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Do not be afraid. Just have faith. Mark 5:36

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Offer It Up! August 31st


Luke 4:31-37

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, "Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out." And reports of him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

The Word of the Lord.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not by our own mind or strength that we are where we are today. As the man in the synagogue who had been taken by an evil spirit, he knew that Jesus was the Holy One of God. He obviously had his problems. Yet Jesus still had the spirit come out of him even with the demon throwing the man down and crying out against Him.

Like it or not, like the man in Luke's gospel, we have little, if anything to do with God’s plans for us. Sure, for the gift of free will we may have slept in today or may choose to take some time off from work or school, but rest assured, God has us all under His Providence. We too have our own set of problems, with or without particular demons. That is why He is given us some help, the sort of which can increase our faith, which can be found in and with His Word. We should still be amazed at what we read and find in it.

Every time we read, hear or take part in scripture, we are offered the chance to further transform our lives to be more like we have been instructed. As Jesus spoke in the synagogue, those who were there were astonished at what He taught them. As we read today or any day, are we as amazed or astounded as those who first heard Him? Are we still in awe of what He did then and what He does today?

It’s one thing to read or hear the Word and do just that—read or hear it. It is something else entirely to do more than just read or hear it as it has everything to do with our eternity. How much more do we believe in the power of His grace after we have been instructed by The Word? How can we not? We should all commit ourselves to a more positive way to living as we are commanded and instructed. We have everything to gain and hell to lose.


Offer It Up! August 30th


1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Let what I do be a witness of what God has done in me and for me so that the words you hear me speak you may know come from the power of God.

Maybe that is what you might call a loose interpretation of what Paul had to say at Corinth at that time, but something we could all fall in line with. All he knew, he knew from knowing Jesus Christ, alive and especially crucified. He gave His life for us—His sacrifice—so that we could live as we do today. What is it that we can choose to do in return? Do we have as much in us to sacrifice our lives as Paul did to learn more of what Jesus did for him?

We too can know Him more the more we give ourselves the opportunity to learn of Him as Paul did. That wisdom does not come from what we can assume or presume from humans either. It comes from our faith and belief ‘with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.’ (1 Cor. 2:13) How we can offer our own lives for one another—in sacrifice—for the saving of one life in bringing it to the glory of salvation, that’s how Paul did it. We can too. It may not happen with the speed we would prefer, the miracle conversions we may have heard about or seen, but it can and will happen. We just need to be prepared to show how much Jesus’ life means to us and what His sacrifice did for us. Our faith and theirs rests not on what we know but what He shows through us.


Offer It Up! August 29th


2 Chronicles 7:14

And if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.

Why Pray?

Getting close to God is demanding but fulfilling, too.

Our Catholic tradition tells us that we come from God and that all of life is a journey back to God. In John 16:5 Jesus said, “Now I am going to him who sent me.” If, like Jesus, we are on our way back to the Father who sent us, isn’t it a good idea to stay connected with him along life’s way? Such connection, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, accomplishes several things.

Prayer keeps us mindful that God is.

Our loving, merciful God always is. Who wants to be deprived of knowing this God? Who wouldn’t want to have the ability to draw from this eternal well of faith, hope, and love?

Prayer keeps us aware that we depend on God.

We exist because of God’s love for us. Our lives continue because we are sustained by the physical world God created, including the world of our own miraculous bodies.

Prayer helps us consent to God’s working in our lives.

Giving consent to God is not always an easy thing to do. We would prefer to avoid life’s difficulties. The inevitable suffering we experience in life can become a source of invaluable learning when we consent to God’s will. This is what the saints experienced. It can be just as true for us.

Prayer keeps us aware of our joyful destiny: loving union with God.

Many of us say that we want to get closer to God. Prayer is the way. Jesus calls us not servants but friends. And friends must make time for friends—to enjoy one another, to listen to one another, and simply to do things together. When making time for God becomes a priority, we are on the way to becoming closer to God.

It is wise and healthful to disengage for a while each day from the multiple demands made upon us and to spend some time with God. When we make this time, the other things generally get done as well. I’ve heard people say, “If I skip my prayer time, the quality of my day suffers.” Getting closer to God is demanding but fulfilling too. It is why we were created.

Why pray? God invites us. Jesus calls us friends, and friends need to spend time together.

Sister Marlene Halpin, O.P., Loyola Press


Offer It Up! August 28th


Matthew 25: 14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one– to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

Trust, responsibility and faithfulness—are you using your gifts and talents accordingly?

We have been given our talents and gifts long before we were ever around this earth. Whatever it is that we have come to know we do well, whatever it is we have been blessed with—and we all have been blessed with God’s grace—we can and should use what we have been given.

A friend of mine continues to practice what gifts she has in spite of almost insurmountable odds. Yet on she goes, above and beyond it seems, her call of duty in the world of real estate. A ‘tough’ market to say the least, a house that needed more than just a little cleaning up, and a client that exceeds any ‘high maintenance’ standards I have ever encountered. So she persevered, continued to make the best of the not so best situation and you guessed it—sold the house, made her client happy and even found her an apartment to move to! We should all be so diligent in all our practices of faith, work and helping our neighbor. Well done, His good and faithful servant.

Considering the gospel of the talents, where those that were given some gave back more and one that was given an amount gave back the same, where are we with our talents? Are we denying ourselves and others our gifts? And if so, denying what God has given us? God trusts that we will do what He has planned for us with what He has given us. It is our responsibility to do His will for us. We remain faithful to that will when we do. It’s either that or we can spend time in the darkness, wailing and grinding our teeth. With His gift to us of free will, it’s our call.


Offer It Up! August 27th


Matthew 24:42-51

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

"Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time?

Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is long delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant's master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

STAY AWAKE!

This Jesus spoke to His disciples in Matthew’s gospel, 24:42. As we face each day, what do these two words convey to me and you in the course of what is happening in this present moment? At times, we can wonder where the Lord is in the occurrences of life. Temptation enters and we are prone to the kind of behavior that we used to call sinful. It seems we have in our human wisdom found many various ways to explain away sin as sickness, addiction, environmental influence and many other new and various way to fail in accountability.

In all this, I ask myself again and again, ‘Where are you Lord?’

I long to be with You in all my thoughts, in all I do and long to see You face to face. Yet, too often I miss the mark. I wonder what was Paul’s stumbling block—his sin—that he asked so often to be removed. Do we all have some tendency to sin that we can overcome only with Your grace? In asking this, I believe I have Your answer, ‘My grace is sufficient for you!’ Would that I remember this every waking moment! Would that I stay awake and see Your presence always and everywhere? Wake up! Like the apostles Peter, James and John, I too fall asleep as you plead with Our Father to take this cup… to give strength that I may always seek to do His will.

What must I do to see You face to face when this journey is ended? Love? Help me to understand love as totally and completely as You demonstrated through the Incarnation and through Your Passion, Death and Resurrection. As I stumble, and stumble I do, grant me the grace to rise and cling to the cross of salvation. Let me find and experience in faith the depth of Your Love as You pray to the Father that all may be ONE.

As we celebrate the lives of those close to us who have crossed the gate of death into the new life with You, grace us with compassion and love that will keep us awake and alert to Your Love beyond our capability to understand. May our faith grow ever stronger each day in our hearts and in our living.

Deacon


Offer It Up! August 26th


1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in Him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Giving thanks for our peace and grace from above.

Good way to start one’s day or even keep it going, I think we would all agree. Even with all the things that are not so peaceful around us and all that we do without so much grace, there is still plenty for us all to be thankful for—for what we have and what we do not have.

As Paul wrote, we are not wanting for any spiritual gifts; they are there for our own sharing, learning and even taking. It is with these gifts that we come to know even more fully the Love of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Soak that up for a moment or two.

As He is faithful to us, He called us and chose us to be His faithful. We respond to that call by being faithful to Him, by our obedience to following His will for us in those gifts He has given us. Think again if you feel you are lacking in any as these are our gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the LORD. Along with that, think of what God gives us because He loves us: grace, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion.

So maybe it is not that we are lacking in our gifts so much as it is the honest recognition of them. If God has given them to us, who are we then to not put them to use, or worse yet, turn them back?


Offer It Up August 25th


Matthew 23:27-32

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like white washed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.

How God sees us.

How others see us.

And how we see ourselves.

Of course we all do it. Knowingly or not so much. Act, behave, or say stuff in ways that don’t really present who we really are, or at least, should be.

I read something recently that talked about those three perceptions of who we are, how we ‘project’ an image of who or what we are at any time and asked the question: how well do they match up? In fact, think about this: next time you go to say or do something about or to someone or something, would it be something you would be having to repeat in a confessional?

In Matthew’s gospel, it seemed hypocrisy is at least one premise the Pharisees subscribed to. The proverbial ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach to life was good enough for them. Let’s just say that is not the best judgment they could have used in their self-assessment. Not being honest with oneself leads to being dishonest with others, and ultimately, being dishonest with God. How one acts or presents oneself—with an inflated ego or even a woe is me, the sky is falling attitude or even a holier than thou tarnished halo—if there are those tendencies, then there are differences in the way God and others see them.

God wants us without the pretenses, without the hype, without the duplicity. And that is way tough to do. Think of the last time you shared some gossip. How about the last time you thought less of someone else? Or told a little white lie? Embellished a story a bit to make yourself look good and someone else look not so good? For sure, there are standards we have to uphold to be Christ-like. But the more we live unlike Him, the harder it becomes to see who we really are, who God really wants us to be, to practice what He has taught us.

So what is our ‘out’, our saving grace for all of this? It starts with being honest with ourselves and with asking for forgiveness. Looking in the mirror and admitting your guilt. Forgiveness from those who have been impacted by our two-faced living and forgiveness from God. And that happens through reconciliation, with those we have hurt and again with God. And what better way to do that than through the gift of the sacrament of Reconciliation? For those times we do fail, God is there to bring us back to Him, just as He sees us.


Offer It Up August 24th

Happy Birthday Stephanie!


Matthew 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”

God's word is a daily dose of the Father's loving concern for His children.

In the beginning of Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians we are reminded how faith leads to loving concern for one another, and our need to support one another in prayer.
Matthew’s Gospel provides us with a picture of Jesus once more in confrontation with Scribes and Pharisees. Who are the Scribes and Pharisees of our time? Jesus uses rather harsh terms, blind guides, blind fools...he says. As we look into the mirror of our own souls perhaps we can see a little of the behavior Jesus criticizes in our own walk of faith.
As Jesus speaks of the Temple and the Gold in the Temple, the altar and the gift, we too are directed toward our own values and how we respond to the God who has gifted us with live and love. The gift on our altar is the Lord Jesus Himself who sanctifies the altar and all creation. Beyond all understanding, the Redeemer restores us to life, life as sharers in Divinity itself.

On Holy Saturday, the liturgy reminds us of the Happy Fault, not the original sin destroyed us forever, but that it was a Happy Fault in that it gained for us so great a redeemer. God became man. How do we begin to grasp the enormity of God's mercy not just restoring man's former state, but becoming one with humanity in the incarnation? Because of the sin of Adam, God became man.

The story of the Prodigal Son gives us a rough analogy, without the Son's sin, there would have been no return with the feast and the fatted calf, the ring, the royal robe....so with man God throws a banquet and becomes one with humanity.
Each time we approach the Eucharistic Table, we hear "The body of Christ" we become one with Him, one with the Father, one human family in unity with the Divine.
The Church, ONE, HOLY, APOSTOLIC, let our hearts and voices ring out in praise to the God who made us, who loves us, who is always with us.


This day, let your every breath be an offering of love, through the Holy Spirit may every breath become a prayer for all men and women, that all may experience God’s love.

Deacon


Birthday Blessings for Stephanie


Matthew 13:45

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.

We are probably all familiar with this parable as we have come to grow in our faith. The man finds a pearl, claims it and sells all he has so that he too may have it. Such is and should be our journey of faith. Once we have come to know what our salvation is worth, what was given up for us, it makes sense for us to go to great lengths ourselves to claim our own salvation, if not that of others. Jesus gave His life for us. We can give ours for Him.

On a bit of different take, family and friends will find there is a new ‘pearl’ in their midst as Tim and Stephanie and family begin to resettle in their new home in their new city. Stephanie is celebrating not just the move but also her birthday today… indeed the pearl we have in our lives and now a pearl to be shared with new friends.

A woman of faith, truly one of God’s own pearls, she knows where her salvation comes from and knows that there will be changes in her journey and in ours. But those changes, those tribulations, won’t keep her from her love of God or God’s Love from for her.

She's a warrior for her faith, her family and her friends. And she's an angel of grace and mercy for all the same. (I don't know how she does it either.)

Happy Birthday Stephanie.

Life is too short and family and friends are too few to let either slip away.

We love you and always have and always will.


Offer It Up August 23rd


2 Thessalonians 3:13

Brothers and sisters: do not be weary in doing what is right.

Pakistan.

Haiti.

Indonesia.

Africa.

Afghanistan.

Even here in America.

We don’t have to look that far to see enough for even the stoutest of hearts to sigh and shake their heads and wonder how can good be coming from this. It would be easy to lose sight of our goal, our focus, and leave the work for others. To say we’ve had enough of the floods, the earthquakes, the wars—the death and destruction. We could even find enough folks to climb on board with us, saying they understand. Heck, they might even drive the bus for us!

But that would not be right. No matter how weary we become. No matter how long the road might seem. How dark the night has fallen. We shall not grow faint of doing His will. As Jesus carried His cross for us, we too can carry ours. We can spend useless time complaining about what things should be like or we can use that same time doing something to make things better, doing what is right.

There is enough heartache, pain and negativity in the world as it is. We will certainly have our fair share of it. And there are those that prefer life that way—criticism, doubt, blaming—their own weariness never seems to end. But by doing so does not mean we have to entertain it and keep it around and wallow in it with them. By letting them see our own approach, of doing good, we can help them change theirs, so that they may share in Christ’s joy.

Galatians 6:9-10

Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.

So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.


Offer It Up August 22nd


Romans 15:4-6

For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Something a little different this afternoon and evening…

Test yourself on what you know about the sacraments. See what you can answer without looking anything up first and then, if you are stumped, do the ‘google’ thing and find your answers.

1. A confirmation candidate chooses the help of a:
a. coach         b. deacon       c. sponsor        d. cheerleader

2. The primary educators for children in their faith are:

a. the priest      b. the parents  c. catechists     d. EWTN

3. Of the following, the one that is not a gift of the Holy Spirit is:

a. courage      b. wisdom        c. right judgment         d. anger

4. The ministers of the Sacrament of Matrimony are:

a. a priest and deacon           b. the couple getting married

c. a priest and the congregation        d. the pastor and his associate

5. Rosaries, medals, scapulars, and holy water are all:

a. sacramentals b. pastorals c. liturgies d. good luck charms e. sacristies

Bonus Question:

A special outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred on all the disciples when:

a. on the Epiphany b. at the Transfiguration         c. Pentecost d. Agony in the Garden

Don’t look for any answers down here. They should be easy enough to figure out, even for that bit of neophyte Catholic in us all. Whether we are new to our faith, renewed in our faith or just in the process of learning more about scriptures and our faith, we all share the same goal on the paths we are travel. And along the way, we can help each other out in any way we can. Having fun while we're on that road is okay too.


Offer It Up August 21st


Come to the Silence

And God said...

Come to the silence.

Life is so loud. Your soul needs a break from the clock and the crowd.

Come to the silence.

Let my love start to heal all life's hurts and comfort your heart.

Come to the silence.

Be calm and be still. Just rest in my arms for today, that's my will.

Come to the silence.

In search of my peace. Gently, your doubts and your fears will all cease.

Come to the silence.

Here, take my hand.

Have you forgotten that I understand?


Offer It Up August 20th


Ezekiel 37:1-14

The hand of the LORD came upon me, and led me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the center of the plain, which was now filled with bones. He made me walk among the bones in every direction so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain. How dry they were!
He asked me: Son of man, can these bones come to life? I answered, “Lord GOD, you alone know that.”
Then he said to me:
Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: See! I will bring spirit into you that you may come to life. I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put spirit in you so that you may come to life and know that I am the LORD.

I prophesied as I had been told, and even as I was prophesying I heard a noise; it was a rattling as the bones came together, bone joining bone. I saw the sinews and the flesh come upon them, and the skin cover them, but there was no spirit in them. Then the LORD said to me: Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the spirit: Thus says the Lord GOD: From the four winds come, O spirit, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life. I prophesied as he told me, and the spirit came into them; they came alive and stood upright, a vast army.
Then he said to me: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They have been saying,
“Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.” Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones, now hear The Word of the LORD!

If you didn’t know before, at least you know now from whence that song originated. What’s that? What song is it that I am talking about? I don’t know either except to say I can recall hearing that chorus repeated over and over from a movie or somewhere from my early childhood. Suffice to say, the more we read and live The Word, the more we find out just how much of our vocabulary, phraseology, and music is influenced by the words we find in it.

Ezekiel wondered as he looked and saw the bones about him. Bones about him everywhere. Could life even come to one, so many? He knew that God had the answer. He also knew that he was to obey as God had instructed him. And as he did, there was new life, new flesh, new spirit, in the bones.

Standing upright.

A vast army.

A resurrected people.

How dry we do get, though. How we thirst when we are so dry, it feels as if our bones should even cry out. At times, we often wonder: can we ever recover from where we are? From our suffering and pain? From what we’ve done? Will our spirit, our flesh, our heart and soul ever be renewed to know the fullness of God’s love?

Like Ezekiel, we know that God has the answer. And the answer is yes, we can be fulfilled again. Let us put our spirit in Him and He will do for us as He has promised.


Offer It Up August 19th

Happy Birthday Crystal!


How long does it take a heart to let go of a soul?

For that heart to let God fill the emptiness?

How does one let God begin again, to continue the good He started?

There is His Faith in trust as we give ourselves completely over to Him.

Today. Just for today.

With His grace and mercy.

We become full again.

How long will it take for a heart to be in His Love?

Each day we have.


Offer It Up August 18th


Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff that give me courage.
You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Only goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come

A commercial from years ago showed a man playing pool and someone asked him how he became so good at what he was doing. As the spot ended, the man repeated the words, ‘Practice, practice, practice.’ If only we were so inclined to be so diligent. And so patient.

In another generation far removed from then, it would seem it’s more like ‘patience, patience, patience’ while we ‘practice, practice, practice’ what God has doing what He has called us to do. We may have all our ducks lined up as we think God wants us to yet none of them are quacking the way we had planned. We’ve got our paddle in the water yet it’s taking longer to get our canoe upstream than we thought. Some of us may even be to the point of crossing t’s and dotting i’s… yet, we still remain in a quandary with muddled thoughts, frustrated, with little more than an a wisp of thought of what God has in store for us.

And we think we are the only ones in the world with such a condition. No one else has ever been this way before. Yuppo-you're unique just like everyone else... How mundane would it be if life was all about having it perfect and handed to you just as you wanted it, when you wanted it? Where would the spontaneity be? Where would the excitement of what to expect be? Where would be the thankfulness for what you have? Yes, even with the disappointments and the frustrations, there are still the countless moments of joy, the innumerable days of His glory and the weeks of beauty of God’s earthly kingdom we enjoy we somehow tend to overlook.

Just as our patience and practice is an ongoing part of our life, so is our conversion. The patience and practice is what happens as we change and grow, our transformation into what God wants us to be. Not something we have to like necessarily but certainly something we get to do. So go ahead, get everything lined up just as you want it. Then let God do as He planned all along and see how it works out. Along the way, you’ll see just how great He can get your ducks lined up with a little practice and patience. And don’t forget that that practice and patience includes prayer, prayer, and more prayer.


Offer It Up August 17th

Happy Anniversary Cyndi and Michael!


2 Corinthians 4:8-12

We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.

For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Think of the lives of the saints that have all gone before us, especially those that have suffered greatly at the hands of their persecutors. There are those that subscribe to such thoughts that what they went through was not much different than what we suffer--balderdash! We and the saints even of today all have our trials from which suffer and our crosses that we bear. But to say that we are ‘put to the test’ as the ones that have come before were, at least in my opinion, is more of a stretch than I can cover.

This is not to discount or to steer clear from any of our pains today. We all suffer and we all grieve of losses and of unspeakable sins. For that, we offer our sacrifice and prayers for God’s mercy and forgiveness every day, for those who have sinned against us and for those we have sinned against. Still we are faced each day with countless threats to our faith and the Church, just as there were one hundred, two hundred, five hundred and over a thousand years ago.

For sure there are persecutions today yet we do not read or hear too much about the Clares and Joans and Peters, Stephens and Lawrences who were tortured, beheaded, toasted or stoned to death for what they held as right and true.


How many of us today would step up and be counted as they were? How would we hold up under the pressures of a society that gives us the freedom to believe what we want and pray how we want (well, in some aspects anyway) and when we are challenged for what we believe, stay the course as they did? Would we really offer our lives for the sake of another? Would we really share in the ultimate sacrifice? I would at least like to think I would. And I would pray and hope there are others who would do the same.

John 15:19-20

If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.


Offer It Up August 16th


Matthew 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “
You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

So did the man walk away forever, bummed out that what he was doing was not already enough? Or did he walk away to go sell what he had so he could come back, even though he would probably more than just a bit despondent over the whole deal of having to sell everything to follow Jesus?

We can only presume what happened for the Bible does not tell us so on this particular instance. We do know that he was following the commandments as well as he could and up to the time Jesus told him what to do, he was okay with his life. And then, he had his eyes opened a bit wider, to further see what He had in store, should he choose to follow in His steps.

We are not too unlike the man today. We can say we put ourselves to the test of the Ten Commandments and hopefully pass them. We can listen to and read scripture and even put most of what we have come to understand into practice. It’s when we get those specific, plain-as-the-nose-on-our-face, directives—that’s when we start the hemming and hawing. When we start asking God if He means us and not the other David or the other Linda. Or He really does want us to go serve in the mission kitchen for a week? That mission kitchen?

We have to ultimately decide what we are willing to give up to give to others for the Love God has given us. We don’t have to go sell the farm or dump the house—there is such a thing as sanity. What does have to go are those things that get in the way of our love for Him. Possessions, addictions, relationships, and of course sin—if they are keeping us at any distance from His grace, of course they have to go. When they do get gone, the decision to follow Him will be that much easier to make and our journey will have more treasures than we will know what to do with.


Offer It Up August 15th

The Solemnity of

The Blessed Virgin Mary


The Magnificat

And Mary said:

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

My spirit rejoices in God my savior.

For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness;

Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

The Mighty One has done great things for me,

And holy is his name.

His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.

He has shown might with his arm,

Dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.

He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones

But lifted up the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things;

The rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped Israel his servant,

Remembering his mercy,

According to his promise to our fathers,

To Abraham and to his descendants forever."

Luke 1:46-55


Offer It Up August 14th


1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality.

...and That's Final!

We just completed another project. The graphic and layout artist submitted the file. The file was named project_name-FINAL.ext.

I had to remind the artist, "NEVER name a file on a project FINAL!"

I told them, "Use this format, project_name_year-month-date-a.ext." Most of you can understand project name, the year, month, date and the ext (file extension) but you may be wondering "What is the "a" behind the date?"

Not only is FINAL often not FINAL simply because there is usually some kind of change somewhere on another day but there often multiple changes per day, thus the a, b, c, d versions per day.

I thought how life is often like our projects. What we may think is final is far from final. There are changes, often major changes.

We think that we've found the perfect job, we are so happy, this is it for the rest of our lives, it's FINAL.
Guess what, there are changes.

We think that we've found the perfect house, we are so happy, this is it for the rest of our lives, it's FINAL.
Guess what, there are changes.

We think that we've found the perfect spouse, we are so happy, this is it for the rest of our lives, it's FINAL.
Guess what, there are changes.

We even think that we've found the perfect church, we are so happy, this is it for the rest of our lives, it's FINAL.
Guess what, there are changes.

Ideally we should make the right choices. Ideally the file ought to be right on the version marked FINAL but oh so often,
Guess what, there are changes.

Our death is not even final.

Guess what, there are changes.

It is the beginning of our new eternal life.

Not here. Not even close.

Not as we know it.

Not as anything we can even imagine.

Let's get ready.

Submitted by Reno V. with adaptations


Offer It Up August 13th


Isaiah 41:13

For I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, "Fear not, I will help you."

God, make me brave for life.
Oh, braver than this.
Let me straighten after pain,
As a tree straightens after the rain,

Shining and lovely again.
God, make me brave for life.
Much braver than this.
As the blown grass lifts,

Let me rise from sorrow with quiet eyes,
Knowing thy way is wise.
God, make me brave, life brings such blinding things.
Help me to keep my sight.
Help me to see aright that out of dark comes light.

Author unknown

Submitted by A. Hawkins


Offer It Up August 12th


How do we experience the presence of Jesus? Certainly in our adhering to our religious traditions, in our worship, especially in the Eucharist we believe He is present to us.
But what exactly is Church? The Body of Christ; He as the head and we as the members?

How well do we enter into that mystery of God with us in our daily living as baptized members of this universal family we name Church? How do we go about our daily living and breathing recognizing in each other the wonder of the Body of Christ?

In the incarnation Jesus made supernatural life the gift to all of us. In Adam we lost the gift of supernatural life, sanctifying grace. In Jesus we are redeemed through baptism and acceptance of life in Him, with Him, through Him. In our everyday relationships we can encounter Christ in each other. He has chosen us for this. By our lives in Him we are called to continue the work of redemption, the work of restoring man and creation to God's plan before man's fall from grace.

As we reflect on the life of Jesus we discover that we too must encounter suffering as well as JOY! We each of us in responding the Jesus find ourselves called to reveal to one another the incredible good news of God's overabundant love. Will the persons I meet today be a reminder of His eternal presence? Am I truly open to that
truth?


As I reflect on my own attempts at sincere prayer, I am often astounded at how ego- centered I approach my God. Sinner that I am, I must bow low in sorrow for my failures to love as I should.


Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. O God, let my every breath be a reminder of your unfathomable love and mercy.

Deacon


Offer It Up August 11th

Feast of St. Clare


Matthew 18:15-20

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Have you ever had a cut or a scrape on your arm that you gave little attention? Maybe at first you thought it wasn’t enough to treat or give any special care but as the days passed, you started seeing some redness around it and some infection setting in. You break out some triple antibiotic ointment, rub some on it and cover it with some protective gauze and tape and you’re on your way.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg as you come to find out. Your arm gets sore. You see some swelling begin. You can hardly move it. You get a little dizzy and break out in cold sweat. All this over a little cut. Now you have to go the doctor to get some professional help. If you would have just taken care of it sooner instead of letting it get infected… too late, though poison has been let in.

Our lives and the way we choose to do God’s will—or not—are a lot like the cuts and scrapes we get in life. If we soon recognize that there is something wrong with what we are doing, with where we have put our priorities, chances are better that we won’t find ourselves becoming ‘infected’ with sin. If we look the other way and rationalize our thoughts and actions and put our faith on hold for awhile, we will almost certainly find our way outside of God’s will for us, out of His graces, sick with sin. The poison has been let in.

The same can be true for relationships. Allowing differences of opinion, disagreements, fights and ‘mad-ons’, to get in the way of the love of family and friends can cut through to the bone in many instances, causing harm to many, even those outside the argument. St. Augustine says to step aside from your own feelings and take care of the other’s wound so that they may come to healing first. From there, they may see their own faults and see how they can make amends.

We can do the same—be the first to stop the bleeding in a damaged friendship, family feud or work-related issue. We can choose to be the bandage to cover up the hurt, still knowing that it’s there. Or we can choose to be the ointment to start the healing—to remove the poison—no matter how long that might take. The healing, if not renewal, will be for all involved.


Offer It Up August 10th


2 Corinthians 9:6-10

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.

As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

How soon we forget. At least sometimes.

It may have just been yesterday the good news you received and yet today you are complaining with your heart still full from the joy you experienced less then 24 hours ago.

Or it could be the other way; how we chose not give of our time or talent or treasure as we should and could then we wonder as we pray why it seems God is a bit tardy in answering our supplications. Either way, we often experience some short term memory lapses when things begin to go not so much the way we want them to.

Maybe you’ve heard the adage ‘God loves a cheerful giver.’ Like me, maybe you were not aware that it came from scripture. (Interestingly enough, there are numerous adages that find their roots in scripture but that’s for another time.) Look at the words leading up to God loving us as cheerful givers: He already knows what our story line is going to read and we are to carry it out accordingly, with happiness as well as willingly. That’s the beauty of ‘cheerful giving’.

He has everything we need and will see to it that we have it when we need it. Did you see that part about ‘an abundance for every good work’? That’s what happens when we give without counting the cost. God gives us the graces to carry on His good works for the good of others. You can’t get any more cheerful giving than that.


Offer It Up August 9th


John 6:60-69

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"

But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe."

For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

What do we do when the real tough questions come to us? What is our response to those times when we have to choose between following what we have been taught as just and right or taking a less than true way out? Are like some of the disciples who had had enough of the teachings, those who couldn’t or wouldn’t grasp what He was saying? Or are we like those that stayed with Peter who believed and had come to know Jesus as the Son of God?

Today, there are those that doubt eating the Body and Blood of Christ in the form of the Eucharist. Yet many more of us do as often as we are capable. That is what we believe now and always will. Our faith has brought us to believe that. And that is where and how we are able to live our lives through Him by receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. There is nothing else quite like being a living, breathing sanctuary for Jesus Christ.

As it was with the disciples and their relationships with Jesus then, we can also build our relationship through receiving the Eucharist. Through prayer, through scripture, through living a life of example, we can continue to grow our faith and live in His everlasting Love. See how much more we can realize and truly grasp the gifts He has given us in His Body and Blood and be fully alive with His presence in us.


Offer It Up August 8th


Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

The 7 Gifts of The Holy Spirit are:

1.Wisdom - desire for the things of God, and to direct our whole life and all our actions to His honor and glory

2.Understanding - enable us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith

3.Counsel - warn us of the deceits of the devil, and of the dangers to salvation

4.Fortitude - strengthen us to do the will of God in all things

5.Knowledge - enable us to discover the will of God in all things

6.Piety - love God as a Father, and obey Him because we love Him

7.Fear of the Lord - have a dread of sin and fear of offending God


A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ

Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to us that He may perfect in our soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant us the Spirit of Wisdom that we may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten our mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that we may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that we may bear our cross with You and that we may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose our salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that we may know God and know ourselves and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that we may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that we may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark us, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate us in all things with Your Spirit. In your precious name we pray,

Amen.


Offer It Up August 7th


Habakkuk 1:12-2:4

Are you not from eternity, O LORD, my holy God, immortal?
O LORD, you have marked him for judgment, O Rock, you have readied him for punishment!
Too pure are your eyes to look upon evil, and the sight of misery you cannot endure.
Why, then, do you gaze on the faithless in silence while the wicked man devours one more just than himself?

We know it to be true. Our Lord, our most holy God is immortal; has always been and always will be. He has seen it all and there is not one thing hidden from Him. From our human perspective, we cannot imagine being God and sitting in His perfect heaven watching the nonsense, the selfishness, and the horror that man commits against man and letting it happen. We would be hurling balls of fire from heaven to stop it if we could. Right?


You have made man like the fish of the sea, like creeping things without a ruler.
He brings them all up with his hook, he hauls them away with his net, He gathers them in his seine; and so he rejoices and exults.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net, and burns incense to his seine; for thanks to them his portion is generous, and his repast sumptuous. Shall he, then, keep on brandishing his sword to slay peoples without mercy?

Can God possibly keep track of all that is going on in the world? Can He possibly know each and every detail in the lives of the millions of people on the earth? From our human perspective – not a chance. I mean really – look at all the things going on in the world that should be stopped. And it just keeps on happening.

I will stand at my guard post, and station myself upon the rampart,
And keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what answer

He will give to my complaint.

Hello God, are you up there? Are you seeing and hearing it all? What a mess!

Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash man has no integrity;
but the just man, because of his faith, shall live.

Humbly Lord, we must wait for You to fulfill the vision You have for us as Your people. You have told us that You love us and that You have a plan; a perfect plan for us. Your plan is perfect in all ways; things do not happen too early or too late. Your plan will not disappoint us in the end. Our job as Your people is to be patient; to let You do Your work according to Your will and Your way. We cannot act in haste out of anger or self-righteousness. It is not our place to judge, but Yours alone. Help us to wait for You, to have faith in Your perfect judgment, to desire only to do Your will and live according to Your plan.


Offer It Up August 6th

Feast of the Transfiguration


2 Peter 1:16-19

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, "This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Each day we have some opportunity to spend time with the Creator of life. It is our choice, our decision. We can go about life enjoying the wonders of it and not even give a passing thought to who we are, how we came to be, what wonders surround us moment by moment.


Each day we have a gift from the Church a reference to the Scriptures, a reflection on those who encountered the Lord of life and found the truth, the way the life and left us with pointers to how we should direct our lives. Today, one of those pointers comes from Saint Peter in 2Peter 1:16-19. Peter was on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured (glorified) before him and James and John, He heard the Father's voice "This is my chosen one, listen to Him." It is not just enough to read this and move on; rather it is a reminder to be reflected on. Read it with as much attention and imagination as possible that you may hear Peter's moving plea to listen and possess this message.


Today on this feast, celebrate the wonder of Christ present in our midst. He who was glorified by the Father, and Rose from the dead to receive power, honor, dominion over all creation. He is our Lord, He is our love, He is our Hope, He is the promise of glory. He Peter says is a lamp shining in a dark place. When the darkness comes the Light of Christ is our protection against the darkness.
Who is Jesus Christ to you at this time (kairos) in your life? I imagine for Peter, James and John nothing was ever the same after the transfiguration, rather every event in life was imbued with the presence of Jesus.

What is my passion in life...would that each day it becomes more and more Jesus Christ in every breath?

Deacon


Offer It Up August 5th


Luke 11:27-28

As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Blessed the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you!’
But he replied, ‘More blessed still are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’

Huh? What was that? Did you say what I think you said?

How often do you hear someone tell you something and ask for it to be repeated? Or maybe you read something in the news or even a book and have to re-read it just to get a glimpse of what it means. And as important as it is to understanding and comprehending what it is that we hear and read, it is even more so to put into practice those ideals we have come to know as right and as the truth. From scripture.

Where we find those things that are right and true are dependent upon where we look. Well, duh… anyone would know that. From scripture. Yet one would also think it would be easy enough to steer clear of trouble when we see it coming our way, too. But we don’t, especially when trouble is not easily recognized or we just don’t want to acknowledge it as such. Kind of like scripture.

Sometimes we don’t always understand scripture the first time we go through it. And sometimes we say or think that particular verse is about someone else, certainly not us. In many circumstances that could be the case. Most likely, should we admit it, we all could be more like Mary and be just as Jesus said… ‘‘More blessed still are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’'


Offer It Up August 4th


1 Thessalonians 4:10-12

Nevertheless we urge you, brothers, to progress even more, and to aspire to live a tranquil life, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you, that you may conduct yourselves properly toward outsiders and not depend on anyone.

Kind of tough to do sometimes, is it not? I mean, live the peaceful life and all, mind your own business, do as you’ve been told even—how are we to get anything done, especially for anyone else, if we keep to ourselves that way? And then not rely on anyone else? How is that supposed to help?

To put it another way, what if we just put our own lives ‘on parade’ and let what we do be our own way of communicating what we have been led to do? Not as busy-bodies, not as doing something to say ‘look at me’ but to live as God intended us to live. Throughout the scriptures, there are countless references for us to see where God has it under control. He is God; we are not. We depend on Him. He does not depend on us and He will use us as His instruments whether we agree to or not. It’s just so much better if we do.


Offer It Up August 3rd


Matthew 14:22-26

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, 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.”

If we didn’t want to know it, accept it, believe it or actually live it, before, we had better do so now.

I would have to imagine the disciples had some of that going through their heads about that time as Jesus was walking toward them. And as it became clearer that He was not a ghost, that what or who they saw was their Savior, yeah, it would be a bit of cause for pause if not outright panic or anxiety attack. But they were forgetting one thing.

He was Jesus the Christ.

The Son of God.

As long as they had been with Him, as long as they had come to know Him, maybe there was that small bit of doubt left lingering. Especially when things were going south, when things were not so much in their control. When their faith was being tested and they had to put it in the hands of God. Just one more step on the path of trust and surrender is all they needed to take but… nah, we’ll try to figure this one out on our own.

As his followers, we all come to those times of doubt and do just as the disciples did—try to handle it on our own; as if to say we got ourselves into this mess so we have to get ourselves out. Having been there and done that, it is nothing short of denying God when we do. It is at those precise times to do as Peter did and follow His commandments. He had Peter step out of the boat and Peter did fine as long as his faith was there. We know what happens next. And after that, the disciples all knew more about the Son of God.

We also know what happens with our own faith when it wavers. We may choose to falter and try to fix it ourselves. The better choice would be to choose to batten down the hatches and reinforce our spiritual life. Increase your prayer time. If we were partaking in the Eucharist or mass only once a week, try at least twice, if not more. Read more scripture, watch less TV. Share more of all this with family and friends. It can even be done through the electronic media when done with the right intentions.

It won’t be easy yet it doesn’t make sense to make life any harder than what it is. Jesus is here, inside our own boat, present with us, to bring us the peace we need in the storms of our own lives.


Offer It Up August 2nd


Psalm 119:29, 43, 79, 80, 95, 102

Lord, teach me your statutes.

Lead me from the way of deceit; favor me with your teaching.

If it’s the actions that I do that lead others from You, show me Your way with Your justice, Your Love, Your grace, Your mercy.

Take not the word of truth from my mouth, for in your ordinances is my hope.
Fill my mind, my heart and my soul with only the truth so that I may speak Your will.

Let those turn to me who fear you and acknowledge your decrees.
I pray that my life will be an example of living Your commandments—and at times, of what not to do—for those who need to come to nearer to You and that I may be an instrument to do so.


Let my heart be perfect in your statutes, that I be not put to shame.
Let me confess my imperfections, my sins, so that I can live in cleanliness and in Your grace.


Sinners wait to destroy me, but I pay heed to your decrees.
No one is perfect. I pray for understanding that when I am tempted and lured by satan and others attack me, I know that I can overcome them with Your help.


From your ordinances I turn not away, for you have instructed me.

Let me put myself along Your way, following Your will for me today, just as You have put before me.

These offerings I make and give You thanks and praise today.

Lord, teach me your statutes.


Offer It Up August 1st


Revelation 22:17

Let one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.

Come forward and receive.

Life in Jesus is a gratuitous gift of God and free for the asking. For what do you thirst?

Where do you go to for life? Have you ever given it much thought? In the Book of Revelation, we hear that it’s up to us. We have only to take a single step forward. The thing we humans thirst for, things like acceptance, understanding, compassion, and forgiveness, can all be found in our deepening relationship with Jesus.

Are you thirsty?

What are you waiting for?

For what do you thirst today?

Where and how do I find quenching for my thirst?


Tender God, thank you for the gift of life-giving water. Help me to acknowledge that you alone can quench my thirst. Amen.

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