“We know that God makes everything work for good for those who love God….”

Saint George Preca has been likened as a succe...

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Gift:  Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

Reading:  In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will..*We know that all things work for good for those who love God,* who are called according to his purpose.*For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.  (Romans 8:26-30)

Observation:  The title for my post today is an alternate translation of Romans 8:28.  I like it because I feel like I can relate to it better.  It points out that God is the good one, and I feel like it is good for me to remember that if I am doing good, it is God’s work being done.  Also, even when I mess up, God will find a way to use that for good.  The rest of the reading today spelled out to me that even though, as Saint Paul has reminded us lately in the readings from his letter to the Romans, we are sinners because we are in the flesh, if we rely on the holy Spirit to save us from our sin,  as we hear today’s first reading, God has already done it.

Personification:  Love  I feel like it has been forever since I focused on love in my daily journal.  However, I do feel like I am trying to display it better in my life.  It is only by understanding that God is love, that it becomes possible to display his love to others.  It is easy to see our love in the form of hugs and kisses, but God’s love comes in many other forms as well.  I will try to focus on displaying his love by caring for others and following his commandments as well.

Prayer:  Lord, please help me to be the loving and caring man who you have created me to be and not let my anger get the best of me today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. (Romans 8:25)

It contains fragments of the "Epistle to ...
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Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

Reading:  I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.  (Romans 8:18,22-25)

Observation:  After reading through the readings this morning, I realized that it is not necessary to comment on them all the time.  Today, especially the first reading from the eighth chapter of the letter to the Romans.  All of what we read the last week in the same letter to the Romans, was leading up to this week’s revelations of truth that Saint Paul is laying down for us.  To me, it is not that last week’s readings were not truth, it was just hard to hear them in the snippets that we got from the readings each day.

Personification:  Faithfulness  It is my hope that I can see through all the things of this world to the truth that comes not only from the Word of God, but also from the sacred tradition that is the church.  It is those two things that sustain my faith in a God that truly wants to have a relationship with me.  Not only as a Father, but also as a friend.

Prayer:  Lord, please help me to remember to be in relationship with you in the good times as well as the bad.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.* (Romans 6:20)

Saint George Preca has been likened as a succe...

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Gift: Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification,* and its end is eternal life.  (Romans 6:22)

Observation:  I have struggled this week with the way that sin is related to death and that we are sinners as long as we are in the flesh.  I like the irony of the verse that I used for my title today, as the footnotes say that freedom from righteousness would really be tyranny.  To me, freedom from righteousness would really feel like an evil possession.  I have read forward in the readings for the next two days and I am hopeful that the message of this particular section of the letter to the Romans will make more sense to me by Saturday.

Personification:  Peace  It is my hope that I can display the fruit of peace in my life.  I am seeing with the readings today and the experience of my life that real peace only comes with the knowledge that is completed in the Word of God.  I don’t know if this is true in all cases, but I am sure that the mystery of God’s presence in the Word will prove this to be true.  If ever I feel like I am lost in my life, I need only escape this world into the world of God’s Word.

Prayer:  Lord, please help me to stay focused on you by staying in your Word and never feel too far away from you by focusing on what you are saying to me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Abraham believed, so we could too…Are we fully convinced?

Some sources which? claim that it was Metatron...

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Gift: Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  He (Abraham) did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief;* rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do.  (Romans 4:20:21)

Observation:  I was listening to a song by Chris Tomlin about David, but I think it relates to this verse about Abraham’s belief that was written in the book of Romans and taken from our first reading for today’s Mass.  How much different would our lives be if we just believed that God was in charge.  I am not talking about just saying it, but think of the kind of faith it would take to be 100 years old and told that you are going to have a son, and then to take that son and offering him as a sacrifice, only to have him saved at the last-minute.  Do I have that kind of faith?  I hope so…because I want the great things that God has planned for my life to be done through me.

Personification:  Faithfulness  It is only by faith that I can be truly free of this world.  It is my hope that God will build faith in me, so I can put it on display for the world to see.  I know that I believe, but I need to have the faith that can lead to righteousness and give all the glory to God.  So that people can look at me and say that they want their heart to look like my heart, because my heart looks like Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord, create in me a new faith, a renewal of strength of will that can only come from your grace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.


Sorry, if yesterday’s post sounded judgmental…

Groom, Texas

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Gift:  Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:   Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.* For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things.  (Romans 2:1)

Observation:  It was not my intention to pass judgment on anyone with yesterdays post.  I hope it was not taken that way.  The reading was leading me to post that video and I know that the music would speak directly to someone that I tagged with it, but I did not mean to accuse him of any wrong doing.  At least, not anymore than I would accuse myself of, especially in the light of today’s reading from the continuation of the letter to the Romans.  I am, by no means, free from sin, and therefore not qualified to judge anyone, and I hope no one took my post from yesterday as an indictment against anyone.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  Amen!


For I am not ashamed of the gospel. (Romans 1:16)


Lecrae says it way better than I ever could have…It came from the first reading for the Mass readings today…Anyone who knows Kim Varo and heard my conversation with Hillary and Chris yesterday, should know how perfect it was that this song came to my mind today when I read the first reading for Mass…God bless you!

I defer to my son’s thoughts for today…I am not afraid of 2012, because…

Stained Glass - Nativity of Jesus

Stained Glass - Nativity of Jesus

Gift: Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.”  (Matthew 1:23)

Observation:  I read the first reading for today’s Mass to my son, Chad, this morning.  I chose to read the reading from the letter to the Romans.  After I read it and a few moments had passed, Chad asked me if I knew why he was not afraid of 2012…I said no.  He said because, “God is with us!”  It is entirely possible that he read forward in the readings today, but judging by his surprise when I told him what I read next, I don’t think he did.  I read the gospel reading for today’s Mass, that both choices for today end with “God is with us.”  I shared with him that he had just created a moment for me, and he must be getting used to it, because it wasn’t such a big deal to him, even though he was surprised.  He is 12, and I know God has great plans for his future.

Personification:  Faithfulness  Today, I am going to display the fruit of faithfulness in my life by remembering the words of my son and the gospel today.  I will remember that God is with us and the grace that flows from the sacrament that I will receive at Mass this morning will be enough to carry me through my day.  God is good…All the time!

Prayer:  Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all of my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.  Amen…All the time…God is good!

Still dying…not dead yet…Let me say, “I died today!”…Amen?

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...
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Scripture:  As it is written: “For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, 9nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, 10 nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:36-39)

Observation:  It is my belief that this journal is in response to all those people who think they know the time or at least the day that Jesus will return.  My response is to get busy dying now, because I am still trying to die to my selfishness after over 15 years as a Christian and I still feel tempted to give in to the flesh.  If you wait until that last moment before you think Jesus will return, how do you even know that you will be able to see him beyond your sin?

Application:  Today, it will be my choice to continue to try to die to sin with the grace of God that will come to me because of my willingness to give up my will in favor of his.  It is not because of anything that I will do, rather my death to this world will be as it always is, a free gift, that will free me to follow his will.

Prayer:  Lord, it is only by my complete surrender and understanding that if I was left alone I would be involved in sin now, that I can see that your power and grace are enough to bring me under your protection.  Please keep me in this protection today and forever.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

I want to be justified by faith…


Justified by faith...

Scripture:  I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.  (Galatians 2:21)

Observation:  I could have continued my title to say…”and not by works”, but I think that is understood, especially when seen in light of the rest of the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  I am seeing that Paul is reminding us at the end of this chapter as well, that if we are able to resist sin, that we must be aware that it only happens by the grace of God, not by any strict adherence to the law.

Application:  This may sound crazy coming from a Catholic Youth Ministry leader, but I want to be able to keep in the forefront of my mind this scripture to lead my life.  It may even sound crazier that I have had these two bracelets on my arm for the past almost two months, since my sister’s last visit, and I have known that I would take a picture of them and post them with my journal and it only now seems appropriate.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that it is only by faith in you that I am saved and I ask that you continue to grace me and my brothers and sisters in Christ with the grace necessary to bring this message to everyone who comes in our path.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

The scriptures give us hope…At least some of us!

Jean-François Millet's depiction of winnowing

Jean-François Millet's depiction of winnowing

Gift:  Counsel (Right Judgment) – With the gift of right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus.

Reading:  For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.  (Romans 15:4)


9 His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”  (Matthew 3:12)

Observation:  In the second reading for today’s Mass, I see Paul saying that it is the scripture that should give us hope to understand the salvation story.  In the gospel reading, John the Baptist is saying that the Pharisees and the Sadducees should not be coming to him, because they don’t deserve a warning of their impending doom.  The same can be said of us, we do not deserve a warning of our impending doom.  I feel like I should have hope that when Jesus sifts the wheat and the chaff, there will be something that gives me substance to fall to the ground.  I fear, however, that without the grace of our Lord, I will be the chaff that gets burned in the unquenchable fire.

Personification:  Faithfulness  For once, this morning I am seeing that the fruit of faithfulness does not come from my understanding.  It comes as a result of years of grace that I have received from the Lord.  It is my hope that by staying close to the Word always, this grace will continue to cover me with the faithfulness that I am choosing to display today.

Prayer:  Lord, it is my hope today to display the fruit of faithfulness.  You know my heart and mind better than I do, so help me with all the grace necessary to be able to be faithful.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.