25 November 2018

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for surrounding us with the mantle of Your love during dark moments.

Msgr. Pope on True Thanksgiving

"One of the dangers in presenting New Testament moral teaching is reducing the Gospel to a moralism, a rule to follow using the power of one's own flesh. This is an incorrect notion because for a Christian, the moral life is not merely achieved; it is received. The moral life is not an imposition; it is a gift from God.

"The Gospel chosen for Thanksgiving Day features the familiar story of the ten lepers who are healed by Jesus, but only one of whom returns to thank Him. The ingratitude of the other nine prompts an irritable response from Jesus, who more than suggests that they also should have returned to give thanks. Reading this Gospel on the surface, it is easy to conclude that it is a moralism about being thankful to God and others. Well, that's all well and good, but simply reminding people of a rule of polite society isn't really the Gospel. 

"True thankfulness is receiving from God a deeply grateful heart so that we do not merely say thank you in a perfunctory way, but are deeply moved with gratitude. We are not merely being polite or justly rendering a debt of obligation; we actually are grateful from the heart. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the basis for a deepening awareness of gratitude, which can help open us more fully to this gift.

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit:

Community in Mission: True Thanksgiving Isn’t Just Something We Do; It's Something That Happens to Us (21 NOV 18)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Men and women bear God's image within and are the object of His infinite love, in whatever condition they were called into existence." - Pope Francis

24 November 2018

On the Return of Independent Book Stores

"A growing number of shoppers will be supporting their independent neighborhood bookstores on Small Business Saturday. After nearly being wiped out a decade ago, small bookstores are booming.

"Dane Neller, the owner of Shakespeare & Co. in New York City, just opened his third indie bookstore, and he's proving the naysayers wrong

"'Bookstores are back and they're back in a big way,' he said. 'I'm not giving to to hyperbole -- it was record-breaking for us.'

A recent CBS Morning News report profiled the return of independent book stores (ed. note: something I'm very happy to see).

To access the complete CBS Morning News report, please visit:

CBS News: Small bookstores are booming after nearly being wiped out (24 NOV 18)

Small Business Saturday

A number of communities throughout this region and the rest of the nation are urging residents to save some energy (and money) by turning out to support locally-based, small businesses today,  Saturday, 24 November - Small Business Saturday (the business day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

This promotion has been initiated for a number of reasons:

  • It supports the type of independent, unique businesses that make local communities vibrant and distinct places.
  • It keeps spending and tax revenue local, verses having them “leaking” out to neighboring jurisdictions.
  • Profits go to local owners instead of national headquarters located somewhere else.
  • It helps demonstrate that local government is supportive and invested in local business success.
Small Business Saturday, which was established by American Express in 2010, is an effort to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. According to American Express, over 100 million people came out last year to shop at independently-owned small businesses during Small Business Saturday.

For more information about this observance, please visit:

Small Business Saturday

Facebook: Small Business Saturday

U.S. Small Business Administration: Small Business Saturday

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of small businesses and their contribution to the communities.

John Grondelski on the Solemnity of Christ the King

"In the current Roman Calendar, the Church year ends every year with the Solemnity of Christ the King. In the Church's calendar, it is something of a new celebration. Pope Pius XI instituted it in 1925, amid growing secularism and totalitarianism on the part of states that claimed total allegiance over their citizens: the Pope wanted to underscore that all men owed allegiance first and foremost to God. Pius XI had every reason to fear the omnicompetent state: as papal nuncio in Poland, he witnessed the 1920 Battle of Warsaw, where Bolshevik hoards were turned back in their march west to communize Europe. By the time Pius issued Quas primas, the encyclical establishing the feast, Mussolini had been in power three years and was coming up on the anniversary of his abolition of any pretense to democracy in Italy.

"Pius originally put the feast on the last Sunday of October. The 1969 reform of the Roman Calendar gave it greater prominence by making it the final Sunday of the Church year, displacing the earlier arrangement where the last Gospel of the liturgical year focused on the Last Judgment. We conclude the Church year by recognizing, as the blessing of the Paschal Candle on Holy Saturday reminds us, that 'all time belongs to Him//and all the ages//to Him be glory and power through every age forever, Amen!' (See also today's Second Reading, Revelation 1:8)."

In a recent commentary, writer John M. Grondelski reflected on the Church's celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (which this year will be celebrated tomorrow, 25 November).

To access Mr. Grondelski's complete essay, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Blogs: John Grondelski: A Kingdom of Truth and Life (24 NOV 18)

Reflection Starter from William Arthur Ward

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." - William Arthur Ward

21 November 2018

Charles Ives: A Symphony: New England Holidays

In anticipation of the upcoming celebration of Thanksgiving Day, I offer this version of Charles Ives' A Symphony: New England Holidays as presented by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra:

Note: This symphony has four movements. The four movements in order are:
   I. Washington's Birthday,
   II. Decoration Day,
   III. The Fourth of July, and
   IV. Thanksgiving and Forefathers' Day

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity for family gatherings during the holiday season.

Marcel LeJeune on Dos and Don'ts in Evangelization

In a recent Catholic Missionary Disciples commentary, writer Marcel LeJeune offered a number of recommendations for to consider when evangelizing - including actions one should take and actions one should not take.

To access the complete Catholic Missionary Disciples post, please visit:

Catholic Missionary Disciples: 22 Dos and Don'ts in Evangelization

Reflection Starter from William James

"Begin to be now what you will be hereafter." – William James

Johann Pachelbel: Canon in D

As we continue to live thid week, I offer this version of Jean-Francois Paillard and Kanon Orchestre de Chambre presenting Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D:

20 November 2018

National Farm-City Week

This week, the week of 16-22 November, is National Farm-City Week. It is a time designed to remind urban, suburban, and rural residents of their interdependence and of those working in agriculture to supply "markets and families with fresh, healthy food."

Background information:

American Farm Bureau Federation

Farm Credit Knowledge Center: Celebrating National Farm City Week

Connecticut Department of Agriculture

UCONN Extension: Farm to Community

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management: Division of Agriculture

Farm Fresh Rhode Island

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of warm homes.

Angelo Stagnaro on Remembering that We Will Die

". . . In ancient Rome, triumphant Roman generals would command a slave to whisper in his ear the phrase, 'Memento mori. Remember you will die' as the general received the adulations of the crowds. The practice kept the general humbled and grounded. The phrase is meant to remind Christians of their own mortality with a strong emphasis on death, Divine Judgment, Heaven, Hell and the salvation of the soul. To the Christian, the prospect of death serves to emphasize the vapid and ephemeral nature of earthly pleasures, luxuries, titles and achievements. By so keeping one's mortality and the uncertainty of the time of one's death in mind, it thus becomes an invitation to focus on the afterlife. As Scripture teaches us:

"Whatever you do, remember that someday you must die. As long as you keep this in mind, you will never sin. (Sirach 7:36)."

In a recent commentary, writer Angelo Stagnaro reflected on the need to plan well for our deaths by living Christ-centered lives.

To access Mr. Stagnaro's complete post, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Blogs: Angelo Stagnaro: Memento Mori - Remember You Will Die (9 NOV 18)

Reflection Starter from Charles Dickens

"Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." - Charles Dickens

19 November 2018

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of laughter in our lives.

Bishop Tobin on Life as a Mosaic

"A few weeks ago I was driving to work when I got caught in a horrendous traffic jam, a back-up caused by a two-car accident further down the highway.

"While sitting there stewing, growing increasingly impatient and irritated, I said under my breath, 'Man, if I had been just ten minutes earlier I could have avoided this whole mess, this stupid accident.' And then it occurred to me - if I had been ten minutes earlier I might have been involved IN the accident. I was humbled and chastened. 'Sorry, Lord,' I prayed. 'Sorry for being so impatient, selfish and short-sighted.'

"It was a valuable lesson for me. It reminded me that at any particular moment if we focus too much on just one little problem or crisis, we might overlook the broader perspective; we might lose sight of the bigger picture."

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on God is the Divine Artist who has designed the mosaic of our lives and what this means..

To access Bishop Tobin's complete essay, please visit:

The Imitation of Christ: Life as a Mosaic (1 NOV18)

Reflection Starter from Victor Hugo

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." - Victor Hugo

18 November 2018

"Let All Things Now Living"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of the Hampshire Choral Society and Hampshire Young People's Chorus presenting "Let All Things Now Living":

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; and Mark 13:24-32. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 16 (Psalm 16:5, 8-11).

For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 16 "The Lord, my inheritance and God of all goodness" 

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

"And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

"Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

"But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 18, 2018)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 18, 2018)

Community in Mission: The Word of the Lord Remains Forever! A Homily for the 33rd Sunday of the Year (17 NOV 18)

The Sacred Page: The Final Judgment: Readings for the 33rd Sunday of OT (15 NOV 18)

The Sacred Page: No One Knows the Day or Hour (The Mass Readings Explained) (12 NOV 18)

St. Paul Center: Hope in Tribulation: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Word on Fire: Daniel and the New Kingdom (Cycle B * Ordinary Time * Week 33)

Spirituality of the Readings: Getting Ready for Getting Ready (Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time B) 

In Exile: God's Risk … Our Freedom (Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Let the Scriptures Speak: End-Time: Housekeeping (Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

The Word Encountered: The End Times (Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Historical Cultural Context: Planning For The End (Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Gregory Palamas (Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the multitude of angels and saints around us.

Msgr. Pope on Fixing Our Focus on God, not on the Storms of Life

"There is an old saying, 'Stop telling God how big your storm is and start telling the storm how big your God is.'  In other words, we often need to shift our focus, building up our trust and confidence. Because we are so wired for fear, we tend to overestimate the power and shrewdness of demons, or of our enemies, or of whatever it is we fear. At the same time, we tend to underestimate the power of God, the power of our own resources, the strength that God gives us, and the perduring quality of what is good and true. . . .

"There is a remarkable passage in the Second Book of Kings that draws back the curtain for a moment and shows us a world we seldom see. The passage centers on the prophet Elisha and the King of Syria's attempt to capture and kill him. Elisha is not worried, but his young assistant (or servant) is quite dismayed by the approaching Syrian army:

"When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, 'Alas, my master! What shall we do?' He said, 'Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' Then Elisha prayed and said, 'O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.' So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw:  And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:15-17)."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on Elisha's reminder that "[t]hose who are with us are more than those who are with them" and of the importance of fixing our focus on God, not on the storms of life. 

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit:

Community in Mission: A Word of Encouragement from Elisha the Prophet (13 NOV 18)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Nobody can delude themselves by thinking, 'I'm fine because I'm not doing anything wrong'. To be a follower of Jesus it is not enough not to do wrong, because there is good that we must do!" - Pope Francis

17 November 2018

Harry Belafonte: "Try To Remember"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Harry Belafonte presenting "Try To Remember":

Philip Kosloski on Ending Each Day in a Positive Spirit of Thanksgiving

"After a long, tiresome day, often the last thing we think of is thanking God for what transpired. Yet, the spirit in which we fall asleep can impact subsequent days and if we fall asleep angry or bitter, we will likely wake up angry and bitter.

"St. Ignatius of Loyola has some advice in this regard. He suggests in his Spiritual Exercises to perform a general examination of the day before retiring. Before delving into the various sins or failings of the past day, he advises the soul to express gratitude to God.

"Ignatius writes, 'The first Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits received.'

"This is important, as it forces us to look at our lives in a positive way, from God's perspective. While we may have struggled throughout the day and thought it was horrible, God sees things differently. He allows all sorts of things to occur for our ultimate good and salvation. It is up to us to recognize his providential hand and let him be the driving force in our lives."

In a recent commentary, writer Philip Kosloski reflected on the importance of thanking God daily for His many blessings.

To access Philip's complete post, please visit:

Aleteia: Philip Kosloski: How to end each day in a positive spirit of thanksgiving (16 NOV 18)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for selfless service given by military chaplains.

On Father Willie Doyle

"It was the eleventh hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the armistice ended World War I and became what we now celebrate as Veterans Day.

"'The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes,' Woodrow Wilson wrote to Americans on that day.

"The salvation of souls was one of those 'high purposes' for Irish Jesuit Father Willie Doyle, who served as the chaplain of the 16th Irish Division of the British army during World War I.

"His tenacity in spiritually and physically shepherding the soldiers led him to become a hero and prompted the consideration of his cause for sainthood."

A recent National Catholic Register article profiled Father Doyle and why his cause is being considered.

To access the complete National Catholic Register report, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Father Willie Doyle: World War I's Forgotten 'Martyr of Charity' (10 NOV 18)

Reflection Starter from G. K. Chesterton

"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." - Gilbert K. Chesterton

16 November 2018

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op.13

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op.13", as played by the MusicAeterna orchestra of Perm Opera (Rome, Italy), conducted by Valeriy Platonov:

Br. Bartholomew Calvano, O.P., on St. Albert the Great

In a recent commentary, Brother Bartholomew Calvano, O.P., reflected on St. Albert the Great, whose memory was celebrated by the Church yesterday (15 November).

To access Br. Bartholomew's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: A Humble Love (15 NOV 18)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your great love for each of us.

The Kind of Love God Has For Us

In the Old City of Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa begins at the site where the Roman Empire's Antonia Fortress once stood and where Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to death. It then winds its way along the road to Calvary, where Christ laid down His life to redeem mankind. Pilgrims to the Holy Land have been walking the Via Dolorosa for centuries, and this practice came to inspire the Stations of the Cross, wherein Christ's sacrifice is memorialized through artistic renderings that spiritual pilgrims can experience anywhere in the world.

One of the most unique interpretations of the Stations of the Cross in recent years has been a live performance called The Cross and the Light, a musical production that originated in Detroit several years ago and that continues to be performed upon request around the country and the world.

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Kelly Nieto, creator of The Cross and the Light, recalls her own profound experience with the Stations of the Cross. After a conversion from atheism, she was preparing to become Catholic and attended the stations for the first time. In reflecting on Christ's passion, she became overwhelmed with grief in realizing the depths of His personal sacrifice for her. "It changed me forever," Nieto recalls. "I was inspired to write The Cross and the Light to give millions of other people that same understanding."

Nieto's production began as a stage play, but she eventually adapted it into a musical and it has become a tradition in the Detroit area during Lent. But the stations remain relevant throughout the year, and utilizing the experience to immerse ourselves in the reality of Christ's passion can have a transformative effect on the soul, especially during times of suffering. Christ wanted to meet each one of us in our suffering and transform us with His love. All it takes for this transformation to take root is a mind willing to contemplate Christ's sacrifice and a heart open to the reality of His love.

Consider this: in the intensity of His suffering, Christ knew every bit of anguish you would face in your life and willingly took on His own suffering and death on the cross in order to connect with you in the deepest way and to raise you up to the hope of eternal life. That's the kind of love God has for us, and we should take the time to contemplate it and allow it to transform our hearts. What does that transformation look like? It looks like our starting to emulate Christ in our relation to others. It looks like our becoming more sacrificial in order to raise those around us up to God.

Nieto's original play culminated in the resurrection, but in adapting it to a musical, she added a second act. "Jesus had resurrected," she told the Register, "but the apostles were still hiding in a locked room." Her second act became "The Empty Tomb to Pentecost" and explored the hope that transformed the world in the aftermath of His resurrection.

The Stations of the Cross point us towards the glorious reality of the empty tomb and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Christ's sacrifice makes possible the ultimate glory God intends for us all. By taking the spiritual journey of walking in His footsteps to Calvary, we demonstrate our appreciation for all He has done for us and awaken within ourselves a deeper relationship with God.

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column by Father Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers' Board of Directors ; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.

Background information:

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from Richard Evans

"Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was." - Richard L. Evans

15 November 2018

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of scientists who seek truth to understand Your created world

Richard Evans on His Return to the Church

"Many of you reading this are familiar with much of my journey and story. If you are, you likely know that I have had more than my share of struggles in my pursuit of Catholicism at her core. That core is chasing holiness. To quote the Baltimore Catechism, which I was raised on, in question 6 of the very 1st lesson: 'Why did God make you? God made me know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.' Simple and obvious, right? Yet it seems to have somewhat eluded me for over 60 years. Or to be more honest I did much of the eluding, at least in large part. . . .

"Prayerfully and humbly I expect that to change going forward. You might ask, as I, in fact, do at times, why I should believe this time to be different. Yet prayerfully it is. In the past, my dalliances were with other forms of what I still considered to be 'catholic' Christianity. I would leave for 2-3 months and come repeatedly back. Then after more mind-bending and overthinking, I would step away again. This time though I was determined that nothing and no one would convince me otherwise, and I relied solely on the gift of reason, which is valid if used properly and not in a vacuum, to bring me forward. I stepped away for nearly a year, studying all types of alternative spiritualities, something I have been familiar with in the past but digging far deeper than before, and they made sense to me. Or at least to my brain. . .

"A few months ago, things came crashing, and in some very unexpected ways. For weeks or even months, I had repeated and vivid nightmares, 2-3 times weekly, about being back in the Church, or at very least being the devoted Christian I once had been. I would often awaken trembling and sensing such loss inside, missing the only place I had ever spiritually been at home - Christ and Rome. A few of those times I nearly came back to my senses upon waking but after a few moments of brushing the cobwebs away, I reasoned my way out of those dreams and rejected the message and warning behind them. In other words, upon awakening, the pursuit of holiness was not so much."

In a recent commentary, writer Richard G. Evans reflected on his return to the Catholic Church

To access Mr. Evans' complete post, please visit:

Catholic Stand: A Foolish Dreamer Awakens in the Church at Last (13 NOV 18)

Reflection Starter from St. Albert the Great

"Natural science does not consist in ratifying what others have said, but in seeking the causes of phenomena." - Saint Albert the Great (patron saint of scientists), whose memory the Church celebrates today (15 November)

14 November 2018

Guy Penrod and David Phelps: "It Is Well With My Soul"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Guy Penrod and David Phelps presenting "It Is Well With My Soul":

Anthony Esolen on Life Lessons Learned from Classic Films

A recent essay by Professor Anthony Esolen, teaching fellow and writer in residence at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts, Merrimack, New Hampshire, reflected on ways to bring the word of life to a dead culture by means of classic films.

To access Professor Esolen's complete post, please visit:

Crisis Magazine: Life Lessons Learned from Hollywood's Golden Age (30 OCT 18)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for inspirations to show gratitude in all areas of our lives.

Tom Hoopes on Praying and Fasting for the Abuse Crisis

"Feelings are raw with regard to the sex abuse crisis, and I am in no mood to fast for it. I will anyway. . . .

"I have spoken with many people who are too angry at the bishops to fast for them. I felt that way, too. But a friend of mine convinced me to relent. Here is how: 

"First, she said, we fast because the Church needs its credibility back.

"In August, when Pope Francis suggested Catholics fast and pray for the abuse crisis, I had a conversation with two friends about it.

"The first, a new dad, responded - understandably - 'no way.' . . .

"The other friend, a mother of four, was just as passionate.

"'I literally do not understand how a Christian could have that response,' she said. 'What do we think Jesus is doing except hanging on the cross making himself a willing victim for precisely these crimes? The Church's credibility is shot. Part of the Church's penance right now is to hang our heads and absorb the blows, out of love for the people punching.' 

"She said we fast because when the Church crucifies Christ anew, it needs to suffer with Christ anew."

In a recent commentary, Tom Hoopes (writer in residence at Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas) reflected on the importance of prayer and fasting for the Church during its current crisis.

To access Mr. Hoopes' complete essay, please visit:

Catholic Digest: Pray and fast for the abuse crisis, even if it makes you mad

Reflection Starter from Eric Thomas

"Just because it don't look like a blessing, don't mean it ain't a blessing." - Eric Thomas

13 November 2018

The Real Names of Some Fictional Characters

"You've known about most of these beloved characters for years, but how well do you really know them? Here's your chance to get better acquainted."

In a recent Mental Floss post, writer Stacy Conradt offered the real names of characters we meet in products (Officer Edgar Mallory on the Monopoly "Go Directly to Jail" spot), comic strips (Patricia Reichardt - Peppermint Patty in Peanuts), toys (Barbara Millicent Roberts - the doll Barbie), commercials (Bibendum - the Michelin Man), and elsewhere.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Mental Floss: The Real Names of 42 Fictional Characters (5 NOV 18)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of our memories and the treasures they hold.

Bro. Jordan Zajac, O.P., on Being Roused by Hope

"Sometimes we confuse what God wants with what we think God wants or expects from us.

"Take prayer, for example. It's disappointing when you try to pray but all you do is doze off. You might wonder after waking, What must God think of that poor effort? Why did I even bother? 

"In those times when, by our standards, we find cause for discouragement, the saints discover a reason to hope all the more. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Jordan Zajac, O.P., reflected on St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her hope even when she falls asleep when praying.

To access Br. Jordan's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Roused by Hope (13 NOV 18)

Reflection Starter

"Memories build a bridge between a mind and heart, and they should be preserved." - from Hallmark Movies and Mysteries: Magical Christmas Ornaments

12 November 2018

100th Anniversary of End of World War I

Yesterday, 11 November 2018, was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I (known at the time as the Great War or the War to End All Wars). The armistice that led to the cessation of hostilities took effect at 11:00 AM - the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Related media reports:

Catholic News Agency: Pope Francis marks World War I centenary with message of peace (11 NOV 18)

USA Today Picture Gallery: Marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I

Boston Globe: The Big Picture: 100th anniversary of the end of WWI

Reuters: U.S. marks 100th anniversary of end to WWI with poppies, Bells of Peace (11 NOV 18)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Day to honor veterans also marks 100th anniversary of World War I's end (11 NOV 18)

Purduettes: "Armed Forces Medley"

As we continue our observance of Veterans Day, I offer this version of the Purdue University Purduettes presenting the U.S. "Armed Forces Medley":

A Veterans Day Remembrance

As we observe the Veterans Day holiday today, I offer these reflections:

To Bend Light: Veterans Day Prayers (10 NOV 11)

YouTube:  Patriotic Tribute~Thank You

YouTube: Never Forget

Christopher Closeup: Airborne Ranger Infantry (10 NOV 12)

A big thank you and a salute to all those who have and are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces!!!

Background information:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Veterans Day

Facebook: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs

Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services

Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services

New Hampshire State Office of Veterans Services

Rhode Island Office of Veterans Affairs

Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of those who selflessly serve the nation and her people.

Denver Deaon's Experience in Concentration Camps

"Witold Engel was living his Catholic faith at the age of nine years old in a place no one could ever imagine - Auschwitz concentration camp.

"As a prisoner during the Holocaust, Witold watched as a priest who had smuggled in a rosary was beaten to death by an S.S. soldier in the camp. A Jewish man close to the scene yelled at the S.S. man to put the dying priest out of his misery. The soldier shot them both.

"Witold couldn't take it anymore.

"'I stood up and I said to him, 'Shame on you. You should turn to God instead of butchering people here.'

"'He looked at me and said, 'You Polish cockroach. I'll crush you with my boot.'' Right when the soldier took out his gun to kill Witold, another soldier came to bring the S.S. man to the commandant.

"'I was safe,' said Witold. 'I guess the Lord was with me.'

A recent Denver Catholic article profiled retired Deacon Witold Engel and his experiences during World War II.

To access the complete Denver Catholic report, please visit:

Denver Catholic: Denver deacon recounts miraculous story of surviving the Holocaust (7 NOV 18)

Reflection Starter from John F. Kennedy

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy

11 November 2018

"I Sought the Lord"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of "I Sought the Lord":

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are 1 Kings 17:10-16, Hebrews 9:24-28, and Mark 12:38-44. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 146 (Psalm 146:7-10).

 For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:
YouTube: Psalm 146: Praise the Lord, My Soul (Mark Haas)
The Gospel reading is as follows:
In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 11, 2018)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 11, 2018)

Community in Mission: The Paradox of Poverty - A Homily for the 32nd Sunday of the Year (10 NOV 18)

Crossroads Initiative: Widow's Mite, Widow's Meal - the Beauty of Hidden Gifts

The Deacon's Bench: The widow's 'might': Homily for November 11, 2018, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (10 NOV 18)

The Sacred Page: Acting on Faith: Readings for 32nd Sunday in OT (6 NOV 18)

The Sacred Page: The Widow's Two Cents (The Mass Readings Explained) (5 NOV 18)

St. Paul Center: The Widows' Faith: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Word on Fire: A Tale of Two Widows (Cycle B * Ordinary Time * Week 32)

Spirituality of the Readings: Trust (Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

In Exile: Our Attitude Towards Wealth (Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Women Who Loved Too Much? (Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

The Word Encountered: When There Seems Nothing Left (Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Historical Cultural Context: Scribes and Widows (Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Paulinus of Nola (Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the ways, according to Your will, in which You answer our prayers.

Msgr. Pope on God Bringing about Great Things via Small Things

"There is a notion that ushering in reform or change requires large numbers, majority percentages, and the like, but a passage from the First Book of Maccabees reminds us that Heaven's math is not always ours:

"But Judas said: 'It is easy for many to be overcome by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few; for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven. With great presumption and lawlessness, they come against us to destroy us and our wives and children and to despoil us; but we are fighting for our lives and our laws. He himself will crush them before us; so do not be afraid of them.' When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly upon Seron and his army, who were crushed before him. (1 Mac 3:20-24)

"Intensity, dedication, perseverance, and fortitude often win the day even when sheer numbers are lacking. Water spread over a large area quickly becomes a stagnant pond but focused in a narrow channel it can be a mighty stream." 

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on God having a plan to restore His Church in  times like these and on God reminding us to walk humbly with Him, living the faith, and tending the vineyard He has given us. 

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit: 

Community in Mission: All Things, Small and Great (8 NOV 18)