Monday, October 31, 2016

Solemnity of All Saints - Blessed Are You


When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

 

Introductory Prayer: Father of love, source of all blessings, you have led me throughout my life, and you lead me still. Thank you for your paternal care. Jesus, Son of God, you died for me on the cross to pay for my sins and manifest your unconditional love for me. Thank you for showing me the way home to the Father. Holy Spirit, sweet guest of the soul, you heal me and strengthen me and set me on fire from the most intimate depths of my soul. Thank you for your loving presence within me.

 

Petition: Jesus, help me to love your beatitudes and adopt them as my standard for life.


  1. A Mountain as a Cathedra: Let’s imagine ourselves that memorable day, sitting with the multitudes on a sunny mountainside overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is preaching to the crowd from below, using the steep incline as a natural amphitheater. The soft breeze coming off the water and running up the hillside seems to carry his gentle voice to all of the hundreds of anxious listeners. We are impressed that the Teacher, despite the fact that he is authoritatively delivering a strong message, seems so happy and full of peace. He exudes an interior freedom that allows him to devote himself entirely to serving God and others. The world seems to have no hold on him. Listening to Jesus we are drawn to exclaim, “This man knows what he is talking about." He knows what heaven is like. He knows firsthand that heavenly blessedness far outstrips any worldly happiness I could imagine.”



  1. Going Against the Current: It could feel like we have just heard the most powerful sermon ever delivered, and yet it will take us a while to digest it all. It was absolutely counter-cultural, even shocking. And yet, as challenging as it was, it all seemed to ring true in our hearts. Jesus boldly proposed to us in the Sermon on the Mount a fresh, new roadmap to true happiness and blessedness. All of us have a deep desire to be happy and live in peace, and we had thought before that we had it all figured out. But Jesus’ ways are the very opposite of the ways of the world. He scorns all false beatitudes which make happiness depend on self-expression, license, having a good time, or an attitude of “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you shall die.” He knows that the results of these false beatitudes are mental disorders, unhappiness, false hopes, fears and anxieties.



  1. Contrasting Solutions: As the keys to success and happiness, the world often proposes to us one or more of the seven deadly sins. We hear the catchwords: “security,” “revenge,” “laughter,” “popularity,” “getting even,” “sex,” “armed might,” and “comfort.” Jesus, without batting an eyelash, just turned all of these shallow ideals on their head, calling them all a dead end. He bravely challenged the spirit of the world — accepting the fact that such a move would make him very unpopular with some, and even seal his fate at Calvary. In place of the worldly pleasure route, he offered us a better way, the only way to true blessedness, as expressed in the Beatitudes, one that he himself would walk until the day he died for us. Perhaps these words ring true in my heart…, but am I prepared to cut the strings that keep me running after the false beatitudes?


Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord Jesus, you dwell in heaven with all your blessed ones. You have called me to be holy. You have called me to be a saint, blessed and happy. Enlighten my mind today to know where true happiness lies. Grant that I may desire only this true happiness and reject all deceiving imitations that the world throws my way.

Resolution: I will get myself back on track to true happiness by getting to the sacrament of confession this week.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Monday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time - Our Invitation List

Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Introductory Prayer: Oh God, thank you for allowing me to come into your presence. Your love enlarges my soul. I long to see your face! I come to this prayer with a thirst to just be in your presence, relax under your loving gaze. May my presence here be an expression of my love for you.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to put your interests before my self-interest.

1. “You Scratch My Back…” “… And I’ll scratch yours.”Unique is the individual who doesn’t keep at least one eye on his own self-interest at all times. For many, life is about leverage, and good deeds are investments that will reap future profits. In this parable, Jesus invites us to think outside that human box and more in the divine one. God derives no personal benefits through showing us immeasurable love. We can’t, after all, give him anything that he doesn’t already have. Maybe we should be expanding our list of dinner invitations?

2. The Poor, the Crippled, the Lame, the Blind: Blessed Mother Teresa lived this Gospel verse in exemplary fashion. The story is told of a dying man, found lying in the street and brought to the Missionaries of Charity’s House of the Dying. They gave him dignity that he had never known: “I have lived like a dog all my life. But now I will die like an angel.” Sometimes we also have opportunities to help others in dire need. Sometimes, more often, we can come to the aid of the person who is spiritually poor or crippled. Perhaps it is that person who is always in a foul mood, or that other who once spread a rumor about me. “Blessed will you be because of their inability to repay you.”

3. Self-interest vs. Resurrection: Fr. Joe always used to say this about his priesthood: “The pay is lousy, but the retirement benefits are out of this world.” Self-interest is about getting the positive payback here and now. True love and charity do not keep a score card to make sure that “it’s worth it.” No, we are living for eternity. Let’s ask the Lord to give us a better sense of the big picture, to see that those unrequited good deeds are the best ones. So you parents of the world, take heart! Your sacrifices will indeed find their reward, “in the resurrection of the righteous.”

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, how often I am thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Help me to reach out to others beyond the limits of my group. Help me to see that you are in every soul, not just the ones that in some way gratify me.

Resolution: I will do an act of charity for someone who doesn’t like me.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time - The Little Man in a Tree

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."

Introductory Prayer:  Oh God, thank you for allowing me to come into your presence. Your love enlarges my soul. I long to see your face! I come to this prayer with a thirst to just be in your presence, relax under your loving gaze. May my presence here be an expression of my love for you.

Petition: Lord, help me to overcome obstacles in my spiritual life.

1. Climbing Trees  What a sight it must have been — that rotund, little figure scampering up the tree. The astonished onlookers must have guffawed and whistled at the chief tax collector tossing his dignity to the winds as he huffed and puffed getting up that sycamore. Zacchaeus was nothing if not persistent. He was used to overcoming obstacles as he fleeced the tax payers of Jericho. But now his worldly skills were directed in a far different way: He wanted to see Jesus! If only we showed half as much persistence in pursuing our spiritual goals as we do our secular ones. When we really, really want something, we can push, pull and tug to make sure that we get over, around or under the obstacle that impedes our desires. But when it’s a question of our prayer life, something as simple as a change in schedule can seem insurmountable. Let’s yearn to see Christ! If we truly long for his love, we will even climb trees to get it!

2. Called by Name  When the people looked at Zacchaeus in the tree, they saw a hated enemy, to be laughed at with scorn. When Jesus looked at Zacchaeus in the tree, he saw a soul with potential, to be called with love. Jesus’ ability to read hearts enabled him to see the whole picture of Zacchaeus. Yes, money had been his driving motivation, but there was an openness in his heart that would be good soil for the seed. Jesus invited himself over for dinner; Zacchaeus would have never imagined doing it himself. The Lord was not embarrassed by Zacchaeus, and like the privileged souls of his closest disciples, he called him by name. He wants to call us, too! 

3. Christ’s Credibility  The people began to grumble about Jesus — how could he spend time with such a sinner? His credibility is put to the test. Zacchaeus’ response is proof to others that the way of righteousness proclaimed by Jesus is true and real. Jesus cured lepers, made the cripple walk and even raised the dead, but the dramatic conversions of great sinners must have been the most astounding of his miracles. It was harder NOT to believe Jesus in the face of such evidence. As Catholics, we have to be proof, too, of the credibility of Christ working through the Church. When our lives shine with charity and self-denial, we are living proof that the graces received through the Eucharist (and all the other sacraments and blessings we have as Catholics) are real. 

Conversation with Christ:  Lord, what joy you received through Zacchaeus’ conversion. He responded fully to your grace. At times, I can drag my feet even when I feel you calling me to another step forward in my spiritual life. Help me to be generous, so that other souls will see how wonderful it is to follow you!

Resolution:  I will strive to overcome all obstacles to my prayer life today.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time - Friend, Go Up Higher

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. May my love for you and those around me be similar to the love you have shown to me.

Petition: Lord, please help me to replace my selfishness with love.

  1. I Want to Hear All about Myself:Sooner or later we all experience the displeasure of having to be around someone who is always promoting himself. Perhaps we do it ourselves, without realizing how it disgusts the people around us. I remember working with one such fellow myself. He was the nicest guy in the world otherwise, but he consistently and continually talked about himself. He was his own favorite subject. It was his only noticeable flaw, but a fatal one. I’m sure he didn’t realize it. Probably if you asked him if he talked about himself more than other people talk about themselves, he would have answered that he talked about himself about the same amount as others do. He had plenty of other virtues, and I’m sure if he had rid himself of his major flaw he would have been one of the most well-liked people where I worked. But he was always putting himself in first place, and in our hearts we were always putting him in one of the last places.
  1. Number One in your Heart: On the other hand, you sometimes run into people who don’t wave their own flag. They seem to exist to support and help others. Maybe you don’t always notice when they are around, but you notice the effects. Everyone is happier. There is less stress. People seem less worried. These people grease the wheels. If you need a hand, they’ll give it to you and you don’t even need to ask. Their support and friendship are givens. You know you can count on them. They are assets wherever they work because they know how to make the people around them more effective. Everybody likes them. They may not have the greatest personality or a lot of social skills, but nobody cares because the goodness seems to just ooze out of them. While they seem unassuming and unimportant, everyone who is around them prizes them highly. Without even realizing it, they are at the highest places in everyone’s hearts.
  1. Will I Develop my Ambition or my Love? Which kind of person am I? Am I a shameless self-promoter, always focused on getting as much for Number One as possible? This strategy might work well in a company where people are faceless widgets instead of personalities, where the bottom line is the bottom line, but it is never very successful in real life relationships. Perhaps I do what I can to help others whenever I can, to make others feel good. That is the way to real fulfillment. After all, Jesus said that those who wanted to be first must be the last of all and the servant of all. Have I been foolish enough to think that Jesus was saying that the way to achieve my ambitions is to serve? No way. Jesus isn’t concerned with us achieving ambitions, he is telling us how to be first in hearts. If you want to be first in hearts, be a servant of all. If you have the humility to serve others, you will attain to a high place in others’ hearts. When you take a low place, they will always raise you higher.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, I am always trying to serve myself and my ambitions, and you want me to be concerned with serving others. Help me to be more focused on what really matters – loving – than on what the world prizes – empty, self-serving actions.

Resolution: Today, I will perform some act of service for another person, preferably for someone close to me, preferably without their notice. These are the acts that most deeply express love. Remember, if you expect something in return, even just thanks, it isn’t love, it’s business.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles - Faithful to Our Lord

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Introductory Prayer:Lord, I believe that you are my Creator and Redeemer. I hope in your goodness and mercy. I love you from the depths of my heart. I place this time of meditation in your hands. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to grow in love for your holy will.

Petition:Help me, Lord, to persevere, like the Apostles.

1. Impossible Cases: Saint Jude is known as the patron of impossible cases. He was a relative of Our Lord himself and wrote one of the letters in the New Testament. The fact that he is the patron of impossible cases means, of course, that nothing is impossible with God. What is that one “impossible” thing for me right now? What spiritual mountain do I think is too high to climb? Is it really so “impossible” or do I just need to trust more and work harder?

2. Zeal for the Right Kingdom: Saint Simon was called a Zealot. Zealots were a group of people known for politically agitating the Roman occupiers. If Simon belonged to that group, then he certainly had a steep learning curve to absorb Jesus’ message about the true, spiritual Kingdom of God. The fact that he’s listed among the Apostles means that Christ recognized his ability to change. Perhaps Saint Simon could be a patron saint for attitude change -- then his being teamed up with Saint Jude makes perfect sense. Getting over our own petty attachments and ways of seeing things can seem like a fairly “impossible case” in itself. But the Apostles are proof that Christ is more powerful than our defects, as long as we have the effective desire to follow him.

3. Supporting Roles: When we think of the apostles, Simon and Jude are never the first ones we name. However, not everyone needs to be a headliner to be a rock-solid contributor. That’s who Simon and Jude were: men loyal to Christ and who persevered in the mission that he entrusted to them. We don’t need to be stars, just faithful!

Conversation with Christ:Lord, you didn’t pick superstars of this world to be your Apostles, but they became something infinitely greater: saints. Help me to believe in the power of your grace to transform me and make me holy!

Resolution:I will be humble and supportive today in the “supporting roles” that I have.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time - God Desires to Draw Us to Himself


At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, ´Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.´ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ´Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.´



Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. May my love for you and those around me be similar to the love you have shown to me.

Petition: Lord, I want to be convinced of your personal love for me.


  1. Persevering in the Mission: Jesus encounters opposition on his journey to Jerusalem. Pharisees come to warn him of Herod. Jesus is undeterred. He knows that the Father’s will is for him to go to Jerusalem and surrender his life on the cross. He doesn’t hide or seek to escape from his Father’s will. He knows that the cross lies ahead of him, but he also knows that death and the cross are not the end. Beyond death is the Resurrection: “On the third day I finish my work.” Christ’s example should give us confidence to move forward in the face of our own difficulties and struggles. We should turn to him because he knows how to persevere in the mission. And since he wants to be involved in our life, he will accompany us on our journey. He is always with us ready to give us the help of his grace and the strength of his hand.



  1. A Heart Open to Others: Jesus wept for Jerusalem. His heart was not closed to others. He was not absorbed in himself or his own problems. He freely offered his life for others. Others rejected him, but he never rejected them. He was not bitter towards those who would make him suffer. He loved, and he never ceases to love. As a hen gathers her young under her wings, so does God long to draw all men and women to himself. We need to let God draw us to himself.

  2. Pray for Those Who Persecute You: Jesus sets an example for us to follow. Our hearts should not be closed. We need to be open to the needs of those around us, even those who may attack the Church and persecute us. Jesus loved his enemies. He prayed for those who persecuted him. He blessed those who cursed him. He sought only their good, and he sacrificed himself for them. He shows us the way to live an authentically Christian life. To be faithful to him, we need to reach out in love even to those people who don’t think and act like us.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to follow your inspirations always. Often there is good that I want to do, but I hesitate and draw back. Help me to keep giving even when I’m tired and worn out.  Teach me that you are always with me and that I am never alone.

Resolution: I will be open to what a family member or colleague at work might need, and I will seek to offer my help.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time - The One Thing Necessary

Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ´Lord, open the door for us.´ He will say to you in reply, ´I do not know where you are from.´ And you will say, ´We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.´ Then he will say to you, ´I do not know where (you) are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!´ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."

Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, my God. You called me into existence from nothingness and carefully watch over me. You have even numbered the hairs of my head. I trust in your infinite goodness, and I abandon into your loving hands my fears, my hopes, my needs, my desires, everything. I love you, Lord, and wish to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.

Petition:  I shall not fear for my salvation, but grow in confidence in you, my God.

1. Salvation: A Numbers Racket? We never stop asking the question the person in the Gospel asked Jesus. If we don’t achieve eternal life, nothing else we have attained in life matters. Jesus does not give the answer we might want to hear: that many are saved, and salvation is a sure and simple thing to reach. Instead, he warns us against presumption in this matter. As Saint Paul later said, “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). It is something we need to take with the utmost seriousness. Every day we need to pray for the grace to persevere to the end. We need to live each day with the perspective that it could be our last. We need to go back to the venerable tradition of praying for a “happy death.”

2. Narrow Gates: When Jesus speaks of the narrow gate, he is saying that salvation is not a birthright or something guaranteed. It depends on our active cooperation with his grace -- the real effort to love God and follow his will. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Jesus warned that not everyone who cries out, “Lord, Lord…” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of his Father in heaven. Obedience to God’s will is the best assurance we can have of our salvation. What is there in my life that is not in accord with his will?

3. Judge Not… We might also be surprised that those from “the east and the west” will enter the kingdom before many others. We might be surprised at those who are saved. Salvation is not a privilege of a race or a chosen people. It is a matter of how we respond in freedom to grace and the invitation of the Lord to a certain way of life. We shouldn’t give in to judging where others stand; we should only attend to our own soul. Are we at peace with God in our conscience? Can we be sure we are objective about our own situation in God’s eyes? Our conscience should be clear, and we should make sure we are serene and have peace of soul. If we find there is something between us and God’s will, we should go to confession and pray for the grace to change.

Conversation with Christ:  Lord, give me the grace to know your will and the discernment to know if there is anything in my soul that is keeping me from you. Help me to overcome any obstacle, so that I may be one with you and that your will may be my guide every day.

Resolution:  I will make frequent confession a habit and every day examine my conscience to seek union and peace with the Lord.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time - Kingdom of Heaven Infiltrates and Enriches Everything It Touches

Jesus said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.” Again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. May my love for you and those around me be similar to the love you have shown to me.

Petition: Lord, help me to value and seek the invisible strength of the Kingdom of Heaven.

  1. The Kingdom Grows from Small Beginnings: Jesus tells us two parables to help us understand the Kingdom of Heaven. What does he want us to know about it? When he speaks about the mustard seed, he is emphasizing that something that seems inconsequential can grow to become something of great importance. Although the mustard seed is so small as to be nearly invisible, it grows into a small tree, big enough for birds to make a nest in. Its usefulness goes beyond its own needs. It can give shelter and support to others.
  1. You Don’t Have to Understand Biology to Be a Baker: In the parable of the leaven, something similar happens. Leaven has a mysterious property. Although it seems to be nothing special itself, even a small amount of it, mixed with dough, causes the dough to rise. The Jews listening to Jesus didn’t know why. They didn’t know that the leaven contained yeast spores that under the right conditions of heat, moisture and nutrients, would begin to grow and produce carbon dioxide gas (which is what makes the dough rise). It was mysterious to them, what power the leaven contained, but they knew that just a little of it would transform a much larger quantity of dough, so that the resulting bread would not just be matzo, but a much larger quantity of light, airy bread that is much nicer to eat. In a similar way, grace transforms the ordinary acts of our day, making them much nicer in God’s eyes.
  1. The Church Transforms Societies:Both these parables apply to the Kingdom of Heaven. As he spoke, Jesus had before him just a few apostles who still didn’t grasp his message very well. The Kingdom of Heaven was so small as to be invisible, like the mustard seed. But it was destined to have incredible growth, such that it would begin to help all humanity and not just those who belonged to it. When he speaks of the leaven, he refers not just to the growth that the Kingdom of Heaven would undergo throughout the centuries, but to the transformation it would accomplish in the societies it entered. We see this in the world today. The Church has not only grown, but it has also come to affect many who are not in the Church and to transform society. The apostles, who did not see the Kingdom very clearly, had a hard time accepting this. We have seen much more, and yet we still doubt and hesitate.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus I have seen so much of your Kingdom that I should believe without hesitation, yet I still worry about the final triumph of your Kingdom. Help me to have a greater faith, not only to believe what you said, but to help the spread of the Kingdom continue to come true in my society and culture.

Resolution: I will try to be more optimistic about the Church in society, seeing how it has influenced so much of what is best in our society – love for the poor, love for enemies etc. Knowing that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit, I will accept that as it has happened so many times in the past, just when things look bleakest for the Church, God turns the tables, and it enters into another Golden Age. Didn’t John Paul II predict that we were just launching out into the New Age of Evangelization?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time - Crippled by Pride

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, "There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day." The Lord said to him in reply, "Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?" When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

Introductory Prayer:Lord, you know that I want to believe; please help my unbelief. Please let this faith support my hope, so that my hope remains in you alone. Please grant me such great confidence in you that my heart is filled with love that is pure and lasting. Thank you for the unconditional love that you have shown me.

Petition:Lord, please rid my heart and soul of all pride. May I not be bent over upon myself, but may I always be upright and have my eyes set on heaven.

1. Crippled by a Spirit    As Jesus is teaching in a synagogue, he spots a lady who is bent over and completely crippled. He calls to her by name and, without even asking her what is wrong, he heals her. When we stand before Christ in prayer, how bent over with worries and miseries are we? Christ knows what we need even before we ask, and all he asks is that we come to him. Let us lay ourselves out before Christ just as we are and rejoice, because today he wants to help us stand up so that we may give him glory.

2. Crippled by Pride    The leader of the synagogue is also standing near Christ, and without any difficulty Christ also spots his ailments: hypocrisy and pride. Christ is able to heal the woman, yet when a heart is as closed as this man’s is, Christ respects its freedom and does not force his way in. We must pray every day for humility so that Christ will be able to work in our souls the wonders that he wants to work and not be impeded by our petty fears or worries.

3. Set Free from Bondage    “And the truth shall set you free” (John 18:32). As we seek the truth which is found in Christ alone, we find ourselves becoming ever freer. Sometimes we might feel like this freedom is limiting us – like guard-rails on a bridge. Yet these rails actually protect our freedom, because if we fell off the bridge, both life and freedom would end. Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives us everything. 

Conversation with Christ:Lord Jesus, I trust in you. Despite the real struggles and obstacles in my path right now, I know that you are leading me towards you. Please help me to overcome my pride so that you can heal my heart and soul, and by doing so draw me closer to you.

Resolution:At the end of the day, I will do a conscience examen to see where pride has manifested itself in my life. I will make a resolution to do better in this area tomorrow, so that I will be able to open my heart more fully to Christ’s love.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Into the Abyss of Our Unworthiness

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. "Two people went up to the Temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ´O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity -- greedy, dishonest, adulterous -- or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.´ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ´O God, be merciful to me a sinner.´ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you. I believe that you have created me and redeemed me from sin. I believe that everything that is good in my life comes from you : my existence, my faith, my education, what virtues I have. I come to you today in prayer to place my life before you. I know that you are the source of all goodness in me. So often I wonder if I really know how to pray. I wonder how fruitful my prayer is. In the face of my misery I offer you the one thing I know I can offer: my humility before your majesty. 


Petition: Lord, help me to be humble when I approach you in prayer


1. Parallel Monologues, Not Conversation: The Pharisee went up to the Temple to pray. We can assume that his intention was to talk with God. As he stood there in the Temple, he thought he was praying: he was in the right place, he was facing the right direction, he seemed to be doing the right thing. But his prayer was contorted. In fact it was not prayer at all; it was a self-righteous discourse. If a friend were to ask him the next day if he had said his prayers, he would have said, “Yes.” Is my own prayer sometimes a false prayer like the Pharisee’s? Do I think I am praying, doing all of the right things, but in reality not praying at all and only justifying myself?


2. The Bare Minimum Does Not Satisfy: The poor Pharisee gets painted as the “bad guy” in this parable. But in reality he is not an outwardly evil person. He does not commit grave sins. He is honest, faithful to his wife, generous in his giving. But his pride blinds him to a much deeper relationship with God. He lives his religion as the bare minimum of not committing grave sins. His prayer is sterile. I must examine myself to make sure I am not doing the same, thinking I am doing all the right things but in reality barely living my faith. God does not ask us simply to avoid evil. He invites us to do good. True generosity is what brings peace and fulfillment to our lives.


3. Humility: An Essential Element of Prayer: The tax collector is justified not because he has done all of the right things, but because he has the humility to recognize his own sinfulness. Perhaps he even heard what the Pharisee was saying and it moved him all the more to plead for God’s mercy. One of the most important characteristics of our prayer is that it be humble. When we go to pray we must approach God recognizing our sinfulness and weakness and the fact that we have received everything good that we have from him. This is what makes our prayer fruitful. God loves a humble, contrite heart.


Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, grant me a humble, contrite heart. You know my misery. I offer you the misery of my sinfulness so that you can purify it and do with it as you will. I do not want to live my life merely avoiding the big sins. I want to have a deep and intimate relationship with you founded on substantial humility.


Resolution: I will always make an act of humility at the beginning of my prayer.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time - The Fig That Was Almost Toast!

At that time some people who were present there told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them -- do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!" And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ´For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?´ He said to him in reply, ´Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.´"


Introductory Prayer: Lord, who am I that you spend time listening to me in my prayer? Who am I that you speak with me? You have given humanity such dignity by assuming our nature and giving me personally so many gifts. Time and time again you have been patient with me and received me back into your embrace when I have strayed from you. Thank you for your kindness to me. I hope to receive it always in the future and especially at the hour of my death. Your kindness and patience are a manifestation of your love for me. I want to return that love, because the only fitting response to love is love.


Petition: Lord, help me to be as patient with others as you are with me.


1. The Fig-less Fig: The owner of the fig tree in the parable, which many spiritual authors see as an image of God the Father, comes for three years in search of fruit. How often our Heavenly Father comes in search of fruit on the fig tree of our lives. And what does he find? He has given us the “soil” and so many elements that are conducive to being fruitful. He has made known his desire for us to bear fruit, and his Son has explained to us how the fruit is to be produced. There are no excuses. Let’s take notice of the lesson of the parable: When the Father comes to us looking for fruits, it is because it is the time for fruit. What will we say to the Father if he has given us ten, twenty, forty, sixty years to bear fruit but finds none? It’s not just about looking nice, as a fig does. It’s about bearing fruit – fruit that will last – according to the Father’s plan.


2. The Fig That Was Almost Toast: There is an American idiom referring to something that is destroyed and no longer what it was: “It’s toast!” The fig tree in the parable was in danger of becoming “toast.” “Cut it down” was the order given by the owner. “Why should it exhaust the soil?” What a terrible accusation! It was useless and only sapping nutrients from the soil for no purpose. When we apply this parable to our own lives, it is ghastly to think that our life, or the lives of others, might be just as useless. Cut it down. Take it away. It serves no purpose. The judgment is just. But it was a judgment that was soon to be lifted, both in the case of the fig tree and in the application to our own lives. Am I sufficiently grateful for God’s continual mercy towards me and others?


3. Leave It… Thanks to the gardener in the parable, the fig lives and is not cut down. The axe does not bite into the trunk of the fig, wrenching from it the beauty of its leaves and meandering branches. In our case, Jesus Christ the Good Gardener steps in and asks the owner, the Heavenly Father, to “leave it;” he, the Good Gardener, will take care of things. And how he does it! The Gardener himself is cut down in a bloody way and crucified. We who indeed should justly be cut down are saved, while the axe is put to the trunk of His body. All for love of us! Archbishop Luis Martinez has a beautiful image in his book The Secrets of the Interior Life where he speaks of suffering as a manifestation of love: “It is said that the myrrh tree allows its perfume to escape only when it is bruised.” The perfume “flows drop by drop through the lacerations of the bark that enfold them.” 


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, how patient the Father is with me! Thank you for coming to save me, for laying your life down for me, for suffering what I should endure because of my self-centeredness and sinfulness. But with you, there is hope. 


Resolution: I will exercise patience today with everyone I meet, thinking of the patience that God has had with me.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time - Spiritual Weather Reports


Jesus said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain -- and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot -- and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are here with me. I have come to honor and adore you. Your love sustains me. I want to love you more in return.


Petition: Lord, allow me to comprehend your providence more deeply.


1. Seeing Signs: Jesus expresses some indignation with the spiritual obtuseness of his listeners; in other words, they don’t get it! When it comes to earthly matters, they can put two and two together in an almost infallible manner. A dim dullness, however, has the upper hand when the spiritual realm is broached. Why? Possibly because they were not bothering to ponder what the sign of Jesus’ presence, miracles and words really meant. They remained on the superficial level without plumbing the depths. Superficiality inhibits our own spiritual progress as well. Seeing signs isn’t so much a matter of being able to pick out the shape of a tabernacle or cross in a passing cloud, but of deep and prayerful consideration of the love of God in our lives.


2. God’s Presence: People who live a life of consistent prayer are much more in tune with God’s presence. Where others see coincidence, they see providence. This gives them a profound sense of peace. They know that God is in charge and that they don’t have to figure out everything for themselves. The world doesn’t rest on their shoulders, but on God’s. So instead of complaining or worrying, they live in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance.


3. Paying Attention: God’s providence guides all things. We know this through faith and sometimes he sends a sign to say, “Yes, I’m indeed here.” Once a priest was driving down the road and his thoughts were taken up with a difficulty he was having with a particular person. “How should I handle this?” he asked himself. A car pulled out in front of him. The license plate read “CARITAS”, which is Latin for “charity.” Was it just a coincidence? He couldn’t deny that this was the answer he was looking for. The signs that invite us to be more Christ-like are the ones to which we need to pay the most attention.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, the times I really don’t pick up on the signs you send me are when they challenge my resistance to your grace. Help me to overcome my spiritual superficiality and perceive your presence in my life.


Resolution: I will try to be prompt in following the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time - Jesus’ Fire Must Be My Own

Jesus said to his disciples: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."


Introductory Prayer: Father, I place myself in your presence. I firmly believe in you and love you with all my heart. I entrust myself completely to your merciful but demanding ways, knowing that you only seek to lead me home to heaven. 


Petition: Lord, help me to ignite awareness of your love all around me.


1. The Spark That Must Become a Blaze: Jesus’ intensity and passion break out in radical expression in today’s Gospel. He yearns for a divine conflagration in the hearts of his disciples. Jesus endured a true baptism of immersion, steeped in the pain of Golgotha, precisely so that our own baptism would not be a mere ceremony. Rather he wanted our baptism to be a holy spark of divine life that, with care and formation, would become a growing flame of authentic Christian holiness. Indeed, let us fan that flame and never allow external pressures, or our own mediocrity, to extinguish it.


2. Peace, at Any Price? Jesus corrects a misperception in some of his listeners. Some no doubt expected him to usher in the messianic peace, when the lion would lie down with the lamb (see Isaiah 11:6-9). No, the time for that peace will be at history’s end, when God’s Kingdom is established in all its fullness. Till then, Christianity will often find itself in conflict with the powers of the world. We want to be considered nice people, yet our convictions will at times bring us conflict. May the spark of our soul be a strong-enough flame to accept those moments and avoid the cheap peace of acquiescing with the world.


3. Put Up Your Dukes? Should Catholics be people spoiling for a fight? Not if they want to be good Catholics! Those who love fighting and arguing may very well find themselves in divided households, but not for the reasons Jesus really means. Courtesy, gentleness, and the finer details of charity should characterize the person who wants to be like Christ. These kinds of people seek to unite, not divide. When they are dividers, it is because they have to be. They know when the point arrives that if they bend any further, they’ll break—where flexibility would degenerate into infidelity. There are tough, sad moments when being faithful to Christ means a head-on collision in a very important relationship, such as the ones Jesus mentions. But when it’s a question of where our first loyalty lies, there is no debate. Christ must come first.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, you are the center of my life. I thank you for my family and pray that I will never be a stumbling block for their faith. Give me the wisdom to know when to speak and when to remain silent. Help me, so that I will never compromise the Gospel, nor needlessly alienate those whom you have sent me to serve.


Resolution: I will strive to set a good spiritual example for my family and will invite someone who has strayed to consider coming back.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs - Be Prepared


Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You must also be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the manservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” 

Introductory Prayer: Lord I believe that you exist even though I cannot see you. But I also believe that one day I will see you face to face and then I will have to account for everything I have done on this earth. Lord, help me in this meditation to prepare for that day so that I will not be caught off guard. You, Lord, can give me the grace I need to be always ready. In this time of prayer I want to be open to your grace.

Petition: Lord, help me not to fall into the sin of presumption, but to be always ready.

I. I Do Not Know the Hour

I know that I am going to die; that is certain. But I do not know when it will happen. It could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be in many years. I do not know how I will die. It could be in a hospital, in a wreck, or as the victim of violence. What is certain is that the hour will come when Christ will come knocking to take me away from this earthly life, and it might well be the hour when I think everything is fine, when I feel very secure in this life and I am not expecting it.

II. God has Entrusted Much to Me

God has entrusted me with his creation: my family, positions, time. God has placed me as steward of all these things in my life. He has entrusted them to me not for my own pleasure or to do with them as I wish but to take care of them responsibly. I must consider each one of the things God has entrusted me with and reflect to myself, “I am merely a steward. I have a responsibility to care for and watch over these things until the master returns.”

III. I Must Not Fall into the Sin of Presumption

How easy it is to fall into the sin of presumption and think the master is not coming any time soon. I still have time to live. I am young. I will straighten it out latter. I will be able to find an excuse. Surly the master will not punish me. The hour I least expect it he will come and demand an accounting for what I have done, and I who realize how much God has entrusted to me will not be let off with a light punishment.

Prayer: Lord you know the many times I have fallen into the sin of presumption and ignored your warnings. And I know that the hour will come when I will have to render an account of my stewardship. You have entrusted me with many things and many times I have abused them thinking that I would get away with it. Help me to be ready for your coming. Help me to be a good steward of your creation. 

Resolution: I will live each day as if it were the day that the master will return.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist - Me? An Apostle?


After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ´Peace to this house!´ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ´The kingdom of God has come near to you.´"

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here 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 so that in any trial I will trust in you.

1. Amazing Graces: Luke, whose feast we celebrate in today’s liturgy, is the only gentile author in the New Testament. It was part of God’s design that he be chosen by God to be the author of one of the Gospels and the Book of Acts. “Who am I to receive such a grace?” Luke might easily have said to himself, marveling at the gratuitousness with which he received his role within the Church. An honest look at the great grace we have received in being called to be part of God’s Church should bring us to say the same thing: Who are we to receive such an incredible blessing?! Why did we receive this grace and our next-door neighbor did not? Why have so many souls in the history of the world never had the opportunity to know about Christ, but we have? Only one answer comes close. God wants it, and it is part of his plan of love for all mankind.

2. More Hands on Deck: Here is a true situation at a parish on the West Coast: After five draining hours in the confessional, the priest climbs out to verify that no one else is in line. This is the normal Sunday morning routine there. During those hours the priest was witness to several powerful conversions, souls finding peace after years of struggle, other saintly souls whose delicate consciences were cause for admiration, and still others moving along with a “more-or-less” attitude in their response to God, but who were helped by the grace of reconciliation. Many more confessions could be heard, but there simply aren’t enough priests to meet the need. The more confession is offered, the more the faithful take advantage of the opportunity, and the more the Church grows in holiness. Do we pray that God send more laborers to the harvest? 

3. A Lamb without Sandals: Christ’s comparison almost seems cruel: “I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals….” If he considers the apostles to be like lambs, why on earth would he send them among wolves? As always, Christ wants to stretch the faith of the apostles. “My Father’s providence will take care of you and protect you” is the message he wants them to accept and live. Later he tells them to take these items with them (cf. Luke 22:36), but he also reminds them, “‘When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘Nothing.’” He wants us to rely on him, not on our own skills or talents. While we always need to apply all our God-given human intelligence and prudence, we still need to rely on God to bless our work and fill in for what is lacking.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, so much of what I’m faced with each day seems to be beyond my capabilities, yet I see clearly that you want me to continue pushing forward, trusting in your providence. This isn’t easy! Help be to have confidence in you.

Resolution: If faced with an obstacle today, I will pray for God’s assistance rather than rely only on myself.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr - Bigger Barns?

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me." He replied to him, "Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?" Then he said to the crowd, "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one´s life does not consist of possessions." Then he told them a parable. "There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ´What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?´ And he said, ´This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, "Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!" But God said to him, ´You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?´ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God."


Introductory Prayer: O God, I come to you today with all my human frailty. You know me better than I know myself. I am in your presence to accompany and console you, not to seek consolation or a nice feeling for myself. Even if I get distracted during our time together, I offer myself to you completely. 


Petition: Lord, give me wisdom to understand what is truly important in this life.


1. The Scorecard of Life: Driving down the road, a bumper sticker is often seen: “The one who dies with the most toys wins.” This is a contemporary rendition of the mantra of Jesus’ rich fool: “Eat, drink and be merry.” Juggling credit cards and all kinds of financing schemes, many people live life like the rich fool in today’s Gospel. Is the drive for material pleasure, or security, impoverishing my soul? 


2. A Bigger Barn vs. a Bigger Heart: What will truly make us happy? Glossy magazine ads are, for some, a source of inspiration on this point. Basically, they are about “bigger barns”: a hotter car, redder lipstick, spectacular vacations. The rich fool believes that by increasing his capacity for material pleasure, he will be happier. But it’s an illusion. Like the running wheel for a gerbil, it is lots of movement without getting anywhere. We invest energy and effort acquiring things, but the bigger barn brings us little joy. That’s because our hearts--not our barns--are what really need to be enlarged. Our heart longs for love. That Augustinian restlessness will never leave us in peace until we have encountered the Lord who loves us and discovered him in the relationships ordained by his providence.


3. When the Final Curtain Is Drawn: At the end of this parable, Jesus in essence says, “You can’t take it with you.” There’s a place in Rome in which this is graphically depicted. The Capuchin church of St Mary of the Immaculate Conception, on Via Veneto, is affectionately known as the “Bone Church.” Inside there is an amazingly designed and arranged display made completely out of the bones of four thousand Capuchin friars! While it may strike at modern sensitivities as somewhat morbid, like today’s Gospel it teaches an important lesson. All those bones look alike. Unless you are a forensic expert, you cannot tell who was fat or thin, smart or dull, handsome or homely. Death is the great leveler. Earthly advantages dissolve. Material goods stay in this world. We go to the Lord to render an account of our lives at death. As the little sign on the wall of the Capuchin ossarium says, “One day, we were like you. One day, you will be like us.”


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, so often I find my eyes looking on the good things of this world more as ends than means. I need to keep my priorities straight always: you first and then everything else, inasmuch as they lead me to you. Give me the wisdom to realize that life is short and it must be lived for you alone.


Resolution: I will live charity today as fervently as if I knew this day were my last.