God is Good!

07-26-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

A Catholic Magazine carried a story about four young men, Catholic College students, who were renting a house together. One Saturday morning someone knocked on their door. And when they opened it, there stood this bedraggled-looking old man. His eyes were kind of marbleized, and he had a silvery stub of whiskers on his face.

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In Confession, Light breaks through the Darkness

07-19-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Sin demands to have a person be alone. It withdraws the individual from the community.

The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him or her, and the more deeply the person becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is the isolation.

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Let Your Burden Go

07-12-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

One day, two Irish monks, James and Patrick, were walking through the countryside.

They were on their way to another village to help bring in the crops.

As they walked, they spied an old woman sitting at the edge of a river. She was upset because there was no bridge, and she could not get across on her own.

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A Penitential Spirit

07-05-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Saint Theresa of Avila once said, "A growing Christian must have at his or her roots the life-giving waters of penitence.

The cultivation of a penitential spirit is absolutely essential to spiritual progress.

The lives of great saints teach us that self-distrust is vital to godliness.

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Moses teaches us how to pray

06-27-2020The Pastor's PenRev. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

During this time of the Coronavirus, we are realizing that God is never pleased with those who prayed the "easy" way. Let us think of Moses, he was not a "weak" dialogue partner either, from the very first day of his vocation.

When God called him, Moses was in human terms a "failure". The Book of Exodus depicts him in the land of Midian as a fugitive. As a young man he had felt compassion for his people, and had aligned himself in defense of the oppressed. But he soon discovered that, despite his good intentions, it was not justice, but violence that came from his hands. His dreams of glory shattered, Moses was no longer a promising official, destined to rise rapidly in his career, but rather one who gambled away opportunities, and now grazed a flock that was not even his own. And it was precisely in the silence of the desert of Midian that God summoned Moses to the revelation of the burning bush: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God" (Ex 3:6).

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God will Give Us a New Name

06-21-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew

Dear Friend,

The Book of Genesis, through the occurrences of men and women of a far off time, tells us stories that we can reflect on in our own lives. In the Patriarch Cycle, we also find that of a man who shrewdly developed his best talent: Jacob. The biblical account tells us about the difficult relationship Jacob had with his brother Esau. Ever since childhood, there was a rivalry between them, which was never overcome later on. Jacob is the second-born - they were twins - but through trickery he manages to obtain the blessing and birthright of their father Isaac (cf. Gen 25:19-34).

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Prayer: Our Most Intimate Mystery

06-14-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew
Dear Friend,

Prayer belongs to everyone: to men and women of every religion, and probably also to those who profess none. Prayer arises in our innermost self, in that interior place that spiritual authors call “heart” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2562-2563). Therefore, it is not something peripheral that prays within us, it is not some secondary and marginal ability that we have, but rather it is our most intimate mystery. It is this mystery that prays. Feelings pray, but one cannot say that prayer is only feeling. Intelligence prays, but praying is not simply an intellectual act. The body prays, but one can speak with God even having the most serious disability. Thus the entire man prays if he prays with his “heart”.

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Familiar, Unreserved Intimacy with God

06-07-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew

Dear Friend,

Francois Fenelon, a seventeenth century Roman Catholic writer said this about prayer:

"Tell God all that is on your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend.

Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability.

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The Floodlight Illuminating what Jesus has Told Us

05-31-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew

Dear Friend,

The Holy Spirit's distinctive role is to fulfill what we may call a floodlight ministry in relation to the Lord Jesus.

I remember walking to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris one winter evening to preach on the words, "He will glorify me" (John 16:14). Seeing the building floodlit as I turned a corner I realized that this was exactly the illustration my message needed.

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I Believe in the Love of all Mothers

05-24-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew

Dear Friend,

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the loving God, who was born of the promise to a virgin named Mary.

I believe in the love Mary gave her son, that caused her to follow him in his ministry and stand by his cross as he died.

I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance in the lives of the children, they bear.

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Move from Horror to Hope

05-17-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew

Dear Friend,

In Jerusalem there is a Holocaust Museum dedicated to the memory of the millions of Jews who were killed by the Nazis in World War II. Going through the museum is a very depressing experience because you see these horrible pictures and read the accounts of the ghettos and the concentration camps. But in the midst of all the dark tales of suffering, there is one amazing story of how God can transform horror into hope.

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Allow God to Prune You

05-03-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew

Dear Friend,

Every branch that bears fruit must be pruned to bear much more fruit. A friend of mine has a fruit tree that has been living for a number of years. Every winter the cold weather and heavy breeze kills more than half of the branches and leaves. If he does not prune the dead, it will spread and kill the whole tree. Therefore, he must prune what is wilted to save the rest of the tree. In turn, the tree grows bigger, stronger, and bears more fruit than before. The fruit doesn't only multiply, but they are much more pleasing in their flavor.

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Tell God All that is on Your Heart

04-26-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew

Dear Friend,

Francois Fenelon, a seventeenth century Roman Catholic writer said this about prayer:

"Tell God all that is on your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend.

Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability.

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He Cried for Me

04-19-2020The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew

Dear Friend,

Yvette, who is a young mother in Washington, D.C., recently told me her remarkable story, she wrote:

"It was the end. I knew it. I could no longer fight. I sat here emotionless. I was totally alone. Others had tried to help -- doctors, nurses, parents, husband, children. But they were gone. Hours earlier I had come into the hospital on an emergency basis. I had back pain so severe that at times, it dropped me to my knees. This was not my first hospital stay. I had been sick for a long time it seemed...

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