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 !

Franciscan Crown – The Annunciation

March 25, 2017

The Annunciation – Franciscan Crown Rosary Part I

“And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

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. ” ( Luke 1 : 35-38 )

Annunciation, to announce or proclaim in an authoritative way. We are as Christians called to announce and proclaim the Good News of Jesus to all the world.

We, as Franciscans, are called through the words of St. Francis to “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”.. Why is this important ? It is important because we are called into action first, and then using words.

When the angel appeared to Mary, he greeted her, and gave her the the news. and her Magnificat, her surrender, and ascent to the news, and to the will of the Heavenly Father, was a very important part of the salvic action.

Because of the fact that we were created with free will, the angel presents the request.. and Mary says “yes”. She could have said “no” .. or let me think on it for a while.. and instead chose surrender.

Because Mary said “yes” Jesus was born into this world. Because Mary said “yes” , she risked everything in this life that she knew. Everything in her earthly life , including her own life, could she have lost as a result of being an unwed mother who was betrothed to a man. She risked, scorn and her reputation, she risked her family and friends.

We are given the opportunities and the options to have our own mini-Magnificats to proclaim the Gospel through the choices we are given every day. We are given the chance to say YES.. to God, Yes to the job that we are given to proclaim God through our lives, our actions and our words.

In a society which is full of mis-information, and indifference, to a world which is starved for truth, and love, it is given to us, to share the Truth of Jesus Christ, and His Love with all. Ultimately, our entire lives need to be ordered towards the Divine Truth, towards God, and His will. That requires our ascent to His holy will.

Doubt, is at the very “tap-root” of Satan’s plan. Satan does not want you to believe that you have this call within you. It is only by living the Gospel through your life and words that Jesus may convict others. Just like Mary, it is through your actions, through your word, where you can choose to be the vessel God uses in order to bring the love of Jesus Christ into the world that is in so much need of it.

*** The first Mystery***

The Annunciation – The Angel of the Lord appeared unto Mary. Let it be done unto me according to Your will.

” We meditate on surrender of our will unto God”

We pray for forgiveness when we have not surrendered our will,

and when we failed to proclaim Christ, in word and deed.

For our failure to follow the Franciscan Rule of life,

For our failure in loving our Brothers and Sisters,

Our Father…

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Wait On The Lord … .

March 18, 2017

I believe I shall see the Lord’s goodness

in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD, take courage;

be stouthearted, wait for the LORD”

(Psalm 27:13-14 )

On my daily path to work I take the city bus for part of the trip and walk the remainder of the trip in order to get a little extra exercise in for the day. One day, while I was heading off to work , the weather had taken a sudden dip in temperature and it was chilly outside.. I could see my breath as I walked to my bus stop and I thought to myself, well… maybe I won’t walk today because it’s a bit chilly and that lazy human side of me likes to be warm and comfortable.

Any way, the bus came and we arrived at the first transfer station, and the driver got off the bus and went and socialized with some of the other drivers. Their conversation ran on and we eventually were late in departing the transfer station. Some of the passengers who were on their way to work were restless and began to complain.

I tend not to worry about such things for a few reasons. First, the time I spend on the bus ( usually about 2 hours) is spent in prayer, usually the Liturgy of the Hours, and general prayer time. Secondly, because it is another part of my poor human conditioning, that I simply can not stand to be late for things, so leave the house in order to arrive at work approximately an hour plus before work begins.
( allowing for the other part of that human condition which is to feed my daily caffeine requirement)

I digress… In due time, the driver returns and gets in and we continue on our journey. As it turns out, we were approximately 5-10 minutes from our destination at the second transfer station, and the traffic is halted by a train, which appeared to be coupling and uncoupling cars , going back and forth in front of the roadway which was barred by gates.

The driver then became upset at waiting for the train, and decided to circumvent the process by turning the bus around and attempted to take some side streets to drive around the train. The only problem with that idea, was that by the time we had reached the street that would have allowed us to pass, the train had by then caught up to us and then down went the gates, the bells, the train whistle, and there we were stuck waiting for the train again.

The driver spent the next 10 minutes in the wailing and bemoaning the fact that this train was in the way and how it just was not right that this train should have been in the way etc. It was just terrible that this bus was there. The train then passed. We continued on our journey, There was apparently another bus driver who had the same idea, since there was also another bus in front of us. We finally reached the main road, the other bus entered onto the road but by the time we reached the intersection, the light had turned and again, we were waiting. There were gasps to be heard all through the bus.

The driver appeared to be new, because as we approached the transfer center, she missed one entrance and drove the circumference of the station and finally pulled in. By the time we finally reached the destination at the final transfer station, the connection that we would have made, had left and people were understandably unhappy, and then that too left me with a decision. I was early enough that I could have stood around at the transfer station and waited for the next bus to show up, or I could take my morning walk and get there a bit earlier.

I spend these walks in the morning also in prayer, because it takes me some time to walk to the office it is the perfect amount of time for me to pray the Franciscan Crown Rosary and have a little time for mediation..

So, I decided to walk… Since the time change, it is typically dark when I begin my walks now. until the Earths rotation brings the daybreak near the end of the walk, and I can see things apart from the street lamps.. and then finally….. I can see the birds that are singing, and the flowers.. and just before I reach the office, ,there is a pasture where there are some horses that are in the distance grazing….

In life, we go through these passages, these events, these trials that may be difficult to deal with. We have challenges that cause us to examine where we are, or what we are doing. At times, trying to see our way through them may be difficult. Unexpected challenges come up, and even at times when we try to find ways around them we find more challenges ! It can be very frustrating and exasperating even.

Just like the walk that starts in darkness, and challenges, will end , and at the end, through the eyes of faith we will be able to see the goodness of the Lord !!

May God give you the gift of His peace !

For Dust Thou Art…

March 4, 2017

Remember Oh Sinner, “For Dust Thou Art, and Unto Dust Thou Shalt Return… ” ( Genesis 3:19)

By the time this post is shared, Ash Wednesday will have passed for this year. As it happens I am writing this a few days ahead of Ash Wednesday simply because we were reminded this week at Mass that Ash Wednesday and Lent was already upon us !! Where did the time go ?

In most locale’s the church has dispensed with using this passage as part of the Rite of Ashes, in the Liturgy of the Mass, In favor of the passage “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” ( Mark 1 : 15) .

I think it was interesting to see the circumstances surrounding these two passages.

First, the Genesis passage. In this passage, God is talking to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and they collectively pretty much made a royal mess of things in their world. God was in the process of telling them how it was going to be from that point forward, since they just could not follow instructions. This is same passage where God told them that there would be pain in child birth, and they would have to till the soil and make their living by the the sweat of their brows etc. .etc.

Now, then there is the passage in Mark, where it had already come to pass that Jesus was beginning his earthly ministry and trying to get people to follow the instructions they had been given. Jesus had also, after being baptized went through the temptation in the desert, and then at the beginning of His ministry, John got arrested and thrown into prison.

How do you like that ? There is John, doing what is right, following along with the plan God had set out for him and BAM ! He gets thrown in jail and treated like the dirt. Meanwhile, everyone else was out there living it up. How did THAT happen ?

In any case, lets fast forward a few thousand years.. and here we are. Do YOU sometimes feel like John ? You try to do what is right, and good and then BAM ! life comes along and throws a wrench inside the works.

You get a few ways to look at this. Either you can decide that it was just not worth doing and it would just be easier to let it all go and have fun. OR – You could say, that it was all your fault because at some point this was God’s way of punishing you for something that happened in your past and its just what you deserve and that’s fine.. BUT, that sort of leads us back to the first part of the options, and neither one of those are true.

God, does not work in that way. Instead, we already know we have a loving God, who already knows our heart and wants what is best for us. Sure, things happen, and yes, those things are at times not what we had in mind, but they are ultimately for our good.

The usage of the passage of Genesis has fallen out of usage in some circles as it does not have the ” warm and fuzzy” tone, that the passage in Mark has. If you take some time to review the current state of affairs in the world, we could use a little sobering catechesis on where it is we stand, spiritually speaking.

In this time of our lives, while remembering that our God is a loving God, and He loves and cares for us, it does not mean that we can just run out and do what ever we like. God gave us free will, but there are consequences to having that free will.

During this Lent, let us spend this time, in doing some serious “spring cleaning” in our spiritual house and work on those areas that we all need work in.

Most of the diocese, have teamed up and gathered priests to go around to the different parishes, to make the Sacrament of Penance very accessible to everyone. This is a great place to start.

Prepare your soul, and make straight your path, for the Kingdom of God is at hand !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Daily Trials… Yours and Mine.

February 25, 2017

Daily Trials… Yours and Mine.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes* so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you ” ( John 15 1:3)

It does not matter where it is that you are, or where it is that you believe that you are on your spiritual journey in this life, because no matter there you are, there are trials.

These trials are either great , or by our human perception small. Sometimes we ask for them, ( Lord, grant me patience…) some happen without our asking…

No matter where you are on your journey, if you spend time, either great or small, in the efforts of moving forward on your journey towards God, you will have trials. You may make those little daily promises to yourself, or have those conversations in prayer, where you say to yourself, I will be more patient, I will be more loving, I will let the light of Christ shine through me today and let them see Him and NOT me …

And then the day starts…

At the end of the day here we are again… right back where we were yesterday, feeling defeated, feeling that ashamed… feeling that in the points of the day where we were tried, we failed and we let that fallen very human temperment come out and in our rather annoyed, rather human, rather self – filled moment, we fell short of the goal we had at the beginning of the day… And so the cycle begins again.

Possibly, you have a cross that is more serious. Possibly you have physical challenges, or health challenges that are limiting in some human facet. You may ask God why ?…. Why you can’t be like others. Why you are not able to do what others do. Why you may feel isolated …. angry.. confused.. challenged.

You may be going through a difficult time in your relationship with someone else. Possibly they do not understand you.. or you do not understand them. You may not like what they are doing, or that they are doing nothing at all, or you are not.

In my younger years, if I was having issues that were apparent, my mother might ask what was wrong, and then after explaining the situation, she would say “Life is a matter of perspectives…” and leave me to ponder that idea.

In this Gospel reading, John is giving us a parable, showing us that God is the caretaker of the vineyard of our lives. God loves us, and cares for us, like the vines. In the course of our lives we have adversities of every shape and size. Those adversities are Gods way of pruning the vine of our souls.
To make us spiritually healthy. Those adversities we face are allowed for our greater good. For our virtue, and grace.

There was one of our sisters, Kathleen, who was elderly and in a nursing home, and I used to go visit as often as I was able. She used to say, that she was not sure why she ended up in the nursing home that she was in, but while she was there, she knew it was Gods plan for her to proclaim His message to others who were there with her. Sometimes, nursing homes can be a place of isolation, and a place of desperation and loneliness, as the world they were once a part of, goes on outside their walls. Family and friends, do not have time to visit with the obligations in their lives… at least as often as might make them feel comfortable.

Like our sister Kathleen, it is up to us to have the perspective that where ever we are, it is where God desires us to be for our own spiritual health and growth, or for the spiritual growth and health of those you become witness to or for.

We don’t always know, and we might not know until we are all in Heaven together one day. Until then, ,do not fear the struggles and trials of this life. Instead, find the opportunity to allow Christ to shine through the challenges, to allow Him to grow, and to share love with all you meet.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

+Ad Majorem Gloria Dei +

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 :

( 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 !