THREE MINUTES A DAY

A perennial favorite, our annual book offers inspirational stories and reflections for each day of the year.  View a selection of current reflections here on the site, order the current volume in our shop or to subscribe to receive Three Minutes reflections free-of-charge daily...

January 28

A Little Kindness Can Change the World

         In times of tragedy, the best in humanity can often be highlighted. This was certainly the case when 10-year-old Hannah Imig of Chesterfield, Missouri, made a heartfelt plea on Facebook for funds to be raised for her local police department.

         “Police officers are very important people, right?” Hannah’s letter began. “They protect us even when it’s dangerous. They sacrifice themselves for strangers…But because a lot of the stores and restaurants shut down, there was a loss of sales tax, and the police had to cut their payroll….I thought we could brighten their day by doing a fundraiser for them.”

         “And to make the world an even better place,” Hannah’s letter concluded, “we can buy gift cards from stores that have shut down, that way the police and the small businesses can benefit… Remember, a little kindness can change the world.”

         Hannah’s fundraiser raised $2,400 in just a day and a half, enough for 232 gift cards, two cards per officer. What a beautiful testament to the fact that one person truly can make a difference!

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted. (Ephesians 4:32)

Lord, may we strive to bring more positivity into the world.

January 27

Honoring Victims

         January 27, 2020, marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. For survivors of the Nazi death camp, it was a time to remind the world that the victims of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.

         NPR highlighted the account of 96-year-old Alina Dabrowska, who was sent to Auschwitz as a young woman after being arrested for aiding Allied forces. After the war, she raised a family and had a successful career in Poland’s foreign ministry.

         Like many survivors, she spent years without speaking publicly about her ordeal. But recently, that has changed, and now she travels to Germany twice a month to tell her story to young people.  

She says, “Those children will grow up one day and they

   will be the ones deciding about how to rule the world. It is important [to talk about it] in order to develop the conviction that war is not a good thing, in order to seek peace and try to talk about it, in order to think that it is us who are responsible for this earth and for passing it on, undamaged, to the next generations.”

My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and My  covenant of peace shall not be removed. (Isaiah 54:10)

Lord, give me the strength to help others learn from my suffering.

January 26

FaceTime for Nana

         With the onslaught of the coronavirus last year, many freedoms taken for granted were lost, one of them being able to go visit grandparents at nursing homes. School nurse and Massachusetts resident Sarah Otis Firth felt deeply for the elderly and their extended families. “I thought of these poor people in the nursing homes,” she told The Standard Times. “They’re so scared and isolated. I wish I could get a bunch of iPads to give to them [to make FaceTime calls with their loved ones].”

Firth soon found the means to put her wish into action. With her friend Jill Valadao, she established a Facebook fundraiser called “FaceTime for Nana.” Their goal was to raise $300 for one iPad. In the following weeks, however, thousands of dollars were donated and numerous iPads purchased.

A local nursing home, Alden Court Nursing Care, became one of the first iPad recipients. They sent back a message of thanks, saying that 75 FaceTime calls had been made, and the residents and families could not be more grateful. Jill concluded, “Our society needed to slow down and be reminded of what really matters…Look for the good…There’s a lot of good.”

A gift opens doors. (Proverbs 18:16)

Abba, may we always value human connection.

January 25

Revolution of the Heart, Part 3                

Throughout her life, Dorothy Day engaged in difficult work, and many pictures show her as being serious. Yet documentarian Martin Doblmeier found an audio clip of Day talking about joy. She said, “Frankly, you can have a sense of joy just in serving the people that are in need around you. And a sense that your vocation is being fulfilled.”

Doblmeier explained, “That was a wonderful line, especially for young people…[who ask], ‘What is my place in the world?’…Vocation was something that Day felt very clear about: the idea that God is calling you to some kind of place in the world. And if you can find that, you can find joy in doing it.

“When you look at the film, I’ve been told that Day looks dour sometimes. But we found a photograph of her smiling. It was a quiet moment when she was reading to an elderly woman. There’s joy in serving other people. Even though they’re poor, [they] give back to you what you’re giving to them. And that becomes your vocation. In the midst of your vocation, feeling as though your life has a purpose, you can find unspeakable joy.”

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

Teach me to find joy in giving, Divine Messiah.

January 24

Revolution of the Heart, Part 2

After her conversion to Catholicism, Dorothy Day met a French man named Peter Maurin, who insisted that she needed to understand Catholic social teaching. He told her, “You need to start a newspaper and think about how you can respond in a creative way to the needs of the poor. You have to start living the beatitudes in a different way.”

Day found Maurin annoying at first because he wouldn’t leave her alone. But finally she came to the conclusion, “Maybe this is the man that God [sent] to me. Maybe this is the voice that I need to be listening to.”

Together, Day and Maurin founded the Catholic Worker movement, which published its own newspaper and opened houses of hospitality where the poor could live and eat together. In addition, Day adopted “voluntary poverty” herself.

Martin Doblmeier, filmmaker of the Day documentary Revolution of the Heart, said, “Day felt as though you can’t be serving the poor from the top down. You have to live together with them and be poor like them.” More tomorrow…

How does God’s love abide in [one] who…sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? (1 John 3:17)

Open my eyes to the needs of others, Jesus.

 

January 23

Revolution of the Heart, Part 1

In 2020, Christopher Award-winning filmmaker Martin Doblmeier profiled Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, in his documentary Revolution of the Heart.

During a Christopher Closeup interview, Doblmeier noted that even in her early years, when she was a communist, Day felt haunted by God. She tried to suppress her religious sensibilities, but they were always bubbling back up to the surface because she was drawn to activities, such as reading the Psalms.

After giving birth to a daughter named Tamar out of wedlock, Day wanted to marry the father, Forster Batterham. But he had no interest in making that kind of commitment, which led her to take stock of her life. Having read Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ and other religious literature, Day had Tamar baptized in the Catholic Church and soon decided to become Catholic herself.

Even after her conversion, though, Day still wasn’t sure of her place in the world and how to live out her faith. Then, a man named Peter Maurin changed her life. More tomorrow…

I believe; help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

There are times when I struggle to believe in You, Lord. Lead me to a deeper faith.

 

January 21

A Divinely Inspired Career Change

After graduating from the University of Illinois with an engineering degree, Jessica Lambert got a job at a company that helped buildings reduce their energy load. She considered this work a way of serving God, but still felt something missing in her life. After turning to God in prayer, she felt the call to serve others by becoming a nun.

As reported by Vince Gerasole of CBS2 Chicago, Lambert joined the order of the Franciscans of the Eucharist, where she will “work to feed the poor at their food pantry and teach religion in nearby schools—and spread the word of God’s compassion.”

Interestingly, Sister Jess didn’t attend Catholic schools growing up. And the only nuns she was exposed to were via the movies Sister Act and The Sound of Music.

When asked how her goals have changed, she responded, “It used to be this grandiose idea of having an engineering job and building the bridges that would have people walk to where they needed to. But now it’s just answering God’s call each day to do a good deed, and to love Him through loving others.”

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling. (Ephesians 4:4)

Father, may we listen for Your Divine Call in all we do.

January 20

Lesson From a Two-Year-Old                 

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut!” That’s a line from the Dr. Seuss book Oh, The Places You’ll Go. It’s also the quote on the front of two-year-old Rose McGrady’s favorite T-shirt. Her mom Katie reflected on those words in a column for Catholic News Service.

She wrote, “[They remind] me to keep my eyes open rather than turned down at a screen...to pay attention and to look for the wonder, especially in the quiet, mundane, ordinary moments that could pass by entirely unnoticed.”

For Katie, watching the way Rose lives brings that message home. She said, “[Rose] runs through the house and yard with endless energy...She watches TV, reads books, eats meals, dances and plays games with a committed joy...Her eyes are wide open, and her desire to soak in life is unmatched.

“She has, in a very tangible way, an unalterable, unassailable, visible, obvious and even enviable spirit of hope because her eyes are open. She isn’t missing the best things, but soaking them all in.”

Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

Help me to regain my childlike joy and wonder, Creator.

January 19

The Importance of Trust

         It was early on a winter morning many years ago, and the roads around Ridgefield, Connecticut, were icy. Joseph Samaha was at the wheel of a school bus carrying 52 youngsters. He said later that he saw the car coming down the hill toward him but there wasn’t much he could do, because to hit the brakes would have sent the bus into a skid.

         In the resulting accident, the bus crashed into the guard rail and toppled over the embankment. Gasoline fumes filled the bus, so Samaha quickly climbed out his window and opened other windows and exits. “I had to get the kids out,” he said. “I didn’t know if there was going to be a fire.”

         Not only did he get them out, but one woman remembered that he returned to the bus “to look for lost books or glasses.”

         Samaha didn’t feel he had done anything special, however. “The parents put the kids in your hands,” he commented. “If they trust you with that, the least you can do is follow it up.”

Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. (Luke 16:10)

Help me to become a trustworthy person, Jesus.

January 18

Words of Wisdom

On Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we recall several of his memorable quotes:

■ “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

■ “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and enables the man who wields it.”

■ “Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

■ “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

■ “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Love one another. (John 13:34)

Build my intelligence, character, and faith, Messiah.

January 17

CEO Slashes Own Salary to Give Raises

Dan Price isn’t a typical boss. As CEO of Gravity Payments, he took a million dollar salary cut in 2015 in order to provide all his employees a starting annual salary of $50,000 (most employees had been making only $30,000). Four years later, he flew to the new Idaho office to share even better news to his employees: a commitment to pay everyone at least $70,000 by 2024.

Price told the Today Show that there was “general excitement and gratitude all around. I received a lot of high fives, hugs, and handshakes that day. It was a tremendous feeling.”

Price was inspired to start his minimum income experiment after reading an article detailing how more money can make a crucial difference in fostering happiness. And what a difference it has made! Since the first pay increase, many employees were able to pay down debt and live a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Price is hoping to inspire other CEOs and companies to learn from his example: “I took a seven-figure pay cut in order to afford the initial increase, and my life has gotten richer for it.”

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life. (John 6:27)

Lord, guide me to make sacrifices that will benefit others.

January 16

                                 An Angel 900 Miles Away                                    

When Kimberly Williams started her shift at a Comcast Cable call center near Clinton, Mississippi, little did she know she would save a man’s life that day.

In August 2019, Williams answered a call from Dan Magennis of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and noticed that something sounded wrong. His speech was slurred, and Williams realized Magennis was having a stroke. “It happened so fast,” she recalled on the Today Show. “He was talking to me, and I couldn’t understand what he was saying.”

Feeling helpless, and 900 miles away, she kept talking to him on the other end of the line and Googled help in that area.  She called the fire department, who sent EMTs and police to rescue the 65-year-old. They reached Magennis in time and rushed him to the hospital where they restored his blood flow.

“She doesn’t know me, but what she did, it was phenomenal,” Magennis declared. “She saved [me].”

Save Your servant who trusts in You. You are my God. (Psalm 86:2)

Lord, please protect and send help to those who need Your saving grace.

January 15

When Life Gives You Pears, Part 4

In her Christopher Award-winning memoir When Life Gives You Pears, Jeannie Gaffigan recalls her arduous recovery from brain surgery and the lessons God taught her along the way. Gratitude remains a central lesson because there was a long period when Jeannie wasn’t able to take a sip of water, a breath of air on her own, or even speak a word. As a result, she no longer keeps these commonplace abilities for granted.

During a Christopher Closeup interview, she concluded, “Live your day in gratitude because gratitude makes you kind. Gratitude is the seed of all good things…And if you have gratitude for the small things, like swallowing water or smelling your kid’s head, it radiates out and affects your whole life.

“Because I’m still suffering some effects of this surgery physically, it’s easy for me to keep a sense of gratitude because it is still hard to swallow. It is still hard to breathe sometimes. It is still hard to speak…But my advice to people is to put a post-it note on your laptop [that says], ‘Be grateful’ as a constant reminder, because it’s so easy to start listening to the noise of the stresses of life and forget that you’re alive.”

Give thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Remind me to take nothing for granted, Savior.

January 14

When Life Gives You Pears, Part 3

While recovering from brain surgery, Jeannie Gaffigan felt that God was giving her several commandments that would affect how she approached life with her husband, comedian Jim Gaffigan, and their five children.

These commandments included, “Tell Jim and your children you love them every day,” “Praise their strengths and be patient with their weaknesses as you guide them,” “Teach them to serve others,” and “Remember that people are more valuable than accomplishments.”

On Christopher Closeup, Jeannie explained, “I called them commandments because I was being funny. But they were like spiritual direction from the source of wisdom that resides in all of us, which I believe is God. He’s talking to us, and we’re not tuned into it. So I feel like God said that I need to enjoy the moments that He’s given me with these kids, my friends, my family, and I need to experience gratitude instead of trying to control everything.”

More tomorrow…

The Lord is my shepherd…He restores my soul. (Psalm 23:1,3)

Jesus, give me the spiritual direction that I need.

January 13

When Life Gives You Pears, Part 2

Jeannie Gaffigan was used to managing her family’s life and being addicted to control. But that all changed when she was diagnosed with a pear-sized tumor on her brain stem. She had to learn to let go of some of her ego and humble herself, asking God to guide her through this trying time.

After miraculously being led to the neurosurgery team at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, Jeannie underwent surgery, which was successful. However, she couldn’t eat, drink, or talk for what seemed like an eternity.

She recalled on Christopher Closeup, “[When I was healthy], I [avoided] listening to my inner voice when God was talking to me. So when I was in a situation where I could not move and couldn’t eat and couldn’t do anything, I went into a forced period of cloistered monastery in my own mind. That’s when I [discovered] that I was regretful about what I had not done with my life…I wasn’t really experiencing life and motherhood in a pure way. I felt like I wanted another chance.”

More tomorrow…

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from Him. (Psalm 62:5)

Remind me to listen to Your voice in my life, Jesus.

January 12

When Life Gives You Pears, Part 1

Jeannie Gaffigan is the wife and writing/producing partner of comedian Jim Gaffigan and mother of their five children. She is also outspoken about the importance of her Catholic faith. Her introduction to God came in her family’s home in Milwaukee, where she grew up as the eldest of nine children.

During a Christopher Closeup interview, Jeannie recalled her mom emphasizing that God was always with her. There was also “the tradition of going to Mass every week,” said Jeannie. “It became ingrained in my cultural identity that that’s what you do on Sunday: you get up, fight with your siblings, go to Mass, complain on the way…and then you have a big family dinner.”

For a time in young adulthood, Jeannie stopped attending Mass and treated God like a “sugar daddy,” appealing to Him for help on a school test or finding a parking spot. As life got more complicated, she went back to church because she wanted to be part of something that helped her connect with the invisible, transcendent reality that she felt existed beyond the senses. That became more important than ever when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor many years later. More tomorrow…

Do not reject your mother’s teaching. (Proverbs 1:8)

May all families model love and faith, Creator.

January 11

              Love Must Win the Day               

Political differences have led to much animosity between people in recent years, but singer-songwriter Sarah Hart is determined not to let anger dominate her relationships. She wrote this message on her Facebook page:

“Dear friends, just a note to tell you that I love you, and I appreciate your humanity. I don’t know where you stand politically, but this can never be the deciding factor about whether or not I love you. Hatred is the great divider, and…evil loves nothing more than when we stand against each other. I want to stand with you and for you in love.

“I can fully believe that you are misguided in some way, and yet still love you as a brother or sister. You can do the same for me. I know this is difficult to do, but this is what being a Christian means, and this is what Christ commanded of us: ‘love one another, as I have loved you.’ My prayer is that we can all find ways to look beyond our [disagreements]…Hatred and anger have never saved the day, nor ever won a heart to the side of light. Love alone has done this. Let it be so.”

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. (Proverbs 10:12)

May love guide all my relationships, Father.

January 10

Lifting the Mood of a Stranger

Talking to a stranger or even making eye contact with someone in an elevator tends to be scary for most individuals, and most of us resort to staring down at our phones. But research suggests that doing the opposite and striking up a conversation with that stranger may brighten not only their day but your own.

A recent study by University of British Columbia psychologist Elizabeth Dunn and her colleague Gillian M. Sandstrom tested whether short conversations with strangers promote happiness. They did a study where half of the participants would go into Starbucks for coffee and leave without speaking, whereas the other half would strike up a conversation.

They found that the people who engaged in “a quick social interaction left Starbucks in a better mood,” Dunn told WBUR News. “And they even felt a greater sense of belonging in their community.”

Fear often prevents us from enjoying these interactions, so the next time you’re looking to add happiness to your day, put your smartphone away and enjoy a conversation with a stranger.

The kiln tests the potter’s vessels; so the test of a person is in his conversation.

(Sirach 27:5)

Lord, help me to brighten the day of a stranger.

January 9

Dignity, Not a Dumpster

A Little Caesar’s restaurant in Fargo, North Dakota, has been applauded by the community for a rare sign posted on its doors. It began when customers complained that homeless people were seen digging through the dumpster behind the restaurant for food. 

In response, store manager Michelle Lussier put a sign on the front door that read: “To the person going through our trash for their next meal, you’re a human being and worth more than a meal from a dumpster. Please come in during operating hours for a couple slices of hot pizza and a cup of water at no charge. No questions asked.”

Her approach to “dealing with the situation,” which is what customers and others asked her to do, was to respond with a kind gesture that treated the homeless with dignity and compassion. It has also resulted in a lot of positive press. The store owners were supportive of Lussier’s endeavor and now have a donation box inside the restaurant to help the homeless.

Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of My family, you did it to Me. (Matthew 25:40)

Jesus, help us respond compassionately to those in need.

January 8

The Letter

       In 1991, Corky Hawthorne was an alcoholic who got into a devastating car accident while driving drunk. Nobody else was injured, but he was badly hurt. While in the hospital, he got many letters from well-wishers, including a six-page letter from an Eddie Walker who had been at the scene of the accident.

         Eddie wrote about his personal faith, how he had been in a similarly dark place until Christ came through for him, and how God had spared Corky’s life for a reason. At the time Corky dismissed the letter, but he couldn’t seem to throw it away.

A year later, Corky had begun drinking again. Through an intervention by his family and friends, he realized that he needed to go to rehab. And on Good Friday, 1992, he humbly asked God for help.

Eddie’s letter was an important part of his conversion. Corky wrote in Guideposts, “Though I don’t remember the strangers who saved my life that night, I will never forget the message they helped deliver—that I could become a new man, transformed forever by God.”

You have been born anew…through the living and enduring word of God.

(1 Peter 1:23)

Jesus, help me to share my faith with those who need to know You.

January 7

Vet Friends Foundation

         Five years ago, Detroit resident and Navy veteran Joel Rockey created the Vet Friends Foundation, a nonprofit that pairs seasoned military veterans with older senior dogs in need of love and companionship.

Rockey came up with the idea after he returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, having been away for five years. Looking for newfound purpose, he soon discovered a stray senior pug dog during a snowstorm. The canine was blind, deaf, and severely injured, but Rockey and his family took in the dog, whom they named Lurch, and nursed him back to health.

Although Joel only had Lurch for three months before he passed, he never felt so full of life and more importantly, needed, than when he had him.

“As a vet myself, I think veterans, when they get out of the military, aren’t asked to do anything anymore,” Rockey says. “Everyone is thanking them, but they’re not being asked to do anything. When they’re taking care of a senior animal, they’re needed and it creates a new sense of value in their life.”

Who teaches us more than the animals? (Job 35:11)

God, may we trust in Your ability to work good through us.

January 6

A Healing Prayer

During the coronavirus pandemic, when the entire country was under quarantine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Christian Church composed this healing prayer: “O Lord Jesus Christ, in Your loving care, You traveled through towns and villages, ‘curing every disease and illness.’ Come to our aid now…that we may experience Your healing love.

“Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. May they regain their health and strength…As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping each other.

“Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected…Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they… serve…Healer of all…stay by our side. For You are a Merciful and Loving God, and to You we give glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…to the ages of ages. Amen.”

The prayer of faith will save the sick. (James 5:14)

Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy namesake.

January 5

Trebeks Are Models of Generosity

Jeopardy host Alex Trebek has taught us a lot of facts over the last 36 years. But he and his wife Jean are also models of generosity. They established a two million dollar scholarship fund for students in Harlem, New York, who attend their son’s alma mater, Fordham College at Rose Hill.

As reported by Fordham News, the couple was honored with the school’s 2020 Founders Award. University President Father Joseph McShane said, “[Alex] teaches us about how to live each day with purpose, with focus, with determination, with love, and without being obsessed with oneself.”

In his acceptance speech, Alex Trebek touched on his battle with stage four pancreatic cancer and the support he’s received, stating, “If there’s one thing I discovered this past year, it is that power of prayer. I learned it from the Jesuits when I was a kid, I learned it from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate when I was in boarding school.” He concluded, “If you have compassion in your heart, everything is possible…If we are able to affect society in a positive way, then our lives will not be for naught.”

To the sensible person education is like a golden ornament. (Sirach 21:21)

Lord, allow me to help educate those without resources.

January 4

Getting Help is a Strength, Not a Weakness

Emily Norton felt physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Her husband Chris had been injured during a college football game and left a quadriplegic, so she took it upon herself to tend to his every need. In addition, the couple also began foster parenting a teen named Whittley.

Chris saw that Emily was overextended and even suffering from depression, so he suggested hiring a caretaker to help him. But Emily refused to acknowledge she couldn’t do everything herself. As a result, she kept getting worse.

Then, the couple decided to start attending church again and everything changed. It was one Sunday sermon in particular that had an impact. As reported in Guideposts, “[The pastor] talked about how a really independent person going through a hard time might realize they had to depend on God.”

Emily realized that described her to a tee. She hired a caretaker, and started seeing a therapist and taking medication. The fog of depression soon lifted. Emily concluded, “I realized that getting help is a strength, not a weakness...I’ve learned to surrender the weight to God...and just focus on what I can do.”

I will satisfy the weary. (Jeremiah 31:25)

Grant me the humility to ask for help when I need it, Jesus.

January 3

Lend a Hammer and a Hand

Jack Crawford needed a solution to help his ailing wife Mary. After moving into a house surrounded by trees in New York’s Putnam County, Mary was diagnosed with spinal cancer. She endured surgery to deal with tumors that were crushing her spine and, as a result, was left mostly paralyzed from the neck down.

Their son Jared, now a producer for the Today Show, recalled that in order to get to doctor’s appointments, Jack had to carry Mary “out the door, up the steep footpath through the trees, and into the car waiting in the driveway.”

It was a challenge for everyone involved, so Jack decided he would build a bridge over the landscape to serve as a ramp. He hired a few contractors and then left flyers in their new neighbors’ mailboxes that read, “Lend a hammer and a hand.”

Volunteers showed up with “tools, food, and good intentions.” The bridge was completed in one weekend, and a community’s coming together made life just a little easier for Mary in the remaining three years of her life.

All their neighbors aided them. (Ezra 1:6)

Holy Spirit, inspire me to lend a hand to someone in need whenever I can.

January 2

New Heart, New Family

Nurses are known for having big hearts, and that’s certainly true of Lori Wood, who works at Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Coweta County, Georgia. In fact, she is largely responsible for a 27-year-old autistic man receiving the heart transplant he needed to stay alive.

After being hospitalized following a fall, Jonathan Pinkard discovered he needed a heart transplant. But Pinkard had no real home, family, or support system. As reported by the Today Show, Wood asked to become his legal guardian two days after meeting him. She said, “God places people in situations in your life, and you have the choice to do something about it. And I guess…for this situation there was no choice. It really wasn’t anything I struggled about. He had to come home with me.”

Not only did Wood give Pinkard a home that allowed him to have transplant surgery, she also gave him motherly love. The two have bonded over “football and Family Feud,” and she’s helping him understand how to manage his finances. Pinkard says, “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”  

I will not leave you orphaned. (John 14:18)

Help me to love the people You put in my path the way You love me, Savior.

January 1

In with Honey, Out with Vinegar

God is always encouraging us to grow into the people He created us to be. But sometimes this growth can be a struggle because it forces us to confront the parts of ourselves that keep us from developing physically, professionally, morally, emotionally, or spiritually.

Here is a wise insight from St. Augustine about approaching this struggle with the right frame of mind: “Consider that God wants to fill you up with honey, but if you are already full of vinegar where will you put the honey? What was in the vessel must be emptied out; the vessel itself must be washed out and made clean and scoured, hard work though it may be, so that it be made fit for something else, whatever it may be.”

Reflect on your life and consider if God is trying to rid you of some sourness in order to make room for sweetness. He only wants what is best for you. Put yourself in His hands and trust that He will lead you in the right direction.

I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you. (Psalm 81:16)

You know me better than I know myself, Lord. Help me to become the best version of myself.

December 31

A Deacon’s Resolutions for All

“Exercise and lose weight. Save money. Travel.”

Deacon Greg Kandra noted that a survey showed those were people’s top resolutions for two years in a row. So on his blog, he suggested making resolutions inspired by Mary, the mother of Jesus. Deacon Greg wrote:

“First, let us resolve to be open to miracles and to listen to angels, wherever and however we may find them. Let’s be prepared to expect the unexpected—and to welcome what God brings us as a gift of grace...

“Resolve to serve, and to do it for others with haste, as Mary served her cousin Elizabeth. Let us resolve to magnify God, so our souls and our lives and everything we are can beautifully and boldly proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let us resolve to live our lives in a way that honors and celebrates His work in the world...

“In times of anxiety and trial may we, like Mary and Joseph, resolve to still seek Jesus when we fear we have lost Him—and trust that God will help us to find Him.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5)

Lead me to be more like Your mother, Jesus.

The Christophers - It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness
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