St. Brigid of Ireland: Saint of the Day for Monday, February 01, 2021

Saint Brigid was born Brigit, and shares a name with a Celtic goddess from whom many legends and folk customs are associated.

There is much debate over her birthparents, but it is widely believed her mother was Brocca, a Christian baptized by Saint Patrick, and her father was Dubthach, a Leinster chieftain. Brocca was a slave, therefore Brigid was born into slavery.

When Dubthach’s wife discovered Brocca was pregnant, she was sold to a Druid landowner. It is not clear if Brocca was unable to …

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I Dt 18:15-20

Moses spoke to all the people, saying:
“A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen.
This is exactly what you requested of the LORD, your God, at Horeb
on the day of the assembly, when you said,
‘Let us not again hear the voice of the LORD, our God,
nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.’
And the LORD said to me, ‘This was well said.
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin,
and will put my words into his mouth;
he shall tell them all that I command him.
Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name,
I myself will make him answer for it.
But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name
an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak,
or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.’”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
    let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
    let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
    and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
    “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
    as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
    they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading II 1 Cor 7:32-35

Brothers and sisters:
I should like you to be free of anxieties.
An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord,
how he may please the Lord.
But a married man is anxious about the things of the world,
how he may please his wife, and he is divided.
An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord,
so that she may be holy in both body and spirit.
A married woman, on the other hand,
is anxious about the things of the world,
how she may please her husband. 
I am telling you this for your own benefit,
not to impose a restraint upon you,
but for the sake of propriety
and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

Alleluia Mt 4:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light;
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death,
light has arisen.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 1:21-28

Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said,
“Quiet!  Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Take Care—No, Really

I live on Cape Cod, where many of the old ships’ captain’s houses have been converted into inns. A couple of years ago a friend of mine, who owned one of them, told me in some distress that things were getting out of hand and guests were noticing it. What things? I asked her. “Bad things,” she said, and outlined the problem: rooms where the temperature inexplicably dropped dramatically, a sense guests had of someone following just behind them in the corridors, objects moved around or disappearing, voices in the night. “I think it’s haunted,” Melissa said.

I went to my parish priest and asked what could be done. “Use the strongest prayer we have,” he answered. I waited, expecting some complicated esoteric blessing known only to the clergy. He saw my bafflement and said, gently, “the Our Father.”

The strongest prayer in Christendom—and one of the simplest. Given directly by Jesus. Who knew a thing or two about evil spirits.

In fact, the exorcism of an “unclean spirit” was Jesus’s first act of public ministry, as we see in today’s Gospel reading, the first chapter of St. Mark’s account of Christ’s life and times, showing that straight from the beginning of his ministry Jesus is on a collision course with evil. 

First-century culture had limitations in its understanding, and many believed the screaming of people who were ill were the screams of devils. We have a different approach and language now; still, the presence of evil remains strong. Evil has different ways of expressing itself, but it can enter people now just as it did then, manifested when a person falls prey to greed and violence. The abuse of children, the violence in a home, any exploitation of the innocent—aren’t they the effect of something bigger than just an individual’s weakness or sin? We can’t dismiss Scriptural exorcisms as cultural artifacts: they are one way of visualizing and understanding the presence of evil in the world… and of making it clear God is stronger.

Evil knew that Jesus came to destroy it. The unclean spirit recognized Jesus’ authority on this day in the synagogue even when the scribes didn’t, even when his own followers didn’t yet. Evil knew. 

I don’t think we should pray the Our Father lightly. I don’t think we should underestimate the power of evil in our world. I think we need to take care. Because evil is seductive; we don’t always see it coming. In The Screwtape Letters, the imagining of a correspondence between a senior devil and his young trainee in the art of corruption, C.S. Lewis points out that anger, lust, gluttony and other sins come neatly disguised. And it’s true: anger can be triggered when we don’t get what we want, or when someone “gets in our way.” Lust gets kicked into gear for other reasons like loneliness or hurt. Gluttony isn’t just about overeating; it’s demanding more and more and more—money, property, accolades, possessions. Evil encourages sin in many different ways. We should take care. We should take care all the time.

I don’t know how Melissa’s story ended. She and I duly visited each room at the inn and prayed the Our Father together, asking especially to be delivered from evil. Shortly after that, she went to manage a place on Nantucket and sold the inn on the Cape. It’s changed hands twice since then, and I often drive by its newest incarnation and wonder what is happening there, whether guests are still feeling a presence looking over their shoulder. 

I pray the Our Father that they’re not.

Contact the author

Jeannette de Beauvoir is a writer and editor with the digital department of Pauline Books & Media, working on projects as disparate as newsletters, book clubs, ebooks, and retreats that support the apostolate of the Daughters of St. Paul at

Feature Image Credit: Vanesa Guerrero, rpm,

St. John Bosco: Saint of the Day for Sunday, January 31, 2021

John Bosco, also known as Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco and Don Bosco, was born in Becchi, Italy, on August 16, 1815. His birth came just after the end of the Napoleonic Wars which ravaged the area. Compounding the problems on his birthday, there was also a drought and a famine at the time of his birth.

At the age of two, John lost his father, leaving him and his two older brothers to be raised by his mother, Margherita. His “Mama Margherita Occhiena” would herself be declared venerable by the …

Prayer to Saint John Bosco: Prayer of the Day for Sunday, January 31, 2021

O glorious Saint John Bosco, who in order to lead young people to the feet of the divine Master and to mould them in the light of faith and Christian morality didst heroically sacrifice thyself to the very end of thy life and didst set up a proper religious Institute destined to endure and to bring to the farthest boundaries of the earth thy glorious work, obtain also for us from Our Lord a holy love for young people who are exposed to so many seductions in order that we may generously spend …

He Cares

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

When we read these words in the Gospel it’s easy to think that the apostles are acting ridiculous. “Of course he cares!” We say “Shame to think that he wouldn’t!” But, the irony here is that we, whether we realize it or not, often ask the same thing: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Now, it may not be literally perishing, but this is the sentence of doubt. “Do you not care?” We ask it so much!

Think of all of the hard days you have. You finish a long day of zoom calls and are exhausted, but have to go and help the neighbor shovel his car out of a snowbank. You argue with your spouse, you are behind on the laundry, and dinner is a blackened pile of ash in the bottom of the oven. 

“Do you not care?”

It’s easy to get frustrated and to not believe that he cares. After all, why would such a kind and loving God let unpleasant and even terrible things happen to his followers? “Do you not care?”

Yes, he does, in fact, care. He cares more than you think. More than you comprehend.

You see, the reason he allows such frustrating things to happen is because they are not merely annoying (or even terrible) events, but opportunities.

An opportunity to do a kind and helpful deed.

An opportunity to be patient with your spouse.

An opportunity to laugh at the mistake.

An opportunity to offer the little inconveniences to God.

This is how you store up treasure in heaven. Everything is an opportunity to add to that store.

What matters is how you respond; how you use that opportunity.

So, asking if he does not care is the wrong kind of question. Of course he cares! He cares so much to send you numerous opportunities to grow in faith, hope, and love!

He cares.

The apostles were given an opportunity to trust. Though they woke up Jesus in terror, he did not  scold them. I see him gently asking them “Do you not yet have faith? Why aren’t you using this opportunity?”

Notice that he says “Do you not yet have faith” and not “You have no faith.” He knows that they will have many opportunities in the future to grow in their faith, and they will. We know from history that they did. 

So, “Teacher, do you not care?” is the wrong kind of question. The right kind of question is “Teacher, how do you want me to use this opportunity?” And he will tell you. He always does.

May the Lord help us to cast out all doubt and use every opportunity to glorify him.

Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as BeowulfThe Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.

Feature Image Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969,

St. Aldegunais: Saint of the Day for Saturday, January 30, 2021

Virgin and abess, also known as Adelgundis, Aldegonde, or Orgonne. She was a member of the royal family of the Merovingians and was raised by two saints: St. Walbert and St. Bertila, her parents. The family resided in the Hainault region of Flanders, a region of the Low Countries. Aldegundis reflused offers of marriage from other nobles and received the veil from St. Amandius, the bishop of Maastricht. She followed this ceremony of acceptance into the religious life with the foundation of a …

A Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prayer of the Day for Saturday, January 30, 2021

Holy Spirit,
Divine Consoler,
I adore You as my true God,
with God the Father and God the Son.
I adore You and unite myself to the adoration
You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart
and I offer my ardent thanksgiving
for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all supernatural gifts,
who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God, with such immense favors,
I beg You to visit me with Your grace …

Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Heb 10:32-39

Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, 
you endured a great contest of suffering.
At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; 
at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison 
and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, 
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; 
it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

    For, after just a brief moment,
        he who is to come shall come;
        he shall not delay.
    But my just one shall live by faith,
        and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.

We are not among those who draw back and perish, 
but among those who have faith and will possess life.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

R.    (39a)  The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
    that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
    and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Commit to the LORD your way;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
    bright as the noonday shall be your vindication. 
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm, 
    and he approves his way.
Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate,
    for the hand of the LORD sustains him.
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
    he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Alleluia See Mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.