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Seeking Answers from Jesus

As a college-aged adult, I actually looked to Jesus for answers. The frustrating part of it all? Jesus didn’t give me answers.

Following the advice of my parents, pastor, vocation director, and so many other people, in prayer I asked Jesus, “Why is (fill-in-the-blank) happening?” and “What do you want me to do with my life?” and “Should I choose Option A or Option B?”

When did Jesus ever give people satisfactory answers? He didn’t, really. In the gospels, people who questioned him were often presented with a question, parable or a riddle in return. Jesus’ listeners were challenged to encounter God more deeply, to examine themselves, to give themselves in love, and to trust in him and his heavenly Father.

Jesus did not deal out ‘answers.’ What Jesus gave in the gospels was himself.

“Come to me,” he said, “all you who labor and are burdened.” He didn’t continue, “and I will give you answers and solutions to all your problems!” Instead, he concluded, “and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” (cf. Matthew 11:28-30)

You Are Not Alone

Jesus offers you himself, to share your burden alongside you.

If you ask Jesus to fix all your problems and save you from ever experiencing pain, confusion, worry, or anger; he will not do that for you. His own disciples and holy mother experienced all of the above.

Instead of doling out answers or solutions, Jesus will give you himself. I guarantee you that he will do so, one-thousand percent of the time, for eternity, if you welcome him daily.

Having lived through uncommon physical and emotional challenges, I can say with confidence; Jesus’ gift of himself to each one of us is a far greater gift than answers or solutions.

Why?

Without challenges, we do not learn. Without trials, we lack humility. Without suffering, we lack compassion. This is not how God created the world to be, but it is the reality in which we now live.

God chooses the better option, saying: In the midst of this challenge, trial, and suffering, I will come to you. I will share it with you. As we walk together, I will teach you. Thus, the burden will become light.

In many circles, God is accused of being cruel and abusive. On the contrary, we see in the life of Jesus that God does not force himself upon us. In the person of Jesus, God is an unassuming, young adult who willingly takes everything we’ve dumped on him, upon his shoulders. He invites us, by name, to come and learn how to live, alongside him. He gives us his own self, his own life.

“I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly,” he said (John 10:10). Jesus does not call us slaves; “I have called you friends” (John 15:15).

Look to Jesus for Direction

If you are looking for direction, look to Jesus. Don’t look for him to be a floating genie-god who hovers above you, and provides ancient and future knowledge. Instead, realize the greater gift Jesus offers.

As St. Bernard of Clairvaux so well advised;

“Are there moments when you place yourself quietly in the Lord’s presence, when you calmly spend time with him, when you bask in his gaze? Do you let his fire inflame your heart? Unless you let him warm you more and more with his love and tenderness, you will not catch fire. […] If, gazing on the face of Christ, you feel unable to let yourself be healed and transformed, then enter into the Lord’s heart, into his wounds, for that is the abode of divine mercy.”

Look to Jesus, God-become-Man. Look to Jesus the person; so that in looking to him you may know him, and in knowing him you may love him, and to learn from him you may walk with him and his Body, the Church, daily.

This is what gives me joy; not that I have all the ‘answers,’ but that I know Jesus who is Truth. Not that I see where my path will lead, but that I walk with Jesus who is the Way. Not that my life is picture-perfect, but that I love Jesus who is Life. (cf. John 14:6)

In this very moment of your life – with all its complications, aches, responsibilities; I invite you to spend some moments in prayer with Jesus and accept his invitation.


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate since 2010. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.

Finding Hope in the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes

A large crowd has followed Jesus across the Sea of Galilee because of the signs he was performing. Out of compassion, Jesus asks his disciples how they are going to feed the crowd even though he already knows what He is going to do.

In every situation, Jesus always knows what he is going to do, but there are times when he will ask us what we are going to do when we are confronted with a challenge. Will we limit the possibilities of a solution to the resources at hand, perhaps believing it is hopeless?

By God’s design, there are many issues in life that will only reach their intended conclusion with his help. The intended conclusion may not always be what we had hoped for, but if we have brought it to God in prayer and perseverance and looked to the Church for direction and assistance, we will have made our best effort and with the help of God’s grace and we will find peace in the end. We have heard the Scripture, “…all things are possible with God.” That means in every circumstance it is possible to experience the peace and consolation of the Lord if we humbly seek it. No matter how bad we have it on our worst day, there will always be someone who has had it worse and yet was able to be a witness of the peace of Christ because of their faith.

We have an opportunity every day to expect some insight from God. We have heard people say they don’t want to bother God with the small things that are part of our life experiences. God is interested in everything we do. It is in the small things we become aware of the nearness of God and begin to develop a relationship with him that leads to profound trust in his providence. This it what it means to be childlike.

We see in the Gospel of John (6:1-15), that after having experienced the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the people pursued Jesus to make Him king so that He would continue to provide for their needs; and He flees from them. They have not understood the true meaning of the miracle, nor the role that Jesus had come to fulfill as Messiah. Like the vast crowd, we also can miss the role that Jesus wants to play in our lives.

Is Jesus the Lord of Your Life?

Many years ago, someone asked me if Jesus was the Lord of my life. At that time, I was a Sunday-only Catholic and didn’t give much thought to my relationship with God. However, that question began to haunt me, and I began to ask myself how important my faith was to me. That was the beginning of a conversion process that continues to bring me closer to God and helped me to discover my real purpose in life. Until that time I was searching for happiness not even considering that God might have a plan for me.

Choosing to draw close to God opened up new possibilities for me, and helped me to (at times), go beyond what I believed my limitations to be. By nature, I am an introvert who had a fear of speaking in public and yet God called me to do things I never would have chosen for myself. Of course, I have my struggles, but I am not so quick to decide that something is not possible until I have invested a good deal of time in prayer and consultation. God’s grace can work in the most unlikely instruments. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t allow my faith to influence my decisions.

Because of our baptism we all have a vocation from God that will allow us to reach our potential for happiness in this life and for all eternity. Jesus has made it possible for every one of us to discover that plan as we live our life every day in the heart of the Church through her liturgies, sacraments, parish activities and organizations, our commitment to daily prayer, and reading the lives of the saints so that we have a realistic understanding of how God works in the lives of those who love him. The saints discovered that lasting happiness can only be found in a faithful relationship with Jesus.

Searching For Happiness

Of course, it is possible not to discover the best plan for our happiness. Most people go through life searching, but not finding that which will bring the greatest joy and fulfillment. However, God has made us for himself and still loves and sustains everyone, even if he is not our priority and he continually gives us opportunities to turn to him. With God it is never too late, however, earlier is better because he helps us to avoid mistakes.

The most important thing Jesus did on earth after saving us from our sins was to establish his Church through which he continues to save humanity. The continuation of his Church depends on men and women recognizing that he has personally called them to the awesome responsibility of cooperating with him to save souls. Certainly, Jesus continues to call the men and women that are necessary for the life of the Church he founded, but somehow the message is often missed. Perhaps it is related to the loss of prayer in the home.

When children see their mothers and fathers praying together, they want to learn to pray themselves. When families pray together there is a great sense of security and peace even when there are trials. God makes himself known to those who pray with a humble contrite heart. Many priests have commented on the importance of how their parents prayed and lived their faith as a major factor in discovering their vocation.

The answer to the shortage of religious vocations is in every parish and every family. Do you pray together as a family? Do you encourage your children to think about a religious vocation? There was a time when families realized that the highest calling was to serve God and hoped that at least one of their children would answer that call. Would you like one of your children or grandchildren to answer God’s call? It may be as simple as asking them to think about it. That little seed may grow into something beautiful.

Hope Beyond the Miraculous Moment

Jesus multiplied the fish and the loaves not only to provide in a miraculous way for the needs of the crowd for that moment. He wants us to know that he can use whatever we have at hand towards a solution if we entrust it to him. That is how all things become possible with God.


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Making God the Center of Your Life

I spent some time after college living and working in France. On the way home after work, I would sometimes purposely stay on the bus, well past my stop, riding to the end of the line and waiting for the bus to turn around and take me home. This was certainly one way to take the scenic route! No time constraints or cares, no iPhone or Instagram to entertain me, usually just a good book, the city views, and my thoughts (and who am I kidding, maybe a baked goodie too?!). These long rides gave me the space to dream, and wonder wanted I wanted to do next in my life. In my tender and youthful enthusiasm- I wanted to do it all! But alas, we must let our yes mean yes, and our no mean no. Saying yes on your wedding day, for example, means saying no to all other romantic partners; accepting that ministry job your heart has yearned for over a corporate gig means saying no to a shiny new car. Often, our culture will tell us “you can have it all”; but the practical reality of life is that we can’t, we won’t and we shouldn’t.

You Will Always Have Enough

The Gospel, on the other hand, the Good News of Christ, tells us that we will always have enough. It is in the gap between our wants and his Will that we can find ourselves mired in anxiety, paralyzed by indecision, or worse yet in a state of despair. The work of our lives will be to crawl out of this gap and into the freedom that God wants to give us, that His plan is better- if only we have eyes to see! It would be nice to wake up each morning with a checklist of God’s to-do’s clearly outlined and calendared- making his direction clear and our lives easy to navigate and plan. Instead, He often works in silence or through others- quite the opposite of clear and easy! If we want to look to Jesus for direction in our dreams and decisions, we shouldn’t have to look far- we cannot have him living on the peripheries- he must live in our center. That means making a radical choice every day to view our identity as a son or daughter of God before we are a mother, father, friend, or professional. Then with consistency and love, we must follow his commandments:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:35).

So simple yet so difficult- this is the formula for forging saints, and it is the formula for me and you! Making God the center and following his truth, we are not only training for the hard times that will come but illuminating our path with his word. Whether it’s a pastry-filled bus ride or a long walk this summer, may this season be filled with the big bold dreams that come with looking to Jesus and placing him at the center of our lives!


Renee has a background in education, linguistics, and fundraising. She currently works in the non-profit sector raising funds for community health and wellness initiatives. She generously gives of her time and talent as a member of Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Speaker Team and is the Emcee of the upcoming 2021 Catholic Women’s Conference, July 16-21.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

 

Cover Photo by Zeromancer44, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Meet the Master

Look to Jesus for Direction | Meet the Master

You are invited to spend some time and reflect on the Questions Jesus Asked, with Pilgrim Center of Hope

Do you find yourself wondering what is the purpose of your life? Have you looked for a sign from God as confirmation in a path you have chosen for your life? Pilgrim Center of Hope Co-Founder & Co-Director Mary Jane Fox leads you on a journey and reflection on these questions such as these. She shares a powerful example of hearing Jesus’ voice in the depth of her heart, which lead to the beginning of Pilgrim Center of Hope!

Also, learn more about the virtue of temperance or “moderation” as it is called in the New Testament.

Meet the Master is a monthly audio retreat from Pilgrim Center of Hope, bringing you into an encounter with Jesus every first Friday.

Presenter: Mary Jane Fox

To Participate: Tune in to our podcast of the same name, on the first Friday of every month. The audio will be here for you to listen along or you can subscribe to Meet the Master on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Amazon Music, or YouTube (audio only). Please leave a comment on the YouTube video or Facebook post that corresponds to this episode or you can send us an email at ministry@pilgrimcenterofhope.org.

Cost: Pilgrim Center of Hope is a non-profit evangelization ministry, sustained only by donations. While there is no required fee for our content, please consider donating a one-time gift or showing your support with a monthly donation. Every bit helps this mission of hope to continue. Thank you!

We especially would like to thank, the family of Valentin Campos III & Christina Campos, for sponsoring this episode of Meet the Master! Pilgrim Center of Hope is grateful for all our Missionary of Hope supporters who make possible everything we do.


Podcast Episode


Reflection Material


Your Feedback

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Subscribe & Stay Up-to-Date

 

YouTube

If you have a Google account, subscribe to our YouTube channel! Click the YouTube image above & then click the red “Subscribe” button on our channel. You can use the “bell” icon to choose how often you receive notifications about new videos.

Subscribe and listen to Meet the Master at any of the options below.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Spotify  Listen on Google Podcasts  Subscribe via RSS Feed

Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires

Join Angela Sealana as she guides us on a spiritual journey to St. Mary’s Parish, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is the site of a Eucharistic Miracle discovered by Fr. Alejandro Pezet, which occurred in 1996 on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Notably, during this time, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was serving as bishop of Buenas Aires. He is known today as Pope Francis.

During this program, Angela will also discuss:

  • A brief history of Buenos Aires
  • The discovery of the Eucharistic Miracle
  • The scientific investigation organized by Dr. Ricardo Castañon
  • Much more!

Listen to this program now:


Jewel for the Journey:

“The Eucharist is the beating heart of the Church.” – Pope Francis


Want to Take a Deeper Dive Into the Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires?

For more information and pictures of the Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires, click here. This resource was created by Bl. Carlo Acutis, himself!


Where is St. Mary’s Parish, in  Buenos Aires, Argentina?

Meet the Master

Questions Jesus Asked | Meet the Master

You are invited to spend some time and reflect on the Questions Jesus Asked, with Pilgrim Center of Hope

  • According to some Biblical scholars, there are well over 100 questions recorded in the New Testament that Jesus asked. We will reflect on three of these questions. They are:
    • What do you want me to do for you? Mark 10:46-52
    • Who do you say that I am? Matthew 16:13-16
    • What are you looking for? John 1: 35-39
  • Learn more about this month’s virtue, Hope, and hear how St. Monica’s persistent example of faith and hope lead her mother-in-law, husband, and son to Christianity. Her son, St. Augustine, went on to become a Doctor of the Church!

Presenter: Mary Jane Fox

To Participate: Tune in to our podcast of the same name, on the first Friday of every month. The audio will be here for you to listen along or you can subscribe to Meet the Master on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Amazon Music, or YouTube (audio only). Please leave a comment on the YouTube video or Facebook post that corresponds to this episode or you can send us an email at ministry@pilgrimcenterofhope.org.

Cost: Pilgrim Center of Hope is a non-profit evangelization ministry, sustained only by donations. While there is no required fee for our content, please consider donating a one-time gift or showing your support with a monthly donation. Every bit helps this mission of hope to continue. Thank you!

We especially would like to thank, the family of Valentin Campos III & Christina Campos, for sponsoring this episode of Meet the Master! Pilgrim Center of Hope is grateful for all our Missionary of Hope supporters who make possible everything we do.


Podcast Episode


Reflection Material


Your Feedback

2 + 2 = ?


Subscribe & Stay Up-to-Date

 

YouTube

If you have a Google account, subscribe to our YouTube channel! Click the YouTube image above & then click the red “Subscribe” button on our channel. You can use the “bell” icon to choose how often you receive notifications about new videos.

Subscribe and listen to Meet the Master at any of the options below.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Spotify  Listen on Google Podcasts  Subscribe via RSS Feed

Lanciano, Italy – Eucharistic Miracle

Join Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox as they spiritually travel to Lanciano, Italy. It is a few miles from the Adriatic coast, in the heart of the southeastern corner of the Italian region of Abruzzo. Lanciano is also a pilgrim destination, to see the Eucharistic Miracle that took place in the 8th century in a small church dedicated to St. Francis.

During our time together, our Hosts discuss the following:

  • What is a Eucharistic Miracle?
  • What does the church look like?
  • What if we are struggling to believe in the Real Presence as a Catholic?
  • Much more!

Listen to this program now:


Jewel for the Journey:

“Wherever the sacred Host is, there is the living God. There is your Savior as truly as when he lived and spoke in Judea and Galilee, and as truly as he is now in paradise.” – Blessed Charles de Foucauld


A Closer Look at the Church of St. Fancis:


 

Meet St. Joseph

This week’s virtual pilgrimage with Mary Jane Fox takes us to Nazareth in the Holy Land as we “meet” St. Joseph. We will discover who Joseph was and shed light on this man who has been called the Guardian of the Redeemer, the chaste spouse of Mary and Holy Patriarch among many other marvelous titles that point to his role.

During this program, Mary Jane will discuss:

  • Drawing hope and inspiration from St. Joseph.
  • St. Andre Bessette’s lifelong devotion to Saint Joseph.
  • Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter –  Patris Corde (With A Father’s Heart)
  • Much more!

Listen to this program now:


Jewel for the Journey:

“About Saint Joseph. One cannot love Jesus and Mary without loving the Holy Patriarch.” – St. Jose Maria Escriva


Prayer at the Conclusion of Patris Corde:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

 

Living Our Call

“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”
– Santa Teresa of Avila

Searching in and out

A few months ago, I was listening to a mother of three kids, two of them with special needs sharing how difficult it has been losing her job, keeping piles of unpaid bills, and even worst, looking for a place where to find the next meal for her children. Usually, during difficult times people say: “everything is going to be ok.” Instead, I prefer to share the Psalms 31:25:

“Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord.”

There are many reasons why someone might feel confused or sadden, especially during the past months when many might have felt “left behind”. However, people’s actions might change the course of events. I was amazed about how wonderfully generous hearts get out of their comfort zone to care for others in need by working extra hours giving up their rest, volunteering to either deliver food to the elderly unable to get their own groceries, standing for hours giving food to those who lose their job or calling to their neighbors just to check on them. The list goes on.

God among us

Some have decided not to harden their hearts and become Jesus’ witnesses with their actions by caring for others or strengthening their faith by holding tight to prayer.

“Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you grow hardened by the deceit of sin” – Hebrews 3:13

However, others are struggling with their faith. I am sure I am not the only one who has heard people say: “I want to see Jesus.” We need to be attentive and look around with a different lens so we can be able to see God’s hand in our midst or even more, listen to his voice. We need to BELIEVE that it is God who is calling us by name to go out and do his will. (1Samuel 3:7-8)
We need to realize that being a real follower and friend of Jesus means trusting, obeying, and surrendering our self-will to who love us the most, Jesus our Lord. If we want to journey this life with Jesus and be feed by his teachings, we need to get closer to him to know him more, and consequently love him more as well. Some are willing to lend a hand to teach His words and life as Pilgrim Center of Hope through conferences, pilgrimages, and various media productions. I encourage you to come and see and discover what Jesus has in store for you, as I did one day.

Living in love

Knowing Jesus is surrendering our intellect and heart to him by showing the world that he knows us better than we know ourselves and his plan in our life is better than we can imagine. He will guide us in every step and provide what is needed sometimes with unimaginable surprises as we remain in his love and follow his commands.

We should live a faithful life dressed up with Jesus’ love as we fulfill our everyday life, and one of God’s commands, love one another (John 15:17). God is calling us to bear fruit remaining in him, the vine.

It is necessary to shorten the distance between us and  Jesus. If we keep our mind and heart away from him, we could make the mistake of believing that someone or something else is able to meet our needs. However, we need to realize that as long as we remain in Jesus, he will work through us to continue building a community of which we are part of. We cannot prescind from our union with others if we want to fully live our faith. We cannot divert from Jesus who provides to us, the branches, everything to bear fruit. We are called to be instruments of God if we want to fulfill our purpose of knowing him, serve him, and love him. After all, God has written in our hearts the desired to see him and is always drawing us to him because only in him we will fully live the truth and happiness that we are always searching for. (CCC 27)


Veronica is a bilingual wife, mother, lay evangelist, and a member of Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Speaker Team.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.