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

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Offer It Up! March 31, 2012


Holy Week.

Here it is, the last rush of days before Christ’s Great Sacrifice and Resurrection.

Not that anyone needs anything else to concern themselves with as we truly put ourselves in the presence of this the greatest mystery of our faith… but what if we went beyond the usual sacrifices of no sweets, no sodas, no this, no that, even if it is only for a few days.

What if you did stay off your social media for the duration of Holy Week?

What if you stayed off your mp3/itunes device entirely? At least from a music or entertainment standpoint. Using it for prayer or for the Divine Office may be another way to further express your Lenten commitment.

What if you actually read all the readings and entire gospel presentation for the Easter Vigil service before you went to the Easter Vigil?

What? Never been to the Easter Vigil? There’s one for you—what a great opportunity to welcome those new to the faith. It’s a beautiful way to spend a couple of hours plus and see the love God has in store for these neophytes.

Before that Easter Vigil, what about Good Friday? What about attending Veneration of the Cross at your parish? If you’ve never been, it is an amazing and touching experience.

And let’s not forget Holy Thursday. The opening of the Triduum, the celebration of the Last Supper and the washing of the feet-again, an experience you won’t soon forget. Attending one or all, your spiritual life will be jump-started in ways you won’t be able to contain.

Be good to yourself this Holy Week.

Be good to yourself beyond it.

You’ll be better for it and so will those around you.


Offer It Up! March 30, 2012


John 10:31, 39

The Jews took up stones again to stone him.

Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

Over the past few weeks and in a number of scripture references, Jesus found Himself in harm’s way but always found His way clear of that harm. Always, that is, until the last time as He offered Himself up on the cross.

As we read or heard these verses, like me maybe you thought ‘How could this be that He was in such trouble?’ ‘How was it that He was always getting out of such trouble that He got in?’ Duh.

Not to impugn your dignity or intelligence but I will throw mine under the bus—He’s the Son of God. That’s how. That’s why.

All the times were leading up to His sacrifice for us. As He said:

“If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."John 10:37-39

Believe in what He has done for us. Believe that He died for our sins. Believe then that He will come to judge the living and the dead for our salvation.


Offer It Up! March 29, 2012


Isaiah 49:8-11

Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you; and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to restore the land and allot the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners: come out! To those in darkness: show yourselves! Along the ways they shall find pasture, on every bare height shall their pastures be. They shall not hunger or thirst, nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them; for he who pities them leads them and guides them beside springs of water. I will cut a road through all my mountains, and make my highways level.

The first day of Spring has come and gone—a week ago already—and as we read from Isaiah, he could be admonishing us all to ‘come out’, to ‘show ourselves’ as we step out of the darkness of winter and into the light and freshness of Spring.

So what about us? What about you, about me? Are we ready to shed what we’ve carried so long these winter months? Isn’t it time to let loose the heaviness and darkness we carry, literally and figuratively, in the clothes and coldness that winter wraps us in?

Yup it is. We should start looking for that first or second or even third harbinger of the newness of life that Spring brings with it. Green if not greener grass. Buds and leaves on trees. Brighter colors around. More sunlight. Smiles. And these are just the outward signs we can take in. What to make of all the things we can feel and absorb that God has given as He ‘makes our highways level’?

Spring has sprung upon us. And whether it be Spring or Winter, we get each day as a gift. Let us enjoy as much, live as much and share as much as God has intended us to do. Let us not be prisoners to the darkness any longer and live more in His Light and Love.


Offer It Up! March 28, 2012


Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar said: "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up? Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made, whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments; otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace; and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?" Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue that you set up."

King Nebuchadnezzar's face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" "Assuredly, O king," they answered. "But," he replied, "I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God." Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God."

Matthew Kelly has often said and says often still that when our habits change, our lives change. It is pretty much that simple. Be obedient to the things you want to do differently-hopefully in a better way-and soon you will be a better person, healthier human or whatever it is that you set out to do.

Many of us would do well to submit our prayer and spiritual lives to such an example of habitual practice. By becoming more obedient to the will of God, we can practice those things that bring us closer to Him… or do we get closer to Him by practicing things that make us more obedient? Or maybe it’s more of a both-and sort of deal. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed'nego had it going for them as they were obviously obedient to the will of God and what He put before them. They did not bow to the pressures put on them to serve or worship the golden image as their god. They chose to have God be their deliverer from the king and were spared death for their faith and trust in Him. They followed and were true to God’s will, God’s way.

How are we when faced with our challenges today? It may not be a fiery furnace stoked to seven times its capacity. It may only be choosing to do the right thing as opposed to not. It may mean committing yourself to changing those habits that keep you from following God’s plan for you. It may mean changing some habits—some sinful ones—that will make you more like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed'nego and be able to walk through the fires of life, embraced by His Spirit and protection.


Offer It Up! March 27, 2012


1 Peter 2:12

Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that if they speak of you as evildoers, they may observe your good works and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Pretty clear here what we have to do: put ourselves in a position to do what we have been called to do so that when we are subject to our day of reconciliation, we won’t have much to reconcile.

People will talk. Always have and always will. Yet if we are doing the things we have learned to do and are becoming the people we have been called to be-His disciples and witnesses-what they have to say will be of little consequence or matter.

There will be challenges and suffering no doubt, maybe even some caused by the things others have said. Yet for those of us who believe, we know it is better to suffer through the trials for knowing what is right and doing what is good than to casting our lots with those who do not.

Cultures, media, sects—name one or pick another—there are those that would like for God and prayer to done away with. As Christ suffered for us, we too may suffer for Him and for those who believe now and will believe tomorrow and again.


Offer It Up! March 26, 2012


We are fast approaching the holiest week, the greatest feast of the Church year and we celebrate in the midst of all the preparation the feast of the Annunciation. Sadly, for the most part we modern day Catholics do not make time to attentively acknowledge the wonderful truths that are pronounced in the conscious celebration of the history of our faith.

Today we honor Mary, as we reflect on that glorious event when the angel announced to Mary she would be the Mother of Jesus. We are touched also by the Holy Spirit as we meditate on these events and we too are inspired to receive the Lord Jesus into our lives, to imitate our Mother in faith, to be willing as she was to say to the Lord, according to Your will...

These last days of Lent this feast can put us in closer union with Mary, Mother of us all, and ask her intercession and guidance as we enter into this time of celebrating the Great Feast.

Considering what the Lord has done for us, meditating on His passion, death and resurrection, we find ways to set aside the hustle and bustle of our world and enter into the fullness of mystery. We have time for so many passing things and events that in the scheme of eternity mean nothing. We have little time for He who has given us life, and everything we sometimes delude ourselves into believing we created them. As we discover new and marvelous devices, especially in technology, the advances in science, the remarkable progress of man, can we lose sight of the need for acknowledging our littleness? Despite the wonderful advances of man, we remain capable of the worst atrocities. Cain is still murdering Abel.

During the coming weeks, please God we may respond to You by joining one another in worship. Let our lives be a response to the prayer of Jesus that all may be ONE as we lift our minds and hearts in prayer.

The call to repentance is like a clarion summoning us to respond...what can keep us from love?

Deacon


Offer It Up! March 25, 2012


As we travel through our own desert this Lenten season we reflect on the journey of ancient Israel. The God of Abraham, the God of Jacob, the God of Isaac continues to draw us with bonds of Love. We, like the Israelites of Old, are a sinful people, and we turn from God in similarity as we wander through our own desert often doubting the God who has provided us with wonders beyond reckoning.

We, however, have the powerful intercessor Jesus Christ who has laid down His life for us sinners. He has returned to the Father, sent the Holy Spirit to guide us and intercedes for us with the Father. Do we really believe this? Our actions so often belie our belief. Our sins witness against us.

As we approach the fantastic feast of Easter, please God, let us be immersed in the mystery of Salvation. May our coming together in worship obtain for us and world the graces needed to transform lives and set the world on fire with love that will lead to a true and lasting peace. As we pray Thy Kingdom Come, let our hearts be open with deep longing for your reign in our lives.

The presence of the Lord is to be seen in every facet of life. We can be transformed if we are willing to each day turn to Him with open hearts and minds and allow ourselves to seek Him in all events, actions, things.

Deacon


Offer It Up! March 24, 2012


The Paschal Mystery is our reflection as we approach the week of the year that beckons us into the fullness of who we are as the Body of Christ called to the fullness of life. Each day we are offered by Holy Mother Church a peek at the mystery of life itself. The Scriptures offer us a taste each day of all that God has done and all that we often fail to do or even acknowledge the wonder of God's gracious love.

Today we are with the Chosen people in the desert, we too often fashion other Gods similar to what the Israelites did with the Golden Calf. The wonders of God's gifts lead us easily into placing our trust in the gifts of creation rather than trusting in the Creator and giver of all that is gift. Jesus in the gospel today reminds all who He is and that failing to believe in Him has consequences.

Examining our lives in the light of the Scriptures is not always easy, because it often draws us into the reality of our sinfulness. We are called to follow Christ and we see the Cross as the symbol of Victory, but are hesitant to face the possibilities of suffering. We lose sight of the destination; we are lulled into pleasures that distract us from the promise of eternal life. Because we are limited in our vision of eternity perhaps we would rather life here in time doting on ourselves and are not able to discipline our bodies and live in harmony with the call of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus entered our humanity and modeled for us a life of obedience to the Father. We make time to examine our lives daily to come to some deeper awareness of Christ Jesus in our lives, and imitate His love. "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt) Jesus himself calls us to holiness. Would he call us to this kind of trust and leave us to our own devices. Likely, that is up to us. We are free to choose to accept his gracious help or simply throw up our hands and say this is impossible. For heaven's sake isn't worth some effort?

Because we are loved beyond imagining, should we not love in return?

Someone expressed recently the pain felt when viewing persons leaving the Eucharistic celebration in seeming unconcern. Receiving the King of Kings, the Lord in Holy Communion and seemingly departing without it appears acknowledging with whom they have united themselves. As we are attentive to these things we must somehow see in ourselves the same lack of loving adoration. As we pay attention to how others are responding to the Lord, we are distracted. Granted sometimes it is difficult not to notice, perhaps our response is necessarily first to Pray, to dialog with the Lord in our hearts, and if an opportunity presents itself...in love help others to spend time with the Lord. May God’s bountiful grace strengthen us that we may love always and witness to His presence in our midst.

Deacon


Offer It Up! March 23, 2012


2 Samuel 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16

The LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
"Go, tell my servant David, 'When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name.And I will make his royal throne firm forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.'"

As many of us sit down to read the scripture for the day, my guess is, we have a cup of coffee in one hand as we prompt our kids to brush their teeth before the school bus comes.As you look at little Johnny with his bed head hair and jelly smeared face, it is hard to imagine God sending any of us a such a message as he sent to David.In this passage, the Lord tells David to rest assured that He has a plan for the world and for generations to come.Even better, God tells David that it is his offspring, his lineage that is going to play a huge role in that plan.How do we relate to this passage? Unless we happen to come from current royal lineage, I don’t think any of us expect to hear such a message from God.Typically, when I read these passages, I tend to think something like “...and that would never happen to me.”

But if you really think about it, we are all a part of this magnificent plan that God revealed to David so long ago.God’s promise to David wasn’t just about David’s direct lineage, but about God’s.God used David’s offspring to fulfill His plan to bring Jesus into the world as our Savior, which is an honor to say the least, but it doesn’t end there.It continues with all of us.

Have you ever thought about how you would respond if, indeed, an angel of the Lord or a prophet showed up on your doorstep to tell you that your family tree would play a role in the salvation of the world or that you, as a woman, were about to give birth to that Savior?What is happening to us now may not be nearly that dramatic, but we need to remember that we are the church that follows in preserving God’s kingdom.Unless we think it and feel it and believe it, this passage seems meaningless.Serving as a lector or volunteering on a church committee may not make you feel like royalty in human terms, but this is not a human experience, it is of the divine.What if you were literally serving in heaven, at the seat of God’s throne?Would that make a difference?Would you feel more “royal” in your approach then?Take a minute and try to imagine it.Now, take that picture in your mind and apply it to whatever you do here on earth to further God’s kingdom.It kind of puts a new perspective on the whole idea of service, doesn’t it?

lgboyd

I am your Lord, just obey Me as you would expect a faithful willing secretary to carry out your directions. Just have no choice but Mine, no will but Mine.I am dependent on no one agency when I am your supply. Through many channels My help and material flow can come.God Calling.

"I delight to do thy will, O my God." - Psalm 40:8


Offer It Up! March 22, 2012


Consider the following prayer, read slowly…

Enfold Me in Your Heart

Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart;

and there hold me, refine, purge, and set me on fire

raise me aloft, until my own self knows utter annihilation

Enfold Me in Your Heart

Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart

and there hold me, refine, purge, and set me on fire

raise me aloft, until my own self knows utter annihilation

Enfold Me in Your Heart

Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart

and there hold me, refine, purge, and set me on fire

raise me aloft, until my own self knows utter annihilation

Enfold Me in Your Heart

Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart

and there hold me, refine, purge, and set me on fire

raise me aloft, until my own self knows utter annihilation

Amen.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

From Silent Insight


Offer It Up! March 21, 2012


It does not get much clearer than this when you put yourself in the place of this writer…

Consider your current material gifts.

Consider your current mental gifts.

Consider your spiritual gifts.

Marvel then at the goodness He has bestowed upon you while others more deserving go about with so much less.

Ouch.

From St. Francis de Sales

Introduction To A Devout Life

CHAPTER XI. THIRD MEDITATION.

Of the Gifts of God.

Preparation.

1. Place yourself in the Presence of God.

2. Ask Him to inspire your heart.

Considerations

1. Consider the material gifts God has given you—your body, and the means for its preservation; your health, and all that maintains it; your friends and many helps. Consider too how many persons more deserving than you are without these gifts; some suffering in health or limb, others exposed to injury, contempt and trouble, or sunk in poverty, while God has willed you to be better off.

2. Consider the mental gifts He has given you. Why are you not stupid, idiotic, insane like many you wot of? Again, God has favoured you with a decent and suitable education, while many have grown up in utter ignorance.

3. Further, consider His spiritual gifts. You are a child of His Church, God has taught you to know Himself from your youth. How often has He given you His Sacraments? What inspirations and interior light, what reproofs, He has given to lead you aright; how often He has forgiven you, how often delivered you from occasions of falling; what opportunities He has granted for your soul’s progress! Dwell somewhat on the detail, see how Loving and Gracious God has been to you.

Affections and Resolutions

1. Marvel at God’s Goodness. How good He has been to me, how abundant in mercy and plenteous in loving-kindness! O my soul, be thou ever telling of the great things the Lord has done for thee!

2. Marvel at your own ingratitude. What am I, Lord, that Thou rememberest me? How unworthy am I! I have trodden Thy Mercies under foot, I have abused Thy Grace, turning it against Thy very Self; I have set the depth of my ingratitude against the deep of Thy Grace and Favour.

3. Kindle your gratitude. O my soul, be no more so faithless and disloyal to thy mighty Benefactor! How should not my whole soul serve the Lord, Who has done such great things in me and for me?

4. Go on, my daughter, to refrain from this or that material indulgence; let your body be wholly the servant of God, Who has done so much for it: set your soul to seek Him by this or that devout practice suitable thereto. Make diligent use of the means provided by the Church to help you to love God and save your soul. Resolve to be constant in prayer and seeking the Sacraments, in hearing God’s Word, and in obeying His inspirations and counsels.


Offer It Up! March 20, 2012


If we have so chosen during this Lenten time, we are immersed in Christ, walking with Him on His journey toward Jerusalem. We are present at those startling moments when He cures the sick, restores sight, drives out demons and we like so many wonder at who He is.

Oh yes, in our religiosity we have ideas and facts we have learned from parents, teachers, other Christians but what about deep abiding faith that is trusting?

When we hear the Scriptures, are they just wonderful thoughts or are they life changing experiences? When we are told the greatest commandment is to love God with all mind, heart, and soul do we place God at the topmost priority of all our living? We have so many distractions in this created world. Those wonderful gifts God has provided for all his children and we look at the gifts and too often fail to see the giver.

As we see the light of Easter on the horizon, please God grant us all we need to truly repent of our wayward ways and come to you longing to do Your will. Grant us clarity of vision this day and all days and the wisdom and will to love as You intend. Amen.

Deacon


Offer It Up! March 19, 2012

Feast of St. Joseph


In the course of human events sometimes people get lost in memory. I wonder has Saint Joseph been lost to modern day saints who are struggling with faith. There is a term that seems to gaining popularity in discussions on religion and that is "secular Catholics". We have a propensity for finding ways to define people at various stages of history. So here we are at a time when we seem to want to redefine what it means to be Catholic.

In the fairly recent past, St. Joseph had a prominent place in the religious life of Catholics, in prayer and inspiration helping men to discover how to live courageously as men of faith. Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost much of that vision of Saint Joseph and I would even venture to say many are unaware of the feast of Saint Joseph today. Man of faith, Husband of Mary, guide for Jesus in those early days in Nazareth, Joseph is certainly a powerful intercessor and protector of our faith.

Why not take time today to sit in the silence of a favorite space and visit with Saint Joseph in the halls of imagination. Let's create in our minds eye the carpenter shop at Nazareth, perhaps envisioning observing Joseph and Jesus at work with Joseph teaching Jesus the wonders of woodworking. As we see them working and conversing, we also are able to examine our own relationships with our own children and how we share life and experience with them.

I wonder what their conversations were like about God? Joseph knew in faith that this child was the Son of God, he obeyed in faith when it was revealed to Him in a dream. In faith, he followed the path God had revealed to him, and fulfilled the role of Father to the child Jesus. Now Joseph shares with Mary and Jesus the heavenly realms and is an intercessor for us in the ways of faith. Today why not ask for Joseph's intercession, that God grant us all necessary grace to live in holiness of life.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Deacon


Offer It Up! March 18, 2012


1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”

Of course God looks into the heart. And for us to be more God-like, He calls for us to do the same. How often do we do that when we are in any given situation when we are pressed to judge as a self-proclaimed ‘expert’, authority, referee, ruler or even king? For sure, we have that ‘right’ to assess if you want to call it that. But to place one below-or even above us-is better left to the One who knows more and all.

Yet it happens every day we pass by a stranger. It happens every time we jump into a conversation we know nothing about. It happens every instance we speak first instead of thinking and praying about whatever should be coming out of our mouths. We may not want to see or know what is going on in their lives because we don’t want to face what is in ours. Therein lies the challenge.

The challenge to let go of what hamstrings our lives so that we may be at God’s service to be and do as He calls us. As He told Samuel, He knows what is in our hearts. We know what is in there, too. There is no room for judgment but for love.


Offer It Up! March 17, 2012


Luke 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. "Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity - greedy, dishonest, adulterous - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.'
But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

There but for the grace of God go I.

St. Augustine was said to have coined that as he passed by those men condemned to the gallows.

Maybe that was what the Pharisee was saying.

Maybe that was what the tax collector was saying.

Different perspectives, different prayers.

The Pharisee felt that he knew his place and knew where he was with God. Maybe his perception of those around him was a little skewed yet for his practice and following of the laws, he had to be somewhat of a religious man. Even though he was focused on the law more than he was in its practice, he still was moral though maybe just a teeny bit self-righteous.

The tax collector on the other hand found himself in a position to humble himself for his sins. Through his brokenness and his path to healing, by his humility and contrite spirit, he was putting himself at God’s mercy. O God be merciful to me a sinner

At that point in his life that could have been his only choice after emptying himself of all that God did not want him to have. There are times, more than once, we must empty ourselves to be where we need to be with our Lord. Sometimes on our knees, driven there in despair. Sometimes humbled so weak we cannot get out of bed we are so sick. Sometimes we are spiritually empty we have no claim to our faith other than to trust in our God Who brought us into this existence.

God has His ways of getting us where He wants us. Let us pray we are empty and ready to hear His call as He takes us there.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.


Offer It Up! March 16, 2012


As we progress toward Easter and continue our individual Lenten meditations, what is God revealing to us individually and as his people?

How do we, the new Israel and disciples of Jesus Christ, come to grips with our call to preach the Kingdom of God? In order to preach the Kingdom, that is God's reign in our lives, what is our response? How do we live out our call? Saint Francis is credited with saying "Preach the Gospel! If necessary use words.

As we observe our own responses to the Gospel and what is happening in the world around us, can we not see the need for repentance? So many of us begin with our failure to observe the very first commandment. 'I Am the Lord your God'... 'no strange gods are to be placed before me.' And can we not see the treasure of our heart is not the Lord so very often, it is our absorption with created things that so often takes pride of place in our lives.

We make our own rules with regard to what the Church calls us to observe, e.g. we observe Sunday obligation sporadically, we make excuses that seem to indicate there are more important things than observing the Lord's Day. We become so familiar with God, we show no "fear of God" often referring to the transcendent God as some nice guy in the sky. Our attitudes reveal a sense of ingratitude for the gracious God who pours our His mercy for us sinners, beckoning us and gazing in the distance to see us return to Him as did the Prodigal Son in Luke's gospel.

Honoring Father and Mother? How can we see honor in the violence we encounter, the juvenile waywardness, the lack of family values, rampant divorce that makes a mockery of marriage and family life? Can all this occur and we fail to approach God in sackcloth and ashes of the confessional?

Those who approach marriage come openly violating all norms of chastity. The approach to marriage is regarded as social event to be photographed and reported...while there is little mention or understanding of Sacrament.

The Beatitudes in chapter 5 of Matthew's gospel....what do they represent to any of us as we sit at the feet of the Lord Jesus and listen to Him as speaks to us through the Gospel... Would that each of us would challenge one another to know and strive to live according to the Beatitudes.

In a few weeks we will enter Holy Week, and celebrate Easter. This is the greatest feast of our faith. Now is the time to clear our calendars for this great feast...The Triduum: Holy Thursday (Eucharist the Last Supper) Good Friday..the Passion of Jesus and Holy Saturday...Easter Vigil Resurrection ...New Life in Baptism...

This is a time of grace. A time to put aside some of the demands of life and spend time with brothers and sisters, and with the Lord who gave His life for us while we are sinners...the sinless one took upon Himself my sins, your sins and was nailed to a tree. By His wounds we receive healing ... forgiveness...new life.

During the remaining days of Lent, seek the Lord. Let His grace lead you to new vistas of Joy and Freedom. Let the Hope of eternal life take hold of you to the depths of you souls and repenting enter the courts of the Lord.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts, the psalmist says. Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation.

Let us together Praise His Name and walk with Him on the Way.

Deacon


Offer It Up! March 15, 2012


For all the methods and systems there are for one to get into the practice of prayer, St. Francis de Sales offers the following prayerful steps to get you there. Not saying they are the steps for you. Just offering them as another way to get you where you want to be on your path toward holiness.

Introduction to the Devout Life St. Francis de Sales

Morning Prayer

Part II, Chapter 10

Besides your systematic meditation and your other vocal prayers, there are five shorter kinds of prayer, which are as aids and assistants to the great devotion, and foremost among these is your morning prayer, as a general preparation for all the day's work. It should be made in this wise.

1. Thank God, and adore Him for His Grace which has kept you safely through the night, and if in anything you have offended against Him, ask forgiveness.

2. Call to mind that the day now beginning is given you in order that you may work for Eternity, and make a stedfast resolution to use this day for that end.

3. Consider beforehand what occupations, duties and occasions are likely this day to enable you to serve God; what temptations to offend Him, either by vanity, anger, etc., may arise; and make a fervent resolution to use all means of serving Him and confirming your own piety; as also to avoid and resist whatever might hinder your salvation and God's Glory. Nor is it enough to make such a resolution,--you must also prepare to carry it into effect. Thus, if you foresee having to meet some one who is hottempered and irritable, you must not merely resolve to guard your own temper, but you must consider by what gentle words to conciliate him. If you know you will see some sick person, consider how best to minister comfort to him, and so on.

4. Next, humble yourself before God, confessing that of yourself you could carry out nothing that you have planned, either in avoiding evil or seeking good. Then, so to say, take your heart in your hands, and offer it and all your good intentions to God's Gracious Majesty, entreating Him to accept them, and strengthen you in His Service, which you may do in some such words as these: "Lord, I lay before Thee my weak heart, which Thou dost fill with good desires. Thou knowest that I am unable to bring the same to good effect, unless Thou dost bless and prosper them, and therefore, O Loving Father, I entreat of Thee to help me by the Merits and Passion of Thy Dear Son, to Whose Honour I would devote this day and my whole life."

All these acts should be made briefly and heartily, before you leave your room if possible, so that all the coming work of the day may be prospered with God's blessing; but anyhow, my child, I entreat you never to omit them.


Offer It Up! March 14, 2012


Week 3, how is Lent progressing? From Matthew’s familiar gospel yesterday, we hear Jesus reminding us about forgiveness. Peter generously asks how often am I to forgive—seven times? Jesus responds no seventy – seven times.. In other words, always.

How do I react to that? Father forgive me as I forgive, just as Jesus taught. If I learned more of the lesson of forgiveness and mercy this Lent, that would be certainly be progress toward the goal of life.

In the first letter of Peter (1Peter 3: 21-24) we have a reminder again of our relationship to Christ, our response to God’s unconditional love. Christ suffered for you, this was His example…insulted he returned no insult. Made to suffer, He did not counter with threats, but offered Himself to the just judge. Your sins He bore and took them to the cross…so that all of us dead to sin could live according to God’s will.. His wounds are our healing. Dare we not learn the lesson of forgiveness when we come to know what the Lord has forgiven us, our debt paid by the sinless one?

God, your mercy is beyond my understanding. I believe your love is ever beckoning and yet I stumble and fall distracted by the wonders of your creation. You are above all and yet in my selfishness I find in created thing too frequently the golden calf that leads me into turning away from you.

As we journey toward the greatest feast , Easter I plead with you Lord hear my cries from the depths and heal me of my sins. Help me dear Lord, to remain always open to your presence in every moment of life in this time of trial. Grant wisdom that I may love with compassion, and act in accord with your will in all circumstances. Holy Spirit be my constant guide . Amen.

And another thing—as you visit us, we invite you to share your journey with us. Let us know what you see and hear God leading you and us to be. Children of the Father all… brothers and sisters in Christ…. truly the family of God… We are to support one another on our journey to fullness of life. Together sharing the gifts we are given we discover we are bringing the Kingdom of God to completeness in Christ Jesus.

Deacon


Offer It Up! March 13, 2012


John 9:40-41

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

I once was blind but now I see… We all are familiar with that particular line from Amazing Grace. As we read in John 9, we do know that Jesus cured the blind man who had been in that condition since birth. What we may overlook—I know I did—was that, at least in John’s account, he never asked to be cured.

The disciples were with Jesus and posed the question about the sins of the man or his family. Jesus responded that He is the light of the world and that by His healing, the man would see. From that, it was by the grace of God through Jesus Christ that the man’s blindness was cured. As word spread, Jesus was not so much accepted as He was rejected with His claim that, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”

Those who do not see—those who were blind spiritually—those are the folks He came to cure then and much of the same He cures today. Those who want to be cured and saved. Those who want to walk in His light. And those that see now—what they want to see in their world and not as God wants them to see—they will be left in the darkness and blindness of their own sins.

As the this gospel and other scripture verses proclaim, it will take faith for us to believe that we can be healed. It will take faith for us to believe that we can be forgiven. It will take faith for us to believe that we will live in His light.


Offer It Up! March 12, 2012


Preparing for the Year of Faith!

It begins only a few months away—October 12, 2012 and ends in November of 2013.

How are we going to prepare for the Year of Faith? How often a year is declared by the Holy Father and I am saddened when I am aware so few Catholics participate or even know that the year has been declared for Catholic to take action in their lives that will lead to holiness.

This Sunday's first reading from Exodus reminded us of the Ten Commandments. The homilist asked rhetorically how many could name the 10...I wonder. What would even inspire a Pastor to ask such a question. What are his observations about the faith life of His flock? As a confessor, is he aware of the neglect of these commandments?

Perhaps it is a good time for all of us during Lent and in the months leading to the Year of Faith, to examine our lives in the light of God's merciful love. What will we do individually and as a parish to live out the Year of Faith? To renew ourselves through study and dialogue so that we may grow in Faith and find ourselves entering into new realms of commitment to God our Savior?

Don’t just sit there, waiting for the year to come to you! Take time to let your voice be heard. Send us comments and ideas to help us help one another grow in faith and in holiness. We are all on our paths together toward a single path of salvation.

Deacon


Offer It Up! March 11, 2012


Exodus 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17

In those days, God delivered all these commandments:
"I, the LORD am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.

"You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished the one who takes his name in vain.

"Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.

Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you.

You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass,
nor anything else that belongs to him."

From John’s gospel, Lord You have the Words of everlasting life, he confirms what Moses and the rest of us received in the Ten Commandments. By putting our lives into the practice of what God has given us in His Commandments, we can learn from Psalm 19 that the law of the Lord is perfect—putting to test our lives of perfection.

No, we’re not saying we will ever be perfect. Yet to allow ourselves an opportunity to be closer to perfection than we were before is what the Commandments and all of scripture will afford us. If we were to just let the words fall from our mouths and not act on them, that would be only half the solution. (A solution being necessary to the problem of faith without works…)

Psalm 19 praises on:

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever… the statutes of the Lord are true, all of them just.

So must we fear and trust in Him and in His Word. All He has for us is true and just. We must be witnesses to all that is His Truth. As Moses had directed the Israelites—in anger—to come back to worship God and not the golden calf, we must be faithful to what we have come to know in God and His Word.

Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11

(John 6:68)Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.

They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.


Offer It Up! March 10, 2012


Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
"A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.' So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought, 'How many of my father's hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."' So he got up and went back to his father.

While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.'
But his father ordered his servants, 'Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.'
Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, 'Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, 'Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.'
He said to him, 'My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.'"

Which one to carry for you today? The cross of pride, justice and righteousness? The one of pain, guilt and sin? Could it be the one of hope, humility and forgiveness? Or would you opt for the cross of love, grace and mercy?

The parable of the Prodigal Son is among the most widely recognized among scripture witnesses and even those who are not so accustomed to God’s Word. Choosing a ‘cross perspective’, there could be four that we could find ourselves carrying at any time.

The cross of pride when we always want to be right and have what we want, our way or the highway. And if not, send the others on their way, just as the older son experienced with his younger sibling. No small cross there.

The cross of pain, guilt and sin as the younger son took off and pretty much squandered away what all he was given—so much so that to take his inheritance as he did was for all intents and purposes to say, ‘Dad, you’re dead. Give me my money.’ That’s a huge cross to bear.

The cross of hope, humility and forgiveness as the father carried for both of his sons. As he hoped for the return of the one son, he was humbled by the presence of the other and was even more so at the return of the younger one, giving over to the glory of God all He had done for him. The father forgave his sons and the Father in heaven forgave him, too. Forgiving one another is quite a cross to carry, yes it is, as it must be carried forever.

Lastly, the cross of love, grace and mercy. The cross of sacrifice that Jesus Christ put Himself on for us. We must also sacrifice our lives so that we live according to His will. According to the way of love, grace and mercy. Then all the crosses we bear come into one that we share with Him. That would be the cross for us all to bear.


Offer It Up! March 9, 2012


Psalm 31:5-6

You will free me from the snare they set for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.

'Saints are sinners who kept on going.'

We can thank Robert Louis Stevenson for that one. Perseverance is key today, in the face of all that we have going on to change or keep us from our daily walk. How easy would it be to go with what the world wants from us as stay faithful to God’s call… after all, ‘everybody else is doing it.’

Fully into Lent, whether your observances are in full swing, half-way there or completely gone, don’t give up on yourself. Wherever it is that you find yourself, step it up a notch. If you are on target with your sacrifices or your servant practices, find a way to do more. If you’ve been somewhat lax—present company included—forgive and get over yourself and refocus your efforts and get back to what you started. And if all seems to be lost and what started out as a great idea has turned into more than you had bargained for, maybe you ought to rethink what God had intended you to do anyway… pray more about what your Lenten observances should be and start anew.

Above all else—pray your way through. Pray for the guidance to put yourself in the position that God has called you to be in. Away from the traps and snaps of Satan. Away from the darkness and emptiness of sin. Hear His call above all else. Be in His presence.


Offer It Up! March 8, 2012


It is disconcerting how quickly we have launched into the Lenten Season. It seems we just celebrated Ash Wednesday and already this coming Sunday we celebrate the first scrutiny. The Scrutinies come to us as we encourage those candidates who are to be baptized at Easter Vigil, to examine their lives with prayerful searching.

Not only the Catechumens but all of us who follow the Lord Jesus should review our lives and receive the grace of reconciliation. Though perhaps it is wiser to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of confession perhaps at least once a month, we do well to observe the Church's command to go to confession at least once each year.

Why not pause today and spend some time with the Lord and examine your conscience, your life? Don't wait any longer; find the Lord today. If you have come to this site and are reading this, realize God is calling you and seeking you. Why not respond and hear his voice?

Follow! Follow! Follow!

"If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts."

Deacon


Offer It Up! March 7, 2012


Jeremiah 18:18-20

“Come,” they said, “let us devise a plot against Jeremiah, for instruction will not perish from the priests, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. Come, let us destroy him by his own tongue. Let us pay careful attention to his every word.”

Pay attention to me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say. Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak on their behalf, to turn your wrath away from them.

Scheming, concocting, contriving devils. And that’s just what your ‘good’ friends can be... or so you would think they would be good friends. Maybe even some of your family is among those you have held close and now are seeking ways to undermine your integrity. People you have come to know and trust are now the very ones who are ‘out to get you’. What’s next, O Lord?

As Jeremiah petitions the Lord, so should we call upon God the Most High to hear our cries. It is bad enough that they choose to take the lower road of evil against the higher road of goodness. Nor should we repay evil with even more evil... not to put ourselves on the level of thosewho would want to bring us down. There is a saying that goes along the lines that if one wants to do as pigs do, expect to get and wear and smell like pigs do.

As much as we may want to lash out in anger and in retaliation, we should stay above the stench and mess of the pig pens. Let those who are there, stay there. They know what their words and actions are worth if that is where they keep themselves. Eventually, our actions and our words will be seen and heard enough that they too will find their way out of the stench they are in and into a renewal of their lives.

Pay attention to me, O LORD. Let my cries come unto you.


Offer It Up! March 6, 2012


Isaiah 1:10, 16-20

Hear the word of the LORD, princes of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, people of Gomorrah!
Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow.
Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD: though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool. If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land; but if you refuse and resist, the sword shall consume you: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!

It is quite clear the message being sent to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah: get yourselves ready and right in the eyes of God or be prepared to suffer the consequences.

As if that message needed any updating today! Take any country or city around the world or across our great states even and apply the Word of God and see what we get:

We’ve already taken prayer out of schools... not a good thing there with yet another recent school shooting.

We’ve made even more accessible the ways to prevent and even end the beginning of life as God has intended it to be with more and more chemically enhanced birth controls and abortion pills.

We are dispensing with quality end of life procedures and sending the elderly to premature deaths without so much as a second thought it seems as we give in to mega-medicine corporate demands, withholding treatment because of the bottom line.

These few things don’t even address the personal wrongs as sins in our own lives we carry around with us: the lies, the anxieties, the hates, the bitterness, the jealousies, the greed, the addictions... all for the sake of our own gratification, not for the sacrifice that God gave us in His only Son.

As often we sin, God is there to bring us back and forgive us. As often we come back, we should also reach back and forgive those in most need of forgiveness. Even if they choose not to do so for us. Even if the pain is still there, we must be willing and obey. God has indeed spoken to us all. Let us not have the power of His sword put us away but more the power of His Word fill us and consume us.


Offer It Up! March 5, 2012


Psalm 79:8, 9, 11, 13

Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low.

It wasn’t that long ago Lord that I lied to, that I cheated on, that I said those things about the people I call my family and my friends. In fact, it was yesterday… it was today… it is now. We put ourselves in these sinful ways O Lord only to cry out for Your compassion and forgiveness. Teach us Your ways so that they become ours.

Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Help us, O God our savior, because of the glory of your name; deliver us and pardon our sins for your name's sake.

We come back to our God to relieve us of our pains caused by the shame and darkness of our sinful ways. We ask for Your guidance but shun others when they seek ours. We seek forgiveness but do not grant it for others. We crave Your Love but do not share our own. We don’t do unto others as You would have us do.

Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Let the prisoners' sighing come before you; with your great power free those doomed to death. Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; through all generations we will declare your praise.

We are chained within the prisons of our own sins. We too are hopeless without Your grace and mercy, destined to the fires of hell. Show us again the glory of Your majesty through the power of Your forgiveness to lead us to eternal life, not according to what we have earned or deserve but only out of Your Love for us.

Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.


Offer It Up! March 4, 2012


Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18

God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, "Abraham!"
"Here I am!" he replied.
Then God said: "Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you."

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD's messenger called to him from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham!"
"Here I am!" he answered.
"Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger. "Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son." As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the LORD's messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing-all this because you obeyed my command."

Blinded by the light, the light of God’s grace, we must learn to trust and live on faith. From that blindness, we can learn to see what God has in store for us as our eyes are opened to the wonder of His forgiveness. Abraham was led by his faith, blind faith, in what God had in store for him, so much so that he was ready to sacrifice his only son. He was within an arm’s strike of completing the sacrifice when an angel of the Lord called out to him and stopped him, recognizing his love and devotion to God.

Are we so blinded and devoted in our faith as Abraham? Are we ready to take our sons and daughters, our families and our lives to the altar and sacrifice as God calls us to? It may not be as clearly defined as Abraham’s offering was but it may be a new job, it may be no job. It may be an illness to bear, it may be no children to bear. There will be sacrifices we all will be called to make. We all must be ready to make them as we are called.

As we answer that call, we must be prepared—alert, awake and aware—for what comes our way. As the bride’s maids were asleep and unprepared, we must keep ourselves free from that mental dullness and lethargy that would keep us from accepting God’s call. We may say ‘Not right now’, ‘Do I have to?’, ‘That is not my gift.’, or any other cue that fits us for that moment. As Abraham moved forward without any doubt, with a fullness of faith, we too must accept our call and be as God calls for us to be… abundantly faithful.


Offer It Up! March 3, 2012


Deuteronomy 26:16-19

This day the LORD, your God, is commanding you to observe these statutes and ordinances. Be careful, then, to observe them with your whole heart and with your whole being.Today you have accepted the LORD’s agreement: he will be your God, and you will walk in his ways, observe his statutes, commandments, and ordinances, and obey his voice.

And today the LORD has accepted your agreement: you will be a people specially his own, as he promised you, you will keep all his commandments,and he will set you high in praise and renown and glory above all nations he has made, and you will be a people holy to the LORD, your God, as he promised.

The commandments are not optional. With your whole heart and whole being. Not with the whatever it is you want to that day or the next. Everything you have, every day you have. As we accept what God has given us to follow, He too will accept our prayers and works for Him. He will be our God and we will be His people, today, just as He was for the Israelites.

Each time we hear that still, small voice or resounding, thunderous command, we should know that it is God. We should know to ‘obey His voice’ and follow His ways. There should be no doubt. We know when we are in those peculiar positions... we know when we are in those situations and when we should not be in them. Choices to do the right thing, choices to follow the commandments, God’s will, His statutes.

After that, as different as it sounds, He accepts what we offer Him—our agreement, our prayers, if you will. We will be His people, His chosen ones. All we have to do—all we get to do—is to keep to His ways, His commandments and He will do the rest. We know this to be true because He has promised us so.

A people holy to the LORD, your God as He promised.

Happy Lenting.


Offer It Up! March 2, 2012


Matthew 5:21-26

Teaching about Anger

“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.

Don’t carry a grudge. Not only is it not healthy, it’s quite the unholy path-like thing to do. And we all want to stay on the path toward holiness, right?

As in Matthew’s gospel, you can read about bringing our gifts to the altar. One cannot get more on a path toward holiness than that as they approach the altar. Think about the that for a moment, all that is taking place as one nears the altar. The Liturgy. The Word of God. The Eucharist. The Body and Blood of Christ. Where should our hearts be but focused on all that Christ is for us then and always? If we are there as we should be, we are there in a state of forgiveness, a state of grace. Closer yet to His Light and Love.

St. Eusebius, a 3rd century church father, gave us this prayer so that we may find ourselves back to where we need to be for those times when we are not near enough to our paths…

May I be no man's enemy,

and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides.

May I never quarrel with those nearest me:

and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly.

May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good.

May I wish for all men's happiness and envy none.

May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me.

When I have done or said what is wrong,

may I never wait for the rebuke of others,

but always rebuke myself until I make amends.

May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent.

May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another.

May I never fail a friend who is in danger.

When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words

to soften their pain.

May I respect myself.

May I always keep tame that which rages within me.

May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never be angry with people because of circumstances.

May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps.

Amen.


Offer It Up! March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Happy Birthday Fr. Albert!

Happy Birthday Cary!

Happy Birthday Mike!


Matthew 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."

How many times have we asked in prayer and we know that our prayer was answered, almost right away?

How often is it that we submit ourselves to a prayerful state and find ourselves listening to what God has to say to us... and understanding it?

On the other hand, how many times do we want to list those times we’ve prayed and the response or seemingly lack of it, frustrated us with God?

How many times have we gone on and on and on, in incessant rambling, trying to put on such a convincing argument to get God to change His mind about this thing or that?

Reading from Matthew, we get the impression that whatever it is we want to ask for, we are bound to get. Whatever door we think we should knock on, someone is going to open it for us. Whatever it is we think we are looking for, we are going to find. We are also duly reminded that if someone asks us for food, we are not to hand them rocks or reptiles. Matthew goes on to say even the wicked do good things and that the Father in heaven is waiting to give to those who ask. All of us, the saintly and the saints in waiting so to speak.

That is what prayer does for us. The more we do pray, the more we find ourselves in that position to do as He is calling us to do. Really. It works. Just like anything else you put yourself to being and to doing. To be more Christ-like you have to do more Christ-like things. How much sense does that make? A lot more than giving rocks to someone who needs food.


Birthday stuff.

Lots of folks doing the celebration today but none as close and as dear and loved as our son Jeff.

Twenty-six years ago, coming into the world some eight weeks early than he was supposed to be here, he wasted little time in catching up. From four pounds then to a 'small' 184 today, he has accomplished much with the gifts God has blessed him with. Not to say that it was and has been all a bed of roses or smooth sailing.

Uhhh... not hardly.

Of the schools he has attended, the one about ‘hard knocks’ is the one that has done the most for him, in this humble opinion. He has recognized that the paths he had chosen some years past were not the ones that were going to get him anywhere near the goals he had set for himself. Though we all have our ups and downs and tough breaks, it took some harder knocks for him to finally realize what he needed to do make a break from what was holding him back. It took courage and commitment and resilience but he did it.

Last September, he completed that change and is on his way to greater success than ever. With his own fortitude, his own love and his own new lifestyle, he has made up his mind with a change of attitude and a change of heart. A loving and caring son, an equally considerate ‘brother-friend’ to his sister and brother, Jeff is rewriting his life a day at a time. How cool is that?

Are you ready? Let’s go then.

We love you, Jeff. Always will. No matter what.

Mom and Dad