Why Is There Suffering ?

June 3, 2017

” Praised be to God , the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation ! He comforts us in all our afflictions and thus enables us to comfort those who are in trouble, with the same consolation that we have received from Him. As we have shared much in the suffering of Christ, so through Christ do we share abundantly in His consolation. If we are afflicted it is for your encouragement and salvation , and when we are consoled it is for your consolation., so that you may endure patiently the same sufferings we endure. Our hope for you is firm because we know that just as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the consolation” ( 2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

Suffering, is one of the biggest questions we get asked. Mostly it is formed in the question of WHY ?

Why does God, who is almighty and omnipotent , and who is pure love, permit suffering to occur in the world. Why does it happen to those who are innocent, or young, or of some other circumstance ? Through our own questioning, we seek to find reasons for the suffering which seem particularly to make the least amount of sense to us.

Why death ? Why disease ? Why abuse ? Why is there war ? Why does God not just wipe away all of these things or maybe even some of those who cause these things to occur ? He could just point his celestial finger, or conceive of it happening and it would be so.

This is a valid question, and one deserving of an answer. There is only one answer, however, there are two circumstantial responses, pastoral, and theological. By this I mean, we would not necessarily want to provide a theological response to one who is grieving, and not really in a position to reason out the answer to this question.

That being said, lets take a look at the basis of suffering in our lives, its root, and its end result.

First, we know that all suffering, and death are a result of original sin. ” As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering , and the domination of death, and inclined to sin ( this inclination is called concupiscence .” ( CCC# 418 )

We also know that as a result this fallen nature, with its sin, suffering and death, were transmitted to all human kind.

That sounds all horrible and nasty and full of doom and gloom. It might have been so, but consider for a moment, that if we look back through the entire recorded history in the Bible, we saw where human kind , and in particular the Jews and later Christians, would inevitably sin, doubt, fail and fall.

Just as regularly, however, did God in His infinite wisdom and mercy, have a plan in place that would provide for the redemption and forgiveness of mans failures. It is always in Gods plan that man should grow, and mature and come into union, into relationship with Him.

Knowing this, we can look with confidence and with faith to God in our suffering knowing that He loves us, and wants what is best for us. There is however more to this story !

Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” ( James 5:14-15) .

What we know is that during the time Christ was with us, He of course healed many people of their sufferings, just as he does today. However, through the church he has also given the gift of healing

both to those within and outside the Magisterium. Of course, in there are 2 of the seven sacraments are specifically for healing. First is Extremeunction, or the Anointing of the Sick. The second sacrament of healing is Reconciliation, of course.

It is interesting to note that the sacrament of Reconciliation is offered in the light that, again, that it is always part of Gods holy will that mankind be united with Him. These are graces given to us by God.

Now, still there remains that nagging ” Why ?” question that is perpetually present.

The answer comes here :

“because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.

Three times* I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.”

(2 Corinthians 12:7-9 http://www.usccb.org/bible/2corinthians/12)

In every instance of healing that has occurred in scripture there were reasons those healing s occurred, either for the benefit of those who were present, or for the individual in need of the healing.

We are, through baptism, Priest ( laity) , Prophet, and King ( royal priesthood of Heavenly Kingdom).

Through our priesthood, ( as lay people) we are called to make gifts, offerings, and sacrificial offerings.

These come in various forms. Our work, our lives, our tithing ( time, talent and treasure) and also in our suffering.

In both an informal, and a formal sense, when we suffer in minor ways, illness, tribulations etc. we are given the opportunity to offer our sufferings up to God in union with the passion of Christ for not only our own sins, but for the sins of the entirety of human kind.

Through the sacrament of Extremeunction, we are given the opportunity to formally offer these things and to receive the graces necessary to carry those through. In addition, we are given opportunity to not only advance our own salvation, but the salvation of all mankind and to help in bringing about the Kingdom of God.

Like many other things that happen in our earthly life, there are opportunities we are presented with on a daily basis. What we do with those opportunities is up to us. It is the blessing that comes with a free will, we can either choose to unite our daily lives more closely to God, or do nothing.

This of course in no way means that you should not pray for healing, or relief from the suffering that either you or a loved one is enduring. It just means that if you are the one suffering, that you have the opportunity to make something good and salvic come from your suffering. If it is a loved one who is suffering, then it gives you the opportunity to help by your prayers, and leading them to understand the opportunity they have for grace to be part of their journey..

May God give you the gift of His Peace !

I Saw Before Me a Huge Crowd !…

May 27, 2017

” I saw before me a huge crowd which no one could ocunt from every nation and race, people and tongue. They stood before the throne and the Lamb , dressed in long white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, ” Salvation is from our God, who is seated on the throne , and from the Lamb !” All the angels who were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creaturesfell down before the throne to worship God. They said ” Amen, ! priase and glory , wisdom and thanksgiving and honor, Power and might to our God forever and ever Amen !”. ( Revelation 7:9-12)

When I began to look at this passage, I thought to myself. What could one possibly say, or think, or ponder more than what is already written here.

Many in the theological circles I have traveled in, either know little about the book of revelation or sometimes I get the feeling that it is for the clergy, and those in pastoral, and spiritual care circles, much the same feeling one gets as a guitar player, when someone comes up and asks you to play
” Freebird”… now. don’t go get all defensive if your one of those who just can not seem to hear the song enough, and feel like it is your personal anthem.

What I mean is that there are certain questions one gets asked oh, about a trillion times and you really long for something with a little more substance or something different. What Circle of Hell am I in ? Which room in the Interior Castle am I in ? What do you think about that labyrinth thingy ?

Now, don’t get my wrong. I want to encourage everyone in their quest for knowledge, truth, ,and the understanding in their relationship with Christ. It is important, to seek these things, so that you understand what you believe and why. In today’s world we have far to few “educated” Christians, meaning disciples who know what they believe, and why they believe it, and the history and meaning behind that faith.

But I digress..

So what is it about this passage that speaks to us ? What is it about it that sticks out to you ? Most assuredly, and hopefully it will be a little different for you. Why ? Because the scripture speak to us differently, at different times, for different reasons, in order to teach us different things.

While reading the passage , we are taken into the scene. The sheer vastness of the Throne Room, the huge hall, and all of the faithful there praising God in all His spendor. The part however that caught my attention was the mention of the four creatures.. and it really did not seem to make sense to me.

In my search there are those who have described these four creatures in various ways. have connected the creatures to the four creatures from Ezikiel, but those creatures came in a much different scene. In fact there are a few places throughout scripture in the Old Testament where there are 4 creatures mentioned.

The important thing to note is that Revelation like several other books are full of imagery, and symbolism. Its just that Revelation is chocked full of the stuff. I mean literally this is wall to wall imagery. The thing is you have to understand that these revelations are mystical and dream-like and are meant to a certain degree, to speak to the audience it was meant for… the early church.

The other thing is that translations are at work here. The word “creatures” are also used to refer to various options, including angels. The reference changes according to the translator apperantly.
So who were these 4 creatures ? – they are by cross reference to the Old Testament in Daniel and Ezekiel as a Man, Eagle, Lion, and Ox. Great ?! you say ? Now what.. these 4 creatures are actually symbols of the Evangelists of the Synoptic Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
These are born out by such great theologians as Iraneas , St Auguine of Hippo and St. Jerome.

There were the elders.. the communion of Saints.. another great voice and our intercessors in Heaven.
This should give us hope, and confidence not only in our prayer life, but in our intercession. For others, and in turn through the saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It should also give us great confidence in the intercessory prayers of others on our behalf.

What a glorious scene for us, for our future. What fire should fill our hearts and souls as we contemplate the glories of Heaven and of our Heavenly Father.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

God’s Mercy…

May 20, 2017

Gods Mercy….

‘Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may [now] receive mercy.

For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.’ ( Romans 11:30-32 )

This passage is Paul talking is talking to his fellow Isrealites.. the Jews, of which he was one. and he is attempting to get them out of their “superiority complex” and get them to understand that they too sinned. Not only did they sin, but they sinned greatly, and God in his infinite love showed them mercy. They fell into sin which allowed them to be put into exile.. to learn of the great mercy and love of God. Now, it is the Gentiles who have fallen into sin, and they too will learn the lesson that the Jews should have learned that God indeed is loving and has infinite mercy.

Pain can be a mercy. Now before you all run off and think I have lost my mind and get any odd notions.. Consider this… How many souls have come to God in pain. How many souls reach the near end of their ropes, stripped of their preconceptions, feeling alone, and beaten, having suffered at the hands of the world. Who suffered through illness, pain, calamity, and then….. THEN.. it is that they come to realize that there is nothing…. they are nothing without God.

How many on their death beds… how many in fear and trembling ? For themselves, or those they love.
When you are at the mercy of another soul, who deigns to serve God, in the service of their brothers and sisters.

Think of the love and mercy Christ gave us on the cross. Think of the pains and challenges you have faced in your lifetime. You are given graces beyond recognition. You are given mercies you do not know, or even understand. The developement of your travels towards sanctification are held in the river of mercy poured out on all the world.

Consider the breadth of pain a teenager goes through as they attempt to figure out their world. Emotions that run the gambit, relationships and all the turbulence that goes with it. The terrible 2’s when infants are trying to figure out their world. Or when seniors get away from their jobs and again have to figure our their world.

Come to think of it, we pretty much spend a vast amount of our lifetimes trying to “figure it out”. All the while God has already given us the blueprint. We are however, like the Israelites of the Biblical era , hard headed, and hard of heart… and we do not listen.

God’s Love and Mercy endures forever…

May God give you the gift of His peace (and mercy) !

Patience of the Lord

May 14, 2017

” The patience of the Lord is directed towards salvation ” – 2 Peter 3:15 \
(*ibid Shorter Christian Prayer)

I was on my way to a gathering of our community, which I was supposed to lead. At the last minute, I received a phone call from the Minister stating that the person who was supposed to lead the formation class, might not be able to make it due to some mechanical and service issues with her car.

I said not to worry about it, we would be able to work through the process and if necessary I would take up the challenge and provide some necessary formation discussions.

As it ended up, someone else came to me before the meeting began and provided the impetus for the needed discussion. However, lets backup the story a bit. I will share with you that one of my character traits/flaws (depending on ones view) is that I can not stand to be late for anything. There is something rather irritating to me about insuring that I am not late in order not to be burdensome to someone else. At work, I am always at least an hour early, as it allows me time for coffee, and to ease into the day. (caffeine is one of my vices).

Anyway, while walking to the meeting I allow plenty of time to stop and have coffee prior to its beginning and I used some of that time to review the readings of the day. Now, on this particular day, for those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours, there were approximately 4 different possible readings for the day. There was the standard reading from the Psalter, the Blessed Mother on Saturday, there was another saint whose name I have forgotten, and Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. The readings that were previously selected were Our Lady of Fatima, and I had sent out the notice.

Well in my lack of caffeine haze, I started reading (to myself , before the meeting) the reading from the Psalter. which was 2 Peter 3 12-15. This last line however stuck with me and I could not quite shake the desire to pick that apart a bit. So, what does this exactly mean that His patience, is DIRECTED towards salvation ? How exactly is it that this reflects into our own lives. ?

The Lord’s patience is,without end. Consider the span of recorded time, has man over thousands of years have we failed, have we sinned, have we failed. Still, the Lord is patient and repeatedly tries to teach us how to follow His holy will ! Why ? Why is it that God has been so patient and kind towards man who stubbornly does not learn, and has to repeatedly relearn the same lessons He has been trying to teach.

The Lords patience is directed towards salvation….

Jesus, came into the world. He took on the most vulnerable of children, born into poverty, patiently He bore His humanity in order to teach us how we are to live. Patiently, He lead the leaders. Patiently He taught the disciples, even as they failed, and stumbled. Even Peter, prince of the apostles, did he stop and patiently explain, teach, forgive, and teach again. He patiently bore the process of dealing with those who hated, and misunderstood Him.

Jesus deals with us this way, suffered, and suffers yet, for us this way, in order that we gain wisdom, and which is would lead us to salvation. Jesus often taught, that the Love is the law. take a moment and switch the word patience, with the word love. Jesus loves us. his patience exists because He loves us.

Jesus also teaches that we are to be Holy even as the Father is holy. (1 Peter 1:16 and Leviticus 11:44 )

If this is the case ( and it is) that our part of our daily offering should be that in our struggles, we need to try to emulate in our human state the holiness of Christ on Earth, then our patience should be long standing just as God’s patience is which is directed not only to the salvation of others, but towards our own sanctification.

I freely admit this is one of my own character flaws. I am not always as patient as I should be. I try, I struggle and I fail. I probably like many of you, ask the Lord , praying for patience, or being afraid to ask for patience, because of fear that the Lord would give you opportunities to work on your patience, that the human side of you ” just does not want to deal with”.

Do not be afraid to ask the Lord for anything. Primarily, however, pray and ask to become the vessel. Ask to become the tool, ask to fulfill what ever it is that is His holy will for you. I hate to tell you but if it is His will for you to have more patience, those opportunities to work on your patience are going to come whether you want them to or not. There is, however, that nasty free will thing that keeps showing up. We have choices about how we deal with them. We have to pick up our daily cross, and follow. That’s the job. Will we fail ? Yes. Will we ever get better ? Yes ! Does God love us even when we fail ? YES ! Why ? Because….

” The Lords patience is directed towards salvation ” for you, and for me.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

The Coronation – Franciscan Crown – Part VII

May 6, 2017

Coronation of Mary, Queen of the Universe.

“And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

(1 Peter 5:4)

In this mystery, we contemplate on Mary, who was assumed into Heaven and is crowned Queen of the Universe, with her never fading crown of the 12 stars spoken of in the book of Revelations.

The mystery calls to mind the extension of the Assumption and completion of , or the fulfillment of the vocation Mary was called to. As Mary was given to us on the cross as our own mother, we have the greatest advocate and intercessor who pleads for us with Jesus.

This mystery is all about the subject of perseverance. Perseverance, is that long, steady and abiding faith.. It is not that we do not fail, it is not that we do not fall, or falter from time to time. perseverance is about the efforts, it is about the work involved towards something. It is about truth, without and within. It is about truth from without, because God is the source. The Eucharist, often called the “Source and Summit ” is Jesus. God incarnate. It is faith at its deepest quaking in our hearts and souls.

It is our abiding with God. It says everything about how we are as a disciple. It has everything to do with how we live out our day to day lives in our work, in our rest, in our service, both to God and to our brothers and sisters.

It is from within, when we spend time in prayer. Not just the prayer of self…. Not the *I* prayer. You know the one I am speaking of. *I* need…. *I* want… What *I* am coming to you for …. These prayers that are centered in the desires of the world. This does not mean that we should not ask God for what we need. Or that it makes us bad Christians. It is changing the orientation of our prayer life.

from the child like process of give me “this” because I want it, into a more mature version of asking for Gods will. ” Lord. I have been presented with this situation, and we are seeking your will in what it is that we are to do “.

As in the “Prologue” of our Holy Rule states :

” All who love the Lord with their whole heart, with their whole soul and mind , with all their strength, and love their neighbors as themselves, and hate their bodies with their vices and sins, and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and produce worthy fruits of penance. Oh, how holy and blessed are these men and women when they do these things and PERSEVERE (emphasis added) in doing them. ”

I once saw a poster of an injured lion. The lion had pulled itself up off the ground and stood strong and fearless. The caption at the bottom of the poster was this :

” It is not how we fall that matters…. It is how we RISE ! ”

As Christians, and as Franciscans this is primary in our necessity to examine how it is that we fallen, but more importantly, how it is that we rise in strength of perseverance and with the heart of the lion, strong in our faith, and strong in the knowledge and surety, in the perseverance of the love of our Lord !

This mystery is the Coronation of Mary, Queen of the Universe.

We meditate on Perseverance.

We ask pardon Lord, for those times when we have not lived the Holy Rule, as we should.

For when we have failed and faltered,

For when our failures have injured our brothers and sisters …

For those times when we have missed opportunities for worthy penance

For those times when we have stayed in our sin and vices.

We pray Lord for perseverance and strength and wisdom.

For the perseverance of mind, heart and soul, that we might not falter

For the strength of faith and character to live out our faith to the glory of God.

For the Wisdom, to see where we have failed to persevere, and to assist our brothers and sisters who may also need strength, assisting without judgment and with love in the examination of our own sin.

Finally, in perseverance of living our Holy Rule of Life to the fullest human extend with extraordinary heavenly graces, gifted to others through us.

Our Father who art in Heaven…..

May God give you the gift of His peace..

Hail Holy Queen – Franciscan Crown Part VI

April 27, 2017

The Assumption –

” A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth ” ( Revelations 12: 1-2)

In this reflection we meditate on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Queen of the Universe.

It goes without saying to many Christian denominations ( not just Catholics) that Mary is someone we honor as the Mother of God. She is not Divine, she is human. We do not pray to her as God. We ask her for intercessory prayer, much in the same way that you would ask a friend or neighbor to pray for you for something that is near to your heart. It is beyond the scope of this reflection to go through the ‘ “Why’s and How’s ” of the Dogma of the Assumption. So I will leave that to you.

The Assumption is, for those who may be unaware, is that at the end of her earthly life, Mary, was assumed into Heaven, body and soul, to live and reign. Jesus loved Mary, as any son would love his mother. There is nothing he would not do for her, that was within the Fathers will.

Mary, who was human, although free of sin and corruption, still lived a very human life. she knows the pains of the living. Being single, and betrothed, the feeling of being alone, or lonely. The challenges of being married to someone who was not perfect. The struggles of marriage… The feelings of separation. Mary was after all the champion empty nest-er ! The pains of watching her child struggle. She was a widow… She lost a family member … She suffered sickness,,, She struggled and worked to see her son do the things He was meant to do. It was long hours.. Late nights.., and early mornings. cooking, cleaning, preparing, serving.

On the Cross, in her pain, in His pain, Jesus gave His mother to us. What a gift… what an outpouring of love and grace !

Let us take the time to meditate on the joys and sufferings of the Blessed Mother. How there was not much of anything that was shared about the life of either Jesus or Mary during his formative years. How she knew of the suffering, and endured it anyway. How she struggled sometimes in silence just as we sometimes may do today. Even in the time of her life that is recorded, it was a life of service, charity and selflessness.

The Sixth Mystery – The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary –

In this mystery, we meditate on long suffering, or perseverance , and our own resurrection at the coming of Christ.

Heavenly Father, we beg pardon, for those times when we have failed to live our Holy Rule of Life.
For those times when we have failed to show You to others in charity, in service or in love.
For the times when we have not walked, as Mary did , in humble acceptance of Your will for us.

We pray, that like Mary, we will walk our lives in faith…
That we will only want what ever is Your Holy will for us..
That we have the strength of faith, to walk the road you have prepared for us no matter the cost.

Finally, we pray that the Blessed Mother will intercede for us with her Son,
that when we fail on our earthly journey, that He forgive our failings and grant us a renewed vigor of faith, strength, and perseverance to follow His most Holy will !

Mary conceived without sin…. Pray for us who have recourse to thee !

Our Father who art in Heaven……

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Finding of the Child Jesus

April 22, 2017

” Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom.

After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.

When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2: 41-49)

If you are a parent of a child, this story falls near to your heart. The anxiety begins with that feeling where you do not see the child, and then it begins to grow as you search, Those minutes feel like hours and that level if anxiety only grows until you are finally reunited with the child and feel secure in the knowledge that they are safe, and at that moment, nothing else really matters at all.

If you are not a parent, then you if you have been entrusted with something precious that you need to return to your parents, or to someone else in authority, and you have no idea where that thing is. That might give you a very small idea of how a parent feels in those moments of separation.

Even the typically very rational and thoughtful of parents calm goes out the window when they are looking for a child. There are just no words for this level of anxiety.

In those days it was typical for a child to travel up and down a caravan, these were friends and community, and a place of safety. Imagine, after the child was not found after a full day of searching, and no one knew anything about where the child was. Imagine after that, to go searching for 4 full days with no answers. The level of that anxiety was immeasurable.

Imagine, their relief and , as a typical parental response, wanting to know what He was doing, and why He did that to them ? His response was pretty simple. Didn’t you already know that I had to be here ? After that episode He was a good and obedient son while He grew in age.

So, what is it that we get from this Mystery ?

We are like Mary and Joseph in this story. It is given to us as Christians a responsibility for the soul we have. We are given the gift of life, and during our period of time on earth we are responsible for the care and feeding of that soul. We are responsible to seek God in our daily lives,

When we face challenges and difficulties in life, each challenge is the call of the soul, it is the call of God . He is calling out to find the lost soul of our heart. In our earthly life we feel anxieties, and pains, fear, and longing. It is however, sometimes difficult for us to discern what it is that the soul is looking for. Because our soul belongs to God, The soul will seek God even if we do not see, or understand what that call is or what to do about it. God will provide these things. Just as a parent provides for a child. The child may only understand the basic need, and not the will or intent of the parent..

The child will only be content, when it is back in Heaven, in its Fathers house. So it is with Jesus.

The fifth Mystery – The finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple.

Father, we ask pardon for those times when we have not lived our Franciscan Rule of Life,
For when we have not sought, and found Jesus in our brothers and sisters,
For when we have failed care for the child Jesus in the body and soul of our brothers and sisters,
For when we have not trusted in Your Divine providence and suffered anxiety from our lack of faith.

We pray for those who are lost.
For those who do not know Jesus, or have turned away.
For those who suffer, either in their souls or in their bodies.
For all parents, who are given the primary responsibility of sharing Jesus, with their children, and with each other.
For our Franciscan Brothers and Sisters, for the strength and wisdom to live the Rule every day until they are united again with God in Heaven.

Our Father who art in Heaven….

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Adoration of the Magi… Come and Adore

April 14, 2017

“After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.

They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. ” (Matthew 2:9-11)

The Adoration of the Meiji – ” Come let us adore Him ! ”

In the next Mystery we encounter the 3 Wise men, who have come from the East to adore Jesus and pay homage to him.

Let us consider that these men traveled a vast distance, committed to finding Jesus. They were inspired and faced mortal dangers, in order to seek Jesus and to give him the glory that was due Him.

In this narrative, they brought him gifts in spite of the hardships, in spite of the dangers, etc. They were all brought before Herod They could have left gifts for Herod.. He was an earthly king. They probably would have been treated very well. Instead they kept these gifts to lay them at the feet of Jesus.

They completed their mission ! They came and offered gifts and offered their praise to Jesus, and then they left the earthly kingdom to go back home by a different path..

The magi , were part of a priestly caste. fulfilling the prophetic story within the Psalms. ( but we will leave that for another time.. )

Consider for a moment that our baptism calls us each to be priest, prophet and king. Interject that idea into the story of the Adoration and then lets look at where we are in our spiritual lives.

We have, like the magi been given knowledge that the Lord is among us, but we have been given signs, and directions on how and where to find him, BUT we have failed to go, we have failed to seek Him, we have failed to find Him and offer Him the glory that is due His name. How ? We have failed to see Jesus in our brothers and sisters. We have failed to offer to Him our gifts, our talents, our treasures. We have failed in leaving the things that are of this earthly kingdom alone, in favor of Jesus.
and the Heavenly kingdom. We have chosen comfort, and sloth instead of the challenges of the road to the Christ child.

We have failed to seek Jesus, in the education of our own faith, and even in our very own charism !
Our seeking to become formed in our own faith is our responsibility… Our duty. Our formation does not end at Confirmation, ! In the same light, it is up to each Brother, Sister, and Priest to understand that our formation does not end when our initial formation is over … NO ! It is just the beginning.

Our responsibility in our faith formation begins in the 10 commandments, specifically, the 1st commandment – ” I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.” and the 4th commandment – and the 3rd commandment ” Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy “. OK so now you are asking yourself why the 3rd Commandment ? You can not keep what you do not know.

One of the first things every child learned in the Baltimore Catechism, was to ” know God, to love God, and to serve God, so that we can be with Him in Heaven.”. The first part of that is to KNOW God. You can not know, what you do no seek to understand.

We need to be like the magi to seek Jesus out and to adore Him in others .and in creation. We need to be like the magi and bring our gifts to adore Christ in the church, and in the world. We need to be like the magi in being in the early kingdom, leaving behind the things that hinder up from being in adoration and on our journey to the Heavenly kingdom.

The 4th Mystery – The Adoration of the Magi

We beg pardon Lord, for the times when we have failed to adore You , in our brothers and sisters, and in creation.

We are sorry for those times when we did not make the act of Adoration, because it was not easy, or convenient.

We are sorry for those times, when we have missed or ignored those opportunities to grow and deepen our faith , and to know You better.

We ask pardon, for when we did not follow our own Rule, in placing bring life to the Gospel , and Gospel to Life.

Our Father who art in Heaven…..

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Franciscan Crown Part III – Nativity

April 7, 2017

” In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.

This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.* She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a
manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2 :1-7 )\\

This mystery deals with the Nativity of the Lord. That singular point in time when the God, the creator of the universe and all it contains, deigned to become reach down and become part of the created world. He chose to become small, to appear less, to become poor, and to suffer for love of us. He became man, not because of our sin, but because of love for us.

God gave us free will. In order that we might choose to love Him. We might choose to know Him and seek after Him, not because we are slaves. Not because we are servants, but because we are children of God.

God came to earth because of love. He came to both show us love, and to try to teach us how to love.
He gave us guidelines, He gave us rules, He gave us examples and lessons. He gave us tools to use, and He gave us each other.

Consider the depth and breadth of His love as He suffered poverty, and humility in His birth. He was not born in fine linens. and not in a warm bed. He was not born with the fanfare of man. He did not have throngs of crowd to hail his arrival. Instead, he was born in a barn, with rags for clothes… and a choir of animals gently grazing nearby.

He came into a world of nothing, He brought into the world everything..

The Mystery of the Nativity of Our Lord…

We meditate on Love.

We ask pardon Lord, for those times when we have not lived our Holy Rule,
When we have not shown love to our brothers and sisters.
when our human weakness got in the way of showing your divine love.

We pray to show your love to those who might have hurt us.
to others who might have allowed their humanity to get in the way,
and for the wisdom of understanding the human failings
that are both our neighbors and our own.

And in the example of Our Lord,
that we have the courage, and the trust, to show love,
and the strength to conquer our humanity,
and allow the divinity of Christ to show through us.

Our Father who art in Heaven….

May God give you the gift of His peace… !

Franciscan Crown Part II – The Visitation

April 1, 2017

“And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived* a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;

for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,

where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. ” (Luke 1:36-40 )

The Second Mystery is the visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. There are a few things that are interesting about this particular passage in Luke :

First, note the use of the language. “has also conceived a son in her old age and is in the sixth month” that bears testament to idea that life begins even then at conception. Since this came from the angel as part of the Annunciation to Mary, we also know that this is the true sign that God confirms the idea that life indeed begins at conception.

Second, Mary would have been pregnant as well and there would have been an overlapping 3 months between Mary’s conception, and Elizabeth’s final trimester of pregnancy.

Mary goes to serve her cousin and has a journey into “the hill country” so she also has a little exercise in front of her this journey at the time was no small feat.. it was nearly 100 miles from Nazareth to Judea.. This would not be an easy journey from the beginning.

Consider the difficulty involved. Surely, Mary was not comfortable and imagine traveling that distance on a donkey. This was a something big.

So why did she go ? They were family.. I am sure that at some interval they would have seen each other, and had reunions. But Mary went to her cousin to serve. Her cousin was older,, and her pregnancy would have weighed greatly on her and on Zachariah her husband as well. We could tell from the scripture that Mary ” entered the house of Zachariah ” then went to her cousin. It could be inferred that Elizabeth might have been spending a good deal of time in bed or at least resting and probably did not have energy to hurry to meet Mary when she first arrived.

Mary stayed until John was born. Serving her cousin and caring for her and her husband.. In doing so Mary provided the perfect model of surrender, service and charity.

The Second Mystery … The Visitation.

We meditate on charity.

Heavenly Father, ask for pardon for our sins against Charity.

We ask forgiveness for not bearing patiently with others,

for those times when we might have not heeded the cry of the needs of our brothers and sisters,

for those times when we have not lived the Rule of Life,

for when we did not bring life to the Gospel, nor Gospel to life.

We pray for the gift of Charity in our hearts and souls,

so that we will both have a greater love of God in our hearts,

and in our brothers and sisters.

Our Father who art in heaven…..

May God give you the gift of His peace !