Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1  SIR 48:1-14

Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
whose words were as a flaming furnace.
Their staff of bread he shattered,
in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
You brought a dead man back to life
from the nether world, by the will of the LORD.
You sent kings down to destruction,
and easily broke their power into pieces.
You brought down nobles, from their beds of sickness.
You heard threats at Sinai,
at Horeb avenging judgments.
You anointed kings who should inflict vengeance,
and a prophet as your successor.
You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire,
in a chariot with fiery horses.
You were destined, it is written, in time to come
to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD,
To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons,
and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob.
Blessed is he who shall have seen you 
And who falls asleep in your friendship.
For we live only in our life,
but after death our name will not be such.
O Elijah, enveloped in the whirlwind!
Then Elisha, filled with the twofold portion of his spirit,
wrought many marvels by his mere word.
During his lifetime he feared no one,
nor was any man able to intimidate his will.
Nothing was beyond his power;
beneath him flesh was brought back into life.
In life he performed wonders,
and after death, marvelous deeds.

Responsorial Psalm PS 97:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7

R. (12a) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne. 
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes round about.
His lightnings illumine the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
All who worship graven things are put to shame,
who glory in the things of nought;
all gods are prostrate before him.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Alleluia  ROM 8:15BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons
through which we cry: Abba! Father!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel  MT 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

‘Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.’

“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

– – –

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. Alban


St. Alban

Feast date: Jun 20

St. Alban was the first Christian martyr in Britain during the early 4th century. He is the patron saint of converts and torture victims.

Although he was not a man of faith, St. Alban was very hospitable and compassionate. As a soldier, he sheltered a persecuted priest, Amphibalus, during a time when Christians were being put to death in Britain. The priest’s faith and piety struck St. Alban, as well as his dedication to prayer.

Alban soon converted to Christianity.

In an effort to help the priest escape, he switched clothes with him. But Alban was caught and ordered to renounce his faith. St. Alban refused to worship idols, and when asked to state his name, answered “My name is Alban, and I worship the only true and living God, who created all things.

For his refusal to deny his beliefs, he was to be tortured and beheaded. The person first selected to execute Alban heard his testimony and converted on the spot. After refusing to kill Alban, he was executed as well.

A number of other conversions are claimed to have happened thanks to the witness of St. Alban’s martyrdom, specifically on behalf of spectators of his execution.

Finally, when the priest learned that Alban was arrested in his place, he turned himself in, hoping to save Alban’s life. But that wasn’t the case. The priest was killed as well.

St. Alban’s Cathedral now stands near the execution site. The town where he was born was also renamed after him.

Strictly Anonymous / Estrictamente Anónimo

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus emphasizes to the Jewish people the value of not “putting on a show” when it comes to religious practices and good works. Though we know from other places in Scripture that it is our duty to live our faith publicly, this warning from Jesus reminds us that we must always examine the motivation behind our actions when it comes to “doing good.” 

In our times, while we don’t often receive praise for praying or performing other religious practices, there is still a desire in most of us to do things that others consider “good.” By doing them, we hope to increase our status, when pleasing God should be our primary motivation.

There is an amusing scene in the movie Remember Me which is relevant to this lesson. Bob, the husband of a woman who is raising money for a zoo building-project, is flagged down by an over-eager benefactor at a fundraising dinner. The benefactor brags to Bob about the “sizable donation” he has made to the building project. “Strictly anonymous!” the donor insists. Then the donor immediately goes on to tell yet another person about his “strictly anonymous” contribution.

Most of us want to be patted on the back for doing what other people regard as “righteous.” We want to be “liked” and “followed,” praised and promoted. When we look at what Jesus expects from people of faith, we see that to do the will of the Father is all that matters. He models this humility (see Phil 2: 7-8) as do the other saints.

In the book of John, Chapter 3, for example, John the Baptist demonstrates his desire to do the will of God and is aware of who he is in relation to Jesus. John has been serving God radically and faithfully, but as Jesus’ public ministry begins to replace John’s ministry, he merely says in all humility, “He must increase, and I must decrease” (v. 30).

St. Theresa of Calcutta said, “If you are humble, nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace…” To her, it wasn’t about how she was perceived by others but how she could respond to God’s call on her life.

Clearly, Jesus wants us to examine our motives whenever we engage in good works, prayer, or any action that tends to receive approval from others. When we are detached from the praise and recognition of others, we become free to do whatever we are called by Him to do. His will becomes everything to us. In our effort to please Him alone, we will learn to put the recognition of others in its proper perspective and glorify God in our willingness to remain “strictly anonymous.”

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En la lectura del Evangelio de hoy, Jesús enfatiza al pueblo judío el valor de no “hacer un espectáculo” cuando se trata de prácticas religiosas y buenas obras. Aunque sabemos por otros lugares de las Escrituras que es nuestro deber vivir la fe públicamente, esta advertencia de Jesús nos recuerda que siempre debemos examinar la motivación detrás de nuestras acciones cuando se trata de “hacer el bien”.

En estos tiempos, aunque no recibimos elogios por orar o realizar otras prácticas religiosas, todavía existe en la mayoría de nosotros el deseo de hacer cosas que otros consideran “buenas”. Al realizarlas, esperamos elevar el estatus, cuando agradar a Dios debería ser la motivación principal.

Hay una escena divertida en la película Remember Me (Recuérdame) que es relevante para esta lección. A Bob, el esposo de una mujer que está recaudando dinero para un proyecto de construcción de un zoológico, le llama la atención un bienhechor demasiado ansioso en una cena de recaudación de fondos. El bienhechor se presume delante de Bob sobre “el donativo grande” que ha hecho al proyecto de construcción. “¡Estrictamente anónimo!” insiste el bienhechor. Luego, el mismo señor inmediatamente le cuenta a otra persona sobre su contribución “estrictamente anónima”.

La mayoría de nosotros queremos que nos den una palmada en la espalda por hacer lo que otras personas consideran “justo”. Queremos que nos gusten y nos sigan, que nos elogien y nos promuevan. Cuando miramos lo que Jesús espera de las personas de fe, vemos que hacer la voluntad del Padre es lo único que importa. Él modela esta humildad (ver Fil 2, 7-8) como lo hacen los demás santos también.

En el libro de Juan, capítulo 3, por ejemplo, Juan Bautista demuestra su deseo de hacer la voluntad de Dios y es consciente de quién es en comparación a Jesús. Juan ha estado sirviendo a Dios radical y fielmente, pero cuando el ministerio público de Jesús comienza a reemplazar el ministerio de Juan, él simplemente dice con toda humildad: “Es necesario que él crezca, y yo disminuya” (v. 30).

Santa Teresa de Calcuta dijo: “Si eres humilde, nada te tocará, ni la alabanza ni la desgracia…” Para ella, no se trataba de cómo la percibían los demás, sino de cómo podía responder al llamado de Dios en su vida.

Claramente, Jesús quiere que examinemos los motivos cada vez que realizamos buenas obras, oraciones o cualquier acción que tienda a recibir la aprobación de los demás. Cuando nos desapegamos de la alabanza y el reconocimiento de los demás, nos volvemos libres para hacer cualquier cosa que Él nos llame a hacer. Su voluntad se convierte en todo para nosotros. Al buscar agradarle únicamente a Él, aprenderemos a poner en perspectiva el reconocimiento de los demás y glorificaremos a Dios al querer permanecer “estrictamente anónimos”.

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A lover of Jesus Christ, a wife, and a mother of five, Christine is the author of Everyday Heroism: 28 Daily Reflections on the Little Way of Motherhood. She is a graduate of Franciscan University, an instructor for the Institute for Excellence in Writing, and an experienced catechist. Thrilled to have recently become grandparents, she and her husband currently live in Upstate, NY. Visit her author webpage at christinehanus.com

Feature Image Credit: Carlos Alberto Gómez Iñiguez, unsplash.com/photos/selective-focus-photo-of-woman-wearing-aviator-sunglasses-A1XHONDyZZY

Vertical and Horizontal / Vertical y Horizontal

“The Cross is both vertical and horizontal.” These words stirred me. “Wow, God really thought of everything,” I thought. I’m reminded of both orientations of the Cross by the last line of today’s Gospel, “Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” 

For years, I thought that just meant to strive for less sin and more holiness. “Lord, I can’t be perfect, but I try,” I said for years, as I misinterpreted this Scripture. To be sure, the last line of today’s Gospel IS about sinning less, in a way. But that’s not all it’s about, and that’s the genius of Our Lord and Scripture. 

The word that translates to “perfect” in English actually means “whole”, “full”, or “complete”. So, it isn’t just about being less sinful, though that is a wonderful goal to strive for! Instead, the last line of today’s Gospel exhorts us to bring about the Kingdom of God fully – so we can experience it in the here and now. 

Jesus exhorts us to love both God and our neighbors. We need a vertical relationship with God, and we need horizontal relationships with our neighbors to fully realize the Kingdom. 

So, to be whole, full, or complete, we need both/and, not either/or. We need the vertical and the horizontal. Too many times, we act in ways which fail to realize the both/and of the Kingdom, in ways that only emphasize loving God and rejecting neighbor, or embracing our neighbor but forgetting the importance of the love of God. 

Indeed, we need the Cross of Jesus to remind us to be oriented in both ways. And we need the Cross of Jesus to redeem us when we fall short. Today, let’s thank the Lord for the gift of the Cross, for the ability to see the new in the familiar, and pray that we might bring about the Kingdom through the “both/and”. 

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“La Cruz es a la vez vertical y horizontal”. Estas palabras me conmovieron. “Vaya, Dios realmente pensó en todo”, pensé. La última línea del Evangelio de hoy me recuerda ambas orientaciones de la Cruz: “sean perfectos, como su Padre celestial es perfecto”.

Durante años, pensé que eso sólo significaba luchar por tener menos pecado y más santidad. “Señor, no puedo ser perfecto, pero hago el intento”, decía durante años, mientras malinterpretaba esta Escritura. Sin duda, la última línea del Evangelio de hoy se trata de pecar menos, de cierto forma, pero eso no solamente se trata de eso, y ese es el genio de Nuestro Señor y las Escrituras.

La palabra que se traduce como “perfecto” en español en realidad significa “entero”, “pleno” o “completo”. Por lo tanto, no se trata sólo de ser menos pecador, ¡aunque es una meta maravillosa por la que esforzarse! En cambio, la última línea del Evangelio de hoy nos exhorta a realizar plenamente el Reino de Dios, para que podamos experimentarlo aquí y ahora.

Jesús nos exhorta a amar tanto a Dios como a nuestro prójimo. Necesitamos una relación vertical con Dios y necesitamos relaciones horizontales con nuestro prójimo para realizar plenamente el Reino.

Entonces, para que seamos enteros, plenos o completos, necesitamos ambos/y, no uno/o otro. Necesitamos la vertical y la horizontal. Demasiadas veces actuamos de maneras que no logramos realizar el ambos/y del Reino, de maneras que solo enfatizan amar a Dios y rechazar al prójimo, o abrazar a nuestro prójimo pero olvidando la importancia del amor de Dios.

De hecho, necesitamos la Cruz de Jesús para recordarnos que debemos orientarnos en ambos sentidos. Y necesitamos la Cruz de Jesús para redimirnos cuando fallamos. Hoy, agradezcamos al Señor por el regalo de la Cruz, por la capacidad de ver lo nuevo en lo familiar, y oremos para que podamos realizar el Reino a través del “ambos/y”.

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Mary Thissen is a St. Louis native living in East Central Illinois with her husband and children. She is blessed with twin boys Earthside and four children now living in Heaven. When she is not working as a healthcare data analyst or caring for her boys, she enjoys studying and writing about the Catholic faith and ministering to women who are suffering through miscarriage or infertility. You can connect with Mary on Instagram @waitingonmiracles. 

Feature Image Credit: Matías Medina, cathopic.com/photo/63-jesus-crucified

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.
or:
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.
or:
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.
or:
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.
or:
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.

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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.

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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. 

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“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.