The Denial of Peter And Judas

How often do we take advantage of God’s merciful nature to say one thing and do another? We intend to say that Rosary each morning, but, well, God will understand if I just stop at a Hail Mary. At least I did that! We promise that we will not gossip, but then let a tidbit out and rationalize that we are only venting to a friend. We race through our day and fail to appreciate a blue sky, a field of flowers, or a healthy child, only to complain if something inconveniences us. We tell little “white” lies, cheat when “no one” will get hurt, and give only out of our surplus.

Every time we choose not to follow His commands, we betray His love for us, and we deny His authority.

Sometimes we like to use the examples of Judas and Peter to justify our own sinfulness. “Well, if he did that, and Jesus still forgave Him, then I’m not that bad.” Judas, unfortunately, relied upon his own understanding, and turned completely away from God. Peter, on the other hand, repented and found His new life in Christ.

So you have a choice: Do you continue to justify your own understanding of how you should live your life and betray what Jesus has asked of you, or do you deny your pride and your “old” self to find your new life in Him? Are you a Judas or a Peter?

And in the end, would you rather die because you ran away from Christ, or die because you followed Him?

Make a list. How do you betray or deny God, even in the smallest way, by your words, actions, or omissions?

Lord, please grant me the grace to be morally courageous in every way, never denying You in my thoughts, words, actions or omissions.


After marrying her husband, Jim Roberts, in 1980, Cynthia Millen graduated from law school and practiced in Ohio for a short while. Excited about having a large family, Jim and Cindy were blessed more quickly than expected with the birth of five children in four years (two set of twins). Her love for reading and writing grew into the publication of several children’s books (under the name C. M. Millen), poems and short stories (including a 2014 Tuscany Prize winner). Millen earned her Masters in Literature from Trinity College, Dublin, and relishes the teaching (and learning) of reading, writing, and grammar with middle school students at Christ the King School in Toledo, Ohio. Most of all, she treasures attending Mass there with wonderful parishioners and truly marvelous priests. [This reflection is used by permission of]

Throwing Stones At Obedience

My preadolescents love to challenge my parental authority. If I request they pick up the toys littered all over the basement floor or wash the dirty dishes, they respond, “Why should I have to do that? Who are you to tell me to get to work?”

“I’m your mother,” I say. “Now please do what I’ve asked. Obey.”

Is this how Jesus must have felt in today’s Gospel, like He always having to explain and defend Himself to the unbelieving crowds who questioned His authority?

Jesus says to the people, “Whoever keeps my word will never see death.”

And the people respond, “Now we are sure that you are depressed, that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died, or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?”

With patience, Jesus tells the people: “I am the Son of God, who is our Father. I know God and I keep his commandments….amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

The people responded by throwing stones at Jesus.

In the same way, when we direct our children to follow our commands because we know what’s best for them, they may balk. They may, like the people did to Jesus, even throw proverbial stones. But let us follow Jesus’s example and not give up. Let us not lose sight of the vision, of directing our children to heaven, even amidst their protest or wayward attitudes. Let us have confidence that, like Jesus, we really do know what’s best for them.

Lord, how am I like the people who threw stones at Jesus?

Lord, today help me abandon my preadolescent tendencies. Help me trust that the one directing me is the God of the universe, our Savior, and our King.


obedienceColleen Duggan, wife and mother of six children, is a freelance writer for various Catholic publications. She blogs at, about life as an imperfect mother to many. [Today’s reflection is used with permission by]


The Devil Really Is in the Details

Spiritual warfare is not a popular topic these days, but it is a relevant one. We read a passage like today’s Gospel, and many of us may respond by thinking, “Thank goodness I don’t live back then!”

But the devil is, sadly, still much at work in our world, and we still need to choose sides in this battle. The lines that Jesus draws here are stark ones. He makes clear, in no uncertain terms, that we are either with him or against him. There is no “in between”.

I won’t deny the reality of demonic possession today, but I don’t think that’s the form that spiritual warfare will take for most of us. For most of us, spiritual warfare will happen in the little moments: when we overhear gossip and have to decide whether or not to change the subject; when we’re tempted to yell at the child who is fighting with his sibling again; when we’re faced with the decision to close our social media apps and say our morning prayers instead.

One of the greatest spiritual battles each of us faces on a daily basis is what St. Josemaria Escriva refers to as “the heroic moment.” St. Josemaria writes, “The heroic moment. It is the time fixed for getting up. Without hesitation: a supernatural reflection and…up!” This can be a daily struggle! Even a simple morning offering, giving our day to God, can help us begin our day with one spiritual battle won. We can trust in God to help us win the rest.

We must choose sides in this battle between heaven and hell. Which side will you choose today?

Do you pray a morning offering prayer? How can you make a point of dedicating each day to God?

Dear Jesus, in the battle between good and evil, give me the grace to always choose you. Amen.


Today’s guest blogger is Michele E. Chronister, a wife, mother, speaker, writer, and catechist. She also serves on the Council for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through the National Catholic Partnership on Disability. She blogs at This reflection is used with permission from


Lent and the vocation of motherhood

In today’s Gospel the mother of the sons of Zebedee has a request of Jesus: “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”

We may read with a “tsk, tsk” on our lips because, who does she think she is anyway? The ultimate stage mom, right? But let’s look a little closer. This woman doesn’t even have a name. Her boys, James and John are referred to as the “sons of Zebedee” no matter how long she was in labor with them or how well she mothered them to adulthood.

And let’s also consider how the followers of Jesus believed he was going to overthrow the Roman rule and establish a kingdom for the Jewish people. Their hope was a bit more of a concrete kingdom than the Kingdom of God that Jesus had in mind. So can we be more understanding of this nameless woman who just wanted her boys to succeed? Let’s be forgiving of her and remember the times we have pushed our kids to the front of the line to be noticed or cringed in fear when our kid played goalie on the soccer team.

We want our children to do well, that comes very naturally to moms. But “doing well” means being kind to others, sharing nicely, encouraging the success of others, not just our own kids. Our kids look to us to see how to behave, and that is the best gift we can give them, the gift of a good example. So, dear Zebedee’s wife, mother of James and John, we understand you wanting your sons to be successful; please pray for us that we can be good examples for our kids!

To ponder: Can we think of times we unfairly or unwisely pushed our kids to make ourselves proud? Can we think of times we have shown a good example for our kids and taught them how to treat others?

Gracious God, this vocation of motherhood can be so difficult at times! Help us to teach our kids, through our good example, to treat others with kindness and love…the greatest lesson of all!


Heidi Gainan is the mom of three grown and very wonderful kids! She has worked in the blind rehabilitation field for more years than she can count (37!) She recently completed a Spiritual Direction training program, which has been a lovely journey of faith. Please give her blog a peek at The (Almost) Daily Heidi-Gram. This post is reprinted with permission from

answer prayer

Answer To Prayers

“How do we ask for things?” I reminded my 4-year old daughter for the umpteenth time that day.

“Mommy may I please go in the backyard?” she asked.

“Well, I’m making dinner, so you will have to ask Daddy to go out with you,” I explained, “and he can say yes or he can say no, but the choice is his, not yours and you have to be OK with either answer, all right?”

This conversation is typical in our house with a 5-year old, 4-year old and 2-year old. As I read today’s Gospel, I was struck at how easily one could take it as a magic formula: I ask God for something and He gives it to me. Except we know that God and prayer don’t work that way.

Prayer is a conversation with God and prayers of petition are certainly an important part of the conversation. However, our prayer conversation is incomplete if we only utilize this single form. The other forms of prayer – thanksgiving, intercession, praise and adoration – along with petition work together to develop our relationship with God. It is important to realize the other 4 forms of prayer encourage us to grow in our understanding of our true needs and how we ask for them to be fulfilled.

We give thanks for what we have been given, rather than focusing on what we do not have. We intercede for others, recognizing that their needs are just as important as our own. We offer praise to God for His goodness and mercy. We adore God, acknowledging our complete reliance on our Creator. In this light, our true prayers of petition are found. And most importantly, we learn how to accept the will of our Father as the fullest answer to our prayers.

What is one prayer form you would like to grow in this week that will help you petition God in a deeper, more meaningful way?

Dear Jesus, thank you for the gift of prayer and thank you for modeling the ultimate prayer of petition in the garden before your Passion. Please open my heart so that I can learn to ask for God’s will to be done in all things.


Today’s guest blogger is Kate Taliaferro, an Air Force wife and mom of 3 under 4. She has a Masters in Religious Education and tries to find God’s presence everywhere, be it in cooking, cleaning, homeschooling or just the everyday ordinary. Follow her blog, Daily Graces, to join her family as they strive for sainthood amidst playgrounds, art projects, and lots of imagination. This reflection has been used with permission from