Posts Tagged ‘#reflections’

See What Love The Father Has For Us !

July 15, 2017

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us, in letting us be called children of God !
Tet that is what we are. The reason the world does not recognize us, is that it never recognized the Son.
Dearly Beloved, we are God’s Children now; what we shall be after, has not yet come to light. We know that when it comes to light, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope based on Him keeps himself pure, as He is pure. ” ( 1 John 3:1-3 )

It is easy for us in our worldly presence, trying to live a spiritual life, to get bogged down, with not only the imperfections of others, but even our own. We are frustrated by the way we get treated by others, or how others are treated , even by people we know and love.

Our employers, our boss, our friends, our family, other brothers and sisters, heck, we don’t even really treat ourselves the way we should. Possibly, it is we who find ourselves in the situation that we have failed to treat others the we should, either by circumstance, or emotion, our own personal failings.

It would be very easy for us to fall into the pit of despair or depression because of the way the world can treat us. We do, however, have reason for our joy !

Look at John… all those years ago… talking to brothers and sisters who are fearful, disheartened, maybe a bit disillusioned. He is reminding them of the great gift they have received. Just as the 12 were also fearful, disheartened, and in some cases disillusioned at the setbacks in their own walks.

John reminds us that the world will not recognize us as its brothers and sisters, as children of God, because it did not recognize God in Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. It is no wonder we are still fighting today, to try to get people to recognize God in our brothers and sisters. Children who were born with the imprint of the Most High !

How can we expect for the broken world, who did not recognize God, who was before them, to see God in the poor, the suffering, the aged, and those who are marginalized, even in our own brothers and sisters.

Possibly, it is because the world is not unlike Herod , who feared the Son of God when He came to earth, because the world has tried to claim for itself, something that does not belong to it, and in fear of losing the things that is has tried to take from God, or from the children of God, that it puts in place the machinery of sin to try to keep glory for itself.

At the same time, Brothers and Sisters, take heart ! For even if the world does not recognize us for who and what we are, we are in good company. It is up to us to continue to carry on the fight for good and right, for faith and hope, and mostly for peace, and love. It is important for us never to give in to despair, and sin. These are tools that Satan uses to try to separate us from God.

John reminds us that at the end of this earthly battle, we have something even greater that awaits us.
We have all had moments when the Spirit inflames us, and our hearts are afire with the love of God and everything in the world seems right, peaceful, and loving. So much more, then, will it be for us when we get to see God.

This is when we will get to see God face to face, Our loving Father. We will be the prodigal children, returning home, to the Father, who will rejoice with us.

The last part of the reading, John sticks in a final reminder..

” Everyone who has this hope, based on Him, keeps himself pure… as He is pure.”

This reminder is reminiscent of Jesus’ reminder to the disciples to “Be Holy even as your Father is Holy” (Matthew 5:48 , 1 Peter 1:16 )

This is to say that even in this daily world of suffering and strife, we are to carry on in doing what the Lord showed us while He was here on earth, and that is , to Love.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Love Is The Answer…..

June 24, 2017

” You know the times in which we are living. It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, for our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith. The night is far spent; the day draws near. let us cast off the deeds of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us live honorably as in daylight; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy, Rather, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. ” Romans 13:11-14

We are hard-headed. hardhearted, and a slow to learn ( if ever we learn) bunch of degenerate children. You have to sit back and wonder why God bothers with us at all. We fight, we complain, we rebel, we are champion sinners, and who knows how many times we keep doing the same silly, backward, things over and over again.

Paul. who is the author of this passage, is trying to get the believers to understand where they are on the journey. There are issues of faith running around.. If you remember the passage in Matthew 22:20 , where they are asking Jesus about paying taxes to the Roman Empire. Just to prove the point, here again the citizens are still struggling the same questions that Jesus already answered ! They still had not understood, and still fighting with the same questions.

Paul is trying to tell them … Yes, you still have to do what Caesar tells you.. and YES, you still have to pay taxes.. because you live here, this is the authority in place at this time..

There is a special note I would like to inject here for our Franciscan brothers and sisters, consider for a moment your vocation. Recall the words you spoke on the day you took your profession. Our vocation, our calling, our job in the Kingdom of Heaven, ( for Franciscans, and for Christians as a whole) is to be “in the world.”.

What does that exactly mean for us ? Are we still this hard-headed ? Jesus told us … Because we live “in the world” , that means that we have to participate in the processes involved in living in the world.
We have to pay taxes. We have to obey the laws of the place where we live. We have to “pay the dues” of living in the place where we are.

We are “in the world” but we are not “of the world”. We belong to Christ. We have responsibilities, that go along with belonging to the Kingdom of God. There are things that are expected of us.

The passage before this reading explains the rule of the Kingdom of God is LOVE. If we do no evil to our neighbor, ( or wish them evil ) then the law if fulfilled. He reviews with them the 10 Commandments. and then comes the reading above.

This is meant to spur them on in their faith, to get them to try to excel in doing good works. To keep them from falling into sin.

Now consider, that every day, you start out your day, saying your morning prayers, and you ask God for the strength, and wisdom and perseverance to keep from some particular area of sin, or the occasion of it.

Then at night in the cool of the evening, you have the time to reflect on the day. You have the time to pray, and you feel bad, because you fell into some trap of sin. and it happened AGAIN .. and you find yourself the next morning having the same conversation with the Lord. You feel terrible… you think maybe you are the worst disciple ever… EVER ! Well, maybe not ever.. but still pretty bad.

Take heart ! You see, the saints, all of those people who were the super heros of humanity, they became saints NOT because they did not sin. They became saints by putting forth super human effort in attempting to live the gospel virtues. In short, these folks became saints because of the fact that they tried above all else, to live the law of LOVE !

I want to encourage each of you, to strive as best you are able, to live the law of love. Jesus made it as simple to remember as He could. Just two things you have to remember !

Love the Lord your God, with all your mind, heart, and soul.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

He did not say it would be easy. I can tell you from personal experience that everyone fails… Particularly on the second rule. Do not lose faith in this journey because you fail, OR because someone else failed to love you. Your neighbor might fail in loving you… but God never will !

Again it is not that we FALL, but how we RISE ! Rise with FAITH ! Rise with HOPE and rise with LOVE !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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 !

Patience of the Lord

May 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lords patience is directed towards salvation….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Holy Family Model – (Part III)

January 16, 2015

This weeks reflection deals with Jesus, true God and true man.

Jesus, King of the Universe, Lord of Hosts, came to earth, not because of sin, but instead because of love.

Consider for a moment that Jesus in his immensity, came to Mary, and stayed during her pregnancy, and waited for months to be born.

Was he born rich ?  No, in the example of his poverty of spirit and truth, he was born of parents who were not well to do, there were no musicians, or choir, or silk etc.  It was ruff cloth, and in a stable not in a mansion, or an Inn.  The poorest of situations.

There was really only a couple of other places in scripture where we get to see or hear about Jesus prior to the beginning of his ministry.  The finding in the temple and the presentation of the Lord primarily.

So lets consider for a bit what was happening between these formative years.  Now remeber Jesus was both true God and true man, which means he lived a human existance, with all of its experiences.

He had to learn new things, he had to get an education, he had to do chores, and listen to his parents.  Even if he did not probably agree all the time, he honored his parents as that was his way to honor them.    He had to learn a trade, help out around the house.

Can you imagine the frustration, the care, the love, the disappointments, maybe even a failure on occasion ?  He would turn to his Father in Heaven and pray.  Submitting to the will of his parents and did what was necessary.

Then came his public life, His baptism, His preaching, His anger and sorrows.  He went through irony and  frustration.  Near the end of his earthly life there was betrayal, pain, all through his passion and death.  And finally again joy in the resurrection, the reunion with the disciples, and ascension.

Each of us goes through this range of emotions and feeling so many times in our lives.  We have a Lord who has lived these things to give us an example of how it is that we should model our responses.

Possibly, we can, at least for the point of empathy and understanding, place ourselves in His earthly, humanness.

When we are frustrated and feeling marginalized, or under appreciated.  The Lord was there first.  We can look to His example.  Looking to the Fathers will.

Jesus suffered loss.  Friends were killed or died or fell away.  He wept. He prayed and he waited for the Fathers will.

Some days we might not be able to see what Gods will is for us.  We must trust and pray for His will for us.

How many of us walk the path we have been given, and are maybe not happy with the road we are on.  It seems unfair, it might seem like too much.  You may not know why it is that He has you on the path that you are on, but trusting in God. Trusting in His will, and believing that all things will work for good ( Gods will) for those who love the Lord.

It is in this knowledge, secure in the idea that there is something on the other side for us.  There is something we are supposed to do, or get, or learn that in the end will work out according to Gods loving plan.  This will give you the strength, the security and the hope to walk through the fires in your life.

Our God is a certainty. Our God is sure, and abiding.  It is only for us to trust and believe.

Jesus asked in the garden, that if He could get off the road he was on, that he prayed to have it taken away..  What happened ?  Silence..   His heart broke at the site of His Mother, Mary.. He was treated like the worst person on earth.
What happened at the end of his suffering.. He prayed for them all and asked for their forgiveness.

At the end of these reflections, I hope you have been able to place yourself in each person of the Holy Family, and that this gives you a little insite into where ever you are in your life…

If you are at your wits end. If you dont know what to do.  Pray !   Pray for Gods will in your life, for direction and then trust.

May God give you the gift of His peace !