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

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Offer It Up! Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Gayle!


2 Corinthians 9:8-14

Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.

As it is written:

“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God, for the administration of this public service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. Through the evidence of this service, you are glorifying God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your contribution to them and to all others, while in prayer on your behalf they long for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.

Do you know many people like that, like the people or person described above? I mean besides yourself anyway? (Well? Wouldn’t we all at least like to think we are being duly enriched in our faith because of our generosity??) I would submit that the more folks you know like that, the more you should be around them because, yes, you will be enriched in every way if not for their generosity but for their passion for living as God has called them to live. We are in fact known by the company we keep. (i.e., Jesus and the disciples?)

Today, a woman friend of ours celebrates the anniversary of her birth, yeah her birthday, even though she is not one to make the big deal about it. Don’t know why she’s that way—even though the years she has are few—but ‘through the evidence of this service’, her service and her faith, it might be that she would rather the glory and honor go to the One who brought her here.

Oh, she loves her family. She knows her roots. And they are firmly planted. She knows well that God brought her to them and them to her. Providence being what it is, being born on the Feast of St. Andrew, she too is quite the disciple in the living and praying of her faith. As Andrew served and had those come and see the goodness of Jesus Christ, so too does Gayle with her faith and witness, her servitude and her love for family and friends.

That faith, that witness, that love stretches beyond the usual boundaries of sharing and service. Always ready to fill in one more spot on her calendar so that in some way, some fashion, she may find a way to contribute the graces bestowed upon her to others. The list here would be lengthy just with the love she shares with us at our parish and our community. And those are just the things we know about—the countless others that go along with her genuine way of life, putting herself in God’s Hands as His humble servant.

That type of genuine generosity is where the world should find itself these days. And probably does more than we know. It’s just so great to have someone like Gayle in our lives to know that it is alive and well in our midst. Not to speak for others but for sure, I know there are many others with a similar sentiment: I know I am a better person for having her as a friend.

Happy Birthday, Gayle.

May God continue to shine and share His many blessings upon you for all the years to come.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, November 29, 2011


With the beginning of the liturgical year, Advent brings us an opportunity for change. For some, change is not a welcome thing. Yet, is it not what we face throughout life?

The recent past weeks for some have been anticipatory, as they look at the translations into the new wording at Mass. It strikes me that Advent is all about anticipating, looking forward to celebrating Christ, and looking forward to when He will come again. What changes would we make if we knew He would come one day soon? Are we ready to greet Him when He comes again? The Scriptures recently reminded us or that day, and now they continue to remind us that He has come, He is with us in the Spirit, with us in the Church, feeds us in the Eucharist, loves us with each breath of life.

Change this Advent is not only new words, but it is a call to new life, a call to new evangelization. As we proclaim the Scriptures, and we unite ourselves to Jesus in our Eucharistic celebrations, we are reminded who we are. Children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ who lives in us through the Spirit. We are called to change, to abandon ways that are not the ways of love, or truth, of freedom to live as citizens of God's kingdom.


As we journey through Advent, may all of us slow down, look within with sincerity and willingness to seek to change as we recognize our sinful habits. Start now to examine ourselves daily and prepare to seek the Lord in the Sacrament of Penance, Reconciliation... Let our preparation for the Feast or Christmas be a heart purified and growing in love.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Monday, November 28, 2011


1 Corinthians 1:4-9

I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

How often do we do that really? Give thanks for what we have? More importantly, for who we have in our lives? And that graces that come with them? Along with the wisdom and communication and the sharing—all the gifts they have to share?

‘Christ was confirmed among you,’ His testimony enriches us today, in all ways and all days. The gifts we have, with others, are shared among our brothers and sisters and strengthen us all. They are there to help us continue to renew our hope and faith in Him, forming us all in His image and likeness. We have to let that happen. We have to submit to His will. He is in fact the potter and we are the clay.

This Advent, how many ways can we give ourselves over to Him? More prayer? More Eucharist? More adoration? More communication with loved ones? More volunteering? How about less spending and more giving? Challenge yourself and others to do more than you have in the past to bring yourselves closer to grace and glory God has for us all.


Offer It Up! Sunday, November 27, 2011


THANKSGIVING AFTER MASS

Lord, Father all-powerful and ever-living God,

I thank You, for even though I am a sinner,

your unprofitable servant,

not because of my worth

but in the kindness of your mercy,
You have fed me with the Precious Body

& Blood of Your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray that this Holy Communion may not bring me
condemnation and punishment

but forgiveness and salvation.
May it be a helmet of faith

and a shield of good will.
May it purify me from evil ways

and put an end to my evil passions.
May it bring me charity and patience,

humility and obedience,

and growth in the power to do good.
May it be my strong defense against all my enemies,

visible and invisible,

and the perfect calming of all my evil impulses,
bodily and spiritual.
May it unite me more closely to you,

the One true God,

and lead me safely through death

to everlasting happiness with You.
And I pray that You will lead me, a sinner,

to the banquet where you,
with Your Son and holy Spirit,

are true and perfect light, total fulfillment,

everlasting joy, gladness without end,

and perfect happiness to your saints.

Grant this through Christ our Lord,
AMEN.

St. Thomas Aquinas


Offer It Up! Saturday, November 26, 2011


About Prayer

Prayer opens the understanding to the brightness of Divine Light, and the will to the warmth of Heavenly Love--nothing can so effectually purify the mind from its many ignorances, or the will from its perverse affections. It is as a healing water which causes the roots of our good desires to send forth fresh shoots, which washes away the soul's imperfections, and allays the thirst of passion.

If, while saying vocal prayers, your heart feels drawn to mental prayer, do not resist it, but calmly let your mind fall into that channel, without troubling because you have not finished your appointed vocal prayers. The mental prayer you have substituted for them is more acceptable to God, and more profitable to your soul. I should make an exception of the Church's Offices, if you are bound to say those by your vocation--in such a case these are your duty.

Introduction to a Devout Life

St. Francis de Sales


Offer It Up! Friday, November 25, 2011


Ephesians 2:14-18

For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace,and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Through all the stuff we will choose to put ourselves through the next several days, all in the name of generosity and the spirit of Christmas, it won’t hurt us to call to mind this verse from Ephesians.

How much peace will we allow ourselves to have as we push through the crowds to find this gift or get that great price? How many times will we stop long enough to recognize what this is really all about as we drive across town to save forty-eight bucks on a new television? Who will we remember to acknowledge in prayer and in thanks for all we have—and thankfully have been kept from—as we shoot past the red buckets at the front of the stores, collecting for those less fortunate than us?

He is our peace.

His Birth was and is all about bringing about peace for the world.

And through His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension—the Paschal Mystery—He gave us an opportunity to choose that peace. Reading that line again: ‘He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near’, it’s as if to say He knew then and knows now just how far away we put ourselves from His peace. Yet He still gives us His Love and mercy and grace through ‘access in one Spirit to the Father.’

We don’t have to be so far off. We can be a lot closer if we choose to be. Even if we feel that we’re close right now. He is here with us to share with us all we can handle. Let’s experience, let’s fill ourselves, let’s all be in the Peace of Christ now and each day.


Offer It Up! Thursday, November 24, 2011


1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Imagine the words being shared with you today as they were shared those two thousand years past. Imagine the words being shared with you and the crowds of those hungry for all that God and Christ Jesus has to give. His grace and peace. His enrichment of wisdom and even communication. So much of these and more that none were ‘lacking in any spiritual gift.’ All that were faithful, He kept such till the end.

Give thanks today for those words and the Living Word in Jesus Christ as those gifts are shared with us even today. Not that that should could come as any great surprise—we should hope and pray not—but how often do we lose sight of what we must truly be giving thanks for? Are we blessed any less because we carp and complain with our mouths full of the bounty He has placed before us? That’s God’s call but who wants to take chances like that? More, we should be putting ourselves in a position to do as He has called us all to do.

Yes, God is faithful. A gift for us. Not that He needs any gifts from us but in return, we should remain faithful to Him. And let this serve as another reminder: we are called by Him to serve. And in so doing, He will provide for us what He will want from us. More gifts for us.

For these and all in our lives, for His Son and the fellowship with Him, it is right to give Him thanks and praise.

A Blessed and Peace-filled Thanksgiving to all.

God bless us and keep us His.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Daniel 5:5-6

Suddenly, opposite the lampstand, the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster of the wall in the king's palace. When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, his face blanched; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked.

We’ve heard of the handwriting on the wall in dire situations and maybe we’ve been so scared or in fear that our knees have actually buckled or even ‘knocked’. Not so sure about doing the hippy-hippy-shakes though, as King Belshazzar did. However, with all that going on, he knew that for whatever reason, he had better find out what was happening.

Daniel probably didn’t even need to bother with what was written on the wall—he could tell from all the revelry and drunkenness around the palace what was going on. Daniel knew who his God was and it was not the gods the king and his nobles and lords and wives were praising. Daniel wasn’t interested in the gifts the king had ready to give him; he was only interested in the gifts God had for him that is the One God to glorify.

By the time Daniel got around to reading what was on the wall—MENE, TEKEL and PERES—the king and his court had to be getting the message and it was not a pretty one. As if the shock and awe of the hand and writing were not enough, the inscriptions then took their toll: Daniel let them know the days of the kingdom were numbered, that his generosity had been found wanting and that anything he had left was being split up. All because the king chose to defile the temple and what was in it.

And to think we’ve made lesser mistakes and suffered greater. Maybe we’ve never seen the hand write it out for us like it did for Belshazzar and his cronies but for sure we’ve had it spelled out in no uncertain terms for us a time or twelve. Face it: we have to make the better, if not the best choices. And taking a cue from Daniel, we have to recognize that ‘the God in whose hand is our life breath’ and directs our paths, we should obey and honor Him. Not the ones of stone, bronze, silver or gold. Nothing of this world at all.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Daniel 2:31-45

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar: "In your vision, O king, you saw a statue, very large and exceedingly bright, terrifying in appearance as it stood before you. The head of the statue was pure gold, its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs bronze, the legs iron, its feet partly iron and partly tile.
While you looked at the statue, a stone which was hewn from a mountain without a hand being put to it, struck its iron and tile feet, breaking them in pieces. The iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once, fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer, and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

A stone that was cut out without a hand being placed on it. The same stone striking the statue, essentially crushing it to dust, allowing it to blow away like the chaff in the fields. That same stone then become the corner stone, the ‘great mountain’. That same stone blew away more rock, more bronze, more gold and silver.

Partly strong and partly fragile, that stone is the kingdom we know today. It will never be destroyed, never be put down, never be broken.Yes, it will stand forever. God has seen to it before and He will see to it now and will see to it when.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done.

On earth as it is in heaven.

Yup, hindsight is 20/20. Think of the times in your life that you would just as soon not think about or have someone remind you of. You would not be here today were it not for the grace and mercy of God to bring you through those situations. Called upon or not, God’s strength and power are forever and everywhere. Trust in Him then to give you what you need to stand before Him ask for His help and guidance.

The farther away we are from Him, the harder it is to see the grace He has for us. The closer we are, the easier it is for us to receive it...


Offer It Up! Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Kate!


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."

I recall the story going something like this:

A government assistance program during the Dust Bowl days had workers going around the country doing what little they could to help out where they could. One such worker came upon a rundown farm, in a condition he could hardly believe was still a farm, much less the home of a family. Dirt for a floor, tin and tar for a whatever they could call a roof, and crops that you could see through.

He walked carefully through the patch-worked porch, knocked on the door and was greeted by a woman with her smile and warmth.

‘Hello, I am here from the U. S. Government with a check to help you and your family out. You don’t need to do anything at all except take it and put it in the bank.’

The woman smiled and took the check, looking it over.

The man continued, ‘That is all we can do, but with that sum of money--$200—what are you going to do with it?’

Never breaking her smile or her gentle warmth, she replied, ‘Oh, I guess I’ll give it to the poor.’

From today’s Gospel, we get a similar take and how the widow gave without a thought to her ‘livelihood.’ The woman with the government check knew herself and her roots and her own livelihood, too. Centuries and worlds apart, their hearts were uniquely bonded.

How well do we know our own hearts and livelihoods? How well do we respond to them or ignore them? Are they from our first fruits or from our leftovers? Not just from our material treasures but from our hearts and our spiritual gifts—how do we respond when called upon to share what God has given us?

Pray about it. Pray about what you have been giving and what more you can give. And maybe you’ll find that your prayers are your gifts, just one of the many that you have to offer. The rest of which He will lead you to as you make yourself available for Him.


Birthday Blessings

A little lady is celebrating a birthday today and we are proud to be a part of her life and enjoy the abundant blessings she has in her life as well as the many she has brought to ours.

She is more than just a 'sack of potatoes'-she is an angel that God placed on this earth with her sister and her Mom and Dad to bring love and joy wherever she goes.

Her name indeed means 'Blessed' and we are all closer to holiness by having her in our lives.

Happy Birthday, Kate! God loves you and so do we!

Aunt Linda and Uncle David


Offer It Up! Sunday, November 20, 2011


Follow Him he did.

In this chapter of John, we find out some things about Andrew and Philip, a couple of those disciples who were not so much in the limelight as were John and Peter and even James. Yet they followed Jesus and believed Jesus just as the others did.

Maybe they were not called to be the leaders—they were just called to be with Him and spread His Good News. And that’s all they wanted to do—they had to want to do to—to follow Jesus. To live out his witness as we can do today.

We’ve heard someone say ‘Follow me,’ and we have trusted to do just that. Blindly sometimes, sometimes on faith alone. Questions? Well yeah, for sure, there will be questions and maybe even some hesitancy—we all experience that. And as we have followed, we are called to bring others to Jesus Christ ourselves. And that doesn’t mean we are any less a Philip or an Andrew or a witness to lead others to a deeper faith and to Jesus Christ as we help our own faith grow, either.

Right before Philip had made his own ‘come and see’ witnessing invitation, Nathaniel had asked: ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip let his invitation be somewhat of his own testimony. For both Andrew and Philip, their decisions to follow were pretty much etched in stone after they had heard, after they had seen, after they had believed.

God, through His Son Jesus the Christ, was at work in their lives. They were well on the way to a new life in Him. They were being transformed, changed, converted even. One at a time. Just as we have been and continue to be changed every day, one prayer, one day at a time. There is no substitute for one’s faith. Even in the face of trials, discouragement, challenges and heartache, faith in God still reigns. Through persistence, through prayer and through belief in and an active faith in Jesus Christ, our faith will grow.


Offer It Up! Saturday, November 19, 2011


1 Maccabees 6:10-13

So he called in all his Friends and said to them:
"Sleep has departed from my eyes, for my heart is sinking with anxiety. I said to myself: "Into what tribulation have I come, and in what floods of sorrow am I now!Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule." But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem, when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver that were in it, and for no cause gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed. I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me; and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land."

It is interesting how we justify our actions to the point that they no longer look anything like what they really are. Sometimes sin is just so enticing that we find a way to make it sound like it is actually good for us, or the right thing to do. We say things like, “Just this once...well, I really do need this...it might actually make me a better person...,” right? Wrong!

King Antiochus, in this passage from the Maccabees, had done unspeakable things to the people of Judah and still he says, “Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule.”What????Oh, but wait – all of a sudden he remembers the “evils” he did against Judah and realizes the pain and destruction he brought upon them...that is, now that he is experiencing similar pain.

Our hearts and minds are amazing in their capacity to selectively “see” what we want to see until the Lord finds a way to take the blinders off. Sin often has a way of wrapping its way around us so that it no longer looks like sin. How sad that we wait until bitter grief comes upon us before we realize what we’ve done.

So, how do we avoid it and break free of these crazy “sin” cycles?Thanks be to God that He is ready and willing to open our eyes and make us stronger, faith-filled people whenever we are ready. Honest, heart-felt prayer before God on a daily basis may not make us perfect, but it will go a long way in keeping us on the right path.

lgboyd

Psalm 9:2-3

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.


Offer It Up! Friday, November 18, 2011


Luke 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, "It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves."
And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.

Every day we are taught. Maybe not in the sanctuary. Maybe not in the temple area either. More likely we are taught out on the streets, in the work place, in our homes and in our own walks and journeys. We see Jesus’ message living, working and breathing all around us.

And as much as we are taught, how often is it that we try to stop the message, ‘put Him to death’, just as the priests, scribes and Pharisees did? How often do we say ‘oh well, that’s just the way the world is’ instead of praying for it and ourselves to be different? How often do we end up laying down and accepting and tolerating His house being a ‘den of thieves’ when we really do know better in our hearts?

We are His church. We are His people as we are and have been called to ‘hang on His words.’ Jesus is The Word, the Word made flesh. He put Himself on the cross for us for the purpose of saving us from ourselves, from the very thing we were doing in His house of prayer. He did not tolerate that nor should we tolerate anything less than He does from us.

In Genesis, as God rested, He said it was good. He did not say it was good enough. What we offer to Him should be good just as He made for us, not just good enough.


Offer It Up! Thursday, November 17, 2011


From the words of St. Francis de Sales and The Introduction to a Devout Life

On the day you make this renewal of your resolutions, and on those immediately following, you should often repeat with heart and voice the earnest words of S. Paul, S. Augustine, S. Catherine of Genoa, and others like-minded, "I am not mine own, whether I live or whether I die, I am the Lord's. There is no longer any me or mine, my `me' is Jesus, my `mine' is to be His. Thou world, wilt ever be thyself, and hitherto I have been myself, but henceforth I will be so no more."

We shall indeed not be ourselves any more, for our heart will be changed, and the world which has so often deceived us will in its turn be deceived in us; our change will be so gradual that the world will still suppose us to be Esau, while really we are Jacob.

All our devout exercises must sink into the heart, and when we come forth from our meditation and retirement it behooves us to tread warily in business or society, lest the wine of our good resolutions be heedlessly spilt; rather let it soak in and penetrate every faculty of the soul, but quietly, and without bodily or mental excitement.

A junior high school tour came to visit our church today—over a hundred students—to view the architecture and stained glass and overall structure of our church. As proud as we were that we were chosen to have a public school visit us, we soon found out the tour really was not so much about us or the building or the stained glass as it was about Jared… and Jesus.

We have a beautiful mural of the Crucifixion above our altar and Jared was front row and spellbound for the entire time, transfixed on that depiction. As he sat there, it appeared to me that his eyes even seemed to be tearing up, he asked the Deacon about the mural and why Jesus did what He did for us. It seemed to have caught the Deacon off guard, what with kids being the age they are and the way we seem to ‘see’ things these days. Some evangelization took place with those kids right there as Deacon spoke briefly about the death Jesus suffered for them and for us. And evidently, Jared heard it.

He wanted to know more. He asked the teacher with them if he could ask the Deacon more about Jesus and His ‘halo’ and how He came back to life. This young man’s faith—and ours—was the very reason for this excursion. We don’t know who or how we will touch the next person God sends our way.

Be ready.

We shall indeed not be ourselves any more, for our heart will be changed


Offer It Up! Wednesday, November 16, 2011


2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-23

It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king, to force them to eat pork in violation of God's law.
Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother, who saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord. Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage, she exhorted each of them in the language of their ancestors with these words:
"I do not know how you came into existence in my womb; it was not I who gave you the breath of life, nor was it I who set in order the elements of which each of you is composed. Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe who shapes each man's beginning, as he brings about the origin of everything, he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law."

If you can handle it, you might try reading the verses leading up to these. They describe the torture the brothers went through at the hands of the king’s blood crew. Definitely not reading for the weak of heart or stomach. Imagine then being forced to watch this happening to your sons or family members.

We are challenged often in our lives to put ourselves through sorrow and misery, grief and even absolute gut-wrenching pain. Through the loss of a loved one by death, or by separation or divorce. Through the pain of losing a job. Through the ugliness of diseases and cancer. We are all called upon to find one more ounce of strength to bring us through.

Where then does that come from? From the Creator of the universe. The one who knew us before we were born. The one who knows the day when we will be His in His eternal kingdom. He will give us light from the darkness. In His mercy and grace, He will give us life forever with Him.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, November 15, 2011


2 Maccabees 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes, a man of advanced age and noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork. But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement, he spat out the meat, and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture, as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life.
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately, because of their long acquaintance with him, and urged him to bring meat of his own providing, such as he could legitimately eat, and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice prescribed by the king; in this way he would escape the death penalty, and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.
But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner, worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age, the merited distinction of his gray hair, and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood; and so he declared that above all he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

He told them to send him at once to the abode of the dead, explaining: "At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense; many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar had gone over to an alien religion. Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life, they would be led astray by me, while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age. Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men, I shall never, whether alive or dead, escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age, and I will leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered and holy laws."

Eleazar spoke thus, and went immediately to the instrument of torture. Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed, now became hostile toward him because what he had said seemed to them utter madness. When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned and said: "The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that, although I could have escaped death, I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging, but also suffering it with joy in my soul because of my devotion to him."
This is how he died, leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation.

Do the right thing. God knows what the deal is at all times. Eleazar knew that then. We should all be aware of it today.

How many times have we been given the opportunity, the option, the temptation to take the lesser way out of a situation? We rationalize, we compartmentalize, we minimalize all we can to get all we can, don’t we? Or some of us do… some of the time. Or is it all the time?

Look at your last 24 hours. How many times have you done the right thing? Some decisions are more obvious than others. Some-like getting up on time to go to work or look for work-are pretty cut and dried. Others, like listening to talk that shouldn’t be happening within your earshot-do you say something or let it go? We all hope that we would get up and go to work and we all hope we would get up and have the talk and subject matter addressed. And many of us do.

Yet, the world still rails out against us. Freedom to do as one pleases. Freedom to say what one wants to say, wherever one is. And then there are those that want us to ‘pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life,’ to look another way, to live unworthy even for that moment. Eleazar had it right all the way; being the noble example for the young of how to live and die for the Lord. Indeed a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue. Who among us will be as ‘manful’ Eleazar? Hopefully we are all proved to be so virtuous.


Offer It Up! Monday, November 14, 2011


Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus drew near to Jericho there was a blind man sitting at the side of the road begging. When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about, and they told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by. So he called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’ The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’
Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him, and when he came up, asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Sir,’ he replied, ‘let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.’ And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God, and all the people who saw it gave praise to God.

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

The Jesus Prayer may or may not have had its beginnings here. However, like Bartimaeus, as he was seeking his own mercy and redemption, how often are we on the side of the road—blinded by our sins? How often do we hear the crowds around us and seek their help only to be shunned because of our sins? So we wail and cry all the louder. And the crowds push back and subdue us even more. How much more can we take before we give up and put ourselves at the mercy of the crowds? Or will we try one more time to ‘see again’?

Bartimaeus tried again and outdid the crowds.

He did not give up.

His faith was rewarded. With a simple question and a simple response, his faith had given him sight.

‘Sir, let me see again.’

Even in his blindness, Bartimaeus recognized Jesus Christ as the Savior. He knew that whatever Jesus had, he wanted some of it—mercy and grace. The same mercy and grace to save us from our sins and sufferings. Helen Keller is noted as saying, ‘ The greatest calamity that could befall a person is to have sight and fail to see.’

Wherever we are in our walks and journeys, let us keep our hearts open to see the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives every day and in every way.


Offer It Up! Sunday, November 13, 2011


Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She obtains wool and flax and works with loving hands. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her a reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Picking up from the Gospel and being entrusted as well as responsible for and with the gifts God has given us, Proverbs points us toward the beauty in a loving and worthy wife. No doubt, she would be and is a gift to be prized and for sure, one to be forever thankful to God for.

As she fears the Lord’s glory and might, so should we, accepting and doing all we can to flourish in the vocation of our marriages. Glorify God. Praise and worship Him. Love and value one’s spouse, one’s wife, one’s husband, using all that God has given us to do so. For our vocations are the callings we answer from Him. Our gifts are what we share in those vocations.

Happy are those who fear the Lord. With reverence and trust, with all we have to give and all that He has to give us, we can accept and be joyful in Him. All the good that is brought, all the days of our lives, we are all rewarded for the labors we share. As we use our gifts and grow our talents, His blessings will be abundant as His glory reigns forever.

When one finds that worthy wife, indeed he has found a treasure. Thank you Lord, for the wife in my life and Your life in my wife.

John 1:43-46

The next day he decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Philip said to him, “Come and see.”


Offer It Up! Saturday, November 12, 2011


Prayer opens the understanding to the brightness of Divine Light, and the will to the warmth of Heavenly Love--nothing can so effectually purify the mind from its many ignorances, or the will from its perverse affections. It is as a healing water which causes the roots of our good desires to send forth fresh shoots, which washes away the soul's imperfections, and allays the thirst of passion.

St. Francis de Sales


Offer It Up! Friday, November 11, 2011

ThankYou Veterans!


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, November 10, 2011


Wisdom 2:23-3:9

God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made them. But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it.

But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.

So according to this then, we are pretty much immortal—‘imperishable’ as noted above. That’s how we started out anyway and then, quite literally, all hell did break loose. And yes, we still find ourselves experiencing it today.

All is not lost, however. We can rebound from the ‘envy of the devil’ and the darkness of that sin and find righteousness and goodness in the Light of God’s forgiveness and mercy. There will be penance, there will be suffering, there will be tribulation. Yet for all that, there will also be blessings, mercy and grace. There will be those things for those who find themselves trusting in His truth. There will be mercy and grace for the faithful and those who love Him.

How do we know this to be true? Because it is written:

Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Today we celebrate the feast of the establishment of a Church in Rome, St John Lateran. We Catholics love the history of faith, and we celebrate it in many ways.

We believe on the best authority that Christ founded His Church and left the apostles to begin the work of proclaiming the Good News to everyone, as we cherish the over 2000 years of this effort.Perhaps we have had times when we who were charged to pass on the lamp of faith have come close to allowing the flame of faith to flicker and almost be extinguished, even in our moment of faithwe may be guilty of not living sufficiently grateful to God's revelation of love. Each of us is being called to do our part to fan the fires of faith. This demands that we hear God's voice, that inspiration in mind, heart and soul that prompts us to come to know His Son Jesus more intimately. How to do this? As the song says: Getting to know Him, getting to know all about Him... to love Him as He loves you.

Start by reading a bit about Him every day.There are four Gospels for us to read over and over so we practically find ourselves in His presence in a way we never dreamed.Love Him! He loves you enough to have died for you, for me! Over the years our brothers and sisters in faith built monuments of faith such as St John Lateran. Many have worshipped there over centuries and still do. Imagine where we were when they first celebrated Mass, the Eucharist in this centuries old Church.And some many years from today, will we be the ancestors of Christians who follow us?

Today, who in your life is looking to you to point and say, ‘Look there is the Lamb of God’ and thereby bringing them to see the Lord Jesus and the life to which God longs for them to receive. Is it possible that you accomplish this simply by living as a true disciple of the Lord Jesus the Christ?Wake up, you Christian! Let your light shine brightly! Let your love be radiant and your home and family be a haven of rest—a cell of Christ's body, the Church, bearing his DNA.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Tuesday, November 8, 2011


At the beginning of a new day, I continue to wonder at God's love of His creation. Conscious of each breath in this new day, the wonder of it all that God has chosen to give me life anew. As I entered the sleep of night and placed all in His loving arms, I simply trusted I would see a new day dawning. Now it is here, I am one of His chosen ones... chosen to see His Love in every circumstance, and in every other person He has chosen to place in my circle of life.

Why was I born in this place, at this time, and had the opportunity to share God's gifts of life with these persons? With God's help can I fulfill His hopes for me as I strive to do His will in all things? His will, to obey the Father as did His only Son.It too often becomes easy for me to become self-absorbed and to fail to see God in all who share the wonder of God in us all. As we make new and startling discoveries, these ‘new scientific wonders’ that enable us to do things, these things not so long ago were undreamed of.


It is all too easy to forget that all is gift, and that it is Our Creator who is longing for our return to His life that he longs to share forever.The breath or life as we look at life, is like a dandelion fresh and glorious in the morning sun, only to disappear by evening, blown away by a breath in the spirit wind. Life, a brief stint in time, which transforms into an eternity of love with God, Who is Love.


Prayerful thoughts at the beginning of a day. Will these thoughts be a spark to ignite a spirit of living fully in the Father's Love?May each encounter rekindle a flame of the Spirit in all who seek the Father's will.

Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your people with the fire of love, that we may renew the face or the earth.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Monday, November 7, 2011


This past Sunday we gathered (a few of us), to pray for our nation and leaders of government. A prayer rally, leaders from Christian communities around the area praying for all of us, leaders and people who long for God's Kingdom.

There is no denying we need God's grace, but I cannot shake the conviction that we need to listen to God more than to plead for His action. His grace is sufficient and always He pours it forth, but I fear we are not responding with courage, conviction, and virtuous life. God has revealed to the nations his Saving power.We have been abundantly blessed in myriad ways.

God, moment by moment continues to create and allow humanity to co-create and discover the wonders that can lead us to the fullness or His Kingdom. Yet we continue to worship idols, we find over and over new ways to mold and remake the golden calf. We are aware that Jesus prayed that we would be one. Yet we Christians continue to disagree and even attack one another and fail to heed God's law or love which is universal.


In our prayer, let Jesus be our model, an intimacy with the Father that leads to obedience to His will as did Jesus.During this final month of the Church year, November, we can pray for unity, the communion of saints, for an end to divisions among those who claim the name Christian. May all in our community of the Sacred Heart of Jesus find daily prayer an experience of intimacy with God in faith.


Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.Amen.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Sunday, November 6, 2011


Isaiah 11:1-3

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.

We are familiar with the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, but not so familiar with the Seven gifts of the Spirit. On these pages, particularly the home page, we reflect often on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. This bit of reflection today is on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit,, briefly describing what the Holy Spirit allows for us in the seven Gifts He has for us to use.

Fear of God: Draws us from sin to God

Piety: Awakens us to God’s love

Knowledge: Helps us to see how all things comes from God and lead back to God

Fortitude: Strengthens us to pursue our journey to God with courage and joy

Counsel Helps us discern the right path of action, especially in difficult situations

Understanding: Empowers us to penetrate more deeply into the meaning of God's Word

Wisdom: Enables us to discern God’s presence in all things and see how they all fit together

Staygreat.com


Offer It Up! Saturday, November 5, 2011


Romans 16:3-9, 16

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles; greet also the Church at their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the firstfruits in Asia for Christ. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners; they are prominent among the Apostles and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

Who are these guys? Apostles? Really? Their names don’t roll off the tongue or pop up in our memories as easily as those we have come to know—Peter, John, James… Matthew, Bartholomew, Philip… names and guys we’ve heard of for years. And then we heard about Mary Magdalene and yes, we can go with Prisca and Aquila. But Junia? Urbanus? And who are Andronicus and Ampliatus?

They could very well be asking the same of us, were they not already saints among the Church Triumphant and praying for our faithful wellbeing.

Well, who is that guy there, that Brad guy?

And the other one over there with the name of Paul?

And her—who is she to be ‘beloved in the Lord’—Linda?

Maybe their own heroic deeds were not as prominent or widespread as the ones we are more familiar with but they still all were called to help build the early church. Their closeness, their friendship then is not too unlike ours today. We still meet at each other’s homes to share food and faith and fellowship. We still come together in our faith to pray and praise our God and to lift each other up in prayer. We still find ways to bring peace not just to our world but to the world around us.

There was strength in numbers then as there is strength in numbers now. As they were committed to carrying out their beliefs, so must we too be committed to living what they dared to share. Our names may not be as significant to us or anyone in particular today and that’s okay. Like those saints and disciples called before us, it’s what we leave with them through the way we live… that is what’s important.


Offer It Up! Friday, November 4, 2011


November marks the end of the Liturgical year. Soon we will enter into advent and a new year liturgically. This month we enter into a time of prayer that takes us into awareness of the Communion of Saints.


The wonder of this Church which unites us in oneness and reminds us of our destiny.We here on earth journeying, and longing to reach our ultimate destination join in the prayer all the Saints. We offer our petitions for those holy souls longing to see God face to face. What joy must be theirs to know that they will be with the Father Son and Holy Spirit for all eternity, what joy to be buoyed up by our prayers asking God to receive them into His Glory!
These brothers and sisters who are in heaven, praise God, and are our cheering squad.Having triumphed they pray for us that we may live as to enter into God's glory. I must acknowledge I must learn to pray more gratefully in recognition of such love that is being poured out that I might live fully and willfully in God's love.


I seek forgiveness for the many failures to love, truly love, and in that love be a beacon of light to illumine God's mercy and love for all. To die to self...to be that seed that is planted in fertile ground and can now produce fruit in abundance. May each breath given to ne be a reminder of the life of Jesus, and transform in mind heart and soul.May the God who longs for us fill us completely with desire to live in Him, through Him, with Him...always.

Peace

Deacon


Offer It Up! Thursday, November 3, 2011


Luke 15:1-7

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

Are you a tax collector or a sinner? Or, are you a Pharisee or a scribe? What exactly is a scribe anyway? Before printed text was invented, scribes would write and copy everything down by hand. They were the record keepers; the preservers of information. I can only imagine how much knowledge one would gain from copying text and writing down important information by hand all day long. I imagine it would be hard to keep all that knowledge to yourself.

Well then, what exactly is a Pharisee? The Pharisees in Jesus’ day claimed privileges of interpreting social and religious law – sometimes their goals were political, sometimes social, and at other times they would just debate about it all.

Unless you happen to be in politics, it’s easy enough to brush aside this passage in Luke by thinking, “this is not about me… I don’t do that kind of thing.” We all like to think we can do better.We all like to think that we really don’t judge other people. But what about those times when we wonder why someone chose to dress a certain way? Or, what about when we question someone’s eating habits? What about those times when we condemn someone for their lifestyle choices? Usually, aren’t we doing this kind of thing in our heads or whispering it to a significant other?

There is a fine line we walk between judging people and observing a behavior. It is what we do with that observation that makes the difference. Jesus chose to come alongside tax collectors and sinners and Pharisees and scribes. He chose to sit down and eat a meal with them, to chat with them, to build some kind of relationship with them. He did not condone wrong behavior, but he did not isolate himself from it either. We all know what He was trying to accomplish, but think about it. His goal was to save souls, to transform lives and to bring hope and healing to those who needed it the most. His goal was simply to love people into being free from sin and free from judging eyes.lgboyd

Romans 14:10-12

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written:
As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give praise to God. So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All Souls Day


Merciful Father,
hear our prayer and console us.
As we renew our faith in Your Son,
whom You raised from the dead,
strengthen our hope
that all our departed brothers and sisters
will share in His resurrection,
who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them .

May they and all the souls of the faithful departed

rest in peace. Amen.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

God has given everything we have. We are to be responsible stewards and faithful servants then of those gifts, serving those without with love, respect and dignity.


Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

For all our losses, grief, sorrow and pain, there will be God’s gift of comfort, just as He has brought us to this time, He too will bring us through it. Not in some sort of false comfort but in the true and everlasting peace of His love.


Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Every day and everywhere, God is here with us. In the humble, in the lowly, in the marginalized, in the homeless. We should all have or at least seek the courage to humble ourselves if not put ourselves in their place so that we may come to understand more fully how to surrender ourselves to God’s will, not our own.


Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

We all want justice, especially at the expense of those who so undeniably deserve it. But what about us? Who are we to make that call—are we not the sinners too? Thirst instead for the mercy and grace of God and let His judgment lead you to salvation.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

From God’s mercy for those who hunger for it, He shows more for those who give it. Compassion, sympathy—mercy—is loving your neighbor. Loving your neighbor is a commandment.The Good Samaritan loved his neighbor; it is not about a mercy of convenience as the merciless steward showed.


Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Reconciliation. Renewal. Cleansing. Forgiveness. God’s is unconditional. It’s our own forgiveness that gives us the headaches. God knows the heart and to live a life in the Holy Spirit, filled with the love of God, living as Jesus taught and lived, is living a life of holiness. That’s what it will take to get through the Pearly Gates.


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

St. Augustine wrote that the peacemakers are not only peaceful but that they are active makers of peace by encouraging peace around them, healing arguments and bringing about reconciliation. We could do well to practice a page of that every chance we get. We could find out some peace within our own lives if we did!


Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

We’ve all caught a bit of hell on earth for something we’ve done wrong but there may have also been those times we’ve caught it for doing something right. As believers, we will face even more hell on earth the more we profess our faith. As Jesus suffered for the sake of the world, we too may take on our own suffering for the sake of others. Our assurance of eternal life is promised for our reward.


Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.

Jesus endured all—all for our salvation. We too must take up our cross to follow Him and be His disciples. There is no Christianity without the Cross; we cannot then be followers then without carrying our own.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven."

Rejoice indeed! That’s where we’re all headed, right?