Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Devotion for today: If I believe in God, why I am so afraid?

Psalm 23:4: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

2 Timothy 1:7: For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.

John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen: “We fear tomorrow because we have no yesterdays to light the way, we act like dull tragedians not knowing what the future holds because we have forgotten the past. The principles which once were taken for granted, because beyond legal controversy or human manipulation, are today challenged.” (Seven Pillars of Peace)

Jesus I trust in You. (Diary of St. Faustina)

St. Augustine:  “Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.”

Padre Pio: Pray, hope and don’t worry!

Fear is something all of us experience. In today’s world, we justifiably fear war, economic collapse, attacks for our beliefs, and personal suffering. It can become a habit to dwell on the evils existing in the world and talk of nothing but the negative forces marching through our world. If we profess to believe in God, then why are we so afraid?

I think we need to start at the beginning of our source of fear. I think we need to ask ourselves what we mean when we say that we believe in God.  We profess this every time we pray the Creed, and it has to be the basis of our faith, or why would we stay in the Church? Yet, how often do we dwell on the meaning of this? Who is God to us? How do we see Him in our lives? How do we see ourselves in relation to Him? Is He an impersonal God who is busy running the world and not too interested in us personally? Maybe we see Him only as a judge who will face us at the end of our lives? Do we believe that God loves us very much, that He wants to be seen as our Father who He asks for one thing, and that is our trust?

The secret to a life free of anxiety and fear is in the expression found at the bottom of the Image of Divine Mercy: Jesus I trust in You. I think it is time for all of us to realize that although the world is filled with many sources of fear it is only through faith in God, and trust in His divine mercy, that all of the dangers we face can be overcome. We cannot stop the evil in the world by fear. We can make a great difference in the world by praying for the conversion of sinners, for peace, and for our own sanctity.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Take every opportunity to reflect on the passion of Christ to realize how much He loves us. Pray constantly for the world, for sinners and for yourself, that in any trial or temptation you may be strong and steadfast in your faith. The most tragic thing that can happen to anyone is to lose the opportunity for eternal life. We may lose everything in the world, but it will not matter if we stay faithful. God has us in the palm of His hand, and He loves us very much. Remember the words of my seventh grade nun to use in any trial we face: I must need this for my salvation!

Prayer Jesus asked St. Faustina to pray for the salvation of the world:
Eternal Father, I offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus, Christ, in atonement of our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
For more information on the power of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, please visit the website:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Devotion for today: The Pope's Plea for Peace in Syria

Mark 9:14-29:  When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.  As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”“From childhood,” he answered.  “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

The Pope has asked for a day of prayer and fasting on Saturday for the end to the violence in Syria. Many people in the world believe as he does, that if this conflict escalades into a war involving many nations, we will seen unprecedented horrors. Please read his plea and follow his request.

"I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 Sept. next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world"

VATICAN CITY, September 01, 2013 ( - Here is a Vatican translation of the Pope's address this morning, given before and after praying the midday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. 
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Hello!
Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected. There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming. I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence. With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigor I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people. May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid. What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April 1963]: AAS 55, [1963], 301-302). All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!
I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace. May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Third day: Comfort those who mourn their loved ones
The Syrian crisis, which began March 15, 2011, has already taken many lives, too many, and the current political situation continues compounding and worsening the situation, unprecedented in this nation. The United Nations reports more than 100,000 dead. Before such a reality, words fall short…
Cities are destroyed and “development plans are in the cemeteries.” They tell us from Syria: “A 6-year-old girl was playing hide-and-seek with her brother. A sniper shot the little boy. … In the cemetery, the girl cried out before the tomb of her brother: Come out from your hiding place! I don’t want to play anymore!”
We pray for the victims of this war, for all of them, and each one of them. They are not numbers, but names, members of a family. They are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. They are our brothers and sisters, children of God who created them in His image and likeness. We pray that the right to life of every person be respected and defended. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for Syria, pray for us.

Please visit the website for more information on the prayers for peace in Syria.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Devotion for today: The Harvest Is Great, the Laborers Few

Matthew 9:35-38: And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Today, in the United States of America, we celebrate “Labor Day.” In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, and it is celebrated as a tribute to the contribution of workers to the strength and prosperity of our nation.  It is a good holiday, since no country can even survive unless its citizens are willing to work, and no country can ask its citizens to work unless a fair and just reward for their efforts awaits them at the end of the day. Those who work insure a future for themselves, their loved ones, and their country.

So it is with us as Christians. We are faced today with a world which needs our work. We see people suffering every day from depression, anxiety and aimlessness. We see people working to serve false gods: fortune, intelligence, status, pleasure and power.
Our Bible verse for today tells us that this is not new. Jesus himself saw the crowds and had compassion on them because they were so lost. He wasted no time in getting to work and healing them of their suffering and bringing them the Good News.

 Jesus set the example we all must follow in our lives. We must work in the world in order to survive. We must toil and labor and bring home the money we need to survive, yet there is a higher value to our profession than simply doing our job well and going home at the end of the day. Our work place is the field which needs to be harvested. Whether it be in a factory, an office, or a home, God has placed us exactly in the field where the work needs to be done, by us. No job is greater than another, no position holds higher esteem in the eyes of God. Status is a man-made concept. The purpose of our job is to help mankind both through the use of our God-given talents and by bringing the light of faith into the everyday lives of our co-workers.

This is not a difficult thing to do. Begin by radiating joy and sincerity. Be someone who can be trusted, someone who leaves the pronoun “I” at home and concentrates on the “you” of those around him. Listen carefully to what is shared with you, be open to the Holy Spirit in dealing with the people God puts in your path. BE attentive to their needs. Never be afraid to say that you will pray for someone who is hurting. Leave your heart  open to God’s direction, and when you open the door to leave your home and start your work day, let Jesus lead the way out and into your place of employment. Let Him into your heart, mind and soul by starting your day with prayer, pray in the car or on the bus, and always say, “Jesus I trust in You” before giving advice to anyone.

Jesus needs us right where we are. If we are at home, He needs us to be shining examples to our children and grandchildren of the beautiful life that comes from knowing, loving and serving Him. If we are out in the world, He needs us to reflect His love and concern for those who are “harassed and helpless.” There is no job too insignificant for God’s work to be done. Consider yourself an apostle first, and then go and bring in the harvest. God is counting on you. The reward for this work is eternal life!!!!

A Prayer for Workers

O glorious Joseph! Who concealed your incomparable and regal dignity of custodian of Jesus and of the Virgin Mary under the humble appearance of a craftsman and provided for them with your work, protect with loving power your sons, especially entrusted to you.
You know their anxieties and sufferings, because you yourself experienced them at the side of Jesus and of His Mother. Do not allow them, oppressed by so many worries, to forget the purpose for which they were created by God. Do not allow the seeds of distrust to take hold of their immortal souls. Remind all the workers that in the fields, in factories, in mines, and in scientific laboratories, they are not working, rejoicing, or suffering alone, but at their side is Jesus, with Mary, His Mother and ours, to sustain them, to dry the sweat of their brow, giving value to their toil. Teach them to turn work into a very high instrument of sanctification as you did. Amen.