Again, there were crowds…

February 19, 2017

” In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,a he summoned the disciples and said,

“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.

If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.”

His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”

Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied.

He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd.

They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also.

They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets.

There were about four thousand people ” ( Mark 8: 1-9 )

In this Gospel there are plenty of points of interest to share.. First, this story of the miracles that Jesus performed for us, was not just a sign of God;s love for us. It was a per-configuration of the Last Supper. and the Paschal Mystery.

Consider these things….

First, there were the crowds, ” In those days there were AGAIN a great crowd without anything to eat..” In this there is the idea that there were always people who came, people who needed to go to see Jesus. There was a never-ending stream of people who needed Jesus.

They were hungry. They were hungry both in body and in spirit. This had been the case before Jesus came, and to spite what had happened when Jesus was present with us, it is still true today. People hunger, they are hungry both for lack of food , even though there is food enough in the world to feed them, and they are hungry in spirit, even though Jesus came to give them spiritual life.

Jesus is moved with pity for the crowd. He knows they are hungry and that He can not send them home without trying to care for their needs, so that they will make it home safe and sound. In this same way, Jesus knew prior to His passion, that his disciples, would need strength for the journey they were to undergo that weekend, and throughout time until His return. He wanted to be sure that there was a way for us to make it through this spiritual journey, through the journey of our daily lives, and to arrive home in Heaven, safe and sound.

” His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” …. The disciples who were with Jesus are sitting there trying to figure out how all this is going to happen. It seems like such a hopeless position to be in. There are so many people and so little they had to share. A hopeless position to be in, or so it seemed. Indeed, the same thing happened in His Passion. The disciples felt hopeless and it might not have appeared as though there was anything to be done.

Just as in this narrative, Jesus in the Last Supper also provided food for the journey. He gave us His body and His blood as food for the journey of our daily lives.

Just as in this narrative, there are crowds, hundred, thousands, millions of people who hunger, in body and in spirit. Sometimes, we are still the disciples who sit in despair and ask God, what are we to do, there are so many, and we have so little.

We are called to be Jesus to others. We are moved, with compassion for our brothers and sisters, who have traveled long and far in their journeys. On the road of life and they are looking for spiritual and/or bodily food for their journey. We are called to take what we have, our time, our talents, and our treasures, and provide for our brothers and sisters.

Sometimes, we are the crowds, we are still hungry, and tired from our own journey. We have been on this road, on this journey and we too are in need.

We are also called to be the loaves and fishes, where Jesus takes us, broken as we are, and provides a way for us to be the food for the journey of our brothers and sisters. It is however, like everything else on this journey, up to us, to choose to become what we have received.

In the words of one musician, ” Christ has no hands now, but yours…” Go forward today, and become what you have received.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

We Are Like Those Trees…

February 12, 2017

We are like those trees….

I was walking to Mass yesterday and as I entered onto the church property, there were some trees that were on the side of the church, that ran behind the small school that sits there. One of the things that is always a joy is taking time to notice the beauty of creation going from place to place. Some of it is hard to miss. You might think.

Consider that each day, you get up and go to work. You tend to go through those same paces , do the same things to get ready. You get your coffee, you have breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner and go to bed and start it all over again. To some degree there can be a mind numbing process to it all and then one day you wake up and wonder where all the time went and what you might have missed while you were doing all of those things.

The beauty of creation is all around you. Even in midst of chaos. There too is beauty, like many other things, it is our perception that needs a little practice.

Anyway, back to my walk….

There is a hedge, and trees between the church property and a small auto repair garage that sits next door. and usually there are birds that sit in the trees and sing, Yesterday my attention was drawn initially to a bush was growing it was not trimmed or manicured, it was growing naturally there and I noted that the branches were full of these tiny red berries. I found myself wondering what type of plant it was, and if the berries were edible or not, or if they were poisonous. It also occurred to me that possibly I had the same thought about that particular bush, and that I had taken a picture of the bush, but got busy with other points of life that I never got around to researching the answer.

The next thing were the trees. There were trees on the side of the property and those trees were older trees, and I noted that since these trees grew not far from utility wiring, During their lifetime these trees bore the marks where their branches had been cut to keep them away from those utility wires. These were trees that were not full, as they might have been if they had grown in another location, but they carried the marks of life and grew into majestic trees, still providing value with its life.

We are each like these trees. We grew where our seeds began, and we carry with us the marks of our very human existence, places where parts of us either fell or were cut away by the things that have happened in our lives. As we have grown we have been witness to life in our corners of the world.

Young or mature, we receive the bounty of God’s abundant graces. We learn as we grow.

I would invite you to spend time each day trying to perceive the beauty in creation each day, You will begin to see the Creator in His Creation. This creation includes our brothers and sisters. Like those trees, there is beauty in life at every stage, from conception until death, and every part in between. The more you look, the more you will see.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

A Spiritual Being In An Earthly Existence ….

February 4, 2017

A Spiritual Being In An Earthly Existence ….

Many times in life we are faced with challenges of a larger spiritual gravity that we need to find a resolution for. Finding so many answers and clarifications is never quite an easy task, particularly when all the answers seem at odds with each other.

A point in case is the recent Executive Order that the United States has put into place banning travel /immigration from 7 countries in the Middle East Region of the world. Now, I am not going to debate any of the issues involved, instead the purpose of this post is to look at some of the questions that we face as Christians, Catholic and Protestant, and for people of faith.

Usually, when issues arise, and I have questions, the places I normally go are first to scripture, and then to the Catechism to see if there is reference material for what the church teaches on the matter, and then , possibly to the Encyclicals, and if I can not find the answers I am looking for there, then I spend time talking with a priest whose particular disposition I have grown to trust.

So Lets get to the meat of the matter… I will not tell you what you should think, or how you should feel. This is not my intent at all. Instead, I would encourage everyone to first, begin from a place in your heart, in spirit, in your conscience, where we begin first to educate ourselves about what God teaches, then what the Church has taught through the Magisterium, through its Encyclicals.

First, there is from Scripture, the commandment to ” Love thy Neighbor”. we all know that the neighbor we should be loving, is basically everyone who is not ourselves. The neighbor we should be loving are those who are different, who believe differently than we do. We are to love our enemies.

We are basically just supposed to love.

Even the Lord, understood that sometimes we (humans) can be a little hard headed. Maybe we just didn’t get things right away.. or life was just too hard. . We got 10 commandments, and if that was too much for us to handle.. He whittled it down to 2 laws. Love God, and then Love neighbor. If that was just too hard, the just one Law, love.

Seems pretty simple.. at least until life comes along and kicks us when we least expect it.

The Catechism has a great section called ” Life in Christ”. Part 3 – CCC# 2302 – 2330 .

This deals with Safeguarding Peace. Read through this.. It has a good deal of information in there and has some points of clarification.

Now, don’t stop there ! Your getting there but we are not done yet !

Next there is an Encyclical you should read that deals with this subject.

” Pacem in Terris ” ( Peace on Earth) … just so you don’t have to dig through another text I will share the link here :

http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_11041963_pacem.html

( A personal note here: I personally only read encyclicals from the Vatican’s website simply because that way it is free from editorial biases ) .

Now, here is the point where things get interesting. There is a certain danger of inserting ones own biases, or thought processes, or preferences or what ever you want to call it into the mix. So, IF you are still on the fence or unclear or whatever, find a Priest or clergy , or religious that you trust who tends to be even handed /headed or reasonable AND orthodox, and check with them.

In the end it boils down to this. It is up to you to love your neighbor. No one will be sitting with you in that chair on Judgment Day. At the same time you only have control over your actions. A well-formed conscience, a strong faith, and an open heart are the best tools you have.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

That They All May Be One …

January 28, 2017

That They May Be One…

“And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are”

(John 17:11)

In the current state of affairs in the world this passage is so very important. We have a world where people have fallen victim to messages that are divisive and filled full of messages that are not only unhealthy but create an atmosphere where the statements paint a scenario where dialog is no longer possible.

As Franciscans, we are called to build a more fraternal world. This means we desire more than anything to start from a position of open and honest dialog in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

We believe, that the other person, or persons are children of God. regardless of the idea that they may not believe all the same things that we do, and that we can begin to build community at a point where we can accept those things we have in common.

The world has become a much smaller place than what it was in years past. Thanks to the internet, the average person has access to an entire world of other people to interact with. Different cultures, different lives, different beliefs, and different opinions.

The internet has the capacity to be both a blessing and a curse. It can be, and has been used as a tool for evil, and for good. One of the issues, at least with written electronic communication, is that there is also a greater capacity for miscommunication. Written communication has the capacity for speed and ease of use, but also carries the capacity for misunderstanding. This occurs where one can not perceive tonal inflections or intent or varying degrees of emotion and impact by what is written, so the reader is left with the voice in their heads to perceive those items..

There is a lot of things going on in our little corner of the world. Particularly in the area of Pro-Life issues. The United States is making some changes that are in favor of building a culture of Life that is causing people to review where they stand in this discussion. Not everyone agrees, and there are varying degrees of acceptance and attitude towards each side.

This caused me to stop and ponder how it is that this parallels the faith journeys and traditions that we have throughout the world. I have been privileged to serve order as the Ecumenical Chair for our Region. This means that I had the opportunity to reach out to other followers and devotees of St. Francis in other faith traditions. This effort has enriched me and my own faith life, as well I hope and pray that it has enriched those I have had the privilege of sharing time with.

As Catholics, we believe that there are certain things that will bring about this unity:

” A permanent renewal of the Church in greater fidelity to her vocation ; such renewal is the driving-force of the movement toward unity.

Conversion of heart as the faithful trying to live holier lives according to the Gospel – for it is the unfaithfulness of the members to Christ’s gift which causes divisions;

Prayer in common – because change of heart and holiness of life along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name spiritual ecumenism.

Fraternal knowledge of each other

Ecumenical formation of the faithful and especially of priests.

Dialogue of among theologians and meetings among Christians, of the different churches and communities.

Collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind ” Human service” is the idiomatic phrase. ” ( CCC #821)

In this we find that a call for all of us to “come to the table” in a spirit of fraternity, in order that each voice is heard, and each person is valued and respected as a child of the Most High.

Let us begin from a place where we can begin to talk openly from the positions that the other person only truly desires a better world, and from that position desires to build the Kingdom of God here on Earth.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

On Seeing What is Before Us….

January 21, 2017

 

“At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known ” ( 1 Corinthians 13:12 )

I grew up in a little town in Delaware.(USA ). There were numerous wonderful things are this place.

One of those was the Bombay Hook, National Wildlife refuge. Now, as a young adult, I really did not know much about it, or appreciate all of its beauty or uniqueness. All I really knew was that it was a great place that was out in the woods, in nature, where I could go, and clear my head, think, and try to sort out the problems of the day.

Later on, I had a friend, who used to ask if I wanted to go out there and visit the refuge. Initially, if I was wrestling with some problem, I might share that with him and he might offer some insight, or just sympathize. He began pointing out different birds, and tell me something about them.

Many years ago I became a bit of a shutterbug. I bought an old used 35 mm camera from a pawn shop, that I had NO clue how to use. However, I purchased film at a small photography shop in a little town in central and began my adventures in photography. I brought in my first full roll of film and

since I was excited to see how they turned out, I opened them right there in the store. The young lady behind the counter, made a couple of comments about what I might consider changing in my pictures or in my process, that would make my pictures better.

I asked her about her experiences in photography and she shared that she had a recent degree in art that was centered around photography and that she had a similar experience, where she bought a used camera, and started taking pictures and got help from the stores owner to help improve her skills.

I asked if she would be willing to help me in that process and help me to improve my skills, to which she agreed.

I went back to the wildlife refuge, and found myself seeing so much more of what was right there in front of me. Different birds, plants, and animals that I might have seen but had not appreciated or even paid attention to them because of the fact that I was there to try and clear the noise that was either in front of me, or in my head. I began to appreciate each bird, each animal, each plant, and found myself trying to see the uniqueness of creation, finding it through the lens of a camera, and through time in research into what I did not know.

I hung on that old camera. and eventually it was stolen. I did without that camera, but in the meantime the digital age came about. I received a camera as a gift one year for Christmas. The learning started anew. I began taking walks around my neighborhood, and started taking pictures of things that I saw that reflected God’s beauty either in creation or man made.

The picture in this post was taken at a bus transfer station. I had to a little way away from the driveway to take the picture, but seeing the beauty of the pasture struck me and I wanted to try to capture it. As I am sure that some of you also like to take pictures, I am sure you can appreciate that circumstances in trying to capture a particular image is not always idea.

Just like my trips to the wildlife refuge, sometimes it is difficult to see God because of all those obstructions that get in the way. We have to find ways to maneuver our way around those obstacles, or remove them from keeps us from seeing God in our daily lives.

Just like my trips to the wildlife refuge, sometimes we need a guide to be able to see what is directly in front of us. A brother or sister who has already traveled that road, and then we can see those obstructions, or possibly they help us to see God, and we find the obstructions for ourselves. What we see dimly at first, will be revealed , what we may only know partially, like my initial trips to the refuge, become clear, our vision of the beauty of Gods glory will be revealed as long as we make the effort to take the journey to see it.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Those Who Are Well Do Not Need The Physician..

January 14, 2017

Those who are well do not need the physician…

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” ( Mark 2 : 13-17)

This morning we had this reading at Mass. I was preparing to go and be with our Franciscan community, but felt I wanted to linger a while in the church. Although I was tired from the weeks labors, and honestly would have much preferred to sleep in, such is our vocation to be present for and present to our brothers and sisters.

On the way out the door, I had some challenges getting past a couple of folks who also wanted to linger and talk with their fellow parishioners. Since I was having some difficulty navigating access to the side door I normally use, I decided to stop and head back towards the center of the building in front of the altar. After a short pause to say a prayer, I turned and gazed upward towards our choir loft, which is pictured above.

Interestingly, the beautiful stained glass mosaic of our Lord, is a picture, that is visible to only those who serve at the altar, ( meaning the priest, deacon, readers, Eucharistic ministers (EMHC) and altar servers). At least this is true DURING the Mass. Even the choir sings facing forward towards the altar and do not see this sight. Indeed, it is only at the very end of the Mass when the people are preparing to leave the church do they have the opportunity to gaze of this art.

I pondered how loving and inviting this image of Christ is, His arms outstretched inviting in everyone. During the Mass the priest can not help but to gaze upon the face of Christ in this image. I sometimes wonder what they think on any given day.

We, like Levi, are at church, stopping by the church to visit. We are there at the invitation of Christ to dine at table with “sinners and tax collectors” and every other manner of sinner. Jesus calls to us…
He calls us to come and follow Him. So, even though we are sinners, we go as we are called. We are called to His house, to His table, to His sacrifice. All sinners, the ministers, and the congregation.

Jesus told the Pharisees, that those who are well do not need a physician… the problem is, that no one is truly well. From the priests on down all are sinners. There are just varying degrees of wellness.

It is also interesting to note, that at the end of the Mass, that everyone leaves through the rear doors and so they have the opportunity to see this image of Christ . Here Christ again is inviting us to take Him that we have received and take Him out into the world. We must become what we have received and share Christ, see and recognize Christ, and be Christ to the world, no matter how large or small our world is.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

How Beautiful Upon The Mountains…

December 30, 2016

“How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!” Isaiah 52:7

As I was sitting in the reverie of Holy Mass and contemplating the Nativity of our Lord, this was the first reading. This was the Old Testament reading, during the time BEFORE the Nativity. In this time there was, at least for the Jews a time of tribulation and a time of hope, and anticipation.

This is not unlike the times we are living in now… Today there are people who suffer through tribulations, and those who sit in anticipation of the Lord’s coming. I think in truth we are all a little bit of each of these people. Are there people who have doubts? Are there people who question? Are there people whose compass is a little off kilter? Sure there are! We are all on a learning curve.. We all have points where we are suffering, we are going through the growing pains in our spiritual lives, and in our earthly lives that can at times consternate and frustrate our spiritual lives.

When we read this passage, it might be easy to consider that those that they are speaking of are priests… Our priests and deacons and those in religious orders, are truly people who, like all of us are just on our own spiritual journeys. The question remains , however, that since we are the priestly people… We were baptized Priest, Prophet and King, is it not also OUR responsibility, and our goal to be the bearers of glad tidings ? Should it not be each of us who are the Christ bearers to the world in our lives ? Is it not for each of us to be bringers of peace into the world ? Should we also not be announcing salvation and announce to the world that God is king for you and for me ?
We tend to get lazy or reticent in taking the responsibility in sharing the Good News with others. Everyone has those periods where they are dealing with some challenge, and they get into a rut and go to Mass to get their spiritual feeding. The train stops there. They leave off what happens at the end of Holy Mass when the priest or deacon says “ Go forth to love and serve God through one another” . Everyone is guilty of this end of things at some point or other. It is important to do a review of our spiritual lives, and the Church gives us time to do this twice a year, during Lent , and during the Advent Christmas season.
We are at the time of this post, still in the Christmas Season. Christmas DAY is over, but as we know, Christmas is not just a DAY but a SEASON. During this time, I would encourage you to spend some time during this season to consider how it is that you are a bearer of glad tidings, a share in the Good News of salvation, and how beautiful are our feet upon the mountain of the Lord.
Do not be discouraged if you fall, if you fail, if you mess up, as there was only one person who was perfect. God has called you to your own path, to your own journey, to your own trials, to your own path of faith. Your path may be as individual as you are, however, it is the individual path, in a community where your path, is there to support everyone else in their path.

You don’t have to stand on the street corners and preach, you don’t have to memorize the entire Bible , you have to have a faith life, you need to live the life of a Christian and let your life be the testimony to the blessings that are present for others. The greatest testimony we can give is to live a life of faith, and go about mixing our faith life with works of mercy, allowing Christ to be the center of what we do, and who we are.
May God give you the gift of His peace !

For Unto Us Is Born This Day…

December 24, 2016

For Unto Us Is Born This Day…

In extreme poverty, and after long days of hard labors and travel , in complete exhaustion, and having searched for some degree of comfort , or warmth from their travels, having found no measure of that comfort, save for the necessity of the scant shelter of a stable, a barn did our Lord and savior come to us.

In some portions of the world it is already Christmas Day. Where I am it is yet still Christmas Eve.
Traditions are a little different in different parts of the world for what is done to celebrate, possibly you have presents on Christmas eve, or Christmas Day, or possibly you wait until Epiphany, or possibly not at all.

Possibly, you have family to celebrate with, or possibly you have no one to celebrate with, and are on your own. For many, Christmas is a difficult time of year due to family strains, or loss. Possibly you might consider that there is no one to celebrate with. In my little corner of the globe there are a group of folk musicians who have holiday celebrations for those who are traveling through, or who do not have anyone to celebrate with, to go and join them in celebrating the holidays. They have a big pot luck meal, and spend the night in fellowship.
There are many in our world that have nothing, and also do not have the ability to give any sort of lavish gifts or material finery of grand celebration or decoration. Some by choice, others by necessity.

In your life, possibly you are tired from your labors. You are weary of the world outside your door. You might not feel like you have strength to move forward, sort of numbly going through the motions of your daily plights. You have not as of late found creature comforts to make things easier, or maybe you are still trying to just make your way through the world. You travel on through life, attempting to be successful in the worlds view and you expend a good amount of energy just tread water.
It is in this time of year, in both Advent, and in the Christmas season that the Church invites us to both rest and renew. It is a time for us to at least spiritually, mentally, emotionally take time out of our lives to consider the paths that we are all on. To consider the direction of our lives, our relationships.

It is interestingly, a time when, like for many who visit family, take the time out to come to Church. For those who usually only show up to church two or three times a year. It’s a challenge. They come to church to celebrate, to experience a memory… a connection… to people, and to God. A few will recognize that the thing they are searching for is not really so much familiarity, or tradition, but it truly is God that they seek.
There are many who will say that there is “no room at the Inn” of their hearts for God. There will also be those who do not recognize God, and so their path is trod on in way that is oblivious to the miracles that are going on around them or why they occur.

In the paths of our lives possibly we too, sometimes are oblivious to the miracles, or we are oblivious to the ones who are the holy family, or the holy infants in our midst. For as we know, and recognize, that we are the bearers of Christ to those in the world. We have the guides in the works of mercy, that will give us directions, to show us what we are to look for, but it is life experiences, and the wisdom that is the gift of the Holy Spirit that is the educator that points out to us where we can actually see the opportunities for Christ to shine through us.

In our daily lives, just like in many of the scripture stories and parables that we know, we can, at different points in our lives, see ourselves in each of the people, each of the personalities, each of the lives of the people involved. We are the Innkeeper, who has no room, maybe nothing we are able to offer. We are Joseph… just making our way, providing for our family , trying to just do what is right. We are Mary.. working to do what the Lord asks, trying to make the lives of others easier, while knowing what is right in the sight of God, but it is not always easy or comfortable, and quite challenging at times
Maybe we are the owner of the stable, we don’t have much, but we can do what we can. In this story however, the players I sometimes find most interesting are the Three Wise Men. Sometimes , if we are wise, we recognize God where he is. We travel to church, (both the building and the people) and share in the adoration of the Christ Child and bring our gifts to share… our time, talents, and treasures… and leave them for the Lord, and go forth to love and serve God in one another.

This season, I would encourage each of us to take the time to consider our journey, to consider the others who cross our paths, consider the Holy Family in our midst, and within our own lives.

Mostly, I want to thank each and every one of you for spending the time to read and share what you find on these pages, and for being part of our shared community and prayer lives. I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year.
May God give you the gift of His peace!

Advent …It’s Here !

December 2, 2016

Advent…. It’s here.

“And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;

the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness [and] put on the armor of light;

let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,* not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” ( Romans 13:11)

This is the very beginning of the season of Advent. Advent means to come. It comes from the Latin Ad ( to ) Venire (come). It is applied to the church calendar as the season prior to Christmas. It is set aside for us as a period, not unlike Lent, as a time of preparation, a spiritual house cleaning if you will.

Not unlike Lent it has been a time of fasting and praying. In fact there was a period of time when there was a 40 day fast that was just like Lent. ( without the fish frys). If we look at the time of Lent and the time of Advent as mirrors of each other, both have certain characteristics that are very similar in tone and purpose.

Both serve the purpose of preparing our hearts as a birthplace for Christ to reign, a channel through which God may share the blessings of Heaven with and through us. Prior to His arrival however we have a little preparation to do.

As a child the time previous to the holiday season, there was a certain amount of that ” spring cleaning” that my mother would always have my brother and I to do. There was silver to polish, vacuuming, scrubbing and There was a brass table to polish and well as the candlesticks that stood on either side of the fireplace. Dusting the furniture and all of that came after taking care of the animals we had. ( which in itself was an 8 hour job).

Yes, the preparations were something that we as kids did not look forward to in the least, as we would rather have been exploring the forest that we lived in, or the just relaxing around the house. On the other hand, once all the work was done, and night had fallen, there was a cool nip in the air, and we would turn off the lights in the livingroom, and light a fire in the fireplace. The house took on that certain feeling of “Hearth and Home”. When the holidays came, and we were able to entertain guests, and share our home with friends and family there was a certain comfort, a certain joy to be able to serve them and make them feel at home.

The same thing applies to our spiritual lives. Paul is telling us to use Advent as a time to remove from our hearts the spiritual “baggage”. that we need to throw off. Those things that belong to the dark, and not to the light. Those things that we have been holding onto, that do not aid us in our spiritual journeys, those things that hold us back from serving Christ, or keep us from being the conduit of the blessings, or keep us from helping someone else from seeing Christ because of our actions.

So let us work on throwing off those works, those deeds, and put in some of the work in those areas of our lives to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. Throw out those pains, and grudges, lets fix those broken relationships. Let’s be the one who extends the olive branch, and extends the hands. Let us be the Christ in the season, and really live the life of faith we profess.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Thanksgiving and Holiday Greetings

November 23, 2016

I wanted to take a moment to let you all know how truly thankful I am for each and every one of you !  I thank God for you loyal readers who have been here from the beginning and joined me on my journey, or maybe you have recently joined me on this walk.    Thank you all for taking the time to read and share these reflections with others.

 

I also wanted to take a moment to ask that you prayerfully consider purchasing a copy of the book  ” Canticle Reflections”  for yourself, and maybe even a second copy for a friend or loved one.   ( There is a link on the left side of the page).

It has been my daily prayer that the book will find its way into the hands of the ones who need it when its needed.

 

May God bless you all on our journey together.   and as always,

 

May God give you the gift of His peace !