Blessed are the Poor in Spirit…

September 24, 2016

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ( Matthew 5:3 )

Great ! Who are the poor in spirit ? What does it mean ? How do you know if this is something that you have gotten a handle on or not ? Why is it important enough that Jesus listed this as the very first of the Beatitudes ?

These are good questions. Who is poor in spirit ? Franciscans hold as part of their treasured chrism, the idea of spiritual poverty. At the same time, neither has there been such a divisive point in nearly all of Christendom, as the idea of poverty, what it is, and how it is exercised.

For the majority who do not belong to religious orders, and who live our lives out “in the world”, there are 2 types of poverty.

First, what spiritual poverty is NOT. Spiritual poverty is not, an experience of material poverty borne of a lack of the basics of life. It is not the poverty of unemployment, or under employment where the struggles for day to day existence is a reality. It is not borne of slavery or a lack of control over ones livelihood or destiny. It is not the result of oppression or disaster.

It is also, not a point in our lives where we have been subject to this type of poverty, but have surrendered to the idea that there is no other reality for us, and so we just accept the fact as the status quo, and attempt to find some meaning there.

Instead, spiritual poverty comes through detachment from the material things of this world.

This is where you maybe thinking… “Thats all fine and good but I still have to live, and we can’t all live in a cave “.

Spiritual poverty, does not require that we are devoid of all material possessions. Instead, Spiritual poverty is an interior process. It deals with how it is that we regard the material things in the world, both in what we own, or use, or have possession of, or control over.

Most people have possessions. Great or small, it does not matter what that thing is.
What is important is how you regard that possession. You may legally own that thing.
but, what does it take to own that thing. Does it make you take time, efforts, money, or value of some sort, away from your relationship with God.

One day Saint Francis and one of the brothers, were walking along the roads of Assisi, and the brother said ” Brother Francis, I really want a book… I have thought about it , and I would really, like to have a book !”. Francis replied … ” OK, let’s say you get a book. If you have a book, then you need a shelf… you will need a wall to hold the shelf, a house to hold the wall, a door, and a lock to secure the house, and possibly people to guard the house and to make it comfortable… Do you really need a book ? ”

The Franciscan view of material possessions, is basically that we are guardians, of the possessions we are given. Our material possessions are a trust, that we hold which are not really possessions but blessings we are guardians of, blessings held for the benefit of others. Blessings we are given for a time, and to be passed on for the benefit of our brothers and sisters.

Well, thats great, except what happens when your married, or the other people in your life, in your family etc, are not in the same place that you are, or don’t really have the same view of poverty that you do ? Good question !

For this we look to another great Franciscan Saint, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.

Saint Elizabeth was a Princess. She lived in a castle, had servants, and by outward appearances could have had anything her heart desired. These were the trappings of
a life in court. St. Elizabeth however, spent her time working tirelessly to care for the poor, and the needy in their country. She would go out at night, disguised as a regular common citizen, and take food and bread out into the streets from the kitchens in the castle.

Maybe your married, and have children. Your family did not choose poverty, so how do you work out the balance of how things should work. They have needs, wants, desires. You have to find balance in the difference, of how you deal with possessions, and at the same time, have peace in your home.

Spiritual poverty can also be a matter of relationship. In your marriage, or in your family relationships, in relations with all our brothers and sisters, your poverty may come in the form of accepting that your view, might be different from others. You may find that you will need to sacrifice your need to communicate, for the sake of leaving the relationship in tact.

Is the discussion, or the winning of the debate you are engaged in more important than leaving the bridge between you standing, and allowing a place where after the discussion is done, that it allows for your relationship to continue ? In poverty, you may need to accept that they do not agree with you, and you have to find language that allows your relationship to continue without being damaged beyond repair.

Spritual poverty, is, like many other parts of our life, a life-long process and possibly we never really get to the end of that journey until we are in Heaven. This is why is it that we Franciscans call it ” The journey and the dream”.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Canticle Reflections… is nearly here !

September 21, 2016

Here is the new book trailer for Canticle Reflections, which should be out by the end of the October !!

All Is Not As It Seems…

September 10, 2016

All is not as it seems..

A few months ago, I noticed a change in the neighborhood.  There was a house, that at one time was being used for one man, who lived there, but also ran a plumbing business out of it.  THe house was sparsely furnished, and the plumber who lived there seemed to be quiet, and only on an odd occasion would have friends over and have a get together with his friends or possibly they were employees.. but they did not seem like employees.

Anyway, one day while I was on my walk to work, I noticed a “For Sale” sign in the front yard.  I never saw anyone going there to tour the house, and not much later the sign came down.   Approximately a month later, all of a sudden the house we filled with about 4 or 5 older gentlemen, and the only vehicle that was there was a white unmarked van.    Walking past the house a couple of times a day, The people who lived there would say hello as I passed.

During those moments where I passed, I began to wonder who they were and why they were there all the time.

One Friday afternoon, while I was on my way home they invited me over to share a beer with them.  I explained that I did not want a beer, however, I would come over and sit down and visit with them for a while.  They instead offered some water, which I greatfully accepted.

Some of them, because of the Tau Cross I wear, asked me if I was “one of those church people who wanted to convert them,,,,”.  We have a number of different religious groups who frequent the neighborhood knocking on doors and asking to share their faith with us.
We also have them not only in English, but also in Spanish by well meaning folks who only speak a single language.

I proceeded to explain to them that I am still working on fixing the things that need fixing within myself, rather than trying to fix others, but if I could help someone else on their journey, then I would happy to share.

Once we got past that hurdle, they were all very warm and inviting, and would greet me as I passed on my way to or from work.  If I was not in a hurry, I would stop and talk for a bit and see what was going on.

Soon I finally learned what was going on with the people who lived there and how it came to be their home.  It seems that these men, were all homeless veterans, and one city employee, who owned the house, had provided the house to these men, so they could transition back into what ever their normal life was, prior to their homelessness.

In talking with these men, I learned a little about their journeys.  One of them, used to get up early in the morning, and would greet me every morning, and in his way attempt to give me encouragement for the days journey.  On the way home he was always there waiting to welcome me back home.  A few times, he waited for me to pass the house, and joined me in my walk to the bus stop.  In those walks, I learned that he was going to visit his family from whom he was estranged.  He was taking food, and going to do work at the house and help out the family.  He said it was not much, but it was everything he could do in showing his love for them.

One day the man was not there any more. He was gone for a couple of days and there was no one outside to greet me on my walk.  A few days ago one of them was sitting outside as I passed on my journey home, and I asked him what happened to the other gentleman, as I had not seen him for a while.  He explained that the man had returned home to his family and they had moved north together to begin rebuilding their lives again.
The point is that in the beginning of this journey, the very human view, might have been to be afraid of these people because they could have been any type of criminal, or addict.   It would be easy to judge from outward appearances that these would be people who were not desirable to have living in your neighborhood.

Investing ones time and effort in reaching out by inviting conversation, by hospitality,
by being open to anothers story, we can break down the walls of assumption, or appearances, and learn the true heart of the other.

Love, is the lesson.  Love of neighbor. Love of “the other” in our lives. These are the things that bring about the opportunities to share Christ with others.  Not by force, not by abuse, and not by the use of methods that are more akin to winning a battle or war.  Sharing Christ is done first, through acts of love that we share.
May God give you the gift of His peace !

Asceticism and Self-Control … Get a hold of yourself man !

September 2, 2016

I find it interesting that when most people talk about the fruits of the Holy Spirit, when they get to listing through them, this always gets the label of “Self-Control”.

That is correct, it is how it is listed, but what does that really mean ?

In a world that seems to celebrate extremes in nearly every sense of the word, how is the idea of self-control even apply ? How does one make that work ?

I like to consider self-control, more in terms of self-mastery. Let me explain.

One never truly attains self-mastery. It is instead, like life an experiential process.

Consider this… In our earthly, physical lives, we spend a vast amount of time trying to gain control of our physical bodies. We were potty trained. It was experiential.

We experienced loss. Loss or separation from our parent, or sibling. Possibly we learned that we could not eat foods that made us sick. We had to learn to walk.

We all had to learn as children going through the “terrible two’s” to control our temperament. It also was an experiential process.

In much the same way, our faith life is also very experiential. There is the faith lessons we learn from our parents, and from our ministers, friends or other family members. We take those lessons, and ply those against the world that we understand, or at least have experience with.

How many times have we gone to Mass, and heard the same stories, the same scriptures over and over again, but somehow, it becomes new to us, a facet of the story rings out and touches us because of the experiences we are having in our lives right this moment.

We learn, we experience, we re-learn, and we (hopefully) develop a small bit of self-control.

Asceticism, deals with the giving up of temporal pleasures, but this is only half the story. The other half is the reigning in of ones will, and of ones mind.

Self-control is a bit like Lent. In the beginning of our spiritual lives, a young person may see Lent strictly in the light of the idea that they need to discipline their physical bodies by giving up things. Its strictly an idea of abstinence, or giving up something because “its the rule… Its what we do”.

Later on however, as we grow in faith, we come to the understanding that it’s not just about the thing you’re giving up, it is also a spiritual exercise. Moving from just giving things up, to sharing the love of Christ with our brothers and sisters, and giving those gifts back to God in praise and thanksgiving.

When we take that time, to really dig deep, and clear out the closets and cobwebs in our spiritual lives, and form our own will, our own thoughts and desires, to conform with the will of God, THEN we gain steps on the journey of self-control.

As part of Saint Francis’ Peace prayer goes.. “It is in dying (to self) that we are born to eternal life ”

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Modesty….. More Than What You Think

August 27, 2016

There was a young man stands in the midst of a crowd of people, takes a gun from his pocket and proceeds to point it straight up into the air and fires it. He does not hit anyone, near him, and says nothing, and does nothing else.

This caused some problems, as you might imagine.

Lets examine the issue a bit more closely. The story above does not really tell us too much about anything other than their factual occurrences. First, lets examine some possibilities about what occurred with those who were standing around. First, the people who were in the crowd.

What was going through the minds of those people who were standing around the young man who fired the gun ? We do not know for sure, but we can imagine. They heard a loud noise, and initially they might have been frightened, scared, shocked, or maybe disoriented. A few moments later for those who were closest, possibly the those feelings and emotions might have evolved into different feelings..

If they were really close and knew where the noise came from, if might have caused people to try and neutralize what they might perceive as the physical threat. Depending on where they were in the world, they might construe as celebration, or possibly think nothing at all about it.

Then we come to the question of the person who made the decision to fire the gun. There is really only 1 question that lingers. WHY ? Why did they do that ? What brought them to that decision ? What were they wanting to accomplish ? Did they accomplish the result they desired ? In the end, was it good for them ? OK, possibly more than one question !

So we have an entire process. We question the impetus, thought or inspiration for the action, followed by the act itself, and then the resultant of the action.

I know, at this point your probably asking yourself what does this have to do with Modesty ? Be patient, anyone who knows me, knows there is always a story to tell and its a process.

Let’s take a look at Modesty and what is really is, and how we address it.

Modesty is not just about your clothing choices. Modesty consists of humility, poverty, relationships, respect, and dignity.

Modesty as with all things has its root planted firmly in God. It is our relationship with God that brings us to the understanding that life is sacred at each point, and at every age, from conception to natural death. If you truly understand that the life of every person is sacred, and a gift from God, then we can also understand everything we do from the time of our birth, until the time of our death, is directly connected to our

relationship with God.

This relationship consists of a spiritual poverty. The we give up attachments, and allurements of this world in favor of a life based in faith. We save certain parts of our selves only for God, to live, and to love as Jesus taught. This modesty is counter cultural in today’s society.

Modesty is humility in the giving up of desires, whether they are fashion, or lifestyle or pleasures of other sorts. It is accepting that we give those things up because they are not pleasing to God, and are detrimental to our relationship with Him, and our own spiritual growth.

Modesty is also about our relationship, with other people.

I read an article from a theologian who said that modesty had absolutely nothing to do with others. ( Here is where the story comes in.) Like the man in the story, his actions had a direct and effective reaction, or response, to those around him. At the same time it also had an effect on him personally.

As Christians, our first and best testament, our best witness, comes from the example of how we live our lives. A person who not only dresses modestly, and has a respect for life, that includes their own bodies, and desires spiritual growth for themselves and others, will have a life that is testament to the beauty of a life lived for God.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Faithfulness…

August 19, 2016

Faithfulness…

Normally we consider faithfulness something that belongs to our spouses, or a particular person… and it is , but it is also a great deal more.

Faithfulness is all about relationships and ideas. It has to do with faith, loyalty, trust, standards, assurances and truth.

Faithfulness in our relationships should have their beginnings and entire journey, as with all things, seated firmly with God. For God is the hallmark of faithfulness. He is the standard of faithfulness. Our relationships with our spouses, our family, our friends, in fact all of our relationships have a certain bond of faithfulness in how we carry out that relationship.

In marriage, family and friendship, our relationship of faithfulness is born forth from the love we carry in our hearts for the other. It is the an abiding, and enduring relationship that withstands the tests of hardships, time, distance, injury, or dryness.
The marriage relationship in particular, carries with it a faithfulness that reaches beyond those of friendship and other relationships because of the nature of the relationship, Marriage is the bonding of hearts, souls, and flesh into one. That bonding is accomplished through God, so there is a three fold relationship of this faithfulness, between the Husband, the wife, and God.

Faithfulness also is present in our relationships in our public life. We are faithful in our relationships in business. To be honest about our relationship with others, in whatever our relationship is, with our company, with our customers, with co-workers.
Our faithfulness in our business relationships means that we are worthy of trust and that faithfulness, again, springs forth from our relationship with God.

Faithfulness is not just about loyalties. It more about a living truth, and an abiding covenant relationship with God and with others. Holding yourself to a standard. That standard can be a number of things. It is a standard of living a good and moral life.
It is trying to be a good and faithful, Christian. For those who are part of an order, or who have taken Holy Orders, it is about living the rule that we profess.

Faithfulness is about being genuine. You hold yourself in a place where you try to be true to your faith, to promises made, to the relationships you have entered into. It is about making difficult decisions that are held to the measure of those ideals. At times it may be not only holding ourselves to those standards, but reminding others of those standards.

It is not always easy by human standards to be faithful, but with the grace of God and assistance of the Holy Spirit, We ascend the heights of faithfulness. Faithfulness is the reason why it is that the martyrs were able to give their lives in testament to the faith. It is the reason why when we in our human-ness fail, that we can pick ourselves up and move onward.

Finally faithfulness does not mean we will not fail. It also does not mean that there will not be trials and hardships, pain or sorrows. It means that we will however have the tools we need to overcome those issues. It means that we will be given the grace to know that what we do in our efforts to be faithful to those relationships will bear fruit in our lives.

Faithfulness is a gift, a grace, it can be the source of trials,yes, but those trials are also a grace, and a blessing. It is through those challenges we face that God works with us, and we are able to grow in our faith. It also gives us the opportunity to share, and to minister to others who may also be struggling.


Though all the peoples walk, each in the name of its god, We will walk in the name of the LORD, our God, forever and ever” (Micah 4:5

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Gentleness…

August 12, 2016

Gentleness…

“ I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love.”
(Ephesians 4:2)

Paul wrote the epistles to the Ephesians during the time he was in prison in Rome. During Paul’s time in Rome he was imprisoned not once but twice, and at the end of the second occurrence he was martyred.

Paul for a long time had not lived what would be considered an easy life after his conversion. I think some times we tend to romanticize the life of the Apostles. We somehow confuse the life they lived because of their proximity to Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The apostles lead the same life the Jesus lived during his earthly ministry ( save for the passion and various other divine aspects). Basically the lives of homeless nomadic people who were not particularly liked in the places they visited or preached in.

Paul, who was about the business of converting souls and spreading the Gospel news, was imprisoned in Rome and his captives and persecutors were not kind if anything they were abusive and hateful, distrustful, hateful of him and this new religion that he was busy trying to spread about. He did not belong in polite Roman society, and did not think that Caesar was a god to be worshiped and since he basically had no home, no income, no assets to speak of he was of little use to them as a whole because he had nothing to contribute in their view.

Does this in any way sound familiar ?

Consider for a moment that in the world climate the view of Christians as a whole has suffered, and
the world even in countries and regions where the church has been deeply embedded for centuries have people who no longer believe in God, or who despise any sort of faith life, whether its their own or others. There are places in the world where people who are of different faiths are persecuting
Christians for the faith that they profess and love. Has history really changed ? No, not really.

Like some, we have people who profess one thing however, what they do in the lives is totally different. That also has not changed.

Just as in Jesus time we have those who would try to persecute us, and make it legal to do so.
We have those who would try to separate parts of our lives from other parts in order to extricate the influence of God from within the gates of our hearts and lives, both public and private.

The times have not changed at all, only the people in the story have changed.

Paul, along with the other disciples, had to endure all manner of hatred, violence, persecution not to mention the human experience of living homeless in the world.

Remember that Paul, although an Apostle, was very much just a human. He has the same feelings, the same issues, the same challenges as all of the other people of his time. In the view of the world, he had gone from the very peak of his professional life, a pharisee , and one favored by society , to the very bottom of society. He went from worldly riches, to worldly poverty.

“He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness ” (Hebrews 5:2)

In our daily lives, we also face challenges to our efforts towards gentleness. Those usually occur in the course of encounters with other people. When we encounter the basic human-ness that is the nasty hectic, feral, emotional, psychological, socialistic, sorts of failings not only in others, but in ourselves.

We fail at gentleness in the same breath, if you will, that we fail in forgiveness. They are in a way like box cars. the failure at gentless comes..
then the failure in forgiveness follows.

We as brothers and sisters, suffer from our humanity, and all our faults that come along with them. Lets say that we are at work and we engage
or get engaged in a conversation which becomes emotionally charged. It hits some nerve in one or the other. One person gets upset.. then another gets upset. Both feeling that they are in the right.

Maybe once we are out of the heat of the moment, we realize, that we were not as gentle with the other person as we could have been. We sit with God and we pray about it.. and resolved to do better at being gentle and loving and kind.

The next thing you know, another encounter, and maybe you know it in the moment, or maybe even after the next encounter now you not only feel bad that you were maybe not as gentle as you could have been in the moment, but on top of that you FAILED … AGAIN ! It’s frustrating and now you feel twice as bad since you are aware of it and your human failings are sitting there staring you in the face.

Our walk through faith and ALL the failings could be very disheartening, IF it were not for the fact that these times when we are aware of those failings and we try , and we work on our spiritual lives and strain and struggle through all these emotional traumas, are exactly the times when
we can rejoice ! We can rejoice in our trails and sufferings because these are exactly the times that God is close, and the spirit is working with us.

The mere fact that we realize that we failed means that God also knows and loves us and loves the fact that we struggle so with our spiritual lives. We struggle because we love Him. Because we want to be closer to God, because we want what ever is His will for us.

God knows…and loves you for the struggles you carry. So, carry your struggle forward. Work on the failings you have. Do not be disheartened when you fail, just acknowledge them, make amends where you can, and understand that some struggles will be with you for life… and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Failure is only a bad thing if we know we have failed, and do nothing about it.

“Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near”
(Philippians 4:5)

Onward… upward… Homeward !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Generosity…

August 6, 2016

Generosity…

Merriam-Webster says that the definition of “Generosity” is :
“the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish : the quality of being generous; especially : willingness to give… valuable things to others” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/generosity)

The part of this definition that caught my eye was at the end.. a willingness to give valualble things to others.

As with the other fruits of the Holy Spirit, generosity emminates from love. The love of God for us, and the love we are to share with our brothers and sisters.

The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are not things that emminate from us as brothers and sisters, it is love we receive from God, and is diffused the church, through the brothers and sisters, in love and in generosity.

We are called to perform these spiritual and corporal works of mercy, not because they are works that we originate and offer up, quite the contrary. These actions have their origin in God. Our brothers and sisters in an act of free will give ascent to Gods command to share His love and His graces with all people.

Primary amongst these calls is what is called the “Great Commision”, that we are to go forth and share our faith with ALL people and ALL nations. This command is supreme in our human acts of love and generosity.

Consider how great a gift your faith is for you, for your family, for friends and neighbors. Consider the graces and blessings that have flowed forth in acts of love, kindness, and generosity.

Greatly you have received, and therefore great things are expected of you. You received the great gift of your faith, “the pearl of great price” and then Jesus said to take this great gift and share it with the world.

You were given the gift of the greatest love possible, the love of God. God in His mercy
only asks of us to share that love, not only with Him, but to be the channel of that love and mercy and blessing.

The sin of greed is great, but it is not insurmountable. For God has blessed us and crowned us with with kingship, he has blessed us as priests to go out and carry His message.

You do not have to be a great orator, or preacher, or even do grand acts on the greatest of scales.. The only thing God asks is that you do even little things with great love.

The greatest love is that of loving and serving God, and fulfilling God’s will for us
in the service of Him towards our brothers and sisters.

Saint Francis said ” Preach at all times, and when necessary use words”. Notice that the words come AFTER action. Our service towards our brothers and sisters is always first in order, if our actions fail to suffice, or once the work has been done, speak with the words of God.

May God give you the gift of His peace… and generosity !

Goodness.. (gracious !)

July 29, 2016

Goodness.. (gracious !)

The subject of this point of reflection is goodness. Goodness is part of fruits of the Holy Spirit. Goodness is something that could in some circles be thought of not to much unlike niceness. This, however, is not quite like that. Goodness has to do with those
things are in the realm of morality.

First, was the idea that mankind was created by God, In Genesis 1:27

“God created mankind in his image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.

God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;

and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened.

God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day ”

So, we know that man was created “good”, and we also know that through the course of salvation history mankind fell from grace, and to spite everything we still suffer from
the stain of sin. So there is always some work to do in this area..

So how is it that we know if our actions are “good” or not ?

Lets take a look at what the Catechism teaches us :

“A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end , and of the circumstances together. An evil end, corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself ( such as praying and fasting ” in order to be seen by men”)

The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts – such as fornication – that it is always wrong to choose , because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is , a moral evil.

It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances ( environment, social pressure, duress, or emergency, etc) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independent of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object ; such as blasphemy, and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.” ( CCC 1755-56).

Basically, any action that contains a component that is evil or illicit is in and of itself morally corrupt, regardless of the circumstance, or method.

Now consider what this means in light of the current world view…

Currently we live in a culture of death. It is currently acceptable from a worldly point of view to take the life of another human being, with the exception of a few circumstances.

Abortion, Euthanasia, Right to die, Assisted suicide, illness of various sorts are all perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the world as a reason to take life. This view is distorted and contrary to Moral theology.

For instance, it is not morally acceptable to kill one child, so that another child might have a heart transplant, so the other child will live.

Abortion is not morally acceptable, first because the taking of a life is not ever acceptable, but for the sake of this discussion, having an abortion because you fear that it would keep you from attending college is not morally acceptable because in your view, the “good” of having an easier life after attending school, does not negate the evil of taking a life.

In the same way.. Just because something is “legal” does not make it “moral” or good. ergo, whether in its object, or in its circumstance, regardless of intent, it is still evil.

Man was given the gift of free will, so that although we have been given the gift of salvation, it still is a choice left to each person to make.

Do good to your brothers and sisters, love your neighbor, all of these admonitions point the way for us to know what is good. TO know what is just and to know what is right.

Jesus made it so painfully simple, and even whittled it down to only 2 commandments.
To love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

All of the other fruits of “GOOD” are able to be extrapolated from these two commandments.

As Franciscans, the other part of the greeting ” Peace and all Good” , is born out in our mission to not only to be peacemakers, but to DO good, and to bless others, and to carry all the blessings we can forward for the “good” of others..

May God give you the gift of his Peace !….. and Good !

Your Abundance to Supply Their Needs…

July 23, 2016

Your Abundance to Supply Their Needs…

“Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less.” ( 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 )

We as Franciscans, follow the evangelical counsels of Spiritual poverty, Chastity, and Obedience according to our state of life.

The idea of spiritual poverty is encapsulated well in this reading. This type of poverty is not an oppressive type of poverty that is a suffering of many in the world today. It is not the type of poverty where because of greed, or power that is forced upon the weak or forgotten of our society.

Instead, this type of poverty is based on the idea that we are stewards of the blessings we have received for the benefit of our brothers and sisters.

Many times I hear people say.. ” They deserve what they get ” or ” I worked hard to get the nice things I have …” , ” It’s not my fault they did not do what was necessary to get where I am, they reap what they sew”…

First, we don’t always know what goes on below the surface and what their journey has been to bring them to this point. In my older years I can not tell you how many of my friends and classmates I went to school with, every day, and who have later shared some of the challenges they were living through that no one ever knew. Life happens to everyone and everyone grows at different times in life. No one is born or lives perfectly.

Secondly, no one progresses in life, without benefit of brothers and sisters, family and friends who help them along the way.

God provides blessings to all. In some cases he blesses people with abundance in order to give them the opportunity, to be a good and faithful steward of those, NOT so they can hoard these blessings, but so that they can care for their own needs, and to help to provide for the needs of those who were blessed differently.

It provides those who were given much materially, to have the chance to examine their lives, and they hearts, and give them the opportunity to be a conduit for the blessings to those in need.

On the other side of the coin, those who were not blessed with an excess of material blessings were blessed differently. Let me explain. Many years ago, I purchased a book,
solely based on its title.. ” All you need to know about prayer, you can from the poor”. The book is about the experiences of missionaries in the poorest of the Caribbean Islands, and their spiritual lessons gained there working with them.

The point is that those who are poor, or marginalized are not “less”. They are not lesser people, or less blessed by God in their lives. They are blessed differently, than the materially well to do. In some ways the poor tend to be close to God because they have a dependency on God for the necessities of life.

In the poor, who are a blessing to the materially blessed, provide a way for those who are to be the stewards of material blessings, not only a channel to complete the mission of being that steward, but also to receive in return the Love of God through those they share with.

The love of God is the equalizer of all each brother and sister has a part, a blessing to give to a brother or sister that needs it. Each brother and sister has something to both give AND to receive no matter what your worldly position is.

It is only left to you to understand that you are blessed greatly in one way or another, and that you are charged with sharing that blessing with your brothers and sisters who are in some kind of need of the additional blessings you have received.

May God give you the gift of His peace….. and Share that blessing with your brothers and sisters !