Roman Catholic Christian Servant

Thank You, Lord

Thank You, Lord, for the many ways in which You encourage us in throughout this holy season of Lent.

Message of Pope Benedict XVI for Lent 2013

“The celebration of Lent, in the context of the Year of Faith, offers us a
valuable opportunity to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity:
between believing in God – the God of Jesus Christ – and love, which is the
fruit of the Holy Spirit and which guides us on the path of devotion to God and

“In my first Encyclical, I offered some thoughts on the close
relationship between the theological virtues of faith and charity. Setting out
from Saint John’s fundamental assertion: ‘We have come to know and to believe in
the love God has for us’ (1 Jn 4:16), I observed that ‘being Christian is
not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an
event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction … Since
God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere
‘command’; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to
us’ (Deus Caritas Est, 1). Faith is this personal adherence –
which involves all our faculties – to the revelation of God’s gratuitous and
‘passionate’ love for us, fully revealed in Jesus Christ. The encounter with God
who is Love engages not only the heart but also the intellect: ‘Acknowledgement
of the living God is one path towards love, and the ‘yes’ of our will to his
will unites our intellect, will and sentiments in the all-embracing act of love.
But this process is always open-ended; love is never ‘finished’ and complete’
(ibid., 17). Hence, for all Christians, and especially for ‘charity
workers’, there is a need for faith, for ‘that encounter with God in Christ
which awakens their love and opens their spirits to others. As a result, love of
neighbor will no longer be for them a commandment imposed, so to speak, from
without, but a consequence deriving from their faith, a faith which becomes
active through love’ (ibid., 31a). Christians are people who have been
conquered by Christ’s love and accordingly, under the influence of that love –
‘Caritas Christi urget nos’ (2 Cor 5:14) – they are profoundly
open to loving their neighbor in concrete ways (cf. ibid., 33). This
attitude arises primarily from the consciousness of being loved, forgiven, and
even served by the Lord, who bends down to wash the feet of the Apostles and
offers himself on the Cross to draw humanity into God’s love.”

Pope Benedict XVI recently offered his message for this year’s Lenten observance.

To access his complete message, please visit:

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2013

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the holy season of Lent. The assigned readings are Joel 2:12-18; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; and Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 51 (Psalm 51: 3-6, 12-14, 17).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

Reflection on today’s observance:

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for February 13, 2013: Ash Wednesday (12 FEB 13)

Beginning to Pray: Lent - praying from the heart (12 FEB 13)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the holy season of Lent and for the many grace-filled opportunities You are offering us in this year’s observance.

A Deacon’s Service as Hospital Chaplain

“Deacon Del Leonardo carries three pagers and a cell phone on him at all times.

“It’s a necessity in his work as a full-time evening and overnight chaplain at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, but Deacon Leonardo doesn’t mind all of the buzzing and beeping coming from his hip. Rather, he sees those as opportunities to be with patients ‘in the moment’ who are critically ill or close to death.”

A recent article in the St. Louis Review profiled Deacon Del Leonardo and his chaplaincy work.

To access the complete article, please visit:

St. Louis Review: A permanent deacon lends his care to those in need (6 FEB 13)

Thank you, Deacon Greg Kandra, for the tip.

Thomas à Kempis

“Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God’s sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God.” – Thomas a Kempis

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You blessed Pope Benedict XVI during his pontificate.

Pope Benedict XVI Stepping Down

“Saying he no longer has the strength to exercise ministry over the universal church, Pope Benedict XVI announced Feb. 11 that he would be resigning at the end of the month after an eight-year pontificate.”

Thus begins a Catholic News Service report on the impending resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the announcement of which caught many people by surprise.

To access this complete report, please visit:

Catholic News Service: Citing health reasons, Pope Benedict announces he will resign (11 FEB 13)

Media reports:

Vatican Radio: Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation at end of month (11 FEB 13)

Catholic News Service: In hindsight, Pope Benedict's resignation seems almost predictable (11 FEB 13)

National Catholic Register: U.S. Bishops Express Gratitude for Pope’s Leadership (11 FEB 13)

National Catholic Register: Pope Benedict XVI’s Papacy, 2005-2013 (11 FEB 13)

This announcement has led, in turn, to a number of commentators expressing their thoughts on what type of person the next Pope should be.  From my (limited) point of view, what is more important is what type of person God wants the next Pope to be. After all, it’s His Church, and it is His Vicar that will be called upon to lead the Church.

Reflection Starter from Pope Benedict XVI

“Truth is not determined by a majority vote.” – Pope Benedict XVI

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings You give Your people as they face the challenges of severe weather events.


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