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Jun 22, 2024

Matthew 6: 24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:

“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 

But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

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.

Jun 22, 2024

It’s Time to Return to Kindergarten

If I were to be frozen at a particular age, I would choose to be stuck at six-years-old.  Children that age are filled with wonder and absent of worry.  Plus being under the age of reason, there are no regrets or shame.   

In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites his adult hearers to return to that worry-free age of innocence and wonder.  It’s like storytelling in kindergarten class.  I imagine the earnest faces gathered around Jesus, hanging onto his every word. “Look at the birds of the air… Consider the lilies of the field.” He reminds them that the heavenly Father not only intimately knows their needs but will take care of them as well.  Wide-eyed, they nod in understanding.

“Striving first for the kingdom of God” might be as simple as channeling that six-year-old from within.  What might change if you looked at the world today like that dormant kindergartener, filled with wonder and trust?   

—Scott D. Gilfillan is a deacon in the Diocese of Charlotte and the director of the Catholic Conference Center where he leads retreats and provides spiritual direction.

Jun 22, 2024

Prayer

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

—Suscipe prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola

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Ignatian spirituality reminds us that God pursues us in the routines of our home and work life, and in the hopes and fears of life's challenges. The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, created the Spiritual Exercises to deepen our relationship with Christ and to move our contemplation into service. May this prayer site anchor your day and strengthen your resolve to remember what truly matters.