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Weeks 651-660
Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 676: The importance of prayer : A reflection Job, 1st Corinthians and The Gospel of Mark  (Jb 7:1-4, 6-7, 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23, Mk 1:29-39)



1 Is not life on earth a drudgery, its days like those of a hireling? 2 Like a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for wages, 3 So I have been assigned months of futility, and troubled nights have been counted off for me.


4 When I lie down I say, “When shall I arise?” then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. 6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle; they come to an end without hope. 7 Remember that my life is like the wind my eye will not see happiness again.

[1 Corinthians]

16 If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! 17 If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.


18 What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.


19 Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.


22 To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some.


23 All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.


29 On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. 31 He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.


32When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. 33 The whole town was gathered at the door. 34 He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.


35 Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.

36 Simon and those who were with him pursued him 37and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”


38 He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”


39 So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Job and Paul, Simon and his mother-in-law: they each had their own life experiences, and we heard a little about each of them in this morning’s readings. But what’s even more important than their experiences is what they made of them in the presence of God, and to say that is to speak of prayer. Prayer is the thread that unites all of our life experiences, and in that sense, each of the readings this morning has something to say about prayer.


Prayer, like life itself, begins with God, who enables Job to say everything he does in the book of Job, including his gentle reminder to God in the first reading: Remember that my life is like the wind, or, as The Message Bible translates it, “God, don’t forget that I’m only a puff of air!” That was how God inspired Job to pray, but God’s answer was hidden in the fact that Job said something to God at all. That made it a prayer, and the fact that the prayer was recorded in the bible shows that God encourages us to keep praying throughout everything that happens to us, just as Job did. Prayer is never a monologue; it’s always a dialogue, even if the person praying and the God who answers are both silent.


In the Gospel we have an example of vocal prayer and also, I think, of silent prayer. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. There’s a note of solicitude and hope in their voices, and just sharing their desire with Jesus is already a form of prayer. But the great example of silent prayer (after Jesus himself) is Simon’s mother-in-law, in bed with a fever. She teaches us that when the tongue is unable to express itself, the heart can do so, and the eyes can speak by their tears. Her prayer took the form of an unspoken appeal that went straight to the heart of Jesus. (And here I would say that we can be so busy seeing the miracles as signs that we forget to think of them as works of love).


At any rate, Jesus could not resist the silent prayer of this woman. He approached, grasped her hand, and bestowed his strength on her weakness, healing her as he would heal each of us. She had already been a woman of prayer, but when Jesus healed her out of love for her, her prayer became a dialogue of love. The dialogue did not cease when her silent prayer was answered, it only took another form. We are told, and she waited on them. When the love of God really takes hold of a person, as it did with this woman, it clothes not only the intellect but all the senses, and the whole person becomes a hand that serves and an ear that listens, and only our refusal to love can separate us from our dialogue with God.


St Paul too had already been a man of prayer like Job. But when Jesus called him by name on the road to Damascus, his prayer became a dialogue of love. The love of Christ overwhelms us, he was later to write, perhaps with that experience in mind. And as with Simon’s mother-in-law, God’s love in Christ clothed not only Paul’s intellect but all his senses, and the whole person became a hand that writes and a tongue that speaks: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me - a work of love, like the miracles of Jesus. Nothing in the world can separate Paul from his dialogue of love with God, neither his lack of payment for preaching the gospel, nor the weakness of others in responding to it. He still keeps on praying for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.


Job and Paul, Simon and his mother-in-law: all of these people are persons of prayer. They presented themselves to God the Father with confidence, knowing that they were constantly being invited and drawn to their Creator. We can even say that they - and we - were created for prayer, for sharing in God’s love. We have only to allow the love of God to overwhelm us, to break down our hardheartedness and unconscious prayerlessness.


And how can our spirit not break into prayer when we contemplate the immensity of the love of God, which drove him to humble himself and allow himself to be broken, first on the cross, and then in every Eucharist?

“Take and eat”, he says. “My Lord and my God”, we pray.


Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO


Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for always being there so that we have someone who loves and cares about us to share our joys and concerns with.

Quote from a Saint: “Prayer is the place of refuge for every worry, a foundation for cheerfulness, a source of constant happiness, a protection against sadness.” – St. John Chrysostom

Questions for reflection:

  1. How is your prayer life? Do you pray daily? Do you have a specific time that you pray? Are there times when you forget to pray?

  2. Do you talk to God in both the difficult times, like Job, and also when things are going well for you in order to thank Him for the graces and gifts that he showers upon you?

  3. When you do pray do you include silence to allow God a chance to speak to you or do you use your prayer time to vent and not give time for the Lord to respond?

  4. Do you practice both vocal and silent prayer? How are the fruits of these two types of prayer different? Which do you prefer and why?

  5. Have you ever considered that the miracles that Jesus did were acts of love? Does this change how you think about them? Reread some of Christ’s miracles and meditate upon them as being acts of love.

  6. Have you ever experienced prayer as a “Dialogue of Love” like St. Paul did?

  7. Has Christ’s love ever overwhelmed you? If so, meditate upon the experience and give thanks for such a grace. If not, is there something in your prayer life that you can change to open yourself up to receiving this grace?

  8. Are you open to being overwhelmed by the Love of God or does it make you uncomfortable?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 660: Pursuing a relationship with the Lord:  A Reflection on 2nd Samuel (2 Samuel 6:12b-15, 17-19)

12 When it was reported to King David that the LORD had blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that he possessed because of the ark of God, David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the City of David with joy.

13 As soon as the bearers of the ark of the LORD had advanced six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.

14 Then David came dancing before the LORD with abandon, girt with a linen ephod.

15 David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts of joy and sound of horn.

17 They brought in the ark of the LORD and set it in its place within the tent which David had pitched for it. Then David sacrificed burnt offerings and communion offerings before the LORD.


18 When David had finished sacrificing burnt offerings and communion offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts, 19 and distributed among all the people, the entire multitude of Israel, to every man and every woman, one loaf of bread, one piece of meat, and one raisin cake. Then all the people returned to their homes.


“David came dancing before the Lord with abandon” (2 Sam. 6:14). Jesus’s royal ancestor did nothing in half measures. If he was going to dance before the Lord, it would be with his whole heart, his whole soul, and all his strength. As soon as the sound of the trumpets reached his ears, his heart leaped for joy. He surrendered his body to the movement of his heart. David’s treasure was to be in the presence of the Lord. He put it quite beautifully in Psalm 27. “There is only one thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I desire: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (Ps. 27:4).


Whatever we set our hearts on will dictate our actions. David’s comments to his wife Mical are instructive. “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord - and I will celebrate before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes” (2 Sam. 6:21-22). The heart of God spoke to David’s heart, “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, come away with me” (Song 2:10). David set his heart on the call of God and responded with his whole being, not caring what anyone thought.


The Lord who spoke to David’s heart, speaks to our hearts. “Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name; you are mine” (Is. 43:1). “You are precious to me” (Is. 43:4). “I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands, you are continually in my thoughts” (Is. 49:16). We are God’s treasure. We are where God’s heart is. The only relationships that matter in the eternal scheme of things are those having to do with God. We are encouraged to make the words of the Song of Songs our own. “I belong to my beloved and he is mine” (Song 6:3). When we hear his voice, let us sing, dance, and praise the Lord (CF. Acts 3:8). Let us give ourselves to an all-consuming encounter with the Lord Jesus who is waiting for us with outstretched arms. Let us serve God with all we are, with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength (CF. Deut. 6:5). 


We are being drawn into a relationship with the Living God who delights in us. He has chosen us to be beacons of hope and bearers of the joy of faith. Responding to the grace of God’s loving call, let us lift our voices with shouts of joy and sing to Him. 


Lord, look lovingly at us and include us in your family. May we receive you and be wholly yours. When you return in glory bring us all together into eternal life.


Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO



Prayer: “Father, in Your goodness, grant me the intellect to comprehend You, the perception to discern You, and the reason to appreciate You. In Your kindness endow me with the diligence to look for You, the wisdom to discover You, and the spirit to apprehend You. Amen.”— St. Benedict of Nursia


Quote from a Saint: “He who sings prays twice.”– St. Augustine


Questions for reflection:

  1. How do you show the Lord that you love Him? Do you offer up sacrifices? Do you spend time in prayer and adoration?

  2. Have you ever responded like David and gave joy before the Lord without being concerned what about how others would think of you? Do you let the opinion of others alter your response to the Lord?

  3. Is your treasure to be in the presence of the Lord? Do you find yourself wanting to spend time in adoration or at daily Mass? Are there other ways that you seek to be in the presence of the Lord?

  4. Have you set your heart on loving the Lord and seeking His presence in a deliberate way? Does this dictate your actions in how you live your life?

  5. Is there someone in your life who attempts to shame you for your love of the Lord like Mical did to David? If so, are you praying for them?

  6. How much effort do you put into pursuing a relationship with the Lord?

  7. Have you ever felt that you belong to the Lord? Does the idea of belonging to the Lord offer you comfort or does it create unease?

  8. Have you ever sung to the Lord outside of Mass? If you have, under what circumstances? If you have not, why not? How could doing so positively change your life?

  9. “He has chosen us to be beacons of hope and bearers of the joy of faith.” When people look at you do they see a beacon of hope? Would you consider yourself a bearer of the joy of faith? In what ways does this influence the people around you?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 659: Follow Me : A reflection the Gospel of Mark (Mark 2 : 13-17)

13 Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them.


14 As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.


15 While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him.


16 Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”


17 Jesus heard this and said to them [that], “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”


As is his style, kind of stark, in 4 brief verses St. Mark recounts a wondrous encounter; at the invitation of an itinerant teacher a man literally dropped everything and followed without question or worry.


We do know something about Levi; being a tax collector he had a good income, lived well but paid a terrible price for it. He is hated by his own people, probably ostracized by his family because he works as an agent for the despised Romans. In addition, he is held in disdain by his employers because he is a Jew - a no win situation. He lived comfortably and perhaps, that was his compensation.


I’d like to think that Levi, like most of us, was a sensitive man and although he lived well, he experienced painfully the rejection, disdain, loneliness of being among his own yet treated like an alien or worse - treated rudely, cursed openly, pushed around by the Romans.


And then Jesus arrived seeking and desiring disciples. His invitation “Follow Me” although a command was said with love, with respect to this man so hungry for love, for welcome, and in his need, I believe, he was ready and receptive. I believe he saw in Jesus’ eyes a love, a friendship he deeply yearned for. In an instant he accepted this gift and in freedom, so unexpected, he walked out of the customs booth and followed. Levi had been lost and now was found. A great adventure had begun.


“Follow Me” - sometime ago we obeyed that call because we were told to by parents, or teachers, or pastor, and then, in time, by grace we accepted willingly, personally that call from the Lord and here we are. We are “Comers and followers” -meeting the Master in this Holy Eucharist, knowing His love, respect, welcome personally and gratefully.


Jesus’ invitation “Follow Me” - is not said to us once and done but spoken again and again; each moment the invitation goes out because the Lord desires us as He did Levi. We live in a wondrous grace. Praise God!


 Fr. John Denburger, OCSO



Prayer: “Gentle Jesus, compassionate and caring Good Shepherd, help me to follow You faithfully.”


Quote from a Saint: “Unfurl the sails, and let God steer us where He will.”– St. Bede the Venerable

Questions for reflection:

  1. When the Lord calls you how quick are you to respond? Was there a time in your life when you dropped everything in order to follow Him?

  2. If you heard the Lord call you and you hesitated what held you back? Were you able to eventually let go of whatever it was that was blocking you from following Him?

  3. What was it about His call that struck you? Unlike Levi/Matthew we do not usually get to see Jesus physically outside of the Eucharist. The next time you go to adoration pray the prayer of Eli, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

  4. Have you had to change a job, or even a career, because of the Lord calling you to follow Him? How quickly did you respond?

  5. Has your call to follow the Lord caused turmoil in your family or amongst your friends? Have you worked to reconcile with any of them? How successful was it? Sometimes we do need to completely cut ties with certain people. Remember that they are still children of God and are in need of salvation. Pray for their conversions.

  6. How do you treat those who are on the edges of society?Do you reject them, like the Jews did Levi? Did Jesus treat Levi this way? How could you better treat those that are on the “outside”?

  7. Have you ever considered what it must have been like for Levi to leave his “comfortable” life and follow Jesus? Would you have done the same in his situation?

  8. What was it like to when you “accepted willingly, personally that call from the Lord”? When did it change from being told by other to follow the Lord to following of your own volition? How did this change your spiritual life?

  9. Reflect on the idea that the invitation to “Follow Me” is not a one time invitation. What is the significance of it being a repeated invitation rather than a one time offer?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 658: The spiritual life as an inner pilgrimage to God: A reflection the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2: 1-12)

1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

3 When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler,

who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”

9 After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.

10 They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 11 and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Today we are celebrating the Epiphany of the Lord. Today we recall how the One who said “Let there be light” has appeared among us as the great Morning Star and the Light of the world. Because God's glory has been revealed to us, we ought like the wise men of old, to seek out and honor the giver of light and life. We cannot just be idle stargazers. The star brilliantly shines to catch our attention. We must be ready to follow it. St. John Chrysostom wrote, “The Magi did not set out because they had seen the star, but they saw the star because they had already set out.”

Lead, Kindly Light, amidst the encircling gloom,

Lead Thou me on!

The night is dark, and I am far from home,

Lead Thou me on!

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene; one step enough for me.

(John Henry Newman)


A holy longing and all-consuming desire for God overwhelms us because we know that the Gospel is not an event of the past but a never-ending story. To the extent that we know God’s love for us, we discover the path we are called to follow. “The Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel” (Gaudium et Spes, #4). And we, my brothers, and sisters, are the Church. Having seen the glory of God shining on the face of his Beloved Son, we are duty-bound to be bearers of hope for a world tossed about between hope and anxiety as it desperately seeks the path to life and salvation.


I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou

Shouldst lead me on;

I loved to choose and see my path; but now

Lead Thou me on!

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,

Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

(John Henry Newman)


As the star appeared in the sky it kindled a desire in the minds and hearts of the magi that drove them to seek the great Light of Christ. Sad to say, while we regret that we continue to walk in the valley of darkness and death, we refuse to lift our eyes and see the Light that is shining above us that could lead us to the fullness of life. We are so immersed in the discord of the world around us that we are unable to hear the Word that is echoing in our hearts. Yet, it is this implanted Word that changes our lives. The challenge is to get out of our heads and onto our feet. It is not enough to chart a new star. We need to stand up and set out on a life-changing journey. Christ is the true light shining in the darkness. To the extent that we keep our gaze fixed on him, to the extent that we let ourselves be illumined by him, we can bring that light to others.


So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still

Will lead me on. O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till

The night is gone,

And with the morn those angel faces smile,

Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

(John Henry Newman)


The law of the Lord has been inscribed on the tablets of our hearts and governs our every action and thought. As we follow His guiding light, we will live in love and find the paths to peace and justice. We have reason for hope because even in our darkest hours, the Light of Christ cannot be overcome (CF. Jn. 1:5). God proposes himself; he does not impose himself. He illuminates our minds; he does not blind us. The brilliance of Christ’s life and truth shines like a beacon in the darkness of this world, especially in our darkest hours. Jesus Christ came to bring us the light of God’s life. The apostle to the Gentiles shared these words of encouragement. “You used to be like people living in the dark, but now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So, live as those who are native-born to the Light” (Eph. 5:8). When Christ’s place becomes our place; when his time becomes our time; when his person becomes our life, then will all things be made new in us. By loving one another, we allow the light of Christ to shine forth.


Meantime, along the narrow-rugged path,

Thyself hast trod, Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith,

Home to my God.

To rest forever after earthly strife

In the calm light of everlasting life.

(John Henry Newman)


The magi’s outward pilgrimage was the expression of an inward journey, the inner pilgrimage of their hearts. “Our entire life is an exercise of holy desire Now what you long for, you do not yet see: howbeit by longing, you are made capable, so that when that has come which you may see, you shall be filled” (Homily on the First Letter of John, IV, 6, Saint Augustine). The life of Jesus, which is the life of the Creator God Himself, is a light that shines in a dark place. Just as the first rays of dawn pierce the blackness of night, God’s light and truth carry spiritual awakening to people trapped in the valley of darkness and death. Brothers and sisters let us open our hearts to spiritual restlessness. Let us ask for the courage to continue our journey and finish it in worship. We have no reason to be afraid because this is the path of the Magi, the path of all the saints throughout history: to welcome our restlessness, to journey, and to worship. Then we will discover the light that shines even in the darkest nights: the light of Jesus, the radiant morning star, the sun of justice the splendor of the Father, who loves every man, woman, and child, in every land and nation throughout the world.


 Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO


Prayer: “Lord grant me the faith like the Magi to head out without having first seen your star.

Quote from a Saint: “Thank God ahead of time!”—Blessed Solanus Casey.

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you see yourself as a seeker of the creator of light and life or are you, perhaps, a stargazer content to just observe? Has this status changed in your life?

  2. Would you be willing to set out like the Magi without having first seen the star? Why or why not?

  3. Are you consumed by the “holy longing and all-consuming desire for God [that] overwhelms us”? Has this been a constant in your journey of faith or has it waxed and waned?

  4. Do you allow worldly concerns to distract or even overwhelm you? If so, how do you correct your course and once again focus upon the light of Christ?

  5. Do you “live as those who are native-born to the Light”? If so, how did you reach this point? Reflect on this during your next time of prayer. If not, start looking into the topic of Christian joy. Much has been written on this topic. One small suggestion is to start a practice of gratitude. When you wake up in the morning thank the Lord for your life and anything that you have.

  6. In what ways have you noticed God illuminating your mind? How has Christ been a beacon on light in the darkness in your life? In the darkness of the world?

  7. Have you ever considered your spiritual life as being a kind of inner pilgrimage to God? If not, meditate on this idea during your next time of prayer?

  8. Is you heart open to spiritual restlessness?

  9. Have you ever felt fear during your spiritual pilgrimage? How did you respond?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 657: God Became Man to Bring Us Salvation : A reflection on the First Letter of John and the Gospel of John (1 John 2: 22-28, John 1: 19-28)

[1 John 2]

22  Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.

23 No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.


24 Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.


25 And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.


26 I write you these things about those who would deceive you.


27 As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in him.


28 And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.


[John 1]

19 And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites [to him] to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Messiah.”


21 So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.”


22 So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?”23 He said: “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” as Isaiah the prophet said.”24 Some Pharisees were also sent.


25 They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?”


26 John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, 27 the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”


28 This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.



“If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and the Father” (1Jn. 2: 24). If the truth of God-Made-Man abides in us, it unites us to the one who is nearest the heart of the Father (CF. Jn 1:18) and to one another. He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life brings us into the Father’s loving embrace (CF. Jn. 14:6), in whom we live and move and have our being (CF. Acts 17:28). Our only hope in life is this: God never changes. “We are confident that the One who began the good work in us will continue to perfect and complete it until the day when Christ returns” (Phil. 1:6). Because God has made his salvation known to the whole world, we have reason to sing a song of joy from the depths of our hearts.


The Only-begotten Son of God became man so that through Him the Father could make all things new (CF. Rev. 21:5). He who was true God from true God willingly emptied himself of his divine privileges to become a mortal human being. He became what he was not (human) so that we might become what we are not (divine). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). “Jesus our brother has come to make his Father our Father; as a small child, he reveals to us the tender love of God” (Pope Francis). Our life isn’t intended to be empty and meaningless. God desires us to become his sons and daughters and heirs of the kingdom. We are full of hope and trust as we realize that the Lord has been born for us; that the eternal Word of the Father, the infinite God, has made his home among us. He became flesh; he came “to dwell among us” (Jn 1:14).


“God could have come wrapped in glory, splendor, light, and power, to instill fear, to make us rub our eyes in amazement. But instead, he came as the smallest, frailest, and weakest of creatures. Why? So that no one would be ashamed to approach him; so that no one would be afraid; so that all would be close to him and draw near him; so that there would be no distance between us and him. God made the effort to plunge, to dive deep within us, so that each of us, could speak intimately with him, trust him, draw near him, and realize that he thinks of us and loves us” (St. Paul VI, Christmas, 1971).


I know the Desert is beautiful, for I have lain in her arms and she has kissed me.

I have come to her, that I may know freedom;

That I may lie upon the breast of the Mother and breathe the air of primal conditions.

I have come out from the haunts of men;

From the struggle of wolves upon a carcass,

To be melted in Creation’s crucible and be made clean;

To know that the law of Nature is freedom.

(The Poet in the Desert, Charles Erskine Scott Wood)


Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO


Prayer: “Lord you became one of us so that we can become like you. Help me to become more like you and less like me.”


Quote from a Saint: “God was made man, that man might be made God”—Saint Augustine.


Questions for reflection:

  1. “He became what he was not (human) so that we might become what we are not (divine).” How does the Lord becoming human make it so that we might become divine? In what ways do we become divine? How does the end goal of becoming divine influence your life?

  2. What does it mean that Jesus came into the world as a small, frail baby rather than in glory, light and splendor? Does this make Him more approachable?

  3. Have you meditated upon the concept that God became man? What are the implications of God lowering Himself to a human state? If possible, spend time in prayer kneeling before a nativity and gaze upon the Christ child as you pray.

  4. “Our only hope in life is this: God never changes.” Have you ever considered that God never changes? He is outside of time and eternal. How does this change or challenge your concept of God? How can His consistency give us hope? Does this give you hope?

  5. Do you sing a song of joy when you consider that God has made His salvation know to the world?

  6. Have you seen people holding signs that read John 3:16 at sporting events? Did the sign inspire you to look up the verse? Have you ever held up such a sign? Is your life a sign that draws people towards God and salvation?

  7. Do you think of yourself as being full of hope and trust in the Lord because of Jesus’ incarnation? If not, bring this with you to your next quiet time with the Lord.

  8. Do you ever feel that your life is empty and meaningless? If so, could it be because you are too attached to earthly concerns and values? Do you see yourself as a child of God who has an eternal destination and a divine mission to spread His kingdom on Earth? Have you ever meditated on the concept that we are meant to become sons and daughters of God’s Kingdom?

  9. Do you trust God? Are you comfortable going to Him with your sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and being honest with Him during prayer? Do you hold things back? If so, start being honest with God. He already knows our feelings but He wants us to bring them to Him and share with Him what is going on in our lives.

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 656: Encountering Christ in the Sacred text: A reflection on St. John the Evangelist (1 John 1: 1-4, John 20: 1-8)

[1 John]

1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life—

2 for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us—


3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.


4 We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.


1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be 4 through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; 5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.


In his book entitled The Sabbatical Michael O’Brien wrote: “A house with a child is a home with a miracle living inside it” (pg. 171). When the Eternal Word was born of the ever-virgin Mary, the world became a home for him. Throughout the Christmas Season, we find ourselves living in a house filled with wonder and awe. With the evangelist, John, we ponder the Word who was with God in the beginning, from all eternity. When the Eternal Word became a man, He made visible that which was by nature invisible. Because he became like us in all things but sin, he is an exact image of the Father without tarnish or wrinkle. The apostle saw him and witnessed his wisdom and power. He saw Jesus’s love and mercy extended to others and himself. In Christ, the love of the Father was made tangible. John knew the Lord’s great love for him and acknowledged him as the author and giver of life. He wrote down his experiences so that all who ponder his writings might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and find the fullness of life in him.


Because Christ is the image of the invisible God, he makes visible the One whom no one has ever seen. The evangelist revealed to us the secret of the universe that stood unveiled before his eyes and opened for us the path to the Father. St. Bernard picked up on this theme. “The person who thirsts for God eagerly studies and meditates on the inspired word, knowing that there he is certain to find the one for whom he thirsts” (St. Bernard, Commentary on the Song of Songs, Sermon 23:3). The more we expect God to work in us when we read and pray the Bible, the more open we will be to hearing his voice and experiencing his presence. Like the beloved disciple, we are being drawn into an intimate relationship with the Living Word, God’s Beloved Son. The inspired Word can draw us nearer to Jesus and have a profound impact on the way we live, the way we think, the words we speak, and the way we view the world. The more we encounter Christ in the Sacred text, the more we will come to know the depth of his love for us. May God's Spirit reveal Jesus to us through His Word so that we might have His image "burned" into our minds and hearts. May we be so totally consumed by the Flame of Divine Love that we become lights of hope to all we meet.


 Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO


Prayer: “Illumine our hearts, O Master Who lovest mankind, with the pure light of Thy divine knowledge. Open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Thy gospel teachings.”

Quote from a Saint: “Be constantly committed to prayer and to reading [Scripture]. By praying, you speak to God, in reading, God speaks to you.”—Saint Cyprian

Questions for reflection:

  1. What can we learn about the nature of God when we consider that He became a man?

  2. Do you thirst for God? Do you eagerly study and meditate on the inspired Word? If you do not study in this way, what are some ways that you can start?

  3. Have you ever meditated on God becoming man, dying for us, and then once again humbling himself to come to us to be consumed and adored during Communion and adoration? If not, the next time you are at Mass or adoration spend some time with this.

  4. How much time do you spend reading and studying the Bible? God cannot speak to you if you are not attempting to tune into to the message that He has made available to us.

  5. Do you expect God to work in your life? Do you listen for His voice when you are studying the Bible?

  6. In what ways does reading and praying scripture lead us to loving God more? How does it make us more open to hearing His voice?

  7. Do you find fullness of life in Jesus or are you trying to find it somewhere else?

  8. In what ways does the inspired Word draw you nearer to Jesus and impact the way you live, think, speak, and view the world?

  9. In what ways are you like John, leading people to believe in Jesus as the Son of God? Do you feel like a light of hope to those around you?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 655: All that is gold does not glitter: A reflection on the 6th O Antiphon (Luke 1: 46-56)

46 And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; 47 my spirit rejoices in God my savior. 48 For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

49 The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.

51 He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. 52 He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.

53 The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.54 He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, 55 according to his promise to our fathers to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

56 Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.


“O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart,

the cornerstone that makes all one

Come and save the human race,

which you fashioned from clay.”


Today the church chants the sixth of the “O” antiphons, calling Christ the “King of the Nations” and “Cornerstone” of all creation. It blows my mind to imagine the King of the nations who holds all creation together coming down from his cherubic throne to shape each of us out of the clay of the earth. God got his hands dirty making each one of us. Not only that, but He, who had wrapped himself in light as in a robe, also concealed his majesty in a vessel of clay. He became our companion as we journeyed along the path of life. Consider these lines taken from the Lord of the Rings.


All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes, a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be the blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king (Tolkien).


The celebrations of Christmas remind us that God does not dwell in a house made by human hands (CF. Acts 7: 48) but in a vessel of clay shaped by his own hands. Through the mystery of the incarnation, Jesus applied the words of the prophet Isaiah to himself. “You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay; you are the potter; we are the work of your hand” (Is. 64:8). After he became a vessel of clay, he proceeded to empty himself so that we might be filled. Mary, God’s special vessel of election, rejoiced in her lowliness and continues to proclaim God’s greatness for all eternity.


The Only-begotten Son of God became the son of Mary so that we might seek him in wonder and love him. When God made us, he made us social creatures who relate to him through our relationships with one another. The infant in the manger captures our attention. The helplessness of almighty God excites our compassion. As we bow down to take him into our arms, we find our hearts expanded so that they can love and embrace all that he loves and embraces. The love of God made tangible in Christ, extends to the whole earth, despairing of no one and assuring us that all are the objects of his love.


O King within the child within the clay,

O hidden King who shapes us in the play

Of all creation. Shape us for the day

Your coming Kingdom comes into its own.

(Jac Redford)


Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO



Prayer: “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

Quote from a Saint: “A God who became so small could only be mercy and love.” -- St. Thérèse of Lisieux


Questions for reflection:

  1. Reflect on this statement: “It blows my mind to imagine the King of the nations who holds all creation together coming down from his cherubic throne to shape each of us out of the clay of the earth.” Have you ever considered that the God of the Universe shaped each one of us Himself? What about the fact that he sent His own Son from Heaven to save us? What does that say about the nature of God? What does it say about our relationship with Him?

  2. Have you ever discovered something or someone who did not “glitter” but turned out to be “gold?” What did it teach you about God’s creation?

  3. With the birth of Christ God intrudes into the story of human history. He continues to intrude into the story of our lives and the lives of others. When has God intruded into the story of your life? How did you respond?

  4. How do you handle intrusions into “your time”? Do you see them as frustrating or as God asking you to slow down and serve others?

  5. The Son of God became man so that we can “

  6. Think about your relationships with others. In what ways do those relationships help you to relate to God? Do you have any relationships that are unhealthy? Do these unhealthy relationships effect your relationship with God?

  7. Since God’s love extends to all on the Earth how should we think of those who do not believe as we do? What about those we do not like? If they are the object of God’s love shouldn’t they be loved by us as well?

  8. How well do you respond to the Hands of the Potter?

  9. Have you ever prayed with the O antiphons? If not, look them up and reflect upon them during your next time of prayer.

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 654: Live for God : A reflection on the Gospel of Mark (Mark 1:1-8)

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God]. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. 3 A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord make straight his paths.’”

4 John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. 6 John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey.


7 And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.”

The word of God has been present in creation from the beginning. By God’s word, all things came into being. By God’s word, all things are sustained, until “the day of the Lord comes...and the earth and everything done on it will be found out”. If God stopped sustaining the world by his word, the world would collapse. In a way, then, God’s word is almost banal. It surrounds us everywhere, like the air we breathe. which is a constant gift from God. Even our breath becomes prayer if we are conscious of what it represents. ‘Let Christ be the air you breathe!’, said the abbot Saint Anthony.


The Word of God also resounds more particularly, though. Thus “John the Baptist appeared in the desert”. This detail bears a message. It tells us that God’s action erupts in history measurably. God’s word doesn’t just surround us like a vague atmosphere. It speaks to us personally, expecting a response.


The call to John was preceded by a long prophetic silence. People asked: Has God forgotten us? Why doesn’t he speak? In our days, it is tempting to ask similarly. The life of the Church is marked by crises, compromised trust, broken promises. We live with great sadness and worry. We might wonder: What has happened to the promises that were in the air not so long ago? Does “the Lord delay his promise”? Where is God now?


It’s a stupid question, of course. God is eternal, unchangeable. He is where he has always been: everywhere. The problem is not that he is far from us, but that we are far from him. I am reminded of a letter Pierre de Bérulle wrote to a French Carmelite he accompanied in the early 17th century. The nun moaned (as we are all inclined to moan) that her spiritual life had dried up, somehow. “Why”, she asked, “oh why has God abandoned me?” Bérulle answered sternly. “Why do you expect God to run after you as if he were a babysitter? Are you not a grown-up? We shouldn’t”, he went on, “expect to be given gifts all the time. What matters is to make use of the grace we have been given, to let it bear fruit.” This counsel chimes in with the Lord’s own teaching. Think of the images from agriculture strewn throughout the parables. One process must follow another, in order. The seed must be sown. It must be given time to develop, while we tend and water it.


The message of John the Baptist points towards something that has already been given. To indicate the new that is to come, he has recourse to old words. ‘Remember Isaiah!’, he cries. ‘The Lord asked us long ago to “make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God”. Is that what we’ve been doing, preparing a way for the Lord in our lives, our churches, and our communities? Are our eyes fixed on him in expectant longing? Or are we really seeking comfort and prosperity for ourselves? Meletios of Nikopolis, a bishop of our times, once wrote: “The Church is not of man. The Church is of God. And whenever God is present, the human element ought to recede. When it doesn’t, when instead it is validated, the Church does not do well. Anthropocentrism kills the Church and its life.”


As far as I can see, these are words we need to hear in our times, in our circumstances. “Do you seek God?” was the only question St Benedict asked candidates who turned up, wishing to embrace monastic life. It was his only criterion of discernment, but one that reached far.


Are we really seeking God? Do we surrender ourselves to him humbly and obey his commandments? Are we eager, as St Peter would have us be, “to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace”?


If the Church, which at present is living through a long winter, is to ready itself for spring, we must learn anew to live on God’s terms. Monasteries have a crucial role to play in this respect. By the grace conferred through profession and consecration, monks and nuns are to show the world that it is possible to live entirely for God and that such a life is a source of reconciled, sanctified communion in joy and peace.


May the life lived here at the Genesee be marked by a profound faith in God, by love of his holy will, and by a readiness to follow it unconditionally. The Church needs holy monks, wrapped in the cloak of integrity, to remind us of all that God’s promise carries; that his fidelity is unfailing if only we enable it to operate by being faithful ourselves. May all of us “conduct ourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.”.


Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO


Prayer: “Lord, make me a pen in your hand to write a story that will inspire others to live only for you. Amen”


Quote from a Saint: “...nothing is accomplished unless it is accompanied by Divine aid. Divine help, however, comes to those who seek it from their hearts humbly and devoutly; and this means to sigh for it in this vale of tears, aided only by fervent prayer. Thus prayer is the mother and source of ascent in God...Therefore let us pray and say to the Lord our God, ‘Conduct me, O Lord, in Thy way, and I will walk in Thy truth; let my heart rejoice that it may fear Thy name’ [Ps., 85, 11].” --St. Bonaventure (Doctor of the Church) 


Questions for reflection:

  1. Have you ever spent time reflecting on just how dependent we are upon God? If not, start spending some time in prayer thanking God for the things that he has given to you.

  2. When you pray do you expect a response? Are you willing to receive the answer even if it is not exactly what you were hoping for?

  3. Do you see God active in your life and the world around you? If not, take a walk outside and observe the world that He made for you. If you can, go out into a less settled area and watch the birds and animals, admire the trees, and give thanks to your creator for world that He has made for us.

  4. Do you ever find yourself despairing because it feels like God has forgotten or turned his back on you? How do you respond? Do you maintain a consistent prayer life, even during dark periods of your life? Are you willing to run after the Lord?

  5. Are you willing to work alongside God in answering your prayers? If you are praying for something, like a better job or to improve your health, are you willing to do the leg work needed?

  6. Are you using your life and talents in making a way for the Lord? Do you attract others to the faith by your example or drive them away? Are you being Jesus to those you meet?

  7. Do you long for the return of the Lord or are you more concerned with your personal comfort?

  8. Do you seek God? Does your prayer life reflect this? What about the entertainments that you pursue? Do they honor God? Are you “eager, as St Peter would have us be, ‘to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace’”?

  9. Have you considered that, even as a lay person, we can try to live only for God like monks and nuns do? Does this excite you, make you feel uneasy or maybe even discourage you? Bring this to prayer and ask the Good Lord how He wants you to live your life.

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 653: Gratitude at all times: A reflection on the Gospel of Luke (Luke 17: 11-19)


11 As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.


12 As he was entering a village, ten lepers met [him]. They stood at a distance from him 13and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”


14 And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed.


15 And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; 16 and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.


17 Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? 18 Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”


19 Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”



In this morning’s Gospel, ten lepers were cleansed, but only one returned to give thanks to God, and Jesus asks “Where are the other nine?” The story is included in the Gospel because it is vital that we should learn to thank God.


What for? For his being God, in the first place. The great prayer of thanks where he is concerned is the Eucharist, which means “Thanksgiving” in Greek. In the Gloria of the Mass, we pray, “We give you thanks for your great glory”, thanking God for being God, in a communion with his own joy.


St Charles de Foucauld expressed his gratitude in the midst of his suffering and his personal crosses by saying to God, “My God, your happiness is enough for me.” That’s an expression of adoration in its purest form, and it puts everything into perspective.


We should also thank God for everything we owe him, and that’s a permanent motive for joy and gratitude. We can never finish counting our blessings, not least because we can call God “Our Father”, and have the joy of being in all truth his children, children of God by adoption.


And we should thank God for having become one of us in Jesus our Brother so that through him, and with him, and in him, we might become partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption rife in the world because of sinful desire.


It is often interesting and illuminating to listen to the last earthly words of some holy person as they are spoken. Sometimes they give meaning to a whole life and open up a window on the spirituality which inspired them. I’m thinking of the last words of St. Clare, whose life was such a noble echo of the Gospel. Feeling that death was near, she turned to God in a final prayer and was heard to murmur these words: “Thank you, Lord, for having created me.”


That is the highest thanks a creature can give to his Creator. It is the cry of a person who understands the greatness of gratefulness.


Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO


Prayer: “We praise you, Father of all; We thank you for calling us to be your people, And for choosing us to give you glory.”

Quote from a Saint: “The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.” –St. Gianna Beretta Molla.

Questions for reflection:

  1. How often do you stop and glorify God, thanking Him for all of the blessings He has bestowed upon you? Do you thank God when good things happen?

  2. It is even more challenging to thank God when you are suffering. Are you able to thank God for everything that you do have even when things are going poorly?

  3. Do you live a life of gratitude? Do you always thank people when they do something for you? Do you say thank you to waiters, servers, and janitors?

  4. Do you practice gratitude in your home? Do you let those you love know how grateful you are for them or have you become used to their presence to the point of taking them for granted?

  5. Have you ever tried listing what you are grateful for?If so, how has this helped your ability to deal with the hard times? Has it improved your general attitude? If you haven’t tried it, try picking something each day that you are grateful for and see if this changes how you think.

  6. Do you show your gratitude in how you give to others? Do you tithe? Ask the Lord how you could better share with others the gifts that He has given you.

  7. St Charles de Foucauld said, “My God, your happiness is enough for me” when he was in the midst of suffering. In what way is this an expression of adoration in its purest form? How does it put everything into perspective? How can we use the happiness of God to handle our personal crosses?

  8. Do you find joy in the fact that you are a child of God? What are the blessings that you have noticed in your life from being able to call God your Father?

  9. Reflect on Saint Clare’s last words: “Thank you, Lord, for having created me.” How do those words show God’s influence in her life? What do you think her spiritual life was like based on these words? In what way is this the highest thanks that a creature can give its creator?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 652: Faith as the very air we breathe: a reflection on the Book of Daniel (Daniel 5: 1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28)

1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles, with whom he drank. 2 Under the influence of the wine, he ordered the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar, his father, had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, to be brought in so that the king, his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 When the gold vessels taken from the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, had been brought in, and while the king, his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines were drinking 4 wine from them, they praised their gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. 5 Suddenly, opposite the lampstand, the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster of the wall in the king’s palace. When the king saw the hand that wrote, 6 his face became pale; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked.


13 Then Daniel was brought into the presence of the king. The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, whom my father, the king, brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you, that you have shown brilliant insight and extraordinary wisdom. 16 But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems; now, if you are able to read the writing and tell me what it means, you shall be clothed in purple, wear a chain of gold around your neck, and be third in governing the kingdom.” 17 Daniel answered the king: “You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else; but the writing I will read for the king, and tell what it means.

23 You have rebelled against the Lord of heaven. You had the vessels of his temple brought before you, so that you and your nobles, your consorts and your concubines, might drink wine from them; and you praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, that neither see nor hear nor have intelligence. But the God in whose hand is your very breath and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify. 24 By him was the hand sent, and the writing set down.


25“This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, TEKEL, and PERES. These words mean: 26 MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it; 27 TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; 28 PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”



“The God in whose hand is your life breath and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify” (Dan. 5:23). These words are somewhat shocking to the ear, seeing as we live in a society that chooses to restrict God and his Word to the confines of the church building. We have been created by God, in his image and likeness. Faith is intended to be the very air we breathe. Saint Paul wrestles with the problem of passing on the faith. “How can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone announcing the message to them?” (Rom. 10:14) This announcement is not to be made only in word but also in deed. We are called to live as children of the Kingdom of Light and be the Gospel the world encounters.


Saint Paul wrote to the Church in Philippi. “We are different because our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). This citizenship is intended to impact the way we talk and live. It all begins at home. It is within the family that children are raised and formed as human beings. It is there that children first experience love and discipleship. Under the loving care of faith-filled parents, they learn endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generosity, forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one's life.


Faith-life has to be nurtured. It is not acquired by osmosis. The family has a primary role in the faith formation of each of its members. This is beautifully brought out in the rite of baptism. “This light is entrusted to you [parents and godparents] to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He (she) is to walk always as a child of the light.” The home, the domestic church, is the place where the Most High dwells and where the Light of Christ is kept burning. We keep the Light of Christ bright and visible by giving everything over to God and thanking Him for everything that comes our way. Let us trust Him to know how, and to whom, our light should shine. We are called to be a candle in a lampstand, receiving everything from God: who is our purpose, our life, and our flame. Once we have been nurtured and strengthened at home, we should be able to endure all the challenges life presents us with as we seek to serve the Kingdom of our loving Father.


The world has a way of wearing us down. It entices us with distractions, temptation, and entertainment, promising us happiness but never fully satisfying us. When we focus on these earthly things our eyes are drawn from the “things above.” Christ has called us to be bold and fearless to produce the first fruits of the new creation through the love of Christ, who has grasped us and overwhelmed us with all the power of His tender compassion.


Let us lift our eyes and stand as tall as the heavens. Let us live with nothing else but the bond between God who is above, and we who are below. Let us keep the Light of Christ bright and visible by giving everything over to God and thanking Him for what each day brings. Let us trust God to know how, and to whom, our light should shine. May He bring us all together to everlasting life. Amen.


Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO



Prayer: “Lord, all that I have is yours. Please help me to live more for the things above than for the earthly things that can distract me from you. Amen

Quote from a Saint: "The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are." —St. Teresa of Calcutta

Questions for reflection:

  1. “Faith is intended to be the very air we breathe.” Does your faith infuse every part of your life? Does it influence everything that you say and do? Is there an area of your life that your faith does not reach?

  2. How do you announce God’s goodness to the word in words? How do you do so in deeds?

  3. If we keep quiet others will not learn about God. We keep His saving grace from anyone who has not heard the Good News. In what way does this make you uncomfortable? Does looking at it in this way help to make you more bold?

  4. How was faith talked about when you were growing up? What influence did your family have on your faith life as an adult? Is there anything that you wished had been taught or done in your family’s home? What do you do in your own home to promote the faith?

  5. Would you consider your home the “domestic church”? Does your household carry on the mission of God in your home, and then throughout the world?

  6. Consider the following: “Christ has called us to be bold and fearless to produce the first fruits of the new creation through the love of Christ.” Would you consider yourself bold and fearless for Christ? In what ways do you proclaim God to the world? Are there times when you are too timid? What fruits have you seen from your work?

  7. Christ “has grasped us and overwhelmed us with all the power of His tender compassion.” For once being overwhelmed is a good thing! Do you ever feel “overwhelmed” by Christ’s tender compassion? If you do not feel this tender compassion, try praying about this gift from God.

  8. The things of this world will never truly satisfy. How have you found this to be true in your life? How have you found your life to be better when you are focused on the “things above”?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 651: Let the Lord’s light shine through you : a reflection on the Book of Wisdom (Wisdom 13:1-9)


1 Foolish by nature were all who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing the one who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;

2 Instead either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water, or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.

3 Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them. 4 Or if they were struck by their might and energy, let them realize from these things how much more powerful is the one who made them.

5 For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen. 6 But yet, for these the blame is less; For they have gone astray perhaps, though they seek God and wish to find him.

7 For they search busily among his works, but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair. 8 But again, not even these are pardonable. 9 For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its Lord?


“From the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen” (Wis 13:5). This theme is echoed in Psalm 19, “the heavens declare the glory of God, their vastness declare the work of his hands” (Ps. 19:1). God tried to impress on Abram the awesomeness of the universe. “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can” (Gen. 15:5). Joining Abram in his heavenward gaze, I am drawn again to the book of Psalms. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the children of man that you pay attention to them?” (Ps. 8:3-4) In comparison to the heavens, we seem relatively insignificant. The psalmist tells us that no matter how insignificant we may seem, “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (Ps.100:3). Not only did God create us in his image and likeness, but he also redeemed us in the blood of his beloved Son. Saint Paul wrote: “you were bought at a high price, the precious blood of Jesus, therefore, honor and glorify God with your body” (1Cor. 6:20). Saint Peter rounds out this theme, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. Because of this, you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). God lights up our lives, guides our steps, and carries us close to his heart.

If you see the moon, you see the beauty of God.

If you see the Sun, you see the power of God.

And If you see the Mirror, you see the best Creation of God


If only we could comprehend the depth of God’s love for us. God’s love is a consuming fire and with that fire, he illumines our world. God’s love, revealed to us in Christ, takes us to new heights. The depths of his infinite love caused him to be brought low. He was willing to enter the deep and dark places of the human soul so that he could carry us to the heights of his kingdom of light. Because he knew heartache, Christ was close to the broken-hearted. Because he knew grief, he could comfort those who mourn. Because he knew rejection, he could accompany those who were outcasts. Because of his infinite mercy, he seeks the lost. Because of his unity with the Father, he became a father to the orphaned. In imitation of his Father, Christ gives justice to the oppressed, food to the hungry, freedom to prisoners and shelter to the homeless.

 “God made his light shine in our hearts that we might know the glory that is reflected in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). If we let the flame of love burn in our hearts, we will be a light for those who walk in darkness. If we allow the fire of divine love to consume us, we will be a light of hope to all we meet. If we reflect the light shining on the face of Christ, his light will overcome the darkness.

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO


Prayer: “Lord, I want to be a light for others but I am afraid. Lord, set me ablaze so that I can be a light that draws more and more souls to you, so that when I get to heaven, I have a legion of people who have followed after my light and found their heavenly home. Amen”

Quote from a Saint: “Start being brave about everything, driving out darkness and spreading light as well. Don’t look at your weakness, but realize that in Christ crucified you can do everything.” – St. Catherine of Siena


Questions for reflection:

  1. Have you ever found God through the world that He created? Do you spend long enough outside in nature to find the fingerprints of the Artist?

  2. Have you ever considered that you are also God’s creation? He designed you just as much as he designed and oak tree or beetle. If you have not considered this before, bring this to prayer and meditate on God’s creativity.

  3. Have you ever seen the night sky as Abraham would have seen it-- that is, without night time light pollution? If not, find a place where you can see the night sky in all of its glory. If that is not possible, look up pictures of the night sky. Discover just how great the number of descendants was that God was promising to Abraham.

  4. Have you ever thought about the idea that the God who created us in His image allowed us to kill him so that we could be redeemed? If not, meditate on the amount of humility this took and then ask God to make you as humble as that.

  5. God loves us. Have you ever considered what this means? Think about how much He sacrificed in order to redeem us. The God of the Universe became a part of His creation and allowed His creatures to kill Him. Do you love someone that much? Do you love your neighbors that much? Do you love as God loves? If not, pray that you too can love as he loves.

  6. How are you doing with practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy? Do you do them out of love or out of a sense of duty?

  7. Do you allow yourself to be a light for others? Why or why not? Bring this to prayer and seek whatever you feel the Lord is telling you to do.

  8. Are you willing to let the consuming fire of God’s love consume you? Why or why not? Does this make you afraid or cause you to want to hold something back? Give God the permission to consume you with His burning love and allow you to become a living torch to light the darkness for others.

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

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