Daily Devotional


Monday, April 9, 2018

Who are the poor and why was Christ so concerned about them?

“The entire crowd was trying to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all. Looking up at His disciples, Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” – Luke 6:19,20

among the poor

Not often are these two verses kept together and in sequence. We usually hear the quote beginning, ‘Blessed are the poor”. But when kept together, we observe the context … the large crowd pressing in on Christ and His disciples … the power flowing from Him … the excitement of the miraculous healings. And then, a detail often overlooked. In the context of this exciting success of the ministry … Christ looks up at His disciples and utters the words to them. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the realm of God.” We are the poor. We are not to be among the wealthy, but rather no matter our income … we are to identify with the poor; we are family with them and thus we share both our needs and our resources.

At another time, Christ told His disciples, “It is so difficult for the wealthy to enter into the realm of God.” To be wealthy does not help or prove that God is blessing you. But somehow to be poor, sincerely poor, thankfully poor, is helpful in beholding the emerging Kingdom. Somehow this emerging new Realm of God has the needs of the poor in mind.

Oh, we who are wealthy with money like to “spiritualize” this passage away. But I have come to believe that it is to be taken more literally than we tend to do. We who are wealthy are to identify and be concerned with the need of the poor. We who are wealthy can help the poorer members of our community and family. Our concerns are no longer about the wealthy but about the poor. And why? It was the Way of Christ and is to be the Way of the Christ within us and among us.

To be poor does not mean that we are impoverished but that we are prosperous in the compassion for those in need.

Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz



Saturday, April 7, 2018

If indeed we are called to carry on with the mission of Christ, what would that mission be?

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” – Luke 4:18,19

Christ reads from a scroll in his hometown synagogue, the scroll of Isaiah the prophet. And with its reading, Christ declares His mission statement. And it is a bold mission, a seemingly impossible mission, a life and world changing mission, a mission that turn the course of the human experience. And it is ours if we choose to pursue it. But with so many Christians now and years past, we busy ourselves with less noble endeavors.

This mission begins with the Presence of the Holy Divine, the Holy Spirit. This is not to be merely a human endeavor but rather a Divine endeavor undertaken with human voice and hand. This is what makes our work, Holy Work, the activity of the Lord within it.

helping the poor

The Holy Work is about bringing hopeful, good news to the poor. It is about giving the time and the soulfulness to bring healing to those who live with broken hearts. It is about setting free the prisoners with restorative justice. It is about helping to see life and circumstance, history and humanity with clearer vision. It is about ending oppression in all its forms, many of which carry the license of cultural approval. The Holy Work is declaring that the Time has come for this world to change its ways.

If we truly do have the Spirit of Christ within us each and within us all … then this is our Holy Work.

In His Service always,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz


Friday, April 6, 2018

Why is it that that some extremes of Christianity seem to become so un-Christ-like?

“Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs from the earth and righteousness looks down from heaven.…”– Psalm 85:10,11

BALANCESeldom a day passes when I do not bring to mind this Beautiful bit of understanding and its fruition of wisdom. “Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs from the earth and righteousness looks down from heaven.…” These words remind me that within holiness and the holy life all aspects of God’s nature must be held in balance. The heart overflowing with lovingkindness must yet speak up for what is true; right living and right attitudes must not tatter the fabric of holy peace. I remember to be kind in my declaring the truth and I remember to be peaceful even in when the prophet speaks righteousness. It is in maintaining this balance of justice and mercy, this balance of conscience and graciousness … that I can ever come close to living a holy life.

I am intrigued by the poetic phrasing of the Psalmist when he says that … the truth springs from the earth and righteousness pours down from heaven. On the one hand … we mortals must listen carefully to Creation and to look deeply into the human experience to discover and to perfect an understanding of the truth. Yet, on the other hand … we must look upward to the Perfection Divine with awe and humility to learn what is the righteous way and what is not.

Balance … pure Christianity is not found in the extremes, in the radicalized,

in the fury of zealots or in the fantasies of utopian dreamers … but in the balance of many virtues that seem to be at times so contrary to one another. Holiness and the holy life is not found in a world of either/or but in a world of both this and that.

Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz


Thrusday, April 5, 2018

What is meant by the idea of the “Holy Life”?

God has made everything beautiful in its time. God has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

For me, this is one of the most poetic lines in scripture. I find it filled with grace and hope.

“God has made everything beautiful in its time. God has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Here resides the first meaning of “holiness”, at least for me. These words provide an understanding of how a mere mortal, a sinner, could ever possibly live a “holy life”.

We can live a holy life, imperfect though it may be, because God created us to be Beautiful. Not in the sense of physical appearance perhaps, but in the quality of our soul and spirit.

We can live with a sense of holiness, imperfect though it may be, for God has placed the flow of our mortal days in the flow of the Eternal River. We can live in a holy manner for we can sense the Divine Perfection that beckons onward and upward toward the Beautiful Life, the Life of Christ embodied in our own. Yes, it is God who placed within us the latent image of all qualities Divine.

At least for me, holiness and the holy life is not about rules and laws, but rather about allowing the Divine Image (the Imago Dei) to emerge more fully into our human existence. At least for me, holiness and the holy life is not about styles of worship or trendy Christian affectations, but rather seeking to live as Divine Grace humanly expressed.

I am a sinner. I am mortal. But I am also Beautiful with eternity flowing through my soul.

Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

How do we Love Christ?

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the Mary Magdalene and the other women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb in which the body of Jesus of Nazareth had been placed.” – Luke 24:1

Mary Magdalene, a woman whose life experienced the healing touch of Christ, a woman who had washed His feet with her tears, went to do “widow’s work” before dawn. She ventured into a place where Roman soldiers were waiting. She ventured into a place of death. While the disciples hid behind closed doors … this woman dared to go into a dangerous, anxious, broken-hearted place. I find Mary Magdalene to be the patron saint of courage. Some might say it was her faith, I believe it was her love, both the love she had received and the love which she gave.

Mary MagdaleneIn the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, Mary Magdalene sings “I don’t know how to love Him, what to do, how to move Him, I’ve been changed, yes really changed, in these past few days, when I’ve seen myself I seem like someone else” Near the end of the musical, Simon Peter, the one who struggled with his fears at the arrest of Christ, the one who hid behind closed doors… sings those same words. “I don’t know how to love him.”

I suppose the life of Holy Devotion is a quest to answer that question …how do I love Christ? How do I bring that Essence of Love within my heart into Existence in the living of my soul?

As Time and Experience has slowly formed the living of my soul … I believe the answer is to truly Love others as Christ has loved me. And it is that healing touch of Christ-Love that changes both the one being loved and the one who is loving.

Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz


April 2, 2018


What comes after Easter?

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” – Proverbs 4:18

What comes after Easter? Well, … more and more of Easter, for Easter is an

Eternal Sunrise that comes day after day until the fullness of Forever.

On Easter morning, the sunrise rolled ‘round the Earth, mile by mile, moment by moment, time zone by time zone, nation by nation. The Easter sunrise was not one moment but rather an ongoing moment, a slow yet steady bringing of Morning Light to the world, revealing in the Light more and more of the world.

The Easter Progress through human history is a process much like sunshine on a newly seeded barley field. With each new day, more sunshine is added to that patch of the Earth, beckoning the seed to grow toward the Light. Within that seed is the “instinct” to awaken to the invitation of the Light. And with each passing day, in the accumulation of sunrises, the empty barley field becomes a glorious harvest.

Easter is more process than event. Easter is more a process of growth and transformation than a one-day celebration. Easter is the Christian experience of being awakened each day by the ongoing call to take a few more steps toward that More Perfect Love, the Love that transforms by way of the bestowing of grace …. Day after day after day.

What comes after Easter? Well … more and more of Easter.

Always in His Service,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz



With some churches, the clergy are called by the congregation to serve in their midst, while with other churches, the clergy are sent to serve in diverse places. What is meant by the concept of apostolic ministry?

“Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I have also sent them into the world. For them I sanctify Myself, so that they too may be sanctified by the truth.” – John 17:17-19

Jesuit priests, such as I, are sent into the world to further establish the Church. This is why we refer to our mission as an apostolic mission … sent into the places where the Church is needed. We are sent often into the realms-yet-explored. This demands a willingness to let go of the comforts and security of home in order to establish new Christian homes and hearths where there none or too few. We are explorers beyond the frontiers, minstrels of the Gospel in places where the Gospel is seldom sung, interpreters of the Truth to the cultures beyond our own.

In His ServiceWe who are sent are not comforters of the status quo, but rather the visionaries of what the future requires. We who are sent are not necessarily conquerors of cultures other than our own, but rather helpers for that culture to experience “Christ-ification”. We who are sent carry with us lanterns of Holy Light and not the swords of Holy Crusade. We are forever sojourners in this world.

I do believe that laity are both called and sent … called into a vocation that is tailored to their gifts, sent into the world to share those gifts. Who has the Lord called you to be? What has the Lord sent you to do?

Father Charitas de la Cruz



Are the scriptures the only place where the ways and works of God are revealed?

“The Lord makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. The Lord waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work. The Lord makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate-bringing forth food from the earth.” – Psalm 104:10-14

“To see God in all things” … it is both a credo and a mission statement for the Jesuits. Ignatian Spirituality so named after the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola. The Jesuit approach to Christian discipleship and Christian ministry is to look for God in all of Creation, in the lives of people, in the dynamics of culture, and in the course of history as well as in ongoing prayer and in the daily reading of scripture. When our eyes are washed by the waters of purifying grace and our hearts are intent about seeking the Presence of God … we can behold God at work in every place, in every moment, in every circumstance. God is everywhere, God is omni-present.

When one is, through much prayer, beholding life, one can behold the Divine dimension that so many other people who are too indifferent, too skeptical, too distracted cannot see. One can hear how thunder and whispering waters can carry the communication of God. One can see the Divine image that many people keep hidden beneath layers of acculturation. One can feel the pulse of God in the pulse of life. One can catch the fragrance of Heavenly Realms in the scent of the mountain pines.

This spiritual emphasis recognizes the Realm of God midst the realms of earth. This spiritual emphasis allows the mortal soul to view earthly existence in the spectrum of Heavenly Light.

Father Charitas de la Cruz



One Christian says, “This is the truth”, while another says, “No, that is not the truth, but this is.” How can a person ever know what are truly the ways and wishes of God?

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,”- Philippians 1:9-10
An emphasis of Christian spirituality of the Jesuits is the refining of one’s sense of discernment. Through a process of prayer, we can slowly discern what is of God and what is not of God. Through an extended process of prayer, we can slowly begin to see the purer understanding, the clearer, fuller, deeper understanding of the more Perfect Truth. Through an ongoing spirit of prayerfulness, we can slowly discern the deeper understanding that is beyond the surface understanding.

In this world of ours where we are drowning in a flood of opinions, some more researched than others, some seemingly not researched at all, how do we sift through it all to find the truth?

A first step is to find that quiet place where all the words slow down allowing the thoughts to have their necessary time to form. Noisy cymbals and angry voices are deafening to the contemplative soul of the Christian who yearns to understand by discerning with the help of the Lord’s Spirit. The second step is to empty one’s soul of clamor, to silence that cacophony of opinions that echo in one’s mind, to allow that crowd within our modern minds to disperse, to still the tempest so that still, quiet waters remain. The third step is to bring vividly to mind the Presence of the Lord, so vivid that the Lord seems to sit their beside you … and there you begin to converse. Ask questions of the Lord. Share the whisperings of your soul that seem to struggle to find their words. Take responsibility for the prejudice you carry with you. Open your soul so that the Lord carrying a lantern of pure, holy Light might guide your self-awareness into the shadows the lurk within you. Ask the Lord to let you see as He views the matter needing discernment. Plead with the Lord to wash the blinding dust from your eyes.

Discernment is a patient process, an intentional process, a demanding process … and this is why discernment is so rarely practiced.

Lord, slow me down, search my heart and mind, wash me pure as clear, fresh water. Amen.

Father Charitas de la Cruz