Category Archives: Reflections

Reflections From a Retreat

I recently went on a four day silent retreat at the Holy Name Monastery in Saint Leo, FL. I thought I would share a few of my experiences with you while I was there. First, here is a shot of the monastery’s sign through one of their garden areas at sunset.

I started my retreat on Tuesday afternoon. Usually when I do a silent retreat, it takes at least the first 48 hours to even begin to quiet all the voices in my head. I decided to start right away and made the one hour drive up to Saint Leo with no radio on in the car. It was a smart move on my part. As soon as I got to the monastery, I was welcomed by Sister Mary David. She showed me to my room and told me about the prayer and meal schedule of the Sisters. She said that I was welcome to pray and eat with the Sisters as much or as little as I wanted to.

Having never spent a retreat with Sisters, I was a tad uncertain. Not only was I the only man in the house, I was the only retreatant for that week. Sister Mary David and the rest of the community made me feel right at home. I could tell immediately that this was a place where an encounter with God was awaiting me. I was not to be disappointed.

Unfortunately, I knew that this was going to be partially a working retreat. I am putting the finishing touches on my book, A Minute in the Church. I brought my laptop and a desire to get this project finished up. So really I spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday and even the better part of Thursday working on the book. But at least it was spiritual, and I was not distracted by TV, radio, Internet, cell phone or any other kind of media. I was able to really focus, which is rare for me.

It’s not as though I spent all my time working. Every now and again, I would walk down to the lake house and sit on the patio that overlooks Lake Jovita. I truly love nature, and to sit in the sun on a beautiful Florida day and listen to the birds singing and the bees buzzing was a little slice of heaven. Little did I know that God was preparing me for some very interesting encounters down by the lake. Below is my view from the patio of the lake house.

On Wednesday, I began to feel flu-like symptoms coming on. By Thursday, I was in full blown flu mode. Sick as a dog. Every muscle ached, every bone hurt, coughing, sneezing, chills…you know the drill. Yet even in that sickness, I continued to pray and feel God’s presence. And waited. The payoff was great. In my next post, I’ll tell you the story of the two reeds.

Funny Email!

David Is To Be Returned To Italy

A bit of cultural news for a welcome change.


After a two year loan to the United States  ,
Michelangelo’s David is being returned to Italy  .


His Proud Sponsors were:  


More Ignorant Catholic Bashing

When I saw the above editorial cartoon published in my local paper, The Tampa Tribune, I knew that I could not be silent. The cartoon is by Nick Anderson of the Houston Chronicle. Anderson obviously feels as though he has his finger on the pulse of Catholics in America. I think that he, and everyone who shares his ignorance, is full of it.

Here is, in my view, the message that Anderson is trying to get across. Because Catholic priests are not “married with children,” they cannot possibly understand, nor have compassion for families who have had children abused by priests. This kind of thinking is beyond ignorant. In my mind, Anderson is simply trying to further an obvious anti-Catholic agenda. Let’s talk about the flaws in  his thinking.

Anderson wants us to believe that everyone who has not actually experienced something cannot understand or have feelings or compassion for someone who has experienced that something. If that is the logic, then every couple who has never had children would be in this same boat. Let’s see…everyone who has never lost a job cannot feel compassion for those who are unemployed. If you have never had cancer, then you couldn’t possibly feel the pain of anyone or any family who has dealt with this. Do you see the disconnect?

Every priest is someone’s child. Most have brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews. They are all part of a family. And EVERY priest I have ever met is a caring and compassionate man. They care deeply about all people. And believe me when I tell you that EVERY one of them is heartbroken by the actions of a very few in their vocation. We need to pray for and support our priests. This is in no way a celibacy issue.

For Anderson to paint with such a broad brush is completely irresponsible. He should be ashamed of himself. I believe that Anderson does not speak for the vast majority of Catholics. We know that our priests are good men who have given their lives in service to others.

Go crawl back under your rock, Nick Anderson!

The White Envelope

The White Envelope  

by Nancy Gavin

Editor’s Note: This is a true story that is provided to us by the family of the author. Even though Nancy passed away two years after her article first appeared in Woman’s Day Magazine in 1982, her family continues to keep alive the tradition of the white envelope. This article has also inspired The White Envelope Project and web site.

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree at this time of the year for the past 10 years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it. You know, the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner city church. The kids were mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without head gear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously couldn’t afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”

Mike loved kids – all kids. He understood kids in competitive situations, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner city church.

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally challenged youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas – on and on… The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. Still, the story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike several years ago due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. Yet Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further, with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation, watching as their fathers take down their envelopes. Mike’s spirit, like the spirit of Christmas, will always be with us.

Blood Money

There is a new documentary film coming out soon that will be a must-see for all pro-lifers. In fact, everyone should watch this film that exposes the abortion industry for what it truly is. Watch the trailer below. After watching the trailer, please go to the website The more hits they get on their web site, the better the chances that they can get a distributor to help get this film out to the masses.

Fasting and Feasting

All Year: A Season for Fasting, A Season for Feasting

Fast from judging others; Feast on God’s living in them.

Fast from harsh words; Feast on words that build up others.

Fast from discontent; Feast n gratitude.

Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.

Fast from worry; Feast on God’s care.

Fast from conplaining; Feast on appreciation.

Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.

Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.

Fast from discouragement; Feast on hope.

Fast from facts that depress; Feast on truth.

Fast from idle gossip; Feast on silence with a purpose.

Fast from thoughts that weaken; Feast on promises that inspire.

Catholic Apologetics CD's

Gus Lloyd’s Catholic Apologetics CD’s

Over the past six months, I have been teaching a Catholic Apologetics class at my home parish. I now have all of the classes available on CD! The six CD’s are teachings on The Communion of Saints, Confession, The Eucharist, The Papacy and Peter, Salvation and Marian Beliefs. The six CD set is available for $25 plus $5 for shipping and handling. If you would like to learn more about the Biblical roots of our Catholic faith, and help me in my ministry, order today! To order, click below. I hope you will find these teachings to be a blessing as we seek to always learn more about our beautiful and rich Catholic faith.

6 CD Set $25.00 plus $5.00 Shipping and Handling


Or send order form along with check or money order for $30.00 payable to:
Gus Lloyd, P.O. Box 340983, Tampa, FL 33694-0983
Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery