“According to our purpose and our intention shall be our reward, and though our intention be ever so good, it is necessary to bring it to a good will and great diligence.” – Thomas a’ Kempis

“What are you, then, who dread a mortal man so deeply? Today he is, and tomorrow he does not appear. Fear God, and you will not need to fear man. What can man do to you in words or injuries? He hurts himself more than he hurts you, and in the end, whoever he be, he will not escape the judgment of God. Have God always before the eye of your soul, and do not answer to the charge in many words. If you seem for a time to suffer confusion that you have not deserved, do not count it as little, and do not, through impatience, diminish your reward. Rather, lift up your heart to God in heaven, for He is able to deliver you from all confusion and wrong and to reward every man as he deserves, and much more than he can deserve.” – Thomas a’ Kempis, The Imitation of Christ


“For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory” (Psalm 149:4).

Dear Father in Heaven, our hearts wrench for our neighbors caught in Harvey’s aftermath, yet we’re deeply touched by the selfless love of the Good Samaritans. Let us not question why human suffering exists but trust in Your Will, which we can see as Your grace flowing through those giving souls. Let us see the love and kindness of Your Son Jesus in this time of heartbreak and realize the power of prayer, which is so needed by us now, from afar.

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” (Matthew 15:28)

Today’s Gospel Reading

“We must speak to God as a friend speaks to his friend, servant to his master; now asking some favor, now acknowledging our faults, and communicating to Him all that concerns us, our thoughts, our fears, our projects, our desires, and in all things seeking His counsel.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola


Thinking about St. Peter this morning. He just didn’t catch on. What did Peter have that God would choose him even after he denied Him 3 times. Peter spoke before he thought. That can be irritating. Acts and then thinks. Always says the wrong thing. But God chose Peter. God chooses dummies. That’s why He chose me!

So, what did Peter have? He wasn’t afraid or ashamed to fail. Many are petrified of it. There’s no disgrace in failing. Am I honest? Do I have integrity? No one believes in the truth today. No one wants to hear it. But Peter was willing to do what most would find ridiculous. Out of obedience to God. Peter was obedient. Simple, honest – obedient. He threw the net. And Jesus filled it with fish. Peter didn’t even recognize the Lord. It was John who said, “It’s the Lord.” Because when you love God, you recognize Him. John loved the Lord. But poor Peter. He couldn’t get anything right. Peter wraps his cloak around himself and then jumps into the water. When Peter realized it was Jesus, he RAN to Him. He accepted God’s forgiveness. He didn’t doubt for a second that he was forgiven. He was sorry. He knew that God forgives and forgets. God teaches us how to forgive by giving example. He showed us that it’s our enemies who teach us to forgive. We learn by our sins. Or not. We’re to forgive and then serve as Jesus served. Most of us would have been unable to face Jesus in that boat.

Dear disciples, many will not listen to one such as Peter, one such as you. You’ll be mocked for your obedience and willingness. Eyes will roll. Peter said yes. That’s all God asks of us.

Always keep this in mind: Don’t harbor hatred. Believe in God’s way: simplicity, humility, trust. Be attuned to God’s will. Be obedient, say yes. It’s not easy sometimes, but we can get up and begin again like St. Peter. The greatest gift we can give to God is to accept His mercy, which is infinite. Blessings!


What is Divine Mercy Sunday?

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday  – Second Sunday of Easter

The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us – all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy.

The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:

A – Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.

B – Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.

C – Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

This message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.

The message and devotional practices proposed in the Diary of Saint Faustina and set forth in this web site and other publications of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are completely in accordance with the teachings of Church and are firmly rooted in the Gospel message of our Merciful Savior. Properly understood and implemented, they will help us grow as genuine followers of Christ.

Spend time to learn more about the mercy of God, learn to trust in Jesus, and live your life as merciful to others, as Christ is merciful to you.


“Come, therefore, to Me when it is not well with you.  What hinders you most is that you turn yourself to Me too slowly; before you pray heartily to Me you seek many other comforts, and refresh your spirit in outward things.  And so it comes about that all that you do helps you little, until you can behold and see that I am He who sends comfort to all who faithfully call to Me, and that without Me there can be no profitable counsel or perfect remedy.”

 – The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis
Today’s Holy Mass Readings

“How precious the gift of the Cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the Cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise, but opens the way for our return.” – St. Theodore the Studite

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion Readings.

Thursday in Holy Week

As we begin the last three days of our journey with Jesus to the Cross, I wanted to post this beautiful excerpt from The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis:

“Take, therefore, your cross and follow Jesus, and you shall go to life everlasting.  He has gone before you, bearing His Cross, and died for you upon that Cross so that you should in like manner bear with Him the cross of penance and tribulation, and that you should be ready in like manner for His love to suffer death, if need be, as He has done for you.  If you die with Him you will live with Him; if you are His companion with Him in pain, you will be His companion in glory.”

Blessed be God forever!


“The happiness of man on earth, my children, is to be very good; those who are very good bless the good God, they love Him, they glorify Him, and do all their works with joy and love, because they know that we are in this world for no other end than to serve and love the good God.” – St. Jean Vianney

Lord, let this Lent be a time of rearranging my priorities in light of the Truth of Your Gospel.  ❤

“Whatever else we say when we pray, if we pray as we should, we are only saying what is already contained in the Lord’s Prayer.” – St. Augustine

In today’s Gospel, we learn how to pray from Jesus Himself:

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.

 Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

 Give us this day our daily bread and

forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,

and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,  Amen.


“When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret.” (Mt 6:1-6).

ASH WEDNESDAY allows us to practice what Jesus taught as we observe this first day of Lent. We fast and receive God’s blessing with ashes on our foreheads to express our sorrow for offending Him.  Today’s Gospel Reading invites us to do this with sincerity, asking our Father for forgiveness openly and honestly, but from the inner rooms of our hearts.

When Jesus taught His disciples how to fast, pray and practice good deeds in a manner most pleasing to our Father, He said they shouldn’t act like the hypocrites who made sure others saw them, so as to win their praise.  The hypocrites received the praise they pined for, but that was it for them, Jesus warned, “They have received their reward.”

When the praise of man is our only incentive to do good, then the praise of man is all we’ll get. On the other hand, if our acts are done from the heart with the intent that only our Father see them, a most excellent reward comes to us, “and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”  What we receive from delighting our Father is lasting.  Our recompense begins immediately with His grace and continues on for eternity—what could be better?

Not everyone can distinguish sincerity, but our Heavenly Father sees everything.  Let us humbly speak with faith to the One who knows of our hunger, hears our every prayer, sees our every deed, forgives us of everything and rewards us greatly.


something beautiful

Annie's PoppiesToday is the First Sunday of Advent!

If you have an Advent wreath, you’ll light the first of four candles today.  If you don’t have one, you can watch the priest light it just before Holy Mass.

What did Mother Teresa say about Advent?  Something beautiful.

“Advent is like Springtime in nature when everything is renewed, fresh and healthy. Advent refreshes us, makes us healthy and able to receive Christ in whatever form He may come to us. At Christmas He comes as a little child, small, helpless and in need of His mother and all that a mother’s love can give. His mother’s humility enabled her to serve. If we really want God to fill us, we must empty ourselves through humility of all the selfishness within us.”


“In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thes 5:18.

“One of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice.” (Luke 17:15)

Jesus always responds to prayers made in faith. The faith of the ten lepers brought them a miraculous cure, but the faith of one brought him back to the feet of Jesus, where he learned that his conviction had brought him something even greater – salvation, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:19)

All things are possible with God, but only in faith can we accept the mystery of His power the way the lone leper did when he returned to thank Jesus. One would expect such a reaction from a leper whose lesions suddenly disappeared, but it didn’t happen that way for the other nine. And it doesn’t always happen that way for us, even though the miracles in our own lives go beyond physical healings every day!

God has pity on us every time we ask, not just when His answer is visible like the lepers. Trusting in this is the miracle of faith, and in its fullness we find salvation.


Season of Giving

Jesus calls us to invite the needy to our banquet table. His message doesn’t discourage us from welcoming friends, family and wealthy neighbors, but asks that we bear in mind our intentions. It’s against human nature to give lavishly without looking for repayment. But Jesus insists that we give without expectations. How do we do that?

Perhaps we can start by practicing generosity toward those with no means of reciprocation. Consider the young lady in prison without loved ones to send money for an occasional luxury such as a soda or bag of chips. The retired nun on a small income, standing in the grocery checkout line. The father of nine, longing to take all of his children to a ballgame, but can’t afford one ticket. The poor beggar with nothing but her clothes and unassuming nature. We may find it’s easier to give without the prospect of receiving, when we give to such persons.

But something wonderful happens to us when we give of ourselves to the least of these. Jesus rewards us by bringing joy to our hearts. We become the needy ones; constantly looking for opportunities to encourage, until giving becomes a beautiful habit. Jesus’ gifts also begin to increase, as we find ourselves offering our support to the poor and affluent alike, with no expectation of receiving. Ultimately, we find ourselves longing to be like Him in love, and sharing that love with everyone.

So, as we enter this beautiful season of giving, let us be generous with all our brothers and sisters and recognize that our repayment comes from God alone. Our most precious reimbursement . . . His amazing grace.


The secret ingredient is always love…


“Brothers and sisters:
Be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you,
as is fitting among holy ones,
no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place,
but instead, thanksgiving.
Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person,
that is, an idolater,
has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments,
for because of these things
the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
So do not be associated with them.
For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light”  – Ephesians 4:32, 5-8.

When Your Glory Appears, My Joy Will be Full

“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
Show your wondrous mercies,
O savior of those who flee
from their foes to refuge at your right hand.

Hide me in the shadow of your wings,
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence”

(Psalm 17:6-7, 8B and 15).


Shining Stars

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”  (Luke 14:27)

The desire for God is written into every human heart, so we should all have some sense of what Jesus demands of us as His disciples. Maybe that’s why many of us turn Him down when He calls us to be one, because we fear the weight of our crosses. I wonder how many aspirants in today’s Gospel abandoned the idea altogether when they learned what Jesus required of them.

Jesus warned us that it would be demanding. He wants us to look hard at what it’ll cost us and to consider the suffering that comes with it. He tells us to renounce our possessions and put Him first before our families and even our own lives!

It’s a severe message Luke’s Gospel brings, but as St. Paul tells us in our first reading, we must make every effort to persevere for our salvation and the salvation of others. Fortunately, we learn quickly that material possessions become less important to us the more we hunger for Jesus’ presence.

When we put Jesus before our own families, He sends us grace to see that He created the ones we love and they are His gifts to us. Without Him we have nothing, and that’s why we love Him more; that’s why we love Him first.

In reality, accepting the call is the most difficult part, but Jesus comes at once to give us courage and each trial leaves us with tremendous strength and even joy. As disciples we put to use all Jesus reveals to us, to accept our crosses with patience, speak our faith with courage and to bear witness to it with confidence, even at the cost of our own lives.

Such strength should have us repeating the words St. Paul left for us, “Even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.” (Philippians 2:17)

With more joy than ever imagined, we push forward as disciples of Christ. Some will think we’ve given up a great deal, but we’re still the same stars. We’re just shining brighter in a world that so desperately needs His light.  e.

Happy St. Teresa of Calcutta Day!

Something beautiful…


The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the oldest Marian Feast, returns every year in the heart of summer. It is an opportunity to rise with Mary to the heights of the spirit where one breathes the pure air of supernatural life and contemplates the most authentic beauty, the beauty of holiness.”
~ Pope Benedict XVI, homily on the Solemnity of the Assumption, August 15, 2008

“If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to Him.” – Edith Stein


Today is the Memorial of Edith Stein

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin and Martyr

“Things were in God’s plan which I had not planned at all. I am coming to the living faith and conviction that – from God’s point of view – there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God’s divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God’s all-seeing eyes.”

St. Teresa Benedicta (1891-1942), began life as Edith Stein, the child of Jewish parents. By the time she was a teenager, though, she identified as an atheist. She earned a doctorate in philosophy, summa cum laude, and her thesis “The Problem with Empathy” earned her great renown. Later, while trying to gain a professorship, a near-impossible feat for women of the day, St. Teresa Benedicta had a conversion experience. St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography inspired her, and in 1922 she was baptized. She continued academic life and translated works of Aquinas and Newman. In 1934, she professed in the Carmelite Order. Sadly, her path took an abrupt turn. As World War II engulfed Europe, St. Teresa’s Jewish heritage caused her to be arrested and placed in Auschwitz, where she was killed. She is remembered as a ‘daughter of Israel,’ who was faithful to both her Jewish heritage and her Christian beliefs.

Today’s Catholic Mass Readings here.

Sweet Peace

PEACE by Henry Vaughan, 1650

My soul, there is a country
Far beyond the stars,
Where stands a wingèd sentry
All skillful in the wars :
There, above noise and danger,
Sweet Peace sits crown’d with smiles,
And One born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious Friend,
And—O my soul awake !—
Did in pure love descend,
To die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither,
There grows the flower of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress, and thy ease.
Leave then thy foolish ranges ;
For none can thee secure,
But One, who never changes,
Thy God, thy life, thy cure.

“He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.” St. Augustine


“God willed that man should be left in the hand of his own counsel (cf. Sir 15:14), so that he might of his own accord seek his creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him” (GS 17 § 1).

Freedom is the power to act or not to act, and so to perform deliberate acts of one’s own. Freedom attains perfection in its acts when directed toward God, the sovereign Good”  (CCC 1743, 1744).

Our Spiritual Family

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

Imagine you’re the one who relays the message to Jesus that His mother and close relatives are waiting outside the crowds to speak to Him.  No doubt you’d be flabbergasted by Jesus’ response: “Who is my mother?  Who are my brothers?”  (Matthew 12:48)

Jesus wasn’t turning His back on His relatives.  He was teaching that to be His disciple means saying yes to God’s invitation to belong to His family by living in conformity with His way of life: “For whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)  Family ties are vital, but as Christians, our first vocation is to follow Jesus.

Many people aren’t a part of an earthly family and at times feel they’re without a friend in the world.  But when we live in friendship with Jesus, our family circle grows to millions as we become part of the spiritual union with everyone in Heaven who served God faithfully while on earth, and those on earth who live in His friendship along with us.

Today’s Gospel promises that if everyone were to draw near to Jesus, there’d be no more loneliness in the world, for He not only becomes our truest of friends, but our brother, sharing with us the same loving Father in Heaven.


Like Sheep Without a Shepherd

Again, Jesus amazes the crowds when He heals a demoniac, but the Pharisees respond with suspicion, declaring to all that Jesus’ power comes from the devil.  The crowds are confused by this and feel abandoned by their religious leaders, especially after they hear Jesus teach in their synagogues and see more of His miraculous healings.  Jesus’ heart is moved with pity for them because they recognize Him as Truth, but having been deserted in their own place of worship, are now like sheep without a shepherd, who only thirst for more of Him.  So Jesus sends His disciples out on a mission, telling them to ask the Master of the harvest to send out laborers for His abundant harvest.

Our world is still vastly troubled and in a state of confusion, because like the Pharisees, too many religious leaders are leery of the Truth the Gospel brings.  But it was by this Truth that Jesus received the power to heal when He disposed His heart to do the will of His Father.

Jesus has many followers, but few who are willing to become laborers and proclaim the Gospel of His Kingdom.  We want only to see His miracles, feel His consolation — but not His sufferings.  Today’s Gospel incites the disciples of our time to become true laborers by imitating Jesus, the Great Laborer, by bringing into our prayer-lives the desire to cooperate with the divine plan of our Father, the Master of the harvest, and to share the message of Truth to those He brings to us.  e.


“You did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time” (Luke 1:20).

Faith assures us that anything is possible with God, and The Catechism teaches us that,

“God, who created everything also rules everything and can do everything. God’s power is loving, for He is our Father, and mysterious, for only faith can discern it when it is made perfect in weakness.” (Paragraph 268, CCC)

But faith doesn’t always come easy, as Zechariah discovered.  He and Elizabeth had spent their lives childless; Elizabeth was barren and now they were old, so any hope of a child had gone forever and their prayers remained unanswered.

Or so it seemed.

A message of incredible hope was delivered to Zechariah by the Angel Gabriel, “Your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.”  But Zechariah didn’t believe and his doubt became a lesson in faith after he was made speechless.

In time, Zechariah accepted the Angel’s message as truth and God’s promise was fulfilled. Zechariah was given a son who was great and whose name would restore his speech and change his and Elizabeth’s lives, and the lives of the children of Israel forever!

How often do we pray for what we think is impossible then doubt we’ll ever receive an answer, especially one as extraordinary as Zechariah’s?  We lean toward uncertainty when our situation seems hopeless—but it’s only hopeless to us. What seemed hopeless to Zechariah was accomplished with the help of an angel, God’s grace and Zechariah’s ultimate trust and faith.

Like Zechariah, we must trust in God’s loving power and believe that He will exceed our expectations in time.  Zechariah’s muteness taught us that our prayers will only be answered in fullness when we believe.  e.

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist – Vigil Mass

Who Can Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ . . . but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

It’s about saying vs. doing.

Jesus teaches that His Father’s will is accomplished through actions, not just words.  It’s not sufficient to say, “I believe,” or “I’m sorry.”  When our days here end, having merely spoken these words will not have been enough.

On an encouraging note, God loves us more than we can comprehend.  He wants to make our sin and His law visible to us so we can attain eternal life with Him.  It’s not enough to confess, and then repeatedly commit the same sins.  We must also resolve to do His will. So He left us with tools for strength and endurance: His Word and the Sacraments, to help us build our house on rock, not sand.  We must let Him transform us, and when He sees we’re determined, He’ll replace our way with His way.  During our lives, each of us is given the opportunity to develop the Kingdom of God, His very presence, within us.  When we do, we begin to see a clearer path toward the Kingdom of Heaven.

How exciting, to realize today’s Gospel was not meant to dishearten. Jesus only wanted us to know that, to His Father, actions speak louder than words.  e.

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit” (Matthew 7:18).

Weeks ago we noticed one of the large apple trees in our neighborhood hadn’t yet come into bud.  Its bare form stood alone among all the other trees that had long since flowered and were well into full leaf.  I remarked that it must have died, but my husband thought it just needed a little more time to mature.  Day after day we’d watch the tree and chat about its progress, until finally we agreed that the harsh winter must have killed it.  Figuring it would soon be cut down, we didn’t give it another thought.

Fortunately God doesn’t give up on us that easily.  And neither should we be quick to decide on another’s growth.  Like trees, we need to mature before we can blossom.  We tend to think it’s hopeless when others fail to bud, but God goes on feeding us with the desire that we grow in His love and bear fruit that is recognizable as good.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus compares Christian disciples with trees—some produce good fruit, others bad.  How are we to distinguish between them?  The difference can be recognized by the quality of our deeds—the “fruits.”

The lone apple tree we left for dead is now fully leafed and lush with life, but because we gave up on it, we completely missed its spectacular flowering stage of pink and white blossoms.  Now, with God’s care, it’s well on its way to bearing shiny red fruit, which is what He wants from each of us. “So by their fruits you will know them”  (Matthew 7:20).


“You have visited the land and watered it…”

…greatly have you enriched it.

God’s watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.
Thus have you prepared the land:
drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.

You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills”  (Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13).

A Prayer So Beautiful

Each day at 6:00 a.m. and at Noon, I say the Angelus, a prayer said in honor of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, a prayer so beautiful I wanted to share  it with you today –

The Angelus

The Angel of the Lord declared onto Mary, and she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.  Be it done unto me according to Thy Word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.