Moving Closer To Heaven As Sheep

In the reading (Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18) expands upon a portion of the Ten Commandments — the commandments about loving others, not about loving God. If we don’t love others, we don’t love God.

Why? Because he cares about everyone, even the worst of the worst. If we truly love him, we care about those whom he loves: everyone, even those who reject the truth about him, even those who reject us and cause us to suffer.

Jesus tells us in the Gospel passage (Matthew 25:31-46) that what we do to others we are actually doing to him. Why? Because he united himself to every sinner — even the most terrible sinners — when he came to earth as one of us and then offered himself as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins.

The worst of the worst people in our lives are the “least of these” whom we are to treat the way we’d like to treat Jesus, even if they don’t acknowledge what Jesus did for them.

Our love for others is our love for God. When we lie or speak falsely, we’re lying to Christ as he hangs on the cross. When we break a promise to a child, we profane the name of God, who is the Promise Keeper.Read More »

Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem

Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, was born in Damascus around 560. He was patriarch during the time that Jerusalem fell to Umar I and his Saracens in 637. He was of Arab descent. Nothing is known of his early life. He was a monk and theologian. A teacher of rhetoric, he became an ascetic in Egypt about 580 and then joined the Monastery of St. Theodosius near Bethlehem.

From his youth he was distinguished for his piety and his love for classical studies. He was especially proficient in philosophy, and so he was known as Sophronius the Wise. The future hierarch, however, sought the true philosophy of monasticism, and conversations with the desert-dwellers.

He arrived in Jerusalem at the monastery of Saint Theodosius, and there he became close with the hieromonk John Moschus, becoming his spiritual son and submitting himself to him in obedience. They visited several monasteries, writing down the lives and spiritual wisdom of the ascetics they met. From these notes emerged their renowned book, the LEIMONARION or SPIRITUAL MEADOW, which was highly esteemed at the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

To save themselves from the devastating incursions of the Persians, Saints John and Sophronius left Palestine and went to Antioch, and from there they went to Egypt. In Egypt, Saint Sophronius became seriously ill. During this time he decided to become a monk and was tonsured by Saint John Moschus.Read More »

#MoralStory: Scars For Life

Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His mother in the house was looking out the window saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go.

A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.Read More »

O Breathe on Me, O Breath of God


O breathe on me, O breath of God,
fill me with life anew that I may love
the things You love, and do what you would do.

O breathe on me, O breath of God,
until my heart is pure;
until my will is one with Yours,
to do and to endure.

O breathe on me, O breath of God,
my will to Yours incline,
until this selfish part of me
glows with Your fire divine.

O breathe on me, O breath of God,
so I shall never die,
but live with You the perfect life
for all eternity.

#ShortNews: Thousands of Philippine Catholics march to defend bishops charged with sedition

Catholics in the northern Philippines are throwing their support for Archbishop Socrates Villegas and other accused church people accused of conspiring to overthrow President Rodrigo Duterte. At least 36 other people were also charged for allegedly orchestrating a series of online videos alleging that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade.

About 3,000 people in Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese took to the streets on July 31 to show their support for their archbishop. On Aug. 1, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila issued a call to the clergy and Catholics in Manila to offer Masses and prayers on Aug. 4 for those suffering because of “persecution and false accusations.”

In a personal statement read by Monsignor Manuel Bravo, Archbishop Villegas thanked Catholics in his archdiocese for their love and prayers. “Your love is so powerful,” he said. “The good Lord knows I am innocent of the crime they charge me with,” Archbishop Villegas said.


#ShortNews: A Christian always walks forward

“A Christian is a missionary who, urged forward by the Holy Spirit, lives his or her Baptism as yeast in society, spreading the message of Jesus.” This is the heart of a brief video message that Pope Francis sent to the participants a 3-day National Missionary Congress, organized by Indonesia’s Catholic Church.

Speaking in Italian, the Pope exhorts the Congress participants to reflect well on the theme. “When we are baptized, we receive the Holy Spirit, who is a treasure; we receive the message of Jesus, the Gospel within us,” the Pope says in the video message that was projected during the opening ceremony.

The Pope draws attention to the two words of the theme, “Baptized and Sent”. “When you have a beautiful thing and are enthusiastic about it,” he says, “you feel the impetus to share it and give it to others.” “Baptized and Sent”, he says, are the two things that must be the leitmotif of the Congress.