A Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prayer of the Day for Monday, January 30, 2023

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Holy Spirit,
Divine Consoler,
I adore You as my true God,
with God the Father and God the Son.
I adore You and unite myself to the adoration
You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart
and I offer my ardent thanksgiving
for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all supernatural gifts,
who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God, with such immense favors,
I beg You to visit me with Your grace …

St. Aldegunais: Saint of the Day for Monday, January 30, 2023

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Virgin and abess, also known as Adelgundis, Aldegonde, or Orgonne. She was a member of the royal family of the Merovingians and was raised by two saints: St. Walbert and St. Bertila, her parents. The family resided in the Hainault region of Flanders, a region of the Low Countries. Aldegundis reflused offers of marriage from other nobles and received the veil from St. Amandius, the bishop of Maastricht. She followed this ceremony of acceptance into the religious life with the foundation of a …

Having Heavenly Happy Hearts / Tener Corazones Celestiales Felices

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Throughout my experience as a Catholic, I have heard that the Beatitudes were hard to understand. Honestly, I think we have made an attempt to make it overly complex to pat ourselves on the back. For example, we could focus on how Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Moses that He would send a prophet even greater than Moses rather than focus on what Jesus is actually saying. It is time to allow Jesus’s gift of His Holy Spirit to teach our souls as well as our minds. What do I mean by that? Simply to give space in our hearts for the Holy Spirit to teach us and give us greater freedom. Before we dive in, I would like to point out that the word ‘blessed’ means happy or joyful.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” When we give room in our hearts for greed, we start to justify ourselves and give ourselves license to sin. Jesus is saying, ‘happy are those who are free from the burden of having enough to feel secure because in the kingdom of heaven there is abundance.’

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” There is the assurance that if we follow Jesus to the grave, we will follow Him to Resurrection. There is hope that we will hold our loved ones again.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.” Happy are those who have self-control over their own powers and allow the justice and mercy of God to be a Father to our brothers and sisters by correcting them and giving us good gifts in His timing when we have been wronged.

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Jesus longs to satisfy our need to be grounded in truth, beauty, and goodness. It looks like a person who is at peace with themselves and others. It does not look like a person who stands in judgment and self-righteousness.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Often, we have a tendency to make excuses of why we are justified in still being hurt or bitter. It is a trap, and asking for and giving God’s mercy is the only way out.

“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” Jesus showed us that even on earth he could see God. Every Eucharist, we are given the opportunity to have a heart transplant, my heart for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Our God rewards us as His little children when we fight with peace with God to co-create a world that is peaceful.

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” This is only possible with radical love and allowing Jesus to be our shield.

My hope is that we will not deceive our hearts but allow room for the Holy Spirit to help us clear out the clutter and make room to experience the kingdom of heaven and the joy of seeing the face of our God who loves us. 

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A lo largo de mi experiencia como católica, he escuchado que las Bienaventuranzas son difíciles de entender. Honestamente, creo que las hemos hecho más complicadas de lo que son para darnos palmaditas en la espalda. Por ejemplo, podríamos centrarnos en cómo Jesús es el cumplimiento de la promesa de Dios a Moisés de que enviaría un profeta aún más grande él en lugar de centrarnos en lo que Jesús realmente está diciendo. Es hora de permitir que el don de Jesús de Su Espíritu Santo enseñe nuestras almas y nuestras mentes. ¿Qué quiero decir con eso? Simplemente para dar espacio en nuestros corazones para que el Espíritu Santo nos enseñe y nos dé mayor libertad. Antes de sumergirnos, me gustaría señalar que la palabra “dichosos” significa felices o gozosos.

“Dichosos los pobres de espíritu, porque de ellos es el Reino de los cielos”. Cuando damos cabida en nuestro corazón a la avaricia, empezamos a justificarnos y a darnos licencia para pecar. Jesús está diciendo: ‘felices los que están libres de la carga de tener lo suficiente para sentirse seguros porque en el reino de los cielos hay abundancia.’

“Dichosos los que lloran, porque serán consolados.” Existe la seguridad de que si seguimos a Jesús hasta la tumba, lo seguiremos hasta la Resurrección. Hay esperanza de que volvamos a abrazar a nuestros seres queridos.

“Dichosos los sufridos, porque heredarán la tierra.”. Felices aquellos que tienen autodominio sobre sus propios poderes y permiten que la justicia y la misericordia de Dios sean un Padre para nuestros hermanos y hermanas, corrigiéndolos y dándonos buenos dones en el momento apropiado cuando hemos sido agraviados.

“Dichosos los que tienen hambre y sed de justicia, porque serán saciados”. Jesús anhela satisfacer nuestra necesidad de estar cimentados en la verdad, la belleza y la bondad. Parece una persona que está en paz consigo misma y con los demás. No se ve como una persona que se encuentra en juicio y justicia propia.

“Dichosos los misericordiosos, porque obtendrán misericordia.” A menudo, tenemos una tendencia a poner excusas de por qué estamos justificados para seguir estando heridos o amargados. Es una trampa, y pedir y dar la misericordia de Dios es la única salida.

“Dichosos los limpios de corazón, porque verán a Dios.” Jesús nos mostró que incluso en la tierra podemos ver a Dios. Cada Eucaristía, se nos da la oportunidad de tener un trasplante de corazón, mi corazón por el Sagrado Corazón de Jesús.

“Dichosos los que trabajan por la paz, porque se les llamará hijos de Dios.” Nuestro Dios nos recompensa como sus pequeños hijos cuando luchamos con paz con Dios para co-crear un mundo que sea pacífico.

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Featured Image Credit: Anna Kolosyuk, unsplash.com/photos/4R6pg0Iq5IU

Arthur Richardson is married to his wonderful wife, Gabby Richardson. Most of his work experience is in ministry. He was a retreat missionary in Wisconsin for two years and a youth minister for three years. He is now the Web Project Manager here at Diocesan, and loves it!

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Reading 1 Zep 2:3; 3:12-13

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth,
who have observed his law;
seek justice, seek humility;
perhaps you may be sheltered
on the day of the LORD’s anger.

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.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (Mt 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Cor 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
“Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”

Alleluia Mt 5:12a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad;
your reward will be great in heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Faith of Abraham / La Fe de Abrahán

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Today’s readings remind us of what faith is and call us on to greater faith. The author of Hebrews defines faith by saying it is the “realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen”.  We are reminded of Abraham’s faith in God and the importance of faith in fulfilling the covenants between God and His people. Covenant fidelity on the part of God’s people is measured by their faith. That is, when God’s people keep their promise to remain faithful to Him, God bestows upon His people abundant blessings. Abraham trusts in God’s faithfulness to the covenant and because of that was willing to risk his son Isaac’s life. In doing so, Abraham shows his own faith to the covenant and God rewards him by sparing Isaac.  We are called to have the faith of Abraham. We are called to recognize God’s faithfulness to us and, in turn, to surrender ourselves to His will, for He will never abandon us. 

In the Gospel we encounter a scene of the disciples expressing fear in the face of danger and death. Jesus’ response to the fear of the disciples is “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” Along with posing these questions to them, Jesus gives the disciples a sign pointing to who He is. He calms the storm that caused their fear. By calming the storm, Jesus shows the disciples that He is with them and that they have nothing to fear while He is by their side. When we trust that Jesus is with us, we are able to surrender to Him and allow Him to care for us. This is the faith of Abraham and it is the faith that Jesus longs for us to have in Him. 

As we celebrate the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas today, may we be inspired by his faith in Christ, seek to imitate his faith, and pray using St. Thomas’ words: “Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.”

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Las lecturas de hoy nos recuerdan qué es la fe y nos llaman a una fe mayor. El autor de Hebreos define la fe diciendo que es “la forma de poseer, ya desde ahora, lo que se espera, y de conocer las realidades que no se ven”. Se nos recuerda la fe de Abrahán en Dios y la importancia de la fe en el cumplimiento de los convenios entre Dios y Su pueblo. La fidelidad a la alianza por parte del pueblo de Dios se mide por su fe. Es decir, cuando el pueblo de Dios cumple su promesa de permanecer fiel a Él, Dios otorga abundantes bendiciones a Su pueblo. Abrahán confía en la fidelidad de Dios al pacto y por eso estuvo dispuesto a arriesgar la vida de su hijo Isaac. Al hacerlo, Abrahán muestra su propia fe en la alianza y Dios lo recompensa al perdonar a Isaac. Estamos llamados a tener la fe de Abraham. Estamos llamados a reconocer la fidelidad de Dios hacia nosotros y, a la vez, a entregarnos a Su voluntad, porque Él nunca nos abandonará.

En el Evangelio encontramos una escena de los discípulos expresando miedo ante el peligro y la muerte. La respuesta de Jesús al temor de los discípulos es “¿Por qué tenían tanto miedo? ¿Aún no tienen fe?” Además de hacerles estas preguntas, Jesús les da a los discípulos una señal que indica quién es. Calma la tormenta que causó su miedo. Al calmar la tormenta, Jesús les muestra a los discípulos que está con ellos y que no tienen nada que temer mientras esté a su lado. Cuando confiamos en que Jesús está con nosotros, podemos rendirnos a Él y permitirle que cuide de nosotros. Esta es la fe de Abrahán y es la fe que Jesús anhela que tengamos en Él.

Mientras celebramos la fiesta de Santo Tomás de Aquino hoy, que seamos inspirados por su fe en Cristo, busquemos imitar su fe y oremos utilizando las palabras de Santo Tomás: “Concédeme, oh Señor mi Dios, una mente para conocerte, el corazón para buscarte, la sabiduría para encontrarte, la conducta que te agrade, la perseverancia fiel en esperarte y la esperanza de finalmente abrazarte. Amén.”

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Dakota lives in Denver, CO with her husband, Ralph, and their two sons, Alfie & Theophilus. She is the Dean of Enrollment Management for Bishop Machebeuf High School where her husband also teaches. You can find Dakota at the zoo or a brewery with her family or with her nose in a book at home. For more of Dakota’s writing check out https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com/

Feature Image Credit: Jasmin Ne, unsplash.com/photos/-faTkS8srWc

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

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Reading 1 Heb 11:1-2, 8-19

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith.
They did not receive what had been promised
but saw it and greeted it from afar
and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth,
for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come,
they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one.
Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son,
of whom it was said,
Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead,
and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Responsorial Psalm Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75

R. (see 68) Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old.
that he would save us from our sins
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the bonds of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

Alleluia Jn 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Thomas Aquinas: Saint of the Day for Saturday, January 28, 2023

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Thomas is believed to have been born in the castle of Roccasecca in the old county of the Kingdom of Sicily, which is now known as the Lazio region of Italy, in 1225. His parents were well-off, but as the youngest son Thomas was expected to enter the monastery.

At 5-years-old, Thomas began his education at Monte Cassino, where he remained until the military conflict between Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX reached the abbey. He was then transferred and enrolled at the studium generale …