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

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Offer It Up! Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Romans 12:16

Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty but associate with the lowly;
do not be wise in your own estimation.

Oh, if you were to be in my shoes now.

Or to be in someone else’s.

Before we get too carried away with what we think God has planned for us, this short passage has some news for us: the lives we live are not so much about us as they are about who we live them for.

Do we put others first before we think of ourselves? Do we find our lives more on the sunny side of the street rather than the shadowy, darker side? Are we beating our own drums and sounding our own trumpets to draw attention to ourselves? These are not such healthy practices, at least according to Paul. And having had some experience at them, I would tend to agree.

Yes, God loves us all and cares that we love one another. He wants us to keep our minds and hearts filled with things of His planning, not our own. We get on a bit of a roll, things are pretty smooth and the next thing you know, we are thinking we are the best thing since pockets on shirts. And that is okay, provided we remember to share in our excitement and success and put it all in its proper perspective.

But pride kills. We forget that we have our own responsibilities for one another, for those who are in need. I/We did this. I/We got that done. It is all about me and we! Ain’t I/we something? What should we be doing? We should be imitating Christ. We should be following His example. The ultimate example in Servant Leadership.If we had a choice, and we do, those are the shoes to be in.

Offer It Up! Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2011

For the sacrifice of life of those who gave their all and the families they did it for ,we remember today and always and offer our prayers and thanks. May God forever bless them and hold them in His eternal peace.

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem.

Rev. Aaron Kilbourn

Offer It Up! Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hebrews 13:5

And be content with such things as you have;
for he hath said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

We all have longings, desires, and needs.Sometimes they are healthy – meaning they won’t hurt us or others and would probably even help us somehow. Sometimes they are destructive – meaning they would likely ruin a relationship or cause someone pain or cause us to gain weight, and on and on. It’s easy to get those two concepts mixed up because sometimes we want something so much that we begin to rationalize our need for it. The more we rationalize it, the more it becomes a need in our minds and the more we strive to obtain it.

One way to curb the unhealthy or destructive longings and desires is to pray, especially if we aren’t sure what it is. In our minds, it might seem innocent enough and it might even feel like a need. If there is any doubt that we are rationalizing it, we should pray. Pray for God’s will, pray for God’s desires instead of our own, for in so doing, we get the best of what we need – God’s perfect plan for our lives.

Yes, there will be disappointment. Yes, there will be moments of discouragement. And, yes, there will be times that we will want to ask “why?” But, if we know that we have our Heavenly Father looking out for us, then we can be content with what we have, knowing that His will being worked in our lives is always the best thing we could ever hope for.


Acts 16:4-10

As they traveled from city to city, they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia.When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them, so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.During the night Paul had a vision.A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision, we sought passage to Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Offer It Up! Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Prayer for Trust and Confidence in God's Mercy
St. Pio of Pietrelcina

O Lord,
we ask for a boundless confidence
and trust in Your divine mercy,
and the courage to accept
the crosses and sufferings
which bring immense goodness
to our souls and that of Your Church.
Help us to love You
with a pure and contrite heart,
and to humble ourselves beneath Your cross,
as we climb the mountain of holiness,
carrying our cross that leads to heavenly glory.
May we receive You
with great faith and love in Holy Communion,
and allow You to act in us as You desire
for your greater glory.
O Jesus, most adorable Heart
and eternal fountain of Divine Love,
may our prayer find favor before
the Divine Majesty of Your heavenly Father.


Offer It Up! Friday, May 27, 2011

Wisdom in seeing God

Strive to see God in all things without exception, and-acquiesce in His will with absolute submission. Do everything for God, uniting yourself to Him by a mere upward glance, or by the overflowing of your heart towards Him. Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inward peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Commend all to God, and then lie still and be at rest in His bosom.

Whatever happens, abide steadfast in a determination to cling simply to God, trusting to His eternal love for you; and if you find that you have wandered forth from this shelter, recall your heart quietly and simply. Maintain a holy simplicity of mind, and do not smother yourself with a host of cares, wishes, or longings, under any pretext.

Saint Francis de Sales

Offer It Up! Thursday, May 26, 2011

Prayer of Saint Augustine to the Blessed Virgin

O blessed Virgin Mary,

Who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving,

thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world?

What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor,

since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration.

Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer,

though they be unequal to thy merits; and receiving our vows,

obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses.

Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience,

and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation.

May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee,

become pardonable through thee;

may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted.

Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear,

for thou art the sole hope of sinners.

Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee,

O blessed Lady, is our hope of reward.

Holy Mary, succor the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful,

pray for thy people, plead for the clergy,

intercede for all women consecrated to God;

may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection.

Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray,

and bring back to us the answers to our prayers.

Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God,

thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world,

who liveth and reigneth, world without end.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, May 25, 2011

John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

Pruning hurts. By its very definition it just sounds like it does…. Superfluous matter, remove ornamentation… to cut away. Then there are those words that are synonymous with ‘prune’: cut, pare… lop off. But the definition also gives us that what we cut away, we get back for more fruitful growth, for better shape.

Every day we get our pruning done. Some days, more than others. Some days, more painful than others. And even some days, we wonder why He doesn’t just cut the whole branch off and start over.

Be careful for what you pray. Some times He does. God will take us to our depths to get us where we can best be molded as He wants us to be, to be shaped and more fruitful. All we have to do is stay on the vine, stay available to Him and His Word. Remain in Him. That is when and how we begin to bear the fruit He sees in us. Yes, there will be pain involved. But for the fruits we bear and for the glory He shares, it will be worth it.

Offer It Up! Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.

Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

It is true. No matter how strong or capable we think we might be, we still have our weaknesses. And the stronger we become, the more we become aware of those weaknesses, those things we can’t do. And that is just how God would want it: for us to know that we are incapable in more ways than we are able.

When we are at weakest, when we are left with nothing but our will and faith in Him that is when we find we have the ‘real’ strength to go on. When the source of that power in all we have is found in God and not in what the world offers us, we are on our way to living our journey of faith as He designed for us. Yes, there is an emptiness and pain associated it with it. It is then the transformation can begin as there is nothing else to get in the way of God’s Love and strength.

No bargaining. No deals to be made. We are not worthy to begin with anyway. Not to give up, either, as our pride may get in the way of what we think we need or that we may lose confidence that our prayers may go unanswered. We get what we have been blessed with, like it or not. And with prayer, yes—answered prayer— we can come closer to appreciating it, more than not.

His Love, strength and grace are enough. And that is all our faith needs to know.

Offer It Up! Monday, May 23, 2011

John 14:21

Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

Of all that we cannot grasp or ‘get our brains around’, what Jesus gives us in this passage is quite clear: keep to what He has told us to do—that is how we love Him. And when that is how we live, we are Loved by the Father and by Jesus His Son. And one more thing: that is how you will see Him as we live according to His commandments.

Not a life of routine acceptance, of living in a rut or same stuff different day, but a life filled with the challenge of living with the Holy Spirit within us and around us. That much is not so easy as we have the world telling us otherwise what to do. But the message itself remains clear:

John 14:23

‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and My Father will Love him.’

The more we make ourselves available to Him, to life as we have been called to do, the more we find ourselves less likely to live in what the world would like life for us to be. The more we become in tune, familiar with, the more we read scripture, the more we pray—all these things will put us in better position to love as we have been commanded to do. We just have to ‘want’ to be closer, to be open to His call. The Holy Spirit will help with the rest.

John 14:25-26

“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

Offer It Up! Sunday, May 22, 2011

Unfolding The Rosebud

It is only a tiny rosebud,

A flower of God's design;

But I cannot unfold the petals

With these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers

Is not known to such as I.

God opens this flower so sweetly,

When in my hands they fade and die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud,

This flower of God's design,

Then how can I think I have wisdom

To unfold this life of mine?

So I'll trust in Him for Hisleading

Each moment of every day.

I will look to Himfor His guidance

Each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me,

Only my heavenly Father knows.

I'll trust Him to unfold the moments,

Just as He unfolds the rose.

Submitted by MMartini

Offer It Up! Saturday, May 21, 2011

Psalm 89:8-10, 12, 14-16, 21-27

Who in the skies ranks with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the gods?

A God dreaded in the council of the holy ones, greater and more awesome than all who sit there!

LORD, God of hosts, who is like you? Mighty LORD, your loyalty is always present.

You rule the raging sea; you still its swelling waves.

Yours are the heavens, yours the earth; you founded the world and everything in it.

Mighty your arm, strong your hand, your right hand is ever exalted.

Justice and judgment are the foundation of your throne; love and loyalty march before you.

Happy the people who know you, LORD, who walk in the radiance of your face.

I have chosen David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him.

My hand will be with him; my arm will make him strong.

No enemy shall outwit him, nor shall the wicked defeat him.

I will crush his foes before him, strike down those who hate him.

My loyalty and love will be with him; through my name his horn will be exalted.

I will set his hand upon the sea, his right hand upon the rivers.

He shall cry to me, 'You are my father, my God, the Rock that brings me victory!'

Rank, power, might, strength, justice, judgment…love, loyalty, happy, radiant.

On one side, it sounds like we are talking about the military – a group of people who band together to conquer and defeat the enemy.On the other side, it sounds like we are talking about a young couple in love; a bride and groom about to be married – nothing can rain on their parade!Now try to picture this radiant bride and groom, all dressed up and ready for the wedding, standing in a war zone, surrounded by battle-weary soldiers and high ranking officials.It makes for a very strange picture, doesn’t it?

Let’s change the picture just a little.Perhaps the bride and groom are in a war zone, surrounded by solders and high ranking officials, but the solders and officials all have on their dress uniforms.Now the picture makes more sense, right?There may be bombs dropping and guns blazing near the bride and groom, but they have the strength, the beauty, and the splendor of well-dressed military there to protect them…and they are in love, happy, and radiant.

Having our God by our side is just like that.There may be problems dropping from the sky and sharp words blazing past our ears at a moment’s notice.But we can feel safe and secure knowing that we have our powerful and mighty Lord standing next to us.Rank, power, might, strength, justice, judgment…love, loyalty, happy, radiant.God is all of those things for us and with us.He is that one perfect being that can be all things at all times.And, because God is in us, we can be all of those things, all of the time, regardless of what is going on around us.The more we can picture ourselves surrounded and protected by Him, the more we will be able to say, like David, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock that brings me victory!’lgboyd

Only be thou strong and very courageous. Joshua 1:7

Offer It Up! Friday, May 20, 2011

How is the Easter season affecting you? The message of Easter is certainly intoxicating and exciting. Jesus is risen! He who was shamefully hung on a tree, naked, rejected by men, beaten mercilessly and nailed to the cross -- He's ALIVE! He has appeared to His disciples and not only appeared but ate with them. At first they didn't recognize Him but it is Him, He is truly risen. Death has been conquered as He has returned to His Father and Our Father and rules over all of creation. Easter the season of victory, we are the recipients of the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, who has revealed to us the Father's love and who has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us as He promised.

There is excitement in the liturgical air as we approach Pentecost, we will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church. Now is the time to prepare to celebrate this great feast which closes the Easter Season and transitions us to Ordinary time.

Ordinary time. What does ordinary mean in the life of a Catholic Christian? Ordinary Christian life centered on Christ living day in and day out with the Lord of Lords always with us. As He lived his days among men, obedient always to the Father's will, so will the ordinary way of the Christian be. Single-mindedly we seek to do the will of God the Father in all things. The challenge is to take on Christ and to open mind and heart to Him. Immersing ourselves in the Scriptures is a path to "getting to know Him". Daily prayer, conversations with God, with Jesus, with Mary, with the saints are all pathways to growth in coming to know the mind of God, and growing in holiness. Holiness, is it something on your desire list when you pray?

As we approach the last weeks of the Easter season, look to your preparation for celebrating Pentecost. If you haven't been to Reconciliation, remember confession and communion at least once a year during the Easter Season which ends with Trinity Sunday. Look deeply within and ask the Lord to lead you to the knowledge when you missed the mark, and sinned. Don't procrastinate act now and ask the Lord to come into your life with power and mercy.

Open your mind and heart to the Holy Spirit, may he lead us all to a new and lasting Pentecost!


Offer It Up! Thursday, May 19, 2011

John 13:16-20

When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

Yes, we certainly are all equal in our Master’s eyes. No one above another. No one less than another. Yet how often do we put ourselves in positions of ‘holier-than-thou’ and ‘got-it-all-knowed-up-and-you-don’t’? Oh, we rationalize and say we don’t mean it or it we really aren’t in such and such a position buuuuut….

That is not our call to make. As Jesus told His disciples so they would know even before it happens, He is I AM, they were not. They were called and sent by Him. We are also called and sent. We are to then to receive those He sends to us so that we may also then receive Him. All the time. Not just on the days we choose. Not just on Sundays at mass or church. Every day. Every one.

As Jesus Loves us without reservations or conditions, so must we love as He has taught us to love, unconditionally. We should all humbly accept His gift of Love and continue to live and love, in accord with His promise of eternal life.

We are blessed when we understand this.

Prayer of St. Augustine

Eternal God,

Who are the light of the minds that know You,

the joy of the hearts that love You,

and the strength of the wills that serve You;

grant us so to know You,

that we may truly love You,

and so to love You that we may fully serve You,

whom to serve is perfect freedom,

in Jesus our Lord.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, May 18, 2011

John 12: 44-50

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

Well, if that wasn’t the dumbest thing I ever did.

I can’t believe I did that—how stupid of me!

Yup, my fault there. That was my dumb mistake.

If you’ve uttered one of these or a similar one lately, or often, chances are good you’ve found yourself in decent company. We have all put ourselves down for tactical errors, lack of foresight, and even just plain ‘what-was-I-not-thinking?’ poor judgment. Of all those we made, the one we would never make would be leave our errors as they were-of course we would seek to make them right. To fix what was made wrong.

In our sinful ways, God is the way for us to make right what we did wrong. To bring us back into the light from our spiritual darkness… from our ‘arrogance’ that we know it all when in fact we know so little. With the transformation from darkness to the light, we find more of who we are in God’s image, to be more like Him and less like us. More in the Light. More in His Love.

If you’ve ever been through an evaluation at wherever it is you work, you’ve probably heard enough about what you could be doing better. If you have friends that have ever given you advice, you’ve probably heard enough about what you could do differently to make your life so much better. Yet if you’ve ever given yourself over to the Love of God, to the fullness of His Love, there is His gift of transformation of all you are to become—of what He has called You to be. God sent us His Son so that we all could have life more abundantly, for our salvation. It would be our biggest mistake to live life any differently than what He has called us to do.

Offer It Up! Tuesday, May 17, 2011

John 10:22-30

The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense?If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

If they had to ask the question, they really didn’t understand. If they had to ask the question, they were waiting for something big, miraculous, even amazing to happen so that they could believe. You can hear it in their question – ‘how long are you going to keep us in suspense?’ It’s kind of like the local gossip that goes around. It starts out as a whisper between two friends and suddenly the person being gossiped about is being confronted by others and questioned about the news. If the gossip is not correct, everyone walks away disappointed that they could not feed off of someone else’s woes. If the gossip is correct, well, we can all wander off and thank God it is not us and spread the gossip even further.

Those that gathered around Jesus were not interested in knowing the truth. They were interested in the local gossip and how they could feed the need for it with whatever Jesus had to say next. Jesus was not interested in feeding the gossip. He was interested in tending to His sheep. He wasn’t going to perform a miracle or repeat what they’ve already heard just so they could all run off and gossip about it later. Jesus was interested in saving lives.He was interested in the relationship. He was interested in caring for those that would know Him and follow Him without the need for miracles around every corner.

Jesus wants us to trust Him with the little things and the big things. There will always be those big miraculous moments in life where our prayers are answered and our Lord obviously intervened for us. But what about the day to day stuff?Let’s not live only for the miracles in our lives. I believe we should live as if every day is a miracle – and it is!We’ve been chosen by God to be one of His sheep–He knows our needs and He will never allow us to perish! It is in those quiet moments of belief that some of the most joyous moments of praise occur.


Acts 11:22-24

The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.

Offer It Up! Monday, May 16, 2011

Romans 8:28-30

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.

‘This Is Good’

The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!"

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!"

To which the king replied, "No, this is not good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake.

As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. "You were right," he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. "And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this."

"No," his friend replied, "This is good!"

"What do you mean, 'This is good'? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?"

"If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you."

Author Unknown

Submitted by Reno V.

Offer It Up! Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good Shepherd Sunday

Acts 2:37-40

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, "What are we to do, my brothers?"

Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call."

He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

There are those whose only exposure to Scripture is what they hear on the weekends as they choose to attend and celebrate the Word… if then. And there are those who get another blessing and dose or two from their bible groups or family gatherings, or however it is they choose to study and understand it more.

What they gather from those experiences is sometimes carried with them for a few days and then, like day-old newspapers, set aside or forgotten. How interesting it is that the Bible has existed all these hundreds of years and still has the impact it does. For sure, we are not the first to be so lackadaisical, so careless, with our faith. We were not the first but we can certainly do more about our current plight that we don’t perpetuate it.

What are we to do then? Pray. Pray more then, and pray the Scriptures. Put yourself in a better position to do those things God has called you to do. Narrow your path toward holiness. Enjoy the gifts God has served you and serve them to others. Live in the eternity of the Kingdom here on earth. Surrender and dedicate yourself to the loving, guiding power through the grace and mercy of God.

Offer It Up! Saturday, May 14, 2011

Philippians 4:11-14

Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient.

I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.

I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.

Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.

Being of the belief that we are, we are apt to hear or have heard this passage often, particularly the verse about ‘I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.’ Always good to hold to that truth-we can do all things with Him and for Him.

It’s what’s in front of it and behind it that gives it even more substance, more strength. The humility. The abundance. In the good times and the not-so-good times, we must be aware that God is there for all that we need for He has given us all that we have and will see to it that we end up with what we need.

Yes, we can be ‘self-sufficient’ as much as we can be on any given day, yet giving all the glory and praise to the One who brought us to where we are today. And clearly, ‘self’ would be in the plural tense as this has nothing at all to do with it being just about us-God does have His plans for us. And as He shares all of our ‘sufficiencies’ and ‘insufficiencies’ with us, we must remember, in every circumstance, to give Him the glory.

Forever and ever. Amen.

Offer It Up! Friday, May 13, 2011

Acts 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.

On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

He had to be hungry, Saul did. And maybe, no-make that more like probably- that hunger led to his conversion.

On a mission to hunt down, rough up-if not just do them in right there-those who chose to follow and believe in this Christ Jesus, Saul and his ‘associates’ had some 160 miles of rough road to travel. It may be true that they made some time at evening or night, being cooler to travel then. But nonetheless, the roads of the day could not have been smooth ones. His type of work and the hard road he was on would have to lead to a hunger that would not easily be satisfied, physically and else-wise.

And so let the conversion begin. The light flashes around him, he’s struck down, humbled, hearing voices even. If you’ve ever experienced a moment or two in your life when you were doing something you knew you just should not be doing, maybe your conscience started screaming at you. Maybe it was Saul’s conscience speaking so strongly, so forcefully, that the others could not help but hear and see what was happening. When he gets up and opens his eyes he finds out he can’t see. For the next three days, he was that way and he neither drank nor ate until such time that his salvation arrived.

No more threats. No more imprisonments. No more persecutions—at least not from his hands. He was on his way to his new Way of life. And the voice of God was speaking loudly. Then comes salvation. In the form of a stranger, one who dared to follow His voice. Ananias must have been equally challenged at this calling; yet he carries on his conversation with the LORD as if to make sure He knew for sure what Saul was all about.

In a word, God says… ‘Go’.

And so Ananias did and soon, Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit, was then able to see again and with food, regained his strength. The scale-like coverings fell from his eyes, he ate and was filled with strength and began to proclaim Christ Jesus as the Son of God.

Mark 16:15, Psalm 117:1

Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Praise the LORD, all you nations; glorify him, all you peoples

That was the hunger that needed to be filled. That was the thirst that could not be sated any other way but the Way of Christ. From the conversion experience of Paul in the reading from Acts, to the proclamation of the Good News in the Psalms and in Mark’s gospel all the way to the fullness of the Bread of Life in John’s gospel, the Spirit of God moves us and changes us all. We surrender to His will, letting go of all what now needs to be let go of. We go out and tell the world of our own good news, of our forgiveness, of our salvation. And we are filled with the transforming power of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. This is our eternal life.

John 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Offer It Up! Thursday, May 12, 2011

Acts 8: 26-31

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, “Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.”So he got up and set out.Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.”
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?”
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.

Are you ready?

Yes sir.

Well let’s go then.

That exchange took place countless times over the years as the kids prepared themselves each morning to go to school. As the ritual grew from the parents doing the preparation for them to their own hair combing and face-washing, and yes, even what they would wear, we all learned to figure out the timing it would take us to get from a waking state to the front doors of the school. They learned about ‘getting ready’ from us as well as we could do and as much as we wanted them to be properly prepared and safe and healthy as they joined others to learn even more.

Consider Philip. He gets his own orders to set out and help a court official ‘get ready’ so that he could learn even more about what he was reading. Philip may not have had an idea about his mission but he trusted in the angel and in the Holy Spirit. He followed the will and instructed the eunuch and even baptized him. Just as parents, we prepare the kids—baptize them—take them to school and trust that they get the education we took them there to get. But the job doesn’t end there.

We are called as Philip was called to do even more. From children to court officials to co-workers to family members, the Spirit of the Lord will lead us to the transformation of lives. We may not need a chariot or our cars for that matter. It will take obedience and persistence and readiness: we just have to have the want to and availability. There are no accidents—we are all a part of God’s plan.

Are you ready? Well, let’s go then.

Offer It Up! Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Rita!

Happy Birthday Angie!

John 6:35-40

Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”

Have you ever met someone and just on that first meeting, you knew you wanted to know more about them? Maybe it was a good friend you have now. Maybe it was your first ‘true love’. Maybe it was your first and last true love. Whatever that attraction was at first, there was something on the physical plane that first brought you close.

The more you came to know them, the more you found out you wanted to know them. Where they were from, their family, their favorite songs, their wants and dreams… their faith. You couldn’t get enough of what it is they had. They were filling you up and maybe you were doing the same for them. What a great relationship! What a way to start out in love! How much greater could life get than this?

What if you think of the Eucharist that way? What if your relationship with Jesus Christ, receiving Him in His Body and Blood, filled you in the same way—no, even more than—your true love did? What if His spiritual fullness brought to you the kind of life you never dreamed of, more than what you even expected from your true love here on earth? Get beyond the ‘what if’ and into the reality of the fullness and abundance of life, that life Jesus offers us in His eternal Life. Each time we accept Him, we are transformed more into His likeness, to be like Him, to live like Him. He is the Bread of Life.

Offer It Up! Tuesday, May 10, 2011

John 6: 30-35

The crowd said to Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

So they said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Today’s gospel would have me thinking that Jesus would be shaking His head, wanting to say something else to have the crowds finally get the message. But what more could He say? They were locked in on the worldly and physical aspects, on what they needed or wanted today. And there were those needs to be met. And Jesus knew that. Yet, there was that greater need still to come.

For the Church to grow, there had to be those that were coming around, those that were being transformed by His ‘true bread and true life’. They understood that was more than the manna from heaven, more than the loaves and fishes, more to come than the things of this earth. Just as we eventually get the message today—there is so much more life He has given eternally, more than we can ever enjoy here on earth. And that message is reinforced every opportunity we share in the Eucharist.

Just as Jesus shared with them, He shares with us:

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

We receive the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Bread of Life. And as it is transformed from bread and wine into His Body and Blood, we too are transformed into living sanctuaries. With our faith and hope and contrition, He only says the word and our souls are healed to receive Him. What a transformation. What a way to become one with Him. And through Him, we become more like Him, transforming ourselves.

Offer It Up! Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Joe!

Happy Birthday Becky!

John 6:26-29

Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

So I guess it is true we are what we eat. And whatever more we can eat of the body and blood of Christ, the more we are filled with what we have been called to believe in—our eternal salvation.

However many types of hunger there might be, there are at least three that are of significance to us, those that we hunger for most in life. Of course there is the physical hunger, which which we satisfy with whatever is convenient, fast or has been prepared for us. There is the emotional hunger we satisfy in our relationships, fulfilling it with contact, with communication and often with theunderstanding of what one does for us, we can and often do for them-in a positive condition.

The third we mention here is our spiritual hunger, the most important of the three. Without its fulfillment, its satisfaction—though neither are never really fully attained—being physically and emotionally sated will have little reward compared to being fully alive spiritually. That spiritual hunger is met only in our hearts and souls and lasts forever. Oh, yeah, we have to be open to being refilled at every chance we get but the hunger must mean something other than to fill in some check box to say I did that today or this yesterday… we must believe that what we are doing is what we are called to do and will lead us on our path of holiness.

So be more of what you ‘take and eat’. Be more of the Body of Christ. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Be God’s.

Offer It Up! Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Birthday Mary!

Offer It Up! Saturday, May 7, 2011

John 6:16-21

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.

An avid duck hunter just bought a new dog, a retriever. The first time he took the dog out, was amazed when he saw the dog retrieve a duck by simply running across the lake. He called his friend to come join and soon, his hunting partner was there, just as another formation of ducks flew over the lake. The hunter fired; a duck fell; the dog ran across the water and retrieved it.

This happened again and again but the hunting partner made no comment. Finally, the proud hunter said to his partner, "See anything odd about that dog?"

"Yup,"," said his partner. "Your dog can't swim."

We see what we want to see. Instead of being amazed as was the dog owner, (and the dog for all that matters), the partner remained unfazed for whatever reason. Maybe he had his own water-walking dog. Maybe he had seen plenty of dogs do the same thing. For whatever it was worth, he saw something different than what the owner saw. One saw something as greatly improbable; the other saw it merely as incapable.

We don’t necessarily see things as they are; we see them unnecessarily as we are. And we cannot begin to become who we are until we see and accept who God has called us to be. And that comes from learning and doing what is right. Staying on our path toward holiness, narrowing the lanes, our virtue parameters, as we go along. Seeing miracles and dismissing them as coincidence or something other than what they are is limiting our beliefs. In fact, it’s not giving God His due. And that is way less than He deserves.

God sent His Son as a model for us. There was and is none better to follow as we practice our love and compassion. Jesus’ actions of His love and compassion came from within; people changed because of Him. The practice of our love and compassion must also come from within. People can change. Including those who see the change in us.

Offer It Up! Friday, May 6, 2011

John 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

We never know how we will be brought into the plans of God. Better yet, we don’t know how or what it is that we sometimes do will have any bearing on anyone else’s future… but it does. We just have to do what we have been called to do.

When Jesus asked the disciples what they thought of the crowds and how they might be fed, He knew what had to be done. He wanted them to be a part of the solution, to be involved with the working of His miracles, to be a part of the breaking of the bread. Did the disciples know that beforehand? Maybe they did. Or maybe they were still trying to figure it out themselves as Andrew pointed out when he noted the small amount of food the boy had.

And maybe we are the same way in our own assessment of what God can do for us when we are invited to be a part of the solution. Maybe we put ourselves in the little boxes of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ as we pray and don’t hear Him directing us to pick up whatever pieces we can find so that He can do the rest. Maybe we are too caught up in what we need and not what He wants us to have. Thinking horizontally, not vertically.

We would do well to keep that expectant attitude of faith, of miracles waiting to happen. They are present everyday and everywhere for us to see. He is inviting us all to be a part of them.

Offer It Up! Thursday, May 5, 2011

Takeable Stuff

Materialism is the idea that the more things you have, the more you are esteemed by others, and therefore, you believe it enhances your own self-esteem.
You strive to buy all the things you can. You see someone else has purchased a new thing that you don't have, so you strive to buy one for yourself, even if the cost is greater than money. You work longer hours to make more money to buy more things to add to your stuff collection. You buy things that you think will give you more pleasure, entertainment, convenience or status. This means you spend less time with your loved ones and less time taking care of yourself.
Then you die.

What happens to all your stuff? You can't take it with you, so the ones you left behind get to decide what to do with your stuff. They may fight over it causing family rifts. Some of them might not want your stuff at all and sell it to buy the stuff they want. What they don't want may be given to charity, or worse, just thrown away in the trash. So much for your prized possessions.

The ancient Egyptians tried to take their stuff with them. The Pharaohs were buried in the Pyramids with all their stuff, including wives and slaves, with the idea that they would need their stuff in the next life. Thousands of years later, archeologists would dig up their burial tombs and display all their stuff in museums so people could see what kind of stuff ancient Egyptians collected. So much for their prized possessions.

There is one thing you can take with you: Love.
The human heart has an unlimited capacity for loving an unlimited amount of people. And you can collect more people than you could ever hope to collect stuff.

The more people you love in this life, the more treasures you collect not only in this life but beyond. The more people you collect into your life, the happier and more secure you will feel, and this will go a long way in enhancing your self-esteem. Have you ever noticed that someone who is loved by many is held in high esteem?
So start collecting today.
Grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren, friends, coworkers, strangers in need. The list is unlimited and so is the love in your heart.

And you can take that with you.

A Loretta F., MountainWings Original
Submitted by Reno V.

Offer It Up! Wednesday, May 4, 2011

John 3:16-21

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

If we are not familiar enough with the John 3:16 verse, we are all aware of our eternal life that has been promised us through our belief and faith in God and His only begotten Son. That is His promise to us for our submitting to His will. Not too bad a deal though we are often finding ways to worm our way out of it from time to time, putting ourselves in positions not so conducive for success.

As we read beyond 3:16, we further realize that we were brought here for salvation—not to be condemned for those sins and failures but to be brought more into His light because God did not send His Son here to tell us how poorly we were doing—we do that enough on our own. God sent His Son to bring about our transformation from our sinful ways, from the darkness, so that we would live in the light. Let’s face it; we are hard enough on each other and on ourselves without further condemnation from God’s right hand.

Do we deserve it, the condemnation? Of course. But God sees beyond that what we can’t or won’t. He forgives us anyway. He wants more for us and gives us more than we can possibly fathom or give ourselves. We have to get to a point in our lives where we can let Him do that. Every day. Through prayer. Through submission. Through living in the light so that we may come to know His love as truth and the truth becomes our way of life. That will be our preference then and always, living in the light.

Offer It Up! Tuesday, May 3, 2011

1 Corinthians 15:6–7

After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.

He had already appeared to His disciples at least three times. Now Paul tells us He made Himself present to so many others, hundreds in fact. And if that was not enough, Jesus appears to James and Philip to further convince them of His plan for them. They were finally getting the message as clearly as Paul.

Throughout our lives, there have been times when the ‘message’ became quite clear to us, that Jesus was making known to us as He had to others. A message that may not have been a vision as experienced by the apostles but we ‘heard’ it loud and clear. So much so that there was no doubt we were convinced of the power and glory of the Risen Lord. It may have come from a personal experience; a friend’s trust in you, through scripture or through the hand of stranger but you knew it when you heard it.

That is the beautiful and loving mystery of God’s love for us. From the mundane to the extraordinary—the abnormal even—He is there enriching our lives. We would do well to follow His will.

Offer It Up! Monday, May 2, 2011

John 3:5-8

Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Gentle breeze or strong wind – we know it is there. We only see it because we see its effect on our surroundings; the leaves in the trees clap their hands, the wind chimes play their tinkering song, and we can watch the birds float on top of the wind as if they aren’t even flying. The wind is a necessary part of our world. It freshens our air and cleans things up for us.

So to with the Holy Spirit. The only difference is, where the wind comes and goes, the Holy Spirit is with us always.How do we know? Because we feel it. Every time we see a body or soul healed, a broken heart mended, a joyful occasion, such as the birth of a child, we know that He is with us. Even more so, when we see our specific prayers answered, we know that the Spirit dwells in us and near us. Even more still, when we hear that still, small voice prompting us throughout the day to pray or act or be still, we know the Spirit is there…and we must listen.

It is an amazing thing to be ‘born of the Spirit.’ It is something that we should never take for granted, but constantly be aware and amazed and thankful for it by listening and acknowledging its presence in our lives. lgboyd

Acts 4:31

As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Offer It Up! Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011

John 20:31

Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

No one knows all the signs that Jesus did when He was serving others here on earth. We are reminded of that in the Scriptures. We do know however that from the Scriptures and from the traditions and Tradition of the Catholic Church, much has been written about what He did and has done... and continues to do.

Many have recognized Him as a ‘good guy’, a ‘well-versed story teller’, or even a pretty decent prophet. Yet for the other real many, the many that are believers in what He came to bring us, we know Who and What He was and is.

We have come to believe in Him.

He has come to bring us eternal life.

He has chosen us.

He has come to lead us to the place He has for us.

We have been equipped with the tools. A renewed spirit in Him, one of love, mercy, grace, and peace. One of joy, perseverance, commitment and praise. Much like Jesus did with those that walked with Him, He has given us that same mission to proclaim the Good News. Let us put our trust in Him as He has done with us and commit ourselves to living as He has called us all to do.