Easter’s Angel Story

On September 29 the Church celebrated the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, followed by the Feast of the Guardian Angels on October 2. In honor of these two great feasts, we are reprinting a recent article about one Pauline Cooperator’s experience of protection and favor  — from the angelic order? You be the judge.

The room is quiet and peaceful, with a faint breeze fleeting from one open door to the next. I am sewing a mask with a child whose dexterity and knowledge of the sewing machine are enough reassurance that we will finish sewing a mask. The mask is a gift for this child’s mother. To my dismay, the edges of the cloth is becoming too thick for the needle and thread to smoothly go through. 

Snap! The needle breaks!

The child is playing, with his gaze on his fingers and not on the sewing machine. I tap his lower right arm, and I point to the broken needle. He instantly presses on the pedal, with the thick broken needle left on the machine rapidly moving into the nail right in the middle of my index finger and all the way through its other end. 

Time stands still. For a few seconds I have my eyes fixated on the hole in my right index finger, with some blood on my nail and skin and on the machine. I cannot feel any pain.

Three hours later, the doctor in the urgent care orders an x-ray. As I wait for the results, I am sitting and feeling relaxed even as I look at the red hole on my nail, with some blood in the surrounding crevice. I am feeling absolutely no pain and discomfort. Barging into the waiting room with 3 x-rays on hand, the doctor says in amazement that in his many years of working with patients he has never seen anything like this incident. He cannot believe that the bone in the index finger is intact, as if the needle completely avoided it.

Entirely astonished that the needle did not go through my bones, the doctor continues to say that if it did go through my index bone, it would have been shattered to pieces. I too find myself completely astounded, especially with the fact that fingers do have many nerves and yet I am not experiencing pain. 

This may very well be another angel story of mine. I wrote months ago about how I called on my angel to help me dislodge a big piece of cloth wedged into the same sewing machine after an hour of trying to pull it myself. 

CANVA EASTERQUOTE

And now, here I am. There is a hole in the middle of my pointer, with a trace of blood yet no pain. Did my angel help to quickly pull my finger away so the needle would not go through my bone? Did I take a pain medication? My co-worker gave me one which I took right after the incident, but it would have worn off after a few hours. Five days have passed and yet there is still no pain nor are there any throbbing sensations. 

“Do not be afraid.” This is the message of the angel to St. Paul when a horrendous storm wrecked the ship he was on, despite the warning he announced not to proceed with the plan to sail (Acts of the Apostle, Chapter 27). The ship jettisoned cargoes and with bare hands the sailors threw overboard the tackle to keep the vessel afloat. This is a story in the bible that is bigger and worth telling, but the message remains the same. 

We need not be afraid to go out into world to pass on what we know or extend some form of help. Accidents, calamities, or diseases affect life. Firmly anchored in God, who is our savoir, our rock and our stronghold, and who has ever-countless ways and means of sending help where needed, including sending angels, we will emerge victorious. There is always a solution to a challenging situation. 

Paul and all passengers survived. My nail has grown with no trace of a red hole. One thing remains: God has endless possibilities of making himself and his love known. Sometimes, it is through angels.

-Easter Almuena
Easter Publications, LLC(808)227-7309

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Easter Almuena has known the Daughters of St. Paul for over eleven years now. She made her Cooperator Promise in 2016, two years after she finished her master’s in Pastoral Theology. An author and publisher, she takes pride in being a wife to Joe, mom to five home-schooled kids and babysitter to six grandchildren. She serves alongside her husband Joe who is the deacon of the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in the Diocese of Honolulu


A Letter to My Children


My dear children,

As you scroll through the exciting Tik Toks and YouTubes, the Instagrams and the Snapchats, I would like a few minutes of your time. You have grown up at a difficult time: with social media influencing and pressuring every aspect of your lives; with Covid causing a prolonged hard stop in your educations and careers; and with having to place physical barriers and distance between you and the ones you love in order to keep everyone healthy. At the same time, you have to put up intellectual, emotional and spiritual barriers so you are not “cancelled” for what you say, or share, or give a “thumbs up” to on social media. I have anxiety for all of us, even sharing my experiences and thoughts in a letter like this; will someone find a word or a phrase they can highlight as divisive or even hateful? Great divisions exist in our world, our nation, the blue and red states in which we live; in our cities, neighborhoods, and even our own families. I would like to offer you three suggestions to help you navigate these turbulent times.

First, the WAY to approach social media is to treat it like you would a one-on-one personal conversation with another person – another human being, another child of God. We must realize that almost every person you read or hear is coming from a position of love. I know women and men who follow every extreme of political, social, and religious views, but when I know them as individuals, I understand that their motivation is love: love for their family, for their country, for God and His will as they understand it. Do not fall into the trap of believing that those who disagree with you do so because they hate you or hate others. There are those who may sound hateful in their rhetoric because they are responding to what they perceive as hate in others; the hate is a misconception on both sides and must be stopped. How do we stop it? One practical way I have found is to imagine that the author or speaker or meme-sharer is my brother or sister or child or close friend. We all have differing views, and if we give others the benefit of any doubt we may have as to the love that motivates them, hopefully they will offer us that same benefit as well.

Second, we must always keep in mind the TRUTH about the humanity of every person. I find it helps to imagine before me the individual who is at the center of any political debate. Whenever I hear about such potentially divisive issues as abortion, LGBQT+, immigration, war, and state welfare, I automatically think of Sr. Helena Burns prefacing her Theology of the Body talks with the important reminder: “We are Catholic, and we always start from a position of love.” Loving others means we approach everything from the standpoint of the individual, not the ideology. This is the standpoint of Jesus presented to us in the Gospel; this is an act of love, and the only way to TRUTH.


I realize it is not always easy to love those who advocate for positions that stand in opposition to the inherent dignity of every woman, man, and child, but the way to live that LIFE was shown to us by Jesus, and always remember that it is HE Himself who calls us to live that way. Christ instructs us: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’” (Matthew 5:43-48).

Since this passage comes from Matthew, I like to imagine myself as Matthew in Season 1, Episode 7 of “The Chosen.” If Jesus looked at me and said: “Follow me,” I hope I would respond just like Matthew. In fact, we are called to follow Jesus every day of our lives, so we should always remember to make that the center of our daily lives and decisions. It also reminds me that, like Matthew, I am a sinner undeserving of our Lord’s call, but He does not ask us to be perfect, just present – to Him and to one another. (If you have not yet seen “The Chosen,” I highly recommend that you do so!)

I know this letter is not nearly as entertaining as a hilarious TikTok or an outrageous Tweet. But amid all the confusing and even potentially frightening consequences of social media and the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic, I wanted to recall for all of us that the answer to life’s confusing difficulties is easier than it looks. The ANSWER is a person – in fact, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He came to Earth to show us the way to the Father and to true joy in this life and Eternal Life. We can and must always find our center: it is with Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life! (John 14:6).


Jeff Mathews, MD, has been a Pauline Cooperator since October 11, 2009. He serves as President of the Daughters of St. Paul Advisory Board in St. Louis. He and his wife, Carolyn, have three sons, two daughters, and a son-in-law. He is participating in and looking forward to Pauline projects in 2021, including the Biblical Year of the Pauline Family, The Daughters Project, and the increasing presence of the Daughters of St. Paul bringing Jesus to all areas of social media.

Perfect Judgement

Many people said that Rom was at his best when he was sleeping.

This article was originally published in BibleStudyCartoons.com on June 4, 2021, and is used by permission.

Our Story …

Rom had tossed and turned a lot last night. It wasn’t that he was worried about something. He wasn’t. The old guy just had a lot to think about. Rom was the kind of man who did his best thinking while he slept.

Judgment was on Rom’s mind this day, so he decided to stop by the Catholic bookstore and have a little talk with Sr. Charlie. Of course, she didn’t know everything, but that didn’t matter to Rom. It certainly seemed like she did know it all.

Rom understood that only our Lord had the authority to judge souls. And only Jesus could issue perfect judgment to anyone — and everyone. But still, if only Rom could understand how Jesus judged, maybe he would be able to mold his life so that it would be more pleasing to God.

It Is Written …

The Bible tells us that the Gospel preached by Jesus was for all nations as a testimony to all people (Matt 24:14). This Gospel was the good news of the Kingdom of God. Everyone is invited, and no one is excluded. No place on earth is bypassed either.

Everyone! Everywhere!

Jesus sent His disciples into the world with that message (Matt 28:16-20). And the successors of those disciples have been doing it too.

The Catechism tells us that believing in the Christ and in the One who sent him is necessary to obtain salvation. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (CCC 161)

The Catechism also reminds us that faith is a personal act. It is the free response of a human person to God’s initiative of revealing Himself. Interestingly, we cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others. And by our faith, we help support the faith of others. (CCC 166)

Life Goes On …

Rom loved Jesus, and he wanted only one thing more than he wanted to go to heaven. That one thing was to be able to take his family and friends there with him.

He and his wife had long ago rethought the purpose of their marriage. These old folks had accepted the responsibility of helping each other to get there. They prayed for each other and with each other every day. They encouraged each other to be the best version of who God made them to be (SOURCE: Matthew Kelly, Dynamic Catholic). They also prayed for their adult children and grandchildren. And they even strived to be a good example of what a Christ-centered person looked like in everyday, “real life.”

Of course, Sr. Charlie came through for Rom just as she always did. She responded in truth — and with a gentle touch of humor too. Rom didn’t always catch her humor right away, but he often wondered later if the wise nun had been having fun with him.

Either way, Rom was convinced that Sr. Charlie’s wit and wisdom was a precious gift to her sisters and to all the friends who visited that Catholic bookstore in historic, old Chucktown.

COOL2B

Eventually, Rom came to the conclusion that he would just have to wait until the right moment to learn exactly how Jesus really judges us. But his struggles were not wasted. They had helped him realize something more important. An old guy or gal could completely put their trust in Jesus!

“Jesus, I trust in you! Jesus, I trust in you! Jesus, I trust in you!”

That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. It’s cool to be Catholic. COOL2B!

In Christ.

Grab your beads and a cup of joe with the media nuns!

Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry and the world renowned Daughters of Saint Paul announce a 5-week series of Saturday morning interactive prayer sessions via Facebook to prepare for the upcoming Saint Joseph Summit 2021.  Catholics everywhere are invited to join the live events as the “Media Nuns” serve up an espresso shot of prayer in honor of Saint Joseph!

The weekly Facebook Live events will begin Saturday, August 28th and take place each consecutive Saturday (August 28 and September 4, 11, 18, and 25) 10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET leading up to the summit. You can access the events at the Spirit Filled Hearts Facebook page.

“The Media Nuns are a tremendous grace and gift to the Catholic Church with their profound witness of evangelization and love for Jesus Christ,” said Deacon Steve Greco, Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry president. “I invite you to join us on Saturday mornings for a special encounter of prayer. We have three Media Nuns presenting at the summit and their new work Saint Joseph Prayer Book that promotes devotion to Saint Joseph in a special Rosary by their founder Blessed Alberione, is really very special! We will pray a decade of this Rosary together, reflect, and tell you a bit about what you can expect at our summit that is coming up! What a powerful combination leading up to our summit – the prayers of the Media Nuns combined with Our Lady, Saint Joseph and Blessed James Alberione, a saint-to-be who used all forms of media to proclaim the Gospel.”

The live prayer events have been coordinated by Christin Jezak, Hollywood actress and member of the Association of Pauline Cooperators, a group of lay men and women, single or married, from all walks of life, who follow in the footsteps of Saint Paul and actively participate in the spreading of the saving message of Jesus Christ to the people of today using the most modern means of communication. Jezak is coordinating the ministry of prayer efforts on behalf of Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry for the Saint Joseph Summit. The Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry of Prayer meets weekly to intercede in prayer for the summit, presenters, attendees and the whole world. 

“As a lay cooperator of the Daughters of Saint Paul, it is my joy to fuse together the charism of the Paulines to this great undertaking of the Saint Joseph Summit taking place in the Year of Saint Joseph,” said Christin Jezak. “Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry is doing something profound in the culture of the Church to lead Catholics to a deeper devotion to Saint Joseph all by way of modern forms of communication. That is something that the founder of the Paulines would most definitely herald so the Pauline community must be present! I invite all of you in the Church – active, inactive, on fire, suffering and struggling – to come and see. Join us for these live prayer events where we will pray for you, the Church and the graces to flow through this upcoming summit.”

The upcoming massive summit dedicated to Saint Joseph in the Year of Saint Joseph (September 30 – October 3) is expected to attract thousands of Catholics from  around the world. Attendees will hear over 50 presentations from the world’s leading Catholic voices including Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley; Cardinal Timothy Dolan; Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC; Sr. Nancy Usselmann, FSP; Sr. Helena Burns, FSP; Sr. Tracey Dugas, FSP; Dr. Scott Hahn; Fr. Stan Fortuna, C.F.R.; James Wahlberg; Leah Darrow; Dr. Mark Miravalle, Jason and Crystalina Evert; Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ; Fr. Chris Alar, MIC; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone; Archbishop Joseph Naumann;  Deacon Larry Oney, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, Kathleen Beckman and many more. The themes of the presentations will center on Saint Joseph in relation to the family, healing and spiritual warfare. 

The unprecedented summit is themed OUR SPIRITUAL FATHER: Pilgrimage to the heart of Saint Joseph and is free for all attendees. The summit will open Thursday, September 30th and includes live healing services and the recitation of the Rosary each day. Summit attendees can upgrade to a premium “passport” for $49.99 and receive a complimentary copy of Fr. Calloway’s Consecration to Saint Joseph (ebook or audio format) as well as gain access to several bonus presentations including in depth Q and A sessions with James Wahlberg; Kathleen Beckman; Fr. Robert Spitzer and Bishop Timothy Freyer. 

Visit  www.SaintJosephSummit.com for the full list of presenters and to register. 

For more information or to interview Deacon Steve Greco or other presenters, please contact Alexis Walkenstein, PRESIDENT at AWE PR via walkensteina@gmail.com or (561)-445-5409

ABOUT THE DAUGHTERS OF SAINT PAUL:

The Daughters of Saint Paul, a Roman Catholic international religious congregation, was founded in 1915 in Italy. The congregation is part of the worldwide Pauline Family, one of the ten institutes founded by James Alberione, and operates in 51 countries around the world. For more information at the Daughters of Saint Paul visit https://daughtersofstpaul.com/our-history 

ABOUT SPIRIT FILLED HEARTS MINISTRY:

Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry is a non-profit Roman Catholic ministry headquartered in Orange County, California which engages in evangelization and supports overseas missions.  The ministry is led by a permanent deacon of the Diocese of Orange, Steve Greco, and operates with the approval of the diocesan bishop, Kevin Vann  The ministry engages in in-person and virtual events, including conferences and seminars, has a weekly Relevant Radio program, an internet radio and podcast site www.spiritfilledmedia.org and is active in social media.  Deacon Greco has authored many books on Catholic spirituality, and regularly writes columns for Catholic publications.

The Power of St Joseph: “I Know it First-Hand!”

This year with the “Year of St. Joseph,” the Church is offering us a wonderful opportunity to stop and consider St. Joseph’s role in of our lives. Do we know this faith-filled, courageous, and powerful man? Does he have a place in our lives, accompanying us amidst life’s many challenges?

I must admit, I did not until an incident I had about ten years ago. My religious community (FSP’s) would pray to him often and on various occasions, but I didn’t turn to him in a real personal way until 2011. Here’s my story….

My Aunt Janet, who was a widow with no children, lived in a retirement home in Central Florida. She asked me on several occasions to come visit her, but since my vacation time was limited and my parents were alive, I needed to visit them. After both parents passed away, I decided it was time to go visit Aunt Janet.

I arranged a trip with my brother and we both flew in to celebrate her birthday. She was elated and we had a wonderful time! About a year later, I decided to visit her again, this time alone. I booked my flight (a nonrefundable ticket of course!) and arranged to stay in the guest room at the Presbyterian Home where she lived. About two days before my trip, I received a call from Nancy, my contact and friend of Aunt Janet. “Sister, I’m sorry but there has been a mistake. There is no available room for you here. I guess you will have to throw out your ticket.” “Throw out my ticket?! Really!!”, I thought to myself. “Nuns don’t throw out their nonrefundable plane tickets- they find a place to stay!”

I frantically began making phone calls- and praying to St. Joseph! He was the provider for the Holy Family and for my community on numerous occasions, so now he was going to provide for me- on a personal level!! 

Any of you who are familiar with Central Florida know that there are very few sisters there, and with no sisters in Lakeland, FL! And no religious sisters meant no convents! (that’s where we usually stay when we are on the road.)

My next try was parishes. “St. Joseph, there must be some generous people in one of the parishes in Lakeland who could put me up for three nights! Please help me!” The clock was ticking away, and I still had no place to stay. I mentioned my dilemma to one of my sisters and she began making calls trying to help me. She had no luck either. 

“St Joseph, please help me!” I prayed. Suddenly a thought popped into my head: “why don’t you call St. Joseph’s Parish once again?” I had called this parish on the previous day with no luck, but I would try again. The same secretary answered the phone, and as she did Angela just happened to walk into the office and overheared our conversation.  “What do you mean the Presbyterian Home has no room for Sister!  They are trying to promote good relations with the Catholic Church. I will handle this!” I left my phone number with Angela, feeling a renewed sense of hope. “St Joseph, please find me a room. This is your parish that I’m calling!” The next morning Angela called me. “Sister Laura, I have a room for you at the Presbyterian Home. Their guest room is occupied but they have a vacant apartment for you! Here is what you need to do when you arrive…” And she gave me instructions.

The next day I flew to Florida, arrived safely, and was amazed to find a beautiful apartment waiting for me. It was complete with large bedroom, bath, living room and kitchen. This was way nicer than the guest room I had stayed in previously…!

At 6 pm the doorbell rang. I opened the door, and an attractive gray-haired woman was standing there with a covered dish in her hands. “Hello! You must be Sr Laura?! I’m Angela, the woman at St, Joseph’s parish. Here is your supper! And in case you are wondering, St. Joseph got you this room!” My mouth dropped open. Of course, and he wanted to make sure I knew it was him!

This was my first big experience of the goodness, the providence, and power of St. Joseph in my life… St Thomas Aquinas certainly believed in his power, too, as he wrote this impressive quote: 

“There are many saints to whom God has given the power to assist us in the necessities of life, but the power given to St. Joseph is unlimited: it extends to all our needs and all those who invoke him with confidence are sure to be heard.”

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Sr Laura Rhoderica Brown, fsp,made her first vows as a Daughter of St Paul in 1985 and made her final vows in 1991. She has been assigned to many of our communities in the US and currently lives & ministers in St. Louis. Here she coordinates parish and school exhibits, plans Book Center events and conducts the formation program for the local Pauline Cooperators. Sr. Laura has an MA in theology and participated in the Pauline Charism Course in Rome from 2008-2009.

WILL THERE EVER BE UNITY?

Common lionfish (Pterois miles) at Shaab El Erg reef in the Egyptian Red Sea by Alexander Vasenin, selected as “picture of the day” on Wikiedia Commons for July 27, 2021

A priest friend occasionally laments that, “it’s easier to create division than to create unity.” Well, in the strict sense of the word ‘create,’ only GOD can create but suffice to say his lament often seems true, and in our current times in which we live today may be seemingly even intentional on the part of some. … And not just exclusively along party lines or international affairs, in the Church or within any other group … but especially, when we are honest, within our own hearts. Wherever sin lies, division lives!

Seemingly, even JESUS Himself tells us that He has come not for peace, “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division…“ (see Lk 12:49-53). JESUS of course does not ‘sow’ the seeds of division but rather recalls for us that when we follow Him there will be even those closest to us who will turn away. But if this is true, who can possibly unite us? How can we ever hold out hope? Who could possibly overcome the divisions in our hearts and in the world? Well, JESUS! And He has shown how to overcome it.

In one sense, I often think it’s amazing when we do see unity. Unity in marriages and families, within groups of friends or among employees, between organizations and even on the borders of nations is remarkable because everyone is so different, no two people are alike: not even identical twins! We have such a diversity of interests, desires, hopes, talents, physical and mental abilities, gifts and paces and yet when one sees unity it can bring an overwhelming joy: a joy that was meant to be. But alas, then I, too, look around and see that disunity does begin to overtake such an optimism, such an ideal.

As believers, as Christians, when we look around the world and see such varying degrees of division, chaos, confusion, animosity, corruption and violence, we don’t think, ‘where did this come from?’ for we know Scripture, we know the WORD of GOD, we know the history and heart of man, we especially know our own hearts. And so although we may even ‘sigh’ we do not do so without hope for we can hear again the great priestly-prayer of JESUS on the night before He was to suffer and die for us, when speaking with the Father: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (Jn 17:20-21).

So, where do we begin so as not to become overwhelmed or despair about the great division in the world or even in our own hearts? What must we do to fill ourselves with lasting hope and true faith? Well, where else? The WORD of GOD (especially in this Year of the Bible for Paulines) is our first stop (or rather beginning!). Read the Bible? Read it everyday? Read it possibly in a year? Well, yes, … to all three questions.

read the bible in a year2

Many members of my family and I are enjoying very much a podcast by Fr. Mike Schmidt called, ‘The Bible in a Year’ where he literally reads through (although we’re only seven months into it) every book in the Bible based upon the work of Scripture scholar Jeff Cavins’ called ‘The Great Adventure Story of Salvation’ (see www.ascensionpress.com/ for more on this Bible Study). Fr. Mike is literally ‘reading’ us through the whole Bible, the whole story of Salvation History, and relating it to our everyday lives – not to current events – where we can both learn more about GOD and the history of His People, as well as see our own lives within the context of God’s WORD and His Plan for us … all the while falling more in Love with GOD and seeing that the Bible is not completely impossible to understand!

We have not yet gotten to St. Paul’s Letters in this podcast (and how can I write a blog for the Pauline Family without mentioning St. Paul!) but let me say that our Founder, as Blessed James himself referred to St. Paul, is all about unity: unifying and bringing about authentic community. He does this by recognizing that the only true way to unity is by virtue of the Great Commandment Christ gives us all: to ‘Love GOD and love our neighbor’ (cf. Mt 22:34-40). St. Paul speaks in many of his Letters about unity – with great passion and at a great cost of personal suffering – but most beautifully he does it when speaking about how the many Gifts of the Holy Spirit can be seen as both the parts of man’s body as well as the One True Body, the Church.

This familiar icon of ‘one body, many parts’ (see 1 Cor 12) eventually leads us not to the elimination of differences to find unity but rather through the more ‘excellent way’ (1 Cor 12:31b) of love (see 1 Cor 13) and Christian solidarity. It is truly when we begin to see every person as a brother or sister, not simply as ‘other,’ that we begin to approach the fulfillment of the Prayer of JESUS. It is rather then when we might begin to hear the inner-heart of our neighbor, listening to the ‘said and unsaid’ of the other’s story that we begin to see, as St. Paul compels us to ‘see,’ that all are children of GOD: for “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female,” but rather that we are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

Yes, we all know this is not easy but this is it: the way to unity, the way to eternal life, the way to participating in the Beatific Vision of the Blessed Trinity (our ultimate goal!) is through love: loving GOD, loving self, loving neighbor (loving self often the hardest)! So can I offer a little nudging for some and a challenge for others? Read a little of the Bible every day. Many of you do already and yet the summer may be the best time to take ‘extra’ time to kickback and read more, taking the time to reflect upon what we have read and how it applies to our own daily lives, our relationships with others. Maybe take a little more time for Lectio Divina, as particular way of reflecting upon the Scripture passages we read. In anyway we choose, we will begin to experience deeper and more deeply the true steps to unity: conversion of heart, my heart. Enjoy!

(And if you want an extra challenge, sign-up for ‘The Bible in a Year’ with Fr. Mike Schmidt and stay with it!)


Fr Ed Riley_ IGS

Fr. Ed Riley was ordained to the priesthood in May 2000 for the Archdiocese of Boston. He was assigned to three different parishes in the Archdiocese from 2000-2010 before his appointment to the Faculty of Saint John’s Seminary, Boston, where he is Dean of Men and Director of Pastoral Formation. He is also the Spiritual Director & Liaison for the Archdiocese to Catholic Homeschooling Families as well as the Spiritual Director to the World Apostolate of Fatima (Boston Division). He is perpetually professed in the Institute of Jesus the Priest of the Pauline Family, an institute for diocesan priests.

Cutting Grass

Earl complained, but that didn’t bother God. They were friends.

OUR STORY …

Herman’s buddy Earl was struggling a little. Earl, who is normally a pretty upbeat and energetic fellow, was cutting the grass today, but his heart just wasn’t in it.

“Why do we even need to cut grass, Lord?” he asked.

The Lord did not disappoint.

IT IS WRITTEN ..

The Bible tells us that Jesus wants to be our friend. And He wants us to be friends with Him. That’s a pretty difficult concept to grapple with. Imagine actually being friend with the one, true God!

The Catechism further explains that by His revelation the invisible God, out of love, meets us as his friends, moves among us, and receives us into his company.

LIFE GOES ON …

As Earl wheeled his zero-turn mower around the yard, he found himself asking God one question after another. And with each question came a response. Earl could never have heard his wife Deni’s voice over the roaring motor noise behind his seat, but he had no problem hearing God’s voice. In fact, he began to believe he was actually having yet another one of those holy moments beneath the hot Carolina sun.

Even as his mower danced over the grass and he sweat profusely, Herman’s buddy came to an understanding that the appropriate response to God’s invitation to friendship is faith.

“I believe, dear Lord,” he said in the loud yet inaudible voice of his soul. “Help me with my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

COOL2B …

Soon the grass cutting was done, but brother Earl knew it was not for long. In just over a week, he would have another appointment with his best friend forever. Earl was glad God did not mind cutting grass with him.

That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. It’s cool to be Catholic. COOL2B!

In Christ.


by Frank and Beth Lengel

After a career in the military, Frank and Beth Lengel started their business 30 years ago. Today they train career advisers and help others discover their life’s purpose and work. Frank uses caricature as a way of encouraging people to think about their identity. Beth is all about the “shrines, wines, and interesting people” that make it so cool to be Catholic!

The couple is active in the “Catholic Roads” apostolate. They travel together, writing, drawing, and meeting wonderful people. Beth and Frank have two sons and six wonderful grandchildren. They live on a small farm in South Carolina where they have been kidnapped by a manipulative cat.