Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"rivers running to Thy sea"


Lord, we are rivers running to Thy sea,
Our waves and ripples all derived from Thee:
A nothing we should have, a nothing be,
Except for Thee.
Sweet are the waters of Thy shoreless sea,
Make sweet our waters that make haste to Thee;
Pour in Thy sweetness, that ourselves may be
Sweetness to Thee.

Christina Rossetti

Monday, April 29, 2013

Feast of St. Catherine of Siena

"We are put into this life as into a battlefield, and we should fight valiantly, neither avoiding blows nor turning back, but keeping our eyes on our leader, Christ crucified who persevered faithfully and never failed to obey His Father's will and work towards our salvation unto the end. He returns to the eternal Father with the victory he has gained of having drawn the human race out of darkness and restored it to the light of grace. This caused his death: he inflicted death upon himself to bring us back to life; by his death he destroyed our death. The blood and determination of this captain should inspire courage in us for every battle: by enduring all things for love of him we, too, shall return victorious to the city of eternal life."  ~St. Catherine of Siena, Letter 159

Ave Maria!  I very much like the above quote from the writings of St. Catherine of Siena.  She tells it like it is.  As St. Paul wrote so long ago, "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).  The battlefield is quite real, and I cannot escape it.  None of us can.  And the battlefield is not just "out there", either.  It's also within my own heart.  In fact, it's particularly there that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and that I must fight most valiantly lest I be sadly misled by his devious ways.
Scary stuff!  But I have some secret weapons to employ, and I know that they will not fail me because God Himself, who loves me so greatly, has given them to me.  Again to quote St. Paul, I pick where I left off above:  "Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:13-17).
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us to do as you did, "keeping our eyes on our leader, Christ crucified who persevered faithfully and never failed to obey His Father's will and work towards our salvation unto the end".
With God we shall do valiantly.  ~Psalm 60:12

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A New Commandment

I give you a new commandment: love one another. ~John 13:34
“I give you a new commandment, said Jesus: love one another.” But how, we might ask, could he call this commandment new?
Through Moses, he had said to the people of old: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Notice what follows. He was not content simply to say, “I give you a new commandment: love one another.”
He showed the novelty of his command and how far the love he enjoined surpassed the old conception of mutual love by going on immediately to add: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

To understand the full force of these words, we have to consider how Christ loved us. Then it will be easy to see what is new and different in the commandment we are now given.
Paul tells us that “although his nature was divine, he did not cling to his equality with God, but stripped himself of all privilege to assume the condition of a slave. He became as we are, and appearing in human form humbled himself by being obedient even to the extent of dying, dying on a cross.” And elsewhere Paul writes: “Though he was rich, he became poor.”
Do you not see what is new in Christ's love for us? The law commanded people to love their brothers and sisters as they love themselves, but our Lord Jesus Christ loved us more than himself.
He who was one in nature with God the Father and his equal would not have descended to our lowly estate, nor endured in his flesh such a better death for us, not submitted to the blows given him by his enemies, to the shame, the derision, and all the other sufferings that could not possibly be enumerated; nor, being rich, would he have become poor, had he not loved us far more than himself.
It was indeed something new for love to go as far as that!
Christ commands us to love as he did, putting neither reputation, nor wealth, not anything whatever before love of our brothers and sisters. If need be we must even be prepared to face death for our neighbor's salvation as did our Savior's blessed disciples and those who followed in their footsteps.
To them the salvation of others mattered more than their own lives and they were ready to do anything or to suffer anything to save souls that were perishing. I die daily, said Paul. “Who suffers weakness without my suffering too? Who is made to stumble without my heart blazing with indignation?”
The Savior urged us to practice this love that transcends the law as the foundation of true devotion to God. He knew that only in this way could we become pleasing in God's eyes, and that it was by seeking the beauty of the love implanted in us by himself that we should attain to the highest blessings.
~St. Cyril of Alexandria, d.444
 Dear Lord, Lover of Souls, I beg for the grace to die daily so that I may love as You loved.  Amen.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Prayer Need

You have placed my tears in your bottle.  ~Psalm 56:9
Ave Maria!  It is not necessary for me to enumerate here all the sufferings people throughout the world are undergoing these days.  The media does that quite well.  My job is to pray for all our brothers and sisters in their distress.  Oft times I am at a loss for words.  Once again, I turn to the psalms and make those ancient prayers my own.  And, once again, the Living Word of God reminds me of the eternal Truth:  "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you" (Isaiah 54:10).  My Heavenly Father knows...I trust in Him.

With all my voice I cry to the Lord;
with all my voice I entreat the Lord.
I pour out my trouble before him;
I tell him all my distress
while my spirit faints within me.
But you, O Lord, know my path.
To you I cry, O Lord.
I have said, "You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living."
Listen, then, to my cry,
for I am brought down very low.
~Psalm 141:2-4; 6-7

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Finding Pasture

I am the gate; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. ~John 10:9

And this is the temptation to look for other gates or other windows to enter the Kingdom of God. We can only enter by the gate whose name is Jesus. We can only enter by that gate which leads to a path and that path is called Jesus and brings to a life whose name is Jesus. All those who do something else -- says the Lord -- who try to enter through the window, are 'thieves and robbers'. He is simple, the Lord. His words are not complex: He is simple. ~Pope Francis, 4/22/13 Homily

Speed my steps along Your path.
O Lamb of God, I come!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nudibranch Alert!

Ave Maria! This dazzling sea animal is a nudibranch, a shell-less mollusk that is a member of the sea slug family.  There are more than 3,000 known species of the nudibranch, and new ones are being identified almost daily.  They are found throughout the world's oceans, but are most abundant in shallow, tropical waters.  Usually oblong in shape, a nudibranch can be thick or flattened, long or short, ornately colored or drab to match its surroundings. They can grow as small as 0.25 inches or as large as 12 inches long.

Wow!  And I thought that all slugs were dull, ugly, slimy, repulsive creatures not worth a second glance.

I was wrong.

Huh!  What else am I wrong about?

A lot, an awful lot...

Open my eyes, dear Lord, that I may see wondrous things!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Finding Christ

It is You, O Lord, You are the only one.  ~Nehemiah 9:6

When you find Christ, you are satisfied, you desire nothing else, you find peace.  You become a different person.  You live everywhere, wherever Christ is.  You live in the stars, in infinity, in heaven with the angels, with the saints, on earth with people, with plants, with animals, with everyone and everything.  When there is love for Christ, loneliness disappears.  You are peaceable, joyous, full. Neither melancholy, not illness, nor pressure, nor anxiety, nor depression nor hell.

Christ is in all your thoughts, in all your actions. You have grace and you can endure everything for Christ. You can even suffer unjustly. You can endure injustices for Christ, and indeed with joy. Just as He suffered, so you too can suffer unjustly. Did you choose Christ in order to avoid suffering? What does Saint Paul say? I rejoice in my sufferings (Col.1:24). This is our religion: for our soul to awake and love Christ and become holy, to give herself over to divine eros. And so He, too, will love her.

When Christ enters your heart, your life changes. Christ is everything. Whoever experiences Christ within himself, experiences ineffable things -- holy and sacred things. He lives in exultation. These things are true. People have experienced them -- hermits on the Holy Mountain. Continually and with longing they whisper the prayer: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

~Elder Porphyrios

I found Him whom my soul loves.
I held Him and would not let Him go.
Songs 3:4

Monday, April 22, 2013

"The voice of Jesus is unique!"

Ave Maria! Yesterday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, we heard at Mass the Gospel of the Good Shepherd: "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one." (John 10:27-30)

"These four verses contain Jesus’ entire message, the core of His Gospel," Pope Francis stated in his Regina Caeli message of yesterday, adding, "He calls us to participate in His relationship with the Father, and this is eternal life."

The Holy Father then reflected upon this relationship to which our Lord so lovingly invites us. "Jesus wants to establish a relationship with his friends that is a reflection of His relationship with the Father, a relationship of mutual belonging in full trust, in intimate communion. To express this deep understanding, this relationship of friendship, Jesus uses the image of the shepherd with his sheep: he calls them, and they know his voice, they respond to his call and follow him. How beautiful this parable is! The mystery of the voice is suggestive: from our mother's womb we learn to recognize her voice and that of our father, from the tone of a voice we perceive love or disdain, affection or coldness. The voice of Jesus is unique! If we learn to distinguish it, He guides us on the path of life, a path that goes beyond the abyss of death."

In closing, the Holy Father called upon Mary, Mother of Christ our Lord, the woman who said 'yes.' "Mary said 'yes,' all her life! She has learned to recognize the voice of Jesus since she bore him in her womb. Mary, Our Mother, help us to know better the voice of Jesus and follow it, to walk the path of life!"

Dear friends, Jesus our Good Shepherd is calling us here and now. How blessed we are to hear His unique voice. And how blessed we will be if we follow Him. Alleluia!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest. ~Luke 10:2

Ave Maria!  Today is the 50th Anniversary of World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  This year's theme is “Vocations as a sign of hope founded in Faith.”  Today is also Good Shepherd Sunday.  In 1963 during the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI designated Good Shepherd Sunday as World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  You can listen to a Vatican Radio archive relating to this event here.  It is taken from a radio message dated April 11, 1964 and is accompanied by an English translation. 

Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us, His sheep (John 10:15), invites each one of us to follow Him and do likewise.  Today we honor the vocation of each one of us was given at our baptism, rejoicing that through our respective vocations of marriage, priesthood, diaconate, consecrated life, and the single life, our Lord calls us to share more deeply in His abundant life and to proclaim His wondrous love to the whole world.  We pray for each other, that we may be faithful to our God-given vocation.  We also pray for those who are discerning their life vocation, that they may listen prayerfully to the voice of the Good Shepherd calling and leading them.

I found a lovely prayer for today on the Web site for the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, Ohio, and have copied it at the end of this post.  The words in italics at the very end are my own adaptation.

In launching this yearly day of prayer, Pope Paul VI declared: “O Jesus, divine Shepherd of the spirit, you have called the Apostles in order to make them fishermen of men, you still attract to you burning spirits and generous young people, in order to render them your followers and ministers to us."  What a beautiful and powerful prayer to make our own, today and every day!

Blessed be Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd, now and forever!  Amen!  Alleluia!

Gracious God, You have called me to life and gifted me in many ways.
Through Baptism You have sent me to continue the mission of Jesus by sharing my love with others.  Strengthen me to respond to Your call each day.
Help me to become all You desire of me.  Inspire me to make a difference in others’ lives. Lead me to choose the way of life You have planned for me.  Open the hearts of all to listen to Your call.  Fill all with Your Holy Spirit that we may have listening hearts and the courage to respond to You.
Enkindle in my heart and the hearts of others the desire to make the world a better place by serving You and my brothers and sisters in the way You have chosen for me. Amen.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Lord, today you give us your life, you give us yourself. Enter deeply within us with your love. Make us live in your “today”. Make us instruments of your peace!  ~Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, 4/9/09 Homily

This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice in it and be glad.
~Psalm 118(117):24

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"a thurible filled with hidden fire"

And taking the censer, which he hath filled with the burning coals of the altar, and taking up with his hand the compounded perfume for incense, he shall go in within the veil into the holy place.  ~Leviticus 16:12

Throughout my life, I want to be a thurible filled with hidden fire, and may the smoke rising up to You, 0 Living Host, be pleasing to You. I'll feel in my own heart that every little sacrifice arouses the fire of my love for You, but in such a silent and secret way that no one will detect it.  ~St. Maria Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, #751

Thank You, Dear Lord, for my life of love hidden with you.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Asking great things for ourselves...

Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.  ~Psalm 81:10

I feel that the text [“open wide your mouth and I will fill it”] must mean seek for greater blessings than any that you have yet received…. It is a singular fact that the certainty of obtaining is in proportion to the largeness of what you ask. Some men go to God and ask only for temporal favors and, possibly, they do not obtain them. He who would be content with this world will probably never get it -- but he who craves spiritual good may ask with the absolute certainty of receiving it! Christ’s promise is, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” If you ask only for temporal mercies and can be satisfied with them, you may get what you ask. There are gushing springs from which you might drink if you would, but the muddy waters of Sihor are evidently good enough for you.

 But if you ask the Lord for spiritual blessings, He is sure to give them to you. It is more natural for God to give great things than little things -- they are more in His line -- more in His way…. One of the ways of God is to do great things for His people. Some of them sang, “The Lord has done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” So you are more sure of getting blessings from God if you ask Him for great things -- therefore be sure to ask for very great things …. ask for as big things as ever your soul can desire and as big things as the promises of God cover! ….

 Ask great things for yourselves, Brothers. Ask to know all the Truth of God. Ask to know the fullness of God. Ask to know the riches of His Grace. Ask to know “the love of Christ, which passes knowledge.” And when you have asked for all that, ask for holiness -- and do not ask for anything less than perfect holiness. Continue to open your mouth wide that every Grace may be given to you, adding “to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge, and to knowledge, temperance, and to temperance, patience, and to patience, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love.” And do not rest satisfied until you have all these Christian virtues! You may also ask for joy and oh, what an ocean of bliss is before you in the joy of the Lord! In “the peace of God, which passes all understanding,” what a wondrous depth of joy there is laid up in store for you! Our Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” It may be the same with you -- therefore ask for great things! Do not be satisfied with being little Christians -- seek to come to the full stature of men in Christ Jesus! I will be thankful to get just inside the gate of Heaven, but if I can sing more sweetly and if I can have more fellowship with Christ nearer His Throne, why should I not get there? God grant that we may all have that high privilege! 

Dear Lord, Giver of All Good Gifts, I confidently ask You for all the many great things You long to give me and I joyfully thank You for every single one of them.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Mystery of Iniquity

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.  ~2 Thessalonians 2:7

Ave Maria!  Responding to yesterday's bombings in Boston, Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington has written a blog post on the mystery of iniquity, which you can read here.  It is a long reflection but well worth pondering.  Evil is real, and it always wreaks havoc in our world, our lives, our souls.  We can deny the mystery of iniquity, and many people do.  Nevertheless, it exists, and it will remain with us until the end of time.  What Msgr. Pope says about the Boston bombings repeats itself over and over again:  "A story of a terrible fall, a grave wound in the human heart that leads to an obtuse spirit and inclination to evil. Jesus alone can heal and save us from this present evil age (Gal 1:4)."

But thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
~1 Corinthians 15:57

Sunday, April 14, 2013

3rd Sunday of Easter

The Lord appeared once again to his disciples after his resurrection, and questioning Peter, who from fear had thrice denied him, extracted from him a threefold declaration of love.

Christ had been raised to life in the flesh, and Peter to life in the spirit; for when Christ died as a result of the torments he endured, Peter was also dead as a result of denying his master.

Christ the Lord was raised from the dead; Christ the Lord raised up Peter through Peter’s love for him. And having obtained from him the assurance of that love, he entrusted his sheep to Peter’s care.

We may wonder what advantage there could be for Christ in Peter’s love for him. If Christ loves you, you profit, not Christ; and if you love him, again the advantage is yours, not his.

But wishing to show us how we should demonstrate our love for him, Christ the Lord made it plain that it is by our concern for his sheep. "Do you love me?," he asked. "I do love you. Then feed my sheep." Once, twice, and a third time the same dialogue was repeated.

To the Lord’s one and only question, Peter had no other answer than "I do love you." And each time the Lord gave Peter the same command: "Feed my sheep." Let us love one another then, and by so doing we shall be loving Christ.

Christ, the eternal God, was born in time as man. A true member of the human race, he appeared as one of us; but as God in human form he performed many wonderful signs.
As a human being, he suffered much from other human beings; but as God in human form he rose from the dead.

For forty days he lived on earth as one of us; then, before the eyes of his disciples, he ascended to heaven, where, as God in human form, he is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

We believe all these things, though we have never seen them; we are commanded to love Christ the Lord, whom we have never seen. And we all cry out and say that we love Christ.

But listen to John’s words: "If you do not love the brother that you can see, how can you love the God you cannot see?" It is by loving the sheep that you show your love for the shepherd, for the sheep are the members of the shepherd.

Indeed, it was to make the sheep members of his own body that the Lord became one of them himself, that he allowed himself to be led like a lamb to the slaughter, and that he allowed the Baptist to point him out and say to him: "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." Surely a crushing burden for a lamb!

But that lamb possessed tremendous strength. Do you wish to know how much strength was in this lamb? Because the lamb was crucified, the lion was overcome. If he could vanquish the devil by his own death, think with what power he is able to rule the world! May nothing, then, ever be dearer to us than Christ the Lord; let us love him with all our hearts.

~St. Augustine (354-430)

Dear Lord, may I love you in word and in deed.  Amen.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

An Act of Faith

“Lord, I believe. I believe in your love. I believe that your love has saved me. I believe that your love has given me a dignity that I had not. I believe that your love gives me hope."  ~Pope Francis

Ave Maria!  In his homily during Mass on April 11, our Holy Father invited everyone to make an act of faith, saying that it becomes “beautiful to believe in love” because “it is the truth.  It is the truth of our life.”

Many years ago, during a difficult time when my faith was being sorely tested, I sat down and wrote my own little personal act of faith.  I prayed it many times a day, and at night, too, begging our dear Lord to increase and strengthen my wavering faith.  Over 30 years later, I still pray this act of faith several times each day, especially after I receive Holy Communion during daily Mass.  

Dear Lord,
I believe in Your goodness,
I hope in Your mercy,
I trust in Your love.

Dear friends, let us pray for each other that the God of hope will fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope (Rom 15:13).  Deo gratias!  Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Being enveloped by the mercy of God...

How precious is your mercy, O God!  The children of men seek shelter in the shadow of your wings.  ~Psalm 36(35):8

"What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on...  Dear brothers and sisters, let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in his patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to his house, to dwell in his loving wounds, allowing ourselves be loved by him and to encounter his mercy in the sacraments. We will feel his tenderness, so beautiful, we will feel his embrace, and we too will become more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love."  ~Pope Francis, 4/7/13 Homily at St. John Lateran

Dear Jesus, my Crucified Lord and  Savior, within Your wounds, hide me.  There will I feast on Your mercy, there I will sing of Your love.  Amen.  Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All the earth, proclaim the Lord!

The hills are clothed with gladness...
they shout for joy and sing.
~Psalm 64:13-14

V. Christ, in thy resurrection, alleluia.
R. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.
Responsory from Lauds during Paschaltide

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Even the darkness is not dark to you..." ~Psalm 139:12

“Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world.”  ~Henri J.M. Nouwen

"In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  ~John 16:33

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easter Saturday

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb...  John 20:11

In connection with this matter, we ought to ponder what great store of love there was in that woman's heart, who, when even His disciples were gone away, could not tear herself from the grave of the Lord. She sought Him Whom she had not found there, and as she sought, she wept, and the fire of love in her heart yearned after Him, Who she believed had been taken away. And so it came to pass that she, who had lingered to seek Him, was the only one who then saw Him, since the backbone of a good work is endurance, and the voice of the Truth Himself hath said : He that endureth to the end shall be saved (Mt 24:13).  ~Pope St Gregory the Great

Dear Jesus, grant me a share in the love that burned in the heart of St. Mary Magdalene ... love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things ... love that never ends, for it is You Yourself who are Love, You who are the Living One, once dead but now alive for ever and ever (cf. 1 Cor 13:708; Rev. 1:18).  Amen.  Alleluia!

Friday, April 5, 2013

From Awe To Peace

Ave Maria!  This Easter Friday morning in his homily during Mass, Pope Francis reflected on the first reading from Acts 4:1-12 and spoke about the awe of the disciples of Christ.  “The disciples who were witnesses of the lame man's healing and now see Jesus are a bit out of themselves, but not because of some mental illness: outside themselves because of their awe,” the Holy Father said.  He described this awe as "something that drives us out of ourselves, for joy: this is great, it is very great.  This is not mere enthusiasm: even fans in a stadium are enthusiastic when their team wins, right?  No, this is not some enthusiasm, it is something more profound: it is the wonder that comes when we find ourselves with Jesus."

Such awe, Pope Francis stated, is the beginning “of the habitual state of the Christian."  Peace "begins with this joyful wonder in the encounter with Jesus Christ."  It is the gift of our Risen Lord, who “suffered so upon the Cross, but...never lost peace."  This peace, the Holy Father added, "is not our own: it is not sold and we do not buy it."  Rather, we humbly and gratefully receive it from Him who promised us His peace:  "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, do I give unto you" (Jn 14:27).

For He Himself is our peace (Eph 2:14).

Deo gratias, alleluia, alleluia!!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The glory of the Resurrection fills the whole world...

O all ye things that spring up in the earth, bless the Lord.  ~Daniel 3:67

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pope Francis' Regina Caeli for Easter Sunday

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

"Happy Easter to you all! Thank you for coming today, in such large numbers, to share the joy of Easter, the central mystery of our faith. Let us pray that the power of the resurrection of Christ might reach everyone – especially those who suffer – and every place that is in need of trust and hope. 

"Christ has conquered evil fully and finally, but it is up to us, to people in every age, to embrace this victory in our lives and in the realities of history and society. For this reason it seems important to point out that today we ask God in the liturgy: “O God, who give constant increase to your Church by new offspring, grant that your servants may hold fast in their lives to the Sacrament they have received in faith.” (Collect for Monday in the Octave of Easter). 

"Indeed, the Baptism that makes us children of God, and the Eucharist that unites us to Christ, must become life. That is to say: they must be reflected in attitudes, behaviors, actions and choices. The grace contained in the Easter Sacraments is an enormous source of strength for renewal in personal and family life, as well as for social relations. Nevertheless, everything passes through the human heart: if I allow myself to be reached by the grace of the risen Christ, if I let that grace change for the better whatever is not good in me, [to change whatever] might do harm to me and to others, then I allow the victory of Christ to affirm itself in in my life, to broaden its beneficial action. This is the power of grace! Without grace we can do nothing – without grace we can do nothing! And with the grace of Baptism and Holy Communion, we can become an instrument of God's mercy – that beautiful mercy of God. 

"To express in our lives the sacrament we have received: behold, dear brothers and sisters, our daily work – and, I would say, our daily joy! The joy of being instruments of the grace of Christ, as branches of the vine which is Christ himself, inspired by the sustaining presence of His Spirit! We pray together, in the name of the dead and risen Lord, and through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that the Paschal mystery might work deeply in us and in our time, in order that hatred give way to love, lies to the truth, revenge to forgiveness, sadness to joy."
~Pope Francis, Regina Caeli of Easter Sunday, 3/31/13
Dear Jesus, our Risen Lord and Savior, through Your amazing grace, may the Easter Sacraments become life in me – Your life! – and may I become an instrument of Your mercy and joy for the good and salvation of all. Amen. Alleluia!

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Nothing remains as it was before..."

"...New things often frighten us, even the newness that God brings us, the newness that God asks of us.... We're afraid of God's surprises. Dear brothers and sisters, in our lives we are afraid of God's surprises! He always surprises us! That is how the Lord is!

"Brothers and sisters, let's not close ourselves to the newness that God wants to bring to our lives! Often we are tired, disheartened, sad; We feel the weight of our sins and think we're not going to make it. Let's not get locked up in ourselves. Let's not lose our confidence. Let us never give up. There are no situations that God cannot change; there is no sin that He won't forgive if we open ourselves to him....

"Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women [who went to the tomb], but also in our lives and in our story of humanity. Jesus isn't someone who has died. He is risen. He is the Living One! He has not simply come back to life but is life itself because He is the Son of God who is the Living God. Jesus is no longer in the past but lives in the present and is projected toward the future. Jesus is God's eternal 'today'. This is how God's newness presents itself to the eyes of the women, of the disciples, of all of us: victory over sin, over evil, over death, over everything that oppresses our lives and gives them a less human face.

"This is a message that is addressed to me, to you, dear sister, to you, dear brother. How many times do we need Love to tell us: Why do you seek the living one among the dead? Our problems and our everyday worries tend to wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death lies. Let's not look there for He who is alive!

"Accept the Risen Jesus into your life, then. Welcome him as a friend, with confidence. He is life! If up to now you have been distant from him, take a small step: He will welcome you with open arms. If you are indifferent, take the risk: You will not be disappointed. If following him seems difficult to you, don't be afraid: entrust yourself to him and rest assured that He is close to you. He is with you and will give you the peace you are seeking and the strength to live as He wants you to."

~Pope Francis, Homily for Easter Vigil, 3/30/13

Dear Jesus, how I love Your surprises.
Dear Friend, how I love You!
Amen.  Alleluia!