St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori: Saint of the Day for Sunday, August 01, 2021

Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation. He was born Alphonsus Marie Antony John Cosmos Damien Michael Gaspard de Liguori on September 27,1696, at Marianella, near Naples, Italy. Raised in a pious home, Alphonsus went on retreats with his father, Don Joseph, who was a naval officer and a captain of the Royal Galleys. Alphonsus was the oldest of seven children, raised by a devout mother of Spanish descent. Educated at the University of Naples, Alphonsus …

For Motherhood: Prayer of the Day for Sunday, August 01, 2021

Good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before the throne of God, wonder-worker of our day, I call upon you and seek your aid. You know that my husband and I desire the gift of a child. Please present our fervent plea to the Creator of life from whom all parenthood proceeds and beseech him to bless us with a child whom we may raise as his child and heir of heaven. Amen.

Paving the Path to Heaven

In the Gospel reading today, we read the story of the beheading of John the Baptist. According to Matthew, at Herod’s birthday celebration, Herodias’ daughter performed a dance that very much delighted Herod. He was so taken with her that he said he would give her whatever she wanted. After consulting her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Though the king hesitated because he did not want to put John to death, he also did not want to lose face in front of the guests. So he complied and had John beheaded.

Aside from the tragedy of John the Baptist’s death, this story should impel us to reflect on what we allow to influence us in our lives. We should ask ourselves: How can I apply the lesson in this story to my own life?

Herod knew what he was doing was wrong, but he did it anyway because he felt pressured by those around him.

How often do we do something we know that we shouldn’t? We allow others to persuade us, to change our point of view, or to make us think that something isn’t as bad as what we originally thought. 

It’s the essence of peer pressure, and it happens all the time—even to adults—and especially in matters related to morality. We get so swept away by what others want that we conform to society’s standards and set aside God’s. 

There are many within society, even in leadership positions, who like to teach that we should allow people to do what they want with their own bodies, in life-or-death situations, or within their own homes. “Live and let live,” they say. 

Why is this wrong? It’s wrong because it perpetuates a society based on people’s wants rather than on God’s laws. 

When we adopt this attitude, we allow ourselves to step further and further away from Christ. It’s like taking a brick house down one brick at a time. The loss of one brick may not matter. But when brick after brick is removed, only a shell of a house is left.

Every time we allow others to influence us so that we take an action we know is wrong, we are removing a “brick” from our path to heaven. If enough bricks are removed, the path becomes crumbled and obscured, and we lose sight of eternity with God. 

That is why we must pray and talk to God on a regular basis. Not only that, but we must be quiet and block out the world that’s trying to distract us with its mesmerizing dance. When we do this, we can hear God’s response.

If we keep our eyes focused on God rather than on the dancer, we will not lose those bricks that pave our way to heaven. And any that have been lost can be replaced, for God is merciful, and He wants us to spend eternity with Him.

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Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials and website content. Eleven of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan freelances and writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program-an educational nonprofit program for K-12 students.

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St. Ignatius Loyola: Saint of the Day for Saturday, July 31, 2021

Born Inigo Lopez de Loyola in 1491, the man known as Ignatius of Loyola entered the world in Loiola, Spain. At the time, the name of the village was spelled “Loyola,” hence the discrepancy. Inigo came of age in Azpeitia, in northern Spain. Loyola is a small village at the southern end of Azpeitia.

Inigio was the youngest of thirteen children. His mother died when he was just seven, and he was then raised by Maria de Garin, who was the wife of a blacksmith. His last name, “Loyola” was taken …

Where Do I lack faith?

This is such an interesting Gospel, it begins with Jesus preaching and the people who hear him are astonished, they acknowledge his wisdom. But that mood quickly changes as they realize who Jesus is and his credibility is lost. Now the people are less amazed and more wondering, “Who does he think he is?” and “Isn’t he one of our neighbors, no one special?” 

And because of their lack of ability to see Jesus with the eyes of faith, what Jesus offers them is lost. He knows their lack of faith. He knows our lack of faith too. And that is what this passage leads me to consider – where do I lack faith? 

On the nights insomnia strikes, my mind races toward my worries. Most of those worries are not in my control – so with great effort, I pull back from the worries, find the rosary beads on my night table and begin to pray. Sometimes it is a Divine Mercy Chaplet, a rosary, or the surrender prayer on repeat. As the beads pass through my fingers I mention a prayer request. Often then I am lulled back to sleep. If not, I move to gratitude, again holding my beads, each one counted not with a prayer or petition but of thanksgiving of something I am grateful for.

Worry is not a part of faith, but it is often part of our human condition. Fear can also be part of our human condition. Fear of the future or the unknown or sickness can all impact our faith. Again, the question, where do I lack faith? Today, sit with that question a bit, asking for the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you. And then, pray to have more faith, to have your worry or fear replaced with faith. 

Jesus has mighty deeds to do for us and through us, my prayer is that I never allow my lack of faith to prevent those mighty deeds. When we turn our fear over to Jesus, we will have a greater faith in him. 

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Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, educator and retreat leader. She is the founder of the community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through interactive Bible studies, courses and book clubs. Her weekly podcast,, gives you tips and tools to live out your faith. At  she writes about whatever is on her mind at the moment.

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St. Peter Chrysologus: Saint of the Day for Friday, July 30, 2021

St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Feast-July 30) Born at Imola, Italy in 380, St. Peter was baptized, educated, and ordained a deacon by Cornelius, Bishop of Imola. St. Peter merited being called “Chrysologus” (golden-worded) from his exceptional oratorical eloquence. In 433, Pope Sixtus III consecrated him bishop of Ravenna. He practiced many corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and ruled his flock with utmost diligence and care. He extirpated the last …

Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus

Reading I Ex 40:16-21, 34-38

Moses did exactly as the LORD had commanded him.
On the first day of the first month of the second year
the Dwelling was erected.
It was Moses who erected the Dwelling.
He placed its pedestals, set up its boards, put in its bars,
and set up its columns.
He spread the tent over the Dwelling
and put the covering on top of the tent,
as the LORD had commanded him.
He took the commandments and put them in the ark;
he placed poles alongside the ark and set the propitiatory upon it.
He brought the ark into the Dwelling and hung the curtain veil,
thus screening off the ark of the commandments,
as the LORD had commanded him.

Then the cloud covered the meeting tent,
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Moses could not enter the meeting tent,
because the cloud settled down upon it
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling,
the children of Israel would set out on their journey.
But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward;
only when it lifted did they go forward.
In the daytime the cloud of the LORD was seen over the Dwelling;
whereas at night, fire was seen in the cloud
by the whole house of Israel
in all the stages of their journey.

Responsorial Psalm 84:3, 4, 5-6a and 8a, 11

R.    (2)    How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines 
    for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
    cry out for the living God.
R.     How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest
    in which she puts her young–
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
    my king and my God!
R.     How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
    continually they praise you.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
R.    How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
I had rather one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
R.    How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia Jn 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”


Lk 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village 
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 
Tell her to help me.” 
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 
There is need of only one thing. 
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

– – –

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.

Martha and Mary Moments

One of the newer memorials in the Roman Catholic Church, today we celebrate Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Previously, only Saint Martha was celebrated on July 29; however, back in January, Pope Francis ordered the inscription of all three saints into the General Roman Calendar. 

We are familiar with the raising of Lazarus – one of the more popular Gospel readings for funerals especially – but we can often overlook Martha and Mary in this passage. Upon hearing that Jesus is coming, Martha goes to meet Him on the journey. She leaves her home, her sister Mary and all the people who had come to comfort her over the death of her brother to go meet her friend Jesus. Note that Mary sat at home.

Surely it was Martha’s faith that prompted her to go meet her friend, as displayed by her opening words to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” She could not have known the Lord’s intentions, which He shared with His disciples earlier in verse 11 before arriving at Bethany, saying, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” Yet she had to have known that something was going to happen. Being a friend of Jesus, she had most likely heard – if not witnessed for herself – some of the Lord’s miracles and so she had faith that the same could have been done for her brother. We know how the story ended. 

Let’s take a quick look at Mary in the other option for today’s Gospel, though. Martha, again, goes to welcome the Lord but it is Mary who steals the show in this passage. Martha busied herself trying to be a good host while her sister busied herself with the Lord. Exasperated, Martha asks her friend to ask her sister to help her with the housework but Jesus offers a quiet rebuke instead, “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Both ladies in these respective passages know who the Lord is and it drives their actions. Martha goes to meet Jesus, knowing that He is a great miracle worker. Mary knows who Jesus is and so she chooses to sit at His feet and be with Him. 

Know who Jesus is and let Him drive the actions of your life. 

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Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is passionate about the Lord Jesus, all things college sports and telling stories and she is blessed enough to get paid for all three of her passions. You can catch her on old episodes of the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter@erinmadden2016.

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