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

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OFFER IT UP!   SUNDAY, JUNE 30, 2013

Luke 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him.  On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”  Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.
As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”  But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

We all take our commitments seriously—our families, our jobs, our relationships—all are important aspects of our lives that we keep in focus and hold secure. Should something happen that would deter or challenge or disrupt that focus or security, we sometimes have tendencies to turn inward and do what we can to protect those interests as best we can… on our own, of course.

 

We soon find out that whatever it is we have been doing, we’ve been doing on ‘our’ level, a worldly one, instead of a prayerful and faith-filled one. That all our families, all our jobs and all those relationships are gifts from God and should the truth be known, that is where the challenge for many of us begins: we rarely recognize all that we have is from God. That’s that good news. The better news is this: He has so much more to give us.

 

Once we get beyond our worldly priorities and put God above all things on earth, we can make and put our faith and trust in Him beyond anything we can possibly fathom as a ‘priority’—we know HE JUST IS.

 

Not that this is anything new or trendy. My good best friend lives this way. He has often spoken of this ‘path to holiness’ for years, just as Jesus spoke in the gospels. God is omnipresent. By definition that means He is present in all places and at all times. Living a faith like that, a path to holiness with His presence ‘built in’, allows us the freedom to love our families, our friends and all those we come to know just as we have been taught to love. Let us all then be fit for the kingdom of God and follow as Jesus calls us.

 
 


OFFER IT UP!   SATURDAY, JUNE 29, 2013

Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Saturday of the 12th week in Ordinary Time. Sadly this solemnity is lost on most. The Eucharistic celebration in our parish at 5PM will be the anticipatory Mass for Sunday, the 13 Sunday in Ordinary time. Undoubtedly a most important time for worship, all the baptized are required under pain of sin to celebrate Eucharist each Sunday. How many will not be present?

 

But back to the Solemnity of Peter and Paul. How can we simply slip past this day without honoring these two stalwart men of faith, Jesus who had chosen especially, Peter the Rock, renamed Peter from (Simon), and Paul who was originally Saul the Apostle to the Gentiles. How firm a foundation the Church has in Christ the cornerstone, who selected these two to lay the foundation of the Church in time.

 

In a time when we are assailed on many sides by the culture around us, violence on so many sides, immorality the order of the day, sin regarded in many instances as non-existent, family life eroding, forces around us aiming at redefining marriage, abortion, euthanasia, eroding human dignity, will we turn to the Lord and live as His disciples, taking up the cross and witnessing by our live to the Glory of God?

 

We need men and women dedicated to Christ, through programs such as "Christ Renews His Parish", ACTS, Cursillo and other faith-based programs that will bring them and others closer to holiness. Men and women willing to change lives and lifestyles in order let the light of Christ illumine their corner of the world. The kind of change that transforms lives because the witness they provide enables those in their orbit to see the presence of Jesus Christ, to become curious because they see the joy and love of Christians for one another.

 

There can be no denying of the need for repentance in all our lives. So many of us are in need of admitting our sinfulness and presenting ourselves before God in the sacrament of reconciliation and taking action to grow in faith by doing all we can to exercise our spiritual muscles, and strive to know Jesus Christ.

 

At final the evening Friday of our recent Summer Family Week Bible School, we gathered in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration. Coming closer in prayer, into the presence of the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, responding to His unfathomable love by opening minds and hearts to give ourselves to Him in loving response. Perhaps it was a beginning. The Lord has loved you and me, each and every one beyond our understanding. His passion, death and resurrection are the full revelation of a love we too often fail to begin to understand. We seem reluctant to take any opportunity to sit in His presence when the Eucharist is exposed for adoration. Couldn't we seize the opportunity to come and sit in His presence for a brief time or a longer time simply to get to know the Lord.

 

In our relationships we get to know one another by spending time together. The same can apply to the Lord. Sitting in a quiet place just being together in the silence. In the quiet open mind and heart and let the Lord speak to your inmost being, your heart, your mind. Wait on Him, be there for Him. He is there for you. He gave all for you that you may gain life forever! Perhaps the time spent is a effective way to show gratitude. Why not share your thoughts with others by emailing us at david@afraidnot.org.? The more we share, the more we may all live together in holiness.

DEACON


OFFER IT UP!   FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2013

Musings on Being in the Presence of Jesus

in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament!

from Deacon Roland

 

Lord, how can I reflect on this without placing myself in Your presence. It seems to me that adoring You, spending time with You in this way, is tied so closely to what I BELIEVE about the Bread of Life. When I come into Your presence here in this place, when I look upon You and see a monstrance, a wafer of unleavened bread, it is faith that convinces me that You are here in completeness.

 

This is a moment when I come to You to express my love for You, I know in faith that Your love for me is beyond all expression. But now, in faith is the time for me to give myself completely to You. Yet, in the quiet my mind wanders and I begin seeking for Your consolation, for Your expression of love for me. I am filled with thoughts and words, the company of those I know and love, and also those of my acquaintance who truly I need to seek to express in prayer a concern that is to develop in love for them.

 

But adoration, is not only a time of petition and seeking what You can do for me, what I can ask for others, but rather for me to gaze on Your loveliness and express in contemplation my love for You. l long to be able to lose myself so completely in loving You, and I find I am like a child who is only beginning to learn and must learn to truly love with all my being. You remind me and all those who come to You, that we are to love with all our mind, with all our heart, with all our soul. How can I love without Your grace? How can I love without You who are love?

 

Sometimes I concern myself with numbers of adorers. Is not this folly? Should I not simply rejoice in being able to be in Your presence and look upon the beauty of Your love for me, for all, and truly learn to lose myself in that fount of love? In faith I know You are calling us to quiet ourselves as You did and spend time lost to the world in You presence. "Come to me and I will give You comfort!" How can I not be grateful that Your call penetrated the clamor of other desires and demand and allowed me to respond to be here in Your presence simply being at Your feet as Martha's sister Mary who was heralded as choosing the better part.

 

In our desire to serve You and one another Lord, we discuss how to advertise, cajole, lead or encourage others to come and spend time in loving You, (adoring You). We use phrases like lay movements which means I guess that the people in the pews should lead the way. As I ponder this I ask You Lord, in responding to Your call to serve, am I and all who are called to be ordained to service, are we not especially called to be like a grain of wheat planted, that we my die to self and by our dying lead and call others to a deeper relationship with You, with each other in the call to oneness? You prayed at Your final Passover, as John so eloquently records, that all may be one. How can I come to this oneness unless I can be one in Your presence and immersed in love?

 

In You lies all wisdom, which You desire to share with me, with all Your brothers and sisters. In Your presence when we will truly learn to lose the self in union with You we gain the wisdom You determine we need for the present moment. We learn bit by bit to live in the present moment. We learn breath by breath how to love even when we seem to feel, or seem to find someone unlovable. Help me with Your grace to die to self and to live gracefully and gratefully in the knowledge of such unfathomable love.

 


OFFER IT UP!   THURSDAY, JUNE 27, 2013

Matthew 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

 

Matthew’s gospels this week have ranged from today’s (Thursday’s) about those who listen and act on the words of Jesus are those who build their homes—their faith—on solid foundation. Those who listen and do not act on His word are like fools who build their houses on sand. Their faith is weak and lukewarm. 

 

On Wednesday we heard and read about false prophets and sheep’s clothing and ravenous wolves—by their fruits you will know them. Somewhat like the company we keep. If we come to know good folks for who they are, their faith will show then who they really are. We cannot expect then to ‘pick grapes from thorn bushes’ in a relationship that we have found to be less than ideal. As Jesus said, from good trees comes good fruit. And as it is true for others, it is true for us; what do others see by the fruits of our labors, the fruits of our faith?

 

On Tuesday, we were challenged to enter through the narrow gate; the road to destruction is broad and those who enter it are many. The road to salvation is narrow and hard and those who enter it are few. So is our path to holiness. Each day we should live in such a way to have our paths become even narrower than they were the day before. Each day we should live and be witness to others and their paths so that theirs too might not be as broad as it was before.

 

Also in today’s gospel, Jesus ‘calls out’ those who seemed to have been doing good things in His name, of course good things to do. Even better to do according to the will God has planned for us. And as we come to know Jesus Christ, we come to know His Father and His will for us. No, not an easy deal as many of us have prayed and discerned. Yet we still persevere in prayer and in faith. We walk and talk and praise our God and do His will as we know it. Let us continue to learn and remain astonished at what He teaches us on our journey to salvation in Him.

 


OFFER IT UP!   WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013

A PRAYER OF ST. PATRICK

 

As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Amen

 


 

Birthday notes for Pat…

A friend of ours celebrates the anniversary of his birth today, hence the prayer from St. Patrick. For in it, there is much that defines the character and faith that makes him who he is. He would humbly defer any recognition or plaudits to come his way but suffice to say, Pat has been and continues to be an inspiration and a source of love, strength and wisdom for his family and friends.

 

A man of few words, it does not take long for one to understand how important his faith and God and family are to him. In prayer, in worship, in love and respect for what he believes, Pat is devoted to the Truth. He opens his heart to let it be filled by the Word of God so that he may be the shield, the defender and protector not only as a way of life but more importantly as his way of faith.

 

Yes, that is Pat; in this humble and generous—dare we even say gentle—and loving man, son, husband, father and friend, you can see Jesus Christ with him.

Jesus Christ before him, behind him and in him.

Jesus Christ on his right and left. As he sits and stands.

Jesus Christ in every eye that sees him and every ear that hears him.

 

We should all be so clearly seen and heard as he.

 

Happy Birthday to our friend.

I love you brother!



OFFER IT UP!   TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2013

Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces. Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

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

The Golden Rule, one not exclusive to Catholicism or even Christianity as there are many cultures that hold fast to this belief. What better way is there then to evangelize as we are all called to do than to do just that? And to live the Golden Rule in love is the best way of all just as Jesus Christ showed us.

 

It is quite the narrow gate as He has told us it would not necessarily be an easy road to our salvation but one that would be worth our effort. The more we put ourselves at His disposal, the more we find our faith in action, transforming our lives to be more what we have been called to be. Like all we receive, our growing faith is Christ’s gift to us.

 

Through it all, the choice remains ours. The wide road may present itself as the easy way out from time to time—and we may even take a detour on it a time or two off our road to salvation. The detours of sin and darkness and the ways of the world, of self-centeredness, of materialism. A different sort of narrow plays in—narrow-mindedness as we see everything about us.

 

Yet we can make the choice to get back to the narrow way of discipline and hope found only in our faith and trust in Christ Jesus. A way of life of truth, of values and of Gospels that keep us focused on the Way of Christ. That is how we ‘find’ or choose to be known by the company we keep, all on the road to eternal life.



OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, JUNE 34, 2013

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.

Just when you think you’ve had enough of whatever the world has to give you, one should recall this verse from Jeremiah. And if it is not this one, any other verse will do that keeps you from casting stones upon yourself and the darkness that might be your life at the time.

 

Whatever the circumstance, these or your favorite verses will help bring about an eventual ‘light of day’. It is true because God has told us so. Even on the brightest days, the faith we show and live can only bring us closer to the plans that God has willed for us to follow. We can accept that plan with our free will and stay in His light… or choose the alternative. How much more would we rejoice with His hope and love than to fret and worry about the things we have no control?



 

Birthday note:

Romans 12:12

Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.

It was a mere 24 years ago that our daughter Katie was born.

A blessing beyond all measure, we celebrate the life and love she has shared with us as only a daughter is able… as only a beautiful, loving child and woman as Katie shares with us and others.

 

All we have we know comes from our God. Especially the blessings and rewards we have in family and our children. Each has their own spirit and life. Each has their special gifts and talents with which they have been blessed. And each share them and honor and love their family, their mother and father with purpose and respect. Yet they are all uniquely ‘on their own’ as they continue to make their paths and journeys.

 

As parents, we love them all the same, no matter what. Yet a daughter holds that special place in a parent’s heart for the grace and virtue bestowed upon her. Exactly just as it is with Katie and her beauty, her grace and her virtue—all founded with a heart full of love and kindness. Maybe harder on herself than she needs to be, she continues to develop a strong sense of self-esteem that is grounded in her faith and family and friends. For sure she’s faced a few obstacles and had a few ‘head bumps’ along the way as we all have had our share. Yet onward she goes.

 

Katie perseveres and continues to learn to carry her responsibilities, growing in heart and character. Katie continues to grow in compassion and humility, putting others first with their needs and desires. Katie continues to grow in love and faithfulness with her kind and gentle spirit. And as she does, we pray that all our children continue to develop such heart and character, compassion and humility and love and faithfulness.

 

Indeed, we are extremely blessed by them all as they do. 

 

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

We so love you Katie Lee Katherine Lee.

We love you and always will. No matter what.

Mom and Dad

 

OFFER IT UP!    SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2013

 

Matthew 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
“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.”

You cannot serve two masters; you cannot serve God and mammon. You are either with Him or you are not. And once we decide that we are, the future decisions we make are made easier and more clearly than before.

 

Jesus is telling us to free ourselves from the bonds of those things that keep us from Him. And if some of those things are worry and anxiety and doubt—and to a certain degree, we all can put our boats in that pond—then we need to look more closely at what He is calling us to do instead of what we think we need. He calls us to simplify our world, looking at the birds, the flowers and the fields—what is it that causes them any worry or doubt?

 

This is not for us to go about and forgot all our responsibilities and leave behind our duties as we are now held accountable for. No, not at all. We are now called to further hand over to Him what we have no control over—the past and the future. What Jesus does for us right now in the present—with free will—allows us to enjoy the beauty and gift of life right now. How wonderful is that!

 

How joy-filled can we be as we allow our lives to seek first the kingdom of God and His rightousness.

 


OFFER IT UP!   FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

2 Corinthians 11:30

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Living small, getting ourselves out of our own way—and setting aside our egos too—we can more easily get on the way God has for us. As we do, let us keep in mind these questions:

 

How have I lived for Christ?

How am I living for Christ?

How will I live for Christ?

 

As Paul became more through his weaknesses and sacrifices, so can we through ours.

 


OFFER IT UP!   THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This is how you are to pray:
‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’
“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

From a recent visit to another site, the author posed that instead of repeating the Lord’s Prayer time and again, what if we were to practice a bit of lectio divina with it as we prayed to our Father? Pray it out loud. Reflect. Pray it silently. Reflect. Pray it aloud again and find what particular word or phrase has made its way clearer to you.

 

Instead of a ‘rote recital’, take a little more time and ponder more on the praise and the petitions within it. Today it might be that you reflect on Thy kingdom come and how that might impact your choices today. Or it might be our daily bread—the very sustenance of life here on earth and our sustenance of eternal life we share in the Eucharist.

 

Do this not just once or twice. Do it as often as it takes you to more fully ‘pray’ instead of ‘say’ the Lord’s Prayer. Sooner than later more of what you will be saying will be turning to praying, all in His holy, hallowed name.

 


OFFER IT UP!   WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILIANA!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL!

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Brothers and sisters, consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written: He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.
The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

 

Well maybe if I don’t put all the ingredients in the cake, it’ll still be okay and come out just fine… no one will be the wiser.

And if I don’t always put enough oil in the engine, the car will take care of itself and run like it should… that changing the oil thing is over-rated.

And to save some time and tooth paste, I’m only going to brush my top teeth on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the lower ones on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays… Sunday, they get the day off.

And then if I have the doctor treat only part of what is ailing me, I should be able to get by until I either get well or die… no problems there.

Lastly, if I pray only when things are going to hell in a hand-basket or only when I need something, that should be enough for God. After all, He is God, what is it that He needs from me?

 

Saving a few steps, skimping back here and there.

On a have-to basis only.

Not even just in case but only if at all necessary.

 

As absurd and laughable as these 'step-savers' might be, in the above situations, it would not be prudent for anyone to practice such frugality. Maybe other than some time, not much else is being gained, as one could look ahead to the impending embarrassment and heartache, if not a bit of anguish and emptiness in their prayer life.

 

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

 

There is abundance in God’s love. There is much to be gained in accepting that abundance. There is even more to be gathered as we give back that what He has given us to others. With His love, His grace, His mercy, God is for us a ‘cheerful giver.’ He cannot be outdone, out-graced or out-loved. Yet He does want for us to do whatever we can to grow and share in that abundance He has for us.

 

Put everything that needs to go in the cake. Put more in it that will make even more special… provided it adds to it!

Take care of the car… get the oil checked and changed as it is vital to the life of the car. Treat it as a gift God has given you and you taking care of that gift.

Brush all the teeth all the days of the week. Use mouthwash. Floss even. As the dentist says, brush and floss only the teeth you want to keep.

 

Have all the symptoms looked at by the doctor. It’s healthy and God wants us to care for the temples He has given us to live in.

Last, pray. Without ceasing. In all you think and say and live. God listens and responds. In all His generosity and abundance, we would do well to give Him thanks and praise and glory.


Birthday notes...

Colossians 3:12-15

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.

 

Everyday she does it.

She puts them all on. In no certain order or fashion. She won't go anywhere without them. And she knows from whence they came and knows that they are her gifts as God has given her.

 

Love. Compassion. Kindness. Humility.

Forgiveness. Gentleness and patience. Holiness.

All these things and more she not only lives but celebrates as she gives back to God in return for His abundance of grace, and mercy and love for her.

 

She is Liliana, celebrating the anniversary of her birthday today. Over all her gifts, over all her ‘aspects’ and qualities, she continues to put on the love of Christ. When others would find ways to 'not, she finds ways to 'do' and 'be' in God's abundance. 

 

As the ‘bond of perfection’, God’s love is to be manifested in us all. From the commandments to the beatitudes and all through the scriptures and gospels, we are called to love in that bond. Not that we are perfect but only that we recognize the perfection of God’s love in us. And with the peace found in Him, Liliana lets God’s love shine in her heart and through her love. Yes, she is thankful for that but we are also thankful for who she is in Christ.

 

Happy birthday Liliana. May this day and all your days be filled with the love and abundance of faith, family and friends.

 

We love you.

 

Psalm 112:1bc-2, 3-4, 9

Blessed the man who fears the Lord.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands.

His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed.

Michael has respect for many, including of course family, friends and his career associates. Yet nothing comes close to his fear and respect and love of God. Though the ‘commands’ are not always what he would want to hear or especially follow, he comes from a faith and family that has given him that foundation to stand upright for future generations.

 

Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house; his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just.

It would be great for us all to have the wealth and riches we would think we ‘want’ or even need. The truth be known-and it is or at least it should be-we already have just that, what God has blessed us with. Just as God has been generous in His abundance of love and mercy, so has Michael realized the generosity afforded him from God as he shares of his time, his talents and treasure. A quality he’s always shown and shared, regardless of his plight or condition. Kind, grateful and giving… that is the heart of Michael.

 

Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever; his horn shall be exalted in glory.

From Jeremiah, God knows all our plans. Those that will forever lead us to our prosperous and eternal life with Him, one that will endure forever. As God has given, so must we give—another great example of the wealth within the heart of Michael. It is not about the amount or deed; it is all about who he is and why he does it, with a humble heart and gentle and giving spirit. His plan is to live for his faith and praise God all along the way.


 

Blessed the man who fears the Lord.

Yes, bless the man who fears the Lord. That is our prayer for you today and always.

Happy birthday younger brother… continue to live and give in the abundance as God does for you.

 

We love you.

Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

They’re out there. And we all know them. Some or a lot of them. ‘Them being the enemy. There are some that we may not even know as an enemy, but they do exist. Friends, family, co-workers… yes, they are all out there. This is not to cause alarm or breed any discontent. Only a statement of awareness as if we needed to know any more of what we know or even do not know already.

 

Sometimes, loving our neighbors is not such an easy task we admit but to love our enemies? Really—even i enemies? There is a line from a movie that goes ‘Keep your friends close… and your enemies closer,’ attributed to ‘The Godfather’ movie and Michael Corleone. And as Jesus points out, we are to love our neighbors and our enemies, in a sense keeping them both ‘close’. Yet how can we love those who don’t love us or at least love us like we feel we should be loved?

 

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

 

Do you ever get the feeling that loving your enemies is hardest thing we have to do as believers? Even harder than all the other beliefs we hold true in our Catholic faith? Wow. That is quite the stretch for some of us at times, if not all the time. And it does not always include the ‘enemy.’ It is often those we know already and have as friends, as family. We don’t wait to leave the judgment to our heavenly Father; we make our own judgments now, even though we are reminded from the gospel that the rain will fall on the just and the unjust and the sun will rise on the bad and the good, the just and good of course ‘us’ and the ‘unjust and bad’ are the ‘them’.

 

As we humbly find ourselves lacking in so many of His graces for our faults and sins, let us keep more in mind that we are often found by others to be among the unjust and the bad and pray more for the acceptance of God’s will in our lives and the lives of our enemies as well.

 



OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Your sins are forgiven! We hear these words so many times in a lifetime of listening to the gospel, yet for so many the words seem to mean so little or nothing. Is it because we as sinners seem unable to accept that we are forgiven? Or is it that we have no sense of SIN?

 

What, dear reader, is your thought on forgiveness? As you reflect on your own actions in relation to your life in Christ, do you see yourself as forgiven?

Can you imagine yourself kneeling at the feet of the Lord Jesus, bathing his feet with your tears, wiping them with your hair (well assuming you have hair!!) Can you see yourself kneeling before Jesus pleading for forgiveness of your sins, expressing your love for him with tears of sorrow? It is likely easy to say yes in some cases, but really does your life in action demonstrate your love for Jesus Christ?

 

As a Catholic Christian, you believe in His presence in the Blessed Sacrament, yes? When was the last time you spent 10 minutes with him other than at Mass? When was the last time you were aware of Adoration on a Wednesday or any other scheduled day and found the time to go to the chapel and just be with Him for a period of time?

 

How do you express your love for Jesus? Is it in the way you love all—even your enemies? If today you had to stand before Him how would he speak to you about the hungry, the sick, those in prison, the naked, the homeless, justice for those around you among whom you have influence? In your love for the Lord, do you read and reread His love letters? Or, is your Bible gathering dust on a shelf or on a coffee table? Do you sometimes speak of Him to others sharing the wonder of the Father's love revealed in Jesus? Does the way you conduct yourself give a hint of your love for Him?  No day passes without some acknowledgement of what soldiers do in combat, will your day acknowledge what Christ has done for you and me?

 

Lord, as this day begins grant me the grace to see you in all persons and in all creation. Holy Spirit, guide me in all my actions, guard my speech and keep me from failing in love. When I stumble Lord, forgive me in my weakness and strengthen me that I may rise to serve you. Amen.

Deacon

 


OFFER IT UP!   FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:7-15

Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

 

Some of our ‘earthen vessels’ are in better shape than others. But whatever vessel we have at this time, God will do with us as He calls us. With our free will, we have that opportunity to respond. For as Paul notes, with every affliction we encounter, we are not held back by it, should we choose not to be. It is indeed our choice how we handle what God has given us, both in good times and in rougher times.

 

As Paul continues to convey, even in those times of being struck and persecution, we can choose to stay our course with our faith or fall off and stay in the wallows of despair and abandonment. Which is easier? For some, they may take the lower road. For believers, the higher road could be harder but is well worth the effort.

 

As we live, so goes our life in Jesus Christ. Again as Paul tells us—all God has made is for us, in abundance with grace and mercy. The best we can do in return is to let His life shine through us no matter our afflictions, our perplexities, our persecutions or being struck down.

 
 


OFFER IT UP!   THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2013

Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother,
Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

 

The Ten Commandments give us some definite parameters to keep our lives in order. They have been handed down and over for thousands of years and hundreds of generations—and they still mean the same. But the fact that we just ‘follow’ them and adhere to what they would have us do and not do does not make us the tried and true Christian or Catholic just because we fill in all ten of the boxes.

 

What Jesus would also have us do is to further our love and faith by going deeper still into how He loves us and how we should love one another. The scribes and Pharisees saw themselves as ‘good enough’ as they subscribed to the ‘letter of the law’. What Jesus is calling us to do, and as He was calling them to do as well, is to challenge what we have come to know as ‘good enough’ and go beyond it to even better and greater faith and love.

 

We all know we are sinners… what sin is, what it isn’t, what we choose to do even if it causes us to lose our state of grace. For some of us, we see God as that force ready to strike us down at the instant we give in to sin, no matter the type. Fear of sinning? Yes, but maybe for the wrong reason. If we were to look at our sins as we do our relationship with God, maybe then our fear of sin would take on a different meaning. We don’t do things that would hurt our family members or our friends; why would we do things to hurt our greatest and most loving friend and family member we have in God our Father?

 


OFFER IT UP!   TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY K!

Today’s gospel periscope from Matthew 5:13 reminds us that we are called to be on a mission. We are as Jesus compares us ‘salt and light’. Wherever we find ourselves as baptized Christians we are to be spice of goodness, the salt of the earth, Jesus says.

 

Then also, “You are the light of the world” to be placed in a conspicuous place that will light up the life of those around you, a light is not intended to be hidden but to give light to the darkness. If the daily news events are any sign, we need to be the Salt and Light that Jesus is speaking of, in every moment of our lives. The challenge involves recognizing the dignity of all human persons who enter into our lives.

 

Love remains the goal, for as John says God is love. If we are to be One with the Father, One with Jesus, One with the Holy Spirit we are called to become love itself in all our endeavors. How can we possibly accomplish this? With God all things are possible. Prayer then becomes a top priority. Prayer is the work that draws us into love itself. The work of prayer begins with an act of love.

 

In love we desire to be with the object of love, and in prayer we desire to spend time with God. Spend time with God? God is always present so spending time with God should be easy, yes? Not so.

 

In an age where we speak of quality time in various ways, too often we place God last on the list and fit in time with God, often as an afterthought, and as a part of multi-tasking. Pray while driving? Pray while falling asleep? Pray while preparing to do something else…? How about just emptying our minds, clearing our schedules, and really being attentive to a conversation with God, or Jesus, or Mary with undivided attention to listening as well as speaking.

 

If you are visiting afraidnot and this short item speaks to you, why not begin today to pray with full intent to be present to God, to voice your concerns, joys, sorrows, thanks, praise and to LISTEN to what God may have to say to you.

 

Begin today to read the Gospels daily. Walk with Jesus and the Apostles. Know Him as they did.

Deacon

 
 


OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIZABETH!

2 Corinthians 1:1-7

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
to the Church of God that is at Corinth, with all the holy ones throughout Achaia: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement.

 

Why do bad things happen to good people? Especially if the good people are those we know and love? We are often hard-pressed for answers when trials and grief are upon them and sorrow is all around and the best we can offer is our presence and prayers. Yet that could be just what God has called us to be for them.

 

God wants us all to be closer to Him. Through prayer, through worship, through whatever movement it takes, He will bring about that closeness. Sometimes, it will happen through the pain of loss, of grief and sorrow. Other times through persecution and affliction. Yet even others He will bring us closer through the joy of renewal and transformation and even the birth of new life.

 

This closeness can only happen through trust and faith as we allow God to be God for us. In health and in sickness. In pain and in joy. In trials and in happiness. That is how we come to know the fullness of God’s grace and mercy not just for ourselves but for those to see Him working in our lives. They too then can share in our encouragement and the path to our eternal glory.



OFFER IT UP!   FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2013

Luke 15:3-7

Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes: "What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance."

We’ve all lost a ‘something’ in our lives and have spent precious time looking for whatever that ‘something’ was that was lost. Time and effort at the expense of others. Maybe time and effort at the expense of our jobs. Maybe and probably time and effort at the expense of relationships and even our sanity. And just as the shepherd who finds the lost sheep, we are exultant upon finding whatever it was that was lost.

 

A thing. An it. Something ‘material’. Oh wow. Granted, it could have been a very important thing, costly and such. But still a ‘thing’ after all is said and done. Maybe replaceable, maybe not.

 

When Jesus spoke of leaving the flock and searching for the lost sheep, those within earshot may have thought it ludicrous to leave the 99 to go find the lost one. After all, there were other unpleasant and horrible things that could happen to those remaining if one was to go looking for just one, lost sheep. What they were missing is that all the sheep—all of them—were equally important to Him.

 

To look at the sheep as His flock of believers and one of them strays and falls into sin, then of course it would be worth it to bring that one back into the grace of God. Just as it is worth it for us to come back to the fold, to bring about our own repentance as we find our way back with His help. For a joy that was lost being away from Him, that is a something that is irreplaceable once He has us back in His fold.

 
 


OFFER IT UP!   WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2013

We just concluded the 8 sessions of a series called "Oremus" (Let us Pray). The dedication of those persons who participated, I am sure was and will be rewarded by growth in the spiritual life. Prayer, our relationship with the Lord, is vital to our growth spiritually. Just as communication is vital in a love relationship between humans, prayer is the life-blood of a relationship with God.

 

How can we claim faith and love of God if we do not pray? How can anyone state they love God if he is not included in the very substance of their life? Prayer is the work of sustaining our faith. Prayer approached as seriously as our most treasured activities and relationships in the course of our living.

We will again offer this 8 week series on prayer in the hope that we all can benefit from sharing our experiences of prayer.

 

While a series such as Oremus can be a help, we have the opportunity each day, each Sunday, to gather in prayer with brothers and sisters, the baptized who are our family in God. The fantastic celebration of God's love in the Eucharist where we are present to the supreme gift of God's love, Our Lord Jesus Christ. We gather and give ourselves in union with Jesus as sacrifice to God, Our Father. We receive the Bread of Life, and become one with Christ. We put on Christ and are sent out to proclaim by our lives the wonder of live, the wonder of love, the celebration of Eternity.

 

In the documents of Vatican II, the Liturgy, the Mass, is declared the Source and Summit of our faith. It is in this celebration we encounter the Lord and become ONE with him. Can we begin to grasp the wonder of all this? Each us must search their hearts to reflect on their stance before this awesome God who is standing beside them beckoning them, seeking a response to His love which is beyond ability to comprehend completely. Seize any opportunity to spend time with the Lord, resting in His presence and allowing His voice to penetrate the cacophony of a world of distractions.

Deacon

 


OFFER IT UP!   TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2013

Mark 12:13-17

Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech. They came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” They brought one to him and he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
They replied to him, “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
They were utterly amazed at him.

 

Our path to holiness we sometimes want it in apple pie order. Check that: don’t we always want it in apple pie order? How much easier would it be if all we had to do was start checking off the boxes and filling in the squares to show God that our holiness adds up for Him? That appears to be what the Pharisees and Herodians were looking at doing anyway. Through their own sense of judgment and ‘opinion’, they were out to test Jesus, putting themselves above Him in the process. Just tell us what else we can do so that we can be holier…

 

With the Holy Spirit guiding us, our path to holiness is more often about being than it is about doing. Jesus in fact amazed them with His answer. He does the same for us as we put our lives and prayers in accordance with His. As everything we have comes from God, we must put ourselves in a position to be who He has called us to be and do what He has called us to do. Sure, give to Caesar and the government what is their due. Yet first and foremost we give all to God who has given us the gifts we have.

 


OFFER IT UP!    MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINDA!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their toil.If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! If that one should fall, there is no other to help.So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm?Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cordis not easily broken.

Finding out on one’s own that two really are better than one can be a painful learning experience. Especially when the ‘two’ are already ‘one’ and ‘he-one’ of the ‘two’ thinks he’s got it all-knowed-up on his own. This type of ‘know it all’ relationship does not bode well for the thriving and loving bonds we all should be seeking in our marriages. Indeed, woe to that ‘solitary’ thinking person.

 

Yet, we shall not despair for indeed there is hope! For the woman is there to help and lift up the fallen and the not so brilliant. As for the good wage for their toil, they could never be paid enough to put up with, to keep up with, to be always at our side. Yes, the woman is there to love us, to help us, to keep us warm—all these things we cannot do on our own.

 

I say all these things only to lead to this: to have a wife such as this, I am truly blessed. As she celebrates the anniversary of her birth this year, she has not overcome the trials that have befallen her because of the ‘he-one’ and the other usual tribulations, but she has also overcome her battle with breast cancer. That is another testimony to her fortitude, her will and most importantly her faith. Not easily broken, not easily dispirited. She holds us together and makes us even stronger.

 

God is so wonderfully good. Linda is so wonderfully made in Him and through Him. As God puts light in our life, He put so much in her to shine not just for our family but for so many more to see Him in her. And for that and for her, we are all most truly blessed.

 

Happy Birthday to my wife, my love.

I love you-

me

Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, here it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

FEAST OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

IN A WAY WE HAVE ALREADY CELEBRATED this feast. We did so on Holy (Maundy) Thursday in Holy Week. On that occasion, the emphasis was on the institution, the gift of the Eucharist to us as one of Jesus’ last acts before his suffering and death. It was, moreover, to be an enduring memorial of that great liberating act by which God’s love would be forever kept before our minds.

One reason why we may have this second feast of the Eucharist is that it takes place during the more joyful period of the Easter season when we can celebrate it with greater freedom from the constraints of Lent and Holy Week. In many parts of the world, there will be a solemn and joyful procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the parish grounds or even through the public streets.

 

Community dimension

Perhaps today we should emphasize more the community dimension of the celebration of the Eucharist which is often missing. We tend to see “going to Mass” very much in individual terms. If “I” fail to “go to Mass” through “my own fault”, “I” have committed a mortal sin. We also tend to talk about “hearing” Mass, or being “at Mass”. We ask questions like: “Who said the Mass?” The priest himself may even be heard to announce: “I am saying this Mass for the repose of the soul of…” or even “I am saying this Mass for all of you here”.

 

On reflection, these expressions are very strange. They tend to present the Eucharist as something that the priest alone does on behalf of other people. People seem to feel themselves present at a performance in which they are only expected to be physically present. This is sometimes further accentuated by a choir doing all the singing (that is, if there is singing) and a “commentator” shouting out all the prayers over the microphone. Quite a number of people come in late and many leave before the end. These things are all so common that we hardly notice them. We may even accept these things as the way things should be. But it tells us a lot about what it means to people to be present (or not present) at the Eucharist.

 

Active participation

The Eucharist is essentially and of its very nature a community action in which every person present is expected to be an active participant. We are here, on the one hand, recalling what makes us Christians in the first place – our identification with the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. And that identification with Jesus is expressed not through a one-to-one relationship with him but in a community relationship with him present in all those who call themselves Christian. We relate to him through his Risen Body, which is the whole community bearing his name. There is no place in Christianity for individualism. It is a horizontal faith: we go to God with and through those around us.

 

Every Lord’s Day we come together as that Body, as a community, to say thanks to him and hence the name “Eucharist” which means “thanks”. It is regrettable, then, if we are only in church to “keep the Third Commandment” on a purely private, individual, devotional basis. With that mentality, it will not be surprising if we think it does not matter if we are late or leave early. Because, with that mentality, “going to Mass” is a private affair for me and all the others who “happen” to be there, too.

Some even resent that there is too much going on. They wonder why they cannot be “left in peace to say their prayers”. It is true some Mass celebrations can be overactive or over-intrusive but, on the other hand, it is not a time for contemplative prayer. One can do that much better at home. The whole point of being at Mass is to celebrate together with one’s fellow-Christians as a community of the disciples of Jesus.

 

Eating together

As well as remembering and giving thanks as a community, as the Body of Christ, the Eucharist is also a time when we express that unity through the eating and drinking together of that Body. The key to our being in Christ is love, love not only for God, but for every single person. Jesus said that the two ways by which it would be known publicly that we live in him would be by our love for each other and the unity which follows from that. “By this will all know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another” (John 13:35) and “May they all be one… may they be so completely one that the world will realize that it was you [the Father] who sent me” (John 17:21,23).

 

This, of course, we are to manifest first and foremost by the way we live our daily lives. And one of the reasons we may find it difficult to express ourselves as community during Mass is because we do not have that deep-down sense of togetherness as Christians in general. Mass is not the time to manufacture community; rather, it is the time to celebrate it. Unfortunately, past emphasis on individual morality as the key to “saving my soul” still runs deep several decades after the Second Vatican Council. As a result, we come into the church on Sunday largely as strangers to each other.

 

Stiff and formal

Not surprisingly, the “sign of peace” is, in many cases, hardly a warm-hearted act of reconciliation and friendship but a stiff and formal bowing in which some people decline to take part. Communion can be seen primarily as “receiving Jesus in my heart”. I close my eyes lest I might be “distracted” by the people around me. The choir sings on my behalf while I make “my thanksgiving”. Certainly reverence and prayer have their place at Communion time, as throughout the Eucharist. But we need to remember, too, that we are taking part in the joyful celebration of a community of brothers and sisters. This communion calls for sharing and communication and even a certain level of spontaneity and naturalness.

 

“Going to communion” is not a private “receiving” but a sharing, an eating together of the one Bread and the shared drinking of the one Cup. This one Bread and one Cup represent Jesus in his Risen Body; it includes not only Jesus but the whole community present. We recognize in the sharing not just the individual Jesus coming to me but Jesus in his Body, of which we are all part.

 

Jesus is in the host but he is also in the hand that gives the host and in the hand of the one who receives. There are some ultra-devotional people who genuflect just before receiving. By right, they should also genuflect to the whole congregation because that is where the real presence of Christ is. If Jesus is not present by faith and action in this community, what meaning can the Eucharist have?

 

Eucharistic ministers

Hence the meaningfulness now in some parishes of having the induction of lay Eucharistic ministers on this day. We have moved from a purely priest-centered Eucharist at which the laity are passive spectators to one that is community-centered because that is where Christ is to be found. The priest still has his role, of course, as the one who presides. He is the focal point of unity around which the community gathers but it is the community, including the priest, who celebrates.

 

These ministers may also be bringing the Eucharist to the sick and the housebound. This is, too, an extension of the community celebration of the Eucharist. Our sick brothers and sisters cannot come personally to the community celebration but they are reminded of their membership when they share the same Body of Christ, which binds all together. In communion, not just Jesus but the whole parish comes to them.


Birthday note...

We all make sacrifices. They go along with the choices we make every day. Family. Friends. Work. More family. Other stuff. More choices... more sacrifices-if we so choose. And of course, the bigger the circumstance, the greater the choice it is to make. The resulting sacrifice-or the passing of said sacrifice-is also tied to the choice. Some are easier to discern than others... if I give up (sacrifice?) smoking, I get healthier lungs. If I exercise more, sacrificing sofa-time, I should ultimately feel better physically and mentally.

 

This is not to make light of any sort of sacrifice one makes or is deliberating. We often choose to stand the gap so others do not have to and so that the other 'others' will not submit themselves (or so we would hope and pray) to the ways of harm they are traveling. That is the substance of love-laying down of one's life for the sake of another. Saying enough is enough in the compassionate sense, maybe even with a touch of 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take any more because I do love you so much.'

 

Maybe you know someone like that. Lots of folks do. That go above and beyond the norm, what's accepted as 'good enough' to help others. Maybe you have a boss or a friend who has those characteristics.

Maybe even a family member. We are blessed to have such a son who does stuff like that every day.

 

That would Jason.

Offering up his sacrifices for his wife. For his family. For his friends. For his work. All of which are reflective of a faith he continues to work at from within... and from his mother.

Happy Birthday Jason.

We do love you-

Mom and Dad