Monthly Reflections

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

July 1
Jesus calls Matthew, a tax collector, to follow Him. Matthew despised by both Jews and Romans immediately follows Jesus. What a powerful impact. We are always being called to follow Jesus more closely. It becomes a deeper experience when we can admit our failures and limitations and how much we need God. Then the impact of God upon us becomes very powerful. Junipero Serra, the Franciscan priest who traveled the west coast to bring the impact of God upon people, inspires us today.
July 2
“Put fresh wine into new wineskins,” is a profound saying of Jesus. It means we need to be open to new ideas and inspirations and attempt to understand them before we start judging and condemning. Closed minds and hearts to new ideas and inspirations stifle God’s inspirations. We need to let go and let God inspire us and guide us into new journeys of deeper union with God and deeper compassion toward others.
July 3
“Into whatever household you enter, first say, Peace to this household.” The message of God is always to bring peace to everyone by our love and compassion. “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” We bring peace to others through surrender and compassion. People will come to God through your humility and compassion.
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 have been created out of Love by God, who will always love us and remain with us even when we misuse our own personal freedoms. Surrender to God brings the greatest internal freedom. It allows us to find joy in life at every moment. The Lord is with you always. You have been given freedom and life to internally experience God forever and be forever joyful and free.
July 5
Today we remember Anthony Zaccaria, a Doctor, who became a priest and founded a congregation in Milan, Italy because he wanted to bring the poor and sick closer to Jesus. He also had a great love for the Presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament and started the Forty Hours Devotion. We change the world through quiet sitting in the Presence of God. Our hearts are expanded to bring more compassion to the world in so many creative ways.
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 and 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. “Seek always the face of the Lord.”
July 7
God is always loving us, calling us, teaching us, holding us, drawing us closer, raising us up to new life, coming down to lift us up, shining His light upon us, and being overwhelmed with Love for us. All these adjectives are found in the first reading today. In the Gospel, Jesus is bringing peace to everyone who will receive peace. Treasure how much you are loved and surrounded by the Presence and Love of God. It is happening at this very moment.
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
Open your hearts, embrace your wounds and mistakes, share your weaknesses and powerlessness with others. Disarm yourself and you open yourself to God’s Loving Presence. “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, no secret that will not be known.” “So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” When we acknowledge our weaknesses and struggles, we allow God’s Love to lift us up and draw us into a deep union with our God and our All.
July 10
The message today is to treat people with mercy. Smile and say hello to everyone today. Look people in the eye and give them a loving glance and a warm greeting. You heal the world by your kindness toward everyone. “Go and do likewise.” Everyone is your neighbor who needs to be loved by you just as God loves you. “Don’t be afraid. The Lord is with you.”
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. It is the basic foundation of a positive spirituality. Lose your life in God and you will find your life in a deeper way.
July 12
God is always coming toward us throughout each day. Our biggest failure in life is that we don’t recognize this or pay attention to God’s Loving Presence in everything and everyone. “Be still and know that I am God.” Look at everything and everyone today in a reflective manner and know that God is present there. Every moment is to be an experience of God. Listen and receive the Lord your God.
July 13
We will know God intimately and profoundly when we remain simple and childlike and loving toward all. He revealed Himself to the “little ones,” the “poor,” the “crushed in spirit,” the “poor in spirit.” Stay open, humble and broken and you will be filled with the Peace and Love of God. Do not run from what you have to feel. God is there waiting for you so he can draw you even closer and embrace you even more.
July 14
“Come to me, I will give you rest…my yoke is easy, my burden is light.” When we run toward God, tension and misery lessen. When we run away from God tension and misery increases. Turn toward God. He is present waiting to heal us and bring us closer to Him. The yoke of God is easy. Resisting God makes life difficult. Surrender and be lovingly embraced by God. Today we remember Kateri Tekakwitha, an Algonquin, and Mohawk Indian, greatly disfigured because of small pox. She turned to the Lord in everything. She is known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.”
July 15
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” In this year dedicated to the mercy of God for all, we celebrate today the memory of St. Bonaventure, a gentle and loving Franciscan, who was known as the, “Seraphic Doctor,” or the Doctor of Love. He lived in the time of St. Francis and St. Dominic and was a friend to both. He carried on the Franciscan tradition of experiencing God’s Love everywhere. Do the same and spend much time in prayer and contemplation each day.
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. You have been chosen by God from all eternity to bring His Love into your world. You do this by resting in God and bringing what you have experienced to the whole world by your acts of mercy and love.
July 17
The story of Martha and Mary, the busy sister and reflective sister, both close friends of Jesus. Martha becomes resentful of Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus instead of helping her prepare the meal. In profound prayer and silence, we let go of resentment. When there is a lack of silence and quiet reflections, resentments and bitterness can imprison us. Be more like Mary and you will embrace the Martha part of you in a wise manner. Peace will reign always.
July 18
Today we remember Camillus de Lillis, patron of the sick and nurses. He founded a congregation dedicated to taking care of the sick. He also started the first medical unit on the battlefield to help the wounded. His own experience as a wounded soldier emotionally and physically helped him turn his life around to serve the sick and wounded. When we embrace our own wounds and struggles, “the saving power of God,” comes upon us and directs our lives into love and wisdom.
July 19
“Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” When we make the determined effort to surrender to God’s Will, we enter into a deeper union with God. We experience ourselves as part of God’s family which we have always been since birth. Turn to God and the results are amazing.
July 20
Open your heart to God’s inspirations. Become good and receptive ground for the glorious seed of God. This happens through consistent quiet time with God, consistent reading of the Scriptures, and consistent acts of love and compassion toward others. Our hearts and minds then become very receptive to God’s inspirations in the daily moments of life. We then blossom abundantly and beautifully.
July 21
Today is the feast of Lawrence of Brindisi, the famous Capuchin in the 15th and 16th centuries. He was an Amazing preacher and wisdom teacher in those years. His wisdom came from a deep union with God and a consistent effort to immerse himself deeper in God and in his Capuchin way of life. Choose God each day. Choose surrender to God. Choose Love and compassion. You will powerfully influence those around you and the whole world because God will shine brightly through you.
July 22
Today we remember Mary Magdalene, who has just been proclaimed an Apostle. She who had been so alienated by the power of evil became a most faithful and loyal follower of Jesus. She stayed at the Cross and became the first to see him in his Resurrection. When we admit our mistakes and humbly remain with the Lord we discover the Peace and Joy of God and we rise to a new and glorious life. The un-proclaimed faithful followers in the early Church were these women who never gave up.
July 23
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God.” We dwell in God when we take time for prayer and meditation. Today we remember St. Bridget, married at fourteen, mother of eight children, who seemed to always find time for God. She was dedicated to the Cross and experiencing God in a profound manner. She knew the meaning of Cross and Resurrection in the daily moments of life. She also had a daughter who became a Saint, Catherine of Sweden. We are never too busy to go deeper with God.
July 24
Today Jesus teaches us how to pray. He also insists, “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” We should always humbly and persistently ask God for his help to remain faithful, prayerful and loving. God wants always to come close to us but he wants us to open our hearts to Him. The Our Father is a great prayer to say slowly and reflectively. Experience every word of this beautiful prayer. Never rush through it.
July 25
We remember James the Apostle today. He learned humility only after he asked Jesus along with his brother John if they could become great and famous in the kingdom of God. Jesus told James and John, “whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant.” Humility opens our doors wide to receive the abundance of God. Pride and Ego shuts the doors on God even though He will never stop knocking.
July 26
Today we remember the grandparents of Jesus, Joachim and Anne, the mother of Mary. They were childless for years and finally had Mary. Treasure your grandparents today and everyone who has had a loving and positive influence in your life. Those who do are so often prayerful, loving and compassionate. Do the same in your own personal life and create peace and love in your corner of the world.
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. Prayer and reflection give us the strength to surrender and persevere and find peace in the midst of trial.
July 28
“Open our hearts to listen to the words of your son.” The Holy Spirit is always coming to open our hearts to listen and hear the word of God speaking to us in the daily moments of life. Jesus is always calling us to, “come closer.” “Remain in me and I will remain in you.” “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Pay attention! Be quiet! Be Loving! Everything will come together.
July 29
Today we remember St. Martha, the busy Saint, who complained that her sister wasn’t doing enough to help her. Martha’s busyness was good but her impetuosity and resentments were not good. She is an example of love put into action. But she also reminds us never to hang on to resentments. If do not find quiet reflective time in our lives, we will cling to resentments and judgments about others. Be busy in loving others by your actions. But also be busy in finding time to be quiet.
July 30
“Lord, in your great love, answer me.” God always loves us. God will always want to answer our prayers if they are to help us love God more, surrender more, and be more loving and compassionate. Today we remember Peter Chrysologus, a famous preacher who was called the, “Golden-Word.” He sermons were so powerful because they were simple and short. We help people by remaining simple and short in word and warm and embracing in compassion.
July 31
Today we remember the 59th anniversary of the death of Venerable Solanus Casey, OFM Cap. His humility and simplicity disarmed so many people and brought them to a deeper union with God. His simple warmth and kindness expressed God's Love for everyone. Today we also remember Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. He did just what Solanus did. In humility and surrender we can positively influence so many people.