God's Voicemail

03-28-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Most of us have now learned to live with voicemail as a necessary part of our daily lives. But have you ever wondered what it would be like if God decided to install voicemail?

Imagine praying and hearing the following:

Thank you for calling Heaven.
For English, Press 1.
For Spanish, press 2.
For all other languages, press 0.

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Let God be God

03-28-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

Many struggle with Jesus. Some who consider themselves faithful hail him in their churches but still struggle to figure out what to do with him on our streets. The message is somehow more palatable when it echoes pious renderings and sentiments and involves singing hosannas during worship. It becomes a bit trickier when it gets to the part about changing the way we conduct the business of our lives, becoming more sensitive to the disadvantaged, poor, and marginalized, and living as servants of our Loving Creator. Ultimately, it is a struggle between wanting to be God ourselves and letting God be God as God is. That's why it's so easy to become hypocritical. We, like those who hailed Christ as he arrived in Jerusalem and sent Christ to the cross to die, also talk out of both sides of our mouths. We entertain what suits us at the time and walk away from the rest.

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Be the Answer to Someone's Prayer

03-28-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man whom you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” Mark 15:12-13

Jesus told us “whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” Every day we are presented opportunities to help someone. Every day we have the opportunity to see the face of Jesus in others and be the face of Jesus to others. Every day we pass by someone in need. Pray for the strength and courage to be the answer to someone’s prayer.

Jesus is Crying for You

03-21-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

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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Love is Never Defeated

03-21-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

Any good teacher or parent will tell you that once a lesson is really learned it doesn't need to be taught again. When we internalize things we have learned, they become a part of who we are and influence how we perceive and interact with our world. The same is true for the law God has written upon our hearts. Once humanity learns this lesson, we will simply know it to be true and act accordingly. Sometimes, it is hard to get people to learn the lessons they need to learn. They are often distracted, disinterested, conflicted, misdirected, or just too stubborn and unable or unwilling to see what is right before their eyes. Understanding that God is in a loving and committed relationship with those fashioned and formed in God's own image, seems like such a simple lesson to learn. But history and experience has proven that it is not.

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God's Greatest Gift: His Own Son

03-14-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son..” – John 3:16

Of all the wonderful gifts that God has given to us, thegift of His own Son is truly the greatest. How can weever thank God for a gift like that? God does not ask usto sacrifice our own precious firstborn, but He does askthat we are grateful and generous with our God-givengifts. That we nurture and develop our gifts, and ingratitude, generously give back with increase our time inprayer, our talent in charitable works and our treasure tosupport the mission and ministry of our parish andgreater Church.

Give It Up Permanently

03-14-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Lent is a time of refreshment and renewal. The word “Lent” comes from the old English, “lencten," which means spring. Lent is meant to be a "springtime" for the church. In Lent we participate in works of charity, prayer, and penance. Oftentimes people give up something in Lent and this is certainly a laudable practice. However, it is also good to do more prayer, more works of charity, etc.

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Spiritual Refocusing

03-14-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

Is there something to Lent that goes beyond our own spiritual house cleaning and spiritual refinement? Yes, there is! It has to do with listening and learning so that we can take up the task of the Gospel with greater clarity and fortitude. While the spiritual refocusing of Lent is necessary, the fruit of this Lenten conversion has much more to do with learning how we can be a better Church than it does about our eternal salvation.

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All is Not Lost

03-07-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

Many prefer a “create as you go” approach to life where laws and protocols primarily exist to secure and protect liberties rather than dictate and outline proper and right behavior. There are no real benchmarks for acceptable ethical and moral behavior, with a “you can’t tell me what to do” attitude prevailing. Parents are even limited in what they can request of their children, and dealing with threatening behaviors, especially from adults, are a challenge as well. Acceptable and expected conduct seems to amount to safeguarding each other’s space rather than increasing awareness of necessary relationships that require a more refined and higher response.

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The Difference Between Heaven and Hell

03-07-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

C. S. Lewis once provided a powerful image of the difference between heaven and hell.

He described hungry people sitting at a huge banquet loaded with delicious food. Every person had a meter-long fork and knife attached to their hands (that’s about three feet long). The scene in hell was one of anger, frustration, and fighting as people scrambled to feed themselves. They could reach the food with the long knives and forks, but they were too long to feed themselves. The conflict, screaming, and unfulfilled hunger continued for eternity--that is hell.

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

03-01-2021Recommended 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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