Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal

Optional Memorial of Saint Anthony Zaccaria, Priest

GRACE: Lord, help me to enter into the future with the zeal of a pilgrim, increasingly aware of Your communicating to me along the way through my thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions.

Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven. 
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.

Today’s psalm reminds us that God’s promises are ever-bountiful and are being fulfilled in time, for eternity, or, as this writer’s late novice master used to say: “Life is good; it’s only getting better; and the best is yet to come.”
An abundance of new Hope, Lord, is what I seek from You this day.  You never cease to communicate, to offer, to me grace upon grace, Lord, and for this, I thank you.  May the Hope for which I beg you as a humble pilgrim enliven my thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions.


July 5th, 2014

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Independence Day, USA

GRACE: Lord, help me to be glad and rejoice intensely that You have given me companions, fellow pilgrims, with whom I have journeyed and will continue to journey along the way. 

Jesus says in today’s gospel passage:

I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

The internationally famous pilgrimage el Camino de Santiago, or, the Way of Saint James, attracts people from all walks of life: business professionals and the unemployed, people filled with consolation and joy and those who are quite depressed and dispondant, city dwellers and farmers, the wealthy, poor, and all those in between, Christians and non-Christians alike, saints and sinners, all pilgrims.  In other words, this very attractive “Camino” facilitates a unity amongst the diversity of the family of man in the symbolic and actual journeying of all the pilgrims toward deeper relationship with God.  

Our broader pilgrim journey of faith is never alone, never isolated, and need not feel lonely, though at times it certainly may.

Help me, Lord, to realize that along with the other sinners whom You love and call, I, too, am with You.  Show me that my path is not desolate or lonely but involves countless others who yearn to see Your face, to experience Your great love, and to offer themselves to You.  And Lord, help me to turn to you in gratitude for the gift of living in a country where I am free to express my Christian, Catholic faith without fear of violent persecution, imprisonment, or death, and bless those pilgrims in other lands who are not as free as we.

July 4th, 2014

Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle

 GRACE: Lord, help me to recognize and delight that my imitation of You is greatly accomplished by receiving, on my life of pilgrimage, a full human formation just like Yours.

Peter, when Jesus crouched down in the upper room in order to wash His disciples’ feet and at other times, questioned Jesus’ decisions and resolutions. Martha did similarly when grieving her brother’s death.  Poor Thomas also followed suit after the Lord’s resurrection. 
And Jesus says,

Do not be unbelieving, but believe.

It is quite natural, it seems then, for us disciples, us pilgrims, to doubt the Lord’s saving power, even when He’s standing right in front of us, saving us. 
Though I may doubt You at times, Lord, help me to be aware that You don’t end the conversation and walk away but wash my feet in love, raise to new life those who have perished, and invite me into Your woundedness in tender, loving care.
July 3rd, 2014

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of Saints Bernardino Realino, John Francis Regis, and Francis Jerome; and Blesseds Julian Maunoir and Anthony Baldinucci; all Priests of the Society of Jesus

GRACE: Lord, help me to deepen my affection for the Kingdom on Earth as in Heaven, and to see how my life as a pilgrim involves the invitation to labor with Jesus for its upbuilding.  

From today’s first reading:

Away with your noisy songs! I will not listen to the melodies of your harps.
But if you would offer me burnt offerings,
then let justice surge like water,
and goodness like an unfailing stream.

Here the Father is demonstrating His indifference toward what we, in our desire to please Him, “do” for Him.  Whatsoever pious practice I choose to do for God (e.g. Going to Mass on weekdays, offering a rosary for someone’s intentions, abstaining from a favorite food, taking an hour for adoration of the Blesssed Sacrament, etc.), God is inviting me, in the reading of this passage from Scripture, not to neglect justice and goodness toward the other, toward my neighbors.
As I situate myself either imaginatively or in actuality in front of a strong, moving current (a river, stream, waterfall, etc,), Lord help me to recognize that my pilgrim journey must never be just about me and You; help me to see that my journey is interconnected with everyone else’s, according to Your divine will, and inspire my heart, first loved by You, to reach out in goodness and justice toward others, particularly those most in need of compassion. 
July 2nd, 2014

Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of Blessed Junípero Serra, O.F.M., Priest

 GRACE: Lord, help me to receive a deeper capacity to trust in Your hand carefully and lovingly at work in all things of my pilgrim life. 

They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.

Why do I freak out, Lord, when I know Your tender presence is always with me?  Why do I doubt when I know in my heart that when this storm is over, it is You who will have lead me to calmer waters?
Dispell, O Lord, from my mind and heart, all fear, anxiety, and worry.  As a pilgrim, I desire to experience You right by my side, walking with me, even sailing with me in choppy seas.
July 1st, 2014

Monday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church

GRACE: Lord, help me to grow in my understanding and delight of how I am a beloved child of the Father.

A scribe approached and said to Jesus,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

It is not terribly difficult to imagine a young girl or boy who adores and imitates her or his father.  She follows Daddy around the house; he wants to be just like Dad when he’s older.  There is an uncorrupted innocence about them, a beauty in their sincerity of heart.

How much so is it with us adults, who, as brothers and sisters of Christ, are also sons and daughters of God our loving Father?  Whenever we delight in following Christ on His path, we can also delight that we are the Father’s beloved sons and daughters, living temples of the Holy Spirit.

Father, help me to palpably feel the great love and affection You have for me, as your pilgrim son/daughter.  Help me experience the grace of wanting to follow Your Son Jesus wherever He may lead me.

June 30th, 2014

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

(This writer finds himself, these very days, on a Boston College-sponsored, ten-day pilgrimage, to various sites important to the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, that is, in Spain and Italy.  You are invited these next seven days to pray with the daily readings of the Church, in light of the graces with which these twenty pilgrims are praying, graces adapted from the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises.)
GRACE: Lord, help me to become aware of and understand how my life is a pilgrimage and how I am invited to trust in God’s divine providence as a humble seeker after the fullness of truth. 
From today’s first reading:

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,
Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. 

Peter, a simple, sometimes bullheaded fishmerman, denied even knowing the God-Man for whom he left his nets and sank in the very waters upon which both he and the Lord walked. Yet, Peter’s nonviolent and joyful message of the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection and the establishment of God’s reign was so convincing and so threatening that not only was he arrested and imprisoned but he was also guarded by an exceptionally numerous force. 
From today’s second reading:

And I [Paul] was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.

Paul oversaw the persecution, arrest, and violent execution of many Christians. Yet, his own pilgrim journey led him to such a radical conversion that he had every confidence and trust in the One who effected his change of heart toward Truth.  Emboldened by the consoling graces of Faith, Hope, and Love, Paul was not deterred in confidently preaching the Good News he once sought to suppress.
Lord, give me renewed Faith, surer Hope, and heartfelt Love.  Help me to see my life — like the broken yet renewed lives of Peter and Paul — as an ongoing pilgrim journey to a deeper relationship with You.
June 29th, 2014

Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 Greater than a New York Times best-selling self-help author, greater than a guru, wisdom figure, or spirit guide, greater than the greatest humanitarian, do-gooder, or peacemaker, Jesus Christ is Lord.  He is God.

All of these others mentioned above might have some claim – through God’s Providence – to a way, or a truth, or a life.  But, Jesus Christ, is the fullness of all of those, in Himself.

Lord, while I may seek wisdom where true wisdom may be found, help me to turn also and first to you, as I come to know you more intimately through Scripture and prayer.  You are my Way, my Truth, and my Life.

Saints Philip and James, pray for us!

May 3rd, 2014

Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor

There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;

but what good are these for so many?

Maybe you feel you have many God-given talents; maybe you don’t.  Maybe it varies, depending on the day and your mood.

One interpretation of the miracle in today’s gospel is that Jesus, who gives all that we have anyway, can make of these gifts whatever he wishes, even to our great astonishment and joy.

Lord, help me to use my (limited) gifts in order to serve my brothers and sisters this day.  Help me to be confident that you will work with my brokenness and limitations and with my strengths and talents . . . so much so, Lord, that I will want to come and carry you off to make you king!

May 2nd, 2014

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter

Optional Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker

He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.

Literally translated from the Greek, John writes, “He does not give the Spirit by measure.”

There is no limit to God’s reach, God’s power, God’s grace.  There exists no vat of grace, neatly poured out into each person’s heart, a little bit at a time, and even then proportionately, so as not to totally run out.

Earlier in John (1:16), we read:

Of the fullness of him, we have all received grace upon grace.

Holy Spirit, Lord, Giver of Life: Help me to believe and accept the unmeasured grace you wish to give to me in love this day!

May 1st, 2014
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