Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Saints & Halloween

The Saint Anthony Messenger answers questions about the origins of the next two days on the Christian calendar. The following are excerpts from the Saint Anthony Messenger report.

When you think of Halloween, what comes to mind? For a lot of people, Halloween has become synonymous with candy, costumes, scary stuff, witches, ghosts and pumpkins. But do you know the Christian connection to the holiday?

The true origins of Halloween lie with the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. For the Celts, November 1 marked the beginning of a new year and the coming of winter. The night before the new year, they celebrated the festival of Samhain, lord of the dead. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead, including ghosts, goblins and witches, returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would wear masks and light bonfires.

When the Romans conquered the Celts, they added their own touches to the Samhain festival, such as making centerpieces out of apples and nuts for Pomona, the Roman goddess of the orchards. The Romans also bobbed for apples and drank cider, traditions which may sound familiar to you. But where does the Christian aspect of the holiday come into play? In 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints)from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallows' Even or holy evening. Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 2, the Church celebrates All Souls Day.

The purpose of these feasts is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the Church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the "communion of saints," which reminds us that the Church is not bound by space or time.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that through the communion of saints "a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things" (CCC #1475).

Monday, October 30, 2017

Marianist Monday - We are called to be Saints

What I regard as a really distinctive trait of our two orders, and what seems to me to be without a precedent in all the religious orders I know of, is the fact, as I have said, that we embrace the religious life in the name and for the glory of the Blessed Virgin, and for the sake of devoting ourselves to her, that is to say, our bodies and all that we possess, in order to make her known, loved and served.Religious life is to Christianity what Christianity is to humanity. It is as imperishable in the Church as the church is imperishable in human society. For this reason, it would be futile to pretend to re-establish Christianity without the institutions which permit men to practice the evangelical counsels. 

However, it would be difficult and inopportune to try to revive these institutions today under the same forms they had before the Revolution. But no form is essential to the religious life. One can be a religious under a secular appearance. It will be less offensive to the misguided. It will be more difficult for them to be opposed. The world and the Church will be even further edified. Let us then form a religious association by pronouncing the three vows of religion, but without name or costume. Nova bella elegit Dominus (The Lord had chosen new wars); and let us put the entire plan under the protection of Mary Immaculate, to whom her Divine Son has reserved the final victories over hell.Let us be, my child,... let us be, in our humility the heel of the Woman. 

(From Blessed Chaminade's Letter of August 24, 1839 Letter to the Retreat Masters.)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The message of salvation

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At the National Vocation Director’s Conference in New Orleans several weeks ago the main focus was on evangelization. We cannot talk to people about following Jesus in a vocation to priesthood or religious life if they don’t have a relationship with Jesus.

Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel) talks about the importance of the Kerygma, the basic message of salvation in the Gospel. Kerygma is a Greek word that means “to proclaim.” The kerygma can be summarized as follows:

God loves us and we were created in His image and likeness. Sin and death came into the world through Adam and Eve. We are all sinners and sin separates us from God. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. He came to walk our walk, live our life, die our death, rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. Through Jesus’s resurrection from the dead we can receive eternal life if we place our faith in Him.

Pope Francis reiterates that this is the initial proclamation that people need to hear over and over again. All people need to have a personal encounter with Jesus. After encountering Jesus and hearing the kerygma, people are invited to place their faith and trust in Jesus. Only then are people ready for catechesis, which is a systematic teaching of the faith.

Catechesis is very effective after hearts have been opened by an encounter with Christ and hearing the initial proclamation of the Gospel or the kerygma. However, if people’s hearts are not open, catechesis often becomes an intellectual exercise like math or science. I believe this is why many people have walked away from the Church because they haven’t encountered Christ or heard the kerygma preached well. Jesus can remain a historical figure and the Church can seem to be a cold institution to someone who has not given over their heart to the Lord.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Sunday Word

It is not too late to get a head start on preparing the readings for this Sunday the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Our second reading encourages us to consider good role models.

It is Saint Paul who takes credit for being a good example when he reminds the Thessalonians that he, Silvanus and Timothy brought them the message of the gospel "not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." You remember, he tells them, just "what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake."

But this good role modeling did not end with Paul and his colleagues. No, in this letter, Paul reports that the Thessalonians "became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaea."

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Pope Speaks

The Pope speaks.

“Don’t let your youth be stolen from you,” Pope Francis told the young people of Canada.

“Don’t build walls of division. Build bridges, like this one which you are crossing and which allows you to communicate from the shores of two oceans." - P. Francis video message to Canadian youth.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Marianist Bicentennial

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Bicentennial Prayer

Gracious and loving God,
God of our founders,
you have blessed us with 200 years
of mission and mercy.

Lead us on, Lord.

Make us good stewards
and attentive listeners,
ready to do whatever you tell us
to accomplish Mary’s mission
in our world today.

With great thanksgiving
and loving praise,
we say Amen.

May the Father, and the Son
and the Holy Spirit,
be glorified in all places
through the
Immaculate Virgin Mary.

Prayer by
Sr. Laura Leming, FMI

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Papal Thoughts

Pope Francis says Mass at the chapel of Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, Sept. 28, 2017. Credit: L'Osservatore Romano.Pope Francis preached Monday about the idolatry of money, which causes us to ignore those in need, allowing others to go hungry and die while we turn money and worldly possessions into false gods.

Today there are people who are greedy for more money and worldly goods, people who have “so much,” but walk by “hungry children who have no medicine, who have no education, who are abandoned,” he said Oct. 23 during his homily at Mass at the chapel of the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta.

This is “an idolatry that kills,” that makes “human sacrifices” to the god of money, the Pope said.

“This idolatry causes so many people to starve,” he stated, pointing to the example of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people who have been displaced from their home in Burma, also known as Myanmar, due to ethno-religious persecution.

There are 800,000 Rohingya people in refugee camps, the Pope said. And of these, 200,000 are children. They are “malnourished, without medicine,” he said.

“Even today this happens,” he emphasized, noting how our prayers against idolatry “must be strong.”

We should pray: “Lord, please, touch the hearts of these people who worship… the god of money. Touch also my heart so I do not fall into” the same thing, that I can see everything clearly, he said.

The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group who reside in the Rakhine state of majority-Buddhist Burma. They have been denied citizenship for nearly 40 years, and their persecution by the government has intensified in recent years.

Pope Francis has spoken out on behalf of the minority many times in recent years. In November he will visit Burma, as well as Bangladesh, where he will undoubtedly speak out for the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.

In his homily, he reflected on the words of Christ in the day’s Gospel from St. Luke: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

God who ultimately puts a limit on our attachment to money, Pope Francis said, since at the end of life it becomes worthless.

Many men worship money and make money their god, he continued, but their life has no meaning. “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God,” Francis said, quoting from the Gospel of Luke.

God underlines this with “gentleness” in the end, he said. To make ourselves rich in what matters to God, “that is the only way. Wealth, [yes], but in God.”

By Hannah Brockhaus


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

St, Anthony Mary Claret

So, who is this saint, Anthony Mary Claret?

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Some have called him a remarkable apostle - to be compared only with the work of St. Francis Xavier.

Others have named him a miracle worker - who would rival the cures of St. Anthony of Padua.

And there are still more that know he was a mystic - like the Dominican St. Vincent Ferrer.

He certainly spread devotion to the Holy Rosary like Saint Dominic did in his time.

Yet, he was all these and much, much more.

St. Anthony Mary Claret was one of the great modern saints. But while he was one of the greatest of modern times, he was probably the least known.

He was a Spanish Roman Catholic archbishop and missionary, and was confessor of Isabella II of Spain. 

He founded the congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, commonly called the Claretians.

In his Autobiography he writes: "On the 26th of August, 1861, at seven o'clock in the evening, Our Lord granted me the great grace of retaining the sacramental species. Day and night I have the Most Holy Sacrament in my breast. For this reason, I must always be recollected and devoted to Him Who abides so intimately within me." 

Monday, October 23, 2017

St. John Capistrano

In 1976, October 23 was assigned by Pope Paul VI as the date the Church would remember the life and witness of Saint John Capistrano.

Saint John Capistrano died on this day in the year 1456.
St. John of Capistrano
St. John of Capistrano

John was a Franciscan friar and priest, but not of the good-natured variety of Franciscans that holds the popular imagination. To describe John as zealous would be an understatement. He walked the fine line between zeal and fanaticism, allowing God to write straight with the crooked lines he drew throughout his life.

His chosen profession was a lawyer. He was a married man. He set aside his profession and left his wife, actions that were the result of an intense experience of conversion. He entered the Franciscan Order and became well known for his preaching and teaching. He led a reform of the Franciscan Order that insisted on radical asceticism and obedience. He brokered no compromise and had no patience for opposition. Appointed as an inquisitor, his prosecution of heresy was ferocious.

Ironically, this hunter of heretics found himself accused of heresy, but he successfully defended himself against these accusations and was acquitted of the charges.

He died during the siege of the city of Belgrade in the year on October 23, 1456. He is known as a “soldier saint” because he personally led troops into this battle.

Saint John of Capistrano was a heroic figure and his life well represents the age in which he lived. Those warlike days seem over for us, and it is likely some might say that his life has little, if any resonance or relevance, to our own concerns. Most nowadays recoil in horror at a Church that would insist that heresy be prosecuted in civil courts and priests take up arms in battle. This sense of revulsion has not always been the prevailing norm.

We share the same Faith as Saint John Capistrano, but our vision of what the Faith should be and do differs in some, if not many, respects.

by Fr. Steve Grunow

The Sunday Word

Our Sunday Gospel puts before us the incident where some influential men who were opposed to Jesus tried to set him up for big public embarrassment and destroy his credibility.In front of a great crowd — perhaps equivalent to asking him on live TV — they asked him whether it was lawful to pay taxes to the emperor. Their devious idea was that if Jesus argued against the tax, they could accuse him to the Roman governor of urging rebellion against Rome. On the other hand, if he endorsed the tax, the common people who hated their Roman overlords would likely view him as sympathetic to Rome, and thus turn away from him. For Jesus, it was — they thought — a lose-lose situation.

Unfortunately for them, they had no plan when Jesus turned their question on its head, and that’s exactly what he did. Calling for his challengers to produce a coin of the realm, Jesus asked them whose head was imprinted on it. After the challengers gave the obvious answer that the image was that of the Roman emperor, Jesus instructed them to “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Jesus was telling his audience that day about a kind of error that they could make with their money. In fact, he turned the whole incident into a teachable moment in which he reminded them that they should be as attentive to their responsibilities toward God as they were to their obligations as subjects of the empire.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Papal Thoughts

 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, during an audience with participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Clergy at the Vatican June 1.

"Christians must remember that God always accompanies and always freely offers salvation. The sign that a Christian has accepted God's grace is that he or she demonstrates love through spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Spiritual and corporal works of mercy are the touchstone of the fulfillment of the law.

This is how God wants his disciples to live so that they can also help "open the door" to God for themselves and for others."
Pope Francis

Friday, October 20, 2017

St. Paul of the Cross.

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WE celebrate today the feast of St. Paul of the Cross.

He was a man deeply devoted to the Passion of Jesus Christ. After he received a heavenly vision of himself wearing a black habit with a white heart and cross on it, he founded the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ (also known as the Passionists).

St. Paul took what he received from God and distributed it to anyone who would listen. Here are seven quotes from the writings of St. Paul of the Cross that speak to the heart and can inspire us in our daily struggle for sanctity.

Build an oratory within yourself, and there have Jesus on the altar of your heart. Speak to Him often while you are doing your work. Speak to Him of His holy love, of His holy sufferings and of the sorrows of most holy Mary.

When you are alone in your room, take your crucifix, kiss its five wounds reverently, tell it to preach to you a little sermon, and then listen to the words of eternal life that it speaks to your heart; listen to the pleading of the thorns, the nails, the precious Blood. Oh, what an eloquent sermon!

When you behold a beautiful landscape, say: “Heaven is more beautiful than that! Above there are true delights and holy pleasures!”

The feast of the Blessed Sacrament is the feast of love. Oh, what great love! what immense charity! The moth is drawn to the light, and burns itself in it. May your soul likewise draw near to the divine Light! May it be reduced to ashes in that sacred flame, particularly during this great and sweet octave of Corpus Christi. Ah! eat, drink, run, sing, rejoice in honor of your divine Spouse.

How beautiful to look upon is the starry firmament! Yet it is only the portal of the blessed country where I hope to go one day.

O souls! seek a refuge, like pure doves, in the shadow of the crucifix. There mourn the Passion of your divine Spouse, and drawing from your hearts flames of love and rivers of tears, make of them a precious balm with which to anoint the wounds of your Saviour.

Celebrate the feast of Christmas every day, even every moment in the interior temple of your spirit, remaining like a baby in the bosom of the heavenly Father, where you will be reborn each moment in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Feast of the North American Martyrs

October 19 is the Feast of the North American Martyrs, sometime known as the Feast of St. Isaac Jogues and Companions. 
The eight Jesuits--Jean de Brébeuf,Noël Chabanel, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, René Goupil, Isaac Jogues,Jean de Lalande and Gabriel Lalemant--are some of the most heroic and noble men in the church’s calendar of saints. They worked in the wilderness, among people with whom they had little in common other than their common humanity, far from their homelands, sometimes together, sometimes apart, always bound to the Lord, in “New France,” in the 17th century.
His life, like the lives of all the North American Martyrs, has much to teach us about working and living among those who are different from us, the inevitability of difficulties even for the most devout of souls and the necessity of faith at all times.

When he returned to New France in 1635, he was cheerfully welcomed by his Huron friends. Immediately he and Antoine Daniel, another Jesuit, began their work in earnest. (They were one of several Jesuits working in the region at the time.) Near a town called Ihonotiria, near current-day Georgian Bay in Canada, Fathers Brébeuf and Daniel began teaching the people about Christianity. They were later joined by two other French Jesuits, Charles Garnier and Isaac Jogues.

With the arrival of their new companions, though, a smallpox epidemic broke out among the Jesuits, which spread to the Hurons, who had no immunity whatsoever from the illness. The missionaries cared for the sick and baptized thousands of Hurons. But because they had baptized those who were dying, the Hurons concluded that baptism brought death, and so many of the Hurons began to turn against the "Blackrobes." Brébeuf then moved to Sainte-Marie, a center for the Jesuits in the area.

Then a new danger arose. Rumors (false ones) circulated that Jean was in league with a sworn enemy of the Hurons, the Seneca clan of the Iroquois. So he prudently moved to another site, Saint Louis. On March 16, the Iroquois attacked the village and took the Hurons, who were mainly Christians, along with Jean and another Jesuit, Gabriel Lalement, prisoner. He knew that the possibility of martyrdom was imminent.

Jean de Brébeuf's torture was among the cruelest any Jesuit has had to endure. (You might want to avoid this next paragraph if you're squeamish.)

The Iroquois heated hatchets until they were glowing red and, tying them together, strung them across his shoulders, searing his flesh. They wrapped his torso with bark and set it afire. They cut off his nose, lips and forced a hot iron down his throat, and poured boiling water over his head in a gruesome imitation of baptism. They scalped him, and cut off his flesh while he was alive. Finally someone buried a hatchet in his jaw.

After 14 years as a missionary, Jean de Brébeuf died on March 16, 1639. He was 56. At his death his heart was eaten as a way for the Iroquois, who were stunned by his courage, to share in his bravery. Eight other Jesuits were martyred around this same time, and are now referred to as the North American Martyrs. 
May they pray for us and be our examples of patience, fortitude and faith.

Excerpt from James Martin, SJ

Daily Reflection

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Today's reading from Romans continues yesterday’s theme which Paul tells us that we are not justified by our works but by our faith. He uses Abraham, our Father in Faith, as his example. Abraham did many good things and could have boasted about them but what justified him was the fact that he put his faith in God. 

This was partly to ‘correct’ a belief that saw Abraham justified because of his actions after God’s call rather than because of his faith in God. 

In our Gospel text from St. Luke we see Jesus teaching the people and his disciples and reminding them that everything that is said and done is known to the Father. He also tells the disciples that they need not fear those who can kill our mortal bodies. We can fear those who can kill the spirit also which is far more serious. For this is spiritual part is the immortal part of our being. Trust in God will prevent such a thing from happening.

Marian moment

God of wisdom and love,
you have sent your Son Jesus to be the light of the world,
and continue to send your Holy Spirit among us
to guide us into the way of truth.

Open our hearts to your word
and let us ponder your actions among us.
Give us your Spirit of wisdom and knowledge,
of understanding and counsel.
With Mary, may we rejoice in your gifts,
and walk in the way of truth and love.

With all your people on earth and in eternity,
we ask this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ,
in the unity of your loving Spirit,
one holy God, for ever and ever.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

"Be Not Afraid"

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"Be Not Afraid"
Respect Life Month, October 2017

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Chairman

USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities


My dear friends in Christ:

Once again, we mark the month of October as Respect Life Month. Looking back over the last year, there's been a lot of uncertainty, suffering, and heartache. Between tragedies that occur in the public eye and trials that take place in our personal lives, there's no shortage of reasons we cry out to God.

At such times, we may feel alone and unequipped to handle the circumstances. But we have an anchor of hope to cling to. With words that echo through thousands of years into the corners of our hearts, God says to us, "Do not fear: I am with you" (Isaiah 41:10).

The 2017-2018 Respect Life theme, "Be Not Afraid," reminds us of this promise.

God isn't a detached, distant observer to our pain; the Eternal Son became man and Himself experienced immense suffering—for you and for me. His wounds indicate the very essence of our identity and worth: we are loved by God.

There are times we may doubt the value of our own lives or falter at the thought of welcoming and embracing the life of another. But reflecting on the healed wounds of the Risen Christ, we can see that even our most difficult trials can be the place where God manifests his victory. He makes all things beautiful. He makes all things new. He is the God of redemption.

That's powerful. That's something to hold onto.

And, He is always with us. Jesus promised this when he gave the disciples the same mission he gives to each of us: Go.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we know that our identity and our mission are two sides of the same coin; like the apostles, we are called to be missionary disciples. We are not only invited to follow and take refuge in God, our stronghold, but we are also commissioned to reach out to one another, especially to the weak and vulnerable.

Building a culture of life isn't something we just do one month of the year, or with one event or initiative—it's essential to who we are. It happens through our daily actions, how we treat one another, and how we live our lives.

How do we respond when our aging parents are in failing health? Do they know how much we love them and cherish each day given? Do we ensure they know they are never a burden to us? In our own challenging times, do we ask for support? When others offer a helping hand, do we receive it? When our friend becomes pregnant in difficult circumstances, do we show compassion that tangibly supports her and helps her welcome the life of her new little one?

Sometimes, we may not be sure exactly what to do, but let's not allow the fear of doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing keep us from living out our missionary call. We don't need to have everything figured out all at once. Let's remember the guidance of Our Blessed Mother, the first disciple: "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:5).

Also, I encourage you to visit www.usccb.org/respectlife to see the U.S. bishops' new Respect Life materials centered on the theme "Be Not Afraid." There are articles, bulletin inserts, prayers, action ideas, and more! This Respect Life Month and always, let's walk with each other; let's help each other embrace God's gift of human life. Whatever storms or trials we face, we are not alone. He is with us: "Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities
October 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thanks you, Lord!

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There is a classic Dennis the Menace cartoon that depicts an irate Margaret haughtily proclaiming to Dennis as he walks by, "I'm not speaking to you, Dennis Mitchell!" 

The next frame shows Dennis, his eyes rolled heavenward, breathing a heartfelt, "Thank you, Lord."

When confronted with an unexpected grace or an unforeseen groan, is your first response to turn towards God in prayer? The very reason we can be anxious in nothing, that we can rejoice in the Lord, is that God is powerfully present for us in prayer, always. Saint Paul recognizes that a good percentage of our "prayers" are more correctly seen as "supplications" and "requests." Sometimes, when we are feeling spiritually strong and centered, our souls do turn toward God in true prayer, seeking nothing more than a feeling of the holy presence.

Other times, we approach God on our bellies. When our spirits are parched and dragging, we come to God as supplicants _ admitting our own inadequacies and recognizing God as the source of all wholeness. Often, however, we seek out God in prayer with specific requests. Sometimes we know our requests must seem childish and simple to God _ like the two little boys who in early September hopefully donned all their mittens, coats and hats, and perched their sled on the top of a hill and requested of God, "We're ready .... Let 'er rip!" But other times our requests are deeply serious: "Heal her," "Help him," "Hear me."

God wants our prayers, supplications and our requests.

Friday, October 13, 2017


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If we were trying to get Saint Paul's point across with both power and poetry, the best, if not the most linguistically literal translation of this text has to be : "Anxious in nothing, prayerful in everything, thankful in anything .... Then the peace." Only when a Christian has achieved a state of faith that allows those three attitudes to guide his or her life does the "peace of God" settle quietly over the mind and heart.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Don't worry, be happy"

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Saint Paul's urges us, "Rejoice in the Lord always," He coontinues, "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Do this, Paul says, "and the peace of God ... will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." 

We could label Saint Paul's listing in Philippiansas "Don't worry, be happy," probably a reference to the Bobby McFerrin song of the same name.

We doubt, however, that Paul intended his words to be taken in such a carefree and silly way as that song intended. Saint Paul wasn't urging his readers to be mindlessly happy; he was telling them to "rejoice in the Lord," to be in touch with the One from whom real peace and well-being flows. When he spoke of letting our requests be known to God in prayer, he was not prescribing some kind of quick-fix formula or talking in prayer as a tool for feeling better; rather he was pointing his readers toward the One who hears our prayers and loves us. And when Saint Paul talked of the peace of God, he wasn't referring to the state of being without concerns, but to the state of being in harmony with God and the order God has built into our world.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Think on these things

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In the Sunday's second reading,Saint Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord, to pray with both supplications (requests) and words of thanks, and then, to let their minds dwell on "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable ... and ... anything worthy of praise."

At the end of that list, he adds these words: "think about these things."

If we were to stop reading Saint Paul's letter right there, we might conclude that all he was attempting to do was to give us "something to think about," but, in fact, Paul does not stop there. He adds, "Keep on doing these things." In terms of thinking, he was telling them to fill their minds with virtuous concepts and high-quality motivations, but he went on to say that they should do them too; they should express their high-minded ideals in actions.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Peace trancsends

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The great apostle Paul lived more than 500 years ago, but had his focus squarely on ideas that would last. Writing to the Philippians, Saint Paul urges them to “stand firm in the Lord.”  This was an important word in the midst of an apparent conflict between the two women at odds within the Philippian church. Sensing their anxiousness about the struggle, the apostle urges the community to move out of their present focus on problems and instead “Rejoice” because “The Lord is near.”  “Do not worry about anything,” says Paul reminding them of the bigger picture, but guard your hearts and minds with “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” It’s a peace that transcends even the cycle of human conflict.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Peace of God

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In yesterday's readings Saint Paul goes on to say, “Do not worry about anything” — especially your failures! But “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
 We Christians are to make our requests known to God, but to realize that God will not always give us what we want. Instead, he will give us what we need — give us what Saint Paul calls “the peace of God,” a total sense of well-being that comes from the Lord and links our hearts and minds to Jesus.

That’s a great gift. It’s a great gift when you are struggling, or feeling miserable, or failing, or dealing with deep anxiety and depression. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

That’s a promise. The promise of peace.