Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pardoned Healed Redeemed and Crowned

He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.

Psalm 103 is a beautiful self portrait of God.  Whenever I get a bit fuzzy about who God is, this is where I go to be reminded, to have my vision of Him refocused.

Today I am reminded God is one who pardons, heals, redeems and crowns.  What a beautiful Advent promise for me to savour.

Thank you Jesus that You forgive me my sins, that You heal me of my brokenness, that You have paid the price for me to gain eternal life and that You crown me with the title of "Son of the King".
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hard and Soft

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church 

Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.” 

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness. 

Jesus is moved with compassion when looking on the crowds following Him.  He calls them "sheep without a shepherd".  Immediately He provides shepherds by commissioning the twelve disciples and sending them off on their first missionary trip.

Saint Ambrose is a giant among saints, being pivotal in the conversion of Saint Augustine.  As bishop he is discribed as being assiduous in his duties while being compassionate with his people. The perfect shepherd whose character could describe our current Pope. 

Hard on doctrine while being soft on people.  I find it hard to excersise both these virtues. I tend to be one or the other.  The tension between the two keeps them both in balance, like gravity stopping the person on a swing from floating out into space.  Hard and soft... These can be my points of focus today.

Lord Jesus, You are the perfect example of the perfect shepherd.  Help me shepherd the flock You have given me.
Saint Ambrose please pray for me.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Rock

Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock.

Jesus warns against not acting out God's word.  He tells the story of the wise and foolish builders.  Both build houses but their foundations are radically different, as different as rock and sand.

We're always building something.  Hopes, dreams and plans abound.  At the moment we are building a wedding day for our daughter.  Jesus has a lot to say about weddings.  He's a big fan for them, as evidenced by the wedding feast at Cana.  The rock on which to build this day is the sacrament that is created in the Nuptial Mass.  Everything else will flow from that.

Lord Jesus, help me always keep You in the picture.  You are my rock.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Can Do

Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said ‘and a few small fish.’ Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and he gave thanks and broke them and handed them to the disciples who gave them to the crowds.
Matthew 15:34-36

Jesus is in the hills next to the Sea of Galilee teaching and healing a vast crowd for three days.  His compassion moves Him to want to feed the people.  The disciples observe what they have (seven loaves and a few fish) and see problems.  Jesus sees what they have and provides a solution.

I am often like the disciples here.  I focus on what there isn't instead of, like Jesus, seeing what there is. I have a reputation in my family for "raining on their parades".  Using what you've got is a great maxim. It gets things started and allows miracles to happen.  In modern jargon it's called a "can do" attitude.  It's an attitude I can cultivate today.

Lord Jesus, with You anything is possible.  Help me be positive in my outlook, seeing what can be done rather than what can't.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hope makes you Cheerful

If you have hope, this will make you cheerful. Do not give up if trials come; and keep on praying. 

Saint Paul paints a detailed picture of what Christian life looks like for the Roman church. The church is made up of different people with different gifts but all interconnected with each other.  The resulting community is a model of love in action.

Cheerfulness is something that can't be forced.  When it is forced it becomes something else, something dead.  Saint Paul gives the key to authentic cheerfulness... Hope.  Hope overrides the dust of daily battle.  It's there in the good times and the bad.  It follows, according to Saint Paul, that cheerfulness can also be there for me at all times.

Today I remind myself of where my hope lies, in the resurrected Jesus Christ.  Then let cheerfulness spontaneously ignite in me.  The world sorely needs a dose of cheer from me today.

Lord Jesus, You are the source of my hope today.  I place my trust in You.  Let my cheerfulness be an encouragement to those I meet today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Peace of Mind

For those who live according to the flesh
are concerned with the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the spirit
with the things of the spirit. 
The concern of the flesh is death,
but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.

Saint Paul clarifies the battleground between flesh and spirit within all of us.  It is the battle for the death or life of my soul.

It could be said that this battle for the soul only makes sense when viewed with an eternal perspective. After all, fleshly life looks pretty good at times.  But at the times I have succumbed to my fleshly desires I have noticed any satisfaction is at best only fleeting.  Toys get lost or broken.  The batteries eventually go flat.  The extra glass of wine leaves a headache.

When I successfully deny my flesh and embrace my spiritual life, such as getting out of a warm bed for prayer time this morning, I experience that life and peace about which Saint Paul writes.  

DC Talk say it well in their song "Mind's Eye";

You'll never find peace of mind in your pool of self
You'll never find peace of mind in a sea of wealth
You'll never find peace of mind in your rock and roll
You'll never find peace of mind if you sell your soul 

You gotta like it, you gotta love it
I know you need some freedom from the strife
You gotta like it, you gotta love it
I know you need some Jesus in your life

Today I seek peace of mind in Jesus in my life.

Thank you Jesus for the life and peace you give me.  I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


1Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,  Nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers. Rather, the law of the LORD is his joy; and on his law he meditates day and night.


The psalmist describes how we fall into sin;  we walk along side, we stand, we sit.  The causal dalliance ends up with deliberate wallowing.

Just recently I was giving advice to a young man who was struggling with a relationship with a girl that he knew was going nowhere.  I advised him not to tempt his temptation, as the temptation always wins.  This comes from my own experience.

The psalm gives the antidote to drifting into sin. God's Law.  Joy comes from meditating on it.  I'm experiencing that joy right now as I meditate on today's psalm.  God always presents a way out from sin's temptation.  I just have to grab it.

Thank you Father in heaven, that you lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Slave to What?

But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin,
you have become obedient from the heart
to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted.
Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.

Saint Paul is writing to the fledgling church in Rome about an age old problem; sexual sin.  He entreats the Roman believers to to use their bodies not for wickedness but for righteousness.  Paul explains that we become slaves to either to sin, leading to death, or obedience leading to righteousness.

The question is not whether we are slaves or not but what are we slaves to? How I use my body highlights the answer to this question.  Sex, drugs, greed, pleasure are all very sensual and pander to cravings of my body.  

Saint Paul suggests the way to move away from slavery to my body is to become obedient to teaching.  Teaching from whom? From Sacred Scripture, from the teachings and traditions of the Church.  Obedience is not a popular virtue but one I need to embrace none the less.

Jesus, you know my struggles and weaknesses.  Help me me become a slave to to your love.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Better Part

The Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’

Jesus arrives at the home of the two sisters Mary and Martha.  They each respond differently to Jesus' presence.  Martha becomes a servant, Mary becomes a worshiper.  Martha is not at peace in her role and is resentful of Mary, complaining about her to Jesus. Jesus gently rebukes the agitated striving in Martha and uses Mary's example as an antidote to that stress.

We need both Marthas and Marys in the world.  Things need to get done or chaos would abound.  Worship needs to be given or God would remain unacknowledged and hidden.  It's just a matter of timing and priority.  Jesus holds worship as the greater activity, I guess because it is the thing most in danger of being left out through my business.

I need to make space for worship before the business of my day crowds it out.  As DC Talk sing their song DAY BY DAY [Jesus Freak];

I live a simple life, I take a day at a time.
I spend my mornings with God before I hit the grind.
The subtleties of darkness never cease to amaze
as the physical world creates a spiritual haze.

Lord Jesus, thank you for always being there when I make the time to worship.  Help me make space for the "better part" of my day.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Bigger Picture

At a time when everyone was full of admiration for all he did, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘For your part, you must have these words constantly in your mind: The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men.’ But they did not understand him when he said this;

Jesus is at the height of His public ministry.  The twelve have just returned from their first successful missionary outreach, He's fed the five thousand, Peter has just had divine revelation as to who Jesus is, everyone is full of admiration for Him.  But Jesus has the bigger picture.  He knows the main purpose and destination of His life on earth.

The bigger picture.  Today can be seductive.  It can make me joyful when all is well or despondent when things are going badly.  Today does need my attention but I should always have the bigger picture before me also.

So, what is the bigger picture?  I guess I would distill it down to; God loves me and heaven is my home. This puts today into right perspective, no matter is happening.  This gives me my joy and peace that can't be taken away.

Lord Jesus, You were always totally present but fully aware of where You were going.  Give me insight and wisdom that I may be heavenly minded and earthly good today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

He Gave Them Power

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.

Jesus commissions His first evangelising team.  He equips them not with physical resources but spiritual.  The Good News from the very first has been accompanied by authority over devils and the power to heal.

It seems the Kingdom of God always brings with it deliverance and healing. That has certainly been my experience when I first heard the Gospel of Jesus proclaimed.  I was both delivered and healed.  It's good to remember, to expect signs and wonders even today... especially today.

Lord Jesus, may deliverance and healing be the hallmark of Your love proclaimed through me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hear and Do

He was told, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you’ But he said in answer, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.’
Luke 8:20-21

Jesus is attracting huge crowds.  He is a healer to some, a curiosity and freak-show to others.  His family, in their concern, come to take Him home.  In a sense, Jesus rebuffs them with His response, but expands the meaning of "Family of God' by including all who genuinely follow Him by acting on His word.

"Hear and do".  This is a simple but life changing command.  First I have to hear.  Morning prayer, Mass, the sacraments are all places I have heard God.  A men's retreat is coming up for me, another place where I can hear the word of God.  Then comes the scary part, the doing...

Lord Jesus, sometimes I find it scary to do what I hear from You.  Give me courage to trust in Your love.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Naked before Him

"For this reason I tell you that her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love. It is the man who is forgiven little who shows little love."

Jesus is at a Pharisee's house for a meal when a woman "who had a bad name" attends to Him with tears and acts of love.  The Pharisee is indignant but Jesus defends her by highlighting what her great acts of love reveal... faith in the one who has forgiven her and set her free in peace.

This is such a beautiful story .  The woman is transparent about her sinfulness and is set free.  The Pharisee is obscure about his sins and remains bound up in them.  The Gospels are full of stories like this.  Those who are open about heir brokenness Jesus is able to heal.  Those who hide behind pride, judgement and legalism distance themselves from Jesus and remain prisoners.

What areas of sin do I need to be transparent with Jesus?  It's time for Confession...

Jesus, you know the Pharisee within me that is bound up in pride.  Help me crucify him and come before for You naked and in hope.  Jesus I trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Look and Live


So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

The Israelites are following Moses in the desert and are growing impatient and complaining.  God gave them something to really complain about (venomous snakes) and they begged Moses to intercede for mercy.  The snakes weren't removed but an antidote was supplied.  The bronze fiery serpent on a standard gave life to all who looked upon it.

Today we still live among venomous snakes.  Sickness, disease and evil give us plenty to complain about.  God doesn't remove the source of our malady, ...yet.  But, He has given the antidote, His Son on a cross.

I'm looking at the Crucifix in our lounge.  I like it.  It's big.  It constantly reminds me and my family who we are following.  Each day I place a worship offering of our family prayers at the foot of the cross so that all whom we have prayed for may live.

Lord Jesus, I exalt Your Holy Cross.  Thank you for dieing that I may live.  I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Faith

Now you are able to appear before him holy, pure and blameless – as long as you persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the faith.
Colossians 1:22-23

Paul is in a Roman prison, writing to the church in Colossae.  He is writing to warn against false teachings he has heard the church has been exposed to. The antidote to false teachings, suggests Paul, is to "stand firm on the solid base of the faith".

"The Faith".  As a Catholic Convert I often heard this expression and found it quaint and a little archaic.  I asked various Catholic friends what "The Faith" actually was and, true to Catholic form, they couldn't tell me.  For a while I was quite dismissive of it, thinking that it seemed to exclude Jesus.  However, my attitude has changed over time and exposure to Catholicism.  As Saint Paul seems to allude to in his letter to the Colossians, The Faith is something all-encompassing of an authentic Catholic life.  It includes the Bible, Catholic teaching and traditions, liturgy, daily devotions, the lives of the Saints and the sacraments all focused into a day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute following of Jesus.

Even this definition doesn't fully satisfy me.  I guess I'm still discovering the richness of what The Faith truly is.  All I know for sure is that The Faith is something that can be lost, its is something that can be found and it is something to treasure.

Jesus my Rock and Foundation.  Thank you for the gift of Faith.  Teach me the fullness of what it is that I have received.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man... 
But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.
Luke 5:8-11

Jesus has just finished teaching the crowds from Peter's boat.  Almost as a way of saying thank you, Jesus tells Peter to throw his nets over the side for a catch.  Reluctantly, Peter does so and then is overwhelmed by the biggest catch of his life. Peter is confronted with the reality that Jesus is someone different, someone from God.  His response is to fall to his knees and repent and then leave everything and follow Him.

I remember the time when I finally recognised Jesus for who He really is.  It involved tears of sorrow mixed with tears of joy as my world was turned upside down, or should I say right way up.  I experienced my abject poverty and incredible worth simultaneously.  I guess I was going through what Peter is shown going through in today's Gospel.  Peter stammered "Leave me Lord" then got up off his knees and followed Jesus for the rest of his life.

It's good for me to recall this turning point in my life.  It refreshes my love for Him who loves me.  It encourages me to keep on stumbling along and follow Him.

Jesus, thank you for loving me.  Help me as I stumble along behind You.  You are the beggars friend.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ring Out Your Joy

Let the sea and all within it, thunder; the world, and all its peoples. Let the rivers clap their hands and the hills ring out their joy at the presence of the Lord:

Today's Psalm is throbbing with praise.Why? Because its Maker is present.

I'm writing this while sitting outside on our front lawn.  A crisp morning breeze is moving gently over the table while the new sun is warming me from a cloudless blue sky.  A Tui is singing in the tree above and it draws me into its song.

I am part of creation throbbing its praise.  Why?  Because my Maker is present...

Thank you Father for this day, this hour, this moment.  I join all creation and sing Your praise.
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Just, Loving and Close

The Lord is just in all his ways and loving in all his deeds.  He is close to all who call him, who call on him from their hearts.

Today's Psalm is subtitled , "A psalm of praise. Of David".  It is one of the last five of the Psalms, all of which thunder praise of God. Verses 17 and 18 of Psalm 144 (145) list three praiseworthy characteristics of God.  He is Just, Loving and Close.

When I read in Matthew 5:48 the call of Jesus to "Be Holy as the Lord your God is Holy", these three virtues come to mind.  Be Just, Be Loving and be Close (intimate).  Each of these virtues do not come naturally to me.  I tend more towards being unjust, selfish and distant.  Maybe today, with my natural self being subjugated to my spiritual self, ...maybe today, just for one day, with those I meet I can be Just, Loving and Close.

Lord Jesus, help me today be Holy as You are Holy.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Like a Child

The disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them...

The disciples are still grappling with what the Kingdom of God is like.  It is a concept so new, so radical that they cannot comprehend it.  To help them, Jesus places before them a child and says, "This is greatness in the Kingdom of God".

I had the beautiful privilege of being at a granddaughter's baptism last Sunday. One of the prayers said for her referred to her as a "woman of God".  It struck me how that is the way God views my three week old granddaughter.  He sees her whole life in one glance and her sees her not as a mewling, floppy little new-born.  He sees her as the woman of God that she is, with full value and dignity.

It follows that this is how God sees me, my entire life from new-born to old-man in one glance.  The state and stage of my life does not determine my value.  Once I fully comprehend this I stop striving to achieve, relax and just "be"... like a little child.  What a peaceful and joyful way to live out my day today!

Lord Jesus, You know how I strive to be worthy.  Help me relax in your arms like a child and just be.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Beggar who Gives Alms

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.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Saint Paul instructs the Church in Corinth on Christian life, here focusing on the virtue of selflessness.  What the world regards grudgingly, Paul describes as a great joy, the joy of giving.

Today's Psalm has the verse describing a good man as, "Open handed, he gives to the poor". Ps.112:9.  This reminds me of the central character of Les MisĂ©rablesJean Valjean.  Following his conversion from a bitter, self-seeking convict, Jean Valjean's circumstance goes from rags to riches back to rags.  However, his second period of rags can't hold back the new man of compassion and grace, to the point where the poor of Paris come to know him as "the beggar who gives alms".

The call to be a cheerful giver goes to the core of who I really am.  If I am a man truly converted, a spontaneous virtue would be cheerful giving.  Some Bible scholars say that should read "hilarious giving".  I should be howling with laughter, tears streaming down my face as I stuff twenty dollar notes onto the collection plate at church.  Does this happen?  No.  I still look at the ten dollar note on the collection plate and think how generous I am.  Further conversion is still required...

Lord Jesus, You gave everything you had to pay for my freedom.  Help me let go of my selfishness and become a cheerful giver.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Press Harder

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

A Canaanite woman has pleaded with Jesus for the healing of her daughter.  Initially Jesus appears to rebuff her but the woman persists.  Even the scraps from Jesus' table would be enough, she remonstrates. Her great faith results in Jesus granting her wish and her daughter is healed.

I have a sick daughter.  The woman of today's Gospel has something to say to my circumstance.  Press harder into Jesus.  Even when nothing happens, press harder into Jesus.  Never give up on Him.  All healing eventually comes from Him.  Have faith in Jesus even when I have my doubts.  Keep pressing into Jesus.

Lord Jesus, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Go to Jesus

The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl who took it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.

King Herod has John the Baptist beheaded as a birthday treat to his stepdaughter.  John's disciples take care of the body's remains and then go to Jesus with the terrible news about His cousin.

Matthew chapter fourteen covers what must have been the busiest and emotionally draining twenty-four hours of Jesus' life so far.  His cousin is beheaded, He is mobbed by crowds bringing Him their sick, He feeds the five thousand and rescues the disciples out on the lake by walking on water.

The day starts with Jesus hearing the news of John's beheading  from John's distraught disciples.  The first thing they do after burying John's body is go to Jesus.

This reminds me of a tragedy that happened in our parish some years ago,  A teenage boy from one of our catholic families had committed suicide.  On learning the news we gathered at the family's home and wept with them.  Then, out of the grief a man said "lets pray".  A peace settled on us and helped us cope with next few days.

Jesus is never too busy for me.  Just as He was moved with compassion for the crowds who followed Him while He was trying to be alone after learning of John's death, He has compassion for me.  He has time for me.  He has love for me...

Thank you Jesus for always being there for me.  You are my anchor in the storm.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hidden Treasure

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

Jesus is at the height of His teaching ministry to the crowds.  He talks in parables, words the listening people will understand. He talks of sowers of seed, wheat among the weeds, yeast in dough, and now hidden treasure that is sacrificed for.  He is presenting to all who will hear, then and now, a picture of the Kingdom of God.

This hidden treasure, this pearl of great price.  Am I sacrificing all to attain it?  Sometimes yes.  Often no.  I loose sight of the value of the Kingdom of God.  The world seduces me with its kingdom.  What can I sacrifice for the Kingdom of God today?  Maybe time at Mass is a place to start...

Lord Jesus.  You paid the ultimate price for me to attain the Kingdom of God.  Help me keep the preciousness of God's Kingdom before me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


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

Jesus denounces the towns where He has just performed miracles.  The power of God has been displayed in their midst but the people do not respond by repenting of their evil ways.

If ever there was answer to the question why God doesn't perform miracles all the time, this is it.  Miracles don't guarantee faith.  After the feeding of the five thousand, people clamored after Jesus, not to repent and turn to God but fore more bread.  The same would be true today.  Human nature has not changed.  A side-show Jesus would get the TV coverage but would not convert hearts.

There's is something in me that wants a side-show Jesus.  I'm a bit like James and John, the Sons of Thunder.  I want Jesus to pour down fire and brimstone on the brothels in my town, to smash into powder every liquor shop and bar poisoning our youth with cheap booze, to miraculously heal every child in the hospital's cancer ward.  But this would not convert my city, my nation.  And conversion of hearts is the more important thing.  All the evils of this world, even illness I believe, would disappear when the people convert in their hearts and turn back to God.  This is an inside-out thing and it can start with me, today...

Lord Jesus, forgive me for expecting You to perform for me.  Help me repent and change my heart back to You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Give up My Rights

But Joseph answered them, ‘Do not be afraid; is it for me to put myself in God’s place? The evil you planned to do me has by God’s design been turned to good".

Jacob has died and his sons realise they are no longer under his protection.  The evil of their plot against Joseph decades earlier floods back to condemn them and they are afraid. But Joseph assures them of his forgiveness and protection so God's covenant with Abraham could be fulfilled.

Joseph had every right under law, and certainly the power, to annihilate his brothers. If Joseph had reacted in the flesh, God's plan of salvation through the descendants of Abraham would have come to an end.  No Jewish nation, no Jesus. The evil the brothers started would have been fulfilled.  But in his brother's jealousy and treachery he managed to see God's hand.  Forgiveness didn't come easily, many tears had to be shed, but Joseph finally gave up his rights allowing the "evil to be turned into good".

I get absorbed in the evil, whether it's sickness or injustice or greed or selfishness.  Joseph's story reminds me that God never abandons me, even in the tough times.  The evil can be turned into good.

Jesus, You are with me always.  Every hair on my head has been counted by You.  Help me to give up on my rights as You gave on Yours when you climbed onto the cross.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Loved as a Bride

Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

John's disciples have questioned Jesus about the lack of fasting by His disciples.  In His reply Jesus refers to a new way of doing things and a new relationship between God and Church, one of bridegroom and bride.

Jesus refers to Himself as bridegroom in all four Gospels.  The book of Revelation four times shows Christ as the bridegroom and the Church His bride. "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready." Rev.19:7.  The more I think about Jesus the bridegroom and the Church His bride, the greater is my appreciation of God's love for His church and consequently, God's love for me.

Jesus, thank you for loving me, what can I say?
You are my everything, I will sing your praise.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

See Rightly

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.

Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.
Mt. 16:17,18

Jesus has asked His disciples who do they say He is.  After the burbling replies of the other disciples, Peter proclaims the right answer;  ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ .  As though waiting for this expected answer, Jesus grabs it and uses it to instate Peter as the head of the fledgling Church.

I love this side of Jesus' personality.  He only sees the best in people.  He looked past the ignorant, impetuous, betraying, course fisherman in front of Him and saw Peter the Rock.  Eventually Peter grew into that vision of himself.  This is a great lesson for how I need to look at people... for how I need to look at myself.

Jesus, thank you for seeing gold in miry clay, for turning sinners into saints.  Help me to see others, to see myself, through your eyes.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Abram put his faith in the Lord, who counted this as making him justified.

Abram has laid his heartache before God; "I remain childless" Gen.15:2.  In response God shows Abram the stars in the sky to indicate the number of descendants he shall have.  In the face of this outrageous and improbable promise, Abram puts his faith in God.  This enormous act of faith God counts as good enough to make Abram worthy of every promise, not only in this life but every promise for eternity.

My little girl is still sick after months of medical investigation and prayer.  We have a promise from Jesus that He brings Rebekah fullness of life; "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Jn.10:10.  In the face of her illness I hold on to this promise, believing it will be fulfilled.  Faith is the key to healing.

Lord Jesus.  Thank you for the work You are doing in Rebekah and the work You are doing in me.  
Little flower, please pray for us.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Higher Way

'But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.’

Jesus is giving His great Sermon on the Mount, laying out the blue print for the authentic christian life.  He sets a very high standard, a standard that flies in the face of the ways of the world.  The world says focus on me and happiness will be mine.  Jesus says the world can never satisfy, focus on others and not only will I find Joy but I will also have peace.

This is a constant struggle within me.  I like "things".  The world seduces me quite easily with its tinsel. Power, prestige and possessions all make seductive promises to me.  This is the great battle for me, but it's one worth fighting, today...

Lord Jesus, you know the weakness of my flesh.  Help me win this battle which is a battle for my very soul.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bring Back Home

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus 

I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. 

Ezekiel ministered to the Jews in exile in Babylon.  His teaching is centered on inner conversion, a new heart and a new spirit that will be given by God.  Today's first reading from Ezekiel portrays God as Shepherd, looking after and protecting His sheep.  The 23rd Psalm today echos this; The Lord is my shepherd...  The Gospel amplifies this further with Jesus' parable of the shepherd rejoicing in finding his one lost sheep.

This is Good News for those of us who have been, or are still, lost.  It is Good News for those of us worried about loved ones who have strayed  We have a God who comes searching for us, brings us home and bandages us, turns our weaknesses into strengths.  This is Good News for me...

Lord Jesus, Your heart burns with a passion for love of me.  Thank you for saving me, bringing me back home and bandaging my wounds.  Please bring back home my loved ones who are lost.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unity of Faith

And together they said, ‘Amen, Amen’, and lay down for the night.

Tobias and his bride Sarah have just finished praying for protection and blessing on their wedding night.  Their very first act as a couple was to turn to God and worship Him.

This is a very popular scripture for Catholic weddings and it is easy to see why.  For a young couple to have unity in faith from the very beginning of their marriage is a huge blessing.

This has been brought into focus for me recently with the engagement of a daughter to a non Catholic Christian young man.  My daughter has held out for a Nuptial Mass as her standard for marriage.  God has honored this by placing a desire in her fiancee's heart to become Catholic.  Their very first act as a married couple will be to go to God's table and receive His Body and Blood.  What a foundation for their marriage!

I am reminded of the preciousness of my shared faith with my wife.

Jesus, thank you for the unity of faith that Kate and I have.  I pray your blessing over us and over our children and their spouses.  
Saint Thomas Moore, please pray for us.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Keep On Praying

This time the prayer of each of them found favour before the glory of God, and Raphael was sent to bring remedy to them both.

The wonderful story of Tobit is continued as today's first reading.  Two of the main characters, Tobit and Sarah, have reached the depths of their despair.  Tobit is crushed by the poverty his blindness has brought him and Sarah is similarly despairing through the curse over her that has killed her fiancĂ©es. Both have not given up on God but have given up hope.  Their final prayer is that God releases them of their distress by taking their lives. But this time, this time... the prayer of each of them found favour before the glory of God.

This is a wonderful story of the power in persistent, authentic prayer.  Both Tobit and Sarah, though crushed and defeated by their circumstance, never walked away from God.  They travailed and wept out raw emotion in their prayer.  Like Job, they were honest in their communication with God.  This raw, emotional, some would say unpious prayer found favour with God.

I have been travailing before God for the healing of a daughter for four months.  My daughter continues to be in pain.  My options?  Walk away from God?  Not an option.  Continue to trust in God by persistent, authentic prayer?  Tobit and Sarah would say yes.  I say yes...

Father in heaven, in Jesus' name I beg for healing for my daughter.  Lift the pain from her and give her back the fullness of life that Your Son has won for her.   
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Jesus Loves the Little Children

 'I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ Then he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.
Mark 10:15,16

Jesus has noticed His disciples turning away people who were bringing little children to be touched by Him.  He rebukes His disciples for this and proclaims that these very little ones who are being turned away are actually closer to the Kingdom of God than all.  He then gathers the children, touches them in the warmest of ways by putting His arms around them, and blesses them.

This image of Jesus hugging little children happily gathered around Him speaks deeply to me.  It's the Jesus I want to approach in naked simplicity, uncomplicated like a little child. There is a scene in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where Susan and Lucy rush up to Aslan and get lost in his glorious mane as they frolic and cling to him. I want to feel Jesus' arms around me and experience the pure joy of simply knowing that He loves me.

Today's reading hints that Jesus wants to do this with me just as passionately.

Lord Jesus, I know the only thing that ever keeps us apart is me.  Help me overcome my fear so I can approach You and allow you to hug me. 
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, May 3, 2013

On the Third Day

I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; and that he was raised to life on the third day.

Corinth was great and populous port that attracted every kind of philosophy and was also a notorious centre of immorality. The Church in Corinth was in great need of instruction and guidance.  Paul writes about the Good News and the Christian life that flows from it.

Like the people of Corinth, I live in a time and place where philosophies and immoralities of every kind abound.  I am constantly in need of reminding about the basics of my faith, of realigning myself with the Corner Stone of truth.  The Paschal Mystery sums up the Good News well for me, that is;

Jesus truly lived, He truly died, was truly buried and truly rose again on the third day.

Thank you Jesus for being the Good News of my life.  In this Easter season I realign myself with Your resurrected  truth today.
Saints Philip and James please pray for me.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and meet that chariot.’ When Philip ran up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ ‘How can I’ he replied ‘unless I have someone to guide me?’

A great persecution of the Church has broken out following the martyrdom of Stephen.  Believers scatter, including Philip who meets the Ethiopian official on the road.  The Ethiopian is obviously devout and seeking God as he is reading scripture while travelling.  Prompted by the Holy Spirit, Philip engages in conversation, explains the scriptures and leads the Ethiopian to a dramatic conversion.

I love this story.  It shows how the Church under persecution is at its most potent.  Instead of crumbling, the persecuted Church thrives.  This is as true today as it was two thousand years ago.  I belong to the "Church Militant".  Yes, under persecution but not disheartened.  There is no place for being lukewarm. Today is a time to be authentic and white-hot for my faith.

Come Holy Spirit and embolden me to preach the Good News of Jesus to a world that does not know Him.
Saint Philip please pray for me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cry Out With Joy!

Yes, it is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day.

Jesus is at the height of His public ministry.  He has just fed the five thousand.  He has just walked across the Sea of Galilea.  The crowds are clambering after Him.  It is at this point that He proclaims clearly who He is and what has has come for.  "I am the bread of life".  "Eat my flesh... drink my blood".  And the ultimate promise, "...and I shall raise you up on the last day". 

There is still a bubbling Easter joy within me.  We are passing through the middle of the Easter season, the fifty days of resurrection awe and wonder at what Jesus' rising from the dead actually means.  It is a time to unwrap the Pascal Mystery.  Jesus truly lived, He truly died and was truly buried in a true grave... and He truly rose again!  What does this mean?  I shall be raised up with Him on the last day.

Today is a day for me to "Cry out with joy to God all the earth" (
Psalm 65:1)

Thank you Jesus for what You promise me, eternal life with You.  You are my source of hope and Joy.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, January 28, 2013


If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand.
Mark 3:24,25

Jesus refutes the claim of the scribes that it is the devil who is working through Him and casting out demons.  Simple logic shows that when something is divided against itself it cannot stand.

I cannot help thinking of dear friends who have separated after thirty years of marriage.  There has been no infidelity, simply disunity on a subject that has grown so big that it has over shadowed their love.

Jesus prayed more for unity among His followers than anything else. Why?  Because a house divided will surely fall. Its like the law of gravity. We cannot escape this fact. And the opposite is also true. There is a strength  a power in "oneness" whenever there is unity.

I need to more an agent of unity, in my home, in my parish, in my work space, in my world.

Lord Jesus, You prayed that we may all be one as You and the Father are one.  Let the Power of One be a hallmark of my life.  
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mad, Bad or Messaiah

Jesus went home, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.
Mark 3:20-21

Jesus reputation has grown like wild-fire.  He has become the latest "hot prophet" at a time when prophets came, flared brightly and then died away.  His family is concerned He is to become another casualty.  

There are three possibilities about who Jesus is.  He is either mad, bad or who He says He is.  His teachings have stood the test of the greatest minds over the past two thousand years, ruling out He was mad.  The enduring love that He has invoked over the same period of time rules out He was bad.  This leaves who He says He is.  

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." Jn 20:31.  This makes all the difference for everyone, for me, today.  

Thank you Jesus that You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.  I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sit and Listen

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings, but an open ear. You do not ask for holocaust and victim. Instead, here am I.

Psalm 39 is a song of praise.  The psalmist writes that the greatest act of praise is to be simply present to God.

This can be the hardest and the easiest thing to do. Hard in that making time to put aside everything and focus purely on God is difficult.  Easy in that anyone can simply sit and listen.  God makes praise easy for us.

I love entering into songs of praise and worship but this is not the purist form of praise, according to today's psalm.  I need to practice more sitting and listening.

Lord Jesus, here I am.  Speak to me Lord, Your servant is listening.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lord of All or Not at All

there appears a second Melchizedek, who is a priest not by virtue of a law about physical descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.

The writer of Hebrews is emphasising the perfect priesthood of Jesus by claiming it was of Him that scripture referred to when it was written, "You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever".

Abraham, the spiritual father of us all, had a right relationship with Melchizedek.  He was blessed by him, he gave the first ten percent of his possessions to him.  This gives us a template to adopt when relating to Jesus.  To be blessed means to submit, it involves a physical bowing before the one conferring the blessing.

My receiving of blessing from Jesus is only limited by my willingness to submit to Him.  If I'm honest, I would have to say not every area of my life has been submitted to the will of Jesus.  Where I perceive a lack of blessing in my life most likely indicates an area I have not submitted.  It's time to start bending the knee...

Lord Jesus, You are either Lord of all or not at all.  Give me courage and trust in You to submit those areas of my life I anxiously hold on to.
Little Flower, supreme example of submission, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pleasing Unto Him

May the spoken words of my mouth, the thoughts of my heart, win favour in your sight, O Lord, my rescuer, my rock!

Psalm 18 declares how the glory of creation is in perfect harmony with all of God's law, both declaring God's glory.  The psalm finishes by vowing that my words and thoughts may also be pleasing unto Him.

This is a great verse of dedication.  It is the perfect response to the verse in today's first reading; "everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves". Heb.4:13.  When I acknowledge that all my secret thoughts and actions are seen by God, my natural response is, "may they all be pleasing unto Him".  

This is not a response of fear but one of love.  The God who knows all about my darker side still loves me, so I want my words and actions to please Him, ...all of them ...starting today.

Dear Jesus, You know the temptations I wrestle with.  I hand them all over to You, my rescuer, my rock.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, January 18, 2013


The promise of reaching the place of rest that God had for the Israelites still holds good, and none of you must think that he has come too late for it.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that the rest promised to the first people of God still holds true for us today.  This is a true rest, one worth making sure we attain.

Rest.  Next to happiness, this would one of the great common desires of man.  In an age full of technology that promises more free time and rest, we are an exhausted generation. Times of rest, true rest that leaves you refreshed and revitalised, are rare occurrences.

I recently had a camping holiday.  Physically it was a time of exertion; erecting tents, setting up equipment, tramping and swimming.  To cook and eat an evening meal took two hours.

Yet, it was a time of rest.  I came back feeling revitalised.  I was away from the regular demands of life and it was rest-giving. The beauty of the place showed the finger prints of God and I was very much aware that this was a God-given time and place of rest.

These oasis' of God-given rest are out there.  I just have to seek them and step into them.

Thank you Lord for Your promise of rest.  Help me recognise the places of rest Your have prepared for me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Soften Up

The Holy Spirit says: If only you would listen to him today; do not harden your hearts, as happened in the Rebellion, on the Day of Temptation in the wilderness, when your ancestors challenged me and tested me.
Heb. 3:7-9

The writer of Hebrews warns against unbelief.  Unbelief is described as a condition of a hardened heart.  A hard heart comes from "sin's deceitfulness" and will deny us entry into the kingdom.

The antithesis of a hard heart is a soft heart.  A soft heart is vulnerable to being hurt by others.  My heart gets especially hardened when I get hurt.  I harden my heart to try and protect it.  Yet, here we are being told by the Holy Spirit to soften up, become vulnerable.  

Jesus is the ultimate example of a softened heart.  He is love and compassion incarnate.  It cost Him dearly but look where it got Him in the end... at the right hand of the Father.  If I want to "share in Christ", which I do, then it's time to soften up, become vulnerable and yes, maybe get hurt.  The end result is worth it.

Lord Jesus, it's scary allowing my heart to be soft, to be touched by others.  Help me soften up Lord that I may be with You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Big Picture

Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ 
Mark 1:36-38

After a busy day preaching, healing the sick and delivering the possessed, Jesus goes off to a lonely place to pray.  The disciples, keen to continue a successful mission, seek Jesus out to carry on where He had left off. Jesus however has other plans and sets off to neighbouring towns.

I'm always slightly scandalised when I read this passage.  Here were people who were sick, possessed and keen to hear the Gospel that Jesus walked away from.  Yet He knew it was time to move on to other towns.

Pressing needs can obscure the bigger objectives. How do I know when to move on?  It's noteworthy that Jesus made this call after a time of prayer.  Here's the answer to my need for clear vision.  Times of prayer.  I'm reminded of DC Talk's song Day by Day that has the lines:

I live a simple life, I take a day at a time.  
I spend my mornings with God before I hit the grind.  
The subtleties of darkness never cease to amaze, 
as the physical world creates a spiritual haze.

Mornings with God.  There's the answer...

Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness in meeting me each morning I pray.  Give me wisdom to see the big picture You have for me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Teaching with Authority

As soon as the Sabbath came Jesus went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

Jesus has gathered His disciples and is beginning His public ministry.  He starts by teaching in the local established church, the Jewish synagogues.

Jesus used the then established church to give His radically new teaching, until the crowds got to number in the thousands and He had to teach outside.  The organised structure of church wasn't ignored by Jesus.  He used it as much as He could and then established the new church, giving His authority to Peter and the Apostles.

This teaching with authority is still available for me today in the church founded by Jesus.  It's a good place for me to hangout if I want to gain a deep impression from Jesus.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the gift of Your Church.  Help me avail myself to Your wisdom, that I may gain a deep impression from You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Less Space for Me

‘The bride is only for the bridegroom; and yet the bridegroom’s friend, who stands there and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. This same joy I feel, and now it is complete. He must grow greater, I must grow smaller.’

John the Baptist is approached by his followers to query the authority of Jesus to baptise.  John emphatically promotes Jesus by saying Jesus must increase in His ministry while John's own ministry must decrease.

John has poured his whole life into his ministry and now he lets it all go.  He expresses joy while his own disciples leave to go and follow Jesus.  This is the man of whom Jesus Said, "No greater man has been born of a woman..." Mt.11:11, yet he shrinks his own stature.  The hallmark of John's greatness is his meekness and humility.

This is an area of struggle for me.  There is within me a trumpeting braggart who desires nothing but aggrandisement. The antidote?  More of Jesus, less of me...

Lord Jesus, Your measure of greatness is shown in John the Baptist, the greatest of all men who was the most humble.  Help me fill myself with You so there is less space for me.
Saint John the Baptist, please pray for me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

John's letter is to early churches under threat of disintegration due to heresies being advanced within their communities.  He summarises his own religious experience, always coming back to the great gospel message; love one another as we have been loved.

The great hallmark of Jesus is His demonstrative love.  It follows that as a follower of Jesus this is also to be my trademark.  Do people look at me and say, "There is a great lover"?

Love is great in theory but hard in practice.  As I heard recently, “Love in dreams is easy. Love in reality is a harsh and terrible thing”. Of my own strength I will never be a great lover.  As love comes from God I need His help to be motivated by it.  Meditating on the love Jesus has shown to me is great place to start...

Lord Jesus, You have shown Your love for me on the cross.  This frightens me.  Help me overcome my fear and become a great lover in a world hungry for love.
Saint John, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Under the Fig Tree

How do you know me?’ said Nathanael ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’

Jesus is starting His public ministry and forming the core of His disciples.  These disciples come from family or friendship relationships.  Philip calls Nathanael to come and see Jesus.  Initially scornful of the idea of a messiah from Nazareth, Nathanael encounters Jesus and is instantly convinced He is the Son of God.

I have often puzzled over how Nathanael was so convinced about Jesus' divinity simply by Jesus saying He saw him under the fig tree.  I recently heard a teaching that has helped explain this.  Nathanael was a Zealot. Being opposite to  Pharisees,  Zealots would go into the wilderness to pray where no one would see them except God.  Nathanael knew no one would know he had been under the fig tree praying except God.  He recognised God in Jesus.

My "Fig Tree" time is early in the morning.  This time helps me recognise Jesus when I met Him in the sacraments, in Holy Scripture, in family prayer, even in other random people I meet in my day.  Maybe even someone from Nazareth...

Lord Jesus, thank you for meeting me under my olive tree.  Help me see you in the people I meet today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Less is More

So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied: a voice that cries in the wilderness: Make a straight way for the Lord.’

Priests are sent to interrogate John the Baptist to try and identify his credentials.  They are more concerned about him being a threat than they are about what it is he is saying.  John allays their fears by denying he is the the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet.  He tells them he is simply a voice.

Here was a prime opportunity for John the Baptist to advance his career. The attention of the the powerful was on him.  But instead of promoting himself, John made himself smaller.  "I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap" Jn.1:27.  John, who Jesus named as the greatest of all men born of a woman, displayed his strength through his humility.

If I am honest, I would have to admit I most likely would not have responded as John did.  There is within me a desire to be held up before men.  To become lesser so that someone else can become greater is not a natural characteristic within me.  Perhaps it needs to be...

Jesus, You are the great role model of infinite power held in check through humbleness   Give me the strength of character to embrace Your virtue of humility.
Saint John the Baptist, please pray for me.