Monday Morning Alka-Seltzer

Blog: Fr. Charlie, I speak, therefore I am


November 24, 2014

I don’t know who first uttered these words but they set forth a truly important bit of wisdom:

If there is nothing above us

we will be consumed by all that is around us.

Yesterday’s Mass of Christ the King was all about that.


November 17, 2014

You pass from this life and meet our Lord face to face He is going to take the measure of you.

He is not going to measure your head.

He is going to measure your heart.


November 10, 2014

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20


November 3, 2014

You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."

Yogi Berra


October 27, 2014

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Thomas Merton


October 20, 2014
 
St. Paul did not give us these thoughts simply to be read and wedding ceremonies and then soon forgotten. He gave us these words of wisdom for our daily living, for all of our relationships with others.
 
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
 
1 Corinthians 13

October 6, 2014

Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open,
let us try also to be a church that finds new roads,
that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass,
to those who have quit or are indifferent.
 
Pope Francis


September 22, 2014

To what extent am I controlled by external events and to what extent do I make decisions independently from external events?

Spirituality strengthens us in the power of God and His love.


September 8, 2014

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us,
we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures,
have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

Henri Nouwen


August 25, 2014

Fr. David Rosenberg is the pastor of St. Mary Parish in Charlotte, MI. He has this posted on his parish's website. WONDERFUL!!

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, rich, poor, y no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, skinny as a rail, or those who could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like grand knight who can't carry a note in a bucket. You're welcome here if you're "just browsing," just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don't care if you are more Catholic than the Pope, or haven't been in church since little Joey’s Baptism. We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or are still addicted. We welcome you if you're having problems, or you're down in the dumps, or you don't like "organized religion," we've been there too. If you blew all your offering money at the casino, you're welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can't spell, or came because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church. We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both.

We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid, or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome the flexible, inflexible, tolerant, and intolerant, those who laughed and those who gasped at this welcome.

We welcome tourists, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts…

and most especially, we welcome YOU!
Fr. Charlie


August 18, 2014

"But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Mark 13:9-14


August 11, 2014

“Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.”

Psalm 146:3


August 4, 2014

Attempting to overcome violence with violence only succeeds in doubling violence unless, of course, you believe that 1+1 = 0.


July 29, 2014

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4


July 21, 2014

Why doesn’t God eliminate evil in our world?
 
The answer, it seems to me, is that God created and endowed us with intellect and will so that we might choose to love Him. To eliminate human evil God would have to eliminate who and what we are.
 
All lovers want to be known and loved by those whom they love. God wants to be freely chosen and this means He must suffer rejection and its consequences. Isn’t that what Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross is all about?


July 14, 2014

“Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” 

― Winston Churchill


July 7, 2014

Come sit beside me on the ocean shore

watching the waves roll in

bringing us the limitless waters

of God’s gifts’

washing in to reach us,

while erasing the gritty sands

that cling to us

as the gentle breath of His Spirit’s  soft breezes

whisper in our hearts

of His love.

Let us feel the healing warmth of His Son

holding us close,

bringing life, light, and love

into our weary souls...

in miracle

of His summertime.

CEI


June 30, 2014

“God made the angels to show him splendor -- as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity.

But man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind.”
 
St. Thomas More in Robert Bolt’s
A Man For All Seasons


June 23, 2014

“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Will I be able to hold on to that when I am faced with terrible things, when I face suffering and loss?


June 16, 2014

Is my religious life more about what God can do for me rather than what I can do for God?


June 2, 2014

Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,
who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself...
 
                         1 Corinthians 6:19
 
Does that make a difference in my choices and actions?

May 19, 2014

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
 
Philippians 4:8


May 12, 2014

“Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forwards.”
 
                  Soren Kierkegaard
 
This leads me to reflect on how many people live imprisoned by their pasts, shackled by guilt, their mistakes and failures, their omissions, and so forth. Life is a journey and we will get nowhere if we do nothing. Holiness is taking steps toward and into our futures. We all fall but the Resurrection empowers us to walk anew in “the glorious freedom of the sons and daughters of God.” (Paul to the Romans, 8:21) 


May 5, 2014

We are women who light up the world-
with our beauty,
our creativity,
our intelligence, and charm.
 
Our eyes sparkle as we talk and laugh among ourselves.
Our smiles radiate warmth and comfort to those who love us.
Our faces beam happily when we're engaged in fulfilling work.
 
We shine,
We illuminate,
we enlighten, we dazzle.
We glow softly when contented and burn brightly when passionate.
We are always lighting up the world, one way or another.
 
                        B.J. Gallagher


April 28, 2014

Did the Good Samaritan walk away from the wounded man lying in a ditch beside the road? No.
Does Pope Francis walk away from those who are wounded and disfigured? No.
Do we walk away from those who are hurting and wounded? No.
 
Should we walk away from our wounded and disfigured Church?
 
The Resurrection reveals what God has done and is doing now.


April 21, 2014

Lord Jesus, roll back the stone that keeps me entombed in my self. Call me out of my darkness into the light of your kingdom where I may serve you in serving others. Empower me to bring your Light to the blind, your Word to the deaf, and healing to those crippled by their egos. Help me to help others live in the glorious freedom of the sons and daughters of God.


April 18, 2014

GOOD FRIDAY THOUGHTS
 
Power. It’s a drug that seduces everyone, an addiction that afflicts us all. We don’t think of it as a drug but it is… and it is heady. Those who have power always want more. The Evil One, the Serpent, offered it to Adam and Eve telling them it would make them like God. They could decide for themselves what was right or wrong, what was true or what was not true. They would control reality. The lie infected their very nature. “Truth? Pilate asked. “What is truth?”

Those who rule over us want more power in order to have greater control over us. They fancy themselves as gods, just as does Satan.

Our Savior was born among us in poverty and powerlessness, tightly wrapped in swaddling bands and placed in a feeding trough for animals. Our Savior died naked and nailed on a cross totally immobilized, in total poverty. After all, true poverty is the inability to access power. It’s where the Evil One wants us so he can have total control over us. He caused our Savior to be placed in a tomb, dead, immobilized and out of sight, with a great stone at its entrance, sealed and guarded by soldiers.

Rising from the dead our Savior smashed power in its very nature, making human power powerless, neutralizing its drug-like effect, revealing Satan’s lie, giving us a new Adam and a new Eve. Now, in the Garden of the Resurrection, we can walk in the glorious freedom of the children of God. True power is now ours. It’s no wonder that the rulers of this world want to keep our Savior hidden and locked, removed from our world, back in a tomb.

But our Savior is risen and lives now amongst us.

Alleluia!


April 7, 2014

Lines Written in Early Spring

By William Wordsworth
 
I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
 
To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
 
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
 
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
 
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
 
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?


March 31, 2014

If he needs to, we do too.

 

 

 

 

 

 


March 17, 2014

“If you have something to tell someone
         - is it kind?
         - is it true?
         - is it needed?”

Anonymous


March 17, 2014

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”
 
Luke 6:36-38


March 10, 2014

In the tasks I face today and in the days of this week...
Am I aware of God’s presence?
Where and how will I give my attention to what He wants me to do?
Will I allow myself to be conscious of His love for me?
Will I allow myself to be conscious of my love for Him?
Giving God my thanks acknowledges by dependence on Him. Will I give Him thanks?


March 3, 2014

What problems are you facing?
Which problem is the most pressing?
Have you prayed about it?
Are you making decisions based on fear or anger or are you not making any decisions at all?
Which path would bring you the most peace?
Where is God in all of this?


February 24, 2014

How am I responding to God’s love for me?
 
As you and I go through our day today let’s frequently ask ourselves that question


February 17, 2014

When I was a boy my mother told me that “Happiness is something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.” Now in my senior years I realize how wise she was. Listen to your mother!


February 10, 2014

As the years gave gone by I have come to see that the more I know the more I know that I don’t know.
It is a grace, a gift from God.
 
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune – without the words –
And never stops at all.”
 
Emily Dickinson


February 3, 2014

Reform your Church
and give her the courage to be,
to follow you and do your word.
May she cease in her attempts
do dominate men.
May she make no more demands
and claim no more privileges,
but only try to contribute
to men’s happiness.
May she neither repel nor exclude anyone
by the words she uses
or the ideas she has,
but be open to everyone
who seeks to live
a happy and creative life.
Help us to remember, God,
that we were sent
only to spread your grace
in all humility,
because we have been accepted by you
and always need forgiveness.
 
Your Word is Near, by Huub Oosterhuis      
 


January 27, 2014

Don’t allow yourself to be overcome by the Big Picture. “One day at a time” is healthy for both your psyche and your soul. (Besides, it works!)
 
Remember that life by the yard is hard but life by the inch is a cinch.


January 13, 2014

A PRAYER
 
“Father, may everything we do begin with your inspiration
and continue with your saving help.
Let our work always find its origin in you
and through you reach completion.
We ask you this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen


January 6, 2014

On December 25th we celebrated the birth of the Jewish Messiah, the one born in fulfillment of what the Jewish prophets had proclaimed to be God’s Promised One. Born of the Virgin and born into David’s lineage, Jesus fulfilled all that was promised about the Messiah throughout the many previous centuries ..

But that perspective was too narrow. God went way beyond the hoped for vision of the Jewish prophets and sent His Son to bring light into the souls of men and women all over the world, to Gentiles as well as to Jews. Matthew, who directed his gospel to the Jews, gave them a much broader vision, one that brought enlightenment, hope and vision to everyone everywhere.

Thus we find mystics from other parts of the world coming to Bethlehem to see something new, something fresh, something offering hope and redemption to everyone everywhere. These mystics, astrologers, seers, these “magi” or “wise men,” came not only to worship and adore, offering Him their homage and gifts, they came as well to learn and see new things, and take their message of hope out into the whole world, the broader world from whence they came.


December 16, 2013

Your Word is near,
O Lord our God,
your grace is near.
Come to us, then,
with mildness and power.
Do not let us be deaf to you,
but make us receptive and open
to Jesus Christ your son,
who will come to look for us and save us
today and every day
for ever and ever.
 
[From: Your Word is Near, by Huub Oosterhuis]


December 9, 2013

If you want to be happy then make those around you happy.
 
Husbands, if you want to be happy then make your wife happy. You didn’t marry so that she would make you happy. You married her to make her happy. Wives, if you want to be happy then make your husband happy. You didn’t get married so that he would make you happy. You married him to make him happy.
 
We all need to realize that we don’t get happiness. Rather it comes to us when we make those around us happy.


December 2, 2013

What is your Advent going to be all about? You might think of this --
 
In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men; and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it. And the Word became flesh… (John 1ff.)
 
-- and then ask yourself: “How can I let God’s presenting and expression of Himself in our humanity as Christ Jesus be more fully brought about in my own humanity?”


November 25, 2013

Doubt, Disillusionment, Discouragement, Depression, Defeat, Despair, Death
 
As we enter the season of Advent we return to the centuries the Jewish people looked forward to God’s promised Messiah, the Anointed One who would free them from the bondage in which they were held by tyrants who ruled them and oppressed them with crushing burdens.
 
The Evil One seeks to oppress us with his own special demons, tyrants that seek to control us. They have names: Doubt, Disillusionment, Discouragement, Depression, Defeat, Despair and Death. We need to look to our Messiah, the One who redeems us (buys us back) from the Evil One and the demons he has loosed upon us. We should look not with mere wishful thinking but with earnest and sincere prayer during this forthcoming Advent.


November 18, 2013

The Gospel account for today’s Mass is Luke 18-25-43. A blind man asks Jesus to give him sight. But before Jesus cures his blindness he asks the blind man what it is that he wants. How strange! Obviously Jesus knows what the blind man wants. What’s going on here?”

This causes me to ask, “What do we want to see?” I think Jesus wants us to take a look at how God sees us. We are often too concerned with how others see us. Too often we are concerned with how we see ourselves. Too often I think we’re afraid to consider how God sees us, thinking that God is angry, vengeful, and totally unhappy with what we’ve done and what we’ve become.

Well, is God really that kind of a God? NO! He is a God that is a loving Father and we should open our eyes and try to see ourselves as our Father in heaven sees us.

In the words of the blind man we hear about today: “O Lord that I may see!”


November 11, 2013

Oh Lord, in my prayers I’m always telling you what I want you to do.
I’m going to hush up now and ask you to tell me what you want me to do.
But I’m going to need you to help me do it.


November 4, 2013

"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." (Exodus 33:13)
 
“And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)

God wants us to know this in times of trouble. 


October 28, 2013

For today, tomorrow and all of the days that follow, it’s not all about what God can do for you and me, rather it’s all about what you and I can do for God.


October 21, 2013

When you are in a foul mood here’s an antidote that works: think of three things about which you are thankful and then thank your Father in heaven for them. Your mood will change.


October 15, 2013

Yesterday’s Gospel reading was about the ten lepers whom Jesus healed and only one returned to give Him thanks. My homily challenged my listeners to consider the other nine who didn’t give Him thanks. What happened to them? How did they live out their lives? What are the effects of gratitude and what are the effects of ingratitude?
 
Something to think about.

September 16, 2013

STUNNING!


October 7, 2013

How long, O LORD? I cry for help
but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, "Violence!"
but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and clamorous discord.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
if it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.

 
Habakkuk 1:23; 2:24
We need to remember that God is the Lord of history and He will not take back His promise. Our hope for a better world isn't just our own wishful thinking, it’s grounded on the fidelity of God. Despair is a tool of the devil.


September 9, 2013

“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)


September 3, 2013

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:29-32


August 26, 2013

Envy is never alone. It’s always accompanied by resentment and spite.


August 12, 2013

“If you don’t know where you’re going you may not get to where you are going.”
 
Yogi Berra
 
(Don’t just love him?)


August 5, 2013

Is prayer all about disposing God to do things for me or is it about putting myself at the disposal of God? Asking this second question makes our fundamental consideration obvious. Prayer is really all about locating ourselves in relation to God, not the other way around. Furthermore, even though the Lord’s Prayer appears at first to be about what we want from God, it is, upon deeper refection, really all about how I can place myself at God’s disposal… what I can do to respond to His will, His invitation. Prayer ought not to revolve around “It’s all about me” but rather “It’s all about God.”


July 29, 2013

You can ask God to change a bad condition FOR you, or you can ask God to change it WITH you. Which path do you think God prefers?

"An Autobiography In Five Short Chapters," by Portia Nelson

Chapter I
 
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
 
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the same place, but it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
 

Chapter III
 
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in... it's a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter IIII
 
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.


July 22, 2013

Yesterday’s gospel account was when Jesus went to the home of Martha and Mary and Martha was so concerned about hospitality. This caused me to ponder. What about being hospitable to God, the hospitality of being conscious of His presence within me? Just how hospitable am I to God? How much of a “home” do I offer Him in my heart?
 
Something to ponder.


July 15, 2013

Justice is a process, not an outcome. Justice requires that both side work under the same set of rules and that the judge enforces them fairly and equally. The jury may render a a verdict that is good or bad according to your standards, hopes, and expectations. The outcome is just if the rules of procedure were justly applied, a concern that does not constrain the media.


July 8, 2013

Do something unexpectedly nice for someone today, especially someone who is “down” for any reason. Like an angel you are the bearer of God’s loving and caring concern.


July 1, 2013

In Jesus Christ God presents Himself to us as family. Totally unique in all of the religions of mankind, past and present, Jesus reveals to us that God is a family of Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Many consider that idea to be blasphemous, others as absurd. No other religion or philosophy would ever dream of seeing God that way. It was and is astonishing.
 
Even more astonishing is the fact that Jesus Christ invites us to enter in that family and brings those who accept His invitation into into that Family.
 
TRULY AMAZING AND WONDROUS!


June 25, 2013

God created you with an inner nature that is centered on your free will. You were created to decide, to be decisive, to freely choose to love Him and respond to His callings, callings to bring His way, His truth, and His life into your inner world and into the world around you. Therefore you and I are constantly called to decide -- to decide to act not on emotions and feelings but rather on our convictions.
 
What influences my decisions the most, feelings or convictions? Urges or decisions to choose what God wants me to choose?


June 17, 2013

As a Church we are too “self-referential,” concerned about this, that, or the other of our programs. And who comes to them? We cannot afford anymore to simply open the doors of our churches and expect people to come to us. The reality is that they simply don’t care. They’re not interested.
Why are those “others” no longer interested? That’s the question we much deal with…and we aren’t. Moreover our actions speak louder than our words. Smugly telling others that “we have the truth” is repellant to them.

By the grace of God Pope Francis is calling us to think and act differently. Will we? Or will we be self-satisfied and content in thinking we have all the answers, continue to shrink… and not change our attitude and our ways?


June 10, 2013

Throughout today and the other days of the week be sure to take some “mini-moments” when you allow yourself to be aware of God’s Presence within you and perhaps discern God’s workings in the events that surround you. In other words, allow your inner self to be refreshed in God’s loving presence within and around you. You will be happier if you do.


June 3, 2013

God has given you the gift of life this day.
What do you plan on doing with it and with all of the gifts that within it will come to you today?


May 20, 2013

(This is the welcoming message of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Daytona Beach, Florida. Would that every parish would have it in their parish bulletins and on their websites!)

ALL ARE WELCOME!

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, y no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail, or could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can't carry a note in a bucket. You're welcome here if you're "justbrowsing," just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don't care if you are more Catholic than the Pope, or haven't been in church since little Joey’s Baptism. We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or are still addicted. We welcome you if you're having problems, or you're down in the dumps, or you don't like "organized religion," we've been there too. If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you're welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can't spell, or came because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church. We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid, or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome the flexible, inflexible, tolerant, and intolerant, those who laughed and those who gasped at this welcome. We welcome tourists, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts...and you!


May 13, 2013

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
 
Really believing that to be true, look for the hidden purposes of God in all events, be they good or bad. Every day brings with it opportunities to draw closer to our Father so that we can enter into His presence in all things. Pentecost isn’t simply a pretty legend. It points us to a reality that cries out for our attention, calling us to live in the presence, power, and the love of God’s Holy Spirit.


May 6, 2013

"...we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
 
We give so much attention to what is seen, to what is immediate and passing. To what should I give my attention that is not immediately visible, to what is spiritual and n0n-material? Do I not recognize spiritual realities that are more important that those that are material?

April 29, 2013

Happy those who feast on wisdom and savor her knowledge,
She will nourish and refresh them.
Happy those who feast on wisdom and savor her knowledge,
She will nourish and refresh them.

She feeds her people with food of angels, heaven’s bread,
Her bread is insight her drink is understanding.

Happy those who feast on wisdom and savor her knowledge,
She will nourish and refresh them.

Come eat her bread and taste wisdom’s sweetness,
Her Bread is insight her drink is understanding.

Happy those who feast on wisdom and savor her knowledge,
She will nourish and refresh them.

Your word alone, not the fruit of the earth sustains and refreshes your faithful ones,
Her Bread is insight her drink is understanding.

Happy those who feast on wisdom and savor her knowledge,
She will nourish and refresh them.


April 22, 2013

A quote from Pope Francis when he was speaking recently about the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council:
 
But 50 years later, “have we done everything the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council?” he asked. The answer is “No,” said Pope Francis. “We celebrate this anniversary, we put up a monument but we don’t want it to upset us. We don’t want to change and what’s more there are those who wish to turn the clock back.”
 
In his mind there’s no turning back.


April 15, 2013

We have now reached the point where if I have any position on morality I am told that I am discriminating against others and am guilty of hate speech and imposing my values on others. The result is that whatever is popular is the moral norm for any human activity. Have we now crossed over into the land of chaos?
 
Corollary:  “Truth?” Pontius Pilate asked, “What is truth?” And then had Jesus crucified.


April 8, 2013

Some time ago I sent out a morning prayer and an evening prayer. Herewith I am modifying the evening prayer’s last sentence so as to be less self-referential and to now read:
 
EVENING PRAYER
 
Lord of the night, Creator of the stars and moon, I thank you for the graceful gifts of this day.
I rest in you, my Divine Friend and my Companion who watches over me while I sleep.
May my problems and pains be healed as I surrender myself into your nightly care.
Bless this evening those whom I love and watch over them in a special way.
Lord of the day and night, of life and death, I place myself, my loved ones, and all who are suffering into your holy hands. Amen


April 2, 2013

“We are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us!

So let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.”

From Pope Francis’ Easter Homily


March 25, 2013

Were you there when they crucified my Lord ?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord ?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord ?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree ?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree ?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree ?

Were you there when they pierced him in the side ?
Were you there when they pierced him in the side ?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they pierced him in the side ?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb ?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb ?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb ?


March 18, 2013

During the Exodus Moses asks God to give him His name so he can inform the Israelites. God answers: Tell them “I am who am.”
 
In the Gospel of St. John we find the seven “I am’s” of Jesus:
 
“I am the bread of life.”
“I am the light of the world.”
“I am the door of the sheepfold.”
“I am the resurrection ad the life.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“I am the true vine...”
 
Who is this Jesus? Draw your own conclusion.


March 11, 2013

Today I’m going to make my love of God less sentimental and more actual.


March 4, 2013

A LENTEN PRAYER – HOW TO FAST
 
Fast from judging others; feast on the Jesus in them.
     Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
     Fast from words that pollute; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
     Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
     Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
     Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-violence.
     Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
     Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
     Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
     Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on thoughts that inspire.
     Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
 
Celebrate the gift you are!


February 11, 2013

As you know by now, Benedict XVI has submitted his letter of resignation from the Petrine Ministry, effective as of 8:00 p.m. 28FEB12.  The last pope to resign was Celestine V, a Benedictine monk from Sicily who’s term as pope lasted five months and eight days. He resigned as of 13 December 1294 and returned to being a Benedictine monk who devoted his live to prayer and solitude. This, by the way, is what Benedict XVI has cited for he will do after he is now longer pope.
 
What now? Well, as best I know the College of Cardinals will assemble in a Conclave immediately after Benedict XVI’s resignation takes effect and the Chair of Peter is vacant.
 
This is, of course, a major shock. The Catholic Church has not seen anything like this since 1294. Pray for the cardinals that they may with open hearts and full sincerity follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
 
Fr. Charlie


February 4, 2013

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
 
Philippians 4:8


January 28, 2013

Your word is near,
O Lord our God,
your grace is near.
Come to us, then,
with mildness and power.
Do not let us be deaf to you,
but make us receptive and open
to Jesus Christ your son,
who will come to look for us and save us
today and every day
for ever and ever.
 
From Your Word Is Near, by Huub Oosterhuis


January 21, 2013

I went to Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address for today’s meditation, an address given to a nation terribly divided. All of President Lincoln’s energies were directed toward one goal, and one goal only – our national union. He fought the war with that one purpose, a war eventually won with incalculable costs of blood.

With that in mind, here is the final paragraph of his second inaugural address delivered in one of the most dreadful of times in our nation’s history.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.


January 14, 2013

Today’s Gospel account tells us:

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
(Mark 14:1-20)
 
Our challenging question is: What do I need to leave behind in order to better follow Jesus?


January 7, 2013

“It is done.

Once again the Fire has penetrated the earth.

Not with sudden crash of thunderbolt, riving the mountain-tops: does the Master break down doors to enter his own home? Without earthquake, or thunderclap: the flame has lit up the whole world from within. All things individually and collectively are penetrated and flooded by it, from the inmost core of the tiniest atom to the mighty sweep of the most universal laws of being: so naturally has it flooded every element, every energy, every connecting-link in the unity of our cosmos; that one might suppose the cosmos to have burst spontaneously into flame.

In the new humanity which is begotten today the Word prolongs the unending act of his own birth; and by virtue of his immersion in the world’s womb the great waters of the kingdom of matter have, without even a ripple, been endued with life. No visible tremor marks this inexpressible transformation; and yet, mysteriously and in very truth, at the touch of the supersubstantial Word the immense host which is the universe is made flesh. Through your own incarnation, my God, all matter is henceforth incarnate.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


January 2, 2013

The Proclamation of The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
 
"The Twenty-Fifth Day of December, when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world,when God in the beginning created heaven and earth, and formed man in his own likeness;

when century upon century had passed since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood, as a sign of covenant and peace;

in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees;

in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt; around the thousandth year since David was anointed King; in the sixty-fifth week of the prophet Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the City of Rome; in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus, the whole world being at peace,

Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man:

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh."


December 17, 2012

WHERE IS GOD?
 
Watching the video images of the mothers and fathers along with their children’s teachers in Newtown, Conn. choked with grief and tears caused my heart to ask “Where is God in all of this?” Pictures of children and their parents in the Middle East also came into my mind. Pictures of bodies falling from the burning towers of the World Trade Center made their entrance into my mind’s eye along with humanity in agony in other parts of the world -- all made their way into my non-stop mental video as my mind played out images of suffering humanity in my mind.

Where is God in all of this? Again and again this question made its demands on me. I have no doubt that this question has come to you, too.

Then, inevitably, my mind’s eye turned to the crucifix. There, a human body writhed in pain on that instrument of torture -- the Cross, there is God! He is not remote and distant. He is here, within us. There on His Cross is God in all of humanity suffering with us and for us. There is all of humanity wrapped up in His Anointed One suffering in order to bring us with Him through death into eternal life. Is the crucifix an image of defeat? Or is the crucifix the image showing us that agony and death are not the final answer to human life, especially innocent human life under attack by evil itself? Good Friday is, after all, swallowed up in Easter Sunday.

That is the question. That is the ultimate question that leads us to the answer -- to God’s answer to our questioning cry: “Oh God, where are You? Give me eyes to see.”
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Gather these little ones into Your arms and love them, Father, with your everlasting love. Gather them up into Your arms so that one day we can all be together again with You and Your Son in Your very own family.
 
 C.E.I.


December 3, 2012

Along with the Wise Men as our Advent journey begins lets you and I resolve anew to walk together side by side on our pilgrimage to Bethlehem’s manger. There are voices that would try to separate us, putting us into little boxes of liberals and conservatives, clergy and lay folk, Vatican II Catholics and Traditionalists, and so forth. But our Blessed Lord, in the arms of His mother Mary, calls us to His manger and eventually to His Easter banquet, the Table of the Lord. He calls us to be His family, to work and play together, to sing and pray together, to stay together in good times and in bad, no matter what. We are summoned by Christ, regardless of our preferences, to share Him, and to share His love… to respect the thoughts and opinions of others while politely, genuinely, and attentively trying to understand our differences.
If we, with Christ’s love, share together equally in His Holy Communion then we shall be truly Catholic.


November 26, 2012

There is an old story told about St. Augustine and a little boy on a beach. Augustine was writing a book on the Trinity and was walking along the seashore, deep in thought. Augustine noticed the little boy pouring seawater into a hole that had been dug in the sand. The little boy would go down to the surf, scoop up water, and quickly carry it back to the hole and dump it in. Augustine finally asked the little boy what he was doing. The boy answered, "I am pouring the sea into this hole."

Augustine said, "You are wasting your time. You will never get all that water into that one little hole. It can't be done."

The boy responded, "Well, you are wasting your time writing about God. You will never get all of him into that one little book."

That little boy was right. God is bigger than our books, doctrines, belief statements and theories about him — far bigger. I resist even using the words "theory" or "explanation" when speaking of God, because these imply that we can figure it all out, when we can't.


November 20, 2012

If I hold God in my heart I hold nothing but Him.
If I hold nothing but Him I hold everything.
 
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”


November 5, 2012

AN  EVENING PRAYER
 
Lord of the night, Creator of the stars and moon, I thank you for the graceful gifts of this day. I rest in you, my Divine Friend and my Companion Who watches over me while I sleep. May my problems and pains be healed as I surrender myself into your nightly care. Bless this evening those whom I love and watch over them in a special way. Lord of the day and night, of life and death, I place myself, my loved ones, and all who are suffering into your holy hands. Amen


October 29, 2012

Yesterday’s Gospel reading was about the blind man Bartimaeus who called out to Jesus and was healed.

Join with me now in asking God to heal us of our own blindness.

Heavenly Father, help me to see myself as you see me;
Help me to see others and the world around me as Jesus, your Son, sees them.
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us all, that we may see what you want us to see
And do what you want us to do.
You have filled your world with beauty;
Each and every one of us is precious in your sight.
Heal our blindness and bring us to walk in the Light of your Son.
For we ask you this through Christ, who is our Lord. Amen.


October 22, 2012

Lord of Light, creator the sun and our world, I thank you for the gifts you will give me today. I want to use them to accomplish your purposes and to reveal your Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. I place myself into your hands¸ my Divine Friend and my Companion¸ who watches over me as I move throughout this day. Join the problems and pains I face into the sufferings of your Christ as in Him I surrender myself into your will. Bless this day those whom I love and let me find you in those whom I serve in your special ways. Lord of light and life, I join myself into your Son to bring your love into the world you have given me. Amen.


October 15, 2012

Fifty years ago Vatican Council II opened on October 11, 1962. In his address at that opening of Vatican Council Pope John XXIII declared:
 
“In the daily exercise of Our pastoral office, it sometimes happens that We hear certain opinions which disturb Us—opinions expressed by people who, though fired with a commendable zeal for religion, are lacking in sufficient prudence and judgment in their evaluation of events. They can see nothing but calamity and disaster in the present state of the world. They say over and over that this modern age of ours, in comparison with past ages, is definitely deteriorating. One would think from their attitude that history, that great teacher of life, had taught them nothing. They seem to imagine that in the days of the earlier councils everything was as it should be so far as doctrine and morality and the Church's rightful liberty were concerned. We feel that We must disagree with these prophets of doom, who are always forecasting worse disasters, as though the end of the world were at hand.”
 
And then there’s this, the famous “Moonlight Speech” addressed from his window to a vast crowd assembled that night in St. Peter’s Square:
 
“Dear sons and daughters,
I feel your voices! Mine is just one lone voice, but it sums up the voice of the whole world.
And here, in fact, all the world is represented here tonight. It could even be said that even the moon hastens close tonight, that from above, it might watch this spectacle that not even St Peter's Basilica, over its four centuries of history, has ever been able to witness.
We ask for a great day of peace. Yes, of peace! 'Glory to God, and peace to men of goodwill.'' If I asked you, if I could ask of each one of you: where are you from? The children of Rome, especially represented here, would respond: ah, we are the closest of children, and you're our bishop. Well, then, sons and daughters of Rome, always remember that you represent 'Roma, caput mundi' ['Rome, the capital of the world'] which through the design of Providence it has been called to be across the centuries.
My own person counts for nothing -- it's a brother who speaks to you, become a father by the will of our Lord, but all together, fatherhood and brotherhood and God's grace, give honor to the impressions of this night, which are always our feelings, which now we express before heaven and earth: faith, hope, love -- love of God, love of brother, all aided along the way in the Lord's holy peace for the work of the good. And so, let us continue to love each other, to look out for each other along the way: to welcome whoever comes close to us, and set aside whatever difficulty it might bring.
When you head home, find your children. Hug and kiss your children and tell them: 'This is the hug and kiss of the Pope.' And when you find them with tears to dry, give them a good word. Give anyone who suffers a word of comfort. Tell them 'The Pope is with us especially in our times of sadness and bitterness.'
And then, all together, may we always come alive -- whether to sing, to breathe, or to cry, but always full of trust in Christ, who helps us and hears us, let us continue along our path.”


October 8, 2012

We’re in the baseball playoff season now and many of us are talking baseball.
To give us a bit of laughter here are some of Yogi Berra’s quotable quotes.
 
"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."
"Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical."
"He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious."
"How can a you hit and think at the same time?"
"I always thought that record would stand until it was broken."
"I don't know if they were men or women fans running naked across the field. They had bags over their heads."
"If people don't want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?"
"I'm a lucky guy and I'm happy to be with the Yankees. And I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary."
"I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did."
"In baseball, you don't know nothing."
"I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"
"I never said most of the things I said."
"It ain't the heat, it's the humility."
"It gets late early out there."
"I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house."
"It's like deja vu all over again."
"I wish everybody had the drive he (Joe DiMaggio) had. He never did anything wrong on the field. I'd never seen him dive for a ball, everything was a chest-high catch, and he never walked off the field."
"Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets."
"Ninety percent of this game is half mental."
"So I'm ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face."
"Take it with a grin of salt."
"The game's isn't over until it's over."
"You can observe a lot just by watching."
"You should always go to other people's funerals, otherwise, they won't come to yours."
"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going because you might not get there."
"We made too many wrong mistakes."
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."


October 1, 2012

It’s that time of the year again, the time when the geese are migrating south, honking while in their famous “V” formation. So once again I present to you, as I have in the past:
 
Lessons From Geese
 
Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

So as a manager seeking to drive performance through effective team work, apply the following five leadership principles (V principles):

  1. build a shared sense of community around a shared vision, set of values, common direction and shared objectives
  2. build, encourage, reward and recognize the sharing of resources and skills, knowledge and best practices throughout your team
  3. share your leadership by empowering team members to take responsibility at their levels
  4. Always encourage, never blame
  5. Always Stand by and defend your team members and promote solidarity and collective responsibility at all times.

September 24, 2012

"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessing were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
 
Abraham Lincoln - April 30, 1863


September 17, 2012

When I was a young man and had experienced one of life’s terrible losses my mother gave me this prayer, a prayer she had tucked away in her prayer book. She knew it as “The Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier” although others have given it different attributions. Regardless of its source, it is apt.
 
PRAYER OF AN UNKNOWN CONFEDERATE SOLDIER
 
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey....
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things....
I asked for riches, that I might be happy ,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise....
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God....
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things....
I got nothing that I asked for -- but everything I had hoped for,
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.


September 4, 2012

From a homily on Matthew by St. John Chrysostom, bishop (347-407)
 
Do not adorn the church and ignore your afflicted brother

Do you want to honour Christ’s body? Then do not scorn him in his nakedness, nor honour him here in the church with silken garments while neglecting him outside where he is cold and naked. For he who said: This is my body, and made it so by his words, also said: You saw me hungry and did not feed me, and inasmuch as you did not do it for one of these, the least of my brothers, you did not do it for me. What we do here in the church requires a pure heart, not special garments; what we do outside requires great dedication.

Let us learn, therefore, to be men of wisdom and to honour Christ as he desires. For a person being honoured finds greatest pleasure in the honour he desires, not in the honour we think best. Peter thought he was honouring Christ when he refused to let him wash his feet; but what Peter wanted was not truly an honour, quite the opposite! Give him the honour prescribed in his law by giving your riches to the poor. For God does not want golden vessels but golden hearts.

Now, in saying this I am not forbidding you to make such gifts; I am only demanding that along with such gifts and before them you give alms. He accepts the former, but he is much more pleased with the latter. In the former, only the giver profits; in the latter, the recipient does too. A gift to the church may be taken as a form of ostentation, but an alms is pure kindness. Of what use is it to weigh down Christ’s table with golden cups, when he himself is dying of hunger? First, fill him when he is hungry; then use the means you have left to adorn his table. Will you have a golden cup made but not give a cup of water? What is the use of providing the table with cloths woven of gold thread, and not providing Christ himself with the clothes he needs? What profit is there in that? Tell me: If you were to see him lacking the necessary food but were to leave him in that state and merely surround his table with gold would he be grateful to you or rather would he not be angry? What if you were to see him clad in worn-out rags and stiff from the cold, and were to forget about clothing him and instead were to set up golden columns for him, saying that you were doing it in his honour? Would he not think he was being mocked and greatly insulted?

Apply this also to Christ when he comes along the roads as a pilgrim, looking for shelter. You do not take him in as your guest, but you decorate floor and walls and the capitals of the pillars. You provide silver chains for the lamps, but you cannot bear even to look at him as he lies chained in prison. Once again, I am not forbidding you to supply these adornments; I am urging you to provide these other things as well, and indeed to provide them first. No one has ever been accused for not providing ornaments, but for those who neglect their neighbour a hell awaits with an inextinguishable fire and torment in the company of the demons. Do not, therefore, adorn the church and ignore your afflicted brother, for he is the most precious temple of all.


August 27, 2012

"Freedom is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought."

Lord Action


August 6, 2012

Psalm 73

Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had well nigh slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they have no pangs; their bodies are sound and sleek.
They are not in trouble as other men are; they are not stricken like other men.
Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out with fatness, their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore the people turn and praise them; and find no fault in them.
And they say, "How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?"
Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken, and chastened every morning.
If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have been untrue to the generation of thy children.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,
    until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.
Truly thou dost set them in slippery places; thou dost make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes, on awaking you despise their phantoms.
When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,
I was stupid and ignorant, I was like a beast toward thee.
Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou dost hold my right hand.
Thou dost guide me with thy counsel, and afterward thou wilt receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
For lo, those who are far from thee shall perish; thou dost put an end to those who are false to thee.
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all thy works.


July 30, 2012

How? is a technological question that seeks to know how it is that something came into being. For instance how did humans come into being?Why? is a theological question that seeks to know why something came into being. For instance, why did God make human  beings?

Too often we confuse the questions and argue over the wrong answers, thus falsely mixing science with theology and theology with science. The two are distinct intellectual disciplines each seeking their own answers.


July 9, 2012

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”


“The Constitution is not an instrument for government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and instruments.”
- Patrick Henry


July 2, 2012

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity."
 
- George Washington
 
Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
 
- Northwest Ordinance, Article 3
 
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
 
- First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States


June 25, 2012

This time of the year is a time of weddings and graduations. It is also a time of anniversaries in which we remember so many significant events of our lives. We should take advantage of the wisdom gleaned by those whose anniversaries we celebrate and learn from their experiences. The wisdom of our elders should not be lost. From them there is much from which we can all profit, especially in the trials we must endure.


June 18, 2012

A recent study reveals that for women under thirty years of age, most child births occur outside of marriage. The trend is not limited to women living in poverty, it is pervasive throughout all societal strata. The resultant pathologies are becoming more and more evident. One of the women interviewed summed up the feelings of many: “Most of my friends say it’s just a piece of paper, and it doesn’t work out anyway.”
 
Why? The suggested answers are many. A common thread is found in the fact that many forces are making it difficult to marry.
 
We need to give attention to how we can overcome the perceived  barriers to marrying.


June 11, 2012

"Oh, good and loving Holy Spirit, your living Presence dwells within me. Help my mind and heart  to embrace all whom I meet, so that together we may live in your Christ, belonging to each other because we belong to you. And help us to share your gifts. They really are yours -- gifts that you give us that we might find our selves in  sharing your love with others. Amen."


June 4, 2012

Lord, be the beginning and end of all that we do and say.
Prompt our actions with your grace,
  and complete them with your all-powerful help.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.*
 
*See http://www.universalis.com/lauds.htm


May 21, 2012

My favorite homiletic approach to Sunday preaching:
“Listen you idiots – JESUS LOVES YOU!”


May 14, 2012

Addictions in various forms still beset many of us. One can think of addiction to certain sins that have likewise imprisoned many, a fact that has brought many spiritual directors and retreat masters to employ the great Twelve Step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. So once again for your consideration here they are:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

May 7, 2012

“Do what you gotta do so you can do what you wanna do.”
― Denzel Washington
 
Thanks, Denzel, but my problem is procrastinating over what I need to do.


April 23, 2012

Living as we do in polarized and increasingly divided community it is hard to “hold the middle” and thus play our part in keeping our communities glued together. Abraham Lincoln gives us a high-profile model. Noteworthy for us was his reliance on Divine Providence and his unshakable faith. We need God’s graces to be healers and peacemakers, recognizing all the while our own interior and personal divisions and struggles. Can we live and love beyond the warring ideologies that thunder over us? Yes, with the help of God’s love and forgiveness, we can.


April 16, 2012

It seems to me that recognition is something that’s deeper than mere perception. Let me point out that cognition is term that means “seeing with understanding.” It is something far deeper than merely seeing with our eyes. While recognition is an awareness of something that was perceived before it can also mean that one sees with understanding. I would like to add that it can also mean to perceive again with a new and deeper understanding.
 
Isn’t that that one of the gifts that God is giving us in the Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ? Isn’t that what our Lord Jesus Christ is giving us in His appearances to His disciples following His Easter resurrection from dead into a new life, into human life He has filled with divine life? I certainly think so and I hope you do too.


April 9, 2012

As the rain and the snow
   come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
   without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
 
                        Isaiah 55:10-11


April 2, 2012

All of life is stamped with one thing: Contingency. I cannot think of anything that will one day not exist. Even our earth will at one time in the future no longer exist... except for one thing. Love. That, it seems to me, is the one big message of the death/resurrection cycle which the Church celebrates every year at this time. God presents us with the power to enter into and share in the only reality that is everlasting: Love.


March 26, 2012

“Greater attention is due to the members of the lay faithful most engaged in the fields of catechesis, liturgical animation, charitable activity and social commitment. Their faith formation is critical if the Gospel is to become present and fruitful in contemporary society. It is not right for them to feel treated like second-class citizens in the Church, despite the committed work which they carry out in accordance with their proper vocation, and the great sacrifice which this dedication at times demands of them.”


March 19, 2012

“Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”
(The phrase is attributed to Anne Herbert who claims to have written it on a place mat in a Sausalito restaurant in 1982 or 1983.)


March 12, 2012

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
                        
Philippians 4:4-8
 
a King but not the kingdom,


February 27, 2012

We are moving into a post-ecclesial era in which people seem to prefer:
 
a King but not the kingdom,
a shepherd with no flock,
to believe without belonging,
a spiritual family with God as my father, as long as I’m the only child,
“spirituality” without religion
faith without the faithful
Christ without His Church.
 
So they drift from her, get mad at the Church, grow lax, join another, or just give it all up.

Father Ronald Rolheiser
 
To the points I would like to add:
Love without intimacy,
freedom without self-restraint,


February 20, 2012

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Thomas Jefferson


February 13, 2012

From A Man For All Seasons:
 
Cardinal Wolsey: You’re a constant regret to me, Thomas. If you could just see facts flat-on, without that horrible moral squint... With a little common sense you could have made a statesman.


February 6, 2012

The First Amendment to our Constitution begins with “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
 
The argument is being made by the Department of Health and Human Services that the “free exercise of religion” is confined to what happens inside a church building, that it is confined to freedom of worship. As a corollary the argument is made by some that schools, hospitals, and charities are “secular in nature” and that the federal government can monitor and control their policies and actions by requiring them to purchase government approved health insurance coverage for their employees.
 
Catholic institutions are, however, not “secular in nature.” They are a part of the Church’s outreach and ministry of service. They result from Catholic belief and they support Catholic belief. Does not the so-called “Wall of separation of Church and State” therefore apply? Does not that wall protect Catholic schools, hospital, and charities from governmental mandates? After Mass when we leave our churches on Sunday morning are we no longer protected by the First Amendment? Will, for example, the University of Notre Dame be required by the government to buy health insurance for its employees that covers sterilization, contraception, and abortion services?


January 31, 2012

“I assure you very explicitly, that in my opinion the conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness: and it is my wish and desire, that the laws may always be as extensively accommodated to them, as a due regard for the protection and essential interests of the nation may justify and permit.”
                  
George Washington in a letter to concerned Quakers
 
 “We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, “that Religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the Manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable; because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds, cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also; because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”
 
                James Madison in Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (1785)
 
 Thus the Amish are not required to carry health insurance programs, Christian Scientists are allowed conscience exemptions from government mandated health care assessments, and conscientious objection protects individual U.S. citizens from forced conscription into our armed forces. Why, then, is the Department of Health and Human Services now forcing Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities to pay for abortion producing drugs for their employees? Are Catholics now no longer permitted to have conscience exemptions?


January 23, 2012

Faith? Optimism? Is there a difference?
 
Optimism is a feeling, a disposition that looks for a happy outcome. It’s based on wishful thinking.
For Christians, however, hope is a strong virtue; a confident expectation based on the evidence of God’s activity amongst us.
There is a huge difference between a feeling and a conviction.
Feelings are fickle; convictions are fundamentals upon which we can build... like faith, hope, and love.


January 16, 2012

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”
                     
Martin Luther King, Jr.


January 9, 2012

Christmas and Epiphany brought us together to celebrate the coming of God into our own humanity, into our flesh and blood. In spite of our sinful behavior God deemed our humanity to be worthy of joining it into His divinity. When we stop and think about that we should realize the stupendous worth of what it now means to be human. There is a holiness deep down within us, something we should revere.
 
As we begin a new year we should reflect on what it now means to be human. Has not being human now taken on a new level of being, a new level of importance, a level of holiness in which God has chosen to come to us in love? This should cause us to examine the way we treat other human beings. This should cause us to judge how governments treat human beings. Our relationships with others and our public policies should be judged in that light, a light that shines in our darkness.


December 19, 2011

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
 
Traditionally attributed to the abbot St. Bernard of Clairvaux from the 12th century


December 12, 2011

"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ’We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ’He has a demon’; the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ’Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds." [Matthew 11:16-19]
 
At that time Jesus declared, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.  All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." [Matthew 11:25-30]


November 28, 2011

The Screwtape Letters is a novel written by C. S. Lewis in the form of a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior "tempter" named Wormwood, advising him on various methods of securing the damnation of mortal humans. One of his more famous recommendations is:
 
“...if you can’t make them bad, make them busy.”
 
In this Advent we might do well to spend some time reflecting on who we are, what is our destiny, and the role of Jesus Christ in our lives.


November 21, 2011

We often pray asking our Divine Friend to do things for us. Shouldn’t we also
consider what we can do for Him? That would be good to consider in our morning prayers.


November 14, 2011

God doesn’t act so much for us as He does with us. When I pray
am I offering my part in seeking what it is that I want to happen?


November 7, 2011

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost


October 31, 2011

O good and loving Holy Spirit, Your living Presence dwells within me. Help my mind and heart to embrace all whom I meet, so that together we may live in Your Christ, belonging to each other because we belong to You. Help us to share Your gifts because they are really Yours, gifts that You gave us that we might find our true selves in sharing Your love. Amen.


October 24, 2011

“The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter;
for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
(Matthew 12:35-37)


October 17, 2011
 
"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."
(Philemon 2:3-4)


October 10, 2011
 
“Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
 
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the Lord, who remains faithful forever.”
Psalm 146: 3-6


October 3, 2011
 
“...whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.”
 
Philippians, Chapter 4


September 12, 2011

“Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits which
Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults which Thou has borne for me,
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly
And follow Thee more nearly.”
 
St. Richard, Bishop of Chichester (1245-1253)


September 12, 2011

FORGIVENESS
 
Forgiveness does not mean that God says to me: Your evil deed shall be undone. It was done and remains done. Nor does it mean that he says: It was not so bad. It was bad – I know it and God knows it. And again it does not mean that God is willing to cover up my sin or to look the other way. What help would that be? I want to be rid of my transgression, really rid of it. Again were one to say: Forgiveness means that I remain a sinner, but that God in his magnanimity attributes me with sanctity, thus giving me a share of his own unimaginable divine grace, the thought would be so complicated and so full of reservations that it would be untenable with the meaning of Scriptures.  Forgiveness also does not mean that God gives me the strength never to repeat my sin. Even if this were so, my old sin would still be there; forgiveness could never spirit it away. That would be deceitful and impure. How could God’s immaculateness ever reconcile itself with such a thought?

What possibility then does exist? Only one: that which the simplest interpretation of the Gospel suggests and which the believing heart must feel. Through God’s forgiveness, in the eyes of his sacred truth I am no longer a sinner; in the profoundest depths of my conscience I am no longer guilty. That is what I wanted – only that! If such complete eradication of my sin cannot be, then it should stand. But it can be; that is the sense of Christ’s message.

Whether or not such forgiveness is possible cannot be determined by you or me according to any ethical or religious principles. The question can be answered by revelation only, which clearly reveals who God is. He is the God of Justice, who not only rejects sin, but absolutely condemns it; the holy one who hates sin with divine hatred; the true one who neither veils nor covers, but penetrated to root and essence. And now, Christian revelation continues, in a mysterious and supremely holy sense infinitely far from mitigating the majesty of virtue, God lives beyond the reaches of good, and therefor of evil. He himself is the good – but in inconceivable freedom; freedom from all ties, even from ties as ultimate as the conception of good. Such freedom renders him more powerful than sin. It is the freedom of love. Love is not only kinder, more alive than mere justice; it is more than justice – higher, mightier, in sense and essence. Such then the love that enables God to rise and, without in the least impairing truth and just, to proclaim: thy sin no longer exists!
                                                                                  
Msgr. Romano Guardini (d.1968)


August 29, 2011

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters had abated; and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made, and sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put forth his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she did not return to him any more.
 
(Genesis 8:1-13)


August 22, 2011

Since December 2010 there have been revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. In addition there have been uprisings in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and in other countries throughout the Arab world all of which have led to the term “The Arab Spring.” In addition to civil resistance we have witnessed instant rallies resulting from the use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Skype, all of which have trumped state censorship and information control.
    I’ve been reflecting on the difference between all of this and the gatherings of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the other of our Founding Fathers. How utterly different was the organization and development of their revolutionary movement! Thank goodness for all of their reflective thought, their philosophy, and their carefully crafted propositions.
    We were blessed.
     And to think there are those among us today who tell us that our Constitution is outdated and no longer relevant! Scary.


August 15, 2011

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
   We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that can be said.
No prayer fully expressed our faith.
No confession brings perfection,
no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplished the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
   That is what we are about.
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capability. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the say, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
   We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are the workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.
 
Note: I have seen this attributed to John Cardinal Dearden, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and Bishop Kenneth Untener. I don’t know who originally authored this but the thought is good.


August 1, 2011

The King James version of the Bible translates the Lord’s Prayer as;
 
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
 
Forgive us our sins, forgive us our trespasses, forgive us our hurts? Well, yes... but just now Congress is focused on our debts.


July 25, 2011

From Dante Alighieri’s Inferno Canto III
 
“Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of Power divine,
Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love.
 
Before me things create were none,
save things Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.” 
Such characters, in color dim, I mark’d      
Over a portal’s lofty arch inscribed.
Whereat I thus:
“Master, these words import Hard meaning.”
He as one prepared replied:
“Here thou must all distrust behind thee leave;
Here be vile fear extinguish’d. We are come
Where I have told thee we shall see the souls
To misery doom’d, who intellectual good Have lost.”
And when his hand he had stretch’d forth To mine,
with pleasant looks, whence I was cheer’d,
Into that secret place he led me on.


July 11, 2011

’No Man is an Island’
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
John Donne (d. 1631)


July 5, 2011

We are, as our Declaration of Independence declares, “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights...” No king, president, court, or legislature can grant them to us or take them away from us. They are God’s endowments to us.


June 27, 2011
George Herbert (d. 1633) was a Welsh born English poet, orator and Anglican priest. Here is a poem he penned telling us of his love for the Holy Eucharist.
 
LOVE
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin. ¨
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
¨From my first entrance in, "
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning "If I lack’d anything."

’A guest,’ I answer’d, ’worthy to be here:’
"¨Love said, ’You shall be he.’
"¨’I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,"
I cannot look on Thee.’
"Love took my hand and smiling did reply,"
’Who made the eyes but I?’ "¨

"’Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame "
Go where it doth deserve.’
"And know you not,’ says Love, ’Who bore the blame?’
"My dear, then I will serve.’ "
’You must sit down,’ says Love,
’and taste my meat.’ "¨So I did sit and eat. "


June 20, 2011
Liberty is the absence of coercion.
So ask yourself: Who is trying to coerce me?"


June 12, 2011
Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is.
Without God man makes bewildering choices that are purposeless and lead him
anywhere and everywhere into one cul-de-sac after another.

CEI


June 6, 2011
The Incarnation inaugurated God’s presence to us in a new way, in human flesh and blood. The Ascension and Pentecost now inaugurates God’ presence to us in another œnew way. Just as the Holy Spirit soaked Christ’s body in glory and raised it up, so also the Holy Spirit comes to us in Pentecost to soak us in glory and raise us up.
 
God offers... we respond. Everything now depends upon our responses


May 23, 2011
Lord of Light, creator the sun and our world, I thank you for the gifts you will give me today. I want to use them to accomplish your purposes and to reveal your Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. I place myself into your hands my Divine Friend and my Companion, who watches over me as I move throughout this day. Join the problems and pains I face into the sufferings of your Christ as in Him I surrender myself into your will. Bless this day those whom I love and let me find you in those whom I serve in your special ways. Lord of light and life, I join myself into your Son to bring your love into the world you have given me. Amen.


May 9, 2011
Bright you break the bars of darkness Radiant rise, our day’s new Dawn. Sharp the shards that fall around you, Fragments of a world now gone. At your feet, death’s chains lie severed, Underfoot, sin’s scepter cleft; All creation sovereign claims you, Evil of its powers bereft.   Let your light fall full upon us Where we cower, cloaked in dread. Coax the fearful from their hiding! Rouse the sleepers! Wake the dead! Make the earth ring with rejoicing, See! the winter storms are past. Cast out sorrow! Banish mourning! All thing are made new at last! Pierced, the rock pours forth fresh waters, Swift they flow through all the earth, Till dry desert blooms with fragrance, Till dead landscapes come to birth. Green the garden springs around you, Tall the tree of life in leaf, Gold the wheat fields ripe for harvest, Glory shining in the sheaf.


May 2, 2011
Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Matthew 26:52


April 25, 2011
Our Church leads us now into what we might call The time of the handing over of the Spirit.  To examine the significance of that time let’s return to God’s first breathing forth His Holy Spirit, that life-giving creative act of God that we find in the first verses in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis. There we find God’s Spirit brooding over the waters bringing light out of darkness, order out of chaos, and life to all of God’s creatures. Creation was brought about by God’s Holy Spirit. Veni Creator Spiritus we sing in the words of that famous hymn we all know.

In the fullness of time, Christ Jesus was conceived in the womb of the Virgin … by the power of the Holy Spirit. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River the Holy Spirit, like a dove, descended upon Jesus signifying that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the Anointed One, the one anointed by God’s Holy Spirit. At the beginning of His public ministry Jesus was led out into the desert by the Spirit, there to be tempted by and to defeat the Devil. When He died on the Cross St. John tells us that Christ handed over His Spirit. We, each one of us, are now destined to be temples of God’s Holy Spirit.

April 4, 2011
I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see - and to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty - beneath its covering - that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.

And so, at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away."

Letter to a Friend, by Fra Giovanni, 1513


March 7, 2011
"A child is not a vessel to be filled, but a lamp to be lit.’


February 28, 2011
Our world is unstable and our lives are anything but stable. But troubled times have always been a major part of human history, the history of our Church, and as well a part of our individual lives. False prophets abound. Promised hopes have failed to materialize. Many of us find out, often times too late, that we’ve built our lives on what turns out to be sand, listened to the wrong advice, or followed faithless leaders. To whom do we turn, or to what do we turn, when we face such instability and turbulence in our lives?


February 21, 2011
When Jesus declared …You have heard it said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, He was not quoting any of the Jewish prophets of for from any of the writings found in the Old Testament, He was quoting something from outside of the Jewish religion. The command to hate your enemy is found nowhere in the Bible.

Ancient legal systems had formulas that were applied to specific crimes, laws that prescribed punishments equal to the offenses. A common expression was: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

Jesus instructs His disciples to go beyond, to follow a higher law, a law not based on retaliation and retribution (the Law of Talion) but based rather on a more powerful force to govern our human relationships“ the Law of Love. We must be careful, however, to note that Jesus is not instructing His followers to let evildoers do whatever they please. To do nothing to confront evil is not the response Jesus wants from us. In justice Christians must resist evil when it is encountered. The resistance is to nonviolently break the cycle of violence, a cycle which the ancient laws of retribution only reinforced. In those systems, violence was to be countered by violence of equal proportion. Jesus confronts evil with a power that transcends violence.


February 7, 2011
The Mass is properly called The Eucharist. It is not something we attend to observe, it is something we do. Eucharist is a verb, not a noun. We do not merely attend, we thankfully offer. We are participants, not spectators. In Mass we offer Christ’s gift of Himself for the Church and the world. Sometimes people tell me they find Mass to be boring, a sentiment that reveals a passive, spectator mentality on the part of one who attends Mass so as to be entertained. They merely observe the priest performing rituals while they listen to the choir. That is non-involvement and has little to do with giving thanks to God and participating in what Christ is all about. Much of our culture is entertainment, experiences in which we passively observe. If we come to Mass with that expectation we totally miss the point.


January 31, 2011
This is taken from The Gather hymnal:
 
THE SUMMONS
 Will your come and follow me if I but call your name? Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same? Will you let my name be known, will you let my life be grown in you and  you in me?
 Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name? Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same? Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare? Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?
 Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name? Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same? Will you kiss the leper clean, and do such as this unseen, and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?
 Will you love the “you’ you hide if I but call your name? Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same? Will you use the faith  you’ve found to reshape the world around, through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?
 Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name. Let me turn and follow you and never be the same. In your company I’ll go where your love and footsteps show. Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.
 [Scottish Traditional arranged by John Bell “ copyright 1987 Ionia Community GIA Publications, Inc.]


January 24, 2011
Here’s a little prayer you can offer to God many times throughout your day:
Here I am Lord, I have come to do your will."


January 17, 2011
Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another."
 -Galatians 5:19-26


January 10, 2011
Morning Prayer:
Lord of Light, creator the sun and life, I thank you for the gifts you will give me today. I want to use them to accomplish your purposes and to reveal your Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. I join myself you¸ my Divine Friend and my Companion¸ who watches over me as I act and move throughout this day. Join the problems and pains I face today into the sufferings of your Christ as in Him I surrender myself into your will. Bless, this day, those whom I love and let me find you in those whom I serve in your special ways. Lord of light and life, I join myself into your Son to bring your love into the world you have given me. Amen.

Evening Prayer:
Lord of the night, Creator of the stars and moon, I thank you for the graceful gifts of this day. I rest in you, my Divine Friend and my Companion Who watches over me while I sleep. May the problems and pains of today be healed as I surrender myself into your nightly care. Bless this evening those whom I love and watch over them in a special way. Lord of the day and night, of life and death, I place myself into your holy hands. Amen

Decebember 27, 2010
John is the voice, but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning. John is the voice that lasts for a time; from the beginning Christ is the Word who lives for ever.
 
Take away the word, the meaning, and what is the voice? Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound. The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart.
 
However, let us observe what happens when we first seek to build up our hearts. When I think about what I am going to say, the word or message is already in my heart. When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine.
 
In my search for a way to let this message reach you, so that the word already in my heart may find place also in yours, I use my voice to speak to you. The sound of my voice brings the meaning of the word to you and then passes away. The word which the sound has brought to you is now in your heart, and yet it is still also in mine.
 
From a sermon by Saint Augustine
John is the voice, and Christ is the Word


Decebmer 6, 2010
Matthew 9:27-31
The blind men did not believe because they saw -- their eyes were closed. But they heard about Jesus with their ears. It was through hearing that they came to see. This shows us that faith should not be expected as a result of health but health should be expected because of faith. The blind men saw because they believed; they did not believe because they saw. Faith gives results, results don’t give us faith.
Because of their faith their eyes were opened and they could see. So it is for us. Faith must not be given because of what has been obtained. Faith gives us results; results do not give us faith.
So many around us will not believe in God until they see" with their intellects, until they have â€Ã…“proofs" of the existence of God. The fact remains, however, that God offers us His Word and that is sufficient.
CEI


November 22, 2010
We no longer live in God’s universe.
Having separated our world from God’s
we have established our own criteria of judgment,
determined our own set of values, points of interest,
methods of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life,
all of which are in contrast with God’s plan for our salvation.
Foolishly, we have come to believe we can save ourselves.
History, however, tells us otherwise.


November 15, 2010
18. For the Church, evangelizing means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new: "Now I am making the whole of creation new." But there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by Baptism and by lives lived according to the Gospel. The purpose of evangelization is therefore precisely this interior change, and if it had to be expressed in one sentence the best way of stating it would be to say that the Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine power of the message she proclaims, both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities in which they engage, and the lives and concrete milieu which are theirs.

19. Strata of humanity which are transformed: for the Church it is a question not only of preaching the Gospel in ever wider geographic areas or to ever greater numbers of people, but also of affecting and as it were upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind’s criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation.

EVANGELII NUNTIANDI

Pope Paul VI


November 10, 2010
Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest,like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.

Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will hearken.The mind of the rash will have good judgment, and the tongue of the stammerers will speak readily and distinctly.

The fool will no more be called noble, nor the knave said to be honorable. For the fool speaks folly, and his mind plots iniquity: to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning the Lord, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink.

The knaveries of the knave are evil; he devises wicked devices to ruin the poor with lying words, even when the plea of the needy is right.

But he who is noble devises noble things, and by noble things he stands.

-Isaiah 32:1-8


October 18, 2010

Why Pray?

If God knows everything, why should we pray, after all,

doesn’t He already knows what we want and need?

Good question! The answer has more to do with us than with God.

When we pray we open the door where He stands and knocks.

Prayer puts the focus of our soul’s eyes on God and away from us.

Prayer welcomes our Divine Friend into the home of our heart where

our soul lives. There we can converse. To put it another way, prayer

changes us, not God.
 
Prayer makes us attentive to His words. Prayer makes us more like

Mary than Martha. Hospitality IS important and needful. Sitting

in the living room of our heart with God is nevertheless more important

for us -- more needful. Hopefully our hearts will be attentive and not

simply filled with chatter.

 C.I.


October 12, 2010
SUFFERING AND THANKSGIVING
 
Christian patience comes from a depth of joy which is strong enough to contain suffering. Our Lord did not want to suffer; he said, before his passion, "my soul (psyche) is disturbed" (John 12:27), which is most comforting and reassuring for us when our soul, our psyche, is disturbed. True faith does not mean that we shall never be upset, even profoundly upset. What it does mean is that underneath the disturbance there is something ever more profound, which is not disturbed. The letter to the Hebrews (12:12) tells us that it was the for joy that was set before him that our Lord endured his passion, and it was this joy that sustained him and made it possible for him to say that, in  another sense, he did want to show his love by sacrificing himself in this way, he did long to consecrate himself for the sake of his brethren.
 
Our sacrifice of thanksgiving is the celebration and commemoration of the death of Jesus, and for us thanksgiving and suffering do belong together in a strangely intimate way. This is why some writers have ascribed such a definite priority to thanksgiving which is made in suffering. Suffering is, we may say the test of our thanksgiving; if it is robust enough to persevere when, humanly speaking, all is lost, then it is truly Christian thanksgiving.
 
-Fr. Simon Tugwell, O.P.


September 13, 2010
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,
or to the people.
From the Bill of Rights
10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


September 7, 2010
"The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes;

she is tolerant in practice because she loves.

The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do

not believe;

they are intolerant in practice because they do not love."

-Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.


August 30, 2010
Jesus said, "for where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."
Okay, so where is your heart? What is your treasure? What do you value?


August 23, 2010
Yesterday evening I went to see the movie Eat Pray Love. It was a celebration of overindulgence such that when I
returned home I needed an antidote from its total self-centeredness. St. Paul’s hymn to love gave me the needed
spiritual Alka-Seltzer and allowed me to have a refocusing vision.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues  but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to
move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
                                  1 Corinthians 13:1-8


August 16, 2010
I expect to pass through this world but once.
Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any
fellow creature,
let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass
this way again.
- A Quaker Saying


August 9, 2010
Why would I want to rationalize faith?
I can’t believe in a God I can understand,
otherwise I would be as smart as He is!
No, I can only believe in the God whom I cannot understand and whose
ways are beyond my comprehension.
Only then am I sure He is God and not a mere human invention or a superstition.

CEI


August 2, 2010
PRAYER FOR SERENITY
God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference:
living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time:
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace:
taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will:
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy
with you forever in the next. Amen.
-Reinhold Niebhur


July 19, 2010
The priest is not an angel sent from heaven. He is a man, a member of
the Church, a Christian. Remaining man and Christian, he begins to
speak to you the word of God. This word is not his own. No, he comes
to you because God has told him to proclaim God’s word. Perhaps he
has not entirely understood it himself. Perhaps he adulterates it.
Perhaps he falters and stammers. How else could he speak God’s word,
ordinary man that he is? But must not some one of us say something
about God, about eternal life, about the majesty of grace in our
sanctified being; must not some one of us speak of sin, the judgment
and mercy of God?
-Karl Rahner


July 5, 2010
OUR NATIONAL HYMN

God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

 From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.


June 28, 2010
Recently I came upon a letter to my mother which she saved, a letter written in 1961 when I was a new student at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. In it I quoted Roman Guardini who in his bookThe Lord wrote: "For the greatest things are accomplished in silence - not in the clamor and display of superficial eventfulness, but in the deep clarity of inner vision; in the almost imperceptible start of decision, in quiet overcoming and hidden sacrifice."
   I then went on: "To me this rings with a wonderful truth and is why I want to be a priest who is not before the public eye bur rather a priest who instills in people this "almost imperceptible start of decision’ - a priest who works in quiet overcoming and hidden sacrifice. The world looks longingly at pomp and power and some men are moved only by that sort of influence. To me, this is not possible because I do not have the nature to be a great figure. I just don’t have the equipment to be one. I would much rather be a priest who moves others’ hearts. Here is real Christlikeness! Here is real love!"
- CEI


June 21, 2010
Is it not true that in Christ’s eye the lowly and obscure role can be
equally as glorious as a life of fame and renown among men? Real
humility and it’s companion, greatness, is the courageous ability
to go on putting forth all of your time and effort in spite of everything
that the world sees as failure.
  The only difference between a saint and a sinner is that the saint
keeps on trying.
- CEI


June 14, 2010
"Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits which Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults which Thou has borne for me,
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly
And follow Thee more nearly."
-St. Richard, Bishop of Chichester (1245-1253)


June 7, 2010
It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
    We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that can be said.
No prayer fully expressed our faith.
No confession brings perfection,
no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplished the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
    That is what we are about.
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capability. We
cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing
that. This enables us to do something and to do it very well. It may
be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the say, an opportunity for the
Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
    We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are the workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We
are prophets of a future not our own.

[Note: This has been attributed to both Archbishop Oscar Romero and
to John Cardinal Dearden]


May 24, 2010
This prayer by Billy Graham recently arrived in my e-mail and I am moved to share it with you.

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance.  We know Your Word says, ’Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done.  We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.  We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.  We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.  We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.  We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.  Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!"


May 17, 2010
If you are losing an argument or otherwise want to bring the "discussion" to a halt then try this. It usually ends all debate.

YOU MAY THINK THAT YOU HEARD WHAT I SAID, BUT I DON’T THINK THAT I SAID WHAT YOU HEARD.


May 10, 2010
A self-centered man speaks to be heard, anxious
that others be silent so he can bestow upon the
world his pearls of wisdom.

A humble man speaks so that others will talk with him.
He is silent so he can hear God speaking through others
and through all things.


May 3, 2010
[This poem was written my Mary Fairchild, about to
graduate from college.]
A graduates prayer
                        
As I look toward the future
Bright hope conducts this prayer
For I know the plans You have for me
Were wrought with divine care.

Holy Spirit, lead me.
Let me run at your command,
Yet be still and know that you are God
When trouble’s close at hand.

Your Word will be a lamp for me,
A guide to light my way,
A solid place to set my feet,
A compass when I stray.

May I live my life to praise You,
Not for fortune, nor for fame;
May everything I say and do
Bring glory to your name.

May my eyes stay fixed upon You
As I seek the way that’s pure,
Tasting your love and goodness
Sleeping and rising secure.

Planted by your living streams
I’ll delight in all your ways,
Hidden by your sheltering wings
With new mercies for each day.

Even in a dangerous land
When storms threaten to destroy,
At the cross I’ll stand upon the Rock
My Strength, my Hope, my Joy.

Dear Lord, show me your favor,
At all times keep me blessed,
May your face ever shine upon me,
With peace and perfect rest.

Amen.


April 26, 2010
Canticle of the Creatures
-St. Francis of Assisi

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.


April 19, 2010
The first ten amendments to our Constitution known as the Bill of Rights were
ratified effective December 15, 1791. The 10th Amendment reads:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited
by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

I wonder how many Americans are aware of this fundamental right that is theirs?
And when did the Federal  Government subsume unto itself those powers and rights that belong to the States?
-CEI


April 13, 2010
"For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land."

Song of Songs, 2:11-12

[Ernie Harwell, the Hall of Famed "Voice of the Detroit Tigers,"
quoted this every year during the Opening Day game]


April 5, 2010
Holy Saturday: He Descended into Hell
By an Unknown Early Church Father

This Holy Saturday reading on the descent of the Lord Jesus into Hell is used in the Roman Church’s Office of Readings for Holy Saturday, with the accompanying biblical reading of Hebrews 4:1-13.  The "harrowing of hell" and the rescue of Adam and Eve was a popular theme in early and medieval Christian poetry, liturgy and song.  Note the parallels here between Adam and Eve’s sin, which lost paradise for us, and the passion of Christ, which won for us not simply an earthly paradise, but eternal life.  While it appears that this comes from a Holy Saturday homily written in Greek dating back to the fourth century liturgy (PG 43, 439, 462f), the author of this text is unknown.

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: ?My Lord be with you all?. Christ answered him: ?And with your spirit?. He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: ?Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light?.

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.


March 29, 2010
He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: He hid not [His] face from shame and spitting."
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him"¦"
"¦and with His stripes we are healed."
- Lyrics from George Frederic Handel’s The Messiah | Source: Isaiah 50 and Isaiah 53


March 22, 2010
"Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy,
a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route.
The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives.
They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light,
the sun that has risen above all of the shadows of history.
But to reach him we also need lights close by -- people who shine
with his light and so guide us along our way."
- Spe Salvi  


March 8, 2010
Easter is 26 days from now. How can we make it "special" this year by
what we do over these next 26 days?

A suggestion. Each day ask yourself "What is being commemorated?"
and "What flows out of it?" In other words, what does it mean to me?


March 1, 2010
PASTORAL CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH IN THE MODERN WORLD: GAUDIUM ET SPES
PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS, POPE PAUL VI, DECEMBER 7, 1965
 
Since all these things are so, the modern world shows itself at oncepowerful and weak, capable of the noblest deeds or the foulest; beforeit lies the path to freedom or to slavery, to progress or retreat, tobrotherhood or hatred. Moreover, man is becoming aware that it is hisresponsibility to guide aright the forces which he has unleashed andwhich can enslave him or minister to him. That is why he is puttingquestions to himself.

10. The truth is that the imbalances under which the modern worldlabors are linked with that more basic imbalance which is rooted in theheart of man. For in man himself many elements wrestle with oneanother. Thus, on the one hand, as a creature he experiences hislimitations in a multitude of ways; on the other he feels himself to beboundless in his desires and summoned to a higher life. Pulled bymanifold attractions he is constantly forced to choose among them andrenounce some. Indeed, as a weak and sinful being, he often does whathe would not, and fails to do what he would. Hence he suffers frominternal divisions, and from these flow so many and such great discordsin society. No doubt many whose lives are infected with a practicalmaterialism are blinded against any sharp insight into this kind ofdramatic situation; or else, weighed down by unhappiness they areprevented from giving the matter any thought. Thinking they have foundserenity in an interpretation of reality everywhere proposed thesedays, many look forward to a genuine and total emancipation of humanitywrought solely by human effort; they are convinced that the future ruleof man over the earth will satisfy every desire of his heart. Nor arethere lacking men who despair of any meaning to life and praise theboldness of those who think that human existence is devoid of anyinherent significance and strive to confer a total meaning on it bytheir own ingenuity alone.

Nevertheless, in the face of the modern development of the world, thenumber constantly swells of the people who raise the most basicquestions or recognize them with a new sharpness: what is man? What isthis sense of sorrow, of evil, of death, which continues to existdespite so much progress? What purpose have these victories purchasedat so high a cost? What can man offer to society, what can he expectfrom it? What follows this earthly life?

The Church firmly believes that Christ, who died and was raised up forall, can through His Spirit offer man the light and the strength tomeasure up to his supreme destiny. Nor has any other name under theheaven been given to man by which it is fitting for him to be saved.She likewise holds that in her most benign Lord and Master can be foundthe key, the focal point and the goal of man, as well as of all humanhistory. The Church also maintains that beneath all changes there aremany realities which do not change and which have their ultimatefoundation in Christ, Who is the same yesterday and today, yes andforever. Hence under the light of Christ, the image of the unseen God,the firstborn of every creature, the council wishes to speak to all menin order to shed light on the mystery of man and to cooperate infinding the solution to the outstanding problems of our time. (Preface,#10)


Feb. 22, 2010
Our church, indeed, has a triumphant face. But such triumph is but
drama and theater if we do not embody, day in and day out, year in
and year out, our witness to the poor and vulnerable in our midst: to
the vulnerable unborn, to children and youth who turn to us for
formation, to the hungry, to the homeless -- the abused, the
immigrant, the stranger and the powerless.
So long as our witness to them is powerful and prophetic, our
triumphant song and liturgy is pleasing to God.... If the preaching
of the Gospel is my preeminent obligation, may it be most visible in
our service, together, to the poor.

-Most Rev. William F. Medley at his installation as the Fourth Bishop of Owensboro, KY, on Feb. 10, 2010


Feb. 15, 2010
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your
neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another take
heed that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the
Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires
of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit
are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to
prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the
Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are
plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery,
enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party
spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I
warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit
the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus
have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by
the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no
self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.

-Galatians 5:14-26


Feb. 8, 2010
"You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience.
You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience."

-Teilhard de Chardin


Feb. 1, 2010
Today’s meditation is Andrea Bocelli backed by the Morman
Tabernacle Choir singing The Lord’s Prayer as you have never
heard it sung before. It’s one of the most sublime renditions I
have ever heard.


Jan. 25, 2010
A prayer of trust and surrender at bedtime

Lord of night, Creator of the stars and moon,
I thank you for the graceful gifts of this day.
I rest in you, my Divine Friend and my Companion,
Who watches over me while I sleep.

May the problems and pains of today be healed
As I surrender myself into your nightly care.

Bless, this evening, those whom I love and watch
over them in a special way.

Lord of the day and night, of life and death,
I place myself into your holy hands. Amen.

[Author unknown]


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