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

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Offer It Up September 30th


John 2:911

And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of His signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed His glory, and His disciples began to believe in Him.

How close can we get to being like Jesus? How is it that our lives are representative of His?

There are countless retreats and workshops that hail their methods and their approaches as to the way of helping people become ‘better people’. Maybe you’ve been to one or two or several. Maybe you’ve heard of more or you have your favorite that you really know that works for you.

What these retreats and weekends and workshops come down to though is a willingness to change. A desire to do something different than what one is doing now. Whatever it is that happens to be going on either is not working or is not working as well as one would like. Or maybe it’s just that someone wants something better than what they have—don’t we all?

God wants the same.

And we have to start somewhere. And if that somewhere is a weekend retreat or an event or the depths-of-the-bottom-of-the-pits-your-life moment or even a prayer or scripture verse that opens your eyes like it has never done before… so be it. Get with it and start being the difference.

Abandon the mundane. Live in eternity. db


Offer It Up September 29th


Zechariah 8:7-8

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun.
I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem. They shall be my people, and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any hotter, they do.

Just when you think the water couldn’t get any deeper, it does.

Just when you think it’s getting lighter, the last bulb goes out and it’s the darkest for you.

So the anxiety builds and the stress envelopes you and the unrest moves in place of the peace in your life. Rarely a day passes when we make a decision on our own without first going to God in prayer, a decision that often brings us the grief and hassle we didn't necessarily expect. You know the drill because you’ve been this way before. So much so that your experience leads you to say ‘I got this one God… it’s one I think I can handle.’ If that were so, what is bringing about all the anxiety and stress and unrest? What are you so worried about then?

The thing is, we can’t, don’t, never have and never will really ever do it ‘on our own’ as long as we truly believe in our prayer life and our God. To believe so or to think so is bordering on, if not outright, farcical. And spiritually unhealthy.

God will show us the way as He is The Way. He sent His Son to bring us The Word Made Flesh. Jesus Christ is The Word. Through our lives we can live The Word and be like Him. And have a life of peace. db


Offer It Up September 28th


Psalm 46:10

Be Still and know that I am God

You will do well to be attentive to it.

Proverbs 12:16

A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

People are often asked to pray for others, pray for those that are sick, pray for those that are in need… even for those that are doing the asking—would you pray for me, please? And with that request, sometimes it is not defined clearly and yet the prayer still is offered generally for the one doing the asking. So what happens is that prayers are given up to God and with the faith that God knows the need.

Other times prayers are offered for people that need the prayers and those same people don’t know the following of prayers they have and may not even know those that are praying for them. They may not know any more about the cause or need or exactly for what to pray but just that the person or people could use the prayerful support. It’s just another way of God’s worldwide grace and support at work. People just pray ‘hope you are okay and wish they knew how to pray for you but will just keep praying… God knows your needs.’

Over the past several weeks, there have been a lot—loads, tons, maybe hundreds—of prayers on our family’s behalf and for that we are extremely humbled and grateful. What started out as a few days off, (okay a week really), turned into the three plus weeks past to where we are now. We are on our way back to a regular basis here at afraidnot and hope you will bear with us as we grow into our second year coming around in the next few days.

Thank you for being there and for being here in prayer. God bless you and keep you His. db


Offer It Up September 19th


Time with the Lord? As I reflect on this I am struck that each breath not matter, where, when, how is time with the Lord. But, am I aware of this? I become so preoccupied with life's wonders that I too often forget the wonder of He who created all, including me.

During the past several months a number of discussions have arisen in our parish regarding "time with the Lord", specifically adoration. Blessed Sacrament Adoration is a time devoted to spending reflective, contemplative, prayerful time in God’s presence. It is to afford one more opportunity to spend "time with the Lord" outside of the time we spend with Him at mass and in our daily offerings of prayer.

I can imagine in a parish with 4000 persons or more we would see on each Wednesday a fair number of friends of Jesus sitting in his presence for 15 minutes or more. In my own imagining I see a chapel nearly filled at various times with persons simply being present to Our Lord who pours forth nothing but redemptive, forgiving love for us all. I imagine those loved by Him responding on one Wednesday each month by making a date to spend some time in prayerful conversation before him present in the Blessed Sacrament.

Each of us will have our own reason for drawing nearer to Him in this fashion-or not; each of us with our unique talents and gifts given us to build up the Kingdom. The reign of God in our lives leads us to lives of holiness and joy in His presence. Saint Augustine and others remind us to spend time daily in prayer. If you are busy spend about 30 minutes with the Lord. If you are really busy spend more time.

Quality time with the Lord. Time set aside that is his alone. Distractions will still come but the determination to give 30 minutes, 1 hour to the Lord alone will in the long run bear much fruit. Be not afraid to spend one Wednesday, sometime in the Lord's conference room. Invite those you know to do the same. Put Jesus on your calendar today. Each month one Wednesday an hour with the Lord.

Share the JOY! Deacon


Offer It Up September 10th


St. Monica prayed incessantly for her sons and her husband and was rewarded in this life when she saw her son converted and received as a Catholic Christian and leading a dedicated life become a bishop and a Doctor of the Church.
So many centuries have passed and yet in some ways we are so much like those ancestors in faith, struggling to live the Gospel message, struggling with the mysteries of good and evil, always striving to do the will of Our Father.


Stay Awake! What do Jesus' words evoke in your heart today as you read or hear his exhortation to Stay Awake!? Life—how brief are the days and years in the realm of time! Can we contemplate the wonder of life in eternity? Can we hear in Jesus advice to us the wonder of God's calling us to a life of everlasting JOY! Can we begin to experience that eternity now in our ever developing relationship and knowledge of Jesus and the unfathomable love of the Father he reveals to us in His becoming one with us?


Lord, as we renew our communion with you this day, as we pray with Saint Monica and all the saints, may our minds and hearts, all our senses be open to the graces you shower us with in all the moments of life. Let each breath I take be a sigh of gratitude. Hear my pleas, the longings of my heart and grant necessary graces to all those you have placed in my life and for whom I pray.


For all those who lives have touched mine on this side of heaven and have died draw them to yourself in glory. May all we do be for the glory of your Name. We ask this through our Lord Jesus, the Christ who lives and reigns with you forever. Amen.

The fruit of the spirit to reflect on today, goodness and kindness.

Deacon


Offer It Up September 9th


It is remarkable that the demons were the ones who knew who Jesus was when he began His public ministry. He was the carpenter's son to the townspeople..a pretty ordinary guy, really good carpenter, but look at Him now. He speaks as one with authority. Where does He get all this even the evil spirits are subject to his authority. He commands them leave and they leave.


It is all too familiar even in our day. How do we look at one another? How do we even look at Jesus in our midst? I wonder do we often miss Him when he is close to us.

Are we prone to look only for our pre-imagined fantasies of what Jesus is like?
It appears to me that I must pray and ever learn to pray in a way that enables me to communicate with Jesus, with the Father so that I may deepen my understanding of even myself as a creature of He who gave me life out of love.
Sin! How it hovers and entices! The God of Mercy is so great and wonderful to continue to draw me to Himself despite my repeated failings.

The Kingdom is being built each moment. God continues to create moment by moment and too often I forget the reality of this. With each breath the Spirit enters and gives life. How gracious is God who has given us the freedom to even be ungrateful and yet He remains faithful in His steadfast love. May the peace He gives us this day be share by all we touch.

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness and Kindness, Trust, Gentleness and Self-control, the fruit
of the Spirit can I make them more evident in my living?

Lord, what can I give you? I there anything I can do that benefits you? You are all in all and I am so little. Your creation is beyond imagining in its enormity… what am I that you should have
become man and died for me? Can I even begin to understand such love? Only if you, my God, grant me wisdom.
Deacon


Offer It Up September 8th


Matthew 14:27-36

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."…People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

I can relate to Peter most of the time. I think I know what I am doing or supposed to be doing. But just about the time I start to feel comfortable with it, doubt creeps in. And even when I hear God telling me “Take courage! It is I…Come,” I still struggle not to cry out, “Lord, save me!” – just like Peter. Isn’t it funny how Peter wanted to walk on water with his Lord, but his own human weakness and fear got in the way of being able to soak in the fullness of the Lord’s power over his life? Notice, though, that the Lord used Peter’s weakness to drive the message home. He reached out and touched Peter; caught his hand and helped him back to the boat. As a result, all of those in the boat believed in Him. What a beautiful picture of the Lord’s patience in using His touch to lend a helping hand.

The story continues. Jesus got off the boat, and instead of Him reaching out to touch those in need, He simply stood there and allowed them to reach out and touch Him to be healed. God’s touch is there for us to take or receive. If we are not strong enough to reach out to Him, He will reach out and touch us. Whether we are weak or strong, sick or well; whether we feel whole or completely undone, He knows our needs. All we have to do is believe in his touch; in his Strong and Helping Hand. l.g.boyd

When you faint by the way, and stumbling footsteps show human strength is waning, My Touch of the Strong and Helping Hand supports you on your Way. God Calling


Offer It Up September 7th


Luke9:20

Who do you say that I am?

Jesus took His show on the road. Town to town. City to city. His home was where He ended up for the day. The Man from Galilee. Jesus the Nazarean. The Christ Child from Bethlehem.

So many places. So many people. So many lives. So little time. Or was it so much time?

He knew what time He had left to get done what He had to get done. He knew the life He was to live and lead. And He couldn't accomplish His Mission, His Ministry, His own Journey, by having the people come to Him. He went to them. He went to meet them where they could hear His message. Where they could make their own choice to follow Him. Meeting them on their own grounds, their own territory-meeting them right where they were at.

Not unlike today. He still is on His journey, His Mission, spreading His Ministry through The Word. We read and we listen and we follow. He's already made the choice... it's up to us to make our own to do His Will, His Way. db


Offer It Up September 6th


Fables are short stories humanizing animals or other non-human entities to make a moral message. A reading from the Book of Judges comprises a fable about the appointment of a king over Israel. Useful trees like the olive and the fig refuse the honor of kingship among trees so a buckthorn, which is no more than a bush, assumes the office. The buckthorn represents Abimelech, the cutthroat son of Gideon, who slaughtered seventy half-brothers to secure his throne. He proves consistent in maliciousness by burning alive the people of Migdal-shechem as the reading anticipates.

The moral offered by the story is that Israel should not seek a king but accept the kingship of God. Accepting anything less will only bring heartache to the people as the full story shows. Jesus in the Gospel passage is preaching the kingship of God as well. He begins by the familiar statement, “The Kingdom of heaven is like ...,” and proceeds to tell the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Some of the workers, he says, grumble at the end of the story because the landowner -- the God-figure -- chooses to pay all his workers the same salary. Although it may seem unfair to us, Jesus only relates the supreme justice of God which enables every worker to provide for his family. The grumblers, on the other hand, insist on a more exacting although, in the end, less just form of payment.
Fr. Carmen Mele, O.P.


Offer It Up September 5th


Abide in Me, and I in you so shall you bring forth much fruit. Be calm, assured, at rest.Love, not rush. Peace, not unrest. Nothing fitful. All effectual. Sown in Prayer, watered by Trust, bearing flower and fruit in Joy. I love you. (God Calling Sept. 16)

It takes work to nurture and grow Love.

Love is there for everyone to give and take, yes – but it is in the giving; the calm and thoughtful giving that love grows.

Love is nurtured through mutual respect; a desire to understand another’s deepest thoughts and feelings. It is about helping another through pain and hurt to achieve growth. It is about putting yourself out there and taking risks; it is about fighting fair during disagreements.

Love is about being willing to take criticism, because when it is offered from someone you love or that loves you, you have to believe that they have your best interest in mind.

Love is sacrifice of self-interests or needs; giving up needed sleep or reorganzing a schedule to meet someone else’s needs.

Love means you look at the person and even though you don’t always agree with everything they do or say, you still want the best for them. You try to focus on the positive things and try to work toward a better understanding of that person. Look around you at work, at school, at your parish and see those you love. You might love them because of their sense of humor, their quiet encouragement, or their desire to help. These people did not come up and ask you to love them – they just are who they are and there are things about them that you love.

Love means you encourage each other to be better people. But the willingness to listen, take criticism, and change has to be mutual. Your love grows deeper when you are able to stand in the other person’s shoes. You want to accept their input because you trust that they have your best interests in mind and they are not out just to “change” you.

Love is recognizing it as that and being willing to say maybe I should try that next time instead of seeing it as pure criticism. It is not putting up the defenses.

Love is not about being right or wrong about anything.

All of these things involve letting go of self and they take hard work to do with grace and integrity.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:4-7

l.g. boyd


Offer It Up September 4th


Each week in the church bulletin at out parish, Sacred Heart, one can find the daily references to the Scriptures, the church gives us each day.
A remnant of persons each day come to celebrate Eucharist. That is those whose life and schedules allow them to spend that brief time each noon in intimate communion with the Lord in the sacrifice of the Mass.

That is a privilege that allows them to pray for all the Church and particularly for those who because of the demands of life cannot join in the Eucharistic celebration.

However, many of us can with some planning and effort, take time each day to arrange to read and pray with God's word. For example, keep your bible in a conveniently accessible place and with is the list of readings from the bulletin and each day at an appointed time spend 10-15 minutes listening, reading the Word of the Lord. Or, if you find yourself often on the computer, look us Sacred Space and make it a favorite place to visit each day for a few moments of PRAYER.

Prayer...a time to nourish your relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Begin with praise. Praise Him for the wonder of life, creation, nature, all that is and is gift from Him. Converse with him and place your needs in His loving hands, trusting that His love is beyond anything you could imagine.

Do it. Start today, this week...Do your best to make it a daily ritual. In a few weeks it will be part of your life...you will be lead into green pastures of repose, to living waters, to refreshment of soul and body. May the Peace of Christ which surpasses all fill all your waking moments.
Deacon Roland


Offer It Up September 3rd


Luke 4:38-44
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.

At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Simon’s mother in law got up and went to work. Right after she was cured. And through her work, she had obviously spread the word of her healing. After being sick like that, who wouldn’t want to spread the news?

How many of us are like that and share our good news when God has blessed us with recovery or healing or a blessing? Do we sit back and say ‘Whoa, that was close God. Thanks for pulling my bacon out of that one... thanks for keeping the car running... thanks for the great doctor’s report.... let’s just keep this one between us. No need to share it or anything like that.’

She took her recovery, her blessing, out to others. Don’t you know they were interested in how this happened? Do you think there might be those even the least bit interested in finding out how her illness left her? There were those praying for her and they wanted to know how those prayers were answered.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him.

We should do the same. We should have the courage to speak of what has transformed us, what has made us different—what God has chosen to make better for us. This is not a time to sit on our hands and wait for the next blessing to come our way. All that we have has been a gift and all that we should ever want to do is give back that Gift.

Even Jesus was spreading His own Good News. If that was His purpose, what do you think He has in store for us?

To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.


Offer It Up September 2nd


Romans 14:7-9

None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.

For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.

For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Do you ever find yourself looking for an easier way to put things into place in your life? It’s as if that once you get things all together, you find something else you really ‘need’ to put in with everything else but it doesn’t fit so you have to start all over and do the ‘unpacking’ and find a place for whatever it is that you were so sure needed to be in your life’s ‘journey bag.’ A lot of times, as you go through the repacking, you find yourself wondering aloud if it was worth the hassle to go back for it or to wait for it or to buy into it or to do whatever it was that you felt so sure was necessary at the time to pack it into your life.

Was it a job promotion? Was it a new car? Was it a regret undone? Maybe it was nothing but a lifestyle change. But whatever it was, here you are with the change and it looks as if the bag ain’t gonna big enough to hold what you got to put in it… so now what? Where is this easy way of life now? How practical can all of this be?

Step outside that bag for a bit and see what it is you were living for in the first place. What sort of easy life was it that you had in mind? And this practical bit, what was that all about? Were you hoping for an equation of sorts to put to all of life’s issues and problems so that they could all be solved with permanence and clarity and finality? Good luck with all that and let me know what you come up with… like I’ll be standing by waiting anyway.

The Lord calls on us all as we follow our paths. How we respond to His call is the ease, the practicality, the problem, or even the sin in what we do. There is life and love and value in all He has for us, even in the everyday things we do. He didn’t need some great equation to choose us as His followers; we don’t need one to do what He asks us to do.


Offer It Up September 1st


Lamentations 3:21-26

But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope:

The favors of the LORD are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent;

They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.

My portion is the LORD, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

Good is the LORD to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him;

It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the LORD.

I visited a couple of people in the hospital the other day, both of them doing okay for the shape they were in. One had some surgery while the other was recognizing the impact of a TIA, a mini-stroke. Compared to some of those I saw working there and some I saw coming and going, they were doing even better than okay with the diagnoses and prognoses.

Working in a hospital or similar service environment can be stressful and lend cause for one’s disposition to be not so cheerful or at least not as purposeful it seems. I acknowledge it has to be very tough to work with people like this every day. Yet, sometimes they seem to be going through the motions, as if they were on auto-pilot and that it was some sort of protective mode to keep them from being engaged with what they had to do. Maybe it works pretty well for them. Maybe it doesn’t.

There are times when you see your friends and maybe even family ‘going through the motions’ with their own lives. They have their own protective barrier or shield up and they move on as if they are almost robotic in their attitude, their outlook and their purpose; a ‘whatever’ sort of response in a ‘whatever’ sort of life. You know they are missing something as much as they know it yet what that something is… uneasiness, restlessness, fear.

This would be a good time for your faith to be available for them. Not for advice. Not for opinion or suggestion. But just to be there and show them that you care and will be there for them when they need you. Sometimes all that is needed is someone to listen. Sometimes it’s what you don’t say that means the most to them. Indeed faith, even silent faith, can be the best response of all.