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

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Offer It Up! Monday, October 31, 2011

Romans 11:29-36

The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!
For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given him anything that he may be repaid?
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To God be glory forever. Amen.

Once called, always and in all ways, called.

Though we want to put conditions and some exceptions to His call, the fact remains, we are God’s. And what we have here is all from Him—just as Paul notes, the gifts and call are irreversible and permanent.

He knows us though we don’t know all of Him. Never will. That is the beauty of the relationship. Again, Paul points out to us the unending wisdom and knowledge God has—why do you think we use only so much of our brain? We couldn’t handle all there would be to know or comprehend.

We have all been at the mercy of His justice and His grace. We have all seen others receive the same if not more. Maybe we’ve been a bit jealous or resentful of the graces and mercy they received. Maybe we don’t know their history, either, just as they may not know ours. Leave that to the One who does know. We all have the mercy we are due. We should all show the gratitude accordingly, not wasting time measuring who should have more or who should have less. We are not the dispensers of such. Besides, there are too many planks in our own eyes to see well enough to remove the splinter from theirs.

Today, we give thanks for mercies and graces in our lives.

Today, we seek to do more for the good of others than for ourselves.

Today, we give God all the glory for all things He has granted and given us.

Amen.


Offer It Up! Sunday, October 30, 2011
Happy Birthday Mom, Grandma!

Matthew 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.' You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Practice what you preach… instead of do as I say, not as I do.

Throughout our lives, we have come across people and situations who and when the above lines have rankled us, if not even pushed us over the edge with the same who delivered said message. Jesus identified a few of them Himself. Those who put themselves first. Those who loved to have their names called out. Those who made life difficult for others yet had no qualms about the disregard of the same laws they imposed. So we could go on about those types but that would be a waste of energy and space… like the very folks we would be discussing.

Instead, let’s talk about someone who is the very heart and soul of what Jesus mentions in the last line, about humbling oneself to be exalted. Today marks the anniversary of the birth of one such servant: eighty-eight wonderful, glorious—walking, talking and praising the Lord, what else is there?—years she has been with us. Irene, our mother, mom, grandma, sister, aunt, friend, pillow-maker, God-fearing love of our lives is one of those that would never think to put herself first. She would never take a seat of honor (unless we did a lot of surreptitious planning for a surprise party as we did some years ago) nor would she ever make a load so heavy on friend or family that the two of them, along with their Heavenly Father, could not handle together.

With all she has served and all she continues to serve, it has all been done in His name, through prayer, through sacrifice and with love. Raising a family of eleven children, driving all the miles she drove, making all the clothes and meals—even for those extended ‘family’ members that we would all bring home, she was always and has always given God her best. Meals, miles, or money-if she had it, she shared it in the greatest sense of spirituality.

She knows that God is in control. She knows that we were all put here to serve Him. She knows that long before we were ever placed here on earth, God knew when we would be taken home to see Him. With a husband, two daugthers and a son waiting for her in their own eternal salvation, we hope God is in no hurry to have her join them! Not that she is not ready... we are just selfish in our earthly ways. She may have to get a few more of us 'readier' ourselves.

If there are those that live still that are saints on earth, our mother, our grandmother, our great-grandmother-our Irene-is one.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

With all our love. And all our prayers.

God bless you!


Offer It Up! Saturday, October 29, 2011

Luke 6:12

Jesus spent the whole night on a hill praying.


I pray because I am a Christian, and to do what a Christian must do

I need strength.

I pray because there's confusion in my life, and to know what is right

I need light.

I pray because I have questions, and to keep growing in the faith

I need help.

I pray because I must make decisions; the choices are not always clear

so I need guidance.


I pray because most of what I have has been given to me

and I ought to give thanks.

I pray because Jesus prayed and if he considered it important

so should I.

Mark Link, SJ.


Offer It Up! Friday, October 28, 2011

Ephesians 2:19-22

You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

If it’s true that we are known by the company we keep, being in the same crowd and rubbing elbows with the likes of ‘the holy ones and members of the household of God’ ought to be some pretty decent, if not the most decent, company to be seen with. Imagine for even just a brief moment… hanging out with the saints and angels and all who have gone on before us with their wisdom and witnessing. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

Our ordinary lives are not any different than the ordinary lives of that communion of saints—they just lived in a different time. Given the same circumstances with anxiety, grief, compassion, love and sharing as they had then, we can model ours lives today as they did then. Yes, there will be the times we fall. And the times we fall even more. But the tragedy is not so much as in the falling as it is in the not getting back up. Ask yourself this: what if Paul had not picked himself up when he was knocked down on his way to Damascus? Chances are good there would be no letters to the Ephesians or Romans or anyone else for that matter had he not made the decision to get up and transform his life.

Like Paul and any saint, any holy person, anyone else you know and trust and hold dear for their holy life they lead, you can change and transform even more than where you are now. Once was not necessarily enough for Paul and it should not be for us either. We are all called to ‘build together’ a community and in that community a ‘dwelling place’ for the Holy Spirit. One by one, one for all and all as one may our own spirit be a difference in His kingdom.


Offer It Up! Thursday, October 27, 2011

Romans 8:31-39

What then shall we say to this: 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.

How easy would it be to stop right after verse 31; what more is there to say once we hear and know and believe what Paul offers us there? Really: if we do know this to be true—as it is now and will be forever—who can, what can or what will be against us that will overcome us if we put our faith and trust in God?

We claim to be believers, Catholics, Christians, faith-mongers—whatever. With that claim comes the responsibility and accountability to lay hold of the truths handed over to us as His chosen ones. As there is nothing that will keep Christ from loving us, there should be nothing that should keep us from loving Him or growing in our faith. Nothing. Paul asks if anguish or distress do it? How about persecution or nakedness? Anyone for peril or the sword?

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

There is nothing to fear. As it happened then, it happens today. Only the methods are a bit different. There is still persecution. There is still danger in parts of the world for the profession of faith. There are those that go without food or clothing even now as they move about, proclaiming the Good News. But the message goes on. And no, not even death will put an end to the love He has for us… as a matter of fact, let the angels sing for that glorious eternal relationship!

No, there is nothing that will be enough for Jesus to turn His back to us; for Him to take His Love away. No mountain to high to soar with us, no valley or misery too deep to save us. Allow that Love to fill your heart and let His Love rule and guide your heart. Be ready for what will come from it—you’ll see how, with Christ always in your life, ‘in all things we conquer overwhelmingly through Him who loved us.’


Offer It Up! Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Romans 8:26-30

Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will.
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.

Don’t you hate it/dislike in a large amount when you finally admit to yourself you’ve been carrying around just way too much baggage? That sort of baggage that keeps you from being the real witness that God has called you to be? Another word for baggage—let’s call it what it is, then—sin.

This sin then may not be the complete fall from grace, keep you from the Body and Blood sort of sin but enough that you are fully aware of its sordid implications in your life. Oh, the faith is there and all its wonderful light… so much so that that the light lets you see that baggage… that sin that is now easier to see with the light from the faith you’ve grown into.

And if it’s not a self-imposed baggage claim, it could be that it is couched in another way. It might be that your life now is under a magnifying glass, either one you are looking through or someone else might be holding on to. Every little move your make and/or breath you take is scrutinized, analyzed and boilized to the nth degree.

Did you say that right…did that come out right?

What was I thinking or not thinking? Don’t you trust me yet/anymore/now?

ENOUGH ALREADY! GET OVER YOURSELVES!

Whatever the sin was or is can be given up and given over and forgiven forever. No more carrying around. No more blaming or claiming. God has His plan and that was not a part of it, to be carrying that stuff around. There are better things to be and to be doing with what He has given us. Just ask Him. He’ll tell you. If you just put down the baggage long enough to listen.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Confidence In God St. Francis de Sales

It is good to mistrust ourselves, but how would that advantage us were we not to throw all our confidence on God, and to wait on His mercy?

If you feel no such confidence, cease not on that account from making these acts and from saying to Our Lord:

"Yet, O Lord,

though I have no feeling

of confidence in You,

nevertheless,

I know that You are my God,

that I am all Yours,

and that I have no hope

but in Your goodness;

so, I abandon myself

entirely into Your Hands.

Amen.

It is always in our power to make these acts; although we have difficulty in performing them, still there is no impossibility. Thus we testify faithfulness to our Lord.


Offer It Up! Monday, October 24, 2011

Romans 8:3-6

For what the law, weakened by the flesh, was powerless to do, this God has done: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous decree of the law might be fulfilled in us, who live not according to the flesh but according to the spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit. The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.

It’s not enough to just follow the rules. Given our human nature, it is easy enough to find the loopholes in the rules or to justify not following them for some reason or another. When we do the bare minimum or work towards meeting the minimum requirements, we are sitting on the fence between living in the flesh and living in the spirit. It’s not enough to say, “I’ll attend mass every Sunday, but I’ll arrive late and leave early, right after the Eucharist so that I can get to the store before the game starts.” It’s not enough to say, “I’ll put an extra ten dollars in the offering so that I don’t have to give up my time by serving on a committee.” It’s not enough to say, “I’ll stay in touch with that relative of mine, or I’ll stay married, but I’m not going to put myself out there to get hurt anymore.”

For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh...

It takes active participation…it takes a strong desire to live according to the Spirit, just as it takes thought and effort to eat healthy foods. It would be easier on us if the Spirit would just guide us around like little robots to do and say all the right things. But then, we would never know the joy of what it really feels like to “live in the Spirit.” Thought, effort, desire, and prayer…the more we practice these things, the more we live according to the Spirit. And the more we live according to the Spirit, the more we experience the joy of doing more than just the bare minimum.lgboyd

The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.


Offer It Up! Sunday, October 23, 2011

Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Who can love God enough? Who has enough faith? Who is loved enough and who loves and cares enough?

Rhetorical questions like these can cause us to pause long enough to give more consideration to the verses from Matthew’s gospel. Jesus told the Pharisees straight up: Love God and love your neighbor, just as yourself. Everything is in those two commandments.

Given the opportunity, would you not want to increase or deepen your faith? In the same manner, would it follow then your love for God would then grow? Consider then each day that opportunity, that gift to do just that. And in each day, find another way to show your love for Him as He shows His Love for you.

How do we do that if we are ‘already’ are doing those things? Loving our neighbor? Even the poor and homeless? Even the immigrants? Or do we dismiss them without another thought as just another statistic? Not an easy task is it? Yet the more we look past the condition and into the hearts of each, we see more than numbers or labels-we see the reality of what Jesus described in the first two commandments. If we love our God, we have to love our neighbors, all of them. With prayer and compassion, with mercy and kindness, we can express our unconditional love for all. And as we do, our love for God and our faith will be better for it.


Offer It Up! Saturday, October 22, 2011

Luke 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply,
"Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them? do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!"
And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, "For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?"
He said to him in reply, "Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'"

Analysis is paralysis.

There are times we get soooo locked in on specifics, perfection, letter-of-the-law type stuff that we miss out on what the bigger message, the bigger picture that God is presenting to us. We immerse ourselves in the things we have come to know in our heads and leave them there. We forget to make that connection with our hearts to verify what we know with what we have come to believe in our faith. Essentially then, what is presented before us looks to be true but in fact may not be so.

The fig tree takes some three years to produce fruit. Without proper care the first couple of years, the third year may not have much of a crop. Given the opportunity to let it stand and grow another year, with the appropriate care and nurturing, what might we expect to happen then with the fruit? At least the tree will be given the chance to prove itself and have some help to make itself an even greater asset, instead of being written off and chopped down.

How many people do you know that have come along in your life that you have written off and not looked at the bigger picture? How many times have you been too quick to judge? Maybe it’s even happened to you. We all need to step back, slow down, take another look or three or four and see more of what God has put before us. He knows how all of our own trees will grow, fruitful or not.


Offer It Up! Friday, October 21, 2011

Romans 7:18-25

I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The apostle Paul reminds us to never let evil talk cross our lips. He goes on to exhort us to say only good things persons need to hear. Words can be like sharp arrows that cut deeply and cause wounds that heal ever slowly. How do we practice an attitude that enables us to love and see the wonder of God in all circumstances? Our expectations are sometimes greater than we can live up to ourselves.


Today, I pray Lord give me the grace to love as you love. Grant that I may see in everyone and everything the wonder of you. Teach me to be a light shining with the brightness of your love, bearing and expressing at all times the fruits of the Spirit. Amen.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taking a page from subliminal messaging here with Psalm 1, for all the temptations we are faced with, we can remain blessed as we place our hope and trust in the Lord. Put ourselves in a position to do as we are called to do. Sure, there will be the temptation to go the other way but just because it presents itself doesn’t mean we submit ourselves to it.

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

I can listen to whoever I want to listen to… Besides, they’re not that bad.
Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked

Hhmm… I guess I can do it just this once. Nobody will know.

Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent

So this is what I am supposed to do then, find joy in what the Lord has for me?

But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and

night


Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
An unending supply? Of what? I can find my own.

He is like a tree planted near running water

I’m supposed to believe then that when I do, I’ll have whatever I want? Sure.

That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade

I’m not sure that anything I’ve ever done amounted to much… or ever will.

Whatever he does, prospers


Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
I’m kinda liking it where I am, calling my own shots.

Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives

away

I’ll pray and ask God for help when I need it.

For the LORD watches over the way of the just

Yeah, I’ll take my chances with what I got
but the way of the wicked vanishes

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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 ChardinSJ


Offer It Up! Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Luke 10:3-11

Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.

On the surface, they didn’t have much going for them other than what you read there. Like lambs to slaughter pretty much, particularly without the benefit of cash, sack or shoes. Yup, they had the original idea of traveling light. And on top of that, they weren’t even supposed to ‘greet anyone along the way’, the way to wherever it was they were going.

That traveling light order was quite the good thing. They weren’t encumbered by whatever it was they felt they had to take with them. They didn’t have a need for it because they had their faith that all would be provided for them as they made their way. Less stuff to carry means less stuff to worry about too. Not to mention the internal baggage they were to leave behind: worries, anxieties, troubles... the less of that they had, the easier it would be for them to share the message of peace He sent them with.

Just as the kingdom was at hand for them then, it is just as at hand for us today. Just as the message of peace was delivered then, we are equally responsible to deliver it today, if not more so, just as the disciples did. Talk about a harvest being great with a light workforce! I would have to think just as it is today with our free will and choices we make, the ‘laborers’ also had their choices to make—to harvest or to not. The gospel tells us the rest of that story. Let’s pray that the message today, an even greater harvest to share with the Good News, has more laborers and that the choice is made to share in the proclamation of His kingdom.


Offer It Up! Monday, October 17, 2011

Romans 4:20-25

Abraham did not doubt God's promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what God had promised he was also able to do. That is why it was credited to him as righteousness. But it was not for him alone that it was written that it was credited to him; it was also for us, to whom it will be credited, who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our transgressions and was raised for our justification.

If we were to go out on our own just as Abraham did on faith alone—no scripture, no traditions or Traditions as we have today, no saints to call upon—how many of us would be able to withstand the fury and the flame as he did? Hhmmm… me thinks we doth protesteth much—way too much these days.

For sure it is not by faith alone that we live and believe but it is through and by that very faith that we cannot see our God that we must believe and know that He will deliver us from what befalls us, just as He did Abraham. Abraham knew God had a plan for Him though he wasn’t sure what it was. He believed. Abraham had the faith to endure though it was hard to carry on. He knew. Abraham had the courage to withstand the trials and tribulations because he knew it would be worth it.

Paul reminds us that Jesus gave Himself up for our sins. He then tells us that we are justified through Christ’s Resurrection. Just as God had promised Abraham that He would deliver him, we are also promised of our salvation through our belief and faith in Christ Jesus. For real; when we put ourselves in a position to do as He has called us to do and more importantly to be, we will find ourselves cooperating with Him just as Abraham did. And we have the benefit of so much more than our faith to help us, right?


Offer It Up! Sunday, October 16, 2011

2 Peter 3:13-15a

What we await are new heavens and a new earth where, according to his promise, the justice of God will reside. So, beloved, while waiting for this, make every effort to be found without stain or defilement, and at peace in his sight. Consider that our Lord’s patience is directed toward salvation.

Act as if.

Act as if every effort counted.

Act as if every effort counted toward the Lord’s patience with you.

Act as if that your salvation was so locked into the very being you are that soon, everything you thought, everything you did, everything you were, was lived according to His promise of eternity.

We are not merely waiting for the new heaven to be upon us here; we can be the new heaven and earth. That is what we look for as we put ourselves in a better position to live as God has called us to live. And that is living in the very real and active sense of the word, not in the drudgery and trudgery of passive ‘living’.

In Thessalonians, we are reminded that the Good News did not come to us ‘in word alone’. It came and still is ours through the power of the Holy Spirit. With conviction, we must continue to spread the gospel and live it accordingly to as we have been called, with works of faith and labors of love. What better way for us as chosen ones to show our perseverance and our own love for our God than that?

1 Thessalonians 1:2-6

We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.
For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction. You know what sort of people we were [among] you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit


Offer It Up! Saturday, October 15, 2011

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Prayer of St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Jesus

Offer It Up! Friday, October 14, 2011

Psalm 63:2-4

O God, you are my God—it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, In a land parched, lifeless, and without water I look to you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory. For your love is better than life; my lips shall ever praise you!

We all know where we need to go when we find ourselves needing some closeness with God. For some, if not most, that place is most often the sanctuary of the church. For others and other times, it is the solitude of our homes or even in the breath and beauty of nature. However it is and wherever it is we seek Him, we know that is what we need to do.

What we do when we get there is another story. For the longest time, I felt it was up to me to fill the void with prayer after prayer... thanksgivings, supplications, petitions, begging for this, forgiveness for that. A veritable registry of rote and not-so-rote offerings that I soon would forget the original reason for the solitude session. Maybe some of you have had similar circumstances where the words of the prayers are there but somehow the meaning seems to slip away.

A wise priest once suggested that instead of fifteen minutes of prayerful contrition after reconciliation that maybe I would be better off with a couple of sessions of fifteen minutes of silence. No silent praying. No mindless Our Fathers. Just stop with that side of the prayer life long enough and listen to what God has to say. After all, prayer does work that way. Or it is supposed to be that way. Yet for me and maybe for others, we get caught up in the formality of it all and take the responsibility on ourselves to do it all.

Just like life-we want it our way instead of what God has planned for us. Yet if we slow down enough and hear Him and let Him guide us, the difference will be seen in His power and glory. His Love is better than life and we will forever praise Him!


Offer It Up! Thursday, October 13, 2011

Romans 3:22-26

For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his blood, to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,through the forbearance of God—to prove his righteousness in the present time, that he might be righteous and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

I don’t go to church/reconciliation/pray anymore (or less, for that matter)

...because of all the hypocrites there.

...the pastor/people judge me.

... all they want is my money.

... I always hear the same thing

...churches are all the same.

...too many different ones.

... Jesus knows my sins.

... I can pray to the trees and nature.

... I don’t need it.

... I pray enough already

... I got what I need already.

You may hear some of these in the places you work or maybe with some of the folks you know or even live with... God bless you all whatever the case might be. Having used all of them myself at certains stages of my life, it didn't take too much time to recall to come up with the list.

Paul wrote there is no distinction. We are all sinners, whether we go to church or not, whether we judge others or not, whether we pray enough or not. There is sin in our lives. The good news included with the Good News is that we are all given the opportunity to be free from that which we were enslaved to; that sin, that coveting, that love for money, that judging, that addiction, that hatred, that anger: His mercy and Love endure forever.

Through Jesus Christ and through the sacrament of reconciliation, we are offered forgiveness. Jesus paid the supreme sacrifice for our sins and in so doing, did so with Love. The effects of His sacrifice will last forever, just as the forgiveness of our sins will when we come to Him with humble and contrite hearts. And since we don’t exactly know how long our forevers will be, we may as well be ready as we can be for when that time comes.

Keep the faith in Him. There is no justification otherwise.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Romans 2:5-11

By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works:eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek.

There is no partiality with God

Sometimes we find out that we are more hard-headed or even stubborn on some issues that we realize. In relationships, at work, in the things we prefer to do, we find that we often gravitate toward the path of most resistance—instead of the one that offers the least. We seem to thrive if not relish our detour on the path with the most walls instead of the one that could lend itself to more solutions.

Maybe we’ve always done something the same way and it’s always worked and there is no sense in changing just for the sake of change… even though the other way has shown itself to be better.

Maybe there is a new hire who has different ideas than yours and you find it hard to accept them, being set in your ways… even though the ideas are solid, moral and just.

Maybe your spouse has been the absent spouse lately and there is little more for you to do but go about the hours and grouse about it… even though you’ve spent far more hours in front of the computer or television when they’ve been home.

To paraphrase a line from the movie Forrest Gump, stubborn is as stubborn does. The more we put ourselves in the solution position, the more we find ourselves capable of being and living of how God has called us to be and live. The more we put ourselves and let ourselves fall into the problem position, the more find out how little we trust and believe that God will be there to help take care of what we cannot. The choice is ours every day, every decision…. Do we want to be a part of the solution and put ourselves in that position to do so or do we fall back and stay in the problem mode? What’ll it be today for you?


Offer It Up! Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Matthew 22:4

“Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’

Ever known anyone that would do just enough to get by? Just enough to make a passing grade in school or just enough to keep their job or the boss off their back for the most part? People like that are most often described as minimalists… that section of the underachiever population that makes even the average Joe or Jane look way better than their average achievements make them.

From his homily last week, our priest spoke of people like that. People that he knew in school that would do just enough to get by in school. People that he knew before he was a priest in the engineering world that would put themselves in positions that would be just enough to get them by in their careers, never risking more than they had to. People that he knows now never getting out of their comfort zone to do more than the bare minimum to get by. Oh sometimes they would do a little more and get some things done above and beyond their normal accepted practice of their unremarkable lives. They would actually get close to accomplishing something more than just the least they had to do.

His homily went on to talk about us as believers –Catholics and Christians alike—that some 70% that sit in the pews every Sunday don’t get out beyond their own comfort zone. As disciples, we would rather put our heads deep in the sand and ignore the accountability and responsibility of our mission. Our mission that Christ gave us to be the light of the world. Bright light, not dimly lit, to shine not for us or about us but for everyone else. The best at whatever we are called to do. The best husband, wife, father, mother, sister or brother. The best worker, friend, the best Christian you can be to serve your neighbor. He did not call us to be anything less than our best as believers, as Christians, as Catholics.

Father went on to say in his homily that when we come to the end of our lives that God looks at us and the lives we put before Him… ‘Well, you almost made it.’

God has called us to participate fully in His banquet. Come, let us feast.


Offer It Up! Monday, October 10, 2011

Romans 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an Apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, the Gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a slave for Christ Jesus we are set apart for the Gospel of God.

With the grace of apostleship and through the obedience of faith we are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

Make no mistake—and even if we do—we are called to be holy.

We all experience life-changing moments, relationships or events in our lives. Good or bad, right or wrong, the things of the world cannot nor will not change God’s Love for us. As we fall more in love with Him, obedient and trusting to His will, we will find how much more our lives change and grow in Him.


Offer It Up! Sunday, October 9, 2011

Matthew 22:14

Many are invited, but few are chosen.

Suppose you had a party and nobody showed? You made all the arrangements, had the places set and the band warming up with some soft music. The hors d’oeuvres were all out and the drinks were on ice and the doors were ready with greeters to welcome everyone to the feast. Might you just be little bit annoyed that you had all this set up and no one wanted to, or cared to, share in the revelry?

We are invited everyday to share in the feast that God has for us in His joyous banquet. Every day we given an opportunity to respond to His invitation to come and sit at His table and feast with Him. Fully and completely to share in His Love for us, we can also share in the body and blood of the Eucharist offered in the sacrifice of the mass. Not just part of the way, not just part of ourselves, but all that we have.

God sent His Son to live and die for us all—completely and fully—not in part, not just to get by. We should give then as Jesus Christ did, living and dying for the sake of others. He didn’t live to ‘get by’ or just be ‘good enough’ and neither should we.

Dieterich Bonhoeffer was a Christian teacher during World War II who was killed for his faith underthe Hitler regime. What if we looked at our own ‘getting by’ and ‘good enough’ in the same way he looked at grace in the following contrast.

"Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves ..the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance ..grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. ..Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life."

We can share in the joy of His eternal feast by accepting His invitation and making ourselves ready by clothing ourselves in the garments of His grace and mercy.


Offer It Up! Saturday, October 8, 2011

Philippians 2:14-15

In everything you do, act without grumbling or arguing; prove yourselves innocent and straightforward, children of God beyond reproach in the midst of a twisted and depraved generation—among whom you shine like the stars in the sky.

Have you ever—or how often have you—found yourself getting just a little peeved about the pettiest of notions? From the solitude of a Saturday morning to the emptiness of that Saturday afternoon. From the lack of rain to too much of it. From the lack of communication to you can’t get a word in edge-wise. What we have to what we don’t… and want.

All of this comes to us or happens to us from the way we put ourselves in the position to respond to what God has placed in our lives. If we pray more often and be as we are called to be, and we faithfully do that, how much time would we have to ‘grumble or argue’? God has given us His gifts and graces to live and love, not to moan and groan. And the more we avail our skills and talents for the good of others, the more we find ourselves being and living in His light.

Well known English author and preacher from the 19th century, C. H. Spurgeon, told the story of the oxen pulling the heavy wagon down a country lane. The oxen turned to the wheels as they creaked and groaned along the path: ‘Hey there, why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labor, and we—not you—ought to cry out!’ Though the wheels themselves do serve a purpose, the oxen are doing the heavy work.

How much is life like that with us? We find out that we are carrying the load while others around us are just like the wheels on the wagon. Or is it that we are the wheels on the wagon? Either way, our gifts are far more useful when put them to good use. It is our responsibility to God and our life to use them accordingly.


Offer It Up! Friday, October 7, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary


Our Lady of the Rosary Novena

My dearest Mother Mary, behold me, your child, in prayer at your feet. Accept this Holy Rosary, which I offer you in accordance with your requests at Fatima, as a proof of my tender love for you, for the intentions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in atonement for the offenses committed against your Immaculate Heart, and for this special favor which I earnestly request in my Rosary Novena: ...mention your request now...

I beg you to present my petition to your Divine Son. If you will pray for me, I cannot be refused. I know, dearest Mother, that you want me to seek God’s holy Will concerning my request. If what I ask for should not be granted, pray that I may receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul.

I offer you this spiritual “Bouquet of Roses” because I love you. I put all my confidence in you, since your prayers before God are most powerful. For the greater glory of God and for the sake of Jesus, your loving Son, hear and grant my prayer. Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation. Amen.

This prayer is said along with the Rosary.


Offer It Up! Thursday, October 6, 2011

1 Chronicles 29:11-13

Yours, LORD, are greatness and might, majesty, victory, and splendor. For all in heaven and on earth is yours; yours, LORD, is kingship; you are exalted as head over all. Riches and glory are from you, and you have dominion over all. In your hand are power and might; it is yours to give greatness and strength to all.Therefore, our God, we give you thanks and we praise the majesty of your name.

When is the last time you counted your blessings? Okay… when is the last time you stopped long enough to give thanks in prayer for anything that you have or were given in your life? Well then how about the last time you were the least bit grateful for the food you were about to eat? Stop me when you’ve found something that clicks for you.

When we all have our God who gives us all, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the beauty and abundance of His Love for us in those gifts He has bestowed upon us. Easy and taken for granted the material aspects we come to know and use. Worse yet, easy and taken for granted the people in our lives who mean so much to us. Worst yet, easy and taken for granted the very faith and spirit of life God has put in us.

With all God has for us, why then are we looking for ways to be less than thankful? As if we are undeserving and uncaring, maybe even unworthy—so much of any or all that we lose out on the joy and happiness He has planned for us. God wants us to be fulfilled and happy. He wants us to be enriched with His Love and joyous. He has given us so many reminders in the world around us as well as in the heart within us. Once we give ourselves the opportunity, or even permission as a friend of mine is wont to offer, to feel and grasp His abundance, we can then see more of His generosity in our lives.

Go ahead. Start counting them now. And start giving thanks for more than what you can see around you for all of us have been blessed beyond anything we can see, hear, feel or imagine. God wants it that way and it will be so.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Happy Anniversary Linda!

Tobit 8:4b-8

On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, “Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.” Sarah got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. They began with these words:
“Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever. You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’

Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.”
They said together, “Amen, amen.”

So maybe on our wedding night it didn’t go exactly like it went for Tobiah and Sarah. Not to say there wasn’t any praying involved—there was. After all, we’re Catholic. And yes, we knew our marriage was not so much about or for anything else but for a ‘noble purpose.’ (Sinner that I am, ‘lust’ had crossed my mind…) But all in all, our hearts and faith then were in the right place just as they are today.

What has gone on during the years since that time, that first October 5th, has always been transformative but has not always been pleasing and good. But as faithful as He is, God has always been there, even though the faith from this side may not have. But as He has always been there, so has Linda. Just as she is an image of Him in my life, keeping us and our hearts together as one in Him.

The real spiritual strength in a marriage is found in the faith of those in it. How it is shared. How it is revealed. How it is lived and loved. The blessings and graces in my life flow from all that Linda has helped with, supported—pushed and pulled—us through all twenty-six years. Her love for us and her beauty is exceeded only by the depth and strength of her faith… how she has guided us and kept us grounded in it. No, she did not do it on her own. She will be the first to let you know that all she has is gifted to her from God. Her authenticity, her truth in love and compassion, beauty and peace, is shown in how she lives every day.

Indeed, the Lord has looked over us and after us all these years. Prayerfully, He will continue to do so for the years we have left as we submit to His plan for us, living more in line, more closely to, His will. I have learned a few things over the years but none more important than to love as God has loved us and love my wife as He has commanded us to do.

Thank You God for the wife in my life.

Thank You God for Your life in my wife.

Happy Anniversary Linda.

I love you-

me

Sirach 26:1-4

Blessed the husband of a good wife, twice-lengthened are his days; A worthy wife brings joy to her husband, peaceful and full is his life. A good wife is a generous gift bestowed upon him who fears the Lord; Be he rich or poor, his heart is content, and a smile is ever on his face


Offer It Up! Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

Prayer in Praise of God

You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are Almighty.
You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love. You are wisdom.
You are humility. You are endurance.
You are rest. You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.
You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector.
You are our guardian and defender.
You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith, our great consolation.
You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord,
God Almighty, Merciful Savior.

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi.

Today we remember the poor one. Francis who gave his all to God. Francis fell in love, passionately in love, with Jesus Christ. He gave up everything to follow the Lord and to proclaim the message of His love.

Like Francis, we struggle to hear God's particular invitation to each of us. Francis at first thought that God was calling him to rebuild the church at Portiuncula. I imagine we in our practical minds are quite like Francis; we respond by trying to build edifices, monuments to our clever abilities. However, can we like Francis come to the realization that God is calling us to rebuild our spiritual lives which often lie in a state of dishevelment or ruin?

The gospel for this day allows us to see Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, sitting at the feet of Jesus attentive to His every word. In the meantime Martha is being practical, telling her to help, ‘we need to get things done’.

‘No...Mary has chosen the better part and that is how it will remain.’

How hard is that for the practical American doer to understand? What does it mean to rest in the Lord, to place our trust in God and take time to LISTEN?
Francis listened, he emptied himself, he let go of a dependency in material things and lived a life of a poor one. He died a poor and lowly man, but was welcomed into glory with all the riches of eternal life. Today...pause a few moments and reflect and pray with Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me bring love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt; faith;
Where there is despair; hope;
Where there is darkness; light;
Where there is sadness; joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may never seek
to be consoled; but to console.
to be understood; but to understand;
to be loved; but to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
In pardoning that we are pardoned;
And, in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Monday, October 3, 2011

Luke 10:35-37

Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

We’ve looked away from time to time when we could have helped.

We’ve found other things to do that were ‘more important’ to keep us on our way than to stop and help out someone in need.

We’ve rationalized that someone else would come along after us and take care of who or whatever needed to be tended to or taken care of.

Yes we have done all of these things only to find out that we left ourselves open to our own suffering and the mercy of others as we came upon our own trials and tribulations that brought us to the side of the road.

Jesus carried His cross on His road to His own sacrifice for us all. He offered His life for us all so that we would be free from the bonds of sin. His mercy and compassion He showed us as He placed Himself on the cross and it was His Love for us that kept Him there. We can do our part, we can share in His mercy and love by giving of ourselves, by sacrificing for Him and our neighbor. His Love went all the way to the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Ours can go that far to the foot of it for our mercy and salvation.


Offer It Up! Sunday, October 2, 2011

Isaiah 5:1-7

Let me now sing of my friend, my friend's song concerning his vineyard. My friend had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside; he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press.
Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes.

From Isaiah, we can relate much to our own plans of life. We put everything in place-or so we think-to have our own ‘vineyard’ come out just as we laid out. But then we find out that the plans are not so much about us but about putting the control of them in God’s hands.

Maybe we went to school to be a teacher and we end up working successfully at a retail store.

Maybe we learned a trade to become an electrician or a carpenter and we end up running a maintenance department for an apartment complex.

Maybe we even wanted to be a doctor or lawyer and have the pedigree and papers to support either and we are neither.

And those are the vineyards just about ‘us’. There are many others that are planted about our family, our children and our friends. Some turn out as planted; many are of the wild grape variety and are soon plowed under and started again. And we are blessed that God is just as He is to start over with us just as we start over with ourselves, each other, our family and those in our lives.

He has chosen us to live in His kingdom, His vineyard, here on earth. We must continue to be open to those plans He has for us, remaining faithful in all we do. We are the tenants—He is the owner of all that is here. All we have He has given us. It is up to us to do well then with all we have, even when it is not as we had planned. As He is patient with us, so must we be patient with life here in His kingdom.



Luke 10:13-16

Jesus said to them, "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, "Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld."
Whoever listens to you listens to me.Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."

They are the holdouts. The ones that sit on the sideline, the B-team, the back-ups, the relief – those that choose not to participate unless absolutely needed. Some are placed there because they have a passion to learn and be a part of the team, but just need a little more time to be ready.This group is not really full of holdouts. They are the ones that “hold on” and continue to have hope they can achieve their goals. Others are there because they choose to be. Their fear, their lack of enthusiasm, their inattention to detail, their doubt of their own ability causes them to stay where it is safe – on the bench. Or even worse – they are just plain stubborn and if they can’t do it their way, they just won’t do it at all.

I have a confession to make. I am a holdout. I have a tendency to sit on the bench because it is safe.I can watch what is going on in a close up, but safe, position. I still feel like a part of the team, but don’t have to really put myself out there. I have a tendency to tell myself that I don’t know what to do – where God wants me to serve. The problem with that line of thinking is that, in the meantime, there are people out there watching me who probably don’t see any real level of commitment to my faith. There are people out there that aren’t listening to God because I’m not doing a good job of getting the message out.

Why fear? Why doubt? God has a plan for each of us–a plan to serve him with all of our hearts, souls, and mind. There is work to be done.Just think what could happen if we all let go of our fears or our stubbornness. Just think what could happen if we would get up off the bench and get to work.

In My Universe, for every task I give one of My children, there is set aside all that is necessary for its performance. So why fear? So why doubt? lgboyd

Psalm 90:12

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts into wisdom.