A Walk by Faith, Not Sight

January 8th, 2023

Reflection for The Epiphany of the Lord

How often do we try to have God come to our terms rather than force ourselves to come to His? How often do we derail God’s plan because we trust in ourselves more than we trust Him? And how often do our own plans end up doing us more harm than good? We are a Christian people that believe in the Lord and His promises and yet our own brokenness continues to mislead us time and time again. This week we hear the familiar story of the Magi who traveled a great distance so as to pay homage to the King of the Jews. Who were these Magi and where did they come from? They were Zoroastrians and astrologers; they had no allegiance to the Judeo-Christian God and yet allowed themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to come and worship this unknown King. They followed the star and brought gifts to the Babe, both homages having been foretold but carrying no significance to the esteemed travelers. And they listened to an angel in a dream and slipped away silently so as to not place the Christ-Child under the sword of one of Herod’s soldiers. Imagine for a moment what could have been, should the Magi have followed their own will rather than that of a God that was not their own.

Christ calls us to the humility of a child, the pureness of a child, and the trust of a child. If we have complete abandonment of ourselves and evict our own desires, we make more room for God and His perfect desires for us. We have a lot to learn from these strangers who traveled from afar to prostrate themselves in front of a child, their minds potentially full of self-doubt, uncertainty, or repugnance. Yet, they so beautifully unified themselves to the will of the Father, not quite grasping the immense significance of their doing so. If these men from distant lands with different gods were so eager to walk by faith and not by sight, what is stopping us?

Mrs. August Walkowski

Dominican blog reflection for Christmas, December 25

Is. 52: 7-10; Heb. 1:1-6;

John 1: 1-18.

Isaiah tells us that before our eyes the Lord is restoring man and all will behold the salvation of our God. No matter how bleak the situations are in the world, we have unwavering trust in God. He is the King of all creation and fulfills His promises of love and restoration.

In Hebrews we are reminded that He sustains all things by His mighty Word. He stooped to rescue us from the yoke of sin by taking our nature and living perfectly as a human. His love for all His creation was met by hate from those who hold worldly power and influence. They wanted the power that was His, again repeating the sin of our first parents. Opposition to us as professing Christians cannot deter us from our mission to make Him known and loved.

In John’s gospel we see that all things came to be through Him, yet, most men refused to recognize Him. Persecution did not stop His love nor deflect Him from His saving mission. He broke the yoke of slavery of men to sin. We now have the choice to reject or serve God. He gave us the path to everlasting lifewith our omnipotent Creator. 

The choice is ours. The path to Him is narrow and difficult. We can’t even imagine the wonders of life with and in Him. Nor can we fully recognize the truly tragic path of rejecting Him and being forever separated from Love. Our loving Savior has restored joy, hope and salvation to His creation. Let us rejoice in this wonderful celebration of His coming.

Mrs. Marilyn Pipkin, OP

Sunday, November 18, 2022

Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, Letter, Saint Paul to the Romans 1:1-7, Gospel according to Matthew 1:18-24


“The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying: Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!” How many times do you hear people say, “Oh, that’s a sign!” and others tempt God by asking for a sign, behaving in a superstitious manner?

When we are troubled and long to see the road ahead and there is chaos and confusion all around, the “wisest” thing we can do is pray to God and ask Him for wisdom, understanding and prudence. If we humble ourselves before Him he will give us these gifts of the Spirit.

Saint Paul

Paul says he is called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, the gospel about His Son, who descended from David according to the flesh and through the resurrection from the dead he brought about the obedience of faith for the Gentiles as well as the Jews, for all peoples.

Matthew’s Gospel

The gospel proclaims that the birth came about when Mary was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Mary was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Jesus. She was already betrothed to Joseph when the angel Gabriel announced the birth. May said, “Let it be done unto me according to your word.” When Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy, he decided to divorce her quietly, but the same angel Gabriel told him in a dream “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” Joseph took her into his home. After Mary’s exalted position, Saint Joseph is the greatest saint in heaven. By the way, Mary (or Miriam) means “exalted one” or “bitterness”. She is highly exalted but also suffered the bitterness of the crucifixion of her Son.

Isaiah said, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

We need to spend this last week of Advent “pondering in our hearts” like Mary over the Incarnation:  “And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  God walked with the people of Israel, but we are privileged to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, even daily if we wish.

Luke is 24 chapters in all.  If we read one chapter a day, that takes us to Christmas eve.  Why not start now and “catch up”?  Saint Jerome said, “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

Mrs. Peggy Brechtel, OP


By: Ms. C. A. Riley, OP



How joyful are you this Advent? Can you see the wonder and rejoice in the Lord? If not, what are you waiting for? In the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, we are told that even the desert and dry lands rejoiced in the Lord, for they will flower and bear fruit. How is this possible you ask? Faith! faith in the Lord our God. With him all things, even those things that seem quite impossible for us are fulfilled by merely a word from God. Even the apostle James tells us that through our faith all the sufferings of this world will be wiped away by God. 

Jesus himself tells the disciples of John to watch and then report what they have seen. So why is it we still find it hard to believe that even in suffering there is relief and even in evil there is good? Are we looking or are we blind? When will our eyes be opened to the miracles that play out even today? It takes faith and I encourage you, my brothers, and sisters in Christ to pray for those less fortunate this Advent and when Christmas Day arrives, take a moment to be grateful for what you have been given.

An excerpt from a forthcoming writing on Catholic morality, titled “Giving the Tools”.

By Mr. Joseph Walkowski

08 December 2022

In a precursor to the now-common warfare between personal political opinion and the persistent voice of natural law, Pontius Pilate sought to disrupt neither of these warring parties and instead commanded for Christ to be scourged. As all men know, the brutalization of God was not enough for the world and so His Life was demanded as well. Upon His Resurrection, though, justice was demanded even more clamorously. Men, women, and children began to follow Him, so their lives too were taken. Holy days were demarcated for the celebration of Our Lord and His mother, but these were seized by men who vainly assumed such celebrations were theirs to seize! The triumphant feasts of Saints Patrick, Valentine, and Nicholas were wiped away by a deluge of alcohol, agnostic love, or (in the case of the last of these) forgotten entirely. The world wanted Easter without the Lord, so the victory of the Lamb was preposterously replaced by a rabbit! Nations bellowed for a Christmas without a Christ, so entitled greed and secular nihility were made to overshadow benevolence and Christian traditions. The faithful themselves were too impatient for the hushed stillness of Advent that heralds the celebration of the Incarnation, so lights and entire Nativity scenes were displayed without any care for the nine months that the Blessed Virgin had to endure before she could kiss the Forehead of God; if the Lord declared that the sinless Woman must wait for all that time, why would it be any different for those who have sinned? The hopeful remembrance of All Souls was mangled and represented as a day to celebrate disorder and those things that cut our earthly lives short. Yet none of these things were sufficient for the voracity of worldlings!

Morality, too, is daily demanded of God and immediately spurned. In the earliest days of barbarism and bloodthirst, the cry went up to the heavens for morality to be bestowed upon the world. Moses thus descended from his encounter on Horeb with the Divine response to such a call. Perhaps feeling like cornered beasts, some met these holy decrees with a right hand extended in welcome but a readied dagger gripped in the left. Despite the aversion of a few, morality came to rule the hearts and lands of nations. Theologians and peacemakers, who wished only to give all people the morality they so desperately desired, were slaughtered without mercy. Ancient servitude had been commonbut no one spoke for the slaves, so Blessed Augustine spoke against such practices (i.e., the ownership of man as of a creature). The Christian Church grew as the sole bastion of morality in the West, but Her enemies attacked Her for what they saw as limits on immoral freedoms, as a child might feel oppressed when denied a second dessert. The common people continued in their clamor for “Greater morality!”, so holy men such as Dominic emphasized pious reverence for the virtues of humility, charity, and unbridled joy in all trials. Those who had little care for practicing such moral perfectors deemed themselves philosophers and used honeyed words to turn entire countries against such a holistic moral system.

With the Enlightenment came hollow orators who declared that the Church, Who had given such clear guidance for achieving the morality so often yearned for (whether or not Her offices had been filled by men who themselves lived by such Christian precepts), had never been fit to gift the world with the didactic revelations of heaven. “We shall choose our morality as we deem best fits our situation”, they stated, yet the Church did not retreat. She continued to steadfastly guide all nations to the utter goodness found only in God, though the ears of many had now been caught up in the novel ideas of modern Gnostics. Those remaining people continued to beg for moral systems, which they were thoroughly provided, until the dawning of recent centuries which brought serpentine philosophers arising from French, German, and English streets and amplified the previously irritating call to do away with the Christian messenger entirely! Those who sought Christian morality were convinced that they did not know what they sought and that morality had always been relative. No longer do people turn to the heavens for Divine Wisdom, but instead to their own fancies of any particular day. It is no longer humanity’s morality. It is not even a country’s morality. Depending on how the obstacles and inconveniences of each day might affect the average person, that one believes they can only say “My morality”.


Have you ever thought about the hope that John the Baptist had when he was out in the wildness preaching?  He knew that someone was coming, but he didn’t know who, what, or even if it would happen in his lifetime. Yet he continued, with a hope and a knowing that the Son of God would come.

John lifted his voice for our repentance, he implores us to seek forgiveness from God the Father before it’s too late; for we never know when it will be to late.  This is the second Sunday of Advent, and it represents hope.

Hope is a promise, a gift from God, if you don’t have it, you’re in a bleak place indeed. John lets us know that God is always there, willing to meet us on whatever road we’re on, no matter what we’ve done.  We are all precious in his sight and He loves us and wants us all to join him at his banquet.  Hope is what John preached by the Jordan; hope is what he saw when The Son of God knelt before him to be baptized.

 I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with love and hope.

Mrs. Denise Fourroux-Fedie, OP

The Mountain

First Sunday of Advent Reflection 11/27/2022

Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44

Welcome to the beginning of a new year in the Church. That’s right, today, the first Sunday of Advent, is the New Year’s Day for the Catholic Church. The new year starts today, liturgical cycle year A, where the Gospel of Matthew will be read each Sunday and the daily Masses will follow year I for 2023. What does that have to do with anything, one might ask? Well, it’s human nature to be a procrastinator, and we often like to put new, virtuous habits off until the “new year.” Today is that day. Today is New Year’s Day in the Church; and we can even go one step further, this is whole week is week one, so, even if you’re getting a late start like I did this morning, you’re still at the right time to start. Start what, you might ask? Well, let’s look at today’s Mass readings for that answer.

Isaiah tells us that “in days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain…All nations shall stream toward it.” Mountains are something that we can see from afar. From mountaintops we can also see really far as well, sometimes 100 miles or more on a clear day. Isaiah is letting us know that we will see the Lord coming… from afar. We are in the valley at the moment, and we shall climb the Lord’s mountain to go to the Lord’s house. Climbing a mountain takes work, commitment, determination. It takes conditioning. I know I certainly couldn’t do it in the shape I’m in at the moment. This metaphor is meant for you to reflect on the condition of your soul. If you were to start that ascent up the spiritual mountain of heaven, the House of the Lord, how far up would you get before you had an obstacle to cross? With your current conditioning, would you be able to maneuver over, around, or remove the obstacle or would it obstruct your way? You can’t get to the top of the mountain unless you can overcome that obstacle. Yes, this metaphor is still very effective.

The spiritual obstacles in the way are habitual sin. The way we remove these obstacles is to replace sin with virtue. For every sin there is corresponding virtue. So, if you find that “dealing with people and all their glory” invites you to sin, then build up the virtue of charity. Grab one or more of those angels off of the parish Christmas tree and commit to give a gift to a child who has an incarcerated parent. Most of us can’t imagine the situations that these children and families live each day. They’re daily reality is much different than ours. So, put yourself in their shoes for a moment, and be generous. The lesson that your generosity gives is much more than that toy on a list. The humility that the incarcerated parent feels when his/her child receives a gift that he/she could not provide is healing for both that parent and you. Suddenly, that individual or group of people that invited you to sin are different and your compassion for your fellow man has overcome this spat of sinful anger. Remember, God is more powerful than anything or anyone. That also translates to virtue because virtue comes from God. This is what Paul is talking about when he says to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Don virtue instead of sin.

Jesus reminds us that we don’t know when the Son of Man will return, but we need to be prepared. So, as in the metaphor of the mountain, we need to condition ourselves for this climb. We will see Him coming, and if we start then, it will be too late. Start with virtue today. It’s the New Year, it’s time. Your parish will have some sort of charitable works going on. Be involved in that. It will change how you see your fellow man. And it will invite you to repent. This is why your parish will have an Advent Penance service. Go to that too and bring your family. It’s time to start conditioning for that climb. I’ll see you there.

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

Remember Me

November 20, 2022

Mrs. Helen Hawkins, OP

The impossible question, “Why does God allow suffering?”

Even worse, the suffering of humankind goes beyond the natural world in which all living beings are destined to suffer and die. The suffering of mankind is so often the deliberate inflicting of horror by human beings, one on another. The crucifixion of Christ and the two men who suffered with him, exemplifies this capacity of humankind for cruelty.

Although I cannot understand the “why of suffering” I do know that suffering and death must be necessary for life.  Simplistic as it may seem, silk flowers do not wilt and die.  But silk flowers, no matter how beautiful, cannot match the exquisite loveliness of a blooming yellow rose.  There is no inanimate object in the world that can match the laughter of a small child. Painfully, we are forced to acknowledge that since we are alive, we will suffer and we will die.  

On Calvary, I see two men crucified on either side of Christ. Each man is suffering the evil horror of the crucifixion. One man is filled with the anger and bitterness in his suffering and the other recognizes Christ, and inspite of the pain and fear, he reaches out to our Lord and asks to be remembered.

As far as we can know, human beings are the only creature who asks the question why suffering exists. The question, as echoed throughout human history, and no matter how logical or wise the answers have been given as to why God allows suffering, none of these explanations touch the heart and soul of a person while he or she is in great physical or emotional pain.

The Son of Man Has Come

Wis 11:22-12:2; 2 Thes 1:11-2:2; Lk 19:1-10

The readings today remind of who Jesus is. He is the Son of Man who has come into the world to seek us and to save us. We are the lost whom He seeks to save. In the first reading it says that God “rebuke[s] offenders little by little, warn[s] them and remind[s] them of the sins they are committing that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in [Him].” This rebuke is accomplished daily through our consciences.

One of the most important things that parents are responsible for teaching their children is knowing right from wrong. Our consciences are formed at a very young age. This is why the Church acknowledges the “age of reason” at 7 years. By this time, a child should know right from wrong, which is why children may receive the eucharist at this tender age after a period of sacramental catechesis. They can understand the need for confession and that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Somehow, as we get older, this understanding unfortunately falls away for most Catholics.

This is where the first reading today comes into play. God rebukes us little by little, warns us and reminds us of the sins that we are committing in order that we may abandon our wickedness and believe in Him. God does this for us every single day. Why was this so easy to understand as a child as young as 7 but seems so foreign to us as an adult? The Lord knows us more intimately than we know ourselves, which is why He gave us the sacrament of mercy: Reconciliation. We confess our sins to a priest because he has been given apostolic authority to absolve us from the sins that we confess. That cannot happen without him. We cannot do it alone, through prayer, or by any other means. Get to confession as soon as you can. If it’s been a while, or a long time, make an appointment. You will be surprised at how you’ll be received, how relieved you’ll be afterward, how the enormous weight is lifted off of you. Please, don’t delay. It’s the only way to reconcile with God.

Paul reminds us in the second reading that we should not be surprised when Jesus returns. We’ve heard this over and over in so much of scripture. We believed that as a child, why wouldn’t we believe it as adults? God does not change. He is the same today as he was in ancient times and will be in the future. His commandments do not change. They tell each one of us who is to come first in our lives and how to treat others. Jesus sums up all ten commandments by telling us to love God first with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. That is a summary of all ten. Our Heavenly Father detailed it for us and Jesus bottom lined it for us. Paul reminds us not to be shaken or surprised when the day of the Lord is at hand. Be prepared for that day. The very best way to prepare is to reconcile with God. Go to confession as soon as you can.

The Gospel reading today underscores both of these messages. Zacchaeus puts in quite the effort to see Jesus. He doesn’t push and shove his way to the front; he climbs a tree to separate himself from the crowd. Jesus sees him immediately and calls him by name. In their one-on-one conversation Zacchaeus confesses his sins, makes his act of contrition through reparations, and Jesus tells Zacchaeus that salvation has come to his house. This is an excellent example of the sacrament of reconciliation. This is exactly what happens every single time. Please, go and seek the mercy of the One who loves you more than you love yourself. He is calling. Will you answer?

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

Reflection Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022

Luke 18: 9-14
In today’s parable the Pharisee who went up to the temple reminds me of a prairie grouse blowing himself up and dancing around to impress a potential mate. He is all puffed up and saying to God, “Look at me! I’m not like the rest of humanity—- greedy, dishonest, adulterous— or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.” In other words, “God, look how righteous and wonderful I am. I deserve all your blessings.” Everything is about himself and nothing about God.

The publican, on the other hand, stood way off and did not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

During the penitential rite we are supposed to beat our breast when we pray, ….’through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.’ Maybe we should kneel before God more often and beat our breast and think about how merciful God is and how much we have offended him by our sins, and trust in his mercy and ask God for true contrition for our sins.

For the publican it’s as it says in Sirach today (Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18), “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest until it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw until the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay.”

Mrs. Peggy Brechtel, OP

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