A Small Detour During My Trip in Germany

 

I am currently in Germany.  Why?  I am here to give a talk for a conference on the Catholic identity of Catholic Charities in Berlin.

But there’s more.  This year is also the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation being marked in Wittenberg, a small town about an hour south of Berlin. This still medieval-like town, now called Lutherstadt Wittenberg is where Martin Luther posted his famous 95 theses on the door of Castle Church n 1517 that started the movement.

So I decided to “eavesdrop” on the pilgrimages being made to Wittenberg for an overnight a couple of days prior to the Conference.  I love when a “non-plan” comes together.  This and other postings are not “theological treatises” of ecumenical dialogue. These are a few thoughts of one sojourner to a conference on Catholic identity distracted for a day or two meandering to the founding city of Protestantism.

Last evening as I entered the town, I saw a notice for an organ recital in an hour in the City Church of St. Mary’s where Luther did much of his preaching.  I quickly dropped off my bag in the hotel and walked over.  It was a great way to begin my dropping in on the 500th anniversary.

So here I stand, how could I do other?  Yes, the allusion is intentional.   What is coincidence, but the grace of God.  He’s a much better planner than I am. Thank God – pun intended.  I am off to walk this still medieval-feeling town today.   

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Jesus Forgives You & Loves You

Tip of the Day:

Think in your own head about something bad you’ve done and felt guilty about.  Realize that Jesus knows about it, forgives you and loves you.

Verse of the Day: 

 

Bible Readings for Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

 Reflection of the Day:

The powerful trio of guilt, blame and responsibility all occupy the same emotion space in our psyche.  Well, maybe not exactly the same, but pretty close.  Sometimes they even impersonate one another and engage in identity theft.  So here’s how I like see them and separate them.  (Note: I’m not saying this is THE way to see them, just my way.)  Guilt is what I feel about myself when I do something wrong.  Blame is what I impute to another when they do something wrong.  Responsibility is what I accept for my actions and their consequences.  I am not going to spend a lot of time teasing this out or giving examples.  Let’s just think about these differences and supply our own examples.  Note: There is a time and place for all three of these, but it’s useful to distinguish.

Stop Worrying and Just Thank God

Tip of the Day:

 Listen to Hallelujah

 

Bible Readings for Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Reflection of the Day:

Periodically it’s worth taking time off from complaining about trials and tribulations, worrying about problems and asking for things we think we need. God gets tired and so do we.  Both God and we need a break.  Now mind you, complaining, worrying and asking are legit – and we better do them a lot, but not incessantly. Reflect on one or two good things that have happened to you recently – even if you are generally going through a bad time. Say a simple thank you God and praise his name.  It will make you feel better.            

 

 

Announcing Jesus Coming to Mary – Take a Break from Lenten Practices

Tip of the Day:

What’s the Lenten practice this year that’s the hardest for you: Hanging with God, Discipline or Helping Others?  Don’t worry about it today.  Today, you can take a break from it.  It will give you renewed incentive to begin again tomorrow for the second half of Lent.

 

Bible Readings for the Fest of the Annunciation on Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

  

Reflection of the Day:          

No reflection today – I’m taking my mid-Lent break also! 

 

Remembering International Down’s Syndrome Day & Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Kristy Chau & Katie Driscoll

On this week’s JustLove episode, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan speaks with Katie Driscoll, Founder of Changing the Face of Beauty and Kristy Chau, Education Director of the Kennedy Child Study Center, a Catholic Charities affiliated agency.

On the show, Katie Driscoll discusses with Monsignor her founding of Changing the Face of Beauty, its successes so far, and what her hopes are for the future of including people with differing abilities in all facets of the mainstream media. 

Msgr. Sullivan and Kristy will be discussing her work at the Kennedy Child Study Center, where she directs all activities at 16 classrooms serving the developmentally disabled, ensuring that each student receives an education that is appropriate for his or her educational, socio-emotional, and physical needs. 

Listen Now:

Discipline Leads to Happiness & Fulfillment

Tip of the day:

Pick a particularly difficult commandment today and focus on keeping that command for the whole day.  See how much more alive you feel at the end of the day.



Bible Readings for Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

 

Reflection of the day:

Our world sometimes seems torn between obsessions with either “spring breaks” or “spas.” For a Gemini like me, I enjoy the wonderful contrasts.  “Spring breaks” stand for allowing anything and everything.  All forms of restraint are abandoned, which leads to happiness, fulfillment and renewal – or so the ads would have us believe.  Another set of ads tout the “spa” approach. Come for a week or two of deprivation and regimentation and, at the end, a “new you” will emerge – happy and fulfilled.  In a more moderate version, most of us tend to gravitate toward the “spring break” approach to life: less restraint will make us happier and more fulfilled.  Lent suggests we rethink that a bit: a healthy dose of discipline leads to happiness and fulfillment.  It’s worth mentioning that the “big fulfillment” – the resurrection – came through Jesus’ discipline of the cross.  IJS.

Have Mercy & Forgive

Tip of the day:

Pick someone near-by who has hurt you and forgive. It’s best if you can say that word directly to the person. If not, then at least begin to say mercy in your own heart.

Bible Readings for Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

 

Reflection of the day:

Mercy and forgiveness are among the greatest gifts of love we can give to help another. Portia in Shakespeare’s, Merchant of Venice has said it better than most,

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

Enough said.

 

Let God Speak

Tip For Today

Make your communication with God today aimless. Let God take the lead and take you in the direction He wants.  Save your “asks” of God for another day. You just might be surprised with what God has to offer to you. 

 

Bible Readings for the Feast of St. Joseph on Monday of the Third Week of Lent

 

Reflection for Today

At work, I often ask people who propose a new project or idea, “Why are we doing this? What are we trying to achieve?” Sometimes similar questions are also worthwhile to ask about our praying.  What’s on my mind?  What am I praying about?  Sometimes, yes, but not always!  There is another part to praying.  Coming to God with a “blank slate” and letting God write on it.  Being patient, non-directive and waiting on God can be really frustrating and challenging because God speaks in his timeframe and his way.   A little daydreaming is a totally acceptable way of praying and waiting on God.  It’s less of a distraction than an opening for God to talk to us in ways that we may not have been expecting.  Our bosses and colleagues at work can sometimes get a little bothered by our daydreaming.  But God kind of likes it – it gives him space to get a word or two in.

 

Taking Small Steps to a Better You

How about 1 hour today without internet, social media, etc… You choose the hour.

During that hour say a special prayer for the Christians displaced from the Nineveh Plains

Click here for today’s readings:

 

Jonah 3:1-10

When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that He had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

 

Jonah, the whale, Nineveh, the king.  Today, don’t worry about Jonah and the whale, but Jonah the preacher of repentance.  He preached and Nineveh listened – even the king who led the way.  No one is exempt from Lent’s call to change our ways.   That’s what God wants – He wants to save, not punish.  Lent is a season of grace to change and grow and improve and be better.  Change takes some self-discipline but it’s worth the price. 

Did you know that same place where Jonah preached a few millennia ago, Nineveh, is where 100,000 Christians were driven from two years ago by ISIS?  I visited them last April.  The ancestors of those brave and suffering people of the Nineveh Plains trace their Christian community back to the first century.