This morning my daughter is having a dress test party with the women in our family. I planned to work remotely for the morning to keep out of the way – but with limited places to work from the road – I decided to come back home.

When I came in, she was just coming down the stairs in her first dress – a beautiful white wedding dress. I melted, sobbed, and just crumbled!

What am I going to do next year when I see her coming down the aisle??

Just seeing her in the dress wrecked me!

Waiting for the Kingdom

Today is day #2 of the election in 2020.  The campaigns are waging their legal battles, people are gathering in the streets and protesting, making noise and getting agitated. 

I am turning my heart towards the Kingdom of God.  As Christians we need to remember that our true home is not here in the Earth.  We are all on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom to come.  Today especially, I say “Maranatha”…“Come Lord Jesus Christ!

Do you believe Jesus’ “Truly Truly”?

Having come from a Pentecostal background to the Catholic church….this just “blessed my heart”!! https://youtu.be/VvYeXh3JHco “More people get healed in a Catholic church during communion than Pentecostals… because to us it’s symbolic.” – Benny Hinn

Think of all the “Truly, Truly” statements of Jesus that you take literally? Do you take them ALL literally?

We believe John 6:53, “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.”

Most Christians have no issues with the following….

John 3:3,”Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.””

John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

John 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”

John 8:51 “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”

John 8:58 “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”

Why take all of these literally but not John 6:53? The Eucharist is not a symbol….it is the true body and blood of Jesus – it is a mystery – and a reality! The manna in the desert was REAL food and supernatural. How much more is the new covenant? It cannot be LESS than the old covenant? It has to be greater! And Jesus said that HE is the true bread that came down from heaven. So when He said, “take eat, THIS IS MY BODY” and “take drink THIS IS MY BLOOD” – why would anyone think it is only symbolic?

#bennyhinn #Catholic #Eucharist #HappyCatholic

The Light Is Truth

Light is truth“. This was a part of the reading today from the liturgy of the hours. It really struck me – as Jesus is the way, the truth, and the LIGHT. The image that came into my mind was that a little light is good, but it also causes shadows. You know at night, when there is a “little light” in the room, you start seeing things there in the dark. The shadows thrive around just a little light.

But when the FULLNESS of the light is there, you see the truth. There is no doubt that the towel hanging on the wall is just a towel when the FULLNESS of that light exposes what was there all along 😁.

Today, we need to have that fullness of the light. The fullness of the truth. Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the LIGHT. He isn’t just a little bit of light – He is the fullness of total light, exposing what was there in our hearts and lives all along. I was challenged to “come into the light” all the way – because if we hang around the edges, we get a little bit of the light…but we start seeing things the way our minds trick us into seeing them. When we come into that FULLNESS of the light – there is no denying the truth of what was there all along.

Merciful God, may your fullness of truth become the fullness of light that will guide us on the true way to eternal life…which is found in the person of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

The Hidden Life Of Jesus

Today’s daily email from the Catechism really got me thinking about my life as a Protestant vs my life as a Catholic.  The differences in the approach to spirituality really struck me:


104. What does the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth teach us?

In the course of his hidden life in Nazareth Jesus stayed in the silence of an ordinary existence. This allows us to enter into fellowship with him in the holiness to be found in a daily life marked by prayer, simplicity, work and family love. His obedience to Mary to Joseph, his foster father, is an image of his filial obedience to the Father. Mary and Joseph accepted with faith the mystery of Jesus even though they did not always understand it.

Further reading: CCC 533-534, 564


As a Protestant, the purpose of knowing God is always about being on mission.  God blesses us to bless others.  God saves me so I can proclaim Him to others…thus bringing salvation to them as well.   While this is true in the Catholic’s life as well – we are called to proclaim the gospel with our lives and our words and deeds – there is also a deeper spirituality of being “hidden” in prayer.

This is incredibly freeing.  When there are seasons of my life where I just can’t seem to muster the strength to go on mission – I take great consolation in knowing that part of the mission is to simply be.   To be hidden with Christ, to enter into his hidden life in prayer, this is our first love.  Why do we get so busy with the work of the Lord, that we forget to spend time with the Lord of the work?

The hidden life.  Christ spent 30 years in that hidden life.  Working, living, being with family and community.   I return this season of Lent to the hidden way of prayer.  Mission will come.  The work will always be there.  But it is for whom we work – that is what we must remember.

 

Exorcism is a sacramental

I have been unusually interested lately in the rite of exorcism in the Catholic church.   I have been listening to a lot to Father Vincent Lambert on many of the YouTube video talks he has given.   On a few occasions, I have heard Fr. Lambert say that the rite of exorcism is a sacramental of the church….not a sacrament.

This struck me as one often thinks of the power of an exorcism when we think of movies about demon possession.  Yet the true power is in the sacraments themselves.   Going to reconciliation (confession) and receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is the MOST powerful way to expel evil from our lives.

In the occasions where someone is truly being tormented by evil, from oppression to possession – the rite of the church as a sacramental is to bring relief to the person afflicted in order to reattach them to the life of grace in the sacraments themselves.   The goal always is to bring someone to Jesus – and the ways that Jesus brings us His grace and power is through the sacraments of the church.

Thanks be to God for the many sacramentals we have – from holy water to rosaries to medals scapulars, and the like.  And thanks be to God for the sacramental of the ministry of exorcism.  In a world becoming increasingly interested in the occult, in witchcraft, in horror of all kinds – we have the answer to help those who have now put themselves under the powers of the evil one.   The answer is always Jesus.   And we find Jesus, most fully and substantially in the Bread of Heaven, the Holy Eucharist.

Giving Up The World

The contemplation of eliminating all social media

I have been pretty remiss in writing anything on this website/blog.  I realize my last entry was about 7 months ago.  And before that…well…some time had passed.

Typically, I just peruse social media like most.  I ditched Facebook over a year ago and tried MeWe.com as an alternative.  That fizzled out since not many of my friends were on the same platform.  I decided from there just to retain Instagram and Twitter.   But lately, I have been noticing new patterns emerge in my life which has me rethinking it all.

app apple cellphone cellular telephone

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Instagram has been the most “pure” of platforms, or so I thought, to just view photos, click the likes, and send the occasional positive encouragement to someone.   Generally, that is the case.   But I have also observed that I no longer really SEE the photos.  I will often just slowly scroll past beautiful photos, maybe double tap that heart, but not actually SEE the beauty of a photo.

 

For example, take this beautiful post from @beautysoancient

img_2321

I liked this one and yet scrolled past it and onto the next posting in the feed.   Did I really take the time to look at the beauty in this photo?  Did I contemplate the beautiful stained glass windows, the altar, the paintings, or even the feelings that it evokes within me if I just spend a few moments really SEEING this photo?

No, I did not.  I just double tapped and kept swiping.   So what is the purpose of Instagram for me if I am not really appreciating the beauty of the photos being shared by wonderful people around the world?   Rather than a simple social media platform, I am noticing that my capacity to appreciate beauty is just diminishing.  The same psychological triggers which are found in all social media platforms are present here….always looking for the next item to tantalize my brain.

I am not sure what I am going to do yet.  I am tempted to make a rash decision, pull the plug and just detach from the world of media and “sharing”.   And maybe I will do that.  I know I could just slow down my scroll, take time to see and appreciate the beauty…but will I?   Coming to know myself is one of the perks of diaconate formation right now.  And knowing me….I’ll just eventually fall back into the same habits given the same environment and stimuli.

The question I am asking is this: What is my purpose in life right now?  Answer – to grow in holiness, perfection, and to become like Jesus Christ as much as possible by the grace of God.    Will continuing with my social connections online help me or hinder me in that goal?   And if I decide to pull the plug – what are the real downsides I am concerned about?   That people won’t be able to find or follow me?  That I will miss something in other’s lives?  I’ll be unaware of the happenings in the world?

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  That seems to be the key point to consider today.

“Nil nisi te, Domine”

For some GOOD news

In our current onslaught of robocalls, ads, junk mail etc – all vying for our allegiance for this year’s election…perhaps raising our hearts and minds to a higher calling could bring some much needed mental relief.

Such a beautiful soul.  While this call to poverty and charity is extreme and not for everyone…it is for EVERYONE to emulate this call in our own lives.   The charism of Saint Mother Teresa is an extreme which is meant challenge the rest of us, to find a way to live at least some of this call in our own lives.

Care for your neighbor.  Feed a homeless person.  Give some clothes to those in need.  Welcome a stranger at church and in your community.  Make time for someone, to listen, to really see them.

St Mother Teresa of Calcutta….pray for us.

The Feast Of The Chair

Today we celebrate the Chair! 

 In September 2016, we started our Camino de Santiago journey by visiting Rome and saw the Chair of St Peter.  It is a pretty awesome site and a beautiful piece of art which points to MORE than a physical chair.

There is more to the story of the actual physical chair…you can read here

The artwork over the chair is just as amazing!  The image of angels and the Dove over the chair – showing us that the Holy Spirit is always leading and guiding Peter in the church…even to today in the current office of Peter…Pope Francis. 

Reading I  1 PT 5:1-4

Beloved:
I exhort the presbyters among you,
as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ
and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.
Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Resolution For Formation

A new year of expectation

2018 is upon us and I am considering what is on the horizon.   I am not one for making resolutions…since I rarely keep them more than a week or two!  
But I am thinking about goals.  What I would like to accomplish in the course of another year.  Of course the usual….eat better, lose another 20 pounds, read the Bible more, etc.
I have a year ahead of classes and formation in the formation process of the diaconate.  And this has me turning my thoughts away from resolutions…and more towards formation.
What does it mean to be formed?

Whether we realize it or not, we are all being formed.  Formation of our heart is either happening to us in a passive way, or we take on the formation of our hearts with intention. 

This coming year I am considering two words:  Detachment and Discipline

I continue to need an increase in both.  To be further detached from pleasures of food and drink, material comforts, and conveniences of time.  I am often too much in a hurry.  I walked to Publix tonight to buy some groceries.  I could have driven there in less than 3 minutes, but it felt actually pleasurable to walk in the cold, taking the extra time to consider the inconveniences of walking.  It slowed me down, gave me more time to think, and was actually good to spend the extra time.

I also need an increase in disciplines.  Discipline to write more, read more books and less Facebook and Twitter, and an increase in the disciplines of prayer.   This last year, I solidified my discipline of morning prayer with the Liturgy of the Hours.  However, in the coming year, I intend to carve out the needed time in the evening for night prayer/evening prayer. 

 The coming year will bring it’s own pressures, pleasures, joys, and heartaches. So much will be out of my control.  An intentional formation is the path towards a clear goal.  “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24)  That is a clear call to an intentional formation.  

The End of Gluttony

I stand tonight at the precipice of a major change in my life….I hope!

Lisa and I have decided to embark on a 40-day journey of a juice fast.  A while ago I watched the film “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” which shows the story of people who changed their lives by healing their bodies from the inside out.  
There is a spiritual dimension for me as well as physical.   The physical is easy.  I am overweight and have struggled to lose (and keep lost) about 50 lbs.  Carrying the extra weight has begun to really take its toll on my joints, sleeping and overall health.  I have done extended fasts before – so going without solid food for 40 days is not as much of the challenge.  The real challenge is the spiritual connections.
This fast will afford my body a rest, a break.  It’s a way to just disconnect from the pleasures and controls food has in my life.  I often don’t think about what I am going to eat…I just act!  And that is where gluttony comes in.  For me, the sins of gluttony are not about eating until you have to roll me down the road.  No, it is more in line with the definition: “the habitual greed or excess in eating”.   Habitual greed.   Those words grabbed my attention.   There are some bad habits I have allowed to take root in my life.  Food is more than social, more than pleasurable,  more than sustenance.  And since it sometimes can control my actions, it is time to finally take some action.  
I am thankful that Lisa has decided to take the journey with me.  This will make it easier for the times when I would feel left out of the dinner table because of a fast.  So we begin another sort of “Camino”. A walk towards better health.  A walk towards simplicity.   And that walk all begins with the first step…the decision to take action.
So -here we are, September 30, 2017.  I spent the last of this day eating, drinking and being merry.  But I am actually now more excited about putting it all away…and just taking a break from eating.  Just slowing down the pace.  Just taking steps to be more thoughtful about food and my relationship with it.   I hope to learn a lot about myself through this.    And I look forward to the changed man who will one day find freedom from “disordered passions”, who will hopefully find one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit….self control. 

Peace.

“Nil nisi te, Domine”

The Greatest Is This

So utterly beautiful!  To think of God and Humanity joined together in a person….in an intimate union of LOVE!    Love God…Love Neighbor.  It is that simple. 

Your daily Gospel reflection…
Thursday, June 8, 2017
9th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Mark 12:18-27
Friends, our Gospel for today features the Word of God himself telling us what stands at the heart of the law. A scribe posed, as a kind of game, the following question: “Which commandment is the greatest?” There were hundreds of laws in the Jewish system. So it was a favorite exercise of the rabbis to seek out the single rule that somehow clarified the whole of the law.
So Jesus gives his famous answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What does that mean? The law is finally about love, and the love of God and neighbor are inextricably bound to one another. If we love God, but hate our neighbors, we’re wasting our time.
Why are the two loves so tightly connected? Because of who Jesus is. Jesus is not just a human being, and he is not just God. He is the God-man, the one in whom divinity and humanity come together. Therefore, it’s impossible to love him as God without loving the humanity that he’s created and embraced.


“Nil nisi te, Domine”