Daily Reflections

Wednesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

June 3, 2020

  For some people who know me, this might come as a shock, but I am a very shy person. However, when I get to know someone, I start to come out of my comfort zone. Today, St. Paul tells St. Timothy, “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power…

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Tuesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

June 2, 2020

  “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” This sentence is very hard to follow in real life. We give what belongs to the world what it needs, but we give God what belongs to Him, which is our whole self. This is a true struggle of our…

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Monday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

June 1, 2020

  In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus say before he gives up His Spirit, “I thirst.” He wasn’t only physically thirsty, but he was also spiritually thirsty. And He is still thirsty today. But what is He thirsty for? He is thirsty for you; he desires you! I am reminded of a letter that St.…

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Pentecost Sunday

May 31, 2020

    When I was younger, if I became nervous or anxious about something, like a school presentation, a speech, or writing a reflection for the Online Spiritual Journey, my mom would tell me, “Breath in the Holy Spirit and breath out the Holy Spirit.” Jesus in the Gospel today breathes on the disciples and…

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Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 30, 2020

  “[Paul] remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance, he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 28:30,31 So we come to the end of the Acts of the Apostles as we come near…

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Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 29, 2020

  [Jesus] said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John…

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Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 28, 2020

“Father, they are your gift to me.” John 17: 24 This is a profound and touching statement of our Lord! And it includes us – we are the Father’s gifts to Jesus. God the Father, by his graces, gives us over to the saving, redeeming love of his Son. One of the things this means…

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Wednesday of the Seventh Sunday of Easter

May 27, 2020

  “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. Consecrate them in the truth.” Jn 17:14, 16-17 I find something of a commentary on this text in our first reading today. St. Paul is speaking to his…

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Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 26, 2020

  “I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours…” John 17:9 To learn, ever so gradually, that we belong to the Father, that we are given to Christ by the Father – this dawning knowledge is a wonderful thing! But how do I learn…

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Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 25, 2020

  “In the world, you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:33 How do we “take courage?” I mean, how does one lay hold of it? Where do we get it? I offer two suggestions toward an answer. St. Benedict says that it is by cultivating and living humility…

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The Ascension of our Lord

May 24, 2020

    There is, deep in the human heart, a desire for fulfillment, for completion. We want to be completed! St. Paul, in our second reading today (Eph. 1:17-23) tells us how this comes about in Christ. I offer you something of an outline of what he’s saying.  To begin, there is “the Father of…

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Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 23, 2020

Apollos comes from Alexandria to preach for “the way of the Lord.” He was an authority on scriptures and spoke with “an ardent spirit.” He spoke boldly in synagogues. He still had more to learn though. Aquila and Priscilla heard him speak, and they took him aside to offer him correction. Despite his great ability,…

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Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 22, 2020

St. Paul is the center of attention this week in the Acts of the Apostles. In this reading, he has suffered and needs encouragement. He has a vision where God tells him not to be silent and encourages him to keep preaching Christ’s message. As it turns out, he needed the encouragement, because not long…

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Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 21, 2020

St. Paul moves on from Athens to Corinth. There he meets people who practice his trade, tent-making. He does not feel uncomfortable bringing his faith to his work. Do not be afraid to bring your Christian faith to your workplace or job. This doesn’t mean you have to proselytize or be pushy about Jesus. It…

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Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 20, 2020

Today’s reading has St. Paul preaching in the Aeropagus in Athens. He calls on the Athenians to come to know the “Unknown God.” How amazing it is that God is unknown to us because of our lack of understanding and is still closer to us then we know? St. Paul declares that God gives life…

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Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 19, 2020

Fr. Mychal Judge, a New York City priest, had a great prayer he used in his spiritual life. “Lord, take me where you want me to go. Let me meet who you want me to meet. Tell me what you want me to say, and keep me out of your way.”  This prayer carries with…

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Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 18, 2020

We begin with the “We” section of the Acts of the Apostles, where the author speaks in terms of a group traveling together. “We” set sail for Neapolis from Troas. Onward from there, we set sail for Philippi. Thus we see the early Church in its apostolic beginning as Paul, Luke, and presumably other companions…

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Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 17, 2020

Philip the Deacon travels to Samaria today in the Acts of the Apostles. He performs miracles that inspire faith in the local people. There is great rejoicing in the town, and many convert to Christianity. While this is a great event, it doesn’t complete the work of their conversion. Peter and John come to know…

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Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 16, 2020

Love and hate, as opposites, are two very strong emotions. I am not speaking of the mild likes and dislikes a person can have toward, let’s say, pineapple on pizza or their favorite pub, but raw life-changing emotions that will shape a person’s lifelong decisions. Our Gospel today speaks of hate toward followers of Christ.…

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Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 15, 2020

When is the last time you were commanded to do something? We are often told what to do in order to accomplish a task correctly, or we might be reminded of our legitimate responsibilities. But to be commanded is something many of us are not used to, especially if it is something that impinges on our freedom.…

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Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 14, 2020

Dramatic change, of any sort, is disruptive. You can never, even if you wish, to go back to how things were before. Some dramatic change is exciting – new home, new spouse, new child, new job; some change is devastating – sickness, death, isolation, betrayal. In either instance, you must face the challenge of life…

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Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 13, 2020

I want you to notice something vitally important in the first reading today: honest argument. While we will not hear the rest of the scene presented (I encourage you to read the rest of it), a remarkable thing happens: the Church, split in its understanding of what it takes to be a true Christian, argues,…

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Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 12, 2020

Over the last few days, we have had the opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ summons to live a radical life of obedience and charitable service. The readings today continue that theme, but this time with an emphasis on gratitude. Our responsorial psalm reveals another necessary attitude that of appreciation: “Let all your works give you…

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Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 11, 2020

In yesterday’s reflection on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, we heard Jesus make a remarkable claim: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these.” We explored the remarkable claim by the fact we will do great things, even greater…

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Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 10, 2020

  The first reading, and its accompanying story, has held particular interest to me for many years. As one of the men chosen to be a deacon – Stephen – is my monastic patron. My name, Etienne, is French for Stephen, and so the story surrounding Stephen, and his own, has shaped my monastic life.…

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Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter

May 9, 2020

Sometimes we think, often to our later embarrassment, that we have a sudden insight about someone or something. Feeling pretty good about ourselves, we pose what we think is a very astute statement or question. Just imagine this one:  “Teacher, are there known genetic factors that cause brown cows to give chocolate milk and brown…

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Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

May 8, 2020

When I was growing up in rural Iowa, it was not uncommon for someone to pull in off the highway, knock at the door, and ask for directions to find someone living in the area. Deferring to the adults, what we heard sounded something like this:  “Oh, yeah, well you take this dirt road east…

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Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

May 7, 2020

We who live in the northern hemisphere are so fortunate, liturgically speaking. The timing is perfect and we can celebrate the Easter season in the spring of the year, which is usually marked with beautiful promises of growth. Nature mirrors the kind of energy and new hope that the Christian community finds in the magnificence…

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Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

May 6, 2020

Certainly one of the most ancient and powerful symbols used in the Easter Vigil was the Paschal Candle. What could be more impressive than a single lighted and decorated candle held aloft, challenging the darkness when the deacon sings the ancient proclamation: “Light of Christ?” It becomes even more impressive as the flame of the…

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Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

May 5, 2020

Some years ago, you could buy posters that, at first glance, seemed to be nothing more than a poster of haphazard dots. Only after staring at the page for a few moments would the face or the picture suddenly emerge from the dots. Much to their frustration, some people tried hard but only ever saw…

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Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

May 4, 2020

There are many jokes about meeting St. Peter at the pearly gates of Heaven someday. Peter the fisherman could be characterized as impulsive; he was quick to make a decision and quick to speak his mind. But what happened to Peter after he met Jesus and answered the call to follow this traveling rabbi?  The…

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

May 3, 2020

  Sometimes hearing a few words at the right moment can make all the difference. When things are really hectic, and we wonder how we are going to handle conflicting needs and how they will turn out, we begin to feel a great deal of stress. But if a friend comes along and promises: “I…

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Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

May 2, 2020

  Often when I am visiting with people and encouraging them in their prayer life, they will respond: “Yes, I know…but it’s hard.” I can’t disagree—the spiritual life is hard. Maintaining a consistent prayer life is very hard. There is a subsection in the Catechism of the Catholic Church entitled, “The Battle of Prayer,” which…

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Friday of the Third Week of Easter

May 1, 2020

  “Here I am, Lord.” The words are uttered by the disciple Ananias who is residing in Damascus and about to take a significant role in Saul’s conversion. This response, “Here I am,” is familiar to the Scriptures, echoing as an expression of openness and willing to do what the Lord asks. Abraham said it…

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Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

April 30, 2020

  Many people I have met with express to me their desire to know God’s will. Often they will express their frustration of “not knowing” or the uncertainty and doubts of what path they should pursue. While I understand the desire for certainty and have desired it in my own life, the question remains: What…

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Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

April 29, 2020

  Can God really bring good out of evil? St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.’” The Acts of…

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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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An Easter Reflection from Abbot Benedict

April 12, 2020

  Abbot Benedict and the monks of Conception Abbey want you all to know you are especially in our prayers this Easter as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior! The image occurred to me recently that we here in our monastery and you in your homes are like Noah and his family in the…

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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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