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

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OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 30TH


Joshua 1:7-8

Above all, be firm and steadfast, taking care to observe the entire law which my servant Moses enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed wherever you go.

Keep this book of the law on your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may observe carefully all that is written in it; then you will successfully attain your goal.

I command you: be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.

Joshua had it told to him.

Be firm and steadfast.

How easy it would be if it were just that simple. But along the way, we must keep from swerving left or right—His Way indeed is a narrow one.

Observe the entire law Moses gave us, not just the ones we choose to or when they happen to be convenient.

We are not to fear nor be dismayed. He has told us this more than once, and will tell us again, what we should already know: He is God, we are not, and He is always going to be.

Read, if not recite it, by day and night and, with good judgment, practice what you understand. What better advice can one have for practical living? And beyond practical living—what about our spiritual lives? That is what our goal should be, a life more in line with what He has commanded us to live.

I heard it said once about taking on tasks and that we should begin with the end in mind. God knows where we are going in our journeys. If our end is our salvation, what better way to get there than by living as God had spoken to Joshua?


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 29TH


John 1:47-51

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There, truly, is an Israelite in whom there is no deception.’ Nathanael asked, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Before Philip came to call you, I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.’
Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You are going to see greater things than that.’ And then he added, ‘In all truth I tell you, you will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending over the Son of man.’

Not that it should come as a surprise to us—maybe more like a miraculous shock if nothing else—but suppose Jesus called us out as He did with Nathanael? Said He knew where we were and what we had going on, seeing us out under the shade of some oak tree? How would we respond?

Giving credit where it is due, Nathanael did way better than probably any of us would have done. He did have to ask at first how Jesus knew but it did not take him long after that to figure out what was going on and whose presence he was in: ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.’ Jesus acknowledged the faith of Nathanael and told him of the great things he would see, beyond what he had experienced. What an amazing revelation!

We get that same opportunity every day, through prayer. In our open communication with Him through prayer as we give ourselves over to Him. As we offer our thoughts and words to Him as thanksgiving, praise and supplication. Maybe that was as Nathanael was doing as he sat beneath the fig tree… praying. And as with Nathanael, the revelation will happen the more we let ourselves see Him as he did in His life-as the Son of God, our King of our heavens and Lord of our salvation.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 28TH


Luke 9:51-56

When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.

Each day is a gift from the Creator. We celebrate when we come together as members of the Kingdom that is now and not yet.

Today's Gospel has Jesus facing and headed toward Jerusalem and the Mission he intended to fulfill. On the way he was to pass through a Samaritan town. The antipathy toward the Jews in Judea was so difficult they would not welcome Jesus because he was destined to go to Jerusalem. He sets a model for us to follow as he rebukes the disciples who want to call down fire from heaven to destroy the town.

This is not Jesus' way. His is the way of Mercy and repentance. As I reflect on this, I am struck at wonder of God's mercy. Sinner that I am, He continues to grant me time to repent. Time to recognize the wonder of what is being offered for eternity compared to the wonders of this life in time.

Take up your cross and follow me...What makes me hesitate to follow with enthusiasm and all consuming desire to love as I am loved? Despite my continual failures He loves and blesses abundantly. Today we can all take time to reflect on how we are specially loved.

Why not spend a goodly amount of time today just sitting and being with the Lord?

Deacon


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 27TH


Luke 9:3-6

He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.

And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them."

Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

In our perfect worlds, our best laid plans don’t account for those things in life that go bump. We don’t plan our road trips to go through the detours or construction zones. We don’t call for our journeys to have layovers or delays on non-stop flights. And we certainly don’t look to run out of gas, have flat tires or any other sort of car trouble along the way either. That’s in our perfect world road trips of life-our ain’t-life-grand journeys to see what’s on the other side.

How often does that happen though? Really—no pot holes on our trips? No wrong turns? No ‘slight weather delays’? Admittedly, we all have enough of each to fill columns of complaints and gripes, if not pages, if we were to allow ourselves that ‘luxury’. But we don’t because we have learned and continue to learn that those experiences are a part of our character. Indeed, they make us stronger.

The disciples went out with barely enough to go far enough and we know what they accomplished. As present-day disciples, God’s love for us is revealed in so many ways as we are all called to live with the good we enjoy and the bad we would rather not. We pray for the courage and strength to submit to His will as we follow Him, regardless of the road He has us on. And in our perfect world or not, with or without the baggage we would prefer to take with us, we must still stay the course. Being His disciples was not easy work then and given the circumstances, it’s not so much a piece a cake today.

Pray for your hearts to be open to all the paths and the bumps along the way that God has you travel. The experience, the knowledge, the maturity, the people and the love that you will share will be worth every moment spent. Proclaim the Good News every chance you get wherever you might be.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 26TH


Ephesians 5:25, 33

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her

… each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.

HALF
Half of the mistakes made in your relationship will most likely be yours. That's a deep but mathematically accurate thought. It is typical in our church men's meeting to talk about all of the things that women do in the relationship. From what I've heard, the women's meeting is the same.

All of the quirks, the errors, the unappreciative and inconsiderate things, how "they" have to be babied, if only "they" were more mature, and that it is a good thing that "we" are so much more mature in order to be able to put up with "them." Yet in truth, each side makes about half of the mistakes.

It is always difficult to see our own faults. It's always easy to see the other person's shortcomings. I sometimes wonder "where has the love gone?" You rarely hear anyone say, "I know they have their weaknesses, but I love them so much that it doesn't matter." You rarely hear anyone say, "I got in this for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, rich or poor. That's what I said and that's what I mean; and I'm so glad I married him/her."

We had one man in the men's meeting recently who had been married for 46 years and said that he loved his wife a thousand times more now than he did when he married. He was the oldest man in the group. He was also perhaps the wisest. It was refreshing.

You hear so much of the things wrong in relationships, but you very rarely hear how much in love a couple is. Even if people feel it, they don't say it very much. Neither of them.

Now whose fault is that?

Submitted by Reno V.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 25TH


Simple Wisdom

"Smile, say less and listen more, pray, and trust in Me, your Heavenly Father."

Such a simple message. It is simple yet profound. We talk about the need for things to change in this world. Smile three times more today than you did yesterday. Say three things less today than you did yesterday and listen to three more people. Pray for three minutes more today than you did yesterday. And trustingly surrender just three aspects of your life, great or small, to God who is your Father.

The world will begin to change when you begin to change.

A Call to Joy - Living in the Presence of God

Mathew Kelly


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 24TH


Isaiah 55:9-11

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.

As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.

For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats,

So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

God will use who or what He needs to get whatever it is He wants said or done, said or done. We may want to disregard those instances when it may seem as though what we are hearing or seeing is beyond our comprehension when in fact, it is His Divine Providence. We may want to dismiss them because our only reference points may be scriptural: the lame walking, the blind seeing, burning bushes, or even a talking donkey.

If we are to truly put our trust and faith in Him, we must also believe that He has done the same for us. In today’s world, there are not too many opportunities for us to see what we have read about in scripture, at least literally. Yet if we are to know and love God for all we are, then we will be better prepared to see His Providence at work in our lives in other ways.

The lame walking? The miracle of modern joint replacement surgery. The blind seeing? Advances in retinal and corneal transplants are making it possible. Burning bushes and God’s voice? When was the last time you really listened to a Sunday homily after poring over the accompanying Gospel and readings? As for the talking donkey? Suffice to say, wherever your political affiliation finds you, we’ve all heard our share of pompous, self-aggrandizing orations.

We must keep our hearts and minds open to His works, His plans and commit ourselves to them. As we go about those plans, let us remember that our plans, our thoughts, are not our own. Nor are they about how we do or how much we do. Our plans should be about who we are and how God chooses to use us. We would do well to be attentive to Him.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 23RD


Luke 9:7-9

Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen. Herod said, "John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?" And he sought to see him.

Do you think Herod’s intentions were of the highest honor as he sought to see Jesus? Knowing what we know now, Herod had admired John the Baptist as a prophet and for his service to God. Yet John did not fear Herod and ultimately, paid with his life as some sort of folly to Herod’s whimsical lifestyle if not his own kingdom.

So with knowledge, was Herod seeking Jesus more out of curiosity as a bit of a novelty for his own gratification? After all, there were a lot of the countrymen looking to see what this man was all about. He had to know who he was and what he was doing to cause such a commotion. Was it possible that Herod could have admired Jesus, especially with his knowledge about the miracles He had performed and the wisdom of His teachings?

Have we asked ourselves why we are seeking Him? Is that why we admire Him—for His miracles and wisdom? Or is it just out of curiosity? Or even fear? Is it because everyone else is doing it?

We have the choice everyday to follow Him, to admire Him, to love Him for He has given us that free will to do so. The miracles and wisdom are our lives and the world around us. They and we are all His. He has also chosen us-we didn’t have that much to do with it really. Yet we can make more of it as we make that decision to put more into what we have each day. With His grace, we have the faith to live as He has called us to live. With His mercy, we are freed from the pains and bonds of sin as His Love is everlasting.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 22ND


From the writings of Cardinal John Henry Newman, we can more clearly see what God has in store for us not just for today but for all the ‘todays’ He has planned for us. As you will read, it is up to us to trust Him in all that we do, in all that we are, and all that we will become.

The scripture selections are added only as suggested references.

Enjoy him and enjoy your day.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The Mission of My Life

God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away.

If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him.

If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.

He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.

He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.

Cardinal John Henry Newman

John 2:5

His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."

2 Peter 1:19

You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 21ST


Colossians 3:15-17

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Static in the attic.

Sometimes we have to stop and clear the mechanism.

The brain.

Through no fault of our own, we succumb to information overload trying to take in whatever messages are firing off through the complexities of our neurons and synapses.

Red light ahead, gotta stop.

Phone is ringing, who is it now?

Did I answer that last email about the meeting on Thursday?

Got to get the yard work done… when can that happen?

Just not making the connection I need to with them right now... is it me or is it

them?

Is the meeting with the finance committee tonight or tomorrow?

What did I do with my to-do list?

I can’t do this for them… they have to do it for themselves.

Oh, let’s not forget some prayer time in here somewhere.

It seems that all the thoughts are converging at once. All of them want to be first and you try to let them. No wonder over-the-counters medicines are so popular.

To find a way to get those clearer signals and clear out the static, we might invert the above list and start with the prayer time. Had we started out with some of that, it may be that the static would have cleared up a little. And if we had included some along the way, the rest of it may have taken care of itself or at the least, given us the peace to see our way through it.

The best way to keep out the noises and static in our life is through the solitude and peace of prayer. Alone or with somebody. From memory or on your own. In the sanctuary of your church or the holy, quiet place of your home. The more you practice it, the more permanent it will become. Not just in your brain but in your heart and in your soul. From there, you will find the peace that God will put in all three.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 20TH

Happy Birth Day Juliette Irene Bindel!

Another Godsend for us all!


1 Peter 4:8-10, 12-13

Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.

As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace.

Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you.

But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.

Weeding or gardening.

I guess it depends on how you look at it.

Sure, the weeds do sprout in a garden but whether the garden is a bed of flowers or a row of vegetables, you wouldn’t be growing the weeds to have the flowers or vegetables—it’s the flowers and cauliflower that you are tending. Hence, the gardening approach.

Weeds happen with the flowers and whatever else we go to plant and grow. With as much care as we take, it happens that a weed or more, pops up. What’s a weed? Any unwanted plant really. As defined by Merriam and Webster: weed: a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially: one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.

Easy to see then that anything we don’t want in the garden to begin with can be that weed. Plant daisies and get a few asters… asters are the weeds. Plant a few rows of corn and end up with a row of squash—you get squash weed instead. As for that garden… garden: a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated; a rich well-cultivated region

Yup, just like life. There are those weeds, those events that happen in our lives, our gardens that we have to take care of. And how we approach them can have an impact on how we just survive or how we can thrive. If we look at them as just ‘pulling weeds’ and not seeing the garden around us, we miss out on what we have in our lives and go on merely surviving. Yet if we change our position and see a garden of growth and the joy it brings, we can grow beyond just surviving and ‘blossom’ as our lives experience the gifts God has for us.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 19TH


How has the day been?

Oh, that good huh?

Bring all the pieces of it together with this practice—an examination of conscience. Maybe you have something like it in place already. If so, it’s not a bad idea to add even more to it. As noted below, ‘consider all gift’!

“Micah 4:2

… that he may instruct us in his ways, that we may walk in his paths.”

Examination of Conscience

Central to the Spiritual Exercises is the practice of the examination of conscience each day. At the end of the day (or at other times during the day as well), take a few minutes to reflect and consider the day just experienced. Look over the day. Give thanks for the big and small things. Consider all gift! What generated emotions – happy or sad? Where did you feel God’s hand at work? Where could I have followed God more closely today?

Pray for clarity to see “myself as I am” and know that God will reveal “me to myself.” Let God reveal needed changes. Express sorrow for sins. Look positively toward tomorrow.

Adapted from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 18TH


1 Corinthians 15:1-11

I am reminding you, brothers and sisters, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.
For I am the least of the Apostles, not fit to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Have you ever been told or learned something and you knew and know it to be true it yet someone else unequivocally denies it? They refuse to look at all the evidence, the proof, the history yet there they stand and say differently. With all their bluster and all their bravado, they want to hold on to what they want to be true, even though all signs indicate otherwise. You give it your best shot to bring them around but there they go, off in their own misguided little world… and then it happens.

You start thinking with the other side of your brain. What if they’re right? What if after all your own thinking and fact-finding and support, you were the one that had it all wrong? And please, THEY were right? Oh those tiny little seeds of doubt.

Maybe that is what Paul was trying to get across here. Reminding us that what we have been given, we must hold fast to. For through it and through Jesus’ sacrifice—that He was buried and rose from the dead—we have been saved, are being saved and will be saved. In his own writing Paul said, he was not ‘fit to be called an apostle’ but ‘by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me has not been ineffective.’

By the grace of God we too can be all God has called us to be. We are all less effective at times than we should be. But we don’t stop or leave ourselves in the ditch when we run off the road or get knock off our horse as Paul did. That is the beauty of His grace, the power of mercy and reconciliation, and the wonder of His Love.

Believe it and hold fast to it.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 17TH


Luke 7:35-39, 45-50

A Pharisee invited him to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner."

So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little."

He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

The others at table said to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"

But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

In Luke's gospel as we prepare to join at table with Simon and Jesus, I, like Simon, am taken aback somewhat by this women who has simply barged in and is bathing the feet of Jesus with her tears, drying his feet with her hair, and now anointing his feet with that precious ointment. Doesn't He know who she is? Her sinfulness is public knowledge! They claim is he is a prophet...would a prophet and a holy man allow this to take place? To be touched by one who is unclean?

Jesus is speaking to Simon...no one greeted him and provided water to wash his feet when he arrived. But this woman—look how she has not stopped washing his feet with her tears.

Sinner? Repentant?

She comes to ask for forgiveness and in the mercy of God, the lost will find a ready compassionate forgiving God. As I hear those words from Jesus I am humbled in my pride. I realize that I am too often quick to fail to see the desire for forgiveness in the demeanor of those who long to know the Lord. I pray for the grace to become meek and humble of heart...and to be so strengthened in faith as to be able to follow the path blazed by those who so passionately loved Jesus they were willing to shed their blood for Him.

God pour forth grace on Your Church, mold us into the image of Jesus, Your Son and our Lord. May the light of Your love brighten all who sincerely seek to do Your Will.

Deacon


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 16TH


Hebrews 12:13-15

Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled.

Hurt

We have all been hurt in a number of ways, by family, by friends, by strangers. Below is a story that may give you a perspective about that hurt and how, if it should have a chance to happen again, may not have the same impact it had on you before.

A couple of friends had not seen each other for some time. One was really upset because she hadn't seen or spoken to her best friend Jim in a couple of weeks. Finally he shows up at her door and asks that she goes with him for a drive. She finally commits to the ride.

As they were riding, they passed a garden full of flowers.
Jim says "Do you see those flowers?"
"Yes," she says.
"Do you think that when someone steps on those flowers that they lie there and feel sorry for themselves?" Jim asks.
"No, " she replied.

"That’s right. They immediately start to mend their wounds so they can heal, and grow strong become healthy again!”

They ride a little farther and Jim points up in a tree to some squirrels.

"Do you see those squirrels up there? Do you think that when people shoot at them or even drive past them they go hide forever?"
"No," she says.

About that time the ocean comes into sight.
Jim says "You see that ocean out there? Do you think that when there's a hurricane out there that the ocean doesn't go back out because it's afraid to face the storm?"
"No," she says.

"Then, why have you stopped living because you have been hurt?"

We all let the hurt get in our way of living.

The worst part was the fact that Jim died a short time later. And that's when she realized how much precious time she wasted.


Have you stopped living because you have been hurt?

Submitted by Reno V. (adapted)


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 15TH


Psalm 33:12, 22-23

Happy the nation whose God is the LORD, the people chosen as his very own.

For in God our hearts rejoice; in your holy name we trust.

May your kindness, LORD, be upon us; we have put our hope in you.

The church gives us feasts, Memorials, and Solemnities as Holy Days to help in our journey of faith. These can help us by providing reminders of those saintly men and women who blazed the trail of holiness before us. Passionate lovers all they leave us a trail that shouts out the praise and glory of God. We climb the mountain sometimes out of breath, and we stumble and fall back yet always we rise and press on longing to reach the mountain of God.


On the feast of the Holy Cross I was and remain overwhelmed at the response of young persons who are seeking to come to an understanding of God's call in their lives.

The Lord is present in our midst.

Are we awake to his presence? Do we sense him holding us in His embrace in darker moments, and do we hear him speaking to our hearts in moments of Joy? Gifted with faith, we may too often not feel his presence. In fact the demands of life may even mask his presence. But faith, sustained and made persistent by God's grace propels us toward the moment of GLORY!


Today may we see You, Lord, in every person we meet, the very image of You. Grant that we may learn to love like You!

Deacon


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 14TH

Happy 30th Birthday Ben!


Philippians 4:17-20

It is not that I am eager for the gift; rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to your account. I have received full payment and I abound. I am very well supplied because of what I received from you through Epaphroditus, "a fragrant aroma," an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.

Birth days, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, baptisms—the milestone celebrations are endless and they all have one thing in common: some giving was involved for that particular day to happen. A mother, father, family member or friend or even someone unknown made something happen for the event to take place. And that someone, or even someones, gave what they had just for that event to mean something for the ‘guest of honor’, however much they could shower on them or however little they could afford to share.

Either way, it is not about the ‘what’ as it is so much about the ‘who’ and who they are, not what they do or what they spend. Maybe you’ve heard it said before that we are human beings, not human doings and as we get caught in the doings of this and that, we have tendencies to lose sight of who God has planned for us to be. Sure, He wants us to do those things that are good and right and to do those things, we must be good and right with Him.

It takes us being the people He wants us to be. And to get us to be the who He wants us to be, where He wants us to be, sometimes is a painful process, if not a journey. Sometimes we are at the place where we want to be, far from where God wants us. And to get us to where He needs us and wants us, it may bring us to our proverbial knees, the end of our ropes, or to a point where we may just feel as if we have run completely out of gas.

Not so, dear friend, not so. We are never so empty, never so far from the end, never so long on bended knees that God will not able to replenish, to hold onto us or to recognize our service to Him as we are bowed before Him. He gives us all what we need to be just as He wills for us to be. Sometimes we just have to a little less of ourselves to have more of Him in us to be more like Him. In this instance, it is quite evident that less does equal more.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 13TH


Romans 8:25-28

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.

And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it 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.

Cancer invades and can destroy lives and families. It has recently come into ours. It is unwieldy in that we don’t know how to handle it.

It is monstrous in that we are afraid to approach it. A

And as it is, it is capable of taking more than just the physical life it occupies… it often debilitates and destroys the families around it. If they let it.

It can’t destroy the love that built the family that holds it together.

It can’t destroy the spirit, the faith, which keeps it together.

Prayer can change the people who can change the environment that can change the world.

Cancer can’t do that.

Below is a piece from staygreat.org about the difference cancer cannot make.

Cancer can't
A woman had just learned she had cancer. Suddenly her whole world collapsed. She had never thought much about death. Now she couldn’t think of anything else. She began to storm heaven for a miracle, praying in the spirit of Psalm 28.

"O LORD, my defender, I call to you. Listen to my cry! If you do not answer me, I will be among those
who go down to the world of the dead. "Hear me when I cry to you for help, when I lift my hands toward your holy Temple...
Save your people, LORD ... Be their shepherd, and take care of them forever. Psalm 28:1–2, 9



“What Cancer Cannot Do”

Cancer is so limited—
It cannot cripple love

It cannot shatter hope

It cannot corrode faith

It cannot kill friendship

It cannot suppress memories

It cannot silence outrage

It cannot invade the soul

It cannot steal eternal life

It cannot conquer the Spirit


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 12TH



OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 11TH

IN MEMORY OF THE ATTACK


From the Word Among Us

Luke 6:47-48

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

The planners of the World Trade Center in New York knew something about building on rock. When construction began in 1966, they took great pains to set the whole complex on a solid foundation. Workers dug down seventy feet to the bedrock to build a seven-story-high foundation wall of reinforced steel and concrete. Anchored on this base, the Twin Towers were about as firmly rooted as buildings can get.

But nine years ago today, those solid towers came down in a cataclysm of dust and debris. In just a few horrific hours, more than three thousand people met an unexpected, violent death—some in New York, others near Washington, D.C., and others in a Pennsylvania field. Today, we remember these victims—each one unique and irreplaceable, each one infinitely precious. We pray for their families and friends, who bear the wounds of this tremendous loss.

As we remember, the Holy Spirit gently invites us to consider a deeply challenging, often avoided reality: The world as we know it is passing away. None of it—no matter how solidly based—can sustain our lives forever.

This is the truth that Jesus addresses in today’s reading, using images from the construction trade he learned from Joseph. The house that collapses can stand for everything in life, and in us, that is built on earthly things: It will not endure.

But Jesus doesn’t leave us woefully contemplating the ruins. He came to open up the way to eternal life, and he tells us how to build for it: Come to me, listen to my words, and act on them (Luke 6:47).

This invitation comes at the very end of what is often called Jesus’ “sermon on the plain.” Reading this short sermon attentively would be an especially appropriate way to mark today’s sober anniversary.

Jesus assured us that “heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33). If we build on him, we can be sure that our lives—fragile, frail, and fleeting as they are—will endure forever.

“Lord Jesus, to whom shall we go in our sorrows and our joys? You alone have the words of eternal life. Help us this day to hear, to believe, and to obey.”

As posted on wau.org


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 10TH


Luke 5:4-10

After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."

Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets."

When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."

For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."

Maybe it’s happened to you once or twice, maybe more. You get yourself in what you feel is a good if not great spiritual condition—really ready to pray—and off you go, giving your best prayer time to the Almighty. Whether it’s in your own sacred space at home or in the company of the Blessed Sacrament, you are in the fullness and presence of prayer with the Holy Spirit.

With an environment and signs like this, it would seem everything should be pointing to an immediate response from all you offer up. If not for all your prayers, for at least those that are in need of that ‘special grace’ or special attention, you would expect some sort of acknowledgement that they were heard or at even on His table. So you continue to pray for that acknowledgement or that answer. And you pray some more. And some more.

Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to listen.

Okay. Hmm, hmm. No answer. No acknowledgement.

More prayers. Even more time involved with our spiritual conditioning. More to the point of what He wants from us than our talent and time, even our treasure. He wants our hearts and souls to be His, in love with Him as He Loves us. And we do that through more time with Him in prayer, in scripture and in the sharing of the Eucharist each opportunity we have. He told the future apostles to put out into deeper water to catch more fish. He could be telling us to do the same with our spiritual lives—the deeper we go, the more we catch, what we understand, what He has for us.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 9TH

Happy Birthday Jim!


Deuteronomy 5:32-33

Be careful, therefore, to do as the LORD, your God, has commanded you, not turning aside to the right or to the left, but following exactly the way prescribed for you by the LORD, your God, that you may live and prosper, and may have long life in the land which you are to occupy

How do we do what He asks us to do? How did Mary do it? How did the apostles do it? How did the saints do it? There is a saying that says something about all the saints having a past and all sinners having a future. Somewhere in those few words is how we can do what God has commanded us. We can know that we are not perfect, yet we can strive to do as He has willed for us to be.

In the paths of our lives, there have been too many events that have taken place for us to recall as we ‘lay claim’ to where we are today. Those events are good and bad, sinful and not. There have been people we have never met who have played parts in our the lots in life that we may never be able to thank… or to blame if that were to be the case for you. And there have been those that we have known that have been catalysts, transformers, even life savers, that we have taken into our lives as friends, as family and as loves of our lives.

None of these people, none of these events—not a single one was by accident. It is true that before He formed us, He knew our plans for us. And to think that the world has been around long before we were here, that plan has been in the mix for quite a while. And if you are reading this, that plan is still in the making, still being worked on, still not finished. We still have to choose to follow that plan, His will for us, that path He has chosen for us.

We can’t go to the end of the book and see how our particular story ends. What we can do is continue to put ourselves in such a position, such a light, so that when it does finish, we know we have done our best to trust in His ways. And those that have touched us and those we have touched will have all played a part in our salvation.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 8TH


Deuteronomy 5:33

Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you ...

Walking in all of God’s ways is not always an easy thing. When we are hurting physically, emotionally, or spiritually, our inclination is to just toss up our hands and say “I quit” or “I don’t know what to do.” We might even start cursing at anything and everything or anybody around us out of frustration.

I believe God understands our inadequacies and understands if there is a little cursing going on now and again. So if you really need to, find a time when no one is home or a place where no one can hear you and scream or cry into a pillow or curse away at the walls.

Now that you have that out of your system, stand, sit, lay or kneel, whatever your body will let you do, and pray. Tell the Lord about your pain and then ask Him what to do about it. Once you’ve done that, get up and get busy doing whatever you are able to do, keeping in mind God’s love and care for you. Before long, your walk will become a “glad conquering and triumphant march” before the Lord and others.

I can tell you from experience – it works.

lgboyd

Beyond all words is My Love and Care for you. Be sure of it. Rejoice in it. Walk in My Love. These words mean much. There is a joy, a spring, a gladness in the walk of those who walk in My Love. That walk becomes a glad conquering and triumphant march. So walk. GC


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 7TH



OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 6TH


Luke 6:6-11

On a certain Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the Sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, "Come up and stand before us." And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?"
Looking around at them all, he then said to him, "Stretch out your hand."
He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

This is not about following the rules. This is about compassion.

This is not about the law. This is about just doing what you know to be right.

Jesus is asking the Pharisees, “If you see a car accident on your way to celebrate mass, should you stop and render assistance or should you just keep moving because you don’t want to miss the celebration of the Eucharist?”

Jesus is asking the Pharisees, “If you see someone who is obviously homeless and hungry, stealing some food from a fruit stand, should you report him to the police or should you offer to pay for the food?”

Jesus is asking the Pharisees, “If you see someone rendering aid in a car accident or offering to pay for food that was about to be stolen, should you condemn them for not making it to mass or for not calling the police?”

Apparently, the Pharisees would have answered “yes” to that question because they became enraged at our Lord’s actions. Why? Because it was all about self and all about the show. And they really hated it and hated Him for breaking the rules and not following the law because they had worked so hard at doing only that. Following our Lord means that we don’t break rules or refuse to the follow the law just because it is inconvenient to do so, it means that we follow the rules and follow the law with love and compassion in our hearts to serve. And when we have love and compassion in our hearts, there is no question that needs to be answered – just do what needs to be done.

lgboyd


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 5TH


Psalm 24:3-4

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.

Can any of us stand before the Lord with our hands turned up, open to Him and say, “Look Lord, I’m sinless.”

Only by the Lord’s amazing mercy and grace when we go before Him to reconcile ourselves to Him and seek forgiveness is that possible. Otherwise, every day is a challenge, every day we must make a conscious effort to avoid creating more sin in our lives.

It is not an easy task to ascend the mountain of the Lord, but it is possible to continue to strive for it. It is only through that true desire to stand before Him with sinless hands and a clean heart that we can even come close to hearing Him say, “Come and stand with Me in My holy place.” In our human condition, it is hard to even imagine what that would be like.

lgboyd

John 20:28

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 4TH


1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.

Boasting and fear – they seem sort of opposed to each other, but are they really? It is boasting that makes us look good when we might not have done anything to look good in the first place. It is fear, quite often, that drives us away from doing something good, useful, or meaningful. Sometimes, out of fear, we run from opportunities to serve the Lord or make ourselves useful. When we realize that we’ve failed to follow through on that opportunity, we become defensive and need to boast about things we have accomplished so that we don’t feel bad about it.

Honestly, boasting is nothing more than the ability to talk about ourselves, as the dictionary says “with excessive pride.” Why do we boast about ourselves? Probably because we fear how we look to others. So we fear doing the thing we should be doing and don’t do it. Then we boast to make sure people think good things about us even though we aren’t doing the right thing. Does any of this help us to move forward instead of running away?

Matthew 25:24-25

Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’

Out of fear of failure or criticism or even selfishness, the tendency is to bury our abilities. In essence, what we are doing is telling the Lord we don’t want that gift or talent He gave us because it is just too much trouble or too scary to use it.

The verses in Corinthians above do not mean to say that it is bad to be wise, strong, or to hold a position of importance in the world or to use those gifts as God intended. What it means is that if you do have wisdom, strength, or a position of importance, don’t abuse it. Don’t run around boasting about how wise, strong, or important you are because as sure as you do, the foolish, weak and lowly of the world will come along and knock you right off your mental pedestal. This thought can be applied to any gift or ability we are given. Use it with confidence; use it well.

Some people mistake boasting as confidence, but they are not the same thing. Confidence is that quiet ability to keep moving forward in spite of obstacles that are placed in our path. Confident people do not need to boast. Confident people move forward quietly and unafraid. lgboyd

Jeremiah 17:7

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.


OFFER IT UP!SEPTEMBER 3RD


Luke 40:40-44

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.

Have you ever been in the midst of helping someone and suddenly you feel like you’ve done enough? I don’t mean helping in the form of doing your household chores or making sure the kids get to school on time. Those are things we are committed to do every day as a part of how we give to and care for our family. I mean the kind of help where you give of your time, talent, and treasure to someone in need.

It feels good to give of ourselves that way and we should always be on the lookout for those opportunities. But, we also need to take a cue from our Lord about when it is time to stop helping one person so that we can move on to the next opportunity. It takes a lot of prayer and a lot of listening to the Lord to know when the time is right. The Lord knew when His time of helping and healing was done in Capernaum. He had healed the sick and chased out the demons then took a breather by going to a deserted place.

Just like those that usually need help, they followed Him, found Him, and pleaded with Him to stay and continue His work there. It is hard to say no to people in need. It is hard to know when you’ve done enough. But Jesus did not let their pleading and attempts to keep Him there stop Him from moving on to what He was being called to do next. He knew His purpose, He knew the plan, and He took time out to pray and listen to His Father so that He could walk away knowing that He had done enough.

It’s important to remember that you are not the only one in town that can help out. It’s important to remember that God has different people lined up to take care of each task appointed. Be careful that you are listening to what God has for you to do – then move on and go do it. lgboyd

I Corinthians 3:5-9

What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord assigned each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth.
He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor. For we are God's co-workers; you are God's field, God's building.


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 2ND


Yesterday was the first Wednesday of the month.

Every first Wednesday, an international group of men, E5, for Ephesians 5, dedicate themselves to praying and fasting for their wives. Some do this more often than just the first Wednesday… with their spouses loving them back and joining them. Let us all pray today for all the graces they need, and pray that we may love our own as we should.

This week take time to spend each day at least five minutes in the presence of God. During that time let the following two words be your focus for meditation.


OUR FATHER.

Let the Spirit of God lead you into the depths of what this means.

Our Father.

Words that come from Jesus teaching us to pray.

Your father, my father, Our Father.

Where does it lead us as we let the words soak into the very fiber of our being hearts, minds, souls? Perhaps we can even take time to write some brief notes to ourselves on what develops when we meditate prayerfully on these words.

Over the next weeks we can perhaps develop a deeper understanding of this prayer that Jesus gave us as we slow down and discover the riches of Jesus' instruction on prayer.

Deacon


OFFER IT UP! SEPTEMBER 1ST


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.

How often was it that Jesus was rejected by those He shared His good news with? From town to town, district to district, it seemed that His word, the healing of the sick, curing the lame, raising the dead—it was all so unsettling to many to say the least. And now in today’s gospel, the townspeople are begging Him to stay.

Maybe there were those who were looking beyond Jesus’ compassion. Maybe they were the type that thought they needed more than the others because they did more than the others… the elite, the proud. Yet Jesus was there not so much for any one group or crowd as He was for all of them and for one purpose—their salvation. Those that were with Him saw that. Even the demons did, as He cured them and they proclaimed Him as the Son of God.

Answer yourself this: how often then have you rejected the Good News? How often have you looked beyond the compassion of Jesus? Given up instead of giving in to His help? Or how often have you begged Him to stay? To be guided by His teachings? To be healed by His touch? We should be so grateful for the grace He has given us so freely, so much more than we deserve.

So much more than we can ever imagine.


Prayer helps us consent to God’s working in our lives.