Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This is a story written by a doctor who worked in Africa

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).
We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. 

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates)..

'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. 

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. 

During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.'

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?' 

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this. 

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. 

Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator! 

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly Excitement was mounting.. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored.. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!'

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!

Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied!
That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.

And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.' 

'Before they call, I will answer.' (Isaiah 65:24) 

When you receive this, say the prayer. That's all I ask. No strings attached. Just send it on to whomever you want - but do send it on.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let's continue praying for one another. 

This awesome prayer takes less than a minute.

Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this. I ask You to minister to their spirit. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, guidance, and strength. Where there is fear, reveal our love and release to them Your courage.. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name. Amen 

P. S. Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both. Passing this on to one not considered a friend is something Christ would do

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Today's Gospel Reading - Sunday, October 28, 2012 with Reflection

1ST READING - Jeremiah 31:7-9

P S A L M - Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
R: The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the Lord brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing. (R) Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad indeed. (R) Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the torrents in the southern desert. Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. (R) Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, they shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves. (R)

2nd READING - Hebrews 5:1-6

Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.
Mark 10:46-52
46 As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. 47 On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” 50 He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 51 Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” 52 Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.


Today’s Gospel passage reminds me of the blind masseurs I sometimes go to when I feel the need to relax and unwind. Some are rookies, with unsteady and unsure hands, trying as much to locate sore and tense muscles as to find a way to eke out an honest living. Most are good and capable of not just soothing aching backs but restoring sore and tense muscles back to supple newness.

They are experts in what they do. What their eyes cannot see is compensated by what their hands can touch. They feel knotted and sore limbs just as soon as their hands get to work. They are in their best element doing what they trained themselves to do, for as long as they are in familiar territory.

The confidence that they have while plying their trade is often replaced by hesitation and trepidation once they set foot on unfamiliar ground, especially when they have to brave the crowded streets to go back home late into the night.

I greatly admire them. Their courage and grit ought to put people with normal use of all five senses to shame.

This same courage is what the blind Bartimaeus teaches us. When he heard that Jesus was coming to town and felt the growing excitement of the crowds, he mustered the courage and prayed out loud, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Evident in his faith-filled and trust-filled cry for mercy is his courage and boldness.

The blind man was in his best element. He knew whom he was praying to. He knew Him in whom he believed. He had courage and was bold enough to ask the “Son of David.” His was more than just a plea but a courageous prayer born of faith and hope.Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: Is God asking you to stand up for your faith with boldness and courage?
Jesus, give me the courage to cry out to You with faith and trust that You will answer my prayer.

Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles, pray for us.

Do you want to receive this in your email? To get Bo Sanchez to send it to you personally, log-on to http://kerygmafamily.com.
Lots of surprises await.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Old-Fashioned Bible Stories you can trust

Charlie McKinney, President, Sophia Institute PressAs a parent, I am quickly frustrated when searching through bookshelves for Christian children’s literature.

In book after book I find poorly written stories, dull images, and content that ranges from meaningless to completely inaccurate.  In fact, far too many religious books for children trivialize the story of salvation and its tales of mystery and majesty.

Since joining the staff at Sophia Institute Press 18 months ago (and becoming President last month), I have eagerly awaited the day we would release the book I’m going to tell you about...

…and so has my son, Alex.

You see, Alex often sits next to me on our back porch on Saturday mornings as I read through manuscripts Sophia might publish.  He’s always begging to read from the loose papers flying around the house.

One day this summer, I brought home for him the manuscript for theRead-Aloud Book of Bible Stories.  Having read it earlier in the week, I knew this was a fantastic book—but I wanted to get the reaction of my seven year old son.

Not only did he read and read and read, he recounted the stories to me, and was even telling them to his younger brothers and sister!

You can imagine his excitement when I brought home this book last week—as soon as it arrived in our warehouse.

I am confident that a child you know will share in Alex’s excitement.

The Read Aloud Book of Bible Stories, written by celebrated British author Amy Steedman, brings you three dozen beautiful and thrilling Bible stories that are sure to delight young children.

With the confidence of a master storyteller practiced in holding the attention of even the most restless children, she weaves tales of Noah and Moses, Solomon and David, and Daniel in the lion’s den.

 The Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories
by Amy Steedman
304 Pages - List Price: $19.95

She leads young listeners to marvel at the prophecies of the coming Savior, to be charmed by the gentle goodness of His boyhood, and to be dazzled by the scores of miracles that prove He is the Messiah who has come to save Israel—and also to save every child who hears these stories.

Continuing with stories about events after the Resurrection, Amy Steedman takes young readers and listeners along with Peter, Paul, and all the Apostles as they carry the Good News to the ends of the earth.

She even gives them a glimpse—with St. John—of the great marvels promised for the end of time.

These stories are suited to the understanding of young children and proportioned to the immense powers of their imagination, leaving them able and willing to believe in the truth of good things and in marvels they may not yet understand.

Now is the time to read Amy Steedman’s remarkable Bible stories to your children and plant in their souls these sweet seeds of truth and beauty.

  The Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories
by Amy Steedman
304 Pages - List Price: $19.95

For the coming week, we are offering a special on some of my favorite children's books.  In fact, you can...

The Book of Books and The Book of Life are beautiful resources for young children.  These are two of the best kept secrets in children's literature.

My children understand Scripture so much better through the captivating retelling of the Old and New Testaments found in these two illustrated volumes.  Storyteller Henri Daniel-Rops takes us from the sacred tales of creation through the greatest adventures of Hebrew history right to the appearance of the Angel to Mary and ultimately the betrayal that leads to the Cross.

Rarely, if ever, do we offer new releases as part of a discount.  But since Christmas is just around the corner—and because I believe that these books are some of the best religious children's literature available today—we're offering a special 25% off your order when you order all three books.
Save 25%
when you order the 3-book set!

Click here to order all three books and
enter code Classic 25 at checkout.

(*Shipping not included. Not eligible for any other discount.)
Order online above,  or call


Sophia Institute Press
Box 5284, Manchester, NH 03108 USA

Sophia Institute Press
is the publishing division of

The publishing division of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and of Holy Spirit College.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Today's Gospel Reading - Sunday, October 21, 2012 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 53:10-11

P S A L M - Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
R: Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the Lord, and all his works are trustworthy.He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full. (R) 18 See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, 19 to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine. (R) 20 Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield. 22 May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you. (R)

2ND READING - Hebrews 4:14-16

The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:35-45
35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” 37 They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. 42Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. 43 But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; 44 whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. 45 For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Years ago, I headed what we call a “major climb” to the Philippines’ second highest peak. At the last minute, someone from the US turned up and said he wanted to join. He just planed in and was pretty well stocked with imported and very fine gear. They were impressive, to say the least, during those days when imported products were as rare as they were expensive. He said he was very physically in shape so I waived the usual pre-climb requirements that included resistance-building, long-distance runs and all.

It didn’t take long for us to realize he was not at all prepared. He was as out of shape as a flat tire. At a particularly precipitous and dangerous portion of the climb, he was paralyzed in fear and terror. He wouldn’t budge and was spreading fear to the rest of the team, including myself.

I should have known better to ask, “Do you have what it takes?” I should have taken stock of what he was really prepared to do.

Taking stock of what’s coming — this appears to me as part of what the Lord teaches today. Two upstarts, the brothers James and John, as ambitious as they were pretentious, asked the Lord for the ultimate: a seat at His right and at His left. Those must have been the times when the two youthful would-be disciples didn’t quite know yet what was coming to them, and what the demands were. They simply wanted the rewards without knowing the requirements.

My years in leadership have taught me this. Not everyone who claims he is up to the job is actually ready for it. I have interviewed many teachers who wanted to teach. There were those who claimed they could but eventually could not deliver. They were simply not cut out for the job.

Discipleship is difficult. It is no accident that the word disciple is really related to the word discipline. You need it to become one. We claim to be disciples of the Lord. Do we have what it takes? “Can you drink the cup that I drink?” Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: What discipline do you need to follow Jesus more ardently and faithfully?
Lord Jesus, on my own I cannot be Your faithful disciple. Only Your grace can turn me into one. Help me each day to follow You as best as I can.

St. Hilarion, pray for us.

Do you want to receive this in your email? To get Bo Sanchez to send it to you personally, log-on to http://kerygmafamily.com.
Lots of surprises await.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Save 40% with Sophia's Catholic Book Club

Introducing the
Year of Faith Book Club

We have now entered into the "Year of Faith."  Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has asked you and me to spend the coming twelve months deepening our understanding of the Catholic Faith, and to consider ways in which we can share the message of Christ with others.

In the spirit of this request, Sophia Institute Press is launching the Year of Faith Book Club.  This Book Club is our way of sharing with you the fundamental elements of the Catholic Faith at the lowest possible price--$15 per month.  We will even cover the costs of shipping to U.S. mailing addresses! 

You can join the Club for your own benefit, or you can sign up a friend or family member who is eager to learn more about the richness of our Catholic Faith.  Either way, we will send the reliably Catholic books featured below at one low price you can afford.

Here’s how the Year of Faith Book Club works: 

1) Click the link below and join our Year of Faith Book Club.

2) Your credit card will be charged $15 each month for twelve months (Shipping to U.S. mailing addresses is free, and there are no other costs!)

3) You will receive a reliably Catholic book each month according to the schedule listed below, offering you a steady supply of books that will help you deepen your understanding of our Faith.

Year of Faith
Join the Year of Faith Book Club today!
Only $15 per month

(shipping to U.S. mailing addresses is free!)

When joining the Year of Faith Book Club, you save more than 40% over purchasing these fine Catholic books separately.  Your package will arrive at the beginning of each month according to the distribution schedule below:

Ships November 2012
Aquinas's Shorter Summa

Shorter Summa

Aquinas's Shorter Summa offers deeply insightful, straightforward, and clear explanations of the Apostles’ Creed, the Commandments, and the Sacraments; this book gives you a basic course in the Faith, taught by the Church’s greatest theologian.

Ships December 2012
A Biblical Defense of Catholicism

With a mastery of Scripture equal to that of the most committed Protestants, author David Armstrong shows that the Catholic Church is the “Bible Church par excellence,” and that many common Protestant doctrines are in fact not biblical.

Ships January 2013
The One-Minute Apologist

More accessible than thick theological tomes, more substantial than tracts, and better organized than other “quick answer” books, The One-Minute Apologist is the one source you’ll find yourself turning to whenever you have the need to defend the Catholic Faith quickly, credibly, and well.

Ships February 2013
A Pocket Retreat for Catholics

Just in time for Lent, here are simple steps to holiness in ten minutes a day.  A Pocket Retreat for Catholics is your solution if you wish you had time to make a retreat, but you can’t tear yourself away from your responsibilities. These brief meditations are perfect for bringing a retreat to wherever you are!

Ships March 2013
Always Inspired:
Why Bible Believing Christians Need the Church

In arguments both lucid and thorough, this book shows why the Bible can never be the sole criterion of faith nor serve as a sufficient foundation for the full Christian life to which Jesus calls us. There is only one source, this book shows, where Christians can turn for the full truth of Jesus and the means of salvation: the Catholic Church.

Ships April 2013
The Quotable Newman

The Quotable Newman serves as the definitive guide to Blessed John Henry Newman's central thoughts and ideas. In these pages, you will discover Cardinal Newman's reflections on more than 100 theological topics ranging from angels, absolution, and the Bible, through confession, the Eucharist, infallibility, and the Inquisition, and reaching all the way to the sacraments, the saints, transubstantiation, and the Trinity.

Ships May 2013
The Mystery and Destiny of the Church

This remarkable book explores the reality of God’s loving intervention in creation and illuminates His millennia-long plan for redeeming it. Sister Rosena Marie takes the Church’s founding and structure, its sacraments and its teachings, and the evangelistic mission it carries out unto this day, and explains the part they play in God’s plan for our salvation.

Ships June 2013
The Basic Book of the Eucharist

Fr. Lovasik helps you recognize Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, emphasizing Christ’s Sacrifice and showing how you can receive everything that God offers you in the Mass.
Ships July 2013
Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know

Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know shows that from the first days of the Christian era, at key moments when civilization hung in the balance, God has intervened — sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically — but ever and always He has come forward Himself or given strength to those who were faithful to Him.

Ships August 2013
St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions

Here are the questions we all ask--answered by a saint.  From over 200 works, Fr. Cliff Ermatinger has gathered and translated Augustine’s teachings on prayer, and now presents them here in a simple question-and-answer format. What emerges is nothing less than a rich new “catechism on prayer” by one of the Church’s greatest saints.
Ships September 2013
What is the Bible?

Some people look at the Bible and see a collection of stories that teach us how to live good and happy lives. Others regard it more as a historical record of the Jewish and Christian peoples. Still others prefer to stress that Scripture is nothing less than the voice of God revealed to mankind. In this classic work you’ll discover that the Bible is all of these things and more.

Ships October 2013
Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths

Contrary to what many believe, Catholic doctrine is not made up by popes and theologians, but is derived from revelation, as this book shows. Dave Armstrong gathers countless passages from Holy Scripture that point directly to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

All of these books are yours for only $15 per month.

And it's all with FREE SHIPPING to U.S. mailing addresses

If you have one or more of these books, then don’t worry.  Pope Benedict has asked us to use the Year of Faith as an opportunity to share our Catholic Faith with others.  You can pass your extra books along to a friend or relative.

If you don't think you can keep up, then no worries.  You'll always have these books, and so you can turn back to them as you have the time.

This kind of offer does not come around often.  We will barely cover our costs in offering you the Year of Faith Book Club, but this is our small way of answering the Holy Father's call to share the Catholic Faith with you.

Share the Year of Faith!
Please spread word of the Year of Faith Book Club, and let your friends, relatives, priest, and fellow parishioners know about this unique opportunity.

Order online above,
or call


Sophia Institute Press
PO Box 5284,
Manchester, NH 03108 USA

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The best introduction to John Henry Newman!

Until now, getting to know Newman has been an intimidating task, accessible only to those who have hours upon hours to read, study, and research his 40 books and 32 volumes of letters.
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Pope John Paul II
called him “an ardent disciple of truth.”

Cardinal Newman

And Pope Pius II said that he
“gave up his whole life to the truth.”

Cardinal Newman

Cardinal John Henry Newman, the British Cardinal pronounced “Blessed” by Pope Benedict XVI, is one of the most famous Catholic converts and thinkers of the past 200 years.  And yet until now, getting to know Newman has been an intimidating task, accessible only to those who have hours upon hours to read, study, and research his 40 books and 32 volumes of letters.

Stack of books

So prodigious was Cardinal Newman’s output that only a few souls have read all that he wrote!

But so keen was his intellect—and so profound his love for our Lord—that even those who’ve read just a few pages have profited greatly.

Although we know he can help us to quickly grow in understanding and renewed faith in God, we simply lack the time to read all his insightful books.

Cardinal John Henry Newman
has not been accessible to folks like you and me. 

Until Now.

Eager to share Newman's wisdom with others, renowned Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong—himself drawn forth from Protestantism by the power of Cardinal Newman’s words—set out on a monumental task that resulted in one of the most substantive, yet accessible, books in years:

The Quotable Newman
The Quotable Newman
The Quotable Newman
Edited by Dave Armstrong
Price: $24.95  -  448 Pages

Armstrong set before him the vast collection of Newman’s works and began mining from them the spiritually richest and theologically wisest passages, thereby distilling for you and me Newman's remarkable reflections on our Catholic faith.

In fact, more than 100 topics are included in these pages, ranging from Absolution, Angels, and the Bible, through Confession, the Eucharist, Infallibility, and the Inquisition, and reaching all the way to the Sacraments, the Eucharist, Transubstantiation, and the Trinity.

"Dave Armstrong's anthology of Newman is the best
I have se
en—remarkable for the way it makes
this monumental writer accessible to the modern reader."

Stratford Caldecott
editor of the UK edition of Magnificat

Armstrong selected these particular passages for their beauty, to be sure, but even more for the clarity and persuasiveness with which they present and defend these and so many other key theological positions of our Catholic Church.

Whether you’re a catechist, an apologist, a Catholic layman, or just a searcher after truth, you’ll find in these passages a lucid consideration of most any Catholic teaching of serious concern to you.

This book covers so many topics that it constitutes a
complete education in the doctrines of the Catholic Faith.

Read into these pages as you have time. Turn to them as a reference when you encounter new or puzzling theological points. Make them your companion.

Do so, and I guarantee that, as Cardinal Newman intended, in a very short time you’ll be able persuasively to speak of the Faith, leading even the most skeptical of your hearers closer to Christ and His Church.

"The Quotable Newman provides highlights from
Newman's magnificent work in one easy-t0-read volume.
This is the perfect introduction to his thought."

Joseph Pearce
Writer-in-Residence, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

The Quotable Newman arrived in our warehouse this week.  Click below to order today, and it ships tomorrow!
The Quotable Newman
 The Quotable Newman
Edited by Dave Armstrong
Price: $24.95  -  448 Pages

Order online above,
or call


Sophia Institute Press
PO Box 5284,
Manchester, NH 03108 USA

Sophia Institute Press
is the publishing division of

The publishing division of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and of Holy Spirit College.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Today's Gospel Reading - Sunday, October 14, 2012 with Reflection

1ST READING - Wisdom 7:7-11

P S A L M - Psalm 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
R: Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. 13 Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! (R) 14Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. 15 Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us, for the years when we saw evil. (R) 16 Let your work be seen by your servants and your glory by their children; 17 and may the gracious care of the Lord our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands! (R)

2ND READING - Hebrews 4:12-13

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 10:17-30
17 As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.’ ” 20 He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel 30 wh o will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”



From today’s Gospel, we notice that here was one basically good guy (“I have kept all these commandments ever since...”), and yet he blew it all — his chance to share in the everlasting life promised by Jesus.

But even then, on the part of Jesus, there was no love lost. He doesn’t force anyone anyway. And He will not dilute His demands just to accommodate us or so as not to lose us. As the Jesuit priest-educator James DiGiacomo puts it, “Jesus is organizing a field trip through the narrow gate and He’s not after numbers. Quality or commitment is the name of the game, not quantity or ‘do-goodiness’” (Morality and Youth: Fostering Christian Identity).

In fact, the question is not whether Jesus is good enough for you, or whether He is pleasing and charismatic enough for you to follow Him. Rather, it is whether Jesus is bad enough — yes, bad enough with His radical demands, bad enough to propose far more than a sugarcoated or “lollipop” Christianity (one that is concerned more with making you feel good and bereft of challenges and trials).

Face-to-face with such a make-or-break choice, we can’t help but identify with the prayer in our First Reading from the Book of Wisdom: “I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the Spirit of wisdom came to me.” Truly, it is in prayer where we recognize and hear best God’s voice, where we discern His will.

Knowing God’s will and fulfilling it, knowing Jesus and following Him — this is no walk in the park. Nobody said it would be easy in the first place. Difficult and challenging as it is, it is nevertheless possible. “With God all things are possible.”

Notice: “With God.” That’s it — the will of God, not our own. He’s the one at the driver’s seat, not us. It will surely be a bumpy, risky ride, but still we’ll be in good hands. And hopefully we won’t back out and refuse to ride. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Recall your own faith journey. What have been your struggles and triumphs? Can you honestly say it’s been worth the journey?

Lord Jesus, following You isn’t easy, but I believe and trust that You will not leave me as I encounter difficulties in doing so.

St. Callistus I, pope and  martyr, pray for us.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

The St. Nicholas Statue ever!

St Nicholas fresco
Now, from the artistic tradition that created the magnificent icons that grace the great cathedrals of Russia (where, for centuries,
St. Nicholas has been particularly revered and loved) comes . . .


the best 
St. Nicholas Statue

Statue facing left.

It's over 12" tall

Back view of statue.

. . . yet hand-painted, front and back,
with loving attention to detail

(Look closely: note the delicate gradation of tones in the blues and greens, and the soft blush on Nicholas's cheeks. See how carefully even his eyes are painted.)
St. Nicholas face

Look closely at
the Nativity Tableau:

With the Star of Bethlehem shining down on the Holy Family
(and half-a-dozen other bright stars come down from
Heaven to gaze upon them, too) . . .
Detail of Nativity.

. . . St. Joseph lifts his hand to bless the Newborn . . .
Detail of St. Joseph.

. . . who Himself blesses His adoring mother as
she gazes down upon Him:
Detail of the Virgin Mary.

Finally, turning His face directly to us, the Baby Jesus
blesses you and me, too:
Detail of the Baby Jesus.

Nowhere else will you find a statue of St. Nicholas as handsome as this, or as well-crafted.

Take it in hand.
Examine it closely.
It's virtually indistinguishable from the lovingly-designed, hand-carved wooden statue from which its mold was made.
Statue facing right.

If you want this handsome St. Nicholas Statue to grace your home this Christmas (and for many Christmases to come), click the link below or call our toll-free number right away.

St. Nicholas Statue

or call: 1-800-888-9344
12+ inches; hand-painted
sturdy polymer, made
to last for generations
(Only available for shipping within the United States.)

Front view of statue
Holy Family
What better way to keep Christ in Christmas than to display this stunning wood-carved styling of the Holy Family. At just over a foot tall, this nativity scene fits with any decor, and shows the Holy Family encircled by the tree of life.
Angel Figurines
At 10 inches tall, this gorgeous set of wood-carved style Christmas angels will add a special holiday touch to your home or office. This set tastefully combines tradition with an updated style, making it a perfect gift for family and friends. 

Order online above,
or call
Sophia Institute Press
Box 5284, Manchester, NH 03108 USA

We always welcome contributions to our non-profit apostolate. If you would prefer not to use the PayPal button below, you can add a contributiondirectly to your shopping cart at our on-line store.
Click to donate through paypal or donate directly through our website: www. sophiainstitute.com
Sophia Institute Press
is the publishing division of

The publishing division of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and of Holy Spirit College.