a good thought for today …

“It is not enough to wish well; we must also do well.”

from the writings of St.Ambrose

**** I am away for a week of vacation.  No computer!  You’ll hear from me after 8/22.  Meanwhile – enjoy!  God loves you!


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We are not alone on this journey

I just finished speaking to a friend, a confidant, a person that I can run things by, a person that I can share my stuff with. I call him frequently.  I learned years ago that I cannot walk the journey of life by myself, locked into my own little world.  I need others.  I am a relational being.  I exist in relationship to others.  I learn about myself by being in relationship with others.

Jesus walked His journey with others.  At the end of today’s Gospel, Matthew 18:15-20, we hear Jesus saying, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”  We need others in life. We need Jesus. We are in good shape if we have others walking the journey of life with us – and the most important other – Jesus.

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the challenge to become childlike

In today’s Gospel, Matthew 18:1-5, Jesus responds to the question,“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” by calling a little child over to Him and saying to the crowd, “Amen, I say to you unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.  Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.  And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives Me…”

Being childlike doesn’t mean being weak or indecisive.  Jesus isn’t asking us to be irresponsible or incompetent.  We are adults and need to make responsible decisions in life.  Jesus is saying that we have to embrace the lowliness and wonder of the child who lives each moment as a gift.  It means letting go of our pride, arrogance and self-sufficiency and putting our trust in Him.

Prayer:  Father, gracious God, help me to let go of my attitude of self-sufficiency today. May I look to you for guidance and trust that You will be with me in all I do. 

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from the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux

“I do not trust to my own merits for I have none, I trust in Him who is virtue and holiness itself.  It is He alone who, pleased with my poor efforts, will raise me to Himself and clothing me with His merits, make me a saint.”

Wisdom!  I can’t walk the journey of life by myself. I certainly can’t grow in virtue and holiness by myself.  I do my very best, offering myself to Him, and He will do the rest.

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the systematic murder of children

Little children are among the most vulnerable of all humans.  They are innocent, born into a world not of their choice.  And they are often victimized.  We read of little children dying of famine or lack of clean water in Africa.  We read of children dying in the bombings in Gaza. We read of human trafficking – the selling of little children into slavery. We read of the physical and or sexual abuse of children often by their own family members.  We read of children malnourished right here in our affluent country. Each day presents us with examples of violence perpetrated against these little ones that scream out to God.

Yesterday I read a write up on the deliberate killing of Christian children by ISIS – the fanatical Islamic state that has appeared in Iraq. ISIS is determined to create a purified Islamic state devoid of all Christians and other minorities.  Christians have been given the ultimatum of converting to Islam, paying a certain tax and being relegated to a discriminatory position in society or being put to death.  Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee with nothing but the clothes on their backs. There were pictures of Christian men being crucified in city squares and women  being gutted like pigs after being raped. And then there were the children.  I had difficulty sleeping last night.  There were pictures of dead children, systematically killed, many having had their heads cut off after being tortured.  The one picture that I cannot get out of my head this morning is that of a little girl, perhaps 4 – 5 years old, lying on her back – her head cut off!

Satan is on the rampage among the Christians of Iraq (and elsewhere).  What kind of men would systematically kill little children?  And in the name of Allah (God)!  What a perversion of religion!  I weep for these innocent children.  They are now with God but we live with this on-going nightmare.  Lord have mercy on us all.  Lord have mercy on those who are living through this genocide. Lord have mercy on the Islamic fanatics.  Melt their hardened hearts.  Lord have mercy on the nations and groups that have created the environment for this genocide to occur.  Lord move the hearts of our world leaders to intervene and to address the issues that create this kind of  holocaust.

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