**

“Francis and Clare can show you how to die into your one and only life, the life that you must learn to love. It will show itself to be one continuous movement–first learning to love your life and then allowing yourself to fully die into it–and never to die away from it. Once death is joyfully incorporated into life, you are already in heaven and there is no possibility or fear of hell. That is the Franciscan way. The Gospel is not a fire insurance policy for the next world, but a life assurance policy for this world. Francis and Clare somehow came to see through the common disguises of heaven and hell and they seemed to come to this on their own. My hope and desire … is that you can know heaven on your own, too–and now!” –Richard Rohr

**

“Your sins are great? Just tell the Lord: Forgive me, help me to get up again, change my heart!” –Pope Francis

-from The Spirit of Saint Francis

Jesus’ Compassion – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

Jesus is called Emmanuel which means “God-with-us” (see Matthew 1: 22-23).  The great paradox of Jesus’ life is that he, whose words and actions are in no way influenced by human blame or praise but are completely dependent on God’s will, is more “with” us than any other human being.

Jesus’ compassion, his deep feeling-with us, is possible because his life is guided not by human respect but only by the love of his heavenly Father.  Indeed, Jesus  is free to love us because he is not dependent on our love.

For further reflection …

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:36-38 (NIV)

**

Jesus is our hope. Nothing—not even evil or death—is able to separate us from the saving power of His love.

-from The Spirit of Saint Francis

**

God is love. And we move towards the light to find the love of God. But is God’s love within us, even in the dark moments? Is the love of God there, hidden away? Yes, always! The love of God never leaves us. It is always with us.

-from The Spirit of Saint Francis

**

Gospel Jn 17:11b-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

“Lead, Kindly Light” by the Blessed John Henry Newman, written in 1833, several years prior to his conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism

**

**

Lead, Kindly Light

“Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.”

“We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place in ourselves for those who love us”. —St. Bernard of Clairvaux

-from Love Never Fails

**

Gospel Jn 16:23b-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

“I have told you this in figures of speech.
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures
but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

**

“The principal thing is to stand with the mind in the heart before God, and to go on standing before [God] unceasingly day and night, until the end of life.”

–Igumen Chariton of Valamo, comp., Bishop Kallistos Ware, ed., The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology (Faber: 1997), 63.

**

Where love is genuine, it has got to be shown, not with words, but with the reality and daily acts of our life…. When love is based on gratitude at knowing oneself loved and forgiven, the soul will never be at a loss as to how to express such love, through every word, thought, and deed, but especially through a habitual silence that just wants to admire and adore. —Erasmo Leiva-Merikakas

-from Love Never Fails

**

Gospel Jn 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

Not only is love everything, but everything is love. Love is the soul of everything valuable. The most precious gift in the world given without love is worthless; the cheapest gift in the world given with love is priceless…. Everything valuable is made of love. Your very existence is God’s love of you. Love is the meaning of life and the meaning of religion and the meaning of everything. —Peter Kreeft

-from Love Never Fails

**

Gospel Jn 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

“Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith and must, therefore, have their focus in the core of Christ’s proclamation: the Father’s love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel” (The Message of Fatima, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 26, 2000).

**

“This is why going to confession frequently is so important in the life of a committed Catholic. The graces you receive from the sacrament heal the self-inflicted wounds of sin and prepare you to receive the Lord in the Eucharist more worthily and fruitfully.”

-from Now What?

“Trinity” from The Shape of God by Richard Rohr

The doctrine of the Trinity is saying … God is not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think. Perhaps much of the weakness of the first 2,000 years of reflection on most of our doctrines and dogmas is that we’ve tried to understand them with a logical or rational mind instead of through love, prayer, and participation itself. This is how God brilliantly remains in charge of the whole process. In the end, only lovers seem to know what is going on inside of God. To all others, God remains an impossible, distant, and uninteresting secret, just like the stars and planets.

**

If you do your best to be a good witness of Christian joy to those around you, showing good example to them by your charitable and amiable disposition, you can help them become better. This is a big part of what St. Paul meant when he said, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

-from Now What?

**

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