Inspiration from Former Slave: God’s Call for Us Is Possible!

The Lord said to Moses, Speak to the whole Israelite community, and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy. And in the Gospel, Jesus tells all humanity, Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Are we expected to be as holy and perfect as God?

We might dismiss these commands as impossible, but that would be a mistake. God is not commanding us to do what he does; he is commanding us to be who he has created us to be, which we can only do with the help of his grace.

It is for this reason he has given us the Church with her sacraments, the Scriptures and her teaching authority. Through baptism, we have everything we need to live a supernatural life in intimacy with God who created us out of love.

The obstacle we all face is the pressure from the world in which we live, to shape how we look at ourselves and how we plan our future. In the second reading we are told, For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God… Yes, it is necessary for us to advance our education and understanding of the things that make us responsible citizens. However, when the wisdom of this world contradicts the wisdom of God, there will be consequences that will cause turmoil and the loss of hope.

An Amazing Example

Recently, I watched a movie about St. Josephine Bakhita. She was kidnapped as a child from a wealthy family in Sudan by slave traders and sold into slavery. She was tortured and frequently beaten for many years until by providence she was temporarily placed in a convent in Italy while her mistress traveled on personal business. During her time in the convent, she learned about the love of God and was attracted to the religious life. When her owner returned to reclaim her, she refused to leave and was eventually granted her freedom through the courts. Her new life and vocation brought her great joy; she said if she would ever meet those who sold her into slavery, she would kneel and kiss their hands because it was through her terrible fate that she discovered the love of God and her new life in service to him.

She received the sacraments of the Church by Archbishop Giuseppe Sarto who later became Pope Pius X. Bakhita was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000.

St. Josephine Bakhita, who was known for her deep prayer life and for totally giving herself in the service of God and others, has received the perfection that we all hope for and that is necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven. We may never experience the terrible sufferings of St. Josephine Bakhita, but we must choose God above all else as she did.

Perseverance & Inspiration

The trials and suffering we experience in this life are an opportunity to draw close to Christ and receive the grace he will offer us if we approach him with sincere and contrite hearts. If we persevere in faith and make every effort to over come sin and grow in virtue, with God’s grace, we will be as holy and perfect as is necessary to live in Christ’s presence in heaven.

One of the treasures of our Catholic faith is the vast collection of stories about men and women who became saints during their life on earth. Their lives are so amazing; they have inspired other men and women to become saints! We can learn from them how to deepen our faith and trust in God when we are faced with trials and discouragement. Every saint we read about experienced difficult and sometimes severe circumstances, and yet they were still filled with great joy and happiness because of God’s grace. I encourage you to prayerfully choose a saint to read about and to ask for their intercession during your morning prayer. You will be glad you did.

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

What Is True Humility? – Life Lessons from Holy Weeek

Over time, humility has become more and more under-rated and misunderstood. A lot of this has to do with the fact that we see ourselves through the eyes of the world instead of through the eyes of God.

Palm Sunday not only signals the start of Holy Week, but it can also show us the way to true humility. Through the Paschal Mystery; Jesus’ passage from life to death to new life, lies the path to:

  • Embracing humility & suffering
  • Learning how to surrender our will to the will of God
  • Learning about our true personal dignity in God

The more that we can focus on the path of Jesus’ own humiliation throughout this week, the more we will be able to grow in true humility. Pope Francis tells us that, “there can be no humility without humiliation.”­

In Our World Today

This is extremely hard to do in a world pre-occupied with wealth, power, and control. Too many of us, me included – at one time or another – have been consumed by the desire for a bigger paycheck and having more prestige & influence.

Consider that, not long after the triumphant parade of Jesus from Bethany to Jerusalem, he was met by:

  • Betrayal, denial, violence, and the incomparable cruelty leading up to the Crucifixion
  • Institutional corruption and deep injustice fueled by the vanity of the Pharisees (pride and a desire for control leads to the majority of arguments & quarrels in our lives)      

In his Letter to the Philippians, St. Paul calls us to practice humility, in the face of adversity, like Jesus:

he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on the cross (Phil. 2:7-8).

What Is Real Humility?

Only until we are able to gratefully accept the humiliations that come our way can we experience real humility:

  • Real humility involves being able to say thank you for both our blessings and the pain that we endure.
  • Real humility involves serving others and seeking their good above your own advancement, even when they are ungrateful or disappoint you.
  • Real humility is when you realize you are not better than or less than others, but equal, as brothers and sisters of God the Father, especially when others belittle or offend you.

In his book, The Furrow, no. 259, St. Josemaria Escriva describes how humility is the foundation of all virtues:

  • “Prayer is the humility of the man who acknowledges his profound wretchedness and the greatness of God. He addresses and adores God as one who expects everything from Him and nothing from himself.
  • Faith is the humility of the mind which renounces its own judgement and surrenders to the verdict and authority of the Church.
  • Obedience is the humility of the will which subjects itself to the will of another, for God’s sake.
  • Chastity is the humility of the flesh, which subjects itself to the spirit.
  • Exterior mortification is the humility of the senses.
  • Penance is the humility of all the passions, immolated (offered up) to the Lord.
  • Humility is truth on the road of the ascetic (austere) struggle.”

Humility is the key to discovering who we are in Christ!

How to Begin

“Knowledge of oneself is the first step that has to be taken for the soul to reach the knowledge of God.” – St. John of the Cross

As you focus on the Passion, the Crucifixion, and the Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ all this week, think about all that he accomplished through his humility and surrender:

  • He permitted the darkness of the world to envelop him
  • Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world
  • On the cross, he drowned all the sins of the world in an ocean of Divine Mercy

The triumph of God’s love and mercy was made possible through the humility of Jesus. May this type of genuine humility lead to your spiritual conversion or reversion.

Robert V. Rodriguez is Public Relations & Outreach Assistant for Pilgrim Center of Hope. He combines a passion for the Catholic faith together with years of professional experience as a TV news journalist, video producer, and PR/marketing specialist. Robert also serves as Chairman for our annual “Master, I Want to See” Catholic Men’s Conference.

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

Beauty & God’s Grace

It’s a “tale as old as time” – even truer than Beauty and the Beast.

Join Mary Jane Fox & Julie Reyna for an exclusive interview with author Lisa Mladinich as she was preparing to speak for a previous Catholic Women’s Conference on “True Radiance: Authentic Beauty at Every Age” and “Once I Was Lost: How God’s Grace Touches Our Lives.” Don’t miss this insightful and refreshing episode!

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

Having Virtuous Friendships & Relationships

As we countdown to a previous Catholic Women’s Conference, Mary Jane Fox and Jessica Rendon connected with Sarah Swafford, one of the guest speakers.

Listen as they discuss virtuous relationships – both friendship & romantic – in today’s world.

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.


Read the Letter to Women by Pope John Paul II.
Read Mulieris Dignitatem: Apostolic Letter on the Dignity & Vocation of Women by Pope John Paul II.

Adding Virtue to Your Life

If you’re reading this page, chances are you already try to live a virtuous life. But how can you live a more virtuous life when you’re out of new ideas?

Yet there’s always more to learn! Greg Camacho hosted Gloria Zapiain to discuss the virtues and how to get more of them.


All Things New: Fighting Modern Slavery

The Catholic Church teaches that every person is chosen by God to love and be loved for all eternity. Our bodies exist as signs of this reality, and the dignity and integrity of each person – body and soul – deserve great respect from individuals and society.

Many social ills make this Christian ideal difficult, and in this episode of Catholicism Live we’re going to talk specifically about prostitution. The Catechism has this to say:

“Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who pays sins gravely against himself: he violates the chastity to which his Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men, children, and adolescents . . . While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the imputability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure.”

It’s an unfortunately common myth that women become prostitutes by choice, as if prostitution were simply another career.

The truth is that women are largely tricked and coerced into prostitution from the start, by manipulative and deceptive men who use mental, emotional and physical abuse to keep them locked in their position. Often, a pimp spots a vulnerable girl or woman and uses her own needs to trap her. He may promise to provide love and security at first, and then become isolating and dominative. He may lie, saying that no one else would care for her, as he pretends to.

In other cases, girls or women find themselves suddenly tricked into prostitution when money appears on the nightstand after a regrettable night. Pimps wield power over women considered property by subjecting them to desolating abuse, and even outright torture, if a prostituted woman does not follow instructions or fulfill a quota.

The tragic reality of prostitution and sex trafficking arrives in the news when large arrests are made at the border and major sporting events. But these ongoing problems occur in our own backyard on a daily basis.

Fortunately, police officers are trained to find prostituted women and offer them a way out. Even then, it can be very difficult to leave prostitution, because of the conditioning created by dire circumstances and manipulation by pimps. But many do leave, praise be to God.

There is hope for prostituted women.

We were delighted to host Linda Caswell, founder of All Things New, a ministry for prostituted women, on this episode of Catholicism Live! The ministry was closed, and Linda moved out of state. Pilgrim Center of Hope no longer has contact information for Linda. However, we hope this program will educate & encourage you to learn more about the reality of sex trafficking. San Antonio Police Department has information about reporting sex trafficking tips.

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.