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AFRAIDNOT

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

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Offer It Up! Friday, September 30, 2011

Luke 10:16

“Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."

We all like to have our voices heard, even when those voices are not as ‘right’ as they should be or even just plain wrong. There comes a time when we should recognize the smallness it takes to let ‘being right’ go. Based on the rule of five—five seconds, five minutes, five hours… five hundred years from now, how big a difference will it be just because you got to say you were right? And at what cost, what peace, and to whom?

Ultimately, there is only God’s Word that we should be holding ourselves up to, ‘whoever listens to you listens to me.’ His Word will always be right and true. Right now, think of the last public conversation you had; was there anything you said that would have led someone to believe that you were ‘steadfast in spirit’? Was there anything in the conversation that would have led them to believe otherwise?

Psalm 51:12

A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit

True, we may not always have our ‘A’ conversation-game with us but as believers, we are out there every day as witnesses to our faith. We are imitators of His life before us. We are messengers of His Word today. When the issue at hand is one that can be more easily handled and communicated by letting go of who has to be right, think of all that can be accomplished! Think of all the love and peace that can be shared!

Lord, You came that we might understand how to live in peace. Forgive us our faults so that we may come to be more open and accepting of others and letting go of our own insecurities. Amen.


Offer It Up! Thursday, September 29, 2011

John 1:47-50

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.”

Philip went and found Nathanael because he knew what Jesus had to say was significant not just for Philip but for his friend. And when they caught up with Jesus, Nathanael had not seen the likes of what was going on, of Jesus and the message He was espousing. Startled and yet impressed as Nathanael was, Jesus had something even greater for him planned.

Jesus had seen inside Nathanael. How He knew what was in his heart, his deepest cares was beyond his comprehension at first but the more he listened, the more he gave himself to Him, the more Nathanael began to grasp what Jesus was saying. The fig tree is a symbol of peace—God’s peace. As he sat beneath it, Nathanael was called by Philip to come see the Prince of Peace. As he did, the peace he found beneath the tree became the peace he searched for in his heart and in his soul, the peace that can only be found when one comes to know Jesus Christ.

As Nathanael did then, we can do now. The more we give ourselves to the Good News, the Word of God and Jesus Christ, the more we come to meet him through others or in prayer, the more we too can grasp the peace and comfort that Nathanael found when he met Jesus. Find a fig tree. Find a quiet place... a holy place. Find more time to be with Him and come to know His plan for your salvation.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The beginning of each day is a moment of realization if we entirely believe in God as Creator.

Yesterday is gone. As I entered the realm of Morpheus last night, I placed all my being into the hands of my awesome God. This morning I saw the light once again thanks to God's gracious love and creative power. He has given me breath and life to seek to know and do His will in all things. Do I really grasp and understand the wonder of it all?Unfortunately, NO!

Too frequently my own desire to serve the self creeps into all my actions and I fail to see the wonder of God in the place where God has situated me. Rather than see the opportunities to experience the wonder of His creative love I too often insert my will into the events of life rather than abandon myself to His all knowing will. I gaze in wonder at His merciful love that allows me to exercise this freedom of will and then even when I choose to be headstrong in seeking to do my own will, He writes straight with the crooked lines I tend to draw.

Like Paul, I want to give myself completely to doing the will of God, but I find myself doing what pleases myself, what seems pleasant and satisfying to my desires and emotions. Would that I truly understood that God's grace us sufficient.

Today, Our Lord and King is before us in His Real Presence, in His Eucharistic presence He calls us to intimate union, to a time of conversation, a time of loving and being. We are invited like Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha to sit at his feet in adoration, in active listening, in willingness to be transformed by His grace.

I enter into His presence throughout this day taking with me in spiritual union all for whom I have promised to pray and asking, Lord, that you touch all lives with Your healing Love. Especially those who are hurting Lord, whether spiritually or physically, grant them all they need to know that You are close, that the Spirit is within them. May your healing power restore us all to wholeness in accordance with Your will.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Matthew 9:35-38

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’

It can be pretty barren out there if not just desolate at times. Not the fields that need the harvesting but the people to bring in the crops. Everybody is pretty sure they want some of what is out there but it seems that those same bodies want everyone else to bring it in for them.

Jesus was doing just that. He was taking His Good News to them, to the crowds, to the towns and villages. To the helpless, to the lost—to the ‘sheep without a shepherd.’ He was curing them, He was responding to their needs then just as He responds to ours now. Sure, their needs were met more instantly, just as they were with Him. Ours too are met and responded to if we would only take the time to listen as we offer up our prayers.

He would be calling us to be the ones to bring in the harvest from the fields. To bring in those that are calling for Him and His help. We can be the hands and feet of Jesus like the disciples and saints before us. As Jesus had compassion for them and still has for us today, we too can share all that we have been given with those in need. We are His workers; we should be asking every day to be sent out to bring back who He has called. We might be the ones finding our own way back, a little closer to the shepherd.


Offer It Up! Monday, September 26, 2011

Philippians 2:1-5

If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.
Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus

Given the opportunity, we all would hope to serve as God has called us and do the right thing for the right reason. Yet how often it is that we find ourselves living out our ‘own’ glories, patting ourselves on our backs and often dislocating our elbows or shoulders, making sure we get enough pats evident for the world to see?

Oh the compassion is there. And of course there is the mercy as we look and feel for those we serve. Admittedly though, for me anyway, I sometimes get it in the back of my mind that God is watching and I get some ‘God-points’ for doing what He wants me to do. Afraid not, D.B. In fact, God has no scorecards. No good lists or bad lists. What He has given us is the gift of free will to make those calls on our own. Dang the providence.

In Luke’s Gospel, the apostles were putting themselves on the pedestals they thought themselves worthy of. How often do we do the same—think of ourselves a little more highly than we ought? Jesus brings them around by telling them to live more humbly, receiving children in His name and they would also then receive the One who sent Him. It was then and is not about now competition and self-righteousness and who gets what special treatment because of who they are and where they sit. Jesus put the child in their midst for their simplicity and their faithfulness. That is where His disciples could find their own ‘greatness’, by submitting themselves to serve as they had been called. We can find our calling there too.

Luke 9:46-50

An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest."

Then John said in reply, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company." Jesus said to him, "Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you

Offer It Up! Sunday, September 25, 2011

Philippians 2:1-5

If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others.

Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus

Words of Wisdom: The Paradox of Our Times

There are taller buildings... but shorter tempers

Wider freeways... but narrower viewpoints

We spend more... but have less

We buy more... but enjoy it less

We have bigger houses... and smaller families

More conveniences... but less time

We have more degrees... but less sense

More knowledge... but less judgment

More experts... but more problems

More medicine... but less wellness

We have multiplied our possessions... but reduced our values

We talk too much, love too seldom... and hate too often

We have learned how to make a living... but not a life

We've added years to life... but not life to years

We've been all the way to the moon and back... But we have difficulty crossing the street to meet the neighbors.

We've conquered outer space... but not our inner space

We've cleaned the air... but polluted the soul

We have split the atom... but not our prejudice

We have higher incomes... but lower morals

We've become long on quantity... but short on quality

These are the times of tall men... and short character

Of steep profits... and shallow relationships

These are times of world peace... but domestic warfare

These are days of more leisure... but less fun

Of more kinds of food... but less nutrition

These are days of two incomes... but more divorce

Of fancier houses... but broken homes

We can choose to ignore these sad facts of life...

Or we can choose to make a difference.

Christ has no body on earth but ours,

He has no hands but our hands...

We have only one life, which soon will pass,

And those acts we perform for Christ

are the only that will last!


Offer It Up! Saturday, September 24, 2011

Luke 9:43b-45

While they were all amazed at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples, "Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men."
But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

What does the future hold for each of us? There are moments in time we’d all like to know, especially when we wish things were different in our lives. How often do we pray the “how much longer” prayer – “how much longer, Lord, before that job comes through…before that illness is healed…before that heart is softened.”

In the early stages of Jesus’ ministry, when he was preparing the disciples for their work, they didn’t always understand what the future held. Jesus, in His wisdom, knew that some things needed to be hidden from them. He felt and understood their fear so he worked at preparing them slowly for what was to come. He asked them to “pay attention.”He wanted them to listen to what he was saying. But, he didn’t expect them to fully understand or be able to see into the future. Why? Perhaps he knew that they would flee – run from the rejection, stress and danger in which they would be placed. Perhaps he knew they would try to alter the future, work towards saving Jesus’ life rather than allowing him to lose it for our salvation. In the end, all that matters is that Jesus knew when it was time to reveal certain things to them.

So, too, in our lives. Jesus knows when we are ready or when it is time for our future to be revealed. Often we discover the future one day at a time.Even more so, we discover God’s plan for us in hindsight. We look back at where we’ve been and where we are now and have those “ah-ha” moments.There is nothing wrong with praying the “how much longer” prayer, as long as we are willing to pay attention and to listen and to be ready to respond to His call. In the end, we can look back and be thankful that in his wisdom, Jesus knew just the right moment to reveal his plan for us. lgboyd


Offer It Up! Friday, September 23, 2011

A Prayer

by Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

May Jesus comfort you
in all your afflictions.
May He sustain you in dangers,
watch over you always with His grace,
and indicate the safe path
that leads to eternal salvation.
And may He render you always
dearer to His Divine Heart
and always more worthy of Paradise.

Amen.


Offer It Up! Thursday, September 22, 2011

Haggai1:6-8
Now thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways! You have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied; You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated; have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed; And whoever earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it.
Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways! Go up into the hill country; bring timber, and build the house That I may take pleasure in it and receive my glory, says the Lord
.
We have been given much. Maybe we’ve done much with it. Maybe we could do more.
From Haggai, we are asked to consider our ways: what we have sown and what we have reaped. All that we have eaten and all that we still crave. All that we imbibe and all that we 'leave in the bottle', so to speak.All that we have to wear but put so much back in the closet. All that we work to earn and all that we spend on impulse.
Do you get the idea we just be spinning our wheels a bit?
Taking two steps forward and three steps back?
Like pouring water into a bucket with a hold in the bottom of it?

There seems to be a certain emptiness in the references in the verses that we may all relate to in our lives. The message makes itself clearer as he says ‘Consider your ways!’ ‘Build the house!’ And take the pleasure then in My glory you receive from it.

More than the physical rebuilding of the house of the Lord, or in addition to, we can all continue to do some rebuilding or renovating of our own ‘houses’, our own hearts and souls. We too must consider our ways and bring to Him what He asks us to bring. He will help us do the building. Sometimes it takes some tearing down, some pain and heartache to get there. But in the end, the resulting beauty is worth the effort.

Bring your timber, your cross, to Him and receive His glory.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

There are a lot of civic and service organizations in any given city or community. International, national, local, big town, small town—this church, that church, this school, that school. I’m getting tired thinking about all the time I could spend doing stuff with these groups. The thing about most if not all of them is that you have to sign up with these outfits and pay your dues if you want to be a card-carrying, serving member. Nothing wrong with that at all. A choice we make when we are asked by someone to join forces with that particular cause or organization. They saw something in us that made them ask us to come along with them. And of all the times we’ve been asked before, or not, this time it was an easy ‘yes.’

Once we are there with them, we are committed to doing the things required of our membership-attend the meetings, help out with the projects and contribute our time and talents and of course our money. Maybe serve on a sub-committee, maybe even lead it or help lead it. Whatever that is, we have made that choice to cast our lot with this group and in so doing, we should give it our best effort.

Consider our faith like we would consider our joining a group. Consider Matthew and how Jesus came and called him. The timing. The occasion. What Matthew needed in his life. Now consider our own lives and our faith. Maybe we’ve heard the call before and gave it some effort. Maybe we’ve not given it our best. Maybe there’s been silence for awhile. Maybe it is time to ‘follow Him’. If not to begin, maybe more closely.

Maybe now is the time. God knows more than any of us what we need and when. We are called to be healed and we all need healing. Body, mind, and spirit.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lord Jesus, our Savior,

let us now come to you

Our hearts are cold

Lord, warm them with your selfless love

Our hearts are sinful

cleanse them with your precious blood

Our hearts are weak

strengthen them with your joyous Spirit

Our hearts are empty

fill them with your divine presence

Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours

possess them always and only for yourself

Prayer of Augustine, 354-430


Offer It Up! Monday, September 19, 2011

Isaiah 48:10

See, I refined you, but not like silver; I tested you in the furnace of affliction.

Well which would be easier then? The silver furnace or this hell on earth of a furnace I am going through now? If not exactly like that, a thought similar to that has crossed my mind if the words themselves have not crossed my lips when suffering the tribulations of life. And of course, I want something easier than what I have to bear at that time. Who wouldn’t—don’t we all?

We know that there will be trials in our lives. W also know that there will be times without them—those times when we are smoothing right along and all is going swimmingly. More so than not, the good times far outweigh the trials. But what do we give the most attention? What do we find ourselves doing when the least little thing upsets our apple carts? Instead of ‘calling upon His name’ (Zechariah 13:9), we choose to make the situation worse by our complaining and worrying.

What we should be doing is offering up whatever it is that is troubling us, giving it over to God, just as He has commanded us. As we do so, He will cleanse us of what needs to be cleansed, ‘purifying the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver.’ (Malachi 3:3). Sure, we are tested and often times we don’t pass with flying colors. But that doesn’t mean we don’t quit trying to retake the test. God isn’t like that. It ain’t about pass/fail with Him. He knows the way for us. How foolish for us to think otherwise.

John 14:12

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?


Offer It Up! Sunday, September 18, 2011

Philippians 1:27-28

Steadfastness in Faith

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel, not intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is proof to them of destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing.

That’s all we have to do-just conduct ourselves in ways respectable, honorable and in the way we have been called. Not too big a stretch is it? We will fall down, as sinners have done and as sinners do. Then as we get back up in the forgiveness of our sins, with the humility and contrition of our hearts in His hands, we can remain steadfast in our faith.

Paul reminds us to ‘stand firm in one spirit, with one mind.’ Of all the times we think to do so and all the times we fail as Satan rears his ugly head, our deliverance from his evilness is but a prayer and reach away, asking once again for the grace and mercy to rise from the destruction that is around us.

Of course it is God’s doing, as all creation is God’s doing. To continue to live and act in a fashion worthy of the gospel of Christ, it might be that bridges in families will need to be crossed, the past being the past and left there with the forgiveness of those sins, heaving off the pain and agony of guilt and despair of our own darkness to give it all to God so that we may all find our way to live more in His light. That will be the proof then of our salvation, living as He made us His worthy children, all of His doing.


Offer It Up! Saturday, September 17, 2011

Luke 8:4-15

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold." After saying this, he called out, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."
Then his disciples asked him what the meaning of this parable might be. He answered, "Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you; but to the rest, they are made known through parables so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.
"This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation. As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance."

Sometimes when we first here something we find hard to accept, the first the we do is turn a deaf ear to it and brush it off… reject it.

Other times, when we come across something that seems to make sense but really only serves to confound us after we give a shot, we put it on the shelf and go our own way.

Then there are those instances when we have found ourselves actually moving forward with some of the things we have learned and putting them to go use only to end up falling back to old habits and doing the same old same old thing.

Ahh… but then. But then. Then when we truly put ourselves into the productive mode, the times we find out what we are truly made of, then we coming to life. Then the faith that has been ours all this time comes to life and to light. Then we are more fully aware of the plans made for us, enriched by the graces of God in our lives.

The parable of the sower, God as He is-sowing us as His seeds, represents our lives at any given time, in any given instance… how quickly have we all gone from the cleanliness of reconciliation to the darkness of sin? We must give ourselves the chance to succeed and it cannot be done on the worn path, rocks and soil or in the thorns. We have to give ourselves a chance to succeed and that is best done in the richness of God’s love and His mercy and grace. We can hear, even without our ears. What we need to hear comes from within.


Offer It Up! Friday, September 16, 2011

1 Timothy 6:10-16

For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.

But you, man of God,avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ that the blessed and only ruler will make manifest at the proper time, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.

Man, if I just had another 100 bucks, I could...

That is the coolest 3D television—maybe I could use my charge card...

Hey, it’s only money! I can spend it like I want...

We’ve all been there, done that, got the bills to prove it and wearing t-shirts ‘cuz we can’t afford nicer ones. Money. Money. Money. Some got lots. Some got not so much. Some don’t have at all. Whatever our status, we are all compelled to fall on our pride from time to time and consider our wealth along the lines of what the world deems rich as opposed to what God has enriched us with.

We see look more toward the balance in our bank account instead of the return on our moral stock.

We are overwhelmed by the prices on the menus as we order out more and more yet can’t find enough in our change to support the food pantry.

We are more than ready to slip on a new pair of shoes when the closet is full of ones we wear once or twice a year but we’d just as soon keep them till because of that chance we might just wear them again.

Our vision is sooo short-sighted. Imagine if Jesus had been so prideful. Imagine if the disciples had taken that road... okay, maybe they did get a bit discouraged as we are wont to do. But they overcame their false pride just as we can overcome ours. We can maintain our pursuit and ‘compete well for the faith.’ Jesus Christ has given us a broader vision, if not a longer one, to see our salvation. To see that if we put our love to the test through Him, to keep the commandments as we have been charged, we too will dwell with Him in that eternal light.


Our Lady of Sorrows

John 19:26-27

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

At the cross her station keeping,

Stood the mournful mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.

Luke 2:34-35

Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradictedand you yourself a sword will pierceso that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Offer It Up! Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Exaltation of the Cross

Prayer Before a Crucifix

Look down upon me,

good and gentle Jesus
while before Your face

I humbly kneel and,
with burning soul,
pray and beseech You
to fix deep in my heart

lively sentiments
of faith, hope, and charity;
true contrition for my sins,
and a firm purpose of amendment.

While I contemplate,
with great love

and tender pity,
Your five most precious wounds,
pondering over them within me
and calling to mind

the words which David,
Your prophet, said to You, my Jesus:

"They have pierced

My hands and My feet,
they have numbered all My bones."

Amen.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Morning Prayer

Prayer of Saint Thérèse

The Little Flower

O my God !

I offer Thee all my actions of this day

for the intentions and for the glory

of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart,

my every thought, my simplest works,

by uniting them to Its infinite merits.

and I wish to make reparation for my sins

by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.

O my God !

I ask thee for myself

and for those whom I hold dear,

the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will,

to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life,

so that we may one day be

united together in Heaven for all Eternity.

Amen.


Offer It Up! Monday, September 12, 2011

Psalm 28:2, 7, 8-9

Hear the sound of my pleading, when I cry to you,
lifting up my hands toward your holy shrine.


It’s not so much the crying and the pleading that does it. It is the lifting of our hands to the Lord that shows Him we are sincere. As a young child raises her hands up towards mom or dad asking to be held, so do we with our Lord. Lifting our hands is a sign that we are ready to relinquish ourselves to His will, His way.

Think of those moments when you knew you needed to pray a certain way or for a certain thing, but your heart just wasn’t there. But, you pray about it anyway out of duty, out of guilt, out of a need to be able to say “I did it.” I don’t know about you, but it is in those moments that I feel a bit out of touch with what the Lord really wants for me or the person I am praying for. And, it is in those moments that I have to stop what I’m praying, lift my hands to the Lord, and give Him the honor and thanks for who He is. Praise Him for being God our Father, our Savior, and the Spirit that guides us to act and to pray as He desires.

Honesty of heart shows the Lord we are sincere. Honesty of heart allows us to come before the Lord with our hands raised, ready to relinquish a bad attitude or a lack of genuine concern for the matter. Honesty of heart shows the Lord we trust Him with our feelings, good and bad. It is in that spirit that we can then pray genuinely seeking God’s answers to our prayers. It is in that spirit that we can feel the strength of the Lord and give Him thanks, no matter the outcome. lgboyd

Psalm 28:7, 8-9

The LORD is my strength and my shield.
In him my heart trusts, and I find help;
then my heart exults, and with my song I give him thanks.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
the saving refuge of his anointed.
Save your people, and bless your inheritance;
feed them, and carry them forever!

Offer It Up! Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Strength to Forgive and Live
Faultless Lord, enduring death for me,
You have consummated the
debt of my sins:
Your
sacrifice of forgiveness was absolute!
Grant me the
strength to also forgive others,
To excuse their transgressions against me.
So I may truly reflect this spiritual fruit,
Obliterate any persistent feelings of malice.
Let each trespass end as a closing chapter,
My continuing on the road of righteousness.
Forgive my sins as I aspire to forgive others.
You are truly archetypical of forgiveness.
You are a most forgiving Lord!


Offer It Up! Saturday, September 10, 2011
Happy Birthday Marc!

1 Timothy 1:15-17
This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

He is our God, forever and ever. It is true that we cannot see Him but it is also true that we can see the fruits of His works in all His creation. Those works include us as His servants, chosen to be His now and forever. How we respond to that call is how we bear more fruit, good fruit, for Him.

We have been told good trees cannot bear bad fruit… bad ones won’t bring us good fruit either. We all have more goodness than we have not. We all have the grace of God to do more than we have done before. We all must do then as those who have lives of faith built on solid ground, not on shifting sand or soil. Just as Jesus lived, so must we, doing as He commanded us to do: putting into action the fullness of His Love in our hearts


Offer It Up! Friday, September 9, 2011
Happy Birthday Deacon Jim!

1 Timothy 1:1-2

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my true child in faith:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

How many times have you had the graceful opportunity to thank someone who pulled you out of a bad or tough situation? How about those times when you found yourself in a rather dubious posture that you would have rather not been in... and you know those types of postures of which I speak! Let’s not forget the low-hanging fruit of temptation and those paths of least resistance we’ve chosen when the right thing to do would have been the harder road to follow.

Paul was grateful for all that Jesus Christ had pulled him through, that Jesus had strengthened him in such a way to make those better decisions. So much so to find him ‘trustworthy’. Way to be, Paul. Way to be, us. We are not that much different than Paul. Well, maybe just a little bit we are in that we didn’t write letters to the Colossians, the Ephesians or the other letters he wrote that ended up as a great portion of the New Testament. Touché to that.

We are so much like him though in that we have been ‘appointed’, we have been called by Jesus Christ and He has strengthened us as well in that we cannot be who we are without His own strength and grace and His mercy. Think of the times, like Paul, we too acted like dolts. Think of the times too, like Paul, of our ignorance when we treated others with contempt, if not hatred, out of our arrogance and pride. Then think of the times too, like Paul, whose sins (and ignorance) were forgiven through the abundance of God’s Love and grace. Then think too of the times, like Jesus who took away all of our sins with His death on the cross. For all of us. His choice. For us.

What is our choice going to be then, for Him?


Offer It Up! Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today the 8th of September the Church denotes as the birth of Mary. How great it is that we have these daily reminders and daily Scripture readings to give us pause and allow us to reflect with gratitude on thewonders of our God. Certainly as we acknowledge or celebrate the birth of Mary, we are reminded that she was conceived without SIN, she is the Immaculate Conception.We have a National Shrine in Washington D.C.to the Immaculate Conception, Mary the patroness of our great nation. How will we celebrate or remember her birth?I wonder how many even know that the Church calendar shows this day as the Birth of Mary.

Very recently, yesterday as a matter of fact I asked a group of Catholic Women what the Church celebrates on 8 September. Predictably, no one knew. Why is it we have a liturgical calendar, we identify almost every day throughout the year with some Saint in the Church, yet it would be revealing how few people are aware or perhaps even care.

One way we can grow in faith is to learn more about what we celebrate, and to discover the treasures of the Church. Then, to witness the wonder of what it is be fully Catholic.In this age of technology we need to involve ourselves more in faith-sharing, storytelling about faith, supporting one another in our quest to become what God created us to be. And, we all need the support of faithful church family members. Far too often we get caught up in our own agendas of what we believe and forget about the Holy Spirit and God's grace.Sometimes we even get so intent on doing what we think God wants that we lose sight of His LOVE, and His call to us to Love one another as we seek to be like Him with all our strength. "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" Sounds impossible but Jesus reminds us that for God all things are possible. Reaching perfection is a goal for life. We are called to aim high. We may likely miss the mark, but if we give it our best we will come closer than if we took the low road insisting that perfection is not possible.

The gospels this week were again a visit to the days when Jesus called the first disciples and chose the twelve apostles. We can walk imaginatively with the Lord in these Gospel periscopes and be present when those he called dropped everything to follow Him. We can be there and wonder at the rich young man who couldn't detach himself from his many possessions. And, we can meditate on our own response to Jesus' call in our lives to be witnesses to His presence, His love and the challenge to live a countercultural journey of faith.

Why not plan to spend some time with Mary today. Visit with her and discuss with her your journey of faith.She is Jesus’ Mother. She raised him, in His infancy she cared for Him, as he grew in stature, age, wisdom, she was the one to teach Him. Can you imagine what that was like? Why not visit with Mary and ask her some of the questions you might have in faith, and listen for her guidance and wisdom.


Ask in faith, expect an answer and listen with mind and heart with all your senses. Be at peace with Mary and Jesus this day. Make a gift of time and self for your Mother's birthday.

Mother behold your child! Child behold your Mother!

Deacon


Offer It Up! Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Colossians 3:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

It’s confusing sometimes.We are instructed to “think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”

“But Lord, I’m here on earth and surrounded by people who all call for my time and attention.How do I ignore all this to think only on you?”

The answer is – we aren’t being called to ignore those people and things on earth that require our attention.We are being called to think as if we were already in the Lord’s presence observing Him seated at the right hand of God.

Think about it.If you were standing before the throne of God with Christ seated at his right; what would you be thinking about?The file at work that got handed to you 5 minutes before you were supposed to clock out…what new tactic you were going to use to get the kids to do their homework that night…maybe you would be thinking about the fight you had with your spouse yesterday…probably not.No, your mind would be set on the amazing perfection, mercy, and love of our God and Savior.

So, in order to think as if we were already standing in God’s presence, we must have a ‘Godly mindset.’

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Our lives are “hidden,” or secure with Christ.Reflect on that for a moment.When something is hidden it is sheltered or secured in a specific location for its protection – it is at an undisclosed location.Usually when we hide something here on earth, it is because it is precious or important to us and we don’t want to lose it.Our Lord is telling us that He’s got us – we are safe, secure and important to Him so we don’t need to let the things of the earth pull us down.

Every time we let the distractions of the day get to us, every time we lose our focus on the things of above, we lose our Godly mindset and begin to focus on the problems and frustrations instead.When we focus on the problems and frustrations, we bring ourselves back down to earth and forget where our very lives are hidden…with God.When we lose our Godly mindset, the negatives start to outweigh the positives, the little irritants of the day start to grow into major disasters, and the joy of being hidden with Christ disappears in an instant.It is not until we let go of our earthly mindset that we can die to self and remember that our lives are safely hidden with Christ in God.

lgboyd

Psalm 145:2-3

Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Luke 6:12-19

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.

Do you ever take much time to discern what God has in store for you? Beyond the everyday choices of paper or plastic, white bread or wheat, regular or decaf, we have way too much on our plates to go about our decisions for us not to take even more time in prayer and discernment.

We don’t know the hours Jesus spent in the gardens or on the hillsides or in the deserts as He prayed for His own enlightenment. Yet we do know that He prayed—a lot. For the selection of the apostles, He prayed through the night. No small wonder as those would be the ones to help Him further shape the world then and the world to come after Him. For some of us, we spend more time fretting over what to wear during the week than we do comparatively in prayer. Something is wrong with that picture.

Jesus chose some very common people to live more than common lives. They had His guidance and leadership to get them started. They had their faith and belief in Him to press on. And with His power and grace, they remained committed to spreading the Good News to all around and to all of those to come. Good news that healed then and Good News that heals us today.


Offer It Up! Monday, September 5, 2011

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.

Do you need some help?

Stretch out your hand.

Are you lost and need someone to guide you?

Stretch out your hand.

Are things out of control and you can’t handle them all?

Stretch out your hand.

Are you at the end of your rope, the last knot tied in it and no place left to go?

Stretch out your hand.

Just as the man whose hand was withered, our own lives get ‘deformed’ and we could stand our own healing just as he received. Yet too many times we fail to do as he did. We have to do it on our own. We put ourselves in the predicament and we feel compelled to get ourselves out. Never mind this getting help stuff. If we had needed a life preserver, we would have brought one along with us.

How narrow-minded and short-sighted. How selfish and prideful we are to presume that it is all about us so much even that we can rectify what we wrecked and fried. Where is our alignment with our priorities that God has set for us? Where do we find ourselves with our submission to His will, His way—His commandments?

Praying for the healing to begin from within our hearts with the gifts God has given us is just the start of the process, the stretching out of the hand. From there, we offer up our sorrow and contrition for what we have done to put us where we are. And from there, we begin to let go of those things that have weighed us down, dragging us into temptation and sin.

The more we get ourselves clear of those things, the easier it will be to see what else God has planned for us. Not necessarily easier to do what His plan is… just easier to see it. The plan to do well and prosper and grow in our faith. Will it be smooth sailing from there on it? Will you ever need to stretch out your hand again? I can only hope so. And when you do, don’t wait so long to ask Him to take it.


Offer It Up! Sunday, September 4, 2011

Romans 13:8-10

Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, "
and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

You’ve probably seen the sign in a shop or two, ‘If you break it, you buy it.’ Short, to the point; curt even. Yet the responsibility is pointed and clear: the shopper is accountable for their actions when it comes to handling the items in the store. If we are picking something up and admiring it, considering its value and something happens to it as we are holding it… we need to take care of it.

Our relationships should be no different really. There aren’t so many signs like in the shops but there are plenty of indications that will open our eyes to our accountability in keeping them whole when they are broken. When sin is evident, all stops must be pulled to keep one or the other from those types of sinful ways. Through prayer, through communication, through love, by following God’s will for us as well as His commandments and His wisdom through scripture.

St. Augustine has offered this from Jesus Christ:

If someone has done you injury and you have suffered, what should be done? You have heard the answer already in today’s scripture: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” If you fail to do so, you are worse than he is. He has done someone harm, and by doing harm he has stricken himself with a grievous wound. Will you then completely disregard your brother’s wound? Will you simply watch him stumble and fall down? Will you disregard his predicament? If so, you are worse in your silence than he in his abuse. Therefore, when any one sins against us, let us take great care, but not merely for ourselves. For it is a glorious thing to forget injuries. Just set aside your own injury, but do not neglect your brother’s wound. Therefore “go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone,” intent upon his amendment but sparing his sense of shame. For it might happen that through defensiveness he will begin to justify his sin, and so you will have inadvertently nudged him still closer toward the very behavior you desire to amend. Therefore “tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother,” because he might have been lost, had you not spoken with him. [Sermon 82.7]

Our goal should be in all our relationships is to get the other to live as Jesus did… and we need to live accordingly as well. Our lives are based on all the love that God has in store for us for our salvation. We are accountable to each other, to ourselves and to God to achieve what God has in store for us.


Offer It Up! Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Prayer for God’s Help in Daily Living

Our Faithful Father and Merciful King,

may everything I do begin with Your Inspiration,
continue with Your Help,
and strive to reach perfection under Your Guidance.

With Your loving care guide me in my daily actions.
Help me to persevere with love and sincerity.
Teach me to judge wisely the things of earth
and to love the things of Heaven.
Keep me in Your presence

and never let me be separated from You.


Your Spirit made me Your child,
confident to call You Father.
Make Your Love the foundation of my life.
Teach me to long for Heaven.


May its promise and hope guide my way on earth
until I reach eternal life with You.

Amen.


Offer It Up! Friday, September 2, 2011

Luke 5:1-15

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

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 the boats 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."
When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

In Luke's Gospel, we’ve encountered Jesus on Lake Gennesaret preaching from Simon's, (later Peter),boat. After preaching for a time, he asks Simon, a professional fisherman who had been fishing all night and caught nothing, to put out into deeper water, at midday and lower nets for a catch. Simon is a little doubtful but at the Master's request agrees to put out and lower the nets.The result is miraculous.


The nets a near breaking, they need help from other boats and both are sinking from the huge catch.Jesus invites them to a new profession, catching men and they drop their nets and follow Him.


We also are being invited to follow, and catch men. The bait is how we live as disciples of the Lord Jesus. See those Christians how they love one another. We too need the Lord close by, we need intimacy with Him that is found in daily prayer and encounters with Him in one another.Look into the mirror of your life and sincerely and honestly examine if you have put on Christ.

What must I walk away from to follow Him as did the apostles?

Deacon


Offer It Up! Thursday, September 1, 2011

Colossians 1:9-14

Brothers and sisters:
From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord....hmmm. How do I do that? Frustration builds because I do not consider myself one that is able to walk in such a manner.My impatience...my needs, wants, desires all get in the way. If I’m going to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, I need to be close to perfect, right? I need to do big, great, wonderful things, right?

When we look at our walk from that angle, we are looking at it from a human perspective. Unless we see tangible evidence that we are doing all the right things, we get frustrated and disappointed that we are not on the right path. God asks us to look at it from a spiritual perspective. We should walk in a manner worthy of the Lord “through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

We don’t always know the effect we have on others or even on our own personal lives right at the moment. Sometimes there are spiritual forces at work that we don’t feel or see. Walking on the right path does not always involve big, great, tangible things. Most of the time, it involves the little things...saying hello to a stranger, having a conversation with someone when we are in a hurry, saying a few kind words to someone who is distraught, smiling at the person behind the checkout counter, sending a quick email just to say‘I’m thinking about you.’ It means loving the person, not their actions. It means giving of time or effort even when you are tired and ready to call it a day. Most of all, it means you don’t do things always expecting a big pat on the back because then you are looking at your walk from a human perspective.

It means we walk through our day with our hearts open and ready to act...and we let God do the rest.

lgboyd