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Daily Spiritual Reflections

Wednesday, July 8

“The names of the Twelve Apostles are these…” (Mt 10:2).

Being chosen for a team is exciting. Being chosen is an affirmation of our talents, gifts and abilities. Jesus chose the 12 Apostles because they possessed the most important quality, faith. Each of the 12 had faith in Jesus and each wanted to believe more deeply.

Being a follower of Jesus does not mean that one’s faith has to be perfect. The desire to grow deeper in faith is necessary to follow Jesus. Like other aspects of life, faith develops and grows when given a good environment (a welcoming heart), proper nourishment (quality prayer), and wholesome rest (trust in the Lord).

When the Apostles let their faith develop, they became fearless preachers of Jesus. As we let our faith develop, we begin to find hope and peace in the midst of life’s challenges. We know the unconditional love of God at all moments. Jesus chooses us because we have faith. He chooses us because our faith is precious to Him.

Tuesday, July 7

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Mt 9:38).

Throughout the many months of this pandemic we have heard the profound stories of the heroics of those on the frontlines. Medical professionals, EMTs, police and fire personnel, and so many others who have given time and talents to care for those suffering from COVID-19. Likewise, our hearts have warmed with the stories of neighbors using creative methods to care for each other.

Today, as we read Jesus’ words to pray for more laborers needed for the harvest, let us remember another group of heroes: the chaplains, lay ministers, and pastoral care persons who continue to serve the suffering. Whether lending a listening ear, celebrating the sacraments or praying with and for the ill and their families, the clergy and all pastoral care persons offer a necessary service to lift the spirits of all who feel the many burdens of fighting the coronavirus.

The cruelty of the virus has moved us all to greater kindness and compassion for each other. Today, offer a prayer for all who serve the ill and their families. Also, thank a medical person, EMT or clergy person today for their service. Let us be grateful for the service of so many heroes who labor for a healthy harvest.

Monday, July 6

“I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD” (Hosea 2:21-22).

In these uncertain times how can a person find joy? Our joy is found in the fact that God has chosen us to receive the blessing of His love. Always close to us, God involves Himself in our lives bringing love and mercy in abundance.

To know God’s presence is to experience His faithfulness in all moments of life. Our joy is that God has chosen us and He will always choose us no matter what.

Sunday, July 5

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Mt 11:28).

One of the greatest blessings in life is having that one friend, or group of friends who know us well. They know what to say when we are struggling, and they know how to care for us when we are ill or feeling down. They support us, love us and nurture us. They are always honest with us.

Often life can feel labored and burdensome. We turn to our friends for assistance and support. Today, the Lord reminds us that in His friendship with us we can always turn to Him when we feel labored and burdened.

Our friend’s support gives us joy. The Lord’s support brings peace to our tired souls.

Saturday, July 4

A Prayer for Our Nation

Lord, our nation is blessed by your providence.
Bless those who govern and all citizens.
Grant us the wisdom to work for the common good that all living in this land may experience the joy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
May we thirst so deeply for peace that we passionately and diligently work for equal justice for all.
Give us the resolve to uphold the dignity of all that we see each other as friends and neighbors, teachers and mentors, forever learning that we are more similar than different.
Father, bless our land.
Amen.

Friday, July 3

Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Jn 20:29

The Apostle Thomas could only believe if he saw the marks of Jesus’s passion. When he did, Thomas believed. Thomas now saw life with a different perspective.

Faith does this. It changes our perspective. We are able to see the good in others. We find strength in illness. We have hope in challenging times. We become compassionate to the needs of others.

The perspective that faith gives is the ability to experience the faithful presence of God accompanying us in all of life’s moments. We may not be able to physically see Jesus, but we feel Him near: holding us, loving us and empowering us to share His love with others. In Jesus we walk by faith and not by sight. 

Thursday, July 2

And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mt 9:2).

Mom, Rose and Fr. Bob. These three people, among many, taught me a great deal about how to live my faith in God. Often, these three prayerfully carried me to Jesus.

Our lives are filled with people whose faith in God inspires our relationship with the Lord. How blessed was the paralytic to have friends who brought him to Jesus. Displaying great love for their friend and faith in the Lord, they bring their sick friend to Jesus. We are not sure of the faith of the paralytic person, but the faith of his friends moved Jesus to forgive his sins and heal him.

Today, think of the people whose faith has inspired you. Think of the people who are praying for you. Maybe telephone or message them expressing your gratitude that their faith in Jesus and their love for you blesses your life. 

Wednesday, July 1

A Prayer for Today

Lord, today many things, temporal and spiritual, wage war against me.
Be my defender, my confidant and my peace.

Let me not get lost in the struggle, but let me learn that because you are with me I will move through this struggle to peace with you at my side.
Lord, strengthen my faith, for you are my hope.

Amen.

Tuesday, June 30

“Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he (Jesus) was asleep” (Mt 8:24).

What perfect confidence Jesus has! The storm rages, tossing the boat around and he sleeps. Did He not care about His safety and that of His disciples? Was He too tired to care to help? Of course not! Jesus always cares for the welfare of those He loves. He just knew that no storm, large or small could harm them. Jesus was confident that because He, the Lord of all, was in the boat, all would be well. The storm could not shake His inmost calm.

This profound confidence of Jesus is what He shows in our lives as well. Our hope is that when the storms rage Jesus is present, riding out the storm with us. His presence in the midst of the storm reminds us that nothing can ever separate us from Him. Nothing can ever able shake our inmost calm. Jesus is our hope because He calms the storms of life and brings us safely to the harbor of His love.

Monday, June 29

“But who do you say that I am” (Mt 16:15).

There comes a time in our lives when we have that “moment of truth”. When we stand upon our convictions with confidence and order our lives upon these convictions.

That moment came for St. Peter. Peter had been in Jesus’ company for some time. He listened to Jesus’ instructions, witnessed Jesus’ miracles and listened as people professed their faith in Jesus as the Chosen One of God. Now, it’s Peter’s turn. Jesus asked Peter and the disciples who they believed Him to be. Peter had come to that moment of truth. Was Jesus the Messiah or not? Could Peter risk putting his faith in Jesus? Would following Jesus bring Peter all that he hoped for? With faith and conviction Peter professes that Jesus is the Messiah. While Peter’s faith in Jesus is still developing, he knows that Jesus will bless this faith.

We are all like Peter. We believe in Jesus, but our faith continues to develop. Sometimes our faith in Jesus is strong. Other times we struggle to believe. Jesus simply asks us to believe in Him. He helps us to believe by unfolding His love into our lives at every moment.

Believing in Jesus does not have to be perfect. God works in our lives no matter what. Like Peter, we need to profess faith in Jesus and let our faith develop as we grow in relationship with the Lord. Today is our moment of truth. Will we have faith in Jesus? 

Sunday, June 28

Who inspires you? Whose words and actions inspire the way you live?

As Christians, Jesus must be our first inspiration. His words shape the understanding of ourselves and the world around us. His actions show us how to positively relate to others so that compassion and peace can flood the world.

Jesus reminds us that He is always close to us. Jesus and our relationship with Him must come first so that learning from Him how to love and live, we in turn do so with others, especially those close to us. Jesus must be our inspiration because His way is the means to an exciting and peaceful life. His way is the means to caring well for ourselves and for others.

We need the inspiration of others to teach and motivate us in living well. Our first inspiration needs to be Jesus because His way is always the means to a fuller and complete life here and in the hereafter. Jesus is our most important inspiration.

Saturday, June 27

Prayer to Our Lady

Most Holy Mother, I love you.
I thank Jesus for gifting me with you as my Mother
Mary, you found joy and hope in your life because you trusted that God would always be faithful to you.
Mother, pray that I may always find the strength to praise God in every moment of my life for I know that He is faithful in my life as well.
Mary, pray for me, for my family and for peace in the world.
Amen.

Tuesday, June 23

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Mt 7:12).

How timely are these words from the Lord?

The world is fearful, tired, angry and seeming to lose hope. So many people are facing illness, loss of employment, and pondering how to move our society forward where peace and equal justice flourishes for all people.
Maybe we need to relearn the importance of the Golden Rule. Caring for others is not an extra-curricular activity of being human. It is a divine duty. Respecting the goodness of each other is not a suggestion, but a command from our God who treats all of us equally with respect, love, mercy and great kindness.

To care and respect others is to see that we are only as strong of a people as when we accept our differences as a means to greater understanding. That beneath the differences we are so very similar because we are all lovingly and carefully created by the same God who is Father of us all.

Today, let us resolve to live the Golden Rule as best as we can, for doing so can positively change our minds, hearts and world for the better.

Monday, June 22

A Servite Prayer to Mary

Holy Mary, mother and guide we come in prayer before you.
Virgin of the Annunciation, woman of the new Covenant: help young people to discover and to carry out God’s plan for them; support everyone in their commitment to always do God’s will.

Queen of mercy, protect families under your mantle, raise up the oppressed, console the afflicted, and bring comfort to those in need.

Mother and disciple of the Crucified Lord, our sister on the journey of faith: support your children in the trials of life, comfort them in their sickness and suffering, and be near to them at the hour of death.

Virgin assumed into heaven, first fruit of salvation: accompany us on our daily journey toward the new heaven and the new earth, where God, everlasting source of peace and joy, will be all in all, forever and ever.

Amen.

Sunday, June 21

A Prayer of Blessing for Fathers

God our Father,
in your wisdom and love you made all things.
Bless our Fathers,
that they may be strengthened as Christian fathers.
Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we, their sons and daughters,
may honor them always
with a spirit of profound respect.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Adapted from the Book of Blessings.

Saturday, June 20

“and his mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).

No person knows us better than our mothers. The relationship between a mother and a child goes beyond the fact that one gave birth to the other. There is a deep emotional and spiritual connection as well. A mother can feel what her child is experiencing thousands of miles away.

Because of the bond between mother and child, mothers play many roles in their children’s lives: teacher, physician, counselor, confessor, theologian, and cheerleader. A mother’s heart remembers not only the memories of the events of their children’s lives but feels these as well.

Mothers ponder the lives of their children, seeking ways to love and support then. Mothers ponder the lives of their children to prayerfully remember them before God. A mother’s heart is full of love for her children. We look to our mothers because they know us best.

In celebrating the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary today, we celebrate both Mary’s motherhood of Jesus and of us. On the Cross, just before He died, Jesus gave us Mary as our mother. In this role she teaches us how to trust God and how to live well in relationship with the Lord. She
reminds us to do what the Lord tell us that we may find hope and peace in life.

Mary’s heart is full of love for us, because like our earthly mothers, she wants what is best for us. She keeps us in her heart that she may bring us closer to Jesus that His love may always bless our lives.

Friday, June 19

For thousands of years humanity has believed the heart to be the keeper of emotions and memories. We speak of a kind person as having a “good heart”. Medical professionals remind us to be “heart-healthy” with our eating and exercise habits. When significant relationships fail, we experience a “broken heart”.

We understand the heart to be more than the muscle that keeps us alive. It is the keeper of our emotions and memories.

Today we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This ancient image of Christ reminds us that God’s love is directed towards us. Our good, well-being and joy is what God desires for us. God’s heart beats for us because He is in love with us. The memories He has of us are not of our sins and failings, but that we are His greatest creation.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus lovingly beats for us. Celebrate today that YOU are God’s greatest love. His heart beats for you.

Thursday, June 18

One of the profound joys in life is having great friends who love us as we are. One of the great blessings in a day is having a conversation with a great friend.These conversations nurture and affirm us.

Daily prayer is meant to a conversation with our great friend, God. This conversation gives us a chance to hear the Lord remind us of how loved we are by Him. Likewise, prayer is our time to speak to God what we need to bless our lives.

Prayer is not about listing all the things that we want from God, but the moment to hear what God wants to do for us. When Jesus instructs us not to babble in prayer, He is inviting us to trust that God will bless us as He knows is best.

Faith assures us that God knows what we need. Faith invites us to trust God because God knows what we need to move through life in hope. Prayer is to be a conversation where God and we speak and listen to each other. The key to fruitful prayer is not to babble about what we need but to listen to the Lord tell us “I love you, I bless you, I hold you in the palm of my hand, do not worry.”

Like any great friend, God loves us and nurtures us, but we need to listen to Him to know this.

Wednesday, June 17

“When you give alms…When you pray…When you fast…”

Wait! Didn’t we read this Gospel passage on Ash Wednesday? Yes, we did.
Is it Lent in June, like Christmas in July? No, but rereading this text a second time in four months reiterates the place that these three spiritual practices are to have in our lives.

Almsgiving, prayer and fasting are meant to draw us closer to God (prayer), to love others (almsgiving), as we love ourselves (fasting). When practiced regularly these three disciplines help us to realize that in living the two commandments of Jesus, to love God and love others, we are the best version of ourselves.

We are social beings by nature. We were created to be in relationship. The primary relationship is with God whose love and blessings fill our lives. The secondary relationship is with others, building unity in the human family by caring for others, helping others to live well. Lastly, we honor ourselves and shine when we tackle our inner issues and concerns. Doing so we experience healing and a positive sense of self which shines brightly giving clarity to our goodness and our life’s purpose.

When almsgiving, prayer and fasting are regularly practiced we allow God’s to illumine the most important aspect of our lives: that by God’s grace we are always good and when we care for others we experience a joy that only divine love can provide.

Tuesday, June 16

A Prayer for Today

Father,
I am grateful for your love and kindness to me.
Lord, please heal the world of all that ails it.
Heal those who are ill.
Heal hearts that hurt from hatred and injustice.
May I see others as you do: good, loved and worthy of respect.
May I have the courage to do what I can to build a world where the dignity of all people of is reverenced and creation is honored as the reflection of your beauty.
Lord, change my heart to love as you do.
Amen.

Monday, June 15

“Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Mt 5:38).

St. Gregory of Nyssa teaches “the goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.”We know God to be merciful, loving and compassionate. Jesus taught us this. Being a disciple of Jesus is to train ourselves to offer compassionate responses to difficult and hurtful situations. We are not to look for ways to get even with someone but find responses to diffuse uneasy situations that can achieve peace: understanding, forgiveness, kindness and love.

It is never easy to be wronged, but if we choose to answer insult with injury, we choose not to give peace a chance to flourish. Our heavenly Father forgives our sins. The Lord Jesus forgave His executioners. We can learn to forgive and “turn the other cheek” in pursuit of our living more like Jesus and giving peace in the world a real chance,

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, put it well: ‘that old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.
To be a disciple of Jesus is to do the right thing, which is to become like God by living justly and responding to all situations in ways that give peace a real chance.

Sunday, June 14

The Eucharist is the real presence of Christ come to nourish us. The Eucharist defines us as the blessed and favored children of God. The Eucharist is our mission to build unity in the human family born from the Father’s love. The Eucharist is the experience of taking God into our lives
that He may deeply love us past our sins to redemption and holiness.

Holy Communion is the moment of bowing before God and taking God into our lives that Christ’s flesh becomes ours and His blood flows through the veins of our lives. The Eucharist is God coming to us with the desire to be one with us. To believe in the Eucharist as the real presence of Jesus is to believe that we are only as good as when we let God inhabit our lives through the Eucharist we partake with Him. Why would any Catholic not want God so close as when receiving Him in the Eucharist at Holy Communion? It is like trying to make bread without flour, water and yeast.

Today, as we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus, the Lord calls us to deep and life-giving communion with him. Our response is easy and simple if we want to believe, if we hunger for life and peace in abundance. The Eucharist is God’s greatest gift to us. May we receive Him often with reverence and love.

Saturday, June 13

Today, the church remembers St. Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan friar of the 13th century. St. Anthony was both learned in theology and a man of great faith. Popularly St. Anthony is known as the patron saint of lost items. It is thought that this aspect of the saint’s life was due to a book of psalms that was taken from Anthony by another friar. The saint prayed for the book to be returned and it was by the one who took it. The little phrase associated with St. Anthony and lost articles is “St. Anthony, please look around; something is lost and must be found.” Many a devout and not so devout Catholic call upon St. Anthony for assistance in finding a lost article.

Many of us lose things each day. Are we also aware of the important things that can be lost or neglected? Things like joy, hope and faith? Many events, people and ideas challenge us often throughout the day. It can be easy to give into feeling sad, despair and doubt when we are feeling challenged with trying to navigate small and great things. But we are reminded that in
God’s closeness to us we have an ally who wants to help us in such moments. St. Anthony always preached that hope and help in all of life’s trials was God’s closeness to us.

Today, as we feel the burdens of many things, many challenges, many tasks, let’s be hopeful and ask for God’s help. He will help us see our way through these moments to experience peace when we feel lost.

Friday, June 12

You are welcome here … here to this holy, quiet place where God’s love is reflected in the beauty of His creation, in the smiles of our staff and in the prayers of the Friars and Sisters.

You are welcome here to celebrate your blessings and to pray for your needs.

You are welcome here to find hope for your troubled heart and rest from your labors.

You are welcome here to worship God or to find Him in your questions.

You are welcome here to learn about love from Mary, Jesus’ mother, whose life was surrounded in the love of the Father.

You are welcome here to laugh and to cry; to ponder and to marvel.

You are welcome here to just be, and we pray the you will always how loved you are as God’s favored child.

You are welcome here.

Thursday, June 11

A Message from Fr. Don Siple, OSM, Rector of The Grotto

We live a world that is tired, frightened, angry and unsettled. Many situations concern us and weigh heavily upon our thoughts and hearts. Our concerns can easily overwhelm us. The need for peace in the world and peace in our hearts is more necessary now than before.

The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother-The Grotto exists to be a place of peace, the peace that only God can give. We believe that God is ever close to us and wishes peace for our troubled hearts. The religious shrines, artwork and the gardens of the Grotto offer a place that one’s full heart can find peace and the overwhelmed mind, tired from many things, can rest surrounded by the beauty of God’s carefully crafted creation.

Making time to be at a place like the Grotto is a gift to oneself to unwind and think clearly for a moment. It is a place to find hope to move through the troubles of the world and the troubles of the heart with clarity, hope and peace. God provides all of this to the believer.

To encounter this peace and hope one needs to make time to rest the mind and heart, even for a moment. When the Servite Friars founded the Grotto in 1924 it was their belief that the world, tired of war and strife, needed places of quiet and peace to refresh one’s soul and spirit. The Friars hold this same belief today.

There are many wonderful charities and social organizations asking for your assistance at this time to keep them in fulfilling their mission. We ask you to consider us as well in your giving. We need your prayerful and financial support to keep The Grotto operating, so it can remain a place of peace and refreshment for the tired and the overwhelmed.

Your support will assist the Grotto in being the place of encounter with God, the Prince of Peace. Thank you.

To Donate Now: please click here

Wednesday, June 10

Prayer to Overcome Racism

Mary, friend and mother to all, through your Son, God has found a way to unite himself to every human being, called to be one people, sisters and brothers to each other.

We ask for your help in calling on your Son, seeking forgiveness for the times when we have failed to love and respect one another.

We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son the grace we need to overcome the evil of racism and to build a just society.

We ask for your help in following your Son, so that prejudice and animosity will no longer infect our minds or hearts but will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity of each person.

Mother of the Church, the Spirit of your Son Jesus warms our hearts: pray for us.

Amen.

Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC.

Tuesday, June 9

“You are the light of the world” (Mt. 5:14).

These last eleven weeks of “stay home, stay safe” has helped to keep so many safe and healthy as the pandemic spread. We learned new methods of living, learning, working and being Church.

This time has given many the opportunity to slow life’s pace a bit and look into one’s heart. The heart is the keeper of many things: God’s love; joys and blessings; wounds and hurts, sadness and doubts; healings and joys; sin and forgiveness.

In each moment that we acknowledge the depth of our lives, the opportunities for healing and new life can take place. Among all the many things that fill our hearts and among the memories it keeps, there is the light of goodness. Our goodness is the reflection of God that shines more brightly than numerous suns. This light shines over all that fills the heart to remind us that we are not the sum of our weaknesses and shortcomings. We are the sum of God’s love.

When Jesus tells that we are the light of the world He is reminding us that our light is His light. His light always brings with it the promise of love, mercy, forgiveness and healing. When we allow God’s light to do all of this for us, we begin to see that we can rise from what ails us to the freedom to live as we were created to be: confident, hopeful, courageous and abundantly blessed. When we live from the newness that God’s light brings to our lives then we easily shine hope to the world around us. The light of our life’s story blessed by God can help others to find their hope in God also.

Monday, June 8

“Discipleship involves education and performance; it is the choice of a life “according to the Spirit” – a surrender to the trustworthy God of Jesus Christ. Discipleship involves listening to, believing in, living for and loving Him. It is a great act of understanding and hope in a God who is not only omnipotent but is supremely good, the source of indiscriminate love.

In their Letter to Those Seeking God, the Italian Bishops wrote: “Faith is surrender, submission, welcoming and abandonment to the God who first sought us and gave himself to us. It is not any human possession, guarantee or assurance. Believing does not avoid scandal, fly from risk or move forward in the serene light of day. One believes in spite of scandal and risk; one is challenged in and by them. “Believing means standing on the edge of a dark abyss and hearing a voice cry ‘Leap, I will catch you in my arms.’ (Søren Kierkegaard). – 213 General Chapter of the Servite Friars.

Prayer

Holy Mary, Disciple of Jesus, pray that I may nurture a stronger relationship with your Son. Your life teaches me that faith is trust that God is always faithful.

Pray that I may see the signs of God’s presence in my life today. Pray that I will seek God’s counsel and blessing in all that happens.

Mother, pray that my faith in God may bring me peace and joy as your faith did.

Mother, be my guide and intercessor as I work to be a more perfect and faithful disciple of Jesus.

Amen.

Sunday, June 7

Today we celebrate the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity: Three persons, one God. God is love.

The three persons of the Trinity are constantly giving and receiving love among themselves. Throughout history and today, the Trinity shares this love with us. At baptism we were initiated into the love of the Trinity.
So how can we practically understand the mystery of Trinity? By loving others as we are loved.

First, we need to accept that we are loved by God; strengths, wrinkles, weaknesses and all. The Trinity loves us, and we grasp the depth of being loved by God when we repent and work to make ourselves better than we are.

Second, we grasp the love of the Trinity when we love and care for others. St. Paul gives us practical advice in how to love others. He instructs us to “mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor 13:11).

Knowing the Trinity is easy when we love self and others with the depth and joy with which God loves us. In love there is peace. 

Saturday, June 6

Friends, under more normal circumstances we would have celebrated our monthly healing Mass in honor of St. Peregrine today. Please join the Servite Community in praying to St. Peregrine for all who need healing.

Prayer to St. Peregrine

Saint Peregrine, we turn to you with confidence and ask that you intercede for us in our need for healing.

When you yourself were sick, you found comfort in prayer before the image of Christ crucified.

Now you live forever blessed in everlasting light.

Intercede for us with the risen Lord that he might extend his healing hand and cure the illnesses that afflict us.

Faithful servant of the Blessed Virgin, intercede with the Lord of glory that he might free us from our suffering and show once more the power of his saving love.

O good friar, sleepless in supplication, intercede with the Lord of life that he might remove the shadow of illness and restore us to joy in the light of recovered health, rendering thanks to Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Saint Peregrine, unite your voice to our prayer: Intercede for us and for all who are sick, as did the Centurion for his servant, Martha and Mary for their brother Lazarus, and the Virgin Mary for the spouses at Cana, so that we, too, may experience your powerful protection over the poor and the sick.

To God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whose holiness you reflect, O Saint Peregrine, be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

Friday, June 5

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (1 Tm3:16-17).

One of the greatest blessings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), was that it strongly encouraged the study, praying, and living of the Sacred Scriptures by all in the Church: laity, consecrated religious and clergy. The Scriptures fill the liturgy and prayer of the Church. Our faith-life, spirituality, doctrines and worship are founded in and on Scripture. The Scriptures introduce us to God, reveal the movement of God in life and form us into true disciples of Jesus.

Reading and praying the Scriptures is a must for growing in our life with Jesus. The Council Fathers of Vatican II teach us that “in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them” (Dei Verbum, 21). St. Jerome, the great Scripture translator and commentator said it well: “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” For the faithful and serious disciple of Jesus, reading and praying Scripture is both a necessity and a welcome task. It is having a conversation with God, our best friend.

Reading the Bible can be a bit intimidating because it contains many lessons. But there are many good Catholic aids to assist in the both the study and praying of the Scriptures. An internet search will point one to these aids.

St. Paul’s instruction that Scripture is useful reminds us that the Lord gave us Scripture for one reason, that we can know Him. The Bible reminds us that in God’s love we will know abundant mercy and kindness, and we will grow in union with God.

Today, spend time reading that Bible and hear God speak His love to you. It will be the best conversation of the day.

Thursday, June 4

“Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior” (Psalm 25:4-5).

My first-grade teacher was a wonderful person and great teacher. She was a master in instructing first graders. She was an incredibly kind and accepting person. For those of us who struggled a bit, she made us feel at ease that we could tackle the struggle to learn with confidence. The next lesson that Mrs. McShane taught us was to see life’s events as opportunities to learn and the people in our lives as potential teachers.

In our relationship with the Lord, we know that there are many lessons to learn. We need to learn how to relate more honestly and authentically with ourselves, others, and with God. Walking the path of God is a journey of new lessons and new beginnings. The way of God leads us into His heart where we experience love and mercy that reveals our goodness and our potential. The path then leads us from this experience into the lives of those around us.

Our encounters with those on the same path are our opportunity to teach them what we have learned. Our faith in the Lord is the invitation to keep learning how to walk closer to God and how to embrace others with love. The greatest lesson that God teaches us in that we are good, that we can heal and change for the better, and that to love others brings great joy and builds peace in the world.

Maybe this is the lesson we all need to keep learning in these uneasy and challenging days. 

Wednesday, June 3

St. Paul gives his friend Timothy some great advice about faith. He tells Timothy “I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have” (2 Timothy 1:6).

The gift is faith in God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines faith as “a personal act – the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself” (166). The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of faith as “the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (11:1).

St. Paul made Timothy bishop of the church in Ephesus, in modern day Turkey. Timothy was a young man and a somewhat new Christian. To be the shepherd of a local church must have been a daunting task. But Paul reminds his friend of the great gift he received, his faith in Jesus. To stir in flame the gift of faith was to practice the faith and to engage God through faith in prayer. It was to see where God was revealing His presence in Timothy’s life. The more Timothy lived Jesus’ commandment of love, studied the scriptures and prayed devoutly, his faith in Jesus grew stronger and deeper. It gave Timothy the courage to minister to God’s people in the Ephesian church.

Faith in God is not magic. It is our response to God who reveals his love in our lives in great and small ways. Faith is our response to God who calls us into a relationship with him. Like any relationship, ours with God must be tended to and nurtured.

We experience God in many ways. Understanding the movement of God and responding to God in faith takes some work. Prayer, reading scripture, being charitable and going to Church nurtures our faith, perfects our spiritual eyesight to see the Lord moving in life and gives us courage to always respond in faith when the Lord calls us.

It is never too late to stir into flame our faith. When our faith is vibrant and strong we have the courage to endure all things, because faith reminds us that God is always holding us close. 

Tuesday, June 2

A Prayer for Today

Father, you created all things in your image and likeness and pronounced these to be good. In you “all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Somehow we have let pride create divisions, walls and barriers where you had none when you created us. Father, what ails us now is the cause of our shortsightedness. We see what we want to see. We believe what we want to believe. We live as we want to live. Doing so has caused a mess of the beauty and harmony that you established as the norm for all creation from its beginning.

Grant us the humility to see what you see, neither male or female, black or white, poor or rich, but just your children, united in the common family of humanity with you as our Father. Lord, restore our senses to be kind and loving, caring and compassionate, forgiving, helpful and respectful to each other. Give us the wisdom to restore your equal justice to all that the reverence and upholding of each person’s dignity is our life’s work.

Lord, give us your eyes to see the goodness in each other. Give us your heart to love as we are loved. Give us your creative Spirit to build up each other that unity may be humanity’s greatest and lasting achievement.

Father, bring us deep and abiding peace in Him, your Son, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

Monday, June 1

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother…” John 19:25

In Jesus’ ministry Mary witnessed God’s love in His sermons and miracles. At the Cross, Mary witnessed the depth of God’s love for humanity in Jesus’ suffering and death. Mary’s presence at the Cross gave Jesus hope that he was not alone in his suffering. Because Mary continually pondered the activity of God in her life, she knew that God’s love story for humanity would not end in death. The death of Jesus was the beginning of a new chapter of divine love for us.

Like Mary, we are called to stand at Jesus’ cross. There we experience hope and love. In hope we stay vigilant to where Jesus is presently crucified in the sufferings of his sisters and brothers. At these present day crosses we compassionately stand to witness the love of God.

Mary’s silent presence at the Cross of Jesus inspires us to be courageous in being compassionate to those who are facing a difficult moment: loneliness, hopelessness, fear, suffering, hatred, and injustice. Our presence at these crosses is an invitation to continue writing God’s love story through offering compassionate hope to all who search for God’s love in the difficult moments of life.

Today, what/whose cross are you standing at? Pray to be strong in faith, love and hope. A caring word or action to another is writing God’s love story in their lives and in ours. It offers them hope in midst of their suffering. It is a way to bring peace to another and to the world.

Sunday, May 31

On this Pentecost Sunday the Lord blesses his disciples with the words “peace be with you”.

He blesses us with the same words. But where is peace today? The COVID-19 virus rages throughout the world claiming more victims. Our nation once again grapples with the age-old sin of racism. Millions are displaced from their homes because of wars they never started. The land of Abraham, Jesus and Mohammed yearns for peace. Men and women sleep on our streets.

Where is the peace that Jesus blessed us with? It resides in our hearts that are moved to pray for those who suffer; in the meal we provide for an elderly neighbor; in the money we send to support international relief agencies; in the letters we write to elected officials that express our support for legislation that brings justice to the suffering.

Every time we choose to right injustice with prayers, words, and actions of love we let the Lord’s blessing of peace explode through our lives into the world. Being a disciple of Jesus means to be an active participant in making peace real and not letting it be a pious theory.

Pope St. Paul VI understood that the disciple of Jesus can only have peace when they work for justice for all people. His words in 1972 are so true today, “If you want peace, work for Justice”. May the Holy Spirit guide us in living peace by bringing Jesus’s love to others.

Saturday, May 30

“You follow me.” (John 21:22). Three words that will change a life forever.

The Apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John heard these words from Jesus and left everything to follow him. It was not the words, but the love behind the words that gave the four the courage to follow Jesus. They asked no questions or wanted time to put their affairs in order. He called and they immediately followed.

They never knew love like this. Jesus’ love went past the questions of their minds, through the doubts of their hearts and past the sin on their souls to the deep place where their faith resided. Here Jesus loved them deeply to see the potential of their lives which they could not see. In following Jesus, they wanted what He could give though it would take Jesus’s death and resurrection for them to see in themselves what Jesus saw. When they saw what Jesus saw, their lives were never the same.

Don’t we all yearn for the same experience of love? A love that reaches deeply into our lives that we can see and believe the potential which lies there? Following Jesus is the adventure of growing into the best version of ourselves. When we follow Jesus through our questions, giving him our doubts and repenting of our sins then our best self can brightly shine.

The journey which Jesus takes with us is on the road of love which reminds us that our goodness lies in God in whose image and likeness we are created. The potential of Jesus’s love resides deep within our lives. Today he says to us “you follow me”. He calls us to a journey of love that renews, empowers and strengths us in the Holy Spirit.

Will you follow Jesus with the intensity of faith with which He loves you?

Friday, May 29

“He (Jesus) 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 21:17).

Having the opportunity to have a “do over”, a second chance is the wish of anyone who has made a mistake. When mistakes are made, we desire to make it right.

Peter must have deeply felt this desire. On the night of Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied knowing Jesus when questioned by a stranger. Instead of acknowledging Jesus and showing him support during his trial, Peter, scared, denied Jesus. The pain and grief of his action must have weighed heavily on Peter’s mind and soul. Yet, Jesus kept loving Peter and being his friend. The Lord knew Peter’s soul was good. He would give Peter a “do over”. The do over was not so much an opportunity to reverse the denial of Jesus, but the opportunity to let Peter’s true self shine. Peter would tend the early Christian community with the love that he had for Jesus.

As we walk through life we do make mistakes. When given the chance for a do over we seize the moment to make things right. Making our wrongs right is letting our best selves shine. Second chances are moments of grace. In such moments God can be found because God guides us in doing what is right. God delights when we let our best selves shine.

Thursday, May 28

I learned to pray from my Mom. She trusted the Lord with a great and deep faith. No matter what was happening or what she was feeling, Mom knew that the Lord was close to her. Like the Psalmist, Mom often prayed “keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.” Faith assured her that God was deeply interested in her and that was her hope.

Mom’s teacher in prayer was the Blessed Virgin Mary. My mom had a great devotion to Mary. Every morning, even before the first cup of coffee, my mom prayed her rosary. When Mom prayed the rosary, she was praying to a woman who guided her, a teacher in living the faith and a fellow mother who knew what it was like to raise a child and care for a husband. When my mom prayed to Mary it was two mothers talking together. In praying her rosary, my mom encountered the peace, love, and mercy of God through Our Lady’s prayers. I know that my dad, my four siblings and I and a whole host of people were prayerfully spoken of when Mary and Mom got together every morning.

Sadly, I think many in the Church have forgotten the joy of praying for each other. Faith gives us the privilege of spiritually standing before God. In the sweetness of the divine presence our heavenly Father welcomes us to listen to what is on our heart. To pray for another is to lovingly present them to our God who is always ready to love and heal. To pray for another is to love them in the deepest way possible, in the Spirit, who dwells within us.

In today’s Gospel (John 17:20-26) Jesus stands before the Father praying for his disciples. He does the same for us every day. Faith can move mountains. Faith is our love language with the Father. When words or actions escape us in our efforts to help another, faith calls us to pray and stand with them
before God. In the presence of God, faith gives birth to love that heals in way that we can never imagine.

Today, make a list of your loved ones who need prayer and with Our Lady and the Psalmist cry out in faith for them “keep them safe, O God; be their hope as you are my hope.”

Wednesday, May 27

A Prayer for Healing

Father,

You sent Jesus to be our peace.

In Him we find our hope and healing.

Lord, I bring to you members of my family and friends who are finding these days tough, tiresome and unbearable.

Give healing to the sick, hope to the despairing, and peace to the brokenhearted.

Lord, help those who have lost jobs to find sustainable and meaningful employment.

To those who feel alone, hug them close to your heart that they may feel safe.

Lord, keep us healthily, hopeful and forever full of faith in your goodness.

I make this pray in the name Jesus.

Amen.

Tuesday, May 26

There are moments when our souls seem to joyfully sing because of the blessings that flood our lives. There are moments when our souls feel tired from all that concerns us.

In the ups and downs of life, the Psalmist prayed “blessed be the Lord day by day, God, our salvation, who carries us.” He knew that what renews the soul is the fact that the believer is never alone. The Lord is our companion walking beside us and caring for us at every step of the way.

Often the Lord carries us especially in the tough and tiresome moments. Like the Psalmist, we can praise God for the support the Lord gives. We are surrounded by the mystery of God which blesses us with divine love as a Father and as Friend. St. Hildegard of Bingen said it best, “God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.”

Whether we are joyful or sad, hopeful or worrisome, tired or rested, the hug of God upon our lives reminds us that God feels what we feel and carries us in love.

Monday, May 25

A wonderful Memorial Day childhood memory I have was watching my dad hang the American flag on the front my family’s house. Every Memorial Day dad arose early, hung the flag and would share memories of his military service at breakfast. My dad was a proud veteran of the United States Army’s 1st Infantry Division.

I loved to hear dad’s stories of his service. Dad was proud to have served his country and proud of his country. He was very aware that the freedom we enjoy in the present was founded on the heroic sacrifice of the men and women of our country’s armed forces who offered their lives on the altar of freedom. My dad’s patriotism was deep. It impressed me to be grateful for the blessing of freedom that is enjoyed as a citizen of our nation.

Today our nation remembers the sacrifices of so many that we can speak our opinions openly, participate in our government and worship freely. In the midst of cookouts and moments with family today, let us remember those who gave their lives in service to our country. Their sacrifice is our freedom. Let us forever be grateful.

Sunday, May 24

Go. A small word with great potential. We are often on the go, aren’t we? We go to work. We go to the store for groceries. We go to the physician’s office for a remedy for what ails us. We go to a child’s football game to be supportive. We go to Church to experience the Lord in the Eucharist. It seems that we are constantly on the go.

Being in motion is a function of our life. It is also an important function in our relationship with the Lord. Prior to ascending back to His Father, Jesus instructs the disciples to go and bring the good news of God’s love to all people. Jesus has loved them into the gift of faith, instructed them on this faith and now sends them forth to give to others what He gave them. Their mission was not to ponder the faith but to live it and share it with others.

Jesus tells us to “Go” today. He loves us, abundantly blesses us and tells us to share this faith with others, even in a pandemic. Maybe we cannot physically go because we are home staying safe, but we can go in other ways. We can share the faith by writing an e-mail to someone we have not seen for a while. We can text the words “I am praying for you” to someone we care about. We can share with our children why having faith in God brings purpose and hope to our lives.

To be on the “go” in faith is to realize that what we know of God, others need to know to help them through tough times like the present. To go is to acknowledge just how blessed we are by a caring God who desires that our friends, coworkers and families know that they are blessed as well, by the same loving God.

Jesus did not give us the faith to keep it to ourselves, but to grow so deeply in love with Him that we cannot help but share our faith with others. Today, go and do for someone else what God does for you.

Saturday, May 23

Possibly, there are no more beautiful words in the scriptures than these of Jesus in today’s gospel reading, “for the Father himself loves you.”

We desire to be loved. To be loved is a gift. In being loved by another we are accepted, valued, reverenced and noticed for who we are. In being loved our self-confidence grows stronger and happiness fills our lives more easily.

In telling His disciples that the Father loves them, Jesus is reassuring his friends that the courage for their life and mission is found in being loved by God. God’s love is the assurance that God values them and is present in their lives. The Father is never far from them.

Every day Jesus whispers to our souls this same assurance “the Father himself loves you”. What a joy to have the Father notice us! What a blessing that the Father notices us and holds us close. The Father’s love upon our lives is the promise that whether we are saints or sinners, confident or doubtful, hopeful or despairing we are loved all the same. The Father’s love covers our lives with the blessing of abundant providence all because God favors us.

The best way to celebrate the Fathers’ love is to share it with another. As God does for us, today, let is do for another that they may know the Love of God as we do.

Friday, May 22

Prayer to the Mary, Pilgrim Mother of Jesus

Rejoice, Mary, full of grace!

Mother of Jesus you saw your Son grow in wisdom and strength.

After a three-day search in Jerusalem you found your twelve-year old Son in the midst of the doctors of the Temple who were amazed at his intelligence and answers.

You heard him read in the synagogue and preach with authority.
Teach us how to dance when your Son plays the music of the Gospel in our hearts.

Teach us to guide the growth and education of the young people in our lives, and to share with them the Gospel values that inspire us.

Mary, ask your son to bless and protect our children and young people.

Mary, pray for us.

Amen.

Thursday, May 21

Many of us played “hide and seek” when we were kids. It was a fun challenge to discover the best place to hide so as not to be found. Likewise, it was a great feeling of accomplishment to find someone hiding using one’s own sleuthing skills. Playing hide and seek could go on for hours turning a boring day into one of great adventure.

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus seems to indicate a game of hide and seek with his disciples. He tells them “a little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me” (John 16:16). Yet, in what seems to be a confusing statement, is actually an invitation to a great adventure. Shortly, Jesus will die and rise to bring salvation to humanity. The disciples have been chosen to be witnesses of this. Yet, their confusion lies in not fully understanding the adventure. Jesus’s death while bringing the disciples great sadness will become their joy and that of humanity. Their experience of Jesus’ life, passion, death and resurrection will become the adventure of their lives as they share Jesus’ story with others. Their grief at Jesus’ death will become joy as others come to know Jesus as they do. Jesus’ leaving the disciples in death only to return as the risen Lord is the reason for Jesus calling them to the adventure of being his disciples.

Over 2000 years later, you and I live this adventure as we live our faith. Daily we are confronted with challenges to believing in God and that He loves us. Yet, when we see Jesus’ story as part of our story, our faith comes alive because Jesus lives in our living of the faith. We are not called to a game of “hide and seek” with Jesus, but missioned to live the adventure of faith finding Jesus in every event, person and moment of life.

Jesus’ death is our life. Jesus’s resurrection is our victory. Is there any greater adventure that brings hope, purpose and joy as the one we undertake by living in faith with Jesus?

Wednesday, May 20

“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 16:12-13).

We are blessed with the means to receive information from a variety of sources. In an instant we receive reports on the events of the day, learn a new idea or concept and obtain an opinion on current events. It is easy to become informed and stay so on any given topic or event. Easily also, one can become overwhelmed by too much information. There needs to be a balance between too little and too much information. The goal is to know what it necessary to stay informed or learn something new to enhance the life experience.

Jesus realized this in the case of His disciples. He is sharing a lot of important information with them. This information will bless their lives and prepare them for the upcoming events of His passion and death. He knows that they are on information overload. Jesus lovingly tells them that the Holy Spirit will come to guide their life and mission.

As we live our faith, we learn new ways to seek God and to understand God’s activity in our lives. At times though we can become overwhelmed by trying to live our faith and what we know of God while facing the demands of very busy lives. We want to practice the faith better. We want to pray more deeply. But life gets full and busy. The Holy Spirit reminds us that in life’s busyness God is present. When we can’t pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us. When we can’t practice the faith as deeply as we desire, the Holy Spirit guides us to find a way to connect with God that satisfies this desire even in our busyness. The Holy Spirit shares with us the most important information: God is present in our busyness and He loves us deeply. This information is the most important news for our lives.

Tuesday, May 19

“About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…” (Acts 16:25).

Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for their ministry in the name of Jesus. The prison most likely was a dark, damp, windowless series of rooms. In such a place most people would pass the night feeling fearful. Maybe they prayed to be released. But Paul and Silas spend the night praying and singing hymns. They made the choice to pray and sing hymns instead of passing the night in fear. Fully conscious of the seemingly dismal prospect of their current situation, they chose to trust God. They chose to live in faith. Their faith in God was their joy.

Today as we face another day of staying safe in this pandemic we choose to live in faith and carry our worries and concerns to the Lord. Choosing to live in faith is to make the best our situation trusting that the Lord is caring for us all the time. We can praise God and sing hymns in this moment because “if God is for us who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31-39)

Monday, May 18

“Mary was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love. She is the handmaid of the Father who sings his praises. She is the friend who is ever concerned that wine not be lacking in our lives. She is the woman whose heart was pierced by a sword and who understands all our pain. As mother of all, she is a sign of hope for peoples suffering the birth pangs of justice. She is the missionary who draws near to us and accompanies us throughout life, opening our hearts to faith by her maternal love. As a true mother, she walks at our side, she shares our struggles and she constantly surrounds us with God’s love.”

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 286.

Holy Mary,

You are my example of faithfully living in Christ.

At the birth of Jesus your praised God for the gift of your son.

When your friend’s wedding wine ran short you trusted God’s providence.

At the death of Jesus, you lived through your pain and grief with hope in God’s Love.

Mary, pray for me and my family.

Pray that in all that we are experiencing in this uneasy moment we will deepen our trust in God’s blessing upon us.

Be our companion through this time sharing our struggles, surrounding us with the Father’s love and reminding us to praise God for His blessings.

Amen.

Sunday, May 17

Father, today is a day of blessing.

I am surrounded by your love in the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate.

Bless me with strong faith, good health, and the hope that because you are with me, I will get through this moment.

Father, watch over my family and friends, protect them and bless them.

Keep us all safe and bring peace to our world.

Amen.

Saturday, May 16

Have you ever counted how many words are spoken to you in one day?

So many words about so many things. Words that express ideas, emotions and relationship status must be sorted through that we may comprehend what is being expressed to us. Words can be helpful or confusing, sometimes in the same sentence.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is continuing to prepare the disciples for what will shortly take place: His death, resurrection and the persecution of their community. In the confusion that the disciples must have been feeling listening to all that Jesus was telling them, the Lord reminds them to “remember the word I spoke to you” (John 15:20). He was reassuring them that in all that people would say to them and about them, to remember His words first Jesus says the same to us.

We are not to get lost in the words of others, but first remember His words. These are the words He speaks to us: “remain in me”; “I call you friends”, “do not be afraid”; “do not worry”; “peace, be still”; “I am with you always”. In a time when so many words are spoken about so many different things Jesus reminds us that His words bring light and life, hope and peace. His words are our good news today and always.

Friday, May 15

Prayer to the Sorrowful Mother of The Grotto

Mary, Mother and Disciple of the Lord Jesus, your example of faith inspires me to follow Jesus in hope of His mercy.

In the joyful moments of your life you celebrated God’s faithfulness
In the sorrowful moments of your life you trusted God’s faithfulness
Mary be with me in this difficult moment.

As I stand with you at Jesus’ cross may the compassion and mercy of God inspire me to greater faith in the Lord and encourage me not to fear.
Pray that I and my loved ones will be safe and healthy.

Help me to remember that I am not alone in this uneasy time, but that Jesus is with me, loving me to peace of mind and heart.

Mary, pray for me.

Amen.

Thursday, May 14

What tender words Jesus speaks to his disciples “I have called you friends” (John 15:15).

These words are meant for us as well. We are Jesus’ friends because we keep his command to love.

Maybe we are not always perfect in living this command, but Jesus never said that to be His friend we had to perfectly keep the command. Each time we try our best to love others as we are loved we strengthen our faith, and our relationship with Jesus grows stronger. When times are tough and we need to find courage to hope, Jesus our friend invites us to tell Him what troubles us. In fact, this can be a great prayer moment.

Take some quiet time alone and picture Jesus sitting opposite you. As He smiles at you, tell Him what you need. He will listen and love you. He will tell you the words we all need to hear from Jesus “I call you my friend and I love you.”

What better words can we hear that will lift our spirits and fill us with jo

Blessings on your day.

Wednesday, May 13

“I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5).

This past Fall members of my family and I spent a day visiting a wine growing area of the state. During our visits to some wineries and tasting some of their vintages we learned how the taste of the wine was affected by the composition of the soil, the climate, and the care taken to nurture the vines on which the grapes grew. I was amazed that the vine was key to the grape. The healthier the vine and better tasting the grape.

Isn’t this true in our relationship with Jesus? The more we pray, the less worried we are. The more we read sacred scripture the less confused about life we become. The more we live in the Lord’s love the better we feel about ourselves. The more we lovingly care for others the more joy we feel
A healthy relationship with Jesus the vine makes us the grapes all that better. This is our good news today.

Tuesday, May 12

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you’ (John 14:27).

In the last few weeks, as we have lived through “stay at home” orders for our safety, I wonder how much peace many of us are experiencing.
People are necessarily worried about their livelihoods and having the means to provide for themselves and their families. Many are feeling frustrated at not being able to live life before the COVID-19 virus changed everything. Even watching Mass on the computer has become tiresome.

The Apostles were feeling much of what we are feeling today. Jesus is preparing them for life and ministry without him. They are worried about how to accomplish Jesus’s work and still provide for their families. Some of them are feeling frustrated because they can’t quite figure out what Jesus is telling them.

They might be wondering if their lives can ever return to what they were before Jesus called them. Jesus knows their fears, doubts, frustrations and concerns. He knows ours as well. In gifting His peace to them, Jesus is reassuring the Apostles that they can accomplish what He is asking. They can go through whatever will happen in the mission.

Life for the apostles was never the same after Jesus entered. But they found renewed joy and vigor for life because Jesus’ peace was experienced in their resolve to accomplish His work the best they could. I believe that this is what Jesus is saying to us. Yes, life has changed and with the change has come new experiences that make us worry, feel frustrated or make us afraid. But as we find ways to adapt to the changes, we find a new resolve to live as best as possible.

When we are able to learn a new way of living life well it doesn’t feel as scary as it did before. Here, I believe is the peace of Jesus upon our lives.

Monday, May 11

“Mary did for her Child what every mother does for her own child. She performed those very human, natural acts, such as clothing and feeding. She also performed the religious acts common to all the mothers in Israel, such as presenting the newborn in the Temple. But in the view of the gospels these deeds of the Blessed Virgin are not actions that pertain only to the private sphere; they always have a universal and perennial symbolic character that is valid for all times and for all of the Lord’s disciples.” – SERVANTS OF THE MAGNIFICAT, no. 20 – 210th Servite Friars’ General Chapter

Prayer

Most Holy Mary,
our glorious and blessed Lady
as mother of Jesus you cared for him,
taught Him life lessons
and modeled faith in God for him.
Teach me to care well for the people I love,
and those who depend upon me.
Pray that I have patience to listen.
energy to serve
and hope to love.
Mary, pray with me
that those I love will be protected from all harm,
find peace in their searching
and faith in Jesus’ love.
Mary, be my example of loving service.
Amen.

Sunday, May 10

Rainy June Saturdays were tough on us kids. It was summer and we wanted to be outside playing with our friends. Summer Midwest thunderstorms can quickly damper a child’s plans. On such days, Mom would make our favorite lunch, the sunshine-on-a-rainy-day meal, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. To bored, disappointed youngsters this simple meal was the cure for our ills. It was Mom’s way of saying “it’s going to be okay.” And it was.

In today’s gospel (John 14:1-6) Jesus is helping His disciples to find peace in their doubts, questions and hopes. He is sharing supper with His disciples. It would be Jesus’ last with them. He continues to instruct them that their faith in Him, and the Father may be strong for the coming events of His crucifixion and resurrection. The disciple’s hearts are filled with love for Jesus, but their minds cannot fully grasp all that He is telling them. With love Jesus tells his friends “do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me” (John 14:1). He is telling them that He understands what they are feeling and that if they trust Him all will be well. His love keeps Him close to them.

In these uncertain days, Jesus’ love reassures us that we will be okay. In our doubts, feats and concerns Jesus speaks to our hearts the words of loving reassurance “do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

If we need further proof of the Lord’s love for us, we need to look no further than our mothers whose unconditional love is a reflection of God’s love. To our moms, thank you for being God’s love in our lives. Thanks for always assuring us that we will be okay. Happy Mother’s Day.

Saturday, May 9

An ancient Chinese proverb states: “it’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

Throughout our lives we are inspired by the stories of personages such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Philip Benizi and St. Mother Theresa. Their life stories are filled with instances when they brought the light of love to people through acts of charity and service. They fed the poor, counseled those doubting and brought hope to the weary.

Their strength was the love of Christ which shone as a candle in the lives. They knew that the holy light given them was not to be selfishly kept, but to be selflessly shared with others. The works they did were not their own, but Jesus’ whose love shone in the works of the saints.

You and I have the same potential to bring light to the darkness of another’s life.

In today’s Gospel (John 14:7-14) Jesus says, “whoever believes in me will do the works that I do”. To believe in Jesus is to do His work.

Jesus’ work is not difficult for us. One small candle can light an entire room. One smile can brighten a sad face. One text can make a connection with someone feeling lonely. One act of kindness can bring joy to a weary person
We are good people who are highly favored and divinely blessed by a great God. As He is our love, He asks us to be so for others. The work of Jesus is easy for us. All we need to do is to see the candle of Jesus’ love lighting in our lives and then give to another from what we have been given.

Friday, May 8

Today, the Servite Order celebrates the feast of Mary, Mother and Mediatrix of Grace.

Join us in prayer today:

Holy Mary, mother and guide, pray for me today.

Attentive Virgin of the Annunciation help me to discover the plan of God for my life.

Queen of mercy, woman of great compassion protect my family, lift up the oppressed, console the afflicted, and assist the needy.
Mother and disciple of the crucified Christ sustain me in the trials of life, comfort me in my suffering and sickness, be close to me in the last hour.

Glorious Virgin assumed into heaven, first fruit of salvation accompany me in my daily journey to a new heaven and a new earth, where there will be no more weeping, pain or tiredness, but eternal peace and joy with our heavenly Father.

Amen.

Thursday, May 7

“I will sing of your mercy forever, LORD, proclaim your faithfulness through all ages.” Psalm 89:2

Many people engage in “Throwback Thursday” on social media by sharing a photograph or a memory of something good from the past. I suspect that such reflection brings happiness to the one posting. So today, can you remember something wonderful that God did for you? What was it? Did it bring happiness to your life? Why not share this with someone?

When the Psalmist wrote that he “will sing of your mercy forever” he was remembering something wonderful that the Lord did in his life. It was a life-changing blessing that proclaimed God’s faithfulness in his life. Remembering the event caused him to burst out in praise “I will sing of your mercy forever”

You know that God has been faithful in your life. He has seen you through many moments of pain and darkness, like this pandemic. He has gotten over to the Promised Land of hope and blessing. His blessings upon your life are renewed today and every day. Why not shout out praise to God. Praise helps us realize just how blessed we are by our faithful God. Today is your throwback Thursday of faith. Give praise and enjoy the blessing! 

Wednesday, May 6

“I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” John 12:46

The pandemic can feel like a darkness over our lives. Missing the many aspects of life prior to the pandemic, we feel confined to a prison of restriction because of nothing we did wrong. We can feel scared, angry and hopeless. We may even wonder if God is present.

Uncontrollable events in life cause us to feel helpless and the darkness of uncertainty can weigh heavy upon our minds and hearts. Yet, our hope is that God’s loving presence is the light in our darkness.

God has proven this fact. During the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised land, God provided a pillar of fire by night to reassure them that He, their God, was ever close.

Faith is our ability to see the Lord’s light in our darkness. Jesus promises that our faith in Him will always produce the ability to see and feel the warmth of His light. The question of faith is, ‘do I want to see the Lord’s light?’

Today the pillar of fire that is the Lord’s light fills our lives. It may be in the love of a spouse, in the care of a neighbor or in the sunrise of the morning. Jesus promises that we will not remain in darkness. His light fills our lives today. All we have to do is look for it. Our search for His light will not take long. 

Tuesday, May 5

Meekness is a gift from the Holy Spirit and rises from humility and love. St. Peregrine learned it through his continual contemplation of the crucified Christ, who died loving and forgiving his persecutors.

In his youth, the saint admired the meekness of St. Philip Benizi, a humble and gentle friar of the Servite Order, who when beaten, answered offenses by praying and rejection by welcoming. St. Peregrine was welcomed into the Servite Order by St. Philip Benizi, the very one who had been rejected, and was forgiven by the one who had been offended. That experience deeply impressed the saint.

In St. Peregrine we recognize his gentleness above all by his ability to find patience in his adversities and the many illnesses which afflicted him during his long life. Likewise, St. Peregrine had a kind attitude that was expressed in understanding and hospitality which he lived in his vocation as a Friar Servant of Mary.

Prayer
Lord, give me patience and strength in this moment of trial.

Console me in my afflictions and free me from despair and hopelessness.

Heal the wounds of my heart, in my mind and of my spirit.

By the intercession of St. Peregrine, bless me with hope because you are ever with me.

Amen.

Monday, May 4

The Feast of St. Peregrine

Patron Saint of Cancer Patients and the Sick

Prayer

St. Peregrine,

kindly listen to my supplication.

You who were patient and strong in infirmity,

help our infirm brothers and sisters

to carry the cross of their infirmity with gentleness.

You who were miraculously healed

by the hand of the crucified Christ,

pray to the Lord for the sick:

so that their infirm and weak bodies

may recover health and vigor,

and their uncertain and afflicted souls

may find again peace, serenity and confidence.

And above all, St. Peregrine,

grant like Christ and the Virgin Mary, we may all say:

“Father, thy will be done”.

St. Peregrine,

pray for me that I may know healing in body, mind and soul.

Amen.

Sunday, May 3

A Triduum of Prayer for the Feast of St. Peregrine

Patron Saint of Cancer Patients and the Sick

Day Three: St. Peregrine Healed by the Crucified Christ

The Gospel shows us Jesus full of compassion for the sick. In St. Luke’s Gospel we read: “All those who had friends suffering from diseases of one kind or another brought them to him, and laying his hands on each he cured them” (Lk 4:40).

St. Peregrine, when sick, went to Jesus to be healed. By his faith he was graciously heard. Today, let us remember that marvelous healing, praying for our sick brothers and sisters.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, look on our sick brothers and sisters who rely on you with confidence.
If you want, you can heal them, like you healed the leper; like you cured St. Peregrine, who, with confidence, relied on you, crucified for our salvation.
Lord, heal me that I may do your work and in peace, praise you forever.
You who live and reign for ever and ever.
Amen.

Saturday, May 2

A Triduum of Prayer for the Feast of St. Peregrine

Patron Saint of Cancer Patients and the Sick

Day Two: St. Peregrine, Gentle Disciple of Jesus

Today we remember the goodness of God who gave us life in Jesus. St. Peregrine was a faithful disciple of Jesus and became, like his Master, gentle and humble in heart.

Prayer
In your goodness, Lord,

and through the intercession of St. Peregrine,

grant me a gentle heart, the fruit of the Spirit,

so that, like Jesus,who was insulted but did not retaliate with insults,

I may overcome evil by doing good offense by forgiving

and fear with faith.

He who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Amen.

Friday, May 1

A Triduum of Prayer for the Feast of St. Peregrine

Patron Saint of Cancer Patients and the Sick

Day One: St. Peregrine Converted Rebel and Friar Servant of Mary

Jesus said “there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous ones who have no need of repentance.” (Lk 15:7)

Today we remember the conversion of St. Peregrine. It was a great gift of God to him, to the Servite Order, to the Church. Today, let us commit to be faithful to our journey of conversion to the Gospel of Christ.

Prayer

In your mercy, Lord, and through the intercession of St. Peregrine, convert my heart and guide me on the way of salvation, so that, having left the darkness of sin, I may walk in the light of the Gospel of Christ. He who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen. 

Thursday, April 30

In today’s Gospel Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah when he says “it is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’”

What does our faith in God teach us? It teaches us to be grateful because God is faithful.

These last six weeks have caused us to stop what we considered a normal life. Our work places and habits have changed. Many of us desire a haircut. We need to wear masks when going to the store. We are spending more time with family. Much has changed. But, what has not changed is that God remains the constant of our lives. His love surrounded us in great and small and consistent ways. While mostly confined to our homes when can still get food, medicine and communicate with our loved ones.

The former pace of our lives has slowed allowing us to experience life and family in a refreshed way. Maybe all of this is actually making us more compassionate, kinder and loving to others. Maybe we are caring for ourselves a better. These six weeks have been tough in many ways. Yet, in many ways we have experienced blessings. Maybe in the midst of these uneasy days we are returning to the better version of ourselves. This is something to be grateful for.

Wednesday, April 29

Lord, you are the bread of life.

You provide the food that nourishes my body, the love that blesses my relationships with family and friends, and the Word that enlightens my soul with joy.

In the uncertainty of these days, you fill my life with the signs of love that remind me that you are ever close.

In my hunger for a normal life and my thirst to be close to loved ones keep me focused on you who promises to be my hope in all things.

You are my light and salvation.

Amen.

Tuesday, April 28

To the crowds asking for a sign Jesus tells them “for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Bread is a staple food for many cultures. For many, bread symbolizes the abundance of God’s blessings. This is what the crowds questioning Jesus were missing. They were to trust God not because they were fed when Jesus multiplied the five loaves of bread and two fish. There were to trust God not because they witnessed a miracle. Jesus was calling them to trust God because He is faithful in abundantly blessing us with what we need.

Bread fills the stomach. It can be part of a larger meal or eaten by itself. The blessings of God are the same. These can be as large as being healed after surgery or a simple as a good cup of coffee enjoyed first thing in the morning. God is always blessing. How we receive the blessing is an act of faith. If we always want God to do the fantastical, spectacular parting-of-the-Red-Sea miracle then he is simply a wizard of sorts to us. If we see the small, consistent miracles of love, having food on our tables and a place to live because of God’s faithful love then He is our Savior. The One who accompanies us on life’s journey.

Not sure about you, but I prefer God as faithful companion instead of the Wizard of Oz. Today let the bread you eat remind you that God is consistent in loving and blessing you. He is giving you life in abundance.

Monday, April 27

Lord,

You are my light and my help.

Today, Father, let your light illumine the darkness of the fear I feel as this virus rages through the world.

Remind me today that your kindness and mercy are never exhausted, but renewed every morning.

Renew my hope that better days are coming.

Strengthen my faith that you are with me and I have nothing to fear.

Let your love guide my actions and words today that I can brighten another’s day as You brighten mine.

Today Lord, let me be the ambassador of your light and love that hope can once again fill my corner of the world.

Amen.

Sunday, April 26

What a walk can do. Studies have shown that walking can have positive benefits for one’s life. From supporting good physical health to maintaining positive mental health, a walk can do wonders. A walk affords the opportunity to get some exercise. It allows us time to enjoy the company of others and to revel in the beauty of the world around us. It can be a time for recollecting the day and for prayer. A walk can do wonders for us.

Cleopas and his companion never realized what their walk to Emmaus would do for them. It was the first day of the week and their group had received some astounding news. Their Master and Lord, Jesus, had risen from the dead. The grief at Jesus’ death and now this incredible news was just too much to bear. They needed to get out of Jerusalem. They walk to Emmaus, a familiar place where they can sort through all they believed and hoped for in Jesus. As they walk, they converse between themselves and with a stranger, about the happenings of the last three days and what faith in Jesus meant. As they talked, their hearts burned with hope. They never doubted Jesus, they just needed to make sense of what it meant to have faith in him. Over a simple meal, they realize Jesus was with them then, before, and always. They realized that faith always holds us close to God no matter what we are experiencing.

Our faith always keeps the Lord close to us. Maybe we need to take more walks with Jesus, letting our prayer be the means of connecting with the Lord who is always near. Such an exercise will help bring clarity to our faith and provide the experience of God wrapping us in His love. Cleopas and his companion never knew that their walk would be the means to see Jesus. A walk with the Lord can do the same for us. In prayer we will feel the Lord close, ministering love and peace to us in these challenging times. A walk with Jesus todays can do wonders for us now and eternally.

Saturday, April 25

Anyone who has ever been employed knows the importance of a job description. This document establishes the relationship of the employee to the workplace. It outlines the expectations for employee and employer. A job description helps one know how to fulfill their job.

In today’s gospel Jesus gives His disciples their job description. The Eleven are to go into the world and proclaim that in Jesus, God’s loving mercy is available to all who desire it. The proof of accomplishing their job were the powerful signs manifested in a believer’s life.

As followers of Jesus our job description has not changed from that given to the Eleven. We are called to proclaim God’s love by words and deeds that bring peace and hope to others. The signs that accompany our work is a world brightened by caring actions, a hopeful attitude and loving words that encourage. To fulfill our job description is easy. We simply love as God does.

Friday, April 24

Growing up in a house of seven, two adults and five children, evening suppers were always labor intensive. Preparing and cooking the meal, setting the table and the clean-up after the meal. Lots went into the meal even when times were economically lean.

My Mom had a large pot she often used the cook supper. That pot seemed to endlessly provide food to feed my large, hungry family. No matter the amount or type of ingredients, that pot, Mom’s culinary abilities, and her love for us, always provided meals that were tasty and abundant. We were always more than satisfied.

The Lord took five barley loaves and two fish, mixed it with faith and love and fed thousands. Those fed were more than satisfied. The reality of life is that we don’t need much to be satisfied. Faith in God provides hope in any situation. The love of family and friends provides the courage needed to live with confidence because we are never alone.

When we have faith, hope and love our lives are abundant with the ingredients for a life that is full and abundant. Today whatever you need, give your desire to the Lord and from His heart he will endlessly serve you with the blessings you need. You will be more than satisfied.

Thursday, April 23

Lord, today bless all who are caring for the world.
Keep them safe and healthy.
Bless them with strength, knowledge, compassion and hope.
Let them know that they are appreciated and loved.
Lord, please bless them today with an extra dose of your love and protection.
Amen.

Wednesday, April 22

Father God,

Today I am grateful for the life you give me in your risen Son.

Thank you for my family and friends whose love reminds me of your love.

Thank you that I am alive and well as this virus rages through the world.

Lord, keep me hopeful when I feel fearful.

Keep me joyful when I feel scared.

Keep me focused when I feel scattered.

Lord, please take care of those I love and care for.

Keep us connected, keep us well and keep us hopeful.

Lord, with you near me I feel safe.

Thank you, Lord.

Amen.

Tuesday, April 21

The early community of believers were of “one mind and one heart” as they lived together their faith in the Lord. This does not mean that there were not tensions among them. What it does mean is that they found a way to live together by respecting themselves and each other.

Every person is endowed by Almighty God with an intellect, emotions and a personality. By these we gain the knowledge to understand ourselves, interact with others and to enjoy all of creation. By gaining knowledge, we learn to respect the giftedness of others and the blessing of creation. We learn that respect, expressed in friendship and appreciation of another’s goodness, is the way to forge healthy and meaningful relationships.

God’s relationship with us is expressed in this same manner. We are called to do for ourselves and others as He does with us. Today, give thanks for the gift of your life, your loved ones and the beauty around you. Thank God for all that is good in your life. Express this gratitude in the way you lovingly care for your family and friends. Being of one mind and one heart is easy if we simply live with others that way that God lives with us.

Love, respect and appreciation is the key to a joyfully harmonious life. The Lord is our example and teacher in this. 

Monday, April 20

During this period of confinement many people have taken to learning new skills in cooking, crafting, home improvement, work productivity and communicating, to name a few. When the need arises, and time is ample we gift ourselves with new skills to become more complete and productive persons.

In today’s Gospel, Nicodemus is feeling the need to acquire a new skill. The skill Nicodemus yearns for is a deeper, more meaningful faith in God. In his encounter with Jesus, Nicodemus is invited be born anew which is the skill to encounter the Living God as a Father who guides us in kind mercy.

Today, the Lord invites us to learn the skill of quality prayer by which we can deepen our contact with Him. Learning a new skill in prayerfully encountering God will help us in navigating well these uneasy and challenging times. Where God is found there is peace and love.

Why not let yourself and your family be born anew by learning a new skill in actively encountering the Lord today? Schedule time to watch a Mass that is live streamed. View one of the many great Catholic websites to learn to pray in a different way. Gather your family to listen to the day’s Mass readings or to pray the rosary. Learning the skill of prayer and worship will fill your heart and your home with joy, peace and God’s presence. What a great skill to learn.

Sunday, April 19

We go through our educational career being told to prove our arithmetic work or to write well enough to prove our reasoning for a hypothesis we put forth in a paper. At times we are asked to prove our point to an idea we introduce into a conversation. We have to show proof of age to enjoy an early bird special at a favorite eatery or to produce proof of purchase when returning an item at a department store.

Proving ourselves does not mean that there is something wrong with us or the way we live. Proving ourselves is a part of life. So, then, why should the Apostle Thomas be given grief for doubting that his master, Christ had risen? Thomas placed his hope and faith in Jesus only to see Him nailed to a cross. St. Thomas loved his Lord and had to navigate incredible grief as did the other apostles. Putting so much hope and faith, now mixed with grief, in Jesus, Thomas needed proof himself that Jesus was risen.

Jesus never disappoints. Jesus’ encounter with Thomas is not one of scorn, but of love. Thomas’ faith and the faith of the other Apostles was part of the strength Jesus found to endure the passion and death to bring resurrection victory into their lives and the lives of us all. Thomas’ need for proof that Jesus was resurrected was not fueled by doubt, but by loving faith. Jesus did not disappoint.

Jesus still shows us his love when we experience His presence in prayer, through the care of a loved one and when we witness the grandeur of creation and realize that we are part of something great. Like St. Thomas, we don’t doubt Christ as much as we just want to see and feel Our Lord in all the episodes of our life. We place our loving faith in Jesus because we know that He loves us always and forever. This is hope. It was St. Thomas’ hope as well.

Saturday, April 18

Lord, on this Easter day I am encouraged by the witness of the Holy Apostles as they boldly proclaim your Gospel. Their faith was fearless in spite of the threats of imprisonment and persecution. The victory of Your resurrection renewed their faith. Jesus, in this uncertain time renew my faith that in the light of so much which is beyond my control I will find joyful hope in your love and care for me. Amen.

Friday, April 17

There is something very comforting about the scene in today’s Gospel reading. In the days after Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples were trying to understand the “new normal” of life in the shadow of this momentous event. Their Lord who was dead a few days ago is now alive. Today they go fishing maybe to simply pass the time as they reflect on Jesus’ new part in their life. Feeling, confused and alone they fish.

On the shore though, their Lord stands watch. He is ever near whether they are aware of His presence or not. They fish, realize that Jesus stands on the shore and share breakfast with their Lord. Having Him close, they feel empowered to navigate the new life He invites them to.

Today, in the midst of all that fills your day, make some time to sit on the shore with Jesus and sharing a meal of love, tell the Lord what you need. He will always give you the food of faith to birth hope in your day.

Thursday, April 16

An Easter Thursday Prayer

Lord,in the days after your Resurrection your disciples and friends remained behind locked doors as they were frightened without you. You came into their midst and spoke the reassuring words “peace be with you.” Your presence and words gave them joy and hope. Lord, in these days when I feel behind the locked doors of many types, I feel afraid, alone and concerned. I know that you are with me. Speak the words “peace be with you” to my weary soul that in faith I may find joy today. Amen.

Wednesday, April 15

“Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” Acts 3:6

Earlier this week I learned that one of our Servite parishes has a group of parishioners making face masks for those that need them. I have viewed stories of families reaching out to elderly neighbors with offers of a home cooked meal. Priests are creating “make-shift” confessions in tool sheds. People are creating colorful chalk art to bring some beauty to their neighborhoods. Tired healthcare workers offer smiles and kind words to the ill. Families sharing the evening supper and playing boards games together.

All of us are no doubt feeling the weight of staying home. Our homes have become our church, our school and our workplace. In the midst of praying, learning and working we wonder what can we do to ward off the potential for boredom? The answer is easy. Find a way to safely reach out to others. Make a voice or video call to someone whom you have not spoken with in some time. Write a letter or card of encouragement to your healthcare provider or a first responder acknowledging their hard work these days. Call your priest and thank him for praying for you.

There are many ways that we can bring hope, joy and healing to others in these challenging days. It just takes the willingness to give what we have to another. This what Peter did. He shared the gift of his faith and the crippled man walked. We have the same gift of faith.

We can share it in many ways to bring healing to fearful and troubled souls. A smile and a kind word, an act of charity and the promise of prayer can lift tired souls. Like Peter, use your gift of faith. It will feel so good and bring you as well.

Tuesday, April 14

Lord,as I celebrate your Resurrection, grant me the the courage to be hopeful when I feel afraid,calm when I am worried, joyful when sad. Speak loudly in my heart the words that you spoke to your disciples, “Do not be afraid” and “I am with you always.” Remind me frequently that your mercies are never exhausted, but renewed every morning. My Risen Lord, you are my hope. Amen.

Monday, April 13

“fearful, yet overjoyed.” Matthew 20:8

The normalcy of life for the disciples of Jesus was turned up side down with Jesus’ death. They remembered the days spent listening to Jesus preach. Their memories were full of Jesus’ miracles which they witnessed. Their hearts longed for sharing one more meal with Him. He was their Lord and Master.

Living with Jesus and ministering with Him strengthened their faith and gave them hope. His death was shocking, unfair and almost too difficult to bear. Now, some of their number have seen Him risen and alive. Jesus told them this would happen, but their grief clouded the ability to believe. In seeing the Risen Jesus they were fearful because no one had risen from the dead and they had to find a way to believe. But, they were also overjoyed because Jesus, their life was alive! Life could be a bit more normal once again.

In these challenging days, many of us have had to redefine what a normal life is. Sometimes we feel fearful for our safety and that of our loved ones. As the corona virus spreads we redefine the way we live, work and even worship. But, we cannot stay fearful. We need to find hope. Hope comes in the love we share with family and friends. Hope is found in connecting with friends via video chat. Hope is found in our collective means to keep each other safe.

We can be overjoyed that hope is alive as we make our way safely through this moment to the time we can return to our lives before the virus. Our memories of good days past and the longing for better days will keep us being safe as we hope for a normal life once again.

Hope and faith in Jesus brought the disciples through the experience of His death to the joy of His resurrection. Our hope and faith can move us safely through these challenging days to a return to a new normal life. Our hope in this journey is the Lord, who turned fearful hearts into joyful ones. As the Risen Lord, what Jesus did He continues to do, if we trust Him.

Easter Sunday

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

These ancient words of the Church’s tradition announce the joy of the Lord’s resurrection. They celebrate the victory of Christ over death.
Christ’s victory is our victory. Our lives are busy and full of many things. Easily we become overwhelmed with all the busyness and demands of life. Sometimes we are scared.

The message of Easter reminds us that hope is always abundant as we trustingly have faith in God’s promise that grace fills our lives. Easter invites us to step back from the busyness of life and present worries to enjoy the eternal promise of hope which our Risen Christ brings.
May the joy of the Easter promise fill you with the hope that nothing, not even the Covid-19 virus, can separate you from God’s love and presence.

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

Happy Easter.

Fr. Don Siple, OSM, Rector of The Grotto

Holy Saturday, April 11

From an Ancient Homily on Holy Saturday

“Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.”

Prayer

Holy Mary, today creation echoes the silence of God. In the most intense silence the Word was made flesh. In the silence of the grave the love of the Father and the life of the Son came together and a new creation was born. Holy Mother, virgin of silence and peaceful mystery, sorrowful, strong, faithful, you stand at the tomb where the Word is silent and the Holy One of God lies. Today, we keep watch with you. With you we believe that from darkness comes light and from the earth, life. We wait for the dawn of that endless day when a new humanity is born. We wait to see in your Risen Son the new face of humanity redeemed. We wait to hear the new greeting of peace and to sing the new song of glory. Mary, Virgin of the Spirit, image of the Church, pray that we may have your faith in the Word your hope in the Kingdom, and your love for God and humanity which is stronger than death.

Amen. 

Good Friday, April 10

A Prayer for Good Friday

Lord, on the cross you show me how loved I am. You willingly gave your life that I may live. You forgive my sins, take away my shame, heal my wounded heart and hear my cries for peace. Your cross is my sign of hope. As I look upon the cross I am reminded that I am wonderfully made in your image. As I stand near the cross, I hear you say, “be not afraid”. Lord, your cross: is the compass that points me to new life; is the bridge that gets me to You and the Father; is the boat of safety upon the troubled waters of my life; is the life-preserver when I am sinking in my fears and doubts; is the pledge of your eternal friendship with me which is my salvation. Lord, the cross is crowded with many like me who need to be close to you, who need to be forgiven, loved and saved. The Good News of the Cross is that no matter how crowded it is, there is always a place for me. Standing at the Cross with your Holy Mother, I praise you Lord for the salvation and love you give me. May I stand here always for this is where I am most alive.

Amen.

April 9

Holy Thursday of the Lord’s Supper

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted…” 

Masses and devotions live-streamed over the internet.  Drive-up and drive-thru Confessions.  Spiritual direction, pastoral counseling and parish staff meetings via video conferencing.  Prayer requests received by e-mail and social media. Church ministry has certainly changed in  this challenging moment. 

Our social media feeds and the internet are full of the creative ways that priests are bringing the glad tidings of the Gospel to the faithful. Priests are finding creative ways to meet the desire of God’s people to feel connected to Christ in the Church when public Masses are cancelled. 

As anointed servants of the Lord priests desire to minister to the faithful even while observing social distancing.  Like so many separated from friends to stay healthy,  priests feel separated from those they spiritually care for.  They are missing their congregations.  They miss sharing and exchanging faith with their parishioners.

While Mass and Church may not be deemed as essential by some in this present crisis, to people of faith Mass and Church are necessary in our lives .  Priests are doing their best to minister to their parishioners.  They daily pray for us.

On this Holy Thursday as we celebrate both the institution of the Priesthood and the Eucharist, let us pray for our priests as we pray for first responders and healthcare workers.  Our priests bring the remedy of faith to us in easy times and challenging ones as well.  

Wednesday, April 8

“On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?”” Matthew 26:17

The phrase ‘life goes on’ has taken on a new meaning these days. Faced with the reality of the COVID-19 corona virus, our means of working and interacting with others has changed to ensure the safety of all. More people are working from home. Teachers are conducting classes with their pupils via video conferencing. Families are finding healthy ways to spend time together as they stay at home and practice social distancing for safety sake.

In the midst of staying safe and healthy in this unprecedented moment, life goes on, albeit, in a new, redefined way. We acknowledge that adapting our lives to the present situation is embracing the big picture of a healthy world.

Jesus knew that the hour of his passion was quickly approaching. The culmination of His ministry is three days away. Jesus embraced the large picture of what His suffering and death meant. Jesus’ suffering and death brings forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life for believers.

As we adapt our lives to stay safe and well, life goes on. As people of faith we know that life is full because God is with us. Remember to pray always, watch Mass live-streamed, read the daily scriptures and keep safe. Life goes on albeit different, and because God is with us we can see our way through this moment to the joyful victory of the Resurrection.

Stay safe, be well and be blessed.

Tuesday, April 7

“Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God.”  Isaiah 49:4 

Judas has decided to assist the authorities in apprehending Jesus. Aware of Judas’ plot Jesus does nothing to either stop Judas nor go into hiding to avoid arrest.

In spite of Judas’ plot Jesus stays the course of his mission to bring salvation to humanity.  Jesus is resolute in giving humanity the experience of the Father’s mercy through the passion and death He will soon endure.

While humanity would always struggle to understand, accept and live God’s love, Jesus stayed focused on His mission. Even if only one person accepted the Father’s love through Jesus’ efforts, the mission would be successful.

As we journey through the events of Holy Week, let us keep in mind that we are the focus of Jesus’ mission.  His love for us is a call to see and love ourselves as God does.  God’s love is a call act justly with others and “to walk humbly” with God.  How blessed we are to be the focus of Jesus.   

Monday, April 6

“Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” John 12:1-3

Jesus is happy. He is sharing a meal with three people very dear to Him. Lazarus, Martha and Mary were dear friends of Jesus. Their friendship strengthened, renewed and supported Jesus. At this particular meal each of the three friends offered Jesus something special. Lazarus conversed with Jesus, probably thanking Jesus for the gift of new life. Martha, an excellent cook, made Jesus a special meal Mary, always attentive to Jesus’ word, anointed Jesus in a ritual of welcome and hospitality. With Lazarus, Martha and Mary, Jesus probably felt that He could be himself.

Friendship is one’s of life’s greatest blessings. Friends are people who love, support, nurture and positively challenge us. Our friends listen to us, encourage and are present to us in all moments of life. Like anyone of us, Jesus needed friends to support Him and His mission.

As we move through these challenging days, keeping safe and healthy in our homes, we are reaching out to our friends. Their presence gives us hope and joy. Today, give thanks for your friends. Give thanks to God for His friendship that makes life blessed.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

“The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.” Matthew 21:6

A number of years ago a television commercial asked the viewer “what would you do” to obtain a certain ice cream bar? The commercial showed people doing various humorous and silly things to obtain the ice cream bar. The viewer was left with the idea that obtaining the ice cream bar was indeed worth undertaking humorous and silly actions.

Often, we are willing to fulfill specific requirements to obtain what we need and what we like. Today we enter the most sacred week of the year. The events of Holy Week reveal the depth of the length that God is willing to go to have a place in our lives.

This week Christ our God will be betrayed by a friend, falsely accused, unjustly condemned to death, suffer severe punishment and endure a torturous death because of us. Yes, the Lord of heaven and earth, the King of kings and Lord of Lords, the All Holy and Immortal One will suffer for us. Why? Because the thought of loving us through our pain, fear, shame, suffering and illness to healing, hope and peace is powerfully overwhelming to God.

The hope of having a place in our lives drove Christ to suffer for us. It’s what drives Him to love us always. In God’s heart we are worth His pain that we may know His love. This is what God is willing to do for you us. What are we willing to do for Him?

Have a blessed Holy Week.

Saturday, April 4

“My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Ezekiel 37:27

From the moment The Lord finished creating the heavens and the earth and giving life to humanity He has dwelt upon us. God has never stopped dwelling among us. What has happened is that pride has caused humanity to stop recognizing the Divine Presence inhabiting our lives and world.

One way to increase the awareness of God’s presence is to surround ourselves with holy images and to pray. Our Catholic tradition uses sacred images of Christ, Our Lady and the Saints to remind us the God is near to us and that the call to holiness is possible. The saints found a way to be holy so can we.

An old custom is to create a prayer altar in the home. Such a place can be created by placing an image of Christ, Our Lady and one’s patron saint on a small table. On the same table place the Bible, rosary beads and prayer book. This space becomes both a place to pray and a physical reminder of recalling that God dwells among us and is always close.

As we practice social distancing to keep safe let’s also practice divine closeness to keep ourselves spiritually awake to God’s presence in our hearts, homes and world. In these challenges times keeping close to God will give us hope that we are truly never alone.

Friday, April 3

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother…” John 19:25

In Jesus’ ministry Mary witnessed God’s love in His sermons and miracles. At the Cross, Mary witnessed the depth of God’s love for humanity in Jesus’ suffering and death. Mary’s presence at the Cross gave Jesus hope that he was not alone in his suffering. Because Mary continually pondered the activity of God in her life, she knew that God’s love story for humanity would not end in death. The death of Jesus was the beginning of a new chapter of divine love for us.

Like Mary we are called to stand at Jesus’ cross. There we experience hope and love. In hope we stay vigilant to where Jesus is presently crucified in the sufferings of his sisters and brothers. At these present day crosses we compassionately stand to witness the love of God. Mary’s silent presence at the Cross of Jesus inspires us to be courageous in being compassionate to those who are facing a difficult moment: loneliness, hopelessness, fear or suffering. Our presence at these crosses is an invitation to continue writing God’s love story through offering compassionate hope to all who search for God’s love in the difficult moments of life. Today, reach out to someone who is finding life tough and offer them hope by a caring word or action. A caring word or action to another is writing God’s love story in their lives and in ours.

Thursday, April 2

“Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought…”. See Psalm 105

Our souls are the treasure chest of the memories of God’s presence in our lives. It is the keeper of the memories of faith. These are the moments of hope when prayers have been answered. These memories conjure the moments when the Lord has seen us through the valleys of pain, doubt and concern to the plains of renewed faith and hope. The memories that our souls keep remind us that God is forever faithful in walking life’s journey by our sides.

The soul remembers the joy we felt after receiving communion and the deep love felt when we left the confessional forgiven of our sins. The soul is our treasure chest of the sacred memories of God’s relationship with us. Fasting, almsgiving, prayer, acts of charity and the celebration of the sacraments keep a clear view of these holy memories in our souls.

When moments of pain, hurt, doubt and fear arise, we need to open this treasure chest and remember that God always keeps His promise to be faithful so that we can once again trust Him in the present situation. Jesus found strength in the memory of His Father’s loving presence at all times. The warmth of the Father’s love gave Jesus the courage to move through the passion to the cross. Doing so would give you and me great and holy memories of the Father’s love as well.

Wednesday, April 1

Nebuchadnezzar replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.” See Daniel 3

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were sentenced to death because they were defiant of the king’s order to worship a god not their own. In their exile, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego remained faithful to God as they felt God’s presence all throughout their lives. They experienced God as always faithful. No hardship or royal order would deter the three from their relationship with God.

We should not be surprised that God sent His angel to accompany and protect the three men. This is what God does with us as well. Yet, in these challenging days of social confinement, homeschooling and work from home, it might be a bit difficult to feel God close as we reorder our lives to stay safe in the present health crisis. Lack of normal routine and boredom can affect our spiritual life as well.

As we attempt to create normal in this irregular time don’t forget the give yourself the gift of time with God each day. Creating a small moment in the day for prayer can let us realize that God is sharing the present experience with us.

As we feel the fire of concern in many areas of life given our present reality, spending time with God will give us the insight that “a son of God” walks with us. His name is Jesus. Nothing will stop Him from loving us and being with us for God is faithful.

Tuesday, March 31

“The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” John 8:29

In one week’s time Judas will begin looking for a way to hand Jesus over to the authorities. Jesus knows that His moment of suffering and death for humanity’s salvation is quickly approaching. His attempts to convert people to a deeper understanding of faith in God has brought some to a more profound experience of God’s love. Not so for others.

In spite of this Jesus is at peace that the Father is with Him. Jesus’ relationship with the Father colors Jesus’ experience of the world, informs His mission and creates a bond on love between them. Nothing and no one will separate Jesus from the Father. They are one.

In Christ, we are offered the same relationship. The Most Holy Trinity never leaves us alone. Their desire is to be close to us that their love can give us strength, hope and joy. As we face another week of “stay at home” and live life a bit different than normal ask ‘do I feel God close today?’ Be watchful for God is closer than we think. Ask God to show you how He is living with you and loving you today.

Monday, March 30

“Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle…Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” See John 8:1-11

The woman caught in adultery sinned. What she did was wrong and it hurt many people including herself. But, what she did was not who she was. In the eyes of God she is His child even when she sinned. The Pharisees were not interested in this fact of faith. They wanted to use her situation to find something with which to charge Jesus as a criminal. Jesus is aware of their motives, but her personhood and her soul was far more important. The Pharisees will indeed arrest Jesus soon, but this moment called for mercy and forgiveness. He forgives the adulterous woman.

Sometimes the greatest difficulty we face in life is forgiving ourselves and others. To forgive ourselves for things we have done in the past is to live free in the present. Freedom from anxiety and fear gives way to hope and peace. To forgive another, as difficult as it can be, is to give power to our desire to live in control of how we love ourselves in the present. We all make mistakes, make poor choices and we sin. When we do these things we need to make amends, repent and learn from these situations how to live right and just lives. But our mistakes and sins are not who we are. Saint Pope John Paul II taught us that “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.” Forgiveness of self lets us live from our potential not our shortcomings. Forgiving others lets us live in hope and not in anger, fear or hatred which corrodes the soul. We are the sum of the Father’s love who easily forgives us without condition. He challenges us to do the same. Today Jesus speaks “neither do I condemn you” to us. So, will you believe Him or not? Will you live loved by God’s forgiveness or hold on to your mistakes, poor choice and sin and be miserable? The Lord has forgiven you. The choice to live forgiven is yours. How will you live today?

Sunday, March 29

A Prayer for Today

Father God,

Your love and compassion for me knows no limits.

In your kindness you bless me.

With compassion you love me.

In mercy you forgive me.

I am always close to your heart.

As I remember the raising of Lazarus in today’s Gospel,

I pray for the courage to let you call me from my self created tomb

of fear and sin into the new life of hope and healing in your love.

Father, bless me, my loved ones and all who need your grace.

Protect us today and always.

In Christ’s name I pray.

Amen.

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.