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

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Offer It Up January 31st


Matthew 18:5

‘Anyone who welcomes one little child like this in my name welcomes me.’

What do you remember of your faith as a child? What do you remember what you believed? If you are much like what I have heard and read, your faith was pretty much based in who you trusted… Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, sisters and brothers, on to aunts and uncles. Beyond that and as we grew older, some of our faith we garnered from our friends who we learned to know and trust them, even at early ages.

To be sure, there were questions about what we believed, and even more about why we had to do things, really, for me anyway. ‘Do we have to go to church today?’ ‘Why do we have to kneel on these hard kneelers?’‘Does the priest know who I am when I go to confession?’ As I/we grew older, the questions about our faith became more about what we believed instead of the logistics of what held that belief together.

Hebrews 11:1-2
Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

Abraham had faith. Sarah had faith. And all who came from them lived and died in faith.

Hebrews 13:16

All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

The same can be said for a faith like ours. We can desire a ‘heavenly homeland’ as God has prepared for us. We too can be like the little children and welcome His love for us and have that faith ‘as small as a mustard seed’ that can grow into a bush to be shared with others who dwell in its branches.

We pray that He deepens our faith and strengthen our hope as we surrender and trust—and/or continue to trust—that He will make all things happen His way, in His time, as He wills. If it helps, remember that the disciples woke Him up to ask Him what He was going to do about the storms that were brewing as they were out on the lake… Imagine Jesus saying “Quiet! Be still!” and the disciples thinking He was talking to them! If I had been there and seen the waters calm, I would hope that I would get that message pretty clearly—Just have faith. db

Mark 4:35-41
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”


Offer It Up January 30th


Hebrews 10:19-25
Brothers and sisters:
Since through the Blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,”
let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed in pure water.
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.
We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.

So why do we go to church, really? As an obligation? A duty of some sorts? A weekly fill-in-the-blank-because-if-I-don’t-what-will-the-neighbors-think sort of thing? Before we get too far into this, indeed, many go to church for most all the right reasons. Yet from time to time, a challenge presents itself and we have to answer it-what am I truly getting out of ‘going to church’ and how can I get even more?

To quote St. John Chrysostom: “You cannot pray at home as at church … the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests.”

There is a difference to be sure. To list them would seem a bit too obvious but here we go with some of them…

Not at Church: not many folk                                       Church: lots more folk

Not at Church: no priest or pastor                                              Church: you get one there

Not at Church: only part of Body of Christ              Church: fully alive with Body of Christ

Not at Church: prayer with yourself                          Church: shared prayer with many others

Not at Church: tough to witness                                                 Church: ample opportunity to witness

Not at Church: less support                                          Church: strength in numbers

Can you list more? Probably and I apologize if the list is a bit basic. Yet the fact remains that worshiping with one another is exactly what we are told to do. “We must consider how to rouse one another… We should not stay away from assembly… encourage one another…”

So why not take the opportunity to spend more time in worship with more members of the Body of Christ? Not much to lose but so much more to gain.

Mark 4:23-25

Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

Get a clue from Mark; with everything you can gain from going to church, still more will be given to you. And with all that you can get from not going, even what he has will be taken away.

I don’t know about you guys but I need all the help I can get so you know where you’ll find me… db

When we leave Mass we ought to go out the way Moses descended Mount Sinai with his face shining, with his heart brave and strong to face the world's difficulties. - Archbishop Oscar Romero (June 17, 1979)


Offer It Up January 29th


Sirach 2:1-4,6-11,17

My son, when you come to serve the LORD, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity. Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great. Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient.

Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him. You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall. You who fear the LORD, trust him, and your reward will not be lost. You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy.

Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed? Compassionate and merciful is the LORD; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble.

Those who fear the LORD prepare their hearts and humble themselves before him.

When someone asks you to pray for them, what is your first response? For me, it usually goes something like this: ‘Sure, I will put you on my prayer list and offer your needs up with those of the others for whom I pray.’ And if I remember-remember being the key-that is what I do. Here even at afraidnot, we have our PIN page and it is way underutilized.

My wife shared with me a great story recently about prayer and the immediacy of praying for someone. As it was, an acquaintance she had not seen in some time came up to her in the store and they exchanged the usual pleasantries and the talk turned to family… ‘And how is the family doing?’ she asked my wife.

‘Well, all in all, not too bad but, like anyone else, we could use your prayers.’

Then is when it happened. Her friend said to her, ‘No time like the present. Let’s ask God to help us right now.’ And so they did, right there in the cereal aisle at Albertson’s. Heads bowed, words aloud, spirits lifted.

Who among us is called to do the same? To respond to the call and offer our prayers for those in need, especially right when they ask for them? Don’t know about you but it will take some getting used to for me… but I am up to it. Not too much different than saying grace over (and after) a meal when you go out to eat. Many of us do that without too much stress but the thought of public prayer in a small group of two or three is harder to grasp.

Yet we, (the proverbial outspoken ‘we’), claim our rights are violated if we can’t say a prayer at a ball game or at school. I would submit that the more small groups that pray together, the larger groups they become, both in size and number. Prayer does that you know, it changes things. If it helps, here is an acronym that has been around that you may have seen…

P U S H—Pray Until Something Happens.

db

Colossians 1:9-12

Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.


Offer It Up January 28th


Some of the disciples come to Jesus to tell him his Mother and brothers are waiting for him. It has been a time of seeing to the needs of others with little respite, and some of Jesus’ relatives are concerned.
And Jesus, what is his response? ‘Who are my Mother, and brothers and sisters?’
Seems like a bit of a strange remark to the announcement that his family is outside wanting to see him?
My first reaction as I sit there in the crowd is surprise and wonder as to why he hesitates? And, I also wonder, what does he mean?

He follows with this… ‘Those who listen to me and do the will of My Father, Our Father, they are my Mother and Father and Brothers and Sisters.’
You mean Me Lord? If I am attentive to you and follow you and like you, strive to seek to know and accomplish the will of Our Father... I will be in considered family?


Lord, it sounds too amazing—too wonderful, and I am too often concerned about so many things. So preoccupied and absorbed with life and things that aren't really so important that I can even fail to take note of your hidden presence. Presence in events and circumstances and persons that very likely I would not expect to find you present.

You come, Lord as you did centuries ago. Now you enter my days in word and sacrament. The Sacrament of Eucharist, the "sacrament" of creation, the wonder of all in my life world, and in the countless times you appear as others.

Lord, may you awaken me to your presence always. Grant me all I need to love and live as your disciple, ready to accept life as you did, giving full assent to the Father's will. May everyone I meet this day be a source of hope and may I be a sign of your limitless love.

Amen.

Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up January 27th


Hebrews 10:23-25

Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another…

In the corporate world of development, a term exists—succession planning—that is used to put a co-worker in place to learn what you do in your job. This is usually done so that you can go on and do something else yourself—i.e., enjoy the fruits of your labor to go on and do something else. In other words, be promoted and be successful.

However, some people look at this sort of development as job insecurity as opposed to what it really is… job security. With job security, you trust someone enough to teach them what you know. You want them to know what you do so you can be freed up to learn something else so that you can also grow and do other things. If we were to think about it, we could see that this was not too much unlike how it was done with the disciples.

Jesus had and has His message. He knew salvation was through, and only through, Him. With His earthly mission and time nearing an end, He shared His ‘succession plan’ with those that He chose. They trusted His Word and believed Him when He told them; they had the faith and commitment and the courage and trust to do His Will. And people followed the disciples because they lived their lives accordingly to how they were instructed. Hence, their own succession plan.

To whom are you entrusting your plan? Who is going to follow along your path and where are you going if they do? Yes, it is a battle every day to be a warrior for God’s Word. Yet we are to take the stand; problems and struggles will always be around but none will be larger than the power and glory of God. Choose to do the right thing. Trust your plan to God and He will lead you and those with you the way you need to go. With a plan like that, what more can our own success be than to be doing His will, His way?

db

2 Timothy 1:8-11

So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed preacher and apostle and teacher.


Offer It Up January 26th


Proverbs 4:20-23, 25-26

My son, to my words be attentive, to my sayings incline your ear;

Let them not slip out of your sight, keep them within your heart;

For they are life to those who find them, to man's whole being they are health. With closest custody, guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life.

Let your eyes look straight ahead and your glance be directly forward.

Survey the path for your feet, and let all your ways be sure.

As we have come to live in God’s Word, there are times we know where that sort of living is not always easy. And that’s okay… He said it would be worth it, though it would not be always be a glorious path. It is during those times that we are facing our trials that we must stay attuned to His Words and voice, ‘keep them within our hearts’.

How often is it that we fall into a lazy pattern, however insignificant it might seem, and soon it becomes a habit? Those of us that have done the diet thing numerous times have snacked on that occasional cookie here or there, a few Hot Tamales today, that bowl of ice cream… before you know it, the work we’ve done to lose any weight has been defeated by our 'weakness for the sweetness.'

Satan works a lot in the same way. He figures out that one small mistake on our part may not mean much to us at first so he works on that and gets us to go for another step or two in that direction. Before you know it, the sins have piled up, we feel guilty, thinking we are out of God’s graces and, eventually, maybe even hopelessly lost. Okay, that might be an extreme but it can and does happen. I know.

I also know that God will take a stronger hold over you than satan ever thought he could have.

If we are to be living examples of God’s Word, we can also turn back to God and do what is right. We can again ‘survey the path for our feet’ and let our ways be His ways. Continue to pray for guidance, for clarity, for forgiveness and for strength to do His will. Thank Him for the blessings He has given you and all of us to get us this far.

And if it is His will, He may give us all just one more day.

db

Luke 6:46-49

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' but not do what I command?

I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them.

That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built.

But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed."


Offer It Up January 25th

Happy Anniversary John and Irene


The Conditions of Discipleship

Luke 9:23-26

Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?

Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

How often do we deny ourselves to follow Him? Do we do it on a daily basis? Do we look at it as it is a ‘required duty’ of sort, to carry our cross so that we can gain eternal life? Just how committed are we as believers and followers of Jesus Christ? Wow, that’s four or five questions without any answers so far. And I don’t have them for you… I barely have them for myself.

Suffice to say, any semblance of answer will need to include something about commitment if we are to be daily cross-bearers. And it is with our commitment to our faith that others can see that our actions speak as loud as our words in our walk. And when others see it, they too can become a part of what we believe and understand to be witnesses for the Good News. Those that don’t have ‘it’ will want to know what it is that those have, have. And those that do have it, want the others to know what the ‘it’ is that they have, is. Right? Got it?

The ‘it’, if we may, is Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters or is possible till He is within us. The matter-of-fact truth is that being a disciple is all about having a relationship with our Lord God, Heavenly King and Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit fill you as you pray to take up your cross every day. Let your life be an example for those lives you will touch directly and those lives you may never know you touched.

db

As in early times, today too Christ needs apostles ready to sacrifice themselves. He needs witnesses and martyrs like St. Paul.... He lived and worked for Christ, for him he suffered and died. How timely is his example today! - Pope Benedict XVI


Offer It Up January 24th


Hebrews 9:13-14

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes
can sanctify those who are defiled
so that their flesh is cleansed,
how much more will the Blood of Christ,
who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.

Let’s think about this for another minute or just the rest of our lives: how more will the Blood of Christ cleanse us and keep clean and allow us to honor and praise our one true God? And what of the sacrifice made by Jesus to spill His blood—all of it—for us on the cross for our eternal salvation? The ultimate act of selflessness. Of giving. Of love. Of self-giving which is love.

When I was younger, my mother had a saying that she would drop on us as children if we had a complaint or twelve that would be of little significance, (she was and is a saint on earth and a very loving mother), and would say ‘Just offer it up.’ Today, that same phrase has found its way back into my life from another avenue and friend. Offer it up—in our own lives then, how much are we sacrificing as we live our daily walk? We can choose to complain about our conditions or we can choose to do something about them to change them… or not. Sometimes you just have to offer it up.

Allow God’s presence to be near as you go about your walk and look for the good that is about you and others. Look for what you have that you can love and care for now. God is here today and now. What He has for you and the rest of us tomorrow He will let us know then.

db

James 1:2-6

Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.

But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.


Offer It Up January 23rd


Let the Holy Spirit work in and through you

Hebrews 13:21

May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Bring it forward… bring the Word of God into your life today. Read it and apply it to what goes on in your life. When you go to church, do you remember when Jesus was at the Sea of Galilee and the crowds were excited to see Him? How is it that you are feeling as you walk towards the entrance of the church-are you anticipating the love of God? Are you ready to be enveloped by His grace by not only hearing but taking in and actively listening to His Word?

Beyond that—strike that… including that and including the Eucharist, realize how incredible a celebration is it to share in the wonder and glory of God the Father and His Son and the Holy Spirit as we worship and take the Body and Blood. Realize that whatever you do leading up to your participation at Mass should be considered a relationship with Jesus that you share with the congregation at the Eucharistic Celebration.

And after the celebration, take it and spread the Word. Serve others as Jesus did and proclaim the Good News. And remember to bring it forward, every day.

db

Psalm 40:9

To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart


Offer It Up January 22nd


Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds what is good.

Marriage is indeed about giving and taking—finding that person who will take what you have to give. Indeed, I have found something very good, one who has taken, takes and promises to take what all I can give. And am I blessed that she is still with me after the years of the not-so-blessed-‘disblissfulness’ I have wrought… Yet for God’s glory and majesty, His will and His way, His mercy and grace—here I am and here we are. All because He has His plan and we are now living it as best as we know how.

Along the way, we have found some things that have worked for us to help smooth out the wrinkles that happen in all relationships. Some better than others and some we’ve tried that have not done so well. This is not about Marriage 101 but you may find some avenues you have not yet tried that could lead you to some better relationships of your own. Remember, liking who you have is better than liking to have someone you don’t.

First and foremost is prayer. At home, at church, at work and at play. Alone and together. As difficult as it might be to pray with each other, give it a shot and see what you can do. Include scripture whenever possible with your prayer and use scripture as a part of your prayer time. It makes a difference, and pays dividends very quickly.

Say something nice every single day… do something nice as often as you can. Have no reason for it other than you just want the other to know how much they mean to you. Now that text messaging is ‘en vogue’, share a text message just to say “I love you.”

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Don’t wait for the other one to offer to make-up first. Look at how much fun you’ll be missing out on by being so mule-headed and thick-skinned. And along that same line of thought, we all know why newlyweds look so happy (and smiling) all the time… ten years from now, let that be the same reason you are even happier. Touch, kiss, laugh, have fun—you’re married, remember?!?

Here is something new… it came out about the time dirt was first around: communicate-not just talk but listen and respond. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a very good reason: to listen twice as much as we talk. Well, that and it really is twice as hard to listen as it is just to hear. Acknowledge your spouse with more than just, ‘Uh, huh, yes, you’re right, dear.”

If one of you does something better than the other-be okay with that… be very okay. I don’t do well with the checks and balances-she does. Not that she likes it a whole lot but she does it way better than I do. No ego in the way here.

Tolstoy said “What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.” You don’t get married to someone for what they can’t do for you; you get married to them for what they do for you. Marriage is not about control. Besides, you’d have as much impact as a barometer does controlling the weather…know the other’s needs and if you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask.

There are more things you can add to this list as you may have your own ways to keep your relationship vital. Whatever it is that you do, do it in the Spirit of the Lord and His holy name. For sure your lives will be blessed and better for it.

db

I Corinthians 13:7

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.


Offer It Up January 21st


John 1:35-39
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —, “where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”

As the two disciples watched Jesus walk past them and asked where He was staying, do you think they really had any idea what He had in store for them? John must have had an idea what was to come as he proclaimed ‘Behold, the Lamb of God’ when Jesus walked among them. We are not sure of the house they had seen or the place they stayed but we do know that they did as He said: they followed Him. And stayed with Him.

How excited must Andrew have been upon discovering the Messiah and sharing his own good news with his brother, Simon? And what about Simon Peter-what about the life that was before him? Jesus told them to “Come, and you will see” what lies ahead for you. They had to trust Him. They had to trust to follow Him which meant they had to trust He knew what He was doing and where He was going.

If we were to think about it, maybe then it is not so much a question about ‘Rabbi, where are you staying?’ It could and should be one about ‘Where are you going and please can I go too?’ We are living among His presence every day. We can choose to live like Jesus and with Him. We can choose to live and do the moral and right thing or—not. He has given us the tools and the direction. Through Scripture, through family, through friends… through Him.

Choices and trust and prayer. The more we let God have His say in our decisions, the less we have to worry about the outcome.

db

Luke 17:21

“For behold, the kingdom of God is among you."


Offer It Up January 20th

Happy Birthday Georgia!


And God said...

Come to the silence

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

Come to the silence

And 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?

Author Unknown


Offer It Up January 19th


THE ANT AND THE CONTACT LENS

By Josh and Karen Zarandona

Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was very scared, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took hold of the rope, and started up the face of that rock. She got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda's eye and knocked out her contact lens.

Well, here she is, on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn't there. Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it.

When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?"

That would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it on it's back.

Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll! carry it for You."

I think it would probably do some of us good to occasionally say, "God, I don't know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will."

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Yes, I do love GOD. He is my source of existence and my Savior. He keeps me functioning each and every day. Without Him, I am nothing, but with Him...I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

Submitted by Michael Martini


Offer It Up January 18th


Ever perhaps wonder about Ordinary time?

The Christmas Season ended we are now in the green season of Ordinary time. Perhaps even the color of vestments can be a 'go' point for reflection on what is meant by Ordinary time.

The daily readings since the Baptism of the Lord are clearly taking us quickly into the life of Jesus as we experience the wonder of his healing power, his desire to go to quiet places and be in conversation with His Father and Our Father.

Are we so habitual in our living that we may miss the awesomeness of God? Today, in the Liturgy of the Hours, the office of Reading the ancient texts are a vivid reminder of the Wonder of the creator God. There is nothing—absolutely nothing—in our experience of life that was not provided by the Creator. He is beyond everything that is. He is the author of all.

With each breath this day we can experience the presence of the Spirit of God. Without breath we perish. Without God, who is the breath of life, we perish. To quote one of our dearest acquaintances who is known to say, "How awesome is that?"

In Mark’s Gospel of the paralytic, he is healed… the faith of his friends is inspiring. God grant us the grace, the will, the courage to live alert to your presence and ready to do you will always. Pray! For all those you promised to pray for.

Stop for a moment, God is present…listen… tell him what you need to say in thankfulness for the wonder of His love.

AMDG

Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up January 17th


Matthew 19:16-24

Now someone approached him 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.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

What does it take for us to keep our walk with Christ? For some, what does it take to start our walk with Christ? For sure, there are those things we all think we have to hold on to, even though they would make no difference in our eternal life. The nice cars, the bigger homes, televisions and stereos… not that there is anything wrong with comfort yet God does want us to keep those separate from our love for Him.

We are familiar with the Matthew’s Gospel where the young man told to follow the Commandments and then is told

"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." Matthew 19:21. We’re not sure what the young man did beyond walking away sad “for he had many possessions.” He may have sold some of his possessions, he may have kept them all. Tough call for him to make it sounds like. I can empathize.

If you are like me, I get the ‘wouldn’t it be cool’ thoughts going every time I see a wide screen television and imagine it on the blank wall at our home. Or how great it would be to get Linda a new car. Or add a new room on to the house. Of course I am doing all of this without the benefit of gainful employment so it makes it even more laughable… but I do hope you get the point.

My sights are not always correctly set. Setting them and keeping them set on following the plan God has set out for me is and should be my goal. What that plan is can be found in prayer and in Scripture. And if I don’t see it plainly, I have to trust that He will make it clear to me. It helps when I get myself out of His way too, putting what I think I need in front of what He knows is best for me.

It has to be done every day. Persevere and trust in His Word. Make plans to do it today and tomorrow; someday is not a plan.

db

Mark 2:13-17
Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”


Offer It Up January 16th


Mark 2:1-7

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.

Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Child, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?"

How much more do we need to know before we acknowledge that God has it all under control? What else do we have to see or hear in order for us to believe, to ‘pick up our mat and walk’? It is all about the trust. And trust is surrendering to God’s Will.

In Mark’s Gospel, the paralytic was unable to get near Jesus because of the crowds. He was carried by four men; what of their belief? They also had faith along with the paralytic, in that whatever they were doing was going to somehow work for the good of the man they were carrying. They may not have known how or what was going to happen but they just had faith.

Through their faith and action of bringing the man to Jesus and the paralytic’s desire to be near Him, their sins were forgiven. Yet there were those who still brought into question His authority to forgive sins. Jesus knew this was in their hearts. He knew they doubted Him. But to show them-and us-that all things are possible to those that have faith, He explained to them:

Mark 2:8-11

“Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” –he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.

Whether we look at ourselves as the paralytic or one of the four carrying him, pray for the daily following of His will, the strengthening of our faith and trust that He will show us the way. Let us all pick up our mats and walk as we live our faith. db

Jeremiah 32:27

I am the LORD, the God of all mankind! Is anything impossible to me?


Offer It Up January 15th


Hebrews 3:12-14

Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today," so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end

Can you stencil a mug? Or do calligraphy?
Here is a short message to use: "Take care that none of you have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God." The writer of Hebrews is very direct.


Then, there is a message about how to ward off evil and infidelity: "Encourage yourselves daily while it is still ‘today,' so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin." We can read "today" as this time within which we live. It will be followed by another day, "the day of the Lord," and we want to be ready for that day. Time is given now to do the preparation.


Encourage yourselves. If anyone tries to walk alone, it is lonely and uncertain. It can be characterized by sullenness and withdrawal. Or, as suggested in today's lesson, it can contribute to the hardness of heart that follows developing a thick skin.
"Encourage yourselves" is an appeal for our participation with the Body of Christ. In this way we are partners with Christ. The beginning for each of us was Baptism. Hold firm to that identity and we exhibit some of the identity of Christ, especially as He is priest, prophet and king. Our most attractive exhibition of identity is usually through service.
Encourage yourselves while it is still "today." The darkness of sin is overcome by the light of Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. A heart that receives God's mercy is less likely to grow hardened. Prayer with others, as well as in private prayer, an encouragement to each other and Christ becomes present.


The power of liturgical prayer is that it joins us to the whole Body of Christ, the Church at prayer. A routine of participation with others at a local religious house as an oblate, associate or auxiliary volunteer, at the parish and through its forms of ministry and service, or with a lay association are all ways to be encouraged.


In the world, think of how you can encourage others, at work or school, with a greeting, inviting a new colleague to lunch, stopping by to see a homebound person, or attending a wake or a funeral. Once in a while go to a different Mass at your parish and meet the other people!


Think of the leper in the gospel. Once he found his act of faith in Jesus led to healing and the opportunity of a new life, he went forth with joy to encourage others.


Rev. Stephen H. Gratto      The Journey, http://www.daily-meditations.org/


Offer It Up January 14th


Mark 1:29-31

On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

Maybe many of us have seen a commercial or two about an international delivery service with a tag line, “What can brown do for you?” In the commercials, UPS says it can save you time and money and goes above and beyond its competitors to give its customers the best service.

Throughout scripture, and with reference today in Mark’s Gospel, we could easily ask “What can Jesus do for you?” Here are just a few things: He healed the sick, cast out demons, walked on water, calmed the storms-He was scourged at the pillar, carried a cross, rose from the dead, died for our sins.

And in return, what can we do for Him? How do we respond to all He did for us and what He has given us, the gifts we have received—the answered prayers, His healing touch, the times He has carried you through the storms? Let us not forget eternal life in Him as we choose to live with Him. Do we stay within ourselves or do we reach out to help others?

If you think you aren’t good enough, are not capable to serve God, let Him make that decision. He uses who He chooses. Long before any of us were around, God was using all sorts of folk to make His point. Think He can’t use people like you and me? Take a look at this list of company we’ll be keeping:

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer...
And Lazarus was dead!

You may have something that is worse than that… doubtful, but maybe. Still, you have no more excuses. You are not necessarily the message; you are the messenger.

Let’s be thankful that God can—and even wants—to use us to our full potential.

db


Offer It Up January 13th


1 Peter 5:6-10

So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ (Jesus) will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little.

Yes, these are not the best of times as of late. To read or watch or hear the news, you would think the doomsayers are right—we’re history. Done. Fini. Game over.

They have their reasons to stack up as morality, wars, and the economy are pressing on everyone’s minds throughout the nation and the world. Children sold for cash and beer, Middle East conflicts still, Congress looks at bailouts; stocks are still in a slide; unemployment hits now in almost one in every ten homes. With a new president to take office next week, a monumental task lies ahead for him, our country, the world and you and me.

Scary times indeed. And we can do something about it. Starting with ourselves. ‘Your opponent is the devil… Resist him, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.’The devil wants us to be afraid, to run and hide and count on ourselves and not on God. He wants us to live our will and not the Will of God. Not to look at all of this through rose-colored glasses-the cold reality is in fact upon us-yet we can continue to offer our prayers and live a life of faith and hope, not one of fear and fret. It is our choice, our free will.

Choose to do for the greater good.

db

1 Thessalonians 5:13-19

…Be at peace among yourselves. We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good (both) for each other and for all. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.


Offer It Up January 12th


More questions than answers...

Waiting on the evening news I was watching the end of some TV program and at the end the beautiful lady tells the handsome Marine in his dress uniform to be careful as he is, we are left to assume, being deployed to some field of danger. He walks away and at the last moment before the door closes behind him he turns and smiles and tells her, "I will because that's what Marines do".

That caught my attention! As I gird my jeans and walk out into the world and if some beautiful lady told me to be careful, what would my response be as a Christian or as a Catholic? If I told her "I'll be careful, because that's what we Christians do" I might be telling the truth but I'd be wrong.

We as Christians shouldn't enter the world carefully. We are challenged to make the world better. We can't do that "carefully"! We need to carry the Light of God that is supposed to shine in us and go out to light others. Maybe I should turn to her and say "thank you but I'm going to live life boldly 'cause that's what Christians do!" So think about your mission in life, a Marine may want to be careful and blend in, but we as Christians want to stand out Boldly! So gird your jeans and share life as if today is the only day... and give us this day... and share LOVE with all you touch! ... that's what we do.                                                Thom R.


Offer It Up January 11th


John 10:4

…and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

So, the New Year is here, you’re ten days (or so) into your ‘New You’ and everything is great, right? The pounds are coming off, the chocolates are put away, maybe you’ve even quit smoking—good for you and smart for you too! And that new, peaceful and forgiving attitude is just where you want it to be and life is grand… uh, huh. Right.

Whether it’s grand or not so, ask yourself this: where am I going to be if I continue in the direction I'm going right now? Better yet, what or howkind of a person will I be?

Who doesn’t decide to make changes in their lives from time to time? And when is a better time to make them then at the end of the year? But just because you make them then and they don’t exactly work, doesn’t mean you have to keep them. Sometimes change doesn’t mean growth. Sometimes the ‘New You’ is certainly a different you but not a better one. Having been down that road, I can offer this with some experience that on the surface it may have appeared that I had it ‘all knowed up’ but all one had to do was scratch the veneer and they could easily see that I was empty and transparent and immature.

2 Peter 3:17-18

be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

My pride was in the way of my growth, you might say. And pride can and does get in our way often when we don’t want to give in to what God is calling us to do. Once we get beyond that air of self-importance, even arrogance from time to time, and begin to pray that we serve the will of God, it will be easier for us to grow and be the ‘New Me’ God has set out for us to be.

db

1 John 5:14-21
Beloved:
We have this confidence in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.


Offer It Up January 10th


One Voice

My wife and I are away on a retreat.
We decided to go to the hotel gym for a workout. The gym was ultramodern and we were the only ones there. There were five TV's positioned over the treadmills and exer-cycles.
She wanted to watch a cooking show. I wanted to watch a sci-fi program.
She got on the last treadmill on the left, I got on the last treadmill on the right and we both tuned to different channels.
As we began to run, we both periodically got off the treadmill to turn up the respective volumes on our TV's. After a few minutes, both of our televisions were at full volume.
We had clear pictures but the cacophony of noise made it almost impossible to understand the story.
I now understood why all of the televisions were tuned to the same channel when we arrived. Too many voices cause you to misstep and not understand the story.
If you are running (or walking) alongside someone in life, the story will go a lot smoother if both of you have the same vision and hear the same sound. When you are on different channels you both get louder but hear less.
I turned my television off. Cooking wasn't so bad. After all, I would benefit from the meals.
Are you on the same channel as the one that you have chosen to walk through life with?
Let those couples that have eyes see and that have ears hear.

Laugh for the day:
A farmer got pulled over by a state trooper for speeding, and the trooper started to lecture the farmer about his speed, and in general began to throw his weight around to try to make the farmer uncomfortable.
Finally, the trooper got around to writing out the ticket, and as he was doing that he kept swatting at some flies that were buzzing around his head.
The farmer said, "Having some problems with circle flies there, are ya?"
The trooper stopped writing the ticket and said--"Well yeah, if that's what they are--I never heard of circle flies."
So the farmer says--"Well, circle flies are common on farms. See, they're called circle flies because they're almost always found circling around the back end of a horse."
The trooper says, "Oh," and goes back to writing the ticket. Then after a minute he stops and says,
"Hey...wait a minute, are you trying to call me a horses a.. ?"
The farmer says, "Oh no, officer. I have far too much respect for law enforcement and police officers to even think about calling you a horses a.."
The trooper says, "Well, that's a good thing," and goes back to writing the ticket.

After a long pause, the farmer says, "Hard to fool them flies though."


Moral of the story: Be kind to others, rudeness and arrogance shows.

OVERALL MORAL: It is way important to be on the same channel, otherwise, one might have to deal with circle flies for being such a horse's a...

Submitted by Reno V.


Offer It Up January 9th


Luke 5:12,13

Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.

“I do will it. Be made clean.”

Reconciliation is all about that. Asking to be made clean, sometimes again. And again. Putting yourself at God’s mercy, asking for His grace to relieve you of the burdens of sin you are carrying. How long we carry the burden is our own free will, given to us by God. When we choose to lay it at His feet is also our free will. It’s as if we sometimes find ourselves running from His help or at the least, trying to do it on our own. As if we really like carrying that extra baggage around.

It doesn’t—make that it shouldn’t—take us long to understand that we cannot do it on our own. So many times we rely on our own abilities in other areas of our lives-our intelligence, our work skills, our athletic prowess,(or so some of us would like to think we have…) that we rush into matters of faith with little of it, choosing instead to do it ‘our way’ or ‘my way’. Where is our humble trust in God to help in these situations?

From my own times of self-centeredness, individualism and shallow faith, I have found that it led to more than I cared to handle or even could handle. Foxhole religion took over and a gracious and loving God welcomed me back. But it takes more than that, a once-in-a-while type of faith, to move beyond the 'me' and into the 'we' of a permanent, deeper, stronger, more loving relationship of faith with God. And to do so, to have that trust and faith with Him and to do His will, is my reward.

db

Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."


Offer It Up January 8th

Happy Birth Day, Mary Elizabeth!


Matthew 4:16

...the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.

"...Yet however dense the darkness may appear, our hope for the triumph of the Light which appeared on that Holy Night at Bethlehem is stronger still. So much good is being done, silently, by men and women who daily live their faith, their work, their dedication to their families and to the good of society..."

Pope John Paul II

The Magi had a star, a light for their way that led them to the Savior. They also had their difficulties getting to their destination what with Herod’s interest in this newborn king and wanting his say and information from them. Did they stop then and turn around at this obstacle? From scripture, we know the rest of the story. We also know that they did not go back the same way they came.

And we also know that once we have seen our own ‘light’ from the Savior, how hard it is for us to return to the ways we used to do things. Oh, we may stumble in the darkness from time to time, thinking that we know our way around it well enough to get by. Who hasn’t tried to navigate the hallway to the kitchen for a midnight snack without the convenience of any light only to stub one’s toe or bump a knee into a misplaced or rearranged entry table?

But we can also just as easily get used to the light. We can do more in the light as we can see what we need to do. Once we get to the kitchen, and after we have busted our toe, what is the first thing we do? Turn on the light to see how bad the damage is! And then we excuse ourselves from the accident by saying if we had only turned on a light… The crazy thing about it, you were eventually going to turn on a light anyway for a snack-why not do it before you stub your toe? You may not have stubbed your toe or bumped your knee. Even if you did, you could at least have seen it coming, giving yourself a chance to prevent it from happening.

We do get used to the dark, don’t we?

Sin is the same way. We color it in lighter shades of gray instead of dark, ink black. We get used to it. Soon, we start living less and less in the light and getting used to living in the shadows and the unlit corners of our own world, being blinded by the darkness. The world becomes about us, not others. We surrender, but not to God…we manage, we get by, we settle.

Don’t settle.

Surrender to God. Let His mercy and grace be the light out of your grays, your darkness. It is through His forgiveness and trust in Him that hope is restored and dark becomes light. This day, and all your days to come, let His Light shine within you and your faith be strong in Him. It may not keep you from stubbing your toe, but you’ll know better what to say if you do.

db

1 John 5:3-4

For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.


Offer It Up January 7th

Happy Anniversary John and Amanda

Happy Birth Day, Solis!


Mother Teresa had this sign posted on a wall in the children’s home in Calcutta. She posted it for all to read, including the children.

Maybe we should be as the little children, anyway.

ANYWAY

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered,

LOVE THEM ANYWAY

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,

DO GOOD ANYWAY

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies,

SUCCEED ANYWAY

The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow,

DO GOOD ANYWAY

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,

BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY

What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight,

BUILD ANYWAY

People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY

Give the world the best you have And you’ll get kicked in the teeth,

GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU’VE GOT ANYWAY.

- Source: Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, page 185



Offer It Up January 6th

Happy Birthday Dr. Matt


Dear Jesus,

The Christmas Season is almost over, and we begin Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time, Lord, it sounds so plain. And yet, I know in faith that it is still a wondrous time. Life itself, each day is filled with opportunities that I too often fail to acknowledge. Through weakness, sometimes fear, and even laziness, I fall short of living in the Spirit. You make it clear in your Word that we are to become lovers. I hope I am learning, truly learning each day how to love. That little four letter word is interpreted in so many ways. In my life’s journey, how varied has been my understanding of the word LOVE.

You entered our humanity and your life is one of love. Through the centuries men and women of faith have responded in love and shown us that we also can die to self and become one with you in love.

In this time, we need you Lord, we need love.

We need love in order to bring peace where there is no peace;

We need love to heal the brokenness in so many lives;

We need love to make sure that all your children share in the gifts that you have provided for all creation.

Grant dear Jesus that I may be an instrument in your hands wherever and whenever it is necessary to do the Father's will.

Christ be Our Light. Amen.

Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up January 5th

Happy Birthday Nancy!


Have you had an Epiphany?

The Magi followed a star to its destination and their Epiphany. The Babe lying in swaddling clothes in a humble abode.

This tiny babe a king in such surroundings, could it be? The writer of Matthew's gospel tells that the three men from the East did indeed come to visit the King of Israel. We read, we believe, we sometimes wonder perhaps with seeds of doubt, often teetering on the edge of our Epiphany.

Credo, I believe. Each Sunday the community pronounces those words with the modern translation of ‘We believe.’ I wonder do we need the support of other believers to say those words? Not too many decades ago, those words resounded "Credo in unum Deum......." "I believe in One God...." and now somehow with the new English translation I find myself reciting with everyone We believe, and I find I must pray and reflect deeply to stand before my God and Savior and say "I believe".

It is certainly important that We believe, that there are those brothers and sisters in Christ who are my support in this journey together, but it is also so very important that I come to that position of acceptance of the great gift of faith and be able to say with conviction, "I believe". When the storm clouds of doubt create an aura of darkness, I want to cry out as did one seeking healing, "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief."

This Epiphany of 2009, hope sustains my faith. As we continue through the end of the Christmas season and begin Ordinary time, and look toward the Lenten Season, I pray that the Lord who has revealed the Father's love will set us ablaze with His love and inspire us to work for peace in our families, in our communities, a peace that will infect the world.

I believe in one God, in the Trinity. I believe that God's love is the clarion call to oneness with Him through Christ. You and I are in a very real sense Christ to the world, the world where we live. Simply, we are God's children and if we respond and choose to live as His very dear children what a transformation will take place! Alleluia!

He has chosen you. What that means for you can be determined when you enter into a prayerful relationship with God, with Jesus, assisted by Mary.

God has revealed His love for you, how will you respond? God desires to have a love affair with us, it remains always. ....Do we desire to be loved and to love in return?

Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up January 4th


You do not

have

to change

for God

to love

you.

                        Be grateful

for your sins.

They are carriers

of grace.

                                                Say goodbye

                                                to golden yesterdays

                                                —or your heart

                                                will never learn

                                                to love

                                                the present.

                                                 

                                                            —Anthony de Mello SJ


Offer It Up January 3rd


Asthe New Year begins, the Church remembers Saints Basil and Gregory Nazianzen. They lived in the 4th century and were fast friends who worked together for the good of Christianity. According to Gregory they were such good friends that they acted as one. Their goal was to be Christian according to Gregory.

As we begin 2009, perhaps that is a good reflection for each of us. What does it mean to truly desire to be Christian? What are the challenges I wake up to each day to live in Christ? As I dedicate my day and my days to the Father, can I grow to day in my awareness of what it means to live each moment to do the will of God?


The virtues of Faith, Hope and Love remain a gift to be fully accepted and realized. Faith, the steadfast belief that God's grace is sufficient for all of life's experiences and endeavors, that each breath is a reminder that the creator is the giver of life.

Hope, especially during this Christmas season we remember that Christ is our hope that he came to share our humanity and in that sharing calls us to participate in the divine.

Love, faith and hope lead us to the fulfillment of all that is, Love. Saint John reminds us that God is Love and as long as we have breath we can awaken to ever growing awareness of LOVE.

Holy Trinity, God, awaken in your servants the wonder of you. Enable us with the help of your grace to live as disciple of Jesus.

Proclaiming by the way we live that to you belongs the Glory. As we begin a New Year may peace, the peace only you can give, reign in the minds and hearts of people everywhere. Melt hearts that are hardened, open eyes that are blinded by hate. Help us eliminate attitudes that foster selfishness and greed that all people may share in the gifts of creation you intended for them.

Come, Lord, transform our lives.

Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up January 2nd


Psalm 27:13-14

I believe I shall enjoy the LORD'S goodness in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD!

What a great way to start the New Year and the day-with prayer! It will help lighten any day, from the grayest to the brightest. Let this be the day, the week, the month-the year-that you do all you can with prayer. Prayer does change things. Pray until something happens, then pray some more. Give more of yourself so that others may have more for themselves.

In God Calling today, it asks “How many burdens can you lighten this year? How many hearts can you cheer? How many souls can you help?” It’s not about the notches in the belt on how many lives you touched-there is really no need to count. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes, and for many of you, it already is a way of life. Think of it as a way of spreading God’s Word by putting into action that we hear and read.

The examples we set by living His Word extend and show our faith. We may never know in our lifetime the lives we impact by a single act of kindness today. It has happened to you and will happen again. Be steadfast for Christ. Use your gifts. Move your faith forward and watch what happens.

db

1 Corinthians 12:4-7

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.


Offer It Up January 1st


2 Corinthians 5:17

So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

How is it looking so far? The New Year, I mean. With only hours of it started, many of us may have already found ways to ‘determine’ how the remaining 8,753-plus hours are going to turn out. Maybe the year didn’t end as you well as you would have wanted it. Maybe the party didn’t go as well as you would have liked. And of all the horrors, maybe your team got it handed to ‘em in a bowl game. All these may have been ‘the sign’ of things to come. Maybe it went, or it goes, better than that…

Here is to all that God has planned for you and yours that you may live it all according to His Will and His Way, prosperously and with His peace. Make the New Year a year of Hope. Of Growth. May your blessings be counted before your challenges. And may those challenges be met with commitment and dedication to and through Christ Jesus.

We are good people. God does want the best for us. For real. Trust that He does and know that without Him, anything you are thinking about doing differently, resolving, changing, etc would not be possible. Your change and growth comes from within. Keep the Holy Spirit within you and rely on His presence to help make it happen.

Have a Blessed, safe and fun New Year!

db

Nm 6:24-26
The LORD bless you and keep you!

The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!

 

 
 
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