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My Catholic Life! presents the beauty and splendor of our Catholic faith in a down to earth and practical way. These daily audio reflections come from the "Catholic Daily Reflections Series" which is available in online format from our website. They are also available in e eBook or paperback format.

May these reflections assist you on your journey of personal conversion!

Catholic Daily Reflections John Paul Thomas

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

My Catholic Life! presents the beauty and splendor of our Catholic faith in a down to earth and practical way. These daily audio reflections come from the "Catholic Daily Reflections Series" which is available in online format from our website. They are also available in e eBook or paperback format.

May these reflections assist you on your journey of personal conversion!

    Wednesday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time - Authority Over demons

    Wednesday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time - Authority Over demons

    Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Luke 9:1–2

    This is the first time that Jesus sends His Apostles out on a mission. On this mission, He is preparing them for their ultimate mission, which will come at the time of Pentecost, after Jesus dies, rises and ascends to Heaven. But for now, Jesus commissions these Apostles to do three things: to cast out demons, heal the sick and proclaim the Kingdom of God.

    Just like the Apostles, we are called to combat the devil and his demons. They are fallen angels who retain their natural powers, and they use those natural powers to try to deceive us, oppress us and, in some cases, even possess us. But demons are powerless in the face of God, and God gives us spiritual authority over them. And though there are some who are given the unique ministry of exorcism within the Church, all of us do have spiritual authority over demons, especially over their natural spiritual attacks of temptations.

    We combat demons primarily by revealing their lies and bringing them to light. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in his spiritual classic The Spiritual Exercises, explains to us some of the ordinary tactics these demons use and how we overcome them. He says that for those steeped in a life of serious sin, the demons continually place before their mind the lie that their sins are enjoyable and rewarding, so that they will continue to choose them. And for those who are striving for holiness, these demons try to discourage them in their deepening conversion. They “bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on” (Rule 2). The way to overcome these temptations is by turning to the truth. First, by realizing that the false “pleasures” of sin are just that: false, fleeting and ultimately demeaning. Furthermore, we overcome these temptations by receiving from God “courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles.” In other words, we overcome the demons by allowing God to strengthen us, clear our thinking, dispel all false obstacles on the road to holiness and by receiving the abundant consolations that God bestows as help on the journey.

    Reflect, today, upon the fact that our Lord wants to minister to you in this threefold way. If you can work to overcome the obstacles put in your path by these demons, then you are in a good position to share in the other two missions given to the Apostles. You will be able to experience mental, emotional and spiritual healing in your life, and you will be able to allow the Kingdom of God to grow strong and powerful within your own soul. From there, you will be sent on a mission by our Lord to bring these graces to others in need.

    My all-powerful Lord, You have authority over evil, the power to heal and offer all the gifts of eternal salvation. Help me to be open to the ways that You desire to come to me. Please free me from the attacks of the evil one, bring healing and hope, and bring forth the abundance of Your glorious Kingdom in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.

    Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com
    Copyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    • 5 min
    Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, September 21 - Seeking True Satisfaction

    Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, September 21 - Seeking True Satisfaction

    “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Matthew 9:11–13

    Just prior to this passage quoted above, Jesus saw Matthew, a tax collector, sitting at his custom post collecting taxes. Jesus walked up to him and said two simple words: “Follow me.” What did Matthew do? He got up and followed Jesus and invited Him to his home for a meal. When the Pharisees saw this, they acted with judgment and cruelty. They said, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Their reaction and Jesus’ subsequent response to them says much about the goodness of our Lord.

    When Jesus said that He “did not come to call the righteous but sinners,” He was not speaking of the truly righteous. For example, the most righteous person alive at that time, other than Jesus, was His dear mother. And we can be certain that not only did Jesus call her but that she always responded with her whole heart. However, Jesus was speaking of those who were “self-righteous.” A self-righteous person is one who thinks highly of themself, ignoring the truth of God but choosing, instead, to elevate their own image in their own eyes and in the eyes of others. Simply put, to be self-righteous is to believe a lie and, in fact, to believe the worst of lies. It’s the worst of lies because this sin has the effect of causing a person to remain obstinate and stuck in their sin. The self-righteous person does not see any need for repentance or change in their life. Therefore, they are not open to the Word of God and to allowing that Word to transform them.

    Saint Matthew, whom we honor today, was different. He was a sinner indeed. Most likely he was greedy and overly attached to his money. Tax collectors were not highly regarded at that time because they were Jews who worked for the Romans and were, therefore, seen as traitors to their own people. Additionally, they were seen as thieves, because they often extorted more than they should receive so that they could pocket some of the money. For this reason, many Jews also feared the tax collectors because they knew the tax collectors had Rome’s support in this illicit activity.

    What’s amazing is that Jesus approached Matthew, the sinner and tax collector, and confidently called him to be a follower. Most likely, Jesus could see into his heart. He knew Matthew was not happy with his life and was searching for more. Therefore, as soon as Jesus called him to follow Him, it is clear that something took place within Matthew’s soul. The fact that he got up and followed our Lord shows that the spiritual draw to Jesus was far more powerful than his desire for earthly wealth.

    This same truth applies to each and every one of us. No matter what we find ourselves drawn to and no matter how we seek satisfaction in life, the supernatural truth is that there is only one thing that will satisfy. We could have all the money in the world, all earthly power and prestige, and still, in the depths of our souls, we will not find peace until we turn to Jesus and follow Him. Some people learn this truth early in life, some later in life, and some never discover it at all.

    Reflect, today, upon how satisfied you are with your life. Is there something missing? If so, look at your goals and priorities in life. What do you spend most of your time thinking about, talking about and daydreaming about? If it is not our Lord Who occupies your mind, heart and every desire, then you can expect that you will experience discontentment in life. In that case, look to the witness of Saint Matthew. He is a saint today because he responded to Jesus’ invitation to abandon his life of sin and greed so as to follow Him in poverty. But in that worldly poverty and abandonment of...

    • 7 min
    Monday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time - Growth in Understanding

    Monday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time - Growth in Understanding

    “Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” Luke 8:18

    Do you have much? Or little? According to Jesus’ words, if you have much, then you will receive much more; but if you have little, then you will lose even what you have. Does this seem fair?

    Of course, our Lord is not speaking in worldly terms. He’s not saying that if you have much money, then you will gain more, or if you are poor, then you will become poorer. Instead, Jesus is speaking about the grace that comes from understanding His holy Word. Notice that the passage above begins by saying, “Take care, then, how you hear.”

    To “hear” the Word of God implies that you truly receive what Jesus teaches. Hearing is not just hearing the words spoken with your ears. One early Church Father, Saint Bede, explains that truly hearing the Word of God with our minds leads us to love that Word, and loving the Word leads to understanding. This is not accomplished by an intellectual exercise alone, as if our natural gifts are the primary means by which we comprehend all that Jesus teaches. Rather, it comes through spiritual insight gained by the supernatural gift of the Spirit Who teaches us all things.

    If you want “more” understanding of the mysteries of God, then commit yourself to engaging the holy Scriptures with your mind. Read the Scriptures, ponder them and pray with them. It’s easy to forget that the Word of God is a Living Word. This means that when we prayerfully immerse ourselves in the Scriptures, we are prayerfully encountering God Himself. God is alive in His holy Word. We meet Him, personally, and this happens only by a special grace that we must be open to receive.

    The beautiful aspect of this teaching of Jesus is that the more we understand His Word by this grace, the more we will immerse ourselves in it, and it will continue to grow within us. If, however, we devote little time to engaging the Word of God in prayer, we will begin to “forget,” so to speak, the spiritual depths of the wisdom of God. We will lose the little understanding we have and when this happens, we will be prone to engaging and accepting the many confusions and deceptions alive in our world.

    Reflect, today, upon your practice of prayerfully meditating upon the Scriptures. If this is not your current practice, resolve to make it so. Perhaps start with one of the Gospels and commit yourself to prayerfully reading it little by little every day. The goal is not to get through the books of the Bible. The goal is to enter into each book. Every chapter and every line provides us with a depth of spiritual insight and understanding just waiting to be given and received. Commit yourself to this holy practice, and you will be amazed at the spiritual riches our Lord bestows upon you.

    Living Word of God, my Lord and my King, I thank You for the way in which You come to me and all Your children through Your written Word. Fill me with a love for that Word so that I will daily engage my mind in the deep truths revealed within it. May I meet You, dear Lord, and grow in an understanding of Who You are and what You wish to reveal to me. Jesus, I trust in You.

    Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com
    Copyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    • 5 min
    Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - Loving Those in Need

    Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - Loving Those in Need

    Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Mark 9:36–37

    What is it about the image of a child that helps Jesus illustrate an important point? The answer to this question must be understood as a contrast between one who is like a child and one who holds a worldly view of greatness.

    A child is one who is poor, dependent, humble and in need. A child cannot take care of his/her own needs. Rather, a child needs the care of parents. So it is with us in our relationship with God.

    We are not considered great by being independent, powerful, well respected, successful, etc. This is a worldly view of greatness. The Apostles, in this passage, were arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus, in pointing to a child, shows that greatness is not about what you accomplish or the like; rather, greatness is found in becoming dependent upon Christ. Additionally, it is found in seeking out those who are in need (as a child is in need of care) and offering the love and care others need. It’s a call to compassion and concern for the poor and needy among us.

    Reflect, today, upon whether you are ready and willing to reach out to those in need among you. Who are they? What is their need? Do you seek them out and offer love and support? Doing this is what will make you truly great in the eyes of God.

    Lord, may I seek You in the poor, the brokenhearted, the sinner and all those in need. Please fill my heart with compassion and concern for others. Jesus, I trust in You.

    Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com
    Copyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    • 3 min
    Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time - Bearing Abundant Good Fruit

    Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time - Bearing Abundant Good Fruit

    “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” Luke 8:8

    This short line is, in a sense, a summary of the Parable of the Sower. This parable presents us with four different ways in which the Word of God is received. The seed that is sown is the Word of God. The four different categories of people are compared to seed sown on a path, rocky ground, among thorns and in good soil.

    Jesus explains that the seed sown on the path are those “who have heard, but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts.” The seed sown on rocky ground are those who “receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.” The seed sown among thorns are those who have heard the Word and received it, but over time they are “choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit.” Finally, those who are like rich soil are those who heard the Word and “embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

    As you look at those categories of people, where do you fall? Most likely, for those who pray daily and try to follow our Lord, one of the last two categories is where they fall. Note that for those who are like seed sown in the thorns and those sown in rich soil, fruit is born from the Word of God. In other words, their lives do change and they do make a difference in the world on account of God’s holy Word and presence in their lives. The difference, however, is that those who struggle with “the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life” will fail to produce “mature fruit.” This is a good teaching for faithful Christians to ponder.

    When you look at your life, what sort of fruit do you see? The “fruit” of which our Lord speaks can be identified with the fruits of the Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, forbearance, gentleness, faith, modesty, self-control, and chastity. Thus, if you want to discern whether you are more like one who bears mature fruit vs. immature fruit, look at those holy qualities carefully. How “mature” are each of these fruits of the Spirit alive in your life? They make a wonderful examination of conscience for those looking to go deeper than just the Ten Commandments or Seven Capital Sins. If these good fruits are born from your life in a truly mature way, you should be able to see how they affect others through you. For example, how has your kindness, patience, faith and self-control helped others in their Christian walk?

    Reflect, today, upon the fruits of the Spirit. Review them carefully and prayerfully as you examine your own life. Where you see them in abundance, rejoice and give thanks, and work to foster their growth. Where you see them lacking, rejoice also in that insight and consider the reason they are lacking. Are there worldly anxieties, desires for riches or pleasures that hinder their growth? Seek to be that truly rich soil, and our Lord will indeed bring forth much good fruit in you and through you.

    My divine Sower, You sow the perfect seeds of Your Word in abundance. Please help me to open my heart to receive that Word so that an abundance of good fruit can be born. Please free me from the anxieties and deceptions of life so that I can hear clearly Your holy Word and nurture that Word in my heart. I rejoice, dear Lord, in all that You have and continue to do in and through me. Jesus, I trust in You.

    Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com
    Copyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.

    • 5 min
    Friday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time - All In!

    Friday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time - All In!

    Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities… Luke 8:1–2

    Our Lord was on a mission. He traveled on foot from one town to another, “preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.” His message truly was “good news.” He healed the sick, cast out demons and, most importantly, He forgave sins. As a result, many began to follow Him. Not only did His followers consist of the Twelve whom Jesus personally called and who He would eventually send forth as His Apostles, but others followed Him also. Today’s Gospel also mentions three women by name: Mary of Magdala, Joanna and Susanna. These are but a few of the people who were deeply touched by our Lord, who in turn left all to follow Him.

    The choice of these first followers to abandon all and follow Jesus invites us to examine the extent to which we have committed our lives to following Him also. Among the many people who heard Jesus preach, there were undoubtedly various responses. Some rejected Him, others were intrigued by Him, others believed in Him but were not willing to become His disciple, and some did commit themselves wholeheartedly to Jesus and His mission of proclaiming good news. For the latter, the good news they heard changed their lives.

    What is your response to our Lord? One good way to properly answer this question is to examine the amount of time and energy you have committed to our Lord and His message of good news. How much time have you spent reading His holy Word, praying to Him, speaking about Him and learning the faith that He has taught? How much does His message affect the decisions you make in life? Being a Christian is not something we can compartmentalize. We cannot have our “faith time” a few moments of each week and then spend the rest of our time on other activities. True, our days will be filled with many activities that are simply normal parts of our lives. We all have duties and responsibilities that occupy much of our days. But being “all in,” so to speak, means that Jesus and His message permeates everything we do. Even our ordinary daily activities such as work, chores, and the like must be done for God’s glory and in accord with His divine will. 

    For Jesus’ first followers, though they traveled with Him from town to town and radically changed the course of their daily lives, they still would have engaged in many ordinary activities. But those ordinary activities were ultimately done so as to help them and others fulfill their ultimate mission of listening to and responding to the Word of God.

    Reflect, today, upon the extent that you have consecrated every part of your life to our Lord and His mission. Doing so does not necessarily require that you become a public evangelist, spend all day at Church or the like. It simply means that Jesus and His mission are invited into everything you do every day all day. We can never serve our Lord fully enough. As you examine your daily activity, look for ways to bring our Lord into everything you do. Doing so will truly make you one of His faithful disciples who are all in with your life.

    My divine Lord, You are on a mission to save souls and to build up Your glorious Kingdom. I thank You for inviting me to not only become transformed by Your holy Word but to help spread that Word to others. My life is Yours, dear Lord. Please enter into every part of my daily life and use me for Your glory. Jesus, I trust in You.

    • 6 min

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