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

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Offer It Up! Friday, August 31, 2012

Stay Awake!

Each day we are privileged to be able to listen to the words of Jesus repeated again in the gospel message. Today, we hear Jesus reminding us to Stay Awake!

It remains for each of us to hear and ponder these words to dialog with the Lord and seek to understand.

Stay Awake!

In this present moment be alert to what God is doing, what God is creating in the here and now. You are his chosen one—for what purpose? As you seek to do his will, certainly that is the intent, as we pray ‘Thy will be done on earth as in heaven’, you remain awake to this present moment where He is truly involved in life.

Stay Awake!

What has passed is no longer. What is to be will be if we but allow the Lord to guide us to the wonder of the present moment. So frequently, in my life I have unfortunately missed the wonder of it all because of concern with past occurrences which I could no longer effect, and at other times worried anticipation of future events to the extent they distracted me from the wonder of the present moment.

At the core and center of each moment is the realization that we are immersed in a love that is beyond our understanding in the here and now.

We often refer to Mystery… and it is beyond us who are captives of space and time. Living in the present moment we begin to discover the wonder of God's desire for us and the hunger within us union with the divine.

Stay Awake!

May we all find new wonder this day as we experience the wonder of God in the mundane moments of our lives.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Thursday, August 30, 2012

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Paul, called to be an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the Church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

God is faithful.

How good—how great—is it to know that God is faithful to the end? When the wind is at our back and the sun is warm upon our face, it is easier for us to recognize His presence and fullness in our lives. It is during those times when the adverse is more prevalent that we find out how much sterner stuff we are made of and what our own faith means to us. And, of course, the faithfulness of God.

Paul gives thanks and praise to God for the ‘graces bestowed upon them in Christ Jesus’ in spite of all that has been going on in Corinth. And what was going on then and there is not too much unlike what goes on and has gone on today in the Church, in denominations, in lives all over the world. As Paul did, so should we do in those times in our lives, with the good, the not so good and the things that bring us to our knees in sorrow, grief and pain.

He will keep you firm to the end

This is not idle talk. This is not something to fill in his papyrus. This is the truth being made clear for the people to hear and see. This is the truth for us now to hear and see and believe. Know this:

God is faithful.



Offer It Up! Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist

2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18

We instruct you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who walks in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us. For you know how one must imitate us. For we did not act in a disorderly way among you, nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you. Not that we do not have the right. Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us. In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
This greeting is in my own hand, Paul's. This is the sign in every letter; this is how I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

It’s nice to have role models. It’s even a good idea to have them. Mentors are not such a bad call either. Could be that the disciples were serving those sorts of roles long before the Anthony Robbins’ and Dr. Phils were ever even thinking about such things.

Of course the models and mentors we follow are those who present themselves as appropriate and just, righteous in God’s name, in as much a state of grace as possible. If it were not so, the modeling would be more akin to things of this world and not of a world of salvation. And salvation would be the goal of the mentor and the mentoree. Hence, the imitation and the practice of doing what is right.

If you practice it and learned it right the first time, there is less time needed to undo what you ‘mis-learned’ and relearn what you should have learned initially. Fortunately, through the sacrament of reconciliation, that ‘mis-learning’ can be cleansed and we can begin anew. We are welcome in the peace of Jesus Christ as He graces us with forgiveness. And we thank Him by continuing on our way of imitating Him and living as He has taught us. Through the role model that He is, there is none better.



Offer It Up! Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Feast of St. Augustine

On this feast of Saint Augustine we find in the Office of Reading from the Liturgy of the Hours and excerpt from the Confessions of Augustine. Reflecting on his experiences we too are inspired to seek the Lord in prayer.

From the Confessions of Saint Augustine, Bishop

O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so because you were my helper. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: your immutable light. It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity.

No, it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things; and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as heaven is above the earth. This light was above me because it had made me; I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light.

O Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high: “I am the food of grown men; grow then, and you will feed on me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me.”

I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you.
But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever. He was calling me and saying: I am the way of truth, I am the life. He was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh. For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things, might provide milk for us children.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Would that Augustine's experience of God would be ours. To spend time in the presence of the light of the World, to be enlightened by Christ and led to holiness of life, to long for fullness of life? Can I trust enough to abandon all in order to enter into that relationship of total obedience to God in faith?

Saint Augustine, Pray for me, pray for all who long to know Jesus as truly the Lord of their lives. Amen.

Deacon



Offer It Up! Monday, August 27, 2012
Feast of St. Monica

Today is the feast of Saint Monica. From the Confessions of Saint Augustine we know that his mother Monica prayed many years for his conversion and that of her pagan husband. A woman of faith, she never relented for the many, many years in praying her loved ones into the Kingdom. Monica is also regarded as patron saint for those who have strayed from the faith. We are privileged to have those precursors in faith who remain united with us in prayer, and who are models for our own journey.

There are so many voices in our time beckoning us. There are evil spirits in our world working desperately to dissuade us from seeking the kingdom. I find myself too often in discussions where we at least seem to excuse behavior that is objectively sinful with comments about the current cultural climate. For myself, I find I must become introspective and admit that sin has besmirched my life and infected my relationships. So much so that I feel some remorse at my failures to lead my own children to a visible faith life.

We have reached a point where so many feel that they can be spiritual without the Church. They believe somehow they can be away from the body of Christ and still be in relationship. The awesome reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is evident in the Church that He established, that Church that despite the difficult periods of history remains intact over two thousand years later.

As we prepare to begin the year of faith in October of this year 2012, what can I do to impact the effort of Evangelization? That is a question for every baptized believer in the Lord Jesus. What will you do to accomplish our baptismal commission to evangelize?

First, perhaps we need to look within and renew our own relationship with the Lord Jesus. Daily prayer: How am I approaching this part of my life with God? Do I pray every day? Have I made a (date) with my Lord each and every day?

What is my attitude toward the Eucharist? Do I look forward to being with my brothers and sisters each and every Lord's Day to pay homage to the God who has made life possible?

When I stumble and fall, miss the mark, SIN, do I avail myself of the sacrament of reconciliation, humble myself before God and seek His forgiveness and mercy?

What about this year of faith? What can I do? Family time for faith discussion at least 1X a week, or with other adult Catholics seems a good place to perhaps start. Then also how about approaching the Church and helping to establish adult faith formation groups, to study the Catechism, the Scriptures and support one another in living faithfully.

Recently we had a welcome evening for newcomers. A meal is provided for those who recently have come to our parish, they are invited to share and meet parishioners and clergy. Sadly the response is not very encouraging. One Deacon, a few parishioners and few newcomers. It seems the parish council should have been represented. The current strain on our priests time causes another absence. How are we doing? It seems we could do better. Newcomers sometimes complain they are not welcomed. When an event is planned to welcome them specifically ...they are absent do not respond to invitations.

Anyone who is following us on this site, we need your feedback, your input, your help in finding ways to carry out the mission of evangelization. Christ Renews His Parish has been a great start toward building community and needs to continue after the weekend retreat. The Knights of Columbus as a fraternal organization does very much to promote the faith and is a great place for men of faith to get involved. Women avail yourselves of the opportunities for faith support in the parish.

Encourage our youth to be involved in parish activities for the youth. Build the body of Christ. Respond to the universal call to holiness.

Deacon



Offer It Up! Sunday, August 26, 2012

Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning their elders, their leaders, their judges, and their officers. When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people:
"If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

But the people answered, "Far be it from us to forsake the LORD for the service of other gods. For it was the LORD, our God, who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, out of a state of slavery. He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey and among the peoples through whom we passed. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God."

For sure, we’ve all heard the familiar passage proclaimed by Joshua:

As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

And as for me, that is about all I ever bothered to gather from that proclamation. Succinct as it is, the words themselves serve notice that whoever lives under the roof with you will serve God as you serve God. And the examples you set for them best be of better behavior lest they see you not serving God as you should.

Had I bothered to do more and go deeper into the readings, those tribes following Joshua also made their proclamation to do the same. They too realized the enormity of the situation and the glory of God; what He had brought them through and was bringing them to… those great miracles before our very eyes. Not just bringing them from slavery but protecting them all the while on their journey.

It is not that great of leap or stretch for any of us to do likewise. In our families, in our parishes, in our churches and in our cities and towns. We can come to Him with praise and thanksgiving, proclaiming His greatness for what He has brought to us and brought us through. Yes, even the miracles He has performed for us before our every and very eyes. Let us all then acknowledge fully and wholly, with holiness and grace:

Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.



Offer It Up! Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ezekiel 36:23-28

But I will show the holiness of my great name, desecrated among the nations, in whose midst you desecrated it. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD—oracle of the Lord GOD—when through you I show my holiness before their very eyes. I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you back to your own soil.

I will sprinkle clean water over you to make you clean; from all your impurities and from all your idols I will cleanse you.I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them.You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

What can we do but to bow to His greatness and His holiness in prayer and in perseverance? Even as the world seemingly falls apart at the seams—desecration and destruction are rampant nationally and worldwide—we know that He is our God of all that remains good and holy.

We’ve all been in situations where we wish the world would stop so we could get off of the madness it was spinning in our heads. Where we could do little but find time to ‘gathered in’, ‘brought back’ to our own homes and soils. Those times when we needed to be washed clean from all that we had done that made us unclean, impure and sinful of heart. Oh, blame it on the world you say. Or blame it on someone else. The ‘blame-storming’ could go on and on. The accountability still rests with the individual.

Once that heart begins to refresh and accept its accountability, the cleansing can begin, the heart can become refresh in the Spirit of Holiness and Godliness. God puts within us all the grace to make that happen. A grace rich in mercy and love. We follow in His ways and submit to His will for us… in the land He gave to our ancestors.

You will be my people, and I will be your God.



Offer It Up! Friday, August 24, 2012
Happy Birth Day Luke Augustine!
Happy Birthday Stephanie!

Psalm 145:17-18

The LORD is just in all his ways and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

It is so much easier to get angry with someone who is not in the room. Whether it is an individual matter or a collective one, the tendency is to point the finger at the person not able to speak up or defend himself. I think that is why it is so easy to get angry with God when things go wrong. He isn’t standing right in front of you and His way of revealing His plan is usually more subtle than the typical bolt of lightning. And, when we claim to trust in Him we expect that He will make things right.

Perhaps things aren’t really going wrong. It may look and feel that way because in our view of a perfect world, we wouldn’t want to be in the predicament we are in at the moment. Just because we are experiencing something that does not feel good to us, does not mean there is something wrong with our current circumstances. If we truly believe God is working in our lives and we trust Him, then everything that happens is just and holy because they are His works–God’s design.

Remember, God is near to those who call upon Him. He may not physically be standing in the room–or is He? Just because we can’t see Him and touch Him does not mean He is not there. He is the “invisible” man of sorts. I wonder how we would respond to things and who we would blame for something gone wrong if we knew that people could become invisible and actually be in the room without our knowledge. We would probably be a lot more careful about how we place blame or talk about others.

It is easier to be angry with the invisible man than it is to trust Him. To trust means to call on Him and speak to Him before getting angry. How many times have we gotten angry with someone not in the room, only to find out later that the person was innocent or had good reason for behaving a certain way?

lgboyd

John 1:45-47

Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth."
But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?"
Philip said to him, "Come and see."
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
"Here is a true child of Israel.There is no duplicity in him."


Birthday deal... for Stephanie

Eighteen years.

6,575 days, including the five for leap years.

157,800 hours.

9,468,000 seconds.

That’s how much time has gone by since August 24, 1994. But, really… who spends much time counting the days like that anymore? There are some that do for those of us that don’t, thankfully. And there are those reasons to count said calendar days and years to mark those significant dates—births, baptisms and the new lives in Christ in marriage and in renewed spirit. Amen to that.

As each day changes from dark to light and from light back to dark—one could say the transforms itself. And in much the same way, how often do we similarly change and transform ourselves each day? Okay, maybe not so much from dark to light or even the other way around but maybe from those gray areas of our lives to the parts that are filled more with the Light of Christ. And we do that not so much on our own but with the prayers and guidance of those God has put sometimes delicately or even rather indelicately in our paths.

For those people in our paths, we must be truly thankful for what they bring to us and bring us through. Be they friend or family, stranger or best of friends, distant relative or relatively close. Stephanie is all of the above. Friend and family.

Stranger to some but not for long.

Best of friend to many--and the list continues to grow.

Distant relative but only as the crow flies as heart is always near us all.

Close in more ways than one, from her love of God, her love of family, her love of life. She is devoted to being the servant she has been called to be no matter where her home is shared.

Those eighteen years ago, she transformed her life. Not just for one time or even for the first time. She shared her birthday with her grandfather, as he began the celebration of his eternal life, leaving this world to spend the rest of his life in God’s heavenly kingdom. She knew the pain would eventually go away and the tears would soon dry but she would always miss what he had meant to her here on earth. And he knew too, the sorrow would pass and that she would grow, she would transform into who she is now today.

A woman who lives in and with the Spirit of new life.

A child of God, born from above to go home to above.

A woman with God in heart, in her mind, in her life… a Godly woman of spirit and faith.

She lives as she loves and she loves as she lives, all in her faith and in her God. In Romans 12:2, we are reminded ‘not be conformed any longer to the patterns of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of your minds’. Not that her transformation is complete nor will it ever be till such time she too is celebrating her eternal reward but Stephanie knows what God expects and she expects that from herself. And in turn, she brings about the transformation and change in us all.

The world needs more Stephanies. Lots more. They, the world folks, need more to see and hear the goodness of who she is than what they get in the darkness they see now. And when they see her, they see more than her-they see her faith, her family, her spirit. She brings the light from within... that Light of Christ.

My life is a better life because of her. Not just for a day has it been changed. Not just for once or for a little while. For what God has changed within her, He has used and has been changed within me. Thank you for that Stephanie.

Happy Birthday this day and for all the ones to come. May God’s love and light continue to be a beacon of growth for you and all you hold and love.



Offer It Up! Thursday, August 23, 2012

Romans 8:18-21

The sufferings of the present are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us. Indeed, the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. Creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but by him who once subjected it; yet not without hope, because the world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Futility.

Emptiness.

Barrenness.

Worthlessness.

Just when we think we’ve had enough, we haven’t.

Just when we think we can’t take any more, we can.

Just when we think it can’t get any darker, it’s so dark it’s as if we are blind.

And through it all, we find our strength to not only manage or cope but to somehow thrive. We don’t know how. We don’t why even it happens. We do know from Whom it comes. God sends us what we need at just the time we need it. And through our faith, prayer and perseverance, we see when that time is. We see it even through the sufferings.

Indeed the sufferings we encounter will be nothing—not even a memory—once we achieve our eternal glory with the communion of saints and all the ‘sons of God.’ That is what we all were created for. Yes, as Paul noted, we will have our bouts with futility but with it also we will have hope. That hope for our freedom from the pains of the emptiness and futility of what we suffer now.



Offer It Up! Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Isaiah 61:10

I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a bride bedecked with her jewels.

What can become of us if we put our trust in what God has planned for us? What can we not rejoice in as He places all before us? Even in the worst of trials, we know that He is there for us and with us. Nothing will replace, remove or change His compassion or His love and care for us.

Hard to imagine when the clouds of cancer are hovering over the family. Hard to see through the fog and pain and grief of a tragic family loss. Yet in them and through them and always throughout them, God is always present to hold us and be with us and those around us. Not just wrapped in His mantle of justice but in His great care and protection.

Stand firm and steadfast in prayer and with the strength He will give you to see it through. Rejoice that He is your God of all that is good, the God for all that will be right, the God for all salvation.



Offer It Up! Tuesday, August 21, 2012

As we reflect on the Gospel of Matthew this week, we are urged to reflect on what is important in our lives. On Monday, we heard the rich young man asking Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life, and indicated to Jesus that he has obeyed the commandments. In fact, his response indicates he really lives a good life following the commandments. Better than I can imagine in my sinfulness. And then Jesus responds and says if you really are intent on eternal life with God, then go divest yourself of all your possessions and come follow me.

Make me the center of your life, get rid of all that you place in the forefront of your desires, get rid of the idols that distract you from the relationship with the Father. The apostles and disciples are a bit shocked. Easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one with many possessions to enter into eternal life.

What does that say of our preoccupation with things, with our amassing goods of the world sometimes to the point where we need to rent storage space for all the stuff we feel we need. What really do we need? What will we ultimately take with us when we enter into life after time? We pray with the psalmist that we long for God. Do we? Really? Or are we still attached to the wonders of creation, the things that God intended to point us to Him and his wondrous love for each of us?

Like the rich young man in the gospel, perhaps many of us walk away sad. Wanting, desiring to be with the Lord but still unable to part with so many thinks that we feel make us happy. So we pray, that the God who gives us life and breath, who loves us first and without measure, will grant us grace and courage to live striving to be perfect as He is perfect.

May we each pray for one another and love one another into eternal life.

Deacon



Offer It Up! Monday, August 20, 2012

Matthew 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"
He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."

He asked him, "Which ones?"
And Jesus replied, "
You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

The man really thought he was doing all he could as he observed the commandments Jesus told him to follow. What gave the man heartburn was that he was going to have to give up those things of the world he treasured. Whatever those things were—evidently there were many—were keeping him from ultimately giving his life completely over to Jesus Christ.

Matthew’s gospel tells us the man went away sad ‘for he had many possessions.’ Given the same situation, there would be a few of us, present author included, who would also find it a bit uncomfortable, a bit disheartening, if not even a bit depressing if we were to make that final decision to divest ourselves of the material things that kept us from our total and full relationship with Christ.

On the other side of that ‘letting go’, there is Jesus Christ waiting to welcome us as we put the world behind us and strive toward our salvation. A salvation that is won a day at a time, a decision at a time, a moment at a time. Maybe the man went on to ponder his own future. Sure he was sad. He had some choices to make. Maybe there was family involved, too, and if there was, look at how much more difficult his decision would be. For in giving up his possessions is one thing; saying goodbye to family is another.

May we all sincerely consider our choices every day we are given as gift. Let us trust in what Jesus Christ has given us and live each day as an example of Christ’s life, putting our hearts and our lives into His care and Love.



Offer It Up! Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Miracle Prayer

Lord Jesus,

I come before you, just as I am.

I am sorry for my sins,

I repent of my sins, please forgive me.

In your name,

I forgive all others for what they have done against me.

I renounce Satan,

the evil spirits and all their works.

I give you my entire self.

Lord Jesus, now and Forever,

I invite you into my life Jesus.

I accept you as my Lord and Savior.

Heal me, change me,

strengthen me in body, soul and spirit.

Come Lord Jesus,

cover me with your precious blood, and fill

me with your Holy Spirit,

I love you Jesus. I praise you Jesus.

I thank you Jesus.

I shall follow you every day of my life.

Amen.



Offer It Up! Saturday, August 18, 2012

Matthew 19:13-15

Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
"Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

As the priest leaves the celebration of the liturgy, one can often see him exchanging high-fives, fist bumps and handshakes with the children as he recesses down the aisle. The excitement and joy that is shared for them both goes beyond the moment of impact as the child’s face brightens with the contact and the priest’s understanding that he has reached inside their life and made contact with their heart... and they with his.

We weren’t with Him as the disciples tried to steer the children from His path but we might imagine that Jesus would get the same charge as do the priests as the children came to Him. The exuberance. The eagerness. The joy and gladness as they reached up and He reached in. Yes for the children.

The children of all ages.

Children like you and me.

His kingdom belongs to us all.

For if we are as children—open and willing to hear and learn all that we can—we will be farther from what we have come to know and ready to be transformed more in His image. Free from the things that have kept us from Him and yearning to fall into His Love.



Offer It Up! Friday, August 17, 2012
Happy Anniversary Cyndi and Michael!

Matthew 19:3-12

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?"
He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate." They said to him, "Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?"
He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery."
His disciples said to him, "If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry."
He answered, "Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."

Each day we are offered in God's word food for the journey. The Church wisely has prepared daily meals from the Scriptures for us to nourish our spiritual lives. We are an active people. Our lives are often racing at break neck speed through the time allotted to us, and as a result our meals especially our spiritual meals are taken on the run.

Today's gospel addresses points us toward a reflection on the sacrament of marriage. In a world where so many marriages have disintegrated and many continue to fail we must reflect on what Jesus said to the Scribes and his disciples. Marriage is a bond for life. Do we really get that? Or are the behaviorists of our time who claim it is too difficult to establish a life bond that is exclusive?

Marriage as sacrament, as vocation I believe, is a call to reflect God's love to a troubled world. In the sacrament of matrimony a man and a woman forsake all others and become ONE. Oneness in love should remind us of love, the love of the Trinity, the oneness of the godhead.

We live in a world, in a culture that promotes self-awareness, rugged individualism, becoming all I can be with emphasis on the I. Marriage, however, calls us to look to the Other, to discover love in becoming one with another, sharing life to the very core of being.

This is not an easy task in a world where we are bombarded daily with images and promptings encouraging each individual to grab all they can for the self.

Time spent in the presence of Jesus and Mary, in dialog with them, taking time out of each busy day, is so very important if we are to find the strength to live out our commitment to love unto death. Grace, God's gracious help is so necessary in our life and we open ourselves to grace as we pray.

The majority of us who live the vocation of marriage are being called to live faithfully and in cooperation with the creator to create lives that can be an agent of change. It is in the family we find the roots of faith. Families that are God centered. Families that worship together and form communities with other families that reveal the humanity of Jesus Christ.

The words we let spill from our lips about being temples of the Holy Spirit seem empty when broken marriages litter the pathway of faith. Yet, it is in the very brokenness of life in our human condition that we can find Christ among us, bringing healing and forgiveness as He did 2000 year ago.

Mary's Assumption which we celebrated this week is a reminder of life. Her Assumption points to eternal life. Jesus risen from the dead is alive and with us in every way. Mary the model disciple, the woman of faith was assumed into heaven and this truth points us toward our own destiny as children of God, heirs with Jesus Christ to the Kingdom.

If you have visited this site today, be aware that God has led you to this moment and perhaps you could stop, reflect on today's gospel Matthew 19:3-12. May any moments you spend in adoration be filled with God's inspiration and lead you to new depths of holiness.

Deacon



Offer It Up! Thursday, August 16, 2012

Matthew 18:35

So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.

Oh I can forgive alright… if they can forgive first.

Not me. Once bitten, twice shy, that’s what I always say… no forgiveness

here, nope.

I’ve forgiven them so many times… what’s the use? They’ll just keep doing

what they’re doing…

I’ll forgive them for that but I won’t forgive them for the other deal…

There you have them—a handful of conditional forgiveness conditions you may heard uttered or may have sputtered from your own lips. If they were not these words, there are countless others that make up so many pointless arguments about who should forgive and who should not about what should be forgiven and what should not. Imagine the time and energy lost and wasted on deciding on what one should do about forgiveness.

No, this is not to take or make anything light about forgiveness. It must be sincere. It must be true. It must be from the heart. There must be ownership. There must be contrition and the promise to look forward to the future and ways to make opportunities for lives to be better for all involved.

Our God knows our hearts and knows our goodness in them. With His grace and mercy we can find our way to shower that grace and mercy in the form of forgiveness and love not just with one another but also with ourselves. In some circles, the phrase is ‘be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.’ Putting ourselves in the path of the solution as often as possible will keep us more often on the path of forgiveness and on our way to holiness.



Offer It Up! Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The Solemnity of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary

Luke 1: 46-55

The Canticle of Mary.

And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Indeed all our souls should proclaim His greatness and our spirits resoundingly rejoice in Him as our Savior. What Mary pronounced as a ‘handmaid of the Lord’ we should all express in our words and deeds as she had done, maybe as handmaids, or maybe not but certainly as His chosen servants.

He has done wonderful things for us all, with His mercy and grace at the top of the list. For without that, what good would everything else be that we have? He has filled us with His great Love, those of us who hunger for the food of eternal life that He offers. Those of us who choose to follow His will. Those of us who continue to fulfill the promises He has given us.

Mary was the Mother of God. We are God’s children. Someone so close then to God, we should use all avenues afforded us then to keep ourselves close to Him so that we may enjoy our eternity with Him and with Mary, forever.



Offer It Up! Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Today we remember Saint Maximilian Kolbe, 20th century priest and martyr. During the Second World War after being arrested by the Nazis and imprisoned at Auschwitz, Maximilian gave his life that another may live. His life was marked by a deep devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; his love for Christ obtained for him the courage to die a martyr's death. He volunteered himself in place of a young man with a family, and suffered and died in love for his fellow man.

We remember him on this day, and seek his intercession that we too may follow his example of holiness of life. We too are being called to courageous living. Our martyrdom is to die to selfishness and sin, and witness to the love of Christ in the way we related to one another.

We can seek St Maximilian's intercession and learn from him how to love, to celebrate the feast of Mary this week allowing our Mother to show us the way to her Son in faith.

How do we do this? We have such busy schedules. When to find time to pray? Some pray-ers tell us that they pray on the run. When driving their vehicles, or when doing some task that is not too demanding of their attention. This seems to me a way of being aware of God's presence and practicing the presence of God unceasingly. But, can we adjust our busy schedules and make time for being in prayer fully attentive to the God who loves us so much he is willing to sacrifice everything for us? The God who Jesus in parable describes as leaving the 99 sheep to seek the 1 lost sheep, it seems warrants our undivided attention.

What would it take to spend some time each day solely in God's presence lost in His love?

In the freedom God has given us we find time for most anything we desire. What is our desire when it comes to the creator who gave us life itself and make us for eternity with Him.

The restlessness in many lives reveals the truth of Saint Augustine's phrase. "Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you, O God!"

Jesus himself exhorts us to become like little children. To look to God with wonder and awe and a happy enthusiastic freedom. To trust that his love for you, for me is beyond our wildest imaginings. His desire for us to be one with Him for all eternity....try to get your thoughts around that!

Deacon



Offer It Up! Monday, August 13, 2012

Matthew 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them,
"The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day." And they were overwhelmed with grief.
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, "Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?"
"Yes," he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, "What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?"
When he said, "From foreigners," Jesus said to him, "Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you."

Today’s Gospel seems in some ways a difficult question…does the master pay the temple tax? Jesus’ answer should give us pause about similar questions in our own lives. If we have rights, what does it mean? Jesus doesn’t have to pay a tax, but he sends Peter to get the equivalent of the tax and pay it, He does this to avoid giving scandal or to appear abusing privileges.

How easily we forget that all we have is pure gift. Begin with life itself. God out of love has given you and me life. With each breath I realize that the God of creation continues to create in and through his creation. Is it enough to realize I am a creature that my life is gift, that God’s love continues moment by moment to give me the ability to join Him in the work of creation, the work of Kingdom building?

In Christ Jesus the Father reveals the wonder of His love for us a love so fantastic we have trouble imagining the depth of it. Love stronger than death. This love beckons us to love also, to love God completely and to demonstrate that love in our love for one another. That often poses problems for us in our tendency to make judgments about how we should live out our faith and even make demands on one another that God Himself does NOT make.

Can I look at my brother, my sister and see the face of Christ? Not unless I am open to God’s grace and allow the Spirit to guide me in all my actions.

The psalm response Sunday was “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord”. A fitting theme for the week to enable us to meditate on the Bread of Life theme of John 6.

This week spend time reflecting on and even writing your thoughts on the Bread of Life. What do you believe about Jesus in the Eucharist? There are estimates that many do not believe in the Real Presence. How would you explain the Eucharist to those close to you? Why not try to discuss this with someone today, this week. Make time for some God-talk and sharing on faith.

We have a tendency to enter into long discussion about all sorts of things, the Olympics, Politics, even behavior at Mass, how people dress, but how often do you get into discussions about what God is doing in our lives, what issues of faith trouble us or fulfill us. May be we should even consider the need we have to learn to pray at various times or our day, to stop what we are doing and focus on really thanking and adoring the God who enables to be and to do.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Sunday, August 12, 2012

A weekend with the Lord.

Albeit there are a number of fellow Christians on the weekend but it is still a time to be with the Lord. All are focused on Him. Christ prayed in John's Gospel that all would be ONE. This is a beginning for any of us to break open the mystery of understanding God's longing for us, for me. Oneness can we understand what Jesus is praying for in Chapter 17 of John's Gospel? Must we die to achieve the oneness he is praying for?

Ahh, but He lives! Each Sunday we celebrate the Easter of life the reminder that he lives and continues to plead for us at the right hand of the Father. As the words are uttered can I really grasp the wonder of it all? I stand in awe before you, Lord. Faith informs me but my weak human will is often distracted by the attractions of life in time.

Love beckons and I am lost amidst the false idols of the world, the attractions of created things that you have provided to remind me of your steadfast love, and I in my weakness and lack of wisdom turn them into all absorbing pleasures.

Your mercy Lord is beyond my understanding, and I pray for the grace to understand and not presume upon your merciful love, but to grow in holiness and thanksgiving, seeking always to make love the truth of my life and justice the aim of all actions.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, hear our prayer. On this weekend in our community may the women who are turning to you in prayer be moved to find the truth in their lives and respond to the graces you pour forth upon them. May the coming weeks and months be a source of spiritual renewal leading the entire community to living your will. Amen.



Offer It Up! Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

I am going to reveal to you the secret of sanctity and happiness. Every day for five minutes control your imagination and close your ears to all the noises of the world, in order to speak to the Divine Spirit, saying to him:

“Oh, Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you! Enlighten me. Guide me. Strengthen me. Console me. Tell me what I should do. Give me your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that you desire of me and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will. Amen.”

If you do this your life will flow along happily and serenely and full of consolidation, even in the midst of trials. Grace will be proportioned to the trial, and you will arrive at the gate of merit. This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity.

Cardinal Desire Joseph Mercier



Offer It Up! Friday, August 10, 2012

Today is the Feast of St Lawrence, Deacon who was martyred in the 3rd century. The gospel selection for today is food for meditation for all of us who are longing for the joys of life forever. Jesus word: “Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their lives lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.”

In a society where individualism, success, profit, winning are the strong motives for how we live these words are sobering. To follow Christ is to accept the cross. As Jesus said in another place, Take up your cross and follow me. Taking up the cross is not always an easy task or decision. To follow Jesus we are to die to self and learn from Him what it means to love so much that we become one. The mystery of the Trinity must be meditated on in order for us to even begin to be open to the graces God desires to shower upon us that we might live our Christian life courageously.

We are preparing to embark on a year of faith in our Church. It is a call to evangelization on the part of all the baptized. Can you imagine the effects of over 1 billion Catholic Christians united in prayer, united in spirit, united in proclaiming the truth of the Gospel?

Perhaps that it is too great a leap for the moment. So how about 100 Sacred Heart parishioners, men and women on fire to spread the “Good News”; reaching out to Catholics who have somehow drifted off on the sea of secularism or just found it easy to ignore

Christ because of all the other interests beckoning to them.

The challenge is present. It is often present in our very families, present in those we recreate with.

A suggestion: Begin now, this moment, stop and say a prayer letting God inspire you about who or what to pray for. Make a commitment now to pray every day. There are many ways to pray find your own way of being in God’s presence or uniting with Mary in the Rosary and meditating on the life of Jesus. If it is more meaningful for you to pray with the Scriptures, let the Word of God be a source deepening your prayer life. In any case, spend some time DAILY with God… e.g. sit with Jesus and discuss your deepest desires and wants. His love for you is as sure as his dying and rising. He demonstrated His love for you, what is your response? Ten minutes a day? An hour and ten minutes a week? How much of your time account are you willing to give to the Lord?

What return shall I make to the Lord for all that He has done for me? Take up the cup of salvation, walk humbly, do and promote justice, promote the culture of life, love as complete as I can with God’s grace.

Be active in your parish community. Seek ways to be a servant, remembering Jesus himself washed the apostle’s feet and indicated we should wash one another’s feet. Begin with

Prayer…..listen and follow Christ’s lead.

Deacon



Offer It Up! Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wisdom 3:5-9

Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their judgment they shall shine and dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the LORD shall be their King forever. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect.

May we all be chastised more than a little so that we may come to know more of the goodness that God has planned for us all. If for nothing else than to be found worthy of Him, just as He promises us.

Written in scripture, carried out in the living of our lives, and as we are all called to be the children of God, we place our own sacrifices of trials and tribulations and sufferings in His hands. As metal is proven in its firing, so too are we proven and cured in our own ‘furnaces’. We place our trust and hope in the One who brought us to it. He will be the One who will bring us through it.

We are His holy ones, in the communion of saints here on earth and the those in His heavens. Let us all then care for others with love and kindness as He has and does for us...

...grace and mercy are with His holy ones, His care is with the elect.



Offer It Up! Wednesday, August 8, 2012

During the last few weeks we have witnessed mass murders that have rocked the country, if not beyond. As they pass from the front pages and headlines and top stories, it seems we have become so acclimated to violence, it appears we are accepting these occurrences with little effort to find new ways to prevent such terrible abuses of freedom and disrespect for life.

More laws? Is that the answer? Would stiffer gun control actions do it—would that help? We just seem to be lost in a morass and confusion over what is right and what is true freedom. Rather than freedom, license seems to be the order of the day…

The arguments for and against gun control are persuasive either way. Yet, in all the exchanges of ideas, we seem to avoid looking at character formation, family values, concern for all persons, respect for life in all forms. Perhaps if we really begin to look at what is acceptable we can discover the need to change our wayward ways.

As people of God we can be a force for good, witnesses to God's love in the way we live and with God's grace we can make a difference and become peacemakers, children of God as we have been called to be.

God give us the wisdom we need to meet the challenges before us and the courage to act in all circumstances that require our concern and willingness to make changes. Amen.

Deacon



Offer It Up! Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Happy Birthday Deacon Roland!

Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. "It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.

At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
He said, "Come."
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, "Truly, you are the Son of God."
After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

So Jesus made the disciples get in the boat and head out to cross the lake while He took care of the crowds on this side. He then found His time to be alone and to pray. As for the disciples, did they really have a choice in the matter? Did they really have plans on doing something else to begin with? Probably not. As His followers, they were with Him to do what He wanted them to do.

Crossing the sea, maybe they weren’t ready for the waves they encountered. Maybe most were asleep. Maybe they could have been better prepared. Maybe this. Maybe that. What they didn’t ‘maybe’ for was to see Jesus walking toward them.

"It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.

Right away, Jesus understood. Right away, He knew their fears. He always did and always does. He asked Peter why did he doubt though the question could have been asked of all those in the boat.

Right away, as Jesus walked from the sea into the boat, the seas became calm. Right away, the disciples paid honor to Him and worshipped Him as the Son of God. In His presence, they knew the peace that came from being with Him. The peace of having His presence within them.

If Jesus were to send us across the seas, would we respond like a true disciple? Of course we would. When we are on our last watch and the darkness is all around us, where is our peace? And when the winds and waves would come and overtake us, where would our peace, our calm, come from in our storms? Who do we have stepping in our boat? Whose garment do we reach to touch for healing? Whose peace would we seek to have within us?

"Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
He said, "Come."


Birthday Notes

Deacon has been around these pages since their inception. Without him, there would be no afraidnot. Not that the world would be a whole lot different, but this one thing is true: I would not be the person I am today without him.

He has pushed, pulled, yanked and cranked not just my brain but more importantly my faith and my spirituality. And not once was he ever afraid to do so. As a friend, as a confidant, as a spiritual guide, he contiues to serve each role faithfully and carefully. Well, sometimes he puts the careful part aside and goes full steam ahead.

He has led so many to a deeper grasp of their faith, so many others to be closer their walks and so many more to an understanding of where and who Christ wants them to be. From RCIA, to celebrating with the Eucharist, to celebrating life... that is our Deacon Roland.

Thank you Deacon. Thank you for sharing the gifts God has given you to share with us and keep us on our paths to holiness.

Happy Birthday to our friend.

May God continue to bless you with all that you can handle to share with us.



Offer It Up! Monday, August 6, 2012
Happy Birthday Linda Geno Boyd!
Mark 9:2-10
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Last year at this time, we were experiencing similar environmental conditions, only considerably worse and drier. Hard to imagine that now as we are in the throes of an extended drought and heat wave yet on it goes. Can it get better before it gets worse? Prayer will change us as it changed the disciples.
As Jesus was transfigured in front of His disciples, so to can our environment-not just the world we live in but our lives and how we live-be transfigured... transformed. Not that any of us are looking forward to an eternal destiny of fire and brimstone, but the hotter it gets, the more we may be able to relate to our humanity as we live here as opposed to what we may live in eternally should we live outside the grace of God.
Peter, James and John saw what was ahead of them with the Transfiguration of Christ as He sat at the Right hand of God. Given that option, versus what we are experiencing with temperatures and drought conditions--and that's just the worldy stuff--how can we better position ourselves in faith and in prayer to see Jesus as Peter, James and John saw Him?

Birthday notes..
Faith, family and friends really are the fabric of our lives. Maybe different weaves, maybe different colors, and the patterns are for sure not always the same. And then there are those materials that are hardly made from the same cloth when it comes to those friends that are made and they take different and even distant paths.
So it is with one who celebrates (ed) her birthday this day. However the material or weave or pattern, the fabric still comes together in a beautiful blanket or quilt that brings together the love and life and laughter she has shared not just with her family but with those she has come to know throughout her life. A life filled with faith, with hope, with a belief that is founded firmly in and on the Good News of salvation.
Putting others first, without a thought for herself, she has come to grow in hope, stronger in her faith and alive in the Eucharist. Not only that, she has done it all as Jesus has done, by humble example.
And just because friends are separated by hundreds and thousands of miles, today's methods of communcation can help not only keep them close but also help keep us grounded in our faith. She has done that well... just as Paul notes, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'
Happy Birtday, Linda G. Boyd.
May God continue to bless you and all those you hold dear and those who hold you near.
Your friend-
db


Offer It Up! Sunday, August 5, 2012

And God said...

Come to the silence,

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

Come to the silence,

And let my love start, To heal all life's hurts, And comfort your heart

Come to the silence,

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

Come to the silence,

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

Come to the silence

Here, take my hand, Have you forgotten, that I understand?

Author Unknown



Offer It Up! Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hebrews 12:4-7

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.”

Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?

Shedding blood? Resist in our struggles? What—we don’t do that every day? Not to be trite or make less of what we are suffering but, really, who doesn’t?

The truth is, the lower case truth, is that we all in fact are tried and we all do suffer. Not in the same ways. Not with the same pains. Not with the same ‘griefs’ and sorrows, and dare we say, worries and anxieties. And we have these things in our lives because we are not yet complete in our discipline.

Discipline in the ways we are being made in the ways of Jesus Christ. Our hearts get heavy as we feel the weight of our sins and our worries compound what we feel we have to control… what we feel we brought ourselves to so we have to get ourselves out of. Never mind that time after time, in prayer and in scripture we have been reminded that we are not alone in these trials—sharing the burdens, from the peace He brings to us, to reminding us to be not afraid—we still are determined to do it our way instead of the Way of the Cross.

We are again reminded, we are His sons, His daughters, His children. As we are, we are disciplined and blessed to be so. He calls us to follow then to follow His path, not only to endure yet also to come to know Him, to save us, to rest with Him and love Him as He Loves us. That's that capital 'T' truth.



Offer It Up! Friday, August 3, 2012

Matthew 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, "Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter's son' Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas' Are not his sisters all with us' Where did this man get all this?"
And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house." And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.

Sometimes those who are our worst critics are those who are closest to us, those that know us the best and maybe even love us the most. Or so that it might appear. Look at those who Jesus was preaching to. Those to whom He was teaching the words of eternal life and look at how He was treated.

Maybe it was because that He was ‘just a carpenter’ and that this carpenter knew so much more than they did. Maybe it was because of whatever He was saying was making far more sense spiritually and even ‘legally’ that was getting them ticked off. Or maybe it was because it was Him and not them… a bit of jealousy running rampant that kept them from giving Him the respect that His words deserved.

Jesus didn’t want it. Nor did He need it. He wanted it for them. Just as He wants us to hear what He has to say to us. How often are we guilty of turning a deaf ear to scripture or to even prayer? How do we justify our lack of communication with Him when we finally do come around to ‘asking’ Jesus for that ‘favor’ when we are in combat prayer mode? From there till now, let us not let our lack of understanding, our lack of want to or even our lack of faith prevent us from being more of what Jesus wants us and calls us to be. It will then be His response—His miracles—for what we believe in our faith and trust in Him.



Offer It Up! Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jeremiah 18:1-6

This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: Rise up, be off to the potter's house; there I will give you my message. I went down to the potter's house and there he was, working at the wheel. Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.
Then the word of the LORD came to me: Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done' says the LORD. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.

With the age of computers and electronic word-processing, we don’t have to worry so much about white-out and erasers and erasure marks on papers or even the crumbling and wadding up of the paper and starting all over. With short cuts and backspaces and delete keys, much of what is typed can be easily dispelled if not ‘re-spelled’ in a matter of seconds. Easy enough to get done a decent enough story or product with few or any errors and get it posted or printed, however sort one pleases.

When my father was doing his writing, there was stenciling, mimeographing, ink, typewriting… lots of redoing and re-stenciling and re-typing and white-out and erasures. The effort took longer and the product was a product of faith… still good stuff he wrote and still a great finished product but not without its reworks and redos. Whenever there were too many mistakes, he would begin again and put out a product that would be worthy of his efforts, one he would put his name on.

The same with the potter and his wheel, the more he works with the clay, the more he can make a product worthy of his name that he will put on it. Yes, he will have those types of ‘pots’ that may not exactly measure up but he will redo them—no, he will rework them—till they become what it is what he wants them to be. When he gets them to that point, he will be able to say, ‘Yes, I made that.’

God says the same for us. ‘Yes, I made you. And still am making you.’ Whether we are clay in His hands or whether He is still writing our story from a computer screen or a typewriter, He is still putting us together as He wants us to be. For that, and for all God is for us and to us, we have to cooperate as He calls us. We can all live happily ever after in His kingdom when we do.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Matthew 13:44-46

Jesus said to his disciples: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."

Do you know people that seem to be always ‘getting ready’ to do something? You call them up to go somewhere or do something and they are ‘getting ready’ to do some yard work or clean house. You ask them to go out to dinner or to a movie and they’re ‘about to start’ working on cleaning out the garage or take on some other ‘worthwhile’ project. So you acknowledge their industrious attitude, wish them well, bid them adieu and leave them with their challenges and instead, enjoy the solitude of the day or evening with your spouse or whoever God had planned for you to spend it with.

Little did they know that the kingdom of God lay in front of them. And maybe it was for you too, that for your openness to ask—to bring someone else along to search and to find what God has planned for you—His kingdom is in front of us all for the asking. There in the fertile fields where we sow the treasures of our faith.

All of our treasures are out there. Be they the pearls we find in the company of family or friends. Be it in the treasure of our faith as it deepens and as we come to know more the fullness and mercy and grace of Jesus Christ and His Love for us. Yup, our treasures are there. Let’s do more than ‘get ready’ to go find them… let’s get ready and go find them and take them all in. All that God has for us so that we can do what He has planned for us. No purchase necessary. He gave it all to us when He gave us His Son.