Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Retreat Lights


Several priests of various orders were celebrating a liturgy during a retreat. They were Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, Carmelites, and Jesuits. Suddenly the lights of the retreat house dimmed and went out. The Franciscans burst into a song praising God for the darkness. The Benedictines continued the prayers from memory, without missing a beat. The Dominicans began to discuss light as a signification of the transmission of divine knowledge. The Carmelites fell into silence and started to practice slow, steady breathing. The Jesuits sent one of their guys into the basement to replace the fuse.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Principles

Comedian Groucho Marx quipped, "Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."

You and I have principles. And we also have opinions. I have opinions about what I think is right or wrong or good or bad. But… they're only opinions - I COULD be wrong! I won't try to build my life around my opinions, but I WILL endeavor to stand by my principles.

A 15-year-old boy learned a valuable lesson about life principles. He wrote a letter to "Dear Abby" about finding a woman's wallet that contained $127 as well as the woman's identification. He hopped onto his bicycle and peddled over to her house - about a mile away. He told her he found her wallet and she gave him a big hug. She also gave him twenty dollars.

That evening the boy told his parents about the event and his father said, "I don't think you should have accepted $20 for doing what you should have done. A person shouldn't be rewarded for being honest."

He pondered his father's statement and decided he would return the money. He biked to the lady's home and gave her back the twenty dollars. She didn't want to take it, but he told her she had to - that his father pointed out something to him that he had never realized before. Her eyes filled with tears as she said, "This is one for Ripley."

The boy's question to Abby? "Abby, who is Ripley?"

Is a life built around principles so unusual that Robert Ripley should mention it in his column "Believe It or Not"? When ideals such as honesty and a personal standard of always doing the right thing guide our every action and decision, we actually change. These great principles shape our lives and make us into persons of character. They build self esteem and teach confidence. That boy is fortunate to be raised by a wise father who had the wisdom to say, "Those are my principles."

Martin Luther King, Jr. put it well: "The time is always right to do what is right." Those were his principles. Decide to always do what is right - today and every day - and you will find yourself building a life that matters.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Essential Knowledge

An emperor summoned a man who was thought to be the wisest man in the world.  He asked him to write a book of all essential knowledge.

The learned man set to work and twelve years later he offered the emperor a series of books. “It is too much.” said the emperor. “Assemble all essential knowledge into one book.”

The man obeyed and returned four years later with one book. “It is still too much,” said the emperor. “I need to run my empire and I am a very busy man.  Write on several pages what you think is really important and then come back to me.’

Again the scholar set to work. After two years he had summarized the essence of his knowledge onto several pages. He gave them to the monarch, who was extremely busy that day and he gave the man a final request: all on one sheet of paper.  

The man needed several years to put what he regarded as essential knowledge onto one just sheet of paper. “It is still too much,” the emperor said. ‘I want to make you a proposal: stop writing. Try to concentrate the essence of your knowledge into one word and come and tell me that word. I will pay you well.’

The man retired to an isolated place and thought deeply. When he eventually found the word that represented the essence of all his knowledge, experience, and wisdom, he asked for an audience with the emperor, now an old man. “Have you got the word?” the emperor asked the scholar. “Yes, Majesty. I have found it.”  “Come and whisper it into my ear.” said the emperor.

Do you know the secret?

Do you know the Word?

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Iroquois Prayer

We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with waters.
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicine for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and the squashes, 
which give us life.
We return thanks to the wind, which moving the air has banished diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and the stars, 
which have given us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness, 
and who directs all things for the good of his children.

12 Rules

  1.  Do one thing at a time. No multi-tasking.
  2.  Do it slowly and deliberately.
  3.  Do it completely.
  4.  Do less.
  5.  Put space between things.
  6.  Develop rituals.
  7.  Designate time for certain things.
  8.  Devote time to sitting.
  9.  Smile and serve others.
10.  Make cooking and cleaning become meditation.
11.  Think about what is necessary.
12.  Live simply.

Friday, October 26, 2018

How We Look at Others

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood.  The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

"That laundry is not very clean,” she said. "She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap." Her husband looked on, but remained silent.


Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.
About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: "Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?"


The husband said, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows."

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Throughout the month of October, all our Sunday gospel readings have come from chapter 10 of St. Mark’s gospel. We began the chapter with Jesus’ discussion about marriage, divorce and the special place children have in the kingdom.  Then we encountered the rich man who wanted to inherit eternal life but was unwilling to take the action necessary to gain it.  Last week we heard James and John ask Jesus for positions of power and influence in the kingdom of God but Jesus could not fulfill their request. This week we finish the chapter with Jesus encountering and healing Bartimaeous, a blind beggar sitting on the side of the road between Jericho and Jerusalem.  

The story of Bartimaeous presents a striking contrast both to Jesus’ discussion with the rich man and his conversation with James and John.   Bartimaeous had a double handicap; he was blind and we assume he was poor because he was sitting on the side of the road begging.  Although he was blind and poor, Bartimaeous had some qualities the rich man, James and John lacked.  He had determination, faith, humility, courage and childlike acceptance. 

Bartimaeous went to a lot of trouble to get Jesus’ attention. Once he got it he leapt into action, “He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:50). In all likelihood, that cloak was Bartimaeous’ only possession yet he was willing to leave it behind to stand before Jesus.   When Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you” (Mark 10:51), the same question he asked James and John a few verses earlier, Bartimaeous didn’t ask for power, money, success or eternal life, he merely said, “Master, I want to see” (Mark 10:51).   Then Jesus healed him saying, “Go your way; your faith has saved you” (Mark 10:52).  Now the story could end here but it doesn’t.  There is one more line, “Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way” (Mark 10:52). 

Bartimaeous, with his sight fully restored, does not wander off to visit with family and friends or to tell everyone about what happened to him. His restored sight provided him with a vision greater than merely seeing what was around him; he saw a vision of the kingdom.  With that vision, Bartimaeous made a life changing decision; he left everything behind and followed Jesus on the way to the cross. 

Our living God,
you are very near to us in our joys and pains.
Give us the eyes of faith and love to see
the mission you have given us in life
and the courage and grace to carry it out.
Make us also clear-sighted enough to see
the needs of people who cry out their misery
or suffer in silence,
that we may bring them your healing compassion
and lead them to you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Let Go

To "let go" does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else. 
To "let go" is not to cut myself off, it's the realization I can't control another. 
To "let go" is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences. 
To "let go" is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another, it’s to make the most of myself. To "let go" is not to care for, but care about. 
To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive. 
To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being. 
To "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies. 
To "let go" is not to be protective, it's to permit another to face reality. 
To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept. 
To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it. 
To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future. 
To "let go" is to fear less and love more.

Seeking

We are told that St. Francis used to spend whole nights praying the same prayer:  “Who are you, God? And who am I?” Evelyn Underhill claims it’s almost the perfect prayer. The abyss of your own soul and the abyss of the nature of God have opened up, and you are falling into both of them simultaneously. Now you are in a new realm of Mystery and grace, where everything good happens!

Notice how the prayer of Francis is not stating anything but just asking open-ended questions. It is the humble, seeking, endless horizon prayer of the mystic that is offered out of complete trust. You know that such a prayer will be answered, because there has already been a previous answering, a previous epiphany, a previous moment where the ground opened up and you knew you were in touch with infinite mystery and you knew you were yourself infinite mystery. You only ask such grace-filled questions, or any question for that matter, when they have already begun to be answered.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Spiral Galaxy

William Beebe, the naturalist, used to tell this story about Teddy Roosevelt. At Sagamore Hill, after an evening of talk, the two would go out on the lawn and search the skies for a certain spot of star-like light near the lower left-hand corner of the Great Square of Pegasus. Then Roosevelt would recite: "That is the Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda. It is as large as our Milky Way. It is one of a hundred million galaxies. It consists of one hundred billion suns, each larger than our sun."

Then Roosevelt would grin and say, "Now I think we are small enough! Let's go to bed."

I Said Nothing

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me -
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

- Martin Niemöller

Monday, October 22, 2018

Samuel Morse

Wakefield tells the story of the famous inventor Samuel Morse who was once asked if he ever encountered situations where he didn't know what to do. Morse responded, "More than once, and whenever I could not see my way clearly, I knelt down and prayed to God for light and understanding."

Morse received many honors from his invention of the telegraph but felt undeserving: "I have made a valuable application of electricity not because I was superior to other men but solely because God, who meant it for mankind, must reveal it to someone and He was pleased to reveal it to me."

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Beethoven's Piano

On a visit to the Beethoven museum in Bonn, a young student became fascinated by the piano on which Beethoven had composed some of his greatest works. She asked the museum guard if she could play a few bars on it; she accompanied the request with a lavish tip, and the guard agreed. The girl went to the piano and tinkled out the opening of the Moonlight Sonata. As she was leaving she said to the guard, "I suppose all the great pianist who come here want to play on that piano."

The guard shook his head. "Padarewski [the famed Polish pianist] was here a few years ago and he said he wasn't worthy to touch it."

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Father Jerzy Popiełuszko

When Communist officials kidnapped and killed Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, they likely did not intend to help create a Polish hero, martyr and future saint for the Catholic Church.

Although the Communists had been trying to kill Popiełuszko in ways that would seem like an accident, they captured him 34 years ago today, on Oct. 19, 1984. They beat him to death and threw his body into a river. He was 37 years old.

His crimes: encouraging peaceful resistance to Communism via the radio waves of Radio Free Europe, and working as chaplain to the workers of the Solidarność (Solidarity) movement and trade union, which was known for its opposition to Communism.  

Popiełuszko was born on Sept. 14, 1947 to a farming family in Okopy, a village in eastern Poland bordering modern-day Ukraine. While World War II had ended, the regime of the Communist Party had taken place of the Nazis and ruled Poland at the time.

As a young man, Popiełuszko served his required time in the army before completing seminary studies and becoming a priest for the Archdiocese of Warsaw. He was ordained on May 28, 1972 at the age of 24.

As a priest in Warsaw, Popiełuszko served in both regular and student parishes. He became known for his steadfast, non-violent resistance to Communism, about which he spoke frequently in his homilies, which were broadcast on Radio Free Europe.

Popiełuszko participated in the Solidarity worker’s strike in Warsaw on March 27, 1981, a four-hour national warning strike that essentially ground Poland to a halt, and was the biggest strike in the history of the Soviet Bloc and in the history of Poland.

After this strikes, the Communist party declared martial law until July 1983 in the country, severely restricting the daily life of Poles in an effort to clamp down on their growing political opposition.

During this time, Popiełuszko celebrated monthly “Masses for the Homeland” on the last Sunday of the month, advocating for human rights and peaceful resistance of Communism, and attracting thousands of attendees. His Warsaw office had also become an official hub for Solidarity activities.

It was also during this time that Communist attacks against the priest escalated. In 1982, Communist authorities attempted to bomb the priest’s home, but he escaped unharmed. In 1983, Popiełuszko was arrested on false charges by the Communist authorities, but was released shortly thereafter following significant pressure from the Polish people and the Catholic Church.

According to a 1990 article in the Washington Post, Cardinal Józef Glemp, Archbishop of Warsaw at the time, received a secret message from the Polish Pope John Paul II, demanding that Glemp defend Popiełuszko and advocate for his release.

"Defend Father Jerzy - or they'll start finding weapons in the desk of every second bishop," the pope wrote.
But the Communist officials did not relent. According to court testimony, in September 1984 Communist officials had decided that the priest needed to either be pushed from a train, have a “beautiful traffic accident” or be tortured to death.

On October 13, 1984, Popiełuszko managed to avoid a traffic accident set up to kill him. The back-up plan, capture and torture, was carried out by Communist authorities on Oct. 19. They lured the priest to them by pretending that their car had broken down on a road along which the priest was travelling.

The captors reportedly beat the priest with a rock until he died, and then tied his mangled body to rocks and bags of sand and dumped it in a reservoir along the Vistula River.

His body was recovered on Oct. 30, 1984.

His death grieved and enraged Catholics and members of the Solidarity movement, who had hoped to accomplish social change without violence.

“When the news was announced at his parish church, his congregation was silent for a moment and then began shrieking and weeping with grief,” the BBC wrote of the priest’s death.

“The worst has happened. Someone wanted to kill and he killed not only a man, not a Pole, not only a priest. Someone wanted to kill the hope that it is possible to avoid violence in Polish political life,” Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, a friend of Popiełuszko, said at the time.

He also urged mourners to remain calm and peaceful during the priest’s funeral, which drew more than a quarter of a million people.

Again facing pressure from the Church and the Polish people, Poland's president Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski was forced to answer for the priest’s death, and arrested Captain Grzegorz Piotrowski, Leszek Pękala, Waldemar Chmielewski and Colonel Adam Pietruszka as responsible for the murder.

“Our intelligence sources in Poland do not believe it,” the Washington Post reported in 1990, when the case was being revisited.

“Jaruzelski had presided over a far-reaching anti-church campaign. At least two other priests died mysteriously. And Jaruzelski created the climate that allowed the SB (Communist secret service) to persecute and kill Father Jerzy.”

In 2009, Popiełuszko was posthumously awarded the Order of the White Eagle, the highest civilian or military decoration in Poland. That same year, he was declared a martyr of the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI, and on June 6, 2010 he was beatified. A miracle in France through the intercession of Popiełuszko is being investigated in France as the final step in his cause for canonization.

Popiełuszko is one of more than 3,000 priests martyred in Poland under the Nazi and Communist regimes which dominated the country from 1939-1989.

On Friday, Archbishop Stanisław Budzik of Poland and the Polish bishops’ conference released a statement honoring the memory of Father Popiełuszko and all the 20th century priest martyrs of Poland.  

“Today, remembering Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, we remember the unswerving priests who preached the Gospel, served God and people in the most terrible times and had the courage not only to suffer for the faith but to give what is most dear to men: their lives.”

Mary Rezac - Warsaw, Poland, Oct 19, 2018 / 04:42 pm (CNA)


Look to this Day

Look to this day,
For it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course lies all
The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth,
The splendor of action,
The glory of power ---

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.

Friday, October 19, 2018

St. Pope Paul VI: Defender of the Rosary

Saint Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) was born in northern Italy and elected the Vicar of Christ during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. Before being elected to the papacy, he had earned a doctorate in canon law and served as the Vatican Secretary of State, as well as the archbishop of Milan. Upon the death of St. Pope John XXIII, the Second Vatican Council was halted, but St. Pope Paul VI re-opened it and brought about its conclusion in 1965.

Saint Pope Paul VI was an extremely humble man. After his death, it became known that, during his papal visit to the Philippines in 1970, he had been stabbed in the chest in the Manila airport by a Bolivian poet and artist who had disguised himself as a priest. The man who stabbed him, Benjamin Mendoza, had purchased a dagger in a Muslim thrift shop.

Interestingly, the miracle that was approved for Pope Paul VI’s beatification was worked through the relic of the blood left on his vestment from the stabbing. The case involved an unborn child in his mother’s womb that had suffered brain defects during pregnancy. The mother’s physician advised her to abort the child, but the mother refused. Instead, she asked for the intercession of Pope Paul VI at the urging of a nun who gave her a holy card with a piece of the pope’s cassock from the attack in Manila. When the child was born, to the surprise of everyone, there were no brain defects.

Interestingly, it had been Pope Paul VI who wrote the landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae that defended all human life and condemned all forms of artificial birth control. Saint Pope Paul VI was known as the “pope of firsts” because he was the first pope to ever fly on a plane, the first pope to visit Fatima, and the first pope to visit the Holy Land since St. Peter. He was canonized on October 14, 2018. His feast day is celebrated on September 26.

Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

Another Beatitude

Blessed are they who understand
My faltering step and shaking hand,

Blessed, who know my ears today
Must strain to catch the things they say,

Blessed are they who seem to know
My eyes are dim and my mind is slow,

Blessed are they who looked away,
I spilled my tea on the cloth that day!

Blessed are they who, with cheery smile,
Stopped to chat for a little while,

Blessed are they who know the way
To bring back memories of yesterday,

Blessed are they who never say,
"You've told that story twice today!"

Blessed are they who make it known
That I'm loved, respected and not alone,

And blessed are they who will ease the days
Of my journey home, in loving ways

By Elizabeth Clark and Inspiration Daily

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today's gospel, Mark 10:35-45, St. Mark gives us another snapshot of the very human disciples behaving in very human ways.  This time it is James and John vying for prestige, power and influence in the kingdom. Not only do they miss the point of all that Jesus has been trying to teach them over the course of almost three years, they manage to alienate and anger the other ten disciples as well.  This is not a pretty picture.  As always, Jesus uses the awkward situation as a teaching moment for the disciples and for us. 

Prestige, power, and influence carry no weight in the kingdom.  What matters is how sincerely and humbly we serve others.  Jesus tell us that in the paradox of the kingdom of God, “whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44).  As citizens of the kingdom, Jesus calls us to serve according to our capacity.  And if we strive to imitate Jesus by serving others we can “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help” (Hebrews 4:16).

We call this kind of service stewardship, the responsible sharing and management of our time, talent, and treasure.  Holy Trinity Catholic Church has many opportunities for service in our parish community. If you go to our website, www.HolyTrinityPTC.org, you will find listings of all our ministries.  There is something for everyone of every age.  Join with us as we strive to build the kingdom here in Peachtree City. 

Our God and Father,
your Son Jesus was your equal
and yet he made himself our brother and servant.
May his Spirit be alive in us
and dispose us to become, like your Son,
powerless and vulnerable,
so that we can serve one another,
especially the weakest of our brothers and sisters.
In this way may people experience
how bold you make our love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Feast Day of St. Luke the Evangelist

On October 18, Catholics and other Christians around the world will celebrate the feast of St. Luke, the physician and companion of St. Paul whose gospel preserved the most extensive biography of Jesus Christ.

St. Luke wrote a greater volume of the New Testament than any other single author, including the earliest history of the Church. Ancient traditions also acknowledge Luke as the founder of Christian iconography, making him a patron of artists as well as doctors and other medical caregivers.

Luke came from the large metropolitan city of Antioch, a part of modern-day Turkey. In Luke's lifetime, his native city emerged as an important center of early Christianity. During the future saint's early years, the city's port had already become a cultural center, renowned for arts and sciences. Historians do not know whether Luke came to Christianity from Judaism or paganism, although there are strong suggestions that Luke was a gentile convert.

Educated as a physician in the Greek-speaking city, Luke was among the most cultured and cosmopolitan members of the early Church. Scholars of archeology and ancient literature have ranked him among the top historians of his time period, besides noting the outstanding Greek prose style and technical accuracy of his accounts of Christ's life and the apostles' missionary journeys.

Other students of biblical history adduce from Luke's writings that he was the only evangelist to incorporate the personal testimony of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose role in Christ's life emerges most clearly in his gospel. Tradition credits him with painting several icons of Christ's mother, and one of the sacred portraits ascribed to him – known by the title “Salvation of the Roman People”-- survives to this day in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Some traditions hold that Luke became a direct disciple of Jesus before his ascension, while others hold that he became a believer only afterward. After St. Paul's conversion, Luke accompanied him as his personal physician-- and, in effect, as a kind of biographer, since the journeys of Paul on which Luke accompanied him occupy a large portion of the Acts of the Apostles. Luke probably wrote this text, the final narrative portion of the New Testament, in the city of Rome where the account ends.

Luke was also among the only companions of Paul who did not abandon him during his final imprisonment and death in Rome. After the martyrdom of St. Paul in the year 67, St. Luke is said to have preached elsewhere throughout the Mediterranean, and possibly died as a martyr. However, even tradition is unclear on this point. Fittingly, the evangelist whose travels and erudition could have filled volumes, wrote just enough to proclaim the gospel and apostolic preaching to the world.

Patronage: artists, bachelors, bookbinders, brewers, butchers, doctors, glass makers, glassworkers, gold workers, goldsmiths, lacemakers, lace workers, notaries, painters, physicians, sculptors, stained glass workers, surgeons


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Being Human

“Overcoming denial means intentionally and fully knowing oneself as a human being - warts and all. Being human means that you aren't everything you want to be - or everything you think you are - good or bad. Being human means that your thinking is sometimes irrational. It also means that everyday you have thoughts you would not like to have shared with people around you. Being human means that you live in a body which might not be perfect and sometimes has pain and is getting... older and probably is not in the same shape as what you see on TV and movies. Being human means you might not always have the kind of attitude you'd like to have. Being human means that you have those messy human feelings you wish would go away. Having feelings means that you sometimes make decisions based on feelings which aren't always in your best interest and sometimes hurt you and hurt people you love. Being human means that you can't do it alone - you need support. Being human also means that you are a child of Creation. A Loving God formed you and loves you as you are. Being human means that you are a spiritual being living in a physical body. Being human means that you are BOTH good and bad, BOTH saint and sinner, BOTH loving and selfish. Being human means that you have BOTH pain and pleasure. Being human means that you have needs that you can't always meet. Being human means that you are NOT in control.

”Being human isn’t all negative. We are each gifted with mind and heart and wonderful senses to enjoy the world and to serve one another. We are all gifted and talented in tremendous ways – unique to us in a world filled with wonder. We each have many strengths in addition to any flaws we may have. We are made for great joy. God gave us a world filled with beauty and with pleasure. Being a Spiritual Person doesn’t mean we avoid all pleasure. But that we accept it with grateful hearts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Feast Day of St. Marguerite d'Youville


St. Marguerite d’Youville
(1701-1771)

Born in Varennes, Canada, Marie Marguerite Dufrost de Lajemmerais had to interrupt her schooling at the age of 12 to help her widowed mother. Eight years later she married Francois d'Youville; they had six children, four of whom died young. Despite the fact that her husband gambled, sold liquor illegally to Native Americans and treated her indifferently, she cared for him compassionately in before his death in 1730.

Even though she was caring for two small children and running a store to help pay off her husband's debts, Marguerite still helped the poor. Once her children were grown, she and several companions rescued a Quebec hospital that was in danger of failing. She called her community the Institute of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal; the people called them the "Grey Nuns" because of the color of their habit. In time, a proverb arose among the poor people of Montreal, "Go to the Grey Nuns; they never refuse to serve." In time, five other religious communities traced their roots to the Grey Nuns.

Pope John XXIII, who beatified her in 1959, called her the "Mother of Universal Charity." She was canonized in 1990.


Trivia Question

Here's a trivia question. What was the second name Saul had in Scripture?

"Paul?" Wrong. Paul is the third name Saul had in Scripture.

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord - Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 9:17)

You probably spotted it. The second name Saul had was Brother Saul.

It may not seem ...like a big deal to us, but you can bet Saul never forgot the day a man called him Brother for the first time. Imagine sitting in darkness for three days without food, drink, or encouragement and suddenly receiving a kind word. What a gift!

A faithful friend says not simply kind words, but the right words at the right time. Ananias shared the truth with Saul in a very gentle way and baptized him. The first person whom Saul saw after he heard the truth of the Holy Spirit was a God-sent friend.

Ananias showered Saul with some of the most precious gifts you can give another human being. He was there for Saul, he touched him like a friend who cared, and he spoke kindly to him, with the right words at the right time.

Over the next several days, he taught Saul, he encouraged him, and he introduced him to more people who had that same touch, that same kindness, that same love born of the Holy Spirit. What wonderful power Saul discovered in Damascus! The first form of that power he discovered was the power of faithful friends.