taken up in glory

. . . taken up in glory.    24th Week in Ordinary Time   If you were reading an e-mail or letter from a good friend and that person wrote,  “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” you would almost immediately know that she was referencing the hymn.   We have all probably sung this song at church and heard it on the radio. What might surprise you is that today’s first reading (1 Timothy 3:16) is also a hymn, one that may be unfamiliar to us but...

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The bearers halted

The bearers halted.   Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)   It was her only son, and now he was gone, just as her husband had died a few years earlier.   As she proceeded to the burial place, a large crowd of mourners walked with her.   Loud sobbing and prayers could be heard all around her.   There was so much commotion that few noticed Jesus as he approached the procession.   When he reached the...

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Pray, lifting up holy hands

Pray, lifting up holy hands.   Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs (Memorial)   What’s in your hands?   In order to lift up “holy hands” in prayer, you may need to let go of some of the things you’re holding on to.   Because, let’s face it, when we hold on tightly to some things—whether future expectations, past wounds, current resentments, or strident demands—we find it harder to pray with faith and surrender. We all know how...

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God so loved the world

God so loved the world . . .    The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Feast)   Hearts, red roses, scented handkerchiefs, diamonds, locks of hair. When someone gives such things to another person, you know that love is in the air. But none of these symbols can come close to the truest expression of love the world has ever known: the cross of Jesus Christ. God himself became man and died an agonizing death on that cross so that we could be redeemed...

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The grace of our Lord has been abundant

The grace of our Lord has been abundant.   Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)   How often do you stop and review the sins of your past, especially the sins you have already confessed and put behind you?   This isn’t a matter of rehashing the past or beating yourself up over sins from years ago.   No, we’re talking about looking back at how God has changed your life. Look at the example of Paul in the first...

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singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs

. . . singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.    The Most Holy Name of Mary (Optional Memorial)   It’s easy to see why the psalms have been the mainstay of Jewish and Christian prayer for centuries:   they are a window into the human heart as well as a window into God’s heart.   Whatever we are feeling at the moment, there is a psalm that expresses it.   And no matter what emotion has taken hold of us, when we pray along with the psalmist,...

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