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

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Offer It Up! Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The eve of All Saints! Halloween!

What is your reaction to this day? As your children are being taught by you to approach the feast of All Saints, what do they receive from you as a priority? Trick or Treat? Or a time of prayer and sharing some stories about the heroes of faith who are being honored on the feast of All Saints? Will they be at your side celebrating Eucharist on the Holy Day, giving thanks for the wonder of all that God, in His mercy has done and does for all humanity?

The family of God to which we belong includes all those saints through the ages who preceded us and modeled for us the way to eternal life. In our particular families we are committed to following in their footsteps, walking the paths they trod to reach the narrow door to life for all eternity. It is often too obvious we are consumed with the other pursuits, and the toll on family becomes quite visible. So many single-parent families, so many single mothers—and single fathers—are a concern for the fate of society. In our Church family we too are assailed by the forces of secularism and the faith of many families is waning.

Sadly, many do not exercise their faith, have not established a way of teaching their children about God in the home, and allow influences that are damaging to the moral formation of even small children to develop in their homes. God talk is "boring". An evening where they are asked to think about God is too time consuming and suddenly they have school work to do and this is taking time away from that much more important duty. Of course, going to a party for half the night would be highly entertaining and not nearly so intrusive.

What to do? There is much talk about re-evangelization at the beginning of this Year of Faith. What to do leads us to becoming involved. The Why Catholic? groups may be a good place for many to start. But I suggest the first place for most would be the confessional, and then a serious effort to ATTEND mass each Sunday, and to pray every day. Develop the habit of prayer: each morning on rising give thanks to God and dedicate the day to serving Him. Pray before meals. Find ways to celebrate family time, and include brief prayer on these occasions. Make God the center of life and love. Read the scriptures daily... if you can't spend a few minutes.. spend and hour.

Think about it seriously right now.

Where would you be without God?

Deacon



Offer It Up! Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Happy Birthday Grandma!

In the celebration of my mother's birthday some eighty-plus years (almost 90!) ago, we offer one of her favorite prayers, The Magnifcat. For all her prayers, there were thousands for the intercession of Blessed Virgin Mary that have kept her children, and others, in the safety of their guardian angels. For those then and those now, we give God thanks for our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend.

God bless you Mom. We love you.

The Magnificat

My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations

shall call me blessed;
Because he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name;
And his mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant,

mindful of his mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers,

to Abraham and to his posterity forever.



Offer It Up! Monday, October 29, 2012

Job 9:2-4

I know well that it is so; but how can a man be justified before God?
Should one wish to contend with him, he could not answer him once in a thousand times.
God is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who has withstood him and remained unscathed?

Loving someone who is not easy to love can be discouraging.It helps when that person is willing to admit that he or she is hard to love, but not everyone is able to reach that level of self-awareness.I wonder how God does it.How can we be justified before Him?We all like to think of ourselves as something special at times, but how dare we argue with God about who we are and what we deserve.How dare we argue with Him about what we really need or don’t need.

For as ridiculous as I’ve behaved at times, God still loves me and wants good things for me.Wait – I have to say that again.For as ridiculous as I’ve behaved at times, God still loves me and wants the best for me.For as perfect and holy and knowledgeable as He is, He still loves me.If He can do that in spite of His Holy Righteousness, why can’t I find it easier to just love people in spite of their weaknesses and their own ridiculous behaviors?

It is exactly because I am not inately perfect and holy and knowledgeable and righteous.The only way that I can even become ever so slightly that way is through my faith.The only way I can love someone who is difficult to love is by allowing God to love them through me.Through God’s eyes, there is hope and redemption.Through God’s eyes, I am able to see the lovable and not so lovable parts of a person and do my best to encourage the lovable parts.

No matter how lovable I think I am, I am not always easy to love any more than the next person.I cannot stand before God and remain unscathed in the blameless and faultless department.Thankfully, God is wise in heart and mighty in strength.Wait – I have to say that again – God is wise in heart.I love that phrase because it expresses the very core of who God is to me.God is wise in how He loves us.He does not “over” love us by allowing us to get away with murder.And he does not “under” love us by leaving us to be swept away by the waves of life.

When we truly seek Him, He will find us and love us into that place that is just right for us – even if we don’t always acknowledge it and thank Him for it.And, that is how you love someone that is not easy to love.

lgboyd


Offer It Up! Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me." And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me."
Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."
So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you." He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.

Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?"
The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see."
Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you." Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way

As it is with us as we keep calling on Jesus Christ to help us, to have pity on us, to save us, to grant us grace—to bring us from the darkness we will find ourselves in. And as it was with Bartimeus, there were the naysayers in the crowd, in our circles, in our families, in the world, who would have us believe otherwise or would have us tell our stories elsewhere.

Yet we persist. And persevere. And pray. And petition our Lord Jesus Christ that He would heed our call: ‘Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.’ That He would hear our prayers above the chaos and din of the mess we’ve not only found our lives in but more than likely, put ourselves there.

There are those who would be in similar plights that want us to believe that it would not be their fault. They would be victim of circumstances, they cry out. Innocent bystanders in all of this and they have to suffer too… those are people whose faith might be in the world. Or their faith not quite where Jesus would have them be just yet. For others, though, those others who have faith in Jesus Christ and who have seen the light—and the dark—they know where the blame sits. Right in their laps.

Jesus called Bartimeus out because of his faith. He calls us out because of ours. He calls us out of our own darkness and into His light. Let us be ready to answer when He asks of us what it is that we want.

‘Master, I want to see.’

‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’



Offer It Up Saturday, October 27, 2012

One of St. Ignatius’s early companions, Jeronimo Nadal coined phrase “simul in actione contemplativus” meaning the contemplation of the presence of God and experiencing the reality of spiritual things. A common theme of St. Ignatius was the finding of God in everything.

Accordingly, consider your life and daily schedule. The perceived good and bad, the stressful and nonstressful, etc. From there, reflect and try to find God in the midst of each circumstance.

Silent Insight



Offer It Up! Friday, October 26, 2012

There is a story about a poor Peruvian boy who found a priceless pearl. He said, "I'll sell it and never have to worry about money again. But when the boy tried to sell it to pearl merchants, each turned him down.

That night his shack was ransacked. Now he knew the merchants were out to get him. The next day he was attacked. Now he knew he had to choose between the pearl and his life.

W
ith the pearl buyers looking on, he threw the pearl in the ocean as far as he could. He laughed and laughed. He was now free from the danger to his life

Three classes of people
Dreamers:They are attached to something that threatens to destroy relationship with Jesus. They know they should do what the Peruvian boy did; but they can't bring themselves to do it.

Dodgers:They are attached to something that threatens to destroy their relationship with Jesus; but they can't give it up. They put off doing something, but promise Jesus that they will pray that it won't destroy their relationship with him.

Doers:
They have an attachment to something that threatens to destroy their relationship with Jesus. They pray for strength and courage, and do what the Peruvian boy did.

W
hat is something in my life that threatens to destroy my relationship with Jesus and my eternal happiness after death? Which "class of person" am I currently in?

If I can’t give something up, I don't own it. It owns me.
Author unknown



Offer It Up! Thursday, October 25, 2012

Are you awake? Well, I am sure if you are reading this you probably consider yourself as being awake, and in some sense you are. But are you really awake and aware of the present and the ramifications of life? Think about it for a moment.

Recent discoveries in science and technology in our world (if we are aware of them) reveal how little one person is in the vastness of the universes. Yet we believe with Psalmist,

‘Who is man that God makes so much of him?

Placing all things under his feet.’

Read Psalm 8 and prayerfully consider in dialog with God the wonder of it all. Are you awake enough to be aware of the AWESOMENESS of it all?

Perhaps by reflecting on this one can begin to be aware of the enormity of the Incarnation! God who became man, now suffers a brutal passion and death, and for the Apostle and for us astoundingly rises from the tomb and appears to demonstrate His being alive.

Are you awake and aware? What is the effect of all this new on your life? Where is Christ in the daily living out of life? Does all this have any effect on your living out your baptismal call?

Despite all the education, classes, training and on and on, we all need to experience Christ and the love of the Trinity in order to learn to be loving. Most of us are in need of discovering what love truly is. We love as best we can but selfish attitudes, envy and other distractions dissuade us from learning what love really is. It appears that unless we experience the love of God we really have difficulty loving as we should.

This week, challenge yourself to read the scriptures for the day from Ephesians and Luke’s gospel. References are in your Sunday Church Bulletin or online. Do it and find yourself more awake and aware of God’s Love.

Deacon



Offer It Up! Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This week we are reading the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians. As Paul begins, he reminds the congregation that they are member of the household of God. In Christ we are empowered to proclaim the Good News of salvation. More than that, we are sharers in His very life journeying toward our eternal destiny, life with God.

We are called to be the best version or the person God created when he formed us and gave us the breath of life. We are to use the gifts and talents God has so graciously lavished to work at Kingdom building. In order to accomplish our task we are to understand what it means to live in the reign of God.

We become so preoccupied with achieving success we often fail in our living in the reign of God. We forget that we are called to be faithful not successful. Yet, paradoxically, if we are faithful we will be successful..

But what is success? Perhaps it is as difficult to explain as the question, ‘What is love?’

How well we establish our relationship with Jesus , how well we take the time and effort to know and understand Our Lord will be a measure of our success. If we measure our success by the standards of the current age and the princes of the world…will be like a camel trying to pass through the eye of a needle.

Take time today to sit in deep silence and quiet body, mind and heart as you focus on being in the Lord’s presence.

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:11

Deacon



Offer It Up! Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Psalm 39:5-6, 8

LORD, let me know my end, the number of my days, that I may learn how frail I am.

To be sure, you establish the expanse of my days; indeed, my life is as nothing before you. Every man is but a breath.

And now, LORD, for what do I wait? You are my only hope.

Do we really want to know the time we have left? If we were given that option as a result of our most fervent prayer, how would we respond when God called us? What if His answer was ‘How about now? Is now good for you?’

Yes, our lives are all but nothing in the relevance of time to God. Yet in the greater sense of faith and love and devotion, He gives us so much more to live for in that breadth of our lives. It is up to us to use all He has given us then to maximize our faith, our love and our devotion not just to Him but to one another. He wants that for us to be more like Him, to be in His image and likeness. And how can we be more like Him than to be as He calls us to be?

Our hope is in God; that is Who we wait for as we live for Him.



Offer It Up! Monday, October 22, 2012

Luke 12:16-21

Then he told them a parable. "There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, 'What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?' And he said, 'This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, 'Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!'"
But God said to him, 'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?' Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God."

What are you goals this Year of Faith? Have you established any? How aware are you of the Year of Faith?

Today is a good time to look ahead and begin right now to turn even more to God with the intent of growing in your faith.

If you were motivated to learn a skill that would lead to a better job, more financial success, or if you wished to adopt an exercise program to become more physically fit, what would you do? Likely you would take steps to establish a routine of disciplined actions that would be directed at accomplishing your goal. In the coming days, weeks and months, that same paradigm can be applied to your spiritual well being. Daily prayer, spiritual reading, spiritual works of mercy, charity—all are elements of a program to lead to a deeper spiritual well-being.

All of us baptized are called to be missionaries. The commission we received is to announce the Good News to the world. When God created us, He gave us life and love and longs for us to become all He intended. But He also gave us the freedom to come to Him in freedom with the gift of free will. It is sometimes so difficult for us to understand such a gift… free will. We are free to turn to God who gave us life and everything else. Yet, we are capable of turning away and believing we accomplished so much by ourselves.

It becomes necessary for us to become silent and to acknowledge that we are created beings and that God is the Creator. Faith...not sight is how we life our existence in this earthly realm. Even though we don't see, we believe. Words...do they declare the truth. Do our life decisions generally reflect our declaration of belief?

That perhaps is a question for today. Are we busy storing wealth for ourselves, needing bigger warehouses here, or are we preparing for eternal life?

Deacon



Offer It Up! Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hebrews 4:14-16

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

As much as we would like for things to be that way, God sent His Son not to make life an easy one for us. Along with all we have been given, nothing greater has come our way than the gift of life in Jesus Christ. That life He lived to give us eternal life today. God our Father giving us His Son for all eternity.

Throughout our trials and challenges, we will more often than not give way to world’s methods and solutions, even with all we know and believe in our faith. Even when we know Jesus can ‘sympathize with our weaknesses’ because He too was human. He too was faced with challenges. He came up against them as we do; our differences is that we give in and sin; He didn’t. What we get instead with our imperfections is His mercy and grace.

So why not let go of the weak and trivial matters we take on as we make our choices with what the world offers us? Why not choose to make other more significant and substantial changes to our lives with the gift of free will we all have? Let us do just that; let us then approach Him each day with confidence, at ‘the throne of grace’ so that we may accept the help He has for us.



Offer It Up! Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ephesians 1:18-23

May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

In this prayer, Paul wanted the people of Ephesus to have their hearts less encumbered by the weight of world. And they were carrying that weight and seeing that weight by turning their hearts from the riches of believing in Jesus Christ as opposed to holding on to what they could inherit from the world.

Paul tells them that there is hope for those that ‘belong to his call.’ By heeding and following the call of Christ, they will come to experience more than they could imagine on their own, being strengthened by the ‘surpassing greatness of His power.’

Our lives in the prayer Paul wrote. Our lives are renewed and our hearts are enlightened by Jesus Christ and His Life. The Good News. All of us who are believers are made different by our faith and through that faith, we are the body of His Church. He fills us as we come to Him in prayer and in faith and in trust, knowing that we are His creation… in every way.



Offer It Up! Friday, October 19, 2012

Ephesians 1:11-14

Brothers and sisters: In Christ we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory.

In Christ we were also chosen.

Good to know we’ve had that choice made for us already. Some of us would just as soon have all of our choices made for us—that way we could always lay the cause (read: blame) for our problems or issues in life on them.

With that choice made for us, there is no room for error on His part. He knows us and always has. Our authentic selves at that. Not the selves we often make of our lives when we do have others make those choices for us. The authenticity of our lives depends on how we choose to accept what we have been given, ‘according to the intention of His will.’

Our choices-do they reflect the glory of Christ in our life? Do the things we say and do offer up praise for Him? Are our intentions and our thoughts aligned with the plans—the goodness and hopes—He has for us?

With Jesus Christ is our salvation, sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. With the sincerity of our lives, the trust in our hearts and the faithfulness of our souls, we move into, through and beyond the challenges of our lives with His abundant grace. Not to be in His way, but on our way with Him.



Offer It Up! Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Old Irish Prayer

Three wishes I ask of the King when I part from my body:

May I have nothing to confess,

may I have no enemy,

may I own nothing!

Three wishes I ask this day of the King, ruler of suns:

May I have no dignity or honours

that lead me into torment!

May I not work without reward

before Christ!

May God take my soul

when it is most pure!

Amen.



Offer It Up! Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Galatians 5:18-25

If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

For the past several days as we follow the scripture offerings in the daily lectionary, (usually listed in your weekly bulletin), we have been reading and reflecting on Paul's letter to the Galatians. Today, from Galatians 5:18-25, we are reminded of the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Take time today to reflect on the evidence in your life of these fruits of the spirit.

Sometimes we find ourselves with a tendency to see our progress with a negative attitude. We wonder how the Lord can look at the weeds in the garden of our life and see any progress producing the kind of fruit Paul writes about. We see perhaps some shining moments but we also see those times when we failed miserably in our relationships with others producing not fruit of the spirit but scraggly weeds that mar the beauty of the garden of life.

Imagine a walk with Jesus. As we walk along we are amazed at His optimism and the wonderful way in which He finds joy in our accomplishments. He reveals to us that His joy is in seeing the progress we have made over the years, He delights in those shining moments when we were loving, compassionate, treated someone with kindness, shared our lives with generosity, dealt patiently with others when we were irritated. Imagine now what greater progress we may have if we spent time each day consciously tending to our spiritual garden and tending the fruit trees of the spirit.

Why not make an effort to work on our spiritual growth by charting our own progress? As we do here on these pages, most often on a daily basis, we share the Fruits of the Spirit throughout the week on our homepage. Follow along throughout the week as you make Sunday the day to focus on the greatest gift and fruit: ‘love’. Monday-‘joy’ can be found every day which can even bring happiness in many cases. Tuesday-‘peace’ on one day can lead to more ‘patience’ on Wednesday. Thursday-‘generosity and kindness’. Friday’s ‘faithfulness’ brings us to the end of the week and Saturday’s fruits of ‘gentleness and self-control’. It isn't too difficult to make a small card with a list of the fruits of the spirit and in our morning prayer each day to begin by asking God for the grace to make a particular fruit of the spirit foremost in our daily dealing with others. Then, each evening at the end of the day as we briefly examine how our day passed, how well we lived as children of our Loving God, we begin to see we are more attentive to and seeing evidence of the Spirit in our walk with the Lord.

Holiness slowly becomes in our minds a possibility. We find ourselves less concerned about laws and more in love with Jesus Christ. We look forward to moments of prayer and richer understanding of the words of scripture. We experience in new ways the wonder and mystery of God's love for us in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.

If you are reading this, why not reflect on how you came to this site? God enters our life in a myriad of ways. Think of the many times God touched your life and you were too preoccupied to even notice. This time take some several moments to be present to the God who gave you life and loves you with a steadfast love beyond wildest imaginings.

Deacon



Offer It Up! Tuesday, October 16, 2012

With the Year of Faith just beginning, Cardinal Dolan is further emphasizing the need for all of us to answer the call to evangelization. In his address to the Synod of Bishops, the good Cardinal points out the greater need for us all to see where we are now and where we can be should we all ‘emphasize the call.’

Deacon Roland subscribes to the Zenit.org pages and submitted this for our edification… indeed, enlightenment is a terrible thing to waste.

Cardinal Dolan:

We Must Emphasize a Universal Call to Evangelize

Archbishop of New York Speaks on Synod of Bishops
By Junno Arocho

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 15, 2012 (Zenit.org).- New York Archbishop, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, spoke to the press on his impressions of the Synod of Bishops. Cardinal Dolan also serves as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Commenting on his view of the interventions of his fellow bishops, Cardinal Dolan said that while he was not surprised by the emphasis placed on the rise of secularism, he said he was surprised by how many called for dialogue.

What I have been pleasantly surprised by would be the number of Synod Fathers who say that it's time to stop ringing our hands over this and perhaps we are at our best when we listen to Lumen Gentium (Light of the Nations) and Gaudium et Spes (Hope and Joy) and adopt a posture of engagement and dialogue with secularism, he said.

The American prelate also highlighted his observations of the situations of churches around the world, saying that Churches or dioceses with temporal problems seem to be flourishing spiritually. It seems as if in countries where the church has towering internal problems, [meaning ]infrastructure problems, where their facing hunger, where they're facing persecution, where they're facing not enough resources to respond to the imperative of charity [etc.]; bishops that had those internal problems, externally, they're thriving. They're growing they're advancing, they're expanding, he said.

Countries that don't have material problems, he continued, we have a lot of spiritual problems. That’s not new either but it's something that in listening to the interventions of the Fathers I thought, 'Wow!' We bishops in the United States spend a lot of time wondering which parishes we're going to merge or consolidate. Where we have enough temporal resources to build, we have spiritual problems of filling the churches.

Churches that can fill a hundred more people than they have [space for], they have temporal problems, earthly problems but spiritually, they are in spring time, he said.

The Role of Movements in the New Evangelization

Throughout the Synod, several prelates have taken the opportunity to highlight the importance of new communities and ecclesial realities within the Catholic Church. Recently, Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez of Valladolid spoke of his experience with the Neocatechumenal Way as an instrument of the New Evangelization.

Regarding the role of ecclesial realities and movements within the Church, ZENIT asked Cardinal Dolan if greater emphasis would be placed on the role of these ecclesial realities. The USCCB President said that while there has been a greater emphasis on how the movements and new communities of the Church are a blessing, there is also a recognition that we are in this together.

Instead of fractioning the Church into different segments: bishops, clergy, religious women, religious men, movements, parishes, institutions, etc.; rather than fractioning perhaps what best we can do is emphasize a universal call to the evangelization.

Cardinal Dolan concluded his remarks saying that the call to the evangelization and a call to discipleship is a charge from which no one can escape as well as saying that such a call is implicit in our baptism, confirmation Eucharist, and sacrament of penance.



Offer It Up! Monday, October 15, 2012

We are now in the early weeks of the Year of Faith. I wonder how many of our Brothers and Sisters are really aware of the thrust of this year. There has been enough mention on line, and I can't help but wonder why not more has been proclaimed in our celebrations of the Eucharist.

This Year of Faith, this time of New Evangelization, a time of reinvigorating the faith of the entire Church seems to me to be worthy of a great deal of attention. There are plenty of opportunities for involvement. Why Catholic? Weekly time with the Lord in adoration on Wednesdays! At our parish, we have Bible study with Deacon Bill on Wednesday evenings. Maybe participating in the RCIA process as a sponsor or praying for those seeking to know Christ and finding ways to get to know them and welcome them into the family of faith will be just what you need in your journey. Then, also there is helping to prepare those who are planning marriage. Learn to be a sponsor couple those who help couples see the holiness of family life and the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage. At the basis of it all is deepening our faith through PRAYER, the sacraments and an active, faith-filled, life.

Soon we will be approaching Advent and the feast of the Incarnation. We can begin even now to each day begin revisiting the mystery of Christ coming to dwell in our midst. Our relationship with Jesus Christ can only lead us to truth. But, our response is necessary. God is present to us always! How aware are we of this? When we make choices that are sinful are we aware that we are in the presence of God? What effrontery, what nerve, it would be if we chose to sin knowing or flaunting our will to sin in the face of LOVE. Indeed, how dare we. As John reminds us God is Love. There is not a moment when God is not with us. If we sense that God is not with us, we can sincerely ask, who is it that moved?

In this Year of Faith, now is the time to take stock of where we are in our walk with Jesus the Christ. Why not make a commitment right now, this moment, that each day you will set a minimum of 15 minutes to rest in the Lord. During those 15 minutes you endeavor to do nothing but focus on the Lord himself, speaking with him as with a dear friend and listening to Him. A brief reading from Scripture can help you to focus. Perhaps a habit of reading the Daily scriptures (referenced in our parish bulletin or maybe even yours). All of this precludes that we are fulfilling our duty to attend Mass each and every week, and are availing ourselves of the sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, at a minimum during Advent and Lent.

"If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts!" God is calling! Do I hear or am I too preoccupied with self to hear that still small voice? Maybe we, like so many before us, are seeking sign(s). Let us not wait so long for them but have Faith!

Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe!

Now is the acceptable time!

Deacon



Offer It Up! Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hebrews 4:12-13

Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

Whenever I read this passage, I get the idea that this sword is used in one way to straighten us out by cutting away all of our excess baggage and the other side of it being for cutting to the Truth that we find in the Word. Neither is so much a vicious attack on our lives as it is a tool or even a weapon of sorts to help us in defense of our souls.

How often is it that we sit sometimes, mired in our own pity, misery and woe, thinking that the world is all against us? Really. Has God given us more than our fair share of what we supposedly can handle? Do the scales of mercy and grace tip more for the ‘other guys’ more than do us? Remember this: it ain’t about you, me or us.

The sword He gives us is to save us from ourselves. To cut away the tentacles of Satan as he weaves and wraps them around us to pull us away from all that God has for us. For sure, as we cut away the tentacles and the layers beneath, we will be ‘naked and exposed to the eyes of him’ who wants to hear what we have to say to him. In petition and thanksgiving. In penitence and in praise. In forgiveness, hope and in faith for a life eternal with Him.



Offer It Up! Saturday, October 13, 2012

Prayer of St. Francis de Sales

Complete Trust in God

Do not look forward to the changes

and chances of this life with fear.

Rather, look to them with full confidence that,

as they arise,

God to whom you belong will

in His love enable you to profit by them.

He has guided you thus far in life,

do you but hold fast to His dear hand,

and He will lead you safely through all trials.

Whenever you cannot stand,

He will carry you lovingly in his arms.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow.

The same eternal Father who takes care of you today

will take care of you tomorrow,

and every day of your life,

either He will shield you from suffering

or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace then,

and put aside all useless thoughts,

all vain dreads and all anxious imaginations.

Amen.



Offer It Up! Friday, October 12, 2012

Luke 11:21-26

When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils.Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came. But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that person is worse than the first.

Jesus doesn’t ask them to choose sides. He lays it out there and let’s them hear it for themselves. With Him, they are protected, fully armored. Without Him, their chances of survival are greatly diminished. He does not say they will not be attacked; He does say that those that are not with Him are against Him… With that, we must be ready. As we empty ourselves of what the world has for us, we must be open to be filled with what Christ has to fill us with.

So we prepare ourselves for our daily journeys. With prayer and with faith we put on our armor in preparation for the temptations that will come our way. Not if they do but when they do. And when they do, we will be living in the presence and hope of Jesus Christ, in His peace and grace. The more we align our lives with His, the less we put up with bouts of anxiousness and doubt. And the more we come to know of who we are with and in Jesus Christ.

Today we begin the Year of FAITH.

The phrase ‘offer it up’ causes me to pause and ask myself what is it I offer up to contribute to this Year of Faith in the Church, the Body of Christ. Who am I, and what has God given me to share with all my brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ to bring about "thy kingdom come".

I read and hear about the New Evangelization, what is it we are called to do in bringing about this new evangelization? All of us who have been baptized were anointed priest, prophet and king. All of us when created were given gifts, talents, abilities to be developed and given to accomplish our part in bringing the kingdom to its fulfillment.

We are here only for a brief "time", and we may not see the final results of what we contributed. What matters is that we have obeyed as Jesus did and completed our mission. In this year of faith have you pondered where you are called to be part of the process? So many of us are in need of spiritual growth. Our spiritual gardens are overgrown with weeds, and need cultivation. Am I willing to do some organizing of my life and set aside time to find like minded brothers and sisters to come together and be at the task of enlivening our faith lives? In our sharing can we help one another restore family life that places God at the center. Can we find joyful ways to reach out to those who have drifted from the Church family and are wandering aimlessly in a world of distorted values to reassess their lives and by God's grace return to the bosom of the Church and into the arms of Our Father? In our Catholic family we have not fully understood for instance the message of the second Vatican Council, nor have too many of us really heard the message or read some of the documents promulgated. How many of us are familiar with the encyclicals of Benedict XVI, God is Love for instance?

As we begin the year of faith, why not seek out family, friends and offer up some time to devote to spiritual growth. Offer it up! A TV show or two can be turned off as we meet to focus on faith. What is our particular focus? Knowing more about our Catholic faith? Reading and praying with the Scripture? Looking at the history of Catholicism? John Paul the Great, repeatedly exhorted all of the faithful, "Be not afraid", make Christ the center of our lives and become what love intends us to become.

Lord, pour forth your grace into the hearts of all who seek you with sincere hearts. Open eyes to see you in the persons we meet in the daily walk of life. Open ears to hear your word and respond with courage. Open hearts that we may learn to love with the passion of Jesus. When we are weak let us see clearly that it is then that Jesus the Christ dwells in us most completely. When we are strong let us be a support for those who need help and let our help be a revelation of your unconditional love. In all things may I become as a grain of wheat that must die to bear fruit.

Deacon

Luke 10:30-37

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus replied, "A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, '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."

Each day we begin with our morning offering. Offer it up... the day with all that it contains or will contain, the people who come and go into our lives, the events of the day that amuse or distress, that bring joy or sometimes suffering.

We seek to be aware each moment that the God who gives us breath is always as near as that breath. Being aware is not always easy in a world that has taught us to pay attention to so many false idols, to trust in ourselves rather than the One who gives and supports our life and gives us the freedom to be.

Perhaps this day we can seek to be aware. Aware of our own blessing of life, aware of the people God allows us to meet today. How we can be aware and open to a new sliver, or greater yet, a crack of understanding of the wonder of this awesome God who loves beyond our ability to fully understand Him in the now.

Take a little time today to be present to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Be open to what is happening that could be a revelation of God's love, his mercy, his forgiveness, his call. Take time to sit and read today's Gospel and be present as the Good Samaritan ministers to the victim of robbers. Can you be the Good Samaritan? Or are you the victim? Am I the Levite or priest who passes and does not even see the victim, or if I do I stay uninvolved? Where am I in all of God's creation?

Deacon

There are those days Lord—sometimes it seems to be everyday—that the everlasting way is so far off our paths as we fall into the ugliness and pain of sin. Guide us back to the path of holiness with the tenderness of Your forgiveness and grace.


O LORD, you have probed me and you know me; You know when I sit and when I stand; You understand my thoughts from afar. My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways You are familiar.

Throughout the Psalms and scriptures, we are reminded that we cannot go anywhere without You knowing our steps, our thoughts, our ways. Yet we still choose to do our own will without the decency or integrity to include You in our decisions.

Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.


Truly you have formed my inmost being; You knit me in my mother’s womb. I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works.

Made by the works of Your most powerful Love. Made by the touch of Your most tender mercy. From the width and breath and depths of the enormity of our souls to the fearfulness and emptiness of our hearts as we submit our lives to You, we come to know the beauty and wonder of living on Your everlasting way.

Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

My soul also you knew full well; nor was my frame unknown to You when I was made in secret, when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.

How it feels to be known by You, Lord God. Known forever and before. Known forever and after. Known fully and always by You, our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer, Our salvation.


Guide us all, Lord, along Your everlasting way.

Amen.

October begins with the Memorial to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. In the Office of Reading today, we read from her autobiography the beautiful account of how she discovered the vocation of love. Love: the passionate fire at the heart of the Church.

What shall I offer to God this day? Everything.

In gratitude I begin with wakefulness as I rise to a new day, a day given by my gracious God, given in Love and given with such bounty as is so unimaginable. I say unimaginable knowing I am blind to so many of the wonders God showers on my life each new day. The gifts of God's creation are so plentiful I stand before them like a child with too many gifts, not knowing how to show my gratitude for such love and bountifulness.

Lord, I pray for the grace to be completely open to serving you by seeing clearly your presence moment by moment, with each breath you grant. May I see in each person I meet this day the unity you call us to experience in the Holy Spirit. In your mercy, look beyond my failures and see the intent of my heart to serve you. Deliver me from any hard heartedness and teach me to love in truth and sincerity of heart. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me, have mercy on us.

This month as we begin the Year of Faith, every person of faith, of good will, is being called to their baptismal call to evangelize. Everyone of us as children of God have a gift to share in building the Kingdom of God, Our Father. It doesn't matter whether the gift is large or small, deemed important by ourselves, rather it is God's gift provided to us to enable us to be part of the whole.

Most of us are simply drones. We are not the Queen Bee, but we are gatherers who do our part in producing the honey. When we discover the joy of being, the joy of simplicity of life, the joy of being loved to eternity, will we not realize the treasure we hold in earthen vessels? Pray with Therese this day for new insights into God's love!

Deacon