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Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019
Sailing toward the eternal shore

How would you describe your life’s journey? Thérèse of Lisieux—Carmelite nun, saint, and doctor of the church—imagined her life journey as sailing the sea. Reflecting one evening on the sun setting across the sea at Trouville, she wrote of how the sun left a “luminous trail.” “It was to me the image of God’s grace shedding its light across the path the little white-sailed vessel had to travel.” She committed herself to following Jesus “in order to travel peacefully towards the eternal shore." What image would you use? And how do you experience God with you along the way?

TODAY'S READINGS: Zechariah 8:20-23; Luke 9:51-56 (456). “I too will go to seek the Lord.”

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019
Stand by me

Today the church gives a shout-out to guardian angels. “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him [or her] to life,” is how the Catholic catechism puts it. Whether you picture a comforting winged angel at your shoulder, or see your guardian angel as more of a metaphor for God’s loving care, great comfort can be found by relaxing into this protection.

TODAY'S READINGS: Nehemiah 2:1-8 (457); Matthew 18:1-5, 10 (650). "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019
Discipleship with backbone

“Sisters, let’s pack our bags,” Mother Guerin’s community responded when a clueless bishop locked her up and tried to excommunicate her for challenging his need to control. Guerin inspired loyalty; the first sisters bonded after landing on the raw Indiana frontier, speaking only French. As if hunger, overturned stagecoaches, financial hardships, and terrible health weren’t trials enough, the bishop believed he owned them. After epic battles, Guerin finally triumphed. A simple frame shed eventually became Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, the country’s oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women. Learn how Guerin’s college empowers students at the website: .edu.

TODAY'S READINGS: Nehemiah 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12; Luke 10:1-12 (458). “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.”

Friday, Oct 04, 2019
Faithful to the end

Saint Francis of Assisi gave us two kinds of crosses. One is the San Damiano Cross, depicting the Crucifixion and its witnesses. It replicates the cross Francis prayed to when God said, “Rebuild my church.” The other is the simple T-shaped tau cross, made of wood—reminding us to be flexible and humble—which is the final letter of the old Hebrew alphabet (as omega is in Greek, when we say Christ is “Alpha and Omega”). Francis loved the tau and used it as his seal. The prophet Ezekiel said that those faithful to God at the end would be marked with a tau. Remember this Beatitude: Those who are last will be first with God.

TODAY'S READINGS: Baruch 1:15-22; Luke 10:13-16 (459). “Will you be exalted to heaven?”

Saturday, Oct 05, 2019
Good medicine

Born in Bavaria, Francis Xavier Seelos joined the Redemptorists to serve as a missionary to German immigrants in the United States. By all accounts he flourished in ministry—and did so with a kind and cheerful attitude. After being stationed in New Orleans, however, he contracted yellow fever caring for the ill and died at the age of 48 in 1867. Imagine the suffering that could have been avoided if the yellow fever vaccine had been available then. So it is disconcerting today to see the anti-vaccine movement grow so strong. The World Health Organization identifies this movement as one of the top 10 global health threats of 2019, all the more troubling given the overwhelming scientific consensus about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. God gave us intelligence so that we might use it to alleviate suffering in the world. Get the facts and talk to those who have been swayed by baseless claims.

TODAY'S READINGS: Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29; Luke 10:17-24 (460). “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.”

Sunday, Oct 06, 2019
Valuing all of life

We desire happiness and avoid suffering. We might turn the page quickly on the faces of hungry children or cross the street to escape an encounter with the homeless. The prophet Habakkuk objected to the sight of violence and misery in his generation. If the anguish was so apparent to him, why did God not see it too and respond? God does respond—in sending ambassadors of divine will to act. This Respect Life Month, how will you respond in Jesus’ name?

TODAY'S READINGS: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10 (141). “Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery?”

Monday, Oct 07, 2019
​Mother of Mercy, pray for us

To some, the Rosary can seem like a static form of prayer. In reality, Catholics pray a form of the Dominican Rosary that’s been evolving since the 1400s. In 1917 the Fatima Prayer was included. In 2002, John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries—used on Thursdays—joining three other sets of mysteries as meditations on the life of Jesus: Glorious (Sun./Wed.), Joyful (Mon./Sat.), and Sorrowful (Tue./Fri.). What’s more, you can pray merely a decade—10 Hail Marys—on your own or as part of a Rosary Circle. You can pray it with beads or your own 10 fingers. You can pray with others as you go running or kneel at church with parishioners. No matter how you pray the Rosary, the concluding “Hail Holy Queen” reminds us that Mary is our life, our sweetness, and our hope as we strive to emulate her mercy.

TODAY'S READINGS: Jonah 1:1-2:2, 11; Luke 10:25-37 (461). “He answered, ‘The one who treated him with mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ ”

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2019
Balance your Martha with your Mary

People who look after practical details often feel bad when they recognize themselves as Martha in today’s reading. However, Catholicism has long made room for both the practical and the prayerful, and ideally we integrate the two. For instance, monks pray frequently but must spend part of each day on income-producing work. Likewise parents with small children can be intensely busy but routinely fold those small fingers together for prayer at meals and day’s end. No matter our station in life, we can keep marrying the focus of Martha with the focus of Mary by pausing during the day to lift our lives to God.

TODAY'S READINGS: Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 10:38-42 (462). “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2019
Your life is your most effective witness

Saint Denis—first bishop of Paris and patron saint of France—was so gifted at winning people over to Christ that he and two fellow missionaries provoked the ire of local leaders, leading to their martyrdom. Depictions of Denis in iconography—a cephalophore (“head-carrier”) saint, his head held in his hands—remind us that Christian faith is so much more than a head trip, asking us to commit our hearts, and perhaps our very lives, to the radical love Jesus preached. Saint Denis, pray for us.

TODAY'S READINGS: Jonah 4:1-11; Luke 11:1-4 (463). “Do not subject us to the final test."

Thursday, Oct 10, 2019
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

In 1893 Francis Thompson published his famous poem “The Hound of Heaven” about God’s relentless pursuit of the human heart—a love story, in verse, that captured the imagination of Catholic literary greats G.K. Chesterton and J.R.R. Tolkien. But as Jesus reminds us today, it’s OK to be as persistent in return. Like the man who bangs on a friend’s door in the middle of the night, begging a favor, our pestering of God always pays off. Saint Teresa of Avila knew this love story well: “This Beloved of ours is merciful and good. Besides, he so deeply longs for our love that he keeps calling us to come closer.” Which is why she also said this about prayer: “You pay God a compliment by asking great things of him.” Go ahead. Knock.

TODAY'S READINGS: Malachi 3:13-20b; Luke 11:5-13 (464). “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Friday, Oct 11, 2019
Beauty more than skin deep

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born in 1881 in Italy, the fourth of 13 children. He reigned as pope from 1958 to his death in 1963. He is best known for convening the Second Vatican Council. Earlier in his career, when he was made apostolic nuncio to France, a rival for the position characterized him as an “old fogey.” And when he first saw himself in the mirror in his new papal vestments, he remarked "this man will be a disaster on television!” Remembering this “old fogey” saint, pray today for someone you know who may not measure up to cultural standards of beauty but is beatified in God’s eyes.

TODAY'S READINGS: Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2; Luke 11:15-26 (465). “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

Saturday, Oct 12, 2019
Mother Mary comes to me

Fridays are traditionally the day for Catholics to remember Christ’s Passion and death. Sundays are always our celebration of his Resurrection. So where does that leave us with Saturdays, the day in between? According to the great saints Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, and Bonaventure, it leaves us remembering Mary—as the one who never left Jesus’s side, a mother cradling his body at the foot of the cross the way she cradled him as an infant. The church honors Mary as the greatest disciple and our steadfast mother by setting aside every Saturday that isn’t already claimed by another saint’s observance. Trust that she never leaves your side, either, by remembering to pray the today.

TODAY'S READINGS: Joel 4:12-21; Luke 11:27-28 (466). “A woman from the crowd called out and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that carried you.’ ”

Sunday, Oct 13, 2019
A grateful heart goes a long way

In a somewhat unscientific survey, Jesus noted that nine out of 10 people fail to be grateful even in circumstances of wonderful fortune. We might all take a lesson from A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh: “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” Our small hearts are capable of holding whatever we choose to store there: resentment or forgiveness; past injuries or present opportunities; envy for what others have or appreciation for all that is ours. The ability to be grateful is a sign of mental wellness. Choose thankfulness.

TODAY'S READINGS: 2 Kings 5:14-17; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19 (144). “Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Monday, Oct 14, 2019
To err is human

Callistus was a pope who was once a slave—and made some mistakes in his life, including losing his master’s money, running away to avoid punishment, and brawling with debtors. It’s only natural that he would have a forgiving nature toward sinners, for which he was sharply criticized by his enemies and eventually martyred. During this Respect Life Month, remember Callistus as we pray for the abolishment of the death penalty, which our bishops teach is an affront to the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person.

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 1:1-7; Luke 11:29-32 (467). “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it.”

Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019
The soul has boundless capacity

When religion consisted mostly of externals and clergy were the only intermediaries to God, Teresa directed attention within, saying “We are not hollow inside;” the soul’s amplitude could never be exaggerated. A “late bloomer,” she reformed the Carmelites, wrote The Interior Castle, danced gracefully around the Inquisition, and became the first woman doctor of the church. Spend a few minutes thinking of yourself in Teresa’s metaphor, as a beautiful castle, the dwelling for a good Sovereign at the very center.

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 1:16-25; Luke 11:37-41 (468). “But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019
Love compels us

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was a 17th-century sister often “visited by the presence of God.” Those who experience divine visions tend to have their detractors and Margaret Mary did indeed face criticism from other sisters and some priests. Nonetheless, she developed a devotion to Jesus’ Sacred Heart that the church practices even today. While some may think of this devotion as contemplation of an image of the Sacred Heart, it actually encourages active imitation of Jesus’ unconditional love and mercy for every human being. Look for a way today to imitate that Divine love.

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 2:1-11; Luke 11:42-46 (469). “But there will be glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good.”

Thursday, Oct 17, 2019
The ending of poverty must always be with us

Today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, inspired by Father Joseph Wresinski (1917-88). Born into poverty himself, he became a priest, served those in emergency housing in France, and started an international movement to fight poverty in collaboration with the poor themselves. His goal was to unite everyone, in all walks of life, around those in extreme poverty. In the words of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, “Let us remember that ending poverty is not a matter of charity, but a question of justice.”

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 3:21-30; Luke 11:47-54 (470). “You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”

Friday, Oct 18, 2019
Eat, drink, and be Jesus

Jesus may have been the first foodie of the Christian era, at least according to the Gospel of Luke. Throughout the gospel, it seems Jesus is on his way to a meal, at a meal, or returning from a meal! His critics insulted him for this, calling him a glutton and a drunk. Luke highlights Jesus’ love of meals, not for the food, but because of his radical commitment to welcoming all to the table. No one was excluded, no one went hungry. It was a place where Jesus could teach the people and share life and nourishment with them. How is the table a place of hospitality in your life?

TODAY'S READINGS: 2 Timothy 4:10-17b; Luke 10:1-9 (661). “Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you.”        

Saturday, Oct 19, 2019
Witness with respect

John de Brébeuf had a singular talent for languages and spent much of his time with the Huron people learning theirs, from his arrival to what was then part of “New France” in present-day Canada in 1625 to his martyrdom in 1649. He spent years studying the native language and culture and translating as best he could between two very different worldviews and sets of beliefs. Though the record of missionaries to the “New World” (“new” to them, that is) is a mixed one, we can honor the memory of those who with sincere hearts tried to communicate the love of Christ to people in language they could understand.

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 4:13, 16-18; Luke 12:8-12 (472). “Everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.”

Sunday, Oct 20, 2019
We’re stronger together

Most things are easier when shared. We stick to the diet if our spouse commits to it. We exercise with more discipline if a friend meets us at the gym. Working late is less lonely if others in the office agree to put in the extra hours. Is it any wonder Moses can raise his hands in prayer longer if he has company in his exhausting vigil? As the church observes World Mission Sunday, we recall the great commission we share to bring good news to all the earth. Together, we can bring light to all the dark places.

TODAY'S READINGS: Exodus 17:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:14—4:2; Luke 18:1-8 (147). “Aaron and Hur supported [Moses’] hands, one on one side and one on the other.”

Monday, Oct 21, 2019
Let’s care about those who care for

This is Pastoral Care Week, first held in 1985 by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains to honor all spiritual caregivers. The celebration is an opportunity for everyone to recognize the ministry caregivers provide—in hospitals, prisons, businesses, military settings, healthcare settings, schools, and more throughout the world. This week is also a chance for chaplains and pastoral care counselors, educators, and providers to share their stories. Express your appreciation to the spiritual caregivers in your life, and visit .org for more resources on how to participate.

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 4:20-25; Luke 12:13-21 (473). “This night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019
People, get ready

If the Lord came today, would you be ready to meet him? Or would you want more time to align your life with his? Take these questions seriously because you never know what the day holds. If you feel out of whack with the Lord and too focused on things of this world, consider this prayer of Saint Ignatius Loyola as a way to get ready: “Take Lord and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will . . . . whatever I have you have given me; I restore it all to you and surrender it wholly . . . . give me only your love and your grace.”

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 5:12,15b,17-19,20b-21; Luke 12:35-38 (474). “Be ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.”

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019
To heal the past we acknowledge it

John of Capistrano (1386-1456), preacher, theologian, and Franciscan reformer, was also a leading proponent of the antisemitism that sadly has infected much of church history. During his era, Jews faced restrictions on where they could live and what they could own, were required to dress in a way that signaled they were Jews, and at times faced violent pogroms incited by fiery preachers such as John. As we acknowledge past shortcomings, let us remain vigilant to contemporary resurgences of intolerance in any form. The reform we need begins here and now, in our hearts.

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 6:12-18; Luke 12:39-48 (475). “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Thursday, Oct 24, 2019
Light your fire

In scripture, fire often signals God's presence, notably the burning bush Moses encounters and the tongues of fire that appear above the disciples at Pentecost. Fire also signifies a disciple's zeal for the faith. “An apostolic missionary must have both a heart and tongue ablaze with charity,” said Saint Anthony Claret, founder of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary order, better known as the Claretians. For the past 170 years, Claretian missionaries have spread the gospel message around the world, primarily through preaching and parish work, social justice advocacy, education, and publishing. The Claretian logo carries a flame to remind all Christians of their call to unceasingly expend themselves “to light the fire of divine love in the world.” Take steps to flame the passion of your faith today.

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53 (476). “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”

Friday, Oct 25, 2019
Paul gets it

Who has not felt the anguish of Paul in today’s first reading, unable to overcome his own vices? He’s so disgusted with himself, he wonders, “Who will deliver me from this mortal body?” Although Paul hints that he’d like to be pure spirit, over and over our faith ties body and soul closely together, resting on the foundation that Christ became flesh. Our bodies may fail us, but they “are temples of the Holy Spirit.” If your body has let you down through illness or sin, know that you keep company with Paul, and perhaps ask Paul’s intercession. He understands.

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 7:18-25a; Luke 12:54-59 (477). “I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self.”

Saturday, Oct 26, 2019
Think about it

Catholics proclaim the Nicene Creed on most Sundays when we gather to celebrate the Mass. Spoken in one voice as individuals within a community, it is how we claim the core beliefs of our faith. With the final words, we profess belief in the holy, catholic, apostolic Church, and in one Baptism for the forgiveness of sin. The final sentence is: “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” Here is the question: Do I really look forward to the life of the world to come?

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 8:1-11; Luke 13:1-9 (478). “Lord, this is the people who longs to see your face.”

Sunday, Oct 27, 2019
Judgment is a boomerang

Judge not or you’ll be judged, as scripture tells us. We’re also put on notice that the measure we use against others is the one we’re choosing for ourselves. This is why Saint John Climacus insists that to condemn another person is to ruin our own souls. Francis de Sales observes: “If your heart is gentle, your judgment will be gentle”—no surprise from the patron saint of compassionate counsel. Doctor of the church Catherine of Siena put it plainly: “The habit of judging keeps the soul far from Thee.” The jury is in: Judgment is out!

TODAY'S READINGS: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14 (150). “ ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity.’ ”

Monday, Oct 28, 2019
It helps to have friends in low places

Everyone at one time or another has probably felt like a lost cause and a desperate case. Lucky for us, we have a patron saint: Saint Jude the Apostle. He became patron of the lost because he was neglected for a long time when it came to Catholic veneration: Little is known about him and his name is unsettlingly close to that of Judas Iscariot. Eventually it was thought that Jude would seize any opportunity to help and became the saint to turn to when situations become especially dire. When you’re at your lowest, he’s there to remind you that Christ is there with you too.

TODAY'S READINGS: Ephesians 2:19-22; Luke 6:12-16 (666). “Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.”

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2019
Forging a difficult peace

Saint Marcellus, a Roman centurion who cast aside sword and armor to serve Christ and the cause of peace, was killed for his audacity. His last words to his judge, “May God be good to you,” indicate he’d also made peace within. Are we at peace with ourselves, abandoning the self-criticism and “shoulds,” and with those around us and closest to us, who—let’s face it—at times can be so annoying!? Imagine a conversation between Marcellus and the leaders of Pax Christi International (.net), a Catholic peace movement with 120 member organizations. What areas in the world might they identify where peace is most at risk?

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 8:18-25; Luke 13:18-21 (480). “Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.”

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019
Preparing for paradox

A fundamental principle of God’s reign as announced by Jesus is a paradox: The lowly will rise, the high and mighty will fall. It carries over into other familiar gospel images: The blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the virgin conceives. Our Blessed Mother echoes the theme in her Magnificat: “He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.” Wisdom, therefore, dictates that we position ourselves advantageously for the coming of the Kingdom. It’s like cleaning out your house before a move. What passing worldly value can you get rid of today to better prepare you for the eternal reign of God?

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 8:26-30; Luke 13:22-30 (481). “For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Thursday, Oct 31, 2019
God lights the darkness

It’s Halloween, the day we spoof evil spirits by dressing up like them. We roam around in the dark to show we are not afraid. Today’s gospel, though, reminds us of the fear created by a cruel despot like Herod who stands ready to kill Jesus. Regardless of our Halloween rituals, such fear still lives in the world. Our faith that nothing can separate us from the love of God is what prepares us to cope with it. Today as you don a costume or give a treat to a trickster, recall that core belief of God’s abiding presence.

TODAY'S READINGS: Romans 8:31b-39; Luke 13:31-35 (482). “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Friday, Nov 01, 2019
Family reunion—Christian style!

Everybody loves a big reunion with loved ones—the joy of seeing one another, telling stories, and of course the food and fun! The Solemnity of All Saints is exactly like this, Francis said. “We are united with all the saints: not only the most well-known . . . but also those ‘next door,’ our family members and acquaintances who are now part of that great multitude. Therefore, today is a family celebration. The saints are close to us, indeed they are our truest brothers and sisters. They understand us, love us, know what is truly good for us, help us and await us.” With whom do you celebrate today?

TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12a (667). “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

Saturday, Nov 02, 2019
Leave the door open

A variety of cultures and traditions approach this time of year with a special reverence for those who have come before us and passed beyond us. In northern nations, perhaps the reflective mood is prompted by the shortening days and lengthening darkness, as brightly colored autumn leaves wither and brown and fall to the ground. Ancients saw it as a time when the veil between this world and the afterword briefly lifted, the doorway between the worlds cracked opened. Take a moment today to reflect on your ancestors going back generations who passed on their faith, hope, and love to you. Pray for their peaceful repose in the loving embrace of the Timeless One.

TODAY'S READINGS: Wisdom 3:1-9; Romans 5:5-11 or 6:3-9; John 6:37-40 (668). “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts.”





















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