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Daily Spiritual Reflections

While Masses are suspended, please come to this page for daily reflections and prayers based on the day’s Gospel reading, provided by Fr. Don Siple, OSM, Rector of The Grotto.

Saturday, March 28

“Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? John 7:40-41

Being misunderstood is a difficult experience for most of us. Knowing who we are is key to our self-understanding and to how we interact with others. When we are misunderstood by another we go to great lengths to educate others in understanding who we are, what we believe and the place we see ourselves having within the human family. We want others to know us as we know ourselves.

Jesus experienced being misunderstood. He came as “God among us”, bringing mercy and love for the salvation of the world. His words, actions and miracles reflected who He was and what He came to accomplish. Yet, the very people He came to save misunderstood who He was and what His mission was about. In spite of being misunderstood, Jesus stayed focused.

Today, many of us misunderstand Jesus. Many want Jesus to be a “wizard of Oz” granting favors instead of a Lord who saves and imparts grace that strengthens our lives. Many want God on their terms and relate to God only when they need Him for something, forgetting that God wants to accompany them through all moments of life.

God wants a relationship with us where His presence brings hope, comfort and blessing. The good news is that in spite of who we understand Jesus to be never stops Him from loving us. For us though, correctly understanding who Jesus is lets Jesus be whom we need Him to be: Messiah, Lord and God. When we let Him be God our blessings are abundant and eternal. The wizard of Oz cannot do this, only God can.

Today, God invites us to understand Him as He knows himself “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and rich in kindness.” Now this is the God we really need to know and love.

Friday, March 27

“I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” John 7

When we are employed in a job where we are able to use our talents and education we feel a sense of purpose in life. We feel that we contribute to the good of the human family. We leave a positive mark in life. Jesus felt the same way. He was sent for one job, to be the face of God in human history. His life and words marked humanity with unconditional love and everlasting mercy. He gave his life that we can life now and forever. Jesus felt deep sorrow when people either choose to misunderstand his mission and work or outright reject His and the Father’s love. Yet, being misunderstood and rejected did not stop our Savior from fulfilling His mission. His purpose, to love and save humanity, would not be deterred. As Christians we are invited into a relationship with God. This relationship must define who we are and how we live just as Christ’s relationship with the Father defined His life. This means that the love and mercy which Jesus lived becomes our manner of life as well. Our on-going conversion is the work of life. Living in faith the love we are given by God is our purpose. As we continue our Lenten practices may we honestly reflect on how our life mirror’s Christ’s and courageously live as He did. For us Christians the purpose of our life is found in how Jesus’ life is found in ours.

Thursday, March 26

“Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.”

This refrain to today’s responsorial psalm is a great Lenten prayer.  It speaks of hope that our Father remembers us and favors us with His love even in our sinfulness. Lent is about stepping back from the ordinary of our lives to deeply reflect on the strength and vitality of our relationship with God.  Our increased and hopefully intense prayer, fasting and almsgiving during Lent is meant to call us into honest reflection on our lives.

Is God first in my life as He should be or have I created other gods, “golden calfs” which I worship more than God? Are there places in my heart, events, or persons I am choosing not to forgive? Am I lovingly caring for others as the Savior commands? Am I allowing myself to feel loved and forgiven by God or am I choosing to hold on to hurts, shame and sin.

The good news is that no matter where on life’s journey we are loved by the Father beyond our wildest imagination.  God always remembers and favors us. Today, the Lord invites us to let Him into the center of our lives that He can love us with mercy that forgives sin, purges vices and brings peace in abundance.  All we need to do is repent and believe that Jesus is Lord over all the areas of our lives. 

Spiritual Communion Prayer from Pope Francis

As more Catholics around the world find themselves unable to receive the Eucharist due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis provided an example of a spiritual communion prayer that can be said from home

“My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart … I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You,”

Wednesday, March 25

Prayer

Father,

On this day when we remember the Annunciation of the Lord to Mary, we joyfully celebrate the beginning of our salvation.  In the mystery of the Incarnation, you wed yourself to us in a covenant of love that is unconditional and everlasting.

Lord, bathed in your love may we find hope at all times.  May our joy be to serve you as Mary did trusting that you are with us always.

Amen.

Tuesday, March 24

“Do you want to be well?”

This is the question Jesus asks the man was who had been ill for thirty-eight years. “Do you want to be well?”

It seems like a strange question to a person who has probably spent most of his life suffering his illness. I think, ‘well of course I want to be well!’

But, do we really want to be healed? Healing means not only being physically well, but spiritually as well. Wanting healing is wanting to be whole which means that I need to realize that another has an interest in my life, the Lord Jesus.

His interest in my life is to bring me peace and hope. To be healed I need to surrender what I want and what I believe that I is important to a new way of living and thinking. Physical healing is provided by God, but often the greater healing comes in forgiving to oneself and others so that freedom from fear and doubt can give way to joy and hope.

Yes, Lord I want to be healed, but heal me in the way that you know I need to be healed. I trust you.

Monday, March 23

Scripture: Isaiah 65:17-21

In today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah, the Lord declares “lo I am about to create new heavens and a new earth”. There is excitement in the Lord’s words, the same excitement the Lord felt when He first created the heavens and the earth. The words in Isaiah come after a long period of God’s people experiencing exile from their homeland. They are weary, but they trust God’s faithfulness. The new heavens and the new earth are a renewal of harmony where all live in peace with each other and with creation. Ultimately, God’s call is a renewal of the human spirit to once again find joy through hope.

These days as we take the necessary measures to stay healthy and safe in the present health crisis, God invites us to take our part in the new creation. As we socially distance and limit our movement outside of our homes to keep safe what ways can we create something new? Something that renews another’s spirit? Maybe we use our social media accounts to post lovely pictures or stories and poems that speak of hope and joy. Maybe we telephone or video call a friend or coworker to check-in on them. Maybe we take time to pray for those who are ill and the caregivers/healthcare workers caring for the ill. By safely caring for each other in faith we can assist in God’s work of renewal by safely reaching out to others to renew their spirit with joy through hope.

Sunday, March 22

Scripture: John 9:1-41

We have all had the experience of walking into a dark room and feeling a bit uneasy. The thought of not having the ability to see is scary. Yet, those who are blind never seem to be afraid, but trust that they they can navigate the world by other means, especially using the other senses and the assistance of loved ones. Maybe the lesson for all of us is to learn to navigate life, and especially those thing which frighten us, with trust in our ability to make sense of where we are and how we can get through what we experience by trusting what we know, what have learned and the goodness of those we love. The scary things which brings darkness to our lives can give way to light if we trust that we truly never walk alone. Our loved ones walk with us as does our good God who tells us that He is our light.

Prayer

Lord, the darkness of the present health crisis and my sin scares me.  Be my light and my hope this day and always.