Friday, January 30, 2015

"What, though, is most important?"

“People go, yes, they look for God, but they also look for health, for healing – and they threw themselves upon Him to touch Him, that some power might go out of Him and heal them.”

 “Jesus saves! .... these healings, these words that reach the heart, are the sign and the beginning of  salvation – the path of salvation for many who begin to go to hear Jesus or to ask for a healing and then come back to Him and feel salvation.... What, though, is most important?  That Jesus heals?  No, that is not the most important thing.  That He teaches us?  That is not the most important thing [either].  [The most important thing] is that He saves! He is the Savior and we are saved by him: this is the most important thing, and this is the strength of our faith."

"... [may] our Christian life may be ever more confident that we have been saved, that we have a saviour, Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, who intercedes. May the Lord, the Holy Spirit, enable us to understand these things."

~Pope Francis, 1/22/14 Homily on Mark 3:1-12 
(healing of the man with a withered hand) 

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed:
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:14

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Best Way to Evangelize

Practicing charity is the best way to evangelize.  ~Pope Francis, 01/24/2015 Tweet

Let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.  ~1 John 3:18
Dear Jesus, I know that You will give me many opportunities to evangelize today.  With the help of Your grace, may I use each one to proclaim the glory of Your love and the joy of Your salvation. Amen! Alleluia!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"live like children, birds, and flowers"

Never burden yourself by looking far ahead. Always live one day at a time. If you can do this, you will live like children, birds, and flowers. For them each day is a lifetime. Every day unfolds new joy, new hope, even if every day may have brought you new shadows and new nightfall. Every day you may have broken down in guilt and failure. Every day may have shown you your helplessness a thousand fold. Yet each new day brings new sun, new air, and new grace.  ~Eberhard Arnold
This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice in it and be glad.
~Psalm 118:24

Dear Father, today I will live in the freedom and joy of being Your beloved child. Amen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Be reformed in the newness of your mind." ~Romans 12:2

"Oh, the interests of Jesus!  Would to God they burned at our hearts all the day long!  Life is short, and we have much to do, but prayer is mighty, and love stronger than death, and so let us all set to work, with singing and with joy, angels and men, sinners and saints, for the interests, the dear interests, the sole interests, of Jesus!"  ~Rev. Frederick Faber

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Prayer for Everyone

The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.  

~Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Thank you, dear Jesus, for giving us Your Blessed Mother and her holy rosary!

Friday, January 16, 2015

"the sweetest words of love"

He knows the sweetest words of love; he murmurs them into the ears of our poor ravished souls. He has aroused in us a new kind of hunger. All these words, all these parables, are our food. We taste them; we roll them around on our tongues. They are not food for the mind alone; the whole man -- heart, stomach, senses, imagination, memory -- is sustained by them. We receive something that complete and confirms intuition, a state of becoming. Since there is a Good Shepherd, why would we not be his sheep?  Paul Claudel
How sweet are Thy words to my palate! more than honey to my mouth.  ~Psalm 119:103

Thursday, January 15, 2015

No Bitterness Allowed!

The big obstacle to God’s grace is bitterness. Some people complain because they are not blessed by God as others have been. They do not realize that in thinking of themselves, they open the door to bitterness and close it to God’s grace. No matter what happens, we dare never be bitter or resentful.  ~Anna Beahm Mow

Put a new and right spirit within me.  ~Psalm 51:10

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hold fast to His dear hand

"Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life with fear; rather, look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto -- do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and, when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you to-day will take care of you to-morrow, and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering. or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations."  ~Saint Francis de Sales 

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.  ~Jeremiah 31:3

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. ~1 Peter 5:7

Put up all your cares to God. He cares for you. Do not become faint-hearted, and do not distress yourselves. He who searches out the hidden depths of a man’s soul, knows your desires too, and has the power to fulfill them as he knows. For your part, ask of God, and do not lose your courage. Do not think that, since the longing you have is holy, you have a right to complain, when your prayers are not heard. God fulfills your longings in a way that you do not know. So be at peace then, and call upon God.  ~St. Nectarius of Aegina

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

His Love Endures

“Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God;
our dullness shall not overpower God’s wisdom, or our infirmity God’s omnipotence.”
~Saint John of Kronstadt

"For the mountains shall be moved,
and the hills shall tremble;
but my mercy shall not depart from you,
and the covenant of my peace shall not be moved:
said the Lord who has mercy on you."
~Isaiah 54:10

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Choosing Mary

 We ought to imitate Jesus in all things. The Eternal Word chose Mary for His Mother; in like manner we should choose her for our Mother and have a childlike devotion to her.  ~Dom Columba Marmion
Dearest Mary, Mother Most Wonderful, as a happy child, I choose you to be my Mother, now and for ever!

Friday, January 9, 2015


"Let us go over to Bethlehem
and see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has made known to us."
~Luke 2:15

"Bethlehem is the reversal of the world's judgments respecting honors, riches, convenience, comforts.
"Bethlehem is the revelation of God's thought in regard to poverty, privation, oblivion, pain.
"Bethlehem is a startling indication of the way in which He is going to redeem the world and lead us back to the heaven selfishness had lost."
~Mother Mary Loyola, Hail! Full of Grace 

O Jesus, Holy Child of Bethlehem,
may we always walk the path that You reveal to us in Your birth
for it is the only way to true life and everlasting joy.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A White Page

I think of this new year as a white page given to me by Your Father, on which He will write, day by day, whatever His divine good pleasure has planned. I shall now write at the top of the page, with complete confidence: Domine, fac de me sicut vis, Lord, do with me what You will, and at the bottom I already write my Amen to all the proposals of Your divine will. Yes Lord, yes to all the joys, the sorrows, the graces, the hardships prepared for me, which You will reveal to me day by day. Grant that my Amen may be the Paschal Amen, always followed by the Alleluia, uttered wholeheartedly, in the joy of a complete gift. Give me Your love and Your grace, and I shall be rich enough.  
~Sr. Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D., quoted in Divine Intimacy

My heart is ready, O God; my heart is ready.  ~Psalm 57:8

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Let us accompany the Magi...

"We have seen His star in the East and are come with gifts to adore Him."  ~Matthew 2:2

They saw the star and immediately set out. They had no doubts: their unbounded faith was strong and sure. They did not hesitate at the prospect of the trials of a long journey: they had generous hearts. They did not postpone the journey: their souls were ready.

A star often appears in the heaven of our souls; it is an inspiration from God, clear and intimate, urging us to greater generosity and calling us to a life of closer union with Him. Like the Magi, we too must always follow our star with faith, promptness, and selfless generosity. If we allow it to guide us, it will certainly lead us to God; it will bring us to the One Whom we are seeking.

The Magi did not give up their quest, although the star - at one point - disappeared from their sight. We should follow their example and their perseverance, even when we are in interior darkness. This is a trial of faith which is overcome only by the exercise of pure, naked faith. I know that He wills it, I know that God is calling, and this suffices for me: Scio cui credidi et certus sum (2 Tm 1, 12); I know Whom I have believed. No matter what happens, I shall trust Him.

In this spirit let us accompany the Magi to adore the new-born King. "And as they brought forth from among their treasures mystical gifts, let us from our hearts bring forth something fit to offer Him." (Roman Breviary)

~from Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Being Instruments of His Peace

"Each person, and every people hungers and thirsts for peace; therefore, it is necessary and urgent to build peace! Certainly, peace is not only the absence of war, but a general condition in which the human person is in harmony with himself, with nature, and with others.... At the dawn of a new year, we are all called to rekindle in our hearts an impulse of hope, that should result in concrete works of peace, reconciliation, and fraternity. Each one, in his own role and responsibility, can accomplish gestures of fraternity in dealing with one’s neighbour, especially with those who are tried by family tensions or by disagreements of different kinds. These small gestures have great value: they can be the seeds that give hope, they can open paths and prospects of peace."  ~Pope Francis, 1/4/15 Angelus

Lord, may Your peace flow through us unto all creation.  Amen.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Epiphany of the Lord

Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. ~Matthew 2:11
O holy Magi, who offered to Jesus Christ gold, incense, and myrrh, thereby recognizing Him to be at once King, God, and Man; obtain from the Lord for us the grace never to present ourselves before Him with empty hands; but that we may continually offer to Him the gold of charity, the incense of prayer, and the myrrh of penance and mortification. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. ~Novena to the Magi in Anticipation of Epiphany

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Real Stable

And this shall be a sign unto you.
You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes,
and laid in a manger.
~Luke 2:12

Jesus was born in a stable, a real stable, not the bright, airy portico which Christian painters have created for the Son of David, as if ashamed that their God should have lain down in poverty and dirt. And not the modern Christmas Eve “holy stable” either, made of plaster of Paris, with little candy-like statuettes, the holy stable clean and prettily painted with a neat, tidy manger, an ecstatic ass, a contrite ox, and angels fluttering their wreaths on the roof –- this is not the stable where Jesus was born.

A real stable is the house, the prison of the animals who work for man. The poor, old stable of Christ’s old, poor country is only four rough walls, a dirty pavement, a roof of beams and slate. It is dark, reeking. The only clean thing in it is the manger where the owner piles the hay and fodder.

Fresh in the clear morning, waving in the wind, sunny, lush, sweet-scented, the spring meadow was mown. The green grass, the long, slim blades, were cut down by the scythe; and with the grass the beautiful flowers in full bloom – white, red, yellow, blue. They withered and dried and took on the one dull color of hay. Oxen dragged back to the barn the dead plunder of May and June. And now that grass has become dry hay and those flowers, still smelling sweet, are there in the manger to feed the slaves of man. The animals take it slowly with their great black lips, and later the flowering fields, changed into moist dung, return to light on the litter which serves as bedding.

This is the real stable where Jesus was born. The filthiest place in the world was the first room of the only pure man ever born of woman. The Son of Man, who was to be devoured by wild beasts calling themselves men, had as his first cradle the manger where the animals chewed the cud of the miraculous flowers of spring.

It was not by chance that Christ was born in a stable. What is the world but an immense stable where men produce filth and wallow in it? Do they not daily change the most beautiful, the purest, the most divine things into excrement? Then, stretching themselves at full length on the piles of manure, they say they are “enjoying life.” Upon this earthly pig-sty, where no decorations or perfumes can hide the odor of filth, Jesus appeared one night, born of a stainless Virgin armed only with innocence. . . .

First to worship Jesus were animals, not men. Among men he sought out the simple-hearted: among the simple-hearted he sought out children. Simpler than children, and milder, the beasts of burden welcomed him.

Though humble, though servants of beings weaker and fiercer than they, the ass and the ox had seen multitudes kneeling before them. Christ’s own people, the people of Jehovah, the chosen people whom Jehovah had freed from Egyptian slavery, when their leader left them alone in the desert to go up and talk with the Eternal, did they not force Aaron to make them a golden calf to worship? In Greece the ass was sacred to Ares, to Dionysius, to Hyperborean Apollo. Balaam’s ass, wiser than the prophet, saved him by speaking. Oxus, King of Persia, put an ass in the temple of Ptha, and had it worshiped. And Augustus, Christ’s temporal sovereign, had set up in the temple the brazen statue of an ass, to commemorate the good omen of his meeting on the eve of Actium an ass named “the Victorious.”

Up to that time the kings of the earth and the populace craving material things had bowed before oxen and asses. But Jesus did not come into the world to reign over the earth, nor to love material things. He was to bring to an end the bowing down before beasts, the weakness of Aaron, the superstition of Augustus. The beasts of Jerusalem will murder him, but in the meantime the beasts of Bethlehem warm him with their breath. In later years, when Jesus went up to the city of death for the Feast of the Passover, he was mounted on an ass. But he was a greater prophet than Balaam, coming not to save the Jews alone but all men: and he did not turn back from his path, no, not though all the mules of Jerusalem brayed against him.

~Giovanni Papini, Life of Christ, translated by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1925).

"The first condition of following Jesus..."

I am the mother of fair love,
and of fear, and of knowledge
 and of holy hope.
~Ecclesiasticus 24:23

To whom does He trust Himself in His helpless infancy? To Mary. There is a lesson here for us. It was an apparent waste of time to spend so many years in Mary's arms, on Mary's knee, when, had He come into the world as Adam did, He might have been teaching us from the moment He began to dwell amongst us. But He was teaching by His actions from the first. We too must be nursed and cared for by Mary. Our Christian life must develop under her protection. We must run to her, cling to her, trust to her guidance. The first condition of following Jesus is to be a child of Mary. I will ask her to care for me as she cared for Him, to value and to love me for His sake.

~Mother Mary Loyola, Hail! Full of Grace

Dear Mary, Mother Most Wonderful, may I always cling to you!  Amen!  Alleluia!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The "Great Lesson" of Swaddling Clothes

You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes,
and laid in a manger.  ~Luke 2:12

We too are wrapped in swaddling clothes. We can do nothing of what we would like to do. Illness, work, the demands of those around us -- all these things hem us in on all sides. We spend a great part of our time groaning over this, and even rebelling: "I had decided this and that, and nothing can take place the way I planned it. And yet the planned retreat was a good idea, and so was the charity I planned to perform, and it was right to hope for a little rest."

Instead of rebelling against everything -- time, things, and people -- we should think of this great lesson of Christmas: Jesus, whose limbs were later to be immobilized on the cross, is already, in His very first days, incapable of movement...He who moves the planets! So we will calm down and, amid the most constrained, the narrowest living conditions, we will enjoy a magnificence, an immense space, for the Light has risen for those who have good will, and the kingdom of God has come close to us.

~Mother Marie des Douleurs, Joy Out Of Sorrow

In your commands I have found my delight; these I have loved.  ~Psalm 119:47
Oh, those swaddling clothes! Sometimes they are so constricting, and I chafe in annoyance and resentment. Let me not struggle against them, dear Lord -- rather, let me accept them in love, happily grateful for the opportunity to become more like You, so meek and humble of heart. Amen! Alleluia!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

"Who had the more truth?"

The Octave Day of Christmas ~ Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.  ~Luke 2:19

Although the scribes could explain where the Messiah should be born, they remained quite unperturbed in Jerusalem. They did not accompany the Wise Men to seek him. Similarly we may be able to explain every article of our faith, yet remain spiritually motionless. The power that moved heaven and earth leaves us completely unmoved.

What a contrast! The three kings had only a rumor to go by. But it spurred them to set out on a long, hard journey. The scribes, meanwhile, were much better informed, much better versed. They had sat and studied the scriptures for years, like so many dons. But it didn’t make any difference. Who had the more truth? Those who followed a rumor, or those who remained sitting, satisfied with all their knowledge?

~Søren Kierkegaard
Sweet Mary, Mother of our Beloved Lord and my own dear Mother, I have come. I also heard the rumor and made the long, hard journey. I was afraid, so afraid, but grace vanquished me. Now I am here, and I am glad. Now I have "the more truth" for I have found Him whom my heart loves -- oh, may I hold Him forever and never let Him go!