Posts Tagged ‘God’

May You Attain Full Knowledge …

June 18, 2017

“May you attain full knowledge of God’s will through perfect wisdom, and spiritual insight. Then you will lead a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to Him in every way. You will multiply good works of every sort and grow in the knowledge of God. By the might of His glory you will be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully what ever may come, giving thanks to the Father for having made you worthy to share the lot of the saints in light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.” Colossians 1:9-13

This passage from scripture is the opening lines of encouragement from the Apostle Paul, who was writing to the Colossians, along with Timothy who was traveling with Paul. What comes before this passage though is subtle, but noteworthy. Paul recognizes Epaphas, who he recognizes as a ” fellow servant”, or disciple of Christ. What is also important to note here is that there is no recorded point in time where Paul ever actually went to Colossea. Instead, Paul taught the true faith to Epaphas, who converted, learned and then took that seed of faith and returned home to Colossea, and spread it through the countryside converting the people and passed that faith to the people and the future saints who lived there.

So, you say to yourself, great ! So what does that mean for us here ? Glad you asked !

It is important because Paul did not have to go and hold the hand of Epaphas in order to pass on the light of faith and the Word. Paul had faith in the seed he planted. It really had little to do with Epaphas. Although, Epaphas did have an open heart, and believed the Word when he heard it. Paul trusted that Word would spread. Just as Jesus, entrusted the twelve apostles, who in and of themselves were not perfect, did not always have perfect faith, but still trusted in the seed of faith that they were given..

This idea of having the pure seed of faith being transmitted to others in a sometimes imperfect manner is pretty much how it goes. This should give us encouragement in the faith that we have received and to participate more fully in the charge that we are given to pass on this faith as Epaphas did. We don’t have to do it perfectly, we just have to do it. We also don’t need the sledgehammer approach, where we are pounding the seed into the skull of the person receiving it… All we have to do is plant the seed, and walk away.

We have to have faith that the seed we plant, is what God will use for His will. The seed that is planted, will not always bloom before our eyes. We may never get the opportunity to see the results of the seeds we plant. We must trust in God. We must trust that the Lord will use the seeds we plant in the continuum of His divine will.

The beginning of this passage says “may you attain full knowledge of God’s will through perfect wisdom and spiritual insight…” Maybe the saints eventually ended up at this place, but for the rest of us, this is the destination, and the journey is where we spend our time… at least if we make the effort.

Much like the planting of those seeds of faith, where at times we may get to see a glimpse of the results, possibly the beginnings of the results of our labors, we will likely never see the complete result, or even understand what it is that will occur as a result of that work, which would be in Gods will for mankind. The one truth that we know about Gods will to an absolute certainty is that Gods plan for us is as basic as the first truth we learned as children. God’s will for us is to …. know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him.. so that we can be with Him in Heaven.
Ask someone who is your elder, if the life that they currently have, is the life that they dreamed of, or planned for in their youth. If their lives were the same now as what they had planned for it to be maybe after high school, or even after college ( if they went to college and attended after high school).

I would venture to say that nearly none of them can say that their lives turned out as they originally planned. This is the difference between where mans will differs from God’s will. We could attempt to understand, or discern where God had a hand in the things that have occurred in our lives, It is even possible that we could see a facet of how things happened the way that they did. This enlightenment is not just for our own understanding. This enlightenment is there so that we have the opportunity to not only be enriched in our own faith,, but to fulfill our mission to share that faith with others just as Epaphas did in Collosea.

God can take the one small seed, one small act of faith, and use that one act to help bring about the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. This is what Paul was praying for and encouraging the Colossians towards… and what I encourage you towards today, the same way that Saint Francis did hundreds of years ago… Preach the gospel at all times.. and when necessary, use words..

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Mind Your Business….

June 9, 2017

“Anyone who would not work, should not eat. We hear that some of you are unruly, not keeping busy but acting like busy-bodies. We enjoin all such, and we urge them strongly in the Lord Jesus Christ, to earn the food they eat by working quietly. You must never grow weary of doing what is right, brothers”. ( 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 ).

In this letter Paul is writing to the community because there are people who are not really doing their part and are taking the time from the work they should be doing, and instead making themselves busy dealing with affairs of others.

In the world today, much is said of those who are not gainfully employed, or under employed. The world looks at these souls and judge them. They are judge to be lazy, guilty of sloth. They just don’t want to work. Indeed, there are those who were brought up not to value work at all, or were taught not to value certain types of work, because they were considered somehow “less” or not really something to be desired.

Society has been equally disowning of people who have been challenged in their educational processes.

In fact, we still struggle in this area. We understand, for instance, that different people learn by differing methods. We have not gotten to a point where we can effectively transform that knowledge into the individual student. How they learn, and then transform that into an educational process that works for that student.

There are budget concerns.. ” We can’t possibly create individual plans for each and every students!.. We simply can’t afford either the staff, or the budget concerns.” This is a common issue in education. Then those who do not learn in the traditional ways, are by and large, relegated to “lesser” jobs. They are told, ” You don’t have what it takes to go to college… you should find a trade , or go to work in retail or fast food. You might not think this goes on today. You would be wrong.

But I digress…

The problem we have, is that work is today, not something of value for most people. The employers, do not value the work of the people who work for them. They value instead the spreadsheet. The statistics that look nice and green. As long as those numbers look right, and positive, then everything is fine. Otherwise, there are only numbers and that the shoulders are broad enough to receive the pat on the back approvals of those closest. The company ( or owners ) no longer feel any obligation towards those people who toil in their firms.. after all they are numbers… replaceable, something that is replaceable in very little time with another body eager to fill it. Who spend their time “dumbing down” the process so it is easier to replace the last body that fell under the wheel of their taskmasters whip. For them their world is “gray”…. no black or white… just the gray of how the story is spun.

There are employees who, no longer have a work ethic. Who do not care about the job they do. Who’s sole concern is how little it is possible to do, in order to keep a paycheck. They do not care about the tools they are given, or the people for whom this work is done. As long as their numbers are passable, that go up to the “ivory tower” of management, then its good enough. There is no loyalty to the company that they work for, because they already know the company has no loyalty or care for them as people.

So why should we care about work ?

Work, is a gift from God. We work in order to gain a just wage. It is through that work, that we gain a just wage through which , we tithe. Tithing is not just money. Tithing is time, talent and treasure. That thing which we offer to God, through our family, through our brothers and sisters, and as a way to sanctify our day.

Paul is also quick to instruct the Thessalonians to conduct themselves in an upright and honorable way.

We too, should spend our efforts in public and in private, working on our own sanctification. It is through this type of work. Working honorably, and justly; working on our own sanctification, will be the greatest tool we have at our disposal to bring about the Kingdom of God.

Will we falter ? Sure we will. Will we slip ? Of course we will. It is not how we FALL,… but how we RISE !

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 +

Blessed are the Clean of Heart…

October 29, 2016

“Blessed are the clean of heart,

for they will see God. ” (Matthew 5: 8)

 

The Beatitudes are primarily a lesson for the church on how, not unlike the 10 commandments, we should live out our time on this Earth and consider to a larger extent the actions that are either laid down before us, or those which have already passed, or where we might have failed to be the best examples of Christ to others that we should be.

To a certain degree we have no real appreciable difference in our day, of the types of challeneges that they had in biblical times. Sure, the situation surrounding the challenges have changed, but we still have the same type of issues.

We need to live, we need food and water. We have relationships with others. We are married, single, and celibate. We are employers, and employees, business people, governors, or govern-ees if you will. We have Celebrations and pains, people live and people die. There is good and evil in the world. In the end it all comes down to how it is that you live your life…the choices that you make.

 

In this portion of the beatitudes, we are told that the clean or pure of heart will see God. How is it then, that we have clean hearts particularly with all the challenges we face on a daily basis.

In part, the answer lies in the Psalms. In Psalm 73 is some of the clues.

” But, as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;

my steps had nearly slipped,

3 Because I was envious of the arrogant

when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For they suffer no pain;

their bodies are healthy and sleek.

5 They are free of the burdens of life;

they are not afflicted like others.

6 Thus pride adorns them as a necklace;

violence clothes them as a robe.

7 Out of such blindness comes sin;

evil thoughts flood their hearts.

8 They scoff and spout their malice;

from on high they utter threats.

9 They set their mouths against the heavens,

their tongues roam the earth.

10 So my people turn to them

and drink deeply of their words.

11 They say, “Does God really know?”

“Does the Most High have any knowledge?”

12 Such, then, are the wicked,

always carefree, increasing their wealth. ”

 

Take careful note that one of the lessons here in this Psalm is that in the very

beginning Asaph, who is the origin of this Psalm, writes, that he is first noting the struggle that he has within. Much like each of us who try to walk the path of

faith we are challenged, and we fall, and we stumble..

What’s more, he then proceeds to share with us all the places he stumbled.. and you can also see in his writing the struggle he feels as he works through these challenges knowing in his heart that he needs to be free of these feelings.

Which of us does not struggle this way ?… In verse 10 where he says ,

” and my people drink of their words”. Look around the world today and see

where the people are who are lost, who “drink” the words of the world that spurn

the world forward moving through the sin of abortion, euthanasia, drugs, violence, and ever other imaginable evil that plagues us.

These were the challenges even before Christ came into the world and yet here we are thousands of years later, and we still have not learned these simple lessons.

We have not advanced in pushing these sins out of our lives. So the question remains.

It is in the struggles, and in the challenges, that is the furnace, where the metal of our souls are tempered and formed into souls worthy of the name.

Ad Majorem Gloria Dei !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

All Is Not As It Seems…

September 10, 2016

All is not as it seems..

A few months ago, I noticed a change in the neighborhood.  There was a house, that at one time was being used for one man, who lived there, but also ran a plumbing business out of it.  THe house was sparsely furnished, and the plumber who lived there seemed to be quiet, and only on an odd occasion would have friends over and have a get together with his friends or possibly they were employees.. but they did not seem like employees.

Anyway, one day while I was on my walk to work, I noticed a “For Sale” sign in the front yard.  I never saw anyone going there to tour the house, and not much later the sign came down.   Approximately a month later, all of a sudden the house we filled with about 4 or 5 older gentlemen, and the only vehicle that was there was a white unmarked van.    Walking past the house a couple of times a day, The people who lived there would say hello as I passed.

During those moments where I passed, I began to wonder who they were and why they were there all the time.

One Friday afternoon, while I was on my way home they invited me over to share a beer with them.  I explained that I did not want a beer, however, I would come over and sit down and visit with them for a while.  They instead offered some water, which I greatfully accepted.

Some of them, because of the Tau Cross I wear, asked me if I was “one of those church people who wanted to convert them,,,,”.  We have a number of different religious groups who frequent the neighborhood knocking on doors and asking to share their faith with us.
We also have them not only in English, but also in Spanish by well meaning folks who only speak a single language.

I proceeded to explain to them that I am still working on fixing the things that need fixing within myself, rather than trying to fix others, but if I could help someone else on their journey, then I would happy to share.

Once we got past that hurdle, they were all very warm and inviting, and would greet me as I passed on my way to or from work.  If I was not in a hurry, I would stop and talk for a bit and see what was going on.

Soon I finally learned what was going on with the people who lived there and how it came to be their home.  It seems that these men, were all homeless veterans, and one city employee, who owned the house, had provided the house to these men, so they could transition back into what ever their normal life was, prior to their homelessness.

In talking with these men, I learned a little about their journeys.  One of them, used to get up early in the morning, and would greet me every morning, and in his way attempt to give me encouragement for the days journey.  On the way home he was always there waiting to welcome me back home.  A few times, he waited for me to pass the house, and joined me in my walk to the bus stop.  In those walks, I learned that he was going to visit his family from whom he was estranged.  He was taking food, and going to do work at the house and help out the family.  He said it was not much, but it was everything he could do in showing his love for them.

One day the man was not there any more. He was gone for a couple of days and there was no one outside to greet me on my walk.  A few days ago one of them was sitting outside as I passed on my journey home, and I asked him what happened to the other gentleman, as I had not seen him for a while.  He explained that the man had returned home to his family and they had moved north together to begin rebuilding their lives again.
The point is that in the beginning of this journey, the very human view, might have been to be afraid of these people because they could have been any type of criminal, or addict.   It would be easy to judge from outward appearances that these would be people who were not desirable to have living in your neighborhood.

Investing ones time and effort in reaching out by inviting conversation, by hospitality,
by being open to anothers story, we can break down the walls of assumption, or appearances, and learn the true heart of the other.

Love, is the lesson.  Love of neighbor. Love of “the other” in our lives. These are the things that bring about the opportunities to share Christ with others.  Not by force, not by abuse, and not by the use of methods that are more akin to winning a battle or war.  Sharing Christ is done first, through acts of love that we share.
May God give you the gift of His peace !

Asceticism and Self-Control … Get a hold of yourself man !

September 2, 2016

I find it interesting that when most people talk about the fruits of the Holy Spirit, when they get to listing through them, this always gets the label of “Self-Control”.

That is correct, it is how it is listed, but what does that really mean ?

In a world that seems to celebrate extremes in nearly every sense of the word, how is the idea of self-control even apply ? How does one make that work ?

I like to consider self-control, more in terms of self-mastery. Let me explain.

One never truly attains self-mastery. It is instead, like life an experiential process.

Consider this… In our earthly, physical lives, we spend a vast amount of time trying to gain control of our physical bodies. We were potty trained. It was experiential.

We experienced loss. Loss or separation from our parent, or sibling. Possibly we learned that we could not eat foods that made us sick. We had to learn to walk.

We all had to learn as children going through the “terrible two’s” to control our temperament. It also was an experiential process.

In much the same way, our faith life is also very experiential. There is the faith lessons we learn from our parents, and from our ministers, friends or other family members. We take those lessons, and ply those against the world that we understand, or at least have experience with.

How many times have we gone to Mass, and heard the same stories, the same scriptures over and over again, but somehow, it becomes new to us, a facet of the story rings out and touches us because of the experiences we are having in our lives right this moment.

We learn, we experience, we re-learn, and we (hopefully) develop a small bit of self-control.

Asceticism, deals with the giving up of temporal pleasures, but this is only half the story. The other half is the reigning in of ones will, and of ones mind.

Self-control is a bit like Lent. In the beginning of our spiritual lives, a young person may see Lent strictly in the light of the idea that they need to discipline their physical bodies by giving up things. Its strictly an idea of abstinence, or giving up something because “its the rule… Its what we do”.

Later on however, as we grow in faith, we come to the understanding that it’s not just about the thing you’re giving up, it is also a spiritual exercise. Moving from just giving things up, to sharing the love of Christ with our brothers and sisters, and giving those gifts back to God in praise and thanksgiving.

When we take that time, to really dig deep, and clear out the closets and cobwebs in our spiritual lives, and form our own will, our own thoughts and desires, to conform with the will of God, THEN we gain steps on the journey of self-control.

As part of Saint Francis’ Peace prayer goes.. “It is in dying (to self) that we are born to eternal life ”

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Modesty….. More Than What You Think

August 27, 2016

There was a young man stands in the midst of a crowd of people, takes a gun from his pocket and proceeds to point it straight up into the air and fires it. He does not hit anyone, near him, and says nothing, and does nothing else.

This caused some problems, as you might imagine.

Lets examine the issue a bit more closely. The story above does not really tell us too much about anything other than their factual occurrences. First, lets examine some possibilities about what occurred with those who were standing around. First, the people who were in the crowd.

What was going through the minds of those people who were standing around the young man who fired the gun ? We do not know for sure, but we can imagine. They heard a loud noise, and initially they might have been frightened, scared, shocked, or maybe disoriented. A few moments later for those who were closest, possibly the those feelings and emotions might have evolved into different feelings..

If they were really close and knew where the noise came from, if might have caused people to try and neutralize what they might perceive as the physical threat. Depending on where they were in the world, they might construe as celebration, or possibly think nothing at all about it.

Then we come to the question of the person who made the decision to fire the gun. There is really only 1 question that lingers. WHY ? Why did they do that ? What brought them to that decision ? What were they wanting to accomplish ? Did they accomplish the result they desired ? In the end, was it good for them ? OK, possibly more than one question !

So we have an entire process. We question the impetus, thought or inspiration for the action, followed by the act itself, and then the resultant of the action.

I know, at this point your probably asking yourself what does this have to do with Modesty ? Be patient, anyone who knows me, knows there is always a story to tell and its a process.

Let’s take a look at Modesty and what is really is, and how we address it.

Modesty is not just about your clothing choices. Modesty consists of humility, poverty, relationships, respect, and dignity.

Modesty as with all things has its root planted firmly in God. It is our relationship with God that brings us to the understanding that life is sacred at each point, and at every age, from conception to natural death. If you truly understand that the life of every person is sacred, and a gift from God, then we can also understand everything we do from the time of our birth, until the time of our death, is directly connected to our

relationship with God.

This relationship consists of a spiritual poverty. The we give up attachments, and allurements of this world in favor of a life based in faith. We save certain parts of our selves only for God, to live, and to love as Jesus taught. This modesty is counter cultural in today’s society.

Modesty is humility in the giving up of desires, whether they are fashion, or lifestyle or pleasures of other sorts. It is accepting that we give those things up because they are not pleasing to God, and are detrimental to our relationship with Him, and our own spiritual growth.

Modesty is also about our relationship, with other people.

I read an article from a theologian who said that modesty had absolutely nothing to do with others. ( Here is where the story comes in.) Like the man in the story, his actions had a direct and effective reaction, or response, to those around him. At the same time it also had an effect on him personally.

As Christians, our first and best testament, our best witness, comes from the example of how we live our lives. A person who not only dresses modestly, and has a respect for life, that includes their own bodies, and desires spiritual growth for themselves and others, will have a life that is testament to the beauty of a life lived for God.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Generosity…

August 6, 2016

Generosity…

Merriam-Webster says that the definition of “Generosity” is :
“the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish : the quality of being generous; especially : willingness to give… valuable things to others” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/generosity)

The part of this definition that caught my eye was at the end.. a willingness to give valualble things to others.

As with the other fruits of the Holy Spirit, generosity emminates from love. The love of God for us, and the love we are to share with our brothers and sisters.

The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are not things that emminate from us as brothers and sisters, it is love we receive from God, and is diffused the church, through the brothers and sisters, in love and in generosity.

We are called to perform these spiritual and corporal works of mercy, not because they are works that we originate and offer up, quite the contrary. These actions have their origin in God. Our brothers and sisters in an act of free will give ascent to Gods command to share His love and His graces with all people.

Primary amongst these calls is what is called the “Great Commision”, that we are to go forth and share our faith with ALL people and ALL nations. This command is supreme in our human acts of love and generosity.

Consider how great a gift your faith is for you, for your family, for friends and neighbors. Consider the graces and blessings that have flowed forth in acts of love, kindness, and generosity.

Greatly you have received, and therefore great things are expected of you. You received the great gift of your faith, “the pearl of great price” and then Jesus said to take this great gift and share it with the world.

You were given the gift of the greatest love possible, the love of God. God in His mercy
only asks of us to share that love, not only with Him, but to be the channel of that love and mercy and blessing.

The sin of greed is great, but it is not insurmountable. For God has blessed us and crowned us with with kingship, he has blessed us as priests to go out and carry His message.

You do not have to be a great orator, or preacher, or even do grand acts on the greatest of scales.. The only thing God asks is that you do even little things with great love.

The greatest love is that of loving and serving God, and fulfilling God’s will for us
in the service of Him towards our brothers and sisters.

Saint Francis said ” Preach at all times, and when necessary use words”. Notice that the words come AFTER action. Our service towards our brothers and sisters is always first in order, if our actions fail to suffice, or once the work has been done, speak with the words of God.

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

Goodness.. (gracious !)

July 29, 2016

Goodness.. (gracious !)

The subject of this point of reflection is goodness. Goodness is part of fruits of the Holy Spirit. Goodness is something that could in some circles be thought of not to much unlike niceness. This, however, is not quite like that. Goodness has to do with those
things are in the realm of morality.

First, was the idea that mankind was created by God, In Genesis 1:27

“God created mankind in his image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.

God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;

and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened.

God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day ”

So, we know that man was created “good”, and we also know that through the course of salvation history mankind fell from grace, and to spite everything we still suffer from
the stain of sin. So there is always some work to do in this area..

So how is it that we know if our actions are “good” or not ?

Lets take a look at what the Catechism teaches us :

“A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end , and of the circumstances together. An evil end, corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself ( such as praying and fasting ” in order to be seen by men”)

The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts – such as fornication – that it is always wrong to choose , because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is , a moral evil.

It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances ( environment, social pressure, duress, or emergency, etc) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independent of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object ; such as blasphemy, and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.” ( CCC 1755-56).

Basically, any action that contains a component that is evil or illicit is in and of itself morally corrupt, regardless of the circumstance, or method.

Now consider what this means in light of the current world view…

Currently we live in a culture of death. It is currently acceptable from a worldly point of view to take the life of another human being, with the exception of a few circumstances.

Abortion, Euthanasia, Right to die, Assisted suicide, illness of various sorts are all perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the world as a reason to take life. This view is distorted and contrary to Moral theology.

For instance, it is not morally acceptable to kill one child, so that another child might have a heart transplant, so the other child will live.

Abortion is not morally acceptable, first because the taking of a life is not ever acceptable, but for the sake of this discussion, having an abortion because you fear that it would keep you from attending college is not morally acceptable because in your view, the “good” of having an easier life after attending school, does not negate the evil of taking a life.

In the same way.. Just because something is “legal” does not make it “moral” or good. ergo, whether in its object, or in its circumstance, regardless of intent, it is still evil.

Man was given the gift of free will, so that although we have been given the gift of salvation, it still is a choice left to each person to make.

Do good to your brothers and sisters, love your neighbor, all of these admonitions point the way for us to know what is good. TO know what is just and to know what is right.

Jesus made it so painfully simple, and even whittled it down to only 2 commandments.
To love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

All of the other fruits of “GOOD” are able to be extrapolated from these two commandments.

As Franciscans, the other part of the greeting ” Peace and all Good” , is born out in our mission to not only to be peacemakers, but to DO good, and to bless others, and to carry all the blessings we can forward for the “good” of others..

May God give you the gift of his Peace !….. and Good !

Your Abundance to Supply Their Needs…

July 23, 2016

Your Abundance to Supply Their Needs…

“Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less.” ( 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 )

We as Franciscans, follow the evangelical counsels of Spiritual poverty, Chastity, and Obedience according to our state of life.

The idea of spiritual poverty is encapsulated well in this reading. This type of poverty is not an oppressive type of poverty that is a suffering of many in the world today. It is not the type of poverty where because of greed, or power that is forced upon the weak or forgotten of our society.

Instead, this type of poverty is based on the idea that we are stewards of the blessings we have received for the benefit of our brothers and sisters.

Many times I hear people say.. ” They deserve what they get ” or ” I worked hard to get the nice things I have …” , ” It’s not my fault they did not do what was necessary to get where I am, they reap what they sew”…

First, we don’t always know what goes on below the surface and what their journey has been to bring them to this point. In my older years I can not tell you how many of my friends and classmates I went to school with, every day, and who have later shared some of the challenges they were living through that no one ever knew. Life happens to everyone and everyone grows at different times in life. No one is born or lives perfectly.

Secondly, no one progresses in life, without benefit of brothers and sisters, family and friends who help them along the way.

God provides blessings to all. In some cases he blesses people with abundance in order to give them the opportunity, to be a good and faithful steward of those, NOT so they can hoard these blessings, but so that they can care for their own needs, and to help to provide for the needs of those who were blessed differently.

It provides those who were given much materially, to have the chance to examine their lives, and they hearts, and give them the opportunity to be a conduit for the blessings to those in need.

On the other side of the coin, those who were not blessed with an excess of material blessings were blessed differently. Let me explain. Many years ago, I purchased a book,
solely based on its title.. ” All you need to know about prayer, you can from the poor”. The book is about the experiences of missionaries in the poorest of the Caribbean Islands, and their spiritual lessons gained there working with them.

The point is that those who are poor, or marginalized are not “less”. They are not lesser people, or less blessed by God in their lives. They are blessed differently, than the materially well to do. In some ways the poor tend to be close to God because they have a dependency on God for the necessities of life.

In the poor, who are a blessing to the materially blessed, provide a way for those who are to be the stewards of material blessings, not only a channel to complete the mission of being that steward, but also to receive in return the Love of God through those they share with.

The love of God is the equalizer of all each brother and sister has a part, a blessing to give to a brother or sister that needs it. Each brother and sister has something to both give AND to receive no matter what your worldly position is.

It is only left to you to understand that you are blessed greatly in one way or another, and that you are charged with sharing that blessing with your brothers and sisters who are in some kind of need of the additional blessings you have received.

May God give you the gift of His peace….. and Share that blessing with your brothers and sisters !