Give to Someone Who Can't Give Back

08-29-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

A pastor friend wrote to me about an article in a campus publication where a young nurse writes of her pilgrimage of learning to see in a patient the image of God beneath a very “distressing disguise. ”

Eileen was one of her first patients, a person who was totally helpless. “A cerebral aneurysm (broken blood vessels in the brain) had left her with no conscious control over her body,” the nurse writes. As near as the doctors could tell Eileen was totally unconscious, unable to feel pain and unaware of anything going on around her.

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He Meets Us Where We Are

08-29-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

Albert Einstein said that the “true measure of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires a great deal of imagination. It is not enough to simply attend to facts, rules and rituals and consider the job done. Quite contrarily, the Gospels demands creativity, of trying to discern how to put flesh on the Beatitudes and properly serve God’s children. Jesus never doled out a top down agenda. Not once did he ever demand conformity over conversion or sacrifice over mercy. The Gospel is always about putting people in touch with their compassionate, forgiving, and unconditionally loving God and meeting them where they are.

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Do It!

08-29-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“Be doers of the word and not hearers only...” James 1:22

It’s easy to understand the definition of stewardship living a grateful and generous life. The hard part is doing it! How do your actions reflect God’s word? Do you share your time in prayer with God? Do you use your talent to help those in need? Are you generous with your financial resources? If not, what are your waiting for?

As for me and my house...

08-22-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve…As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

When we commit to serve the Lord, we must be willing to become a disciple in the work of the Lord. A disciple is a person who spends time in prayer every day, joyfully participates in charitable works and generously supports their local parish and Church mission. If we say we serve God, we must actually do something and not merely talk about it.

A Choice We All Must Make

08-22-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

“Far be it from us to forsake the Lord for the service of other gods.” We struggle with our gods. They appear in the forms of things like money, power, prestige, popularity, privilege, and self-fulfillment. We like these “gods” because they make us feel good and ask very little of us in return. When we worship them, we worship ourselves. How can you go wrong with that? We buy into the illusion that if something can give us a comfortable life, free of want and need, then it is worth setting other things aside to pursue it. In essence, we sell our souls. Our struggle with “who is God” and to whom do we belong is a real one and one that can easily find us empty and experiencing disillusionment.

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Pruning is Needed

08-22-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

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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Giving in to Temptation

08-15-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Think how many temptations we might face in an ordinary day.

Growling at the breakfast table - the temptation to unkindness.

Arguing over who should change the baby this time - the temptation to selfishness.

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

08-15-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

“They are courageous, wise women who ground us, focus us, and inspire us. They are the good mothers who walk with us and light our way. They teach us life lessons and help us heal and navigate through challenges and difficulties. We need people to point the way. Sometimes, these wise ladies are not our biological mothers but women in our lives, who through their strong and faithful presence, anchor us and remind us that we are loved. We need these women. Human beings do their best when they have cheerleaders in their lives. They show us that even when facing despair there is always a brighter tomorrow.

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Mary as a Model of Stewardship

08-15-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

"And Mary said, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior." Luke 1:46

After Jesus, we look to Mary as our model of stewardship. Her entire life lived in obedience to God's will. Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, Mary reflects the light of Christ. Like Mary, we too are called to reflect Christ to the world. We do this by living grateful and generous lives. We do this by putting other's needs before our wants.

With God's Help

08-08-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

"Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!" – 1 Kings 19:7

God knows that committing to a stewardship lifestyle is difficult. However, we were not designed to do it on our own, we need His help. Fortunately, God gave us the greatest gift of all, His son, Jesus. Through the gift of the Eucharistic we join our sacrifice of the Holy Mass and receive the strength and courage to be his joyful disciples.

How Much?

08-08-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

At the close of life, the question will not be,

"How much have you gotten?" but "How much have you given?"

Not "How much have you won?" but "How much have you done?"

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The Lens Through Which We View Life

08-08-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

The lens through which we view life makes a difference. It also determines who we choose to learn from and what we allow to shape our thoughts and feelings. For many, life is simply what it appears to be, a given that either through evolution or some other means just came to be. There is no apparent rhyme or reason to things and things can be dissected and understood only in terms of what they empirically present. To the person using this lens, a tree is a tree and a flower is a flower. Their composition and existence can be understood only to the extent that current human knowledge allows. Through this lens, what gives life purpose and meaning? This lens has an essentially unknown beginning and definite end. Once those are accepted, the middle becomes some kind of pursuit of happiness, with values and principles being things that are self-created and found acceptable.

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Learning to Trust

08-01-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

“You cannot see the forest for the trees” is a widely known saying that can bring wisdom to our understanding of our journey. Often, our sight becomes limited to what is immediately before us. We lose touch with lessons and experiences from the past and promises and hope for the future. As human beings, we have the privilege of being able to choose things. What I like and don’t like, want, and don’t want can be major preoccupations of our minds and hearts. Our preferences and desires begin to define us more than the simple fact of our being. Who we are matters more than what we are or what we have. If we don’t move beyond the external and superficial stuff to what really is of essence, we risk becoming very unsettled, disorientated, angry, and unhappy. We fail to see the bigger picture of hope and promise that lies ahead and the Divine Presence that has sustained and carried us before.

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Wants vs Needs

08-01-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.” – Exodus 16:4

When the Israelites gathered more than their daily portion of manna, the surplus became wormy and rotten. In the same way today, self-reliance, pride and ego leads to hoarding and excessive surplus of goods and money. Living a stewardship lifestyle helps us discern our “wants” from our “needs”. Living a grateful and generous lifestyles reminds us that God will provide all that we need and that we have plenty to share.

Blame

08-01-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

All blame is a waste of time.

No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame another, it will not change you.

The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration.

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30 Days With Married Saints A Catholic Couples' Devotional by Lasnoski & Lasnoski

08-01-2021Recommended Reading

The married saints lived lives of sanctity amid family life's inevitable adventures, risks, sorrows, and joys. From Mary and Joseph to Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi (the first couple to be beatified together), 30 Days with the Married Saints will help you to pray with a variety of holy married men and women of the Church. These married couples did not live picture-perfect lives. They all faced the weariness and trying times that come with every marriage.

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