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St. Eugene de Mazenod: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Eugene de Mazenod was born on August 1, 1782, at Aix-en-Provence in France. Early in life he experienced the upheaval of the French Revolution. None the less, he entered the seminary, and following ordination he returned to labor in Aix-en-Provence. That area had suffered greatly during the Revolution and was not really a safe place for a priest. Eugene directed his ministry toward the poorest of the poor. Others joined his labors, and became the nucleus of a religious community, the ...

Extending Christ’s Kindness

Kindness or revenge? Isaiah had just been hit in the head by a wild pitch during a Little League regional championship baseball game. He dropped to the ground holding his head, though thankfully his helmet protected him from serious injury. As play resumed, Isaiah noticed the pitcher was visibly shaken by his unintentional error. In that moment, Isaiah did something so extraordinary that the video of his response went viral. He walked over to the pitcher, gave him a comforting hug, and made sure the pitcher knew he was all right.

In a situation that normally would have resulted in a brawl, Isaiah chose kindness.

In the Old Testament, we see Esau make a similar, though far more difficult, choice to abandon any long-harbored plans for revenge against his deceiving twin brother Jacob. As Jacob returned home after twenty years in exile, Esau choose kindness and forgiveness instead of vengeance for the ways Jacob had wronged him. When Esau saw Jacob, he “ran to meet Jacob and embraced him” (Genesis 33:4). Esau accepted Jacob’s apology and let him know he was all right (v. 9).

When someone demonstrates remorse for wrongs committed against us, we have a choice: kindness or revenge. Choosing to embrace them in kindness follows Jesus’ example (Romans 5:8) and is a pathway toward reconciliation.

God in the Past and Present

It had been years since we left the Oregon town where we raised our family. We’d made great memories there, and the visit reminded me of moments I’d forgotten: our girls’ soccer games, our old home, church gatherings, and our friends’ Mexican restaurant. The town had changed, but there was enough of the familiar to spark my desire to return.

When the Israelites went into Babylonian exile, they missed the familiarity of people, landmarks, and culture. They forgot they’d been exiled for rebelling against God. When false prophets told the exiles they would return home soon (Jeremiah 29:8–9), they found a receptive audience. It was easy to listen to the slick words of false prophets who promised a return home.

God didn’t take kindly to these peddlers of the past and their false promises. “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you,” He said (vv. 8–9). He had plans for His people, “plans to give you hope and a future” (v. 11). The situation was challenging, difficult, and new, but God was with them. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,” He told them. God would bring them “back to the place from which I carried you into exile” (vv. 13-14).

Nostalgia plays tricks on the mind, making it easy to long for what once was. Don’t miss what God is doing right now. He will fulfill His promises. 

Prayer to St. Gabriel, for Others: Prayer of the Day for Friday, May 10, 2024

O loving messenger of the Incarnation, descend upon all those for whom I wish peace and happiness. Spread your wings over the cradles of the new-born babes, O thou who didst announce the coming of the Infant Jesus. Give to the young a lily petal from the virginal scepter in your hand. Cause the Ave Maria to re-echo in all hearts that they may find grace and joy through Mary. Finally, recall the sublime words spoken on the day of the Annunciation-- "Nothing is impossible with God," and ...

Prayer for Travelers: Prayer of the Day for Thursday, May 09, 2024

O Almighty and merciful God, who hast commissioned Thy angels to guide and protect us, command them to be our assiduous companions from our setting out until our return; to clothe us with their invisible protection; to keep from us all danger of collision, of fire, of explosion, of fall and bruises, and finally, having preserved us from all evil, and especially from sin, to guide us to our heavenly home. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

St. Augustine's Prayer to the Holy Spirit: Prayer of the Day for Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.