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AFRAIDNOT

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

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Offer It Up July 31st


Forget, forgive, love, and laugh…

When a loving child is by you, is the nearness only that you may provide protection and help for that little one?

Rather, too, that in that little child you may find joy and cheer and comfort in its simplicity, its Love, its trust.

So, too, is it in your power to comfort and bring joy to My Heart.

                                                                                                God Calling, July 26 & 27

I think there is nothing better in this world than to listen to a child express sheer joy through laughter.When my son was very small, he had this giggle that was contagious.If he started to giggle, everyone in the room would start to laugh and would not be able to stop.The best part was that it was not hard to make him giggle.He was (still is) an expression of absolute joy in my life.I could not help but to scoop him up and hug and hold him tight after he giggled like that.

It’s not hard to think about praying (or more so, complaining) to God when we are struggling or angry or hurt.Usually we fall prey to asking the usual question, “Why, God…Why this…Why now?”On the flip side, I don’t really find it hard to say “Thank you Lord” when something good is happening in my life.But, I think that He wants more than just a simple “thank you.”He wants to know that the work He is doing in our lives brings us absolute joy.

Think about it --- when He created us, He created us in His own image.Just like we want to know as parents that we are creating a safe, secure, and loving environment for our children, so does God.When we see our children giggling with absolute joy, we see it as a sign that they feel safe and secure.Just like we need love and laughter in our lives, so does God.That is the essence of a true relationship.God is notsimply our One Stop Center for getting all of our needs met.So don’t be afraid to let out a good hearty belly laugh or that contagious giggle when life presents you with a moment of joy.Just remember to include the One who created you to be able to feel and express that absolute joy.l.g.boyd


Offer It Up July 30th

Happy Birthday Tony!


James 1:22-25

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

He would have been 62 today.

Like that that would have mattered to him anyway.

He may well have been 42 or even 32… well, mmmaybe not. He might have wanted to have been 32 again just to do it all over, just to see if he could do it even better than he did it the first time. I don’t know that he could improve on it much, though, with the terrific family and loving legacy that he has left us. There was nothing second-rate about him as he went first class for all he gave and did with his faith, his family, his friends and his work.

He was indeed a ‘doer of the word’ to the fullest extent. Always there to help. Always there till the end. One did not stand long in his path, especially when time was of the essence. And with Tony, time was always of the essence—there was always someone else to help or another project to get done. When there were jobs to be done around our mother’s house, (or anyone else’s for that matter), Tony was always the GC-General Contractor. Of the many questions asked of him in his role, some of his more 'kinder, gentler' answers were ‘Get a bigger hammer’ or ‘We can mud that’ or ‘It’s only 11:45. We can get done by 2.’ (That would be in the a.m.) Tireless and compassionate, his heart was as big as God would allow a heart to be; that has to be how he accomplished so much in the short time he was with us.

Our family, our parish, our congregation, our community is much larger and indeed a more loving place because of him; literally as well as through his love and care. He did ‘forget what he was like’ upon many occasion as he gave without consideration of cost, worked without thought of time of day (or night), and loved without a single condition attached to or from anyone.

That was Tony.

Husband. Father. Son. Brother. Friend.

Daddy Bear Bro Dad Pappa

We love him and we miss him.

May God bless him and keep him.


Offer It Up July 29th


Ephesians 6:10-12

Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.

Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.

For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.

How much balance do you have in your life? By balance I mean the adjustments and accommodations we make for and between our spiritual, family, work, friends, and outside interests (hobbies, voluteering, etc.) And if you know that answer, when do you know that your 'balance' is not very much in balance? What are some of the indications or warnings signs that let you know that things are not as well as you had hoped or intended them to be? And here is yet another question-what tools do you have to get that balance back where it needs to be?

If your life had four tires on it-tires need to kept in balance-it is often easy to see and feel when the road is smooth and the ride is equally so. No pot holes, dips or bumps in the drive to mess things up. Just easin' on down the road.

Later on, though, you get a bit comfortable with your way of life and then you may hit a bump or two or even a pot hole. Not to worry. You get out, check the tires and find no visible damage. So off you go. Another road, some more pot holes and bumps and now, maybe a shallow ditch comes into play. You get out, still no visible damage, at least as much as you can tell anyway. All the while, the tires are getting more out of balance and wearing the tread where you can't see it because you don't take the time to look... and so the tires get more and more uneven wear and the ride you are on gets a little less smooth. Maybe by now you're getting an idea of where this is going.

Any mechanic-shadetree or GM certified-will tell you all of this is preventable with the proper care and tools. Keep the tires balanced and properly inflated, rotate every 6,000 miles, have the alignment checked... just like keeping our own life in proper care and 'balance' is preventable with the tools we have at our own disposal. We may not see it right away that we are 'out of round' or balance, but, like a tire, it will eventually begin to show and cause some trouble. If not taken care of, even a blowout could occur. It helps to have tools-especially the right ones-to keep things like that from happening.

Scripture. Prayer. Our Congregation. Our Pastors. The Sacraments.

There they are. All we have to do is use them. What have we to lose but a little less wear and tear as we can gain so much more. db


Offer It Up July 28th


Joel 3:1

Then afterward I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind.

Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions;

You know how a spilled glass of water seems to increase in volume and to cover everything near it? It seems to take on a life of its own as it runs off the ends of a table or soaks everything it touches. The Spirit of God is like that. The Spirit drenches us with so much love that it cannot be contained. The Spirit embraces all, enlivens all, and loves all.

How do our attitudes give evidence to the Spirit of God within us? Are we spilling out like so much water from a spilled glass? Or are less like that and is our glass empty? Bummer for us all if it is.

Reach out with some compassion to someone today. It will do wonders for you both.

Spirit of God, fill me to overflowing with the wonder and love of You. Let me spread your loving goodness to all those around me. Amen.

Adapted from findingGod.com


Offer It Up July 27th


Matthew 13:32

And the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches. . . .

The kingdom of heaven starts small, as small as the smallest seed you can see. A still, quiet voice in the human heart, speaking and reminding us that God is always present. Sometimes there will be no sign of it on the outside. But within, there is the yearning, the striving for heaven here and now.

But no matter how small it starts, with gardening and attendance, paying attention to God and what is important, with the slightest care, the smallest amount of devotion, it can grow by leaps and bounds -- a seedling, a shrub, a bush, a tree. And when it has grown, when we've allowed it to take root, it has another supernatural property -- it summons, from every corner of the earth and sky, those who would join. People can see the blessing of it; people can feel it’s comforting presence. And they are drawn to it. They are drawn to the cool shade of it on a hot summer day.

When we allow grace to work, we allow the Kingdom of Heaven to take root. And this kingdom is not for us to hoard and enjoy alone. It has as its chief characteristic the need to be shared, the desire to grow to include everyone.

When you open yourself up to God, do not be surprised that others see it in you and start to want to be near you. Do not underestimate the ability God has given you to change your part of the world into a corner of heaven.

Juandela Cruzthe journeywww.daily-meditations.org


Offer It Up July 26th


The disciples approached him and said, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"

He said to them in reply, "Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.

To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

This is why I speak to them in parables, because 'they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.'

Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: 'You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.'

"But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.

Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Flannery O’Connor has been called the greatest American Catholic novelist. Yet her novels are seldom about Catholics. Rather they concern the working of grace in peculiar Southern country people. Once she was asked why she wrote about such strange characters. She answered that when people are near deaf, you have to shout at them.

Jesus responds similarly to the question, “Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?” We need such on-the-money stories to wake us up to God’s goodness. The parables tell us that God is so generous he will pay laborers who only work an hour a full day’s wage and that God’s kingdom is such a treasure that it is worth selling all we have to attain it. But in a world with so many diversions – from home entertainment systems to iPhones – Jesus’ message still does not always get through.

Some people see parables as make believe. Since they do not bring immediate gratification, they are not worth pondering, much less pursuing. These people might be right if the parables were not validated by Jesus’ life. He becomes the seed that dies in order to produce abundant life when he allows himself to be crucified. He is the shepherd who searches for lost sheep when he spends his time with sinners and the poor. Because of Jesus’ testimony the parables not only entertain, they move people to follow him.

Rev. Carmen Mele, O.P. www.cbmdominicanpreacher.blogspot.com


Offer It Up July 25th


Matthew 13:18-23

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘So pay attention to the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the Evil One comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the seed sown on the edge of the path. The seed sown on patches of rock is someone who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But such a person has no root deep down and does not last; should some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, at once he falls away.

‘The seed sown in thorns is someone who hears the word, but the worry of the world and the lure of riches choke the word and so it produces nothing. And the seed sown in rich soil is someone who hears the word and understands it; this is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’

Back to this communication thing for a bit.

How much do we retain of a conversation when we talk with someone?

If the exchange is an important one—like one’s spouse has your ear for the next ten minutes or your boss has no less than a top ten list of tasks to get done—you will more than likely give it your full attention, maybe to the point of taking notes, recording it and then getting back to them when you get it done.

In Scripture, it is so important to God that we ‘get’ or understand His Word that He had it delivered to us in so many different ways that we could more easily understand it: In Psalms. In Songs. In Proverbs. In His Word. He had His Son speak often in parables, even to His disciples so that even they could understand what He wanted them to hear, not what they wanted to hear. I guess you could say it was important enough to them that they 'took a few notes.' (Thankfully, for us.)

If we are to not only hear His word but to do something with it, our hearts and ears need to be like rich, fertile soil, to take in the generous seeds He will sow in our hearts. We know the other types of soil on which the seeds fell. And sometimes, those are the fields we choose to harvest. Not always the wisest thing to do, obviously, but whoever said we were perfect? It’s with His mercy and grace He lets us return to bountiful fields full of forgiveness, compassion and love. db

Colossians 3:12-17

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Offer It Up July 24th


2 Timothy 2:15-17

Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation.

Avoid profane, idle talk, for such people will become more and more godless, and their teaching will spread like gangrene.

Communication is such a simple thing when it is done simply.

No interference. No outside noise. No distractions. Just a one-on-one interaction—an exchange between two individuals to share information for the benefit of one or the other if not both.

How simple is that? And how wonderfully simple would it be if it were that simple to communicate that way, that well all the time? How often is it that we get that chance to do that? Without some, any or all the influences of the world breaking in and having their own say, their two cents worth, in a conversation that has nothing to do with them at all?

We let in a lot of the distractions ourselves, if we’re not the distraction. We may say that we are fully in tune with the other person’s thoughts and even have the body language to go along with it but inside, the brain is on hold and the heart is going cold. We put aside what they are feeling and needing for the sake of what we want.

One way to prepare for the simplification of communication is to offer it up in prayer-before, during and after your exchange. Ask God to be present with you. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with the wisdom and courage to say those words that need saying. To hear-to listen to-those words that need to be heard. And to act on what is shared in the conversation. Even if just one person in the exchange does this, the odds of a better understanding increase. What’s there to lose? Keeping in close contact with a prayerful way of communication may take a bit to practice—just like anything else—but the benefits will be worth the effort. db


Offer It Up July 23rd


Exodus 19:16-19

On the morning of the third day
there were peals of thunder and lightning,
and a heavy cloud over the mountain,
and a very loud trumpet blast,
so that all the people in the camp trembled.
But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God,
and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain.
Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke,
for the LORD came down upon it in fire.
The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace,
and the whole mountain trembled violently.
The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking
and God answering him with thunder.

Don’t you sometimes wish that your prayers would be answered as clearly as God answered the prayers of the Israelites? Shaking, trembling mountains, trumpet blasts, thunder, and fire and smoke.

Just the shaking mountains bit would be enough to get my attention, let alone the trumpets and thunder.

Wouldn’t it be a life so clearly defined and straightforward if He had a definitive response for everything your prayers were offering in thanksgiving or in need?

I would offer that we should be thoughtful, mindful and especially prayerful for what we ask for in prayer.

For God does answer all of our prayers.

Why would He not?

Many times, we just might get what we pray for—all of it.

What then?

Other times, we get the other end of the stick—zip, nada, zilch. Or so it seems.

And then what? Do we quit praying? I would hope not. All the more reason to press and pray on.

God has His plan and that plan includes answers that we often don’t like or are not ready for.

Think about the joy that overcomes us when a prayer is answered—as we wanted it answered—when we see and feel God’s handiwork.

Then think about how we feel when we see His answer is not what we expected and or wanted? As difficult as it is, we have to be thankful He has His plan for us with something He needs us to do. We need to be open to His will and He will show us, just like He showed Moses and the Israelites. Our answers may not come to us in responses with the thunder and trumpets and fire and smoke but with a deepening faith in Him, it won’t need to be.db


Offer It Up July 22nd


Priorities

Matthew 6:33

And he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.

A man was out driving in the country during a heavy rainstorm when he came across an old farmer who was surveying the ruins of his barn. He pulled over and to ask the farmer what happened.
"Roof fell in," the farmer replied.
"What happened with it? Why did it fall in?" asked the stranger.
"It leaked so long, it just finally rotted through," the farmer said.
"Why in the world didn't you fix it before it rotted through?"
"Well, sir," said the farmer, "I just never did seem to get around to it. When the weather was good, there wasn't a need for it. And when it rained, it was just too wet to work on."

Sound familiar? Maybe your work life or personal life is a bit like the farmer and his barn. Some things are getting a bit out of hand and before you know it, they are either too far gone to do anything about or you are overcome by them and then... and then… and then… well, it doesn’t get much better after that.

Our spiritual walk along with our daily walk can be the same way if we don’t recognize our priorities. And then 'IT' happens:

Spiritual complacency.

What would you rather be—physically or spiritually complacent? Or how about mentally? How would your life be if there was no growth, no development? You just reached a certain point and said, ‘Okay, that’s good enough.’

What if God, when He sent His Son had said, ‘Okay, that’s good enough. You don’t have to die on the cross. You can come home now.’

Fortunately for us all, He didn’t, and we shouldn’t settle for ‘good enough.’ It's worth the effort to live as God wants us to live and not anything less. db

1 Corinthians 12:31

But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.


Offer It Up July 21st


Exodus 14:13-18

But Moses answered the people, "Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.

The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still."

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.

And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea, split the sea in two, that the Israelites may pass through it on dry land.

But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate that they will go in after them. Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots and charioteers.

The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I receive glory through Pharaoh and his chariots and charioteers."

God has His way for us all to further experience the glory of our peace and our joy. And since He is Time, He is never late nor is He never early.

He is the One least to allow ourselves get in our own way when we are most headstrong against His will.

He is the same to allow us to let us have our 'own way' when we are living according to His will... and isn't it great how that works?

In Exodus, as the 'obstinate' (mentioned three times in just a few verses) Egyptians pursued, God knew then what the Israelites were yet to go through--and what they had to literally 'go through' to get there.

We all have our 'Red Sea' moments in our journeys. Some of us are blessed enough to have God's grace to have more than one, or two or even several--thankfully.

How great is our God to be so merciful?

How great is it to have the faith to put our life in His hands? db


Offer It Up July 20th


Dependence on God

Matthew 6: 25-34

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Tension in our lives… prayer in our lives.

The more you pray, the less tense you are.

The less you pray, the more tense you become.

It happens all the time, or so it seems. The more time you spend in prayer, the less time you spend with tightness in your back and neck and those tension headaches. And the converse of that can be true, too; the less time spent in thanksgiving, the more you could be spending with knots in your neck and eating more Advil and Tylenol to ward off the pounding in the brain.

We get busier with the happenings of life and the trappings of work and we start stretching the minutes into hours just to see how much more we can achieve.

Eventually, something has to give.

And instead of giving up the work part or those things that are materially significant to us, some of us, (read ‘me’), tend to give up or cut into the most important part of the day—the time we spend in prayer.

If you think that it may not be that way, try it out for a day or two if you dare or are so inclined.

From first-hand experience, it is not worth the test.

True story. db

Worry about nothing. Pray about everything. Cary Likins


Offer It Up July 19th


Your Mission

Colossians 3:1-4

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Don't live today as if it were your last. Live today as if it were your first.

Go into the day looking for things to see, to feel and to taste, as if you're seeing, feeling and tasting them for the first time.

Make your life a mission, not an intermission.

Don't fear that the end is near ...fear more that you never began.

submitted by R. Vossler


Offer It Up July 18th


You need both oars

Mark 6:31-32

Jesus and his disciples didn't even have time to eat. So they started out to a lonely place.


A young monk had questions about the order's motto: "Pray and Work." So, one day, the abbot invited him to row across the lake with him. The abbot rowed first--but with one oar. As a result, the boat went in circles, and they made no progress. The young monk said, "Abbot, unless you row with both oars, you won't get anywhere." The abbot replied,

"You're so right, son! The right oar is prayer; the left is work. Unless you use them together, you just go in circles."

What balance do we try to keep between work and prayer? How do we know when the balance is correct? adapted from www.staygreat.com

Answering these questions is not an easy task, especially when you look at the scales that begin so far out of balance. And the heaviest side you can always bet is the work side instead of the prayer side. Even worse, on the second question, the point is almost moot in that 'balance' is in theory only. It seems, for me anyway and this could be for you, that I allow work to get in the way of prayer too often instead of having prayer get me into a working mode.

I don't give up on the challenge. I do find more time for prayer and take more time for prayer. I may not have the best answers to the questions yet I am working on a better response all the time. db


Offer It Up July 17th


Matthew 26:36-45

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Peter and the sons of Zebedee really didn’t get it.After watching Mary prepare Jesus for his burial with her precious oils, after everything Jesus had just told them during the Lord’s supper, and after insisting that they would never deny their belief in Jesus as Lord, what do they do?They fall asleep during Jesus’ darkest hours.Jesus even told them that his soul was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

What more could Jesus say to get his point across?How do you fall asleep in the midst of someone’s deepest pain?

I’ve learned to come to this passage whenever I feel like no one is listening to me, whenever I feel like no one cares and whenever I think I just can’t take anymore.It reminds me that the Lord does understand what it feels like to be left alone in pain, but to continue to submit to God’s will and find peace and strength in the process.It also reminds me to continue to love and pray for those that don’t get it.It reminds me to keep in mind that it might get worse before it gets better.Knowing how this story ends, I realize that when it gets better, it gets really good. submitted by l.g.boyd


Offer It Up July 16th


John 15:11

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

It’ll never work.

Oh that guy, he’s worthless. He’ll never amount to anything.

I never get a break… you always get the breaks.

Don’t know why I try at all… nothing will ever come of it anyway.

If you have ever worked or lived around this type of negativity, it can get to even the brightest of optimistic personalities. These types of people are rarely, if ever, happy about anything. And if they are, you are immediately suspicious and might be wondering if they are up to something or may have been hitting the happy pill bottle a little too frequently.

With the gift of free will enough as it is to give us not only an abundance of joy, the other side of free will is that people can choose to be about as unjoyful as they care to be. Talk about a bummer of a life style. Yet people really do choose to live life like every day is Groundhog Day in Mudville and Mighty Casey has struck out again… and again… and again. And even though they didn’t swing the bat or throw the pitch or even play the game, they take it upon themselves that it is all the fault of something they have done and their misery continues.

I really don’t believe it works that way. As a matter of fact, I support the theory that there is some truth to the adage a person is about as happy as they allow themselves to be. Call it what you will—positive mental attitude, self-fulfilling prophecy, think and grow rich, (no wait, not that one), the better you think about yourself, the better you will feel. God doesn’t want us to walk around with sack cloths and camel hair coats, at least not all the time. We do have penance to do. He wants the best for us and that best is done in prayer and thanksgiving for all He has allowed and graced us with.

And what do we do with it? Hey, did you hear that Casey struck out again for the Mudville nine today? Bummer, aint it? db


Offer It Up July 15th


Romans 8:29

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

Step by step He leads us. He knows our paths. He knows the stones, the pitfalls and the trappings of material living and the headaches and heartaches and soul aches that the gift of free will can bring along the way.

He knows too, the clear paths of prayer and thankfulness, of faith and good works, of family, of friends, of meadows and skies, of fullness of The Word made Flesh.

No matter the cost, nor the struggle, nor the gain or the pain, our God is here.

‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.’

He’s here.

They are His words.

What more proof do we need?

Do you really think He would take us down a path we couldn’t handle? Not hardly, especially if we keep in mind that He had already set that path, long before we were ever around.

Be blessed with the best He has for you today. db


Offer It Up July 14th


Have Faith!

"Do not be afraid; just have faith."

Mark 5: 36

How often is it that we come across this verse or a similar one and we have to remind ourselves that it is our faith-or very well the lack of it-that is causing us to be afraid? We look back and see what has gone awry and we get this sense that it is about to happen again. We look at what we have done, what has been done to us, what we have left undone or unsaid and push it back, hoping it can find its way to a deep and dark spot, never to be seen or heard from again.

But, (and you know there is always a big but somewhere,) we know it's there.

We know it's there and it looms larger as we become more fearful of the things we don't want to deal with. And so it goes. And so often goes our faith with it, spiraling away with doubt and worry.

It doesn't have to be that way. I don't know how many times it is referenced, noted, quoted or said in Scriptures but I do know that Jesus had often repeated it in some form or fashion: 'Just have faith.' How many times do we have to be told? How often do we have to remind ourselves? For me, it works daily, if not hourly sometimes... okay, maybe even minute to minute.

Two things to remember: one: we have to be able to trust and surrender to Him the things we can't handle; two: we have to remember we can't handle anything without Him. db


Offer It Up July 13th


Genesis 46:1-7.28-20; Matthew 10:16-23

A Mexican child will answer the call of his mother or father by saying, “Mande,” meaning “send (me).” The implicit idea conveyed by this word is that the child is willing to do whatever the parent commands. We find this same willingness in the first reading when Israel responds to the call of the Lord with, “Here I am.” It is the response of Samuel to Eli, “Here I am. I come to do your will” and of the Virgin Mary to the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your will.” Israel’s response is remarkable, however, because he was not always so compliant. As a young man, he duped his brother and his father trusting in his craftiness rather than in the Lord to get ahead. God, however, taught him, through a slow but sure process, how to trust in Him.

Willingness to conform to God’s will is one requirement of fathering a great nation. Another, more obvious need is to assure the welfare of one’s family. Israel shows that he has looked after this concern when he hugs his son Joseph and confesses that he can now die in peace. He has been faithful to the tradition of his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham although he followed them in his unique way.

Jesus shows these two traits of nation-building in an eminent way. He follows his Father’s will to the end, and he sends his Spirit, as indicated in today’s gospel, to protect his disciples. We might add that given the nature of his relationship with God, the Father, there is something very unique about Jesus’ preparation of the holy nation that bears his name.

Rev. Carmen Mele, O.P


Offer It Up July 12th


Mark 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs, giving them authority over unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff -- no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Don't take a spare tunic.’

And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust under your feet as evidence to them.’ So they set off to proclaim repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

When Jesus told his disciples to take nothing for the journey except a staff, no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses, He was teaching His disciples to be totally focused on their mission. They need to be detached from earthly concerns. Such a mission and demand is never easy. Yet, the disciples were able to be faithful and do great things, including performing miracles in God’s name, in the mission that Jesus entrusted to them. Pray to the Lord for the graces to accept the hardships, adversities and even persecution that may come your way in serving Him and His people.

As far as material possessions were concerned the disciples were sparsely equipped for their mission. That, however, was Christ’s plan of campaign. They would depend on the generosity of people for their food and lodging, and they were to be content with what was given them. In this approach they would more easily be accepted by the poor themselves. On the other hand, these disciples were given powers of healing and authority over evil spirits. Thus, more attention would be given to their words and conclusions could be drawn about the nature of the kingdom they were announcing.

As in all genuine proclamations of the Gospel people would not be forced to accept the message. So the disciples were prepared for indifference and even rejection of their words. They could not hope to be treated differently than was the Master Himself. Not everyone is willing to admit his need of repentance and a change of life. To face the truth in ourselves we need the humility of children. Only then will the door be opened to us.

Lord, help us to be worthy of bringing the Good News to others. May we accept faith as Your gift and be ready to share it with others.

the Jesuits of Singapore www.jesuit.org.sg


Offer It Up July 11th


Genesis 49:29-32; 50:15-26a

Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7
Matthew 10:24-33

Today’s readings seem to be about God’s personal knowledge of and caring for us. In Genesis, Jacob makes funeral plans for himself. His son, Joseph, forgives his brothers telling them, “Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good.” The psalmist says to rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. And in Matthew, Jesus says that God knows the number of hairs on your head.

Some people believe God is an all-powerful, bigger-than-life, detached, distant creator who kicked things off, but could care less about us. It’s not hard to understand why some people feel this way. When one looks at the universe, history and life in general, it is incredibly humbling. It is easy to believe that we are meaningless, insignificant, small beings on a tiny spot on a small planet living purposeless lives for a flash in time. Wow, now that is depressing!

Then along comes Jesus. God with skin on. A personal, relational God. Telling us that God not only knows everything about us, but actually cares about us. A God that is up close and touching. Living in our world. Speaking. Guiding. Healing. Walking with us. Eating drinking, crying. A God that is compassionate, caring and loving. Willing to go to the cross for us. Why would an all powerful God care how many hairs are on my head? Why would the creator of the universe sacrifice for me? This is a stumbling block for some. They cannot envision an all-powerful God caring about them on a personal basis. It is a mystery. Yet this is exactly what Jesus is about. This is, for me, incredibly good news.

Here at Creighton, I am part of a bereavement ministry. I had never even heard of such a thing before, when I was asked to be a part of it. When first asked, I thought, this is so far out of my comfort zone, they may as well be asking me to jump out of a plane. With a paper parachute! The notion that I would say something stupid and cause a grieving person more pain was terrifying to me. And yet, I understood the need and felt a call. This is a ministry for Creighton employees, run by Creighton employees. Essentially, we contact someone near the anniversary of the loss of a loved one. We offer to visit and bring a plant or loaf of bread or card. If the person declines, I simply tell them I will be praying for them. If they accept, I meet with them.

Every time I am fearful that I will say the wrong thing. I pray (really hard) that I can help this person’s grieving heart. I pray with them and then usually sit and listen. Sometimes I am the one who cries. Every time I go in fearful and every time I come away feeling I have been given a gift. I go hoping to give and come away feeling I have received. One of those mysteries I don’t understand. What I do understand is that we don’t wave a magic wand to heal a grieving person. This cannot happen without the personal touch. And where do we get our model for this? From Jesus Christ.

My prayer today is for all those who are grieving and for those who would like to help them. May Jesus be our guide and provide strength and courage.

daniel@creighton.eduwww.onlineministries.creighton.edu/


Offer It Up July 10th


Deuteronomy 11:19

You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

When your daughter leaves home, it’s not supposed be so painful… straight to and through the heart. All the preparation for that day and time, you would hope there would be some joy as all of life’s prayers and preps have been put in place and she has finally presumed the reins and controls… well sorta.

This is so way different than when a son leaves though when a son leaves, though it too is a painful time.

All these times you prepare yourself as parents—we can handle this.

We can handle this.

We can handle this.

(Three kids, three times the handling.)

All still bring much the same sorrow and much the same pain… but when a daughter leaves home, there is so much more to it than we had imagined.

Off to school or off to a job. Good terms or not so good terms. Knowing the reasons fully or not knowing much what happened. With a roommate or just off to spread some of her own life beyond the realm of what she has known up to this point of her living.

God knows when and where she needs to go.

He has given her those choices to make. He has also given us the choices to make to hold on to her or let her go.

We’ll never let our love for her go, just as our Father in heaven will never let His love for us go.

As His love for us is everlasting and His Way is the Truth.

Let us all continue to pray for a hunger to cooperate with His Will and His Way instead of asking Him to cooperate with ours. (Wow, this really hurts.)

This too shall pass.

His Love for us and our love for her is enough and will always be, no matter what.

1 Corinthians 12:31

Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.


Offer It Up July 9th


Philippians 1:9-11

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

HALF

Half of the mistakes made in your relationship will most likely be yours.
That's a deep but mathematically accurate thought.

It is typical in our church men's meeting to talk about all of the things that women do in the relationship. From what I've heard, the women's meeting is the same. All of the quirks, the errors, the unappreciative and inconsiderate things, how "they" have to be babied, if only "they" were more mature, and that it is a good thing that "we" are so much more mature in order to be able to put up with "them." Yet in truth, each side makes about half of the mistakes. It is always difficult to see our own faults. It's always easy to see the other person's shortcomings.

I sometimes wonder "where has the love gone?" You rarely hear anyone say, "I know they have their weaknesses, but I love them so much that it doesn't matter." You rarely hear anyone say, "I got in this for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, rich or poor. That's what I said and that's what I mean; and I'm so glad I married him/her."

We had one man in the men's meeting recently who had been married for 46 years and said that he loved his wife a thousand times more now than he did when he married. He was the oldest man in the group. He was also perhaps the wisest. It was refreshing.

You hear so much of the things wrong in relationships, but you very rarely hear how much in love a couple is. Even if people feel it, they don't say it very much. Neither of them.

Now whose fault is that?

submitted by R. Vossler


Offer It Up July 8th


Matthew 9:32-38
A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.
The crowds were amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel."
But the Pharisees said, "He drives out demons by the prince of demons."

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd. Then
hesaid to his disciples,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."

In today's Gospel, Jesus looked at the crowds of people with compassion. He saw them with the desire of the Father for His children. They looked like sheep without a shepherd.
I am like that more often than I want to admit, sheep without a shepherd. When I look at the world around me do I see as the Lord does with compassion for those who feel disoriented, perhaps a little asea, looking for guidance?
Perhaps I am too often tempted to expect things to be as I believe they should rather than see how God's love is lavished on all His children equally. Equally...in God's justice and God's terms not mine. Am I able to see how the rain falls on the just and the unjust, how truly the Father loves all.
Compassion, to suffer with, can I even begin to grasp your call dear Lord to be compassionate, to love always, in all circumstances, even to dying to self? I must admit I am not yet ready, I step forward one pace and fall back several.
Hear the steady beat of my heart and its longing for your grace, be my strength that I may find the path to holiness always.

Jesus, son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Deacon

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Offer It Up July 7th

Happy Birthday to my Dad, to Gene-my father-in-law, and to C.L.-a very good friend

All of whom are celebrating their birthdays in glory and style these days-

in the company of the angels and saints and their God and Savior


1 Peter 4:12-13, 16-19

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.

Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And
‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?’
Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good.

So you go on and on and nothing seems to change.

Same stuff different day.

You keep to your daily devotions, your prayers are full of heart and faith and devotion.

You get the sense that God hears you and what you are saying to Him.

You even get the full consciousness that you hear Him in response.

But you get nothing in the physical world is evident enough to let you see anything changing.

The bills still need to be paid and are mounting up.

That headache you had yesterday has found its way back with a vengeance.

The teenagers at home for the summer think their jobs are to do just that—stay at home for the summer.

And that co-worker who just can’t seem to find the time to get to work on time and always has something to leave early for has just laid another excuse on you for coming in late… and leaving early.

Let’s not forget the car that needs a couple of new tires and an overdue inspection sticker.

So what happens? Does doubt start to creep in? Does the world start looking less bright?

Are you getting the drift here? Pretty much all material issues that we are putting a lot of effort into when we should be making the effort to issue even more call, more prayer to our Father. Even though we know He hears us. Even though we know we hear Him, we are sometimes left in a moment of doubt.

Press on and pray on. It is all part of His plan.

Our faith is not of this world anyway; it is of God and a greater place.

It’s one thing to say you know and have faith in the safety and comfort of ‘smooth sailing’.

It’s when the seas get rough and boat is being tossed about—that is the time for our faith to be what it is and let God do the rest. db

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My Dear Dad-

I love you! Thank you for all you did for us as we grew--and grow--in our faith. Though I may not have told you enough, I am proud that you are my Dad and I praise and thank God that He brought me into a life with you and our family.

Thank you for remembering us as you share your eternal life with our God, who showers us with his blessings daily and lets know in ways subtle and sometimes not so subtle that all is well with you and all of our family now with the communion of angels and saints in heaven.

What you have left with us are examples of ways to do things right-with peace and with love. And though we may not always live as such, you again showed us to keep loving and 'be nice'. It was your exemplary life with Mom that we prayerfully guide our own lives by, along with the lives of our children.

Perfect? Not hardly.

Loving? Completely and without reserve.

Do we fall short? Daily, if not hourly.

But we know our God and Father in heaven, and you, will always love us and take us back and forgive us.

Happy Birthday, Dad! Thanks for all you were and are to me.

I do love you!

Your favorite-

David


Offer It Up July 6th


Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Life and blessing, or death and curse? It’s our choice. While at one level it may sound simple, at a deeper level we know that all choices are not that easy. What does it actually mean to choose life? How do we know if a choice will be life-giving? The Book of Deuteronomy offers three criteria. When our decision is based on our love of God, when we pay attention to what we’ve heard God say in our own hearts as well as through others, and when we hold fast to God no matter what, we can be confident that whatever choice we make will lead to life. The life we chose is not for ourselves alone, but so that our descendants may live.

What does choosing life mean for me right now?

How do I include others in the choices I make?

www.findingGod.org


Offer It Up July 5th


Come, lay your hand on her, and she will live. . . . (see Matthew 9:18)

His presence is healing. His love is there to heal us.

But it takes us to ask Him, us to believe that we can be healed. And the healing isn't something that is merely physical, merely of this world and temporary. Such healing is for a time only and then it fades away, passes away.

No, His healing is an eternal healing; it awakens the dead soul within us. It gives us the strength to keep seeking Him, to keep walking in His light. Because this life is passing. In a short span it will come to an end for each of us. But the life He has healed us into is everlasting. It will have no end. That is the healing; that is the life that is worth having.

~ JuandelaCruz www.daily-meditations.org


Offer It Up July 4th

It's America'sIndependence Day!


Jeremiah 25:30-31

Prophesy against them all these things and say to them: The LORD roars from on high, from his holy dwelling he raises his voice; Mightily he roars over the range, a shout like that of vintagers over the grapes.

To all who inhabit the earth to its very ends the uproar spreads; For the LORD has an indictment against the nations, he is to pass judgment upon all mankind: The godless shall be given to the sword, says the LORD.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.


Offer It Up July 3rd


John 20:24, 25-29

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. Thomas answered, ‘Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’

Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God.’
Jesus said to him: ‘You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” The gift of faith.

It was not only St. Thomas the Apostle who didn’t believe that Jesus was truly risen. All of the Apostles were full of doubts and they also didn’t want to believe the women who saw Jesus after His resurrection.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” We believe in Jesus even though we have not seen Him. We believe that He is really present in the Holy Eucharist even though we cannot prove that. Indeed, we are very blessed because of our Catholic faith.

But is this faith of our own merit? No, it isn’t. We believe because God has touched our hearts with His grace and filled them with the gift of faith. We also believe because we have met people who were true witnesses of the risen Lord.

“Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.”

May we find today a time during our daily prayers to remember and to thank God for all those people who have led us to Jesus and who have helped us to believe in Him.

www.jesuit.org.sg


Offer It Up July 2nd


Luke 6:27-37

"But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.

And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.

If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit (is) that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount.

But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Which would you find easier to do—love your enemies or drive a nail in the cross on which Jesus Christ was nailed? A group I was in the other night started out in that discussion and when the question was asked, it evidently fell on deaf ears for the first minute or so.

Loving your enemies entails quite a bit. Your enemies could be your neighbors. Could be your co-worker, your boss… brother or sister, mom or dad… any family member or friend, even neighbors for that matter. Expanding that horizon, you could bring in criminals of all kinds. Terrorists. War-mongers. Even ‘criminals’ of another sort—abortionists and those that practice life-ending methods for those that have no say in the matter.

So how hard could it be then do love them, like we have been instructed to do? How hard would it be for you to be the one to drive the nails in cross? Maybe not just one but all of them? Nail after nail. Pounding. Hammering. Pain. Sin.

As you were doing it, maybe you would catch a glimpse of the Savior’s eyes, piercing through yours as you pierced His body.

Those eyes would say He forgives you.

Those eyes would say He came to die for your sins.

Those eyes would say He would come back and show the world His power over death.

Those eyes would say He loves us not for the sins of the hammer and nails but for the person we can become without them.

How hard would it be then to not love your enemy?

It’s as if you were driving a nail.


Offer It Up July 1st


Exodus 14:13-14

But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.’

Attack Fear

I learn daily the sublime lesson of trust and calm in the midst of storm. Whatever of sorrow or difficulty the day may bring My tender command to you is still the same -- Love and laugh.

Love and Laughter, not a sorrowful resignation, mark real acceptances of My Will. Leave every soul the braver and happier for having met you. For children or youth, middle or old age, for sorrow, for sin, for all you may encounter in others, this should be your attitude. Love and Laugh.

Do not fear. Remember how I faced the devil in the wilderness, and how I conquered with "the sword of the spirit which is the word of God." You too have your quick answer to every fear that evil may present -- an answer of faith and confidence in me. Where possible say it aloud.

The spoken word has power. Look on every fear, not as a weakness on your part due to illness or worry, but as a very real temptation to be attacked and overthrown.

God Calling