Dear God, open a door for my message, so that I may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:3-4

R4C

R4C
Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You.
Psalm 19:14, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Do not let your hearts be troubled!


Do you allow any troubles to rob you of God's peace? As much as we try to avoid it, we all inevitably encounter trouble and difficulties. Jesus knew his disciples would have to face trials and persecution after he left them to return to his Father in heaven. Adversity can make us lose hope and become discouraged, or it can press us closer to God and to his promises for us.

"It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed" (Deuteronomy 31:8).

A place for you in my Father's house 
Just as God, who appeared as a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night, went ahead of Moses and the Israelites to lead them safely through the wilderness to the promised land, Jesus tells his disciples that he is going ahead through his ascension into heaven to prepare a place for them in his Father's house - a place of lasting peace, friendship, and happiness with God. God's house is never closed nor over-crowded - there is plenty of room for everyone who believes in God and in his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest fear in this present life - whether it be the separation and loss of a loved one or the threat to one's own life - is put to rest by Jesus' promise that we will live forever with him and the eternal Father. There we will be joined with a great company of saints and angels who will be our friends forever as well.

Do you know the way to the Father's house in heaven? Jesus expected his disciples to know where his life was headed - to dwell in everlasting glory with his Father in heaven. And he expected that his disciples would recognize that this was their ultimate destination as well. Thomas, who was both a doubter and a realist, spoke for all the disciples when he said, "we neither know where you are going nor how we shall get there on our own?" Thomas was a very practical "down to earth" kind of person who wanted to see the map and landmarks showing the exact path that would lead the way to the desired haven. Jesus assured Thomas that he would not only give him everything he needed to complete the journey, he would be Thomas' personal guide as well.

Traveling alone in unfamiliar or uncharted places can be unnerving and bewildering without a companion or guide. And some places are impossible to pass through without the right person who knows the way and who can guarantee a safe passage. Several years ago I was invited by Christian friends to visit their community in Lebanon. They were in the middle of a civil war that would last for 15 years (1975-1990). Months and years of hardship, exposure to danger, and the uncertainty of the war's outcome, as well as being physically cutoff from outside contact with friends, was weighing heavily. I was eager to visit to offer some support. Since I had never traveled there before, nor spoke the local language, I knew that I was helpless without a trustworthy guide. Fortunately a close Christian friend from Lebanon met me half-way on my journey and personally guided me through some unfamiliar territory, including check-points, road-blocks, physical danger, and some social, religious, and political hurdles as well. My guide got me safely to my destination. I literally owed my life to his safe-keeping. The Lord Jesus promised his followers that he would be their personal guide and friend who would lead them to the source of lasting peace, enduring friendship, and abundant life.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life 
The disciples were surprised that Jesus was going to his Father's house and would return to take them with him. And they were even more surprised when Jesus said he expected them to know the way to the Father's house. Jesus' answer to there question, "show us the way", was both a reminder that his disciples should trust their Master and Teacher to show them the way, and a challenge for them to recognize that Jesus had intimate knowledge of God and where God came from. Jesus made a statement that invoked the very name which God had revealed to Moses, "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14), and he made three claims which only God could make. He stated unequivocally to his disciples: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6)

Jesus proclaims: I am the Way (John 14:6). He alone knows the way to the Father because he has been with the Father from the beginning - before time and creation ever existed. The Lord Jesus gives us more than a road map and guide book. He personally is the way to the Father's kingdom, and we cannot miss it if we follow him. He accompanies us on our daily journey and watches over us as the good shepherd who leads and sustains us each and every step of the way. Are you in step with the Lord and do you trust in his guiding hand for your life?

Jesus proclaims that he is the Truth (John 14:6). Many can say, "I have taught you the truth." Only Jesus can say, I am the Truth. He possesses in himself the fulness of truth. Jesus claims to be one with the Father and to speak the truth which proceeds from the Father. Jesus promised his disciples that if they continued in his word, they would learn the truth and the truth would set them free" (John 8:31). The truth which Jesus proclaims has power to set us free from ignorance, deception, and sin. The words which Jesus speaks are true because there is no lie or falsehood in him. Moral truth requires more than mere words or ideas because the person who speaks them must be true - true in thought, speech, deed, example, and action. Jesus embodies the truth in his person.

Jesus proclaims that he is the Life (John 14:6). He not only shows us the path of life (Psalm 16:11); he gives the kind of life which only God can give - abundant life that lasts forever. Is there any trouble, fear, or distraction that keeps you from the perfect peace and joy of a life surrendered to Jesus Christ?

Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with the Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Friday, 20 April 2018

Pope Francis Monthly Intentions for 2018


The Holy Father asks us to pray for the specific intention each month in the year 2018 as below.



JANUARY, 2018 ~ Evangelization
Religious Minorities in Asia
That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practice their faith in full freedom.

FEBRUARY, 2018 ~ Universal
Say "No" to Corruption
That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.

MARCH, 2018 ~ Evangelization
Formation in Spiritual Discernment
That the Church may appreciate the urgency of formation in spiritual discernment, both on the personal and communitarian levels.

APRIL, 2018 ~ Universal
For those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters
That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.

MAY, 2018 ~ Evangelization
The Mission of Laity
That the lay faithful may fulfill their specific mission, by responding with creativity to the challenges that face the world today.

JUNE, 2018 ~ Universal
Social Networks
That social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects other for their differences.

JULY, 2018 ~ Evangelization
Priests and their Pastoral Ministry
That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.

AUGUST, 2018 ~ Universal
The Treasure of Families
That any far-reaching decisions of economists and politicians may protect the family as one of the treasures of humanity.

SEPTEMBER, 2018 ~ Universal
Young People in Africa
That young people in Africa may have access to education and work in their own countries.

OCTOBER, 2018 ~ Evangelization
The Mission of Religious
That consecrated religious men and women may bestir themselves, and be present among the poor, the marginalized, and those who have no voice.

NOVEMBER, 2018 ~ Universal
In Service of Peace
That the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the language of conflict.

DECEMBER, 2018 ~ Evangelization
In the Service of the Transmission of Faith
That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time.

God offers his people abundant life, but we can miss it. What is the bread of life which Jesus offers? It is first of all the life of God himself - life which sustains us not only now in this age but also in the age to come. The Rabbis said that the generation in the wilderness have no part in the life to come. In the Book of Numbers it is recorded that the people who refused to brave the dangers of the promised land were condemned to wander in the wilderness until they died. The Rabbis believed that the father who missed the promised land also missed the life to come. God sustained the Israelites in the wilderness with manna from heaven. This bread foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.

Jesus is the "bread of life"
Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The manna from heaven prefigured the superabundance of the unique bread of the Eucharist or Lord's Supper which Jesus gave to his disciples on the eve of his sacrifice. The manna in the wilderness sustained the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. It could not produce eternal life for the Israelites. The bread which Jesus offers his disciples sustains us not only on our journey to the heavenly paradise, it gives us the abundant supernatural life of God which sustains us for all eternity.

The food that makes us live forever 
When we receive from the Lord's table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood and partakers of his divine life. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 A.D.) calls it the "one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ" ( Ad Eph. 20,2). This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and strength for our journey heavenward.

Do you hunger for the "bread of life"? 
Jesus offers us the abundant supernatural life of heaven itself - but we can miss it or even refuse it. To refuse Jesus is to refuse eternal life, unending life with the Heavenly Father. To accept Jesus as the bread of heaven is not only life and spiritual nourishment for this world but glory in the world to come. When you approach the Table of the Lord, what do you expect to receive? Healing, pardon, comfort, and rest for your soul? The Lord has much more for us, more than we can ask or imagine. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist or Lord's Supper is an intimate union with Christ. As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens us in charity and enables us to break with disordered attachments to creatures and to be more firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Do you hunger for the "bread of life"?

Lord Jesus, you are the living bread which sustains me in this life. May I always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength I need to love and serve you wholeheartedly. May I always live in the joy, peace, and unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and in the age to come.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Jesus, I know You will help me


JESUS
I know You will help me
get through this difficult time.
It's hard to understand 
why all this going on. 
But I know Your ways 
are higher than my ways
and You will work things out
for my good as I continue
to put my hope in You.
Thank you for helping me
get through another day.
Amen.

Prayer for Inner Strength



Dear God,
Please give me the strength
to endure this situation,
and find the blessings
and lessons that it contains.

Please give me the endurance
to continue ahead.

Please guide my thoughts,
words and actions,
so that I walk Your
path of peace and love.
Amen.

I kneel before You


Dear God,
I kneel down before You
at this moment.
Please,
Enlighten what is dark in me,
Strengthen what is weak in me,
Mend what is broken in me,
Bind what is bruised in me,
Heal what is sick in me,
Revive what ever peace and
Love that died in me.
This is also my prayer
for my family, friends
and even those who hate me.
Amen.

God will see you through it


Whenever you do not 
understand what's happening
in your life,
just close your eyes,
take a deep breath
and say 
"God I know it is Your plan.
Just help me through it."

Pray for Someone


Heavenly Father,
I pray for those people 
who are hurting 
and through some 
unimaginable circumstances.
I pray for those who want 
their lives to be better
and to be free 
from those things that 
may be holding them back.
Even though I may not know them,
You know their situation.
In Jesus' name.
Amen.

Morning Prayer


Dear Lord,
Thank you for this day.
I choose to let go 
of my fears and worries
and put my trust in You completely.
Lord, I am aware 
that with You, 
I can overcome all the barriers
to reach my destiny.
You are an omnipresent God,
I know You are here with me.
Lead me Lord, 
and direct my steps
to the paths of righteousness,
all the days of my life.
Amen.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Prayer for Reflection


God of solitude, 
come to me daily. 
Call me from my busy days 
so I might quiet my soul. 
Here give me the grace 
to examine and understand myself 
in all of my complexity. 
May my spirit rejoice 
in the fruits of my reflection, a
s I become more the person 
You created me to be. 
Amen.



source: National Shrine of St. Jude

Thursday, 12 April 2018

He who believes in the Son has eternal life


Do you hunger for the true and abundant life which God offers through the gift of his Holy Spirit? The Jews understood that God gave a certain portion of his Spirit to his prophets. When Elijah was about to depart for heaven, his servant Elisha asked for a double portion of the Spirit which Elijah had received from God (2 Kings 2:9). 

The Holy Spirit opens our minds to understand God's word of truth 
Jesus tells his disciples that they can believe the words he speaks because God the Father has anointed him by pouring out his Spirit on him in full measure, without keeping anything back. The function of the Holy Spirit is to reveal God's truth to us. Jesus declared that "when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13). When we receive the Holy Spirit he opens our hearts and minds to recognize and understand God's word of truth.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said, "I believe in order to understand; and I understand the better to believe." Faith opens our minds and hearts to receive God's word of truth and to obey it willingly. Do you believe God's word and receive it as if your life depended on it?

God gives us the freedom to accept or reject what he says is true. But with that freedom also comes a responsibility to recognize the consequences of the choice we make - either to believe what he has spoken to us through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, or to ignore, reject, and chose our own way apart from God. Our choices will either lead us on the path of abundant life and union with God, or the path that leads to spiritual death and separation from God.

Love the Lord, cling to him, and you will have life 
God issued a choice and a challenge to the people of the Old Covenant: "See I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. ...I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him" (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). And God issues the same challenge to the people of the New Covenant today. Do you weigh the consequences of your choices? Do the choices you make lead you towards life or death - blessing or cursing?

If you choose to obey God's voice and to do his will, then you will know and experience that abundant life which comes from God himself. If you choose to follow your own way apart from God and his will, then you choose for death – a spiritual death which poisons and kills the heart and soul until there is nothing left but an empty person devoid of love, truth, goodness, purity, peace, and joy. Do your choices lead you towards God or away from God?

Lord Jesus Christ, let your Holy Spirit fill me and transform my heart and mind that I may choose life - the abundant life you offer to those who trust in you. Give me courage to always choose what is good, true, and just and to reject whatever is false, foolish, and contrary to your holy will.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

You must be born anew


Do you know the healing power and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ? Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of a "new birth in the Spirit" which would come about through the victory he would accomplish through his death and rising. The Hebrew word for "spirit" means both "wind" and "breath". Jesus explained to Nicodemus: You can hear, feel, and see the effects of the wind, but you do not know where it comes from. In like manner, you can see the effects of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those whom the Spirit touches with the peace, joy, and signs of God's power and love at work in them.

The "lifting up" of the Son of Man 
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the "Son of Man" must be "lifted up" to bring the power and authority of God's kingdom to bear on the earth. The title, "Son of Man," came from the prophet Daniel who describes a vision he received of the Anointed Messiah King who was sent from heaven to rule over the earth (Daniel 7:13-14). Traditionally when kings began to reign they were literally "lifted up" and enthroned above the people. Jesus explains to Nicodemus that he will be recognized as the Messiah King when he is "lifted up" on the cross at Calvary. Jesus died for his claim to be the Messiah King sent by the Father to redeem, heal, and reconcile his people with God.

Jesus points to a key prophetic sign which Moses performed in the wilderness right after the people of Israel were afflicted with poisonous serpents. Scripture tells us that many people died in the wilderness because of their sin of rebellion towards Moses and God. Through Moses' intervention, God showed mercy to the people and instructed Moses to "make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live"(Numbers 21:8). This miraculous sign was meant to foreshadow and point to the saving work which Jesus would perform to bring healing and salvation to the world.

Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father, explains the spiritual meaning of the bronze serpent and how it points to the saving work of Jesus Christ:

"This story is a type of the whole mystery of the incarnation. For the serpent signifies bitter and deadly sin, which was devouring the whole race on the earth... biting the Soul of man and infusing it with the venom of wickedness. And there is no way that we could have escaped being conquered by it, except by the relief that comes only from heaven. The Word of God then was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, 'that he might condemn sin in the flesh' [Romans 8:3], as it is written. In this way, he becomes the Giver of unending salvation to those who comprehend the divine doctrines and gaze on him with steadfast faith. But the serpent, being fixed upon a lofty base, signifies that Christ was clearly manifested by his passion on the cross, so that none could fail to see him." (COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 2.1)

Our new birth in the Holy Spirit
The bronze serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness points to the cross of Christ which defeats sin and death and obtains everlasting life for those who believe in Jesus Christ. The result of Jesus "being lifted up on the cross" and his rising from the dead, and his exaltation and ascension to the Father's right hand in heaven, is our "new birth in the Spirit" and adoption as sons and daughters of God. God not only frees us from our sins and pardons us, he also fills us with his own divine life through the gift and working of his Spirit who dwells within us.

The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual power and gifts, especially the seven-fold gifts of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence for God and his ways, and a holy fear in God's presence (see Isaiah 11), to enable us to live in his strength as sons and daughters of God. Do you thirst for the new life which God offers you through the transforming power of his Holy Spirit?

Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life for us. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may walk in freedom and joy in the knowledge of your great victory over sin and death.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Friday, 6 April 2018

Divine Mercy Sunday (Sunday after Easter Sunday or the Octave Day of Easter) ~ 8 April, 2018


Jesus told St. Faustina to “Do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My mercy. I will make up for what you lack. Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace.” (Diary, 1074)

In the Jubilee Year 2000, Saint Pope John Paul II fulfilled the will of Christ by establishing this special Feast of Divine Mercy on the Octave Day of Easter, in the Catholic Church, and gave it the name “Divine Mercy Sunday”. By God’s Providence, Saint John Paul II died, on this feast, in 2005. 

"As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness, and fear, the Risen Lord offers His love that pardons, reconciles, and reopens hearts to love. It is love that converts hearts and gives peace.
How much the world needs to understand and accept 
Divine Mercy! 
Lord, who reveal the Father’s love by Your Death and Resurrection, we believe in You and confidently repeat to You… 
Jesus, I trust in You, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world. Amen." 
~ Saint Pope John Paul II ~

Saint Pope John Paul II said, it becomes clear why Jesus insisted that the sacred image of Himself as The Divine Mercy is to be venerated throughout the world in connection with the observance of this Sunday (Diary, 49, 88, 299, 341, 570, 742). Saint Pope John Paul II said: "Before speaking these words, Jesus shows His hands and His side. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in His Heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity.
Jesus made it very clear that He would pour out a whole ocean of graces on that day and that the Divine Floodgates would be wide-opened. Jesus promised that the soul that would go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, on that day, would receive the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment. Let us all remember what Jesus said “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners” (Diary, 699)

In Saint Faustina's diary, she recorded that Jesus also indicated that He Himself is right there in the confessional. Jesus told her, "When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity." (Diary, 1602) 

Jesus knew that people would really need to hear these words of re-assurance today, so He went on to say "Come with faith to the feet of My representative...and make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyze what sort of a priest that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light." (Diary, 1725) "Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. (Diary, 1602)

Many feel that their sins are unforgivable but, Jesus said, "Were a soul like a decaying corpse, so that from a human standpoint, there would be no hope of restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. In the Tribunal of Mercy (the great sacrament of Confession) ...the greatest miracles take place and are incessantly repeated." (Diary, 1448) "Here the misery of the soul meets the God of Mercy". (Diary, 1602) Every sin imaginable could be forgiven by Him!

So many people are weighed down by sin and their prideful nature keeps them away from the confession of their sins. They are living in misery. Jesus said, "Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God's Mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late." (Diary, 1448) "Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace." (Diary, 1074) "There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy. (Diary, 1273) Jesus came to restore sinners and one would be foolish to turn away from His merciful love.

"On the day of My feast, the Feast of Mercy, you will “go” through the whole world and bring fainting souls to the spring of My mercy. I shall heal and strengthen them.”, (Diary, 206) . Jesus said to "go" out and bring "fainting souls" to Him. Jesus wants us to go out and evangelize and to bring these souls to Him to receive His Divine Mercy.

We are also called to be merciful: Without deeds of mercy our devotion would not be real. For Christ does not only reveal the mercy of God, but at the same time He places before people the demand that they conduct themselves in life with love and mercy. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Matthew 5:7). Let it be a mercy that is forgiving and true, and universal, with good words, deeds, and prayer for others!" "Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy ... I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it" (Diary, 742).

"Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity...tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. (Diary, 965) Wake up, and repent of your sins, this just might be our last hope of salvation!

St. Augustine called the eight days of Easter (which the Church liturgically considers as constituting a single day ‑ the day of the new creation) "days of mercy and pardon."

Take this chance to start a new life, go for Confession and receive Jesus in Holy Communion, on Divine Mercy Sunday, and receive the total forgiveness of your sins and punishment..

"I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy" (Diary, 1109).

"Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment" (Diary, 300).