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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Transitus “Homily “

October 7, 2018

The Journey… The Dream… and Love

September 21, 2018

“ Make my joy complete by your unanimity, possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals. Never act out of rivalry, or conceit; rather , let all parties think humbly of themselves, each of you looking to the others interests rather than his own.

In everything you do , act without grumbling or arguing ; prove yourselves innocent and straightforward. Children of God beyond reproach in the midst of a twisted and depraved generation – among whom you shine line the stars in the sky while holding fast to the Word of life. As I look to the Day of Christ, you give me cause to boast that I did not run the race in vain or work to no purpose. “

( Phillipians 2,: 2-4, 14-16 )

As Franciscans we are called to be peacemakers, and bridge builders, the caretakers of all creation, through the love of God. The story behind these passages lie with the Apostle Paul who was in prison at the time of this writing, and word had reached him of a few things that were a little out of sorts with the young church in Phillipi. There were issues where some of the young members were a bit caught up in vanity and status. There was also some others who were circulating around the community with heretical ideas and papers. It’s nice to know that in over 2 thousand years somethings have not changed. Although it would be nice if some did … but I digress.

As a result there was some in-fighting and bickering amongst the community. This was not a huge problem, but enough that it caused concern enough that Paul wanted to write. Not only to admonish those who were not acting in accordance with their faith, but to give encouragement.

Note that for most of the Apostles when they were writing in order to address an issue of some sort, there was a bit of a formula to the epistle. First, a greeting, that is warm and loving as an elder would to a younger family member. Then comes the admonishment where there is an outline of what is wrong , not pointing the finger at a person, just a general statement. Finally, push of encouragement and praise to God and His love for us.

There is a catch phrase if you will, that Franciscans use, which was the title of a book by Murray Bodo , is “ The Journey and the Dream “ . I think it is likely fair to say that there are very few Franciscans who did not at some point read this book, and gain insights about themselves and their lives.

The “Dream” is the idea of our Christian and Franciscan lives. “The Journey” is the life we live here on this earthly plane. People who are not on a spiritual journey to God, can only see the “dream “.

Since they are outside, they can only see their perception of the ideal. They can only know, that this is the ideal, that does not correspond identically to path that the person who is struggling is taking. Of course that person will fall short of the ideal. We all do.

It is only by going inside, by entering into your own spiritual journey towards God, that you can understand “The Journey” in light of “ The Dream”. It is not hard for me to say that I am not perfect. I fail… I sin…. I am flawed, and I fall short of the Dream. As a Christian, as a Franciscan. I fail.

It is in our failure, and through our faith, that God is reaching the best part of us if we allow ourselves to be formed. If we take the time to work on our faith, we can be better than we are. Will we still fail even if we are on this “Journey” ? Sure ! We will fail, and we will fail a lot. Possibly, however, not quite as often. We will be better, and we will love.

Forgive others….. Forgive yourself….. Love is the law.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Trails and Endurance…

September 16, 2018

“ My brothers, count it pure joy when you are involved in every sort of trial. Realize that when your faith is tested this makes for endurance. Let endurance com to its perfection so that you may be fully mature and lacking nothing.

If any of you is without wisdom, let him ask it from the God who gives generously and ungrudingly to all, and it will be given him. Yet he must as in faith, never doubting, for the doubter is like the surf tossed and driven by the wind. A man of this sort, devious and erratic in all that he does, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

(James 1: 2-8 )

OK .. Trails/Temptations … Testing …Endurance/Perseverance.. Maturity… hmmmm Got it.

OH wait ! We are missing a few things in here. Our faith life,… Our Spiritual life is not unlike our earthly life in this regard. There are temptations to do things that in our minds we know are not right, or not good. Sometimes that voice is circumvented by our initial desires to do or get whatever it is that we are being tempted by , somehow believing that we will not have to worry about the consequences.

When you were little maybe that was candy or sweets you wanted and even though you knew it was not good for you, You did try to eat that entire bag of Halloween candy and later paid the price for it.

Possibly when you were a bit older, maybe you snuck out of the house to go to a party or spend time with someone. I am willing to bet that might not have ended in the best possible way. Maybe you smoked cigarettes or you were not careful of what you ate or drank. Those also had consequences.

My parents were both teachers. Admittedly I was not the best student. Not because I was not capable of getting better grades than I did, but because I was not convinced of the value of getting good grades.

Since I only had to worry about that once a quarter.. it was not at the forefront of my mind.. Well, at least until those pesky consequences came along. Not only did I not get good grades, but then I was put on restriction.

On the other hand, when I got to college and finally figured out why it was important, well.. that was different. I studied , applied myself and made it into the Honor Society, while working a 12 hour a day job 5 days per week and supporting a house. I gained endurance because there was something that was important. AH ! There it is.. something important.

There were challenges, hard days.. temptations ( like sleep) and tests.. but I knew in my heart that I was doing some thing important and I had to endure. In pressing forward, in doing the work… in discerning the right path.. I knew what needed to be done..

Just like our earthly life, our spiritual life is full of these challenges, temptations, pain and work that needs to be done. It would be easy to take the easy road… But the easy road is a LIE. Satan is the father of lies. He knows what is our there and he wants to tempt you with lies whispered into your ear, that says that you don’t need to do the work that is yours… that you don’t need to listen to the voice of the spirit , that still quiet , nagging voice that is from God that calls to you.

In the Garden of Eden. Satan tempted Eve, he told her she that she could be like God, that she would not die if she ate of the fruit. Eve allowed herself to be tempted, and in turn Adam allowed himself to be tempted as well. In the end death entered the world because they fell.

When you are faced with trials or temptations, and you need help ( like we all do ) then it is time to reach out and pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment. ! Ah,, but there is a catch.! You have to step out in faith !

You say to yourself , OH , well so how do you have faith if you …well…. don’t ? or are lacking in one area or another ? It is not that you have faith that God will give you what you want. He will give you what is best for you. You only need to pray with a heart that is open. A heart that is true in its desire to know, love and serve God. A heart that wants to join itself to God’s Holy Will/

Then you wait. Keep a prayerful vigil, and pray for the wisdom to understand to discern His will for you.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

What a life !

September 9, 2018

“As to the extraordinary revelations, in order that I might not become conceited I was given a thorn in the flesh , an angel of Satan to beat me and keep me from getting proud. Three times I begged the Lord that this might leave me, He said to me, “ My grace is sufficient for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection.” And so I willingly boast of my weaknesses instead, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong. “

( 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 )

Our physical bodies lie to us with an obscene regularity. Saint Francis used to call his body “Brother Ass” and it was his desire to bring his physical body under strict control so that its only joy was in doing Gods Holy will. There used to be a saying back in the 1970’s that said “ How can it be wronng, when it feels so right”. This is the fallacy that is what happens in the world. But by and large the things that usually feel “good” to the body usually is not what is “good “ at all.

You might wonder why exactly it was, that Jesus, did not simply take Paul by the hand and heal the affliction ? Possibly insight into that question, could provide insight into why it is that the Lord may say “no” to our petitions.

Consider for a moment Paul’s history. Paul, when he was Saul, was prone to extremes. He persecuted Christians. Not just occasionally, or just because he was given direct orders to do it. He gave himself over to it. To say that he threw himself into his work would have been an understatement. Then look, at what happened when he became Paul, he was converted, and he was there, completely committed to this process, and so here again, his proclivity was to throw himself into his work.

God, is Our Father. Like our earthly parents, He loves us, and desires only what is best for us. When we do not receive the things we ask for, it is not because He does not love us, or does not want to give us what we are asking for. Instead, it is because there is a greater blessing , a greater good that comes out of the situation. It is important to note that this greater good is possibly either not something we will get to see or understand in this life, AND it is also true that the greater “good “ that is to come about might either not be the blessing for you, it may be the blessing that occurs for someone else.

There is some exegetical discussion that can be had to say that Paul could have had a health issue of some version or other. We don’t know if this condition ever left him.

I don’t know about you, but usually when I suffer some physical illness or malady, I usually tend to be subdued, and withdrawn. Paul says he was given his pain, his suffering in order that he not become too proud, or to become conceited. Consider for a moment, that Jesus told you, that you could heal the sick, and that you could make the blind see. Image that Jesus told you that you could do all that and much , much more ! Do you believe that for some people, it might be easy to fall into the belief that this power came from them ? Or that the fame that would spread across the land concerning what it is that you might be able to accomplish , even though it was not you but Christ who did the healing, do you think it might be possible for someone to loose themselves , even for a moment, in pride, or in position ?

Look at the great healers and spiritual mystics of the church. Every one of them suffered because of their “gift”. Saint Francis, St. Therese, St. Padre Pio, St. John of the Cross, and the list goes on and on.

A thorn was given to them, and an angel of satan to beat them. It was where they suffered.. It was occurrences in their lives to insure their humility. Most importantly, is was not that they were given these gifts, it was not in how they suffered, it was instead in how they responded, how they endured,

and how their faith was not only, not shaken, but in fact grew. It was through their response that wrung out the testament to their faith in God and through that testament droves of souls were convicted, converted, and confirmed.

Through the ages these simple men and women and been testament to faith in Jesus Christ not only in their lifetimes, but through the ages.

So, if you want to leave a legacy that will truly stand the test of time. Spend your earthly life in pursuit of becoming a saint. You will suffer, you will have joy, you will be persecuted. On the other hand, you will have family, you will be fed, and given shelter from the spiritual storms, and an awesome retirement plan !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

We are Peacemakers…

September 2, 2018

“ All of you should be like-minded , sympathetic, loving towards one another, kindlly disposed, and humble. Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult. Return a blessing instead. This you have been called to do that you may receive a blessing as your inheritance.”

(1 Peter 3:8-12 )

I think that it is safe to say, that sure we are all nearly like minded at the end of Holy Mass. Then, however, we are called out to go and become what we have received, to be food for others.

Sometimes that seems nearly literal, in that those in the world would like to cut, bite, chew and swallow us up. It is also possible that due to some issue we are dealing with , that WE become the one who gets presented with an issue pervasive to our thoughts and then WE become the one who bites, chews or swallows up the other. Worse yet, that we allow that thing to fester within, to grow, to hold on to the hurt and perceived injustice, and allow that to reign in our hearts.

This behavior brings about a 19th Century idom commonly referred to as “ Who kicked the cat”. The idea of this idiom, is that someone in a higher authority brings their anger or aggression into a situation and then lashes out on the next equal or lower person in position and then that agression gets passed down the chain until the person or persons who are least in position gets “kicked” and is just forced to either take it out on the family cat, or just generally on another person with no recourse..

As Franciscans we are called to be servants, to all, to have a preference to serving the least among us. The disadvantaged, the poor, the marginalized. Our brothers and sisters are the ones at every part of this “food chain”, We are called to be peacemakers, and bridge builders.

In this scenario, if , instead of passing on the anger, instead of passing the hostility, the hurt, the pain, on to the next person or thing, we could be the one who loves, we could be the one who listens, who communicates, who tries to dissolve the issues to get to the root of the matter and to diffuse the negative with the love of God.

Everyone has a basic need to be heard, and to be understood, in order that they become whole and grow as healthy well adjusted people . The line of communication is essential for any relationship. Spouse, family, co-worker, client , stranger. By and large, this has more to do with ME than it does with the other person. How it is that we receive what is presented to us. How it is that we are able to respond , how it is that we are able to filter what is presented and get to the root of what is needed.

We can not be more invested in being “right” than we are in building bridges. We need to be both educators, AND students of others. Stating, is not the same as commnicating. If both parties are not listening, but talking communication can not occur.

I had a client once who would not allow anyone to talk for the first 5 minutes of the phone call, because he would talk, and would not allow anyone to talk until he had communicated everything he wanted to say and refused to stop talking until he had completed communicating everything he wanted to say. It was so, because he he believed he had all the information the person who answered the phone would need to take care of him. More often than not, he was mistaken. After he stopped talking then he was ready to communicate. We could then begin to fix his problems and at the end he was happy.

Start by listening. Ask questions to find out what is needed, and then consider if what you are going to say next will help the other person on their journey towards God.

Finally, pray first, last and always. Sincerely pray for the other person, pray for understanding, pray for wisdom, pray for our own understanding, and that the will of God will be done in this and all things.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Suffering and Love…

August 26, 2018

“Let your love for one another be constant, for love covers and multitude of sins. Be mutually hospitable without complaining. As generous distributors of God’s manifold grace, put your gifts at the service of one another. Each on the measure he has received. The one who serves is to do it with the strength provided by God. Thus, in all of you God is to be glorified through Jesus Christ. “

( 1 Peter 4 8-11a )

In the backdrop of this story Peter is addressing the people in the five provinces of Asia Minor. These were a people who were undergoing persecutions, and alienation from their former beliefs, their former friends, and basically everything that they had previously known.. They were suffering both in ostracism but the persecution in their newly chosen faith.

The entire chapter of Peter was meant to both encourage these new Christians, but to provide an example of Christian life.

Like many other parts of scripture.. “ the old becomes new” in how it is that these passages become God speaking to us today for exactly the same reasons, and with the same type of purpose applied to each one of us.

The church here on earth, made up of humans, who are subject to the stain of original sin, with all its human failings, with all of their own individual weaknesses, suffers, and struggles, and sometimes fails because of its humanity.

It is important to realize that the church IS the body of Christ. If the church were just any other human organization, it would have failed long ago. It is not, however just a human organization, It is the Body of Christ. Consider, that the example that Jesus gave to us while here on Earth, is exactly how it is that we are to view not only our mission and existence as “Church” , but our life as brothers and sisters in Christ, who suffered for us.

Isaiah 53-1:12, gives us the vision of the “Suffering Servant”. Can you not also see in this reading ,

how it is that just as Christ did suffer, so the church suffers, and we as members of His body also suffer ?

More importantly, is not just that we suffer, but HOW we suffer, and what it is that we DO with that suffering. We are to first follow the greatest commandment which is to LOVE. We are to “assigned with wicked men (Isaiah 53:9), and we suffer.

Like all suffering, there is a larger purpose. The trials we suffer are there in order to be redemptive, and ultimately salvic in effect. If we suffer, we can choose to enter into cooperation with the will of God, in bringing about His kingdom. In the offering of our suffering in union with the suffering of Jesus Christ, in being the conduit of His graces, in being testament to faith in Jesus Christ.

Indeed, it can be through our suffering that we will see, that either in this life, or the next, that we will see “His offspring” ( Isaiah 53:10) , and we will see that the will of God prospered on earth as a result, and through that process, we will not only grow in our own faith, but we may also be the sower of the seed that bears good fruit in the Kingdom of God.

Take heart brothers and sisters, for our Lord said from the beginning, “ you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,*and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

(Matthew 16:18)

Remember that even since the time of the disciples, Satan has come among those in the church, and done evil within our midst. The church suffered because of it, but ultimately, we triumph overwhelmingly through our faith in Christ. It is not me, it is Christ within me.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Charity and Love, Bookends of Faith !

August 19, 2018

“May Christ dwell within your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones , the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullness of God himself.

To Him whose power new at work in us can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine – to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations , world without end, Amen. “

( Ephesians 3:17-21 )

This passage is part of the letter to the Ephesians by Paul, who was on a mission to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. This particular section comes near the conclusion of the letter just before a doxology.

Love and Charity, are the volumes that live between the bookends of a life of faith.

The Catechism defines Charity for us :

#1822 “ Charity is the Theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake and our neighbor as ourselves for the love off God.”

Charity can be thought of in two ways. The first is a physical act, the second an action of the heart.

The first is a physical action, giving an object, time or work to a person, or group that are deemed worthy of receiving that gift. This could be an act of heart, or simply a redistribution of a commodity that is not needed, or wanted. It is something that may have its roots in the second way, but its physical manifestation is in the first.

Then there is the second way. In this way, there is an action of the Holy Spirit.

The Catechism reminds us that :

1812 The human virtues are rooted in the theological virtues, which adapt man’s faculties for participation in the divine nature:76 for the theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have the One and Triune God for their origin, motive, and object.

1813 The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity “

In this passage, a reference is made to 1 Corinthians 13:13. This passage is sometimes referred to as the “Hymn of Love” written by Paul in Ephesus again to the Gentiles. This passage is a cardinal favorite to be read at weddings. It probably should be called the Wedding discourse instead , for if all married couples ( or those who are about to become married) would take the time to read, and study this passage, then possibly they might understand the depth its meaning.

The home is called the “Domestic Church” because it is the primary place where the love of God is lived out. Our prayer life, our love , and our charity..

This encompasses the second way of Charity, which is the action of the Holy Spirit within. It is the place where we go beyond ourselves. Where we reach out to God both through faith and through our brothers and sisters.

Paul rightly says “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 )

This is true of so many things we see in this world. When we look upon our earthly world through the lens of physical realities, we do not see clearly, but when we gaze through the eyes of Christ we see things as they truly are.

Too often we see the world, even those we love, through the eyes of the world. In our daily walk let us strive to see things through the lens of Love and Charity, so that we might touch the garment of Christ and be healed.
May God give you the gift of His peace !

Naked I Came Forth …

August 12, 2018

“Naked I came forth from my mothers womb, and naked I shall go back again.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.,

Blessed be the name of the Lord !

We accept the good things from God, and

and should we not accept evil ? “

(Job 1 21:2-10 )

The story of Job is that of the suffering servant. Like Job, we often find that as we go through life, thinking things are fine and life is good, and then all of a sudden things go terribly wrong and we have to go and deal with what ever that tragedy , or affliction or what ever cross it is that we are asked to carry.

I am sure that each of us in our lives have listened to anothers story, or even lived through a story of our own, and considered , at least for a time, how extreme and dire the circumstances are. Just when you thought things could not possibly be any worse for you, then BOOM ! There is something else, more fuel added to the fire that is consuming you to the bone !

Like Job, there are those who have been stripped of everything worldly, who have lost their earthly attachments, and come face to face with who they are. THIS is the story of Job.

The loss of riches, of relationships with his wife, and friends . He lost his children and basically all his earthly belongings.

Many who have survived natural disasters, or forced to immigrate from their homelands to a different country have a similar experience.

For those who are involved in ministry with direct contact with those who have suffered greatly, the questions you hear nearly always begin with “ Why ? “. Why did God allow this to happen.?

Job’s statement that we should accept evil is misplaced. Of course God does not give evil as that is impossible for God. However, this “evil” that Job speaks of is purely a trial.

Some believe that trails are retribution for sin.. this is not correct. As in John 9:3, when Jesus healed the man blind from birth, The disciples asked Jesus who sinned the blind man or his parents… The answer Jesus gave was that neither the man, nor his parents sinned, but it was so, in order that the works of God would be manifest through him.

The part that is always challenging is that at times WE do not always get to see the works ourselves. In these times we have to know and understand that the will of God is brought about in the witness to our faith.

Naked we came forth .. with nothing but our soul, nothing but the creation that we are. No riches, no wealth, no money, no possessions. Naked we shall return, and we can not take any of it with us when we leave our earthly experience.

This reading is a reminder for us to seek the things of Heaven, to seek God and His will for us in our daily lives.. To insure that as go forward through the trials we face in our lives we understand that Just like in Sirach 2:4-5 , we know that in humbleness, and in patience, our souls are being purified like gold., and tempered like steel.

Incline our hearts according to Your will O God !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Rejoice, Be Patient, and Persevere !

August 5, 2018

You love must be sincere. Detest what is evil, cling to what is good. Love one another with the affection of brothers. Anticipate each other in showing respect. Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit; he whom you serve is the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer. “

(Romans 12:9-12)

This passage has a number of messages for us to review and ( if we are wise) learn from.

First, “Your love must be sincere. Detest what is evil and cling to what is good. Love one another with the affections of brothers.” That’s pretty straight forward. Maybe not so easy at times, but pretty clear. Hold a brotherly love for one another. One of the great things about communication is audience. Who is speaking and who is listening.

The Apostle Paul is speaking to the Romans and in his work preaching to Gentiles about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the manner within which it is that they should live their lives in relation to their new faith ( remember these are people who have been busy worshiping various other gods at this point so this is all new information for them.

It bares out however, that these same preachings bare a virtual abundance in spiritual fruit for us to pick, consume, and become nourished by. We need constant reminders of what it is that Jesus calls us to. It is indeed a life of a continuity of love for our fellow man. This love includes those who are not among those of our own faith, and indeed of any faith at all. It includes those who may profess their faith differently. Different denominations, different rites etc.

Our love should reach to those who are the outcasts, the sick, the poor, those who have lost their way., and those who are different from ourselves. It should include those who dislike us for those same things.

Do not grow slack, but fervent in spirit” . This is not just for people who have fallen away from the church ! Oh no ! This IS for them, but it is also for those who are there every week, who are on the committees, or in the ministries, doing the physical work that needs doing. Indeed, doing the physical work apart from the formation and conviction of the heart is fruitless for the one doing the work. The REAL work for us is interior. We are but a conduit for Gods grace for others.

Rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer. “ These are a bit of a prayer sandwich. We need to take the time to rejoice ! Rejoice in the bounty of blessings that we have. Not languish and wallow in self pity for the things we do not have. We are given by God all that we need.. ( not all we want). God is a good and gracious Father, and leads us ( in spite of our desires) to what is good for us.

We need patience. Many may say that they do not want to ask God for more patience, because inevitably, the trials will come that allow you to test that metal. So we shy away from asking. We should not fear trials. I mean lets be honest, trials are never fun. Small trials… large trials.. none of them give us great joy. I know.. I also am victim to this process. Wisdom comes on the heels of trial IF we are wise, and seek what is Gods will for us. You are testament in your trials to those around you .

We rarely get advanced notice of the storm of a trial that is coming. It is paramount, that we begin everything in prayer, and then persevere in prayer through the trials not only to seek Gods will in process, seek His divine assistance, but even to thank Him for his graces, through the trials he molds us, works with us, leads us to Himself.

Finally persevere in prayer of thanksgiving regardless of the outcome of the trial, being thankful for all of the many blessings given to us not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others, testament to HIS HOLY NAME !

May God give you the gift of His peace !