#MoralStory: How To Carry Your Heavy Cross

A young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. “Lord, I can’t go on,” he said, “I have too heavy of a cross to bear.” The Lord replied, “My son, if you can’t bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish.”

The man was filled with relief and said, “Thank you, Lord,” and he did as he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. “I’d like that one, Lord,” he whispered.

And the Lord replied, “My son, that is the cross you just brought in.” When life’s problems seem overwhelming, it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself far more fortunate than you imagined.



The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want



1. The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
  He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
  The quiet waters by.

2. My soul He doth restore again,
  And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
  E’en for His own name’s sake.

3. Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
  Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
  And staff me comfort still.

4. My table Thou hast furnished
  In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
  And my cup overflows.

5. Goodness and mercy all my life
  Shall surely follow me,
And in God’s house forevermore
  My dwelling-place shall be.


#ShortNews: Caritas India open to recruiting transgendered persons

Lamenting “traditional biases” against transgendered persons, the executive director of Caritas India said that his organization is “open to work with transgender people. I am even open to recruiting them.”

“People who are suffering for no fault of their own because of sexual confusion in their body require our attention and support,” said Father Frederick D’Souza, who distinguished “biological transgenders” from those who undergo sex-change surgery.

“We don’t want to confuse the two,” he added. “We have an opinion on those who undergo sex change, we are not in favor of that. We believe that the natural gender one is born with is what he/she is supposed to cherish and contribute to creation.”


#ShortNews: Pope Francis canonizes 7 saints

An estimated 80,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on October 16 for the canonization of seven saints.

The seven are

  • St. Salomon Leclerq (1745-1792), a French member of the De La Salle Brothers and a martyr;
  • St. José Sánchez del Río (1913-1928), a Mexican Cristero martyr;
  • St. Manuel González García (1877-1940), bishop of Palencia, Spain;
  • St. Lodovico Pavoni (1784-1849), a priest who ministered in Brescia, Italy;
  • St. Alfonso Maria Fusco (1839-1910), an Italian priest who founded the Sisters of St. John the Baptist;
  • St. Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906), a French Discalced Carmelite nun; and
  • St. Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero (1840-1914), an Argentine priest.

“The saints are men and women who enter fully into the mystery of prayer,” Pope Francis preached during the Mass. “Men and women who struggle with prayer, letting the Holy Spirit pray and struggle in them. They struggle to the very end, with all their strength, and they triumph, but not by their own efforts: the Lord triumphs in them and with them.”

The Pope added:

The seven witnesses who were canonized today also fought the good fight of faith and love by their prayers. That is why they remained firm in faith, with a generous and steadfast heart.

Through their example and their intercession, may God also enable us to be men and women of prayer. May we cry out day and night to God, without losing heart. May we let the Holy Spirit pray in us, and may we support one another in prayer, in order to keep our arms raised, until Divine Mercy wins the victory.


#ShortNews: Iraqi Christians rejoice at town’s liberation from ISIS

Advancing toward Mosul, the Iraqi army has liberated Bakhdida from the forces of the Islamic State.

Once a city of 50,000, Bakhdida, also known as Qara Qosh, was home to ten Syriac Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Christians who fled the Mosul area for Iraqi Kurdistan during ISIS’s 2014 advance rejoiced at Bakhdida’s liberation.

“The first thing I want to do is to give thanks to God,” Father Martin Baani told Aid to the Church in Need. “I am so happy … We are praying to be able to return to our homes one day. Now the eyes of the whole world are on Mosul.”


To Whom Do You Run First?

When you need God, where do you run? If you’re feeling lonely, do you seek a friend first or do you immediately crawl into God’s lap? If someone hurts you, do you demand an apology before you ask Jesus to kiss your wound?

If your car breaks down, do you call a tow truck before you pray for God’s protection and help? If you need to buy something expensive and you don’t have enough money, do you put it on your credit card or do you seek God’s will about the wisdom of buying this particular product at this particular time?

It’s hard to train ourselves to seek first the Kingdom of God, but this is an important door-opener for blessings. Today’s first reading tells us that we are “cursed” when we trust in anyone and anything other than God.

What does he mean by “cursed”? Insufficiently cared for. Lacking God’s all and everything.

No one but God can ever give us enough of what we need — no one else can give us enough love, enough hope, enough faith, enough help, enough attention, enough reliable guidance, enough patience, enough kindness, enough understanding, or anything else that we need.

Thus, we are like that barren bush that Jeremiah mentioned ((Jeremiah 17:5-10). We’re stranded in the desert, we’re hot and thirsty and wilting. But ….

Blessed are we when we trust in the Lord, running to him first, even though things look bleak or impossible, for with God nothing is impossible.

Blessed are we when we live like the tree that grows beside the waters, for we’re nourished by God’s love and power.

Blessed are we for stretching out our roots to the stream, for we grow close to God’s heart, and thus we don’t fear the heat when it comes, because we know that God’s love will overcome any problems that threaten to overwhelm us.

Our leaves stay green; we don’t wither from the lack of other people’s love and approval. In the year of drought, when everything seems to be going wrong, we don’t worry about what we don’t have, because our joy comes from that place in our souls where our friendship with God thrives. Our faith still bears good fruits. By waiting upon the Lord and relying upon his guidance, whatever we do, prospers (as it adds in today’s responsorial Psalm, Ps 1:1-4, 6).

Good always results from running first to God. Only he can give us fully the love and help and affirmation that we wish we could get from others. Only in God do we receive full healing for our woundedness and the total love that fills every hole in our lives.

© 2016 by Terry A. Modica

Tatiana of Rome

saint-tatianaThe Holy Virgin Martyr Tatiana was born into an illustrious Roman family, and her father was elected consul three times. He was secretly a Christian and raised his daughter to be devoted to God and the Church. When she reached the age of maturity, Tatiana decided to remain a virgin, betrothing herself to Christ. Disdaining earthly riches, she sought instead the imperishable wealth of Heaven. She was made a deaconess in one of the Roman churches and served God in fasting and prayer, tending the sick and helping the needy.

When Rome was ruled by the sixteen-year-old Alexander Severus (222-235), all power was concentrated in the hands of the regent Ulpian, an evil enemy and persecutor of Christians. Christian blood flowed like water. Tatiana was arrested and was brought into the temple of Apollo and forced to offer sacrifice to the idols. The saint began to pray, and suddenly there was an earthquake. The idols were smashed into pieces, and part of the temple collapsed and fell down on the pagan priests. The demon inhabiting the idols fled screeching from the temple. Those present saw its shadow flying through the air.

The pagans then tore the holy virgin’s eyes out with hooks, but she bravely endured everything, praying for her tormentors that the Lord would open their spiritual eyes. The Lord heard the prayer of His servant. The executioners saw four angels encircle the saint and beat her tormentors. A voice was heard from the heavens speaking to the holy virgin. Eight men believed in Christ and fell on their knees before St. Tatiana, begging her to forgive them their sins. For confessing themselves Christians, they were tortured and executed, receiving Baptism by blood.

The next day, St. Tatiana was brought before the judge. Seeing her completely healed of all her wounds, she was stripped and beaten, and her body was slashed with razors. A wondrous fragrance filled the air. She was then stretched out on the ground and beaten for so long that the servants had to be replaced several times. The torturers became exhausted and said that an invisible power was beating them with iron rods. Indeed, the angels warded off the blows directed at her and turned them upon the tormentors, causing nine of them to fall dead. They then threw Tatiana in prison, where she prayed all night and sang praises to the Lord with the angels.

A new morning began, and the saint was taken to the tribunal once more. The torturers beheld with astonishment that after such terrible torments she appeared completely healthy and even more radiant and beautiful than before. They began to urge her to offer sacrifice to the goddess Diana. The saint seemed agreeable, and they took her to the heathen temple. St. Tatiana made the Sign of the Cross and began to pray. Suddenly, there was a crash of deafening thunder, and lightning struck the idol, the sacrificial offerings and the pagan priests.

Once again, the martyr was fiercely tortured. She was hung up and scraped with iron claws, and her breasts were cut off. That night, angels appeared to her in prison and healed her wounds as before. On the following day, they took St. Tatiana to the circus and loosed a hungry lion on her. The beast did not harm the saint, but meekly licked her feet.

As they were taking the lion back to its cage, it killed one of the torturers. They threw Tatiana into a fire, but the flames did not harm her. The pagans, thinking that she was a sorceress, cut off her hair to take away her magical powers, then locked her up in the temple of Zeus.

On the third day, pagan priests came to the temple intending to offer sacrifice to Zeus. They beheld the idol on the floor, shattered to pieces, and the holy martyr Tatiana joyously praising the Lord Jesus Christ. The judge then condemned her to be beheaded with a sword. Her father was also executed with her, because he had raised her to love Christ.