Monthly Reflections

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

March 1
The spiritual life is all about compassion for others. The closer we become to God, the more compassionate we become to others. The proof of a good spiritual life is the kindness and generosity you have for those who need your help. The rich man did not show compassion toward Lazarus because his heart was closed to God. Without Love we block ourselves from God.
March 2
The kingdom of God begins now. When we treat others with kindness we enter that glorious kingdom of God. Let your heart be always wide open to others. Be generous in giving. Follow your heart and your head will then follow. But if you start with your head, the heart will not follow. Jesus came to us to show us how to love and be kind and embrace each moment with an open heart and mind.
March 3
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Well of course He does. It is the reason Jesus came. Today we see the kindness of the father toward the prodigal son. God is always coming toward us in Love and Compassion. “The Lord is kind and merciful.”
March 4
When we seek instant pleasures and gratifications, we block the Presence of God from coming upon us and bringing us into a deeper union with Him. God is always with us to nourish us and be our refreshment in life. So often we can forget this. “Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.” Cast out of your life those attachments and addiction that draw you away from listening to God.
March 5
Today we remember John Joseph of the Cross, a humble and loving Franciscan priest in the 17th and 18th century. He was knowns for his humility and careful compassion and listening to others. He was a well-liked and popular person but didn’t draw attention to himself. He paid attention to others in such a loving and caring manner. Do the same in your life. When we do this, we experience the face of God. “Athirst is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God.”
March 6
“Even, now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.” God is always forgiving us and asking us to come to Him with a humble, honest and open heart. Today we remember, Colette, a humble woman who lost both parents as a teenager but lived her life immersed in prayer. She became a Poor Clare nun and helped renew the spirit of this Order. It is amazing what we can do when we surrender our total self to God.
March 7
Today we are challenged to take our spiritual life seriously. Share your spiritual life with others. “Not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.” Share with others the story of your journey with God. “Your words, Lord, are spirit and life.”
March 8
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” So often as we go through life we can harden our hearts to God’s Love and inspiration. We keep our hearts soft and open to God through daily prayer and meditation. Spend more quiet time with God each day and you will become less judgmental and more honest and compassionate. Today we recall a soldier, St. John of God, who founded a religious order to care for the sick and infirm. When we take time to be with God in prayer and meditation each day we become so open to God’s inspirations.
March 9
Today the message given in the gospel is so simple. Love God and love your neighbor. “Hear O Israel. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This keeps life quite simple. God and others must be the focus of our attention.
March 10
When we think we are better than others, like the Pharisee that thought he was better than the tax collector praying in the temple, we block the love of God from embracing us. Judging and condemning others is useless and not a good place for any of us to go. Be prayerful and compassionate, humble and gentle. You will then have an amazing life no matter what happens to you. You will always have peace and love in your heart.
March 11
4th Sunday of Lent: When we run away from God, God continues to pursue us. We are always loved by God who never gives up on any of us. The biggest problem in life is that we give up on God and want to go on our way of selfishness, condemnation and quick, easy pleasures that distract us from God. “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” Turn toward the Lord and receive the strength to surrender and let God take over.
March 12
A man persistently asks Jesus to heal his son. When we keep asking God to heal what keeps us from letting God into our life in a deep manner, He will answer our prayers. He will give us the strength to come fully alive and immersed in the Presence of God. “Hear, O Lord, and have pity on me; O Lord, be my helper. You changed my mourning into dancing; O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.”
March 13
A paralyzed man is healed by Jesus. It is an act of love that this paralyzed man is healed. No matter what our paralysis is in our life, we will always be helped and healed by God if we ask for it. It may not be a physical healing but if we are sincere in our asking it will always be a spiritual healing. St. Seraphina, a young woman from Tuscany, suffered much from her paralysis and was not healed from this. But her heart was filled and healed by the Love of God and her generous and kind nature brought many people back to God.
March 14
“The Lord is kind and merciful.” We are always loved by God. Our purpose in life is to surrender to this Love through prayer, meditation and kindness to all. “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me will never die.” Faith in God and surrender to God are the foundations of an inner joyful life. When we surrender to God in all things we rise with God in each moment. We begin to have an inner abundant life no matter what is happening around us or to us.
March 15
Today we read about the people of God in the Old Testament creating a molten Calf and worshipping it. All of us become attached to people and things which halts our relationship with God. It is like we become addicted to material things and dull our spiritual desires. What are your attachments that keep you from God?
March 16
“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word, that comes forth from the mouth of God.” God is always speaking to us. But so often we are not listening. We listen to God when we reserve quiet time each day for prayer and meditation. We have many excuses not to do this. Give up the excuses and make more time and room for God in quiet meditation and contemplation. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” Our brokenness will surface when we are quiet with God. He can then lift us up and help us on our journey through life. He will heal us in these quiet times.
March 17
Happy St. Patrick's Day! The Irish celebrate today, and so do many other people. St. Patrick was once a slave in Ireland. He returned later as a priest and bishop to bring the love of God to the Irish. Since this time Ireland has been known as a land of Faith. His prayer is so relevant today: Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me. Christ on my right, Christ on my left. Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise. Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me. Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks to me. Christ in every eye that sees me. Christ in every ear that hears me.
March 18
5th Sunday of Lent: As Lent is coming to an end we are reminded that we must let go and let God enter our lives in a deeper manner. “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” When we make God our priority in life everything else will be used properly and God will be totally, “My God and My All.”
March 19
Today we remember Joseph, the husband of Mary, and foster father of Jesus. This humble man always followed the will of God even when everything had to seem strange and unfamiliar to him. “He did as the angel of Lord had commanded him.” This humble man was always listening to God and doing God’s will. We should do the same. Humbly becoming attentive to God helps the whole world to realize what is most important in life.
March 20
The story of the people in the Old Testament being healed when they looked at the bronze serpent, is a profound example of how we are healed when we turn toward Christ with our hearts and minds in prayer and meditation. “The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all come to him will live forever.”
March 21
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So, if the son frees you, then you will be truly free.” When we turn to God in prayer and meditation we will experience such truth and such freedom. Real truth in our personal lives will result from a deep relationship with God. Become internally free by letting God take possession of your heart and soul in daily prayer and meditation.
March 22
In the gospel today, Jesus is attacked with stones by the people in the synagogue because they didn’t like what he was saying. He was too revolutionary for them. They thought he was possessed because he talked about having a deep relationship with God. Sometimes people might think we are a little crazy because we spend a lot of time in prayer and contemplation with God. It is a good way to be "crazy" in a healthy way. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
March 23
Today the authorities try to arrest Jesus because he confronts those in authority about how sincere are they in letting God into their lives. Jesus is doing kind and good works, but because he talked about having an intimate relationship with God, those in power are unsettled by this. Other people can be unsettled when we speak about how much God means to us. Let God possess your life and you will have the strength to loving tell your story about your journey with God.
March 24
Today we remember a Capuchin from Cadiz Spain, Blessed Diego. His humble preaching brought many people closer to God. “My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them.” When we humbly turn toward the Lord, we become so closely connected to God that anyone who comes into our presence will experience God.
March 25
Palm Sunday: This is a week of learning how to follow Jesus and embrace whatever comes our way. The embrace of Cross always leads to a resurrection. This is the message and the strength that Jesus came to teach us and the salvation that Jesus has left us. Today we also remember the Annunciation where Mary was told that she was to be the mother of Jesus. Her words are a roadmap for life, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”
March 26
Monday of Holy Week: Jesus is betrayed by an inner circle disciple: Judas. Painful to feel betrayed and rejected. It will happen to everyone. Jesus still calls Judas friend but Judas pays no attention and ends up destroying himself. When we wonder away from the love of God we lose our integrity. We can always turn back to God and regain our peace and integrity and experience God’s forgiving Love. “Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress.”
March 27
Today we remember St. John of Egypt, a famous hermit and monk of his time who left everything to make God an absolute priority of his whole life. There is a hermit inside each of us that longs to be intimately connected to God. Daily meditation helps us to foster this deep inner desire inside of us. “For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust. O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength.”
March 28
Wednesday of Holy Week: “Lord, in your great love, answer me.” Today we ask God to help us make these next three days, genuine Holy Days of spirituality and a deeper experience of God’s wondrous love for us. We want to enter into the passion and resurrection of Jesus in such a manner that we realize this is our life story.
March 29
Holy Thursday: “I give you a new commandment, says the Lord; love one another as I have loved you.” This statement is the reason for Holy Week; to realize how much God loves us and to realize that our mission in life is to love everyone. This evening we remember the Last Supper where Jesus leaves us his eternal presence and living memory and experience of the meaning of his whole life which we celebrate daily in the Mass. Powerful, inspiring and life giving.
March 30
“Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.” These are the last words of Jesus which leave us with the message: Surrender to God in each moment of life. Jesus came to show us how to do this and exemplified on this Good Friday how doing this will lead to a glorious resurrection with God. Embrace the pain in your life as Jesus did. He will give you the strength and power to raise a glorious life of an intimate union with God. It is the whole meaning of this Good Friday.
March 31
Holy Saturday: This quiet day helps us absorb the meaning of these Holy Days. It is all about quiet reflection on the amazing Love of God for each of us. Tonight we will celebrate the Easter Vigil of the joy of Resurrection in Christ’s life and in the life of each of us. We are all called to embrace pain, and we are all called to allow resurrection to happen. Stay with the process and experience the depth of life, Cross and Resurrection. It is the journey of life for each of us. Let go and Let God take over.