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March 31, 2017

Ps 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 and 23

R. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.

The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.

R. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.

R. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.

He keeps all their bones;
not one of them will be broken.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

God Is With Me

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”

When I feel brokenhearted, do I realize that God is with me? Until Lent began the answer was no and I blame Instagram (I’m clearly to blame, but let’s pretend it was Instagram’s fault for a bit). When I felt lonely, sad, or questioned my value, I could instantly feel better by clicking the icon. As I found myself mindlessly scrolling, some ugly parts of me surfaced: judging and comparing others; feeling inadequate, left out; wishing for more, different, better. In short, in trying to alleviate feelings of brokenness, I was spiraling towards more brokenness. As I mindlessly scrolled, I was about as brokenhearted and far away from God as one could be. Giving it up has been difficult for me, mainly because it hurts to feel lonely and sad and not have an easy solution. Yet, it has also been incredibly life giving because I am more aware of God’s presence. When those moments of brokenness pop up as they often do, I take a deep breath and smile, grateful to know that God is with me.

-Mrs. Kate Toussaint teaches Spanish and moderates STUCO at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

You are all we have;
you give us what we need;
Our lives are in your hands, O Lord,
Our lives are in your hands.


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March 30, 2017

Jn 5: 31-47

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf.

You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.

How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Prayer As Habit

Jesus tells the Jews, “You search the Scriptures…but you do not want to come to me to have life.” Obviously, Jesus is not saying that searching the Scriptures is bad, but he is reminding them that Scripture is not the end of the story of salvation. These Jews were worshipping Scripture rather than following what Scripture says. How often can we fall into the trap of replacing Jesus with things we associate closely with him? How often do we put retreats, liturgies, community service, morality, or social justice as the main focus of our religious energy? Though prayer is absolutely necessary, I think one of the most dangerous things we do is make prayer routine. We risk letting Jesus into only one part of our day. Rather than be a routine, prayer should be a habit. We should not just pray in the morning or at night, but rather walk with Jesus moment to moment in all of the new experiences we live. I can be the first to say that this is not easy and I fail many days. However, I’d rather fail and fall into the mercy of God than settle for a comfortable and easy faith.

– Joe Laughlin is a member of the Senior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Lord, teach me to be always open to seeing you in new places, new faces, and new experiences.
Shake me out of the comfortable state of half-living I sometimes fall into,
and grow in me the grace to say ‘yes’ to you on a whim’s notice. Amen.

—Joe Laughlin


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March 29, 2017

Is 49:8 – 15

Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favor I have answered you,
on a day of salvation I have helped you;
I have kept you and given you
as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages;
saying to the prisoners, “Come out,”
to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.”
They shall feed along the ways,
on all the bare heights shall be their pasture;
they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them.
And I will turn all my mountains into a road,
and my highways shall be raised up.
Lo, these shall come from far away,
and lo, these from the north and from the west,
and these from the land of Syene.

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
and will have compassion on his suffering ones.

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a woman forget her nursing child,
or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Looking Beyond Appearances

In today’s first reading, God reminds us about the theme of our school year—human dignity—through describing how people usually view others by judging their appearance. God sees each person not only on the outside, but through his or her heart inside. We often hold ourselves back from viewing people for who they really are, so we should strive to look past appearances this Lenten season and attempt to accept others for their personalities and differences. We should not judge others only by a couple of actions or stories friends have told us about them that might have repelled us.

Along with others, each of us occasionally finds ourselves reluctant to get to know someone because of their appearance, but we invite you to try and push past that barrier with me. Throughout the day, I challenge you to reflect upon who you have judged in the past. Before Lent is over, try to reach out to one or more of those persons, and greet them in an attempt to brighten their day.

Andrew Voras and Joseph Weber are members of the Junior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Love consists in sharing
what one has
and who one is
with those one loves.
Love ought to show itself in deeds
more than in words.

—St. Ignatius Loyola

 


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March 28, 2017

Jn 5: 1-16

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”

Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there.

Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Images of Healing

Today, Jesus gives us a message of healing and a call to serve others. The crippled man lay in the street, passed by crowds of righteous men heading to a great feast, while he had been lying ill for thirty-eight years. Jesus, unlike the holy men, stops to help the man. He shows us that the true measure of a person’s acceptance of his goodness is our acts of service to others. Jesus knew the risk that came with helping the crippled man, but he did so anyway. We often give ourselves excuses for not doing service to those in need, such as not having enough time. Ask yourself what is keeping you from doing good for another and this lenten season, try to overcome these obstacles, and seek to act in service to the people around us.

Jesus also offers us an image of healing in this passage. The man had been lying there begging for help for thirty-eight years, but Jesus still stopped to help him. Sometimes we can feel like the man, helpless and giving up. Although we may feel like nobody can help us, Jesus is always waiting to forgive us. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is vital during this Lenten season to bring us back to God, and we challenge you to take advantage of this saving grace and walk again with Jesus.
Ben Blittschau and Zach Szatkowski are members of the Sophomore Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children,
Wade in the water
God’s a-going to trouble the water

See that host all dressed in white
God’s a-going to trouble the water
The leader looks like the Israelite
God’s a-going to trouble the water

See that band all dressed in red
God’s a-going to trouble the water
Looks like the band that Moses led
God’s a-going to trouble the water

Look over yonder, what do you see?
God’s a-going to trouble the water
The Holy Ghost a-coming on me
God’s a-going to trouble the water

—traditional African-American spiritual

 

 

 


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March 27, 2017

Is 65: 17-21

For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.

No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Finding Joy

When I read this passage, the thing that sticks out to me is the word “joy.” It challenges me to let go of the things that bring me down in life, like stress from school or work. If I take a moment to find the joy in everything God has made, like my family and friends, I may forget about all the stress, just like the passage says.

I think the main message in this is to find joy in every single aspect of life, including the lowest points. In such a busy world full of work, stress, and distractions, finding joy can be one of the hardest things to do. That’s why God invites us into a new world where we can forget about all this and live in his happiness. In this world, God invites us to spend more time with him, to find time to spend with our family, to live out our vocation as best as we can, and to live life to the fullest in God’s love.

Where will you find your joy? Will it be in your friends and family? Your schoolwork or job? Will you be able to find God in every aspect of your life? God is always inviting us to be filled with his joy.

– Kyle McEnery and Kyle Zoellner are members of the Freshman Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Holy God, you give the world new life
through our observance of Lent.
May we grow in your life
and continue to receive your help on earth. Amen.

—adapted from the Roman Sacramentary

 


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March 26, 2017

Eph 5: 8-14

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— or the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Five Minutes

Technological innovation has brought nearly the entirety of human knowledge to our fingertips. What an irony and a pity that society now often struggles to discern truth from falsehood. Smartphones enable us to recall any piece of trivial information we can imagine. To learn of any new event almost instantaneously. To know what our friends (and rivals) are doing at any moment. In such a hyper-connected environment, we feel the urge to move at a similar hyper-speed, rarely pausing to reflect on our actions or consider our motivations. This brashness can lead to poor decision-making and misunderstandings.

Slowing down for a moment can help refocus one’s mindset, clarify the ambiguities, and illuminate one’s path forward. One of my Lenten goals this season has been to begin each day by contemplating a short passage from Scripture and ending each day by reflecting on that day’s events. Taking those few minutes each day has helped me weigh my actions against my ideals, better understand others around me, and bolster my resolve to improve the following day. What can you do with five minutes of quiet reflection?

– Kerry Read ‘07 is an alum of St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem
to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will 
never leave me to face my perils alone.

–  Thomas Merton

 

 


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March 25, 2017

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Is 7: 10-14, 8: 10

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.Take counsel together, but it shall be brought to naught; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Mary’s Single-Minded, Undivided Heart

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

It seems a little crazy to be reflecting upon the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary of Nazareth in the depths of the penitential season of Lent.  And yet, if it weren’t for the humble generosity of this favored girl, full of grace, who offers the totality of her body and soul for the fulfillment of God’s will, for His word to become flesh, there would be no Jesus.  And without Jesus, humanity is left adrift in the sins of Eden where self-will reigns.  Much to the contrary, because Mary accepts the Lord’s invitation, a body is prepared for the Lord’s anointed one.  That body has “ears open to obedience” and delights in doing God’s will, and God’s law is within his heart.  When the Word of God becomes flesh and makes his dwelling among us, human dignity is at its apex.  Human dignity begins with human flesh.  Who we are, as we are. And we exhibit our truest dignity when we surrender self-will in favor of God’s.

I have to admit, I am a little envious of the Blessed Mother.  Not because of her lack of original sin, her holy family, her perfect son, her angelic assurances or her highly favored status with the Almighty.  What I envy is what appears to be CLARITY she enjoyed.   But maybe her clarity has something to do with her simplicity, her single-mindedness, and her undivided heart.

-Mrs. Patty Feder is a member of the Mother’s Club at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Lord, here I am. I long to do your will whole-heartedly. Please free me of attachments, distractions or any obstacles that hinder our union.  More than ever, Lord, I long for clarity, that, like the Blessed Mother, I can surrender joyfully my entire being and live according to your Word.

—Mrs. Patty Feder


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March 24, 2017

Mk 12: 28-34

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

What the World Needs Now

How well do I love?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a new way to look at the laws of the Old Testament. He doesn’t change the Commandments; rather, He invites us to look at them through a new prism.  Instead of “shall not,” we are encouraged “to love”-to be active in our faith.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

But maybe not so much. This requires more than just following directions.  Now it’s my initiative. So the questions become:  Am I truly giving everything to God?  Am I committed to really dedicating all my “thoughts, words, and actions” to the One who gave it all to me in the first place?  How much have I held back because of fear or doubt?

Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  And so I ask the question: How have I loved myself these days?  How have I embraced the gift of life?  I can’t give what I don’t have. What stops me from loving myself in the way that God desires?

So today, take some time to share love-with God and with others. After all, as Diana Ross reminded us, the world really needs it right now.

-Mrs. Danielle Harrison teaches theology at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Lord, when we feel rushed, overwhelmed by all the commitments, slow us down. Let your Spirit remind us to keep perspective. If we but take a few minutes to be in your presence, to speak from our heart and wait on you, we will be centered and fortified to better serve others. We thank you for those in our day who will refresh us and help us to be more content, more joyful, and more giving.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

 


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March 23, 2017

St. Toribio de Mogrovejo

Lk 11: 14-23

Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul.

Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Recognizing Unity

In today’s Gospel, Jesus preempts the onlookers’ questions and tests by using some theological logic to explain how he was able to drive out demons. He talks about how if a house was divided against itself, then “house will fall against house.” This line was then famously used by Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War as a plea for unity. Jesus used it to defend his actions, but I think for us today, the unity interpretation is very important.

We live in a time with many divisions, but I think it is important to realize that our house hasn’t fallen. We are a strong country and a strong people. For us at SLUH, we are surrounded by a strong faith and a strong community. Opinions may differ, but a hope and desire to serve others should always be what drives our actions. May we recognize unity in how people are trying to help one another, a unity that keeps our house together.

Thomas Leeker, ‘17 is a member of the Senior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus! Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others; the light, O Jesus, will be all from you; none of it will be mine: it will be you shining on others through me. Let me thus praise you in the way you love best: by shining on those around me. Let me preach you without preaching, not by words, but by my example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you.

—“Radiating Christ,” John Henry Cardinal Newman


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March 22, 2017

Mt 5: 17-19

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Spirit of Divine Law

A law, a physical and natural and divine law, exists. It’s an old Law, as old as time itself, one that was issued by the Lord God. And it’s a law that’s still relevant today. For Jesus says, “I have come not to abolish but fulfill.”

How often in everyday life do we belittle this divine Law? In everyday conversation, in politics, in classroom discussion, all over the place, we hear of situations where people seemingly “do away” with old Biblical Law, saying stuff like “well Jesus is loving and forgiving. Jesus would’ve been okay with this. The Old Testament is outdated.”

But, quite possibly, Jesus would not have been okay with “this,” whatever the “this” may be. Quite possibly, Jesus set restrictions on us that we still are morally obligated to follow (assuming we want to make it to the Kingdom of Heaven). For no law offered in the Old Testament is taken away completely by the New Testament. No, we don’t have to take every law literally. We don’t have to sell “two measures of barley for one shekel,” or something like that. But we do have to follow the spirit of the laws, even if they don’t necessarily comply with the rules of society as we have made them today. Jesus said so.

So, during Lent, let us all strive to live by the spirit of these divine Laws. If we disagree with them, let’s work during Lent to try to understand them. For, whoever does so, “will be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

– John Burke ‘18 & Riley McEnery ‘18 are members of the Junior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

“Love is shown more in deeds than in words!”

—St. Ignatius Loyola

 

 

 


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Welcome to PraySLUH!

PraySLUH is a prayer site rooted in the spiritual tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. At SLUH, we believe that God is truly present and active in our lives in and through all things. PraySLUH is a site where you can come daily to see where and how God is accompanying you, through prayer with scripture, prayers, and short reflections.



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March 31, 2017

Ps 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 and 23

R. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.

The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.

R. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.

R. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.

He keeps all their bones;
not one of them will be broken.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

God Is With Me

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”

When I feel brokenhearted, do I realize that God is with me? Until Lent began the answer was no and I blame Instagram (I’m clearly to blame, but let’s pretend it was Instagram’s fault for a bit). When I felt lonely, sad, or questioned my value, I could instantly feel better by clicking the icon. As I found myself mindlessly scrolling, some ugly parts of me surfaced: judging and comparing others; feeling inadequate, left out; wishing for more, different, better. In short, in trying to alleviate feelings of brokenness, I was spiraling towards more brokenness. As I mindlessly scrolled, I was about as brokenhearted and far away from God as one could be. Giving it up has been difficult for me, mainly because it hurts to feel lonely and sad and not have an easy solution. Yet, it has also been incredibly life giving because I am more aware of God’s presence. When those moments of brokenness pop up as they often do, I take a deep breath and smile, grateful to know that God is with me.

-Mrs. Kate Toussaint teaches Spanish and moderates STUCO at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

You are all we have;
you give us what we need;
Our lives are in your hands, O Lord,
Our lives are in your hands.


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March 30, 2017

Jn 5: 31-47

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf.

You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.

How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Prayer As Habit

Jesus tells the Jews, “You search the Scriptures…but you do not want to come to me to have life.” Obviously, Jesus is not saying that searching the Scriptures is bad, but he is reminding them that Scripture is not the end of the story of salvation. These Jews were worshipping Scripture rather than following what Scripture says. How often can we fall into the trap of replacing Jesus with things we associate closely with him? How often do we put retreats, liturgies, community service, morality, or social justice as the main focus of our religious energy? Though prayer is absolutely necessary, I think one of the most dangerous things we do is make prayer routine. We risk letting Jesus into only one part of our day. Rather than be a routine, prayer should be a habit. We should not just pray in the morning or at night, but rather walk with Jesus moment to moment in all of the new experiences we live. I can be the first to say that this is not easy and I fail many days. However, I’d rather fail and fall into the mercy of God than settle for a comfortable and easy faith.

– Joe Laughlin is a member of the Senior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Lord, teach me to be always open to seeing you in new places, new faces, and new experiences.
Shake me out of the comfortable state of half-living I sometimes fall into,
and grow in me the grace to say ‘yes’ to you on a whim’s notice. Amen.

—Joe Laughlin


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March 29, 2017

Is 49:8 – 15

Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favor I have answered you,
on a day of salvation I have helped you;
I have kept you and given you
as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages;
saying to the prisoners, “Come out,”
to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.”
They shall feed along the ways,
on all the bare heights shall be their pasture;
they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them.
And I will turn all my mountains into a road,
and my highways shall be raised up.
Lo, these shall come from far away,
and lo, these from the north and from the west,
and these from the land of Syene.

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
and will have compassion on his suffering ones.

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a woman forget her nursing child,
or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Looking Beyond Appearances

In today’s first reading, God reminds us about the theme of our school year—human dignity—through describing how people usually view others by judging their appearance. God sees each person not only on the outside, but through his or her heart inside. We often hold ourselves back from viewing people for who they really are, so we should strive to look past appearances this Lenten season and attempt to accept others for their personalities and differences. We should not judge others only by a couple of actions or stories friends have told us about them that might have repelled us.

Along with others, each of us occasionally finds ourselves reluctant to get to know someone because of their appearance, but we invite you to try and push past that barrier with me. Throughout the day, I challenge you to reflect upon who you have judged in the past. Before Lent is over, try to reach out to one or more of those persons, and greet them in an attempt to brighten their day.

Andrew Voras and Joseph Weber are members of the Junior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Love consists in sharing
what one has
and who one is
with those one loves.
Love ought to show itself in deeds
more than in words.

—St. Ignatius Loyola

 


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March 28, 2017

Jn 5: 1-16

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”

Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there.

Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Images of Healing

Today, Jesus gives us a message of healing and a call to serve others. The crippled man lay in the street, passed by crowds of righteous men heading to a great feast, while he had been lying ill for thirty-eight years. Jesus, unlike the holy men, stops to help the man. He shows us that the true measure of a person’s acceptance of his goodness is our acts of service to others. Jesus knew the risk that came with helping the crippled man, but he did so anyway. We often give ourselves excuses for not doing service to those in need, such as not having enough time. Ask yourself what is keeping you from doing good for another and this lenten season, try to overcome these obstacles, and seek to act in service to the people around us.

Jesus also offers us an image of healing in this passage. The man had been lying there begging for help for thirty-eight years, but Jesus still stopped to help him. Sometimes we can feel like the man, helpless and giving up. Although we may feel like nobody can help us, Jesus is always waiting to forgive us. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is vital during this Lenten season to bring us back to God, and we challenge you to take advantage of this saving grace and walk again with Jesus.
Ben Blittschau and Zach Szatkowski are members of the Sophomore Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children,
Wade in the water
God’s a-going to trouble the water

See that host all dressed in white
God’s a-going to trouble the water
The leader looks like the Israelite
God’s a-going to trouble the water

See that band all dressed in red
God’s a-going to trouble the water
Looks like the band that Moses led
God’s a-going to trouble the water

Look over yonder, what do you see?
God’s a-going to trouble the water
The Holy Ghost a-coming on me
God’s a-going to trouble the water

—traditional African-American spiritual

 

 

 


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March 27, 2017

Is 65: 17-21

For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.

No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Finding Joy

When I read this passage, the thing that sticks out to me is the word “joy.” It challenges me to let go of the things that bring me down in life, like stress from school or work. If I take a moment to find the joy in everything God has made, like my family and friends, I may forget about all the stress, just like the passage says.

I think the main message in this is to find joy in every single aspect of life, including the lowest points. In such a busy world full of work, stress, and distractions, finding joy can be one of the hardest things to do. That’s why God invites us into a new world where we can forget about all this and live in his happiness. In this world, God invites us to spend more time with him, to find time to spend with our family, to live out our vocation as best as we can, and to live life to the fullest in God’s love.

Where will you find your joy? Will it be in your friends and family? Your schoolwork or job? Will you be able to find God in every aspect of your life? God is always inviting us to be filled with his joy.

– Kyle McEnery and Kyle Zoellner are members of the Freshman Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Holy God, you give the world new life
through our observance of Lent.
May we grow in your life
and continue to receive your help on earth. Amen.

—adapted from the Roman Sacramentary

 


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March 26, 2017

Eph 5: 8-14

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— or the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Five Minutes

Technological innovation has brought nearly the entirety of human knowledge to our fingertips. What an irony and a pity that society now often struggles to discern truth from falsehood. Smartphones enable us to recall any piece of trivial information we can imagine. To learn of any new event almost instantaneously. To know what our friends (and rivals) are doing at any moment. In such a hyper-connected environment, we feel the urge to move at a similar hyper-speed, rarely pausing to reflect on our actions or consider our motivations. This brashness can lead to poor decision-making and misunderstandings.

Slowing down for a moment can help refocus one’s mindset, clarify the ambiguities, and illuminate one’s path forward. One of my Lenten goals this season has been to begin each day by contemplating a short passage from Scripture and ending each day by reflecting on that day’s events. Taking those few minutes each day has helped me weigh my actions against my ideals, better understand others around me, and bolster my resolve to improve the following day. What can you do with five minutes of quiet reflection?

– Kerry Read ‘07 is an alum of St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem
to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will 
never leave me to face my perils alone.

–  Thomas Merton

 

 


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March 25, 2017

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Is 7: 10-14, 8: 10

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.Take counsel together, but it shall be brought to naught; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Mary’s Single-Minded, Undivided Heart

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

It seems a little crazy to be reflecting upon the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary of Nazareth in the depths of the penitential season of Lent.  And yet, if it weren’t for the humble generosity of this favored girl, full of grace, who offers the totality of her body and soul for the fulfillment of God’s will, for His word to become flesh, there would be no Jesus.  And without Jesus, humanity is left adrift in the sins of Eden where self-will reigns.  Much to the contrary, because Mary accepts the Lord’s invitation, a body is prepared for the Lord’s anointed one.  That body has “ears open to obedience” and delights in doing God’s will, and God’s law is within his heart.  When the Word of God becomes flesh and makes his dwelling among us, human dignity is at its apex.  Human dignity begins with human flesh.  Who we are, as we are. And we exhibit our truest dignity when we surrender self-will in favor of God’s.

I have to admit, I am a little envious of the Blessed Mother.  Not because of her lack of original sin, her holy family, her perfect son, her angelic assurances or her highly favored status with the Almighty.  What I envy is what appears to be CLARITY she enjoyed.   But maybe her clarity has something to do with her simplicity, her single-mindedness, and her undivided heart.

-Mrs. Patty Feder is a member of the Mother’s Club at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Lord, here I am. I long to do your will whole-heartedly. Please free me of attachments, distractions or any obstacles that hinder our union.  More than ever, Lord, I long for clarity, that, like the Blessed Mother, I can surrender joyfully my entire being and live according to your Word.

—Mrs. Patty Feder


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March 24, 2017

Mk 12: 28-34

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

What the World Needs Now

How well do I love?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a new way to look at the laws of the Old Testament. He doesn’t change the Commandments; rather, He invites us to look at them through a new prism.  Instead of “shall not,” we are encouraged “to love”-to be active in our faith.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

But maybe not so much. This requires more than just following directions.  Now it’s my initiative. So the questions become:  Am I truly giving everything to God?  Am I committed to really dedicating all my “thoughts, words, and actions” to the One who gave it all to me in the first place?  How much have I held back because of fear or doubt?

Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  And so I ask the question: How have I loved myself these days?  How have I embraced the gift of life?  I can’t give what I don’t have. What stops me from loving myself in the way that God desires?

So today, take some time to share love-with God and with others. After all, as Diana Ross reminded us, the world really needs it right now.

-Mrs. Danielle Harrison teaches theology at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Lord, when we feel rushed, overwhelmed by all the commitments, slow us down. Let your Spirit remind us to keep perspective. If we but take a few minutes to be in your presence, to speak from our heart and wait on you, we will be centered and fortified to better serve others. We thank you for those in our day who will refresh us and help us to be more content, more joyful, and more giving.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

 


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March 23, 2017

St. Toribio de Mogrovejo

Lk 11: 14-23

Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul.

Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Recognizing Unity

In today’s Gospel, Jesus preempts the onlookers’ questions and tests by using some theological logic to explain how he was able to drive out demons. He talks about how if a house was divided against itself, then “house will fall against house.” This line was then famously used by Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War as a plea for unity. Jesus used it to defend his actions, but I think for us today, the unity interpretation is very important.

We live in a time with many divisions, but I think it is important to realize that our house hasn’t fallen. We are a strong country and a strong people. For us at SLUH, we are surrounded by a strong faith and a strong community. Opinions may differ, but a hope and desire to serve others should always be what drives our actions. May we recognize unity in how people are trying to help one another, a unity that keeps our house together.

Thomas Leeker, ‘17 is a member of the Senior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus! Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others; the light, O Jesus, will be all from you; none of it will be mine: it will be you shining on others through me. Let me thus praise you in the way you love best: by shining on those around me. Let me preach you without preaching, not by words, but by my example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you.

—“Radiating Christ,” John Henry Cardinal Newman


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March 22, 2017

Mt 5: 17-19

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Spirit of Divine Law

A law, a physical and natural and divine law, exists. It’s an old Law, as old as time itself, one that was issued by the Lord God. And it’s a law that’s still relevant today. For Jesus says, “I have come not to abolish but fulfill.”

How often in everyday life do we belittle this divine Law? In everyday conversation, in politics, in classroom discussion, all over the place, we hear of situations where people seemingly “do away” with old Biblical Law, saying stuff like “well Jesus is loving and forgiving. Jesus would’ve been okay with this. The Old Testament is outdated.”

But, quite possibly, Jesus would not have been okay with “this,” whatever the “this” may be. Quite possibly, Jesus set restrictions on us that we still are morally obligated to follow (assuming we want to make it to the Kingdom of Heaven). For no law offered in the Old Testament is taken away completely by the New Testament. No, we don’t have to take every law literally. We don’t have to sell “two measures of barley for one shekel,” or something like that. But we do have to follow the spirit of the laws, even if they don’t necessarily comply with the rules of society as we have made them today. Jesus said so.

So, during Lent, let us all strive to live by the spirit of these divine Laws. If we disagree with them, let’s work during Lent to try to understand them. For, whoever does so, “will be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

– John Burke ‘18 & Riley McEnery ‘18 are members of the Junior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

“Love is shown more in deeds than in words!”

—St. Ignatius Loyola

 

 

 


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