Saturday, June 16, 2012

Devotion for today: unashamed

This is a repost of an earlier blog.


 (Author unknown) I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands.
I am finished and done with low living, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity.
I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.
I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence.

I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Catholic. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear:

I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid

Friday, June 15, 2012

Devotion for today: July 15 is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart Of Jesus image

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.

I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God Thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee.
I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart, for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants.

. -- St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

from the book
Devotion To The Sacred Heart
by Fr. John Croiset, S.J.

Read more:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Devotion for today: Love one another

As I am on vacation this week, I present to you a repost of an earlier blog.

Scripture tells us: Romans 13: 9-10
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not murder; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and any other commandment there may be are all summed up in this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love never wrongs the neighbor, hence is the fulfillment of the law.

Christ tells us: John 13: 34-35
I give you a new commandment: Love one another. Such as My love has been for you, so must your love be for each other. This is how all will know you are My disciples: your love for one another."

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta so beautifully sets us straight: “We have all been created for greater things- to love and be loved. Love is love – to love a person without any conditions, without any expectations. Works of love are works of peace and purity. Works of love are always a means of becoming closer to God, so the more we help each other, the more we really love God better by loving each other. Jesus very clearly said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Love in action is what gives us grace. We pray and, if we are able to love with a whole heart, then we will see the need. Those who are unwanted, unloved, and uncared for become just a throwaway of society – that’s why we must really make everyone feel wanted. There is something else to remember – that this kind of love begins at home. We cannot give to the outside what we don’t have on the inside. This is very important. If I can’t see God’s love in my brother or sister then how can I see that love in somebody else? How can I give it to somebody else? Everybody has got some good. Some hide it, some neglect it, but it is there.”Mother Teresa, A Simple Path, compiled by Lucinda Vardey, Ballentine Books, 1995.
Prayer: Psalm 119: 137-144
You are just, O Lord, and your ordinance is right.
You have pronounced your decrees in justice and in perfect faithfulness.
My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words.
Your promise is very sure, and your servant loves it.
I am mean and contemptible, but your precepts I have not forgotten.
Your justice is everlasting justice, and you law is permanent.
Though distress and anguish have come upon me, your commands are my delight.
Your decrees are forever just; give me discernment that I may live.

My thoughts: The last seven commandments center on love of neighbor, but not just an ordinary love. The love that Christ showed for us is an extraordinary love. It honors those in authority, guards against stealing another person’s good name, rejects gossip and shuns lust of any kind. It never seeks its own good, but puts the needs of others above itself. It does not allow jealousy, or revenge, or anger to rule the heart, but peace and kindness, mercy and justice. It is easy to say we are good if we look at murder, adultery and theft as the “big sins,” but that is not what Christ is saying. Mother Teresa explains it perfectly. We must look at the way we treat our families first, our friends, our coworkers, and yes, even our enemies. If we can love them the way Christ loves us, forgiving our transgressions and wanting only our good, then we can say we have kept the last seven commandments. If not, then maybe, like the psalmist, we must admit that we are mean and contemptible, but savable. We have not forgotten the law, just neglected it. This advent is the time to remember, reflect, and redirect our lives toward God.

Our prayer to God: Adorable Jesus, my Savior and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve, and will try this day, to imitate Your example, to be like You, mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and resigned. I will redouble my efforts to see Your image in all those I meet and deal with his day, and to be as helpful to them as I would be to You. I resolve to avoid this day all those sins which I have committed heretofore and which I now sincerely desire to give up forever. Amen. The Prayer Book. The Catholic Press, 1954.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Devotion for today: did you hear what I said?

As a reminder, this is a repost of an earlier blog. I am on vacation this week and am reposting blogs readers told me they particularly enjoyed.

Today we will look at two Old Testament kings who react very differently to the words of chastisement from men of God.

Scriptures for today: 1 Samuel 22, 30-31
But Samuel replied: “Is the pleasure of Yahweh in holocausts and sacrifices or in obedience to the voice of Yahweh? Yes, obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness better than the fat of rams. Rebellion is a sin of sorcery, presumption a crime of teraphim (household idols). Since you have rejected the word of Yahweh, he has rejected you as king.” “I have sinned,” Saul said, “but please still show me respect in front of the elders of my people and in front of Israel, and come back with me, so that I can worship Yahweh your God.”

2 Samuel 12:1-7, 13
Yahweh sent Nathan the prophet to David. He came to him and said: “In the same town were two men one rich the other poor. The rich man had flocks and herds in great abundance; the poor man had nothing but a ewe lamb, one only, a small one he had bought. This he fed, and it grew up with him and his children, eating his bread, drinking from his cup, sleeping on his breast; it was like a daughter to him. When there came a traveler to stay, the rich man refused to take one of his own flock or herd to provide for the wayfarer who; had come to him. Instead he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.” David’s anger flared up against the man. “As Yahweh lives,” he said to Nathan, ‘the man who did this deserves to die! He must make fourfold restitution for the lamb, for doing such a thing and showing no compassion.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man….” David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against Yahweh.”

Study By: Bob Deffinbaugh: Saul’s disobedience is not taken seriously enough by Saul. Saul is slow to accept responsibility for his sin, as exposed by Samuel. Even when Saul confesses his sin, he lays some of the blame off on the people and then tries – too quickly for my liking – to “move on” to the blessings of God, hoping to sidestep divine discipline. This is especially apparent in verses 24-33. In a sense, Saul is saying something like: “O.K., O.K., so I messed up. I admit it. Now, can we get on with my life. I want you to stay with me and worship with me, so that my image is not tarnished before the people.” In effect… Saul is more concerned with the people’s opinion of him than of God’s estimation of him. Saul wants to put his sin behind him without hating it, without putting it away from him (
Fr. Stephen Yim, of the Archdiocese of Singapore tells us:
Just to think that one day we will have to stand before the Lord and receive a judgment that will seal our eternity can be rather frightening. So we might think that it is God who will judge us and determine how guilty we are and then send us according to where we should go. Yet, if God is love, then why would He want to judge us and even condemn us? It was not God who pronounced judgment on David but rather it was David who pronounced judgment on himself. Nathan, the prophet, narrated the story, but it was David who made the conclusion. It was Nathan who just held the mirror, and David saw the reflection.
Yet, we must also acknowledge that David had the humility to admit that it was his own reflection, that he was that man in the story. We all have that God-given conscience to admit to our faults and sinfulness. Yet, with the same breath, we also must admit that we have this ability to deny guilt and responsibility. (

My thoughts: To end our week’s study of the various ways God speaks to His people, we see before us two men of God who were sent to kings to deliver the same message: God is very, very angry with you, for you have sinned. King Saul had deliberately disobeyed the command God gave him in destroying a nation, and Samuel was sent to call him on it. David had Uriah the Hittite killed in battle so he could marry Bathsheba, and Nathan the prophet was sent to admonish him. Our study shows us two ways we can react to God’s chastisement of us. Saul says he is sorry, but he is not. He is worried about his image, and tries to engage Samuel in damage control. David, on the other hand, is truly sorry and admits his guilt. He goes on to write beautiful Psalms on the sin he has committed, begging for forgiveness. When God sends someone to correct us, and we trust this person to have our souls in their interest, how do we react? Does our pride get in the way of true remorse? Or are we thankful that God has sent someone to hold “the mirror” so we can see our own reflection? God will use many ways to speak to us, yet it is up to us to listen. By throwing away our pride, by giving up our desire for recognition and admiration, and by admitting that we have sinned against God, we will be like David, from whose line Jesus descended. Saul, on the other hand…well, just read the rest of his story.

Our prayer to God: Psalm 38:17-18, 21-22
"And now my fall is upon me, there is no relief from my pain; yes, I admit my guilt, I am sorry for having sinned. Yahweh, do not desert me, do not stand aside, my God! Come quickly to my help, Lord, my savior!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Devotion for today: "Christmas Bells"

As a reminder, I am on vacation this week and am reposting blogs which readers told me they especially enjoyed.
 "Christmas Bells"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

A series of Christmas Day church bombings rocked Nigeria on Sunday in what appeared to be a coordinated assault by a radical Islamist sect with suspected training links to Al Qaeda, raising the sect’s violent antigovernment struggle to a new and more dangerous level that the Nigerian authorities seem powerless to contain. At least 25 people were killed.

The worst bombing was at the St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madala, a suburb of the capital, Abuja, where an explosion ripped through a crowd of worshipers as they left morning Mass. The bomb tore through the church, said Bassey Udo, a Nigerian journalist in Madala, and left a deep crater. A government spokesman, Reuben Abati, said at least 25 people were killed in that blast and that many were wounded in a chaos of fire and rubble, suggesting the toll would rise.  In Madala, there were charred bodies on the street and twisted cars burned in front of the church. Rescue workers struggling to cope with the mayhem faced a shortage of ambulances for the dozens of wounded and an enraged crowd that blocked them from entering the church until soldiers arrived. By ADAM NOSSITER
Published: December 25, 2011 The New York Times

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

"The LORD liveth, in Truth, in Judgment, and in Righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him shall they glory" (Jeremiah 4:2).

"Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:4).  

"To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in Everlasting Righteousness" (Daniel 9:24).

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Tom Stewart tells us: One of America's best known poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), contributed to the wealth of carols sung each Christmas season, when he composed the words to "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" on December 25th 1864. As with any composition that touches the heart of the hearer, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" flowed from the experience of Longfellow-- involving the tragic death of his wife Fanny and the crippling injury of his son Charles from war wounds. The first Christmas after Fanny's death, Longfellow wrote, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays." A year after the incident, he wrote, "I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace." Longfellow's journal entry for December 25th 1862 reads: "'A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me." Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son Charles, a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded with a bullet passing under his shoulder blades and taking off one of the spinal processes. The Christmas of 1863 was silent in Longfellow's journal. Finally, on Christmas Day of 1864, he wrote the words of the poem, "Christmas Bells." Longfellow's Christmas bells loudly proclaimed, "God is not dead."

The message that the Living God is a God of Peace is proclaimed in the close of the carol: "Of peace on Earth, good will to men." "For it pleased the Father that in [Jesus] should all fullness dwell; and, having made peace through the Blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself" (Colossians 1:19-20). Tom Stewart, December 20, 2001, (This is only a summary of his excellent article)

 My thoughts: The world continues to bear bad tidings. Family members die, nation fights nation, and religious zealots kill or maim in the name of their God. Why should anyone find joy and hope at Christmas, or any time of the year for that matter? The reason is simple. Our God is a loving God, filled with mercy and kindness, and those who allow themselves to walk in His light will always overshadow those who dwell in darkness. As Longfellow realizes by the end of his poem, “The wrong shall fail, the good prevail.” Always look to the light, strengthen your resolve by holding firm to God’s word, and pray for those who follow the beat of an evil drum. God gave us the way to peace and joy on this earth. He gave us His commandments, and He sent us His Son who would spend His time on earth showing us how to love each other and live in harmony. The choice, however, rests with each individual. For peace to reign on earth, we must truly wish each other good-will. And remember, just as Longfellow eventually found the joy he so sadly lacked for many Christmases, so we, too can be confident that one day God will replace our sorrow with laughter, and wipe all tears from our eyes. Just hold onto His word, and His hand.

Scripture promises us: Rev. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.

Our prayer to God: Dear God, we pray, bring light to this world. Soften the hearts of those who hate, mend the hearts torn apart by grief, and heal the wounds of sadness and despair. Let our hands and voices be the tools you use to bring your love and healing power into a hurting world. As the promises of Christmas remain in our souls, let us be joyful and rejoice that we are not lost, but found; not blind, but see. Thank you for the gift of Christ, our new-born king.  Amen

Monday, June 11, 2012

Devotion for today: I will sing

 I am on vacation this week and am reposting blogs which readers told me they particularly enjoyed. I hope you re-enjoy them!

Saint Therese of the Little Flower:  Therese Martin was the last of nine children born to Louis and Zelie Martin on January 2, 1873, in Alencon, France. However, only five of these children lived to reach adulthood. Precocious and sensitive, Therese needed much attention. Her mother died when she was 4 years old. As a result, her father and sisters babied young Therese. She had a spirit that wanted everything.  At the age of 14, on Christmas Eve in 1886, Therese had a conversion that transformed her life. From then on, her powerful energy and sensitive spirit were turned toward love, instead of keeping herself happy. At 15, she entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux to give her whole life to God. She took the religious name Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Living a hidden, simple life of prayer, she was gifted with great intimacy with God. Through sickness and dark nights of doubt and fear, she remained faithful to God, rooted in His merciful love. After a long struggle with tuberculosis, she died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24. Her last words were the story of her life: "My God, I love You!" The world came to know Therese through her autobiography, "Story of a Soul". She described her life as a "little way of spiritual childhood." She lived each day with an unshakable confidence in God's love. "What matters in life," she wrote, "is not great deeds, but great love." Therese lived and taught a spirituality of attending to everyone and everything well and with love. She believed that just as a child becomes enamored with what is before her, we should also have a childlike focus and totally attentive love. Therese's spirituality is of doing the ordinary, with extraordinary love.

Scripture for meditation: Psalm 149:1-4
Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their Maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise His name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to Him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord loves His people, and He adorns the lowly with victory.

Scripture for reflection: Luke 10:21
At that moment, Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said," I offer you praise, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest of children."

St. Therese tells us:  How shall I show my love is proved by deeds? Well - the little child will strew flowers...she will embalm the Divine Throne with their fragrance, will sing with silvery voice the canticle of love. Yes, my Beloved, it is thus that my life's brief day shall be spent before Thee. No other means have I of proving my love than to strew flowers; that is, to let no little sacrifice escape me, not a look, not a word, to avail of the very least actions and do them for Love. I wish to suffer for Love's sake and for Love's sake even to rejoice; thus shall I strew flowers. Not one shall I find without shedding its petals for Thee...and then I will sing, I will always sing, even if I must gather my roses in the very midst of thorns - and the longer and sharper the thorns the sweeter shall be my song.   Story of A Soul, Chapter XI

Prayer:     Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus
      O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please
      pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens
      and send it to me as a message of love.
      O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to
      grant the favors I now place with confidence
      in your hands.....
      (Mention specific request)
      St. Therese, help me to always believe as you
      did, in God's great love for me, so that I
      might imitate your "Little Way" each day.

My thoughts:  St. Therese is famous for saying that she would spend her time in heaven doing good on earth. We picture her holding roses, showering them down upon those who turn to her for intercession. St. Therese is a powerful saint to follow.  Her "Little Way" was to always see the love of God in everyone and everything. She strove not to be great, but to be little, so as to be used by God in whatever way He saw fit. She suffered great disappointments, tremendous physical ailments, and ridicule, yet she sang, she always sang, and her heart was always filled with the song of love for her God. Let us sing, always, through our tears and in our joy, thus making our lives "a new song unto the Lord"!

St. Therese, patron saint of the missions, pray for us.
St. Therese's feast day is October 1
Recommended reading: Story of a Soul
Recommended website: