St. Junipero Serra: Saint of the Day for Friday, July 01, 2022

Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November 24, 1713, and took the name of Junipero when in 1730, he entered the Franciscan Order. Ordained in 1737, he taught philosophy and theology at the University of Padua until 1749. At the age of thirty-seven, he landed in Mexico City on January 1, 1750, and spent the rest of his life working for the conversion of the peoples of the New World. In 1768, Father Serra took over the missions of the Jesuits (who had been wrongly …

Prayer of the Chalice: Prayer of the Day for Friday, July 01, 2022

Father, to Thee I raise my whole being,
a vessel emptied of self.
Accept Lord, this my emptiness,
and so fill me with Thyself,
Thy Light, Thy Love, Thy Life,
that these precious gifts may radiate through me
and over-flow the chalice of my heart
into the hearts of all with whom I come in contact this day,
revealing unto them the beauty of Thy Joy and Wholeness
and the Serenity of Thy Peace
which nothing can destroy.


We Are So Important To The Divine Physician

Today’s Gospel reading is from the beginning of Chapter 9 of the Gospel of Matthew. Let’s take two steps back and get some perspective on where this healing narrative falls in the development of Matthew’s Gospel.

We know that Matthew gives us the beautiful Sermon on the Mount in Chapters 5 and 7 of his Gospel. Beginning in Chapter 8 and carrying through Chapter 9 we are caught up in the love of the heart of the Divine Physician. 

First, he healed a man with leprosy: “If you are willing you can make me clean.” “I am willing, be clean!” Jesus said (cf. vs. 1-2).

Next the Divine Physician heals the servant of the centurion from afar because of the centurion’s great faith (vs. 5-13).

After the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, a great crowd descended on the house begging Jesus to drive out evil spirits and heal the sick. Jesus healed all who came to him. Then he got into a boat with his disciples, and he calmed a great storm. Their hearts were filled with awe. Jesus is Master of the powers of nature, of evil, and of sickness (vs. 14-16, 23-27).

Chapter 8 ends with Jesus healing two men possessed by demons, sending them into a large herd of pigs. Then we are told that the whole village came out to see what was going on and pleaded with him to leave. The joy and awe that has surrounded Jesus’ healing is met here with rejection and expulsion (vs. 28-34),

 So Jesus entered a boat to cross to the other side. 

At this point we come to today’s Gospel in which Jesus forgives a paralytic of his sins and then heals him, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”  The crowds are in awe, but the scribes accuse him of blaspheming. It is becoming more and more clear that we must make a choice regarding Jesus. 

Tomorrow’s Gospel will be the calling of a tax collector, a sinner, Matthew. Tax collectors worked for the foreigners who ruled over the Jews, so this made them traitors. They weren’t paid a wage by the Romans, but were expected to take extra money and keep some for themselves. They were hated and considered sinners. And yet this one sinner “got up and followed” Jesus immediately when he said to him, “Follow me.” We then see Jesus entering into the community of tax collectors and sinners, eating with them, because “the sick” “need a physician” (Mt 9:9-13).

The story of the paralytic should wake us up to the decision we each need to make. Where is it that you need forgiveness? What has paralyzed you? Are your limbs lifeless because you have used them in your own pursuits rather than the will of God? Sin is more than just a failing. In little ways, or in grave, sin distances us from God. Sin makes us spiritually weak. We are so important to God, so dear and precious to the Father, that he sent his Son to heal us. Jesus came to call us out of all that holds us back from giving ourselves completely and in trust to God. The Son of God enters into communion with us, the community of sinners, and he says, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and be healed.” And then he says, “Follow me.”

Where is Jesus today asking you to follow him?

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Sr. Kathryn J. HermesKathryn James Hermes, FSP, is the author of the newly released title: Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, by Pauline Books and Media. An author and spiritual mentor, she offers spiritual accompaniment for the contemporary Christian’s journey towards spiritual growth and inner healing. She is the director of My Sisters, where people can find spiritual accompaniment from the Daughters of St. Paul on their journey. Website: Public Facebook Group: For monthly spiritual journaling guides, weekly podcasts and over 50 conferences and retreat programs join my Patreon community:

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First Martyrs of the See of Rome: Saint of the Day for Thursday, June 30, 2022

The holy men and women are also called the Â?Protomartyrs of Rome.Â? They were accused of burning Rome by Nero , who burned Rome to cover his own crimes. Some martyrs were burned as living torches at evening banquets, some crucified, others were fed to wild animals. These martyrs died before Sts. Peter and Paul, and are called Â?disciples of the Apostles. . . whom the Holy Roman church sent to their Lord before the ApostlesÂ? death.Â?

Naming Jesus

Whole books have been written about the question Jesus posed to His disciples at the start of today’s Gospel, “Who do you say that I am?” It is a question every follower of Jesus has to grapple with at some point in their spiritual journey. Is Jesus just a nice guy who taught some nice things? Is He a prophet who wants you to change some parts of your life if you feel like it? Is He the Savior of the whole world yet your most intimate companion who desires you to commit yourself to him every moment of every day? Our answers to these questions radically affect how we live our lives. 

Something beautiful happens in today’s Gospel between Peter and Jesus. Peter, rightly, names Jesus for who He is – the Christ. The Holy Spirit revealed to Peter Jesus’ true identity. It’s not that Jesus had hidden it, but that it was so profound human hearts could not fully grapple with it. Even to today, we cannot adequately explain with our human understanding how Jesus is fully God and fully human. The Incarnation is a mystery only to be fully beheld in heaven. 

Nonetheless, Peter’s ability to name Jesus as the Christ reveals something critical for all Christians who follow after him. Peter knew who Jesus was – The Lord. Names are of special importance in the Bible and in Jewish culture. To know someone’s name meant to have some claim of ownership or control over it. God gave the animals to Adam to name, to have authority over and to be stewards of. 

When Peter names Jesus, he was entering into this sacred space with Jesus. However, God is not controlled by human beings and certainly does not submit to our authority. So what was happening here? Let’s listen to Dr. Richard Bulzacchelli of the St. Paul Center regarding God’s name. He is speaking about God’s revelation to Moses, but I see how this same lesson applies here because Peter’s confession comes from the Holy Spirit’s revelation. 

“Thus, when God reveals his name to Moses and, through Moses, to Israel, he is voluntarily assuming a posture of vulnerability before them, yet, there is no way they can actually control him or do him harm. He does not need them but only wants them.  His vulnerability is based entirely on his own intention to bless and to love a creature whom he made capable of a free response.  Thus, God is saying that he will answer all who call upon his name, not because he must, not because they have exercised any power over him by invoking his name, but because he now pledges to be their God and to cherish them as his own.  His name is, thus, also a promise.  It means, ‘I am present to you always and everywhere,’ an idea represented in the word ‘Emmanuel,’ or, ‘God-with-us.’”

Jesus, Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us, is the same friend Peter proclaimed as his Lord. Jesus is waiting for our heartfelt confession of His rightful place in our lives. Will we proclaim Him the Christ of our heart today?

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at

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St. Peter: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Peter, who was also known as Simon Peter of Cephas, is considered the first Pope. Despite his papacy, Peter had humble beginnings and became one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was ordained by Jesus in the “Rock of My Church” written in Matthew 16:17-18, which says, “Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a blessed man!

Because it was no human agency that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And …

St. Peter: Prayer of the Day for Wednesday, June 29, 2022

O glorious Saint Peter, who, in return for thy strong and generous faith,
thy profound and sincere humility,
and thy burning love,
wast rewarded by Jesus Christ with singular privileges,
and, in particular,
with the leadership of the other Apostles and the primacy of the whole Church,
of which thou wast made the foundation stone,
do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith,
that shall not fear to profess itself openly,
in its entirety and in all of its manifestations, …

Jesus, Our One, True God

Today’s Old Testament reading sounds a bit scary: “You alone have I favored, more than all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your crimes.”  The last lines are particularly ominous: “So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel! And since I will deal thus with you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel.”

I am always surprised when I read about all the trouble the Israelites were always getting into. They were God’s Chosen People, delivered by Him from the power of the Egyptians and led to the land He had promised them. They had ample opportunity to witness the power and miracles of God, and Moses and the prophets gave them clear rules to follow to please Him. Yet they were continually falling into sin, particularly that of worshipping the false gods of the cultures around them.

But are we so different?  Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Irenaeus, a Doctor of the Church who was instrumental in fighting the heresy of Gnosticism. He reminds us of the seductive quality of evil when he writes, “Error, indeed is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than truth itself.

We may not be worshipping golden statues or sacrificing people to Baal nowadays, but don’t we let attractive worldly things come between us and God? Perhaps it’s money, or power, or romance, or status, or even being right instead of being kind. You alone know what your idols are, but we all have them.

We live in difficult and confusing times. We spend much of our time on social media consuming other people’s opinions. People we respect share ideas that seem to make sense. We are bombarded by messages designed to ensnare our hearts and minds. It can be hard to discern what is factual, let alone what is Truth. Politics and opinions can be idols too.

Just like the apostles in today’s Gospel, we are battered by the storm around us.  It can be easy to laugh at their fear. After all, they had Jesus right there in the boat with them! How could they be afraid that He would allow them to sink? 

Well, I have news for you. Jesus is in our boats too.  And while, as the Psalmist reminds us, He is a God of justice, we also know that his judgment is tempered with mercy.  When we turn from our idols, He will be there waiting for us. 

He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm. 

May you feel that calm in your life today.

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Leslie Sholly is a Catholic, Southern wife and mother of five, living in her hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated from Georgetown University with an English major and Theology minor. She blogs at Life in Every Limb, where for 11 years she has covered all kinds of topics, more recently focusing on the intersection of faith, politics, and social justice.

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St. Irenaeus: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The writings of St. Irenaeus entitle him to a high place among the fathers of the Church, for they not only laid the foundations of Christian theology but, by exposing and refuting the errors of the gnostics, they delivered the Catholic Faith from the real danger of the doctrines of those heretics. He was probably born about the year 125, in one of those maritime provinces of Asia Minor where the memory of the apostles was still cherished and where Christians were numerous. He was most …