Accompanying Jesus / Acompañando a Jesús

Christ’s disciples included some women, among them Mary Magdalene—who was the first to announce Jesus’ Resurrection to the Apostles. She would also be the first person to whom the resurrected Jesus appears. For these reasons, she is referred to as the Apostle to the Apostles.

Jesus healed Mary Magdalene from seven demons (Luke 8:2). I don’t know anyone who doesn’t wrestle with demons in their life. And, there are some, I believe, that only Jesus can remove. Mary Magdalene, once healed, became a fervent disciple of Jesus, staying close, knowing He was all she needed. Mary Magdalene possessed a faith strong enough to afford her the courage to stand at the foot of the cross during Jesus’ crucifixion. She accompanied Him not only when He blessed her with prayers answered but in His darkest hour. She never ceased to trust in His promise of Heaven and to bring good in every situation (Romans 8:28).

How do we accompany Jesus? 

I try to stay close to Jesus through the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist in Mass and Adoration. As St. Augustine explained, the Sacraments as “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual graces.” Adoration feels so tangible, the grace palpable, a peace truly beyond understanding. In my time before the Blessed Sacrament, I have experienced remarkable moments of clarity and wisdom in my faith. 

Jesus has healed me in so many facets of my life. He’s filled empty crevices and crevasses with hope, love, joy, and an abundance of gifts of grace. I’ve recovered from physical afflictions, some rather miraculous, but those pale in comparison to the gratitude and joy experienced when Jesus healed my spiritual, emotional, and mental wounds. 

There are times as well when my prayers were answered differently, according to God’s plan and not mine. Thorns of chronic illness I have often begged for Jesus to remove but yet remain. St. Paul spoke about the thorn in his side, asking God three times to remove it, yet it remained (2 Cor 12:1-10). It remained to protect Paul so he would boast only about what God did in his life and not fall into pride or forget he could do nothing without God. 

“I was once lost, but now I’m found,” could be sung about everyone who has said yes to follow Jesus. Even those who are faithful followers of Jesus have moments where they need to come closer and be healed. We, like St. Paul, have all suffered thorns we’ve begged the Lord to remove; yet when we surrender our will and accept our circumstances, we can experience the freedom that comes from not being healed and still loving the Lord. We accompany Him as true disciples simply for the hope of Heaven.

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Entre los discípulos de Cristo había algunas mujeres, entre ellas María Magdalena, quien fue la primera en anunciar la Resurrección de Jesús a los Apóstoles. Ella sería también la primera persona a la que se le aparece Jesús resucitado. Por estas razones, se la conoce como la Apóstol de los Apóstoles.

Jesús sanó a María Magdalena de siete demonios (Lucas 8,2). No conozco a nadie que no luche con demonios en su vida. Y hay algunos, creo, que solo Jesús puede eliminar. María Magdalena, una vez sanada, se convirtió en una ferviente discípula de Jesús, permaneciendo cerca, sabiendo que Él era todo lo que necesitaba. María Magdalena poseía una fe tan fuerte como para darle el coraje de pararse al pie de la cruz durante la crucifixión de Jesús. Ella lo acompañó no solo cuando Él la bendijo con oraciones contestadas, sino también en Su hora más oscura. Ella nunca dejó de confiar en Su promesa del Cielo y de traer el bien a cada situación (Romanos 8,28).

¿Cómo acompañamos a Jesús?

Trato de estar cerca de Jesús a través de los Sacramentos, especialmente la Eucaristía en la Misa y la Adoración. Como explicó San Agustín, los Sacramentos son “signos externos y visibles de gracias internas y espirituales”. La adoración se siente tan tangible, la gracia palpable, una paz verdaderamente más allá de la comprensión. En mi tiempo ante el Santísimo Sacramento, he experimentado momentos notables de claridad y sabiduría en mi fe.

Jesús me ha sanado en tantas facetas de mi vida. Ha llenado grietas y fisuras vacías con esperanza, amor, gozo y abundancia de dones de gracia. Me he recuperado de aflicciones físicas, algunas bastante milagrosas, pero son pequeñas en comparación con la gratitud y el gozo experimentados cuando Jesús ha sanado mis heridas espirituales, emocionales y mentales.

También hay momentos en que mis oraciones fueron respondidas de manera diferente, según el plan de Dios y no el mío. Espinas de enfermedades crónicas que a menudo le he suplicado a Jesús que me quite, pero aún permanecen. San Pablo habló del aguijón en su costado, pidiéndole a Dios tres veces que se lo quitara, pero permaneció (2 Cor 12,1-10). Quedaba para proteger a Pablo para que se jactara solo de lo que Dios hizo en su vida y no se enorgulleciera ni se olvidara de que sin Dios no podía hacer nada.

“Una vez estuve perdido, pero ahora me encontró”, podría cantarse sobre todos los que han dicho que sí para seguir a Jesús. Incluso aquellos que son fieles seguidores de Jesús tienen momentos en los que necesitan acercarse y ser sanados. Nosotros, como San Pablo, todos hemos sufrido espinas que le hemos suplicado al Señor que las quite; sin embargo, cuando entregamos nuestra voluntad y aceptamos nuestras circunstancias, podemos experimentar la libertad que proviene de no haber sido sanados y seguir amando al Señor. Lo acompañamos como verdaderos discípulos simplemente por la esperanza del Cielo.

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Allison Gingras ( www.ReconciledToYou.com ) — Shares her love of the Catholic Faith with stories, laughter, and honesty as experienced in the ordinary of life! Her writing includes Encountering Signs of Faith (Ave Maria Press) and the Stay Connected Journals for Women (OSV). Allison is a Catholic Digital Media Specialist for Family Rosary, Catholic Mom, and the Fall River Diocese. She hosts A Seeking Heart podcast and is co-host of the Catholic Momcast podcast.

Feature Image Credit: Vytautas Markūnas SDB, cathopic.com/photo/29916-worship-prayer

The views and opinions expressed in the Inspiration Daily blog are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Diocesan, the Diocesan staff, or other contributors to this blog.

Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Tm 6:2c-12

Beloved:
Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different
and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the religious teaching
is conceited, understanding nothing,
and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions,
and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,
who are deprived of the truth,
supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap
and into many foolish and harmful desires,
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.

But you, man of God, avoid all this.
Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion,
faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life,
to which you were called when you made the noble confession
in the presence of many witnesses.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20

R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
“They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Alleluia See Mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others
who provided for them out of their resources.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Thomas of Villanova


St. Thomas of Villanova

Feast date: Sep 22

On Sept. 22, the Catholic Church remembers Saint Thomas of Villanova, a 16th century Spanish Augustinian monk and archbishop who lived a life of austerity in order to provide for the spiritual and material needs of his people.

Born during 1488 in the Spanish region of Castile, in the town of Villanova de los Infantes, Thomas Garcia was raised to take after the faith and charitable works of his parents Alphonsus and Lucia. His father, a mill worker, regularly distributed food and provisions to the poor, as did his mother.

Generous and devout from an early age, their son was also intellectually gifted, beginning his studies at the University of Alcala at age 16. Within ten years he had become a professor of philosophy at that same university, where he taught for two years before being offered a more prestigious position at the University of Salamanca.

Thomas, however, chose not to continue his academic career. After his father’s death, he had determined to leave much of his inheritance to the poor and sick rather than retaining it himself. At age 28, after much deliberation, Thomas embraced a life of chastity, poverty, and religious obedience with his entry into the monastic Order of St. Augustine.

Thomas made his first vows as an Augustinian in 1517 and was ordained a priest in 1518. He taught theology within his order and became renowned for his eloquent and effective preaching in the churches of Salamanca. This led to his appointment as a court preacher and adviser to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

Presented with the prospect of being named an archbishop, Thomas initially declined and instead continued his work within the Order of St. Augustine, during a period that saw its expansion across the sea to Mexico. In August of 1544, however, he was ordered by his religious superiors to accept his appointment as the Archbishop of Valencia.

Thomas arrived wearing the same well-worn monastic habit that he had worn for several years and would continue wearing for years to come. Given a donation to decorate his residence, he funnelled the money to a hospital in need of repair. After his installation, he visited local prisons and ordered changes to be made in response to their inhumane conditions.

While continuing his life of monastic asceticism, the archbishop worked to improve the spiritual lives and living conditions of the faithful. He gave special attention to the needs of the poor, feeding and sheltering them in his own residence. During the same period he worked to promote education, restore religious orthodoxy, and reform the lifestyles of clergy and laypersons.

After 11 years leading the Archdiocese of Valencia, St. Thomas of Villanova succumbed to a heart condition at the end of a Mass held in his home on Sept. 8, 1555. He is said to have died on the floor rather than in his bed, which he insisted on offering to a poor man who had come to his house. Pope Alexander VII canonized him in 1658.

Equipped / Equipados

Have you ever felt God calling you to something that you thought would be impossible for you to do? Something that really made you fearful or would imply that you go well out of your comfort zone? If there is one thing that most of the characters in the Old Testament and the Apostles from the New Testament all had in common it’s that they did not feel equipped for the mission they were being called to do. Think about Moses begging God not to ask him to go to Egypt, or Abraham when he was asked to kill his own son, or Thomas being asked to have faith that Jesus had risen. 

Oftentimes God is asking something of us that seems impossible. And it is. Well let me put it this way, it would be impossible without the grace from God to achieve the seemingly impossible. The first reading today explains not only that God gives grace, but that he actually gives personal grace. That is to say, he doesn’t just blanket every person with the same amount and same kind of grace, but he showers us with the grace that we specifically need to be saints. It’s a personal grace to us that would not mean the same to someone else. 

Paul then goes on to explain that everyone has different gifts according to the grace they have been given. Some are teachers, some are prophets, others are evangelists, and the list goes on. I think it can be helpful to reflect on this very personal grace in our own lives. We live in an age where we like to compare ourselves to others as a litmus test for how good we are doing on this strange road we call life. Instagram certainly hasn’t helped with the comparative nature of the average american. But St. Paul is reminding us today that we do not need to worry about feeling unequipped and we do not need to worry about comparisons. 

God has given you a specific grace for the amazing things he is going to ask of you. Some of those things may be scary and may make you feel like you can’t do it. In those moments, cling to the God who gives you the grace to do it. If we all waited until we felt fully confident in a decision we would never make any progress. And if we compare ourselves to others we may miss the spectacular things that God wants for us. If you struggle with any of these thoughts, I encourage you to read Exodus 4:10-12 where God calls Moses to speak on his behalf. 

Here is a man who was known to have a speech impediment and God tells him that he will be by his side. That is a promise we can all take to the bank. Just don’t forget to cash it in. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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¿Alguna vez has sentido que Dios te está llamando a algo que pensaste que sería imposible que hicieras? ¿Algo que realmente te hizo temer o implicaría que salieras de tu zona de confort? Si algo tenían en común la mayoría de los personajes del Antiguo Testamento y los Apóstoles del Nuevo Testamento es que no se sentían preparados para la misión a la que estaban llamados. Piensa en Moisés rogándole a Dios que no le pidiera que fuera a Egipto, o en Abraham cuando le pidió que matara a su propio hijo, o en Tomás cuando le pidieron que tuviera fe en que Jesús había resucitado.

A menudo Dios nos pide algo que parece imposible. Y lo es. Bueno, es decir, sería imposible sin la gracia de Dios lograr lo que parece imposible. La primera lectura de hoy explica no solo que Dios da la gracia, sino que en realidad da la gracia personal. Es decir, no solo cubre a cada persona con la misma cantidad y el mismo tipo de gracia, sino que nos baña con la gracia que necesitamos específicamente para ser santos. Es una gracia personal para nosotros que no significaría lo mismo para otra persona.

Pablo luego pasa a explicar que cada uno tiene diferentes dones de acuerdo a la gracia que ha recibido. Algunos son maestros, algunos son profetas, otros son evangelistas, y la lista continúa. Creo que puede ser útil reflexionar sobre esta gracia tan personal en nuestras propias vidas. Vivimos en una época en la que nos gusta compararnos con los demás como una prueba de fuego de lo bien que lo estamos haciendo en este extraño camino que llamamos la vida. Instagram ciertamente no ha ayudado con la naturaleza comparativa del estadounidense típico. Pero San Pablo nos está recordando hoy que no debemos preocuparnos por sentirnos no equipados y no debemos preocuparnos por las comparaciones.

Dios te ha dado una gracia específica para las cosas maravillosas que te va a pedir. Algunas de esas cosas pueden asustarte y hacerte sentir que no puedes hacerlo. En esos momentos, aférrate a Dios que les da la gracia para hacerlo. Si todos esperáramos hasta sentirnos completamente seguros de una decisión, nunca progresaríamos. Y si nos comparamos con los demás podemos perdernos las cosas espectaculares que Dios quiere para nosotros. Si luchas con alguno de estos pensamientos, te animo a leer Éxodo 4:10-12, donde Dios llama a Moisés para que hable en su nombre.

Allí vas a leer de un hombre que se sabía que tenía un impedimento del habla y Dios le dice que estará a su lado. Esa es una promesa que todos podemos llevar al banco. Solo no olvides cobrarlo.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

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Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Max Vertsanov, unsplash.com/photos/gKiwu1H91T8