October 22, 2009 at 9:26 PM #127171
A Vocation for All Times
“Do whatever be tells you.”
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) was a Jewish philosoher to become to Catholicism whose spiritual journey led her to become a Carmelite nun. She was ultimately martyred for her faith in the Auschwitz death camp during World War 11 and was canonized in 1998. Stein wrote extensively about the proper formation and education of women. With a brillian mind and humble spirit, she explored and expounded upon the true vocation of women in society. her wisdom is timely for us today.
Stein related her thoughts about the feminine soul and it’s expression in vocation in a lecture titled “The Ethos of Women’s professions’:Any vocation that involves service to others can be considered fiminine…But the feminine make-up can also adapt itself to essentially masculine vocations…Indeed feminine nature in its purity can embrace all things, and the image of God’s Mother at the wedding of Cana is a perfectexample of this: how discretely she prevents the embarrassment of others; how she discents where there is a need; how she intervenes without beingobserved. Such a woman is pertiment at all times like a good genius.
Secular movement and conflicting cultural expectations that promised to help women gain valdation and a broader sphere of influence in the world have, instead, undremined the importance of our God given femininity. Edith Stein gives us a window into the truth of who God calls women to be. Regardless of the occupation we hold or the role we play in our families and communities, there is inherent dignity and genius in the nature expression of the feminine spirit as it was designed by God. Cultivating an awareness of our feminine souls in light of the charim of Catholic womanhood could truly change our world and add rich meaning to our individual lives.
Lord, help me to understand and embrace my true vocation as a woman in the body of Christ.~
Just for Today: I will have a conversation with St. Edeth Stein during my prayer or quite time.
August 21, 2009 at 7:44 PM #122480
Christ Is Our Gift Through Life
I am the way and the truth and the life.John 14:6
The story is told about a missionary who once became lost in the African jungle. When, at long last, he came to a primitive village, he asked one of the villagers to lead him out. After more than an hour of hacking thier way through thick jungle growth, the missionary said to his guide:”Are you sure this is the way. Where is the path?”His guide respond, “Sir, in this place there is no path. I am the path.”That story links us to the words of Jesus: I am the way and the truth and the life.Let us remember that ultimate meaning of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection was to reveal the God who…
Makes a way out of no way
Turns tragedy into triumph
Creates something new from the old
Generates light in the night
Frames victory out of defeat
Produces hopes where there is despair
Causes good to come out of evil
Brings life out of death
~Prayer for the Day~Eternal and holy God,I thank you for Jesusand I affirm that the Christ withen meis working and creating miraclesin my own lifeVMP
August 8, 2009 at 8:13 PM #121565
The Greatest Gift
For God so loved world that he gave his one and only Son.John 3:16
News paper in Florida carried a sad but moving story about a seven teen-year-old boy named Jason. He was a high-school honor student who was close to jis mother, his wheelchair-bound father, and his younger brother. Jason was also an expert swimmer who loved to scuba dive.
He left home one morning to explore a spring and understand cave near his home. His pland was to return that evening in time to celebrate his mother’s birthday by going out to dinner with the family.
Jason became lost in the cave. Seeking a way out, he apperently became wedged in a narrow passageway. When he realized he was trapped,he shed his yellow metal air tank and unshearted his diver’s knife. With the tank as a table and the knife as a pen, he wrote one last message his family: I LOVE YOU MOM, DAD, AND CHRISTIAN. Then he ran out of air and drowned.
That final message—something communicated in the last few seconds of life—is something no one could be indiferent toward. It touchesthe heart and moves the spirit. In a similar way, God’s final words to humanity are etched on a Roman cross. They are blood red and cream out to be heard. The message from God is like Jason’s : I LOVE YOU.
~Prayer for the Day~
Holy and kind God,Becauseof your love for meI live with gratitude and joy;compassion and kindness.VMP
July 25, 2009 at 9:36 AM #120690
~Just Face Life’s Storms~
Put your sword away?Shall I not drink the cup the father has given me?John 18:11
A Wyoming cowboy said he learned one of life’s most important lesons from Hereford cows. All his life he worked cattle ranches and saw firsthand how winter storms took a heavy, deadly toll among herds of cattle. Freezing rains, bitter winds, and plunging temperatures often combined to create harsh weather and enormous blizzards.
The cowboy noted that when such conditions emerged, most cattle would turn their backs to the icy blasts and slowly drift downwind, mile after mile. Finally, intercepted by a boundary fence, they would pile up against the barrier and die by the scores.
However, Herefords acted differently. This breed would instinctively head into the windward end of the range. There they would stand shoulder to shoulder facing the storm’s blast, head down against its onslaughts. “You almost always found the Herefords alive and well,” the cowboyexplained. “The greatest lesson I ever learned on the prairies—just face life’s storm’s.”
That is precisely what jesus did. Rather than have Peter defend him, allowing Jesus to flee from authorities, Jesus ordered Peter to put down his sword. Jesus chose to face his life’s storm. He is a model for us. When life’s harsness strikes at us, we must face the storm with courage, dignity, and great trust in God.
~Prayer for the day~Eternal and holy God,Deepen my trust in you,Heighten my faith in you,Increase my confidence in you,So that I face life’s storms confidently.VMP
July 16, 2009 at 12:46 AM #120133
Eyes to see with
We look not at what can be but seen but at whatcannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary,but what cannot be seen.
We live in aculture that seems obsessed with visual stimulation. Through televistion and movies, videos games and the internet, MP3 players and even cell phones, oureyes—the “windows to our souls”—are being exposed to every imaginable sight.
Expert have long suggested that children’s behaveior can be influenced by seein violence on televistion. There can be little wonder, then, that our children’s view of the world can be shaped —not to mentionharmed—by what they see in the media, too. Day after day, they “see” that material goods are the measure of success, that sex outside of marriage is the norm, that violence is acceptable, that the ends justify the means, and that justice involves getting revenge.
It is up to us to offer our children an alternative—to replace what they are exposed to in the media witha Christ-centered view of the world. True, Christ’s view is a countercultural way of looking at life. It not only turn societal thinking upside down, but it places the greatest value on the unseen. How can we teach our chidren to value what we cannot see bur know by faith?
How can we impress upon them the importance of seeking out where true treasure lies? In what ways are we modeling the art of contemplation in our own lives? How do we communicate our own interior vision based on our values, morals, and beliefs that are anchored in the word of God? Ask yourself: How am I actively living out my Catholic world view through my daily actions?
Others may not understand what we believe, but if we live in a committed way, they will know that we are acting upon a different set of proirities. For us forever is for all eternity, but for the world, it is the time between commercial breaks. Let us pray that our lives will reflic that difference.
Heavenly Father, keep my eyes fixed on you andand my heart set on things not of this world, but of the next. Give me courage to bring “what cannot be seen” into the world through my actions.
Just for Today: I will “look inside” and turn away from excessive visual stimuli.
June 25, 2009 at 4:14 PM #119071
~Seed of Service~
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will suply and multiply your seed for sowing and incrrease the harvest of you righteousness.—2 Corinthians 9:10
Second Corinthians 9:10 is exciting! This verse tells us that any seed of service we sow will be multiplied by God to bring about an even greater good than we could have accomplished on our own. Whether we plant a small seed of listening, presence, or respect or give a monetary or material gift, God will multiply it. When we sow the seeds of our gifts and talents in order to serve others, God will complete the harvest by his generous hand.
As we give prayerfully with the faith that our gift will release God’s abundance into the setuation, then we take the focus off ourselves and place it where it belongs—on God. He is faitful to his promises, and he is the provider of all good things. He will not just honor our actions, but he will exceed our expectations when we sow seeds of service in his name.
This verse also reminds us that God is conserned with the smallest details of our lives. In the world’s economy of scale, the seed is very tiny. And yet, something that begins from a seed—bread—is a basic necessity, the foundation for our nourishment, both physically. Bread, though ordinary in its composition, is the form in which God has chosen to give himself to us through the Eucharist. And he has promised to multiply his goodness through us as we receive him.
God uses us, his laborers in the field, to plant seeds and bring in the harvest of lost or wanting souls. This work of savin souls is not for the faithearted, yet we don’t have to go any farther than the fertile ground of our own families to accomplish it. Jesus lamented in Matthew 9:37, “harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” We are blessed to be among the few.
Lord, thank you for your generous actions and your abundant grace. Show me ways I can serve others so that you can multiply the seeds I plant in you name.
Just for today: I will ponder the ways in which God’s abundance has touched my life and prase him for the harvest.
June 9, 2009 at 9:24 PM #118087
~Surrendering Through Prayer~
Yet not sa I will, but as you will.Matthew 26:39
A german legend offers an important insight into prayer Centuries ago villagers were troubled with poor harvest, so they made this prayer:”Lord, for one year promise us that you will give us exactly what we ask for—sun and rain when we ask for it.”God agreed to thier request. When they called for sun, God sent sun. Never did the corn grow taller, nor the wheat so thick, as it did that season. Likewise,fruite trees bloomed abundantly. As the harvestime approached thier joy turned to sadnes when the farmers saw to thier shock and dismay that the cornstalks had no corn, the wheat stalks produced no grain, and the leafy fruited trees bore no fruit. “Oh, God,” the villagers prayer in despair, “You have failed us.”God replied, “Not so my children. I gave you everything you asked for.””Then why, God,” they cried, “have we no fruit or kernel or grain?””Because ,” God answered, “you did not ask for the harsh nortth wind.”Wihtout the winds, of course, there was no pollination.The lesson: We must pray, be specific, make our needs and hopes known, but leave the final answer in God’s hands. That is the way Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible , may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
~Affirmation for the Day~God knows what is best for me;God’s love for me is perfect;God acts for my highest good.
June 4, 2009 at 8:17 PM #117795
What Does Love Look Like?
My command is this:Love each other as I have loved you.John 15:12
Today let us reflect upon Saint Augustine’s answer to the question “What does love look others?”
It has hands to help others.
It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
It has ears to hear the sighs and soorows of men.That is what love looks like.Today conduct an examination of conscience, asking yourself:
Does love look like me?
Do my hands help others?
Do my feet hasten to the poor and needy?
Do my eyes see misery and want?
Do my ears hear the sighs and sorrows of others?
Does love look like me?~Prayer for the Day~
Holy God,Let me be your willing , humble servantin the spirit and name of jesus.VMP
May 16, 2009 at 12:25 AM #116430
Let go of the Chaos
She looks to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.—Proverbs 31:27
The enemy of our souls uses many strategies to distract us from accomplishing all that God has planned for us. His tricks of the trade are intended to keep us bound to ill-fated attempts and good intentions. Satan always seeks to strengten his strongholds, even as Christ pours out his grace to help us overcome them.
One effective tactic is to keep us “drowning in our surroundings.” If we are unable to get things done because we are constantly searching for what we need to get started, or if we are mismanaging our time by “flying by the seat of our pants” through life, then we won’t reach our maximum potential for God. We can’t give our best to Kingdom if we can’t clean up the mess in our own homes or make it out the door on time. When we turn to the Lord to help restore the balance and order we need to serve him, we could find ourselves facing some uncomfortable truths buried underneath the chaos in our lives.
Hoarding and disorganization can serve as barries to intimacy with others and interfere with our ability to serve the Lord. if we have difficulty letting go of “things,” we may find that we are clinging to more than just material goods. Feeling as though we are losing control or becoming overly stressed or even depressed at the though of cleaning out the closet or putting our affairs in order could mean that our belonging have become tools of bondage. The enemy can then use our possessions and even our emotions to keep us looked in a self-defeating pattern of procrastinations and avoidance of the abundant life Christ wants to give us.
Restoring sanity to our life space can become an exercise in spiritual maturity. Reflect on your own patterns, and ask the Lord to guide you in incremental steps toward a more peaceful and contented way of life. Believe that you can have this life, claim it, and together with Christ—let go of the chaos and clutter,one “thing” and one day at a time.
Lord , thank you for helping me to gain greater self-control and order in my life. Set me free from the bondage of chaos.~
Just for today: I will choose an area of clutter in my life and to bring order to it.
May 14, 2009 at 9:32 PM #116222
Bring him too
“Go threfore and makes disciples of all nations” —-Matthew 28:19
A signe on the door of a local church reads, “You are about to participate in the greatest act of worship the world has ever known—the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Be reverent, prayerfull, and open to God’s grace.” Before Mass, the church is usually quiet inside as most people kneel and pray silently. It’s a time for collecting ourselves and preparing our hearts for the owesome experience to come. The sign on the door sets the stage and sends a message: something special is about to begin.
As Catholics, we are blessed to be able to participate in the celebration of theEucharist. Receiving Christ’s actual body and blood is a privilege that surpasses any experience on eart. It’s so wonderfull, in fact, that we shouldn’t keep it to ourselves. When we return to our homes and our families, our jobs and our activities, we can share the miracle we have just experience—we can bring Christ with us into the world.
The time we spend at a Mass ought to change us for the better. If others were watching, would they notice a difference in our demeanor, attitude, and actions as we walk out of church? We may not be like Moses, who left the tabernacle of God shining so brightly that he needed to cover hemself; we should, however, carry within us a burning desire to share Christ with others.
God has issue an open invitation to each of us to enter his grace at mass. As we accept it, we can ask ourselves, How will my encounter with Jesus make me diffirent? How is God’s transforming love truly present within me? What does God want to say to the world through me? We already know that the world desperately needs what and whom we experience when we go to Mass. It’s up to us to bring Christ to the world, and when we do, the effect will be nothing short of meraculous!
Lord, fill me with your presence each time I attend Mass, so that I might bring you with me to other’s.~
May 8, 2009 at 11:49 PM #115644
A Complete Yes
” here am I, the servant of the Lord;let it be with me according to your word~Luke 1:30~
At the beginning of each new year, we often experience stirring within us that lead us to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.For some, thenew year brings feelings of anticipation and excitement; for others, asence of foreboding or trepidation.Whether facing the beginning of anew year or a new day, each one of us has the opportunity to begin anew and may be, the mystery of the future remains justthat—a mystery.It is fitting, then, that as Catholics, we set aside days and months throughout the year to reflect upon and celebrate Mary.More than any other person in history, she embraced the mystery of the unknown when she said yes to God at the annunciation. Mary could not have completly understood what was happening to her life would change as a result of the angel’s visit.But by her fiat, Mary confirmed her commitment to God and allowed herself to be used by God to redeem humankind.As a result, her entire life became a reflection of the dept of God’s love.She expressed awe and wonder at the role she was to play in God’s plan of salvation when she proclaimed in the Magnificat, “For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48).Like Mary, each of us has an important part to play in God’s perfect planWe are pilgrim people with a mission to serve in love.May we embrace the unique call God has on our lives with the samereceptivity and oppenness that Mary displayed.We don’t have to wait untill the beginning of a new year to offer our own complete yes to God.Like Mary, let us walk with God intrust as the mystery of our life untolds before us.
Dear Lord, lead me along your path of goodness and love.Help me to surrender my plans and projects, just as Mary did, and to say yes to all that you ask of me.~
Just for Today: I will say yes to God.
April 15, 2009 at 1:42 AM #113394
in meadows and mountains, yeh forest and fountains GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD ,,,
April 14, 2009 at 10:07 PM #113384
Asking Ourselves: “Why Not Me?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!'”Isaiah 6:8
In April 1995, Craig Kielburger, then twelve years of age, read about the death of Iqbal Masih, a boy his age in Pakistan who spent six years chained to a rug loom workingin conditions of slavery. Iqbal escaped and joined a crusade against child labor. He had been shot dead in the street. Craig vowed to keep Iqbal’s cause alive.
The Toronto, Ontario, youth started Free the Children, a human rights group run by kids. Soon Craig felt he had to meet the children he was trying to help so he made a seven-week trip to Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. He found disturbing child labor everywhere—-a girl bagging candy eleven hour a day, a boy stitching soccerballs. “I met one eight-year-old girl pulling apart used syringes and needles for thier plastic,” Craig remembers. She wore no gloves and when he asked if she was worried about getting AIDS or other diseases, the girl said she didn’t know what AIDS was.
Canada’s prime minister, Jean Chretien, was in Asia at the same time; so Craig met with him to talk about child labor. As a result, the Canadian government is expressing official concern and displeasure about child labor to its trading partners. Craig has single-handedly awakened his nation to the suffering of an estimated 200 million children. When he was asked, “Why you?” the youth responded: “If everyone said, ‘Why me?’ nothing ever would be accomplished. I’ve read the storyof IqbalMasih. Why not me?”
When we see needs and are touched to act, let us respond like Craig Kielburger and, long before him, the prophet Isaiah who said: Here am I. Send me!
~Prayer for the Day~
Holy and Loving God,When I see a hurt, let me heal it;When I see a sorrow, let me comfort it;When I see a pain, let me soothe it.VMP
April 2, 2009 at 9:31 PM #112474
The Importance of Community
I thank my God every time I remember you.Philippian 1:3
One of the pleasant experiences of living in Virgina Beach was thelack of snow in the winter. Being so close to the ocean, the climate there was very moderate. However, during one February there was an unusuals six-inch snowfall. It provided a fascinating lesson in community.
Anong a main road stood several large groves oftall pine trees. The branches were bowed down with the heavy snow. They were so low, in fact, that branches from one tree were leaning against the trunk andbranches of another.
However, where there was a pine standing alone, the effect of theheavy snow was dramatically different. The branches became heavier and heavier, snapped under the additional burden of snow. They lay on theground broken and alone.
The same is true for us. When the storms of life strike us, we need to be in a community—standing close to other people of faith. The closer we stand, the more connected we are, the more we will be able to bear up was certainly Saint Paul’s experience—I thank my God every time I remember you, he wrote. Although imprisoned for preaching the gospel, he is sustained by his faith in God and God and by the support he has reicived from other Christians.
Prayer for the DayGracious God,I thank you for placing me in a community filled with kind, loving,supportive people.VMP
March 20, 2009 at 10:23 PM #111227
Helping by Confronting
When Peter came to Antioch,I opposed him to his face, becausehe was clearrly in the wrong.Galatians 2:11
As difficult as it may be, there are times when the most effective way of helping is by confronting. This is what Paul did to Peter in order to convince the leader of Christianity that he was on the wrong course.
A more recent example comes from the life of popular Christian singer, Amy Grant. In the mid 1980s her life was not as charmed as it appeared. Her marriage was in crisis, primarily because husband had developed a cocaine habit. Thier talk of devorce left Grant in one of her darknest moments. She remembers: “For a few days, I just stayed in bed and morned my life. The only hope I could seem to see was just junking it all, moving to Europe, and starting everything all over again.”
Then her sister came, not to provide encouragement but to confront Grant. She marched right beside Grant’s bedside, declaring, “Fine, go to Europe, leave it all behind, start your life again. But before we go, tell my daughter how you can sing, that Jesus can help her through anything in her life, but that he couldn’t help you.”
Those words of confrontation hit home. Amy remained in America and continued her career as a gospel singer. She and her husband began marriage and personal counseling, slowly rebuilding thier relationship with each other and with God. It all began with a confrontation.
When someone we love exhibits behavior that is self-destructive, let us not shrink back. Let us find ways to challenge, confront, and motivate that person to consider other options.
Prayer for the DayEternal and loving God,Help me to know to be supportive and encouragingand when to be challenging and confrontingin ordre to be a good friendVMP
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