Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Challenge

Jesus said to his disciples: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.(Jn16:12-15) When we pray we should keep these words in mind. The Holy Spirit will guide us to all truth, and there are times when we will have to wait for an answer because we cannot bear it at the time. In order to find peace even in the midst of our struggle we must place all our trust and confidence in the Loving Mercy of our Father and of our Savior Jesus. That Loving Mercy is the Holy Spirit our Advocate and Guide. He is our Comfort in this vale of tears. By trusting in Him we are allowing ourselves to be guided in the truth and led to the Truth of our lives found in Jesus. Our constant desire to know things or to know the ending or to get over some thing or other is a hindrance to growth in our spiritual life. We do not need all the answers and there are some that we cannot bear. We should stop acting as if we are alone on this journey. We have an Advocate and Guide. The third Person of the Most Holy Trinity has been given to us; He is with us; He Loves us. As we prepare for the celebration of Pentecost in would be good to enter deeply into this mystery of the Loving Mercy of God who is our constant companion on this journey. To open our hearts to the Comforter, the Holy Spirit that He may truly guide us on our way. All too often we follow our own inner promptings and then convince ourselves that the Holy Spirit is in fact leading us. How our lives would change if we could be obedient to the True promptings of our Advocate and Guide. What great fruits we would see. What great peace we would have in our souls. But we would pay a great price. We would have to die to ourselves and submit ourselves to His Holy Will which is Love and Mercy Itself. Perhaps come this Pentecost we will be up for THE CHALLENGE. Perhaps during this month of Mary we could beg our Mother to intercede for us and prepare us to receive her Divine Spouse that we may be obedient to Him and follow Him with undivided hearts.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Lord's Delight

The Lord takes delight in his people.(Ps149) Often we give more credit to people than we do to God. It is easy to recognize how parents and grandparents delight in their children. But we cannot recognize the God delights in us. It is a strange thing really. We can accept the fact that parents delight in their children, that we delight in our children, but our God cannot or does not delight in us. Often we defend this foolish belief by claiming that God will be our Judge therefore He is constantly judging all that we do. We turn away from God claiming that we will never measure up so it is better to live according to our own rules. This is a poor excuse and a weak argument but many live by it, and many turn to it in times of trial. The Lord takes delight in his people.(Ps149) This is in fact the Truth of our life and the Truth of who God is as our Father. Our Father delights in us. Our Father delights in His children won to Him by the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of His only Son, Jesus our Lord. Our Father delights in blessing us with His many gifts. The greatest of being the Holy Spirit our Advocate and Guide. With so many blessings, with such an outpouring of Love how can we still see our Father as judge and executioner. The Lord takes delight in his people.(Ps149) Our Father's Mercy triumphs over Judgment. He has made His Judgment it is For Mercy and Love. The Father's Glory is revealed in the expression of His Merciful Love. That Glory is Jesus our Savior exalted on the Cross and Raised from the dead that His Mercy may endure forever. As this Easter season draws rapidly to a close; as we prepare to receive the Holy Spirit it would be good to ask for a greater understanding of our Father in Heaven and the delight He takes in us each day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Slaves or Friends

"I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing."(Jn15:12-17) If we would pay attention to these words there would be a lot more peace in our daily lives. Often our daily struggles blind us to the Grace of God. Often our daily struggles overshadow the Truth of what God is doing in our lives. Often our daily struggles leave us wondering what God wants from us, or what is He asking of us. More often than not in our own self centered way we wonder what we should do or could do in order to better understand what God is doing in our life. This scripture passage today reveals that in times of struggle it is not about the DOING but it is about BEING. Jesus reveals our identity to us. We are His friends, and as His friends we should know what He is doing in our lives. His Will is Love and Mercy itself even in our struggles, even in our sufferings, even in our temptations, even in our sins. He desires Mercy. Too often we act as if we were slaves not knowing what He is about. What is needed is Trust in His Loving Mercy. In order to do this we must recognize and embrace our true identity as friends of Christ the Bridegroom and rejoice in His presence. He is with us in our daily trials. He is about our salvation. He will not fail. Trust in Him and throw off the doubts, fears, and self pity that are the chains of slavery. Believe in His Merciful Love and live in the freedom enjoyed by the beloved friends of Jesus.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Living in Truth

"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete."(Jn15:9-17) TheWill of our Father in Heaven is that we be filled with joy. Jesus reveals to us today that He wants to make up for what is lacking in our lives. Our joy is incomplete. There are too many things that weigh us down. Distractions, worries, anxieties, fears, wounds, temptations, addictions, sins, all these rob us of experiencing the joy of life. In a certain sense they keep us from seeing the truth of our life. But as Jesus prays today that we remain in Him and in His Love, He reveals to us that in doing so He will fill us with His own Joy and our joy will be complete. In His Love Jesus makes up for what is lacking in us. He completes us because He Loves us. This is not only true with the joy of life but in all things. Jesus makes up for what is lacking in our faith, in our ability to love, in our hope, in all things. We are not alone and we do not have to do things alone, on our own ability, by our own willing it. Jesus is with us. While we remain in Him we are filled to capacity and overflowing with all the gifts of Life and of Love that He gives to us. This is the Will of our Father in Heaven. Thus we are called to submit ourselves to His Holy Will which is Love and Mercy itself. Love and Mercy is what He longs to fill us with. This is so important for the spiritual life because discouragement or lack of discernment often blind us to the truth. Often people have an inflated opinion of themselves as if they are all right, in essence ignoring what God is doing for them or asking of them because they are content at the time with what they are doing or how life is going. The opposite to this is that they feel worthless as if God would not want anything to do with them. They are alone in their misery and think they are not worthy of God's Blessings or that they will never overcome their struggles thus they will never be pleasing to God. Both of these tendencies isolate us because they both ignore the Truth of our Father's Love and place the love of self at the center of our ones life. We must remain in Jesus for as our love is co-mingled with His Love we learn to truly love: as our joy is mixed with His Joy we can truly be joyful; as our hope is is co-mingled with His Hope we experience true Hope. In truth when we remain in Jesus we remain in Love, Joy, and Hope Itself for our Savior is the beginning and the end of all these. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega not only of the Universe but of our very lives. In humility we are called to recognize this today and humbly begin to truly live through Him, with Him and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. In doing so we will be fulfilled and know the fullness of life in our Father's Loving Mercy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Without Me You Can Do Nothing

"Without me you can do nothing."(Jn15:1-8) Often these words are ignored by the faithful. We have the I can do it mentality even in our spiritual lives. This is why we are often preoccupied not only with our successes but also with our failings. We believe that we should be able to succeed simply by willing it. We believe that we should succeed because after all we know better. We believe that we should be able to overcome our past or our present struggles. We believe that in doing so we can then we can present ourselves to God and be pleasing to Him. These are all lies, and a perversion of our faith as Catholics. "Without me you can do nothing." Jesus tells us today that we are to remain in Him. IN HIM! Thus we will be able to ask the Father anything and the Father will be glorified in pouring out His Mercy and Love upon us. It is not about our succeeding in making ourselves pleasing to God. It is about the Father's Love that makes us pleasing to Him. It is about our identity as sons and daughters. Only by remaining in the Son, through whom we have been adopted, can we live according to our Father's plan and thus give Him glory. And what is the Father's plan? That we know Him and His Love for us; that we love Him as He first Loved us; that we freely serve Him as His beloved children, bearing fruit and drawing others to the Truth of His Love. Thus we remain in the Son as He teaches us the way to the Father. Thus we open our Hearts to the Holy Spirit to be reminded of our identity and the truth of our life. This is the very foundation of all that we do. It is the foundation of our lives. It is the cause of our joy even in the midst of hardship and pain. As Catholics this is the witness we give to the World. We are called to bring Hope to a world darkened by sin and fear. We do so in Christ that we may bear much fruit. Not the fruit we long to produce but the fruit that the Father produces in us when we turn to Him and pray that His Will be done. It is easy to take the self help approach to spirituality but it is a false path that leads to emptiness and pain. It is a lonely path where we never feel good enough. Jesus never tells us we are good enough, He only tells us we are good. How then can we be sure that we are on the right path? Living a Sacramental Life is the first and most important criteria. It is expressly in the Sacraments that we remain in Jesus. Going to Mass as often as possible and never missing on Sunday except for serious illness or advanced age, as well as frequent Confession are a good first step in order to remain in Jesus. Praying the Angelus in the morning and at midday and in the evening to remind us of who we are is also a powerful way to begin on the path. If during midday or evening you make an examination of conscience so much the better. Pray your Rosary. Blessed Mother will guide you if you place all your trust in her. Also in praying the Rosary Mary will teach you how the Mysteries of her Son's Life, Death, and Resurrection apply to you and in fact were done for you specifically. Finally before you can even begin, pray to the Holy Spirit. Invite the Lover of your soul to draw you lovingly to Christ, and give you the strength to remain in Him. This in essence is an imitation of our Blessed Mother who was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and was united to Jesus as His Mother according to the Will of the Father. We can imitate our Mother and the Holy Spirit will overshadow us as well. In His love we will be united to Jesus as brothers and sisters according to the Will of God the Father. Then He will do great things in us, we will bear much fruit and the Father will be Glorified. Leave your self help spirituality behind trust in the Lord for He has spoken: "Without me you can do nothing."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen

Queen of Heaven, Rejoice, Alleluia.
The Son whom you merited to bear, Alleluia,
Has Risen as He said, Alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, Alleluia!
For the Lord has truly Risen, Alleluia.

I love the phrase from the Regina Caeli, that He has Risen as He said. Jesus has done what He said He was going to do. The Father has done what Jesus said He was going to do; He is Risen from the Dead. Death no longer has power over Him. He has destroyed death itself by offering himself up to death. He has won the victory. Even as death sought His destruction, in Love He brought forth Life and gave the gift of Life to the Church born from His side, the Water and the Blood. Jesus has done what He said. He has been raised from the dead by the Power of the Holy Spirit and the Love of God the Father. The Trinitarian Love of God has been revealed and we have been invited to enter in. On this Easter Morn we enter into Love and Mercy itself. Death has been destroyed and Life has been given. Death no longer has any power over us. We have been ransomed. The price has been paid. We are free now to live as the beloved sons and daughters of God. Jesus has Risen as He said. There are no wounds that cannot be healed. Jesus is Risen as He said. There are no sins that cannot be forgiven. Jesus has Risen as He said. There is no suffering that cannot be overcome. Jesus has Risen as He said. He has given us new Life in Him who conquered death. The glory of this morn resounds throughout the ages. The glory of this morn rings out throughout the year, Sunday after Sunday we rejoice and are glad for He is truly Risen. Today we celebrate the very heart and foundation of our Faith. Jesus is Risen. Alleluia! Alleluia! Now we can have life and have it to the full. Now His Joy can be in us, and in the Joy of our Risen Lord our Joy is complete. He is truly risen. May our Blessed Mother, the Mother of the Crucified and Risen One teach us to Rejoice with her in the Truth of our life and our faith.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Holy Triduum

I will post a reflection on Easter Sunday. These are the holiest days of the year I pray that we spend them reflecting on our Lord Jesus and the Merciful Love of our Father that He revealed in His Life, Death, and Resurrection. May the Holy Spirit guide you these days in a profound reflection on our Christ's Passion and a joyful encounter with our Risen Lord this Sunday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


"He is near who upholds my right;"(Is 50:4-9)

"I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for consolers, not one could I find."(Ps 69)

This is the contrast that will so bitterly be on display as we approach the Sacred Triduum. Our Heavenly Father is near to the Suffering Servant, even while we abandon the Lord. In the Father's great Love, Jesus completes the work of our Redemption. We abandon Him. In the Father's Love, Jesus does the Father's Will. We abandon Him. In the Father's Love Jesus offers himself as a Sacrifice for our sins. We abandon Him. I could go on and on but the point is quite clear. This stark contrast is not meant to weigh us down with guilt or shame. The Truth that we are called to reflect upon today in these two brief passages is this: Our Father is near to us, He will uphold us in all our trials as we seek to do His Will, and secondly that even as we abandon Him He still Loves us until the end. His Love is gratuitous; we gave Him nothing, no sympathy, no consolation, yet He gives us life, even life eternal. Such is His great Love. This is the Will of our Father. The bitterness of our Lord's Passion reminds us of His great Love. Even as the weight of our shame and guilt bears down upon us, our hearts must be lifted up in joy and gratitude to the Father who did not spare His only Son. As Jesus is lifted up on the Cross this Sacred Triduum let us not abandon Him but instead draw near to Love and Mercy itself.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chrism Mass

Although this Mass is properly celebrated on the morning of Holy Thursday many Diocese transfer the celebration to today so that as many priests as possible can attend. If you can you should go to this Mass. That is to say if you live near the Cathedral of your Diocese, go! It is a beautiful celebration. Laredo Diocese is celebrating The Chrism Mass today. Before it the priests will have a spiritual conference then dinner together with the Bishop. Unexpectedly I was asked to give the conference to the English speaking priests. Pray for me. I will return to Holy week reflections on Wednesday.

Monday, April 6, 2009


"Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD."(Psalm 27) This is the last line of the Psalm Response today. It has particular importance for us today as we begin Holy Week for it challenges us to imitate Jesus who in the midst of the sufferings He bore lived in the knowledge of these words. Waiting is not something that any of us enjoy no matter how patient we may or may not be. But we are told twice today to wait for the Lord and to be courageous and stouthearted while doing so. In undergoing His Sorrowful Passion Jesus waited for the Lord, and while He was waiting He underwent the most brutal and vicious suffering. The words of the psalmist rang true, "When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh..."(Ps27) even so Jesus waited upon the Lord. In knowing that Judas would betray Him, Jesus waited. In knowing that His beloved Apostles would abandon Him, Jesus waited. In knowing that Peter would deny Him, Jesus waited. In fear and trembling in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus waited. Captured and abused by His own people, Jesus waited. While liars denounced Him, Jesus waited. Spit upon and slapped by fools and sinners, Jesus waited. Thrown in the dark cistern, alone, Jesus waited. Dragged up the steps of the Praetorium to stand before Pilate, Jesus waited. Keeping silent and not defending Himself, Jesus waited. As every blow from the whip violently tore at His flesh, Jesus waited. As the thorns were buried deeper and deeper into His Head, Jesus waited. As the Romans cracked Him with the reed and mocked Him, Jesus waited. As Pilate condemned Him at His own peoples demand, Jesus waited. As the Cross was placed upon His shoulders, Jesus waited. As He stumbled through the streets, Jesus waited. As He encounters His Sorrowful Mother, Jesus waited. With each step towards Golgotha, Jesus waited. Stripped of His clothes for all to see, Jesus waited. Wickedly stretched out on the cross, He waited. As the nails were touched to His aching flesh, He waited. As each blow of the hammer came down, Jesus waited. As He was lifted up Crucified, Jesus waited. As He Thirst hanging between Heaven and Earth, Jesus waited. As He gave up His Spirit into the hands of His Father, Jesus waited. Laid in the Tomb, Jesus waited, He was courageous throughout His ordeal. He remained stouthearted in waiting for the Lord. On the Third Day His waiting was over, His Father raised Him from the Dead by the Power of the Holy Spirit. His waiting won Him the Victory. He is the Lord, and He is our life's refuge. "The LORD is my life's refuge;of whom should I be afraid?"(Ps27) In our own suffering and in our own struggles we must take refuge in Him, and our hope will be fulfilled, for Jesus Waited for the Lord. Now He is our Victor King, we do not have to be afraid any longer, for He comes to us in Mercy and Love that will endure forever.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fear No More

"Fear no more, O daughter Zion; see, your king comes, seated upon an ass's colt."(Jn12:12-16)
The prophecy that we hear proclaimed in the Gospel today was given to the people of Israel over 500 years before the birth of Jesus. The people of Jerusalem welcome Jesus, rejoicing in the fulfilment of the prophecy. What should be clear to us today 2000 years later is that the prophecy is still valid and Jesus Christ remains the fulfilment. We do not have to be afraid. Our King comes to us. There are many things in the world that can harm us, and in fact seek to harm us or dominate us. Fear no more! There are many times in our life when we feel isolated and alone. You are not, Your King comes to you. Isolation, loneliness, and fear have been the scourge of the human person from the very foundation of the world. Today however we rejoice in the remedy to such a scourge. Jesus is the remedy. Jesus is the King. Jesus comes to us with great power and strength which to our amazement are shown in His Humility and His Mercy. Riding humbly into the great kings city upon an ass's colt, Jesus is our King we do not have to be afraid anymore. But as we begin Holy Week we must not simply recall the events of 2000 years ago as mere history. We must recognize that Jesus remains the fulfilment of the prophecy and He remains relevant today in our daily life. He continues to come to us with great power and strength. We do not have to be afraid. His power continues to be shown to us in His Humility and His Mercy. We still are amazed and struggle to believe but the prophecy is true as is it's fulfilment who is Truth itself, our King Jesus. How is this so? In the Eucharist that we celebrate each day. There is no wound, there is no sin, there is no struggle that we need fear, our King is with us. He reigns from His throne on the Altar and He manifests His power by His Mercy. Mercy that was poured out in His Sorrowful Passion. Mercy that still flows from the Humble Sacrifice of the Mass. We should rejoice for His Mercy endures forever. By His wounds we are healed. We do not have to be afraid. Heap upon the King all your fear, all your misery, all your shame, all your guilt, all your sins do not be afraid for He comes to you. He goes to Calvary for you. He Loves you. The isolation and fear that has ruled your life can no longer stand in the presence of the King. The shame and the guilt can no longer cling to you who have been washed in the King's Blood. Your sins He bore. They are gone, wiped out. Such is the King's Mercy, such is His Love. Humbly enter in to the Mystery of our Faith these days so that in a weeks time you will know true joy and true peace.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Performing No Sign

"John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true." (Jn10:31-42)
I propose that we pray to become more like St. John the Baptist. Jesus tells us that John the Baptist is the greatest man ever born of a woman. Yet John performed no sign. What he did do was point to Christ Jesus. What he did do was speak about Christ Jesus. What he did do was go about his daily duties in a manner that was fitting to the calling God gave to him. He performed no sign for he himself was the sign as the grace of God permeated his life and oozed out of him to the delight and fear of others. We too are called by God to a special vocation, and in performing our daily duties while faithfully cooperating with the grace God gives to us we can draw people to Jesus. By embracing the truth of our lives in Christ in an ordinary everyday manner, we will find that others will want what we have. Some will accept what we tell them about Jesus, others will reject the message. Our part is to tell the truth about Jesus and about our life in Him. We do not have to perform signs or work wonders for in living our Sacramental life we are the sign. Our lives point to Christ, and we speak of Him, and we live in Him. This is the best possible life that anyone could lead. There is no better life. Living and practising our Catholic faith, nourished by the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, is the best life that anyone could lead, and it is for everyone. Rich and poor, saint and sinner, no one is excluded from the invitation. So many refuse the invitation. So many look for happiness elsewhere. So many are looking for signs and wonders. So many are ignorant to what they have in Jesus, in the Church, in Blessed Mother, and in the Sacraments, but we do not have to be. St. John the Baptist wanted to decrease that Jesus may increase. May we be so humble so as to let others know the joy and the hope in which we live. May they come to know Jesus and that all we say about Him is true, that His Mercy endures forever.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Father's Glory

"If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me,"(Jn 8:51-59) If we are adopted sons and daughters of God, then our Father will glorify us as He Glorified His Son Jesus our Savior. How simple the spiritual life can become if we live in this confidence, and accept this truth of our life. All too often we are busy glorifying ourselves, seeking the glory of others, or lamenting that God is not doing anything for us. A worthless pursuit as Jesus points out in the Gospel today. It is our Father who glorifies us and sanctifies us with the gift of His Holy Spirit just as He redeems us in the gift of His only Son Jesus our Lord. Our lives are truly in His hands. Pray that as you approach Holy Week, you can imitate Christ Jesus and pray "Into your hands Father I commend my spirit."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Submit Yourself to His Holy Will

"If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue that you set up." (Dan3:14-20)
We are called as followers of Christ to submit ourselves to the Will of our Heavenly Father. In this we imitate Jesus the only Son of the Father. In submitting ourselves to the Father's Will we acknowledge that we truly are His sons and daughters by adoption. An adoption that was won for us at the cost of Christ's Precious Blood. In the story of Hannaniah, Azariah, Mishael we see that these three young men submit themselves to God's Holy Will. They recognize that their God is God alone and that they can trust in Him even when bad, wicked, and evil things happen. They remain strong in their faith. They trust in God completely. They know that His Love endures forever regardless of what happens to them. See that God saves them. See that He did not save Jesus from the Cross. Saving the boys from the furnace was a great act of love on the part of our Fathers in Heaven. Not sparing His only Son from His Passion and Death was the Greatest Act of Love Ever. It is the cause of all our joy. It is the very foundation of our faith. It is the love in which we live. It is the fulfillment of all our hope. It is the gift of our Father. In imitating the boys in the first reading today and submitting ourselves to God's Holy Will our faith, hope and love will be deepened this Lent. We too can live in the knowledge that our Father's Love endures forever and that His Holy Will is Love and Mercy itself.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Let it Be Done Unto Me According to Your Word

"But with their patience worn out by the journey,the people complained against God and Moses,"

"Then the people came to Moses and said,"We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you." (Nm 21:4-9)

The people sinned in complaining against God and Moses. This is a shock to our modern ears, so much so that we often ignore it. It is a sin to complain against God's Will. Yes it is! As modern men and women we constantly complain to God . Our patience is worn out. We also do the opposite of complaining, we pretend as if we do not care and say "God will work it out". Both are sinful. Both are born of selfishness. Both lead to further misery and resentment against God and neighbor, especially against God's servants like Moses, but in our modern world the Pope, the Bishop, or the local Priest will do. What is the underling problem with the sin of complaining or feigned indifference? We do not seek God's Will. In the midst of our suffering and pain, when our patience is running out, when the problem has lasted too long and shows no sign of ending we complain, complain, complain, and then often feign indifference in the end. Instead we could pray and ask God, "What is your will in my present suffering?" We could even ask, "Do you see my suffering? How can I go on?" Why do we complain then? Because we do not want to hear God's response. Because we do not want to have to make hard decisions. Because we do not want to have to change. Because we feel justified in our behavior. Because we are right. Because we do not deserve what has happened. The list is endless but the fruits of each are the same. SIN IN COMPLAINING AGAINST GOD. Instead let us follow the example of our Blessed Mother and in the midst of the struggles of life say to the Lord "Let it Be Done Unto Me According to Your Word" the Grace we will receive will sustain us in the most difficult of circumstances and we will no longer have to feign indifference for our Blessed Mother will teach us how to submit ourselves to the Father's Holy Will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hope in God Alone (Jer 17:5-10)

Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. Most people would not consider themselves to be in this cursed category. But the truth is that many struggle each day with this very issue. We trust in ourselves and our own strength. We can handle it. In doing so our hearts turn slowly away from the Lord. Even in our Lenten practices we discipline ourselves so seriously that we often leave no space for the Lord. We keep our promises by the force of our own will and not by the Grace that comes from God alone. Turning away slowly from the source of life itself desperately trying to convince ourselves that we are okay. Keep your Lenten disciplines but understand that we depend on God. He is the source of our strength. He is the cause of all our joy. He sustains us in His Mercy and Love. Look to our Crucified Savior and believe in His Love for you. Adore Him because by His Holy Cross He has saved you. Turn to Him now, rely upon Him today and stop acting as if your okay and can handle everything. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. Let this be the truth of your life and live accordingly. Hope in God and praise Him your Savior and your God.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mocked and Scourged and Crucified (Mt 20:17-28)

Mocked and Scourged and Crucified. This is why Jesus goes to Jerusalem. Jesus goes to be mocked, to be made fun of as if He were a fool and not the Beloved Son of the Father. Jesus goes to be scourged, the Word made Flesh the Splendor of our Heavenly Father is to be torn and ripped in hatred and violence in the Holy City. Jesus goes to be crucified, nailed to the Cross there is no escape, there is no solace, only ridicule and abandonment, all to do the Will of the Father. This is why Jesus goes to Jerusalem. Mocked in the city that is made Holy by His presence. Scourged by the hands of those whose wounds He came to heal. Crucified by the violent in their hate, the Author of Life allows Himself to be put to death. Jesus Mocked, Jesus Scourged, Jesus Crucified, Divine Mercy Revealed. Jesus goes to Jerusalem to reveal Mercy to the merciless. Ridicule is silenced in Mercy. Hatred and violence are quenched in Mercy. Isolation, loneliness, and abandonment are covered over in Mercy. In the Holy City, in the Holy City our Savior went to suffer and die that we may enter in to Mercy Itself. Do you see Love revealed? Turn away from sin and believe in the Good News this Lent!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Choice is Yours (Is 1:10,16-20)

"Cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land;" There is much to meditate upon in the first reading today. What strikes me though is the fact that the choice is always ours. The Lord lays out before us the truth and the invitation to live in the truth, but the choice is always ours. Do we want to cease from doing evil? Do we want to learn to do good? Is justice our aim? That is to say is doing what is right( justice) our aim or is selfishness? Notice how the Lord says If you are willing, the choice is ours. Many people say that it is too hard to change. Many say they cannot get over things that happened to them or things that they did. Many say that God is okay with their selfishness as if they actually prayed and had a relationship with Him. Many say that they believe but but in truth only obey their own authority. Lies all lies! God reveals the Truth to us today. We can change our ways, but we must be obedient. We must be willing and obey. This is the first step in learning to do good. Justice must be our aim. Our goal must be to do what is right. Then in His Mercy God will bless us. We will have the good things in life and we will be able to enjoy them. "Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool." This is the call to conversion of Lent. The choice is yours!

Friday, March 6, 2009

If You, O Lord, Mark Iniquities, Who Can Stand?

Psalm 130 today makes things clear. You cannot argue with the Truth. When you stand before the Truth your friends will not be with you. When you stand before the Truth you will have nothing to hide behind. Your wealth, your popularity, your intelligence, your beauty, your anger, your strength, your self confidence and self arrogance, your self deception and your sins none will be your shield. The opinions that you have held in order to justify your behavior and your life style will be seen for what they really are, folly. Protests and excuses will fail. You will be resigned to your fate in your shame and your guilt. You will not be standing. The trembling that the Truth will induce will cause your knees to buckle. You will remain on your knees, head down, for no one can stand before the Truth.

BUT WITH YOU IS FORGIVENESS! Thanks be to God that this is the next line in the Psalm. Thanks be to God that He is Merciful, that He loves us.

You do not have to wait until you die and stand before the judgment seat in order to repent. This holy season of Lent calls us to repentance now, today. We are called to repent and believe in our Father's Mercy and Love. We are called to repent and believe in the invitation of our Divine Savior placing all our trust in His Divine Mercy, and seeking to do the Father's Will. We are called to repent and believe in what the Lover of our souls speaks to us; that under the Holy Spirits promptings we may find strength to overcome our temptations and humbly submit ourselves to the Holy Will of our Father which is Love and Mercy itself. You cannot stand before the Truth. Humble yourself now and have confidence in the Merciful Love of our Father. Then as you are bent in guilt and shame you will look up to see Mercy, to see Love, and you will be raised up in Joy, overcome with Joy for you will see what Christ Jesus' Victory on the Cross has won for you, ADOPTION, REDEMPTION and ETERNAL LIFE.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pleasing to God (Esther C:12,14-16)

"As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you. Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O LORD, my God." How is Esther pleasing to God? She does not begin to list her virtues, nor her holy practices. Esther does not extol herself in any way. She is pleasing to God because she is alone and in her loneliness she calls upon Him. The product of sin is alienation. Sin isolates the human person. We feel alienated from God. We think that God is angry with us. Often this is because we are angry with ourselves. In sin we do not feel like ourselves, and we do not act like ourselves, rather we allow our sins to dictate how we act. This is isolating. Sin alienates us from our fellow man. Sin is self serving thus we use or ignore others. Sinning against others destroys that natural bond we have as a human family. Finally, sin alienates us from the world around us. Life gets very narrow when struggling with sin and guilt. In the end we are alone in our sin. Although Esther was alone for other reasons, alone she was, and in her loneliness she cried out to God. In this Esther was pleasing to God. We can imitate her this Lent in our desire to turn from sin and believe the Good News. Our sins isolate us, but we can cry out to God in our isolation and loneliness and He will respond to us. He will free us from our temptations and our sins. He is not angry with us for we are pleasing to Him. We are His children. Crying out to Him even in our sins, we will no longer be alienated, we will be healed. By His wounds in fact we are healed. Cry out to Him. You are not alone. Our Father loves you. Come back to Him.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


In the first reading today Jonah is obedient to God's word. Hearing Jonah's message the people of Nineveh repent. Their repentance moves God to repent of the punishment He threatened to do to them.

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: "Set out for the great city of Nineveh,and announce to it the message that I will tell you. "So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord's bidding.

"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed," when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way.and from the violence he has in hand.

When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;he did not carry it out.

Are you obedient like Jonah? Do you do what you know God is asking of you? Are you like the people of Nineveh, do you repent when you know you are wrong? Do you believe that God actually cares about you? Do you believe that He cares about how you live your life? Will you repent or are you like the people in the Gospel today who want everything on their own terms? Jesus says today that those who want everything on their own terms will be condemned. This is rather harsh, but look at His reason for saying so; they do not recognize Love and Mercy itself standing in their midst. All they know is their selfishness, and their selfishness will be their destruction. Repent and forgive and God will repent of your just punishment and forgive you. His Mercy endures forever.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thy Will Be Done

Look at the contrast in the readings today. "So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it." (Is 55:10-11) The power of God's Word makes fertile and bears fruit.

"In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words." (Mt 6:7-15) Our words have such little affect.

Jesus teaches us how to pray. He gives us the words we are to pray, the Our Father. These words are given to us from God the Father. This is how He wants us to pray to Him. These words are His words thus they make our lives fertile and we begin to bear fruit. Fruit produced by doing the Father's Will. Fertility cultivated by the Holy Spirit. Our hearts tended by Christ Jesus, our Merciful Savior.

We can babble and babble seeking our own will, expressing our own understanding, and living according to our selfish desires, but our hearts and our lives will be barren. Eventually we will cease to tend them and instead seek only to quench them. In seeking to quench our barren souls, all manner of sin and distraction will be presented to us until we find one to our liking. Once found we will cling to it as if it were our very life. But it is not, it is a lie. In living according to our own will, we live a lie. In the desert while the plants seem to be dead the roots are still lush and green. A drop of water and the plants spring to life. If we do not seek to do the Father's Will, we have no roots. The drop of water is easily wasted. Our thirst will never be satisfied. We often blame God saying that He does not answer our prayers. The truth is much harsher. We do not want to do His Will. His response is unimportant if it is not in line with our desire, our want, or our will. Lent is a time to repent, to turn away from our selfishness, and believe in the Good News. Seriously taking time to pray and Meditate on the Our Father is a good place to start. In doing so we can put down roots. Rooted in doing the Father's Will, in imitation of Christ, we can follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit into the desert. There we will find strength to overcome our temptations, and comfort in the Loving Mercy of the Most Holy Trinity.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Holiness and Generosity (Lv19:1-2 +Mt25:31-46)

"Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am Holy." One of the great deceptions of the Devil today is convincing good men and women that what they will really be judged for is how well they took care of their own. This generation of parents today are indeed obsessed with being parents. Their children rule their lives. Moms role their eyes at me exhausted from running around with the kids all day or all week as they set off yet again to some meeting or practice. Dads have their kids in a diversity of programs from sports to music to educational programs exposing them to many things and thus letting him believe he is a good dad. This is all about taking care of your own. Not at all mentioned in the Gospel today. Yes, you must take care of your family! Yes, in doing so you can and will grow in holiness! But families today are exclusionary. That is to say that men and women today feel as if they are trying to be good parents, and thus believe that that is their sole mission in life. This is simply a lie. It destroys marriages, leads to depression and leaves children malformed and deformed. God is God! Your children or grandchildren cannot be your God! Parenting cannot be your religion! Running from practice to practice cannot be your sacrifice! The Gospel today is clear in its Revelation. We will be judged by how generous we were with those who were not our own, and many will be surprised at how wanting they are. Thus we are called to conversion this Lent. Generosity is the key. First and foremost we are called to be generous with God. We must put God first in our lives, saying our prayers and practicing our faith. Second we are called to be generous with our spouse regardless of patterns we have fallen into or if we have been married a long time. If you work on these two things you will be generous to you children while not making them your God. This is the proper order of of love in the family. Love God. Love each other. Love your children. This allows us then to be generous with others. When we are properly ordered ourselves then we can recognize the needs of others. But not only that, we can also recognize that it is our responsibility to aid others in their need. This is how we grow in holiness. This is how we become generous with those who are not our own. Disorder leads to selfishness, and sin but also to hurt and resentment. God must come first in our lives. That is to say God must come first in our lives based on His terms not our own. During Lent we say repent and believe in the Good News that has been revealed in Christ Jesus! We do not say take it easy your okay with God, your a good guy. Lent calls us to conversion, to recognize how we have kept our own council and taken care of our own, ignoring God and others. The Scriptures tell us today that now is the time to turn away from such folly and allow God to bring order once again to our lives, our marriages, and our families. In following Him then we will be leaven in our society as we generously take care of those in need.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Driven By the Spirit (Mk1:12-15)

"The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert" This is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. How much better our lives would be; how much more at peace we would be if only we could imitate Christ Jesus in the Gospel today and allow the Holy Spirit to drive us where He willed. If we would only let the Holy Spirit guide us in doing the Father's Will. But our wounds keep us from being driven. Our fears keep us from being driven. Our selfish wants and desires keep us from being driven. Our sins keep us from being driven. There is life in the desert. There is consolation in the desert. There strength is to be found and wisdom to overcome our temptations in the desert. But we will not be driven. We want life on our own terms. We want growth on our own terms. We want holiness on our own terms. We will not be driven! If only we would imitate Christ. Perhaps if we seriously fasted even just one day this Lent, we could be driven. Perhaps if we gave just one hour of serious prayer this Lent, we could be driven. Perhaps if we gave just one dollar more than we are comfortable with to charity this Lent, we could be driven. Only in imitating our Lord will we find peace, and strength to overcome our temptations. Driven by the Holy Spirit our lives will be sanctified and be holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. The choice is ours. Will we let selfishness and fear dictate what we do, or will we let the Holy Spirit?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Love and Responsibility (Is 58:1-9)

"They seek me day after day, and desire to know my ways, Like a nation that has done what is just and not abandoned the law of their God;" If you abandon God's Law. If you do what is unjust. You will have a hard time finding God in your life. If you do find Him you will have a hard time listening to Him or even hearing Him. If you can in fact hear Him and are listening you will have a hard time doing what He asks of you. Why? Because you love yourself more than you love Him. You are selfish and self righteous. You think you know better than God and His Bride the Church. You believe that your judgments are sound and right so you ignore the deeper truths that the Holy Spirit has revealed to the Church. You are unjust and yet so blind that you believe you are acting justly. All under the guise that says "I am a good person. I love God." This is the way of the fool, and many are following it; just like the people of Israel to whom Isaiah was sent. Jesus never said in the Gospel Be Good, instead he said Be Holy as your Father in Heaven is Holy. Holiness requires Obedience just as Love requires Responsibility. We cannot abandon the teaching of the Church and feel justified. We cannot live according to our own morality and spirituality and pretend we are just, that we are doing what is right. In other words acting as if God approves of all that we do. During Lent we must have the courage to be humble and turn away from selfishness and self righteousness and come before the Lord seeking to do His will not our own. We are called to acknowledge His Love in giving us His Beloved Son to be our Savior; our responsibility is to be obedient, to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. Then we can be holy for we have accepted that we are dust and unto dust we shall return. Acceptance of this humble truth then will allow the Father to raise us up as He raised His Son Jesus our Savior on the Third Day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Choose Life and Hold Fast to God (Dt30:15-20)

"I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him." Loving, heeding, and holding are the components that allow us to recognize the blessings of Almighty God in our life. Clearly Moses tells the people of Israel this truth in the first reading today. The disciplines of Lent (prayer, fasting, alms giving) aid us during this holy time to do these three things: love the Lord, heed His voice, and hold fast to Him. Many who struggle in their spiritual life only rely upon the first point. They love God and do not understand why they struggle even as they ignore the next two points. Some in their spiritual lives do actually heed God's voice. They love God and heed His voice still they struggle and wonder why. Only in following all that Moses says can we find peace even in the midst of our struggles, our sins, our sufferings, and temptations. We must hold fast to the Lord. This is in reality the most important point in Moses' instruction for it is the point at which our decision for life or death must be made. When we are desperate, confused, hurt, and floundering is when we must hold fast to our Lord even if we do not feel His Presence. We cling to Him in Truth not in emotion. He Loves us and thus we love Him. This is the Truth of our life. In Loving us our Lord does not abandon us, and He speaks to us even when He is silent. This is the Truth of our relationship with Him. Therefore we cling to Him; we hold fast. In doing so we find peace even as we struggle in our spiritual lives. The disciplines of Lent are meant to strengthen our grip. In essence they bring comfort to us and to our struggle to turn away from sin and believe in the Good News.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today God our Father brings us to the beginning of Lent. We pray that in this time of salvation He will fill us with the Holy Spirit, purify our hearts, and strengthen us in love. This prayer comes from the introduction to the intercessions at Morning Prayer in the Divine Office for today, Ash Wednesday. I invite anyone who reads this blog to place this prayer before you as you enter Lent. God the Father brings us this holy season so that we may enter deeply into the Mystery of His Merciful Love, by meditating upon the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus the Christ. Now is a time of salvation, not punishment. Our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and alms giving are not punishment. They are practices that open our hearts and our eyes to our Father's Loving Mercy, and the gift of His Son. Filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit we will be reminded of all that Jesus taught us. The disciplines and meditations of Lent will strengthen us in our Father's Love and our hearts will be purified. While Lent is a serious season that calls for our own examination of conscience while we meditate on our Lord's Passion, let us not forget it is the Loving Mercy of our Father that brings us here, and in that we can find comfort and consolation.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reason for lack in blogging

I have been alone in the parish these last two weeks and have another to go. Lent will be busy but I will make time for meditations.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our Father Love's Us

"His heart was grieved." Does this not say it all. Our Father Love Us. He is grieved by our sins. He is moved by our sins. While we hear of the destruction caused by the flood, do not forget that in the fullness of time our Father sends to us, the remedy for our sins. He gives us His only Son to be our Savior. Because He Loves us. In meditating on our Lord's Passion this Lent, do not forget the grief of our Father nor His Merciful Love.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mastering Sin (Gen 4:1-15,25)

So the LORD said to Cain:"Why are you so resentful and crestfallen. If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master." These words which God speaks to Cain are so profound. Sin is very near to each of us, it is lurking at the door. Sin is drawn to us. Sin wants to dominate us. Yet we can master sin. Often times we actually believe the exact opposite and or live as if the exact opposite were true. That is that sin has great power over us and we cannot help ourselves. Often we claim that our sinful tendencies are simply human nature. This lie is destroyed in the light of the first reading today. God tells Cain that we have within ourselves the ability to Master sin. This then is a challenge to each and every one of us today. You can master your sinfulness. Yes you need God's Grace but you are capable of turning from your sins, and embracing the life that God wants to give you. Of course the Sacraments are the great means by which our Lord aids us in our struggle to master sin. However as we approach the beginning of Lent, it is good to once again turn to prayer, fasting, and alms giving. Frequent attendance at Mass and regular Confession grant us the grace to implement these Lenten practices in our lives. All prayer flows from the Eucharist, therefore we should take time this Lent to prepare for Mass, especially by reading Sacred Scripture. That is we could read the daily readings before Mass, or if we cannot attend Mass at least remain in union with the Church by praying with the same readings. We could also pray the Rosary more often and allow our Blessed Mother to teach us about the life of her Son, and Salvation History. We can also fast from things that we particularly enjoy one or more days a week, or fast from food at one meal time or for one whole day. Finally we could give time to serving the poor, or make a monetary donation to the Church or to a good organization that helps the poor. All these practices in truth are things that we should be doing all year long and we should only emphasize them during Lent. In reality many struggle throughout the year to do any of them consistently or at all. Perhaps meditating upon the words God speaks to Cain will help us to recognize that in fact we do these things not only as an offering to God but also in order to Master the sin in our life that is constantly with us, lurking at our door seeking to dominate us.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


In ten days the Church will once again celebrate Ash Wednesday and then enter into the Holy season of Lent. We commit ourselves to pray, fast and give alms during Lent. The penitential character of the season is in preparation for our encounter with the Risen Lord. This of course is after we have entered into deep reflection upon His Sorrowful Passion. The readings today can help us in our preparations for Lent. The Leper in the Gospel can be a particular challenge to us today. I would dare to say that none of us have the Courage of this man. In the first reading today we hear the Law of Moses with regard to those with leprosy. They are to call out to people "Unclean, Unclean!" as they traveled. In other words they are forbidden by the Law to come into contact with others, or even draw near to them. Yet in the Gospel we see that this man had the Courage to draw near to Jesus and ask Him if He wanted to heal him. He was expressly forbidden to do this by the Law of His religion. Yet He drew near to Jesus. His misery drove him to Jesus' feet. There is no law that prevents us from drawing near to Jesus. No one is telling us that we have to stay away from the Lord. It is just the opposite in fact; we are constantly being invited to draw near to Jesus, and to trust in His Divine Mercy. Still we have no Courage. The leper was told to stay away yet he drew near; we are told draw near and instead we stay away. There can only be two reasons for our cowardly and selfish behavior. The first is suffering and the second is sin. Both cause our souls to be isolated and alienated. Both cause us to feel far from God. We do not have leprosy but we certainly feel unclean, damaged, and ugly. How could the Lord possibly want us to draw near? Courage! Both also cause a distortion in the way we see ourselves; we express a much to inflated opinion of ourselves in order to hide the deeper truth that we often think very little of ourselves. Our surety masks our insecurity, and our actions betray the longing of our hearts. Courage! Come to the feet of Jesus in your misery. Be like the leper this Lent. Start today, do not be afraid. Stop listening to your wounds, whether self inflicted or suffered from another. Stop listening to you sins, whether you enjoy them or not. Follow the miserable leper's example today and come to the Lord. Courage! Ask Jesus if He wants to heal you. Do not be afraid. Draw near to the Foot of the Cross you will find that you are loved. You will recognise that our Lord's Love is Merciful, and you will come to see yourself for who you are, as beloved son or daughter of God.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Sacramental Life (Mk 7: 14-23)

"But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile." Thus we see the importance of living a Sacramental life. These evils are still present in the heart of each person. Yet the grace that comes from the Sacraments can tame these evils and bring peace to our wearied souls. The graces that flow from the Sacraments allow us to enter into an intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus. In this intimacy we come to know who we are and can begin to act accordingly. That is we begin to act according to our dignity as the beloved sons and daughters of God. All prayer flows from the Sacraments. Our Rosary, the reading of Sacred Scripture, meditation and contemplation as well as all our private devotions flow from the Source of our life, that is the Eucharist. If you are struggling in your prayer life or your spiritual life, do not look for new techniques or greater discipline. Instead discipline your self in making use of the Sacraments. Attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass more often, that is go to Mass more than one day a week, not many times in one day. Go to Confession with greater frequency. Go to Exposition and Adoration. In doing so you will find peace in the midst of your trials and you will grow in wisdom and grace before God and men even if you yourself cannot perceive it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Scurried About Evangelizing (Mk6:53-56)

"They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was." The people in the Gospel today are Evangelizing the countryside. They are sharing the Good News. They are telling people about Jesus and they are bringing people to Him. This could be a direct challenge to you and me if we let it. But rather than challenge you by asking you how well you are Evangelizing, sharing the Good News, telling people about our Lord Jesus the Christ, the Savior, I want to encourage you to meditate about something else. How deep must the faith of these people have been? They had not witnessed the Resurrection yet, still they chase after Jesus and bring others along as well. They had not received the Holy Spirit as of yet, still "they scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was." We have received the Holy Spirit, and we know and believe in the Resurrection of Jesus; how deep is our faith? In the first reading God says "Let there be Light" , well we have received the Light of Christ, how do we live in this light? Do we place all our hopes in Him? Do we show that we are children of the light by the way we live, or how we entertain ourselves, or how we work? How deep is our faith? We know about Jesus, but do we believe in Him? The people in the Gospel believed in Him so much that they constantly sought Him out, and brought many people to Him. They placed all their hope in Him, and taught others to do so as well. Perhaps today they can teach us to do the same.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Longing for Shade (Job7:1-4)

"Is not man's life on earth a drudgery? He is a slave who longs for the shade..." Certainly Job would not express these words if they were not true, if they were not in some way part of the universal human experience. Yet there is cause for hope. Our longings have been heard by our Father in Heaven. We have been given shade in the Shadow of the Tree of Life. Not only that but we have been given a companion to accompany us as we take time to rest in this shade from the drudgery of life. That is we have been given the Blessed Virgin Mary who stands at the foot of the Cross. Blessed Mother stands in the shadow of death, but the Cross has been revealed as the Tree of Life, and thus our Mother stands in its shade and invites us to join her in our misery. In order to embrace the life that our Lord calls us to live, we must be prepared to return often with Blessed Mother to the Shade of the Tree of Life. The reason for this is at the foot of the Cross is where we come to know our true identity. In gazing upon Christ Crucified we can come to know our dignity, our goodness, our privilege because we come to know the Love of the Most Holy Trinity. Blessed Mother is there with us to teach us about the Love of God. Our Mother also helps us to understand the dignity that we have as children of the Most High God. Mary is the teacher extraordinaire because what flows from the foot of the Cross is Humility and she who is full of Grace is equally full of Humility. Humility is the first lesson that Blessed Mother wants to teach us, and it is found in simplicity. How then in a very concrete way do we begin to enjoy the Shade of the Tree of Life and our Mother's instruction? Pray the Rosary. Even better pray the Rosary simply before the Blessed Sacrament. Our lives certainly do seem a drudgery at times and we are filled with misery, but the Shade is always available. The Rosary is not a duty that we must pray. Instead it is a rest from our daily labors when our Mother holds our hand and tells us not to worry. When our Mother comforts us and refreshes us with firmer faith and greater hope in the Mercy of her Son Jesus. Mary teaches us to accept the Love that our Father has for us, and to open our hearts to her Spouse the Holy Spirit. Blessed Mother teaches us to Trust in our Merciful Triune God whose Love for us is revealed in the Cross. Mary teaches us the joy that comes from humble acceptance of God's Love. In praying the Rosary with Blessed Mother we find rest for our weary souls and strength to continue the journey. Often times people worry about how to say the Rosary and if they are saying it correctly or not. Do not worry. The Rosary has been given to us as a comfort not a task. Why would you be anxious if you are holding the Blessed Mother's hand. Don't Be! She will teach you how to pray, and some day you will learn the traditional way the Church prays the Rosary. But most importantly know that when you pray the Rosary, even if you are in great turmoil and suffering, Mary our Mother is with you to comfort you. Trust in her love and motherly protection. Come into the Shade and stand with your Blessed Mother and learn from her about the great Love God has for you. Blessed Mother will show you how your longings can be and in fact are satisfied in the Blood and Water (the Sacramental Life) that flowed from the pierced side of Jesus her Son our Savior. Blessed Mother will show you what great Joy our Father in Heaven takes in calling you His son or daughter. Blessed Mother will show you how to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit her Divine Spouse. Simply come into the Shade. Pick up your Rosary and pray. In doing so you will be amazed at how loved you truly are as you enter into a deep and profound intimacy with the Most Holy Trinity; there you will find rest.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fear and Faith (Heb13:1-8)

"The Lord is my helper,and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?" How many of us would like to be able to pray this prayer with greater faith. However we are all very aware of what some can do to us. We have suffered in our lives. We have been hurt. Some have been abused, some neglected, some ignored. All bear their wounds, some well and others poorly, some hidden and some fully displayed for all to see. Many live in fear because of their wounds. Many do not trust anyone because of them. Yet today we are confronted with this prayer from Sacred Scripture. "The Lord is my helper,and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?" Is it a false prayer when we continue to be hurt and continue to suffer? Is it false because people continue to harm us? Is it false because those who continue to harm us are those who should love us the most? The trouble we have with this prayer is that we often read it backwards. That is to say we begin at the end, many have harmed us. Then we work backwards to the middle and say we have a right to be afraid. Finally we get to the beginning and doubt or disbelieve the Truth that the Lord is our helper. Instead we ought to begin at the beginning, The Lord is my helper. Grounded in this truth we can live our lives free from all fears. What can anyone do to me? Our response is that regardless of what happens in our lives including the sufferings we experience, the Lord is with us; He is our help even in our suffering. Therefore we do not have to be afraid. His Presence calms all our fears. His help allows us to persevere even in difficult circumstances. If we are to grow in our spiritual lives we must be grounded in the Truth of this prayer today and stop looking for ways to dispute it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nothing for the Journey (Mk6:7-13)

"He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts." The Apostles in the Gospel today are required to depend upon God' Providence as they strive to be obedient to His Will. All too often we depend upon ourselves. We count the cost of doing God's Will rather than the benefits. We shy away from His Love in order to comfort ourselves with our own selfish self love. Often this selfish love is caught up with our many possessions and or our entertainment. The Apostles left with nothing but a stick and the cloak on their backs. They trusted in Jesus who sent them on their journey, and they trusted God the Father whom Jesus had revealed. It was with this faith that they went out to bring healing to the people. The authority to cast out demons was given them by Jesus, but they also converted the people by the example of the way they lived . We would do well to be reminded of their example of trusting in Jesus and in our Father to provide for all that we need: spiritually, emotionally, psychologically physically, and materially. Certainly we are called to use our talents to work for the benefit of ourselves and our families, and we have science and medicine to aid in our health care. This is all well and good. The Apostles poverty should remind us that the source of all that is good is our Heavenly Father. It should remind us that as we travel on this journey that Jesus has invited us to begin, we ought not become preoccupied with our possessions and entertainments but instead be living examples to the world of the Loving Providence of our Father. We trust in Him. He takes care of His Children. The more we live in this truth of our faith, the more at peace we will be, and we will see great things happen in our lives.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Trials (Hebrews12:4-7)

"Endure your trials as "discipline"; God treats you as his sons." So often people complain about the struggles they have in their spiritual lives. Usually they believe that if they were just more disciplined or had greater faith, if they tried harder things would be better, or they would be holier. Never have I heard them say: " I am struggling because God the Father is treating me like a beloved child." Indeed all to often we fall in with the accuser of our brothers. We believe the lies and judgments that the deceiver sows. We ignore the Truth of our lives; that we are beloved sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Instead we act as if we should be able to will ourselves out of every struggle and weakness. That since we know better we should never fall into temptation and sin. That we can discipline our way out of any trial. In essence we want to make ourselves pleasing to ourselves; then and only then do we consider ourselves pleasing to God. In other words we forget about God our Father and His Revelation to us in Christ Jesus His only Son, our Lord and Savior, and instead act as if the spiritual life boils down to a how to feel good about yourself self help best seller. In this we are not acting upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit, the Lover of our souls. In fact we are embracing the opposite, that is the snare of the evil one, who always tries to get us to place ourselves and our feelings at the center of the Universe. The truth is that the spiritual life is a struggle. The truth is that our Father in Heaven wills it to be so because in our struggles He disciplines us. He disciplines us because He loves us as His beloved children. Enduring the trials of our life we can only be nourished by our Father's Merciful Love that is His Son Jesus. Think here of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. In enduring the trials of the spiritual life we must constantly be sustained by our Father's Loving Mercy that is the Holy Spirit, the Lover of our souls. We would do well to humbly accept and endure the trials of our spiritual life because in them our Father in Heaven draws us into communion with Him as His beloved children. In communion with Him we will be perfected, we will be made holy by His Loving Discipline. In our trials we can choose to live in the truth of this intimate relationship of Mercy with our Father, or we can embrace the self help best seller and remain in our misery as we try and fail to will ourselves to be better or happy for we will certainly not be holy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Do Not Be Afraid,Just Have Faith" (Mk5:21-43)

The suffering of the synagogue official Jairus, and the woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years did not keep them from acting according to their faith. Jairus acted publicly while the woman acted in secret. Regardless, their faith moved them to action. It moved them to trust in the Lord Jesus. How often we wait for the Lord to explicitly act first according to our desire. In doing so we remain miserable, isolated, and subject to the perversions of the evil one. In other words we remain in fear. Both the woman and Jairus recognized the Truth of their life in Christ Jesus, in His Words and in His Actions, and thus they placed all their hope in Him. Their hope was fulfilled. They found peace. With so many worries and anxieties in our daily life, how often do we find true peace? At the frantic pace at which our daily life runs, when do we find time to come to Jesus in public or in secret in order to lay our suffering before Him? When or where do we encounter the Truth of our life? We must learn to allow our faith to move us to action. In other words we must allow our faith to move us to prayer and the Sacraments. In these we come before Jesus with the burdens of our sins, our fears, and our anxieties. It is in prayer and the Sacramental life that we will find true peace and the Truth of our lives. Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation. In that feast we are reminded once again the Christ Jesus is the Light of the World. It is time for us to let our Merciful Savior to be the Light of our lives as well; to let our faith in Him move us to action. In doing so we will not be afraid of the world in which we live, but instead will find true peace knowing in His tender Mercy He will always care for us in all our afflictions.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Authority in Ordinary Time (Mk1:21-28)

The people in the Gospel today marveled at the authority with which Jesus spoke. The Unclean Spirits recognized Jesus and obeyed His Authority. They had no choice. He cast them out. Out they went. Interestingly enough, those who heard Jesus in the Synagogue did not have to recognize His Authority, nor obey Him. Neither do we. We are free to accept or reject the Son of God, Jesus, the Christ, the Savior of the World, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. We can simply ignore Him who is our Life. And we often do. Why? Because we like to live according to our own authority. Our authority, not founded upon the firm foundation that is the Loving Mercy of the Most Holy Trinity, but instead upon how we feel about a particular situation or issue. Our feelings trump the Authority of Christ Jesus. When this is pointed out, what is our response? Usually we get angry that the way we feel is not being respected. The Responsorial Psalm response was If today you here His voice, harden not your heart We often allow our hearts to harden because we refuse to recognize and obey Jesus' Authority in our daily lives. The invitation is clear this Sunday. We are invited once again to abandon our self to the Lord, and to live according to His Will. In other words to submit ourselves to His Authority; to live according to the Law of Christ and His Church. Couples pledge to teach their children this when they celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and at the Baptism of each child. It is time that this becomes more than lip service. This however is not only a challenge to parents, but to all of us this Sunday. Will we open our hearts to the voice of the Lord? Will we imitate Jesus and be obedient to the Will of God the Father? Will we recognize the Authority that Jesus has in our life and follow Him on a daily basis? Or will we continue to be swayed by our feelings and live by their authority? Will we harden our hearts because God is not telling us what we want to hear? Will we marvel at Jesus' Authority and then not obey Him? Will we reject the Obedience Discipleship demands? Unlike the unclean spirits who already chose against God and thus had to obey the Authority of Jesus in the Gospel today, we are free to choose. Listen for His voice! Harden not your heart!

Back To Blogging

Perhaps the few of you who read my blog have been wondering where I have been. I last posted from Guatemala. I was there to Baptize my beautiful niece Annabelle Eileen. Upon my return I had some work in the Parish to attend to, and also received some visitors these last few days. I also celebrated my birthday this month and basically gave myself a little time off. I will attempt now as February begins to post my reflections once again.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Behold the Lamb of God

In order for John the Baptist to recognize Jesus as the Lamb of God, he had to be living according to the Spirit. That is the Holy Spirit guided him in his daily life. He is not out searching for the Lamb, however living in the Spirit allows him to embrace Jesus when Jesus enters his daily life. All too often we either chase around looking for Christ Jesus or we live according to the spirit of the world and ignore Jesus. Neither of these ways prepare us to actually meet the Lamb of God when He enters our daily life. This Christmas season requires humility in order to see and embrace the Lamb of God. Jesus was not who John the Baptist expected, but He fulfilled all of John's expectations. The Magi had no idea what to expect but were humble enough to be guided to the Christ Child not in Herod's Palace but in a Manger in a stable in Bethlehem. So too, you and I are required to be humble. To not chase after Christ or ignore Him, but instead to be prepared to meet Him, and to encounter Him in our daily lives. In order to do this we must live according to the Holy Spirit. How do we do this? Humbly going about our daily duties knowing that the Light of the Christ Child has illumined our lives. Knowing that the Lamb of God has brought Salvation to the World, and has given us the Holy Spirit as the first gift to those who believe in Him; that His work of Mercy may be completed in us, In Our Daily Life! He speaks to our hearts, but we must be humble and listen. This Christmas we must ask for His Peace so that we can behold The Lamb of God when He comes to meet us, to bring Healing and Mercy to our wounded souls.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Listening in Her Heart

Mary pondered all that happened to her in her heart. She did so because that is where the Lord speaks to us. We have many distractions and preoccupations on our minds. This is a daily and often important occurrence; it is how we live and get along in life. However this year we ought to enter the School of Mary, and begin listening to what Our Father speaks to our hearts. His Word became flesh. His Love became flesh. His Mercy became flesh. You will not be disappointed by what you hear. Follow the Mother of God's example. Trust in the Lord and let your soul proclaim the greatness of His Love this Christmas day and throughout this new year.