Our daily bread is the Word of God and the Mass; Church Fathers: Day 050

Give us this day our daily bread”: we pray these words even if we have plenty of bread in the pantry. Why? St. Augustine says it’s because we need something more than ordinary bread. When you say, “Give us this day our daily bread,” you admit that you’re God’s beggar. But don’t be ashamed of that. No matter how rich you are on earth, you’re still God’s beggar. And what does the rich man need? I dare say he needs… Read more

Dare to call God Father, Church Fathers: Day 049

The atonement of Christ changes everything, says St. Leo the Great. We were miserable outcasts, but now we’re children of God. Whoever you are, if you devoutly and faithfully boast of the name of Christian, value this atonement rightly. You were a castaway, banished from the realms of paradise, dying of your weary exile, reduced to dust and ashes, with no more hope of living. But by the incarnation of the Word, you were given power to return from far… Read more

Praying the Our Father, Church Fathers: Day 048

Tertullian tells us that practically the whole teaching of Christianity is summed up in the Lord’s Prayer. On that foundation we can build our own private prayers for whatever we really need. Just a few succinct words, but how much they contain of what the proph­ets, the Gospels, and the Apostles said! How many of the speeches, examples, and parables of the Lord! How many duties are dealt with at once! The honor of God in the “Father”; The witness… Read more

Watch for distractions when you pray, Church Fathers: Day 047

It’s far too easy to get distracted when we’re trying to pray. St. Augustine was a great observer of nature, and one of the foremost scientists of his day—but he warns us not to let curiosity distract us from more important things. Our curiosity is tempted every day in the most minute and contempt­ible things. And who can count how many times we succumb? How often, when people are telling idle tales, do we begin by tolerating them (we don’t… Read more

Be reconciled before you pray, Church Fathers: Day 046

Writing an instruction book for monks, St. John Cassian amplifies the Gospel’s advice; if you go to pray and remember that anyone has anything against you, even unjustly, drop your prayer and run to be reconciled with your brother. We often spurn the brethren who are injured and saddened, and despise them, and say that they were not hurt by any fault of ours. Because of that, the Healer of souls, who knows all secrets, wishing to root out completely… Read more

Clean out your heart before you pray, Church Fathers: Day 045

The Egyptian abbot Isaac gave St. John Cassian some practical advice on praying: before you start, get rid of all the things in your mind that will distract you from your prayers. To be able to offer our prayer with that earnestness and purity with which it ought to be offered, first, all anxiety about carnal things must be entirely got rid of. Next, we must leave no room for not just the care but even the recollection of any… Read more

A book to guide us through our daily sufferings

Let’s face a harsh reality of life. We all have challenges. Every one of us faces hurdles in life. We may face desperation when facing these issues head on. Desperation has many faces. It could be the drunk or drug addict who has hit rock-bottom. It may be the person out of work or under-employed who cannot make ends meet for their family.  Or it could be those hidden secrets in our closets we hope no one discovers. Heather King… Read more

Keep silent until the right moment, Church Fathers: Day 044

St. Ambrose, one of the great thinkers in Christian history, weighed his words carefully. When we run the risk of being judged by our words, he says, silence is better than speaking. Now what should we learn before everything else? To be silent, so that we may be able to speak. Otherwise my voice may condemn me before that of another acquits me; for it is written, “by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). Why should you rush… Read more

Rely on God to make your soul fit for him, Church Fathers: Day 043

If your home is a mess, how can you invite guests to come in? If your soul is a mess, how can you invite God to come in? But God, says St. Augustine, will clean up your soul and make it a fit dwelling for himself. The dwelling of my soul is cramped—expand it, God, so that you may enter it. It is in ruins—restore it. Some things about it must offend your eyes—I confess it and I know it…. Read more

Off the Shelf 036 with Eric Sammons

Eric Sammons is a former Evangelical, who entered the Catholic Church in 1993. He has been involved in Catholic evangelization efforts for more than two decades, including five years as a diocesan director of evangelization. He is the father of seven children, author of several books, and a professional writer/editor. His website “Swimming Upstream” can be found at ericsammons.com. Today we talk about his foray into Catholic fiction with his short story The Profession. The book is set in 2049… Read more

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