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Catholic Daily Reflections

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My Catholic Life! presents the beauty and splendor of our Catholic faith in a down to earth and practical way. These daily audio reflections come from the "Catholic Daily Reflections Series" which is available in online format from our website. They are also available in e eBook or paperback format. May these reflections assist you on your journey of personal conversion!

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United States

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My Catholic Life! presents the beauty and splendor of our Catholic faith in a down to earth and practical way. These daily audio reflections come from the "Catholic Daily Reflections Series" which is available in online format from our website. They are also available in e eBook or paperback format. May these reflections assist you on your journey of personal conversion!

Language:

English


Episodes
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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity - The Essence of the Most Holy Trinity

5/25/2024
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19–20 (Year B Gospel) Of all the great feasts we celebrate within the Church throughout the year, today’s Solemnity presents us with a Mystery that is so deep and transcendent that our eternity will be spent in perpetual contemplation. The Trinity, the life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, will never get old, never be fully understood, and will be the cause of our everlasting adoration and joy. Though the Church has used philosophical concepts to explain the Trinity, no human concept or description will ever fully explain Who God is. Though we can point to some general truths about God, we will never be able to fully depict the inner essence, depth, beauty and omnipotence of the Trinity. As we consider that fact, it’s important to understand that the Trinity is not first a theological mystery we try to define. Rather, the Trinity is first a communion of Persons we are invited to know. We do not primarily come to know God through intellectual deduction. We come to know God through prayerful union with Him. Though theology is exceptionally useful and important, the essence of God is beyond any and every philosophical concept we can define. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Persons. And as Persons, they want to be known. And they want to be known primarily through a life of deep and intimate prayer. Praying to One Person, of course, is praying to all, since they are One God. But we are, nonetheless, called to a relationship of love with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And though our feeble minds may not be able to fully comprehend the essence of God, He will draw us deeper and deeper into a knowledge of Him if we let Him. Prayer often begins by saying prayers, by meditating upon Scripture, and by listening. But true prayer is something much deeper. True prayer is contemplative prayer that ultimately leads to divine union. Only God can initiate this form of prayer in our lives, and only God, through this deep form of prayer, can communicate Himself to us as He is. Some of the greatest mystics of our Church, such as Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Ávila, explain in their mystical theology that the deepest knowledge of God does not come through concepts or images. In fact, if we wish to obtain a knowledge of God in His essence, we must allow Him to purge every concept of Who He is so that the pure light of His essence can be poured forth upon our minds. This knowledge, they say, is beyond knowing “about” God. It’s the beginning of a knowledge “of” God. Reflect, today, upon the Most Holy Trinity. As you do, say a prayer to God asking for a deeper and more intimate knowledge of Him. Ask Him to communicate to you His divine love and to open your mind and heart to a deeper understanding of Who He is. Try to humble yourself before the great Mystery of the inner life of God. Humility before the Mystery of God means that we know how little we know about Him and how little we know of Him. But that humble truth will help you move closer to the deeper relationship of love to which you are called. Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, please draw me into a relationship of love with You Who are one God and three divine Persons. May the mystery and beauty of Your life become more known and loved by me each day through the gift of transforming mystical prayer. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured images above: Holy Trinity By Hendrick van Balen, via Web Gallery of Art

Duration:00:06:09

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Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time - Dependence Upon God

5/24/2024
People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:13–14 Simplicity, trust, purity of intent, transparency, and resiliency are all qualities that children often have by nature. They are not yet capable of evil intent. They are quick to forgive and reconcile when conflicts arise. And they have an unwavering confidence in the care of their parents. These are among the qualities that we need to imitate in our relationship with God. It seems that as we age and as our human reason develops, we can lose some of the important qualities we had as children. But when it comes to our relationships with our loving God, we must never lose the important childlike qualities that lead us to be completely trusting and dependent upon God’s providence and care. Children are also weak in the sense that they are not able to care for themselves. They rely completely upon the care of others, especially parents. For that reason, a child is an ideal image of how we must approach God. We must see our weakness and dependence. We must know, with deep conviction, that we are incapable of caring for ourselves. And though we may achieve a certain independence as we age, being able to provide for ourselves materially, we will never be able to provide for the interior spiritual needs we have. For our spiritual needs, we remain completely dependent upon the mercy of God. We must never forget that, at our core, we are spiritual beings who long for true spiritual satisfaction. Material or fleshly satisfactions that we can obtain by ourselves will never suffice to fulfill us at the deepest level of who we are. God and God alone is capable of this form of fulfillment. Think about your own approach to life. Do you seek to find fulfillment and satisfaction in life through your own efforts? Have you attempted to take complete control of your present and future happiness? Though it is essential that we act responsibly in life, it must be understood that the most responsible way we can act is by willfully turning over complete control of our lives to God’s providence and care. As a child depends upon a parent, so we must depend upon the grace of God. Reflect, today, upon a child. Ponder, especially, how a child is dependent upon others. As you do, see yourself similarly as one who must become completely dependent upon God for all that is important in life and for all that ultimately fulfills who you are. Trust in God’s providence and mercy, and allow that childlike trust to place you firmly in the arms of your Father in Heaven. Loving Father, I turn to You in complete trust as a small child turns to a loving parent. May I never become so self-sufficient that I fool myself into thinking I am capable of finding my own fulfillment in life. Instead, may I always see You as the one and only source of true fulfillment and always trust in You alone. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: Christ Blessing Little Children by Charles Lock Eastlake, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:03

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Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time - Resolving Conflict

5/23/2024
Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. The Pharisees approached him and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. Mark 10:1–2 Notice the contrast above. The crowds gathered around Jesus to listen to Him. Clearly, they were coming to faith. But the Pharisees came to Jesus to test Him. They did not come in faith; they came with jealousy and envy and were already seeking to trap Him. The question they proposed was a trick question, not an honest attempt at communication with our Lord. They presumed that however Jesus answered the question, some people would be offended. The Pharisees were ready to stir things up, since so many were flocking to Jesus. Also, the Pharisees wanted to find fault with Jesus’ answer so as to show that He opposed the Law of Moses. But Jesus’ answer was perfect. Much could be said about the content of Jesus’ answer. He clearly supports the indissolubility of marriage. He states that “what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” He adds: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” For those who have suffered through a divorce, it is important to prayerfully ponder this teaching from our Lord. It is also important to work with the Church Tribunal to examine the marriage in the light of truth so that a determination can be made about the validity or invalidity of the marriage bond. With that said, the approach that both the crowds and the Pharisees took toward Jesus also teaches us an important lesson about communication, not only with God but also with one another. This is a lesson that is especially important for married couples to learn. Think about your own approach to communication. When you struggle with conflict with another, how do you resolve it? How do you bring your questions and concerns to your spouse? The crowds came to Jesus to listen and understand. The reward was the gift of faith in that they received a deeper knowledge of Who Jesus was. The Pharisees, however, came to Jesus with the intent of finding fault with Him. And though it is obviously foolish to take this approach with our Lord, it is also foolish to do so with another, especially a spouse. Use the above approaches of the crowds and the Pharisees to think about how you come to others with your questions and concerns. When there is some conflict or misunderstanding, do you come with an open mind and heart, seeking to understand and resolve the question? Or do you come with a loaded question so as to trap and find fault with the other? So many conflicts in life with others, especially among spouses, could be resolved if the goal of any conversation was simply to understand the other person, not trap them or find fault with them. This is hard for many people to do and requires much humility and openness. Reflect, today, upon any relationship with which you are currently struggling. Reflect, especially, upon whether your approach to communication with that person is more like the crowds or more like the Pharisees. Commit yourself to the approach of seeking open and honest communication and you will find that this commitment brings true resolution, peace and unity. Lord of all truth, You desire that I always come to You with sincerity, honesty and humility, seeking resolution to every internal question and conflict I face. You call me to approach others with this same depth of communication. Give me the grace to always seek the unity and truth that result in peace of mind and heart. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured images above: Christ among the Pharisees By Jacob Jordaens, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:36

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Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time - Mercy for the Weak

5/22/2024
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42 St. Bede, an early Church Father, states that “he who is great, whatever he may suffer, departs not from the faith; but he who is little and weak in mind looks out for occasions of stumbling.” In other words, the “little ones” here could be understood to be those who are weak in faith and are constantly looking for reasons to depart from the faith. Consider who might struggle with this tendency in your own life. Perhaps there is a family member who continually questions the practice of the faith, perhaps someone you know considers himself or herself a “fallen away Catholic.” According to St. Bede, these are the “little ones” of whom Jesus is speaking. When dealing with someone who appears to lack faith, expresses doubts and disagreements, is caught in a life of manifest sin, or has begun to walk away from the practice of the faith, there can be a temptation to criticize, argue or condemn. If this is a temptation you struggle with, then listen closely to Jesus’ words: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin…” We cause those who are weak in faith to sin when we fail to show an abundance of virtue toward them during their struggles. Deep down, most people who are struggling with a life of sin or a weakness of faith do, in fact, have some faith. They do believe in God. But their faith is often easily shaken, and they can be easily pushed further away from God if we fail to exercise the necessary virtues of patience, compassion and mercy they need. With that said, we also have to avoid offering a “compassion” that is not grounded in the truth. On this point, St. Gregory states: “If a stumbling block is laid before men in what concerns the truth, it is better to allow the offense to arise, than that the truth should be abandoned.” In other words, it is not compassionate or merciful to show support for another in their error so as to make them feel good. The truth of the Gospel must never be abandoned; instead, that truth must always be offered with the greatest of charity, especially toward those “little ones” who are weak in faith. Reflect, today, upon the important balance that is necessary in the apostolic life. “Balance” does not mean compromise. Rather, it means that we seek to continually bring forth the full truth of the Gospel while also seeking to exercise the fullness of every virtue in the process. Do not become a stumbling block to others in the faith. Seek, instead, to lavish God’s grace and mercy upon those in your life who need it the most. If you do, then many of those little ones will one day become truly strong in the grace and truth of our loving God. Most merciful Lord, You desire that all of Your children come to the full revelation of Your truth and mercy. Please use me as You choose to reach out to those who struggle with their faith and need to be treated with the utmost care. May I never be a stumbling block to them but always be a bridge to You and Your abundance of grace. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured images above: Jesus and the Little Child by James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:02

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Wednesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time - Mutual Support

5/21/2024
John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him…” Mark 9:38–39 Why would John and the other disciples try to stop someone from driving out demons? To understand this, imagine the scene. John and the other disciples had come to believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah of God. They witnessed Him perform many miracles and change many lives. As a result, they no doubt wanted everyone to discover Who Jesus was and come to faith in Him. But then they encountered someone they did not know, who was driving out demons in Jesus’ name, and they tried to stop him. Just prior to this passage, we read the story of a man who had brought his possessed son to Jesus’ disciples and asked them to cure the boy, but they were unable to do so. Perhaps the disciples were a bit humbled by their inability to cast out the demon, and then they witnessed another person, not of their company, who was able to cast out demons in Jesus’ name. This might have added to their feelings of weakness and humiliation, and perhaps that is part of their motivation for trying to stop the man from exercising authority in Jesus’ name. One common temptation that the evil one issues upon the members of the Church is that of internal division. As followers of Christ, we are all entrusted with the same mission, in different ways. We are called to become instruments of God’s grace for the salvation of souls and the glory of God. But sometimes we fail to act in unison and, instead, see our co-workers as our opponents. Within our Church today, there are plenty of internal divisions that must cease. Perhaps the best way to accomplish this is to make it a priority to focus upon mutual support. Instead of allowing pride to create jealousy toward those who perform “mighty deeds” by the grace of God, we must work to rejoice in every good that we see. This seems like an obvious statement, but pride and feelings of inadequacy are real temptations that lead us to look down upon those who accomplish the will of God in powerful ways. When we see someone doing something good, we often immediately think about ourselves, wishing we were the ones doing the good work. And when God uses another in a powerful way, we can easily be tempted to see our own inadequacies and failings, rather than glorifying God for the good deeds done by another. Reflect, today, upon the simple truth that every Christian is on the same spiritual team. We are all called to work toward the goals of the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Try to humbly think about those in your life who do this well and consider your attitude toward them. If you see any form of jealousy, envy or criticism, commit to dispel those attitudes. Instead, seek to have gratitude as you rejoice in the many ways that God uses others for His purpose. Lord of power and might, You accomplish countless good through the generosity and fidelity of Your people. You constantly use all who follow You to bring forth Your will. Please use me, dear Lord, as an instrument of Your will, and help me to always rejoice in the ways that You bring Your grace forth through others. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: Jesus teaching his disciples by Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:07

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Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time - Alone with Jesus

5/20/2024
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” Mark 9:30–31 Why would Jesus wish that no one know that He and His disciples were traveling through Galilee at that time? It appears the reason was that Jesus was intently focused upon teaching His disciples about His coming passion, death and resurrection. Today’s Gospel presents us with three moments in which Jesus taught His disciples privately, directly and clearly: first, while they were journeying; second, when they arrived in Capernaum and entered a house; and third, when Jesus called a child over. Though the content of what Jesus taught His disciples is significant, it is also helpful to first reflect upon the simple fact that Jesus spent time alone with the disciples teaching them. In many ways, our Lord does the same with us. Jesus is constantly calling us to various forms of solitude with Him so that we can listen to all that He wants to teach us. This is difficult for many today. So many people are constantly bombarded with the various noises of the world, are constantly distracted by momentary and passing experiences, and find it difficult to go off with our Lord alone so that He can teach them the most important lessons of life. As you consider your weekly activities, how much time do you devote to being alone with our Lord? How much time do you spend in prayer, in the reading of Scripture and in silent meditation away from other distractions? For many, this is a challenge. It is also useful to consider the content of what Jesus taught His disciples in private. He spoke to them about His coming passion, death and resurrection. This was the central purpose of His life and was clearly something that Jesus wanted to communicate to His disciples. Notice also that Jesus spoke very directly and without any figure of speech as He explained this. Contrast that with the many parables He told to the crowds. It appears that when Jesus was able to be alone with those who had dedicated their lives to following Him in faith, Jesus was able to speak His saving message more clearly and directly. Reflect, today, upon the fact that our Lord wants to draw you into silence and solitude from time to time. He wants to spend time with you alone. This is especially the case for those who have chosen to fully devote their lives to Him and His mission. If that is you, then seek out these moments of solitude in which our Lord can speak more clearly and directly to you so that your faith will deepen and your understanding and knowledge will grow by leaps and bounds. Lord, You have so much to say, so much to teach and so much to reveal. As I choose to follow You and devote my entire life to You, I pray that You will continuously draw me into greater silence and solitude so that I can receive from You the deep, clear and direct messages that I need to hear, understand and believe. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: via flickr

Duration:00:04:54

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Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church - Your Heavenly Mother

5/19/2024
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19:25–27 The memorial we celebrate today, which was added to the Roman Liturgical Calendar in 2018 by Pope Francis, highlights the truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary is not only the Mother of the Person of Christ, and, therefore, the Mother of God, she is also the Mother of the Church, that is, the Mother of all the faithful. The Blessed Virgin Mary is your mother. And as your mother, she is truly tender, compassionate, caring and merciful, bestowing upon you everything that a perfect mother desires to bestow. She is the fiercest of mothers who will stop at nothing to protect her children. She is a mother wholly devoted to you, her dear child. The Gospel passage chosen for this memorial depicts our Blessed Mother standing at the foot of the Cross. She would have been no other place than directly beneath her Son as He endured His last agony. She did not flee in fear. She was not overwhelmed by grief. She did not sulk in self-pity. No, she stood by her Son with the perfect love and strength of a devoted, caring, compassionate and faithful mother. As she stood by her Son in His hour of suffering and death, Jesus turned to her and entrusted the Apostle John to her maternal care. From the early Church Fathers until the most recent teachings of the Church today, this act of entrusting John to Mary and Mary to John by Jesus has been understood as an entrustment of all the faithful to the maternal care of Mother Mary. Mother Mary is, therefore, not only the Mother of the Redeemer, Christ Himself, she also becomes the Mother of all the redeemed, the mother of us all, the Mother of the Church. Consider the spiritual mother you have in Heaven. A mother is one who gives life. Your mother in Heaven is entrusted with the task of bestowing upon you the new life of grace won by the Cross. And as your mother, she will not withhold anything from you that is to your benefit. A mother is also one who is tender with her children. The Immaculate Heart of our mother in Heaven is one that is filled with the greatest tenderness toward you. Though her caresses are not physical, they are much deeper. She caresses with the tenderness of grace which she imparts to you as you pray and turn to her in your need. She gives you the grace of her Son, poured out upon the Cross as the blood and water sprung forth as a font of mercy. Mother Mary pours that mercy upon you as a tender and devoted mother would. She holds nothing back. If you are unaware of the love in the heart of our Blessed Mother for you, use this memorial as an opportunity to deepen your understanding of her role in your life. Many children take their mothers for granted, not fully understanding the depth of their love. So it is with our Mother in Heaven. We will never fully comprehend her love and her constant motherly workings in our life until we join her in Heaven face to face. Reflect, today, upon Mother Mary standing by you in every moment of your life. See her there in your joys and in your sorrows, during your moments of temptation and struggles, in your moments of confusion and clarity. See her there by your side, bestowing every good spiritual gift upon you when you need it the most. She is a true mother, and she is worthy of your love and gratitude. My dearest Mother, you stood by your Son with unwavering fidelity and love. You cared for Him, nurtured Him and never left His side. I also am your dear child. I thank you for your loving fidelity toward me and open my heart to the grace of your Son that you bestow upon me throughout life. Help me to be more attentive to your motherly care and to daily grow in gratitude for your presence in my...

Duration:00:06:59

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Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Year B) - Reconciled & Filled by the Holy Spirit

5/18/2024
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” John 20:21–23 Happy Pentecost! Today, throughout the world, our Church celebrates the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ first followers and upon all of us. Why do we need the Holy Spirit in our lives? This is an important question to ponder. Today, as always, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work as One God. It is the Father Who wills that we be reconciled to Him; it was the Son Who made this reconciliation possible; and it is the Holy Spirit Who now accomplishes the completion of this act in our lives. At the heart of that gift of salvation is the remission of our sins. The passage above clearly reveals to us that Jesus bestowed a unique gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, His first bishops, entrusting them with the ability to forgive sins in His name and by His power. As we celebrate Pentecost, it is a good opportunity to prayerfully consider the action of the Holy Spirit in your life. One of the greatest ways that the Holy Spirit is potentially active in your life is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through that Sacrament, the Holy Spirit draws you to the Father and enables you to see and understand His perfect will, living more fully in union with the Son as a member of His Body. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are some of the other ways that the Holy Spirit helps us in our Christian walk. However, these gifts would be ineffective in our lives if we did not first receive the gift of forgiveness given through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That is the first and most foundational action of the Holy Spirit and opens the door to every other gift. Perhaps that is why Jesus’ first bestowal of the Holy Spirit focused upon the power given to His Apostles to forgive sins in His name. Once we are reconciled to the Father and begin to live in a state of grace, the Holy Spirit will continue to deepen His relationship with us and bestow His help upon us for our Christian journey. This especially happens through the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts most affecting our intellect are the Gifts of Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge. Wisdom helps us to understand the inner life of the Trinity more clearly. Understanding helps us to make sense of our lives and mission in the light of the Gospel. Knowledge helps us make practical decisions in accord with God’s will. The gifts of Fear of the Lord and Piety assist us in our love of God. Fear of the Lord helps us to see how our actions help or hinder our relationship with God, helping to motivate us to avoid all that harms this relationship and choose all that strengthens it. Piety helps us to see the great dignity and beauty of God and enables us to have a deep reverence for Him and for all of His people. Counsel and Fortitude are also given by the Holy Spirit and help us to firmly move forward in faith and love. Counsel especially helps us with love of neighbor, and Fortitude adds the strength we need to do all that we are called to do in love with unwavering commitment. As we celebrate the great Solemnity of Pentecost, reflect, today, upon the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. If you want to be open to the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life and receive the many gifts you need for your journey of faith, then begin with the most fundamental gift. Begin with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Ponder the words Jesus spoke in our Gospel today and know that by entrusting the grace to forgive sins in His name to His first priests, Jesus was also calling you to embrace that gift. The Holy Spirit wants you to be cleansed of all sin. Allow Him to do so and you will be amazed at all the grace that follows. My glorious Lord, You promised to send the Holy Spirit upon us to lead us...

Duration:00:06:07

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Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter - A Holy Awe

5/17/2024
It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written. John 21:24–25 As we conclude our Easter season, we are given the conclusion of the Gospel of Saint John to ponder. Recall that John’s Gospel has been a central focus throughout the Easter Season. Therefore, if you have been prayerfully reading the Gospel for Mass each day for the past several weeks, then you have truly immersed yourself in this holy Gospel. The Gospel of Saint John is much different from the other three Synoptic Gospels. John’s language is mystical and symbolic. John presents the seven miracles as the seven “signs” that reveal Jesus’ divinity. Jesus is identified as I AM, the Son of the Father, the Vine, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Eternal Word, and more. John points to the Crucifixion as Jesus’ hour of glory in which He takes up His throne of the Cross for the salvation of the world. And John’s teaching on the Eucharist is truly profound. John states that the reason he wrote his Gospel was so “that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). John clearly loved our Lord and understood Him, not only by personal experiences while Jesus was alive on earth but also through a profound level of prayer in his later years. And this depth of understanding and mystical knowledge is communicated in such a way that the reader is easily drawn into John’s prayerful understanding. As John concludes His testimony about Jesus, he states something worth pondering. He states that Jesus did so many things that were not recorded by him or others, that if they were all written down, the whole world would not contain the books that would be written. First of all, everything that was written down could be the source of prayerful study for a lifetime. John’s Gospel alone could never be exhausted of its meaning. But then consider this final line of John’s Gospel and try to take it as a literal statement for a moment. If that statement were literally true, that the whole world could not contain the books that would record all that Jesus did, then this fact should leave us with a holy awe. In fact, the reason this must be true is because what Jesus did within each and every mind and heart He touched is truly indescribable. Volumes upon volumes could not thoroughly describe it. His divine action of saving souls, rescuing people from sin and death, and pointing them to eternal life is more than our feeble minds can fully comprehend. Reflect, today, upon the holy Gospel of Saint John. As we do conclude this Easter Season and our reading of John’s Gospel, allow yourself to sit in awe of the infinite activity of our divine Lord in the lives of those who have turned to Him. Consider every movement of grace in their lives that has been accomplished with such care and love by our Lord. Reflect upon the fact that for eternity you will be contemplating the Eternal Word made Flesh, the Messiah, the Great I AM, the Son of the Father and every other name given to Him Who is our God and King. Saint John loved our Lord and understood Him deeply because he spent his life prayerfully pondering all that Jesus did. Continue to commit yourself to this holy pondering so that you will be drawn more deeply into this contemplation with holy awe. Jesus, Messiah, You are truly beyond comprehension in Your beauty, glory and holiness. You are God from God and Light from Light. You are the Great I AM, and all the books in the world could not properly describe the depth of Your greatness. Fill my mind and heart with the gift of deep spiritual insight so that I, like Saint John the Evangelist, will be continually drawn into a holy awe of You. Jesus, I trust in...

Duration:00:06:36

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Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter - True Love

5/16/2024
“Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.” John 21:18–19 On this, the third time that Jesus appeared to His disciples, Jesus enters into a threefold discourse with Peter. Each time that Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, Peter responds that he does. And Jesus responds back each time, “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” and “Feed my sheep.” The passage quoted above concludes Jesus’ discourse with Peter using very powerful language. Jesus tells Peter that when he grows old, “someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” This was Jesus' way of saying to Peter that he would ultimately express his love of Jesus by dying for Him. As we know, tradition states that Peter was ultimately crucified. And at Peter’s request, he was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy of dying in the exact same way Jesus died. As we consider this conversation between Jesus and Peter, it is clear that Jesus' understanding of love is very different from the way many others understand it today. Jesus was not only telling Peter that he would die for Jesus, but Jesus was clearly offering His approval of this act of love Peter would one day offer. Most often when we love someone, we would do all we can to keep them from any such fate. In fact, when a loved one suffers, we often will do all we can to look for a way to relieve them of that suffering. So which approach is most loving? Clearly, Jesus sees suffering differently than most of us. For Jesus, suffering is not opposed to love when the suffering is freely embraced for a higher purpose. Suffering in and of itself is of no value. But when suffering is embraced sacrificially out of love for another, it is able to take on tremendous power. And when Jesus offered His clear support to Peter who would one day die out of love for Jesus, Jesus was focusing upon the eternal merit that would be won by Peter’s cross. The fact that Jesus did not shy away from Peter’s future sacrificial suffering is one of the clearest signs of Jesus’ more perfect love for Peter. Reflect, today, upon your attitude toward the sufferings that your loved ones endure. Do you find that your primary goal is to rid them of their sufferings? Or do you understand that even their sufferings have the potential to become a source of their own holiness and the source of grace for others? Strive to see suffering as Jesus sees it. Look at the sacrificial love that is made possible when your loved ones unite their sufferings to the Cross of Christ and try to commit yourself to the mission of helping them embrace that sacred gift of love. My most compassionate Jesus, in Your great love for us all, You desire that we unite our sufferings to Your Cross so that all suffering shares in Your redemptive love. Give me the grace I need to not only embrace my own sufferings in life out of love for You but to also help those whom I love to live sacrificially by embracing the crosses they carry out of love. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured images above: Crucifixion of Saint Peter By Luca Giordano, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:30

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Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter - Gestures of Love

5/15/2024
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” John 17:20–21 Over the past couple of weeks, we have been continually reading from Chapter 14–17 of John’s Gospel. These chapters contain Jesus’ Last Supper Discourses and provide us with Jesus’ last sermon, so to speak. Chapter 17, which we have been reading this past week, presents us with Jesus’ final prayer for His disciples and for all of us “who will believe” in Him through the preaching of the disciples. Each time we read from Chapter 17, the Lectionary begins the reading with the phrase “Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying…” That line is an adaptation of Chapter 17:1 but is used to introduce the various parts of the prayer of Jesus each time it is read at Mass. It’s interesting that Jesus would look up to Heaven when He prayed. Of course, Heaven is not physically in the sky, because Heaven is a spiritual reality. The Father is not located in some place in the sky but is omnipresent, meaning, present all places and all times. And yet, Jesus raises His eyes upward when He prays to the Father. There is a great lesson in this. Our physical disposition is important, at times. For example, when someone we owe respect to enters a room, we usually rise and greet them. It would be disrespectful to remain lounging on a bed or sofa in that case. And at Mass, we do not sit back with legs crossed during the Consecration; rather, we kneel in adoration. And when we greet someone for the first time, we do not look at the floor; rather, we look them in the eyes. Jesus’ act of “Lifting his eyes to heaven” was not done because He thought He might see the Father in the sky; rather, it was done out of respect and love and as a way of acknowledging the dignity of the Father. This should teach us about our own bodily disposition and the message we communicate to others, especially to God in prayer. When you pray, what do you do? Though you can pray at any time and while in any disposition, it is an excellent practice to speak to God not only by your words but also by the disposition you take. Kneeling, raising hands in prayer, falling prostrate before your Lord, sitting upright with attentiveness, etc., are all ways in which you communicate to God your love. Reflect, today, upon this image of Jesus praying. Gaze at how attentive He would have been as He lifted His sacred eyes upward as a physical gesture honoring the glorious, all-powerful Father in Heaven. Try to imagine Jesus' devotion, intensity, respect and burning love. Imitate this holy gesture of prayer and attentiveness to the Father and remind yourself of the importance of expressing your love in bodily form. My most holy Father in Heaven, I do join Your Son, Jesus, in lifting my eyes, my heart and my whole life to You in honor, love and respect. May I always be attentive to You and always show You the devotion due Your greatness. My dear Jesus, thank You for Your love of the Father in Heaven. Give me the grace I need to imitate You and Your perfect love in my life. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured images above: Christ in Prayer By El Greco, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:44

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Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter - Rejecting the evil one

5/14/2024
“I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.” John 17:14–15 Unfortunately, the evil one is real. He is the highest of the fallen angels who retain their natural spiritual power given them at their creation. God created all angelic creatures with the purpose of serving His holy will. The Scripture reveals that there are nine levels or “choirs” to which these angelic creatures belong. Among the fallen angels, the highest of them directs the others, and he is traditionally given the name Lucifer or “the devil.” One of the natural spiritual powers that these fallen angelic creatures retain is the power of influence and suggestive thought. They were created to be messengers of God’s truth to us; but, in their fallen state, they seek to communicate confusion and lies instead. Therefore, it is very helpful to understand the way the evil one and the other fallen angels communicate to us so that we can reject their lies and listen only to the voice of God. In his rules for the discernment of spirits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola explains that when a person is going “from mortal sin to mortal sin,” the evil one and the other demons continually propose to their imagination the “apparent pleasures” and “sensual delights” that they obtain from their sin as a way of keeping them firmly controlled by that sin. However, when a person is “intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better,” the evil one and the other demons act in a contrary way. They will “bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on” in their pursuit of holiness. God and the good angels will act in the opposite way. For those immersed in sin, God and the good angels will use “the opposite method, pricking them and biting their consciences through the process of reason” so as to draw them away from sin. And when a person is, in fact, growing in holiness, God and the good angels will “give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing” (See mycatholic.life/ignatius). These spiritual lessons on the discernment of spirits are of great value and will assist you on your daily struggle with sin and your daily pursuit of holiness. Understanding the deceptions of the evil one and discerning the promptings of grace given by God bring clarity to our daily lives and direction to all of our actions. The good news that is revealed by the Scripture passage above is that our Lord is fully aware of the working of the evil one, has prayed for you and will assist you as you seek to combat these lies and deceptions in your life. Reflect, today, upon the importance of learning how to discern both the voice of God and the lies of the evil one. Work to discern the voice of God so that you may follow Him more faithfully. And seek to discern the lies of the evil one so that you will not be influenced by him and can directly reject him. Commit yourself to a more rigorous discernment of these spiritual experiences in your life and allow this prayer of Jesus to direct you into His holy will. My all-powerful Lord, You have conquered the evil one and provide all the grace I need to overcome his lies and deceptions. Open my mind to discern Your voice and give clarity to the voice of the evil one so that I may choose You with my whole heart and reject all that the evil one tries to say to me. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: Temptation of Christ By Philips Augustijn Immenraet, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:46

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May 14, Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle - Bearing Fruit for the Kingdom

5/13/2024
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” John 15:16 After Judas betrayed our Lord, the Apostles gathered together to pick someone to succeed him. They decided it should be someone who had been with them from the beginning. They prayed for guidance and cast lots “and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles” (Acts 1:26). Little is known about the ministry of Saint Matthias. Being chosen as one of the Twelve makes him a bishop of the early Church. Various traditions state that he preached in the territory of either modern-day Ethiopia, Turkey or Georgia—perhaps all of these territories. He is thought to have been killed for his faith, either by stoning or by beheading or both, which is why he is today honored as a martyr. As we honor Saint Matthias, we honor more than just a man who became an Apostle and preached the Gospel with His life, we also honor the divine plan by which God has chosen to use weak and humble instruments to further His Kingdom. The Gospel passage above certainly applies to Saint Matthias, as well as to all of us to one extent or another. It was God who “chose” Saint Matthias, as well as each and every one of us, for the purpose of going forth to “bear fruit that will remain.” But this form of good fruit, the fruit that has eternal consequences, can only be produced when we ask for it from the Father in the name of His Son Jesus. Asking the Father to produce good fruit through us in the name of Jesus His Son does not mean that we get to choose what we ask of the Father. Rather, asking “in Jesus’ name” must be understood to mean that we ask the Father only what the Son has asked. We choose to share in the one eternal prayer of the Son that the will of the Father be fulfilled. And in praying this way, we commit ourselves to unity with His holy will. Sometimes we can all find ourselves asking God for this favor or that. We can place before Him our preference and our will. But if we want to be used by God, to become an instrument of His grace so as to bear an abundance of good fruit, then we must humbly set aside our own will and allow God to be the one Who chooses our mission and appoints us to His holy task. Detachment from our own will and humble submission to the will of God is the only way to bring forth God’s Kingdom. Reflect, today, upon God's choice to call you to share in His divine mission. How He calls is up to God, but you can be certain that He does call you and invites you to share in His mission. Be open to any way that God appoints you to bear good fruit and humbly seek to conform your will to the Father’s plan as you pray in Jesus’ holy name. Lord Jesus, You have perfectly fulfilled the will of the Father in all things, and You have chosen me and appointed me to share in Your divine mission. Help me to open my mind and will to all that You call me to do, so that I, too, may be an instrument of the Kingdom of Your Father in Heaven. I make this prayer in Your most holy name. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: St. Matthias By Robert van der Hoecke, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:30

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Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter - Peace? Or the World?

5/12/2024
“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:33 What did Jesus tell His disciples that produced the “peace” of which He spoke? He is especially referring to His entire Last Supper Discourse from which we have been reading. The words spoken throughout this discourse are meant to give the disciples, and us, “courage” and the ability to conquer the trouble imposed upon us by the world. Throughout Jesus’ discourse, He especially points to the unity He has with His Father and the fact that if we stay united with Jesus, we will also be united to the Father. He spoke of Himself being the vine and us the branches who must remain firmly attached to Jesus. He spoke of this being possible only by the coming power of the Holy Spirit Whom He will send. And He spoke of the hatred that the world has for all who remain firmly grounded in the Truth. Therefore, if you are one who seeks to remain deeply rooted in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit and separated from the deceptions of the secular and un-Christian world, then Jesus is clearly speaking to you. In this passage above, Jesus identifies one gift that will help us on this journey. This particular gift is the gift of His peace. Peace is the ability to remain calm and focused in the midst of any and every “trouble” we encounter. The trouble that Christians will especially face are the various persecutions of the world when we live in accord with the Truth. And though there are many moral truths presented clearly by our faith that the world attacks, there are also other forms of troubles we will encounter within the world today. One of the most manifest troubles inflicted upon many by the world comes in the form of constant visual, auditory and mental stimulation. Our world is a noisy world. Modern electronics, the mass media, commercials, radio, Internet, social media and so many other parts of our daily life have the subtle effect of distracting us, stimulating us and stealing away the peace of Christ. Consider, for example, the idea of entering into the silence of a retreat for a day, or two, or longer. How would you handle turning off your smartphone, tablet, computer, television and radio for an extended period of time? Would you go through a form of withdrawal? Many today would indeed find this difficult. And the reason for this is that the “peace” of which Jesus speaks is slowly dwindling in the lives of many. Instead of God’s peace, we are filled with constant noise, commotion and activity. This is the “world” attacking us and stealing the peace God wants to bestow. Reflect, today, upon the exceptionally important truth—that Jesus wants you to know His peace in your heart. And He wants that peace to sustain you. Reflect upon the interior battle that may take place within you between the world and the peace of Christ. Who is winning that battle for your soul? Is there more of the world or more of the peace of Christ reigning within you? Seek out the peace that only Jesus gives, and, as you discover His peace, you will also discover the source of that peace: Jesus Himself. Lord of all peace, You have called us out of the world so that Your peace will abide within us, sustaining us, giving us courage, wisdom and strength. I open my life to You, dear Lord, and pray that the many distractions and commotions imposed upon me by the world will begin to cease. May I always hear Your gentle voice and follow You to the place of silent repose found only in You. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: The Temptation of Christ by the Devil By Félix Joseph Barrias, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:06:03

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Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year B) - Consecrated in the Truth

5/11/2024
“Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” John 17:17–19 What does it mean to “consecrate” something or someone? Consecration is, of course, a very familiar term within our faith. We speak of the bread and wine being consecrated and becoming the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus our Lord. The consecration of the mere earthly substances of bread and wine transform them into God Himself. Thus, “consecration” is a powerful word. Another familiar use of this word is in reference to those women who have been called by God to enter religious life so as to dedicate themselves to God as spouses of Christ. They become “Consecrated Religious” through their solemn lifelong vows. They are dedicated, taken out of the world and presented to Christ in a unique way. Among the laity, there are many who have consecrated themselves to our Blessed Mother, or to the Sacred Heart, or to our divine Lord through some other special form of devotion. In all of these cases, to “consecrate” is to dedicate, set aside and make holy. Another translation for the word “consecrate” above is “sanctify.” To “Sanctify them in the truth” is to make them holy by the truth. This is Jesus’ prayer in the above-quoted passage. This line comes from Jesus’ beautiful High Priestly Prayer in which He prays to the Father for His disciples and for all who will eventually become His disciples—and that includes you! Jesus’ prayer is not only effective as a prayer, it is also effective as a lesson on holiness. How do we become holy? Simple. We allow the Word of the Father to consecrate us in truth. In other words, we allow God’s holy Word to engage us, challenge us, change us, call us from sin, point us to Heaven and transform every aspect of our lives. God’s Word is the Truth, and we will become holy if we are transformed by this Truth. In what ways do you need the Truth, spoken by the Father in Heaven, to engage you? What are the truths of our faith that you especially need to know, accept, profess and believe? One of the best ways to answer this question is to commit yourself to an in-depth, prayerful reading of the Word of God. By prayerfully reading the Scriptures, you will open yourself to all that God wants to reveal to you. And as the voice of God speaks to you through His Word, you will be invited to change. His Word will combat the confusion and lies of the world and the evil one and set you upon the path to holiness, to true sanctity and interior consecration. Reflect, today, upon the transforming power of the Word of God. Reflect upon how fully you have allowed His Word to speak to you, call you out of the world, set you apart for holiness and direct you toward Himself. Engaging the Word of God must become your daily spiritual food, and it must paint for you the picture of your glorious life to which you are called. My Jesus, Word of the Father, You are Truth Itself. You are the Living Word Who has come to set us free. Give me the grace I need to listen to Your holy voice so that Your Truth will engage me in the depths of my soul, transforming me into the person You have called me to be. I open myself to You, dear Lord, and to all You wish to say to me. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: By Prabowo Shakti from Pixabay

Duration:00:05:52

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Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter - The Love of the Father Revealed

5/10/2024
“I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father.” John 16:25 When is it that Jesus will speak clearly about the Father? When is that “hour” of which He speaks? First, this “hour” can be understood to be the time after His death, Resurrection and Ascension to Heaven. It is then when the Holy Spirit will come upon them at Pentecost to open their minds to understand all that He has taught with much greater insight and clarity. But in John’s Gospel, the “hour” is also a reference to His death on the Cross. It is His hour of glory, the hour in which the Son of Man saves us through His holy passion. Therefore, this statement of Jesus should be read within the context of Him alluding to His coming passion. Recall that this sermon Jesus gives is part of His “Last Supper Discourse.” It is given immediately prior to Jesus going out to the Garden of Gethsemane to be arrested. When we consider this “hour” to be the passion and death of Jesus on the Cross, we should be aware of the fact that His act of dying is not only a saving act of redemption, it is also one of the clearest ways in which He speaks about His Father in Heaven. Jesus’ suffering and death does, in fact, reveal the Father to the disciples in ways that His “figures of speech” could not reveal. Jesus’ veiled language was spoken as truth but as truth that could not be fully communicated. However, Jesus’ freely embraced suffering and death does clearly communicate the Father in the most profound way possible. The Cross is pure love, and the Father is pure love. Jesus’ death on the Cross in obedience to the will of the Father reveals to all that the Father loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son so that if we but believe in Him, we will inherit eternal life. The message of the Cross is a true teaching about the love of the Father. It’s a teaching that took place through an act of the most pure and sacrificial love imaginable. The Cross was Jesus speaking “clearly about the Father” insofar as it reveals the depth of the Father’s love for all humanity. If you find this difficult to understand, then you are not alone. The disciples themselves struggled with this. That is why they ultimately needed the Holy Spirit to come upon them to open their minds. We too need the Holy Spirit if the veil is to be lifted and we are to comprehend this most powerful message of God’s infinite love. Reflect, today, upon Jesus’ burning desire to lift the veil of His teaching and to reveal to you, clearly, the depth of the Father’s love for you. Allow the Holy Spirit to open your mind to this revelation as it is given through the Crucifixion. Pray for that gift. Listen to Jesus tell you He desires to give you this understanding and then await the grace you need to see and understand the very heart of the Father and His divine love for you. My precious Jesus, Your hour of glory upon the Cross is the clearest and fullest revelation of the Father’s love. On the Cross, You show us all how deeply we are loved by You and Your Father in Heaven. Please do open my mind, dear Lord, to all You wish to reveal to me, so that as I come to know You, I will also come to know Your Father in Heaven. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: The Exhortation to the Apostles By James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:41

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Friday of the Sixth Sunday of Easter - The “Labor Pains” of God’s Will

5/9/2024
“When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.” John 16:21 This truth can certainly be extended to any form of anguish we experience for a good reason. Note that the pain experienced in childbirth is pain for a good and holy reason. Therefore, the pain is forgotten, in a sense, when the mother sees and holds her newborn child. That suffering is forgotten in the sense that it is transformed into joy by the birth of a child. There is much in life that can cause anguish. In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes on to say to His disciples: “So you also are now in anguish.” He says this because He had just finished speaking to them about His coming departure to the Father and about the suffering that they would all experience in the form of persecution. But then He says to them that after He departs and they no longer see Him, they will then see Him again and will rejoice. And He says, “On that day you will not question me about anything.” This is an important line to understand. Anguish, or any form of suffering, can tempt us to question our lives and even to question God. It is clear that after Jesus was killed, the disciples questioned everything. They were confused and frightened. All appeared to be lost. Then, to a lesser degree, after Jesus ascended into Heaven and prior to Him sending the Holy Spirit, the disciples would have also experienced confusion. Why did Jesus leave them? Why didn't He stay longer? Who was going to lead them now? These and many other similar questions would have arisen in their minds. So also with us, when things do not go as planned, or when things take a painful turn in our lives, we can immediately question and even doubt the perfect plan of God. If things fall apart because of our sin, then repentance is the remedy. But if things fall apart, in the sense that life becomes difficult, then we should especially listen to the words of Jesus today. When anguish in life happens because we are fulfilling God’s will, we must see that anguish as a means to a much greater good. Just as the pains of childbirth lead to the gift of a child, so the pains of bringing forth God’s will in our lives will lead to the presence of God Himself. Patient endurance is a virtue that is especially important in this case. For example, the anguish of overcoming an addiction, or of praying when we don’t feel like praying, or of forgiving someone who hurt us are all examples of anguish turning into blessings. Very often, combatting our own selfish will is difficult. But the fruit of engaging in such a battle within us is joy. There is joy found in victory over sin. Joy is found in persevering in prayer. Joy is found in every difficulty we endure for the Kingdom of God. But the joy is not always our first experience. It is only experienced when we patiently endure the situation. Reflect, today, upon any form of anguish you are currently enduring for the glory of God, or anything you are currently avoiding because it seems difficult to do. Do not shy away from these difficulties. See them as a means to a glorious end. Endure the “labor pains” of the purification and mission God is calling you to by looking beyond the difficulties you initially experience so that you will see the end result that awaits you. My glorious Lord, You endured Your passion with perfect virtue. You never wavered from fulfilling the will of the Father, and the fruit of Your perseverance was the glory of the Resurrection. Please help me to patiently endure the crosses in my life and give me hope to see that from them You will bring forth the good fruit of eternal joy. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: Jesus birth illustration in Byzantine...

Duration:00:05:47

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Ascension of Our Lord (Year B) - The End is the Beginning

5/8/2024
Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15–16 We celebrate today one more step in the completion of the mission of the Son of God. Humanity had sinned at the beginning of time and fallen from Original Innocence. God immediately began to prepare the world for the gift of eternal redemption by establishing a covenant with Noah, Abraham and Moses. He raised up various prophets and kings to further prepare His people for what was to come. And then, when the time was right, God entered our world through the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus, the Son of God, eventually entered into His public ministry, teaching, performing miracles, gathering the faithful to Himself, dying, rising and then appearing to His disciples in preparation for the Ascension. The Ascension completes the mission of the Son of God. Today we honor that definitive moment when God the Son, in His transformed and resurrected Human nature, ascends by His own power to the Father, bringing with Himself our humanity so that all humanity may ascend with Him. As we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus, we must first see all that led up to that moment and seek to unite ourselves with all of those preceding events. We must listen to the words of the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament. We must especially listen to the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament and embrace His words without hesitation. And we must unite ourselves with His own death, dying to sin, so that we may also share in His Resurrection. Today, we must further see the invitation we are all given to ascend with Jesus to the Father. We must understand that where Jesus has gone, we are invited to follow if we only believe, embrace and live all that took place leading up to this glorious moment. The Ascension was the end of Jesus' life on Earth but also the beginning of our sharing in the life of Heaven. As Jesus ascended, He commissioned His disciples to go forth and “preach the gospel to every creature.” They were to preach to all about the saving plan of God that began at the time of Adam and Eve and was completed with the Ascension. Reflect, today, upon your calling to not only share in this glorious moment of Jesus’ Ascension but also your calling to go forth and to do all you can to draw others into this new life. Reflect upon Jesus, Who also speaks to you today to invite you to bring others to that mountain. By teaching friends, family and all with whom God has entrusted to you to share the Gospel, you fulfill Christ’s mission to “go into the whole world” to gather the scattered people into the one fold of Christ so as to ascend with Him one day into eternity. My ascended Lord, all things throughout history were but a preparation for the moment when You drew fallen humanity into Heaven to be with Your Father forever. Help me to always heed Your holy words, so that I, too, will share in Your Ascension. Use me, dear Lord, to also go forth and to draw many others to You so that the Kingdom will be filled with all those whom You have called. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: Stained glass windows in the Mausoleum of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:37

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Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter - Deepening Your Understanding

5/8/2024
So some of his disciples said to one another, “What does this mean that he is saying to us, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks? We do not know what he means.” John 16:17–18 How about you? Do you know what Jesus means? Or do you find that you are confused by what He said just like these disciples were? Though pride may tempt you to claim that you fully understand all that Jesus taught, the humble and honest truth is that you are probably very much like these disciples in their confusion. And that is not necessarily a bad place to be. First, the confusion of these disciples shows they took Jesus seriously. They were not indifferent. They cared, were interested, wanted to understand, and must have had some level of faith in Jesus. Otherwise, they would have ignored Him. But they didn’t. They listened, tried to understand, discussed His teaching, thought about His words and humbly concluded that they didn’t understand. Jesus is not critical of their confusion. He sees that they are trying and that they have some level of faith. And even though these disciples are confused, Jesus continues to speak to them in figures of speech rather than directly and clearly. One of the reasons that Jesus speaks in figurative language is because the message that He is teaching is profound and deep. It’s not something that can be quickly and easily understood and mastered. The mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are so deep, vast, profound and mystical that the only way to begin to understand them is to first have faith. Faith does not mean you fully understand everything. Faith is a supernatural gift by which you come to believe without fully seeing and understanding. The certainty comes for God, not from your own reasoning ability. But faith always leads to deeper understanding. Therefore, as these disciples professed their faith, they also came to understand. And even though Jesus speaks in this figurative way, these disciples ultimately made the choice to believe. Later in this chapter they conclude, “Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God” (John 16:30). If you find yourself confused about various matters of faith, God, morality, and the like, or if you find yourself confused about the various mysteries of life itself, or your life in particular, do not be afraid to admit to this confusion. Admitting confusion is the humble admittance of the truth, and this humility will be a helpful step toward the gift of faith. Reflect, today, upon whether you struggle at all with indifference toward the mysteries of life. If so, commit yourself to be more like these disciples who intentionally grappled with all that Jesus spoke. Do not be afraid to admit your confusion and to place that confusion before our Lord. Strive to have the gift of faith and allow that spark of faith to become the pathway for your deeper understanding of the many mysteries of life. My mysterious Lord, You and all the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are so deep and profound that no one will ever fully comprehend their depth, breadth and beauty. Please open my mind, dear Lord, to a deeper understanding of You so that I may profess my faith in You and in all that You have chosen to reveal. I do believe, my God. Help my unbelief. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above: Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples By Paolo Veronese, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration:00:05:52

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Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter - The Best is Yet to Come

5/7/2024
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 This passage still rings true for all of us today. God wants to reveal to us, within the depths of our consciences, the deepest, most profound and transforming truths that flow from the mind of the Father in Heaven. But we cannot bear it all now. Not fully. And eternity will be spent continually deepening our understanding of all that God reveals. And the process of this ongoing and deepening discovery will fill us with an ongoing and deepening joy. This will be our Heaven, but it must begin now. First of all, it’s important to understand that God does “have much more to tell you.” Interestingly, coming to know how much you do not already know is itself a form of knowledge. Knowing that there is so much more, that God’s wisdom is infinitely beyond you, that the mind of God compared to yours is incomparable is itself a beautiful truth that must be understood. This truth should both humble you and also fill you with a holy awe of God and the infinite depth of wisdom, truth, beauty and glory contained within Him. This is an essential first step. Furthermore, by saying that “you cannot bear it now” does not mean that you should not try to bear more and more of the truth that God wants to reveal. In fact, it’s a form of invitation, in that it indicates that there will come a time when you will be able to comprehend more. This should once again foster a hope and anticipation for all that remains hidden to be revealed. Humility in the face of the infinite God is necessary for growth in wisdom and knowledge of God. How does this growth in wisdom and the knowledge of God happen? It happens by the power and working of the Holy Spirit. It is the “Spirit of truth” who will “guide you to all truth.” But even this statement, once again, implies that this is a process. It is the Spirit Who will “guide” you. And this guidance will continue throughout this life and on into eternity. This teaching of our Lord begs the question: Have you begun the process? Have you begun to allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into the truth? Have there been concrete moments in your life when you came to know God in a new and profound way that could only have been possible by the power and working of God Himself? Reflect, today, upon these essential questions. If you have had God the Holy Spirit speak clearly to You, then humble yourself before that truth. Pray for more wisdom and more knowledge of all that you do not know. And if you cannot relate to the idea of there being so much more that is beyond you, then humbly turn to our Lord and beg Him to begin to open your mind to all that He wants to say to you. The infinite mind of our God awaits you to be discovered and embraced. Begin the process today and let Him guide you into all truth. God of all truth, You, Your wisdom, Your love and all of Your glorious attributes are infinite in nature and are beyond my complete comprehension. As I humble myself before these holy truths, dear Lord, please bestow upon me the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, so that I may open my mind more fully to You by Your grace. May the process of deep discovery be one of great joy and become for me a process that continues into eternity. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com Copyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed. Featured image above by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Duration:00:05:56