Posted by: admin in: ● April 16, 2014

ISAIAH 50:4-9A ~ MATTHEW 26:14-25
Abigail West with husband Tony and dinner guests

A bygone ideal?

The teacher says: “My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples.” MATTHEW 26:18

”Since my son is a single dad with two teenagers, we’ve been having Sunday dinner together for years,” a wise woman told me. “During that time, I’ve seen changes in my grandsons. They say, ‘please’ and ‘thank you; and clear the table without being asked. Sometimes they even help me fix dinner.”

We’ve all heard the saying Families that pray together stay together. It’s also true that families who dine together are emotionally and spiritually fine together. Basketball practices, dance rehearsals, meetings, etc. make family mealtimes seem outdated. However, many parents believe it is the glue that holds them together. The family table is the place we come to engage each other, share wisdom, solve problems, confess, conspire, laugh, forgive, and repair.

So turn off the television. Put away the cell phone. Slow down, gather the family together tonight, and bow your heads to thank God for the meal before you – and for the people beside you.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Create family placemats. Have the children draw a picture to color. Add puzzles or trivia facts. The adults may want to add birthday wishes, inspirational quotes, or prayers. During dinner, allow each person to share his or her unique creation.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, dinnertime allows us to shut out the rest of the world and pay attention to those who matter the most to us-our family. Amen.

New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com



Posted by: admin in: ● April 15, 2014

ISAIAH 49:1-6 ~ JOHN 13:21-33, 36-38

Drain the pain

Jesus was deeply troubled. JOHN 13:21

“God, will I ever stop hurting?” Barry asked months after returning home to discover that his wife left with the children. When hopes are shattered, don’t throw in the towel. Drain the pain. These three suggestions may help:

Cry it out. Let the tears flow. As you feel the pain drain from your body, healing will begin.

Talk it out. Initially, hurting people often say, “I can’t talk about it.” Eventually, however, you need to have a heart-to-heart with someone you can trust. Find a good listener who can accept your feelings without trying to explain them away or “fix” the problem.

Write it out. It’s okay to be angry at God, but get those deep hurts out. Resentment, hatred, bitterness, and vengeance are emotions that cause radioactive fallout that will undermine your health. Release those negative feelings and write them out in a journal.

When the bottom falls out and nothing seems secure, stop pretending everything is fine; admit it hurts. Jesus did! Jesus will walk alongside you and give you the reassurance you need to continue. After all, he’s not a stranger to feeling “troubled.”

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS When life troubles you and turns your world upside down, cry, talk, write, and remember: This, too, will pass.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, nothing will happen today that you and I together can’t handle. Amen.

New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com



Posted by: admin in: ● April 14, 2014

ISAIAH 42:1-7 ~ JOHN 12:1-11

Forget about yourself

Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. JOHN 12:3

Obsessing over their own perceived “worth,” some people spend a good deal of time thinking about how their job doesn’t pay them enough. They are constantly looking out for number one, trying to get what they think they deserve. We live with a “what’s in it for me?” attitude. Judas had this same insatiable mind-set, and he drowned in his own selfish waters of betrayal, washing up on the shores of remorse and regret.

We need to be relentless against selfishness, refusing to live self-centered lives. When we care about only ourselves, we live in absolute misery. On the other hand, when we take our mind off ourselves and actively reach out to other people, we begin to experience true joy and peace.

Who do you know who needs encouragement? Is someone feeling abandoned or alone? Did they lose their job? Are they on the brink of
bankruptcy? Smile at them. Give them a hug. Offer to babysit for them. Pay their utility bill anonymously. Find someone you can help, and forsake living a self-centered existence. There is no greater feeling than going to bed at night knowing you did something to improve another’s life.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Think of someone in need. Show them you care. Write to them, call them, visit them. Your act of kindness will change their day.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, I know I’m going to meet someone today in need. Don’t let me miss the opportunity to help. Amen.

New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com



Posted by: admin in: ● April 13, 2014

MATTHEW 21:1-11 ~ ISAIAH 50:4-7 ~ PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11 ~
MATTHEW 26:14-27:66

Bitten by the betrayal bug

What are you willing to give me to betray him to you? MATTHEW 26:15

Betrayal happens to all of us eventually. Sometimes it catches us by surprise; other times we sense it coming. Intimacy breaks down, compromising trust and security. It stings especially when we have invested in a relationship only to end up being hurt.

Many people move through the same emotional process:
Surprise: “I can’t believe this happened!”
Seclusion: “Who needs people anyway? They just let you down.”
Sorry: “I should have listened to so-and-so.”
Sore: “I’m so angry, I could … .”
Seething: ”I’ll get even someday. They’ll pay for what they did.”
Soothe: “I want to be free from the pain.”

This week, we encounter Judas’ notorious betrayal and Peter’s equally notorious denial of Jesus. Yet Jesus forgave.

For safety and sanity in our lives, forgiveness is the cure. This doesn’t mean we condone what happened or necessarily let the betrayer back into our lives. It means releasing all the hurtful feelings trapped inside. If we choose to continue the relationship, it takes talking, time, and tenderness to regain the lost trust.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Take some time off and surround yourself with people who love you. Allow them to help restore you.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, you’re no stranger to having people let you down. I want to grow in trust again. Amen.

New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com



Posted by: admin in: ● April 12, 2014

EZEKIEL 37:21-28 ~ JOHN 11:45-56

Count your blessings

What are you going to do? This man is performing many signs and people are believing in him. JOHN 11:47-48

Diane wistfully talked about her friend’s new house. “We have a wonderful house,” her husband reminded her. “Many people would give anything to have what we have. What else could you possibly want?” “More,”she grumbled.

Envy is often concealed. Hidden under a smile, feelings of emptiness erupt from deep inside. Often confused with jealousy, which is the fear of losing our love to another, envy is in a class all by itself. It is a strong craving and desire for the possessions and qualities of another’s wisdom, kindness, success, or looks.

We can choose to spend our time envying some rich and powerful person, the wealthy husband’s wife who doesn’t have to work, or the relative who just inherited a large estate from her mother – or we can get up every single day and count our blessings by focusing on the gifts we have. We can curb envy by cherishing the people in our lives and the talents we have been given. If you are trying to rein in envy, remember the wisdom of Claudian, the fourth-century Latin poet: “Those who envy are always poor.”

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Start a gratitude journal. Every day for one week, write down the blessings for which you are grateful. Before going to sleep, offer thanks to God for them.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, a funny thing happens when I count my blessings. The more I count, the more they show up. Amen.

New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com



Posted by: admin in: ● April 11, 2014

boundariesJEREMIAH 20:10-13 ~ JOHN 10:31-42

Drawing the line

They tried again to arrest him, but he escaped their power. JOHN 10:39

A couple I counseled engaged in relentless verbal battles, seriously contaminating their relationship. When the three of us sat down, we delved into ways to bring about healthy change, starting with a list of behaviors that enabled growth and reinforced clearly defined boundaries.

In order to protect ourselves, we must carve stronger boundaries and stop boundary crossers in their tracks the second they overstep. Put an end to their repulsive behavior by refusing to let them try to make you feel angry, inferior, violated, or frustrated. Put your foot down and firmly state, “I’m not going to put up with the way you talk to me or treat me anymore.”  Stress consequences – “If you do that again, I will … .”

Jesus was a boundary carver. Once the boundaries were established, he didn’t back down. He backed up his words with action. Setting boundaries is a way to fully honor and respect yourself. It will make a powerful impact on the quality of your life and relationships.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Complete the following statements: People may no longer______________ . I have a right to ask for____________. To protect myself, it’s okay to ____________. List at least six examples of boundaries you plan to set to honor yourself. Select the easiest, communicate it, and strengthen your boundaries.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, I want to forgive those who have crossed the line and hurt me. I need strength to maintain my boundaries so it won’t happen again. Amen.

New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com



Posted by: admin in: ● April 10, 2014

GENESIS 17:3-9 ~ JOHN 8:51-59

Eleven simple words

Amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.
JOHN 8:51

I n his book The Four Things That Matter Most, Ira Byock puts his finger on some simple truths we all should practice. Eleven of the most important words ever spoken to heal relationships and bring closure are: Please forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you.

These four simple sentences express reconciliation, gratitude, and affection. They are words people need to hear and weave into their daily lives.

Bitter sibling rivalry, shocking family secrets, important matters swept under the rug and left unresolved-relationships can be rough and raw from unfinished business. A child doesn’t speak with his or her parents for years. A mother carries guilt about punishing her daughter. A wife harbors unforgiveness toward her husband. A son believes his parents loved his brother more.

Relationships left with hostility, division, and brokenness will haunt your life unless you sit down and talk about it. Sharing buried feelings and expressing the eleven words above will soothe and mend even the most profound separations from people you love.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Don’t wait until someone is on the brink of dying; talk it out now. Things left unsaid will bring a tidal wave of grief.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, give me the strength to say what I need to say for peace in my life and relationships. Amen. 

New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com


BSM Joins the Midwest District!

Posted by: admin in: ● April 9, 2014

IMG_3141This beautiful icon was given to the Midwest District “In Commemoration of the Benilde-St. Margaret’s School re-affiliation with the Christian Brothers of the Midwest; April 7, 2014″. Dr. Scott Kier and I traveled to St. Louis Park, Minnesota, to formally welcome and accept BSM into the Midwest District after a five-year process and Lasallian assessment. The event was celebrated with a special mass, presided over by Fr. Tim Wozniak, a Benilde alum of 1966.

Fr. Tim and Bro. Larry during mass.

Fr. Tim and I during mass.

The Christian Brothers opened Benilde High School  at the current site in 1956 and Saint Margaret’s Academy was begun by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1907 in downtown Minneapolis. The Brothers withdrew from Benilde in 1970 at which time the monks from Saint John’s Abbey administered the school. In 1974 the two schools merged, so the school is also celebrating its 40th Birthday as BSM. There are currently 8,825 alumni and 1,163 students in grades 7-12.

Scott and I with President Bob Tift, Senior High Principal Sue Skinner and Junior High Principal Carol McNamara.

Scott and I with President Bob Tift, Senior High Principal Sue Skinner and Junior High Principal Carol McNamara.

Leaders and Brothers from the other Twin Cities Lasallian Ministries were also present for the mass and the reception which followed.

Leaders and Brothers from the other Twin Cities Lasallian Ministries were also present for the mass and the reception which followed.

I want to express a special note of gratitude to Holly Hoey Germann and Connie Fourre for their roles in making this happen. Connie attended an LSJI and was captivated by the Lasallian charism and began to promote the idea at BSM, and Holly has done a masterful job of highlighting all three charisms of BSM while continuing to pursue a closer connection to the District.

THANKS, Holly and Connie!

THANKS, Holly and Connie!

Red Knights, WELCOME (back) to the Midwest District. It’s great to have you in the Family!



Posted by: admin in: ● April 9, 2014

DANIEL 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 ~ JOHN 8:31-42

Breaking the Pinocchio cycle

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. JOHN 8:32

Theresa’s  relationship with her husband was at the breaking point. “He’s always covering up his mistakes with lies,” she said. “Even when it’s easy for him to tell the truth, he chooses to lie.”

It’s tough to be in a relationship with someone who lies. It’s not about how we feel about them; it’s just that we cannot connect as trust evaporates.

People lie for a variety of reasons – mostly to cover up their wrongdoings or to gain an advantage. From little white lies to major lies, the result of lying is someone getting hurt. Have you ever been in a relationship where someone was deceitful, often twisting words and exaggerating emotions? You knew, somewhere inside you, that something wasn’t right. Once you get caught in the net of lies, all conversations have to support those lies, and eventually you tend to start believing them.

To break free from the net, you have to be up-front, transparent, and a teller of truth. Speaking the truth will improve your relationships. When you candidly level with others, you grow closer to them, and you never have to struggle to remember what you said.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS If a relationship has been harmed because of a lie, plan how to restore it. Create a strategy and stick to it. Post this where you’ll see it often: TACT-Tell the absolute, complete truth.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, only telling the truth will free me to grow my relationships in trust. Amen.

New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com



Posted by: admin in: ● April 8, 2014

NUMBERS 21:4-9 ~ JOHN 8:21-30

Untying the ”nots”

When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he. JOHN 8:28

Two of the most powerful words are I AM. Why? Because what follows those two words defines who we are and what we are capable of doing. Many of us are conditioned to say, “I am not…,” setting us up for failure before we even try. “I am not smart enough to succeed.” “I am not worth a healthy relationship.”

Overcoming the I am not mentality starts with trusting yourself and believing there are no limits to what you can achieve. Eliminate the nots from your vocabulary and start your sentences with “I am … .” “I am capable of landing this job.” “I am loveable.” Whatever you choose to attach to the I AM will find its way into your life. This small phrase has the power to limit you … or set you free!

I AM is our real nature. It’s genuine. It is truly who we are. No one else can say “I am …” for us. Only we can determine our own fate and destiny by what we attach to the I AM. It reveals what we really believe about ourselves. Every time you say you will not be bullied by fears, put-downs, or criticisms, you are improving your life. Your I AM is the catalyst of change that produces a healthy, peaceful, and happy life.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Brainstorm what you would attach to your I AM.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, help me think of myself as you think of me-loveable and special. Amen.

New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com


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