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AFRAIDNOT

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

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Offer It Up January 31st


Well, she does this all the time and I don’t like it…. It’s stupid and it’s crazy.

He always comes home late and never calls when does.,, idiotic.

I can’t stand it when we have to go to her family’s house, they are all so, so, ugh.

For once, I wish he would act his age, not his shoe size.

Can you just feel the love oozing forth in this exchange?

Maybe they’ve been together five years or five days or 25 years-it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that there is too much love lost even in the little exchanges they threw at each other then. They are not so much concerned for the other as they are for themselves. Oh they mention the other one in the relationship all right, just not in the most endearing of terms or affection. What’s happened here?

But strive for the greater gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 12:31

Many times, when people come to me and talk about their relationships that are going nowhere fast, for sure the greater majority of them are in that condition because there is a lack of sharing. Sharing of communication. Sharing of prayer. Sharing of love. Sharing of self. With a little probing, their answers to those types of questions could run out something like this:

‘When did you last go to church?’ ‘Don’t remember.’

‘Prayed together?’‘Uh… don’t know.’

‘Last time you went out on a date?’‘A year ago?’

‘How about the last time you did something spontaneous for the other?’

‘What’s that??’

For a relationship to work, a marriage to work, there has to be that sharing on all fronts and it has to be done unselfishly. And there has to be that communication and connection. With people taking so much time out of the day to be committed to children or to work, to school or to committees, to workouts or to volunteering, what does that leave for the development of the core of their relationship or marriage? You gotta make choices for the priorities. And when they honestly—all self-love aside—take a thorough look at their lives and their marriage or relationship, they will see the value more in prayer, more in sharing of communication and of self than in all the selfish habits combined.

Go out of your way to make it work. Go out of your way to make other lives better with your love. Go out of your way to love like God loves us.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.

For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.

At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


Offer It Up January 30th


Faith the size of a mustard seed

Matthew 17:14-20

When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him, and said, "Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him." Jesus said in reply, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me." Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, "Why could we not drive it out?"

He said to them, "Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move.

Nothing will be impossible for you."

Evidently, the mustard seed had some decent PR working for it in Scripture. With some five references to it and countless references to ‘seeds’ in the bible, we should get the impression that the growth of our faith can be compared to that of how, where, when and what and why seed is sown, scattered, farmed, blown about, taken root—all of those things we have come to know about a seed and what happens with it… just a whole lot like our faith. And why not? Think of all the ways others have planted those seeds in your life? Think of all the ways you have planted seeds in others? Where have they taken root? How deep are they? Strong enough to continue to weather the storm? Deep enough for prayers to be heard?

The disciples tried to drive out the demons in the afflicted man yet were unable to make it happen, bringing about the first event of its kind we have come to know today as a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting. He brings His disciples together to let them know just how little it is that they have faith in Him. But then He tells them that all is not lost; just believe more—know that He is The Way—and mountains will move. "Nothing will be impossible for you."

Maybe we won’t need to drive out demons to find out that we need to increase our faith. Maybe we won’t have to have that ‘CTJ’ meeting either. In any event, we can all find it useful and beneficial to make room for a deeper, stronger, rooted in His Love type of faith, planting seeds, growing them, harvesting and then beginning again.


Offer It Up January 29th


Mark 4:26-34

And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

From sowing seeds in rocky soil or thorny ground or the richest earth to reaping what we sow, every day we are given the gift of sharing His Word by the way we live. We are not only the ones doing the sowing and planting, we are also getting to do the reaping. We do this by accepting His will for us in our way of living. Not always the easiest thing to do but who said it would ever be all fun and games anyway? For sure it will be worth it.

Seeds are transformed into shoots. Shoots are changed into saplings. Saplings grow into fully producing plants or trees. Throughout the years of our lives, even throughout our daily living, we are similarly transformed as we more fully accept God’s plans for us. All this cannot happen without some sort of care: some feeding, watering and pruning, as painful as it might be, along the way. That care comes from God who knows our needs, from before we were born to the time He brings us to His eternal rest.

Don’t despair if you don’t see it or hear it right now or see all He has for you in glorious living Technicolor every day. Just keep putting the seeds in the ground, just keep plowing the fields, being ‘pruned’ and shaped, and He will see to it that your harvest will be great.


Offer It Up January 28th


John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Someone shared with me recently some thoughts they had heard about the dirt on our hands. Maybe at first glance, there may not appear to be too much but the more we look, the closer to the light we get them, the more we find out that there is more dirt and grime than we had thought or even care to admit.

The talk went on to compare this dirt on the hands with the sin in our lives. Those things we have put in the darker corners of our egos, the ‘out-of-sight-out-of-mind’ areas of the brain, that don’t get the light shined on them… well, maybe they will go away and we won’t have to deal with them. Or naybe mot.

Our lives are not like that. Really they’re not. When we get closer to His light, more of what we have become outside of His will for us becomes clearer. What used to not matter now carries some weight. The white lies or the indiscretions of choices of the past have now been made clearer and we know that we are accountable for them because we want to be. Yes, we sometimes fight with the admission of said choices but eventually, His truth wins out. And maybe it’s in that time before the admission, before the reconciliation, before the forgiveness, that the pain and heartache is most intense.

Through it all, we become healthier, if not more mature, spiritually and mentally and physically as we make use of what God has given us, bringing us more into His light. We are more capable of hearing His word for us. We may not understand it all the time but we are least hearing Him more often. And isn’t that what matters, really? Being more in His light, to see more of how we can stay there?

Mark 4:21-22

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light."


Offer It Up January 27th


What will be your experience of God's presence today? As you arose to new life this morning all creatures of our God and King joined you in praise for the new day. Morning has broken and God is creating anew if we but open our minds, our hearts, our being to His creative action. Armed with His Word, the Word he has placed in your heart and mind, you can go forth to sow, casting seeds of love and compassion. Where the seed settle is not your concern, but sowing is. All of us then, are to reflect on the kind of soil we are: hard, weedy, rocky, filled with thorns, or rich loamy soil where the seed can receive abundant nutrients and reproduce abundantly.

Today, Wednesday, at Sacred Heart we are blessed and fortunate to have the Lord Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament, present and waiting for His faithful ones to spend time with Him in adoration, contemplation, silence, dialog. The Gospels remind us that when Jesus walked the countryside of Galilee and Judah and Samaria great crowds came to Him. Wherever you are, will you be able to find some time today to be with him? What return shall I make to the Lord for all He has done for me?

As we approach the Holy Season of Lent wouldn't it be an act of love to give the Lord some time? Evening prayer and benediction begins at 7:30 thisand every Wednesday evening at our church, for our Sacred Heart parish and for all of our comnunity. Remember to be a sower of the Word by inviting others to join in prayer with you, or reminding them of the opportunity, even if they can't make it, they can still pray.

May God who is love be our inspiration always to bring peace to the world through love.

Deacon


Offer It Up January 26th


Mark 6:30-32

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.

He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.

So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.

Smartphones. How smart are they? Just way.

And how smart are we for succumbing to the wizardry and gadgetry and connectivity that all of them offer? What are we really gaining when we ‘upgrade’ from our old standby flip-phone or candy bar-type cell to the latest and greatest 3g or 4g this or that popular iphone or blackberry? And of course there is this app and that app—‘hey, did you know there is an app for that?’ is something you are bound to hear in any conversation between two ‘crack-berry’ users. (Heavy emphasis on the word ‘user.’) Are we becoming more productive, more in touch, more informed or are we just keeping up with the Joneses?

I recently made that ‘upgrade’ and did so with a caution from a very good friend: ‘Do not become a slave to the device or what comes from it.’ Think about that for a bit. What? A slave to the phone? A slave to email or texting? Voice mail and phone tag? Me? I don't even know how to twitter nor am I facebookie. Please.

We can get as busy as we allow ourselves to be-or, as I or we allow it to happen. And it does happen when we change our focus from what is important—that would be to follow His will for us—to what we think we need. And even then, when we feel we are doing His will, even with our prayers and the prayers of others, there is that question we ask ourselves if we are really doing what God wants us to do. It’s as if we are out of sync, or off balance and nothing is exactly as we thought or think it should be.

We do this for that person, we run this setup for that friend, we do this task for that co-worker, we pick up the kids, drop off the cleaning for the spouse… we are doing all the service work, even in His name, and yet nothing is what we expected. We start looking for an ‘upgrade’ of sorts for our own life. And that’s where and when we should recognize that we indeed are in need of some peace, prayer and quiet.

Even Jesus went to the hillsides to pray and recharge. His taught his disciples to do the same. As He did in prayer, we should take seriously His ways as our ways. And as we do so with prayer, our daily lives will become more of His ways than ours.

Mark 6:46

And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray.


Offer It Up January 25th


Jeremiah 33:2-3

Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

Recently, I’ve had a strong sense that others have been praying for me. And it has probably happened to you more than once that you’ve had the same sense that there was someone, or someones, doing some praying for you. Either by request or need or just out of plain everyday kindness, you were the recipient of the grace of prayer. And from that, you feel the fulfillment of that grace—as if God’s hand were right there on your shoulder or holding yours at the time you needed it most. Wow.

Talk about a sense of fulfillment, if not enjoying a bit of heaven here on earth. To know someone took the time to offer you up in prayer-by consideration, by name, and in holy and fervent prayer-to our Maker, our God, our Savior and King. For whatever your needs were. For whatever pains. For whatever grief. For whatever happiness, you were lifted high to Him. Think of all this can mean.

What better gift can someone give you?

What better gift can you give yourself?

What better way to begin mending a relationship?

What better way to forgive yourself? A friend? A family member?

What better way to thank God than to surround all you do in prayer?

Pay it forward. Return the favor. Double the power and pleasure of prayer. Offer up in prayer those that pray for you. Offer up in prayer even those who don't.

It won’t be long before it comes back again. It really is great how it works that way.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

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 23rd


1 Samuel 18:6-9

When David and Saul approached on David’s return after slaying the Philistine, women came out from each of the cities of Israel to meet King Saul, singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and sistrums. The women played and sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought: “They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me. All that remains for him is the kingship.” And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.


Life’s tragedy lies not in becoming old but in not becoming wise. King Saul in the reading from Samuel should realize that the chorus of women praising David’s accomplishments is as fickle as weather on the prairie. If he were a wise man, he would not worry that the people favor David to himself but concentrate on how he, as king, might serve their needs.

Certainly Saul’s son Jonathan shows promise as heir-apparent. He wisely reconciles grudges for the good of all concerned. In shuttle diplomacy he goes from his father to his friend, showing the truth to the former and reassuring the latter. In the long run, however, Saul’s reasserted jealousy seals the family tragedy. Both he and Jonathan will die at the hands of their enemy while David, who might have saved the day, is isolated from the battle.

We should locate the virtue that Saul lacks and that which Jonathan exhibits in the Lord Jesus. Since he knows how pursuit of praise may interfere with life’s purposes, he commands the demons in the gospel not to make his identity known. Yet he never ceases to do good – curing diseases and reconciling with themselves people whom demons have self-alienated.

Fr. Carmen Mele, O.P.


Offer It Up January 22nd

Choose Life.


Ephesians 6:10-12

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

On the website, silentinsight.org, the following is offered as prayerful support and ‘advice’ on how to pray. Much of the silentinsight website is based on St. Ignatius and his spirituality-great reading and great spiritual exercises. We submit this from them not as the way to start a day but just as one that seems to work! Enjoy their prayer and enjoy your day… it’s your choice and your perception that makes the difference.

A Great Start to the Day!

Here is a simple morning prayer plan.

A Morning Offering

Lord, through the intercession of Mary, Joseph, and all the angels and saints, I offer you today all my prayers, desires, works, joys and sufferings. May I faithfully seek your will as you envision and reveal it to me in the present moment circumstances of this day. For through it, I will strive to accept each moment with gratitude and as a purposeful, precious gift from your hands.

Next, consider and meditate on the First Principle and Foundation from the introduction to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created.
From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it.

For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only that which is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.


Finally, seek protection throughout the day via the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in this day of battle.
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and you, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
that roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.


Offer It Up January 21st


Mark 3:10-12

He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.

And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, "You are the Son of God."

He warned them sternly not to make him known.

What do you do when a penguin jumps in your boat?
Pray that the killer whales circling your boat can tell the difference between you and the penguin...

A video making the rounds has a small boat videoing a pod of killer whales doing what they do-swim and look for food. Their food, a penguin, jumps in the boat. Fortunately for all involved, that was the end of the video. No dead penguins or videographers. Pretty much good news all around.

Killer whales and a penguin in your boat would not be what some would call the best of days or scenarios to be in. There are those that subscribe to the theory of bad days or happenings being like 'Mondays', suggesting that for bad days to come about, the standard day to compare all bad days to is Monday. Might be that the second day of the week, the first day of the usual work week, the only day of the week that starts with an 'M'--really it starts with Mo, for momentum--is getting an unfair shake. It's all about perception and attitude. Each influences the other and both are certainly influenced if not fully driven by our prayer life or the absence thereof. Before you get your 'Pollyanna' on and start looking at everything with the rose-colored glasses, note that this is not saying that we have an approach that is plastic or not real. Bad things, tough things, horrible things happen and it is how we handle those trials that bring us through to the other side of them that increase our faith and perseverance.

With our prayer life and what we choose to do with the influences of our perception and attitude obviously impacts our 'momentum'. Virtuous inertia or spiritual complacency is next to, if not completely impossible, with fervent prayer. From there, our daily momentum gathers force, our perception takes on a brighter light and our attitude is lifted higher. All from a penguin jumping in our boat.

Who would have thunk it?

Hebrews 13:5-6

Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never forsake you or abandon you. Thus we may say with confidence: "The Lord is my helper, (and) I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?"


Offer It Up January 20th

Happy Birthday Georgia!


Matthew 6:7-8

In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.

Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

We’ve talked about prayer here a bit in the last week or so and recently I saw one of those surveys that assesses your spiritual or prayerful, if not your moral, compass. Among the items listed on it were questions regarding quiet time with God, commitment to pray every day and asking the Holy Spirit for guidance in all that we do. Thankfully, like any other survey or assessment, it serves as a guideline, not an indictment of where one would stand because it did get me to think even more about the time I do spend in prayer and what is going on when I am praying. (I am the first to admit, it could be better.)

There is a lot to be said about just being quiet and listening to hear what God has to say. Not to belabor the point, but nowhere in Scripture does it say ‘Listen up God, your servant has something to say.’ In all fairness, we need to spend at least as much time listening as we do praying, whether that prayer be vocal, in group or however it is that we choose to give praise and thanks and worship. Our prayers of guidance and prayers of forgiveness should bear no less significance as we offer our requests to Him.

1 Samuel 3:10

…the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening.

Faithfulness is as much a part of our prayer life as is our devotion to God. We do need to be committed in our prayer life—how is it that we would slight God to be offering prayer in rote, robotic form? Challenge yourself to go beyond your usual way of prayer, in either the standard you may have set for yourself or maybe the standard that you have become.

1 John 5:14-15

And 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 19th

Happy Birthday Jake!


Joshua 1:9

I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Lord, we just want to say thank you, because this morning we woke up and knew where our children were. Because this morning our home was still standing, because this morning we are not crying because our wife, our husband, our child, our brother or sister needs to be buried out from underneath a pile of concrete, because this morning we were able to drink a glass of water, because this morning were able to turn on the light, because this morning we were able to take a shower, because this morning we were not planning a funeral for a loved one buried in the aftermath. But most of all, we thank you this morning because we still have life and a voice to cry out and pray for the people of Haiti.

Lord, we cry out to you, the one that makes the impossible, possible; the one that turns darkness in to light. We cry out that you give those mothers strength, that you give them peace that surpasses all understanding, that you may open the streets so that help can come, that you may provide doctors, nurses, food, water, and all that they need in a blink of an eye. For all those that have lost family members, give them peace, give them hope, give them courage to continue to go on. Protect the children and shield them with your power.

We pray all this in the name of Jesus.
Author unknown


Offer It Up January 18th


Jeremiah 32:27

"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?

Sometimes it is the little stuff that can really get under my skin and turn me into a literal cry baby or a drama queen (I hate to admit that).It’s too cold or too hot outside.I need coffee and cannot find a place to get any within 5 miles of my current location.I go to pick up a battery operated device and the battery is dead so I have to get up and go get a new battery.

Nothing in the day is too small to be a part of My scheme… I am the Lord of little things, the Divine Control of little happenings…Joy in Me. Joy is the God-given cement that secures the harmony and beauty of My mosaic. God Calling

I attended a professional mandatory class last week where the room was very cold and the instructor would not turn up the heat so I had to sit in my coat all day.We weren’t allowed to have coffee or any kind of food or drink in the room except for water.And the worst thing was, we couldn’t hide our phones under the table and text friends to entertain ourselves.Pretty silly to sweat such small stuff, right?But when you add it all up, it could make for a miserable day…if you let it.

John 2:6-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from -- although the servers who had drawn the water knew --the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

Our Lord is the Lord of little things.He can turn a small, but troublesome situation, into something filled with joy.He can turn water into wine and a room full of cold people into friends.Really, what else can you do when you are sitting in a cold room with a bunch of strangers and no coffee but turn to the person next to you and start complaining about it.And then what happens?You make a new friend.How can we not be joyful about that? lgboyd


Offer It Up January 15th


Psalm 66:5

Come and see the works of God, awesome in the deeds done for us.

If we prayed about everything we did, if we framed prayer around our day, how much clearer would even a cloudy, foggy day be? The more you pray, the more you will see the definitive power and the will of God in your life. It will—His will—will be apparent in marriages and friendships, at work or in looking for work. At home or on the road. And in those places or situations that were once impossible or hopeless, prayer will make a difference.

It is not about being so absorbed or immersed that we keep ourselves from our ‘appointed rounds’ and duties… no, prayer is not that. Nor is it about mindless recitation that we hurry through a litany of praise and thanks or the Lord’s Prayer just to fill in a spot with a ‘Hey, I did the prayer thing today in case You’re listening’. Not that something like that hurts but look at the good you can do if it were more faithfully and respectfully presented to our Lord.

Prayer is about connection and communication. And there are a great many ways to communicate that connection with God. He is always there on the other end waiting for us. Don’t wait for Him to get your attention to start.


Offer It Up January 14th


Psalm 42:2-3

As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.

My being thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God?

We pray in order to believe and we believe in order that we may pray.

And so it goes. As it should.

Since we believe and trust in God’s infinite power to lead us in His way everlasting, we have to readily open our hearts to hear what He has for us as we offer up to Him our praise and thanks for what He has for us. And as they are opened, our faith is there also for God to see. Abraham prayed and his faith was stronger for it. Moses prayed and his faith helped lead his people to the Promised Land. Hannah prayed and her faith made evident in her son Samuel.

True it is, God is everywhere. True it is, we can also be distracted or even get mad by what we let our lives become if we do not take time for prayer. When was the last time you found yourself in prayer when you were angry or even distracted? Not the easiest thing to do. We can however, 'recover' from the issue and put ourselves in that state more conducive to prayer, right?

Mother Teresa wrote this about her ‘secret’ of how she accomplished what she did: she could not do it on her own-she relied on God twenty-four hours a day, in prayer. ‘In praying to Him, we are loving Him.’

We cannot find God in noise or agitation.

Nature: trees , flowers and grass grow in silence.

The stars, the moon and the sun move in silence.

What is essential is not what we say but what

God tells us and what He tells others through us.

In silence He listens to us,

In silence He speaks to our souls.

Take some time out to be silent with Him.

Silence of our eyes.

Silence of our ears.

Silence of our minds.

In the silence of the heart God will speak.

Mother Teresa~The Power of Prayer


Offer It Up January 13th


Romans 8:26-27

In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.

And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will.

‘God knows I love Him… my prayer life is pretty good as it is.’

‘One of the last times I prayed, I don’t know that God ever answered.’

‘I am so busy, I really don’t have time to pray.’

How should I pray? When should I pray? How often? What should I pray about?

A lot of questions arise from carrying on a relationship with God our Father. And with the answers, we still wonder if we are doing the right thing the right way and even if our prayers are being heard. Regardless of work, home, or a lifestyle that seems to get too much in your way, prayer can still happen. Sometimes we need some direction to show us how to get back to or revitalize a spiritually complacent prayer life, to deepen our faith.

Yes, there is time for us all to pray. And even though He does know we love Him, it is still essential that we offer Him that thanks and praise for all He has done for us. Prayer can be found in all that we do and offer to Him throughout our day. Making some time and then taking that time to put yourself alone with Him is even better. Ten or fifteen minutes works for a start, more if you can make it happen. In your car, getting up earlier, making time before going to bed-the time is there if you want it.

Our prayer life helps our faith life in God. The more we find our faith in Him, the deeper our faith becomes, the more you will find yourself giving Him the praise and glory for all you have. If you have ever been one to think or even ask yourself one of the questions or make one of the comments as in the first paragraph, it could be you need to have a heart to heart with yourself—and God—about where your prayer life is headed. Don’t worry about ever fully ‘getting’ prayer or knowing all the things or words to say… just keep praying and let God handle the rest. He will fill in all the blanks.

Mark 9:23

“…Everything is possible to one who has faith."


Offer It Up January 12th


The Ability to Love is Within Each of Us
From the Detailed Rules for Monks, by St. Basil the Great, Bishop

Love of God is not something that can be taught. We did not learn from someone else how to rejoice in light or want to live, or to love our parents or guardians. It is the same – perhaps even more so – with our love for God: it does not come by another’s teaching. As soon as the living creature (that is, man) comes to be, a power of reason is implanted in us like a seed, containing within it the ability and the need to love. When the school of God’s law admits this power of reason, it cultivates it diligently, skilfully nurtures it, and with God’s help brings it to perfection.

For this reason, as by God’s gift, I find you with the zeal necessary to attain this end, and you on your part help me with your prayers. I will try to fan into flame the spark of divine love that is hidden within you, as far as I am able through the power of the Holy Spirit.

First, let me say that we have already received from God the ability to fulfil all his commands. We have then no reason to resent them, as if something beyond our capacity were being asked of us. We have no reason either to be angry, as if we had to pay back more than we had received. When we use this ability in a right and fitting way, we lead a life of virtue and holiness. But if we misuse it, we fall into sin.

This is the definition of sin: the misuse of powers given us by God for doing good, a use contrary to God’s commands. On the other hand, the virtue that God asks of us is the use of the same powers based on a good conscience in accordance with God’s command. Since this is so, we can say the same about love. Since we received a command to love God, we possess from the first moment of our existence an innate power and ability to love. The proof of this is not to be sought outside ourselves, but each one can learn this from himself and in himself. It is natural for us to want things that are good and pleasing to the eye, even though at first different things seem beautiful and good to different people. In the same way, we love what is related to us or near to us, though we have not been taught to do so, and we spontaneously feel well disposed to our benefactors.

What, I ask, is more wonderful than the beauty of God? What thought is more pleasing and wonderful than God’s majesty? What desire is as urgent and overpowering as the desire implanted by God in a soul that is completely purified of sin and cries out in its love: I am wounded by love? The radiance of divine beauty is altogether beyond the power of words to describe.

Shared from today's Office readings.

Deuteronomy 10:12

…And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly, to love and serve the LORD, your God, with all your heart and all your soul


Offer It Up January 11th

Happy Birthday Brandy!


Mark 1:14-20

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.

Repent and believe.

Simple and clear enough, don’t you think? He said it so He meant it.

Change. Transform. Turn away from what you were doing that you should not be doing.

Trust. Hope. Have faith in and with God that you will receive His grace to do just what He said to do.

For us to do this is to follow His call to us, just as He called those fishermen who followed Him. He chose them just as He has chosen us, the average Joes and Nancys of the world. What did they have that we don’t have? They may have had a certain odor back then but besides that, not much else. They changed what they were doing and we change what we are doing to put our lives in alignment with His. Whatever it is they had, whatever it is we have, He made it and makes it work for the good of all who believe.

Repent and believe.

Isaiah 42:6-7

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations,

To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.


A Birthday Note

I don't know for sure how old/young she is but that's her business to know and share. The best news is that she was born how ever few years ago she says she was...

Those years have seen many of the blessings of life on earth and even for the life that God has planned eternally for us in the life of her son Alex. Through them all, Brandy has not only shown her steadfastness in her faith but she has also grown in it. With an increasing love and devotion not just for her Savior and family but for everyone she meets, she shares the joy of life and the Love of God in all she does.

Happy Birthday Brandy. Thank you for being in all of our lives. May the years continue to be blessed with God's best for you.



Offer It Up January 10th


Teach Me To Listen

Teach me to listen, O God

To those nearest me,

My family, my friends, my co-workers.

Help me to be aware that

No matter what words I hear,

The message is

“Accept the person I am. Listen to me.”

Teach me to listen, my caring God,

To those far from me—

The whisper of the hopeless,

The pleas of the forgotten,

The cry of the anguished.

Teach me to listen, O God,

To myself.

Help me to be less afraid

To trust the voices inside—

In the deepest part of me.

Teach me to listen, O Holy Spirit,

For your voice

In busyness and boredom,

In certainty and doubt,

In noise and silence.

Teach me, Lord, to listen.

Amen.

John Veltri, SJ


Offer It Up January 9th


John 3:27-30

John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete.

He must increase; I must decrease.”

A friend of mine shared some poetry with me recently.Being an English major in college, the experience reminded me of some my favorites.I thought of one this morning as I read today’s readings –

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

To put it simply, in order for us to decrease and the Lord to increase, we must take the road less traveled.It’s not easy to do that.The road more frequently traveled is enticing.It often offers more money, more praise from others, more of those things that our human nature craves.But if we really want to make a difference, we need to take the road less traveled.It may seem less satisfying at first or even lonely, but if we think of it as an adventure or as a way to go that is new, fresh, and ‘untrampled’, then I do believe that what we find at the end of that road ultimately will be much more satisfying.

lgboyd


Offer It Up January 8th


John 14:1-5

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way."

Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"

We all drive familiar roads every day. Those roads that take us to our homes, to work, to church—the same way, the same route almost all the time. We know the stop lights, the school zones, even the pot holes because we travel them so often. And because we go that way as much as we do, they become ‘our’ way, ‘our’ road home or to work or to wherever it is we are going. We even say it in conversation, ‘Well, I was on my way home when I saw this…’

Recently I saw another driver that I presumed was driving on ‘their’ road, or more precisely ‘their’ lane. As traffic was moving, there was an access ramp ahead and there were a couple of cars coming up to gain access to the expressway. This ‘Certified Lane Owner Driver’ was having nothing to do with slowing down, moving over, speeding up or in no other way going to allow anyone else to come into ‘their’ lane. At risk of accident, injury or even loss of life, ‘C.L.O.D.’ continued on their way, even went so far as to honk their horn at the audacity of the merging driver who had no other option but to enter traffic as another car was behind them and there was no shoulder area to safely pull over to. The nerve of some people to drive safely!

But don’t we all do that some times? Don’t we all get in our zones or ‘lanes’ and try to keep others out of our own way so that we can do the things we’ve always done without anyone else ‘getting in our way’? Not that anyone else would even want to or even care to move us but there we go—straight ahead, unflinching, unmoving, unliving and unloving. Honking our horns, waving our hands, and wondering why the rest of the world is not ‘driving’ like us. Oh sure, we may get to where we want to go eventually and even get there safely. But only by the grace of God will that happen.

Life is a lot like our driving. There are signs along the way to follow, or not. Road conditions to heed or ignore. Traffic to flow with or go against. You can let God let some people in your lane, those other ‘drivers’ from time to time. And if it seems like a good idea to ‘change lanes’, if even for a little while, then do it. God has His plan, His route, for you, you don’t have your route planned for Him. There’s room enough for us all to get where we’re headed. He’s got plenty of space for us all whenever we get that call.


Offer It Up January 7th

Happy Belated Birthday Nancy!

Happy Anniversary John and Amanda!


Jeremiah 10:23

You know, O LORD, that man is not master of his way; Man's course is not within his choice, nor is it for him to direct his step.

A week or so ago, it was a week of surprises. Surprises of gifts, surprises of family arrivals, surprises in the weather. All sorts of them were around as it was Christmas and Christmas does bring with it surprises. There are many of us that say we like surprises, especially those that are the good kind that bring us ‘Good Tidings’, warm hearts and, yes, blessings.

And what of those surprises that are not so warm or those that are not so much considered a blessing? What happens when we are ‘surprised’ the busted water heater? Or the ‘surprise’ of a cold that turns into the flu in spite of all the medication and health precautions you take? The list could be extended as you know of your own unexpected trials that you encounter. We find out that many of them are well out of our reach, out of our pay grade, to do anything about, other than to be open to what God has planned for us… not to what we have planned for Him.

We can’t surprise God. With all our ways of dealing and working with life here on earth, we can’t do, see, have, make or be anything He has not already planned for us. We get blind to that occasionally when the surprises happen that we don’t care for and we try to come up with our own answers. We try to make something up on our own. Who better to turn to than Him to find out what to do? How better to turn to Him than in humble, loving prayer? You just might be surprised at what you’ll get in return.


Offer It Up January 6th


Mark 6:45-46

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray.

How many of you, of us, liked math class when we were in school? Raise your hand so we can count how many… just what I thought. I wasn’t much for it either. One thing we did learn in math is that when an equation was worked through to the end, you had a result, a finished product, most usually correct.

We started with the less complicated ones—the 2+2=4 and 5-2=3—and then moved to some elevated ones that involved larger numbers and carrying the 1 and adding it to the next column or borrowing from the tens column to subtract from the ones column… And so it went till we reached the dreaded ‘times’ tables and division; oh the misery. In grade school, it came at us pretty quickly and at times we wanted to raise our hand and ask for recess or at the least say: ‘Sister Mary Irmengarde, may I be excused for a moment? My brain is full.’

The point to this math mess is this: often we pray in similar fashion, with neat little packaged prayers—equations, if you will indulge me—and expect the end product to come out just like we had asked for or prayed. Be it the Lord’s Prayer, a litany or novena or even prayers we have recited and made as our own, we offer them up with our full intentions and then just sit and wait for God to say okay or not.

‘Okay, I said my prayers. There they are. I’m waiting.’

And then nothing.

And then we do nothing, more. We may presume that the answer is or was no or that God may be too busy to hear what we had to say. We basically give up, if not completely on prayer, at least on that one. Something like working on a longer math equation and finding out toward the end of it that it isn’t going to work out to the correct answer. You can either erase and start again and look to find what needs to be corrected or not. Like your prayer life, you can look at what your prayer life is, what it consists of. What seems to be working, or not.

Jesus prayed. He went to the mountains. In the garden. He prayed alone and with His followers. And since He prayed, think then how we should also pray. Daily would be a good place to start or at least continue with what we are doing and take time to really hear what He is having to say to us. The answer may not be readily available as in a math equation but He will hear our prayer and bring us the peace we need till that time we do see and hear His reply.


Offer It Up January 5th

Happy Birthday Nancy!


1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him.
In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

How about that last year? Wasn't that something? It is already gone and we are already here in the New Year, giving it all we have to make it the best yet, right? We may have to shake off a bit of the frost to get it going but there is no doubt that 2010 has in it the Spirit, Hope and Love of God that He has for us all.

Much to be thankful for, much to be rueful about... both of which are all God's design. And as we begin another day, for sure this is all we get to see and have at this moment, the thankfulness and ruefulness are ours to choose on how we process them, what we do with what we have. The people in our lives that have stayed. The people in our lives that have gone on. The things in our lives that are no longer the same. The things in our lives that still carry on and grow. And a faith and hope in Jesus Christ that has brought us through it and will see us through it all.

The moments and times and days we have with family and friends, the sharing with them and then finding the love and kindness that still harbors within the warmth of their smiles and eyes and hearts. The letting go of those things, those nameless, faceless, unidentifiable 'its' that have kept us rutted in pity and anxiety and worry, putting them all in God's hands. Leaving them at the Cross.


As another year has ripped past the calendar pages, let's all take on this New Year with more of His Spirit, Hope and Love so that we can enjoy the Peace only He can bring.

God’s Will. God’s Way. God’s Way. God’s Will.


Offer It Up January 4th


Matthew 4:12-17, 23-24

Hearing that John had been arrested Jesus withdrew to Galilee, and leaving Nazara he went and settled in Capernaum, beside the lake, on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali! Way of the sea beyond Jordan. Galilee of the nations! The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who lived in a country of shadow dark as death a light has dawned.

From then onwards Jesus began his proclamation with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.’ He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and illness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralyzed, were all brought to him, and he cured them.

He went to work, doing what He was called, put on this earth, to do.

When John was arrested, that is what Jesus did; He got busy doing what His Father sent Him to do. He didn’t shrink back into the roadside or the crowds.

He made the crowds.

He didn’t stop what He was doing and fret about what was going to happen the next day.

He got busy.

Not to get His mind off of John but to continue His mission, His journey here on earth.

'Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

Maybe our ministries, our lives, our jobs, are not of an international sort. Maybe they are more concentrated in smaller areas of the world. That does not preclude us from doing what we have been called to do as believers, as Christians. As we work, so too can we help build that Kingdom.

I heard once that golf was an easy game; it was just hard to play. Sometimes when I play golf, that is certainly understandable. Our lives as Christians begin simply by loving, believing and living a faith in Jesus Christ and loving our neighbor. Sounds easy, right? When was the last time you were ready to offer your life for someone? How often is it that you truly accept the plan God has for you without tossing in your own plans from time to time?

Trust, surrender and love in our thoughts, words and deeds. Our lives may not get much simpler or easier as we help build this kingdom but the result will be joyously celebrated should we reach His heavenly one. db


Offer It Up January 3rd


Matthew 11:23-25

Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, “Be taken up and thrown into the sea”, and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.’

Not quite even 70 hours into the New Year and you still got it going on with your resolutions? Or are they even resolutions? Maybe just ‘changes in life styles’ or habits, right? Or maybe you’re the sort of individual who adds to their plate instead of taking from it; doing more with what you have instead of taking away from what you really don’t have. For in fact, none of us have any more time than there is right now, given to us today. The clock is not going to grow an extra hand or slip in some new numbers to cosmically make a day 28 hours.

If you are one of those types, and even if you’re not, why not take the opportunity to invoke your ‘choice of freedom’ with your freedom of choice and freely add more prayer time to your journey? Whatever that level is now, whatever that amount of time it is that you spend with Him and in Him, there is always that occasion to bring about a more prayerful way of life as you make your path. Ask for His help for those things you offer up to Him and thank Him for the mercy and grace and Love He has showered upon you. And when you do, let Him know how great He is for keeping someone like you around and choosing you to do His work.

After you’re done with that, do this one more thing. Close your eyes if you want and relax for a bit. Imagine God’s Son, Jesus Christ, going to His Father in prayer just as you have done. As you listen to His prayer, you hear the words, the names you claimed, the gifts of sacrifice you laid before Him, all those you had just offered up to Him… and He prays to His Father for His you, His friend, by your name.

And God says, Amen. db


Offer It Up January 2nd


Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.

If you are not one to make resolutions or one to jump on one of the latest band wagons of ‘change’, you are certainly not alone. At this beginning of the New Year, there are those that look, walk, and even run away from anything that even has an appearance of a ‘resolution’. Maybe the times that they have tried to make them have led to not much success. Maybe they have seen others experience too much hassle with their efforts at sticking to them. Maybe they just didn’t or don't care to give something else a shot, something different than what they were doing.

So then there is this: what if. What if for just one time, one hour, one day, one week, you or that person, tried something different? Something positive as opposed to a negative in your life or theirs? It doesn’t have to be a huge, life-changing event. What if it was as simple as getting up five minutes earlier to have some prayer and reflection time? What if it can be taking time to practice at least three random acts of kindness each day? What if it was just making a phone call to someone you needed to talk to or someone who needed to hear from you, sharing some laughs, some life and love? What if?

What if then these small steps led to greater things? Not for you but for the good of those around you? What would life be like then? What would your world, the world of others, be like then? There would be a difference. And it can happen with those we care about most and go out from there.

Every day we are here, we are given an opportunity to share what God has given us. What if we gave it back to others so that they could share in it too? What if then? db


Offer It Up January 1st

Happy Birth Day, Aven Ann Weaver!


Numbers 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!

There are highs and lows in all our lives. And if we were to be put to the point, we might respond that we of course like the high points but could probably do without the lows. That brings the question: if it were not for the low points or the not so high points of life, how would one know they were living the ‘high life’?

There was a football game the other day, this being the season of bowl games as well as Christmas, and one team made a furious comeback to take the lead by scoring two touchdowns in just over two minutes. Talk about the euphoria! They were ecstatic! With under a minute left, their team had a seven point lead and they were confident they were on their way to victory.

As time ran down, the opposing team completed a long pass that let them have time for one more play, a chance to score a touchdown and at least tie the game. And that is what they did, scoring a touchdown with four seconds left. But, in this game, instead of kicking for the extra point to tie the game, they ran a play to get two points to win it—and they made it!

Wow. How much can a heart and a mind take from something like that? There is a lot to put into this from never giving up to the heartbreak of losing a well-played game. And we can see in it also the highs and lows we experience in our lives. We get up and we fall down. We strive for some sense of balance but it seems we end up all over the chart. We do this right, but that thing works out wrong... or so we think. We have this, we want that. We finally have to-must-admit that as much as it pains us, the lows help us see the brighter, the ‘Light’ shining in our lives.

For 2010, let us all look for the Light and the highs only it can lead us to. As we do so, when we experience the lows, the pains and heartbreaks, God’s grace will be there to help bring us the understanding to bear us through them, to bring us to His peace. That comes through prayer and patience and His blessings, listening to His Word and following His will for us.

A Blessed, safe and happy New Year to you all.

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An Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warmly upon your face,
and rains fall softly upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.