31 July 2020

Carl Stamitz: Symphony In E-Flat major

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Carl Stamitz's Symphony In E-Flat major, as presented by the Chamber Orchestra of the Electoral Palatinate, conducted by Klaus Peter-Hahn:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for opportunities to connect with You each day.

Friendships Help Us Discover Christ

In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis observes that, for those who seek out Christian friendships, there are no coincidences in regard to who we encounter in life, and with whom we find common ground and ultimately strike up lasting relationships. Lewis writes, "A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, 'Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you,' can truly say to every group of Christian friends, 'Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.' Those friendships are the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others."

God has reasons for placing us in each other's lives. We strike up friendships for various reasons. Sometimes it is because we have a lot in common and our friendship becomes a celebration of those things we hold dear. But sometimes we come from very different backgrounds and our friendship forms over a need to discover some new insight that can only be encountered by venturing beyond our comfort zone. No matter the circumstances, friendship is not just an experience of enjoying the company of others. At its best, friendship is an opportunity to discover Christ.

The Christopher News Note "Making a Friend of Jesus" points to the lives of the saints as a guide for cultivating a friendship with Jesus. Saint Catherine of Siena grew so close to Christ that she conversed with Him throughout her day. When she prayed the "Glory Be" prayer, she addressed Christ directly, saying, "Glory Be to the Father, and to You, and to the Holy Spirit."

Saint Alphonsus Liguori encouraged this kind of conversational approach to prayer, writing, "Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fear - of everything that concerns you. Converse with Him confidently and frankly; for God is not wont to speak to a soul that does not speak to Him."

Saint Francis of Assisi's desire for closeness with Christ led him to abandon the wealth of this world for a life of poverty. This was a tremendous leap to abandon his social status and the friendships that naturally came with that status. Yet, Francis was met with the most amazing blessings of friendship within this new life because so many people wanted to follow his example. The story of Francis reminds us that when we put Christ first, even if that entails distancing ourselves from certain social scenes accompanied by a life of status, we awaken ourselves to much deeper and more fulfilling friendships.God brings us together because He wants us to help each other get to heaven.

Discovering, as C.S. Lewis says, "the beauties of others" enables us to recognize the presence of God in each human soul. That recognition can guide our interactions with all people we meet and make us aware that we are greeting Christ each time we encounter another person. It is this awareness that deepens our friendship with Christ because He wants to be found within the souls of all children of God and most especially in the weak, the vulnerable, and the outcast. So we should cultivate strong friendships, and in this way, we will learn how to discover Christ in others and allow others to discover Christ within ourselves.

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 St. Ignatius of Loyola

"The man who sets about making others better is wasting his time, unless he begins with himself." - Saint Ignatius of Loyola, whose memory the Church celebrates today (31 July)

30 July 2020

Earl Lewis and The Channels: "The Closer You Are"

It's time for some more doo wop. Here is a presentation of "The Closer You Are" by Earl Lewis & The Channels:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of cooling rain in the summer.

Fr. Longenecker on a Christian Response to Irrational Rage

"When faced with the new horrors confronting our world today one comes back time and again to ask 'Why'?

"First of all we consider the enemy. Within the world there is an irrational rage that surges out into violence. One cannot enter into any kind of discussion with such violent and irrational rage.

"When faced with it I am reminded of the sub human beasts in the film I Am Legend. There was no reasoning with them. They were demon possessed, and demons, by definition, are unable to reason. They are beyond reason because they are creatures of the lie and their Father is the Father of Lies.

This is the irrational rage which has always thrown itself, howling, vociferous and vicious at the children of Light. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Greenville, SC) reflected on a Christian response to irrational rage and on why "only the Catholic faith continues to celebrate and bring into the present moment every day the one, full, final sacrifice of the Cross."

To access Fr. Longenecker's complete post, please visit:

Fr. Dwight Longenecker: The Result of Irrational Rage (17 JUL 20)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Bl. Solanus Casey

"We must be faithful to the present moment or we will frustrate the plan of God for our lives." - Blessed Solanus Casey

29 July 2020

Midtown: "Spider-Man Theme"

It's time for some more barbershop harmony. Here is a presentation of the "Spider-Man Theme" by Midtown:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of meteor showers.

Thomas Croteau, S.J., on Lessons from St. Martha

". . . Faced with tragedy, the Christian reaction is properly a mix of anger, sadness, and hope. The choices that have led to suffering provokes our anger, which is way Jeremiah and Jesus also reacted to injustice. Yet, as we turn to those who are suffering, hearts that have been sensitized by the Lord will feel the weight of sadness, of compassion for those who have been subjected to injustices. Sadness alone can often lead to despair and inaction. Fostering anger at injustice can lead to a forgetfulness of the humanity of those who committed injustices, and ultimately lead us ourselves to acts contrary to God's justice. . . ."

As the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Martha today, Thomas Croteau, S.J., reflected on the importance of turning to Jesus in a special way when we feel our hearts laden with sorrow and anger.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality: Memorial of St. Martha

Reflection Starter from Viktor Frankl

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." - Viktor E. Frankl

28 July 2020

World Nature Conservation Day

Today, 28 July is being observed as World Nature Conservation Day, an initiative designed to to remind humankind about the importance of nature and the need to protect it.

Related media reports:

Government Book Talk: World Nature Conservation Day (28 JUL 20)

MSN: World Nature Conservation Day 2020: History And Significance of The Day (28 JUL 20)

Notre Dame Folk Choir: "Jesus the Lord"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of the Notre Dame Folk Choir presenting "Jesus the Lord":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of songs that touch our hearts.

Br. Louis Bethea, O.P., on "Summertime" and the Important Things in Life

"'Summertime,' the classic opening ballade from George Gershwin's masterpiece, Porgy and Bess, is one of my favorite songs from the first half of the 20th century. Made popular in part by the 'First Lady of Song,' Ella Fitzgerald, in her iconic duet with Louis Armstrong, 'Summertime' is an earthy reflection on the hot Charleston summer. Clara, a young mother, sings to her baby in an attempt to lull him to sleep in the evening twilight. And through the emotive text, Clara sings the beauty of God through her expressive choral tableau. Let's take a short stroll through the simple, yet beautiful lyrics of this evocative aria and reflect on how God reveals himself to us as we ourselves enjoy these dog days of summer."

In a recent commentary, Brother Louis Bethea, O.P., reflected on God's desire is to be with each one of us in heaven for all eternity.

To access Br. Linus' complete reflection, please visit:

Dominicana: Summertime (15 JUL 20)

Reflection Starter from Robert Fulghum

"Every person passing through this life will unknowingly leave something and take something away. Most of this 'something' cannot be seen or heard or numbered. It does not show up in a census. But nothing counts without it." - Robert Fulghum (in All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)

27 July 2020

The Carter Family: "Cowboy Jack"

Music of various types has been interwoven into the history of the United States (going back to the original thirteen colonies). Among this music is the traditional American Cowboy song "Cowboy Jack", presented here by The Carter Family:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for for inspirations to walk and for the blessings You offer us during walks we take.

Philip Kosloski on Bible Verses for Encouragement

"When life events and current news leave us in a depressing mood, one of the best places to turn to for encouragement is the Bible.

"The Bible has hundreds of verses that are meant to encourage us and lift our spirits up when we are feeling down."

In a recent commentary, writer Philip Kosloski offered a few Bible verses that can inspire and encourage us when we need it..

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

Aleteia; Philip Kosloski: 7 Bible verses for encouragement (24 JUL 20)

Reflection Starter from Wilfred Peterson

"Walking uplifts the spirit. Breathe out the poisons of tension, stress, and worry; breathe in the power of God. Send forth little silent prayers of goodwill toward those you meet. Walk with a sense of being a part of a vast universe. Consider the thousands of miles beneath your feet, think of the limitless expanse of space above your head. Walk in awe, wonder and humility. Walk at all times of the day - in the early morning when the world is just waking up, late at night under the stars, along a busy city street at noontime." - Wilfred Peterson (in Bits & Pieces)

26 July 2020

"God Is Working His Purpose Out"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of Our Saviour's Church Choir (Lagos, Nigeria) presenting "God Is Working His Purpose Out":

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Romans 8:28-30; and Matthew 13:44-52. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 119 (Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130).

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

YouTube: Psalm 119: Lord, I Love Your Commands (Guimont setting)

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

"Do you understand all these things?"

They answered, "Yes."

And he replied, "Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sunday Reflections: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time July 26, 2020

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 26, 2020) 

Community in Mission: Give Me Jesus - A Sermon for the 17th Sunday of the Year (25 JUL 20)

St. Paul Center: Treasures of the Kingdom: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College: This Sunday: Jesus the Storyteller Tells Our Story (23 JUL 20)

Word on Fire: What Do You Want? (Cycle A * Ordinary Time * Week 17)

National Catholic Register: Sunday Guide: Learn the Wisdom of Solomon to Discern Life's True Treasures (22 JUL 20)

Spirituality of the Readings: Layers of Wisdom (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A)

In Exile: The Pearl of Great Price and Its Cost (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A)

Glancing Thoughts: God's Gifts (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A)

The Perspective of Justice: One Really Valuable Pearl (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A) 

Let the Scriptures Speak: First Comes the Finding (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A)

The Word Embodied: The Higher Wisdom (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A)

Historical Cultural Context: Hidden Treasures (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Origen (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A)