Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lenten Reflection - Sunday 2nd Week

Prayer and Solitude Help Us Listen to God

"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." - Matt 9:7

Many voices vie for our attention. They can be placed in two camps. One is for us; the other is against.

The first and louder kind says, "Prove that you are a good person," or "You'd better be ashamed of yourself," or "Nobody really cares about you," or "You are a nobody because you don't have anybody," or "You've done THAT! God can no longer love you!" or "The more you become successful, popular, and powerful, the more you will be accepted and loved."

But beneath all these often very noisy voices a still, small voice whispers, "You are my Beloved, on whom my favor rests." That's the voice we need to hear most of all. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen. It may take time to get past those defeaning voices telling us that our worth is directly proportional to how well we perform or to what we possess. Yet in time, we come to recognize that gentle voice. God's voice for us. Beyond our sinfulness.

That's what prayer is. It is listening to the voice that calls us, "my Beloved."

"Lord, help me to devote time for prayerful solitude. Help me to listen to your voice within."

inspired by Henri Nouwen

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lenten Reflection - Saturday 1st Week

Saints Always Focus on God

"You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust." – Matthew 5:43-45

A Jesuit priest friend of mine has a challenging saying: "You are as Christian as how you treat the most irritated people you know." It is easy for us to love those with whom we are comfortable, those who are nice to us, and those whom we deem good. We seldom consider loving those who irritate us; at best, we tolerate or endure them. This betrays our misconception that love is primarily a feeling. However, love is a choice. A choice: a reaching beyond ourselves to nurture the spiritual growth of ourselves or another.

Consider someone who irritates, annoys, or angers you. Ask yourself, what does this irritation tell me about myself? Could it be that the person is manifesting a defect in yourself or pointing out something in your life you are refusing to see, or not living up to the expectation that have been programmed into you by your upbringing? It is difficult for us to love the person because of the inner agitation that arises in us. Loving the person would involve accepting and even embracing parts of ourselves that are "ugly" or "unlovable." Loving the person would involve a reaching out beyond our present negative feelings. Yet, such reaching out expands our hearts and make us more receptive to the One who is Love.

"Lord, help me to reach beyond myself and accept irritable people or parts of myself today."

Fr. Tri Đinh

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lenten Reflection - Friday 1st Week

Forgiving Is a Healing In Our Own Hearts

"So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift." - Matthew 5:23-24

How can we forgive those who do not want to be forgiven? Our deepest desire is that the forgiveness we offer will be received. This mutuality between giving and receiving is what creates peace and harmony. But if our condition for giving forgiveness is that it will be received, we seldom will forgive! Forgiving the other is first and foremost an inner movement.

It is an act that removes anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge from our hearts and helps us to reclaim our human dignity. We cannot force those we want to forgive into accepting our forgiveness. They might not be able or willing to do so. They many not even know or feel that they have wounded us. Yet, when we reach out through forgiveness, we move forward toward inner healing and peace. We also invite those we seek to forgive to a similar conversion.

The only people we can really change are ourselves. Forgiving others is first and foremost healing our own hearts.

What forgiving have you delayed? Can you do it now, with God's grace?

adapted from Henri Nouwen

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lenten Reflection - Thursday, 1st Week:

God Always Gives More Than Enough

"Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will you give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" - Matthew 7.9-11

God is a God of abundance, not a God of scarcity. The Hebrew Scriptures attest this divine plentitude, manifesting a God who leads the Israelites to a "land overflowing with milk and honey" (Ex 3:8). Jesus reveals to us God's abundance when he offers so much bread to the people that there are twelve large baskets with leftover scraps, and when he enables his disciples to catch so many fish that their boats nearly sink. God doesn't give us just enough. God gives us more than enough; more bread and fish than we can eat, more love than we dared to ask for.

God is a generous giver, but we can only see and enjoy God's generosity when our hearts and minds are unclouded and unfettered. When we are full of demands or attachments, we narrow our vision only to those peoples, things, and conditions that we think will make us happy. We resent what we did not get and miss the plentiful gifts offered before us. We remain distant from God and unable to experience what God truly wants to give us, which is life and life in abundance. Moreover, we close ourselves to God when we, as individuals or societies, take more than what we need, thereby restricting others' access to God's bountiful gifts.

Lord, help us to live gratefully and simply, so that others may simply live.

adapted from Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lenten Reflection - Wednesday, 1st Week of Lent

God Wants to Forgive and Heal

Jesus preached to the people, asking them to repent, just as the Ninevites had done, saying, "They turned from their sins when they heard Jonah preach." - Luke 11:32

Our Lenten observances of prayer, fasting, and concern for those in need call us to radical conversion and trust in God's mercy. These practices disclose our sinful tendencies, and uncover areas of unfreedom and attachments that often lead us to sin. We realize our inner conflict like Saint Paul: "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (Rom 7:16). We come to the limit of our creaturehood: we cannot save ourselves.

Such realization takes us to the threshold of God's unbounded mercy and love. We meet the God of Jesus who has no room for hatred, desire for revenge, or pleasure in seeing us punished. God wants to forgive, heal, restore, show us endless mercy, and see us come home. Like the father in the "Prodigal Son" parable who lets both of his sons make their own decisions, God gives us the freedom to choose or refuse divine love. God waits. Yet, God will go more than half way to meet us upon our return. God accepts our wandering hearts yet continually chooses to forgive, heal, and embrace completely. This is our homecoming. This is our Good News.

"In what area of my life might I long for yet resist a deeper conversion of heart and return to God?"

Lenten Reflection - Tuesday, 1st Week of Lent

Thoughts Can Actually Help us Toward God

"When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven ..." - Matthew 6:7-9

Our minds are always active. We analyze, reflect, or daydream. Much of the time, we worry about the future and fret about the past. There is not a moment during the day or night when we are not thinking. You might say our thinking is "unceasing." Sometimes we wish that we could stop thinking for a while; that would save us from many worries, guilt feelings, and fears. Our ability to think is our greatest gift, but it is also the source of our greatest pain. Do we have to become victims of unceasing thoughts? No, we can convert our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer by making our inner monologue into a continuing dialogue with God, who is the source of all love.

One way of listening to the Spirit's prompting at the core of our being is just to let our thoughts be, without judging ourselves as we experience these thoughts nor feeding them. Letting them be while inviting God in can be a way of praying unceasingly.

Let us allow the One who dwells in the center of our beings to listen with love to all that occupies and preoccupies our minds. Let us listen to the One who hides in our thoughts.

O Holy Spirit, convert my never-ending flow of thoughts into prayer.

adapted from Henri Nouwen

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lenten Reflection - Monday, 1st Week of Lent

Choose Love By Taking Small Steps Daily

"You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself." - Leviticus 19:17-18

Often we speak of love as if it were a feeling. Rather, it is a choice. A continual choice: a commitment to nurture the spiritual growth of ourselves or another. Yes, it is difficult to choose love when we have experienced so little of it. Nevertheless, we can choose love by taking small steps of self-giving love. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit - all these are little steps toward love. It may even involve taking more rest or better self-care so that we can better care for others.

Thérèse of Lisieux reminds us that love lies not in the magnitude of the deed but in the totality of the self-giving. Mother Teresa puts it similarly: "We can do no great deeds, only small deeds with great love." In choosing to love through simple self-giving deeds, we are acting into a new way of being. These small steps ground our love in the One who is Love, beyond our feelings.

O Lord, help me to take the small steps of love I need to take today.

inspired by Henri Nouwen

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bishop Vincent Nguyen - Aux. Bishop of Toronto, Canada

Espicopan Ordinations - Archdiocese of Toronto

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“I am humbled to have been asked by the Holy Father to serve the people of the Archdiocese of Toronto as Auxiliary Bishop. To the faithful of the Archdiocese, please pray for me as I embark upon this new ministry as I will pray for you. I will do all I can to assist Archbishop Collins as we strive to strengthen and nurture the diverse faith community of the Archdiocese.” - Bishop Vincent Nguyen

Salt and Light:
Meet Bishop Vincent Nguyen

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CBC News - The Hour:

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Western Catholic Reporter:

Lenten Reflection - 1st Sunday of Lent

"Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil." - Lk 4:1

"Because he clings to me, I will deliver him; I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him." - Ps 91:14

We never talk about loneliness; yet, it is so prevalent. It visits us all. Yet, our culture frowns upon it. It is "bad" to feel lonely. However, loneliness affects us all, so much that some of us are paralyzed into fear; and many of us throw ourselves into a maelstrom of activity as if we can run away from it.

Jesus allowed the Spirit to lead him into the desert. He faced his suffocating loneliness and its temptations. Through it, he grew more radically dependent on God_Abba; he came to a deeper realization of who he was and who he was called to be – the Beloved. Like him, when we are open to our loneliness - our particular kind of suffering - something creative happens. We can stand with others who suffer their particular loneliness. And even though ours and theirs are not the same loneliness, solidarity is born. Compassion grows. Moreover, we come to know and love Jesus more intimately. Mysteriously, we grow in greater intimacy with ourselves, others, and Jesus. On the way, our heart becomes more tender and closer to the heart of God.

"Jesus, help us to enter our loneliness with you and cling to God."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lenten Reflection - Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Human Love Reflects God's Love
Jesus answered, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance." - Luke 5:31-32

We all long for love without condition. We look for such unconditional love in the faces and hearts of many people. While our parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, friends, or spouses can love us in deep and meaningful ways, their love cannot fully satisfy our deep longing. While human loves can reflect God's love without condition, they are limited and broken. No human love fulfills our hearts desire, and sometimes human love is so imperfect that we can hardly recognize it as love.

When our broken love is the only love we can have, we are easily be thrown into despair, but when we live our broken love as a partial reflection of God's perfect, unconditional love, we can forgive one another and enjoy together the love we have to offer. When we acknowledge ourselves as sinners who expect people to love us perfectly as God loves, we make space in for God. We allow God's indwelling Spirit to heal our wounds, purifies our desires, and unites us with God, whose personal and abiding love surpasses our wildest imaginations.

"O God, help me not to demand of others the perfect love they cannot give."

adapted from Henri Nouwen

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lenten Reflection - Friday after Ash Wednesday

Meeting and Loving God of the Poor

"This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own." - Isaiah 58:6-7

Fasting is commonly understood as a means of personal holiness: a way of expiating sin, of purifying one's spirit, of offering something up to God. However, fasting is integrally related to the almsgiving of the Gospel – the practice of compassion and justice. We are challenged to a greater simplicity of life, to "live simply so that others may simple live." Does our Lenten commitment involve a deeper reaching out to our sisters and brothers who are marginalized and forgotten? Do we adopt a simpler lifestyle, or sharing of time and resources that raise awareness concerning the plight of those less privileged in society, or deepen solidarity with the poor?

God in Jesus whom we seek to know, love, and serve was born poor, lived a poor life, identified with the poor, and died poor. Our love for God is diminished if there is less room for the poor in our hearts? In reaching out to such sisters and brothers, we open ourselves to meeting and loving our God who stands with those who are poor. This is not an easy message; yet do we genuinely long to encounter and love the God of Jesus?

"O Lord, help us reach out in profound gratitude to you in those whom society rejects, abandons, or despises."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Cry of the Poor

by John Foley

Lenten Reflection - Thursday after Ash Wednesday

God Never Gives Up Loving Us

"Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom … Choose life!" - Deut 30:15

We often confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval. God loves us without conditions but does not approve of every human behavior. God doesn't approve of betrayal, abuse, violence, hatred, suspicion, and all other expressions of evil, because they all contradict the love God instill in the human heart. Evil is the absence of God's love. Evil does not belong to God.

God's unconditional love means that God continues to love us even when we say or think evil things. The injunction to "choose life" is not a condition of God's love for us. Rather, it describes the path to happiness and fulfillment. God continues to wait for us as a loving parent waits for the return of a lost child. Whereas our sins may keep us from God; but they can never keep God from us.

Not only does God never gives up loving us, but God chooses to create us anew every moment with each breath we take and each beating of our own hearts which continue to give life. God chooses us as we are, regardless of our response.

The challenge to "choose life" lies within the truth that God has already chosen us, over and over again. Persistently; patiently.

"O God, when we are most tempted to give up on ourselves, help us to remember that you never give up on us."

- adapted from Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lenten Reflection - Ash Wednesday

God Loves Us and Wants Our Love

"Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing." - Joel 2:13

What can we say about God's love? We can say that God's love is unconditional. God does not say, "I love you, if …" There are no ifs in God's heart. God's love for us does not depend on what we do or say, on our looks or intelligence, on our success or popularity. God's love brings us into this life and carries us into the next. God's love is from eternity to eternity and is not bound to any time-related events or circumstances. Nor is it dependent on our faithfulness.

God invites us through the Lenten journey to return, to come back, to change: to enter the desert of our inner landscape to acknowledge areas of unfreedom and resistance and allow God's unconditional love to transform us. Fasting, alms-giving, and prayer are observances that rend our hearts to make room for Love without conditions.

Let us dare to be drawn deeper into an intimate relationship with God in generosity, honesty, and trust. "O God, my Creator and Redeemer, help me this Lent to deepen my awareness and appreciation of your awesome love for me."

- adapted from Henri Nouwen

Lenten Reflection: An Invitation from Fr Tri Ðinh, SJ

My friends in the Lord,

In the past few years, I have sent a short reflection each day of Lent. I hope it will assist you in your Lenten discipline of prayer.

These reflections on the Scripture of the day are meant to be a help for a daily 5-10 minute reflection or prayer. Some of these reflections are adapted from Henri Nouwen; others will be written by someone else or me. If you feel moved to write one, please let me know.

May I suggest the following format for each reflection:

1. Place yourself in God's presence, perhaps with a prayer like: "Spirit of God, please pray through me, draw me to you, sanctify, and create me anew."
2. Read the reflection slowly and be attentive to what stirs within you.
3. Speak to God or Jesus about whatever is on your mind and in your heart.
4. Listen to God's response or simply rest in God's presence with an open mind and a receptive heart.
5. End with the "Our Father" or another favorite prayed slowly.

United in prayer,
fr Tri Dinh, S.J.

The Spiritual Exercises Blog

This daily Spiritual Exercises blog seeks to present meditations in the spirit of Saint Ignatius Loyola. It is prepared by a group of Jesuits from across the United States interested in offering Ignatian Spirituality to those seeking Christ through Scripture and prayer

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thứ Hai 15-2

Bài đọc
Giacôbê 1:1-11
TV 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76
Mc 8:11-13

"Tại sao thế hệ này lại xin điềm lạ? Quả thật, Ta bảo các ông hay: Sẽ chẳng cho thế hệ này điềm lạ nào"
▪ ▪ ▪
Gợi ý:
Đức Giêsu thấu suốt hết những gì ở trong thâm tâm những người biệt phái.
Tôi có nhận biết rõ những gì đang điều khiển cuộc sống tôi trong lúc này?

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Review of Ignatian Spirituality - Number 117

Nathan Stone, S.J.
Director of SpEx; Hispanic Ministry
Monserrat Retreat House
Lake Dallas, Tx, USA

An open invitation

After many years working in schools and youth ministry, I came to mission at a Jesuit retreat house. It’s a good one. Many people make yearly retreats here. But I found it curious that the average age for retreatants is about sixty-two. Many are considerably older. I thought perhaps this was only because there are a lot of satisfied customers who come back year after year, and they have gotten older, as people tend to do. But there are photos of the first retreats, from long ago, and there is no one under fifty in those pictures, either.

I had rarely given the Exercises to anyone much older than about twenty-six, so I had to recalibrate my scope for the local crowd. But it occurred to me that our house could offer at least one retreat especially for young men and women. It was taken as a very novel idea. Not that the younger crowd were ever unwelcome, but they were the exception: someone already on their way to religious life, or the son or grandson of one of  “the regulars”.

In Chile, where I received my formation, Father Alberto Hurtado gave the Exercises to large groups of university students. It was considered unorthodox, but then, he was el Padre Hurtado. Father Edwin Hodgson quietly gave them to high school students. This would have raised eyebrows, except that no one ever realized that he was doing it, until after his death, when several of them entered the Society. They discovered that he had started them all on their quest to serve the Lord with the Exercises.

Despite these experiences, something in the conventional wisdom today says that the Exercises are not for everyone, that you have to be mature, educated and settled before you can delve into their mystery. They are also expensive. So, with the exception of Jesuit novices, only a privileged minority, proven over the years, and therefore, older, ever get the opportunity. The Exercises have become a specialty, given by experts, to those seemingly predestined few, with special talents, from whom we expect greatness.

How has this happened? What does it mean? What was the original target group for the Exercises? Who would get the most out of them? In this essay, we will explore some of these questions, and see how we might get back to the original intention of Ignatius: a process of vocational discernment for young men and women.

Đề Tài Huấn Đức - LM Julian Élizaldé Thành S.J.

Tha Thứ

Khả năng tha thứ mang một ý nghĩa tái sinh và niềm vui lớn lao cho con người. Tuy nhiên thực tế cho thấy tự chúng ta khó có thể tha thứ cho người khác. Chúng ta phải làm gì để có được khả năng này?.

Prayerful thought from St. Ignatius of Loyola

Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Immaculate Mary

Feb. 11 - Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Where There Is Suffering, There is Mary
By Mark Miravalle

STUBENVILLE, Ohio, FEB. 10, 2010 ( On Feb. 11, 1858, the Immaculate One appeared to a true anawim, a "blessed poor of the Lord" from the mountain town of Lourdes -- 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous.

Beside the River Gave in the grotto of Massabielle, "Aquero" or "that One" -- as Bernadette first referred to her in her local patois dialect -- appeared with rosary in hand to convey a global message of prayer and penance in reparation to God for sin and for the conversion of sinners.

After the instruction by the Lady to dig for water, which caused a stream from which a supernatural generosity of miracles would flow down to our own day, Bernadette received the great Marian self-revelation which would awe the faithful and bewilder the theologian: "I am the Immaculate Conception."

The Marian dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been solemnly defined some four years earlier by Blessed Pius IX, but could it correctly be stated that Mary indeed was the Immaculate Conception, rather than establishing that she was conceived without original sin, as did the Vicar of Christ?

St. Maximilian Kolbe would later explain that for the Mother of Jesus to say "I am the Immaculate Conception" conveys that Mary is mysteriously in her very essence full of grace and free from sin. She is a new creation, the perfect creation of the Father, so as to be the immaculate Mother of God, and also to be the faithful co-redeemer with her Son the Redeemer.

Karol Cardinal Wojtyla preached powerfully on this theme in a Dec. 8, 1973, homily on the Immaculate Conception. The future John Paul II reminded his congregation at Cracow: "Mary was the Co-redemptrix, because she was first the Immaculate Conception."

In his Feb. 11, 2008, World Day of the Sick message, Pope Benedict XVI refers to Mary's unique co-redemptive suffering with Jesus as the foundation for her maternal compassion for "all those who are in affliction": "For this reason, Mary is a model of total self-abandonment to God's will: she received in her heart the eternal Word and she conceived it in her virginal womb; she trusted in God and, with her soul pierced by a sword (cf. Lk 2:35), she did not hesitate to share the Passion of her Son, renewing on Calvary at the foot of the Cross her 'yes' of the Annunciation. [...]

"Associated with the Sacrifice of Christ, Mary, Mater Dolorosa, who at the foot of the Cross suffers with her divine Son, is felt to be especially near by the Christian community, which gathers around its suffering members who bear the signs of the passion of the Lord. Mary suffers with those who are in affliction, with them she hopes, and she is their comfort, supporting them with her maternal help.

"And is it not perhaps true that the spiritual experience of very many sick people leads us to understand increasingly that "the Divine Redeemer wishes to penetrate the soul of every sufferer through the heart of his holy Mother, the first and the most exalted of all the redeemed?"

Perfect example

Not only does Our Lady bring to the sick a perfect human example of Christian redemptive suffering, but the Holy Father says further that "Mary suffers with those who are in affliction."

A mother's heart is not merely empathetic to the sufferings of her children, but through the very nature and necessity of Christian love, she enters into their sufferings, which brings forth the extraordinary fruit that comes only from the sacrificial experience of shared and united human suffering.

Javier Cardinal Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council on Health Care Ministry and main celebrant at the liturgical celebration for the 2008 World Day for the Sick at St. Peter's Basilica, re-echoed during his homily the sentiments of Benedict XVI. In regards to our sufferings in relation to Our Lady, he said, "our suffering is also her suffering": "In order to respond to the full love of the cross, we must pronounce an unreserved 'yes' to the mysterious plan of the Redeemer, a 'yes' that means fullness of Love.

"This complete 'yes' of love is the Immaculate Conception of our dear Mother, Mary, who participated on Calvary as the co-redemptrix with the Savior. [...] Christ on the cross suffered all the pains that his Most Holy Mother suffered. And she in Christ suffers all our pains, she assumes them and knows how to commiserate with us. Our suffering is also her suffering."

The intercessory power of Our Lady of Lourdes is not limited to the geographical confines of a French hamlet in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Where there is suffering and sickness, there is the Mother, hovering in wait to mediate graces of consolation, healing, and courage, all in conformity to the perfect and generous will of the Heavenly Father. She waits only for our fiat in faith, to be freely welcomed into our homes, into our hearts, as she was by the disciple who Jesus loved (John 19:27), to bring to each one of us extraordinary healing graces of the Crucified Christ.

Whatever our present ailment or cross may be, Our Lady of Lourdes is the universal Mediatrix of healing and persevering grace, universally for all humanity, and personally for you and for me.

* * *

Mark Miravalle is a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Author of more than a dozen books on Mariology, and editor of "Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons," he wrote "The Seven Sorrows of China" in 2007. He is married and has eight children.


Feb. 10 - Memorial of St. Scholastica

Spiritual Conversation

Holiness runs in the family. St. Scholastica's twin brother Benedict also made a good name for himself in Catholic circles, writing a rule of life used by monasteries for centuries. One of the stories attached to this dynamic duo involves their periodic spiritual conversations. Benedict would travel from his monastery to that of his sister in order to spend the day in worship of God and holy conversation. St. Scholastica so enjoyed one of their conversations that she prayed God to prohibit her brother from leaving. At once a furious storm arose, prompting Benedict to remain with his sister and carry on their discussion through the night. Could it be that a modern day Scholastica and Benedict live somewhere in the mid-Atlantic states right now? If so, they better be having a great spiritual conversation or else a few million residents will not be happy about the storm they brewed up.

The story of Scholastica and Benedict is entertaining, but it reminds us of the serious importance of spiritual conversation in our lives. Christians believe that the unknown God has come to us in His Word, Jesus Christ. Since we have been given the Word of God, we can therefore talk about God and share God with each other. When St. Ignatius was gathering his first disciples, the ones who would make up the first group of Jesuits, he did so through spiritual conversation. They would talk about their hopes and desires, and share with each other the joys they had found in following Christ. Through hearing other people's experience of God, these early companions were encouraged in their own spiritual lives. With whom can we talk simply and honestly about God? What friendships do we have or what groups encourage our efforts to have spiritual conversation? God has given us His Word. He wants us to talk about Him.

By Deacon Kevin Dyer, S.J.

Thứ Tư 10-2

Bài đọc
1 Vua 10:1-10
TV 37:5-6, 30-31, 39-40
Mc 7:14-23

"Những gì ở trong người ta mà ra, đó là cái làm cho người ta ô uế ..."
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Gợi ý:
Đối diện với những sự dữ tôi có thường đối phó bằng chính những sự dữ trong lòng của tôi chăng?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CLC Solidarity Drive for Haiti Earthquake Victims

31 January 2010
Thomas Merton’s Birthday

Dear CLC Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Mindful of Haiti, CLC-USA's Apostolic Action Team (AAT) invites you to act as a national community in solidarity with the Haitian people. In concert with the unfolding conversations on Facebook* about the variety of ways people are proceeding in faithful work and mission with our Haitian brothers and sisters, this communication is to help facilitate common financial gifts. As individual members, local, and regional CLCommunities, our monies can be pooled for greatest impact.

All such designated funds will be directed as soon as possible to:
1. Jesuit Relief Services
2. Friends of the Orphans/ Haiti Project (Fr. Rick Frechette’s work, more info on webpage letter & on Facebook.)
3. Fonkoze/ Partners in Progress (more info on webpage letter & on Facebook).

We are blessed to have on-going relationships as CLC with these specific organizations, with some CLC members involvement over many years. In addition to the tangible care & compassion these resources represent to Haitians in need, support at this time would also be a realization of our DSSE model, a great encouragement for these CLC individuals of being "Sent" and “Supported” by the wider CLCommunity in this act of solidarity with Haiti through specific, targeted provision of resources at this perilous time.

Checks should be made out to:

CLC-USA/ Haiti
3601 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108

A pledge webpage has been set up to facilitate this communal giving:
Please send in pledges as soon as possible within the next two weeks.

In order to distribute the funds as soon as possible, we ask that all checks for this Haiti Solidarity Drive be sent in by the end of February.

Peace and Much Love in Christ as together we seek to be Living our Hope,

Carol Gonzalez,
Chair, Apostolic Action Team, CLC-USA


Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl -- Pro-life ad by Google ?

... listen to the cooing of the baby at the end

Thứ Hai 8-2

1 Vua 8:1-7, 9-13
TV 132:6-7, 8-10
Mc 6:53-56

Các ngài lên khỏi thuyền, tức thì người ta nhận ra Người, họ liền rảo chạy khắp miền, và nghe tin Người ở đâu thì khiêng những người đau yếu nằm trên chõng đến đó.
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Gợi ý:
" ... tức thì người ta nhận ra Người": Điều cần thiết trước tiên: Tôi có luôn bén nhạy để có thể nhận ra Ngài trong cuộc sống hằng ngày?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thứ Năm 4-2

Bài đọc
1 Vua 2:1-4, 10-12
1 Sb 29:10, 11ab, 11d-12a, 12bcd
Mc 6:7-13

Người truyền các ông đi đường đừng mang gì, ngoài cây gậy, không mang bị mang bánh, không mang tiền trong túi, nhưng chân đi dép, và đừng mặc hai áo.
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Gợi ý:
Không mang bánh, không mang tiền, nghĩa là phải nhờ vào người khác nuôi ăn: đây là thái độ tự hạ mình xuống của người môn đệ. Đó cũng là cách thánh INhã sống khất thực trên bước đường đi theo Chúa.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thứ Tư 3-2

Bài đọc
2 Samuel 24:2, 9-17
TV 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7
Mc 6:1-6

"Không một tiên tri nào mà không bị khinh bỉ ở quê hương, gia đình họ hàng mình".
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Gợi ý:
Nơi cộng đoàn của tôi hôm nay có những người đang sống sứ mạng tiên tri nhưng bị coi thường và không được chấp nhận chăng?

Đề Tài Huấn Đức - LM Julian Élizaldé Thành S.J.

Ba Chị Em

Đề tài dùng những thí dụ thực tế qua cuộc sống của 3 chị em để giải thích cách chúng ta nhận ra tiếng nói của Chúa.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feb.2 - Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Mal 3:1-4
Heb 2:14-18
Lk 2:22-40

This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him.

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In ancient Rome in the days of Nero some poor Christian was being chased around the coliseum by a ferocious lion. The faster he ran, the faster the lion ran. Eventually, it was obvious that the end was near, so the poor fellow fell to his knees and prayed aloud, “Dear Lord, make this lion a Christian!”

With that, the lion fell to his knees and began to pray, “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive….” The end WAS near!

* * *

Recently there appeared in the newspaper a cartoon depicting a prophet of doom with a long beard and flowing robes and a sign that read: “The end is NOT near. You’ll have to learn to cope!”

+ + +

Sometimes the lions really are chasing us. But most of the time what we face are not lions but the numbing et ceteras of life, the little things that have to be done, and done well, over and over. Lawns don’t stay mowed. Taxes don’t stay paid. Perfect roofs don’t stay perfect. And as every child knows, homework doesn’t stay done.

“A mother’s work is never done,” goes the old saying. Quite true, but neither is anyone else’s work ever done! And after a while, when the novelty has worn off and year follows upon year, we can get worn down. We can lose heart and be tempted to give up or run away.

So how do we keep going — not just surviving, putting one foot in front of the other? How do we keep moving forward with spirit, glad that we’re alive? The old man Simeon in today’s Gospel gives us a clue. When Mary and Joseph showed up at the temple to present their new baby to the Lord, Simeon took little Jesus tenderly in his arms and whispered, “I knew you’d come! I knew it!”

It was that knowing that kept Simeon alive on the inside across those many years. It was that knowing that gave every day of his life joy and energy. And how had he known? The Gospel says the Holy Spirit had been with him from the beginning. He’d never walked alone, and so he knew from the inside that God could never abandon his people — not even one of them.

The Spirit is knocking softly at our inner door, offering us the same energy, the same quiet joy that carried Simeon all the way to the end of his good life.

The Spirit is knocking. Open the door, and walk alone no more!

Catholic Exchange

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thứ Hai 1-2

Bài đọc
2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13
TV 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Mc 5:1-20

Con hãy về nhà với thân quyến, và loan truyền cho họ biết những gì Thiên Chúa đã làm cho con và đã thương con
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Gợi ý:
Đức Giêsu không những đã chữa lành người bị thần ô uế ám mà còn ban cho anh sức để đi loan truyền cho mọi người biết về Ngài.