Monday, December 27, 2010

The One Jesus Loves

Feast of Saint John the Apostle

Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.

Interestingly, two days after Christmas the Church has us shift our focus from the birth of Jesus to His death and resurrection.  The shadow of the cross is cast over Jesus right from His birth. His beautiful life was the price He came to pay.  But it didn't stop there; the linen cloths were lying on the ground, the tomb was empty...

Today's Gospel focuses on Saint John the Apostle.  Imagine being recorded in Holy Scripture as "the other disciple, the one Jesus loved." And yet this is my name, I am the one Jesus loves. This has always been the case and always will be.  I am the one Jesus loves.  How do I know this?  The Cross shouts it to the world.  Knowing I am unconditionally, eternally, unreservedly loved by Jesus makes all the difference in the world.  No matter what the world throws against me today I can stand up and lift my head.  I am infinitely lovable and infinitely loved.

Thank you for saving me, what can I say?
You are my everything, I will sing your praise.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hail Mary, Full of Grace

"Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled."

Today's Gospel continues the Church's focus on Mary in this fourth week of Advent.  Mary arrives at Elizabeth's and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and in rapture makes her beautiful prophesy over Mary. It's on Elizabeth's prophesy that the Rosary is based: 
"Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Lk.1:42

We Catholics make a big deal about Mary, not for her sake but because of her closeness to Jesus.  She is the Mother of God.  She didn't preempt God by existing before Him.  She gave birth to Jesus, who was God. She is totally worthy of our honor; totally worthy of my honor.

Today I honor Mary, who by her "believing that what was spoken to (her) by the Lord would be fulfilled." Lk.1:45 brought my Lord and Savior Jesus to me.

Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with thee.  Blessed are though among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Little Flower, please pray for me.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Remnant

But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD; the remnant of Israel. They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; Nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue; They shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them.
Zephaniah 3:12,13

 Zephania's prophesy in today's first reading could be describing modern-day New Zealand: "Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted... She hears no voice, accepts no correction; In the LORD she has not trusted," The Godless lead our nation and so Godless laws are passed and enacted.  The Church is sidelined as a curious freak show with nothing relevant to say. But, there is the remnant...

I attended morning Mass at Saint Mary of the Angels in Wellington last week.  There were the faithful remnant.   The devotion of the small group of Mass attenders was moving.  I was reminded this is repeated up and down the country at weekday Masses, the faithful remnant worshiping and praying.  It's the remnant who carry the promises of God on to the next generation.  All is not lost.

Today I live as one of the remnant, going against flow full of joy and hope.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on our nation.  Let Your hand of protection rest over Your faithful remnant.  Let none disturb them.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Turn Your Heart

Elijah! Has anyone reason to boast as you have? Taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses; designated in the prophecies of doom to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks, to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob.
Sirach 48:4-10

The book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) shows veneration to the great figures of the Old Testament, including Elijah.  He is identified as the one whose intercession allayed God's wrath and restored the chosen people.  The restoration is portrayed in that beautiful expression; "turn the hearts of fathers towards their children".  Imagine how families would be restored if every father turned his heart off himself and on to his children. 

Jesus, in today's Gospel tells that Elijah has returned as prophesied, as John the Baptist.  John the Baptist's clarion call was simple; repent and turn back to God.  This is the call that will "turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob".   This is my call today, half way through Advent.

Lord Jesus, today I confess my brokenness and turn back to You. You are my way, my truth, my life.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Small is Great is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

Jesus has just made His great cry in defense of children; "whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Mt.18:5.  In this He includes all the weak and lowly and indeed identifies this as the preferred attitude of all who wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  In today's Gospel Jesus underscores this by telling the parable of the lost sheep, stressing it is never God's will that a child of His should be lost.

Once again, I am hearing the "Law of Upside Down": The last shall be first, the lowly will be lifted up.  Humility is my preferred place to be today.  When I am a "little one" I shall never be lost.

Lord Jesus, You on a cross is the greatest act of humility the world has ever seen, yet from that lowest of places You were lifted up into glory.  I dare to ask You to help me learn to be humble, only because I know Your great love for me will never leave me lost.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stronghold of my Life

The LORD is my light and my salvation -whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?
Ps. 27:1

In today's first reading the prophet Isaiah foretells of the day when Jesus will walk the land causing the deaf to hear and the blind to see.  The Gospel of Matthew records one of the may instances where Jesus does this; healing the two blind men.  Psalm 27 is a beautiful response to this truth about our God who is Emmanuel, God with us.

There is something more that comforting about knowing Jesus as Emmanuel.  There is a power and strength in this knowledge.  No matter where, what or how I mind my self, Jesus is with me.  With my God for me, who can be against me?  I walk into today with confidence - of whom shall I be afraid?

Lord Jesus.  Thank you that You are with me today; my Emmanuel. You are the stronghold of my lilfe - today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Confess and Believe

If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved.

Saint Paul is writing to the Church of Rome, a church he never founded.  It was a church comprising of a mixture of Jews and Greeks and there was danger of each group looking down on the other. Paul emphasises how  God's Word makes no distinctions between Jew and Greek,  "for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Rms10:13 .  Confession of Jesus' lordship and heart-felt belief are enough for salvation to be claimed.

Our faith is uncomplicated.  God likes things simple. Today I confess with my lips the lordship of Jesus.  In my heart of hearts I know this to be true.

Jesus, You are Lord of my life.  I submit to Your authority.  You are my God and my King.  I worship You alone.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Heart Cries Out

How lovely your dwelling, O LORD of hosts!  My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD. My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.

Today's reading from Apocalypse and the Gospel from Luke both have us looking deeply into end-time mysteries.  In Apocalypse we see the opening of the Book of Life and judgment. In the Gospel Jesus tells that heaven and earth will pass away but His words will remain for ever.

For me, the answer to these deep mysteries lies in the very human response found in the Psalm.  It talks of longing and yearning for God's dwelling place.  It promises happiness for those in God's presence.  The catastrophic events of end-times are not the end of the story, but just the cover page of the greatest story that I will then be entering into, the beginning of the never ending journey into the infinite love of God.

Marantha! Come Lord Jesus, come!
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Joy and Hope

"And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."

Jesus is in the Temple of Jerusalem and gives His end-times prophesy to His disciples. He foretells great destruction and horror but finishes with the beautiful promise of His return for those who trust in Him.  For this reason alone I am not to be overtaken by fear but indeed I am to stand up with confidence and joy.  Why?  Because the end of time is just the beginning of the never-ending journey into the infinite love of God.  Such is the promise of Heaven.

As we say at every Mass;  "...we wait in joy and hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ."  This is how I choose to live out today.

Lord Jesus.  Thank you for your promise to return.  For this reason alone, I live out today in joy and hope.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jesus Riding on a White Horse

"Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth's vines, for its grapes are ripe." So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth's vintage. He threw it into the great wine press of God's fury.

Mother Church has our gaze firmly fixed on end-times.   As we are led up to the end of the Church's year the daily Mass readings repeatedly foretell of the Day of Judgment.  I am going to measured by the infinite love of God.

Praise God that He sent His Son Jesus to be my advocate.  I am surely going to need Him.  Today I live as one aware of his sin but whose source of joy and hope is firmly placed in Jesus Christ, my Savior.

Thank you Jesus that You are my advocate.  I place my hope in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recognise Your Opportunity

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it... '...all because you (Jerusalem) did not recognise your opportunity when God offered it!’

Jesus is overcome with grief for Jerusalem as He prophesy's its coming destruction, the result of not recognising Him and in fact plotting against Him.

There is a somber reminder here for all who do "not recognise your opportunity when God offers it".  This nothing to do with a lack of love or mercy from God.  It's to do with us choosing not to make a response to that love when it is offered.  Everyone is presented with God's love.  Many choose to turn their backs on it.

My role today is to present an authentic and compelling witness of God's love to my world so God's opportunity is grasped by all I meet.  Their destruction is then averted.

Lord Jesus, may my heart break with what breaks Yours so I can witness Your mighty love today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mike, come down quickly!

When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.

Jesus is passing through Jericho when Zacchaeus the tax collector climbs a tree in his anxiety to see Jesus. Jesus, knowing the sinful yet potentially pure heart of Zacchaeus, stops under his tree and calls him down to invite Himself to Zacchaeus's house.  Zacchaeus welcomes Jesus joyfully and is radically converted.

This Gospel story has visited me repeatedly during Communion at Mass over the past year.  I see Jesus stopping under my "tree", looking up into my eyes and calling me down so He can stay with me in my house. "Mike, come down quickly!"  And I welcome Him joyfully.

The tree represents all my fleshly and prideful efforts to get closer to Jesus.  Jesus wants me to step down out of all that I think makes me "taller", be the authentic me that God has made me.  It is down out of my tree that Jesus meets with me and in fact stays with me and I am radically converted.

Thank you Lord Jesus that You accept me in my "shortness".  My sinful imperfections don't stop You from desiring to stay with me and change me with Your love.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Today I Love

I am writing now, dear lady, not to give you any new commandment, but the one which we were given at the beginning, and to plead: let us love one another.

Saint John's second letter is the briefest book in the Bible.  It was written to refute the heresy in a local church that Jesus is not incarnate, God made flesh.  Typical of John, although the letter is written to refute a serious heresy, it is surrounded with the Gospel of love.

John's clarion call to love is still needed today, especially in the Church.  It is the fundamental call that John was given by Jesus and that he was so fervent in passing on to the early Church.  It is the call I accept today to exercise in my Church.  Today I love.

Lord Jesus, help me be a great lover today.
Saint John, please pray for me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Turn Clay into Gold

Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place? "The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely. 

Psalm 24 is a Psalm of David, a worship song to the King Of Glory.  David of all people knew what it meant to have unclean hands and an impure heart.  His adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah have been recorded in detail in scripture to remind us of this. Yet, David obviously wrote these lines with an expectancy to go up the mountain of the Lord and to stand in His Holy place.  He served a God of transformation, a God who makes gold out of clay, who turns sinners into saints.

The story of David gives me much hope. My unclean hands can be washed clean, my impure heart can be sanctified. David's transformation came with his honest confession.  This is the key for me. Thank God for the sacrament...

Lord Jesus, You know my desire to climb Your Holy mountain, to stand in Your Holy place.  You know Lord my unclean hands, my impure heart.  I confess these to You my God, trusting in Your mercy.  Turn this clay into gold, this sinner into a saint, that You may be glorified.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Love Knowledge Wisdom

My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless...

Saint Paul is writing a letter of encouragement to the Church of Phillipi, a church that has been true to the message he first gave them.  He encourages them on in their Christian walk with doctrinal teaching.  From the start Saint Paul calls them to deeper love, knowledge and perception (wisdom).  Why? to becoming pure and blameless on the day of Christ's return.

Knowledge and perception are usually such fleshly things, full of pride to be avoided or at least used with caution. However, Paul harnesses them with love and then encourages us to use them willingly.  Motivated by love, knowledge and perception will indeed, says Saint Paul, help me become pure and blameless.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the gifts of knowledge and wisdom.  I lay them before you Lord, asking that You imbue them with love before returning them to me.
Saint Paul, please pray for me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sinners into Saints

Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them ‘apostles’...

After a whole night spent in prayer, Jesus selects the twelve who are to be His right-hand men in His ministry.  He works with what He has got; unlettered, rough and imperfect men.  But in all but one, He turns sinners into saints.

I find this so encouraging, that Jesus can and does turn mud into gold.  He is the God of transformation. The Gospels are made up of him turning peoples lives around; from sorrow to joy, from sickness to health, indeed from death to life.  I am another of His transformation projects. Yes, a work in progress, but a transformation none the less.  What an exciting way to live!

Thank you Lord Jesus that you have chosen me and are transforming me.  Holy Spirit, help me be maliable in the Lord's hands that I may become the new man He has in mind for me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saint Mary of the Cross, please pray for me.
Saint Catherine, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Small and Narrow

He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

Jesus is warning that the period of grace we now live in will come to an end with some at "the feast in the kingdom of God", but many will not succeed in getting there.  This is also recorded in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 7:

13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

The image Jesus places before me is of two destinations, one with a narrow and difficult entrance, the other being wide and easy to access.  The destination I should be striving for is the one that is difficult to attain. The message is that heaven is not going to simply drop into my lap by default. It will take effort and discipline to get there.

Thank God for His Word and His Church to help me in this journey.

Lord Jesus, you know how lazy I can be.  Drifting is my natural state.  Help my super-natural state become my norm so that I may find and pass through the narrow door into eternal life with You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saint Catherine, please pray for me.
Saint Mary of the Cross, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Share of Grace

Each one of us has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it.... so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ.

Paul is describing the unity in the Body of Christ, the Church and the role of the individual in that body. I have been given a "share of grace", a giftedness that is specifically given not for my edification but for building up the Church.

So what is my "share of grace"? I lead in praise and worship.  I sense I have other leadership "gifts" but I'm not sure where to apply them.  Certainly in my family, maybe somewhere and sometime in the Church.  The temptation is to sit on the gifts and not use them as they were intended.  Jesus' parable in today's Gospel is clear where that leads; " ...then you can cut it down”.

Lord Jesus, You give gifts according to Your perfect purpose.  Help me identify when and where I should be using my gifts that I may bear You much fruit.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Clean Hands and Pure Heart

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
       Who may stand in his holy place?
 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
       who does not lift up his soul to an idol
       or swear by what is false. 

 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
       and vindication from God his Savior.

Ps.24: 3-5

Psalm 24 is a psalm of David, a psalm that praises the "King of Glory".  David opens this psalm by defining what state it takes to be worthy to stand in God's presence... clean hands, pure heart, true worship.  This definition of holiness covers both the external and the internal; the two are always linked.

This causes me to look at my hands and ask, have these always been about clean things?  I know my heart has been impure and I have worshiped things of man, not of God. 

Praise be to God for Jesus!  My unclean filthy rags can be exchanged for His pure, white spotless robe without wrinkle or blemish.  Jesus takes on to Himself all my crud,  nails it on the Cross and clothes me in His righteousness.  Then I may ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place.

Thank you Jesus.  By Your stripes I am healed, by Your blood I have been washed clean.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inner Strength

...that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;

Saint Paul gives his powerful prayer "kneeling before the Father", interceding for the Ephesian Church. His prayer is also for me.

Paul's prayer is about inner conversion and strength.  He's praying for for things within me that cannot be seen but that have very visible external consequences. A strengthening of my inner self by the power of the Holy Spirit... WOW!  Yes please Lord!

Lord Jesus, thank you for your glorious riches that are mine for the asking. Holy Spirit, I need Your inner strength today, that Jesus may be glorified  in  me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wise and Faithful Servant

You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Jesus is giving a warning to His disciples on watchfulness.  Peter asks who is the warning for.  Jesus replies by telling the parable of the wise and faithful servant.

There is a role model placed before me by Jesus here. The Christian life is one of expectant waiting.  As we say at every Mass, "...we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ".  We are a people of joy and hope who are waiting.  How do we wait?  As wise and faithful servants.

Today I walk into my day with a servant's heart, busy about my master's business.

Lord Jesus, send me Your spirit of faithfulness and wisdom, that I may recognise Your work and be busy about it.  I wait in joyful hope for Your coming.
Little Flower, please pray for me.
Saint Mary of the Cross, pray for me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

No Need to Be Afraid

Can you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? And yet not one is forgotten in God’s sight. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. There is no need to be afraid: you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.’

Jesus is at the height of His earthly ministry and crowds in their thousands are crushing around Him to listen.  He has just given a stern warning on being fearful of him who has the power to kill and then cast into hell. Jesus then counters this with the soft and loving image of a God who not only loves the common sparrow but loves man so much more.

Yes, there are things for me to fear and hell is one of them.  But Jesus does not want fear to be my motivation in life.  He is telling me every part of my body and soul is intimately know by God who loves me and to whom I am so very precious.  What a wonderful way to walk into this day.

Thank you Father for loving me so tenderly.  Your love for me is my gift I take into this day.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shout for Joy to the LORD

Sing praise to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and melodious song.  With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout with joy to the King, the LORD.

Psalm 98 is a song glorifying the Judge of the World.  And the spontaneous response to the Judge of the World is not fear but Joy!

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;  Ps.98:4

This joy comes from knowing we have a judge who is head-over-heels in love with us.  His judgement is not based on the law but based on grace, undeserved 
favor.  So, today I step out in spontaneous joy knowing yes I am a sinner, yes I will face judgement and yes my Judge loves me.

Lord Jesus.  Today I exalt you in joyous song.  May your mercy triumph over judgement in my life.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Love Joy Peace and Patience

What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

Saint Paul is writing to the church in Galatia, addressing the overly Greek philosophies that were infiltrating that church.  Saint Paul's solution to the humanistic influence is to call on less of man's way of thinking and act more in the Spirit's.

This same tension between fleshly and spiritual passions still exists in the Church today... still exists in me today.  When I look at what Saint Paul lists as gifts of the Spirit I say, "Yes, that is the sort of person I want to be!"  How to I obtain this?  Saint Paul goes on...

"...crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.  Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit." Gal.5:25

Today I actively reject those earthly passions and then let myself be directed by the Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit, fall afresh on me.  Fill me with your power, satisfy my needs.  Only You can make me whole, give me strength and make me grow.  Come Holy Spirit, fall afresh on me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


A woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’ But he replied, ‘Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!’

Jesus has been teaching on prayer and spiritual warfare when this rapturous, spontaneous outburst comes from a woman in the crowd.  She is of course referring to the happiness of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  I imagine Jesus in a similar spirit of joy replying, "Yes but there is an even greater happiness to be had. Hear God's word and keep to what it says!"

This statement of Jesus has particular meaning to me in my morning devotions, focusing on the Word of God before I go out into my day.  There is a great happiness that comes over me in this time.  I connect with the One who loves me through His word.  How can I be anything else but joyful in this time?  And it's not just in the hearing but in the keeping that joy comes.  Today joy is mine as I keep the word of God.

Lord Jesus, thank you for inspired sacred scripture that You have entrusted to the Church.  I receive it as Your love-letter to me.  Help me keep it in my day.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Invite the Opposite Spirit

 'But on arrival, finding it swept and tidied, it (the unclean spirit) then goes off and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and set up house there, so that the man ends up by being worse than he was before.’

Jesus is teaching on spiritual warfare after having been crticised for casting out a devil.  He has just explained how he who is the stronger and best armed is the victor.  He now explains that having a spiritually clean interior is not enough.  The interior needs to be home to something, the only question is will it be good or evil?

My interior man gets regularly swept and cleaned through the sacrament of Confession, but what do I then fill it with?  If it remains clean but empty I am open to being reoccupied by the demon I expelled plus its cohorts.

The opposite spirit to what was expelled is a good thing to invite in.  If it was lust, invite in purity.  If it was greed, invite in restraint.  If it was pride, invite in humility.

Holy Spirit of God, prompt me to invite in the opposite spirit to the one I have expelled by your power. Never let me be an empty home but filled with Your holy presence, giving no room for Satan and his demons.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Teach Me How to Pray

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’

Jesus gives the Church, and me, the method on how I am to pray this morning:

  • Acknowledge God's holiness.
  • Plead for His Kingdom
  • Ask for today's needs
  • Ask for forgiveness
  • Ask for protection from Satan
Father, may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come;
give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Guardian Angel

Feast of The Holy Guardian Angels

See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.  Be attentive to him and heed his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority resides in him.

All three readings today remind us that we have angels who have been assigned by God to watch over and guard us:

  • See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way... (Ex.23:20)
  • For God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways.... (Ps.91:11)
  • See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.... (Mt.18:10)

What wonderful promises from God for me.   I walk into my day today knowing I am precious to God and that He has assigned specific angels to guard and guide me. My God would only do that because He loves me.

Angel of God, my guardian dear
to whom whom God's love commits me here
Ever this day be at my side
to light and guard, to rule and guide

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

David is worshiping God, the Creator of the Universe and all that is in it, including himself.  David recognises the beauty of who and what he is, not through any conceit, but in the light of who it is that created him.  This is a very wholesome way to consider ones self.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works O God are wonderful.

There is a great sense of dignity that comes when it is acknowledged that all people are created  lovingly by God.  Suddenly, abortion is seen as the arrogant abhorrence that it is.  The weak, elderly and infirm are seen as precious and deserving of special loving treatment.  Even those who are living an evil life-style are seen as a distortion of who they were really created to be and can be pitied.

Today I walk as one who is fearfully and wonderfully made and I see all others as the same.

Father in Heaven, I am Your child, a precious part of Your creation.  I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Little Flower, please pray for me. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Angel of God

You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’

Feast of the Archangels

On this point Scripture, Holy Mother Church and Jesus all agree;  There are spiritual beings who either work for or work against the coming of the Kingdom of God.  Praise be to God that we have His angels working for Him and so by default for us.  Yes, a third of the angels fell with Satan; but that still leaves two thirds who stayed with the Lord's heavenly army.

I enter into this day knowing that I and my loved ones are watched over by a benevolent heavenly host. Praise be to God!

Angel of God, my gaurdian dear
To whom God's love commits me here
Ever this day be at my side
To light and guard, to rule and guide.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Proclaim and Heal

Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

In today's Gospel Jesus commissions the twelve disciples for their first evangelical mission. Their goal is simple; proclaim and heal.  Tell the Good News of the new way to God's Kingdom and to demonstrate the authority of Jesus' name in whom they preach, heal those sick in body, mind or spirit.
"So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing everywhere." Lk.9:6

The mission hasn't changed.  My goal today is simple; proclaim and heal.

Lord Jesus, give me the fervor and zeal of your twelve disciples to proclaim your Good News in my world and to demonstrate Your authority by healing the sick.  Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mercy Received to be Given

Saint Matthew, apostle and evangelist - Feast

‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

Jesus has just called Matthew and is dining in his house with other tax collectors and people of ill-repute.  The Pharisees are offended by Jesus' association with such people and tell His disciples so. Jesus hears and rebukes the Pharisees for their empty "sacrifice" while judging those in need of mercy.

This event establishes Jesus' attitude to the broken, the sick and the sinful.  Mercy is all He has for them... for us ...for me.  This is the Good News I take into my day.  Yes, I am a sinful man, but Jesus does not condemn me. Mercy is the hallmark of Jesus and so is the hallmark of me.  Today I am a man who dispenses mercy.  Why?  Because I have received it.

Lord Jesus. Thank you that you came for the sick... came for me.  Help me dispense mercy to others who need it from me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Beggar's Friend

They were unable to pay, so he pardoned them both. Which of them will love him more?’ ‘The one who was pardoned more, I suppose’ answered Simon. Jesus said, ‘You are right.’

In today's Gospel Jesus has encountered two responses to himself; the polite, distant indifference of Simon the Pharisee and the impassioned, intimate embrace of the "woman of bad name".   Simon was a man of some standing and proudly wore the title Pharisee.  The woman had nothing but her her stinking reputation.  And yet the woman is the one who had an authentic encounter with Jesus.

I think this is what Jesus was referring to in His Beatitudes when He said, 
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven".  It is the ones who have nothing to pretend, who have no pride left to try and hide their sinfulness, the beggars who have the deepest, life-changing encounters with Jesus.

What false pride in me is keeping me distant from Jesus.  Today I stand naked before Him.  He knows all, sees all... and yet still He loves me.  What can I do but weep in gratitude and love in return.

Lord Jesus. Your passionate love for me is my Gospel today.  You truly are the beggar's friend.  What can I do but bask in Your love and weep.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Triumph of the Cross

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.

Today is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross and what a glorious feast of sacred scripture we have in today's readings. In the book of Numbers, the fiery serpent on the standard fashioned by Moses in the desert prefigures Christ on the Cross.  All who look to Him will live.  We then have Saint Paul's powerful proclamation in Philippians on the divinity of Jesus as displayed by His death on the cross. And then the creme da la creme is the most famous passage of the Bible from John's Gospel; God so loved the World...

I live in a world so loved by God that He gave us His most precious sacrifice to offer us life.  He gave ME His most precious sacrifice...   What a difference to everything this makes.  Today I live as a son loved by God.  How do I know this?  The Cross tells me.

Lord Jesus, thank you for dieing for me that I may live They didn't need to nail You to the cross, your love would have held You there.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Remove the Plank

Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye.

In Saint Luke's account of the sermon on the mount, Jesus is warning against judging others. He likens it to the blind leading the blind, or focusing on my brother's speck in his eye when there is a plank in my own. Jesus returns to this warning often in the Gospels.  Why? Because He knows that how I judge defines how I will be judged at the end of time.

There is a little lawyer within me that surfaces way to often to judge others around me. If I don't want his acid tongue accusing me at the end of time, I need to silence him.  The only judge is the Lord.  I have been commanded to love my neighbor, not judge him.  Today I choose to be a lover not a lawyer.

Lord Jesus, you know my thoughts.  I confess my judging heart.  Replace it with a heart of love I pray.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Love My Enemies

But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Today's Gospel is Saint Luke's version of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus lays out for all to see the radically new way of living that He has brought to the world.  If there is one piece of Christian theology that non-believers know, "Love your enemies" would be it.  And if there is one piece of Christian theology that non-believers accuse the Church of hypocrisy on, again, 
"Love your enemies" would be it.

The greatest cause of atheism today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.  THAT is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable (DC Talk, Jesus Freak).

Today I will try and love my enemies as Jesus commands.

Lord Jesus, help me.  You know how badly I always want to win, to gain revenge.  Help me love as a child of God.   
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

God is With Us

Now all this took place to fulfill the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel," a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’

Today we join the Church in celebrating the birth of Mary, the Mother of God.  Today's Gospel from Saint Matthew records the genealogy of Jesus.  There is something comforting in reading the list of Jesus' family which includes saints, sinners and nobodies.  I am reminded that our God is fully human as well as fully divine.  From this mishmash background our Savior was born from Mary, full of grace, and raised by Joseph, a man of honor.  The real miracle is the Holiness of Mary and Joseph.
Again, I say I draw much comfort from this truth preserved in scripture and celebrated by Holy Mother Church.  My genealogy would read much like Jesus', full of saints, sinners and nobodies. Yet I am still called to sainthood and my background really is of no help or hindrance.  My story is my story and how I live it is entirely my choice.  Today I choose to live the life of a saint, knowing that Emmanuel walks with me.

Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with thee.  Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Give up My Rights

It is bad enough for you to have lawsuits at all against one another: oughtn’t you to let yourselves be wronged, and let yourselves be cheated? But you are doing the wronging and the cheating, and to your own brothers.

Saint Paul is chastising the Corinthian Church for not only taking its law suits to unbelieving judges, but for also having lawsuits against each other at all.  It seems that not only will the world know we are Christians by our love, they will know we are are not by our squabbles.

This is a common problem in the church since its earliest days, as attested by Saint Paul's letter.  It is a problem for me.  What is the antidote?  Giving up my rights.  Why? Because Christ gave up His and I purport to be a follower of Him. This is authentic religion; less of me, more of the other.  And the result?  Animosity replaced by love.

Lord Jesus, You know how vigorously I defend my rights.  Forgive me Lord and help me to give up my rights that I may be an authentic witness for You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Wine

And nobody puts new wine into old skins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and then run out, and the skins will be lost. No; new wine must be put into fresh skins.

Jesus is just starting Hi s public ministry, calling His disciples to Him.  Jesus has just called Matthew who promptly held a great banquet for Jesus in his house. The large crowd of tax collectors and other undesirables shocks the sensibilities of the Scribes and Pharisees.  Jesus explains He is offering something new, hope for those who were formerly hopeless.

Jesus is constantly new for me.  His ways, His promises are so counter to my old way of thinking and living.  He is new wine.  To contain Him I need to become a new wine skin.  The old man has died.  The new man is here.  I am ready for the new wine... today.

Jesus, You are the new wine, the fresh hope given to me.  Change my "skin" that I may contain You.  
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lonely-Place Times

 When daylight came he left the house and made his way to a lonely place. 

Jesus has just had a busy day at the office.  He has been teaching at the synagogue, healing the sick and casting out demons; all in a day!  What is recorded here in Luke is the first of many times that it is recorded; Jesus went to a lonely place to pray.  Jesus in His humanity needed to recharge His batteries. How?  By going to a place of no distraction and communing with His Father.

There is a great lesson here for all believers... for me. The lonely place times times with God are not just a nice idea, they are essential.  By definition the world will overwhelm me if I don't regularly turn my back on it and turn to my God.  Jesus knew this and so was constantly seeking that lonely place.  He would then come back, roll His sleeves up and go on fighting for God's Kingdom on earth.  My lonely place is precious and I choose to inculcate it into my daily living.

Lord Jesus.  Your lonely-place times kept you going.  Help me remember to give you that time in my business.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Spiritual Man

...we teach spiritual things spiritually. An unspiritual person is one who does not accept anything of the Spirit of God: he sees it all as nonsense; it is beyond his understanding because it can only be understood by means of the Spirit. A spiritual man, on the other hand, is able to judge the value of everything, and his own value is not to be judged by other men.

Saint Paul continues his great letter of teaching and correction to the Church of Corinth. The "unspiritual" man he describes then is just as prevalent today.  It has become a modern religion, not to accept anything of the Spirit of God.
But what of the spiritual man?  According to Saint Paul, he can see the value of everything.  This is so true.  The spiritual men I know are men who have a peace and a joy about them.  They are optimistic, seeing the value of everything.
Today I chose to live as a spiritual man.

Lord Jesus, You are the ultimate spiritual man. I follow your footsteps today knowing my full value is in You.
Little Flower, Please pray for me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Foolishness of the Cross

The language of the cross may be illogical to those who are not on the way to salvation, but those of us who are on the way see it as God’s power to save.... And so, while the Jews demand miracles and the Greeks look for wisdom, here are we preaching a crucified Christ;

Corinth in the ancient world was a great and populous port and so was a magnet for for every sort of philosophy and religion.  It was a notorious center of immorality. Paul's letter's to the Church of Corinth gave much-needed instruction and guidance. The lives of Christians flew in the face of the lives of those who surrounded them.  The foolishness of the Cross offended everyone and it was tempting for the Church to water down that part of their faith.  Paul put a stop to that!

Things haven't changed much in two thousand years.  Every philosophy, religion and immorality abound in the society I live in.  Even among Christians the cross is offensive;  "you Catholics are obsessed about the crucifix".  Well, yes I am.  It reminds me of the greatest act of love the world has ever known.  It reminds me of how much God loves me.  Today I will undertake a veneration of my crucified Lord.

Lord Jesus.  You lived, died and rose again!  Alleluia!  Thank you for your great act of love by climbing on that cross and handing out the nails.  Because of this I am saved.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Song of Ascent

Happy are all who fear the LORD, who walk in the ways of God. What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be happy and prosper:
Just so will they be blessed who fear the LORD. 
Psalms 128,1-2.4-5.

Psalm 128 is a song of ascent, a song to sing as we are going to the House of the Lord.  It is a song of rejoicing from a man who fears the Lord.  It is my song, a song I will sing today...

 1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
       who walk in his ways.
 2 You will eat the fruit of your labor;
       blessings and prosperity will be yours.
 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
       within your house;
       your sons will be like olive shoots
       around your table.
 4 Thus is the man blessed
       who fears the LORD.
 5 May the LORD bless you from Zion
       all the days of your life;
       may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
 6 and may you live to see your children's children.
       Peace be upon Israel.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Come and See

Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth. But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

Jesus has just started His public ministry and is calling His disciples as He appears to randomly meet them on the road.  There is a beautiful dynamic happening here. Jesus calls Andrew who then calls his brother Peter. Jesus calls Philip who then calls his friend Nathanael. Jesus attracts through established relationships.  The invitation from Jesus to Andrew was, "Come and see".  It was the same from Philip to Nathanael, "Come and see".

My most effective evangelism is to those with whom I'm already in relationship, starting with my own children.  I need an authentic Catholic lifestyle to show when I give my invitation; "Come and see".

Lord Jesus.  You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Help me reflect this in my life to show my loved ones when they "Come and see".
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


'The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will exalted.’

Jesus has just silenced the Sadducees and Pharisees and then warns the people not to copy what they do as they do not practice what what they preach.  He then goes on to describe the life of humility that is a sign of a true believer. The lifestyle Jesus promotes is one of humility, smallness, other-focused, selfless; all things that  are the opposite to what the world promotes, the me-centered life.

The upside down world of last-shall-be-first and least-shall-be-greatest that Jesus calls me to is actually the right way up world.  Everything is in order when I live this way.  Let's see if I can live it... today.

Lord Jesus, You know my self centeredness. Give me the attitude of humility that I may be exalted in Your eyes.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Love God and Love Others

Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.
Matthew 22:37-39

To try and discredit Jesus the Sadducees had just given their "fish-hook" question about marriage which Jesus had deftly answered.  Not to be outdone, the Pharisees now have a go with the "What is the greatest commandment?" question.

The answer Jesus gives the Pharisees gives the most simple blueprint for the Christian lifestyle: Love God and love others.  On this every law and utterance of the prophets rests.  This means that everything I think, do and say must be measured against this... Has what I've just thought, done or said been an expression of loving God and loving others? What a challenge for me today!

Lord Jesus.  You are love personified. Be ever before me today that all I do is love You and love others.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Outrageous Grace

“The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you;..."

Jesus is describing to His disciples what the kingdom of heaven is like, using a parable of a landowner hiring at the eleventh hour.  Jesus is highlighting the scandal of God's mercy; all are treated the same.  There is nothing we can do to earn more mercy from God.
This is good news for me.  I entered the Church at age 35.  I had a good number of years "standing idle in the market place" before I accepted the Lord's covenant.  I am so grateful that those wasted years are not held against me.
But the pharisee within me asks, "Then why work at all if effort accounts for nothing?"  That question misses the whole point.  The blessing comes not from length of service but from simply being IN service. The wonder of this  scandalous generosity of God is that it is NEVER too late.  Any time is a good time to enter into the service of God.  And if this be so, why delay it?

Lord Jesus, thank you for your scandalous mercy given to me.  Thank you for your generosity towards me.  Thank you for treating us all the same with your outrageous grace and love.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Let the Little Children Come

Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.'

The disciples see children as the world sees them; insignificant, unimportant and a nuisance.  So they attempt to shoo them away.  Jesus sees children differently.  To Him they are significant, important and their characteristics He identifies as essential to entering the Kingdom of God.

If the Kingdom of God belongs to those with child-like character then I need to cultivate child-like characteristics.  What are they?  I look at my eleven-year-old daughter and get some idea.  She is:
  • Spontaneous
  • Now-focused
  • Laughs out load, often
  • Holds no grudge
  • Compassionate
  • Transperant
Wow!  These are enough to start with.  I have a way to go...

Lord Jesus, You welcomed and blessed the little children.  Help me cultivate a child-like character that I may belong to Your Kingdom.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sex is God's Idea

Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body?

Jesus is answering a question given to Him by some Pharisees to trap Him.  Knowing full well their true motive in asking, Jesus still takes the question at its face value and answers them.  He knows His answer won't be accepted by the Pharisees but He gives it anyway saying, "Let anyone accept this who can".

If I were to summarise Jesus' answer it would be; "Sex is God's idea".  God made the sexes for His good purpose and instituted marriage to create the best environment to exercise sexuality. Sex is good because it is of God.  It is the devil who perverts and twists it to try and claim it as his domain.  But no!  Sex is God's idea and it is something beautiful and something to cherish.

Thank you Lord for my sexuality, for making me a man who desires his wife.  Lord I pray that I may cherish and protect this gift you have given me. Help me to be a true lover to my wife.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Forgive and Live

And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.

Jesus is not always the soft cuddly-toy we would like Him to be. Sometimes He delivers a hard message such as in today's Gospel when He talks to Peter about forgiveness.  Peter thought he was being magnanimous when suggesting he should forgive seven times.  Jesus raises the bar and infers forgiveness is never an option.  It is a command.

I have seen the cancer of unforgiveness at work.  The sufferers have literally been "handed over to the torturers".  Jesus' apparent harsh words about this are actually the way to liberation.  I am freed from the torturers whenever I forgive.  The world says get your revenge, it is your right.  Jesus says give up your rights and live.  Who do I need to forgive today?

Lord Jesus, you know how hard it is for me to forgive.  Empower me to forgive from my heart that I may be set free.
Blessed Mother Mary McKillop, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When Two or Three Gather

For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.

Jesus is teaching His disciples on protocol for handling disputes between brothers.  He then highlights what brotherhood means and why it is something so precious, something worth working hard at restoring when it has been damaged.  The sacredness of  Christian brotherhood comes from the reality that Jesus is part of it.  God himself is present when brothers meet in the name of Christ.

I have the incredible privilege of hosting a men's prayer group each Monday morning in my home. Quite often it is just two or three of us, but look who else turns up!  There is a deep mystery to this promise of Jesus, that the co-creator of the universe should be with praying believers, no matter how humble their circumstance.  We don't follow a distant, cold and uncaring God.  He can't wait to be intimate with us... with me.  This happens each time I gather with brothers in His name.

What a blessing my brothers in Christ are to me. I must acknowledge that today.

Lord Jesus, I thank you for the faithfulness of my brothers who gather in Your name with me so faithfully.  Thank you for your faithfulness in joining us each time we do so.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Cheerful Giver

Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver.

The ancient city of Corinth was a major port that attracted every type of person and philosophy.  Consequently the Church there struggled with every type of worldly vice.  In today's first reading Paul instructs on how to counter selfish greed by generous alms giving.

It's funny how a $20 note looks so small handing it over at McDonalds and yet looks so huge when placing on the collection plate.  I find alms giving hard.  My wife doesn't.  She's forever stuffing $20 notes into people's letter boxes or sending money off to our starving-student children.  She truly is a cheerful giver.

My tight fist needs to be replaced by an open hand.and then my "good deeds will never be forgotten" 

Lord Jesus, help me become a cheerful giver that I may be more loved by You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Be Upright and Live

‘See how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights, but the upright man will live by his faithfulness.

The prophet Habakkuk highlights how God uses savage pagans as instruments to correct His chosen people.  And yet in the midst of this apparent injustice comes the promise; the unjust will flag and the upright will live.

There is something liberating in accepting that an upright life pleases God.  A simple, faith-filled life is all He is calling me to.  This lifestyle is within the reach of all of us.  It's very simplicity is the source of its power to give life.  There's a line in a DC Talk song on Jesus Freak which goes;
I lead a simple life, I take a day at a time.  I spend my mornings with God before I hit the grind.
The simplicity of this line has always resonates with me.  It's a lifestyle I can achieve.

So, the promise for me today is, be upright and LIVE.

Lord Jesus, You know my tendency to complicate and burden myself.  I give that all to You in exchange for the simple, faith-filled life You offer me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the aspect of his face was changed...

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.  The Gospel takes us to the time and place of this glorious event that Peter, a witness, later says is not a cleverly invented myth.  It happened!

Something special happens when we take the time to "go up the mountain and pray".  It's at times like this that change can happen.  I know for me, my faith journey milestones are usually at "mountain top" places, camps and retreats I have attended. It's at these places that I have gained a glimpse of heavenly glory, that I have spoken with the prophets and had them speak to me.

Jesus, James, John and Peter didn't stay on the mountain.  They had to descend back into the valley to continue their lives.  But they never forgot what had occurred.  It had changed them as Peter attests in his epistle.

Today on the Feast of the Transfiguration I remember my mountain-top times with gratitude at the change they brought about in me.  Another retreat is coming up in October.  Have I registered yet....?

Lord Jesus, thank you for those mountain-top glimpses of glory you have given me.  Help me carry those times into my dust of daily battle, that I never loose sight of you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shout Follow Beg Persist

Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

Today's Gospel is a remarkable story.  Jesus, Love personified, initially appears to act with disdain towards the Canaanite woman who is pleading for her possessed daughter.  Surely here is a prime example for Jesus to exercise His authority and love. But He doesn't.  Instead He highlights a pin-pricking law.  She is a Canaanite woman, outside of the chosen people.
My suspicion is that Jesus, knowing the depth of the woman's faith, makes her dig deeper into that faith to make a glorious example that has been recorded for all time in Sacred Scripture.

The woman shouts:    - Not enough.
The woman follows:  - Not enough
The woman begs:      - Not enough
The woman persists:  - Love and healing flow.

The Canaanite woman is a great example of how to exercise faith... today.

Lord Jesus.  You can't resist shouting, following, begging, persistent prayer. Thank you Lord for your spontaneous love.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You are Mine and I am Yours

And you shall be my people and I will be your God.

Jeremiah is the prophet of the hard-word.  His unwelcome message gets him nothing but death threats yet he is compelled to continue proclaiming the words of doom the Lord gives him.  And yet in today's reading we see a sudden switch, almost in mid flight, from doom to love.  The final verse is the beautiful promise, " shall be my people and I shall be your God".

This reminds me of a time I was giving one of my children a severe reprimand. While I was in full angry-father flight my child started weeping.  It took the wind completely out of my sails and I ended up hugging her.  I couldn't help myself. I think in today's reading God is a bit like that.  Our tears of sorrow move Him from righteous anger to spontaneous love.  It's from His love that His beautiful promise comes, ...not matter what you do, no matter how far you turn away from me,  always remember you are mine and I am yours.  It's on this promise that I live my life today.

Father in Heaven, You know my waywardness. Thank you that no matter how far I stray our relationship is always there. You are mine and I am yours.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Fruits of Faith

 ...and he did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Jesus has been teaching in the synagogue in His home town.  While the people are amazed at His wisdom and miracles they are are also unbelieving about who claims to be, "..and they did not accept him".  The result of this unbelief?  ...lack of miracles.
There is a direct co-relation between faith and miracles demonstrated here.  Where faith is strong, miracles happen and where faith is weak, they don't. Miracles are the fruits of faith in Jesus.
I want to live in a place where miracles do happen.  The key to this happening? ...accept Jesus.

Jesus, I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Turn to God

O my Strength, I sing praise to you; 
 you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.
Psalm 59:17

The psalmist turns to God in his distress.  What does he find in this most simple of acts?  

  • He finds the source of his strength.
  • He finds his wellspring of praise.
  • He finds his surety of protection. 
  • He finds his source of love.
All this is mine today, as I turn to God.

Abba Father, thank you for always being there, just waiting for me to turn to You.  Today I walk with confidence in You, my source of strength, my praise, my protection and my love.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Burning or Shining

So it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather... all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!

Jesus is explaining the parable of the weeds to His disciples.  He explains very clearly how the parable is a description of Judgement Day, what will happen at the end of time.

There is a tenancy in me to think of Jesus as a big huggy-bear in the sky who is not going to judge and will let everyone into heaven no matter what.  There is nowhere in scripture that says this of Jesus.  In fact He says the very opposite, this being only one of many occasions.

When I realise there IS going to be a judgement day, that some WILL go to hell where there is weeping and grinding of teeth, it places a whole new urgency on the choices I make about how I live.  Virtuousness changes from being just a nice way to live here to being the key to eternal life with Jesus in heaven.  Lord, may I have that key!

Holy Spirit.  Give me ears to hear that I may live a virtuous life and enter the kingdom of my Father.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wheat among the Weeds

But Jesus said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”

Jesus is giving His famous parable teachings, today's Gospel being the parable of the weeds.  There is a message I hear when ever I read this parable.  It describes how I am to live in today's world as a follower of Jesus.  We are a secret army, wheat among the weeds, yeast in the dough, salt of the earth.  We are small and secret but we make a huge difference to the environment we live in.  We work from the inside out. 
We live among the weeds but sanctify them by our holiness.  To what end? The promise of Jesus is at the end of time we will be gathered into His barn.  What a promise by which to live out this day, as wheat among the weeds.

Lord, this world is not perfect but you have placed me in it to sanctify it.  Help me be true wheat among the weeds today.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, July 23, 2010


... the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest ...

Jesus is explaining  the meaning of the Parable of the Sower to His disciples.  The lesson is important enough to be explained carefully and recorded in detail in Matthew's Gospel.  And the lesson?  The rich soil is the man who has understanding.

Jesus infers here that understanding is a treasure to aspire for.  It sounds like hard work involving reading and study and disciple.  Well, yes it does involve all this but there is a joy that comes with it that makes it NOT hard work.  That's why it's a joy for me to be spending this Bible study time this morning.  The harvest always makes it worth while.

Holy Spirit.  Give me understanding that I may be rich soil and produce a harvest worthy of Jesus.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Answer lies in the Soil

'Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

Jesus is teaching to such a large crowd that He has to sit on a boat in the lake while the crowd stands on the shoreline. He is the consummate teacher, using parables to give His teachings.  Today's Gospel has Jesus telling His famous Parable of the Sower.  The answer seems to lie in the soil.

I am a seed sower when I think of my five children.  How rich is the soil that I have planted my seeds in? Even though most of my children are now adult, I know they still look to me for spiritual nourishment.  This can be a scary thought, especially on those days when the well is dry.  If I am to provide rich soil for my family I must be well fed myself.  These morning times I spend with God take on a new significance.

Holy Spirit, feed me that I may be rich soil for my loved ones and they may produce their crop.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Follow the Crazy Man

‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.’

Jesus is starting to concern His family.  His talk is getting darker, more on the fringe.  He has been referring to dieing and rising, calling people a "brood of vipers".  He's being accused of working with the "Prince of Demons".  He's starting to act a bit crazy and His family is worried.  A scene is created by His family wanting to call Him away.  In the midst of this turmoil Jesus makes a beautiful statement.  'Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.’

This is a call to intimacy from Jesus that I can't refuse.  He want's Him and me to be more that friends.  He's inviting me to be His brother.  Today I choose to follow the crazy man. His craziness makes more sense than the greatest wisdom of the world.

Jesus my brother. As I recommit to You I know I'm recommitting to Your craziness. But You are the only one who makes sense to me. I love You Lord, my brother.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Love and Mercy

If you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of Man is master of the sabbath.

During a Sabbath Jesus' disciples picked and ate ears of corn as they were hungry while traveling.  This earned a rebuke from the watching Pharisees but Jesus defends His disciples actions, calling on a higher law, the law of mercy.

There is a little Pharisee within me that is very quick to criticise those whom I judge are breaking the law, especially breaking the laws of the Church.  Jesus reminds me today that there is a greater law to apply to such people.  A greater law to apply to myself.  The laws of love and mercy transcend petty squabbles and judgments, blessing both the giver and receiver.

Lord Jesus. Today help me be a dispenser of Love and Mercy above all else.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Jesus exclaimed, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.

The dictionary defines "exclaim"as follows: "to cry out or speak suddenly and vehemently, as in surprise, with strong emotion".  Jesus literally Jesus shouts out his wonderful promise that still reverberates down through the ages.  Ask anyone what a heavy burden is at they will tell you.  We've all experienced it. This is the great promise that gained my attention as a non-believer and drew me to Jesus.

So here is that wonderful promise before me again.  The rest that Jesus gives is the peace beyond understanding, the peace that doesn't rely on my circumstances, the peace that his mine for the taking... today.

Jesus, You are my peace.  Thank you Lord.  I gain my rest in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Revealed to Mere Children

Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.

What are "These things" that Jesus refers to? A quick look over the earlier chapters of the Gospel of Matthew shows:
  •  things He taught in the Sermon on the Mount.
  •  things He instructed the twelve while commissioning them.
  •  things He rebuked in the Scribes and Pharisees.
  •  things He demonstrated in His miracles.
These are all things that were plainly revealed by Jesus, but they were only perceived by the simple-of-heart.

Theology has its place but, according to Jesus, it is not what is required to see the "things" of Jesus.  The beauty of my faith is its simplicity.  The more child-like I become (spontaneous, now focussed, uncomplicated, transparent, guileless, fun-seeking) the more I will see and understand Jesus in my world.

Perhaps I need to spend more time with my eleven year old daughter today and learn from her the ways of Jesus.

Jesus my Lord. You know how I intellectualise.  Help me simplify my life.  Help me become a mere child that I may see you.
Little Flower, Sister Therese of the child Jesus, pray for me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.

The hard-hitting side of Jesus is starting to be revealed.  He has just refuted criticism from the Pharisees. "we played the flute, you did not dance... We sang a dirge, you did not mourn". Mt.11:17  Now the unbelief of the towns He had visited earns His reproach.  Hypocrisy and unrepentance earn His rebuke.

The main message Jesus preached and had is disciple preach was, "repent and turn back to God". In today's Gospel Jesus clearly lays out the result of unrepentance... hard judgement and hell.  This is serious consequences from a serious omission.  The escape route? ...turn from sin and turn back to God, then all joy can be mine.

Lord Jesus, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fear Not.

Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.

Jesus is commissioning the twelve disciples.  He is confronting what He knows is their greatest obstacle to becoming effective witnesses... fear.
If proliferation of numbers was the measure of a species success, the common sparrow would have to be up there.  There is not a land mass (save the polar regions) that does not have them teeming. Two for a penny means worth next to nothing, yet Jesus says even these have the attention of God the Father.
And here am I, according to Jesus worth more than hundreds of sparrows.  What a comfort to know that I am worthy of God's loving attention, that I am never outside of His protection.
That's enough to make me step out in the name of Jesus without fear... today.

Father in heaven.  I walk into this day knowing you are with me.  I have no need to be afraid.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.

Jesus has taught His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount.  He has displayed His authority by miraculous healings.  He is now commissioning the twelve disciples to go and do the same.
Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd and yet here He is sending His sheep out among wolves.  What shepherd would do that to his sheep?  Surely he should be protecting his sheep from the wolves?
There is a time for shepherding and a time for commissioning.  In today's Gospel, Jesus is commissioning, sending out.  That is how the Kingdom of God is proclaimed.
The inference here is this is what every follower of Jesus must eventually do. ...What I must do.  Go out!
The twelve, and all followers by default, are promised nothing but hardship from their apostolic endeavors.  Indeed all but Judas and John are eventually to die a martyrs death.
But Jesus promises, "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven". Mt.10:32 What a promise!  To have Jesus Himself be my advocate before God the Father.  There's a motivating force to go out among the wolves.

Jesus, You know my fears, my reluctance to go out from my comfort zone.  Fill me with courage and zeal that I may boldly be Good News to a world starving to be hearing about You... today.
Saint Matthew, pray for me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Courage my Son

Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ And from that moment the woman was well again.

Jesus is at the height of His public healing ministry.  A man asks Jesus to come raise his daughter from the dead and Jesus responds without hesitation.  While on His way to the man's daughter, Jesus is deliberately touched by a desperately ill woman who is instantly healed.
It seems at this period of His ministry, Jesus can't stop the healing power flowing out from himself.  Wherever there is need He automatically responds.  Even just a touch of Jesus in faith is enough to cause spontaneous  miraculous healing.
The two people in this reading have two things in common; an all-consuming need and an unshakable faith in Jesus;    "...her life will be saved".    "I... shall be well again".     They also shared a common result, their request was fulfilled by Jesus.
The word of compassion to the sick woman resonates for me... "Courage my daughter, your faith has restored you...".  Courage my son, your faith has restored you.  This is good news for me today.

Lord Jesus.  I thank you for the healing you have done, the healing you are doing and the healing you have yet to do in my life.  I take courage from your promises.
Little Flower, please pray for me.