Category Archives: School of Leaders

School of Leaders – December 2017

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And Upon this [School of] Rock. . .

As we like to say, we are not an Organization, we are a Movement.  We did not join an organization, but we did set out on our 4th Day Journey, a movement toward Christ with those we encounter.  We have no membership dues, no mandatory meetings, no rituals, no ranks or offices, no awards for “Cursillista of the Year.”

What we do have, however, is the Friendship Group, which gives life to our Movement.  Everyone in our Friendship Groups is equal in status, free to speak their minds, and committed to the good of the others in the group.  We all have equal responsibility to each other, to Christ and His Church, and to use our time, talent and treasure for the good of those near to us – – and to those far away.

But wait, you might say:  What about this “School of Leaders?”  Isn’t the Secretariat an “Organization?”  Don’t we have Committees and Chair people who have to go to meetings?  Don’t we have monthly Ultreyas that someone has to organize and run?

Yes, but these are simply larger “friendship groups,” which only exist to encourage and facilitate the forming of Friendships in Christ.  In the School of Leaders these past few months, we have been discussing and learning the meaning and effect of “Friendship” in the PreCursillo, Cursillo, and PostCursillo.  We have been studying the articles from the National Cursillo website and answering the question of what it means to “make a friend, be a friend, and bring your friend to Christ.”

Cursillo is not about adding up numbers of Candidates for the Weekends, it’s about developing friendships in Christ.  If you only have one friend, that friend may have two friends, and each one has more friends.  That’s the way God created us, and that’s the natural and authentic way we can share the Gospel, the Good News, that we are all loved, we can all receive forgiveness, and we are all friends in the Body of Christ.  See?  No mention of meetings, dues or committees –Cursillo is all about friendships, not about numbers, structures, fund-raising, or hierarchy.

The School of Leaders will be on “Christmas Vacation” until after the 2018 Weekends.  Our next meeting will be April 10, 2018, at 7:00 pm at St. Joseph’s Parish Center.  I wish all of you, your families and friends a warm and happy Christmas season!  Welcome the homeless, infant Christ into your home, and introduce your family and friends to Him.

Romans 1: 12:What I mean is that both you and I will be helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours.”

De Colores and Peace!

John I Schaberg

School of Leaders – September 2017

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School of Leaders – – We’re gonna need a bigger boat!          

The School of Leaders has been blessed with an awesome responsibility and an inspiring opportunity.

The Secretariat has been working towards the revitalization of the 4th Day Community, our Precursillo, Cursillo Weekend, and Postcursillo phases. The Secretariat has realized that one obstacle to the continued health and growth of our Movement is the fact that we have become centralized to the Metro East, Carbondale and Mt. Carmel areas, but we have difficulty traveling – – and even communicating – – to create a lively and enthusiastic Movement throughout the Diocese. We need to be sure every Catholic in the Diocese has the opportunity to “make a friend, be a friend, and bring your friend to Christ.”

One key to this effort is to identify the Cursillistas in all regions and recruit Parish Representatives in each Parish and for each Vicariate in the Diocese. This could be a huge and daunting task, but if we journey with Christ and do all things in His Name, all things are possible.

If you are willing to act as a Parish Representative in your 4th Day journey, or if you would like to help with this effort or suggest a friend who might be willing to serve, please contact me, or come to a School of Leaders meeting to see what’s involved. This won’t involve a lot of work or meetings – – – it just calls for your commitment to Jesus and love for your fellow Cursillistas to be sure their voices are heard.

Please join me and the other faithful 4th Day travelers who guide the Diocesan Cursillo community. As of now, we are meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, at 7:00 pm at St. Joseph’s Parish Center in Freeburg – next ones are September 12th, October 10th, and November 14th. We are looking for suggestions, or invitations, to meet at Murphysboro, Mt. Vernon, Du Quoin, Mt. Carmel, Ruma, Red Bud, or ??? – – we need your support and sponsorship to have a Traveling School! If you can put together a group of Cursillistas in your town, we would welcome a chance to take the School on the road!

Romans 1: 12:What I mean is that both you and I will be helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours.”

De Colores and Peace! John I Schaberg

School of Leaders – June 2017

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School of Leaders – – The What of What??

My name is John Schaberg – I began my journey at Belleville Men’s #30 (2010), and I sat at the table of St. Guiseppi Moscati.

First and foremost, I would like to extend my thanks, and the gratitude of the School of Leaders and the 4th Day Community, to my predecessor, Terry Kostel. He served with great love as Chairman of the School of Leaders for his 3-year term, ending March 31. He brought his creativity, compassion, his great ability to listen, and fantastic organizational skills to this Chair. Big shoes to fill!

Second – – School of What? I said at the Reunion that this part of the Cursillo Movement should be named after something that attracts people, not those two unfortunate words, “School” and “Leaders.” I mean, the “of” part is OK, but the rest of the name needs to go! I suggested “Shareholders Meeting” or “School of Followers,” but let’s face it – – it could be “Flock of Sheep,” or “Focus Group” or “Jam Session.” Or “Finger Painting for Christians” – – a time to use our creativity, sense of wonder, and curiosity about why we are here, harkening back to when life was FUN! Jesus wants us to enjoy life, by loving and by using our talents as God intended, in loving service to our neighbors, our friends, our families, to Him.

We held our first meeting of the “School” on May 9th, and we opened the floor to any and all ideas for the next 3 years. I want to be sure the School of Leaders does what it’s supposed to do, to give direction and energy to the Cursillo Movement in the Belleville Diocese. We had some great suggestions, and we shared many loving thoughts for our Movement. I have some work to do – – pray, study, and take action!

It’s going to be wonderful to serve this Movement and to do my small part in the mission of the holy, catholic and apostolic church – – Worship, Formation, Outreach – – Piety, Study, Action. I am really, really looking forward to the challenges of bringing Christ to my environment, and to the Chair which has been passed to me.

Please join me and the other faithful 4th Day travelers who guide the Belleville Cursillo community. As of now, we are meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, at 7:00 pm at St. Joseph’s Parish Center in Freeburg. Next meeting is June 13th. We are open to suggestions, or invitations, to meet at Murphysboro, Mt. Vernon, Du Quoin, or Mt. Carmel. We need your support and sponsorship to have a Traveling School!

If you envision yourself serving on the Team someday, or if you see yourself as a faithful member of a Friendship Group, you belong in the School of Leaders. If you are searching for Action, or a way to Study, or an opportunity to explore “spiritual aids to nurture your vital union with Christ” (Piety – see your little blue Group Reunion card), then the School of Leaders is the place for you. We would like to learn from you. Romans 1: 12:What I mean is that both you and I will be helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours.”

De Colores and Peace!

John I Schaberg

School of Leaders – March 2017

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Christian Leaders

My term as chairperson of the School of Leaders has come to an end. Before I introduce the new chairperson, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all you have done to inspire me during the past three years. I have truly come to know and better understand that we are all Christian Leaders, and that through using our love for God along with our talents, walking in the footsteps of Jesus really does influence others.

As Matthew Kelly has stated, “Christianity is a billboard campaign. You and I, we are the billboards. He sends us out into the world to send a message to the world. The question becomes, what’s on your billboard? Catholic & miserable? Catholic & surviving? Catholic & thriving? or, dynamic Catholic living an extraordinary life & thriving? What message is on your billboard? Everyone you encounter every day gets the message on your billboard.”

Our Catholic faith is a public thing. It is not meant to be left behind when we leave home. The duty of all of us as Christians is to take part in the life of the Church. We are urged to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. Jesus Christ wants us to bring the whole world to the truth, and the truth is Jesus himself, who is, “The way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6).

As Christian Leaders, we must have the will to be like Christ and lead others to Christ. And not be like the young man in Matthew 19:16, who walks away from Christ when he hears about what he must give up in order to follow Christ more completely. We must have determination and perseverance in our journey. It will not be easy, but acceptance of our efforts, no matter the outcome, is summed up by Robert Louis Stevenson when he said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”

It’s now time to introduce John Schaberg, who has accepted the role as Chairperson of the School of Leaders for the next three-year term. Many of you know John, but for those of you who have not met him, he made his Cursillo Weekend in 2010 at Men’s Cursillo #30, and he sat at the Table of Saint Giuseppe Moscati. John has previously served in the capacity of Secretary to the Secretariat. Now he again serves on the Secretariat as the Chairperson for the School of Leaders. I know John will be a great leader in his new role. May God be with you and guide you, John, as you begin your new journey.

As always, everyone is invited to attend the School of Leaders meetings. They are currently held on the second Tuesday of each month at St Joseph’s School in Freeburg. The start time for each meeting is 7 p.m. Don’t let the name School of Leaders deter you from attending because we need to remember, we are all, “Leaders in Christianity,” those of us willing to step out of our comfort zones, as well as those who work behind the scenes. We are all needed to evangelize those we encounter. As Christian Leaders, we need to go and make a difference.

Some Final Thoughts: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John C. Maxwell

Terry Kostel,

School of Leaders – December 2016

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Our Life Defined

Covetousness, as it is referred to in some Bible scripture, can cause us to make choices and decisions that we normally wouldn’t make if we were to look at things through the eyes of common sense.  But because of all of the subliminal marketing messages, our brains have been trained to think a certain way, and we make most choices without thinking much about them.

There’s no doubt that we live in a materialistic world; it’s all around us, no matter where we look.  The world is in one awful mess.   Our culture has created this mess…it’s too busy, it’s too noisy, there is too much going on in our lives.  The reality is, it is affecting our lifestyle.

As a result, what’s happening causes us to get distracted from our relationship with God to the point that the world itself starts to become our priority.  After all, God made some pretty cool stuff for our enjoyment.  Even He said it was all “very good,” back in the Book of Genesis (1:31).  The problem is that all too often the pleasures of this world have our full attention.  For most people there’s no room for anything else.  This is the difficult situation in which Christianity now finds itself.  The things of God are nowhere near the forefront of most people’s minds.

It’s important that we not let all that we desire distract us from our walk with God.   As Matthew (16:26) says, “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?”  Not a single thing here on earth will profit us in lieu of securing our eternity in heaven.

The Gospel of Matthew (6:19-21) states, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”

So many times we’re not satisfied unless we’re constantly getting bigger and better things.  We buy homes that have more room than we know what to do with.  Or we keep adding on and/or improving them so they feature the newest and best in amenities.  And the cars we drive get more and more expensive, sporting the newest in luxuries, the fastest engines or the latest and greatest in technology.

With all that we have or can have, there seems to be this discontent in our lives.  And as we become more discontent, we spend more time and effort pursuing things, instead of pursuing God.  But God warns us about this in Deuteronomy (5:21), “Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife.  Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

As Hebrews (13:5) tells us; “Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for He has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.”

Bottom line: How is your life defined?  I was struck by this question as it was posed to us in a recent Homily.  Something to meditate on – Is it defined by the 3 P’s – Pride, Possessions, and Power, or by the 3 T’s – Time, Talent, and Treasure?

School of Leaders – September 2016

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Our Daily Manna

During our faith journey there are many times we find ourselves struggling with our faith because of how difficult it is to follow God’s word and be what he created us to be.  The Bible is full of ordinary people whom God has called.  Which of them, in their power, their resources, or their ways had what was required to do what God called them to do?… Not one!

As we are called, we should refuse to focus on what we are not, what we can’t do, or do not know.  We need to, “Rely on God’s power, his resources, and his ways” – Christine Cain.  We should center our thoughts on who Christ is in us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.

Matthew 7:7-11 tells us, “Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.  Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone?  Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

The apostle James asks Jesus what’s going to happen tomorrow – James 4:14.   The length of our lives is like a fog, here for a little while and then vanishes.  God gives us each day, one at a time.  If we think about it…today is all we have because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.

We are reminded as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” – Matthew 6:11.  Not tomorrow’s bread or next week’s bread.  God is a daily provider who provides for our needs today.

As with the manna, called the “bread of angels,” God provided for the children of Israel in the wilderness.  God’s instructions to Moses, was for the people to gather it every morning.  He further warned them not to attempt to hoard it or store it overnight in any way, because if they did, the stored manna would breed worms. They were only to gather as much as they would use on any given day.

Like some of us today, there were those that paid no attention to the restriction, and tried to gather more than what was needed for the day, so they could store the extra away for the next day or two.  After all, what if God didn’t show up with manna tomorrow?  I mean, when it comes to food and survival, you can never be too careful, but we can be short on faith.  As a result, when the disobedient Israelites looked at their stored manna the next day, it was as God had warned them, horrible, rotten, and full of worms.

So, what is the lesson here? God is a daily provider. He provides for Monday’s needs on Monday, and Tuesday’s needs on Tuesday. We are to trust Him one day at a time and not become anxious over what we may require tomorrow. He will be there tomorrow as well, with more than enough grace to help us in our time of need.

Final Thought: “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.”  C. S. Lewis

School of Leaders – June 2016

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Faith is Believing Without Seeing

John 20:24-29 addresses the call to believe without seeing, but Thomas wasn’t willing.  The importance of this event lies in the fact that it presents the relation between seeing and believing.  More specifically, it shows the significance of believing after, or because of, having seen the risen Christ, and believing without having seen him.

The example of doubting Thomas provides both instruction and encouragement.  After being told by the other disciples of Jesus’ resurrection and personal visit, Thomas “doubted” and wanted physical proof of the risen Lord in order to believe this good news.  The testimony Thomas received from the other 10 disciples about Jesus’ return should have been enough, but still he doubted – even after spending three years being intimately acquainted with Jesus, witnessing all His miracles and hearing His prophecies about His coming death and resurrection.

The event occurred eight days after the appearance of Jesus to the other disciples.  After greeting them with the traditional, “Peace be with you,” without any delay Jesus turns to Thomas and addresses him; knowing his human frailty resulted in weakened faith, He accommodated Thomas by inviting him to proceed with the demanded test.

The doubt Thomas experienced is not unlike our own when we face challenges in our life.  Although Thomas did in fact doubt the Lord’s resurrection appearance, once he saw the risen Christ, he proclaimed in faith, “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28).  Jesus commended him for his faith, although that faith was based on sight.   “Because you have seen me, you have believed.”

The encouraging part for all of us today is when Jesus also says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (Jn. 20:29),” thus enabling us to believe that which we do not see with our eyes. This same thought is echoed by Peter, who said of Christ, “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Although we have the Spirit within us, we can still experience doubt.  True saving faith always perseveres to the end just as Thomas’s did, and just as Peter’s did after he had a monumental moment of weakness by denying the Lord he loved and believed in.

So how do we keep from doubting as Thomas did?  We must go to God in prayer when experiencing doubt.  Sanctification is the process of growing in Him, which includes times of doubt and times of great faith.  Like the man who brought his demon-possessed child to Jesus but was unsure whether Jesus could help him, we go to God because we believe in Him and ask Him for more and greater faith to overcome our doubts, saying, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:17-27).

Final Thoughts:  “Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see.”  Martin Luther

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
Thomas Aquinas

School of Leaders – March 2016

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Finding Joy

The experience of joy, a Metanoia if you will, on the recent Men’s and Women’s Cursillo Weekends was somewhat diminished by our return to reality.  Being “One in Christ” is constantly challenged when the general attitude of people seems to be, “what’s in it for me, what is the very least I can do, and if it feels good do it”?

We are easily distracted.  After all, God has made some really great stuff for our enjoyment.  Even He found everything He made to be “Very Good,” back in the Book of Genesis 1:31.  The problem is that all too often the pleasures of this world have our full attention.  For most people, there’s no room for anything else.  The things of God are not anywhere near the top of most people’s lists.  It is easy to become blind to His presence as a result of worldly influences that cause us to become victims of our own devices.

In Matthew Kelly’s CD, “Becoming The Best Version of Yourself,” he tells the story of a teenage boy who wants a $94,000 sports car for his 18th birthday.  When his father gives him a small rectangular package, he is sure he will find the keys to his new car.  Instead, he discovers a book, the Bible!  Disgusted, he goes to his room, throws it against the wall, slams his door in anger and goes to bed without talking to anyone.  The next day his dad died of a massive heart attack and the boy is devastated.  He again goes to his room, lays on his bed, and weeps nonstop.  Then he sees the Bible, picks it up, and reads the following inscription inside the front cover, “Dear Michael, within these pages, you will find the answers to all life’s questions and the secrets to all life’s success.  With love on your 18th birthday, Dad.”  He wept some more and flipped through the pages hoping to find some words of comfort.  He then discovered that his father had placed a bookmark in the Bible.  He removed it and found that it was a check for $94,000.  In the story, the father was able to give his son everything from a material standpoint, but more importantly, he wanted his son to place the Word of God at the center of his life.

How often are we like the son in the story?  Disappointed instead of joyful for what we have been given?  How much is the sheer business of our life and the ways of the world preventing us from living the life God is calling us to live?  To experience the fullness of joy in His presence?

We all want things to happen in our lives – we have desires, hopes and dreams.  Many of us spend several years of our lives chasing those dreams, hoping they will come true.  We hear it said many times that God wants our hopes and dreams to come true.  And that He will give us the desires of our heart.  But so often, years go by and we feel empty and unfulfilled because so much of our thought has been that things, people, accomplishments, or pleasures of this world will bring us the joy we desire.  Instead, we are left wanting more.  At some point, we finally realize that the joy we are seeking does not come from worldly things.  Just as a person’s hunger indicates the body’s need for food, our longing for more points to the fact that there must be more than this unfulfilling life.

The interesting thing is that God wants all of us to have complete joy.  He created us for it.  Jesus came so that we could be immersed in complete joy: “I have said these things to you so that my joy might be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11

There’s a secret to making sure God gives us the desires of our heart.  It isn’t some kind of magic prayer or a special type of fasting; it isn’t about attending the right church or singing the right praise and worship songs; and it isn’t about having the right amounts of money – it’s all about our hearts.

As we seek God and build a relationship with him, the desires of our hearts will begin to change.  We will begin to long for the things that God wants in our lives, not just the worldly things that we used to chase.  As this happens, we will begin to see things fall into place for us, and we will have the desires of our hearts.

St. Augustine tells us, “Our hearts were made for you, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.”

The key is to remember that God is not the means to an end.  He is the end.  He is who we should be seeking after continually.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” Mt 6:33

As a Christian, we are invited to follow Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  As we study Christ, we are convinced that without His Way, there is no going; without His Truth, there is no knowing, and without His Life, there is no real living.

As Bishop Robert Barron tells us in a recent Lenten Perspective, “Instead of seeing money, success, fame, power, and pleasure as ultimate goods, see them as nothing compared to the grace of God. Instead of living as though worldly success were ultimate, live as though the things of this world don’t matter at all.  In a word, change your mind, and see things from the perspective of God.”

Experience joy in all you do by placing, Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.

Some final thoughts:  “You don’t have to leave behind all the things of this world to put God first, but you must put God first in all the things of this world.” Author Unknown

“If you can’t find joy in the path you are on and what you are working toward, how do you expect to find joy once you get there?”  Author Unknown

School of Leaders – September 2015

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Caught Between Faith and Doubt

From Matthew 14:22-33 – Then He made the disciples get into the boat and precede Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. After doing so, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When it was evening He was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, He came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter said to Him in reply, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did Him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

This scripture reminds us of our weakness to be easily distracted, which can cause our faith to waiver. Are we more like Peter, ready to ask God to use us, or are we more like the other disciples who sat in the boat watching to see what would happen with Peter? Peter stands for every disciple in every age, caught between faith and doubt. He believed in the presence of Christ, yet his faith wavered.

In the struggles and complexities of life, it seems natural for Christians to seek signs of God’s presence and of God’s will.  Yet the true Christian challenge is to believe in the presence of God precisely when it is least discernible. Peter’s challenge to Christ came not from a strong faith in Jesus, but from the sad reality of “little faith.”  The Christian cannot walk on water, and is not meant to do so.  But God does empower every disciple to believe against the odds, to face the struggles, and to mature and grow in faith in the process.  The essence of Christian life is not signs, but faith.  The desire for signs does not originate from God.  Yet it is precisely from instances of little faith and sin that Jesus is prepared to reach out his hand and catch the waverer.

In the Christian journey, Jesus invites disciples to follow.  In this incident, Peter took the initiative. Interestingly, Jesus accepted his challenge in order to underline for Peter, and for all subsequent believers, the meaning of deep faith.

Faith doesn’t save us from trials and tribulations; what it does is give us strength to face them. The person who has faith has a source of strength and inspiration, especially when trouble strikes. It’s not we who keep the faith – It’s the faith that keeps us.

No one’s faith is perfect. If we ever have a doubt like Peter did, we need to talk to Jesus about it. Mark 9:24 says, then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Just like Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed Peter to keep him safe, He is that close to us, and He will help us too.

The truth is, lots of situations are too big or too scary for us to handle, but nothing is too big for Jesus! We shouldn’t focus on the situation we are in. Instead, we should focus on the One who has power over every situation! In Verse 27, Jesus tells us like He told the disciples; “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Our faith will be strong when we keep our eyes on Jesus. When we know Jesus, we know He is completely deserving of our trust. When we keep our focus on His power and His love for us, our faith will be strong.

Final thought: “We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.” – St. Francis De Sales