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

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Offer It Up November 30th

Happy Birthday Gayle!


Matthew 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast into the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Come after me and I will make you fishers of people.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. And at once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

Every day, someone is called to follow as a disciple. Every day, someone else is transformed, is converted to a new and better way of living. That person didn’t get that way on their own. Another believer was there to turn them away from what they were doing, to ask them to do something different or even just to give them a nudge in the way they should be going.

Jesus brought about the first four of His disciples with some eleven words-‘Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ Maybe our transformation was not clear cut as Andrew’s or Peter’s, James’ or John’s. Admittedly, how many of us would leave everything behind as they did and have that sort of trust to do what they did? Yet that is what we are called to do every time we are challenged to live our lives as believers. As Catholics. As Christians. Trust in Him to do His will and follow His way.

Jesus called on His disciples early on and they called others as they spread the word. They lived what they spoke. What was inside was presented outside. We are challenged today to bring others to the Word just as Andrew and Philip and James and the rest of the disciples did. As we do, remember who first brought the Good News to you. Who was your Andrew? Or your Philip? Who will you be an Andrew or Philip to? Every day is our opportunity to be a disciple, an instrument, a channel to bring about a difference in the life of someone else. With His grace, every day, we can all grow closer to His glory.

db


Birthday Note to the Birthday Girl…

Today is her birthday. No, I don’t know how many she has celebrated but that doesn’t matter. That can be her secret if she wants. What is important is that she has life and lives it fully in the Spirit and Love of God. Gayle knows about discipleship, about leading others, about bringing the message to those who need to hear it and making sure they get that message. That has been her life and livelihood. She has legitimately ‘retired’ from her civil service function in that capacity but still carries on her discipleship as a messenger, warrior and sister in Christ.

Her heart is wrapped within her soul; her soul firmly held by God’s guiding hands. Never one to be shy, she is the first to volunteer, from stepping up, from taking the lead, from giving even beyond what is expected. She has a unique capability for finding time when there is none to be found. For squeezing an hour out of an already maximized day. She can bring together groups and teams to get things done or she can get busy and do it herself if need be.

More importantly than all of this, there is her faith and there is her family. She knows that without her belief and faith in God, none of what she has would be possible. And for that, she is thankful. Her family, her daughters, her grandchildren, her friends, her church… she knows how blessed she is. We know how blessed we are to have her in our lives.

Happy Birthday Gayle. May your blessings and years be many.


Offer It Up November 29th


Luke 21:34-36

"But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man."

What holds our hearts back from taking in all the love God has for us? What do we do, or not do, that gets in the way of His peace and His all-out love for us? Okay, where do you want me to start with my own list? Let’s see, there’s selfishness, there’s that judgmental stuff, then there’s that greediness… not to mention those ‘unmentionables’. They all keep me—and maybe some of you—from being ready for when that day does come. By His grace and mercy, and certainly not by anything done on our part, you and I can find God waiting to bring us back into His arms when that day does arrive.

We all fail and we all get back up. It’s those that we fail—when we get in a rut and don’t do anything about getting out of it—that’s when the devil does his best to keep us there. We’re indifferent. We’re spiritually complacent. Pretty much stuck and spinning our wheels. Someone once said that a rut is just a grave with the ends worn out. And who besides the devil would want to have you buried alive? That would make things easy for him to get your attention, to keep your focus on him and not where it needs to be. All the while, getting the rut deeper and longer, keeping us at a distance from where we need to be.

That can change in a heartbeat. Hopefully for the better. Our focus needs to be on our salvation and that comes through living a life with Jesus Christ as our guide, our model. To be successful, you could model yourself after one who has done those things that you want to do successfully. Who better to follow after than Jesus? With the gift of free will, we can choose to trust what He has planned for us, regardless of what it may appear to be.

Today’s rain is tomorrow’s clean water. Today’s pain is tomorrow’s gain from our experience. Today’s trust is tomorrow’s faith. Ask Him to bring more faith, more grace, more love into your life so that when that time does come, there will be a place for you with Him in His eternal glory. db


Offer It Up November 28th


Luke 21:34-36
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

When we pray, we all have a vested interest in that prayer, be it in thanksgiving, or in praise, as it should. Then, should it be for someone, ourselves, our church, country—surely there is a greater hope we have as offer our thanks and praise to God our Father. Our minds and hearts and words are devoted and focused on giving our best to Him.

Or are they? I will be one of the first to say my heart can sometimes become ‘drowsy’ either with lack of attention, weariness or even frustration as life happens around me and it is not the sort of life I had been anticipating or had prayed God’s will to be… so much for forgetting Who is in control and who is not. Myopia sets in and nothing else seems to matter but what I want, missing the larger picture God has planned beyond the next minute, the next hour, the next day. You’ve seen it before in two-year old children—wanting what they want when they want it and they want it right now. Some throw the tantrums, some clam up and pout. Either way, they are in their own little world, not with the rest of the world around them.

Trials will happen. It’s what we do with them that will strengthen us or weaken us. If this happens in your prayer life, even remotely, accept it as the challenge that it is to do better than what you are doing. Become more like Jesus in the way you live and pray. Prayer does change things and it changes us. The more we do it, the more attentive and focused we are when we do pray, the more we grow in our faith and in our communion with Jesus Christ.

db


Offer It Up November 27th


Matthew 6:34
Do not let yesterday worry you, nor tomorrow.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry
about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Each Day
It was very early in the day, but I was a little miffed. The feeling was left over from yesterday. You've had those days, something that happened still leaves you feeling upset, angry, hurt, or otherwise not feeling your best emotionally. Today was one of those days.

I went back to bed to perhaps just rest and get my mind and spirit settled. Then I heard the voice. You know, "that voice." Call it what you will, but it's the voice that has always guided your action and conscience to do the right thing. It spoke, "Each day is a new day." I understood. The stuff that happened yesterday was gone. It was over, but it wasn't over in my mind. Yet I had been granted an entirely new day. The old stuff was gone and only stayed alive in my mind. Each day is a new day.

I let the thought sink into my spirit and I felt the negative feelings begin to fade away and be replaced by peace. I then realized that I looked at everything new, at every person new. I understood the awesome power there was if we truly digested these six words. I also knew that I and you too needed to be reminded each day that today is a new day. Grasp these hallowed words and do not let the stuff of the past ruin your present and future.

Each day is a new day.

Submitted by R. Vossler


Offer It Up November 26th

Happy Thanksgiving!


Luke 17: 11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

This Thanksgiving, whether the celebration be shared with family or friend or both, let it be done in prayer and gratitude. Let us also offer up those who may not have the advantages we have with our homes and meals so that we may reach out in prayer if not with our food and support and offer them the same love and tenderness that Jesus would offer us—has offered us—this Thanksgiving Day.

It’s been said that on Thanksgiving Day, more prayers are said on this day than on any other day of the year, including Christmas. And it’s a national holiday, not a Christian holy day. Lincoln had it right, instituting it as a national day of gratitude. And so does America when we all stop long enough to stop and give thanks for all we have to the One who made it all possible.

As did the leper, let’s remember each time to ‘come back’ and thank God for all His goodness He has showered on us. Not just for those most difficult and pressing times but for each time you are given an opportunity to do something for Him or He does something for you… like every time you wake up to a new day. Like every time you see a family member. Like every time a friend calls to say hello. These are only a few of those instances of what God does for us every day. His providence—it really is divine stuff. db

Our loving and generous Lord, we give You thanks and praise for all the grace and mercy You have blessed on us, an unworthy world. Beyond today, let us all continue to return to You in gratitude to grow in our faith so that we may someday share salvation in Your heavenly kingdom.

This and all things we pray in Your holy name. Amen.


Offer It Up November 25th


Ephesians 4:1-3

I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace

TTWWADIAH.

Quite the lengthy acronym, one you are familiar with but not necessarily in its acronymic form:

‘That’s the way we’ve always done it around here.’

We’ve all heard it someplace else, either at work, in committees, even in family life. And if not exactly like that, in a derivative form.

‘We’ve never done it that way before.’

‘That’ll never work.’

‘We can’t do that-we’ve always done it this way.’

‘Why do we need to change?’

Imagine the first disciples with Jesus after He asked them to follow Him. Don’t you think that if today that were to happen, some of the responses may have along the lines of:

“You want us to do what?”

“Are you kidding?”

“I’ve got this fishing thing down… I ain’t going anywhere.”

When we work, when we live, we meet challenges. We have to do something with them. If not, the challenges control us and then we become the challenge. Not a good thing.

Family, work, friends—if you keep doing the same thing with them, chances are good you will keep getting what you’ve been getting. And if what you’re getting is not what you want, what good is that? How will that make your life what you want, or any better, by doing that? Life is short enough as it is to spend any time worrying about what your family thinks of your competency in your career choice (successful and rewarding as it is) or if your co-workers appreciate you or not or if your shoes match what you are wearing.

God has His plan for us. And pretty much always that plan is going to involve some change. Growth, more precisely. Growth for you and those around you, through you. For as you make your strides, so will those in your life. If not, that is their choice to make. Not yours for them. For sure relationships are important as we share our lives through them—in prayer, in contact, and in love. ‘Sharing’ being the operative word, our love and faith, no matter how hard it may seem to do.

Even the mustard seed found a way to sprout. Look what came from it. So too can your faith and love. db


Offer It Up November 24th


This past Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, signaled the end of another Church year and the advent of a new one. We reflect on the ultimate goal of our living as followers of Jesus, the Lord of Lords, the King of kings,

Throughout this week if we take the time to reflect on the daily scriptures the Church offers us we will encounter, Daniel and the three young men in exile. Why not enter into a time warp and spend a little time with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah! These are scriptural encounters that can wake us up to how to deal in times when there is great temptation to follow other spirits rather than the Holy Spirit. We are assaulted in many ways with spirits we find difficult to cope with. The spirit of individualism, which tempts us to establish our own ego as the God of our lives. The attitude of I can do it all. I don't need anything or anyone else. Let your meditations be a time of silence in the presence of the Lord of Love. Simply be present to God. "Be still and know that I am God", says the Psalmist.


This week we mourn with brothers and sisters who grieve over the loss of those close to them. We cry with them, we rejoice in the celebration of the lives that now share the wonders of God's love as we long to experience one day. Thursday, we also celebrate Thanksgiving. This holiday in our nation has become in many ways a Holyday. We gather to give thanks to the creator, the God who has revealed to us in Jesus the wonder of love. Pray for our nation. Pray for all nations of this earth, that we may recognize how grateful we must be to our merciful God. Why Catholic? So we can proclaim the Good News and further the work of the Kingdom on earth and prepare for the return of Our Blessed Lord as he promised.

May all families during this Advent season be cells of prayer for our parish and for the city and the world. Deacon


Offer It Up November 23rd


Luke 21:1-4
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

It happens this way every year about now. Celebrating and giving thanks for all we have been given, leading us into the Advent season, for the celebration of The Gift of all gifts. We look back to give a glimpse and a prayer for those things we are thankful for and we find that the calendars seem to get shorter: the days, weeks and months fly by and another year has been spent. Spent on what? How did it go so quickly and what did we do with it?

We all have only so much to give of time, talent and treasure. The widow gave her two coins without thinking of the cost. Out of her love, she spent and gave what she could. That was her ‘only so much’ to give. It is not so much the size of the gift or the amount as it is what is in the heart of the one giving it. Is it given with love? Is it done with a spirit of kindness and not begrudgingly? With faith? She trusted God by giving what she had to Him. If those two coins were all she had-“her whole livelihood”, that was everything she had. How many of us would do the same? Give that complete trust to Him?

Set out now to give more with that same trust and faith. If your spouse, your family, your friends—your church—needs more of you, make that happen. If you have been blessed with talents and skills, share them as abundantly as you can and may. Give of your treasure before you start cutting the pie for yourself. You’ll be in great company as you share and give of your life—the Son of God came so that we all could share in His eternal kingdom.

Luke 6: 38

Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.


Offer It Up November 22nd


Hebrews 13:2

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Today before you think of saying an unkind word

Think of someone who can't speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food

Think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife

Think of someone who's crying out to God for a companion.

Today before you complain about life

Think of someone who went too early to heaven.

Before you complain about your children

Think of someone who desires children but they're barren.

Before you argue about your dirty house, someone didn't clean or sweep

Think of the people who are living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you drive

Think of someone who walks the same distance.

And when you are tired and complain about your job

Think of the unemployed, the disabled, those who wished they had your job

But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another -
Remember that not one of us are without sin and we all answer to God, our One Maker.

Thank God you're alive and still around.

Life is a gift...
Live it...
Enjoy it...
Celebrate it...
and fulfill it.


Offer It Up November 21st


Psalm 50:14-15

“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
and fulfill your vows to the Most High;
Then call upon me in time of distress;
I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.”

It’s really a pretty simple formula for prayer. The Psalm tells us exactly how to pray. Praise first, requests second. When you think about it, all it is really, is simple courtesy and respect.

It’s like starting a conversation with a friend. Doesn’t the conversation usually start with a question of courtesy or respect, such as “How are you?” It would be kind of humorous to start our conversations with our Lord by asking “How are you Lord?” I can’t begin to imagine the response we would get. But, in a way, by starting our prayers with praise for all He has done for us and by honoring the vows we’ve made to Him, we are establishing our connection with Him in the same way we would a friend; using courtesy and respect by honoring the other person first.

It’s easy to get caught up in our current situation and focus on our needs. It’s easy to sometimes see the Lord as you would a family member where we are usually more comfortable making those instant demands for something to be done. But, think about it; if we take the time to start a conversation with the Lord correctly, maybe we can learn to be a little more courteous and respectful even to family, friends or co-workers. Say something nice first; something encouraging and then see what happens. I have a feeling your request will be met with a lot less resistance.

Look at the Psalm again:

“Offer to God praise…fulfill your vows…then call upon me…I will rescue

you, and you shall glorify me.”

It becomes a very simple, circular way of interacting with the Lord. First we praise and keep our promises, then we make our requests, He answers, and we praise Him again. And I have a hunch that if we follow this pattern with our family, friends, and co-workers, there would be a lot more thanks and praise and a lot less grumbling all the way around. lg boyd


Offer It Up November 20th


Luke 19:45-48

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, "It is written, `My house shall be a house of prayer'; but you have made it a den of robbers." And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people hung upon his words.

At our home, it happens at least every spring and every fall—sometimes even more often than that. Cleaning house. Not just tidying up the place put the kind that involves calling the local chapter Am-Vets for them to come by and pick up the things we bought we thought we couldn’t live without, loading up items for the Goodwill store we can no longer wear or will wear, and of course, throwing out the ‘junk’ that has amassed for no other reason than ‘hey, I might need that shipping foam that the coffee pot came in some day.’

So Jesus goes into the temple and what does He see? Whatever it was, He did some of His type of ‘cleaning house’, driving out the traders and sellers and robbers. He drove them out so that He could continue His teaching where He wanted to teach—in the temple. He taught other places but in the temple, the gathering place, there was the respect and sanctity and holiness of His words even then. As it is today, a good place to hear and take in the Word of the Lord.

He cleaned out the temple so that His Word could be heard. We need to clean out our own temples—our bodies, our hearts and minds, our souls—so that we can be prepared to hear and hang on His words. There is much to learn no matter how far along we are in our journey. Get rid of the junk, the stuff that keeps you from taking up more of what He has for you, His mercy, His grace, His Love.


Offer It Up November 19th


Hebrews 13:6-9

Thus we may say with confidence: "The Lord is my helper, (and) I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?" Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching. It is good to have our hearts strengthened by grace and not by foods, which do not benefit those who live by them.

There is a sign on one of those marquee type lighted signs outside a church that reads something like ‘Where are you headed today?’ Those at that church have the question posed by God. Hundreds if not thousands of passers-by see the sign, some hopefully heeding its intent, some maybe thinking about it and some ignoring its message entirely.

As a matter of truth, we are all going somewhere every day, doing something where ever it is we are going. Like it or not, how we get there is relative to where we arrive. If we get distracted along the journey by inconsequential matters and lose our way, we also lose our focus and where we arrive may not be exactly where had intended. At least at first. Not necessarily lost—just not where we need to be at that time in our lives. Indeed, there is a better place for us.

God had a better place for Moses and the Israelites. He had a better place for Mary. And for Joseph. Jesus had a better place for some fishermen. And for a thief at His side that day at Calvary. I’d offer He’s had better places for us all. I know He’s had for me. Through a daily communication of prayer, of trust and surrender, we can find that His grace will be enough to bring us where we need to be. db

James 4:10

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.


Offer It Up November 18th


1 Corinthians 10:9-13

Let us not test Christ as some of them did, and suffered death by serpents. Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer.

These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come.

Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.

No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.

How often have you done some work, task or effort by yourself or with another and upon completion, stepped back and said something to the effect of ‘That’ll work.’ Or maybe ‘Good enough for now.’ Maybe it was something like ‘Who else is going to notice, let’s call it done.’ And sometimes we are in such predicaments when ‘good enough’ needs to be just that—an exception or ‘work-around’ as they are called—so we can accomplish larger tasks, more important responsibilities so that we can come back to that particular task once the larger one is done.

Yet more and more, at least it seems to me, the ‘good enoughs’ are becoming the standard instead of the exception. Maybe you’ve seen it in the professionalism of others. Maybe you’ve seen it in the watered down quality of some products these days. What may have lasted for ten years now lasts five. What may have lasted for a year or two, we now throw out in a matter of months with a shrug and say, ‘Well, you get what you pay for I guess.’

This leads us into our lives where we start looking for those same ‘good enoughs’, the ‘work-arounds’ of what we accept as right and just. A watering down of the virtues and all the loving things we learned from parents and our families—of living a good and true and God-filled life. Less sacrifice equates to easier living. Easier living can equate to gratification… it’s all about me, right? This just in: the person with the most stuff and gratification at the end still dies and still loses here. It’s what’s beyond here that matters.

Put away the selfish thoughts, the ‘that’s okay for government work’ stuff. Don’t ever settle for just good enough. If you don’t think you or another deserves your best, certainly God does. He gives you His every day. The least we can do for Him is give Him ours.


Offer It Up November 17th


Wisdom 7:22-24

In Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain, not baneful, loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficent, kindly, firm, secure, tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing, and pervading all spirits, though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion, and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.

Wisdom and friendship are both a blessing from God. It is not very often that we find both in one person. When that one person enters our life, all kinds of new doors, thoughts, and feelings open up. Life is so much more the richer and fuller for having a friend who also seeks and embodies the spirit of Wisdom. Such a friend usually becomes the “go to” friend. The one that you can seek out when feeling down, sick, sad, lonely, confused, angry or even joyful and content. And when you do seek that person out, you can feel certain that their response to your mood or situation will be exactly what you need.

If you’ve ever experienced such a friendship as I have, you can begin then to imagine and know what it means to embrace a friendship with your Lord and God. It is good to take time to be alone with Him; to let His Wisdom surround you and hold you up; to let His Wisdom refresh and renew your spirit. lg boyd

Not by life's difficulties and trials are you trained and taught as much as by the times of withdrawal to be alone with Me…Remember in true friendship sharing is mutual, so as you share with Me, do I in ever-increasing measure share with you -- My Love, My Grace, My Joy, My Secrets, My Power. My Manifold Blessings. God Calling


Offer It Up November 16th


Hebrews 10:23-25

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Pray. Think. Pray. Wait. Pray. Act. Pray.

Every day, people reach points when and where decisions need to be made. There are those decisions that loom largely, some more critical than others and there are those with seemingly less life-demanding implications. Professionally and economically, the markets are swayed by these huge decisions. Environmentally and industrially, the world is impacted by decisions. Closer to the ends of our own noses, we make our own decisions about how to manage our finances, how to impact our area’s environment and how to live as a family or as someone on our own, hopefully, doing the right thing.

How we come about to those conclusions can ultimately change not just the course of our day but that of so many others. For sure, we won’t want to get to the ‘analysis is paralysis’ stage but we do want to weigh carefully our thoughts that lead to our actions and our words. Prayer needs to be involved in what we do and how we do it. From the start of the day to the end and with those decisions in between.

We have a responsibility to grow more in our understanding of what God has planned for us and we can better learn that through prayer, discernment, patience and following the Will of God… and more prayer. The more we live this life, the more open our hearts and minds become to recognize the glory and majesty of God’s beautiful love for us.

Surround your thoughts, your patience and your actions with prayer. Keep the Holy Spirit aware of your gratefulness.

(Left click your mouse at the start of the line of Think, wait and act and drag to the right. You'll see how your day is supporsed to be filled.)


Offer It Up November 13th


Luke 17:31-33

On that day, a person who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise a person in the field must not return to what was left behind.

Remember the wife of Lot.

Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.

Abandon the mundane.

Live in eternity.

It may not be the first time you’ve seen that written here but we can do that, that ‘live in eternity/abandon the mundane’ thing. We can do it by living today with what God has given us and what we choose to do with it. He has taken from us all the yesterdays and with them all the sins, mistakes, grief and sorrow. And with them too, go the successes and victories and accomplishments and good deeds.

It’s not that all of them go away—at least those things good and kind and endearing—we won’t let them as we hold onto those memories, treasuring the love and the bond that ties us to those times in our lives. However, God does take care of all things we don’t need to carry and hold onto… the ugliness of our sins, the harshness and coldness of insulting His will for us when we choose to do our own. That is beauty of His Love for us when we humbly come to Him in prayer and asking for His forgiveness. His mercy and grace are there. There will be justice for how we have lived our faith and how great will that justice will be in His heavenly kingdom.

So abandon the usual trappings of your daily living. Leave behind the challenges of yesterday. Consider your eternity as today. See God in all you have today. If you’re here, that is all you have to go on anyway. Be ready for God and be ready with Him. db

Wisdom 13:7-9

For they search busily among his works, but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.
But again, not even these are pardonable. For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its Lord?


Offer It Up November 12th


Wisdom 13:1

People look at the good things around them and fail to see the living God.


Where is the Living God in our lives today? Where do we choose to see and be with Him? In our prayer life? When we attend and celebrate at our weekend mass or service? Do we find Him beyond the structures of churches and worship and prayer spaces? It’s not that big of a stretch really to find Him at all, to see and recognize the ‘signs’ that He is here and with us.

We do have tendencies to look for signs, do we not? Is it wintertime yet-has the first hard freeze come about? What about the economy—are the markets improving, are home sales on the rise? For some, those signs or indications are not as apparent or clear. Hence, they go on with a presumption that things are no better than what they were. Some signs are a bit more evident and personal. Losing weight, we can see that are clothes fit better and we feel better. Working out or having an exercise regimen can result in a healthier body and that too can be readily seen.

In our daily walk, our journey and prayer life, don’t we also look for those signs that God is listening? That He hears our prayers? That what we are doing is in fact His will? Often we move on and hope, maybe even presume, that our prayers have been heard. That's okay... it happens. And when it does, read this again:

People look at the good things around them and fail to see the living God.

Wisdom 13:1

Don’t let the forest get in your way of seeing all the trees. Yes, He hears our prayers. Yes, we are doing His will in a prayerful and willful life, everyday giving thanks to Him for all He has given us. And yes, there are our crosses but none that we cannot bear. And there will be joy as well that He too will share with us. Choose the best He has for us. Let your life be characterized by His will for you, what God wants for you, not by what you want for yourself.


Offer It Up November 11th

ThankYouVeterans!


Wisdom 6:7-13

For the Lord of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness, Because he himself made the great as well as the small, and he provides for all alike; but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.

To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressed that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin.

For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy, and those learned in them will have ready a response.

Desire therefore my words; long for them and you shall be instructed.

Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her.

She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of men's desire

What are we thankful for today? And how did we get here to be thankful for it? And who do we have to be thankful for so that we can be here to take part in all God has for us today?

Yesterday may have been the best day in a long time. It may not have been the greatest of days either—could have been the worst you’d seen for some time. God knows that more than you do. He also knows more about today and what it will bring. And if there is going to be a tomorrow, He has that covered too.

Every day we get an opportunity to learn something, to grasp an unknown, to love someone like we have never done before. And we are thankful for that occasion. We should be very thankful. It could be that you heard something in a song, in person's voice, or even in the sound of the wind. It was no accident that it happened as it did. God has put in our lives in the form of another person or persons, another creature, a blessing in a book or reading, or even a flat tire, a rip in your clothers or another sort of tribulation, all of these things so that we may further understand His love for us. Not completely, just more.

It is all providential. God has put all of it in place—the people, the creatures, the songs, the wind, the issues—all for our growth, and hope and our faith and our trust in Him. We have to be open to see it and hear it and accept it. There is more Love waiting for Him to share… what are we waiting for today?

Be thankful and feel His presence in all He has given us and all we are. db


Offer It Up November 10th


Psalm 34:1-3

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad.
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Consider God in your life.

Consider God not in your life.

What good is your life without God in it?

When we think about how good we have it, or how good we may not have it, it is not the ‘we’ that has it. ‘We’ think we actually are the ones who had everything to do with it… on our own. In a sense, we have it on our own authority that this life is all about us and how ever good or bad it is, ‘we’ are the creators of it, if for no other reason than by our choice.

So there is some validity to that choice concept, in that we do have the gift of free will. Thank you God for that. But that is as far as it goes. God does not ‘owe’ us any favors for us doing the things He has willed for us to do nor do we have any markers to call in from God by our choosing to do His Will. There is nothing—no thing—that we can do, say, or think that will ever make God be in our debt. He forgives our debts—we don’t forgive His.

His Love is unending and unconditional. For that, we are and should be on our best call and effort to give all we can to do what He asks of us, with all we can whenever and where ever we are. God sent His Son into this world to serve and save us. If we are to do our best to follow Him, let us then serve others and offer up to God all we do in love and sacrifice and all for His glory and honor. We cannot make the faithfulness God has for us any greater but just think what He can do for our faith in Him. db


Offer It Up November 9th


Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God

We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability --- and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.

Your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.

Don't try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.

Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin SJ, Hearts on Fire Praying With Jesus


Offer It Up November 8th


Psalm 40:2-3

I waited, waited for the LORD; who bent down and heard my cry, Drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp, Set my feet upon rock, steadied my steps

Sometimes, the trials seem to keep coming. If not one after another, it happens that we seem to catch our breath with a few days of catch up and then another challenge, another temptation even, comes our way. Not just the one, but that one sometimes leads to another, then another and then… before you know it, you’ve found yourself rationalizing your way into a way of thinking and living that you would have never thought yourself to be in before. All because you took a few steps off of what you knew was the right way to go. The subtly of sin. The shrewdness of satan.

Let us not water down the truth. The Word is The Word. We cannot change it to match our way of thinking, though we certainly do try.

‘Well, it really doesn’t mean that exactly.’

‘That doesn’t apply to me…’

In the adverse sense, we change it to match our way of thinking.

Something is obviously wrong with that picture.

We will have our temptations, we will have our tribulations. God said so. How we face them and learn from them is how our faith grows and brings us closer in our relationship and love with God. He knows our sins that left us in the dark. He knows our way back, too, to find our way back in His light. Our faith can get us there. A faith that is as small as a mustard seed yet big enough to move mountains. A faith founded in and with Him. What are we without it? db


Offer It Up November 7th


1 Thessalonians 5:11-12, 16-18

Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you, and to show esteem for them with special love on account of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

Rejoice always.

Pray without ceasing.

In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Who was in your boat when you were the refugee lost at sea? Who was your ‘navy’ that saw you struggling for your breath, maybe right before you went down for what you thought was the last time? Someone you knew? Someone who had been in your life? Maybe it was a stranger, an angel. Or were you the boat, the ‘navy’, the angel, for that refugee? We all share the humility and humbleness in our lives when God has chosen us to serve in either capacity.

Sometimes that response, that rescue boat, that life preserver—call it what you will—was and is all that is between our emotional or spiritual survival and what they are not: grief, anxiety, ruin, devastation. Death. Sometimes the help is there well before it gets that far or deep. In many instances, the rescue is a nudge toward a different course of action, a question that causes you to rethink your position, or even a direct, in your face whatever-it-is-you-are-doing-is-not-working-for-you approach.

The growth all comes in the name of the Holy Spirit and is seen as a transformation. Through His grace in all forms, walks, and creation, our lives are forever changed. The growth can happen instantaneously, in a matter of days or well over a period of years. There are parts of that growth that we recognize and some that we don’t. God sees those that we don’t and it could be that He is saving them for later. How blessed we are that He is.

It’s not for us to decide—He’s already chosen us. It is up to us to follow His Way with the gift of free will He has given us. Whether you are the rescuer or the rescued, the donkey or the one leading it, continue to build each other up and offer each other in prayer and in thanksgiving so that we may all feel the everlasting Love our God has for us. db

Hebrews 3:12-13

Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God.

Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today," so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.


Offer It Up November 6th


Romans 12:5-16, 18
We, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them:
if prophecy, in proportion to the faith;
if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly.

If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

God uses us all, at all times of our lives, for the good of others, if not ourselves. Whether our lives are where we think we want them to be, or on our way to another part of our journey, or whether they are in a state of disarray, heartache, grief and or even sin, He still uses us. He also wants us to use those gifts He has blessed us with. And what those gifts are exactly, we are sometimes hardly aware of until such time that He wants them to be present. Suffice to say, doing what God has us do can be and is often a pretty wild trip.

If you were to pose your view of what your life has been over the past—yesterday, last week, a year ago, ten years ago or even thirty years or more—you might find that you had some gifts you didn’t know you had. Or at least weren’t present just yet. The people you met, those that became friends, that had an impact on you with their gifts and maybe you had an impact on them with yours, are where many gifts become real and evident. It might be at that time we don’t know the depth of that gift or what that person may mean to us… not for us to worry or get heartburn over—God has His plan and that needs to be good enough.

I have found this out in the past several months, from last summer to last night, from firsthand experiences just how God will use us as there have been those that have been in my life from years past that have recently been brought back to share what God has for them to share… their gifts with what God has planned for me. I am thankful for what I learned then and for what I am learning now through and with them. Yes, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

(You never know who God is going to use, maybe even you and me… apologies to Rich Mullins)

Paul talks about our gifts and how important it is that they are to be used properly. From ministering to teaching, from encouragement to charity, from guidance to mercy, he spells it out. Do them all with sincerity. All for and as the Body of Christ. Working as one with one another, for the good and love of one another, with all of our actions and desires and prayers rooted in Love, with peace for all. db


Offer It Up November 5th


Luke 15:1-7

The tax collectors and sinners were all crowding round to listen to Jesus, and the Pharisees and scribes complained saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’

So he told them this parable: ‘Which one of you with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was lost.”

‘In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance
.’

Jesus attracted sinful people who felt confident in His presence, as He spoke and ate with them. Many repented and were converted. He also attracted those self-conceited religious leaders who were eager to criticize Him. In recording these parables, Luke illustrates God's love for sinners through the examples of a man and a woman. The shepherd left his flock to search for the one lost sheep till it is found and brought home. The needy housewife turned her house upside down to find the lost coin, a pittance no doubt, but enough to buy food for a few days. Both rejoiced with their neighbors when their property was found. Jesus tells us God and the angels rejoice in the same way when sinners return to His mercy and forgiveness, but He is the one who must search for them and associate with them. Each one of them is precious in God’s sight!

All of us have sinned and been “found” by Jesus and rescued through baptism and repentance. If only the religious leaders realized their need to be “found” and rescued from their arrogance, injustice, and lack of love! Paul tells us that Christ died and rose for all of us, and so none of us should judge or criticize others.

Lord, help us to be grateful for the gift of divine love and life Christ has won for us, and give us joy in seeing You welcome the lost sheep.

www.jesuit.org.sg


Offer It Up November 4th


Psalm 121

A song of ascents. I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.

God will not allow your foot to slip; your guardian does not sleep.

Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.

The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.

By day the sun cannot harm you, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will guard you from all evil, will always guard your life.

The LORD will guard your coming and going both now and forever.

In a recent chat with a friend, it was brought up that we occasionally in our prayer time, find ourselves demanding or at the least 'strongly suggesting', God do something about our current plight or to immediately take care of the things we have offered up to Him. Not in a threatening mode or mood even, just that we are really looking for some answers and it would really great if He would let us in on what He has planned for us.

Happens to me-a lot. And even though the answer may not be as forthcoming as we had hoped for, what other options do we have, really? Quit praying? Give up and go on to something we can handle on our own? Tell God that we were just kidding, didn't really mean the 'demand' thing and go on do it ourselves? Where is that going to get us?

Prayer is the ongoing relationship building between us and God. It is not a one- and-done, get an answer/don't get an answer sort of communication either. It rises from our hearts. St. Augustine wrote that 'True prayer was nothing but Love'. St. John Vianney said that it is 'the inner bath of love into which the soul plunges itself.' And St. John Damascene says it is the 'rasing of one's heart and mind to God... requesting good things from God.'

He knows what our needs are. We can become greater servants of God through prayer. With all that said, it still remains that our prayers are still heard and answered through God, demanding, suggesting, or not. db


Offer It Up November 3rd


November begins with All Saints Day, a feast in the Church that speaks of our unity as members of the Kingdom. The Church: those of us still journeying through time and striving to live holy life in imitation of Our Lord, Jesus. The Church in purgation, those loved ones being purified as they are on the threshold of coming face to face with God. The Church victorious, all the saints who are in eternal joy with God, who have washed their robes and bleached them white in the blood of the lamb.

All Saints follows with All Souls Day. In our tradition, we pray for all those loved ones who have preceded us in faith, those who have left us a legacy of faith drawing us into new life with Christ, a life of daily dying to sin that we too may rise with Him in glory.

It is fitting that we make sincere efforts throughout this month of November to offer prayer, fasting, sacrifice. This will be to the benefit of those souls in purgatory and, in communion with the prayers, we too can benefit in receiving the grace needed to persevere in lives of holiness. The grace and mercy in meeting the challenges of life and being converted daily to a communion of love as we experience the love found in the Trinity.

Each week on Wednesdays, at Sacred Heart Church, Wichita Falls, Texas, Jesus Christ awaits your adoring response. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the chapel for all who hear his invitation to come and spend some special moments in His Eucharistic Presence between the hours of 1230 PM and 8 PM. His love for you is beyond imagining. When we were lost in the depths of sin, he loved us to death. How will we respond to such love that offers us the gift of eternal life? Ten minutes, 30, an hour...on a Wednesday afternoon or evening?

If not here, find where you can spend that time in adoration and in thankfulness. It may not be with the Blessed Sacrament-it may be in a chapel, in the sanctuary or just on your knees in prayer. The blind man on the road to Jericho responded when he heard Jesus was passing, it changed his life forever. See what it will do for yours. Deacon


Offer It Up November 2nd


Romans 8:31-39
If God is for us, who can be against us? He did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written:

For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ever heard about party when you were growing up and all the invitations were sent out or given out and you kept waiting for yours and you never received one? Forget about growing up, even today that happens when we want to be a part of what is going on or ‘happening’ and we are left on the outside. We find ourselves stuck outside, locked out or just removed from something that we want to be involved with.

All we really want is to be some other place than where we are but we find ourselves stuck outside of some thing or some place. We want to be inside and all we need is some sort of key or way to get in. So we hang on and wait and hang on some more, even to the point of our extremities going numb from the experience, we still find ourselves in the wanting mode. And then we find ways to accommodate, keeping ourselves inoculated and ‘thermalized’ from the elements for a while longer... and we are still not where we want to be. More comfortable maybe. Maybe not as nearly tragic or life threatening as we once thought but nonetheless, we still want 'in', damnit. But whatever key it is we turn, it is not unlocking the door, it is not getting the gate open, is not having the lock sprung on the hasp. So we do what we do and keep turning keys, right? Or quit or call the locksmith?

I have heard it said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting different results. If you keep trying the same lock with the same set of keys and those keys are not getting the job done for you, what good are you accomplishing? It’s time to try a different key, a different approach or maybe a new set of keys entirely.

God is ready for you when you are ready for Him. He’s not going anywhere. We have to make the move to Him. Yes, it’s true He will find ways to make the moves for us. From personal experiences, those are not always the most comfortable ways to meet Him. Trust and surrender and be not afraid. He’s got the doors open for where He wants you to go. db


Offer It Up November 1st


Matthew 5:6

Blest are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill.

St. Jerome says he and his friends used to play in the catacombs. Centuries later boys still played in the catacombs. One day several boys got lost in the maze of tunnels when their flashlight gave out. They were on the verge of panic when one boy felt a smooth groove in the rock floor of the tunnel floor. It was a path that had been worn smooth by the feet of thousands of Christians from early times. The boys followed it and found their way out.

All Saints day reminds us that by following the footsteps of the saints we, too,
will find our way out from the darkness into the light.

What keeps me from following in the footsteps of the saints?

staygreat.com

Let’s add this: what keeps us following in the steps of saints? Following the way God had willed for them? Following the way God has planned for us? It might be easy to say ‘Well, they were saints-God chose them to do good works.’ And we would be right. We would also be right to say ‘God chose us to do good works, not because we are saints; because that is what He would have us do.’

Do you know the one the thing that all the saints have in common?

That’s right, they’re all dead.

Let us not be dead in our active divine desire to do the will and way of God in our time here in His earthly Kingdom. Life is short enough as it is. We’re dead for a really long time. Get ready for it. db