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My Catholic Life! presents the beauty and splendor of our Catholic faith in a down to earth and practical way. These daily audio reflections come from the "Catholic Daily Reflections Series" which is available in online format from our website. They are also available in e eBook or paperback format. May these reflections assist you on your journey of personal conversion!

John Paul Thomas

    • Jul 3, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
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    Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time - Trusting the Almighty

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 3, 2022 4:12

    When Jesus arrived at the official's house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they ridiculed him. When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose.  And news of this spread throughout all that land.  Matthew 9:23-26Jesus performed many miracles.  He overwhelmed the laws of nature time and time again.  In this Gospel passage He overcomes death by bringing this little girl back to life.  And He does it in such a way that it appears to be quite normal and easy for Him.  It's insightful to reflect upon Jesus' approach to the miracles He performed.  Many were amazed and in shock of His miraculous power.  But Jesus appears to do it as a normal part of His day.  He doesn't make a big deal about it and, in fact, He often tells people to keep His miracles quiet.One obvious thing this reveals to us is that Jesus does have complete power over the physical world and all the laws of nature.  We are reminded in this story that He is the Creator of the Universe and the source of all that is.  If He can create all things by simply willing it, He can easily recreate and transform the laws of nature by His will.Understanding the full truth of His complete authority over nature should also give us confidence in His complete authority over the spiritual world and everything that makes up our lives.  He can do all things and can do all things easily.  If we can arrive at a deep faith in His almighty power, and also arrive at a clear understanding of His perfect love and perfect knowledge of us, we will be in a position to trust Him on a level we never knew possible.  Why wouldn't we completely trust Him who can do all things and loves us perfectly?  Why wouldn't we trust Him who knows everything about us and desires only our good?  We should trust Him! He is worthy of that trust, and our trust will unleash His almighty power in our lives.Reflect, today, upon two things.  First, do you understand the depth of His power?  Second, do you know that His love compels Him to use that power for your good?  Knowing and believing these truths will change your life and allow Him to perform miracles of grace.Lord of all power and love, I do believe in Your absolute authority over all things and Your complete authority over my life.  Help me to trust in You and to trust in Your love for me.  Jesus, I do trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - Courage, Trust and Resolve

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 2, 2022 3:44

    “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.”  Luke 10:3-4One of the hardest things to do in life is to enter into complete trust in God.  But this is also one of the most fruitful things we can do for our life of faith.  Trust in God is not something we can automatically do, it requires continual surrender and resolve as our Lord invites us deeper.This passage above begins by Jesus making a powerful statement: “I am sending you like lambs among wolves.”  This strong image is meant to reveal that the mission we will be given by our Lord is not something we can do on our own.  A little lamb would not do well walking into a pack of wolves...unless the shepherd were right there beside it.Jesus is not only revealing that His mission will require great courage, but that it cannot be accomplished without Him.  Thus, He goes on to offer the practical directive to “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.”  If we look at this line from a spiritual point of view, we can hear Jesus saying two things.  First, “Rely upon my providence as you go about your mission in life.”  Second, “Keep focused upon your final goal and do not get drawn here or there.”  It's not that bringing money with or speaking to strangers are in and of themselves bad ideas; rather, we should hear the deeper spiritual meaning of trust and resolve to fulfill His mission.Reflect, today, upon how well you do trust in the providence of God as you strive to courageously embrace His will.  Reflect, also, upon how fully you are committed to going all the way, resolving to complete the task that our Lord has given you.  Recommit yourself to these aspects of a life of faith, and the Good Shepherd will be there every step of the way.My Good Shepherd, I do resolve to embrace Your most holy will with all my might.  Give me courage, trust and resolve to follow You wherever You lead.  I give myself to You, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time - Fasting and Freedom

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 1, 2022 5:00

    The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”  Matthew 9:14-15Do you want to be free?  Do you want to discover true liberty in your life?  Most certainly you do.  But what does that mean?  And how do you obtain it?Liberty is what we are made for.  We are made to be free to live life to the fullest and to experience the unfathomable joys and blessings God desires to bestow upon us.  But all too often we have a misconception of what true freedom is all about.  Freedom, more than anything else, is an experience of the joy of having the Bridegroom with us.  It's the joy of the wedding feast of the Lord.  We were made to celebrate our unity with Him for eternity.In today's Gospel, Jesus clearly states that the wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them.  However, “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”It is helpful to look at the relationship between fasting and freedom.  At first this may seem like a strange combination.  But if fasting is properly understood, it will be seen as a pathway toward the glorious gift of true freedom.  There are times in our lives when “the Bridegroom is taken away.”  This can refer to many things.  One thing it particularly refers to are the times when we experience a sense of the loss of Christ in our lives.  This can certainly come as a result of our own sin, but it can also come as a result of us growing closer to Christ.  In the first case, fasting can help free us from the many sinful attachments we have in life.  Fasting has the potential to strengthen our will and purify our desires.  In the second case, there are times when we are growing very close to Christ and, as a result, He hides His presence from our lives.  This may seem strange at first but it is done so that we will seek Him all the more.  In this case, also, fasting can become a means of deepening our faith and commitment to Him.Fasting can take on many forms, but, at the heart, it is simply an act of self-denial and self-sacrifice for God.  It helps us overcome earthly and fleshly desires so that our spirits can more fully desire Christ.Reflect, today, on how deeply you desire Christ in your life.  If you see that there are other competing desires that tend to drown out Christ, consider offering acts of fasting and other forms of self-denial.  Make them small sacrifices for God and you will see the good fruit they produce.My sacrificial Lord, I desire You in my life above all things.  Help me to see the things that compete for Your love and to offer sacrifice so that my soul can be purified and live in the freedom You desire for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time - Mercy for the Sinner

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2022 3:57

    “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.  Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.  I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  Matthew 9:12-13Jesus did not come for the “righteous” but came for “sinners.”  This may be surprising at first because it seems that Jesus should have said that He came for all people, the righteous and the sinner.  But what we must understand is that no one is truly righteous.  In other words, everyone is a sinner in need of the Savior.By speaking this way, Jesus is addressing the self-righteous attitude of the Pharisees who seemed to think that Jesus should only associate with those who were without sin.  The Pharisees acted as if they were “righteous” and that Jesus should only associate with them and any others who were not publicly known to be sinners.Sadly, the sin of the Pharisees was of a far graver nature than the sins of the tax collectors and the other sinners who came to Jesus.  The Pharisees were guilty of the sin of spiritual pride and were sinning by presuming that they were righteous.  When one fails to see their sin, God cannot forgive them since they do not repent.Though this is a powerful condemnation of the Pharisees and others who are guilty of being self-righteous, it is also an invitation from Jesus to all who readily admit their sin.  When we can humble ourselves before the perfection of God and see our sins in the light of His glory, we will be tempted to despair and feel shame for our sin.  But shame will turn into joy and freedom when we allow our Lord to act as the Divine Physician in our lives.  The purpose of His earthly life was to bring healing to our wounds of sin.  When we realize how His perfect mercy perfectly heals us, we will readily run to Him.Reflect, today, upon how ready and willing you are to confess your sin to Jesus.  Do not hesitate to trust in His perfect love for you and to open yourself up fully to His divine mercy.Lord of perfect mercy, I turn to You in my need and admit my sin and guilt.  I am sorry for having offended You and I know that You are the one and only answer for my sin.  Please have mercy on me, dear Lord, and forgive me for all my sin.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time - Courage to Seek Forgiveness

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2022 3:39

    When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”  Matthew 9:2bThis story concludes with Jesus healing the paralytic and telling him to “rise, pick up your stretcher and go home.”  The man does just that and the crowds are amazed.  There are two miracles that happen here.  One is physical and one is spiritual.  The spiritual one is that this man's sins are forgiven.  The physical one is the healing of his paralysis.  Which of these miracles are more important?  Which one do you think the man desired the most?It's hard to answer the second question since we do not know the man's thoughts, but the first question is easy.  The spiritual healing, the forgiveness of his sins, is by far the most important of these two miracles.  It's the most significant because it has eternal consequences for his soul.For most of us, it's easy to pray to God for things like a physical healing or the like.  We may find it quite easy to ask for favors and blessings from God.  But how easy is it for us to ask for forgiveness?  This may be harder to do for many because it requires an initial act of humility on our part.  It requires that we first acknowledge we are sinners in need of forgiveness.Acknowledging our need for forgiveness takes courage, but this courage is a great virtue and reveals a great strength of character on our part.  Coming to Jesus to seek His mercy and forgiveness in our lives is the most important prayer we can pray and the foundation of all the rest of our prayers.Reflect, today, upon how courageous you are in asking God for forgiveness and how humbly you are willing to acknowledge your sin.  Making an act of humility like this is one of the most important things you can do.My forgiving Lord, give me courage.  Give me courage, especially, to humble myself before You and to acknowledge all my sin.  In this humble acknowledgment, help me to also seek Your daily forgiveness in my life.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29 - Proclaiming the Gospel

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 28, 2022 8:11

    “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”  Matthew 16:18 The Church, throughout the ages, has been hated, misunderstood, slandered, ridiculed, and even attacked. Though sometimes ridicule and rebuke come as a result of the personal faults of Her members, most often the Church has been and continues to be persecuted because we have been given the mission of clearly, compassionately, firmly, and authoritatively proclaiming, with the voice of Christ Himself, the truth which liberates and sets all people free to live in unity as children of God. Ironically, and sadly, there are many in this world who refuse to accept the Truth. There are many who instead grow in anger and bitterness as the Church lives out Her divine mission. What is this divine mission of the Church? Her mission is to teach with clarity and authority, to pour forth God's grace and mercy in the Sacraments, and to shepherd God's people so as to lead them to Heaven. It is God who gave the Church this mission and God who enables the Church and Her ministers to carry it out with courage, boldness and fidelity. Today's Solemnity is a very appropriate occasion to reflect on this sacred mission.  Saints Peter and Paul are not only two of the greatest examples of the Church's mission, but they are also the actual foundation upon which Christ established this mission. First, Jesus Himself in today's Gospel said to Peter, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” In this Gospel passage, “the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven” are given to the first pope of the Church. St. Peter, the one entrusted with the divine headship of the Church on Earth, is given the authority to teach us all we need to know in order to attain Heaven.  It's clear from the earliest days of the Church, that Peter passed these “Keys to the Kingdom,” this “ability to authoritatively bind and loose,” this divine gift that today is called infallibility, on to his successor, and he on to his successor and so forth until today. There are many who get angry at the Church for clearly, confidently and authoritatively proclaiming the liberating truth of the Gospel. This is especially true in the area of morality. Often, when these truths are proclaimed, the Church is attacked and called every sort of slanderous name in the book. The primary reason that this is so sad is not so much that the Church is attacked, Christ will always give us the grace we need to endure persecution.  The primary reason this is so sad is that most often those who are the angriest are, in fact, those who need to know the liberating truth the most. Everyone needs the freedom that comes only in Christ Jesus and the full and unaltered Gospel truth that He has already entrusted to us in Scripture and that He continues to make clear to us through Peter in the person of the Pope. Furthermore, the Gospel does not ever change, the only thing that changes is our ever deeper and clearer understanding of this Gospel. Thanks be to God for Peter and for all of his successors who serve the Church in this essential role. St. Paul, the other Apostle we honor today, was not himself entrusted with the keys of Peter, but was called by Christ and strengthened by his ordination to be an Apostle to the Gentiles. St. Paul, with much courage, traveled throughout the Mediterranean to bring the message to all he met. In today's Second Reading, St. Paul said of his journeys, “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear” the Gospel. And though he suffered, was beaten, imprisoned, ridiculed, misunderstood and hated by many, he was also an instrument of true freedom to many. Many people responded to his words and example, radically giving their lives over to Christ. We owe the establishment of many new Christian communities to St. Paul's tireless efforts. When facing the opposition of the world, Paul said in today's epistle, “I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.” Both St. Paul and St. Peter paid for their faithfulness to their missions with their lives. The First Reading spoke of Peter's imprisonment; the epistles reveal Paul's hardships. In the end, both became martyrs. Martyrdom is not a bad thing if it is the Gospel for which you are martyred. Jesus says in the Gospel, “Fear not the one who can bind your hand and foot, rather fear him who can throw you into Gehenna.” And the only one who can throw you into Gehenna is yourself because of the free choices you make. All we ultimately need to fear is wavering from the truth of the Gospel in our words and deeds. The truth must be proclaimed in love and compassion; but love is not loving nor is compassion compassionate if the truth of the life of faith and morals is not present. On this feast of Saints Peter and Paul, may Christ give all of us, and the entire Church, the courage, charity, and wisdom we need to continue to be the instruments that set the world free.Lord, I thank You for the gift of Your Church and the liberating Gospel it preaches.  Help me to always be faithful to the truths You proclaim through Your Church.  And help me to be an instrument of that truth to all in need of it.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time - Calming the Storm

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 27, 2022 3:59

    They came and woke Jesus, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.  Matthew 8:25-26Imagine you were out on the sea with the Apostles.  You were a fisherman and spent countless hours on the sea throughout your life.  Some days the sea was exceptionally calm and other days there were big waves.  But this day was unique.  These waves were huge and crashing and you feared that things would not end well.  So, with the others on the boat, you woke Jesus in a panic hoping that He would save you.What would have been the best thing for the Apostles to do in this situation?  Most likely, it would have been for them to allow Jesus to remain asleep.  Ideally, they would have faced the fierce storm with confidence and hope.  “Storms” that seem overwhelming may be rare, but we can be certain they will come.  They will come and we will feel overwhelmed.If the Apostles would not have panicked and would have allowed Jesus to sleep, they may have had to endure the storm a bit longer.  But eventually it would have died down and all would have been calm.Jesus, in His great compassion, is OK with us crying out to Him in our need as the Apostles did on the boat.  He is OK with us turning to Him in our fear and seeking His help.  When we do, He will be there as a parent is there for a child who wakes during the night in fear.  But ideally we will face the storm with confidence and hope.  We will ideally know that this too will pass and that we should simply trust and stay strong.  This seems to be the most ideal lesson we can learn from this story.Reflect, today, on how you react to hardship and problems in your life.  Be they big or small, do you face them with the confidence, calm and hope that Jesus wants you to have?  Life is too short to be filled with terror.  Have confidence in the Lord no matter what you face each day.  If He seems to be asleep, allow Him to remain asleep.  He knows what He is doing and you can be certain that He will never allow you to endure more than you can handle.My sleeping Lord, whatever may come my way I trust You.  I know You are always there and will never give me more than I can handle.  Jesus, I do trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time - Being Ready and Willing

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 26, 2022 3:36

    A scribe approached and said to Jesus, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”  Matthew 8:19This scribe said the right thing to Jesus.  This is the attitude we should all have toward our Lord.  We must be ready and willing to follow Him no matter what.  However, Jesus' response to this scribe is interesting.  He said, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” (Matthew 8:20).What do we take from this response?  It appears to be a way for Jesus to say to the scribe, “Are you truly ready and willing to follow me no matter what?”  In other words, Jesus wants to illustrate to the scribe that the choice to follow Him is a commitment to travel down a road that is risky only in the sense that following Jesus requires complete trust in Him.  We will not be told, ahead of time, where our Lord will lead and what He will ask of us.  Rather, when we unreservedly choose to follow Jesus, we are putting our trust in Him as a person and are telling Him that we embrace His will no matter what it is.  This level of trust is the key to what Jesus wants.Reflect, today, upon two things.  First, reflect upon these words of the scribe and ask yourself whether or not you can confidently say them in your own life.  Say them over and over and try to let them move from your head to your heart as a willing embrace of the Lord's plan for your life.  Second, reflect upon the effects of such a response in your own life.  Are you willing to not only say these words but to also embrace all that follows from such a commitment?  Are you willing to trust the Lord with your whole life?  Strive to make this firm resolution and this resolution will lead you down the path of much joy.My trustworthy Lord, I do commit myself to following You wherever You go.  I choose Your most holy will above all things.  Help me to live faithfully in accord with Your divine will and to say “Yes” to You every day.  Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - Being Resolute

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 25, 2022 3:50

    When the days for Jesus' being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him.  Luke 9:51-52aJesus was “resolutely determined” in His mission to travel toward Jerusalem.  The significance of this line can easily be lost.There are two things to point out about this passage.  First, Jerusalem was the destination where He would ultimately die for the sins of the world.  It was His place of glorification through the Sacrifice of the Cross.  Thus, the disciples did not want Jesus to go to Jerusalem since they knew it was a risk.  But Jesus saw through the suffering He would soon endure to the future glory of the Sacrifice He would offer.Second, the fact that Jesus was “resolute” in His determination to go to Jerusalem and sacrifice His life reveals His courage and perfect love.  He did not fear what would happen to Him because He had the bigger picture in mind.  He saw the good fruit of the salvation of many souls and this overshadowed any temptation to be deterred from His divine mission.We can learn much from Jesus' determination to sacrifice His life in Jerusalem for the salvation of the world.  Certainly we should see the fruit of this sacrifice and be eternally grateful for it.  But we should also see it as an invitation to imitate Jesus' actions.  In our own lives there are many opportunities we are given to choose a life of selfless sacrifice for the good of others.  These opportunities come in many forms, but in the end they are always opportunities of love and self-giving.  Though sacrifice will tempt us to flee in a different direction, if we keep our eyes upon the good fruit of all selfless sacrifice, we will be encouraged to be resolute in our determination of love.Reflect, today, upon whatever your “Jerusalem” is.  What is it that you are invited to sacrifice your life for out of love.  When you discover what it is, look also at your willingness to embrace this sacrifice for the good of others and strive to imitate the firm determination of our Lord.My determined Lord, I offer my life to You and accept Your invitation to offer my life for the good of others.  Give me the courage and determination I need to see the value of selfless living and fill me with unwavering love of Your holy will.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - The Heart of the Mother of God

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2022 3:56

    …his mother kept all these things in her heart.  Luke 2:51bToday we honor our Blessed Mother.  In particular, we honor her Immaculate Heart just as we honored Jesus' Sacred Heart yesterday.  The two go hand in hand.The Heart of our Blessed Mother is a sign of her perfect love for us.  It is “Immaculate” in that it is spotless and perfect in love.  When reflecting upon the perfection of love, we also acknowledge that her love is the perfection of a mother's love.  This is a unique love of the highest order.  A mother's love is not just love of neighbor or a friendship.  Rather, a mother's love is such that it is completely invested, nurturing, sacrificial and total.  This is the love our Blessed Mother has for us.Today is a good day to reflect upon whether or not you have allowed her to love you with this perfect motherly love.  Have you consecrated yourself to her, choosing her as your queen and mother?The Immaculate Heart, and therefore, the Immaculate love of our Blessed Mother is a glorious gift from God.  She is the instrument through which Salvation Himself came into our world.  She is also, therefore, the continuing instrument through which all the grace given by Christ comes into the world.  She is the Mediatrix of Grace.  Why does she have this role?  Because God destined it to be so.  God could have saved us any way He chose, but we must humbly and honestly acknowledge that the way He chose to save us is through the mediation of the Blessed Mother.  God does not change His mind today.  He chose her as the instrument of salvation over 2,000 years ago and He continues to choose her today.  He continues to pour forth His grace on the world through her and she continues to distribute His love and mercy through her Immaculate and motherly Heart.  Reflect, today, upon the beauty and perfection of the love radiating from her life for you.  Run to her and make an act of faith in her motherly care.  Consecrate yourself to her and let her be the instrument God wants her to be.Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - The Heart of Perfect Love and Self-Giving

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2022 3:43

    Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. Matthew 11:29 (Year A Gospel)Happy Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!To some, this can seem like an old and outdated celebration in the Church.  It can be seen as one of those ancient feasts that have little meaning in our lives today.  Nothing could be further from the truth!The Sacred Heart of Jesus is exactly what we need to know, experience and receive in our lives today.  His heart, that heart which was pierced by the lance and from which flowed blood and water, is the sign, symbol and source of the burning love of His very soul.  The blood is an image of the Most Holy Eucharist and the water is an image of the cleansing waters of Baptism.  This celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a celebration of Jesus pouring out on us His whole life and all of His love.  He held nothing back which is symbolized by the pouring forth of the last drop of this blood and water from His Heart as He lay there dead on the Cross.  Though it's a very graphic image, it's graphic to make a point.  The point, again, is that He held nothing back.  We need to realize that Jesus continues to give us everything if we are willing to receive it.  If you are finding that you need to know His love more deeply in your life this day, try spending time reflecting on this Scripture: “...but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out” (John 19:33-34).  Spend time reflecting upon that last self gift, the gift of that water and blood flowing from His wounded Heart.  It is a sign of His infinite love for you.  Reflect upon it being poured out especially for you.  See it, be immersed in it, and be open to it.  Let His love transform and fill you.  Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.  I thank You, dear Lord, for giving all to me.  You held nothing back from me and You continue to pour out Your life for my good and for the good of the whole world.  May I receive all You give to me and hold nothing back from You.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, June 24 - Fidelity to God After a Fall

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2022 4:04

    He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.  Luke 1:63-64Zechariah provides a great witness to all of us of one who sinned by lacking faith in God, but after suffering the humiliation of his sin, he became truly faithful and ended up “blessing God.”We are familiar with his story.  His wife became pregnant with John the Baptist by a miracle in her old age.  When it was revealed to Zechariah by an angel that this would take place, he failed to have faith in this promise and doubted.  The result was that he was struck mute until the moment that John was born.  It was at that moment when Zechariah acted in fidelity to the revelation of God by naming his baby “John” as the angel had requested.  This act of fidelity on Zechariah's part loosened his tongue and he began to speak the praises of God.This witness of Zechariah should be an inspiration to all who seek to follow the will of God in their lives but have failed.  There are many times when God speaks to us, we hear Him, but we fail to believe in what He says.  We fail in fidelity to His promises.  The result is that we suffer the effects of that sin.At first, the effects of sin in our lives can seem like a punishment.  Indeed, in many ways they are.  It's not a punishment from God; rather, it's a punishment of sin.  Sin has devastating consequences in our lives.  But the good news is that those consequences of sin are permitted by God as a way of drawing us back to fidelity to Him.  And if we allow them to humble us and change us like Zechariah did, we will be able to turn from a life of infidelity to the will of God to a life of fidelity.  And a life of fidelity will enable us to ultimately sing the praises of our God.Reflect, today, upon the ways that you have not been faithful to God in your life.  But think of it in the context of hope.  Hope that God will receive you back and transform your life if you return to Him.  God is waiting and His mercy is abundant.  Allow His mercy to fill you with a heart that blesses the goodness of God.Lord, help me to see my past sins not so much in despair, but as reasons to return to You in greater fidelity.  No matter how many times I have fallen, help me to get back up and to faithfully sing Your praises.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time - Bearing Good Fruit

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 21, 2022 4:30

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.  By their fruits you will know them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”  Matthew 7:15-16The obvious answer to this question of Jesus is “No, people do not pick grapes from thornbushes.”  In other words, an evil person cannot bear good fruit.This statement from our Lord can give us much guidance in the area of discernment.  First of all, it's important to be aware of the very simple fact that “false prophets” do exist.  This can be understood as anyone who actively misleads another under the guise of doing good.  Some may do this unknowingly, but normally the one who acts as a wolf in sheep's clothing does so out of the intention of some form of selfish gain.  The selfish gain by which they are motivated could be many things, but the basic principle of selfishness usually applies.  By way of a secular example, take a used car salesman who deceptively tells a potential car buyer that a particular car is wonderful, when the salesman actually knows the car has serious mechanical problems.  His goal is the sale of the car for a selfish profit with little care about the harm done to the unexpectant buyer.Similarly, many of us may be tempted to “sweet talk” people or say what we think others want to hear in order to get them to do what we want.  This is deceptive and misleading.When it comes to discernment, the key Jesus gives us is to look at the fruit of what someone says or does.  Inevitably, when something comes from the Heart of our Lord and is in accord with His will, the fruit will be good.  But when it is deceptive or misleading, cloaked in superficial “goodness,” the end result, the fruit that is born, is at most only sour grapes.Reflect, today, upon anything in your life you are striving to decide or discern.  If you truly want to know the Lord's will in your daily decisions, try to look beyond the immediate choice to the effects that this choice will have down the road.  If you sincerely see goodness as a result of certain choices, know that this is a good sign that it is good and from the Lord.  If you see negative effects of certain decisions, producing bad fruit, then it is a good sign that the decision you are contemplating is not from God.  Choose the good fruit and you will be choosing the will of God.Lord of true fruitfulness, give me the grace of discerning Your holy will in my life.  Help me, especially, to see the good fruit that comes as a result of following You always.  As You bear good fruit in my life, dear Lord, help me to continue down that holy path toward an abundance of every good gift.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time - Do to Others…

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 20, 2022 3:54

    “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 7:12This familiar phrase was a command from God established in the Old Testament.  It's a good rule of thumb by which to live.What would you have others “do to you?”  Think about that and try to be honest.  If we are honest, we must admit that we want others to do a lot for us.  We want to be respected, to be treated with dignity, to be treated fairly, etc.  But on an even deeper level, we want to be loved, understood, known and cared for.  Deep down, we should all try to recognize the natural longing that God gave us to share in a loving relationship with others, and to be loved by God.  This desire goes to the heart of what it means to be human.  We as humans are made for that love.  This Scripture passage above reveals that we must be ready and willing to offer to others that which we desire to receive.  If we can recognize within us the natural desires for love, we should also strive to foster a desire to love.  We should foster a desire to love to the same extent that we seek it for ourselves.This is harder than it sounds.  Our selfish tendency is to demand and expect love and mercy from others while at the same time we hold ourselves to a much lower standard regarding how much we offer.  The key is to put our attention on our duty first.  We must strive to see what we are called to do and how we are called to love.  As we see this as our first duty and as we strive to live it, we will discover that we find much greater satisfaction in giving than in seeking to receive.  We will find that “doing onto others,” regardless of what they “do to us,” is what we actually find fulfillment in.Reflect, today, on the natural desire you have in your heart for the love and respect of others.  Then, make this the focus of how you treat those around you.  Lord of perfect desires, help me to do to others what I desire they do to me.  Help me to use the desire in my own heart for love as the motivation for my love of others.  In giving of myself, help me find fulfillment and satisfaction in that gift.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time - Are You Judgmental?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 19, 2022 4:26

    “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.”  Matthew 7:1-2Being judgmental can be a difficult thing to shake.  Once someone falls into the habit of regularly thinking and speaking in a harsh and critical way, it's very difficult for them to change.  In fact, once someone starts down the road of being critical and judgmental, chances are that they will continue down that road becoming more critical and more judgmental.This is one of the reasons Jesus addresses this tendency in such a strong way.  After the passage above Jesus states, “You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first…”  These words and Jesus' strong condemnation of being judgmental is not so much because Jesus is angry or harsh toward the judgmental person.  Rather, He wants to redirect them from the road they are heading down and help to free them of this heavy burden.  So an important question to ponder is this: “Is Jesus talking to me?  Do I struggle with being judgmental?”If the answer is “Yes,” fear not and do not get discouraged.  Seeing this tendency and admitting it is very important and is the first step toward the virtue which is opposite of being judgmental.  The virtue is mercy.  And mercy is one of the most important virtues we can have today.It seems that the times we live in demand mercy more than ever.  Perhaps one of the reasons for that is the extreme tendency, as a world culture, to be harsh and critical of others.  All you need to do is read a newspaper, browse social media, or watch the nightly news programs to see that our world culture is one that is continually growing in the tendency to analyze and criticize.  This is a real problem.The good thing about mercy is that God uses either our judgmentalness or our mercy (depending upon which is more manifest) as the measuring rod of how He treats us.  He will act with great mercy and forgiveness toward us when we show that virtue.  But He will also show His justice and judgment when this is the path we take with others.  It's up to us!Reflect, today, on mercy and judgmentalness in your life.  Which one is greater?  What is your primary tendency?  Remind yourself that mercy is always far more rewarding and satisfying than being judgmental.  It produces joy, peace and freedom.  Put mercy in your mind and commit yourself to seeing the blessed rewards of this precious gift.Merciful Lord, please do fill my heart with mercy.  Help me to set aside all critical thinking and harsh words and replace them with Your love.  Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - Corpus Christi

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 18, 2022 5:07

    “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”  Mark 14:22a-24 (Year B Gospel)Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God!  What a Gift we celebrate today!The Eucharist is everything.  It's all things, the fullness of life, eternal salvation, mercy, grace, happiness, etc.  Why is the Eucharist all this and so much more?  Simply put, the Eucharist IS God.  Period.  Therefore, the Eucharist is all that God is.In his beautiful traditional hymn, Adoro te Devote, St. Thomas Aquinas writes, “I devoutly adore You, O hidden Deity, truly hidden beneath these appearances.  My whole heart submits to You, and in contemplating You, it surrenders itself completely.  Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgment of You, but hearing suffices firmly to believe…”  What a glorious statement of faith in this wondrous gift.This statement of faith reveals that when we worship before the Eucharist, we worship God Himself hidden under the appearance of bread and wine.  Our senses are deceived.  What we see, taste and feel do not reveal the reality before us.  The Eucharist is God.Throughout our lives, if we were raised Catholic, we were taught reverence for the Eucharist.  But “reverence” is not enough.  Most Catholics revere the Eucharist, meaning, we genuflect, kneel, and treat the Sacred Host with respect.  But it's important to ponder a question in your heart.  Do you believe the Eucharist is God Almighty, the Savior of the world, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity?  Do you believe deeply enough to have your heart moved with love and profound devotion every time you are before our divine Lord present before us under the veil of the Eucharist?  When you kneel do you fall down prostrate in your heart, loving God with your whole being?Perhaps this sounds like it's a bit excessive.  Perhaps simple reverence and respect is enough for you.  But it's not.  Since the Eucharist is God Almighty, we must see Him there with the eyes of faith in our soul.  We must profoundly adore Him as the angels do in Heaven.  We must cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”  We must be moved to the deepest of worship as we enter into His divine presence.Ponder the depth of your faith in the Eucharist today and strive to renew it, worshiping God as one who believes with your whole being.I devoutly adore You, O hidden Deity, truly hidden beneath these appearances.  My whole heart submits to You, and in contemplating You, it surrenders itself completely.  Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgment of You, but hearing suffices firmly to believe.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time - Do Not Worry

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2022 4:26

    “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?…seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”  Matthew 6:27 & 33-34This is advice that we all need to hear.  But, as the saying goes, “It's easier said than done.”Worrying can become for some people just a normal part of life.  The things we worry about each and every day can include a myriad of concerns.  Finances, relationships, work, family, health and many other things in life can be the cause of much worrying, fear, anxiety and even depression.  Excessive worrying can truly become a heavy burden if not handled properly.So what is the proper way to deal with the things you worry about?  Trust.  Trust in God, in His fidelity, in His all-consuming love for you, and in His providence.  He loves you and is concerned about you more than you will ever know.  And He is aware of every detail and problem you may face.   If we truly understood the love of God and His infinite wisdom, we would not worry about a thing.  We would be able to trust and surrender all to Him every day and we would allow Him to enter in and to direct us in hope according to His perfect plan for our lives.  But, as mentioned above, this is easier said than done.Another key factor in overcoming the worries and anxieties of life is to seek the Truth.  Knowing the truth frees us and it enables us to see the hand of God at work even in the most difficult of situations.  God never abandons us even though it may feel like that at times.  If we can seek out His voice, His will, His wisdom and His truth, it will be much easier to place our trust in Him.  And when we place our trust in Him, we find peace in our soul and feel the heavy weight of our worry lift away.Reflect, today, upon that which you worry about the most.  It may be an extremely heavy and burdensome fear.  Or, it may just be this constant thought in the back of your mind.  Whatever the case may be for you, try to identify that which seems to burden you the most and is the greatest source of concern.  Then try to seek God's truth as it applies to your situation so that you can then surrender in trust to His perfect plan for your life.Lord of perfect wisdom, I do trust in You, but I also fail to trust enough.  When the burdens and worries of life weigh me down, help me to surrender those concerns over to You.  Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time - Your Treasure and Your Heart

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2022 3:46

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”  Matthew 6:19-21So where is your heart?  The answer to that question is answered above.  Your heart is wherever your treasure is.  So, that begs the question, “What is your treasure?”This particular passage points to the danger of becoming overly attached to material wealth.  But the same goes for anything in this life we can tend to become attached to.  What is it you are attached to?  What is your treasure?Ideally, our hearts are attached only to that which God wants them attached.  If that's the case, then the things we love are the treasures that God wants us to love.  And by loving those things, we are loving the God who gives them and calls us to love them.Our treasure should certainly include our family and those others who we are called to love and care for with a special affection.  Our treasure should also be our life of prayer and worship.  That's the most direct way we love God in this world.  Our treasure could also be particular acts of service we are inspired to do, or anything that makes up the will of God.Do you love these things?  Are they your treasure?  The problem is that way too often we tend to love much more than that which God calls us to love.  We become deeply attached to the idea of getting rich and having many things.  But our unhealthy “loves” can extend even beyond wealth and material things.  Reflect, today, upon those things that you may have made far too much of a “treasure” in your life.  What is it that you are overly attached to in this passing world?  Is it money?  Or is it something else?  Allow God to show you and then allow Him to free you from it.  That is the first step toward a life of the greatest of riches!Lord of true riches, help me to keep my heart fixed on You.  Help me to keep You and Your will as my greatest treasure.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time - The Lord's Prayer

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 15, 2022 6:48

    “This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven…”  Matthew 6:9The following is an excerpt from the My Catholic Worship! book, Chapter Eleven, on the Lord's Prayer:The Lord's Prayer is indeed a summary of the entire Gospel.  It is called “The Lord's Prayer” in that Jesus Himself gave it to us as a way of teaching us to pray.  In this prayer, we find seven petitions to God.  Within those seven petitions we will find every human longing and every expression of faith found within the Scriptures.  Everything we need to know about life and prayer is contained in this wonderful prayer.Jesus Himself gave us this prayer as the model of all prayer.  It is good that we repeat the words of the Lord's Prayer regularly in vocal prayer.  This is also done in the various sacraments and liturgical worship.  However, saying this prayer is not enough.  The goal is to internalize each and every aspect of this prayer so that it becomes a model of our personal petition to God and an entrustment of our entire life to Him.The Foundation of PrayerThe Lord's Prayer begins not with a petition; rather, it begins with us acknowledging our identity as children of the Father.  This is a key foundation for the Lord's Prayer to be prayed properly.  It also reveals the foundational approach we must take in all prayer and in the entire Christian life.  The opening statement preceding the seven petitions is as follows: “Our Father who art in Heaven.”  Let's take a look at what is contained in this opening statement of the Lord's Prayer.Filial Boldness: At Mass, the priest invites the people to pray the Lord's Prayer by saying, “At the Savior's command and formed by divine teaching we dare to say…”  This “daring” on our part comes from the foundational understanding that God is our Father.  Each Christian is to see the Father as my Father.  We must see ourselves as God's children and approach Him with the confidence of a child.  A child with a loving parent is not afraid of that parent.  Rather, children have the greatest trust that their parents love them no matter what.  Even when they sin, children know they are still loved.  This must be our fundamental starting point for all prayer.  We must start with an understanding that God loves us no matter what.  With this understanding of God we will have all the confidence we need to call on Him.Abba: Calling God “Father” or, more specifically, “Abba” means we cry out to God in the most personal and intimate of ways.  “Abba” is a term of endearment for the Father.  This shows that God is not just the Almighty or the All-Powerful.  God is so much more.  God is my loving Father and I am the Father's beloved son or daughter.“Our” Father: To call God “our” Father expresses an entirely new relationship as a result of the New Covenant that was established in the blood of Christ Jesus.  This new relationship is one in which we are now God's people and He is our God.  It's an exchange of persons and, therefore, deeply personal.  This new relationship is nothing other than a gift from God to which we have no right.  We have no right to be able to call God our Father.  It's a grace and a gift. This grace also reveals our profound unity to Jesus as the Son of God.  We can only call God “Father” in so far as we are one with Jesus.  His humanity unites us to Him and we now share in a deep bond with Him.Calling God “our” Father also reveals the union we share with one another.  All who call God their Father in this intimate way are brothers and sisters in Christ.  We, therefore, are not only deeply connected together; we also are enabled to worship God together.  In this case, individualism is left behind in exchange for fraternal unity.  We are members of this one divine family as a glorious gift of God.Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time - A Hidden Life for God

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 14, 2022 4:01

    Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.”  Matthew 6:1Very often when we do something good, we want others to see.  We want them to be aware of how good we are.  Why?  Because it feels good to be recognized and honored by others.  But Jesus tells us to do the complete opposite.Jesus tells us that when we do a work of charity, fast or pray we should do it in a hidden way.  In other words, we should not do it so as to be noticed and praised by others.  It's not that there is anything wrong with others seeing our goodness.  Rather, Jesus' teaching goes to the heart of our motivations for our good actions.  He's trying to tell us that we should act in a holy way because we want to grow close to God and serve His will, not so that we can be recognized and praised by others.This offers us a great opportunity to look deeply and honestly at our motivations.  Why do you do what you do?  Think about the good things you try to do.  Then think about your motivation in doing those things.  Hopefully you are motivated to do holy things simply because you want to be holy and want to serve the will of God.  Are you content with God and God alone seeing your good actions?  Are you OK with no one else recognizing your selflessness and acts of love?  Hopefully the answer is “Yes.”Holiness is especially found in your hidden life.  There, where you are seen only by God, you must act in a way that pleases God.  You must live a life of virtue, prayer, sacrifice and self-giving when only God sees.  If you can live this way in your hidden life, you can also be certain that your hidden life of grace will affect others in a way that only God can orchestrate.  When you strive for holiness in a hidden way, God sees that and uses it for good.  This hidden life of grace becomes the foundation for who you are and how you interact with others.  They may not see all you do, but they will be affected by the goodness within your soul.Lord of holiness, help me to live a hidden life of grace.  Help me to serve You even when no one sees.  From the solitude of those moments, bring forth Your grace and mercy for the world.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time - Love Your Enemies

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 13, 2022 4:35

    “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.”  Matthew 5:44-45aThis is not an easy command from our Lord.  But it is a command of love.First, He calls us to love our enemies.  Who are our enemies?  Hopefully we do not have “enemies” in the sense of those who we have willfully chosen to hate.  But we may have people in our lives who we are tempted to have anger toward and who we have a difficult time loving.  Perhaps we can consider anyone we struggle with as our enemies.To love them does not necessarily mean we must become best friends with them, but it does mean we must work toward having a true affection of care, concern, understanding and forgiveness toward them.  This can be hard to have toward everyone but it must be our goal.The second part of this command will help.  Praying for those who persecute us will help us grow in the proper love and affection we need to foster.  This aspect of love is quite straightforward even though it is also quite difficult.Think about those whom you have a very difficult time loving.  Those toward whom you have anger.  It could be a family member, someone at work, a neighbor or someone from your past with whom you have never reconciled.  It is in keeping with this Gospel passage to honestly admit that there is at least someone, or perhaps more than one person, with whom you struggle, either externally or internally.  Admitting this is simply an act of honesty.  Once you identify this person or persons, think about whether you pray for them.  Do you spend time regularly offering them to God in prayer?  Do you pray that God pours forth His grace and mercy upon them?  This may be hard to do but it is one of the healthiest acts you can do.  It may be difficult to show love and affection toward them, but it is not hard to consciously choose to pray for them.Praying for those with whom we have a hard time is key to letting God foster a true love and concern in our hearts toward them.  It's a way of letting God reform our emotions and feelings so that we will no longer have to hold on to feelings of anger or even hate.  Commit yourself this day to prayer for the person you struggle with the most.  This prayer will most likely not change your love for them over night, but if you commit to this form of prayer every day, over time God will slowly change your heart and free you of the burden of anger and hurt that may keep you from the love He wants you to have toward all people.Lord of perfect love, I pray for the person for whom You want me to pray.  Help me to love all people and help me to especially love those who are hard to love.  Reorder my feelings toward them and help me to be free of any anger.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time - Turning the Other Cheek

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 12, 2022 4:22

    “But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.”  Matthew 5:39This is a hard teaching to embrace!Did Jesus really mean this?  Often, when put in the situation where someone wrongs us or hurts us we can tend to immediately rationalize away this Gospel passage and presume it doesn't apply to us.  Yes, it's a hard teaching to believe and an even harder one to live.What does it mean to “turn the other cheek?”  First, we should look at this on a literal level.  Jesus did mean what He said.  He is the perfect example of this.  Not only was He slapped on the cheek, He was also brutally beaten and hung on a cross.  And His response was, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”  Therefore, Jesus does not call us to do anything that He Himself was not willing to do.Turning the other cheek does not mean that we need to cover up another's abusive actions or words.  We ought not pretend that they have done nothing wrong.  Jesus Himself, in forgiving and in asking the Father to forgive, acknowledged the grave injustice He received at the hands of sinners.  But the key is that He did not allow Himself to be drawn into their malice.Often times, when we feel like another flings mud at us, so to speak, we are tempted to fling it right back.  We are tempted to fight and push the bully back.  But the key to overcoming the malice and cruelty of another is to refuse to be drawn down into the mud.  Turning the other cheek is a way of saying that we refuse to degrade ourselves to foolish bickering or arguing.  We refuse to engage irrationality when we encounter it.  Instead, we choose to allow another to reveal their malice to themselves and to others by peacefully accepting it and forgiving.  This is not to say that Jesus wants us to perpetually live in abusive relationships that are more than we can handle.  But it does mean that we will all encounter injustice from time to time and we need to handle it with mercy and immediate forgiveness, and not become drawn into returning malice for malice.  Reflect, today, on any relationships that are difficult for you.  Especially reflect upon how ready you are to forgive and to turn the other cheek.  Doing this may just bring you the peace and freedom you seek in that relationship.My forgiving Lord, help me to imitate Your great mercy and forgiveness.  Help me to forgive those who have hurt me and help me to rise above any injustice I encounter.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity - The Inner Life of God!

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 11, 2022 4:44

    “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20 (Year B Gospel)The Trinity!  The inner life of God!  The Greatest Mystery of our Faith!We all are used to the idea that there is one God.  And we fully accept that this one God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  On the surface, this seems like a contradiction.  How can God be one and three at the same time?  It's a mystery that is worth penetrating and contemplating.First, we need to understand that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three divine Persons.  Each one distinct from the other.  Each Person has a perfect intellect and free will.  Each one is capable of knowing and loving to a perfect degree.But it is this “perfection” of their ability to know and love that makes them one.  They each share in the one divine nature and, within that divine nature, are perfectly united.  This means that each one knows and loves the other perfectly.  And that knowledge (an act of their perfect intellect) and love (an act of their perfect will) brings about a unity so profound and deep that they live and act as one God.What's also inspiring to know and understand is that the unity they share by their mutual knowledge and love also offers each one of them perfect fulfillment as a Person.  This shows that “personhood” is fulfilled by unity.  What a wonderful lesson this is for each of us.We are not God, but we are made in God's image and likeness.  Therefore, we find fulfillment in the same way that God does.  Specifically, we find fulfillment in life by our love of others and our free-will choice to enter into a knowledge of each person, forming a communion with them.  This will take on different forms depending upon our relationships.  Of course, husband and wife are called to share in the deepest unity in imitation of the life of God.  But all relationships are called to share in God's life in their own unique way.Reflect, today, as we celebrate this Trinity Sunday, on the relationships to which God has called you.  How completely do you imitate the love of the Trinity in your relationships?  Certainly we will all find areas in which to grow.  Make a commitment to take another step deeper and, in that step of love, allow God to give you a greater fulfillment as a result.Father, Son and Holy Spirit, help me to know You and to love You.  Help me to discover the love You share within Your own divine life.  In that discovery, help me to also love others with Your heart.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time - Being Honest

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 10, 2022 3:57

    “Let your ‘Yes' mean ‘Yes,' and your ‘No' mean ‘No.'  Anything more is from the Evil One.”  Matthew 5:37This is an interesting line.  At first it seems a bit extreme to say that “Anything else is from the Evil One.”  But of course since these are the words of Jesus, they are words of perfect truth.  So what does Jesus mean?This line comes to us from Jesus within the context of Him teaching us about the morality of taking an oath.  The lesson is essentially a presentation of the basic principle of “truthfulness” found in the Eighth Commandment.  Jesus is telling us to be honest, to say what we mean and mean what we say.One reason Jesus brings this up, within the context of His teaching about taking oaths, is that there should be no need for a solemn oath regarding our ordinary daily conversations.  Sure, there are some oaths that take on solemnity such as Marriage vows or vows and promises solemnly taken by priests and religious.  In fact, in every Sacrament there is some form of solemn promise taken.  However, the nature of these promises is more of a public expression of faith than a way of keeping people accountable.  The truth is that the Eighth Commandment, which calls us to be people of honesty and integrity, should suffice in all daily activity.  We do not need to “swear to God” about this or that.  We should not feel a need to convince another that we are telling the truth in one situation or another.  Rather, if we are people of honesty and integrity, then our word will suffice and what we say will be true simply because we say it.Reflect, today, upon how honest you are in all areas of life.  Have you built a habit of truthfulness in both big and small matters of life?  Do people recognize this quality in you?  Speaking the truth and being a person of the truth are ways of proclaiming the Gospel with our actions.  Commit yourself to honesty today and the Lord will do great things through your spoken word.Lord of truthfulness, help me to be a person of honesty and integrity.  For the times that I have twisted the truth, deceived in subtle ways, and outright lied, I am sorry.  Help my “Yes” to always be in accord with Your most holy will and help me to always turn from the ways of error.  Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time - Avoidance of Sin

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2022 3:43

    “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.”  Matthew 5:29-30aDoes Jesus really mean this?  Literally?  We can be certain that this language, which is shocking, is not a literal command but is rather a symbolic statement commanding us to avoid sin with great zeal, and to avoid all that leads us to sin.  The eye can be understood as a window to our soul where our thoughts and desires reside.  The hand can be seen as a symbol of our actions.  Thus, we must eliminate every thought, affection, desire and action that leads us to sin.The true key to understanding this passage is to allow ourselves to be affected by the powerful language that Jesus uses.  He does not hesitate to speak in a shocking way so as to reveal to us the calling we have to confront with much zeal that which leads to sin in our lives.  “Pluck it out…cut it off,” He says.  In other words, eliminate your sin and all that leads you to sin in a definitive way.  The eye and the hand are not sinful in and of themselves; rather, in this symbolic language they are spoken of as those things that lead to sin.  Therefore, if certain thoughts or certain actions lead you to sin, these are the areas to target and to eliminate.Regarding our thoughts, sometimes we can allow ourselves to dwell excessively upon this or that.  As a result, these thoughts can lead us to sin.  The key is to “pluck out” that initial thought that produces the bad fruit.Regarding our actions, we can at times put ourselves in situations that tempt us and lead to sin.  These occasions of sin must be cut off from our lives.Reflect, today, upon this very direct and powerful language of our Lord.  Let the forcefulness of His words be an impetus for change and avoidance of all sin.My demanding Lord, I am sorry for my sin and I ask for Your mercy and forgiveness.  Please help me to avoid all that leads me to sin and to surrender all my thoughts and actions to You every day.  Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time - Paying the Last Penny

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2022 3:55

    “Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”  Matthew 5:25-26That's a scary thought! At first, this story could be seen to portray a complete lack of mercy. “You will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” But in fact, it's an act of great love.The key here is that Jesus wants us reconciled to Him and to one another.  Specifically, He wants all anger, bitterness and resentment removed from our souls.  That's why He says to “Settle with your opponent quickly on the way to court with him.”  In other words, apologize and be reconciled before you find yourself before the judgment seat of divine justice.  God's justice is completely satisfied when we humble ourselves, apologize for our faults, and sincerely seek to make amends.  With that, every “penny” is already paid.  But what God does not accept is obstinacy.  Obstinacy is a serious sin and one that cannot be forgiven unless the obstinacy is let go of.  Obstinacy in refusing to admit our fault in a grievance is of the greatest concern.  Obstinacy in our refusal to change our ways is also of great concern.The penalty is that God will exercise His justice upon us until we finally repent.  And this is an act of love and mercy on God's part because His judgment is focused especially upon our sin which is the only thing standing in the way of our love of God and others.Paying back the last penny can also be seen as an image of Purgatory.  Jesus is telling us to change our lives now, to forgive and repent now.  If we do not, we will still have to deal with those sins after death, but it's much better to do so now.  Reflect upon what it is that you have to “settle with your opponent” today.  Who is your opponent?  Who is the one you have a grievance with today?  Pray that God will show you the way to being freed of that burden so that you can enjoy true freedom!Lord, help me to forgive and to forget.  Help me to seek anything that keeps me from fully loving You and all my neighbors.  Purify my heart, oh Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time - Love is in the Details

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 7, 2022 3:22

    “Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”   Matthew 5:18This is an interesting statement from Jesus.  There are many things that could be said about it regarding the law and Jesus' fulfillment of the law.  But one thing worth reflecting upon is the great lengths Jesus goes to identify the importance of not only one letter of the law, but more specifically, the smallest part of a letter.  The ultimate law of God, as brought to fulfillment in Christ Jesus, is love.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength.”  And, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is the ultimate fulfillment of the law of God.If we look at this passage above, in light of the perfection of the law of love, we can hear Jesus saying that the details of love, even the smallest detail, is of grave importance.  In fact, the details are what makes love grow exponentially.  The smaller the detail one is attentive to in love of God and love of neighbor, the greater is the fulfillment of the law of love to the greatest degree.Think, today, about those whom God has put in your life to love.  This would especially apply to family members and especially to spouses.  How attentive are you to every small act of kindness and compassion?  Do you regularly look for opportunities to offer an encouraging word?  Do you make an effort, even in the smallest of details, to show you care and are there and are concerned?  Love is in the details and the details magnify this glorious fulfillment of God's law of love.  Lord of all love, help me to be attentive to all the big and many small ways I am called to love You and others.  Help me, especially, to look for the smallest of opportunities to show this love and thus fulfill Your law.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time - Making a Difference

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 6, 2022 4:12

    “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.”  Matthew 5:13a&14aSalt and light, that's us.  Hopefully!  Have you ever pondered what it means to be salt or light in this world? Let's start with this image.  Imagine you cook some wonderful vegetable soup with all the best ingredients.  It slowly simmers for hours and the broth looks very tasty.  But the one thing you are out of is salt and other spices.  So, you just let the soup simmer and hope for the best.  Once it's fully cooked you try a taste and, to your disappointment, it's somewhat tasteless.  So, you search until you find the missing ingredient, salt, and you add just the right amount.  After another half hour of simmering you try a sample and are greatly delighted.   It's amazing what salt can do!  Or imagine going for a walk in the forest and getting lost.  As you search for your way out, the sun sets and it slowly becomes dark.  It's overcast so there are no stars or moon.  About a half hour after sunset you find yourself in complete darkness in the middle of the forest.  As you sit there, you suddenly see the bright moon peek through the clouds.  It's a full moon and the overcast skies are clearing up.  Suddenly, the full moon sheds so much light your way that you are able to once again navigate the dark forest.These two images provide us with the importance of just a little salt and a little light.  Just a little changes everything!  So it is with us in our faith.  The world we live in is dark in so many ways.  The “flavor” of love and mercy is also quite void.  God is calling you to add that little flavor and produce that little light so that others can find their way.  Like the moon, you are not the source of light.  You only reflect the light.  God wants to shine through you and He wants you to reflect His light.  If you are open to this, He will move the clouds at the right time so as to use you in the way He has chosen.  Your responsibility is to simply be open.  Reflect, today, upon how open you are.  Pray each day that God will use you in accord with His divine purpose.  Make yourself available to His divine grace and you will be amazed at the way He can use the small things in your life to make a difference.Lord of light, I do want to be used by You.  I want to be salt and light.  I want to make a difference in this world.  I give myself to You and Your service.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church - The Cross, the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 5, 2022 4:41

    When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19:26-27On March 3, 2018, Pope Francis announced that a new memorial would be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday, entitled “The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.” Henceforth, this memorial is added to the General Roman Calendar and is to be universally celebrated throughout the Church.In instituting this memorial, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said:This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God.“Anchored” to the Cross, the Eucharist, and the Blessed Virgin Mary who is both “Mother of the Redeemer” and “Mother of the Redeemed.” What beautiful insights and inspiring words from this holy Cardinal of the Church.The Gospel chosen for this memorial presents to us the holy image of the Blessed Mother standing before the Cross of her Son. While standing there, she heard Jesus say the words, “I thirst.” He was given some wine on a sponge and then declared, “It is finished.” Jesus' Blessed Mother, the Mother of the Redeemer, stood as a witness as the Cross of her Son became the source of the redemption of the World. As He took that last drink of wine, He completed the institution of the New and Eternal Passover Meal, the Holy Eucharist.Additionally, just prior to Jesus expiring, Jesus declared to His mother that she would now be the “Mother of the Redeemed,” that is, the mother of each member of the Church. This gift of Jesus' mother to the Church was symbolized by Him saying, “Behold, your son...Behold, your mother.”As we celebrate this new and beautiful universal memorial within the Church, ponder your relationship to the Cross, to the Eucharist and to your heavenly mother. If you are willing to stand by the Cross, gaze at it with our Blessed Mother, and witness Jesus pour forth His precious blood for the salvation of the world, then you are also privileged to hear Him say to you, “Behold, your mother.” Stay close to your heavenly mother. Seek her maternal care and protection and allow her prayers to daily draw you closer to her Son.Dearest Mother Mary, Mother of God, my mother, and Mother of the Church, pray for me and for all your children who are so deeply in need of the mercy of your Son as it was poured out from the Cross for the redemption of the world. May all your children draw ever closer to you and to your Son, as we gaze upon the glory of the Cross, and as we consume the Most Holy Eucharist. Mother Mary, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You!Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday - The Coming of the Holy Spirit

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 4, 2022 6:52

    And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.  Acts 2:2–4Do you think there was really a “noise like a strong driving wind” at this first outpouring of the Holy Spirit?  And do you think there really were “tongues as of fire” that came and rested on everyone?  Well, there most likely was!  Why else would it have been recorded that way in the Scriptures?These physical manifestations of the coming of the Holy Spirit were made present for numerous reasons.  One reason was so that these first recipients of the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit would have concretely understood that something amazing was happening.  By seeing and hearing these physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit they were more properly disposed to understand that God was doing something awesome.  And then, upon seeing and hearing these manifestations, they were touched by the Holy Spirit, consumed, filled and set on fire.  They suddenly discovered within themselves the promise Jesus made and they finally began to understand.  Pentecost changed their lives!We most likely have not seen and heard these physical manifestations of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but we should rely upon the witness of those in the Scriptures to allow ourselves to arrive at a deep and transforming faith that the Holy Spirit is real and wants to enter our lives in the same way.  God wants to set our hearts on fire with His love, strength and grace so as to effectively live lives that effect change in the world.  Pentecost is not only about us becoming holy, it's also about us being given all we need to go forth and bring the holiness of God to all those we encounter.  Pentecost enables us to be powerful instruments of the transforming grace of God.  And there is no doubt that the world around us needs this grace.As we celebrate Pentecost, it would be helpful to ponder the primary effects of the Holy Spirit in a prayerful way.  Below are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  These Gifts are the primary effects of Pentecost for each and every one of us.  Use them as an examination of your life and let God show you where you need to grow more deeply in the strength of the Holy Spirit.Lord, send forth Your Spirit in my life and set me on fire with the Gifts of Your Spirit.  Holy Spirit, I invite You to take possession of my soul.  Come Holy Spirit, come and transform my life.  Holy Spirit, I trust in You. Seven Gifts of the Holy SpiritFear of the Lord: With this gift the Christian becomes keenly aware of anything that may hurt his/her relationship with God.  There is a holy “fear” of hurting this relationship and grace is given to avoid these things at all cost.Wisdom: With this gift the Christian is given a special grace to “ponder divine realities” in his/her speculative reason.  We are able to see the big picture and know how best to be an instrument of peace and harmony in our world.Understanding: This is the ability to have a supernatural assurance of the matters of faith.  Life makes sense.  We can make sense of the deeper parts of revelation, make sense of suffering and understand those things that tempt us to doubt.  With this gift we come to see how everything in life can work for good in accordance with God's plan.Knowledge:  With this gift the Christian knows, more in the practical intellect, what God's will is in this or that situation.  We know how to live, how to discern God's will and what decision to make in our daily life.  It also enables us to learn from our past mistakes.Counsel:  With this gift the Christian sees him/herself as a link in a chain which makes up the entire Church.  God uses each one of us to help and support one another on our journey.  We know what to say and how to act so as to do our part to build up one another.Fortitude: Simply put, it is a firmness of mind and spirit to do good and avoid evil.  It's a sort of Christian courage.  The Gospel will call all of us to a radical life of love.  Fortitude gives us the strength we need to follow through.Piety:  This gift enables us to first reverence and love God, but also to see the dignity of one another and reverence each other as children of God.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter - Jesus' Hidden Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2022 4:25

    There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.  John 21:25Imagine the insights that our Blessed Mother would have had about her Son.  She, as His mother, would have seen and understood so many hidden moments of His life.  She would have watched Him grow year after year.  She would have watched Him relate and interact with others throughout His life.  She would have noticed that He was preparing for His public ministry.  And she would have witnessed so many hidden moments of that public ministry and countless sacred moments of His entire life.  This Scripture above is the final sentence of the Gospel of John and is one we do not hear very often.  But it offers some fascinating insights to reflect upon.  All we know about the life of Christ is contained in the Gospels, but how could these short Gospel books ever come close to describing the totality of who Jesus is?  They certainly cannot.  To do that, as John says above, the pages could not be contained in the whole world.  That's saying a lot.So a first insight we should take from this Scripture is that we know only a small portion of the actual life of Christ.  What we know is glorious.  But we should realize that there is so much more.  And this realization should fill our minds with interest, longing and a desire for more.  By coming to know how little we actually do know, we will hopefully be compelled to seek Christ more deeply.  However, a second insight we can gain from this passage is that, even though the numerous events of Christ's life cannot be contained in countless volumes of books, we can, nonetheless, discover Jesus Himself in what IS contained in the Holy Scriptures.  No, we may not know every detail of His life, but we can come to meet the Person.  We can come to encounter the Living Word of God Himself in the Scriptures and, in that encounter and meeting of Him, we are given all we need.Reflect, today, on how deeply you know Jesus.  Do you spend sufficient time reading the Scriptures and meditating on them?  Do you speak to Him daily and seek to know and love Him?  Is He present to you and do you regularly make yourself present to Him?  If the answer to any of these questions is “No” then perhaps this is a good day to recommit yourself to a deeper reading of the Sacred Word of God.Lord, I may not know everything about Your life, but I do desire to know You.  I desire to meet You every day, to love You and to know You.  Help me to enter more deeply into a relationship with You.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter - Do You Love Me?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2022 4:56

    He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”  John 21:17Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him.  Why three times?  One reason was so that Peter could “make up” for the three times he denied Jesus.  No, Jesus did not need Peter to apologize three times, but Peter needed to express his love three times and Jesus knew it.Three is also a number of perfection.  For example, we say God is “Holy, Holy, Holy.”  This triple expression is a way of saying that God is the Holiest of all.  By Peter being given the opportunity to tell Jesus three times that He loved Him it was an opportunity for Peter to express His love in the deepest of ways.So we have a triple confession of love and a triple undoing of Peter's denial going on.  This should reveal to us our own need to love God and seek His mercy in a “triple” way.When you tell God that you love Him, how deep does that go?  Is it more a service of words, or is it a total and all-consuming love?  Is your love of God something that you mean to the fullest extent?  Or is it something that needs work?Certainly we all need to work on our love, and that is why this passage should be so significant to us.  We should hear Jesus asking us this question three times also.  We should realize that He is not satisfied with a simple, “Lord, I love You.”  He wants to hear it again, and again.  He asks us this because He knows we need to express this love in the deepest way.  “Lord, You know everything, You know that I love You!”  This must be our ultimate answer.This triple question also gives us the opportunity to express our deepest longing for His mercy.  We all sin.  We all deny Jesus in one way or another.  But the good news is that Jesus is always inviting us to let our sin be a motivation for deepening our love.  He doesn't sit and stay angry at us.  He doesn't pout.  He doesn't hold our sin over our heads.  But He does ask for the deepest of sorrow and a complete conversion of heart.  He wants us to turn from our sin to the fullest extent.Reflect, today, upon the depth of your love for God and how well you express it to Him.  Make a choice to express your love for God in a triple way.  Let it be deep, sincere and irrevocable.  The Lord will receive this heartfelt act and return it to you a hundredfold.My loving Lord, You do know that I love You.  You also know how weak I am.  Let me hear Your invitation to express my love for You and my desire for Your mercy.  May I offer this love and desire to the fullest extent.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter - Lifting Your Eyes to Heaven

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2022 4:38

    Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”  John 17:20–21“Lifting His eyes to Heaven...”  What a great phrase!As Jesus lifted His eyes to Heaven, He prayed to His Father in Heaven.  This act, of lifting His eyes, reveals one unique aspect of the presence of the Father.  It reveals that the Father is transcendent.  “Transcendent” means that the Father is above all and beyond all.  The world cannot contain Him.  So, in speaking to the Father, Jesus begins with this gesture by which He acknowledges the transcendence of the Father.But we must also note the imminence of the Father's relationship with Jesus.  By “imminence” we mean that the Father and Jesus are united as one.  Their relationship is one that is profoundly personal in nature.  Though these two words, “imminence” and “transcendence,” may not be a part of our daily vocabulary, the concepts are worth understanding and reflecting upon.  We should strive to be very familiar with their meanings and, more specifically, with the way that our relationship with the Holy Trinity shares in both.Jesus' prayer to the Father was that we who come to believe will share in the unity of the Father and the Son.  We will share in God's life and love.  For us, this means we start by seeing the transcendence of God.  We also lift our eyes to Heaven and strive to see the splendor, glory, greatness, power, and majesty of God.  He is above all and beyond all.As we accomplish this prayerful gaze to the Heavens, we must also strive to see this glorious and transcendent God descend into our souls, communicating to us, loving us, and establishing a deeply personal relationship with us.  It's amazing how these two aspects of God's life go together so well even though, at first, they can appear to be complete opposites.  They are not opposed but, rather, are wedded together and have the effect of drawing us into an intimate relationship with the Creator and sustainer of all things.  Reflect, today, upon the glorious and all-powerful God of the Universe descending into the secret depths of your soul.  Acknowledge His presence, adore Him as He lives within you, speak to Him and love Him.  Most glorious Lord, help me to always lift my eyes to Heaven in prayer.  May I constantly turn to You and Your Father.  In that prayerful gaze, may I also discover You alive in my soul where You are adored and loved.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter - Surviving This World

    Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2022 5:19

    “I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.”  John 17:14–17“Consecrate them in the truth.  Your word is truth.”  That's the key to survival!  Scripture reveals three primary temptations we face in life: The flesh, the world and the devil.  All three of these work to lead us astray.  But all three are conquerable with one thing...the Truth.This Gospel passage above specifically speaks of the “world” and the “evil one.”  The evil one, who is the devil, is real.  He hates us and does all he can to mislead us and ruin our lives.  He tries to fill our minds with empty promises, offers fleeting pleasure, and encourages selfish ambitions.  He was a liar from the beginning and remains a liar to this day.One of the temptations that the devil threw at Jesus during His forty day fast at the beginning of His public ministry was a temptation to obtain all the world has to offer.  The devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the Earth and said, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”First of all, this was a silly temptation given the fact that Jesus already was the Creator of all things.  But, nonetheless, He allowed the devil to tempt Him with this worldly enticement.  Why did He do this?  Because Jesus knew we would all be tempted with the many enticements of the world.  By “world” we mean many things.  One thing that comes to mind, in our day and age, is the desire for worldly acceptance.  This is a plague that is very subtle but affects so many, including our Church itself.With the powerful influence of the media and the global political culture, there is pressure today, more than ever, for us as Christians to simply conform to our age.  We are tempted to do and believe what is popular and socially acceptable.  And the “gospel” we are allowing ourselves to hear is the secular world of moral indifferentism.  There is a powerful cultural tendency (a global tendency due to the Internet and media) to become people who are willing to accept anything and everything.  We have lost our sense of moral integrity and truth.  Thus, the words of Jesus need to be embraced more today than ever.  “Your Word is Truth.”  The Word of God, the Gospel, all that our Catechism teaches, all that our faith reveals is the Truth.  This Truth must be our guiding light and nothing else.Reflect, today, on how much of an influence the secular culture has on you.  Have you given into secular pressure, or the secular “gospels” of our day and age?  It takes a strong person to resist these lies.  We will resist them only if we stay consecrated in the Truth.Lord of all Truth, I do consecrate myself to You.  You are the Truth.  Your Word is what I need to stay focused and to navigate through the many lies all around me.  Give me strength and wisdom so that I may always remain in Your protection away from the evil one.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, May 31 - Most Blessed Are You Among Women!

    Play Episode Listen Later May 30, 2022 4:46

    Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”  Luke 1:41b–43What an honor it would be to have our Blessed Mother, the mother of Jesus, come to us for a visit.  Elizabeth was keenly aware of this honor and, as a result, she cried out in an inspired way acknowledging that fact.  Though this was a unique gift given to Elizabeth, to have the mother of her Lord come to her, we must understand that we are all equally blessed by the opportunity to daily invite the presence of the Mother of God into our lives.Mother Mary is the Queen of all Saints, but she is also the Queen of all sinners and Queen of those striving for holiness.  She is the Mother of All the Living and the Mother of the Church.  In God's providence, she continues to carry out her unique role of visiting those in need on a daily basis.  She does so in a way that is far more profound and transformative than in the case of Elizabeth.  Mother Mary's visits to us, her children, now takes place in the order of grace.What does it mean when we say that our Blessed Mother visits us in the order of grace?  It means that our relationship with her is based on the divine will and plan of God.  It means we are able to have a relationship with her by which she communicates to us countless mercies from her Son.  It means that she becomes the most powerful mediatrix of grace for us that the world has ever known.  It means that the effect she has in our lives is deep, profound, transformative and intimately personal.The difficult part about a relationship with our Blessed Mother is that it must take place on a spiritual and interior level rather than on a physical and exterior one.  However, even though this is the case, we should not think that this means we are less capable of knowing her and loving her.  In fact, the relationship we are now able to have with our Blessed Mother by grace is far deeper and more profound than the relationship Elizabeth was able to have with her on account of the Visitation.  Reflect, today, upon your relationship with the Mother of God.  She visited Elizabeth long ago and now desires to visit your soul so as to bring you the grace and mercy of her Son.  Seek to establish this beautiful relationship with her in the order of grace.  Invite her in, listen to her, be open to the grace she brings to you and rejoice with Elizabeth that the mother of your Lord would come to you.Dearest Mother Mary, I love you and consecrate my life to You, trusting in your motherly care and mediation.  Help me, dear Mother, to be open to all that you desire to bring to me from your Son, Jesus.  I am honored and humbled that you would care for me and desire to bring to me the mercy of the Heart of your Son Jesus.  Mother Mary, pray for us.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter - Being Resolved

    Play Episode Listen Later May 29, 2022 4:28

    “Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone.”  John 16:30–32Have you come to believe in Jesus?  How deep is that faith?  And why do you believe?  Are you ready and willing to hold on to that faith no matter what comes your way?  Are you ready to follow Him even if it's difficult and unpopular?  Are you ready to suffer as a result of your faith?  These are important questions.  They are questions that we must answer both when it's easy to be a Christian as well as when it's hard.  It's easy to be a Christian and to follow Jesus when everyone else is doing it.  For example, at a baptism or wedding it's normal to want to belong and to let others know of our support and belief in what they are doing.  But what about those moments when your faith is ridiculed or put down?  Or when you have to make the difficult choice to turn from cultural pressures and stand out for your faith?  These are more challenging times to be a follower of Christ.In today's Gospel, there were many who had been analyzing Jesus' teaching, listening to Him and talking about Him.  It seems clear that the consensus was that Jesus was a man of holiness and a great prophet.  Many were even coming to believe He was the Messiah.  So there was a sort of positive momentum present that made it easier for many people to say that they believed in Him and they believed that He came from God.Jesus quickly points out to them that, though they believe now, there will be a time that comes soon when most everyone will abandon Him, when they are scattered, and they will leave Him alone.  This is obviously a prophecy of His coming persecution and Crucifixion.One of the greatest tests of our faith is to look at how faithful we are when following Christ is not all that popular.  It is in these moments, more than the easy moments, that we have an opportunity to manifest our faith and deepen our resolve to be a Christian.Reflect, today, on how deep your commitment to Christ goes.  Are you ready to follow Him to the Cross?  Are you willing to give up everything to Follow Him?  Hopefully the answer is a definitive yes.  It must be a “Yes” that directs our lives no matter the situation of life we find ourselves in.Lord, I do believe.  Help me to let that faith in You stay strong at all times.  Help me to say yes to You and to live that yes always.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year C) - Unity and Perfection in Christ

    Play Episode Listen Later May 28, 2022 6:20

    Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “Holy Father, I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one…” John 17:20–22What an amazing prayer! Don't miss the meaning of this prayer. This is Jesus' High Priestly Prayer that He prayed just before He was arrested. This prayer concludes the Last Supper at which Jesus instituted the Most Holy Eucharist. It is truly His Eucharistic prayer that culminates in the offering of His life on the Cross. This prayer is not only a prayer; it is also a teaching about the life that we are invited to share in with our Lord.Note that in the passage quoted above, Jesus prayed not only for the disciples, “but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” In other words, Jesus was praying for you and for everyone who would hear and respond to the Gospel. And His prayer was that you share in the perfect union that Jesus shares with the Father. He prayed that all may be one in the same way that He and the Father are one. Again, this is an amazing prayer!To begin, it is important to understand the concept of unity. Deep within each of us is a longing to be united to another. The draw to marriage, the love of a parent and child, the desire for friends, and the bonding together as a community all point to this desire. We want unity. We want to be one. Unfortunately, our natural ability to form a holy union with others was deeply wounded by Original Sin. For that reason, the most central mission of the Son of God was not only to restore that which was lost, but to transform it into something even greater. Now, because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we are not only able to live in peace with each other, we are also able to share in a new spiritual union with God Himself. This union goes to the heart and soul of who we are.Look within you and try to discover the innate desire you have for communion with others. When properly understood, pondering this desire is very consoling and enticing. If you can seperate selfishness, lust, and possessiveness from the equation, you are left with a very holy desire for union with others. Try to discover this desire within.As you discover this desire that God placed within you, learn from Jesus' High Priestly Prayer. Understand that this desire is only completely fulfilled by entering into the life and unity of the Most Holy Trinity. We are called to share in God's very life. When that happens, we also share in a perfect and holy union with one another. In this life, a holy marriage is an earthly prefiguration of that union that is to come. In Heaven, the divine marriage to which we are called will enable us to fulfill every human desire we have.Reflect, today, upon the draw you have within you to live in union with others. As you ponder this desire, know that it can only be fulfilled by accepting the invitation from the Most Holy Trinity to share in Their divine life. Prayerfully read Jesus' prayer to the Father and know that He was praying this for you. Join with Him in this prayer and make it your own so that your every human desire will begin to be fulfilled in God.Most Holy Trinity, You have invited me to share in Your glorious life. You invite me to share in the unity that You share. Please purify me of every selfish desire and fill me with a desire only for You. May this union with You perfectly fulfill me and enable me to obtain true unity with others. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter - Speaking Clearly

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2022 4:30

    “I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father.”  John 16:25Why does Jesus speak in “figures of speech” rather than speaking clearly?  Good question.  We see this same fact in the many parables that Jesus spoke.  Most likely, when people would hear His parables they would walk away asking, “What do you think He meant by that?”  So why does Jesus speak in a veiled language rather than speaking clearly and directly?The answer has to do with us and our lack of openness to the Truth.  If we were fully open to the Truth, and if we were completely ready to embrace the Truth no matter what it was, Jesus would be able to speak to us clearly and we would respond immediately.  But this is so rarely the way it happens.  The key to understanding this is to understand the connection between knowledge of God's will and the willingness to immediately fulfill that will.So often, we want Jesus to tell us His will, mull over it, consider it, and then come back with our response.  But it doesn't happen that way.  Rather, if we want Jesus to speak to us clearly, we must say yes to Him even before we know what He wants.  Willingness to embrace His will is a prerequisite to understanding His will.  Of course our Blessed Mother is the perfect example of this in her fiat.  Prior to the angel coming to her, she continually said “Yes” to the will of God.  Then, when the angel came to her and told her what would happen, she asked for clarity.  And she did indeed get that clarity as a direct response to her question.  “The Holy Spirit will overshadow you and the power of the Most High will come upon you...” the angel said.  But the only reason the angel, as a messenger of God, spoke so clearly was because she had already shown her heart to be fully compliant with God's plan no matter what it would be.Reflect, today, upon how clearly you hear God speak to you.  Do you want Him to be clearer to you?  Do you want Him to speak to you with greater clarity?  If so, work on surrendering your will over more completely to that which you do not even know.  Say “Yes” to that which God wants of you tomorrow, and say “Yes” to it today.  Building this habit of saying yes immediately will open the door to greater clarity in all God wants to say.Lord, the answer is “Yes.”  I choose Your will today, tomorrow and always.  I choose nothing but Your will.  As I say “Yes” to You, help me to grow in greater clarity of all You ask of me.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter - Anguish Turns to Joy

    Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2022 4:39

    “When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”  John 16:21–22Anguish in life is common.  In small ways, we will experience anguish each and every day.  And, from time to time, we will experience the very heavy pains of a particular anguish in our lives.  Does an experience of anguish mean you are not in God's grace?  Does it mean that God has left you?  Or does it mean that you are doing something wrong?  Certainly not.  In fact, all we have to do is look at the life of Jesus to see this is not the case.  He was in constant anguish throughout His earthly life as He continually entered more deeply into the mission of His Father.  Just prior to His public ministry He was in anguish for forty days in the desert.  Throughout His public ministry, He experienced the anguish and exhaustion of His earthly life.  He experienced the criticism of others, misunderstanding, ridicule, rejection, harsh treatment, and so much more.  In the end, we know His fate on the Cross.Our Blessed Mother had the “sword of sorrow” pierce her heart.  She was misunderstood and ridiculed from the beginning as a result of her mysterious pregnancy out of wedlock.  She carried a perfect love of her Son and anguished over His future as He grew.  She watched many love Him and others harass Him.  She watched His mockery of a trial and His Crucifixion.  But think of their lives now.  They now reign from Heaven as the glorious Queen of All Saints and the King of the Universe.  They live in glory now for eternity.  Their anguish has turned to perfect joy.Reflect, today, upon your own trials in life.  The Scripture passage above reveals the promise that God makes to those who endure them with faith.  If you feel as though you have been dealt an unfair hand or have been treated unfairly, you are in good company.  The key is to walk through this life with grace and dignity.  Do not let the trials of this life or its pains get you down.  Know that as you remain faithful walking down the path God has set for you, the end result is that you will rejoice!  This is simply a fact.  Hold on to that hope and keep your eyes on the finish line.  It's worth it in the end.My compassionate Lord, I surrender my anguish and burdens to You.  I unite them to Your Cross and trust that You will be there in all things walking with me through my life.  May I keep my eyes on the goal and rejoice in Your steadfast love.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Ascension of Our Lord (Year C) - Witnessing to the Gospel

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2022 6:51

    Jesus said to his disciples: “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:46–49And with that, the earthly mission of Jesus was completed and He ascended into Heaven. Or was it? Was His mission completed? Yes, but only in the sense that our Lord's work of destroying death and offering new life was accomplished by His life, death and resurrection. Human nature was now invited to share in a new life of grace.Prayerfully imagine standing on the mountain of the Ascension with our Lord. As you gaze upon Him, imagine that you were also present with Him throughout His public ministry. Imagine witnessing His many miracles, the way that He converted the hardest of hearts, the authority with which He spoke, His arrest, torture, death and then His Resurrection. Imagine seeing His hands and feet, once pierced, now radiating glory from those wounds. As you see our Lord in this way, imagine Him looking at you with love and saying to you that He has chosen to send you forth to the world to be a witness to Him and to all that you have seen and encountered. You are to go forth sharing the Good News of His life, death and resurrection with all whom you come in contact with.First, our Lord has, indeed, shared His entire life with you. By reading the Gospels, you become a firsthand witness to all that Jesus did and accomplished. His Word is alive, and it reveals His very Person to you, just as it did to His first followers. Second, Jesus does call you to go forth and to share this living Gospel with the world. Therefore, it is important to ponder how you can do such a thing. How can you give witness to the Resurrection of Christ? How can you change lives? How can you continue the mission of Jesus Himself?The promise given by our Lord to the disciples on the mountain of the Ascension is also a promise given to you. He is promising to send the Holy Spirit upon you so as to clothe you “with power from on high.” Only by receiving that power and using it fully will you be able to accomplish the mission that our Lord has given to you. Therefore, will you open yourself to the Holy Spirit and commit yourself to the continuation of Christ's mission?If we were to fully understand the mission we have received from Jesus, it would fill us with a holy fear. But too often the realization of what God wants of us fills us with an unholy fear instead. We think about evangelizing others, sharing our faith, witnessing to the truth by our actions, loving our enemies and living for the Gospel alone, and it can appear overwhelming. If that is the case with you, then know that this form of unholy fear can be dispelled so that the gift of holy fear can take its place. Holy fear is a gift of the Holy Spirit that inspires us to sense the awesomeness of God and the mission we are given by encountering it firsthand. It motivates us, encourages us and leaves us with wonder and awe. From there, this and every other gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to fulfill the unending mission of Christ.Reflect, today, upon the particular mission that God has given to you. Prayerfully look at Jesus as He stands on the mountain of the Ascension and looks at you. As He does, let Him reveal to you not only His very Person, but also your particular sharing in His ongoing mission of sharing the Good News to the ends of the earth. Receive that mission with courage, joy and holy fear. Reverence it, savor it, ponder it and accept it. Commit yourself to this glorious sharing in the life of Christ by committing yourself to become a witness to Christ until the end of your life on earth.My ascended Lord, as You entered body and soul into the full and glorious presence of Your Father, You handed on to your disciples the duty of completing Your mission on earth. I hear Your call in my life, dear Lord, and commit myself to the glorious task of continuing that mission on earth. Please use me as You will and fill me with power from on high so that I may help share Your saving Word to the ends of the earth. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter - Sorrow to Joy

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2022 3:53

    “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”  John 16:20Grief, mourning and even weeping is a part of life.  Children will often weep at the slightest difficulty, but all of us face grief and sorrow throughout life.  In this passage above, Jesus informs His Apostles that sorrow and grief will be a part of their lives.  This is a very sober but realistic statement on the part of our Lord.  It's an act of love, on His part, to be up front with His Apostles about the coming hardships they will face.The good news is that Jesus follows this statement with the hopeful news that their “grief will become joy.”  This is the most important part of what Jesus says.The same is true in our lives.  Jesus does not promise us that our lives will be free from hardship and pain.  He does not tell us that following Him means that all will be easy in life.  Instead, He wants us to know that we will follow in His footsteps if we choose to follow Him.  He suffered, was mistreated and ultimately killed.  And this would be tragic if He did not ultimately rise from the dead, ascend into Heaven and transform all prior grief and pain into the very means of the salvation of the world.If we follow in His footsteps, we need to see every bit of grief in our lives as potentially a means of grace for many.  If we can face the hardships of life with faith and hope, nothing will ultimately keep us down and everything will be able to be used for God's glory and will result in great joy.Reflect, today, upon these words of Jesus.  Know that He was not only speaking them to His Apostles, but also to you.  Do not be scandalized or shocked when life deals you some difficulty.  Do not despair when suffering is placed before you.  Surrender all things to our Lord and let Him transform it into the joy that He promises in the end.Lord of all hopefulness, I surrender to You all suffering in my life.  My grief, hardships, sorrow and confusion I place in Your hands.  I trust that You are all-powerful and desire to transform all things into a means of Your glory.  Give me hope in times of despair and trust when life is hard.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter - The Spirit of Truth

    Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2022 3:51

    Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”  John 16:12–13As we continue to get closer to the wonderful Solemnity of Pentecost, we continue to focus in on the Holy Spirit.  This passage specifically points to the Holy Spirit as the “Spirit of Truth.”  It's interesting how Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit under this title.  He explains that He has much more to tell them, but they cannot bear it now.  In other words, the “Truth” is too much for them to bear unless the Holy Spirit is alive within them and teaching them.  This gives us two wonderful insights worth pondering.First, if we have not truly opened our lives to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, we can be certain that we cannot bear the Truth.  We cannot understand the deep truths of God and we cannot believe them unless the Holy Spirit is alive within us.  That's a frightening thought in that, when the Holy Spirit is not fully immersing someone, that person is left in the dark regarding all Truth.  And, sadly, they will not even realize they are in the dark!If that does not make sense then perhaps you, too, suffer a bit from a lacking of the Spirit of Truth.  Why?  Because when the Spirit of Truth is alive within, you will know that you know the Truth.  Secondly, when you have fully opened your mind and heart to the Holy Spirit, you will become hungry for the Truth.  The Holy Spirit will “guide you to all truth.”  And one of the effects of being guided into all truth is that you will be amazed with the journey.  You will be in awe at the understanding of things that open up in your mind.  You will be able to make sense of things in a new way.  The Holy Spirit is the perfect “guide” and the journey toward the Truth is glorious.Reflect, today, upon the Truth as it resides in the mind of the Father in Heaven.  How open are you to the Truth?  How fully do you embrace all that God wants to reveal to you?  Open yourself more fully to the Holy Spirit and seek all that He wishes to reveal to you.Holy Spirit, come consume my life.  Teach me and guide me into all Truth.  Holy Spirit, Divine Lord, Merciful Father, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter - Come Holy Spirit!

    Play Episode Listen Later May 23, 2022 3:34

    “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”  John 16:7The hearts of the Apostles were conflicted.  They were filled with grief, but they were also trying to trust what Jesus said to them.  Jesus told them He was ascending to His Father and that it was better for them that He go.  Why?  Because if He goes, He will send the Holy Spirit to them.  On a human level, it would have been quite hard for the Apostles to let go of their daily interactions with Jesus.  They certainly missed seeing Him with their eyes, touching Him and hearing Him.  But Jesus made it clear that even though He was leaving He would be with them always.  And He would also send the Holy Spirit upon them to lead them, give them courage, and teach them all truth.  They would now be His presence in the world by the power of the Holy Spirit.We never had the privilege of seeing Jesus in the way the Apostles did.  But we do have the same privilege of Him being with us always.  And we have the same privilege of receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  This is good.  It is very good.  But it is a good that we often miss.  We may have been confirmed, but we may also still fail to let the Holy Spirit in and transform our lives.  In less than two weeks, we will celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.  This is the annual celebration of the fulfillment of this promise of Jesus.  On that day we commemorate the fact that the Holy Spirit has come and that we are now in the time of the Holy Spirit.  Reflect, today, and over the next couple of weeks about the Holy Spirit.  Humbly admit to yourself if you need to let the Holy Spirit become more alive in your life.  Trust that Jesus wants you to receive Him in His fullness.  And be not afraid to let this union take place.Holy Spirit, please come to me.  Help me to fan into flame Your presence in my life.  May I receive You who was promised by Jesus in Your fullness.  Holy Spirit, Divine Jesus, Merciful Father, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter - Jesus Prepares Us

    Play Episode Listen Later May 22, 2022 4:51

    “They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.”  John 16:2–4Most likely, as the disciples listened to Jesus tell them they would be expelled from the synagogues and even killed, it went in one ear and out the other.  Sure, it may have disturbed them a bit, but they most likely moved on rather quickly not worrying too much about it.  But this is why Jesus said, “I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.”  And you can be certain that when the disciples were persecuted by the scribes and Pharisees, they did remember these words of Jesus.  It must have been a heavy cross for them to receive such persecution from their religious leaders.  Here, the people who were supposed to point them to God, were wreaking havoc in their lives.  They would have been tempted to despair and lose their faith.  But Jesus anticipated this heavy trial and, for that reason, warned them that it would come.  But what's interesting is what Jesus did not say.  He did not tell them they should fight back, start a riot, form a revolution, etc.  Rather, if you read the context to this statement, we see Jesus telling them that the Holy Spirit will take care of all things, will lead them and will enable them to testify to Jesus.  To testify to Jesus is to be His witness.  And to be a witness to Jesus is to be a martyr.  Thus, Jesus prepared His disciples for their heavy cross of persecution by the religious leaders by letting them know that they would be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to give witness and testimony to Him.  And once this began to take place, the disciples began to recall all that Jesus had told them.You, too, must realize that being a Christian means persecution.  We see this persecution in our world today through various terrorist attacks upon Christians.  Some see it also, at times, within the “Domestic Church,” the family, when they experience ridicule and harsh treatment for trying to live out their faith.  And, sadly, it's even found within the Church itself when we see fighting, anger, disagreement and judgment.  The key is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit plays a significant role right now in our world.  That role is to strengthen us in our witness to Christ and to ignore any way the evil one would attack.  So if you feel the pressure of persecution in any way, realize that Jesus spoke these words not only for His first disciples, but also for you.Reflect, today, upon any way that you experience persecution in your life.  Allow it to become an opportunity for hope and trust in the Lord through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  He will never leave your side if you trust in Him.Lord, when I feel the weight of the world or persecution, give me peace of mind and heart.  Help strengthen me by the Holy Spirit that I may give joyful witness to You.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year C) - The Love of God

    Play Episode Listen Later May 21, 2022 3:41

    Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”  John 14:23Do you want our Lord to come to you and dwell within the depths of your soul?  Presumably the answer is an easy “Yes.”  The way to make this happen is to love God and keep His word.  When you do that, the Blessed Trinity will come and dwell within you.It's interesting that the love of God appears to be contingent upon our love of Him.  In other words, does God only love us when we love Him first?  Strictly speaking, God loves us with a perfect love regardless of whether we love Him or not.  But with that said, love takes on a whole new form when it is received and reciprocated.  Therefore, when we choose to love God we suddenly realize that our love of Him opens the door for Him to come and dwell within us, transforming us and making our heart His holy sanctuary.  What a glorious gift!It's also interesting to note that love of God means, in part, that we are obedient to Him.  But that's the nature of God.  He is Love itself and, therefore, loving Him necessarily involves a complete submission of your will to His.  Perfect obedience to Him in all things is a powerful way of loving Him.  It's a way of allowing Him to dwell within you and, in that act, to take over your will.  Only then can you love Him even more fully with your whole being.Reflect, today, especially upon your desire to have the Most Holy Trinity come and dwell within your soul.  This should be the primary goal of our lives.  If God lives within us then all else in life will fall into place.  All things will work for the good and God will be glorified in and through us.  Make the choice to love Him through your obedience, this day, and your relationship of love will grow by leaps and bounds.Most Holy Trinity, I do love You and desire to love You in a more perfect way this day.  Help me to submit to Your perfect will in all things.  Help me to embrace perfect obedience to You always.  In that act of love and submission, come and make Your dwelling within me.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter - Persecution

    Play Episode Listen Later May 20, 2022 4:30

    “Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”  John 15:20Do you want to be like Jesus?  If so, beware of what that means.  It's easy to think that the closer we grow to Christ the more we will be loved and understood by the world.  We can think that everyone will see our holiness and admire it and all will be good and easy in life.But all we have to do is look at the life of Christ to know this is not the case.  He was obviously perfect in every way.  As a result, He was treated with great malice and persecution.  It's hard to fathom the dark truth that they actually killed Him.  In the dark of the night, He was arrested, given a mock trial, found guilty and sentenced to death.  His punishment was then carried out immediately.Why did they do this to the Son of God?  Why would someone so perfect and merciful in every way be so cruelly treated?  If we were there, as His first followers, we would have most likely been shocked, frightened, scandalized and confused.  We may have thought that Jesus messed up and lost hope in Him.  But His plan was perfect in every way and His plan did centrally involve Him enduring false accusations and malicious persecution.  And by freely accepting this abuse, He redeemed the world.So back to the original question, “Do you want to be like Jesus?”  This is a tough question when we look at it in the light of what happened to Him.  “No slave is greater than his master.”  “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”  These are tough sayings to accept and agree to.  Persecution is something from which we should not run.  We should not despair if it happens and we should not hold our head low.  Why?  Because persecution is a clear sign that we are following in the footsteps of our Master.  We are more deeply united to Christ as a result of persecution than we could ever realize. The key is to know that God intends to use all maltreatment for good if we let Him.  And we let Him use it for good when we surrender it to Him and receive it freely, not begrudgingly.  Our response must be to “rejoice and be glad” that we have been found worthy to follow in the steps of our Divine Lord.Ponder today any form of persecution or injustice you suffer for the sake of your faith and embrace of the Gospel.  The Lord wants to use that if you let Him.My persecuted Lord, I do surrender to You all that weighs me down.  I give any suffering I receive for being Your follower.  May I not only imitate You in Your suffering, but also in Your willing embrace of it.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter - You Are Chosen

    Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2022 3:41

    “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.”  John 15:16Children love to play games.  When a game is organized between two teams, kids will often line up and wait to be chosen.  Each child hopes to be chosen first.  It is affirming to be wanted for the team.  When a child is chosen last this can be difficult and hurtful.This reveals the desire within each of us to belong and to be wanted.  The good news is that God does choose each one of us.  He wants us as a member of His family and He wants us to belong to Him.  This is essential to understand and, when it is understood, it is very affirming.It is a good spiritual practice to regularly reflect upon the fact that God chose us even before we were born.  He knew us from all eternity and set His eyes upon us, longing to bring us into His fold.  We need to understand this, accept it and believe it.  We do belong.God not only chooses us to belong to Him, He also chooses us for His mission.  He wants to use us to go and bear fruit for His Kingdom.  He wants to use us for a sacred purpose and a divine calling.  Being a member of His “team” means that our lives have purpose and meaning.  No matter how “unqualified” we may feel at times to make a difference, we must remember that God does not see us that way.  Rather, He sees the infinite potential within each of us and chooses to use that potential for the building up of His Kingdom.Reflect, this day, on two short phrases:  “I have chosen you” and “Go and bear fruit.”  Accepting your call from God will change your life and will also change the lives of those whom you are called to serve.My welcoming Lord, I know You have chosen me.  I accept Your call in my life.  I accept the fact that You have appointed me to fulfill Your mission in a unique and glorious way.  Help me to continually say “Yes” to Your call.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter - Unlimited and Unconditional Love

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2022 3:39

    “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”  John 15:9There are three beautiful insights we should take from this passage.  First, the love of the Father for the Son is perfect in every way.  It is unconditional and all-consuming.  It's total and selfless.  In receiving the Father's love, Jesus receives all He needs.  Second, the love Jesus receives from the Father cannot be contained.  It cannot be kept to Himself.  The love of the Father is such that it overflows from Jesus' heart.  It is this overflowing love that pours forth from Jesus to us.  Third, a key thing to ponder in this is that this overflowing love, now given to us, cannot be contained within us either.  It must overflow from our hearts to others.  Therefore, if we are to be true recipients of the love of the Father and the Son, we must in turn let that love pour forth onto others in an “unlimited” and “unconditional” way.Think about it.  “Unlimited.”  “Unconditional.”  Is this truly possible?  Is it possible to be so radical and total in our love of others?  Yes, it's possible only if the love we speak of originates in the heart of the Father, given to the Son, and then poured out upon us to distribute freely.  Reflect, today, upon the fact that the love you are called to share with others originates in the Heart of the Father in Heaven.  The first and most important step in learning to love with the Father's Heart is to let God love you.  This can be very hard to do.  It can be hard to let God love you, to receive that love, and to let it affect you deeply.  But if you can continually let God love you with His perfect love, you will start to see that this love automatically flows forth from you as if it were an overflowing river of grace and mercy.Loving Father and Son, I do love You and know that I am loved by You.  Help me to be open to Your love. Help me to let that love sink in so that it may also overflow from my heart to others.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter - Being Pruned

    Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2022 4:18

    “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”  John 15:1–2Are you willing to let yourself be pruned?  Pruning is necessary if a plant is to produce an abundance of good fruit or beautiful flowers.  If, for example, a grapevine is left to grow without pruning, it will produce many small grapes that are good for nothing.  But if care is taken to prune the vine, the maximum number of good grapes will be produced.Jesus uses this image of pruning to teach us a similar lesson in bearing good fruit for His Kingdom.  He wants our lives to be fruitful and He wants to use us as powerful instruments of His grace in the world.  But unless we are willing to go through the purification of spiritual pruning from time to time, we will not be the instruments that God can use.  Spiritual pruning takes the form of letting God eliminate the vices in our lives so that the virtues can be properly nourished.  This is especially done by letting Him humble us and strip away our pride.  This can hurt, but the pain associated with being humbled by God is a key to spiritual growth.  By growing in humility, we grow ever more reliant upon the source of our nourishment rather than relying upon ourselves, our own ideas and our own plans.  God is infinitely wiser than us and if we can continually turn to Him as our source, we will be far stronger and better prepared to let Him do great things through us.  But, again, this requires that we let Him prune us.Being spiritually pruned means we actively let go of our own will and our own ideas.  It means we give up control over our lives and let the master grower take over.  It means we trust Him far more than we trust ourselves.  This requires a true death to ourselves and a true humility by which we acknowledge we are completely reliant upon God in the same way a branch is reliant upon the vine.  Without the vine, we shrivel and die.  Being firmly attached to the vine is the only way to life.Pray this day that you will let the Lord prune away all that is not of Him in your life.  Trust in Him and His divine plan and know that this is the only path to bearing the good fruit God wants to bear through you.Lord, I pray that You prune away all my pride and selfishness.  Purify me of my many sins so that I can turn to You in all things.  And as I learn to rely upon You, may You begin to bear an abundance of good fruit in my life.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter - A Troubled Heart

    Play Episode Listen Later May 16, 2022 3:37

    “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”  John 14:27What a wonderful reminder that we all need to hear on a regular basis.  “Do not let your heart be troubled.”  And “Do not let your heart be afraid.”  How often do you follow that advice?Interestingly, it's actually more than advice.  It's a command of love from our Lord.  He wants to be clear and wants us to know that a fearful and troubled heart is not of Him.  To be troubled and fearful is a great burden and weighs us down.  Jesus desperately wants us to be free of these burdens.  He wants us to be free so that we can experience the joy of life.  So what is it that burdens you in life the most?  Is there something in your life that you obsess about, are angry about, can't let go of or that tends to dominate your life?  Or perhaps your burden is more subtle.  Perhaps there is nothing that overwhelms you but, instead, is a constant burden in a small way, always there in the background.  These burdens can be quite difficult when they last from year to year.The first step to freedom is to see the burden for what it is.  Identify it and seek to identify the underlying cause.  If the cause of your burden is your own sin, repent of it and seek Confession.  This is the best way to experience immediate freedom.  If, however, your burden is the result of another's actions or some situation in life that is out of your control, then you are in a unique position to surrender to our Lord, giving Him complete control of this situation.  Freedom is found in total surrender, trust and abandonment to His will.Spend some time today reflecting upon that which burdens you the most in life.  What is it that weighs heavily upon you?  It is this, more than anything else, that Jesus wants to enter into and lift for you.  He wants you free so that you can experience the joy that He has to offer you in life.  Lord of true joy, I want to be free.  I want to experience the joy You have in store for me.  When the burdens of life weigh me down, help me to turn to You in my need.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter - Indwelling of the Trinity

    Play Episode Listen Later May 15, 2022 3:58

    “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”  John 14:23Children seem to get it.  They seem to understand that God dwells in their hearts.  Of course if you asked them how they know this they may look at you with a confused look and not know how to respond.  But, nonetheless, somehow they do understand that God dwells within them.So what would you say if someone asked you, “How do you know that God comes and makes His dwelling within you?”  Perhaps you also may be at a loss for words to describe this incredible mystery of our faith.   Do you believe this to be true?  That God wants to make your heart and soul His dwelling place?  If so, how does this happen?By the gift of faith we, like little children, just know that God wants to dwell within us.  We know that He wants to possess our souls, speak to us, strengthen us, lead us and guide us.  We know, by the gift of faith, that God is real and desires the deepest and most intimate relationship with us.  We just know.The good news is that faith leads to understanding.  This means that the more we are attentive to the voice of God speaking within us, leading and guiding us, the more we begin to understand His indwelling presence.  As St. Augustine said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see. The reward of faith is to see what you believe.”  Faith in God's indwelling presence leads us to the answer of the question above.  The answer is one that God and God alone can give to us.  We can share our faith with others, give witness to His presence in our lives, and give those around us the answer to that question through faith.  How do I know God dwells within me?  The answer: Because I see Him there, I speak to Him there, and He speaks to me.  Reflect, today, upon the Lord living within you.  Let Him speak to you and, in that ever deepening conversation, allow His Indwelling Presence to grow and to become manifest to others.  God wants to not only dwell within you, He also wants to shine through you.Most Blessed Trinity, come live in my heart.  Make my heart Your dwelling place.  Help me to see You there, to meet You there, to converse with You and to love You in my soul.  Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2022 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

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