He led forth His people with rejoicing, His chosen ones with exultation.  - Ps 105:43

Reflection.  This day is a great day for partying; be careful about excessive drinking.  Pray for those who abuse their bodies with alcohol.  There are many ways of enjoying life, ways that are good and noble.  Make this day a happy one; live it in the Lord.

Prayer.  Lord, remind me that in Your presence I will find the fullness of joy, not “in a bottle.”

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary, and overburdened, and I will give you rest.”  - Mt 11:28

Reflection.  Try not to live inside your own head.  Fear and self-pity are signs of a weak faith.  Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.”  If you can’t manage to do that, come to the Lord quickly, and entrust yourself to His holy care.  He will do for you what you cannot do for yourself.

Prayer.  I need You, Lord, now more than ever. 

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; … a stranger and you welcomed me.  - Mt 25:35

Reflection.  This is an unsafe world, and we have to be careful.  Nevertheless, the welcome mat should never disappear from your doorstep.  Once you know that the stranger is not a threat, be gracious.  If you do not feel safe, however, be cautious.  Better safe than sorry.

Prayer.  Jesus, I need You to guide me in discerning Your Will. 

Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  - Rom 8:39

Reflection.  Sometimes you may feel alone and abandoned.  It doesn’t matter because feelings are not facts.  The Lord is closer than you know.  Learn to live by faith, and not by feelings.  In that way you will rise above the misery of this life.

Prayer.  Dear God, be my strength and my joy, especially when I’m feeling blue. 

Do not let your hearts be troubled; be not afraid.  - Jn 14:27

Reflection.  Here is a quote found carved into the wall of a Nazi concentration camp:  “I believe in the sun even when it is not shining … I also believe in God even when He is silent.”

Prayer.  Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief. 

You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices.  You will be sorrowful, but your grief will turn into joy.  - Jn 16:20

Reflection.  Without the experience of pain, you can never really know the full meaning of joy.  You can learn to smile at your pain if you see it as a prelude to endless joy.

Prayer.  Remove the cup of pain from my lips, O Lord, and ready my soul for eternal happiness.

God is our refuge and our strength … Therefore, we will not be afraid.  - Ps 46:2-3

Reflection.  Ask yourself:  Why has my life lasted this long?  The answer is:  because an invisible power sustains you.  But why weren’t you taken years ago?  Because you still have a job to do that no one else can do.  Have the courage to do your duty.

Prayer.  Lord, I know my life comes from You.  Help me to carry out my purpose. 

Faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the conviction about things that cannot be seen. - Heb 11:1

Reflection.  The skeptic says, “The world is in such a mess — what good is religion?”  You can also say, “Lots of people are dirty — what value is soap?”  but neither religion nor soap can do any good if it is not used.

Prayer.  Lord, increase my faith. 

Act justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.  - Mic 6:8

Reflection.  ”If you think going to church makes you a Christian, you probably also think that sitting in a garage will make you a car” (Garrison Keillor).  Face the facts, it takes love and humility to keep you from becoming an egotistical bore.

Prayer.  Lord, help me to face the truth about myself. 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  - 1 Cor 13:7

Reflection.  An Irish Prayer:  May your neighbors respect you… Trouble neglect you… The Angels protect you… and heaven accept you.

Prayer.  Dear Lord, above all, grant me the grace of final perseverance. 

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