Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

Because I Bore Your Name…

January 12, 2018

“Remember me Lord, visit me, and avenge me on my persecutors. Because of your long-suffering banish me not; know that for you I have borne insult. When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and happiness of heart, Because I bore your name, O Lord, God of hosts ”
( Jeremiah 15:15-16 )

Here is Jeremiah. Jeremiah is having this discourse with God over what has been going on. He is saying to God basically four things through this process :

First, he saying Hey Lord, remember me ? I’m the guy down here trying to follow all the orders !
Maybe some of you have felt this way. A feeling of frustration with the world, with your life, with what is going on in your life or in the lives of someone close to you. Maybe you feel like you have been down here on your earthly plain, trying to follow all the precepts of your faith, and lets just say that over all, things are just not going the way you think they should because, lets face it, your praying, your pleading, fasting, and performing pious acts, and you are just trying your very best but things are just not working out and your just not getting what you want ?!!! Jeremiah can relate.

Next, he says, well, don’t give up on me. I get it, you have put up with a lot from us over the years, but don’t toss the baby out with the bathwater. Then, just like some child we might all know.. Jeremiah says.. Hey, and don’t forget when I put up with a bunch of stuff just because of you ! Those people called me names and treated me like dirt. ”

You can see that Jeremiah really wants to do what is right and good and holy.. but he is having a really bad , tough day at the office and it’s just hard to be good ALL THE TIME ! Can you please just get this off my plate I am exhausted and exasperated and just plain done. Sound familiar ?

Last week at the office I had a bad day, and there was an issue that was laid at my feet. It was not something I was blamed for, but frankly I had pretty much had my fill of the entire situation, and for just a moment, that nasty human temperament took over, and I growled at the person who laid the problem at my feet because, well, because I was tired of dealing with this particular issue and thought it had been laid to rest and the policies that were in place to keep this from happening, meant that I was not supposed to have to deal with this particular issue.

In the end, I was forced to deal with the same issue again, with the same people involved, and with same headaches, and to be honest, I was fuming. I did not want to speak to anyone for fear the tongue would be set loose, and well, that is never a good thing..

After I had some time to sit with my unhappiness for a time, one of the brothers came to me and said,
just remember all that Christ has suffered for you…

Of course, then the anger gave way to guilt, and dissipated. It didn’t mean that I was happy about the issue that was laid at my feet, or that I wasn’t going to have to deal with shouldering the issue, it was that I could handle it, and would for the sake of peace. Could I have pushed that back to someone else, Yes. But, it would not have been productive for anyone.

The last part of the passage, shows Jeremiah saying I “devoured your words”. I didn’t just nibble and ponder, I DEVOURED them. I went after your word with reckless abandon. Why ? Because “I bore your name …”

OK, This is important. How many of us go after the Gospels, or scripture with reckless abandon ? How much time do we dedicate to educating ourselves about our faith ?

There is a funny thing about studying scripture, and it is sort of the same paradox that is evident in other parts of our faith life. The more you study, the less you know. What I mean by that is that in the course of studying scripture, faith, and life in the Spirit, The more you study, the more you learn, and as you learn more, it becomes evident how much it is that you don’t know. The problem occurs, that in order for you to know, what it is that you don’t know, you need to study.

Ask the hard questions, first, ask them of yourself, then go find some answers, and then keep asking questions until you are satisfied with those answers, AND they lead you to other questions. None of us have ALL the answers. We do however, have places to seek the answers. The important part is to find the questions, and keep seeking answers. This will become your joy !

Why ? Because we bear His name !

May God give you the gift of His peace !


They Will Beat Their Swords into Plowshares…

September 2, 2017

” He shall judge between the nations,

and set terms for many peoples.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks;

One nation shall not raise the sword against another,

nor shall they train for war again.

House of Jacob, come,

let us walk in the light of the LORD! ”

( Isaiah 2:4-5 )

We, Franciscans, are a peace loving bunch. We love all the brothers and sisters, all of Gods children. I work for the dignity of all people from the moment of conception until Sister Death comes to escort us unto the presence of the Most High.

We have been accused of being the “Hippeys” the “tree-huggers ” because of our love of creation. To a certain degree that could be true, but there is a difference. Our love of creation, the love we carry in our hearts for our brothers and sisters is squarely centered on the Holy Church and its majesterium.

Our love of creation, is centered on God the creator, as opposed to creation itself. It is our mission to bring souls to God, through the mission to carry Christ to our brothers and sisters in all we say and do.

to “preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words”.

I had always had in my heart the idea that this passage and the others in Joel and Micah, that basically retell this same story, were going to give us the idea of what it would be like on Earth, if people would put aside their sin, their hate , their greed, and just love God and each other. When we would never again have to worry about wars , or earthly powers driven by hate. Its the idea of the eutopian sort of existance.

Shortly after loosing myself in the reverie, I find that I again have to go through a little disconnect and deal with the reality of life on Earth. As a teen, my parents took me to a prison outreach ministry visit to the local prison. We went in, and we visited for a bit.. and I found myself sitting across from a man over a game of chess. As a youth I had no clue where to begin to have a conversation with this man. So I asked him, why he was in jail. He told me that he had raped, and murdered someone.

To say the least it was mind bending to be sitting there with this man who rather matter of factly told me of his journey that landed him in the prison for which he would be for life. I do not remember what those circumstances were, I only knew that there must of been something of a redemptive quality there because at the time my state still had the death penalty for murder.

Later in life while I was in college I took course work in Law, and was asked if I wanted to be a guardian -ad -litem the voice of a child or protected adult in court and doing investigations etc. I politely declined as I knew it was not what I wanted. I also turned down working in the prison ministry in my parish back then, because having been exposed to stories of the things that happened in prisons, I did not believe that I was able to make a difference there. They pretty much needed to go there, do their time, and then decide what kind of person they wanted to be.

I also knew that there were stories coming out of other ministers who had gone into those prisons of people who had real coversions, who had really found God in prison to spite their cirumstance.

I want to offer you a different view of this passage. That when we beat our swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks, this is not just a eutopian view of what life might be like, it is a story of redemption, a story of salvation ! It tells us that we have the ability to change and to under go a metanoia of the heart. It means that we too can change, and grow, and develop in our lives while seeking God. We can take out the hate that is in our hearts, after beating them into plowshares using them to till the garden of our hearts for Christ to live and help us to grow.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Three Men of the Cross – Part IV

August 12, 2017

Here we have come to the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. The third man crucified on Calvary, and the focal point upon which we find ourselves. Like the first two men, the time Jesus spent on the cross was really not spent in a vast amount of conversation with those who were present. In fact, we only know about 3 conversations that Christ had during his crucifixion. The first, was the conversation he had with Mary and John, where he gave John responsibility for his mother, and in turn had given John in love to His Mother. The Second, was the conversation that Jesus had with Dismas, where he told him that he (Dismas) would be in paradise with Him that very day. Finally, the third were the final words Jesus uttered, That were not directed to those standing around but instead were directed towards God, the Father.

Let us consider for a moment how Jesus’s journey through the crucifixion is not too unlike the small share it is that we have in our daily lives. In our lives we go out into the world. We work and try to do the things that we need to do to make things function. At the same time , for people of faith, our daily lives are just a minuscule splinter of our own crosses. We begin each day in prayer and in a firm effort to get out in the world and try to live a life that is worthy of the giver of the gift.

I have a rule that is usually pretty solid in life, ( aside from the Holy Rule of the Order) that serves me fairly well. Basically, You need to have at least one area of your life where things are going well and it gives you joy to be in that place. The problem begins when there is no where in your life that is currently giving you joy. It is also possible that the area of your life that is giving you problems has begun to take over the joy that you would normally be having in other areas of your life and there is no longer a balance there. In other words, you are experiencing your own small crucifixion and you have been nailed to the cross that you are attempting to carry.

When life gets to this point, its time for a change.. Jesus, knew that He was going to leave, and in the midst of the passion, He put his mother in the care of John. This was a sign of the times. for at that time particularly for women, who were single they were needing protection, and care. Someone to look after them. At the same time He loved John. John had a job to do, and at the same time, Jesus entrusted John to His mother. His mother the archetype of Christian virtue and love, would keep John on the straight and narrow and insure the care of those He was leaving behind.

Like Jesus, we try our best to take care of what was necessary to insure things went the right way. Sometimes, we get it right, and sometimes we fail, but that part does not matter in the grand scheme of things. This was what was going on in the first conversation. Tidying up the initial loose ends that needed His care before he went to deal with the matter at hand.

The next phase is that we deal with the job that needs doing. We carry on with our day.. we have people who do not support us,, or at least we might not see that support us, or just become another voice in the crowd of people who would like to add or lend support to the issues that you are facing.

All things have a season, just because one voice is not agreeing with where your going, or what your doing, it is not a reason to shut them completely out. As a Franciscan, we are called to be bridge builders. It is our calling to develop channels of communication, and to find common ground through which peace may reign. The conversation with Dismas as a statement of faith, An assent to the will of God. In our world when presented with challenges, it is up to us to build those bridges, to open channels of communication, and to be brave enough to make those statements and stand on the side of faith even when there are those who are around us, chiming in and echoing the worldly views, that are not of the Kingdom of God.

The last conversation, is actually in this story, as it should be in ours.. the FIRST conversation. Consider that before Jesus entered into the crucifixion, he started his Passion, by first entering into prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. As an example for us all, He started all things in prayer, and after the Crucifixion was at an end, He completed that work again with prayer.

We all have a different calling, a different path, but the process is still the same. Give it to God, first, last and always…

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Blessed are the Peacemakers…

November 4, 2016

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God. ( Matthew 5:9)

How is it exactly that I am a peacemaker ? Let’s take a quick jump ahead in Matthew a couple of chapters to Mattew 7.. where we are quickly reminded that we need to ” remove the plank from your own eye, before tremove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye” ( Mathew 7:5)

Being a peacemaker is primarily about the renovation that is necessary in our hearts, and preparing our hearts as a suitable place for Jesus to dwell, more so than it is a resolving conflict between others.

Preparing to be a peacemaker brings us to a place where we have to understand what peace is, how it is that we need to form our hearts, our conscience, our own understanding.

First, everyone sins. every single person no matter who we are, what our position is, what our vocation is, indeed no matter how hard we try.. we all suffer from the effects of sin. You might say to yourself. .” Well that’s great ! So why do I bother even to try ?”.. Thats a good question.. God did not promise us that our lives would be easy once we tried to live a faithful life. In fact, its going to be nearly the opposite. The people who are living easy lives that are not worried about life at all, those are the people who need to start asking questions. But I digress, back to ourselves.

In being a peacemaker we should be engaged in a daily examination of our own consciences. A review of where we might have failed today… This week.. This month.. It is a point where we look inside and see where we have acted, or failed to act. Did I cause conflict ? Did I cause pain ? Was there something I could have done to make a situation better for one of my brothers or sisters and I failed to do so ? Did I fail to show Christ to my brothers and sisters in difficult situation ?

Could I have helped ? Was the way that I helped part of the issue … part of the conflict ? Did I get of the way, to let Christ shine through the work I was needing to do ? Remember that NO converts were ever won with a sledgehammer.

“Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic “Prince of Peace”. By the blood of the cross , in His own person he killed the hostility, He reconciled men with God and made his Church the Sacrament of unity of the human race and of its union with God…” ( CCC# 2305)

The Church is, just as we should be the sacrament of Peace within the world, and within ourselves and within each brother and sisters, whether they are inside or outside the Church. Just as being a peacemaker has to start within the individual and their relationship with God properly formed. Those individuals then formed may work on the formation within the Body of Christ ( the church) and let that be an outpouring of peace unto the entire human race.

Peace requires sacrifice. It requires commitment, it requires work. Jesus showed us how to love our brothers and sisters. He showed us how it is that we are to have peace with God, and then with our brothers and sisters.

We have not listened…

We have not learned…

We have not loved …

Saint Francis’s Peace Prayer begs ” Make me a channel of your peace…. ” This is our prayer, and our mission. If we love our brothers and sisters, then peace with reign and flow through us. We become what we profess. We become the instruments of peace within our hearts, within hour houses, within our Church, and within the world.

May God give you the gift of His Peace !


July 1, 2016

Joy !…

“With creation, God dos not abandon his creatures to themselves.  He not only gives them geing and existance, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains then in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end.  Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence…” (CCC# 301)

Joy is one of the marks of faith.  Does that mean we go around singing and dancing at every moment of every day ?  No… what it does mean is that we have reason to be joyful, to have hope and consolation.

This very human life we live, is full of challenges, difficulties, obsticles, frustrations, and pain.

Seventy is the sum of our years,

or eighty, if we are strong;

Most of them are toil and sorrow;

they pass quickly, and we are gone.”  ( PSalm 90:10)

So, if this is the case what is it that we have to be joyful about ?

Because we also know that God provides us with Joys to balance against those afflictions and pains.

Mostly, we have Joy because of one thing…. because Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has already won the battle for us.  He loves us.. He died for us… and resurrected and defeated death for us, all because He loves us !

The battle, brothers and sisters, has already been fought and won.  So what is left for us is nothing more than to complete those simple truths that give clarity and insite to the daily work of our hands and souls.

Yes, you say “I know.. but, I hate my job”, “my boss is not nice”, “I don’t have money, and I barely subsist on what is there” or “I don’t have a high position, or a place where I can really make any difference” or ” They didnt accept me, so there is nothing I can do”.

I tell you truly that NONE of that matters.  Remember Jesus told the disciples, ““Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man* has nowhere to rest his head.” ( Matthew 8:20)

Like many of us were told about what a ruff childhood our parents had, when they had to walk to and from school…. uphill …. both ways… in the snow… while living in a cardboard box … in the middle of the street..   ( paraphrased from a Monty Python Skit)

But the challenge comes when you come in contact with a brother or sister who is having a much harder time of it than you are.

I spent 4 years as a chaplain at a local cancer hospital.  That was a journey I was unprepared for, and so very blessed to have been given.  In the service of God through those souls, I was taught more than I will ever teach.  I was given way more than in much greater abundance than I ever gave.  I saw the very face of the living God in those brothers and sisters, and I was the one who received the blessing.

It was difficult.  It was working long hours.  It was being hated, and loved, and misunderstood.  I loved every single minute of it !

God gives us challenges, to teach us.  Like Paul had the thorn in his flesh, Jesus wanted Paul to understand that it was in our weakness, in our pains, and in our very human failings and struggles it is THEN, that we are spiritually the closest to God.

We are given Joy.. in our sorrows, even when death comes near, because we know that God is working with us, and through us to bring about not only our own sanctification, but His most Holy will.

May God give you the gift of His joy.. and peace !

Calming the Storms…

March 18, 2016

” On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”* The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
( Mark 4 :35)

One of the most beautiful things about the Gospels is that it is so easy to place ourselves into the story, either as one of the disciples, or one of the people who are in a parable, or even just as an outsider who is sitting there observing what was going on. We can see ourselves in the narrative of what is going on , what we might see, what we might do, or how we might feel if we allow ourselves to be part of the story being told.

In this particular part of the Gospel narrative, we see that Jesus who is exhausted from a long day of teaching and dealing with the crowds of people who came to hear him, now needed to rest. So he gets into the boat.. and sleeps. We know he is exhausted because a boat even on calm days rocks and sways.. and remember Jesus was not a fisherman by trade he was a carpenter, and lived on solid ground.. The storm that grew in intensity, would have not only been wind but rain as well. These boats were fishing boats.. they didn’t have nice cabins for sleeping and relaxation.. they were work vessels. There would not have been any cover there to keep Him dry, but still He slept peacefully.

Most people suffer from exhaustion need time to recover and we can see that possibly the human part of Jesus comes out a bit and He gets a little annoyed from being woken for something that He considers somewhat silly, and the disciples who were standing in mortal fear of drowning in the seas.

In the course of our daily lives we come to certain times when the our own “seas” are turbulent, when we feel as though the waves of our troubles are coming over the bow of our boat, and the winds of our trouble and discontent are blowing greatly against us.

We can feel like our world, our boat, is literally coming apart at the seams. Even for people whom we believe are strong and rock solid in their faith, these times come. It is, in fact, our very human nature that leads us down this road. These times that bring us to stare into the face of our faith, these things that try our patience , and our very souls.

We might not know it yet, but these things that happen in our lives, are the very forge through which our faith is tested, tempered, shaped, and purified. They force us to look into our faith and ask the questions we need to answer, not so much that we need the answers from God, but that we need the answers both from our hearts and souls, from our own faith and understanding, It is through these times that God wields the hammer of Wisdom, the Anvil of the world we are laid against, after the fires of the spirit.

Indeed, even in these times that our lives that seem so trying, God is indeed with us. We do in these times cry our to God like those disciples in the boat, when we think that we are on the verge of coming apart, God is there, to save us, and to work with us, to teach us. Like Jesus woke and calmed the seas, He will not let you drown. He will see you through your own journey. He will make a way for you, and after the storm has passed, He may ask in the depths of your heart, “Where is your faith ?”.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Holy Communion and Its Denial To an Individual…

July 18, 2015

Holy Communion and Its Denial To an Individual…

” Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself (1Cor 11,27-29) ”

” The denial of Holy Communion can be the effect of the imposition or declaration of the canonical penalties of Excommunication and Interdict (cf. cann. 1331 §1, 2º; and 1332), but there are other cases in which Holy Communion must be denied, apart from any imposition or declaration of a canonical penalty, in order to respect the holiness of the Sacrament, to safeguard the salvation of the soul of the party presenting himself to receive Holy Communion, and to avoid scandal.
There seems to be some confusion on the part of some who seem to belive the the denial of Holy Communion to certain people is used  primarily as a punishment for acts committed by the person being denied Holy Communion.   In the case of a person who has been Excommunicated for one reason or another, the denial of Holy Communion is just a side effect of the fact that they have left the teachings of the church, they no longer belong to the Body, and so should be recieve Holy Communion as they are no longer part of the Body, and can no longer “become what they recieve”. ( ibid. Code of Cannon Law 915 )

Now in more recent times across the world, there are those who have not been able at one point or another to recieve Holy Communion due to the fact that they have publicly supported and embraced some act or process, or belief that is intrinsically evil, and therefore against the Churches teaching.

Let us take for example a politician who supported or even implemented legislation that would allow for abortion and its promotion  as a preferred method of family planning, or birth control.  Possibly they were involved in the promotion of a union between people of the same sex, or infantcide, for the purposes of medical research or organ harvesting.

Such a person would be denied Holy Communion if, after being counseled, and educated in the issues involved, that they persisted in their actions or possibly even promoted these evils to others to bring them into schism, or grave sin.

But a deeper look into the reasoning is more essential to our understanding of why this would be the case.

The priest, is the shephed of souls.  He is like a physician.  The first oath of a physician is ” To Do No Harm..”.
The priest has the overwhelming responsibility of the care and feeding of the souls within his particular flock.
Like a physician, he looks at the soul before him.  He does the triage, and diagnostics, and develops a prognosis and plan of treatment.

Just like in medicine, the idea is the give counsel, not to press the soul into submission, but rather into understanding.  To provide information and counsel for what is going on in their lives spiritually and what needs to be done to correct the problem. This so that the soul involved can have a cooperative place in the assent of the healing and process of correction.

Just like a medical patient, the patient has the free will to decline the treatment, and to do what ever it is that he or she wants to do.  They  would be free to go outside the Doctors care to seek solice and comfort in the world. The Doctor has a particular responsibility to the patient and to the community to do no harm, and to provide the best care possible.  That care is not only for the sake of his own soul, but for the sake of the soul of the person who is in sin.

Just like in medicine, the healing process is not always a pleasant experience.  The “medicine” is bitter, or the surgery is painful at the outset.. and it takes work, trust and understanding.

Just like in medicine, the soul who presents themselves for healing, will go through struggle, there may need to be some medicinal (spiritual) therapy that is necessary before the healing begins to take shape in the form of a spiritual,healing.

THe priest can not in good conscience, provide communion to a soul to which damage might be done, as his first mission is to the pastoral and spiritual care of those in his charge..

The Christian has the responsibility as well to examine their own conscience, in the light of the Gospels and Church teaching, to make the determination if they are able to recieve Holy Communion worthily, and make a restoration if that is not the case.

I pray this provides light for the your journey.

May God give you the gift of His peace !   Pax Tecum !

Read Here the words of St Francis Admonition to the Clergy..
“Let us attend, all clerics, to the great sin and ignorance, which certain men have concerning the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the most holy Names and His written words, which sanctify the Body. We know, since there cannot be a Body, unless first it is sanctified by the word. For we have and see nothing corporally of the Most High Himself, in this age, except the Body and Blood, Names and words, through which we have been made and redeemed from death and life (1 Jn 3:14). However all those who minister such holy mysteries, should consider within themselves, most of all those who minister illicitly, how vile are the chalices, corporals, and altar linens, where the His very Body and Blood are sacrificed. And by many in vile places He is placed and abandoned, borne about in a wretched manner and consumed unworthily and ministered to others indiscretely. Even His Names and writted words are sometimes tred under foot; since the bestial man does not perceive the things that are of God (1 Cor 2:14). Is not our piety stirred concerning all these things, when the pious Lord Himself offers Himself into our hands and we handle Him and consume Him each day with our mouth? Or are we ignorant that we must (one day) fall into His Hand? Therefore let us correct quickly all these things and the others; and wherever the Most Holy Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ has been illicitly placed and abandoned, let Him be removed from that place and let them be placed in an honorable place. All these things all the clerics together are bound to observe according to the precepts of the Lord and the constitutions of Holy Mother Church. And those who will not have done this, let them know that they must render an account before the Lord on the day of judgement (cf. Mt 12:36). This has been written so that it may better be observed; let them know themselves to be blessed by the Lord God, who would have it copied.”

Blessed are the Peacemakers (Beatitudes Part VII )

November 22, 2014
Blessed the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
As we enter into the Holidays ( Holy Days) and the Advent season, this subject is particularly applicable at this time of the year, not only is it the beginning of the Church calendar year but also during the course of Advent we are begning a new period of Anticipation and waiting.
This time of year is a time for people of all faiths all over the world who come together and celebrate with friends and family.
This time of year also can be very tragic, and stressful for many. Those things can cause stress, frustration, and anxiety that goes along with many relationships between all ofthe people in our lives.
We, as peple of faith, need to excercise some of our peacemaking skills during this time of year.
First, this is a good time of year to reach out to those people, who not only are friends and family who we have a good relationship with, but to those with whom we also have a strained relationship with.
“Mending fences” or “extending the olive branch” is the first step.  These gatherings can be a way to begin to work through some of the issues.  No matter who is “at fault” for the rift between you and the other person, or between two others with whom you have a relationship, the point is that if it is possible we can forgive, the other, even if we are the one who suffers, we can accept the issue for the sake of Christ, and offer up that experience in reparation for our own sins, and for the sins of our fellow man.  This in order to move beyond to building the bridge from hurt and hate to love and forgiveness.
We can excercise charity. In an effort to share our journey, AND our witness with others about what has happened and how it is that God has worked through us and through others to work out your challenges.
In charity we can open our homes, and our hearts.  We can share with others who have little or nothing at all.  Others who have no place to go, and no one to share these days with.   We do not need to wait until the exact dates of Christmas, or Hannuka or Kwanza
Many Charities and Service organizations will share that they receive an outpouring of gifts during the holiday season and they are thankful for that, however, after that season is over things are thin.   Looking at this phenominon we can attribute this experience to two things.
There are people who take this time to get in touch with God and the spirit that moves within, causing them to look at what is going on in their lives and believe that they should share of their bounty with others.
The other point is that the giving is more occurs to make us feel better instead of other more altruistic purposes.
For people of faith, the process of giving is not only a good and necessary part of their faith life but even if the plan and the effort and the love is there you can not help but receive the gifts of love in return for the love that you share.   Love is that way.
When true selfless love is the aim and the gift, love and joy are the gifts you receive.
In the caring for Jesus, present in the person of our brothers and sisters, then it is a joy to recognize that presence and share in the service of our fellow man.
There are even days when the “joy” does not come in the beginning of the effort but at the end !  Many of the spiritual shepherds who tend the their particular flocks carry the same very human reactions to the call of duty, but they still rise above and go to serve.  This, only to find that in the end the greatest gifts are the ones they receive.
Gifts receieved and lessons learned, and in the end Love that is shared and grown makes the care of our brothers and sisters, and the efforts spent in making the world more peaceful indeed, are the gifts for us all !


Freedom of the Children of God ( Part IV)

July 11, 2014

” In the hope that creation would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God”


The last part of the set of verses speaks to us about the love that God has for all His children.  God made each of us with love and care, special and unique.  Created within each of us a plan, each person, each creation to fulfill a purpose.


Like a parent , He brought us into being, He gave us tools , and experience and guidance .  Most important in these things that God gave us was free will, and how it exercise it , however imperfectly.

God has hope.  That seems like an odd concept, that God King and maker of the universe, the omnipotent, The Great I AM, would bother with hope since  He has the power and He does, to have or make anything happen.  So why would He bother ?


He bothers with this precisely because of the fact that he gave us that free will.  That free will means, that each of His children has the choice to accept or reject God, and we can make choices that include the choice of  whether to fall info a state of sin or not.  We can choose to live lives that are pleasing to God or we can choose not to.


We also need this same kind of Hope.  We, because of our human failings, are subject to the influence of sin.  We need help to overcome that sinful nature .  We have been blessed with the Sacrament of Reconciliation to heal our wounded relationship, our souls.


We have hope that with the help of God, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit , we will live good and holy lives.  This hope extends to our family and friends , to the Body of Christ, those who are people of faith, and indeed to the entire world.

God gave us free will so that we could have a true faith, born of love and hope and peace.  He gave us free will so that we could have a faith that was pure, and meaningful to us.

Just as our earthly parents should not just give their children everything it wants.  If the child had to work for what it wants, then it will be more meaningful, more precious, and the child gains experience and understanding of what this thing is, and what its value is.

Through the gifts we have received, through the crosses we all carry and through our struggles, through the gift of free will and the gift of our faith, we can move away from that influence of sin and towards the freedom of the love of God and our neighbor.

May God give you hope, freedom,and love !




Separations ( Canticle of Hezekiah 2/6 )

December 13, 2013

“I shall see the Lord no more in the land of the living. No longer will I behold my fellow man among those who dwell in the world ”


This portion of the Canticle speaks to us of separation.  Hezekiah laments what he believes swill become the separation of his friends and from God.  What can we glean from this example ?  What are the separations in our lives ? How do they effect us and what can we learn from them ?


One of the separations we experience in life are separations from family and friends.  Separations begin at birth.  Warm and safe in our mothers womb we are cast into the world and there we have lots of new things to cope with and learn about.   We are reunited with our mothers and the cycle begins yet again.


We go through ever changing separations when we go to school for the first time, or to college.  If you had siblings, there were separations from them as well.  You might be in different classes or maybe they made other friends and they did not include you , so you felt separated from them.  Maybe you lived in one place and had to move to another place, and you had to leave behind friends you were close to.


Separations happen as we learn about romantic love.  Even as a relationship begins and a couple are trying to learn about each other.  Misunderstandings, missteps , and confusion are all part of that learning process.  THere may be anger, hurt , frustration and either a temporary or more permanent separation.  Maybe the separation occurred temporarily due to other responsibilities, and then those separations cause other issues and challenges.

One of the separations that occur in life that can be profound is the separations that surround our work.  Separations happen as we progress from one position to another.  Maybe you are promoted or are moved to another department.   There also comes a time when you leave your job.  You are laid off, or possibly let go, or maybe even the job that you have had ends because it was not necessary any longer or the business where you work closes its doors.

What ever the reason this separation can be quite profound for us.  There can be depression , sorrow, hurt or anger.  Particularly  this type of separation  causes people to go through some of those stages of grief we hear so much about.


THe feelings of separation also occur with age.  A number of people as they age tend to withdraw from the craziness that the world outside their door can be.  As a result, in some cases, people stop coming over, or visits from outside slow or maybe stop.  It is easier not to be involved since the world outside requires work and effort and obligations .  It takes time, travel and money.

In the feelings of separation there is opportunity, however, for growth.  Both in the personal and spiritual realms.  If an unexamined life is not worth living then this is a time to give some extra meaning to your life !

This is a time to examine why you are feeling separated.  What caused the separation?  Do you with to fix that issue or problem ?

Separations tend to be one of two types : relation or object oriented.  You can examine why you feel about that thing the way you do.  Maybe that thing is really not about the thing at all.  Maybe that thing is really about a relationship you attached TO that thing.  You should honor and love the person not the thing.


If the separation is a relationship based, then in an objective light, it is time to examine why the separation occurred  and at what point it began.  This is the point where it is time to get down to the work of our faith life, and acknowledge your failings.  Either by what you may have done or failed to do, or possibly the fact that you failed to forgive.

Ask for forgiveness of God and of other ones in the relationship and then forgive others even if they are not in a place to know they need it, understand it , or even want it.

In the end, separation becomes more about dropping your baggage and living the life of love that we are called to.