Daily Reflections

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

April 28, 2020

  The Acts of the Apostles highlights quite the contrast between Stephen’s relationship to the Holy Spirit versus that of the elders, scribes, and the people. Stephen demonstrates docility and confidence in the Spirit, which inspires him to forgive the very people who are stoning him. Whereas the people, on the other hand, show their…

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Monday of the Third Week of Easter

April 27, 2020

  When Jesus fed the 5,000, many of the people not only saw the miracle Jesus performed, but more importantly they experienced it, and understood what it was like to be filled. This experience put within them a strong desire to seek Jesus, so much so that they were willing to travel all around and…

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Reflection for Holy Saturday

April 11, 2020

  Today is the liturgical day the Church calls “Holy Saturday.” The Church calls it “holy” for one reason: because she recognizes its character as a day of silence. This is beautifully expressed at the opening of an ancient homily she uses in her Office of Readings: “What is happening? Today there is a great…

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Reflection for Good Friday

April 10, 2020

  Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth. (Is. 53:7) Centuries before Jesus came to his cross, the prophet, Isaiah, saw him, as we are told in the first reading for the Liturgy…

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Reflection for Holy Thursday

April 9, 2020

  “Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father” (Jn. 13:1). One of the great beauties of the Sacred Liturgy of Holy Thursday is the mystery of how God sanctifies time. We know it in the way Jesus entered “his time” on earth.…

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Reflection for Tuesday of Holy Week

April 7, 2020

  Betrayal and denial: Jesus foretells these acts of Judas and Peter at the Last Supper. The people closest to Jesus were no more loyal or faithful to him than those who plotted against him and those who would call out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” the next day. “Have I been with you for so…

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Reflection for Monday of Holy Week

April 6, 2020

  The fragrance of aromatic nard must have been quite wonderful for it to be so costly. According to today’s Gospel, when Mary poured the perfumed oil on Jesus’ feet, the fragrance filled the whole house. The story of Mary lavishing something costly and beautiful on the dusty feet of Jesus is a symbol of…

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Reflection for Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 4, 2020

  “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?” In moments of trial we are tempted to not show up. We are tempted to hide behind ignorance, behind fear, behind a sense of “I just want to be nice.” But we are called to be courageous witnesses of God’s plan for…

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Reflection for Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 3, 2020

  There can be a presumption at times — well, many times — that one knows more than what Scripture offers. Or that one must always offer unique perspectives, that is, my perspective. Our readings today offer an opportunity to let Scripture speak for itself. Take a few lines to let us see what God…

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Reflection for Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 2, 2020

  Promises made by God are a tricky thing, at least from our perspective. Think about it for a moment. God promises great things: eternal life, his enduring presence, help in times of distress, and so forth. However, it seems that often, almost too often, these promises are long in coming or merely absent. Is…

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Reflection for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 1, 2020

  “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham.” What are the works of Abraham? Abraham is called our father of faith. His work is his faith. Imagine being called by a god you do not know, going to a land you have never been, and receiving a promise you…

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Reflection for Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

March 31, 2020

  “I AM” Moses, looking upon a miraculous event, hears God speak to him and offers Moses his name, “I AM.” This name is sacred. It is the name we are not to profane by using lightly or in vulgar speech: “You shall not take the name of the Lord our God in vain.” “I…

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Reflection for Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

March 30, 2020

  There is, in each reading, a very simple, yet difficult, truth: we are all sinners. Not one is exempt from that reality. It also brings to light another simple but difficult fact: that we all judge others. Some of the most commonly confessed sins revolve around the judgment and treatment of others: gossiping, lying,…

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Reflection for Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 28, 2020

  Division occurs in the crowd because they are uncertain who Jesus is. Some willingly express their belief, but others struggle to accept him as the Christ because of His origin. This division is not surprising since Jesus instructed that people would become divided on his account (cf. Mt. 10:34-36). We might experience this division…

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Reflection for Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 27, 2020

  The Feast of Tabernacles marks the end of the harvest year in the fall on the Jewish calendar, and it also commemorates the time in history where the Israelites dwelt during their forty years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. The Jewish people construct sukkot (“frail huts” or…

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Reflection for Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 26, 2020

  We can all be forgetful and impatient at times, especially of God’s goodness toward us. The dialogue between God and Moses in the reading from the Book of Exodus recounts the grievous incident of the golden calf. When Moses was delayed in returning from the mountain, the Israelites turned to Moses’ brother Aaron and…

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Reflection for Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent — The Annunciation of the Lord

March 25, 2020

  When my brother and his wife found out they were expecting their first child, they wanted to find a creative way to share the news with my parents. They had a picture of my sister-in-law’s ultrasound and put it in a frame and wrapped it up as a gift. My mother opened the picture…

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Reflection for Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 24, 2020

  A priest friend of mine had an encounter after Mass with a student at the Catholic Student Center where he serves. The college senior came up to him and expressed his frustration and anxiety that graduation was approaching quickly, and he did not know what he was supposed to do with his life. The…

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Reflection for Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 23, 2020

  The healing of the royal official’s son is a powerful testimony of intercessory prayer (that is, praying for others). The official begs Jesus to heal on behalf of another person, his son. The love of his ill son and his faith in Jesus’ power to save are powerfully united in his request: “Sir, come down…

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Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 22, 2020

  Among the many levels of meaning and the rich imagery throughout St. John’s Gospel, today there is a contrast between physical sight and spiritual sight—a blind man who comes to see and the Pharisees who remain blind. Faith in Christ is a great gift—a supernatural virtue infused in us by God. We must remember…

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Reflection for Saturday of the Third Week of Lent — The Transitus of St. Benedict

March 21, 2020

  In our basilica at Conception Abbey are many beautiful murals that reflect events in the Gospels and in the Benedictine tradition. One mural, in the south transept of the basilica, depicts the St. Benedict preparing for his death. He is in his oratory, surrounded by the monks who followed him. They are holding him…

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Reflection for Friday of the Third Week of Lent

March 20, 2020

  Return. The prophet Hosea calls on the people of Israel to return to the Lord. How hard it is to return to what is right and leave behind what is evil! We mortals find it easy to observe others in hard situations and think we have the answer for them. We come to realize…

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Reflection for the Solemnity of Saint Joseph

March 19, 2020

  The Lord promised King David an heir and a long-lasting kingdom. His dynasty would last long after his death. Yet despite this promise, Nathan told David that “the sword” would never depart from his house because of his sinful affair with Bathsheba. His dynasty would always be fighting. David had faith in the Lord’s…

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Reflection for Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

March 18, 2020

  Laws, laws, laws, laws! No one likes laws, and fewer people like to follow them. Yet laws give a balance and an order to society, and also to life. The laws of the Church give us a means to enter into relationship with God. In Deuteronomy, we hear Moses speak eloquently on God’s closeness…

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Reflection for Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

March 17, 2020

  Mercy. It is surreal and beautiful. Azariah begs God to have mercy on Israel and not to let them “be put to shame.” Today’s Gospel shows a servant who asks a king for mercy. His loan, a substantial one, is forgiven. The servant then refuses to forgive a smaller loan owed to him by…

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Reflection for Monday of the Third Week of Lent

March 16, 2020

  Consider the healing of Naaman the Syrian. He was greatly distressed by his leprosy and wanted to be healed of his affliction. Jesus returns to His home town today and speaks in the synagogue. He nearly gets Himself killed when He mentions the widow of Sidon and Naaman the Syrian. So, why is Naaman…

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Reflection for Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

March 14, 2020

  As the liturgy opens today, we hear the words of Psalm 145:8-9 in the opening antiphon: “The Lord is kind and full of compassion… abounding in mercy.” Mercy is the very essence of our God. In the first reading from the book of the prophet Micah (7:14-15, 18-20), we hear, “Who is there like…

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Reflection for Friday of the Second Week of Lent

March 13, 2020

  Today’s introit from the Missal is a prayer that reveals the tie between the two readings in today’s liturgy: “In you, O Lord, I put my trust, let me never be put to shame; release me from the snare they have hidden for me…” (Ps. 31:2,5). “Release me from the snare they have hidden”…

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Reflection for Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

March 12, 2020

  The challenging plea of the entrance antiphon confronts us immediately as we begin today’s liturgy: “Test me, O God, and know my thoughts. See that my path is not wicked, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24). “Test me, O God” is a courageous prayer, as is “See that my path is…

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Reflection for Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

March 11, 2020

  The words of the entrance antiphon for this day, “Forsake me not, O Lord! My God, be not far from me! Make haste and come to my help, O Lord, my strong salvation!” (Ps. 38:22-23), are aptly applied to the prophet Jeremiah. In today’s first reading, we hear that the people of Judah and…

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Reflection for Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

March 10, 2020

  As today’s liturgy unfolds we encounter the entrance text: “Give light to my eyes lest I fall asleep in death, lest my enemy say: I have overcome him.” The meaning of this passage from Psalm 13:4-5 will become apparent as we examine the readings of the day. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah…

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Reflection for Monday of the Second Week of Lent

March 9, 2020

  The first words we hear today as the entrance antiphon is intoned are: “Redeem me, O Lord, and have mercy on me…” (Ps. 26:11-2). This is the stance of humility and the admission of fault that we hear in the first reading: “We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and…

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Reflection for Sunday of the Second Week of Lent

March 8, 2020

    Looking at Lent Through A Different Lens Throughout the Second Week of Lent, we will look at the readings presented to us in the sacred liturgy through the lens of the entrance and communion antiphons given to us in the Roman Missal.  These texts often provide a unique perspective on the scripture passages…

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Reflection for Saturday of the First Week of Lent

March 7, 2020

  There is a famous line by Tertullian, the second-century theologian and historian, in defense of the persecuted Church. He quotes witnesses of his day looking at Christians and saying: “Look at those Christians, see how they love one another!” That was a powerful counter-cultural observation when Christians were a tiny minority in a largely…

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Reflection for Thursday of the First Week of Lent

March 6, 2020

  People on pilgrimage look out for one another. In ancient times, pilgrims to the Holy Land or other holy sites did not have a comfortable journey, but faced suffering along the way: lack of food, housing, and safety, and the weariness of walking on foot became part of their prayer experience. They shared their…

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Reflection for Friday of the First Week of Lent

March 6, 2020

  When a person walks a long distance, they have plenty of time to think. We are left to our own thoughts. These are spiritually rich and even transforming moments. We need these transforming moments in which the Lord stirs the embers of our hearts to find new perspectives about the past and present. This…

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Reflection for Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

March 4, 2020

  Today marks one week since we began our Lenten journey with ashes. Why ashes? The discovery of ashes probably goes back to the first discovery of fire. Already in prehistoric times, people were using ashes for decorations, even tattoos, the removable kind! I would venture to say that today the most common use of…

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Reflection for Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

March 3, 2020

  The theme of a Lenten journey, which is meant to tie these reflections together, gives us some wiggle room. It allows us to use our liturgical readings of the day to illustrate some ideas about making any journey. Most of us would agree that when we travel, we tend to over-pack. “Just in case”…

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Reflection for Monday of the First Week of Lent

March 2, 2020

  We all have had (or should have had) plenty of “Thou shall” or “Thou shall nots” in our life! It’s the rich and necessary heritage we’ve been given since childhood. We needed those “bumper barriers” as we careened through our formative stages. But as we grew older, and perhaps wiser, those external guidelines began…

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Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent

March 1, 2020

  Welcome! My name is Fr. Daniel, and we, the monks of Conception Abbey, welcome you as we begin this spiritual journey through Lent. We welcome you, our regular fellow travelers, as well as newcomers who are serious about preparing for Easter. In a special way, we welcome you who are catechumens as you eagerly…

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