The Problem of Aging

January 19, 2019

“ Knowing that a man is not justified by legal observance but by faith in Jesus Christ, we too have believed in him in order to be justified by faith in Jesus Christ., not by observance of the law; for by works of the law no one will be justified. It was through the law that I died to the law, to live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own. Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and give himself for me”

( Galatians 2:16,19-20)

: “I have been crucified with Christ “ …

Life is tough. We all struggle, we all have pain and sorrow in our lives. What is it about the pains in our lives ? There is that ever present question for those who serve in ministry, and for those who are close to the suffering. Why ? … Why must we suffer these pains ? Even the little pains and frustrations , that become the inconvenience of our daily lives.. ?

We are each given a period of time on the earth. A season to live out our lives. From the time that we are born, the time of that season grows shorter. That time is given to us to grow and return to God.

This was how it was for Jesus. He was born, lived his time on Earth. He has his own pains and sorrows, frustrations and inconveniences.

As most people consider the life of Jesus on Earth, they really only consider the Passion, Death and Resurrection . Let us for a moment consider what His life was like before the Paschal Mysteries. He lived a life in exile, He lived under obedience to his parents. Joseph was a carpenter.. I am pretty sure he obtained some splinters.. might have smashed his thumb in an unplanned hammer swing. I am sure He was frustrated not only with other people , but even with Joseph and Mary at some point. Jesus lived to provide the example for us to follow. In ALL things.

The one thing that Jesus did not do was to live into old age. You might think to yourself. “ Yes, he didn’t really give us a way to handle that !” But you would be mistaken. The thing about having parents who get older, is that the family dynamic changes. The child takes on the role of parent in that there is a need for the children to take over the role of care-giver, and guardian.

Jesus , with the knowledge of God, had to suffer with the growing pains of those around Him. He had to be patient, and guide others. Think of Jesus ( who is God) as a child with all the faculties of God , having to lead His earthly parents, who were in charge.

As our parents age we are faced with the possibility of dealing with the loss of people who have been our parent, and if we are fortunate, we have time to prepare for that. This is one of the crosses we face as children. If we are parents, then its the same cross we are just crucified on the other side of it.

Jesus was the child of Mary, and at the same time, I am sure He felt like a parent to the disciples, as they were the closest to Him. Imagine he knew from the beginning of His Earthly ministry, that his time was coming to an end like the parent. At the same time, He neither wanted to leave His mother, or His “children”. We can relate the agony in the garden of Gethsemane to this time of caring for our parents or being the parent unable to do all the things we used to be able to do.

In this way we “die” to the law of our earthly life, and take these experiences, these crosses, and use them to live for Christ. To live His example, to grow through these crosses and through these challenges, and to take the example that Christ gave to us and to be the channel of God’s graces and blessings to our brothers and sisters , by the example of our lives.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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You, Yourselves Were Once Alienated…

December 21, 2018

“You yourselves were once alienated from Him; you nourished hostility in your hearts because of your evil deeds. But now Christ has achieved reconciliation for you in His mortal body by dying , so as to present you to God holy , free of reproach and blame. But you must hold fast to faith ,be firmly grounded and steadfast in it, unshaken in the hope promised you by the gospel you have heard. It is the gospel which has been announced to every creature under heaven.”

( Colossians 1:21-23 )

In this reading, Paul is writing a letter of encouragement for the church in Colossae. This passage is part of a reminder to the Greeks that they too were integrated into the Body of Christ and reconciled to God through Christ.

At one point, the Greeks were alienated from the Church because there were people who believed that only Jews could be Christians. Somehow they believed that belonging to Christ was just an extension of being a Jew and because of that, Greeks were not part of that extension, and could not therefore be Christian.

This passage calls to mind that we, are all sinners. Through sin we can become separated from God. Sin is a choice. Because we have free will, and because of our human failings we sin. That sin causes injury to our relationship with God. God has indeed achieved reconciliation for us in His body.

In His body Jesus reconciled us. Today, He lives, and reconciles us to God in the sacrifice of the Mass, in the sacrament of Reconciliation, and the sacrament of Penance

Eucharist and Penance. Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. “It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins.”

( CCC# 1436 )

If you are somehow separated from God, or from the Body of Christ, His church, then I want to tell you that you are not too far gone, you are not a lost cause, you are not either worthless or unloved. It is possible that you have sinned. We ALL have sinned. You may have hurt someone . We ALL have hurt others. Sin hurts not only the person that commits the sin, it hurts the entire Body of Christ, the entire church. We ALL have done this. Some might sin more mightily than others. It does not matter. Please, come and talk to a priest. You can even talk to a priest who is not in your normal parish. AND You DONT have to be Catholic to do it. Make a call, reach out… In the grander scheme of things at the very least, you get to talk to another human being who will understand what your going through. BUT, I am willing to bet, that in the process of doing so, you can find that you are not that different, and that you will find that there is a community of people, who are waiting there to welcome you home.

Oh , and just in case you were wondering, like everything else in the world, you will find there are others in there, who are struggling just as much as you are, and we are all just in there, to know God , to love God and to serve God… maybe a little better than we did yesterday, and to help each other out on the way. !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

The Whole Created World Awaits

December 16, 2018

“ The sufferings of the present are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us. Indeed, the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God . Creation was made subject to the futility , not of its own accord but by Him who once subjected it; yet not without hope , because the world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. “

(Romans 8:18-21)

We are Christians are in a perpetual Advent, and at the same time, in a perpetual Christmas. Advent at the same time can be viewed in some ways as also a season of Lent. Lets look a bit closer..

“ The whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God.” We are awaiting the coming of God, and we do this perpetually every single year during the Advent season, every season of the liturgical calendar, and indeed, at every single Holy Mass said in every corner of the world.

“We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection, until you come again !”

As a child we lived far away from our extended family. When the holidays would draw near, my mother used to tell us that we needed to clean the house because my grandmother was coming to visit.

We would work furiously over a weekend or two to make sure everything was spotless. There were our rooms to be cleaned ( a feat unto itself) and there were animals to attend to, Vacuuming an dusting . We had a rather large brass table that was intricately engraved and a set of floor length candlesticks that were also brass that had to be polished.. etc.. Needless to say it was ( at least for us kids) exhaustive work. In the end, she did not come. This went on for a number of years, and finally one year when we were in high school, the expected news came that grandmother would be on her way to visit, and my mother said her expected lines, that we would be required to clean the house top to bottom and the work would begin immediately ( regardless of whatever we had planned ) …

As you might expect, like the boy who cried wolf, we kids finally lost any faith that grandmother was coming, and began to suspect that either, grandmother was full of malarkey OR, that we had been made the subject of a ploy by our mother to get the house cleaned in a manner fit for the setting for the holidays fit for a Rockwell painting.

It took Grandmother about 8 years to show up. Eventually she did. It was forever for her to get there and it was not during the Holidays as we had expected, however, it was none the less a grand celebration .

Possibly, we allow ourselves to fall into this trap as well with our spiritual lives. We spend time once or twice a year to clean things up a little, just in case, and after we have fulfilled our family obligation… Back we go to where we were.. Its back to work.. back to school.. back to our lives.

That little burning ember, and light, goes dim from being smothered because the air that it needs, is being suffocated by the demands of the world. Responsibilities, work, family, finances etc. are the things that we can allow to take air out of the chamber of heart where that flame lives.

We have to work on our faith, on our spiritual lives every day. We are waiting , preparing , longing for the coming of Christ. Christ is present in each member of the Body., we also long for the coming of Christ in our brothers and sisters. To celebrate Christ in them as well, and to be the channel of grace for them.

We await the “freedom from corruption of sin”. We need to work to make that happen. It won’t happen on its own. It is a map of conversion, daily, that we need to follow, to push away the darkness, and work to avoid, and clean through a regular examination of conscience, and confession.

This is the path where we can finally share “ in the glorious freedom of the Children of God”.

This does not have to wait until Christ comes again, we can share in this freedom today. We can enjoy the blessings today if we desire it in our hearts, if we share the love of God, if we work towards our own personal conversions, and seek Christ in others.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

The Sufferings and The Glory !

December 9, 2018

“The sufferings of the present are nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us . Indeed, the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. Creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord, but bu Him who one subjected it.; not without hope, because the world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. “

( Romans 8:18-21 )

Reading through this passage, it might be easy for us, to turn this reading inward. To consider the “sufferings of the present” into the sufferings of our own lives, or at least what we might consider the sufferings that we are currently going through. In part, this is correct, and in part, it is only the beginning. Like the rest of humanity, we have the tendency of looking within. However, it does not take a vast amount of effort to look around, to view where we are in the world over all, and find another who is suffering. It is through this view outside of our own lives that we can come to a realization of how blessed we are. How much less we actually suffer than what it is that we perceive that we are suffering and yet find that little bit of suffering difficult to bare.

When we attend Holy Mass, we go to receive a spiritual feeding. We go to get renewed, refreshed, recharged and in fact challenged ! Of course, we go because we have an obligation, but more than that we go because we love God. We go to see family and friends, brothers and sisters, and to join together and share our stories, to encourage each other, to pray for each other, and for those who have either asked for prayer or have a need. We go to offer our sacrifice of prayer, our sacrifice of thanksgiving. Eucharist is that sacrifice of thanksgiving.

These things that we receive are only the first half of the story behind this reading. We are also charged with taking our faith, our gifts, our love, and sharing that with others. Remember the 2 commandments. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and ( secondly) love your neighbor as yourself.

“ Indeed, the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. “ The entire world out there is waiting, eagerly in their hearts and souls to experience the revelation of the love of God THROUGH YOU ! You are the sons ( and daughters) of God. In the passage just before this one states “ The spirit you have received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons and makes us cry out “ Abba, Father! “ Just as Jesus did in the Garden at Gethsemane. Therefore, the world is eagerly waiting for you to share your gifts, time , talent and treasures, with them.

“Creation was made subject to futility…. yet not without hope..” The world is not different. Today we still have suffering, slavery, sin of every sort. Both within ourselves, and in the world outside our doors. We fail… We sin…. the only difference between you and them, is that you have hope ,,, they may not. They are subject to futility, just as we are. We are given the opportunity to give hope, to be a channel of , to be an instrument of Gods grace.

“ The world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption “. This will happen eventually, what we have here is free will. We can choose to cooperate in the bringing about of the Kingdom of God., or we can choose to turn a blind eye to the sufferings of both our brothers and sisters, and even our own sufferings, and do nothing, waiting for “someone” to do it for us. That would however be a great sin for us.

The choice is easy. We as Christians choose to work for a better world. We choose to take on a share in the sufferings of our brothers and sisters. We choose to give hope and light to our brothers and sisters regardless of where they are in life because we love God, because we are called to bring Christ to others, because we are a people of LOVE.

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

GPS to God…

December 1, 2018

“ The way we can be sure of our knowledge of Christ, is to keep His commandments.

The man who claims “ I have known Him” without keeping His commandments , is a liar; in such a one there is no truth.

But whoever keeps his word,, truly has the love of God been made perfect in him. The way we can be sure we are in union with Him is for the man who claims to abide in Him to conduct himself just as He did.” .

( 1 John 2:3-5 )

It is our mission, and our purpose to work on our own relationship with God. To do this we need a healthy amount of honest interspection. Let us consider for a moment that our relationship to God has two slightly different yet distinct aspects.

The first aspect a direct relationship with God. Now, what do we mean by that ? Well, it has to do with how it is that understand and relate to God. How we think, feel , act and the overall state of our souls, how we see them, how we see exactly where it is that we are on our journey.

Saint Francis would remind the brothers “ You are what you are before God ! Nothing more… nothing less”. So the question becomes “ OK , how exactly am I before God ?”. Where am I on my spiritual journey in this life ? And what does THAT mean ?

These are the questions that people take an entire lifetime to answer. How we see where we are on our journey, is likely not exactly where it is that God sees where we are on our spiritual journey.

The first part, of the journey begs for us to look over the landscape of our lives, our actions, and our undersatndings, and what has changed in our lives. There are always places that need improvement.

It is like buying an old Victorian House, there are always things to fix, always repairs , always work that needs to be done to keep it where it should be. There are successes, and there are failures. Advances and shortcomings., and still a seemingly never ending list of questions for which there are either ready answers or none at all.

Then there is the second part, our relationship to God through our brothers and sisters. It is often said that being a Christian alone would be easy ! So, this is where the proverbial rubber hits the road. Sure its fine to sit in our pews and in our little bubble, but then we have to leave the bubble. Jesus gave us a two-fold commandment to love your God with all your heart , mind and strength and then, to love your neighbor as yourself. That’s the tough one !

Loving God is easy ! God is good, God provides, God we already know will take care of us and love us no matter how bad things get. Loving the other guy ? OH, yea.. well… there is that. I mean lets face it, there are some real so and so’s out there. There are people who don’t act right. There are people who don’t think like we do. There are people out there who don’t believe the same things we do and people who simply do not see the world the way we do. How about them ? Well, I hate to break it to you. Maybe, no one ever made you stop and consider the possibility that the world was made that way by design. Everyone is on a different path. Even within families ! Everyone is at a different place on this journey towards God or possibly not on a journey that they know or realize is toward God. Yes, we still need to love them too. It is up to us, to take this two-fold mission off the planning table and move it into action in our own lives.

Like a the GPS in your car. You move forward, you miss a turn, and then you have to stop and recalibrate and make a course correction and move forward. This set of actions is exactly what the liturgical seasons on Advent and Lent are all about. It is a time for us to stop and take stock of where we have been, where we are , make some course corrections, and move forward in our journey towards God.

Move forward with confidence, knowing that our God is a loving and faithful God, being assured of His loving care for all of us.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Climbing the Mountain

November 24, 2018

“ Know and fix in your hearts that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below , and that there is no other. You must keep His statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today”

( Deuteronomy 4:39- 40 a)

The Book of Deuteronomy is situated at the time when Moses , who is now approximately 120 years old and the Israelites are preparing to enter into the Promised Land. Moses of course can not enter. Moses is preparing to transfer leadership of the Israelites to Joshua. The generation of the Israelites that disobeyed God and were forced to wander the desert have passed away , and now there are battles, to be had. In order to enter the Promised Land there is a battle that must be fought with the Canaanites

to posses the land as God had promised. This is a generation that will bring changes. From dessert to land, from tent dwelling, to houses and wells. Moses himself is nearing the end of his life and has the battle to climb Mount Nebo, and which is both a joy and a sorrow.

It is a joy to see the Promised Land, to know that his people will finally have a place to call home, to grow and to rejoice in. It is a sorrow that he will not be able to make that journey with the others after having come this far, and for so long.

Deuteronomy is there to provide guidance, and encouragement to those who are about to go into the Promised Land. It is there as warning to remind them that to spite all other obstacles there is the need for them to follow God and that there are consequences for failing to do so.

How much like our lives today this is ! From the time we are born there are little deaths and rebirths we all experience. We have trials, some larger, and some smaller. From each life experience, if we are wise, we gain experience, and hopefully wisdom. These trials are something we intellectually understand to be so, however, they really do not cement themselves into our lives until we live the experience.

I imagine that this story tells us much about our daily struggles. Our own crosses, and the trials we must endure. On one hand, we are like the Israelites where there are challenges, we must face, crosses we must bare in order to get to the promise, that God provides for us. We must sometimes look to others for help in waging the battles that we face. Since we have faith and we know that all things are eventually for both the Kingdom of God and for our greater good, we will walk through that fire, in hope and faith. We go through that trial knowing that God has promised good for us. Knowing that God will provide all that we need.

On the other side of the coin, we are also like Moses in the story, where the battle may not be ours, the battle may be for someone else to fight, and all we can do is watch and pray. We can provide guidance, and encouragement. We can provide leadership to a degree. They need to go through the battle alone sometimes not knowing what the other side of that battle will look like, but trusting, and having faith God will provide.

At the end of our lives we battle the degradation of health, mind and body, We face battles of various degrees until we get to our own Mount Nebo, and like the Israelites we have to face the final battle before we enter into the Promised Land and enter into the promise of Gods Kingdom. The pain of loss is intense to be sure.

It is at these times of trial we are forced to stop and look across the spiritual landscape. Looking within our hearts and souls to find answers to the questions, seeking counsel and wisdom both from our brothers and sisters, and from scripture and seek out a reconciliation of these things with what we can reason out.

This is where we eventually find ourselves, we must find this passage, to know and fix in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord ! It is through this that we know that God has in all things provided for us, made all of the plans, set all things in motion and provided for every possible contingency. All that is left is for us to step out in faith, to surrender our will, and live the Kingdom in our lives every single day. !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Sing! Sing! Sing !

November 17, 2018

“ Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you have been called to that peace. Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the word of Christ , rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another. Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns and inspired songs. What ever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God for the Father through Him. “

( Colossians 3:15-17 )

In Colossians, Paul ( speaking for both himself and Timothy) is writing to the Church at Colossae, where he has never been. It is strictly through Epaphrus, who was the disciple who brought the Good News and did the work of building the church in Colossae. The chapter of Colossians is brief, as it only contains one letter, composed by Paul, in his typical style of writing, where there is a warm greeting in the name of the Lord, then some bit of news, or information. This is followed by some general instruction, then admonishment to give clear instructions on the Christian teachings, and finally some reassurance, so edification, and a closing of the letter in warm reassurance in love.

This section of the letter comes from the instructional part of the letter about three quarters of the way through the chapter.

This reading has 2 parts. First, part talks about peace, the second about our praise and worship of God.

Lets take a moment and look a little deeper.

“Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you have been called to that peace”.

In the scriptural thoughts that come to mind, I can recall one or two instances where Jesus got just generally upset, or annoyed, or angry. All in all though, if we only got upset twice in our lives, that is pretty good.

My father was one of those people who never seemed to get upset or angry at almost anything. I mean, that life’s little inconveniences just seemed to roll off his back. Through my entire life I can remember a grand total of one time I ever heard him raise his voice. There was a deep seeded peace about him that I admired and his command of that peace in his heart was something I was always amazed over.

I have spent a good part of my adult life attempting to emulate the peace and presence my father masterfully garnered. Not unlike the spiritual life, this is one of those things that is a life long journey.

Wisdom is found in adversity. It is through the adversities that we face that we are given pause to consider the origins , the resolution, the outcome, and analysis of what we are going through . It is not that we will have the answers. In fact it is a blessing when the answers are clear. Take for instance the Israelite’s wandering in the desert. They wandered in the desert because of their disobedience.

They would make covenants, and break them just as quickly and they suffered for that disobedience, and after they were forgiven they would break the next covenant. Here we are in current times, and looking at our society here we are doing the same stupid things. We just have never gotten the picture.

I digress…

The adversities we face are a gift from God ( even if occasionally unwelcome). For out of the trials we face a greater good is what God has planned for us. It is not that God’s plan would not be carried out if we did It is simply to give us opportunities to exercise our free will to both co-operate with Gods plan, to grow in faith, and to gain the wisdom that comes from that process. All that so that you can help to bring about the Kingdom of God, and so that you can be testament, and a channel of grace for others.

Then comes the second part..

“ Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns and inspired songs. What ever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God for the Father through Him. “

I can remember my mother recounting stories about family trips and vacations that her family used to take in the car. These were usually “ out of state “ trips and since they lived in Texas by todays standards it takes a full day of driving to get out of that state. So, these were not short trips.

She used to tell us that during those trips her family would sing hymns and not just melodies but in 4 part harmony.

Its not really about whether or not you can sing like Pavarotti or if you voice is more suited to the shower , it is the intent, and content of what we sing that is important. Bach is reported to have said that “ He who sings, prays twice”. When we sing there is a both a physical and a spiritual response in the human body and mind. There is a stirring of the soul. All you have to do is sing hymns that are worthy of God and allow the soul to begin its ascent.

I remember one music minister saying there are 2 types if singers, upstairs singers , and downstairs singers. Everyone should sing to God with all their hearts.. and give thanks !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Come To The Water !

November 3, 2018

“ All you who are thirsty, come to the water !

You who have no money, Come, receive grain and eat ;

Come , without paying, and without cost,

drink wine and milk !

Why spend your money for what is not bread;

your wages for what fails to satisfy ?

Heed me , and you shall eat well,

you shall delight in rich fare.

Come to me heedfully,

listen , that you might have life .

I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,

the benefits assured to David “. (Isaiah 55: 1-3)

In the world today we have people who are, over worked, over stressed, over sensitized, over committed, over stimulated, and pretty much just “over it”. Our lives, our jobs, our families, our friends , demand what little time it is that we have because of the lives we lead.

People have left the church in favor of “rest” believing it is easier or better to be able to sleep in on Sunday. It is much more relaxing to go camping or to do something else more fun than getting up early and going to church.

Mankind , can be historically speaking , rather thick in the head. This situation is not new, nor different. We seem to be a little slow to learn all the same lessons we have been re-learning over and over again.

In this reading, Isaiah, is calling us all to get ourselves aligned with Gods will for us. To enter into the spiritual banquet God has prepared for us, in order that we may be spiritually fed. The invitation is there for each one of us. To come and live with Christ., a gift that is freely given.

Why would you stay away, spending your time and your efforts, and your money for something that would ultimately be of no consequence, that will not help you in the long run. In the Body of Christ , the church , is communion with God. There is hope, there is life ! A spiritual feeding that goes beyond the short fare that is this life. Eating and drinking of this world will not satisfy the hole you have in your heart. It is the spiritual feeding you receive that will give you life.

God is sitting quietly, calling… waiting.

Isaiah says that if the Israelites enter into the banquet, that God will renew with him the covenant He made with David.

David wanted to build God a house, but God said to David, what kind of house can you build Me ?

Because of Davids faithfulness , God said he was going to build a house for David . This was of course not a physical house, this use of the word meant an earthly dynasty for David and his descendents.

As it turns out, David eventually looses that dynasty through sin, but it eventually is consummated in the Eucharistic covenant at the Last Supper.

Through out the history of recorded time, Mankind has entered into covenants with God, Man has walked away thinking that something was better , then came the trials, and finally a return.

That pesky free will is right there, presenting you with choices , giving you the ability to choose what is good and holy. Its not fun, and its often challenging, but is ultimately there to bring you closer to God and to bring about His will. The reason that we have so many problems today is that we keep trying to exercise our will out of step with Gods will. Placing God first in your life will make the other things you are wrestling so hard to fix, work themselves out.

Give your life back to God, and He will make you whole again..

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Decisions… Decisions…

October 27, 2018

“ May the Lord increase you and make you overflow with love for one another and for all, even as our love does for you. May He strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His holy ones.”.

(1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

In this passage, Paul finds himself in a deep and prayerful desire to see the church in Thessalonians grow and thrive and that their faith would persist. The church in Thessalonia is being constantly persecuted on all sides, From the pagans , and from the Jews as well. As a result of the circumstance he also fears that they might not be able to withstand the persecution and loose faith. It is the desire of all that the church there grows, and the people grow in faith and holiness, but the circumstances under which they find themselves are difficult.. and while choices can be difficult, ultimately discernment of the best and highest good is ultimately the goal, faith in Jesus Christ.

Does this sound familiar to you ? In fact this sort of scenario is played out both within, and without the Church since the beginning of recorded time. God calls us, brings us to a trial, and we find a question or a conflict that needs a resolution, This might be a simple question, or it might be something that is much more massive with the repercussions being far reaching ( even if just in our own views ).

I once heard this ( extreme but explanatory) method to distinguish the difference.

Lets say you were hungry.. and had not eaten for a long period of time. As you were walking down the road , you smelled a pizza coming from a nearby restaurant, and you needed to eat. On the way, you catch sight of a man drowning.

Now, you both have the directive from God to care for creation , which includes your own body. So eating is part of that care.. and so that is a moral good. Saving the life of another person, is not only a moral good, but a HIGHER moral good, and in fact faced with a choice most people would choose to save the man as opposed to ignoring the man and going to get pizza instead.

The closer the level of perceived “goodness” becomes, the higher level of discernment may be necessary and ultimately the highest level of good chosen.

This Moral theology we express is ultimately governed by the law of Love. Jesus provided us with us with 2 laws we can always rely on in matters of moral theology:

  1. Love of God.
  2. Love of Neighbor.

If the action you are proposing to take does not fulfill these laws, then the choice is simple.

Sometimes the heavy lifting is involved and the answer is not as clear as possibly you might like.

At these times, we might need to employ the scriptural axiom “ Seek the council of every wise man !”

( Tobit 4:18) Seek out a priest, deacon, or friend that is strong in their faith and has theologically sound judgement and reason.

In all things pray for wisdom, pray for guidance, and pray that the will of God bedone in all things.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Be The Lampstand !

October 15, 2018

“ We possess the prophetic message as something altogether reliable. Keep your attention closely fixed on it, as you would on a lamp shining in the dark until the first streaks of dawn appear and the morning star rises in your hearts First you mist understand this – there is no prophecy contained in Scripture which is a personal interpretation. Prophecy has never been put forward by mans willing it.

It is rather that men impelled by the Holy Spirit have spoken under God’s influence. “

2 Peter 1:19-21

This passage of Peter was written while Peter was in prison awaiting his own martyrdom. During this time Peter is writing to encourage the church to praise God, to sure up the unsteady, to warm against false prophets and encourage the faithful to live lives of holiness as they await the second coming of Christ which ( he believed ) would be imminent.

In this particular reading, Peter is focusing on the Old Testament and its reliability and faithfulness as not just something that was the outcome of any personal interpretation of what some one else said, or even a particular prophets interpretation of what was revealed to them by God. It was in fact the those prophets were impelled by the Holy Spirit to be the instrument of God’s voice. Therefore to be believed and witness to.

The passage “ Keep your attention closely fixed on it, as you would a lamp shining in the dark until the first streaks of dawn appear and the morning star rises in your hearts”, is so very relevant today.

We are baptized into the roles of priest ( to offer prayers ) and prophet ( to go forth and spread the Word of God to all nations, and make disciples) and King ( the royal priesthood), to in our role as prophets we need also need to be lights in the darkness, Just like a scientist takes samples and puts them under a magnifying glass in order to see and understand what a sample contains and how to relate to it, so too, are we to be the magnifying glass for others. So that they too can see and understand.

We need people of faith to step forward in faith, to know what it is that informs their faith and the reasons for it. 1 Peter ch 3 tells us to “ always be ready to give an reason ( explanation) for your faith”, and to do so with kindness, gentleness, and reverence. Give as much as you are able, or knowledgeable of but also know that it is also OK to say “ I don’t have an answer for you at this moment, let me get back to you and I will find an answer for you”, and then do it !

Study Study, Study. ! Study Scripture, there is so much to know, Then the more you know, the more that you know that you don’t know. There are bad translations of the Bible, get a good one. Get a version that has the original Greek and Hebrew languages and really look at what was originally said and how it has been translated in different versions. When Encyclicals come out, or letters from the Vatican, don’t take someone else s condensed version of what is said, go to the Vatican website and read what was written for yourself. This will remove any other human bias or agenda.

Study, by talking about your faith with others. Just like steel is sharpened against a stone, so your understanding of your faith will be sharpened by letting it see the light of day, by discussing it with others who may have a different understanding, and it is in this way that you will not only learn but be informed, but if there are questions or confirmations you will return to scripture, and if its still unclear ask your pastor, or several people whom you trust for clarifications. We must be the lamp stand also that holds up the Light , for all others to see in the darkness.

In the beginning of Saint Francis’ work, he set about quietly rebuilding a church stone by stone, and in time others, seeing what he was doing, began to ask what he was doing, and then of course why. He was the lamp stand , through silent action, through his example, and became the light of millions today.

Today I invite you all to become the lamp stand for others, to be witness and example..

To be the magnifying glass that causes others to look deeper into the Pascal Mystery…

To be the Priest, Prophet, and King you were baptized to be.

May God give you the gift of His peace !


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