 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.



  1. 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.