He Understands Us Well / Dios Nos Entiende Bien

Jesus came to save. From what? From sin, yes. From death, yes. But he goes to the very root cause of those things in every word and action of his life – and the root is hypocrisy and egoism, which is pride. In order to restore and defend man’s authentic relationship with God, Jesus must cleanse us from everything that gets in the way of that relationship, particularly whatever detracts from authentic faith and sincere worship. He came to save us from ourselves and our own contradictions.

The Temple officials directed their fellow Jews in the proper rituals, but had allowed the provision for that worship to gradually become adulterated with unholy practices. So when Jesus sees how the Temple has become a place of buying and selling, greed and worldly ambition (the businesses that provided proper sacrifices and the currency exchange making a lot of money for themselves), he cannot bear the hypocrisy that is detracting from true worship and sacrifice.

In his righteous anger, Jesus demonstrates uncharacteristic outrage. The very few times in the Gospel that we see Christ angry, it is to condemn hypocrisy. Hypocrites are holding themselves outside of the Kingdom, even as they claim to be at the pinnacle of it. We are all prone to this, due to the effects of Original Sin; by thinking of ourselves as exemplary citizens of God’s Kingdom, we are subtly seeking to be rulers of our own kingdom.

We are created to be Temples of the Lord’s Presence, but too often we allow lesser things to gradually occupy us and obscure the One Thing That Matters. Even if we are doing all the proper things on the outside, our hearts can become distracted and filled with lesser things.

Jesus understands us well. He knows the needs and desires and contradictions of our hearts and the many ways we fall as we try to walk in His ways. While our failures may surprise us, they do not surprise him. While we may forget we need to be saved and cannot save ourselves, he is ever our strong Savior, redeeming and refreshing and reminding us that we need to get up and look anew in the right direction.

And he delights to come to our aid! Lent is a time when we repent and ask the Lord to dust us off and clean our glasses so that we can see aright who we are and who He calls us to be, and adjust our course. We do not need to be perfect before we place all our confidence in Him – it is in placing all our confidence in Him that we grow in the way of perfection. He allows us to see our need so that we can entrust ourselves completely to His Heart, aching and beating and burning and pouring Itself out completely for love of us. This Lent, we can open ourselves anew to His Presence within us and entrust all our needs to Him.

Contact the author

Jesús vino a salvarnos. ¿De qué? Del pecado, sí. De la muerte, sí. Pero va a la mera raíz de esas cosas en cada palabra y acción de su vida – y la raíz es la hipocresía y el egoísmo, que es el orgullo. Para restaurar y defender la auténtica relación del hombre con Dios, Jesús debe limpiarnos de todo lo que se interpone en esa relación, particularmente de lo que resta valor a la fe auténtica y al culto sincero. Vino a salvarnos de nosotros mismos y de nuestras propias contradicciones.

Los funcionarios del templo dirigieron a sus compañeros judíos en los rituales apropiados, pero habían permitido que la disposición para ese culto se fuera adulterando gradualmente con prácticas impías. Por eso, cuando Jesús ve cómo el Templo se ha convertido en un lugar de compra y venta, de avaricia y ambición mundana (los negocios que proporcionaban sacrificios adecuados y el cambio de moneda les hacía ganar mucho dinero para sí mismos), no puede soportar la hipocresía que le resta valor al verdadero culto y sacrificio.

En su justa ira, Jesús demuestra una indignación inusual. Las poquísimas veces en el Evangelio que vemos a Cristo enojado es para condenar la hipocresía. Los hipócritas se mantienen fuera del Reino, incluso cuando afirman estar en la cima del mismo. Todos somos propensos a esto, debido a los efectos del Pecado Original; al considerarnos ciudadanos ejemplares del Reino de Dios, sutilmente buscamos ser gobernantes de nuestro propio reino.

Fuimos creados para ser Templos de la Presencia del Señor, pero con demasiada frecuencia permitimos que cosas menores nos ocupen gradualmente y oscurezcan lo Único que Importa. Incluso si estamos haciendo todas las cosas correctas en el exterior, nuestros corazones pueden distraerse y llenarse de cosas menores.

Jesús nos comprende bien. Conoce las necesidades, los deseos y las contradicciones de nuestro corazón y las muchas maneras en que caemos al tratar de caminar en Sus caminos. Si bien nuestros fracasos pueden sorprendernos, no lo sorprenden a Él. Si bien a veces nos olvidamos que necesitamos ser salvados y que no podemos salvarnos a nosotros mismos, Él es siempre nuestro Salvador fuerte, redimiendo, refrescando y recordándonos que debemos levantarnos y mirar de nuevo en la dirección correcta.

¡Y le encanta venir a nuestro auxilio! La Cuaresma es una temporada en la que nos arrepentimos y le pedimos al Señor que nos quite el polvo y limpie nuestros vasos para que podamos ver correctamente quiénes somos y quién nos llama a ser, y ajustar nuestro rumbo. No tenemos que ser perfectos antes de poner toda la confianza en Él; es al poner toda la confianza en Él que crecemos en el camino de la perfección. Él nos permite ver nuestra necesidad para que podamos confiarnos completamente a Su Corazón, que duele, late, arde y se derrama completamente por amor a nosotros. Esta Cuaresma podemos abrirnos de nuevo a Su Presencia dentro de nosotros y confiarle todas nuestras necesidades.

Comunicarse con la autora

Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and seven grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com

Feature Image Credit: Martha Martinez, https://cathopic.com/photo/2106-lamb-of-god

St. Katharine Drexel

St. Katharine Drexel

Feast date: Mar 03

On March 3, the universal Church celebrates the feast of St. Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia heiress who abandoned her family’s fortune to found an order of sisters dedicated to serving the impoverished African American and American Indian populations of the United States.

Katharine was born November 26, 1858 into a wealthy and well-connected banking family. The family’s wealth, however, did not prevent them from living out a serious commitment to their faith. 

Her mother opened up the family house three times a week to feed and care for the poor, and her father had a deep personal prayer life. Both parents encouraged their daughters to think of the family’s wealth not as their own, but as a gift from God which was to be used to help others.

During the summer months, Katharine and her sisters would teach catechism classes to the children of the workers on her family’s summer estate. The practice would prepare her for a life of service, with a strong focus on education and attention to the poor and vulnerable.

While traveling with her family through the Western U.S., Katharine witnessed the poor living conditions of the Native Americans. Eventually, while still a laywoman, she would give much of her own money to fund the missions and schools in these seriously deprived areas.

Eventually, however, the young heiress would give more than just funding to these much-needed missions and schools. She would decide to devote her whole life to the social and spiritual development of black and American Indian communities.

The inspiration for this work came to her during a visit to Rome, where she was granted an audience with Pope Leo XIII. During that time, Katharine had been considering a vocation to cloistered contemplative life as a nun. But when she asked Pope Leo XIII to send missionaries to Wyoming, he told Katharine she should undertake the work herself.

In February of 1891, she made her first vows in religious life – formally renouncing her fortune and her personal freedom for the sake of growing closer to God in solidarity with the victims of injustice. 

Although African-Americans had been freed from slavery, they continued to suffer serious abuse and were often prevented from obtaining even a basic education. Much the same situation held in the case of the native American Indians, who had been forcibly moved into reservations over the course of the 19th century.

Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for the purpose of living with these communities while helping them acquire education and grow in faith.

Between 1891 and 1935 she led her order in the founding and maintenance of almost 60 schools and missions, located primarily in the American West and Southwest. Among the prominent achievements of Drexel and her order is New Orleans’ Xavier University, the only historically black Catholic college in the U.S.

Katharine was forced into retirement for the last 20 years of her life after she suffered a severe heart attack. Although she was no longer able to lead her order, she left the sisters with her charism of love and concern for the missions.

She died on March 3, 1955 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000.

Third Sunday of Lent

Year B Readings 

Scrutiny Year A Readings

– – –

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.

Christ’s Universal Love / El Amor Universal de Cristo

Several months ago, I had the privilege of serving as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion for the first time at a Sunday Mass. Although I had jumped in a time or two to help out during daily Mass, this still felt like a “first” for me. I was a little nervous about leaving my little ones in the pew, since my husband often has to go to the back with our toddler, but I knew my 10 year old could handle it. I had been asked personally to step up, since there was a need for volunteers and I felt called to serve. 

As the faithful came up to receive the Body of Christ, one by one, I was touched by their prayerful demeanor and devout reverence. But even more than that, I was drawn to their hands. As each communicant extended them toward me to receive Our Lord, I noticed how distinct each set of hands was. Some were wrinkled and twisted from age and arthritis. Some were dirty and rough from toil and labor. They were all different shapes, colors, sizes and textures, yet they all shared one thing in common. They held the Savior of the world. 

It was so beautiful to realize once again that God invites each and every one of us to His table. No matter what we look like, or how old we are, or where we come from, we are all invited. We are all called. We are all welcome. 

What a great reminder to all of us during this season of Lent, since, as Catholics, we are called to be universal in our love and hospitality, even to the point of loving our enemies. 

In today’s Gospel, we hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus told it in response to the scribes and Pharisees who were complaining saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” They were not universal in their love and hospitality. In fact they were rather picky. And we can be too. It is easy to be kind to our friends and family that we get along with, but what about those parishioners or family members who try our patience? Would they be able to say that they feel loved by us? Not likely. 

This Lent, I invite you to add one more resolution to your fasting and prayer. Consider a few ways that you could show Christian hospitality to someone you have never shown love to before. Then, choose one and do it. This is just one small way we can follow Christ’s example of eating with sinners and welcoming back the prodigals.

Contact the Author

Hace varios meses, tuve el privilegio de servir como Ministro Extraordinario de la Sagrada Comunión por primera vez en una Misa dominical. Aunque había intervenido una o dos veces para ayudar durante la Misa diaria, esto todavía se sentía como una “primera vez” para mí. Estaba un poco nerviosa por dejar a mis hijos en el banco, ya que mi esposo a menudo tiene que ir atrás con la pequeña, pero sabía que mi hijo de 10 años podía cuidarlos. Me habían pedido personalmente que ayudara, ya que se necesitaban voluntarios y me sentí llamada a servir.

Cuando los fieles se acercaron para recibir el Cuerpo de Cristo, uno por uno, me conmovió su conducta de oración y su devota reverencia. Pero aún más que eso, me sentí atraído por sus manos. Mientras cada comulgante me las extendió para recibir a Nuestro Señor, noté cuán distinta era cada par de manos. Algunos estaban arrugados y retorcidos por la edad y la artritis. Algunos estaban sucios y ásperos por el trabajo duro. Todos tenían diferentes formas, colores, tamaños y texturas, pero todos compartían una cosa en común. Llevaban al Salvador del mundo.

Fue tan hermoso darme cuenta una vez más que Dios nos invita a todos y cada uno de nosotros a Su mesa. No importa cómo nos veamos, ni nuestra edad, ni de dónde venimos; todos estamos invitados. Todos estamos llamados. Todos somos bienvenidos.

Qué gran recordatorio para todos nosotros durante esta temporada de Cuaresma, ya que, como católicos, estamos llamados a ser universales en nuestro amor y hospitalidad, incluso hasta el punto de amar a nuestros enemigos.

En el Evangelio de hoy escuchamos la parábola del hijo pródigo. Jesús lo contó en respuesta a los escribas y fariseos que se quejaban diciendo: “Este recibe a los pecadores y come con ellos”. No fueron universales en su amor y hospitalidad. De hecho, eran bastante particulares. Y nosotros también podemos serlo. Es fácil ser amable con nuestros amigos y familiares con los que nos llevamos bien, pero ¿qué pasa con aquellos feligreses o familiares que ponen a prueba nuestra paciencia? ¿Podrían decir que se sienten amados por nosotros? No es muy probable.

Esta Cuaresma, te invito a agregar una resolución más al ayuno y la oración. Considera algunas formas en las que podrías mostrar hospitalidad cristiana a alguien a quien nunca antes le has mostrado amor. Luego, elige una cosa y hazlo. Esta es sólo una pequeña manera en que podemos seguir el ejemplo de Cristo de comer con los pecadores y dar la bienvenida a los pródigos.

Comunicarse con la autora

Feature Image Credit: Clay Banks, https://unsplash.com/photos/blue-and-white-brick-wall-YrYSlTuBvBA

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works full time, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Friday of the Second Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 5:34-42

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
and said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel,
be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important,
and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed,
and all those who were loyal to him
were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him,
but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.
So now I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”
They were persuaded by him.
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (see 4abc) One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
One thing I ask of the LORD
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Mt 4:4b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

– – –

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.

Trusting in God’s Direction / Confiando en la Orientación de Dios

When the disciples are tasked with feeding five thousand men across from the Sea of Galilee, they are understandably dumbfounded: How can they feed so large a crowd with no food of their own, not much money, and five barley loaves and two fish? Yet, they do not bat an eye when Jesus tells them to prepare the crowd for a meal. Instead of relying on their own intuition and arguing with Jesus about the absurdity of feeding over five thousand people with such a small amount of food, they simply do what He says, knowing that He will provide for His people.

The disciples understand our Gospel acclamation, that “one does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). They have no idea how to approach the situation, but they have learned to trust in Jesus’ direction, even for matters of physical survival. His direction is better than anything they could come up with, even if it seems absurd at the time.

This outlook complements that of the psalmist, whose sole aim is to dwell in the house of the Lord rather than in other, more familiar places. And in our First Reading, we see Gamaliel saying something similar: “If [the gospel message] comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:39). He does not want to resist something that might come from God, even if he does not understand it.

Gamaliel, the psalmist, and the disciples see the point of remaining fixed on God, trusting in His direction even when it is difficult. They know that if God ordains something, guiding it with His hand, it cannot fail. If He gives direction, it will not be followed in vain. To dwell in His house is better than all else.

This is a profound trust that we need to adopt in our own lives. There is a subtle self-reliance that creeps in when we spend too much time seeking security by our own efforts alone. We plan far ahead, without consulting God concerning what He wants for our lives and for our loved ones. Inevitably, our best laid plans fail, and we make new ones, which fare no better. If we are not used to consulting God and trusting that He truly has things under control, we rely on worldly methods to maintain security, prestige, and wealth, so that we can have everything necessary for a good and peaceful life. Seeking easy steps to success, we look to social media and popular wisdom to solve our problems. If these solutions are divorced from spirituality, they never bring us the peace and security we seek.

Ultimately, we need to trust in what God has already told us through readings such as these. Even and especially when things look confusing and hopeless, God is in control. We must listen to Him and seek His will in these moments through prayer, Scripture, the sacraments, and spiritual direction, trusting in what He tells us, even if we cannot understand the reasons for it. We cannot expect to fully understand the ways of God, but that does not mean that they are inferior to the ways we can come up with on our own. Dwelling in His house is the goal, and His direction and protection are best for us in all situations.

Contact the author

Cuando los discípulos tienen la tarea de alimentar a cinco mil hombres al otro lado del Mar de Galilea, se quedan estupefactos: ¿Cómo pueden alimentar a una multitud tan grande sin comida propia, sin mucho dinero, cinco panes de cebada y dos peces? Sin embargo, no se inmutan cuando Jesús les dice que preparen a la multitud para una comida. En lugar de confiar en su propia intuición y discutir con Jesús acerca de lo absurdo de alimentar a más de cinco mil personas con una cantidad tan pequeña de comida, simplemente hacen lo que les manda, sabiendo que proveerá para Su pueblo.

Los discípulos entienden nuestra aclamación evangélica, que “No sólo de pan vive el hombre, sino también de toda palabra que sale de la boca de Dios.” (Mt 4,4). No tienen idea de cómo abordar la situación, pero han aprendido a confiar en la dirección de Jesús, incluso en cuestiones de supervivencia física. Su orientación es mejor que cualquier cosa que se les haya ocurrido, incluso si parece absurdo en ese momento.

Esta perspectiva complementa la del salmista, cuyo único objetivo es morar en la casa del Señor y no en otros lugares más familiares. Y en nuestra Primera Lectura, vemos a Gamaliel diciendo algo similar: “si lo que se proponen y están haciendo es de origen humano, se acabará por sí mismo. Pero si es cosa de Dios, no podrán ustedes deshacerlo. No se expongan a luchar contra Dios” (Hechos 5:39). No quiere resistirse a algo que podría venir de Dios, aunque no lo entienda.

Gamaliel, el salmista y los discípulos ven el punto de mantenerse fijos en Dios, confiando en Su orientación incluso cuando sea difícil. Saben que si Dios ordena algo, guiándolo con Su mano, no puede fallar. Si orienta a alguien, sus indicaciones no serán seguidas en vano. Morar en Su casa es mejor que cualquier otra cosa.

Esta es una confianza profunda que necesitamos adoptar en nuestras propias vidas. Hay una autosuficiencia sutil que se cuela cuando pasamos demasiado tiempo buscando seguridad solo con nuestros propios esfuerzos. Planeamos con mucha anticipación, sin consultar a Dios sobre lo que quiere para nuestra vida y la de nuestros seres queridos. Inevitablemente, nuestros planes fallan y creamos otros nuevos, y no nos va mejor. Si no estamos acostumbrados a consultar a Dios y confiar en que realmente tiene las cosas bajo su control, nos apoyamos en métodos mundanos para mantener la seguridad, el prestigio y la riqueza, para que podamos tener todo lo necesario para una vida buena y pacífica. Buscando pasos fáciles hacia el éxito, recurrimos a las redes sociales y la sabiduría popular para resolver nuestros problemas. Si estas soluciones están separadas de la espiritualidad, nunca nos traerán la paz y la seguridad que buscamos.

En última instancia, debemos confiar en lo que Dios ya nos ha dicho a través de las escrituras, como las lecturas de hoy. Incluso y especialmente cuando las cosas parecen confusas y sin esperanza, Dios tiene todo bajo control. Debemos escucharlo y buscar su voluntad en estos momentos a través de la oración, la Escritura, los sacramentos y la dirección espiritual, confiando en lo que nos dice, aunque no podamos entender las razones. No podemos esperar comprender completamente los caminos de Dios, pero eso no significa que sean inferiores a los caminos que podemos encontrar por nuestra cuenta. Morar en Su casa es la meta, y Su orientación y su protección son lo mejor para nosotros en todas las situaciones.

Comunicarse con el autor

David Dashiell is a freelance author and editor in Nashville, Tennessee. He has a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University, and is the editor of the anthology Ever Ancient, Ever New: Why Younger Generations Are Embracing Traditional Catholicism.

Feature Image Credit: Alessandro Vicentin, cathopic.com/photo/9026-rezando

Tell the Story / Contar la Historia

“When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.”

The Apostles were so convicted by their experience of Jesus Christ, that they continued to tell his story even when those in power wanted to put them to death. Let that sink in for a moment. They wanted them put to death. And the Apostles did not stop. 

We live in a time when we are taught not to discuss religion and politics. We have witnessed people shamed and brought down for standing up for their convictions. It is a time of “political correctness” and “cancel culture”. 

This hits home hard for me. It is hard for me to even write these words. I am ashamed to admit that there have been times in my life when I have not brought up my faith because I was afraid it would make for an uncomfortable dinner conversation. I have neglected to share the grace I have received, because I wasn’t sure how the person would react, they might think I was weird or worse. I had a job once where I was cautioned to tuck in my crucifix because I was around people who didn’t like Catholics and I complied. No one has threatened my life, but there have definitely been times when I didn’t tell the story of Jesus Christ and the wonders he has worked. For that I am ashamed. 

A personal encounter with Jesus Christ has the ability to transform us. A personal encounter with Jesus Christ is able to take us outside of ourselves and move us into meaningful encounters with others. It is our mission to go out into the world and tell the story of Jesus Christ and his mercy. We are not to tell it once and then go back home, we are to tell the story over and over. More than that, we are to live the story. We are to live in such a way that mercy is our hallmark; where telling others how much they are loved is part of just who we are and how we operate. 

So I will take comfort from John’s words in the Gospel. “He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.” As I bend my will to conform more and more to God’s will, I can trust that God will not ration his gift of the Spirit so that each day I can start anew and along with the Psalmist “bless the Lord at all times.” Even when it feels uncomfortable. 

Contact the author

“Esta respuesta los exasperó y decidieron matarlos.”

Los Apóstoles estaban tan convencidos por su experiencia de Jesucristo, que continuaron contando su historia incluso cuando aquellos en poder querían matarlos. Profundicen un momento en eso. Querían que los mataran. Y los Apóstoles no pararon.

Vivimos en una época en la que se nos enseña a no hablar de la religión y la política. Hemos sido testigos de personas avergonzadas y humilladas por defender sus convicciones. Es una época de “no ofender políticamente” y “una cultura de la cancelación”.

Esto es muy duro para mí. Es difícil para mí incluso escribir estas palabras. Me avergüenza admitir que ha habido momentos en mi vida en los que no mencioné mi fe porque tenía miedo de que se convirtiera en una conversación incómoda durante la cena. Me he negado a compartir la gracia que he recibido, porque no estaba seguro de cómo reaccionaría la persona, de que podrían pensar que era rara o algo peor. Una vez tuve un trabajo donde me advirtieron que me metiera el crucifijo dentro de la blusa porque estaba rodeado de personas que no les gustaban a los católicos, y lo hice. Nadie ha amenazado mi vida, pero definitivamente ha habido momentos en los que no conté la historia de Jesucristo y las maravillas que ha obrado. Por eso estoy avergonzada.

Un encuentro personal con Jesucristo tiene la capacidad de transformarnos. Un encuentro personal con Jesucristo es capaz de sacarnos de nosotros mismos y llevarnos a encuentros significativos con los demás. Es nuestra misión salir al mundo y contar la historia de Jesucristo y su misericordia. No debemos contarlo una vez y luego volver a casa, debemos contar la historia una y otra vez. Más que eso, debemos vivir la historia. Debemos vivir de tal manera que la misericordia sea nuestro sello distintivo; donde decirles a los demás cuánto los amamos es parte de quiénes somos y cómo operamos.

Así que me consolaré con las palabras de Juan en el Evangelio. “Dios le ha concedido sin medida su Espíritu.”. Mientras dejo que mi voluntad se conforme cada vez más a la voluntad de Dios, puedo confiar en que Dios no racionará su don del Espíritu para que cada día pueda comenzar de nuevo y junto con el salmista “Bendeciré al Señor a todas horas”. Incluso cuando se siente incómodo.

Comunicarse con la autora

Sheryl is happy to be the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever and Lucy, our not-so-little rescue puppy. 

Feature Image Credit: Justice Amoh, unsplash.com/photos/hyYJKOZp2Og

St. Anselm

St. Anselm

Feast date: Apr 21

On April 21, the Catholic Church honors Saint Anselm, the 11th and 12th-century Benedictine monk and archbishop best known for his writings on Christ’s atonement and the existence of God.

In a general audience given on Sept. 23, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI remembered St. Anselm as “a monk with an intense spiritual life, an excellent teacher of the young, a theologian with an extraordinary capacity for speculation, a wise man of governance and an intransigent defender of the Church’s freedom.”

St. Anselm, the Pope said, stands out as “one of the eminent figures of the Middle Ages who was able to harmonize all these qualities, thanks to the profound mystical experience that always guided his thought and his action.”

Anselm was born in Aosta, part of the Piedmont region of present-day Italy, around 1033. While his father provided little in the way of moral or religious influence, his mother was a notably devout woman and chose to send Anselm to a school run by the Benedictine order.

The boy felt a profound religious calling during these years, spurred in part by a dream in which he met and conversed with God. His father, however, prevented him from becoming a monk at age 15. This disappointment was followed by a period of severe illness, as well as his mother’s early death.

Unable to join the monks, and tired of mistreatment by his father, Anselm left home and wandered throughout parts of France and Italy for three years. His life regained its direction in Normandy, where he met the Benedictine prior Lanfranc of Pavia and became his disciple.

Lanfranc recognized his pupil’s intellectual gifts and encouraged his vocation to religious life. Accepted into the order and ordained a priest at age 27, Anselm succeeded his teacher as prior in1063 when Lanfranc was called to become abbot of another monastery.

Anselm became abbot of his own monastery in1079. During the previous decade the Normans had conquered England, and they sought to bring monks from Normandy to influence the Church in the country. Lanfranc became Archbishop of Canterbury, and asked Anselm to come and assist him.

The period after Lanfranc’s death, in the late 1080s, was a difficult time for the English Church. As part of his general mistreatment of the Church, King William Rufus refused to allow the appointment of a new archbishop. Anselm had gone back to his monastery, and did not want to return to England.

In 1092, however, he was persuaded to do so. The following year, the king changed his mind and allowed Anselm to become Archbishop of Canterbury. But the monk was extremely reluctant to accept the charge, which would involve him in further struggles with the English crown in subsequent years.

For a three-year period in the early 12th century, Anselm’s insistence on the self-government of the Church – against the claims of the state to its administration and property – caused him to be exiled from England. But he was successful in his struggle, and returned to his archdiocese in 1106.

In his last years, Anselm worked to reform the Church and continued his theological investigations – following the motto of “faith seeking understanding.” After his death in 1109, his influence on the subsequent course of theology led Pope Clement XI to name him a Doctor of the Church in 1720.