Friday, February 26, 2021

 If you have tried everything else, why not try God?  


Identify someone close to you who has tried everything else, 

and pray that this person will try God.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

"The two most important days in your life 

are the day you are born 

and the day you find out why." 

– attributed to Mark Twain

What is your "Why"?  

Saint Paul realized that he was chasing the wrong "why." In a life-changing moment, when Paul heard the voice of God, he completely redirected his life.  In a letter to the Christians in the city of Colossae, he shares this "why" with them,    

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

To his friends in Corinth, he said, "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."  

Paul found his "why" when he met Jesus. Telling others about Jesus was how Saint Paul lived out his "why."  I believe we who discover Jesus in our lives all have the same "why."  And that is to share the joy and the love we have experienced with others.  The world desperately needs to hear Good News.  Those of us who know the love of the Lord, need to make sharing that love - that good news - our "why."

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

This story touched me ...

One day, while on the bus, I encountered a man and his two young daughters.
The young girls immediately gravitated towards me, and we chatted the whole ride. Several minutes later, my stop arrived. As I was getting off the bus, I noticed that the shoelaces of the youngest were undone. “Oh sweetie,” I called over, “I wish I had seen that your laces are undone. I would have tied them for you!” “Tie my shoelaces now!!!” she screamed at the top of her lungs. Fortunately, it seemed this was their stop as well, since the father and his daughters exited the bus. I asked her father permission to tie the girl’s shoelaces, and he gave it. I tied her laces. Soon, the older daughter was also exclaiming, “One of my laces is undone too!” I didn't want her to feel left out or ignored, so I simply tied her shoes. I thanked the gentleman for allowing me to help his daughters. He thanked me back, explaining, “Myself, I cannot help them. I only have use of one hand.”
In parting, I recalled the words of my father so many years ago:
“Do you know what it is to be Christian?” my father asked. “Yes,” I replied, “we go to church.” “It is much more than that,” he instructed. If you are somewhere in society and see someone struggling, you need to walk over to them and help. That is being Christian.”

So simple ... but so true!  

Friday, February 19, 2021

 “You can’t go back and change the beginning, 

but you can start where you are and change the ending.” 

– C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Lent of Love.

Lent is different this year.  This past year, we have been living a life where sacrifice is the new normal. For our good, and the good of our neighbor, we have abstained from social events and strapped on masks for any and every outing. We have skipped vacations.  We have endured mental, emotional, and spiritual fatigue that comes with months of uncertainty and anxiety. Emotionally, the pandemic has taken a toll on each one of us in ways we might not even realize. 

Lent this year is a time to reflect on how we responded to the challenges we faced throughout the year?  Do we need to ask anyone for forgiveness? Is there a change we need to make from what we learned about ourselves?

Maybe this year, Lent should be different. This year during Lent, let us all take time to think about how we should live as a community, protect each other from illness, finding new and better ways of taking care of each other in the years to come.  Rather than give something up this year, let's seek out neighbors or fellow parishioners who have genuinely suffered this past year and bring some love and joy to them.  This Lent, let us pray and fast, but let's also reach out and love someone.  Let's make this Lent a time of healing not only our bodies but also our souls.  This Lent let's find someone who needs our love, and love them back to health and hope.  

Let's make 2021 the Lent of Love. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

We try to live so that He will love us, rather than because He has already loved us.

- Lloyd Ogilvie 

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. 

- Saint Augustine

Friday, February 12, 2021

Psalm 19 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Since he was a boy, my son Luke has told me that his church is the ocean.  While I rolled my eyes at this witty remark from this avid surfer, this response has grown on me over the years. Don’t get me wrong; Luke always attended Mass on Sundays growing up and brings his family now as an adult.  But there is something religious for him about the ocean.  What he experiences in the sea is summed up in the word – awe.  The power and majesty of the ocean give him a sense of the transcendence of God. He feels awe in the ocean, which helps him experience the power and majesty of God. 

Awe enables us to perceive in the world hints of the divine, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple.  Moments of awe allow us to feel the passing of God.  What we often cannot comprehend by analysis is grasped in a moment of wonder and awe. 

Awe is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wonder and awe are God's gifts that enrich our lives and allow us to feel his touch. Awe opens our eyes to the presence of God in the world of nature. It allows us to see God in each other, feel his presence in prayer and in the celebration of the sacraments. 

If we zero in on the sights, smells, and sounds around us and savor details we might not have noticed before in our daily rush, everything can inspire awe. The main requirement for channeling more wonder is learning how to slow down, let go of worries and be present in the moment.

Try one of these: 

  • Spend time with a child. Young kids seem to live in a perpetual state of awe over nearly everything they do and see. Their amazement is contagious and can help you experience the world through their fresh eyes. 
  • Learn about inspiring people like the saints allowing yourself to be energized by their example. 
  • Go surfing, or at least walk by the seashore. 
  • Take a walk in nature.
  • Let me close with the words of St. Paul. 

    “May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -  Romans 15:13

    Monday, February 8, 2021


    Harvest of God

    by Macrina Wiederkehr

    It was only a small wind,

    Rather gentle, like a breeze.

    It blew a strand of hair across my forehead

    And I knew it was God.

     I was awakened by a tiny gleam of light

    It slipped through my curtain, onto my face.

    It drew me to my feet and on to the window

    Drawing back the curtains

    Dawn stepped softly into my room.

    I knew that it was God.

     In the middle of my loneliness

    The phone rang.

    A voice I knew so well, said

    “Hello, I love you.”

    Love stirred in my soul

    I knew that it was God.

     Rain fell gently on thirsty ground.

    Slowly, carefully, steadily it came

    To an earth parched with waiting.

    Through those raindrops

    I walked, unafraid – without an umbrella.

    I knew that it was God.

     It was only a little bitterness I thought

    But it wouldn’t leave my heart.

    It hung around my soul for ages

    Until a storm came, violent and terrifying.

    It shook me to the depths of my being

    And blew all the bitterness away.

    I knew that it was God

     It was only a Silver Maple

    But in the morning’s sunlight

    It was filled with heaven.

    I stood in a trance

    As one touched by angel wings.

    I knew that it was God.

    O God, I cried, Endearing One,

    I love you! You cannot hide from me.

    Between the cracks of daily life

    I find you waiting

    To be adored.

    You slip into my life

    Like night and day

    Like stars and sunshine.

    I know that you are God.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2021

    Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace

    Today we remember the presentation of Jesus in the temple as a baby. In the temple, Jesus was welcomed by an older man - Simeon - nearing the end of his life. Simeon's words on seeing Jesus are words every Christian should make one's own. "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation."

    Like Simeon, we have seen our salvation in the life of Jesus Christ.  Like Simeon, the effect that should have on us is ... peace.

    The word "peace" in the Bible refers to a mental attitude of tranquillity a Christian experiences from a relationship with God. It describes the result of a person's response to God's Grace. A response we refer to as faith. There is personal peace with God, which comes when a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior. Then, there is the peace of God, which is available daily as the believer participates in the Christian life. So, when we respond to God's grace by faith, the result is peace. 

    Amazing Grace is the most powerful Christian hymn because it speaks the truth simply and profoundly.

    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me
    I once was lost, but now I am found
    Was blind, but now I see

    Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
    And grace my fears relieved

    “The Christian faith makes it possible for us nobly to accept that which cannot be changed, to meet disappointments and sorrow with an inner poise, and to absorb the most intense pain without abandoning our sense of hope, for we know, as Paul testified, in life or in death. . .’that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.'” – Martin Luther King Jr.

    This quote from Martin Luther King Jr perfectly explains why being a Christian brings a peace beyond all understanding. We have peace because we believe God's love gives our life purpose.  

    "Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."   Romans 5:1

    Monday, February 1, 2021

    Do you read the Psalms?

    If I'm telling the truth, I struggled with the Psalms most of my life; I pretty much ignored them. The Church encourages priests and deacons to read the Psalms daily. It has been a pleasant surprise how much the Psalms have moved my heart. It is easy to offer a prayer that is simple sweet, something we learned as a child.  When we pray with the Psalms, the range of emotions recorded in them forces us to speak honestly to God about our life.  

    The Psalms talk of happiness, delight, and laughter but they also speak of sighing, crying and groaning. They challenge us to confront our hatred, fear, and guilt exposing our darker side to God. The Psalms force us to face our shame and disgrace. Often reading them is not easy. But if you want an honest dialogue with God, they are great tools.

    When life is full of questions and doubts, when life is just plain difficult,  it's OK to yell and scream at God. The Psalms can help you do that:

    • My eye is wasted from grief – 31:9
    • Day and night Your hand was heavy upon me – 32:4
    • My strength is dried up – 32:4
    • How long, oh LORD? Will you forget me forever? - 13:1
    • My God, my God, why have you forsaken me - 22:1
    • Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord! - 130:1
    • With my voice, I cry out to the Lord; with my voice, I plea for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I declare my trouble before him. - 142:1–2
    • In my trouble, I called to the LORD; I called to my God for help. - 18:6

    The Psalms will also give you words of comfort, words that lift your spirit:

    • Whenever I am anxious and worried, you comfort me and make me glad. - 94:19
    • I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. - 34:4-5
    • You are my God. I worship you. In my heart, I long for you, as I would long for a stream in a scorching desert. 63:1
    • Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. 46:10
    • You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.  - 86:5
    • I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. - 119:58
    • Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people,  - 100:3
    • I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. - 116:1-2
    • The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul - 23:1-2

    Open the Psalms during your prayer time and let them speak for your heart to God.