May 5 (Jn 21:1-19)

An American reporter once visited the office of the great Nobel-prize-winning physicist, Niels Bohr, in Copenhagen.

(Niels Bohr is famous for his contribution in the field of quantum physics especially by his understanding of the atomic structure)

The reporter was amazed to find that over Bohr’s desk was a “horseshoe”.

(A horseshoe, by superstition, was considered to be bringing good luck and good fortune.

>> Horseshoe charms and amulets have been used, down through centuries and civilizations, to ward off the evil and bring in good fate!)

This horseshoe was securely nailed to the wall, with the open end up, in the approved manner (so it would catch the good luck and not let it spill out!)

The reporter said with a nervous laugh, “Surely you don’t believe the horseshoe will bring you good luck, do you, Professor Bohr? After all, you are a scientist!

The genius scientist, Bohr, chuckled and said,

“I believe no such thing, my good friend.

No… not at all!

>> I am scarcely likely to believe in such foolish nonsense.

However, I am told that a horseshoe will bring you good luck, whether you believe in it or not!”

The scientist, with his reasonable mind, did not have faith in the horseshoe bringing in any luck…

>> However, at the back of his mind, he still continued to possess the horseshoe, wanting to have any favours or luck, if it all it brought any!

The mind, with its reasons, said no, to an act which required faith…

>> The heart, however, still chose to seek and enjoy any benefits that it could bring!

Our faith in the Resurrection of the Lord, is perhaps similar….

Our minds sometimes, do not really have faith or trust in this mysterious miracle of the Resurrection..

>> Yet, we continue to hold on this mystery, expecting favours and benefits!

Isn’t it so?

Like the scientist, we refuse to be active acknowledgers of the object of faith and yet want to enjoy the benefits of the same…

>> We fail the live the life and fruits of the Resurrection…

… and yet, we wish to have spiritual gains…

>> We fail to actively profess and live our faith…

… and yet, we wish to enjoy many providential graces..

>> Is our Faith in the Resurrection of mere theoretical and pragmatic value or have we embraced it as our life-giving and life-motivating truth?

>> Is our Belief in the Resurrection, only a springboard to grab many blessings and favours or has it become the foundation stone for a passionate and vibrant faith?

The Gospel of the Day presents the Risen Lord encountering His Disciples and strengthening their belief and faith in His Resurrection.

The Disciples after the death of their Master, had been a frightened lot.

> They were even unable to believe some of the appearance stories of Jesus, to people who were associated with them.

But the Lord today appears to them, and casts away their fears and apprehensions.

>> He invites His disciples to have breakfast with Him (Jn 21:10, 12)

Jesus invites the disciples to throw away their doubts, and instead to believe that He is truly Risen, in human flesh and blood

>> He invites the disciples to open their eyes, and dispel the shadows of suspicions, and instead be convinced of His Resurrection

This experience of the Risen Lord would find its empowerment, for the Disciples, on the Pentecost Day, when the Holy Spirit would fill them with power and strength.

>> It is this exhibition of power and force that we see in St Peter, when he boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Lord and Saviour (Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19)

The Risen Lord, became for the Apostles, the source, strength and summit for their expression of faith and trust.

Today, we are invited to have this similar faith – bold, passionate and zealous- in the Risen Lord.

However, sometimes, the Resurrection of the Lord remains only a mere “theoretical” dogma and fails to get converted to a “practical” and experiential reality in our life.

>> Our lives are still lived in “fear”…. Our activities are still conducted with “apprehension”

>> We live our lives without much “joy”… We spend our days without much “hope”

Our minds sometimes, do not really have faith or trust in this mysterious miracle of the Resurrection…

>> Yet, we continue to hold on this mystery, expecting favours and benefits!

The Risen Lord today invites us… to believe in Him more deeply and witness His life more radically in our lives.

>> He offers His Holy Eucharist as His Risen and Living Presence in our midst.

>> He gives His Holy Word as His Dynamic and Transforming Reality in our lives.

Let us grow more and more, in our conviction and love for Jesus, the Life and the Resurrection.

>> With St Peter, let us also proclaim and profess: “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You!” ( Jn 21: 17b)

May our faith in Him, not be a “pragmatic” approach, just to receive favours and benefits… rather, may it grow, transform and bring renovations in our life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Faith is like a bright ray of sunlight.

>> It enables us to see God in all things as well as all things in God!”

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May 4 (Jn 6:16-21)

A compass is an instrument used for navigation and orientation that shows direction.

It is used to find the right direction to get one to where one wants to go.

·      A compass helps to guide through unknown terrains.

·      A compass helps to direct well, without being lost.

·      A compass helps to keep right the focus.

A compass in life is a requirement in order to be constantly having the right target and aim.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, as a person, in perfect control of His life; as a result of being in union with His Father – the Compass of His life..

… and He, becomes the Compass in the life of His disciples – to guide and direct them to safety!

The Gospel is the incident of Jesus walking on the waters, as the disciples travel in the boat, caught up in the midst of a strong sea wind.

This incident follows the “miraculous” event of the multiplication of five loaves and two fish, to feed a “massive” number of people. ( Jn 6: 1-15)

The people were greatly amazed and excited about this “super-miracle”.

This is evident in their words, “This is truly the Prophet, the One Who is to come into the world” (Jn 6: 14)

·      The people had seen an astonishing miracle.

·      The people had witnessed Someone who was able to provide them food.

·      The people had experienced Someone who could provide them security and strength.

But Jesus realized that all such excitement and exhilaration, would lead the people to make Him a King…

He knew that they would….

… be stuck to only material satisfaction and physical contentment

… not understand the heavenly and transcendental meaning of the miracle

And so Jesus withdrew to the mountain (Jn 6:15) to be with His Heavenly Father, alone.

His Beloved Father was the “Compass” of His life – the One who led Him….

… to guide through unknown terrains

… to direct well, without being lost

… to keep right the focus.

United with His Father, Jesus reaches out as a “Compass” to His struggling disciples…

They were being tossed up by the mighty waves and their boats were lashed by the mighty winds. (Jn 6:18)

But Jesus enters this “chaotic” scene….and ensures His peace and calm.

·      The disciples were lost…

·      They had missed sight of their direction…

·      They were disoriented in their focus and sight…

·      Fear had seized them

·      Anxiety was drowning them.

But the Lord, the “Compass” of Life restores back their calm and focus and direction.

·      Nothing is lost, when we have the Lord as the compass of our lives.

·      Nothing will be drowned, if we hold on to Jesus, as the compass of our lives.

The disciples realized this… and they experienced the calming effect in their lives.

Are we also ready to have God as the “Compass” of our lives?

In prayer… In faithfulness.. In trust…

… let us be ready and open to be led by the True Guide of our lives!

God bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Amongst all loves, God’s is so to be preferred, that we must always stand prepared in mind…

… to forsake them all, for that alone!”

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Apr 12 (Jn 10:31-42)

“We are strewn all over the ground.

Some of us are considered useless….

Some of us are just stamped upon…

Some are made use in some hard labour…

Some of us… well…some of us, however, are made use for some inhuman practices.

This includes making use of some of us, to hurt others… to cause pains and wounds to others…and some even to cause fatal deaths!

Our life is often long… but sometimes, such kind of painful moments and incidents, ooze out any bit of feelings we may have (though we are considered not to be having any sentiments!)

Are you wondering who we are?

Well…

… we are the family of stones!

Yep.. .Stones!

Strewn all over…

Sometimes useless, right?

Sometimes just stamped upon, right?

Sometimes just made use for hard labour, right?

But sometimes, some of us, the stones … also become objects of injuring and causing pain to others…

One such occasion was when, as you read in the Gospel of St John 8… some of us were picked up by a gang of highly malicious, judgmental and selfish people, to cause death to a woman who was caught in an act of immorality.

• We were ready to thrown on that woman.

• We were set to become objects of brutality and terror.

However, that day, we encountered the most amazing personality.

He had glorious eyes.

He had a breathtaking voice.

He had a tremendous authority.

His name was Jesus!

>> And His one sentence, “He who is without sin, let him be the first to stone” dropped the jaws of all those blood-thirsty and cruel people.

We were all released from their hands.

>> We saw them all turning their backs and going home, in shame.

>> We also saw, the wonderful triumph of Mercy and Love and Compassion.

However, a few days later, some of us were soon back to find ourselves in the hands of those blood-thirsty men.

>> This time, the target was none other than that same charismatic person named Jesus.

You read about that in John 10:31, “The Jews took up stones again to stone Jesus”

We were left wondering why this innocent man was being targeted so badly.

• He was after all preaching the Kingdom of God.

• He was bringing the message of God’s Love and salvation to the world.

By His Life, He was declaring Himself to be the Messiah from God.

>> By His works, He was also proving Himself to be the Son of God.

But none of these “clear-cut” evidences were able to convince those people.

• They still believed that Jesus was a blasphemer.

• They still were determined to think that Jesus was a heretic.

And so they picked us up…yes, we the stones… to indulge themselves in a blood-bath of the Blessed Man of claimed Himself to be the Lord and Saviour of the World!

Our thoughts go out to those people who wanted to stone….

• God had blessed them with such beautiful hearts.

• God had showered them with so much of wisdom to discern and understand.

Yet, they failed to make use of these divine gifts and instead, had hardened their hearts!

What a pity, that those human beings had become like us… stones!

Yes, just how could they become stone-hearted??

>> Stone-hearted… that they failed to be open to the possibility of God’s hand at work.

>> Stone hearted… that they were adamant to be closed to any explanation of the Lord.

>> Stone-hearted… that they were stubborn to listen to the voice of God’s Spirit in their lives.

We, the stones, now appeal to you, dear readers….To be wary and examine your lives:

Are you also sometimes acquiring a nature like us, the stones…

… hard to the feelings of other people and failing to understand them?

… rigid to the inspirations of the Spirit of God and not letting Him work in your lives?

… inflexible to have changes and transformations in life, to attune oneself to God’s Will?

There are many of us in the world…

>> On your streets, on your roads… we are all, indeed strewn all over the place…the stones.

But we sincerely beg you…

… not to let your hearts to become like us

… not to let your lives to be similar to our nature.

Let the world have more of, not stony-hearts, but tender, loving, understanding and compassionate hearts…

>> Let the world have more of, not hardened souls, but docile, open, submissive and humble lives…

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ We do not become perfect by the multiplicity of exercises, penances and austerities…

… but rather by the purity of love with which we do them!”

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Apr 11 (Jn 8:51-59)

It is said that during the First World War, in American towns any household that had given a son to the War…

… was entitled to place a star on the window pane.

A certain man was walking down a certain avenue in New York, accompanied by his little boy.

The lad became very interested in the lighted windows of the houses, and clapped his hands whenever he saw a star at the window pane of the houses.

As they passed house after house, he would say:

“Oh, look, daddy, there’s another house that has given a son to the war!

>> And there’s another! There’s one with two stars!

>> And look, there’s a house with no star at all!”

After quite some time, they came to a break in the houses.

Through the gap could be seen the evening star shining brightly in the sky.

The little fellow caught his breath and with an excited exclaim said:

“Oh, look, Daddy,” he cried, “God must have given His Son, for He has got a Star in His window.”

He has indeed!’ said Daddy!

Yes, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16)

This Gift of God – Jesus, the Son of God – is the point of controversy in today’s Gospel.

Not all people were able to digest this fact, that Jesus, could be fully divine.

>> Not all were able to grasp this aspect that Jesus, could be the Son of God.

It is such a debating discussion over the Divinity of the Lord that forms the chunk of the Gospel of the Day.

One of the constant companions of the Lord, all through His life was…

… being hated!

It was especially His declaration on having a Divine origin that generated greater sparks of hatred.

The debate continues between Jesus and the Jews.

>>The Jews had immense pride in calling themselves as the children of their Father, Abraham.

As the debate continues, the Lord puts forward the gem of His defense…the core of His revelation: “Truly truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn 8:58)

Those words hit the critics of the Lord, direct on the face…

“Before Abraham was, I AM!”

>> “I AM” was the title of God Yawheh!

>> “I AM” was the sole privilege of the Lord Almighty!

This was the name that was given by God to Moses: “I AM who am. This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you” (Ex 3:14)

>> It was pure blasphemy for any mortal to use it for oneself.

>> It was sheer heretical for any human to apply it to oneself.

I AM – the Name..

… demanded fear as to none other

… commanded respect as to no one

… contained awesomeness as in nothing else

And therefore, the Lord had to face the consequences of this “blasphemous” act:

“So they picked up stones to throw at Him” (Jn 8:59)

And so the life of the Lord expounds an important truth:

>> Where there is the mention of Divinity…

… there are forces of the evil seeking to cast it away.

>> Where there is the presence of the Divine…

… there are powers seeking to destroy the sacredness.

Jesus, the One hated the most, was the Most Divine.

>> Jesus, the One who was always contrary to the moods of the world, was the Most Divine

Fulton Sheen picks up this beautiful aspect, to present a secular, rational and a logical reasoning to see the Truth in the Holy Catholic Church.

We quote him here….

“If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world;

… in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hated.

My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh.

If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world!

>> Look for the Church…

… that is hated by the world as Christ was hated by the world!

… that is accused of being behind the times, as our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned.

… which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth.

… which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils.

… which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God.

… which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth.

… which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men.

… which amid the confusions of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly it is other worldly. since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself.

But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved.

>> Therefore the Church is Divine.”

Our own lives sometimes becomes an object of hate when we stand for Christ, the Truth

>> The more we tend towards being Divine…

… the greater is the opposition we face.

>> The more we tend towards being Spiritual…

… the higher is the shame we encounter.

Jesus, is the same, yesterday today and forever

As His true followers, we too will have to undergo agony, pain, humiliation and even suffering….

>> Let us be firm in His grace and stand bold, facing the challenges to our faith

>> Let us grow in our love and commitment to the Holy Church and share in Her suffering.

Let us deepen our Faith that “God has given His Son, for He has got a Star in His window”…

… and may this Bright Star – Jesus – always shine in our lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Nothing else purifies the intellect of ignorance and the will of depraved affections…

… better than prayer!”

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Apr 6 (Jn 7:40-52)

It’s pretty strange that sometimes contradictions that can actually help to recognise the truth!

For example:

If there is a similar looking pair of twins… how does one distinguish one from the other?

>> Obviously… we look into certain contradictions in the two – in appearance, in voice, in behaviour etc – to spot rightly, who is who.

If there are two similar appearing chains of gold… how does one distinguish the true one from the fake?

>> Obviously… we look into certain contradictions in the two, – the lustre, the hardness – to spot rightly, which is true and which is false.

Georges Bataille, a French intellectual and literary figure writes, “I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction”

This fact is clearly demonstrated in the life of Jesus – the Truth Incarnate.

>> He lived a life of contradictions.

>> He lived a life of paradox.

And therefore Christ had to undergo varied responses from those who encountered Him…

… very few understood Him, a little

… many of them failed to understand Him

… many of them even badly misunderstood Him

He remained The Truth – yet, the sign of contradiction.

The Gospel of the Day presents this deep contradiction that was experienced by the people of His time – including the religious leaders.

The passage records two conversations:

• The first one among the crowd

• The second one among the chief priests and the Pharisees

Both have a similar subject: Jesus.

Both have a similar dilemma: Confusion about Jesus.

The people in the crowd were confused in recognizing who really Jesus was.

>> The words of the Lord were so authoritative and astonishing that some considered Him as a prophet revisited and some even seeing Him as the Messiah (Jn 7:41).

However, others were not convinced and they began to debate on the origin of the Messiah.

The second conversation, between the chief priests and Pharisees, was not just about some personal opinions, but involved the proper following of the Law as well.

Nicodemus, the one who had met Jesus, one night, however , began to defend Jesus.

>> It was to him, that Jesus, on that night, had told, one of the most loved verses, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son; that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16)

After his encounter with the Truth-Incarnate, Nicodemus….

… the genuine seeker of truth, had the spark in his heart, kindled by the Lord of Love.

… the honest searcher of reality, had the longing within, nourished by the Lord of Holiness.

And so he stood firm and bold, to defend the One whom he perceived as the Truth!

But here, one also gets to see the deep hatred that was grooming in the minds of the leaders…

Nicodemus told that, in judging Jesus, it was necessary to follow the Law properly: “Does our law condemn a person, before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” (Jn 7:51)

He did not say that he agreed with Jesus…

He did not say that he denied Jesus could be a criminal…

>> All he said was to follow the law – to be just and fair!

But that statement provoked the anger of the other blinded-and-obstinate religious leaders!

The forces of confusion and dilemma watered him down, and contradictions reigned galore!

>> Where there is the proclamation of truth, there is the presence of many false screams, seeking to drown it hard!

>> Where there is the defence of truth, there is the defiance of many evil forces, wanting to do away with it!

Jesus is a sign of contractions.

He is The Truth.

• In His presence, no lie can stand.

• In His presence, no evil can withstand.

But it is this confusion, that can lead a person to understand the reality, if one is open and honest!

Yes, it’s pretty strange that sometimes contradictions that can actually help us to recognize The Truth!

G.K. Chesterton has said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

The Lord – the Truth Incarnate is ready to reveal Himself to those open at heart and honest in seeking Him.

• Are we ready to learn more from Him and to know Him more?

• Are we ready to draw the waters of Holiness from the Fountain of Truth?

• Are we ready to blaze our lives with the fire of passionate love from the Furnace of Truth?

Let us not be…

… confused by the Lord who was the sign of contradiction.

… puzzled by the Lord who was the sign of paradoxes.

Instead, let us be…

… convinced in the Lord of Truth!

… passionate for the Lord of Truth!

God bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ There are three things we must do to be at peace…

… have a pure intention to desire the honour and glory of God in all things

… do the little that we can, unto that end, following the advice of our spiritual father

… and leave all the rest, to God’s Care!”

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Apr 3 (Jn 5:17-30)

After the death of a great painter a young Italian boy went to the painting studio and asked for the great artist’s brush.

The boy tried the brush…

… but found he could not paint any better with it than with his own.

It was then he realized…

… the power of painting, was not in the brush

>> It was in the Master!

The boy lacked the master’s power.

It was the Power of the Master that created the beautiful paintings.

Jesus, displayed immense strength and courage…

… as a result of His Powerful Union with His Father!

>> This Power led Him to create “beautiful paintings” of Mercy and Love in the world.

The Gospel of the Day is an amazing revelation by Jesus on His relationship with the Father.

This passage has its background in the healing that Jesus performed on a Sabbath day, of a man who had been ill for a very long time – thirty-eight years (Jn 5: 1-16).

When the Jews found out from the healed person, that it was Jesus who had done this work, they were extremely furious.

Their objection was that…

… Jesus had done this miracle on a Sabbath

… Jesus had made the person to perform a work – of carrying the mat – on the Sabbath day.

They, therefore, began to persecute Jesus (Jn 5: 16).

But Jesus brought out a fair logic in defending Himself, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work” (Jn 5:17)

Here is an interesting statement… “My Father is at work until now”

This could brings us to an interesting doubt:

• Did God, keep the Sabbath Law, that He had given to the people of Israel?

The Law required the people to refrain from work on the Sabbath Day.

>> Did God do so?

>> Did God refrain from work on the Sabbath?

>> Did the Law-giver follow the Law that was given?

Well.. Gen 2:2 says that “God rested on the seventh day”….

But the Jews soon found out, that if God continued to do so… i.e. resting on the Sabbath day… then by Friday evening, at the start of the Sabbath…

…. the world would soon start collapsing!

… the universe would come to a standstill!

Therefore, when the commandment of Sabbath was expanded and expounded to specific do’s and don’ts, in order to sort of accommodate God, it was exhorted that…

…one could move something from one place to another in the house but not from one house to another.

For eg: a basket of fruits could be taken from one room to another, but not from one house to another…

And since, for God, the whole universe is His House, it is justified, that He can work inside His house!

Thus it was lawful for God to do the maintenance and sustenance of the world, even on the Sabbath day!

Drawing from this logic (or illogic!), Jesus now puts forward the truth and justification for His act of healing on the Sabbath, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work!” (Jn 5: 17)

• Jesus equates Himself to the Father….

• Jesus establishes Himself as the Son of God…

And He draws the point, that just as, on the Sabbath Day, His Father….

… creates and sustains, so is He renewing and bringing life to the world!

… supplies life and maintains, so is He nourishing and refreshing the world!

• Jesus, as the Son has every right and privilege to engage in life-saving works, just as His Father

• Jesus, as the Son has every justification and claim to do life-redeeming works, just as His Father

As followers of Jesus, we are to be the extension of His life-saving and redeeming works in the world…

… Am I willing to become a person, filled the power of the Lord, in order to bring healing to the world, by my deeds of kindness and goodness?

… Am I willing to become an extension of the Lord, imbued with His spirit, in order to spread His love and mercy to our broken and struggling world?

As followers of Jesus, we need to have the proper and true understanding of the Sabbath…

• The Sabbath is a day of solemn rest, holy to the Lord…

… Do I give it to the Lord, entirely, engaging only in deeds that help me come closer to Him?

• The Sabbath is a memorial of Israel’s liberation from bondage in Egypt

… Do I remind myself of being a person to be liberated from the bondage of sin, and seeking to grow in holiness?

• The Sabbath is sign of the irrevocable covenant between God and human beings…

… Do I renew the spirit of this pledge and promise to the Lord with salvific deeds of love?

Let us deepen our relationship and grow in our efforts to be more in union with the Lord…

… the One who guides the world, the One who sustains each of us and the One who fills life in all!

Jesus, displayed immense strength and courage…

… as a result of His Powerful Union with His Father!

>> This Power led Him to create “beautiful paintings” of Mercy and Love in the world.

Let us also realize that it is only by “the Power of the Master that we can create the ‘beautiful paintings’ of God’s Love and Mercy in this world”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ A good way of staying in God’s Presence is if we are, and ever wish to be…

… entirely at His disposal!”

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