Thursday, October 19, 2017

Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time “Into the Lion’s Mouth”


At that time: So many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. He began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven– that is, the hypocrisy– of the Pharisees. There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”


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, give me courage to keep following you even in the face of temptation.

1. Lion Food: St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was arrested and then transported to Rome, where death by lions awaited him. In a letter, he urges the Romans to do him no “untimely charity” of interceding with the emperor to spare him from execution. He writes to them, “I beseech of you not to show an unseasonable goodwill towards me. Suffer me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God” (Letter to the Romans). When Christ speaks of having no fear of those who kill the body but after that can do no more, he means it quite literally. If we encounter a situation in which we must either be faithful to Christ or cave in to pressure and abandon the path of the Lord, we should never hesitate. Follow Christ. Do not fear those who might “kill” by their criticism or disapproval of our rectitude of conscience. Do not be afraid.

2. Becoming Eucharist: St. Ignatius continues, “I am the wheat of God, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God” (Letter to the Romans). He is drawing a connection between his own coming martyrdom—wheat ground by the teeth of wild beasts—and the Eucharist—the pure bread of God. These words are not just grisly yet pious analogy; rather, they touch on the most profound meaning of the mystery of the Eucharist and our participation in it. The Eucharist is the most complete worship given to God the Father: It is the Incarnation of God among us, it is Christ’s sacrifice of his body on the Cross, and it is his Resurrection from death to eternal life. Through the Eucharist we become an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. We need to offer the struggles and challenges of each day in order to remain united with Christ in the Eucharist.

3. More than Birds: In our daily life we take many small things for granted because they seem to have little import in the grand scheme of things. “What were the high and low temperatures a year ago today?” “What does it matter now?” we might as well respond. “Where will the four sparrows I saw in the park two weeks ago get food to eat?” It’s not even a question that occurs to us. We have many other things of immediate importance that require our attention and action. Yet such a question is important enough to occur to God. Christ tells us in Luke 12:24, “They do not sow or reap; they have no storehouses and no barns; yet God feeds them.” He continues, “And how much more are you worth than the birds!” If God would make time to think about something so insignificant among all the goings-on in the world, how much more will he be taking care of our needs!

Conversation with Christ: Lord, when I look at the difficulties and rough spots I know I will be facing today, I worry about the sacrifices I’ll have to make. Maybe events won’t turn out as I hope. Help me to have confidence and trust in you like St. Ignatius. Help me realize that you have taken care of every minute detail of all that will occur today.

Resolution: When faced with any worry today I will pray, “Jesus, I trust in you.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs “History Need Not Repeat Itself”

The Lord said: “Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When he left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.


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 Jesus Christ, help me to follow your example and set a good example for others. 

History Will Teach Us Something: Israel’s response to God’s love, as seen in the Old Testament, is pocked and pitted with infidelity, abuse, and ingratitude. At times the people outright reject God and whomever he sends to guide them back to his loving care. These falls from God’s grace are instructive for us today. We see the grandeur of what God did for the people of Israel and marvel at it. We should be aghast at how a people who received so much could respond so little. But more than this, we need to use this history of Israel as a mirror in which to regard our own lives: to recognize the same patterns of failure and lack of fidelity in our own lives and use this self-reflection to inspire us to return to the Lord. If we fail to admit our weaknesses and failures, however, we will be like the Pharisees to whom Christ spoke, who brought the blood of the prophets upon their own heads because of their stubbornness and hardness of heart.

History Repeats Itself: On one occasion Christ warns the disciples that if this is the way he is treated, they should expect no less themselves (cf. John 15:20). Do we honestly expect not to have to face some difficulty as disciples of the Lord? Of course not. But what if that difficulty comes from within? This is from where the most serious menaces to our discipleship come. Our pride, our vanity, our love of comfort: these are the battlegrounds and the martyrs’ fields where first and foremost we need to suffer for being a disciple of the Lord. The prophets and martyrs who suffered for their zeal for the Lord did so even up to the cost of their lives. He might not need us to lay our lives on the line in quite the same way, but an interior sacrifice is what Christ does ask of everyone whom he calls.

Stoppage Time: One of the key moments in Edith Stein’s conversion happened when she went into a Catholic Church to see what it was like, and as she sat there in silence, an older woman came in to spend a few moments with Christ in the Eucharist. She had groceries in her hand and was obviously on her way home to prepare dinner. For young Edith, still struggling with belief in God, it was an example of just how grounded in day-to-day reality the Catholic faith is. There is little chance that woman ever knew the importance her example played in helping form this future saint and patroness of Europe, but the woman’s authentic faith was just what Edith needed to see. Our living witness is critical for those around us, whether or not we ever see or hear of the consequence. We can serve as an occasion of grace, or we can be a stumbling block on the path that delays someone from arriving at the place God wants to lead them.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I know that I am an integral part in your plan to save souls. You have the confidence to use me as a channel of your grace for those around me, particularly those closest to me. I offer you my life today. Use me as a channel of grace and a testimony to your love.

Resolution: I will offer to God today the sacrifice necessary to change something in my behavior that might be an obstacle for someone else coming to know Christ better.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist “Set Ablaze for Souls”

The Lord appointed 72 others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I bring myself into your presence knowing the zeal of your heart for souls. The glory of your heavenly Father can shape my own heart. I am confident that, just as the 72 lit the flame of their love for their mission from the furnace of your divine love, I can ignite all that is lukewarm and tepid in my own soul today. I desire to fulfill more perfectly the mission you have given me.

Petition: Lord, fill my heart with a holy zeal to make you known to many people!

Loving Souls without Limits: Contemplate our Lord’s hunger to bring salvation to the many souls whose number exceeds the reach of his humanity. His passionate, driving love for men breaks the confines of his human nature, multiplying his presence in the world. We can be so easily drained by the never-ending needs of those we serve. We can close the door on others with comfortable excuses; we can ignore their needs, for which God wishes to put a solution in our hands.Christ’s heart, rather, is expansive and grows with the awareness of the need of men for him. Creatively he brings a divine solution into play to reach more souls, heal more hearts, cure more ills. Does my charity bring me to use all my creativity, intelligence and will-power to meet the needs of those God has entrusted to my care? Does divine wisdom, rooted in prayer, come into play in how I serve others?

Christ Is to Be Known through Me: Christ uses his divine power to multiply himself, commissioning these disciples to be in effect other Christs in the world. This sending out of the 72 is a critical juncture in the plan of salvation. Here ordinary men, who at one time were simple-hearted recipients of Christ’s redeeming message, are now to be the carriers of that message to others. Yet with all their weaknesses, how could they ever hope to offer others an experience of Christ like that which they themselves experienced, an experience which is so ineffable and sublime? Christ explains: It will be done by their obedience, especially to the details of behavior that he outlines for them. It will be done by acting in Christ’s name, knowing that he has commissioned them. It will be accomplished not through their own talents and charismatic personalities, but through the power and grace of God that comes to those who serve him with a pure heart. I can reflect on my own vocation and see that it has its ultimate source in God, not in my own preferences. Knowing God has given me my mission in life, I must, like the 72, purify myself of all self-centeredness and personal ambition in order to respond to his singular invitation. Can others experience Christ through me?

In the End, Lambs Conquer: Wolves appear when the lamb is present. I should not think that opposition and contradiction mark the end of my mission. Rather, they are a sign of its authenticity. Being a lamb among wolves implies that the wolves are best defeated by the meekness and simplicity with which a disciple of Christ lives his life. A pure and selfless heart does not permit bitterness, resentment and hardship to weaken its commitment.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I wish to form my heart to be conquering and meek like your own, certain of the victory that awaits those who suffer in doing your will. Grant me the grace never to fall away from your divine commission. Every morning, help me to awaken with a generous and faithful spirit to its beauty and goodness.

Resolution: Today I will put more effort into the details that prove my love for my vocation.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr “Laws That Bind or Free”

After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for 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, grant me this grace of conversion.

1. Law for the Law’s Sake: The Mosaic Law was intended to free them for worship, delivering them from slavery to pagan gods and from slavery to sin. When the Law (and the added customs and regulations) became an end in itself, it was truncated and severed from the One to whom it was meant to lead. Today in the Catholic Church there are enough laws, customs and regulations to make even the most rigorous Pharisee proud. The danger is that we can fall into one of two traps. First, we can adhere to them with such vigor that we lose sight of the One they are freeing us to worship. We don’t allow our hearts and minds to be educated and formed by them, we just follow them blindly. We wind up cleaning the outside of the cup and stopping there, without going on to see God’s love and let it purify our hearts.

2. The Second Trap: The second trap we can fall into is at the other extreme: to give ourselves an easy pass by presuming that “if my heart is in the right place, I don’t need to worry about all these rules and such.” With a lax attitude we permit ourselves to ease up on fulfilling these laws which in truth will free us. “I know today is Sunday and I should go to Mass, but it’s vacation! God knows I’m a good person.” Yet it is in the Sunday Mass that we receive the many graces necessary toward our being that “good person”. The commandment to keep the Sabbath holy, as with any of the Ten Commandments and customs of the Church, is there to lead us to God. These free us from our often confused subjective conclusions about how we should worship God and live our lives.

3. Cleaning the Cup: “Charity covers a multitude of sin” (1 Peter 4:8). The law of love is the most important of all the commandments of the Lord. In Chapter 12 of the Gospel of Mark, Christ responds to a scribe’s question about the first of all the commandments: “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Love of God and neighbor is both the source and the summit of the Law of the Old Covenant and of the New. Living these two greatest commandments purifies and cleanses our hearts—the inside of the cup. So when Christ says to give alms, he is telling the Pharisees to love their neighbors. Then their hearts will be clean.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I want my heart always to be focused on you. I need your guidance, for I can’t do it alone. I need you to teach me how to love you, how to worship and serve you. The laws you give me free me and guide me toward you. Help me to see your hand leading me ever closer to you.

Resolution: If there is a rule or custom of the Church that I don’t understand or don’t practice, I will read up on it to come to understand better how it frees me and guides me in my relationship with Christ.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time “The Queen, the Ninevites and Me”

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”


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, help me to recognize the signs of your presence in my life. 

Three Days in the Fish: When Jonah is swallowed by the whale he dies, and when he is spit out onto the shore, he comes to life again. This is the only sign that Christ promises to his listeners who seek a sign. Christ will be seen by them as truly dead, swallowed by the tomb of the earth. Then, after three days, he will come to life again in the Resurrection. As Jonah preached conversion to the Ninevites after coming back from the dead, so Christ would bring conversion and peace to some of the very ones who abandoned him or cried out for his crucifixion. Even in rebuking the “evil generation”, Christ promises them a sign that will bring hope to any of them who—like the Ninevites—later repent. If later in life they realize their evilness, Christ himself will be there to guide them back to friendship with his Father.

Even the Queen Came: Christ is reminding his unbelieving listeners that the Queen of Sheba traveled from afar to hear Solomon’s wisdom. The distance from the Kingdom of Sheba in southern Arabia to Jerusalem would have taken weeks to traverse. It would have been an exhausting and expensive journey, especially considering the entourage that would have accompanied the Queen. She recognized the gift of God in him and relished the pearls of divine wisdom that he shared with her. We need to reflect on how often we avail ourselves of all that God offers us that is not a journey of weeks away, but is just a few miles away: Christ in the Eucharist. Closer still, the Bible on the shelf is filled with Christ’s message of love. All this is within easy reach and is much more than anything Solomon could share with us.

Greater than Jonah: The whale was greater than Jonah. It swallowed him whole. Yet that violent death and subsequent resurrection was the key moment in Jonah’s life and mission. It was necessary not only for Jonah’s own salvation (he had been running from God), but it also was necessary for the salvation of the whole city of Nineveh. Christ makes this reference to Jonah as a forewarning to his listeners: He is greater than Jonah. He is greater than the death that would swallow him. This should inspire our faith and confidence in Christ. There is nothing greater than he. There is no greater prophet; no greater event can consume him. All things are under his dominion except one: our free will. That he doesn’t force; that he doesn’t conquer. He leaves it perfectly intact, so that we might respond freely to his call to ongoing conversion, just like the citizens of Nineveh.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, the sign of love that you give is your willingness to die a cruel and humiliating death. Yet that is not everything: You give me your Word in the Gospel. You give me your Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Help me to appreciate these great gifts and to make the most of every opportunity to receive them.

Resolution: At some point today I will offer a prayer of thanksgiving, thanking Christ for the blessings received over the past few days.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time “Invited and wearing the right clothes”

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you because you have created me to be with you. I hope in you because you always give me what I need to be with you. I love you because you continue to invite me, in spite of my reticence and sinfulness.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to value heaven and to live in such a way that I can get there.

How Dare You Not Accept! God invites us to accept freely the gift of union with him to which he calls us. But, lo and behold, we can use our freedom badly and not accept the only thing that can truly make us happy. This occurs when we forget about God, no longer giving him the adoration and love he deserves as our Creator and Father, putting ourselves in first place, and becoming the sole criteria for our decisions and actions. This passage helps us to remember what type of freedom we have. We do not have absolute freedom. We can’t choose what our end should be. Only God is our end. Our freedom is limited and consists in being free to choose the means that most efficaciously help us to reach that end.

An Undeserved Invitation: Our possibility of getting to heaven is truly a gift from God. He invites us even though we are sinners, even though we don’t take his Son’s death and resurrection seriously, even though we continue to fall in spite of having all the grace and strength we need to overcome temptation. St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, states how hard it is for a man to give his life for another person (see Romans 4:7). Maybe he would do it for a very good person. Christ didn’t give his life for good persons; he gave it for sinners. We should be moved to respond to this amazing manifestation of love for us: Total adherence to God is the only worthy response.

Dressing for the Occasion: God is good, but he is not naïve. He won’t let us in to full communion with him if we do not value it properly. The robe mentioned in the Gospel passage is an image of the soul. The soul that has been purified and is prepared to enter into heaven wears a wedding robe. The soul that is full of selfishness and sin is improperly dressed. It is not a matter of God not having mercy on us. It’s a matter of the use of our freedom. When we encounter something that has value and know that it will make us better, we have to appropriate that value through conscious effort. We have to live up to it. We can’t be indifferent or superficial regarding heaven. We shouldn’t regard it as just something possible; it should be an existential need.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, so many times I give more importance to my own satisfaction than to centering my attention and efforts on achieving true communion with you. Help me to value your invitation to reach heaven through a truly Christian life that prefers virtue to sin, disinterested love to selfishness, humility to pride.

Resolution: Today I will try to work on a virtue that I need so as to respond to God’s love for me.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time “Mary Is My Master Educator in Virtue”

While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”


Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the master of the universe, and yet you wish to listen to me and guide me. You know all things past, present and future, and yet you respect my freedom to choose you. Holy Trinity, you are completely happy and fulfilled on your own, and yet you have generously brought us into existence. You are our fulfillment. Thank you for the gift of yourself. I offer the littleness of myself in return, knowing you are pleased with what I have to give.

Petition: Lord, help me to imitate Mary.

Mary’s Masterpiece: The woman in this passage has a great insight. She senses the greatness of Jesus. Probably she intuits that he is the Messiah. It is doubtful if she has guessed that he is also God-made-man. But from Jesus’ greatness, she is able to infer the greatness of Mary. It is obvious to her that whoever produced this masterpiece of humanity must have been a masterpiece of humanity herself. And she is right. The humanity of Jesus is Mary’s masterpiece. All of what she is, she imparted to him. While we cannot credit Mary with the perfections of Jesus’ divinity, we would be doing her a grave injustice to think that Jesus’ human virtues and perfections were not positively impacted by her example.

The Immaculate Conception: God desired Jesus to come into this world like every one of us, as an infant, and so Jesus needed a mother. God wanted him to have the finest mother, a perfect mother, and so he gave Mary many gifts, starting with her Immaculate Conception, preserving her from original sin. Who could imagine Jesus – pure and innocent – wrapped in flesh polluted by sin for the first nine months of his existence? Would such an innocent child ever have been able to stop crying while being tended to by a sinner? The Father wanted the best for his Son and gave him the best, even though he had to provide the miracle of the Immaculate Conception in order to do it.

Jesus’ Educator: Being truly human, Jesus had to learn just like any one of us. Because of his divinity, his human capacities were untainted by sin, but it was Mary who taught him how to use them, who honed them in the everyday life of the family until they were perfect – just as any mother would. Mary was the perfect one to bring out all the perfections in Jesus’ human nature. Being immaculately conceived, Mary’s mind was not wounded by sin and so was always able to discover ways of parenting and teaching that were perfectly suited to Jesus’ human nature. To educate doesn’t mean to just give knowledge. In its fullest sense, it means to train in virtue. Mary’s continuous example of virtue – hearing the word of God and observing it – was certainly compelling for Jesus in his educational upbringing.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, it’s hard for me to understand that, as human, you needed education just like anyone else. Help me to see that you were truly and fully human like me. Moreover, since you have already given me Mary to be my Mother, ask her to educate me too, to form me in all the virtues the way she formed them in you.

Resolution: Do I really think of Mary as my educator in the full sense, in the sense of teaching me virtue? What is the virtue I need the most? I will ask Mary to educate me in it in a special way today.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Friday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time “Keeping House”

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that person is worse than the first.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are omnipotent, all-powerful. For that reason alone, I ought to ally myself to you. I believe that you can do all things. I am confident that you will act in my life. I love you because even though you are the all-powerful God, you are humble, having made yourself one like me, so that I can approach you without being intimidated, with trust.

Petition: Lord Jesus, your kingdom come in my soul!

THE Sign from Heaven: When Jesus casts out a demon from a soul, some of the bystanders then ask him to perform a sign from heaven. Jesus is the sign from heaven, the living presence of God with us. His casting out a demon already testifies that he can do what no one else can do. It proves that he is God. However, I want to fix my eyes on him as the object of my love, not on the spectacular things that he does. It is important to look at the Giver, not the gift he gives.

The Kingdom of God: There is combat going on, and the human soul is the battleground. In this case the man is freed of demonic possession, and one kingdom has been dispossessed of its conquest. Another Kingdom is on the move! Light is replacing darkness. Springtime melts away the winter. This brings joy and warmth to my soul.

The Gentle Guest: When the soul has been freed from the effects of evil, it can be likened to a tidy house. Jesus chose to clean the house, the interior dwelling place, of the possessed man. He will not, by his choice alone, take up the vacant place in that soul. He very much desires to be there, but he knocks and wants to be invited in freely by the homeowner. Once at home in my heart, Jesus is the strong man whom no one can overcome.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, I am not content just with being liberated from sin, although that is already a great gift. I know that you are knocking at the door of my heart. I ask you to come in and make my soul your dwelling place. I have been made to be a dwelling place of the Blessed Trinity, and I desire that fullness of life.

Resolution: I will be attentive to the fact that I am a dwelling of God and look to do what is worthy of that dignity. Specifically, I will be attentive to the thoughts that pass through my mind and the words that cross my lips today.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time “An Importunate Friend and a Lesson in Prayer”

Jesus said to his disciples, "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ´Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,´ and he says in reply from within, ´Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.´ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. "And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"


Introductory Prayer:Lord, in my prayer I often have to wait for your response. Too often I seek my own interests even to the detriment of my spiritual life. I am still such a novice at prayer and the spiritual life. Grant me your grace to persevere in prayer. May I never doubt your goodness and friendship towards my soul. Fill me with an unbreakable confidence and trust in your loving plan of redemption for me and all of mankind.

Petition:Lord, grant that my prayer may always have the quality of complete and total confidence in you.

1. Purify Our Friendship with Christ in Prayer.

Today’s Gospel passage is one of the three parables Luke records from Christ’s public ministry concerning prayer. The passage of the “importunate friend” invites us to persistent prayer. Friends can usually ask other friends for special favors especially if there is an urgent need. Helpfulness in time of need is one proof of a loyal friend. Hopefully we’ve all had experiences of others calling on us in their time of need. This would be a sign that they consider us their true friends. Our Lord wants to be our true friend. But all too often our hearts aren’t set on our friendship with Christ, and we allow other loves and interest that aren’t of Christ to enter into the sanctuary of our heart. How do I know God has answered my prayers? Is it because I get what I want or is it because I get what God thinks is best for me? In my prayer am I ready to open my heart and life to greater things, higher ideals, a deeper love?

2. Perseverance in Prayer.

In this parable Our Lord makes it clear that if the friendship is not strong enough to answer the request of a friend, persistence will. Our Lord wants us to fight against all temptations of doubt and lack of trust when our prayers seem unanswered. We should never doubt God’s friendship towards us. Have we forgotten that we are praying to the omnipotent God? In him all things are possible! If it seems we are not getting what we want, these trials can serve Our Lord in maturing our faith and getting us to trust more in his loving providence. Remember the words of Scripture: “My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing” (Sirach 2:1). “Consider the generations of old and see: has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed? Or has anyone persevered in the fear of the Lord and been forsaken? Or has anyone called upon him and been neglected?” (Sirach 2:10). Remain hopeful and persevere in prayer!

3. God’s Goodness is Always Beyond Our Expectations.

We put God’s goodness on trial when we are called on to wait for Our Lord. We trust so much in our own goodness and so little in God’s! Do we forget so easily how Christ suffered for our redemption? Why cannot we then endure even a slight inconvenience out of faith in Christ’s goodness? For the one who trusts in the Lord in the time of trial Our Lord promises, “How much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13). The Father’s greatest gifts are yet to come. And his greatest gift is his very divine life. Did not Our Lord commend Solomon for asking for wisdom rather than material goods? (1 Kings 3:5-14). Did not Christ promise to send the Paraclete to teach us all things? (John 14:25-27; 15:26; 16:7-15). We should seek the Kingdom of God first, persevering in our prayer until Our Lord brings it to fulfillment. With his wisdom and love God answers all prayers.

Dialogue with Christ: Oh Lord it is you who say to me, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Grant me confidence in your words, for you countlessly back them up with mighty signs of love and predilection in my life. If I must wait on your response to my prayer, purify me of selfishness that keeps me from trusting you and your supreme goodness. Help me to be patient in trials and comfort those who suffer until you come in your glory to remove every tear and sadness from our hearts.

Resolution: I will pray the rosary of Our Lady today with special fervor, recollection and confidence in her intercessory power for the needs of world peace.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time “Prayer Has an Important Place in Our Continuing Conversion”

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”


Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the master of the universe, and yet you wish to listen to me and guide me. You know all things past, present and future, and yet you respect my freedom to choose you. Holy Trinity, you are completely happy and fulfilled on your own, and yet you have generously brought us into existence. You are our fulfillment. Thank you for the gift of yourself. I offer the littleness of myself in return, knowing you are pleased with what I have to give.

Petition: Lord, teach me through the “Our Father” to pray more deeply.

1. Traditional Prayers Teach Us the Correct Attitudes to Have towards God: What better prayer could we devise than a prayer using the very words Jesus taught us here? Yet the “Our Father” is a traditional prayer, a prayer with set words, prone to be recited merely by rote. But in fact, traditional prayers are an invitation to meditate, set up in a way that appeals to beginners. In the “Our Father”, as in all traditional prayers, we repeat phrases that express the essence of a correct relationship with God. Whether we already hold these attitudes in our heart or not, the beauty of traditional prayers is not what we say, but how we say it. If we pray these words, trying to make them our own, conforming our heart to the attitudes they express, then little by little we will form a Christian heart, a heart that loves the way it should.

2. Traditional Prayers Can Change My Heart and Draw It to God: When I first turned to the Lord, I had a lot to work on. Most people do. I didn’t love the way I should have. I was flawed in many other ways. One of the things that helped me was the “Our Father” as well as other traditional prayers. When we first come to the Lord, we don’t know how Christians should think, what attitudes a Christian should hold. When we pray the “Our Father” from the heart, it helps our heart to change, to become more Christ-like. It takes only a moment to pray an “Our Father”, but from time to time, we should meditate on the words. Say each phrase and repeat it, not moving on to the next phrase until we feel that we have really gotten to the bottom of what it is saying.

3 Traditional Prayers Fight Off the Attitudes of the World: Our conversion to Christ is a change of attitudes from those of the world to those of a Christian. Every day, the world proposes its attitudes as something good that should be lived. But often what the world proposes as good is actually harmful to us. How do we resist? By constantly repeating to myself and meditating on Christian attitudes. This is what can happen in using traditional prayers. It is a way of helping our heart understand and embrace the Christianity we profess. The Christian who disdains traditional prayers is rejecting a powerful tool of conversion.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, too often I rattle off my prayers without thinking about the attitudes they contain. I want to get the full benefit of all the prayers I say every day. I want to pray these prayers more often, especially the “Our Father,” since it is the prayer that you, yourself, taught me.

Resolution: Today I will pray my traditional prayers with special attention and with the conviction that they will instruct me and change me in a way that leads me closer to God.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time “Prayer Is the Lifeblood of My Relationship with Jesus”

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary, who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply: "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the master of the universe, and yet you wish to listen to me and guide me. You know all things past, present and future, and yet you respect my freedom to choose you. Holy Trinity, you are completely happy and fulfilled on you own, and yet you have generously brought us into existence. You are our fulfillment. Thank you for the gift of yourself. I offer the littleness of myself in return, knowing you are pleased with what I have to give.

Petition: Lord, help me to learn how to pray better.

“More Things Are Wrought By Prayer Than This World Dreams of”: Many good people see prayer as a weak thing that really doesn’t help. So they put their effort into doing great projects, into doing as much as they can to bring about good in the world. This is a good thing. But prayer is essential. Even if I manage to involve thousands of others in my project, I will still not accomplish as much as when I get God involved. Getting God involved through prayer is the first and the most important thing to do if we are going to accomplish anything. As King Arthur says to Sir Bedivere in Tennyson’s Morte d’Arthur, “More things are wrought by prayer/ Than this world dreams of.”

Persevere in Prayer with Love: Many critics of prayer complain that they pray a lot, but it doesn’t seem to do any good. Well, there are a couple of things to say about that. First of all, there needs to be love for God in my heart. God needs to be someone familiar to me, a friend. In asking for a favor, I expect to get a greater response from someone I know, someone who is close to me, than from a stranger. Imagine if there was someone I barely knew, and the only time I saw him was when he needed a favor from me. Would I be inclined to give him what he needs? Second, I need to persevere. Like the Canaanite woman who asked Jesus to cure her daughter, I have to persevere in prayer when things are difficult. Her perseverance increased her faith, and in the end it got her what she wanted. If I persevere in prayer with love, I will get all that I need.

Cooperate with God’s Plan Instead of Insisting on Your Own: I need to remember that every prayer has its effect. How often am I disappointed when I don’t get what I’m asking for? Am I open enough in my prayer to let God work as he wants; to follow his plan and not mine? Do I force him to refuse my request by making it so narrow that there is no way to incorporate it into his plan? Even if I don’t see the results of my prayer, that doesn’t mean God is not listening. God always rises to the occasion and will often do something a lot better than what I wanted him to do. He does what is best for me, even if it does not entirely conform to my plan. I may never know or realize – in this life – the specifics of how God listened to my prayers. It takes faith to accept this.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, whatever project I undertake, help me to remember to start it with prayer, pray while I am doing it, and finish it with prayer. I want to be close to you like Mary. I want to serve you like Martha. Help me to find the right order and balance in my life.

Resolution: When I consider the biggest thing I am doing for God today, I will be sure to ask him in prayer to bless it.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time “That Leads to eternal Life”

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.


A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.

The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Introductory Prayer: Almighty and ever-living God, I seek new strength from the courage of Christ our shepherd. I believe in you, I hope in you, and I seek to love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. I want to be led one day to join the saints in heaven, where your Son Jesus Christ lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

Petition: Jesus, may I love as you have loved me.

Teacher, What Must I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?

Since the human soul is spiritual, its longings are infinite in scope, and so we naturally want to live an eternity of happiness, an eternity full of life. Yet this scholar of the law has keenly perceived that eternal life is more than just the next step after death. I must do something in order to inherit it. My existence and my redemption are totally unmerited gifts from God: I never asked him for the gift of life nor did I ask him to die for me, yet here I am, alive and redeemed. What is more, I can never earn either existence or God’s free love. Yet there is at least an aspect of eternal life that derives from my merit. The quality of my eternal life corresponds to the quality of my love and the goodness of my deeds on this side of eternity.

What Is Written in the Law? 

The response of Jesus verifies a profoundly Catholic understanding of reality. The scholar’s question could be put in another way: “What must I do to be saved?” One would expect the response to be: “Believe, have faith!” Yet Jesus already knows that this man has faith. He confirms that faith is certainly necessary for salvation, but that faith must be translated into love for us to have eternal life. When Jesus says, “What is written in the law,” he presupposes faith in God, the author of the moral law. But in addition, he is inviting him to apply his faith to living the law in love. Faith and works are inseparable. “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever keeps his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection” (1 John 2:4-5).

Do This and You Will Live: 

With these words Jesus brings the lesson to a full conclusion. By loving as the Good Samaritan loves, we are on the path to a life that is never-ending, a life that we naturally long to experience and possess. We must always trust Jesus when we find that he places us in situations that stretch our love and generosity to limits that often hurt. He knows that we long for eternal life, but he also knows that the path to that life is a love that purifies, stretches, and demands our all. Therefore, Jesus invites us to follow him down the road of life-giving love. Every crucifix reminds us of this self-giving love that leads to life.

Conversation with Christ: Blessed Lord, increase my faith so that I may see you in every person I meet. Strengthen my hope that I may trust firmly that you will give me all I need to love as you ask. Deepen my love that I may experience the joy that comes from giving and not counting the cost. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus. 

Resolution: Today I will do three hidden acts of charity.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time “The Gift of Life”

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again, he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘they will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’? Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.


Introductory Prayer: Lord, though I cannot see you with my eyes, I believe you are present to me now, in my innermost being, and that you know me far better than I know myself. I also know that you love me much more than I love my own self. Thank you for loving and watching over me, though I don’t deserve your love. In return, I offer you my sorrow for my sins and my hopes to love you more each day.

Petition: Sanctify me in my work, Lord. May it bring me closer to you.

1. God Entrusts Us with What He Values: It’s one thing to purchase an already functional property. It’s quite another thing to purchase a rundown property and fix it up yourself. Once tidied up, the latter is worth much more to you. It has become the fruit of your sweat and blood. It is not simply a possession; it is a part of you. In today’s Gospel, the landowner purchased the land and did the work himself to set up the vineyard before he handed it over to the tenants. When he entrusted it to them, he was not simply looking for a profit, but for someone to manage his vineyard. He valued it greatly, greatly enough to risk the life of his son. Christ has established his vineyard—the Church—and put it into our hands. Christ pays us the compliment of entrusting us with his work, with what he values. He not only gives us a job to do, but mysteriously puts the eternal salvation of other souls in our hands.

2. He Is Patient with Our Failures: The landowner did not stay around to supervise the tenants tightly. He did not even lay down rules or specify methods of cultivation. The master left the tenants to do their job as they saw fit. God is not a tyrannical taskmaster. He knows that laboring in his vineyard is hard work. At harvest time the master sent messenger after messenger. He did not become irate or condemn the tenants after one messenger had been abused and another mistreated. Rather, he sends them his son: he does everything possible to bear with their egotism and inspire them with his understanding and generosity.

3. God Is Equally Repulsed by Our Inactivity as with Our Iniquity: “Because you are neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15). The graver sin for the Pharisees was not what they decided, but rather their selfish and blind sterility in choosing not to decide. When Christ levies the sentence against the Pharisees, he does not say, “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that respects life” (as serious as this is); rather, he chides them for not producing fruit. Note that the sentence is essentially equally severe: the one offense takes life, the other refuses to give it.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, your hands knew human labor, and you sanctified your life and the lives of those around you through your toil. Help me to see the virtue you teach. Help me to return all my talents to you by the work of my hands and mind. I want to be your working apostle.

Resolution: I will accomplish today an apostolic task that I have been putting off.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary “Better Than Success”

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”


Introductory Prayer: Jesus, I approach you in prayer, knowing that these are some of the most important moments of the day. This time I spend with you helps put the rest of the day in perspective and gives me a sense of my total dependence on you. With childlike simplicity I trust in your loving providence. Though I am unworthy to be in your presence, I at least want to offer you my best effort during this prayer, seeking only to please you.

Petition: Let me see, Holy Spirit, that the most important thing in life is to reach heaven, and to act as if I really believe that.

Name-dropping: The disciples marvel at the power of Jesus’ name, even before demons. Such is the great power of Christ in the world. “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). Christ, as the Messiah who came to redeem us, is in a league by himself. Thus, all authentic devotion, be it to Mary, be it to a favorite patron saint, only has sense insofar as it leads us to Christ. He is and remains the best model for us. As Vatican II teaches, Christ “fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Gaudium et Spes, 22). Is there anyone I put ahead of Christ in my life?

The Ledger: Jesus seems to shrug off the victories over Satan. What he deems more important for his disciples is that their names are written in heaven. Indeed, Christianity is about more than just defeating the devil. Ours is an eminently positive faith, designed to help us grow in our love for God and in our imitation of the virtues of Christ. As an exercise in love, it is open-ended, always inviting us to do more for others and for Christ. Love knows no limits, so we shouldn’t think that we “have arrived.” Do I understand that I’m called to love and to imitate Christ till the last moment of life?

Model Son: Love drives Christ, specifically love for his heavenly Father. The realization that he does his Father’s will impels Christ to undergo hardships, tiredness, hunger and rejection. But he won’t be deterred. As a young man in love, Christ seems to have an endless reserve of energy for the sake of his Beloved. It is his secret source of strength, so to speak. Thus he teaches us a deep truth of human nature. “Man cannot live without love,” wrote Pope Saint John Paul II in his first encyclical. “He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him.” If ever we feel burned out by the world, we should ask ourselves, “How much do I love others? Do I gladly sacrifice myself for others? Do I seek the good of others first?”

Conversation with Christ: My faith is first and foremost a relationship with you, Lord. It requires a constant response of love on my part. Help me be generous in responding to your inspirations toward love.

Resolution: I will show thanks for my faith by doing an extra act of charity today.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Friday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time “One Life to Live”

Jesus said to the Pharisees: "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man´s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ´Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.´ Abraham replied, ´My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.´ He said, ´Then I beg you, father, send him to my father´s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.´ But Abraham replied, ´They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.´ He said, ´Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.´ Then Abraham said, ´If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.´"


Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for these moments of prayer. Thank you for this opportunity to enter into dialogue with you, making you the priority of my day and week. Help me be a more faithful follower and effective instrument in order to reflect your love to all my brothers and sisters.

Petition:Lord, grant me the grace to realize how fleeting life on earth really is. Please help me to see that my time for serving you is limited and that you have given me gifts in order to be your apostle.

1. Poor Lazarus. The figure of Lazarus reminds us of God’s preferential love for the poor, especially the poor of heart. Indeed God had mercy on Lazarus who, upon his death, was carried to the “bosom of Abraham.” In the context of this passage, though, God’s love for Lazarus calls each one of us to ask ourselves whether we practice a similar love. It is so easy to think that what we have is due to some merit on our part and that those less fortunate than ourselves are undeserving of those same gifts. The Holy Spirit wants to remind us that everything we possess is from God. Furthermore, we have received it for a purpose: to serve others, especially by helping to bring them closer to God. Do I recognize the poor Lazarus in anyone that I meet during a typical day?

2. The Rich Man. The rich man in this passage did not realize what his life and mission were all about. Blinded by material goods, he put all of his hope in the good things of this world and totally missed the fact that God expected much more from him. Most tragically, he completely failed to take notice of anyone but himself. He was so accustomed to being served by others that he even maintained this attitude in the afterlife: “Father Abraham…send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool my tongue.” Instead of forgetting about himself, the self-centeredness of the rich man caused him to forget about those around him. How easy it is to be satisfied with the things of this world and to forget about our lofty mission as Christ’s apostles!

3. One Life to Live. The rich man realizes too late that we have one life to live and one chance to live it. If only he could have warned his brothers about the dangers of living a selfish life! If only he could go back to tell them! If only someone could offer a credible witness on earth so that they might believe that life is so much more than our time on earth! The lesson of this gospel is that we must live only for God and others; a selfish life satisfies neither us nor God. It is an invitation for each of us to live all of the implications of our vocation as Catholic Christians. We must be apostles of Christ’s kingdom. In the words of Fr Marcial Maciel: “You must be convinced of this truth: Without your faithful, constant cooperation Christ cannot accomplish what he intends to do with you. You are Christ’s hands, feet, eyes, mind and heart. You are the channels and means he will use to give himself to humanity.... What a great honor our good Jesus has given you, but what a great responsibility he has laid on your shoulders!” (Letter of Father Marcial Maciel, LC, March 23, 1947).

Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for teaching me through the gospel, for teaching me that life is too short to be spent thinking about myself. You have chosen me not because of any merit of my own, but simply out of your providential love. Help me to see the suffering around me. Never let me be deceived into thinking that my talents are due to some merit of mine. Please, Lord, help me to use my time on earth to be your instrument so that I will never lament losing the opportunity to be an apostle of your kingdom.

Resolution: Lord Jesus Christ, I promise today to seize at least one opportunity to be an apostle by overcoming selfishness and reflecting your love to someone in need.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Thursday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time “Bumper Crop”

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ´Peace to this household.´ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ´The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.´ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ´The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.´ Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town."


Introductory Prayer: Good Jesus, thank you for this opportunity to speak with you again and to listen to you. I know that you have longed for this moment we will spend together. You silently wait for hours in the tabernacle, hoping that one of your friends will come to make a visit. You always have something to say when we finally turn to you, so I willingly set aside all distractions and give you my undivided attention.

Petition: Grant me, Lord, the grace to accept your instructions with a great spirit of simplicity.

The Harvest: The Holy Spirit works constantly to stir up souls and prompt them to turn their lives toward God. He nudges them when they listen to Scripture or a homily. He speaks to them in the little events of day-to-day life. But there is often one other ingredient he uses to reach souls: He uses us. He uses our example, our words, our drawing close to others. This is why Our Lord speaks of a crop waiting to be harvested. Harvesting is all about toil and timing. Crops not brought in quickly rot in the field. What harvest of souls might Our Lord be asking me to help with? It might be an engaged couple who need to be helped in their faith. It might be a sick relative who needs to prepare spiritually for death. It might be a troubled teen who needs guidance to keep on the right path. All these could be souls who need help now. Will I respond?

Full-time Laborers: Besides the work that all of us are called to do by our baptism, there is also a need for people who dedicate their entire lives to the mission of evangelization. Priests especially are needed, to confect the Eucharist and to grant absolution within the sacrament of reconciliation. The principle outlined in the first point of this meditation applies here as well: The Holy Spirit inspires new vocations, and frequently he depends on others to promote this work. Do I join in this crucial work for the Church? Do I encourage vocations? Do I speak well of priests and religious? Am I willing to let a son or daughter, a brother or sister, pursue a vocation? Do I see that the vocation I encourage today might be the vocation that helps save the soul of a child or grandchildren in the future?

Details Matter: Jesus´ precise instructions to his disciples show that details matter to him. Our Lord doesn´t leave anything to chance. He has a system for how to evangelize, and it is crucial that the disciples follow his orders precisely. This reminds us that work of evangelization and building the Kingdom is Jesus´, and as such he makes the rules. Free-lance evangelization doesn´t substitute for what Christ wants. This principle applies to all walks of life. Hence, there are rules that regulate conduct within marriage and before marriage. There are guidelines as to what lawmakers can and cannot support, and how businesspeople should and should not treat their employees and customers. Might I think that I´m exempt from Christ´s rules? Might I be living my faith on my terms, rather than on Christ´s?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me avoid fooling myself that I´m doing your will, when in fact I might be following my own whims. Let me appreciate that there is a teamwork aspect to the Christian life that helps me grow in patience and humility.

Resolution: I will pray or offer up a sacrifice for vocations, or speak of vocations to at least one person, either by word or by e-mail.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi “I Want to Follow You!”

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head." And to another he said, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God." And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home." To him Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."


Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to you today with faith and humility, thanking you for so many gifts. Above all, thank you for calling me into existence, for calling me out of sin and for calling me to serve you in my life as your true disciple.

Petition: Lord, grant me the generosity to follow you wholeheartedly in my particular vocation.

1. My Vocation. Jesus calls each one of us to a particular vocation. Has he called me to the married life? Has he called me to be a parent? Has he called me to the consecrated life? Has he called me to be a priest? The words of this Gospel passage are directed to me: “Follow me.” The most important thing we can do before this invitation of Christ is to be generous. We should respond like Mary: "May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

 2. Excuses. It is so easy to make excuses. What attitude does Jesus expect from us? Generosity. The Lord will be pleased if we put him first in our lives. The things of God should have priority in our lives and everything else -- family, friends, possessions, duties, careers, etc. -- should be relative to God’s plans. All of these will have meaning only in relation to God’s plan. We must first seek the Kingdom of God, and once we set our hand to the plow, there is no looking back.

3. St. Francis. St. Francis of Assisi is a wonderful example of someone who put God first in his life in order to follow his vocation. He was popular and wealthy, from one of the top families in the Italian town of Assisi. However, when he heard the call of Christ to rebuild the Church, St. Francis responded in a radical way. He left his possessions, family and friends in order to dedicate his life fully to Christ. We can all follow the example of St. Francis by responding, seeking to do God’s most holy will in our lives, no matter what the sacrifice.

Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the example of so many saints throughout the history of the Church. I believe that I am called to be a saint too. Help me to live my vocation with the spirit of St. Francis, imitating Christ’s attitude before God’s will: “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Resolution: Lord, today I resolve to stop and pray. I will reflect on my vocation and tell you that I would like you to be “number one” in my life.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time “The Real Fight until the End”

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.


Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. I humbly thank you.

Petition: Lord Jesus, make me meek and humble of heart.

1. An Unpopular Strategy Jesus was like the general of an army. His wasn’t a visible enemy, though; his enemy was the hidden forces of evil itself. Jesus waged war on the devil until the bitter end. “This was the purpose of the appearing of the Son of God, to undo the work of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Jesus marched on toward Jerusalem, and this Gospel described his march with a military term: “resolutely”. Nevertheless, even though he was engaged in fierce combat, Jesus didn’t show it in a way the world understood. Our Lord approached his battle in Jerusalem like a sheep being led to the slaughter. His strategy was humility. Humility was the atomic bomb that he would drop on Satan’s designs and plans. He thus undid the pride and arrogance of Lucifer.

2. A Lesson in Humility St. John the Evangelist is an active participant in this passage. He himself knew that Jesus’ purpose was to wage war (see 1 John 3:8), and he and his brother dreamed of being well-decorated in Jesus’ battalion. They sought places at his right and left hand in the Kingdom (see Mark 10:35-37), and now they seek to use their rank as apostles to bring down revenge on their opponents. Jesus rebuked them, redefining for them the idea of kingship in his reign. They learned quickly that the weapons of attack were kindness, gentleness, charity and humility.

3. Mission Oriented In military standards, a commander-in-chief might have considered the incident in Samaria a defeat. Christ was uprooted from their presence, so humanly speaking, he lost. This however, is not the case. Had Jesus complained or retaliated against the fanaticism of the Samaritans, that would have been a defeat. Instead, the Gospel tells us: “They journeyed to another village.” Simple as that! Christ won victory because he didn’t waste time on fickle, whimsical and capricious expectations; rather as a true soldier, he forgave, forgot and continued to the next town.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, allow me to understand the bumps and bruises of your “boot camp.” It is hard to understand why life is so taxing for my weak nature, but I know that we are at war with the forces of evil. Seeing you die for this war and winning it gives me greater courage to commit my bit to the war effort. Help me to prefer the virtue of humility over my pride. 

Resolution: Today, I will be to the one who does an everyday chore in my house. I will make the coffee for all or wash the dishes to demonstrate to the Lord (and myself) that I can be humble. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Feast of the Guardian Angels “The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven”

The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?" He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."


Introductory Prayer: Father in heaven, thank you for giving me another day to grow in love for you, another day to move ahead in my spiritual life, another day to pray for the souls closest to me. I want only to please you during this brief time of prayer.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace of childlike simplicity.

1. Turning the Tables: The disciples are curious about the Kingdom of Heaven, and their curiosity has a tinge of self-interest. They want to know how to get ahead in the Kingdom. Their very question belies a misunderstanding of Christ. The Kingdom, among other things, is reflected in the Church on earth. And the Church, being universal, is a kind of family that takes in all mankind. If ever we ask, “Who is the greatest in our family?” we can be sure that it is the wrong kind of question. The more appropriate question is: “How can I be a better member of the family? How can I be a better husband? A better wife? A better son or daughter or brother or sister?” That is the question Christ wants us to ask ourselves.

2. Child´s Play: We must not think that Christ had a naive notion of children as little angels who never do wrong. So why does Christ hold up children as models for the rest of us? In part, it is their simplicity, their tendency to trust. They might not understand why a parent tells them something, but they likely will accept it because they realize it comes from someone who loves them. The spiritual life requires that same kind of trust. We might not understand completely why God asks us to do something, but if there´s a basic trust and openness to him, it is easier to follow his commands. Many people, unfortunately, squander what should be the most productive years of their lives because they doubt God and his Church. They complicate things, only to find years later the wisdom of what Our Lord was trying to tell them. By then, their faults can be forgiven, but not undone. Once a vase is broken, it can be fixed but it will never be the same as if it had never broken. Am I saying no to God because of a lack of trust?

3. Angelic Aid: Prayers to guardian angels used to be popular with Catholics. It is fitting that we pray to them, because each of us has one. "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life," writes St. Basil (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 336). Our angel reflects God´s loving providence for our welfare and protection. The world is a moral minefield, waiting for us to make the wrong step. Our angel helps us make it through this valley of tears. Do I ever think to pray to my angel?

Conversation with Christ: The simplicity of children can make me look foolish by comparison. I believe in you and trust you, Lord. Help me to translate that trust into serenity and simplicity. Let me accept the crosses of daily life with calmness, seeing your loving designs behind them.

Resolution: I will say “yes” to the next difficult thing someone asks of me, so long as it is something morally good.


Señor de los Milagros / Lord Of the Miracles 

Oración al Señor de los milagros para ovaciones difíciles

Explanation in English

Quien es el Señor de los milagros?

“El Señor de los Milagros de las Nazarenas, más comúnmente llamado Señor de los Milagros, es una imagen de Jesucristo originalmente pintada en una pared de adobe, ubicada tras el Altar Mayor del santuario de Las Nazarenas de Lima (Perú) y venerada en Lima y diversas partes del mundo”

Quien lo pinto?

“El Señor de los Milagros, Cristo de Pachacamilla, Cristo Morado, Cristo Moreno o Señor de los Temblores es una imagen de Cristo en la cruz pintada en una pared de adobe ubicada en el Altar Mayor del Santuario de Las Nazarenas, en Lima. Esta imagen fue hecha por un esclavo de origen angoleño llamado Pedro Dalcón”

Cuando sale imagen?

“El mayordomo de la Hermandad del Señor de los Milagros, Manuel Orrillo, informó que como es de costumbre el sábado 1 de octubre se realizará la primera procesión. El Cristo de Pachacamilla saldrá del convento de las hermanas nazarenas para llegar al templo donde reposará todo el mes”

Dónde se encuentra la procesión del Señor de los Milagros?

Comenzó la tercera salida de la imagen del Señor de los Milagros. Desde temprano, miles de fieles recorren las calles de la capital como muestra de fe. Sigue en esta nota los detalles y la ubicación de la procesión en tiempo real

Cómo se celebra la fiesta del Señor de los Milagros?

Actualmente la procesión del Señor de los Milagros, recorre las calles limeñas todos los años en el mes de Octubre desde 1687, trayendo consigo bendiciones de unión, esperanza, fervor católico y tradición a todos los devotos del Cristo de Pachacamilla.

Himno

Procession from view from a drone,click the link below: 

Procesión - Peru - vista desde Drone


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time “Sharing in the Labor of the Father’s Vineyard”

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.” 


Introductory Prayer: Father, here I am before you, ready to open my heart to you. I believe that you are my God, my Creator. I am confident that you are leading me home to you day by day. You wish to draw me closer to you, because you have given me your only Son as my Redeemer. I love you and wish to cooperate with your loving designs for my salvation and the salvation of countless souls. Here I am, Lord, to do your will!

Petition: Lord, help me to cooperate generously in your work of salvation.

Saying “Yes, But No.” It seems that the longer we have been following Jesus, the more we are like the second son in the parable. We have said “Yes” to God. Our intention is to follow him, but in the end, we don’t seem to follow him very well. We come up short. Then we renew our resolutions to follow him more closely, and before long, we catch ourselves once again using up our time on ourselves and doing very little for him. What’s wrong? We don’t truly want to be like the second son, who said “Yes” only with his lips. In what aspect of my life am I saying, “Yes, but no”?

Doing the Bare Minimum: Isn’t at least part of the problem that Jesus doesn’t come first in our lives? Since we live in a world where many follow him lukewarmly––if at all––, it’s easy to think we are doing a wonderful, even exceptional, job with the way we practice our faith. It’s easy to think this way even when we’re doing little more than the bare minimum, or perhaps living with a fatal flaw in some basic virtue like charity or purity. What if we were evaluated in our Christianity the way we would be evaluated for a job? Would we keep that job if we never worried about doing more than the bare minimum, or if we lacked one of the basic skills needed for it? Why do I think I can get away with shoddy work when it comes to Jesus? Do I forget that God the Father invites me to work in his vineyard, the Church, not as a servant, but as his son/daughter?

I Am Crucial for the Salvation of Souls: Following Jesus is the single most important thing I have to do in my life. It is more important than any job I could ever have. He has given me a mission in my life similar to his own mission. Our Lord wishes me to earn graces not only for myself but for many souls out there whom I may never even know. These graces could be crucial for the salvation of many souls. Certainly, if I am married, my spouse and children would be the first ones to benefit from the graces I gain through my prayers, good works and sacrifices. But in addition, I have no way of knowing how many others will depend on my holiness. I need to be ready at any time to bear witness to Jesus and to be a faithful instrument of his grace for whomever he places in my life.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, I am preparing myself to celebrate the beginning of your mission of salvation. Help me to understand the importance of the part of your mission you have entrusted to me, so I can live it well as you hope I will. Help me to be more faithful to the daily living of my Christian life and to give witness to you in all situations. Help me to guide others to you with real Christian charity, not pride, so they will not be repelled by my behavior, but drawn to you. Help me to be the light to my family that you want me always to be.

Resolution: What part of my mission do I do the most poorly? I will take some time to think about how I will accomplish it better today and put it into action.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church “Stumbling Block”

At a time when all were amazed at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples, “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men." But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.


Introductory Prayer:"O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water … My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:1,8). When we were lost in sin you came to bring your mercy and goodness. Come now my God to remind me of all your presence means, to remember the misery you have saved me from. Help me to be astonished by your works -- most astonished at the works you do deep in my heart and soul. Seeing all you do makes it easier for me to hope in the good things you promise. Let me constantly grow in faith in your word. Help me hope in your promise. Grant that I may love as you love.

Petition:Your plan is always better Lord. Help me to remember this even when I don’t understand.

1. A Contradiction. 

The words are clear enough, yet the apostles struggle to understand. It is impossible that their Master could be betrayed. He who had conquered devils, how could he be a prisoner? He who brought the dead back to life … it was impossible, unfathomable. Until he explained himself more clearly there was no more to be said. The apostles were troubled and afraid, but did not ask. Certainly he would soon explain it to them.

2. Light of Faith. 

“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). The blind stumble because they don’t see. Placed in the dark we are all equally blind. He who makes the light shine in the darkness, as seen in the account of creation, is also able to bring light to our spiritual darkness. He makes us see what is otherwise beyond us. What the disciples need when Jesus speaks of his coming passion and death is not more explanation but faith. Faith is God’s gift enabling us to believe, without doubting, all that He has revealed to us. And do we ever need it! We demand explanations when we should be asking for stronger faith.

3. He Keeps His Word. 

The Lord keeps faith. He fulfills all his promises. All that is promised in the Old Covenant is perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ. John the Baptist sent messengers asking, “Are you the one?” Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind recover their sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the good news preached to them. Blest is the man who finds no stumbling block in me" (Matthew 11:4-6). Jesus is faithful, and yet faith is never easy for us, especially when God’s plans run counter to our own. This is true for us, true for the disciples, true even for Mary: “They did not grasp what was said to them” (Luke 2:50). In Mary’s case, however, incomprehension leads her to reflect and rely on God’s unfailing Word: "Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and loyally persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross" (Lumen Gentium, 58). The disciples’ incomprehension too, will eventually lead them to reflect and rely on God. How about our incomprehension, as we face the suffering of this life? Our lives, like Mary’s and the disciples’, needs to progress day by day in faith and understanding.

Dialogue with Christ: Jesus, my Lord and my God, you accompany me every step of the way. Thank you. You answer every one of my needs. You are faithful to every promise. When I am tempted to doubt remind me of your love, especially in your suffering upon the cross for me. I who am so weak would have chosen an easier path, while you spared nothing in giving me your goodness and love. Help me to believe and actively accept your will in my life. Help me to embrace even the cross with the love you teach me. And let Mary, the Mother you gave me at the foot of the cross, accompany me along God´s mysterious path!

Resolution: Today, I will pray a decade of the rosary with family or friends.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Feast of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael, Archangels “Angelic Company”

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I approach this time of prayer earnestly. I believe that you have called me to be faithful and loving in your service. I thank you along with Mary, the saints and the holy angels for the marvelous works of creation. I will humbly try to reflect your greatness to all I meet today by honestly fulfilling my duty.

Petition: Lord, help me be an instrument of your peace and love.

Honesty Is the Best Policy: Once as Jesus spent the whole night in prayer, he searched for apostles that would be honest and sincere. Jesus took a liking to Nathanael when he discovered an Israelite without guile in his heart. Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him. It seems that Jesus admired this angelic trait in men. As soon as he saw Philip bringing Nathanael forward to meet him, Jesus immediately noticed the virtue Nathanael lived. If I want to be highly thought of by Jesus, then I need to be sincere in mind and heart.

The Holy Angels: The Church venerates today the holy service of three of the archangels. They stand out for their honest love for God’s most holy will. With such fidelity, St. Gabriel faithfully delivered the most important messages of human history to Zacharias and Mary. St. Michael wrestled with Lucifer and cast him out of heaven. St. Raphael came to the aid of Tobias in the Old Testament. In these angels there isn’t any duplicity of heart. God asks them a favor and they truly fulfill it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to implement our talents and gifts toward a service of this nature? Wouldn’t it be great to be honest instruments of God’s infinite love like these three archangels?

The Lord’s Gaze: Jesus looks into the heart and doesn’t judge by appearances. Christ’s gaze penetrated Nathanael on this occasion. Jesus penetrates the motives of my heart even though they are kept hidden from the others. Jesus is the first one to know if I am true to the faith I have received. If I am faithful to the dictates of my conscience and obey God’s lead, in private or in public, then I have nothing to hide and nothing to lose. If on the other hand, I am dwindling in my surrender to Christ by boredom and monotony, then it is about time I sought renewal. Christ needs me! How many are dying and fading away because they lack Christ and his love? I, in turn, have been graced by many special spiritual favors! Jesus gazes into my eyes and dreams of my fidelity and love.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for the example of these three archangels and of the holy apostles. The holy apostles ended up shedding their blood for you and the holy angels aid us on our journey towards you. Lord, seeing so many lacking the faith, I resolve to be your tireless instrument, like them, so that many may come to praise you for all eternity.

Resolution: I will visit the Eucharist (if this is impossible, then kneel before the crucifix) and repeat confidently, Lord I wish to be your instrument – help me!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time “Conversion of the Heart”

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him.


Introductory Prayer: As I enter your presence today, Lord, I know that I am not worthy to be with you. “But you alone, Lord, have the words of eternal life and I believe; I have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” I kneel before you in contrition, adoration and hope in your mercy.

Petition: Help me, Lord, to be converted to you more fully.

1. Our Daily Conversion to God: Herod’s desire to see Jesus is not precisely based on faith or on motives of conversion. During the entire time of his imprisonment, John the Baptist had constantly invited Herod to conversion. “Herod was in awe of John, knowing him to be a good and upright man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him” (Mark 6:20). Yet Herod continually postponed converting. We need to convert daily. Itccccccccccc isn’t enough just to say that we have accepted Jesus as our personal lord and savior and have been “born again,” we have to start living that new life, renewing our option for Christ each day. Today I want to convert from my weaknesses and shortcomings. I want to draw closer to you, Lord.

2. What Is the Truth? There comes a moment in life when we have to look in the mirror and see ourselves as we truly are. It takes courage to look directly and ask, “Who are you really? What are you making of yourself and the talents God has given you? What is the truth?” Now, not everything in Herod’s life is relative; there is one truth he does accept: “John I beheaded.” This could have been the point of departure for true conversion and acceptance of God’s mercy in his life. He at least recognized he had made one mistake. All that he was hearing about Jesus made his conscience uneasy. He was afraid that his sin was coming back to haunt him. Conversion always begins with the acceptance of our failures and inclination to evil. It is said that St. Philip Neri used to look at himself in the mirror in the morning and say: “Lord, watch out for Philip today lest again he betray you.”

3. Blessed Are the Pure of Heart… Jesus himself taught us in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.” Explaining this beatitude a little more in detail St. Gregory of Nyssa says: “The man who sees God possesses in this act of seeing all there is of the things that are good. By this we understand life without end, eternal incorruption and undying beatitude. With these we shall enjoy the everlasting kingdom of unceasing happiness; we shall see the true light and hear the sweet voice of the Spirit; we shall exult perpetually in all that is good in the inaccessible glory. Seeing and possessing God is the result of our daily conversion. It is the promise of peace of heart, true happiness and everlasting life. It is the fullness of everything man can desire in this life and in the life to come. It is the very meaning of our existence. What more could we ask for?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I truly long to see your face. Do not hide your face from me. Help me to accept myself as I truly am and strive to overcome my weaknesses and my inclination to sin. Help me purify my heart so that I might see you in my everyday life and possess you forever in the life to come.

Resolution: I will seek true conversion today by reciting a sincere Act of Contrition and trying to attend Mass or at least make a visit to Christ in the Eucharist.