Monthly Reflections

Read this month's Counselor's Corner by Fred Cavaiani

July 1
Today we remember Blessed Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest who came from Spain to Vera Cruz, Mexico and from there up to California establishing Missions all along the way to bring people closer to God. He brought the Joy of God to people. We bring the Joy of God to people by our open hearts and compassion.
July 2
“I will walk in the Presence of the Lord in the land of the living.” We are always walking in the Presence of God which surrounds us at every moment. Holiness results from becoming aware of this Divine Presence. We can do great things when we experience the Presence of God. Oliver Plunket, whom we remember today, the last Catholic martyr in England, understood this well.
July 3
Today we remember St.Thomas, the doubting Apostle, who had a difficult time with Faith. His doubts resonate in all our hearts. It is in the ability to embrace our doubts and turn them over to God that our Faith can become deeper. Not by analyzing but by surrendering. “I believe, O Lord, please help my unbelief.”
July 4
Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day, the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776. We become grateful day this for our freedoms, which we can take for granted. The greatest freedom is to realize that we have been created out of Love by God, who will always remain with us even when we misuse our own personal freedoms. Surrender to God brings the greatest internal freedom possible and allows us to find joy in life at every moment.
July 5
Sunday: A Day to open up more deeply to God. Christ’s power is always coming toward us to help us overcome our personal weaknesses (our “thorns in the flesh”). “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” In the embrace of weakness and powerlessness, the strength of God can come to us and lift us up because now we can get our egos out of the way and admit how much we need God to live a full life. In embracing helplessness, we can begin to find God everywhere because we become open to this Divine Presence.
July 6
“In you O God, I place my trust.” Today we remember Maria Goretti, a young Italian girl who was murdered during an attempted rape in the early 20th century. She appeared to her attacker and forgave him while he was serving a 30-year sentence for his crime. Maria had always put her trust in God and reminds us that no matter what happens the love and peace of God is still with us giving us the grace and strength to embrace plus face what comes our way. God always remains with us no matter what happens to us. It is a difficult concept but so very true.
July 7
“Jesus went...proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and curing every disease and illness.” Jesus is always coming toward us in each moment. He teaches us that the Kingdom begins at this very moment. As we surrender, we are healed from the illnesses and diseases of the heart that block us from the joy of God. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man and woman who take refuge in him.”
July 8
Today we remember a man, Pier Giorgio Frassati. We could call him the patron saint of those who have been emotionally abused. He had successful parents who were very narcissistic and insensitive. He responded to God’s Love and became a patron of the poor and disenfranchised. He died at 24.. So many people came to his funeral at the surprise of his parents who had been so taken up with themselves that they didn’t realize they had a saint for a son. Giorgio discovered the love of God in bringing love to those were poor and broken. Listen to God speaking in your heart. You will overcome anything in your life.
July 9
The purpose of everyone’s life is to bring the Kingdom of God to others. This is the Love and Peace of God. We do this not by convincing others to our way of thinking but by loving others and letting them know what God means to us. We remember the martyrs of China, esp. Augustine Zhao who became a Christian because he experienced the calmness, compassion and peace of a Bishop, who gave his life for his Faith. We bring God’s love to others not by forceful persuasion but by quiet communion with God and gentle compassion toward everyone. Grace then flows from us to others.
July 10
Sometimes we can suffer from physical misfortunes or emotional insensitiveness from others. People may not like us. No matter what “The spirit of truth comes and will guide you to all truth.” You are always in the truth when you embrace what is before you and continue to be loving and compassionate. The one constant in our lives is the Love and Wisdom of God which is always with us.
July 11
Today we remember St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine Order. His presence was so powerfully effective and uplifting in the ‘dark ages’. The Benedictine monasteries were havens of prayer and compassion and hospitality. Benedict was a man of deep prayer, and the Benedictine tradition reminds us of this powerful principle of the spiritual life. Spend much time in listening to God in prayer and meditation and your life will be filled with compassion and hospitality toward all. It is the Benedictine way.
July 12
Sunday: today we began to realize that we are chosen by God to be filled, enlightened, chosen, and loved by God. We are chosen to become joyful, happy and free in this very moment. But there is one requirement: Make God your basic foundation in life. Be attached to God. Let everything else be totally secondary. Then everything will open up to you and in freedom you will possess joy and happiness and love. All will then be well in your life regardless of what happens because “your God and your All” will be with you.
July 13
Life is all about priorities. What is your biggest priority in life? Today the Gospel says, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take us his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” When God is our foundation and priority, we become fully alive.
July 14
“Turn to the Lord in your need and you will live.” Today we remember Kateri Tekakwitha, an Algonquin and Mohawk Indian, who was greatly disfigured because of small pox. She became a Christian and turned to the Lord in everything. She is known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.” The deeper we immerse ourselves in God, the more we become a beautiful flower of Love to the world. Become another Lily to the world by the beauty of your prayer and love.
July 15
Today we remember St. Bonaventure, the wise, gentle and humble Franciscan, who became a faithful follower of St. Francis and joined the Order while Francis was still alive. He carried on the Franciscan traditions of prayer, service, humility and compassion toward all by his life and by his writings. Thomas Aquinas, a close friend of his asked him where he got the ideas for all the beautiful things he wrote. Bonaventure pointed to the crucifix on his desk and said: “It is he who tells me everything. He is my only teacher.” Be simple and humble and quiet and let God be your teacher.
July 16
“Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me...and you will find rest for yourselves.” Christ tells us to rest in Him. Today as we remember his Mother Mary on the Feast of our Lady of Mt. Carmel it is the same message: Rest in God as his mother Mary constantly did. Let this be your consistent mantra today: Rest in God. Surrender.
July 17
”Whoever is thirsty, come to me and drink.” Streams of living water will flow from within the one who believes in me.” If you want to feel refreshed and peaceful, spend time, a lot of time, with God in daily meditation and contemplation. It is a constant and consistent theme in Scripture and the basic foundation of the spiritual life. Quiet time allows the peace and love and wisdom of God to enfold us and refresh us. Then we can become humble and gentle lights of love to the whole world.
July 18
Today we remember a man, Camillus, who founded an Order, the Oder of the Servants of the Sick, to help the sick and physically diminished and wounded of life. He had been a gambling addict with an injured and diseased leg from being a soldier. He made a profound conversion and realized the helplessness and powerlessness of so many sick people. Camillus put into action the basic principle of Christianity: “Love one another as I have loved you.” “God is Love and he who lives in Love, lives in God and God lives in Him (or Her).” Do the same in some small way today.
July 19
Sunday: today we hear about coming away with Jesus awhile to rest and be refreshed. It is also about allowing Christ to be our Shepherd and be allowed to nurture us and guide us through life. Listen to his voice in daily whisperings in your heart. You will be guided well.
July 20
God directed and protected the people of Israel, but this happened powerfully when they didn’t fight the Lord their God. So stop fighting and hear his voice this day. Don’t harden your heart. In surrender and humility, the strength of God lifts you up.
July 21
Today we remember St. Lawrence of Brindisi, the great Capuchin Saint, wise, humble and powerful in his preaching. He was a powerful influence in Europe from 1580 to 1619. Wisdom comes in consistent surrender to God. When God becomes “My God and My All” you will humbly do great things.
July 22
Today we celebrate Mary Magdalene, whom tradition considered a sinner, prostitute, and then a faithful follower of Christ. For those who surrender the Love of God lifts up and makes strong and courageous and powerfully effective. Don’t worry about the past. Be concerned about the present moment.
July 23
When we have an open heart and mind to God so much more is then given to us. Peace, Love, Wisdom, and Courage. When we close ourselves up, we get little because we are not open up to the many spiritual gifts that are coming our way. “To anyone who has, more will be given.”
July 24
Good seed planted in good ground brings great flowers and crops. When we are planted firmly in God, we become energized and effective. Saint Sharbel, the Lebanese Saint, whom we remember today, did just that. Be energized through prayer.
July 25
Today we remember St. James, the Apostle whose mother tried to get him a high place in Christ’s kingdom. It didn’t work. High places result from humble service that James learned. Today he is known throughout Spain, and many pilgrims come to his shrine at Santiago de Compostela. He got the message and has become powerfully effective in his following of Christ. Do the same in your life. Get the message. Become a humble Apostle like James.
July 26
Sunday, The Day of the Lord: The theme for this day is that God wants to feed us and fill us with his spirit and wisdom and love. The metaphor of being fed when we are hungry represents our deepest longings for God and when we pay attention to this longing God is always there to nourish us. So pay attention humbly to those deep longings inside of you. You will be nourished and energized.
July 27
Today we remember Fr. Titus Brandsma, a Carmelite from Holland, who spoke out against the Nazis through his writings and preaching. He was put to death in the Dachau prison camp in 1942. His integrity inspired many. Integrity is maintained when we maintain our reflective relationship with God.
July 28
Spend time in reflective meditation and quiet silence in the Presence of God. Find your own sacred Tent or Sacred Place where you can go each day to be prayerfully quiet. For many spending time before the Blessed Sacrament is a wonderful sacred place. Find a sacred place for yourself. Then the word of God can be planted within you in a profound and energizing manner.
July 29
Feast of St. Martha, the very busy saint who learned to listen and have compassion on others. When we find ourselves rushed and very anxious, think of Martha whom Christ said “Martha, Martha, you are busy about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part.” The better part is to sit quietly at the feet of Christ first. Then we will accomplish what we need to do.
July 30
Today we remember Peter Chrysologus, (golden word). He was such a good preacher because his sermons were short and brief. He was called the “golden-mouthed.” Spiritual realities are simple and short. When it takes you too much time to say something someone is getting in the way. That someone is you.
July 31
Today we remember Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. This humble and prayerful man has powerfully and energetically inspired many for the last six centuries. His Society has produced so many saints and has had such a positive influence on the Church. It all started with one man totally surrendering and listening to Christ. Do the same and you will influence your part of the world in a very positive manner.