Articles for Lent

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

August 14, 2020

  “Raymond, what will become of you?” At an early age, Raymond Kolbe was a mischievous little boy who got into trouble a lot. His mother said to him, after stealing eggs from the neighbor’s chicken, “Raymond what will become of you?” Little Raymond was perplexed by this and turned to the Blessed Mother and…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 13, 2020

  There are days when I want to break out of the monastery, thinking, “I want to make a difference in the world, especially with all the violence we see constantly.” But as I said yesterday, I can’t. It is impossible for me to do this, not only because of my monastic vow of stability,…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 12, 2020

  I know this may become a shock to some people, but I am a sinner. Yes, it’s true. I sin. Even in a monastery, no one is perfect. Our Lord says in the Gospel today, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 11, 2020

  My grandmother had a nine-month-old daughter pass away because of an infection, and I remember my grandmother telling me, “one of the nuns who I knew said, ‘you don’t know how lucky you are! You have your own personal saint!’ Br. Maximilian, I have never wanted to hit a nun so hard in my…

Continue Reading

Monday of the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 10, 2020

  In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus say, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.” What Jesus is saying…

Continue Reading

Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

August 9, 2020

  This Sunday has two of my favorite readings. In the First Book of Kings, Elijah hears the voice of the Lord as a whisper, and in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus allows Peter to come to him on the waters. First, let’s start with Elijah when he was waiting to see the Lord. The Lord allowed…

Continue Reading

Saturday of the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 8, 2020

  St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, began his itinerant evangelizing in response to a threat to the Catholic Church. This came through the Albigensians who set up a rival church. They were Gnostics, a term that comes from the Greek word for “knowledge.” Gnosticism says there is a secret wisdom that…

Continue Reading

Friday of the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 7, 2020

  Does God care? This is a perennial question by most that are open to belief in God. And for atheists, the existence of evil – despite the very fact that we Christians proclaim a good God who made the world good – is reason enough to believe there is no God. Today the prophet…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 6, 2020

  Since Pope St. John Paul II composed and instituted the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary (Virginis Mariae 2002), these particular Christ events are contemplated on Thursdays. The Fourth Luminous Mystery is the Transfiguration of the Lord. It is therefore appropriate that we consider Mary and her Son’s glorification in the flesh at Mount Tabor…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 5, 2020

  When the Israelites set out on the Exodus from slavery in Egypt, they left behind more than oppression. The land of enslavement did not just have meat, it had overflowing fleshpots (cf. Ex. 16:3); it had tasty vegetables (Numbers 11:5). The hardscrabble nomadic life in the Sinai desert was another story. So even when…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 4, 2020

  Being offended is not a moral virtue. Yes, being sensitive and empathetic to the plight of God’s little ones who suffer injustice and marginalization is right, but only if it rouses us to work for concrete solutions to help them. If we are merely offended and pay lip service to justice and conversion, then…

Continue Reading

Monday of the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 3, 2020

  The prophets Hannaniah and Jeremiah represent two types: the prophet of hope and the prophet of doom. The content of Jeremiah’s book is bad news. This is not by choice; in fact, he laments he would rather not speak these words but feels compelled by God (cf. Jer. 20:7-9). The Lord chose Jeremiah to…

Continue Reading

Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

August 2, 2020

We are so grateful you choose to take this Online Spiritual Journey each day with us. Because we work to reopen our guest and seminary ministries this month, we are discontinuing the weekly video portion of the Online Spiritual Journey. We will, however, continue to provide daily written reflections in your inbox and at lent.conceptionabbey.org.…

Continue Reading

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

August 1, 2020

  Prophets can be annoying. Perhaps better put, prophets know how to get to the heart of the matter. They speak out when others are silent. They rock the boat. They push people to think in new ways even though those new ways are very unpopular, sometimes even unheard of. Prophets have a message for…

Continue Reading

Friday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 31, 2020

  “Jesus did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” It distressed Jesus to see the lack of faith in the people there, though he knew and even said that prophets are rarely accepted in their own place or country. It is clear that people were impressed with Jesus. They had…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 30, 2020

  The question comes to us today: what are the scriptures trying to tell us today? Perhaps this: there is, of course, a wisdom that comes from God — a wisdom that we are meant to receive, to share in, to participate in, and to possess. This is the Wisdom of God, the creator of…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 29, 2020

  This Gospel passage has been used at many funeral masses, and masses for the faithful departed. We hear a key declaration of Jesus himself: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” And, yet,…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 28, 2020

  A plea for mercy. A cry for pity. For strength. In powerfully emotional words, the passage from Jeremiah tells the story of a people deeply wounded, even overwhelmed. It is clearly enough for the people to wonder if God has indeed abandoned them. They are pleading with God to remember the covenant of old.…

Continue Reading

Monday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 27, 2020

  Things take time. Growth. Change. Progress. Insight. Understanding. All of these are not “fast food” type items. It is easy to see this in nature. Seeds planted in spring grow over a span of weeks and produce a harvest, provided they are nourished with sun and water in good balance. Small saplings planted 15…

Continue Reading

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

July 26, 2020

    The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed a pearl of great price, a net thrown into the sea that catches many fish, a treasure hidden in a field. So what is the Kingdom of Heaven like? Really. Jesus in the Gospel selections for recent days – Sundays and weekdays – has…

Continue Reading

Saturday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 25, 2020

  St. James is one of my favorite saints and is my favorite apostle. The parish I grew up in was St. James Church in Washington, Iowa. It also has a parochial school, St. James Elementary. I went to school there for all my elementary education. Needless to say, I’ve been friends with St. James…

Continue Reading

Friday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 24, 2020

  “Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.” Luke 8:15 It is worth asking how one is supposed to keep a generous heart to then yield an abundant harvest. Conventional wisdom holds that you only get ahead by keeping the best things for yourself.…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 23, 2020

  “You have revealed to little ones the mystery of the Kingdom” (MT 11:25) Jesus praises God for revealing His secrets to children, to those who are little. Children start life without preconceived notions and prejudices so they often are more open to receiving God’s graces. We can’t stay young forever, so we need to…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 22, 2020

  Mary Magdalene shared a strong bond with Jesus. He inspired her through His preaching and example. Her history is often misconstrued. She has often been referred to as being a prostitute, although this is never stated specifically in the Gospels. It seems to be a grave injustice that Mary Magdalene has been branded in…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 21, 2020

  In the Prologue of his Rule, St. Benedict wrote that God gives His children time to turn away from their sins. St. Benedict quotes the Gospel of John, saying, “run while you have the light of life.” He adds the word “run” when the Gospel of John used the word walk. Why? St. Benedict…

Continue Reading

Monday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 20, 2020

  “What have I done to you, or in what have I offended you?” (Micah 6.6) Whether you are young or old, you will come to find that, sometimes, life just doesn’t make sense. Events or circumstances happen that seem unfair and unjust. We wonder why God is allowing these things to happen at all.…

Continue Reading

Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

July 19, 2020

    Today’s Gospel reading is one of my favorites. Jesus tells the parable of the wheat that was infested with weeds. An “enemy” comes and plants weeds in the soil before the wheat could grow. The farmer comes later and finds that weeds have grown in the wheat. This harms the crop, but it…

Continue Reading

Saturday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 18, 2020

  In the alleluia verse, we hear this morning, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” Jesus loves us very much and he wants us to come closer to him. Throughout the week in the entrance antiphon for mass we have been hearing, “As for…

Continue Reading

Friday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 17, 2020

  “My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” People nowadays think that talking about death is a taboo and that if we ignore this subject, then we will live forever, but as St. Benedict says in his Rule, “Keep death daily before your eyes. The life that…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 16, 2020

  Today is one of my favorite Marian Feast Days, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Our Lady appeared to St. Simeon Stock and gave him the brown scapular. “According to Pope John XXII, the Blessed Virgin gave him the following message in a vision related to those who wear the Brown Scapular: ‘I, the Mother…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 15, 2020

  In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus say, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to the childlike.” What does Jesus mean here? It is very simple. People who think they know God, or…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 14, 2020

  I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can feel like that the walls are closing in around me. There are times when I just want to give up and run. But there is one thing that gives me hope, and that is faith. In the first reading today, God tells Isaiah to tell…

Continue Reading

Monday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 13, 2020

  Today in the Gospel, we hear these troubling words from Jesus, “do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.” If you think the world has gone topsy-turvy today, just imagine the disciples’ reaction when they heard this! What does…

Continue Reading

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary time

July 12, 2020

    In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the sower, and one verse caught my attention, “The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word, and it bears no fruit.” If we look at the pandemic and civil…

Continue Reading

Saturday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 11, 2020

  Today we celebrate the life and legacy of St. Benedict, the spiritual father of Benedictines, and the patron saint of Europe. Two documents have come down to us about this holy man from Italy who lived in the late 5th and early 6th century: His Rule for monks and nuns, which lays down the…

Continue Reading

Friday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 10, 2020

  Foreword: Please join me this week on a journey, as we follow the Church’s readings through the Book of Hosea, an ancient prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. I think you and I both will discover that the life and message of Hosea are still relevant and needed today. Reading Hosea can help…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 9, 2020

  Foreword: Please join me this week on a journey, as we follow the Church’s readings through the Book of Hosea, an ancient prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. I think you and I both will discover that the life and message of Hosea are still relevant and needed today. Reading Hosea can help…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 8, 2020

  Foreword: Please join me this week on a journey, as we follow the Church’s readings through the Book of Hosea, an ancient prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. I think you and I both will discover that the life and message of Hosea are still relevant and needed today. Reading Hosea can help…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 7, 2020

  Foreword: Please join me this week on a journey, as we follow the Church’s readings through the Book of Hosea, an ancient prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. I think you and I both will discover that the life and message of Hosea are still relevant and needed today. Reading Hosea can help…

Continue Reading

Monday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

July 6, 2020

  Foreword: Please join me this week on a journey, as we follow the Church’s readings through the Book of Hosea, an ancient prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. I think you and I both will discover that the life and message of Hosea is still relevant and needed today. Reading Hosea can help…

Continue Reading