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Jesus, Show Me The Way

I remember sitting in my 9th grade Theology class at Bishop McNamara High School in Maryland, hearing our teacher recite from Scripture: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” (John 14:6). Sounded easy enough. So, Jesus is the Way. Do what He did. We have good reminders, like those wristbands that say “W.W.J.D.” (What Would Jesus Do?). Back then, in 1967, it sounded easy enough for a Freshman.

What About When Life Happens?

Then life got complicated. With all its ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, joys, and sorrows. “If anyone is willing to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24). Clearly, He is leading the way. Also, I think what a lot of us do not often realize, me included, is that the crosses will come, no matter what you do. There is no guarantee that you can avoid the crosses that come your way. In fact, sometimes we make our own crosses. So, what to do when we are faced with those crosses? What about the crosses that we feel are much too heavy for us to carry?

That is when Jesus is standing right next to us, to help us deal with those heavy crosses. How does He do that? Much the same way a good friend does as they cheer a marathon runner along a tough course: they encourage and sustain us. But you cannot hear Him, you say? You are not sure He is beside you, encouraging you? So, what to do when I need direction from Jesus? My methods and suggestions are amazingly simple and available to anyone, but certainly not the only ways to allow Jesus to direct our paths.

Helpful Ways in Seeking Direction from Jesus

Let me start with the most obvious: daily Mass. If there is any way you can get to daily Mass, do so. I have often found myself pondering a problem or a difficulty, then going to daily Mass and hearing the readings, or the homily, and getting help just from these sources.

Another wonderful way is to quiet myself by going to see Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, in the Adoration Chapel at my parish. I always keep in mind that if I am looking to Jesus for direction, I should try and get to know Him. That is where going to adoration lets me get acquainted with the Eucharistic Jesus. It is quiet and peaceful and lets me tap into that one part of me that I most often neglect: the contemplative dimension of my life. In adoration, or out, I can take my Bible with me. Oftentimes, I start out with a favorite passage (e.g., Luke 15:11-32), and the Lord takes it from there. I also have a prayer journal I write in sometimes, which helps me to focus and direct my thoughts. Oftentimes, the answers come, and if not the answer, then I have the peace and strength that help me to endure whatever it is that is bothering me.

Confession is another resource where I can talk about those thorns that persistently misdirect me.

The peace I get from praying the Rosary is also a source of direction from Jesus. If you are not used to praying the Rosary, start with 10 Hail Marys, then you’ll see how quickly it becomes something you look forward to in your day. I pray it in the car most times, where it is quiet, and I don’t have the radio blaring. I do not know about you, but noise is all around us, drowning out God’s little whisper in the breeze, like the one Elijah heard (1 Kings 19:11-13). The Rosary leads me to quiet contemplation.

St. Teresa of Calcutta said that she would see Jesus “in the distressing disguise of the poor”. Jesus is all around us: in the poor, your family, creation, in those small daily events where you feel blessed. Look for Jesus in your day, in your duties, and the closer you look, the more you will see Him, know Him, and can follow Him.

Call To Action

Finally, talk to others about Jesus. The more you know about someone, the more you can describe that person to others. In the line at the grocery store, helping someone pick up something they dropped, just saying “Thank God”, or “Thank You, Jesus”, when good things happen. Bless yourself often with holy water. Tell others that Jesus loves them. Most people are hungry for Good News, and thirsty to hear about Jesus. You will find that the more you talk about Him to others, the more you will become like Him. And before you realize it, you are walking in His Way.


Victor Negrón is a husband, father, grandfather, practicing lawyer, former judge, past-President of the San Antonio Catholic Lawyers Guild, lay evangelist, Board Member of Pilgrim Center of Hope, and A Woman’s Haven. Judge Negrón became Board Certified in Family Law in 1987. As a lay evangelist, Victor has served as a leader for Eucharistic Adoration of San Antonio, Inc., and has been involved with Pilgrim Center of Hope’s evangelizing activities since its early years – formerly as emcee for the Catholic Men’s Conference, and currently, Victor is a member of our Speaker Team and as a member of the PCH Board of Directors.

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.

The Eucharist: What is Your Way to Receive Jesus?

Fr. Daniel Villarreal distributing Communion at the September 2019 Catholic Women’s Conference.

In the video series, The Mandalorian, we learn early on that the title character lives by a strict rule. He believes that to be Mandalorian means you never remove your helmet. It is the way.

In one episode, the Mandalorian seems unsure of how to answer a question asked, “What’s the rule? Is it you can’t take off your Mando helmet, or you can’t show your face? There is a difference.”

In the last 20 years, I have journeyed from lapsed to devout Catholic. As my desire to draw closer to Jesus and to worship Him reverently grew, my way of participating at Mass did as well.

I had learned through the teaching of the Catechism:

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (1324)

The Impact of the Pandemic

My rule of worship is to celebrate Holy Mass daily, veil, and up until the restrictions, receive the Eucharist on my tongue.

The pandemic and subsequent church restrictions threw me into turmoil. To suddenly be stripped of how I worship affronted my Catholic identity. I questioned the authority that closed the churches, moved the Holy Mass to virtual and granted dispensation from receiving the Eucharist.

If the Church proclaims the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, I anguished, how can we be denied Him?

A Challenge at Confession

During Confession, I spoke my anger and the priest asked me a question, which like the Mandalorian, I was not sure how to answer. He asked, “Is the Eucharist a gift or a right?” He could have added, “There is a difference.”

Father challenged me to see that though the way the Mass and the other Sacraments are being offered has changed, they are still being offered. He reminded me that the Church permits receiving the Eucharist in the hand and Spiritual Communion for people unable to attend Mass in-person. He asked me, “Don’t you think God knew this pandemic was coming and made the necessary provisions for us?”

The Mandalorian chooses to suspend his rule to achieve a greater good: to receive ‘the child’ back into his possession and care. My rule of worship, that centers on receiving the Eucharist on the tongue, has greatly served in helping me grow in reverence to God. If I suspend my rule, I feel I will offend God, but if I stick by this rule, I will not be able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Which is the greater good?

Pondering Father’s question, I have discovered that though they are different, the Eucharist is both gift and right.

Gift and Right

Eucharist, which comes from the Greek word, eucharistia, means thankfulness; gratitude. Jesus comes to us as Gift through the Eucharist. In a devotional reflection this is clearly and beautifully stated, God dwells among His people in the flesh of Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem of old, present in the Eucharist of our day. My focus should not be on if I am worthy, but in believing that He is. I could fast forty days, pray all night and still not be worthy to receive Him. And in reflecting on my rule, I have to admit my tongue is a greater cause of offense than my hands.

The Eucharist is also a right; just not ours. Jesus has a right through His Life given, Passion offered, and Promise kept to claim our unwavering faithfulness in being in Communion with Him. Because of His great respect for our free will, He will never demand His right nor force His claim. He waits for us. What He desires is not my worthiness as much as my free will choice to receive Him into my life.

My Lord and My God

For the greater good, temporarily I hope, I have chosen to suspend my rule of worship and receive the Eucharist in the hand. I have added a quick kneel while the person in front of me receives. On my knees I quietly address Him, “My Lord and God,” and then rise to receive our King in the ‘throne’ of my hand and into where He desires to dwell . . . in me.

Whatever rule of worship we adopt, our Catholic identity is to be a Eucharistic people. In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Saint Pope John Paul II writes: 

We can say that each of us not only receives Christ, but also that Christ receives each of us, (Ch 2, 22).

It is the way.


Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, motherhood and as a writer, speaker and events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope.

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.

Preparing for Mass: What are You Wearing?

In the Gospel of Matthew, (22:2,9-14) Jesus tells His disciples:

The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. […] Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen,” Mat 22:2, 9-14).

This parable has always concerned me because the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been understood for centuries to be likened to a wedding feast. I wonder why this man being ill-dressed warranted his being booted from the festivities. Doesn’t God love us the way we are?

More personally, I worry:

“Am I wrong when I wear my workout clothes to Mass since I am going directly to the gym afterward?”

It’s More Than Just Our Attire

In much prayer and pondering, I see that it includes, but goes much deeper than what type of attire is appropriate for Mass participation. It has to do with this understanding of the Mass as a wedding feast . . . . more importantly our wedding feast!

Our Catholic faith professes that when a man and a woman marry, they become one flesh. This is the same as what happens when we participate at Mass and receive the Eucharist. At the Celebration of Mass, Jesus gives us His Life as Bridegroom. We (the Church) receive His Life as Bride.  At Communion, Jesus joins His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity with our body, heart, mind, and soul. We become one flesh.

This awesome reality does not mean we have to dress up in a tuxedo or gown for Mass, nor does it mean that exercise clothes and work uniforms are always inappropriate. What it does mean is that we need to properly dress our bodies, souls, hearts, and minds for the celebration. This is a big deal. It is not okay to just show up unprepared.  Jesus tells us it warrants being spiritually cast out of His Divine Life.

Connecting The Dots

The Book of Revelation (19:7-8) images how we are to come to Mass:

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready. She was allowed to wear a bright, clean linen garment.

How do we make ourselves ready for Mass?

  • We dress our body in clothes that show respect and reverence for God’s Son, given to us.
  • We come in a soul made clean and in a state of grace, free from mortal sin.
  • We open our heart to receive the Word of God.
  • We focus our mind in attentiveness.
  • We wear an attitude of prayer and gratitude

As we journey to the celebration of Christmas Mass commemorating our Lord’s incarnation, let us make Advent the time of preparation it is supposed to be. Do not rush to the feast without properly preparing yourself for the banquet.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Prepare your heart in daily Scripture reading and prayer. If you don’t know where to begin, start with the daily Mass readings easily accessed on-line or in printed devotionals.
  • Prepare your minds through spiritual formation. Many great teachings can be found on what actually is happening at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Once you understand this awesome reality, it is easy to pay attention and participate.
  • Prepare your soul through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Allow God to clean you from the stain of sin and dress you in the white, bright garment of His Divine Mercy.
  • Wear clothes to Mass (and always) that show respect for a God who chose to become flesh.
  • Live in an attitude of gratitude and joy for soon . . . the bridegroom comes . . . our King is born!

If you need help preparing this Advent, or any time, please contact us at Pilgrim Center of Hope. Let us journey with you!


Even in this time of COVID-19 protocols, many Catholic Churches make Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament available for her faithful. Contact your local parish for days/times.  At Pilgrim Center of Hope, you are welcome to visit our Gethsemane Chapel and spend time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The chapel is open as the Center is open, usually Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm. Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org or contact us at 210-521-3377.

Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, motherhood and as a writer, speaker and events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope.

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.

Why No Gloria In Advent?

My husband and I enjoy watching A Charlie Brown Christmas every year. Who could forget that classic moment, when a deeply perturbed Charlie Brown yells, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!” and Linus recites from the Gospel of Luke…? It’s a real tear-jerker.

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Have you ever realized that this historic event is commemorated during Mass on Sundays and major feast days? Each time we sing, “Glory to God in the highest…”, known as the Gloria, we are echoing those words of the angels that forever changed the world and sent a message of hope for all people! Wow!

However, have you noticed that at most Masses during Advent, we skip the Gloria? Why?

Why Shepherds are Significant for Us

Imagine spending your days and nights outside with a flock of sheep. (Not the most exciting gig in the world!) Shepherds were servants, hired by landowners to tend their flock. An ideal shepherd was a patient, loyal, strong person, willing to stay with his job despite boredom, bad weather, and the occasional predator or wandering sheep.

To these simple servants, the host of heaven revealed itself!

Advent is a time of preparation and waiting. Unlike the world around us which is already celebrating Christmas, we are called to patiently wait for our Savior. Just like the shepherds, we must stay awake and alert. Then, when heaven reveals itself to us, we will be ready to run and greet Christ!

We do not normally sing the Gloria during Advent as a reminder that we are waiting, like those shepherds. For me, Christmas Mass is one of the most emotional of the year, because I can sing the song that, along with millions of other Catholics, I have been waiting to sing. Together, our Church family sings the song that brought hope to a people longing for a savior; the song that the host of heaven sang to some humble little “nobodys”…

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will!

Let’s treasure this time of waiting, and work on becoming more open to God’s presence in our everyday lives.


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 for nearly 10 years. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.