By their nature it is difficult to know exactly what Jesus meant through his parables. He used their local scenery, culture, and every day acts to explain deep theological concepts in ways that uneducated people of His time could understand. This makes it somewhat difficult for us in the 21st century to understand, as we may not know some of their local customs and practices. The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) is one that appears easy, but the meaning may not be as obvious.Read More
There are times in our lives when we feel attacked and persecuted. When people turn against us for no good reason. Perhaps out of jealousy, misunderstanding, the need for power and control, or many other reasons. We may feel victims of injustice. The situation may not make sense. Why are they treating me so bad, when I was honest, caring, loving, a good worker? Injustices rarely make sense and they pierce one’s heart. We allow the evil in the world to hook us, to get to our heart and cause suffering.Read More
With Ash Wednesday we begin the beautiful and important liturgical season of Lent. Even though Advent is such a happy season, full of light and joy, I actually prefer Lent. Perhaps because there are so many other distractions during Advent with parties, Christmas cards, gifts, special meals, etc. I like the simplicity of Lent, the reminder to repent, and the exhortation to imitate Jesus Christ. I appreciate the silence and self-reflection of the next 40 days. While our focus tends to be on what we are going to sacrifice, the real question needs to be what we need to change in our lives to become more holy, more Christ-like. Here are 7 things we should know about LentRead More
St Paul asked us to pray without ceasing, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5, 16-18). We have hundreds of prayers at our disposal to pray without ceasing, but the Jesus Prayer is a great one to help us pray every time we have a spare minute, or 10, or 20…Read More
Do you pray the Angelus? The name of the prayer comes from the beginning of the prayer in Latin "Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ ("... the Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary ...") and the prayer commemorates the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus. The Angelus can be traced back to the 11th Century and it evolved from the times and prayers said in monasteries.Read More
Today we celebrate that over 150 years ago (February 11, 1858) the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, age 14, in front of the Grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, France. The apparition changed France and the world. We are still inspired and growing spiritually from Mary's message and Bernadette's experience.Read More
Understanding more deeply Luke 2:22-38, when Jesus was presented in the temple. “22 When the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 “Read More
There are many things I need to improve in my journey to holiness, but one for sure is my ability to surrender my worries and concerns to God with faith and full confidence. This morning I woke up worrying about a situation of a friend. I wonder how the person could get better, I wondered what I could do to help, and I feared what could happen if things don't improve. I pray for this person every day, but in general terms, for this person's well being.
My wife then came to the room and was telling me a story about how the father of this child that was very ill prayed with full confidence in God's mercy and the child was miraculously healed. Her story hit me like a brick. What am I doing worrying about this person's future? Have I still no faith? Jesus can calm a storm with one command, yet I think I can fix something on my own and don't think of surrendering and asking. I need to surrender this specific concern to God and ask for His mercy and grace in this specific situation. I can't do anything, but He can do it all. If it is His will, and it is what's best then this person will be healed. It's in Jesus' hands. Of course, yesterday's reading just confirmed the revelation.
1) Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.
2) Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.
3) Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.
4) Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.
5) Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.
6) Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.
7) Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.
8) Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.
9) Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.
10) Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.
The daily decalogue of Pope John XXIII
This is the third time I hear a story about a possible encounter with an angel in as many weeks. In all cases someone comes by unexpectedly and seemingly out of nowhere, makes a positive impact, and then puff, he is gone. Yesterday a friend shared her story from this past week. She has gone through some tough times lately, a bit of despair, and has tougher times ahead. She was at a fast food restaurant with a friend and they were starving. They finally got to sit down to eat when a man approaches my friend. "Would you like to buy this magnet?" "No thanks." "Its only a quarter." "No thanks."
She is thinking a) I don't want to be touching money while I'm eating and b)I'm starving and don't want to stop eating. Then he puts the magnet next to her. "Then you can just have it." "You shouldn't", "that's what we are here for".
She and her friend pick it up and it reads "Faith. For those who have faith everything is possible.” They also see that there's a tiny picture of a couple and a heart supported by Jesus. This is 100% related to her sorrow and just the message she needed to hear. It was a message of hope and light in the midst of darkness. "I feel bad, I should give him the quarter. Where is he?" Gone. How did he disappear in just the time it took to read a magnet? There were only 4 people in that restaurant. They run outside to find him and look everywhere. Nothing. Gone. They are left with that feeling of knowing something special just happened. A touch of grace. Was he an Angel? Or was he simply an "angel"... a very kind person? We will never know.
Have you had an experience like this? Are angels still helping us here? Or did they retire after so much work: helping prophets, making announcements, helping Lot, singing Glory when Jesus was born, and so many other assignments?
Angels continue to be on earth helping us every day. What are angels anyway? Angels are “purely spiritual creatures who have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.’ (CCC) They praise God, who they see in all His glory, and serve Him, most of the times as messengers. There are several places in the Old Testament with stories of angels watching over people and the concept of us having a guardian angel to offer prayers for us is ancient.
“Besides each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” St Basil, Adv. Eunomium III, 4th Century.
(CCC: Catechism of the Catholic Church)