In today’s reading from 1 Peter for the memorial of St. Wenceslaus, we hear about righteousness and suffering. “Righteous” is a tricky word. It’s associated with surfers and the ‘70s and, in my mind, has an air of insincerity as if someone is acting righteous more for applause than because it’s the right thing to do. 

Merriam Webster defines it differently – “acting in accord with divine or moral law” – and it’s that definition that makes the Biblical use of it make sense. Paul warns Peter that righteousness may lead to suffering but that’s okay. The one who suffers for doing good is blessed. This can be hard to hear. We’d like to think that if we do good we will be rewarded with good – as if there is some sort of karmic bank into which we make deposits and withdrawals. If we treat others well, we will be treated well.

It’s not like that though. The reality, especially in today’s combative culture, is that being righteous – acting in accord with divine law – is going to bring some suffering. It may not be big. It may not be public mockery or losing a job. It will most likely come from people we know and love and it may be small comments or little jabs.

Pursuing holiness comes with a cost. In choosing to follow Christ’s teachings, we are choosing to live differently from the majority of people around us. As much as people can be inspired by being around someone who pursues goodness, people can also find fault with it. If you’re a regular Sunday Mass attendee, you may have heard comments from people about how “holy” and “good” you are. If you leave work early to go to adoration, someone may say something slightly snide. When it’s a stranger, we let it roll; when it’s a friend, it hurts. 

If you prioritize your faith and your relationship with Jesus, people will have comments and opinions and you may suffer. Today’s culture is not righteous, so when we try to live those values, it is brought to our attention how others feel.

But St. Paul tells us we will be blessed and because of that we can rejoice. It’s hard to hear the comments or see the looks that cross people’s faces but if it means we are doing the righteous thing then we can rest with Jesus in that. 

In the end, the only one whose opinion matters is God’s and he will be generous in his blessings. 

Contact the author

Merridith Frediani loves words and is delighted by good sentences. She also loves Lake Michigan, dahlias, the first sip of hot coffee in the morning, millennials, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids. She writes for Catholic Mom, Diocesan.com, and her local Catholic Herald. Her first book Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Adoration is available at Our Sunday Visitor and Amazon. You can learn more at merridithfrediani.com.

Feature Image Credit: markusspiske, https://pixabay.com/photos/valhalla-monument-goddess-bust-3706774/

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

Today is my bride and I’s fifty-second anniversary! How is that possible? Because of her, we have raised eight children and I just recently baptized our 30th grandchild. What a joy!

Today in the Gospel of Luke he says, “the one who is the least among you all is the one who is the greatest”. That scripture doesn’t seem to fit in the ways of this world today. I was taught that a successful person was one that made a lot of money. I was “encouraged” to go to college to be a petroleum engineer. After my first semester in an engineering curriculum, I bowed out. Our professor told us that we all would be on a drafting board for at least five years! That did it. I went into secondary education. Somehow after student teaching, I got into the business world.

I got a job working for the branch of a large corporation. They were distributors of hydraulics and pneumatics. My drive to make it was still there with me. At this point in my life my wife and I had two children. I was climbing the corporate ladder and working a lot of hours. One evening I came home and for “some reason” came in the back door. Our two boys were by their mother in the kitchen. I opened the door, and they both went and hid behind their mother. Why? Because, they really didn’t know who I was! I went to work before they got up in the morning and came home after they were in bed. I was shocked and it broke my heart. That was the day I burned the corporate ladder! I’m glad there was a child in today’s gospel because the behavior of our two boys that day caused me to make a major life change. 

Being the least isn’t always easy. It needs love, sacrifice, humility, meekness, etc., and thick skin to say the least. Above all, it needs lots of faith! So, what is the payback? For me, the joys and sorrows of our large family (47) could not be purchased at any price. Oh yes, we had to go without some of the finer things in life, but the Lord has always provided for our needs. I seem to remember reading, “you cannot serve both God and mammon” (money). Sound familiar?

Serving With Joy!

Contact the author

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Jingming Pan, https://unsplash.com/photos/iYsrkq5qq0Q

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

Today we read of jealousy and lifting others up in Christ. In the First Reading, the 70 elders begin to prophesy and it was amazing! But when the two elders that WEREN’T there begin to prophesy, Joshua asks Moses to stop them. 

Moses’ response is:

Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all! (Numbers 11:29)

Something similar occurs in the Gospel reading when the apostles come to Jesus, telling him that there are others that are performing miracles in Jesus’ name but they aren’t following the disciples.

Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:38-43)

In both cases, we are reminded not to be jealous of others’ gifts, nor should we be jealous when people are given the same gifts as us. Just because someone may not have come to the same gift, talent, or gift of the Spirit, does not mean that we should say they’re wrong or don’t deserve it. God’s glory is meant for all, not only for those who experience things exactly as we do. It is meant for all people. 

It is so easy to get caught up in our human ways and to want all the powerful glory of the Lord, all the wondrous gifts of the Holy Spirit, all the sacrificial love of Christ, for ourselves but… that kinda defeats the purpose! 

When we are radically in love with and in relationship with Our God, we know that it is something to be shared. So next time you feel that green hue of jealousy begin to take hold, tell yourself: “I’m so excited for that person, and all those they touch in their life, to know you. I can’t wait for them to receive the gift of eternal life. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of that person. Thank you for the experience of you through that person.”

Contact the author

Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Pennsylvania. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various Catholic articles in bulletins, newspapers, e-newsletters, and blogs. She continued sharing her faith after graduation as a web content strategist and digital project manager. Today, she continues this mission in her current role as communications director and project manager for Pentecost Today USA, a Catholic Charismatic Renewal organization in Pittsburgh. 

Feature Image Credit: Ashkan Forouzani, www.unsplash.com

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

Today’s Responsorial Psalm is, “The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.” To more completely recognize the beauty, reassurance, and power of this promise, it may help to know a bit more about the work of a shepherd. 

The shepherd is responsible for the flock’s welfare and safety. Sheep aren’t as dumb as they are often typified; however, they can still get themselves into a lot of trouble. Well-meaning sheep, who merely want to graze upon the green pasture, can graze away from the flock into harm’s way.  Sheep can become lost, putting them in grave danger from predators or even stumble off a cliff while fixated on eating the grass before them. 

The shepherd’s ultimate concern is flock perseverance. The sheep’s natural predators, such as wolves, coyotes, foxes, and mountain lions, either seek the sheep out of hunger or stumble upon those that have lost their way.  St. Peter warns us that sheep are not the only ones with a natural predator in need of protection: “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). 

There was a time when I was ignorant to the “snares of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:26) to the point of even denying his existence, which is his greatest snare. The more unaware of danger we become, the more vulnerable we are. Like the sheep, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gratefully pursued and guarded me. Protecting us from the predator means preserving us for Heaven. He values every single soul, and there is great rejoicing for each claimed for eternal glory.

Maybe a less known fact about shepherds, they are often trained to assist the sheep with health issues. Just like sheep, we are susceptible to diseases. Humans, being multifaceted beings face more than just physical ailments. We must contend with our emotional and spiritual well-being as well. Jesus, the Divine Physician, is more than adequately equipped to tend to those needs.   

In addition, like the shepherd, who “will make frequent checks on the ewes at all hours of the day and night, and may assist the ewe if birthing problems occur,” Jesus is ever-present with us, and we find additional guardians in his angels and in his saints. 

Shepherd herding was a very lowly position, required a strong sense of protection for their charges. The Biblical accounts of shepherds consistently portray them as dedicated, perhaps due to the well-being of the sheep being not only important to them but their families and communities as well. The more you know about the characteristics of a good shepherd, the more gratitude will fill your heart over the Good Shepherd—Jesus—the one who guards his beloved flock.

Contact the author

Allison Gingras works for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization as National WINE Steward of the Virtual Vineyard. She is a Social Media Consultant for the Diocese of Fall River and CatholicMom.com. She is a writer, speaker, and podcaster, who founded ReconciledToYou.com and developed the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV).   

Feature Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/sheep-farmer-shepherd-agriculture-690198/

The views and opinions expressed in the Inspiration Daily blog are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Diocesan, the Diocesan staff, or other contributors to this blog.

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

The Responsorial Psalm for today talks about hope in the Lord. It implores: “Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight against a faithless people.”

It seems our world today is full of faithless people—people who place possessions over others, people who devalue human beings, people who spend days mired in anger, people anonymously spitting vitriol online, and so much more.

We see them and their behaviors, and it literally hurts.  

But the Lord wants us to remember to always have hope in Him and hope that our culture can return to a culture of life. 

He knows how tired we get. He knows the weariness of living in a world where human beings rejoice at the “right” to kill vulnerable people—whether they be in the womb or a hospital bed. He understands that sometimes we have no fight left in us to battle the evil of today. 

But the Psalm continues: “You, O God, are my strength.”

And in that, we must rejoice! Like a cold drink of water on an extraordinarily hot day, that realization renews us.

What an amazing feeling it is to know that God wants us to lean on Him. He wants us to seek Him out when we feel like we have nothing left to give others. 

So that is what we do. We go to Him in prayer. We sit quietly in Adoration. We say a decade of the Rosary. We read His words in the Bible. We talk to Him like a friend.

And we become energized. We realize that hope is more than just wishing for things to change. Hope is rooted in Christ.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.”

Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we can put away the hopelessness we feel and replace it with hope. We can stop looking at all the negative things in this world and create positive things. We can stop focusing on evil and instead be that source of good that the world so desperately needs.

In short, we must stop allowing the bad things of the world to consume us. Christ does not want that for us. That is why He gives us strength. That is why He wants us to have hope. 

So when you feel weary, when you feel exhausted, or when you look around at the world and feel utterly hopeless, remember that Christ fights for us, and He will never stop. His love is unending, and you matter to Him. We all do.

Contact the author

Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials and website content. Eleven of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan freelances and writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program-an educational nonprofit program for K-12 students.

Feature Image Credit: Luis Ángel Espinosa, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/1859-rostro-cristo

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

Today is the feast of St. Pius of Pietrelcina better known as Padre Pio. The First Reading from Haggai today is quite fitting as Padre Pio was known for the gift of inspired listening while in the confessional. He had the gift of being able to tell the person receiving the sacrament what he/she omitted from a confession, and called the person out about it.

Here’s how I imagine Padre Pio would sum up the First Reading. ‘What I hear you saying is, you work, eat and drink, yet nothing gives you fulfilment or satisfaction. Wake up! Clean up your act! Stop going through the motions and really commit to being your true self and do so authentically. When you work, do so sincerely and with your best effort. The intention behind what you do and why, matters. Then when you offer your works to the Lord, God will be pleased with you.  Let your true self come through just like a flower.’

A flower doesn’t give any thought to what it is, how it fits in, or what it looks like. It is a flower and God enjoys each and every flower. It is at peace.

I am human. God enjoys each and every part of my authentic self. I do not have to be the best in any way, shape, or form. I just have to try as best I am able in the moment, and to use the God given gifts and the talents I’ve developed throughout my life. I need to find a way to do those things with good intentions that are not selfish or miserly. I need to live in peace and unity with the kingdom He entrusted to humankind.

Padre Pio wrote, “There is only one thing the soul should regret, and that is offending God.”
My actions and thoughts need to be formed with this in mind.

Oh Lord, I want you to take pleasure in all the facets of life. With the help of my Guardian Angel, enlighten and guide me to do your will in every action, thought, deed and prayer. Amen.

Contact the author

Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and a practicing spiritual director. Beth shares smiles, prayers, laughter, a listening ear and her heart with all of creation. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.

Feature Image Credit: Sarah Loestcher, https://pixabay.com/photos/flora-flower-meadow-spring-nature-2261860/

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

I love the Gospel passages when Jesus summons the Twelve apostles, gives them their mission and sends them forth. Maybe it’s because I work for the Church and can easily see myself in their shoes as I receive my mission, my vocation as a youth minister, from the Lord and am sent forth into my parish to serve the young people. Maybe it’s something different. 

However, what strikes me about this particular Gospel, is not the action of the sending forth; rather, it’s the instructions that Jesus gives them. “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.” 

Um, what did He say? Take nothing? Really? That would have been my immediate gut reaction if I was really in the apostles’ shoes. A walking stick or a second tunic probably would have been helpful for a journey such as this, let alone food and money. There is no mention of complaining or second-guessing in the rest of the Gospel passage, though. The apostles went out and did what they were told – proclaimed the good news and cured diseases. 

Jesus was trying to teach the apostles – and us, by extension – a lesson in trust, in total reliance upon Him. The apostles didn’t need to bring food or money on their journey because the Lord would provide for all of their needs, which included their physical and material needs. 

We can never learn too many lessons about trusting in the Lord. It’s something that we can all grow in, all the time, and I’ll be the first one to admit it. I know I need to trust the Lord more in my daily life, in my spiritual life, in youth ministry, in everything. Again, maybe that’s why I like this passage so much, because it invites me to grow in trust like the apostles did. I am reminded that He will provide for me and for His Church. 

As you prepare to go out on your journey, in your mission, how can you invite the Lord to provide for your needs today? For this week? A simple prayer to the Holy Spirit is a great way to start!

Contact the author


Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is passionate about the Lord Jesus, all things college sports and telling stories and she is blessed enough to get paid for all three of her passions. You can catch her on old episodes of the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter@erinmadden2016.

Feature Image Credit: Galen Crout, https://unsplash.com/photos/fItRJ7AHak8

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

Getting up can be difficult – getting up in the morning, getting up from the couch, getting up to help someone. I like sitting down myself. Getting up is a big change; a change of posture, certainly, but also a change of ATTENTION, a change of INTENTION. One moment I am doing one thing, the next moment I have gotten up to do SOMETHING ELSE. It’s human nature to want to remain where we are, to be undisturbed from whatever we are doing. Change is hard. Change requires a decision and a choice.

Matthew was sitting. He was at his customs post, waiting to collect more money, probably counting the money he had. Maybe he was figuring sums as he sat. Maybe he was sitting there figuring out how to find real fulfillment in his life, we don’t know. His Gospel doesn’t tell us, and doesn’t flatter him in any way. It tells the truth in such simplicity we might miss the monumentalness of it all:

“As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.”

He GOT UP. He made a decision and a choice to change. He changed his attention and his intention. One moment he was doing one thing, the next moment he got up to do something else. He responded to a call. He literally rose to the occasion.

Clearly, he was moved by grace to do this. Clearly, he saw something in this carpenter from Galilee that promised more than the money he had been counting. And clearly, he wanted to share this with his friends (who were clearly tax collectors and sinners) because he invited them to dinner with Jesus. And Jesus’ answer to the ever-skeptical Pharisees gives us some insight into the reason for the calling of Matthew: “Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Matthew wasn’t perfect; but Jesus would perfect him.

Three lessons blaze up like fire from this short Gospel:

First, God does not wait for us to get all our spiritual affairs in order and to do everything right before he calls us! He calls us, the spiritually sick and imperfect, to follow him so that we can be healed and perfected by his Presence.

Second, we must respond to the call of Christ by GETTING UP and making a decision and a choice to change our attention and our intention. We must turn from one thing to another, from a lesser thing to the best thing, which is the will of God for our lives.

Third, others may question this change in us. No matter. Our witness to the mercy of God will outshine any ridicule or questions. For our part, when we are called, we must GET UP and follow wherever He leads. This is our YES to God.

Contact the author

Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com

Feature Image Credit: Il ragazzo, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/14240-san-mateo-evangelista

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

Like literally millions of other Christians, I have been listening to Father Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast regularly since January 1, 2021. Recently we spent weeks on the Exile, the period during which most of the Israelites dwelt in Babylon while Jerusalem and the Temple were in ruins.

So I was excited to see that today’s First Reading recounts the beginning of the end of that period of exile. King Cyrus of Persia not only lets the Israelites go, he also promises that the Temple will be rebuilt. After reading the many details on the Temple and its construction, and knowing what it meant to the Israelites, this makes me happy to read. How much happier must they have been at this news? The Responsorial Psalm tells us of their laughter and rejoicing. I love to imagine their dancing and singing and their smiling happy faces.  

Today’s Gospel Acclamation exhorts us to let our light shine, and in the Gospel Jesus reminds us not to place that light under a bushel. At the end of their exile, the Israelites could not hide the light of their faith and their appreciation of the good things God had done for them.

Surely God has done great things for all of us, but how good are we at shining? I reflect today on the martyrs of the Church in Korea, whose feasts we are celebrating.  Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions (103 other priests, missionaries, and lay people) let their light shine even when it meant certain death.  During waves of persecution, surely God would have excused them if they had chosen to consider their faith more of a private matter, right? Yet St. Andrew said, “We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?” He and these other witnesses to the faith chose to shine brightly even unto death.

What does this mean for us today? What does shining your light look like for a modern Catholic in a country where we have no fear of martyrdom? I believe there are as many ways to shine as there are Catholics! Some of you wear Catholic apparel and jewelry. Others extend invitations to Mass or to a parish event. Some might offer prayers to a friend in need. Perhaps you write about your faith for others to read. Some of you may be the proprietors of Catholic businesses. These are all wonderful and valid ways of letting others see your light.

But I think that more important are the less obvious ways that all Christians are called to demonstrate their faith: by loving God and neighbor and making sure that all our actions, every day, reflect that love. How do we treat one another when we are not at church? Are we kind to those who serve us in stores and in restaurants? How do we conduct ourselves during online disagreements? Remember that anyone who knows you are a Christian is apt to judge ALL Christians by your behavior. The very best way for Christians to be the light of the world is to love one another visibly and well.

Contact the author

Leslie Sholly is a Catholic, Southern wife and mother of five, living in her hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated from Georgetown University with an English major and Theology minor. She blogs at Life in Every Limb, where for 11 years she has covered all kinds of topics, more recently focusing on the intersection of faith, politics, and social justice.

Feature Image Credit: ramirocosta, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/26096-cristo-futuro-santuario

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

Last. Who wants to be last? When I was in elementary school, I was not very athletic; well, that hasn’t changed much to be honest. At any rate, when it was time for games in the schoolyard during recess (yes, I just aged myself), I was often picked last or very close to last. At home, it seemed I was also last because I was the oldest and could wait while my younger brothers and sister could not. Yet here I read the words of Jesus, the greatest, the first shall be last and the servant of all. And I think, servant, really? I have education, experience, knowledge about our faith and the Church… and, and, and…

“So what?” That’s what I hear the Holy Spirit say to me, as well as, “what is the point of what you know if you are not willing to do for others?” Our example is Christ himself. For many years I worked in parish ministry. One of my foundational beliefs about asking others to serve in ministry was to not ask people to do something I was unwilling to do myself. In other words, if the kitchen needed to be cleaned, I didn’t watch the kitchen crew work, I helped clean. For me, there was no saying, “That’s not my job.” Now, compared to what Christ did for us, dying on a cross, I realize cleaning the kitchen is not the same. What is the same though, is the humility we are called to in life and in our vocation. While the circumstances of our life may change, we are always called to humility, called to serve, called to put ourselves last. And we are to do it out of love. 

Now, you may think, “Why do I need to serve and be last? What about other people?” We are all called to serve in the way that we are uniquely called and gifted. The ideal is for each of us to live out our unique calling with others who are doing the same so that what happens is we care for each other. No one person is asked to bear more than is reasonable. Yes, it is an ideal. Can it happen? Possibly with a shift in attitude and behavior. If we were to take Jesus’ words to heart and start living them out, it can happen. And of course, the first person to start is me. That is humility and service, putting the Gospel into practice. That is the way to live not lukewarm.

Contact the author

Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, educator and retreat leader. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through interactive Bible studies, courses and book clubs. Her weekly podcast, NotLukewarmPodcast.com, gives you tips and tools to live out your faith. At DeannaBartalini.com  she writes about whatever is on her mind at the moment.

Feature Image Credit: by author

Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day