Thursday, July 31, 2008


The hope we have in Jesus Christ is not like other hopes. When Paul says things like, "He is our hope.", or "We do not hope for what we can see..", we start to realize this is different. Hope is one of the heavenly virtues along with faith and love. These are gifts given to us at baptism. We are supplied with these virtues when we are "born again of water and Spirit", to use the words of Jesus to Nicodemus. This hope in Jesus is alive in our hearts! You can see it in the Saints. Even in great tribulation, suffering, boredom, confusion, fear, and horrific death's, this hope never wavers. Our role in this hope is to nurture it. We are given a part to play in God's Drama, in His Salvation story, as Paul says, "We are co-workers" with God in Christ Jesus, and again he says to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling.". How do we nurture this hope? Prayer, studying the scripture, attending Holy Mass, receiving the Sacraments, adoration, praying the rosary, getting to know the Saints, serving the poor, lonely, and forgotten; by loving our friends, enemies, and family; all done with deep humility and gratitude. This is how we nurture this hope. We feed our souls with God's gifts and graces given to us in Jesus our King. This hope will never disappoint.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jesus never wasted words...

Jesus never wasted words. He spoke with authority and purpose. He said and did only what He heard the Father saying and doing. Simon had just said, "You are the Christ..". Jesus had asked, "Who do people say that I am?". Simon told Jesus Who He was. Jesus responds by telling Simon who he was. "You are Kepha and on this Kepha I will build MY church." Kepha is the Aramaic word Jesus used that means rock. He gave Simon a new name. He gave him a new office. He gave him a new purpose. He gave him the Keys. The disciples understood this Davidic Kingdom reference to keys and authority. They knew what Jesus was telling Simon. From that point on, the other disciples called him Kepha (Peter). Kepha had a new role among the twelve. Throughout the book of Acts we see Kepha in his new role that Jesus gave him. It did not mean he would not make mistakes or not sin. It meant that Jesus would guide and protect this office from wrong teaching, and that the gates of hell would never prevail over His Church He would build on Kepha. Jesus told Peter (Kepha) that He would pray for him because He knew there would be heresy, dissension, and false teachers. He knew the weeds must grow with the wheat. Just as Jesus had to renew Peter's (Kepha's) faith that morning by the Sea of Galilee before He ascended to the Father, so too does the Church need renewal from time to time. But for 2000 years, the office Jesus began that day in Caeserea Philippi with Kepha is still in place. The office of Peter ( Kepha) is the longest lasting institution in the world. Through much trouble it has come and will go, but hell has not prevailed, and will not prevail. It will be in place until Jesus comes again. Jesus never wasted words.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our Icon of Love

If you and I could for one moment get our mind around how much we are loved by The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we would fall madly in love! And from that moment on, our lives would be about nothing else but returning that love. It would transform our prayer life, our work, our art, our relationships, our care for the poor, our rising in the morning, even our sleeping. Let us fix our gaze upon the crucifix! St. Francis would gaze at it for hours and God used him to reform the Church and gain thousands of souls for Jesus. The crucifix is our Icon Of Love. It is the vivid reminder of this love that we must, by grace, get our minds around. God, through the Virgin Mary, took on flesh, suffered, died, rose, ascended, and now reigns at the Father's right hand! All for us! Let us gaze upon the crucifix today and everyday, never for a moment forgetting what our Beloved did to gain our love.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Storm Coming

In the deep south there is one thing we can count on, heat and humidity. Someone once asked me why there are so many writers from Oxford Ms, I told them it is probably because of the weather. This makes no sense unless you live here for 365 days in a row. It's like watching paint dry for 300 of those days, and then nature makes up for the boredom with thunder storms that can cause a full grown man turn to writing down his thoughts. Jesus was talking to the crowd one day about weather. The Pharisees and Sadducee's were trying to trip Him up again. They wanted a sign. This was right after He had fed four thousand plus with seven loaves and a fish! (Seems like a pretty good sign.) But they didn't want the truth, they wanted Him gone. He rebuked them for being able to read the evening and morning sky to predict the days weather but not be able to see what He was showing them and thus accept the new weather of the Kingdom. They didn't want the rain of healing, the wind of forgiveness, the dry hot days of loving your enemies, the humid nights of private prayer and humility, the winter storm of dying to self, and the drought of carrying your cross... this is the Kingdom that Jesus brought. This is our Kingdom today. We must read the signs and know the weather of this eternal Kingdom we call our own. Every day we have this weather in our lives, and like the leaders of Jesus' day, sometimes want a different sign. He ended up telling them that the only sign they would get would be the sign of Jonah. And even after He rose from the dead, they still couldn't see the new storm coming!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Such a Simple Wonder

Water is such a simple wonder. The grass is made greener by its touch. Thirst is quenched. Dirt is washed away... Jesus walked on water. He turned water into wine. The Ethiopian Eunuch had Phillip baptize him in water as soon as they saw the pool by the side of the road. It is easy to forget that God is Sacramental in His dealings with man. He uses the very tangible things in our lives to impart His grace. Water, such a vibrant part of life, made holy by the Holy Spirit through the words "In the Name of the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit"is then used to wash away the stain of original sin. A black spot on the soul that has been there since the day of birth, a stain passed down from Adam, and then Jesus, the new Adam comes, the spotless Lamb, and is baptized in the Jordan, pointing toward the new Sacrament  that cleanses the dismal stain. This simple act takes place every single time someone believes that Jesus is Lord in the New Testament. In the book of Acts, a Roman guard believes and is baptized, and not just he alone, but his entire family. After Peter's sermon in the 2nd chapter of Acts, thousand are baptized. It seems too important to simply be a symbol, at least to the early Church. After our Lord's death, the soldier pierced His side and what came forth? Blood and Water.  Blood to be our real drink in the Eucharist, and Water, to cleanse our souls and  initiate us into His family,  to circumcise the happy soul born anew of water and the Spirit.  Ready now to journey toward the Kingdom of God.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Again

Monday again... Another beginning to another week... We will see the same people, eat the same food, face the same decisions, pray the same prayers, listen to the same music. Some of us will deal with the same fears, wonder about our purpose, weep tears of confusion, and some will experience great joy, hope, and sincere gratitude. There are so many yet so often the same roads we take this Monday morning, and one thing joins us all, we are loved. There is One Who remains closer than a brother. He never changes, yet He is ever new. He is the eternal youth of summer in our hearts. He makes every Monday new. He is always knocking on our soul's door, hoping we will let Him come in anew. Help us this same old Monday to be renewed by Your love for us Oh Ancient of Days! Help us Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to share in Your single great love affair that is never old or mundane. Monday again..., Hallelujah!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What about him?

Why was John the only disciple who stood at the foot of the cross with Mary the mother of Jesus? Why was John the one who Jesus gave to Mary and Mary to him even while the Lord was in horrible agony on the cross? Why was John the one who leaned against Jesus' breast when He instituted the Eucharist? Why was John the one of whom Peter asked, "What about him?", that morning by the sea of Galilee after Jesus had made breakfast? John wrote in his epistle, "God is love". John saw Jesus with eyes of deep and personal longing. He wrote chapter 6 of his gospel so no one would ever forget our "Real Food and Real Drink" for the journey. He called himself, "the disciple whom Jesus loved".  Historians and theologians call St.John the first mystic. He defines for all of the Church the meaning of relationship with God's Son and with Mary our mother. On the island of Patmos in his lonely exile he had a vision. Once again, he saw his Beloved, the wounded yet victorious Lamb, reigning over Heaven and earth. He saw his friend and Lord coming again, and once again, he loved Him. St. John, pray for us.


Will it! When you don't feel like doing God's Will, will it! And if you fail, ask forgiveness. Get back up. Go on, don't sit in pity and false humility, move on! Jesus never pandered to anyone's pity, He responded to their cries for mercy, their honest heartfelt cries for sight, for healing, for guidance. The ones who tried to trick Him never got Him. It is the same today. He may not give us what we want, or then again, He might.. Do we want Him? The things we want are just things, jobs, success, blah freaking blah! He wants us to want Him. To long for His presence as the deer pants for water. He wants us to hear His continual knock on the door of our soul and for us to open the gate so that the King may come in!! Who is this King of Glry?, He is Jesus!! He is our Lover and we are His bride! Mercy!

A Love Story

If the Spirit of God dwells within us there will always be the struggle with self. He is the Hound of Heaven who howls in our souls at the light of Christ that shines in our darkness. In Romans chapter 7 Paul speaks of this struggle. In Philippians he speaks about working out our salvation with fear and trembling. This journey is not some head trip of faith alone, to paraphrase James. It is a heart, mind, body, and soul expedition too. It is touch and taste, thus, His Body and Blood and all of the Sacraments. Everything is about being one with Him and He with us. The Father never slumbers. NEVER! His craving is for total union with us and we with Him. He is like a mad man in love with His creation, and yet, He woos us like a lovesick lover. The Incarnation is His ultimate love letter. God is the woman who found her lost penny, we are that penny! St. John of the Cross took the Song of Songs to heart. He realized that  Jesus is our Groom and we must spend every waking hour preparing our heart, mind, soul, and body for His arrival. This is truly the greatest love story ever told. And by grace, we get to love Him as much as we can. Lord help us love You more!

Our rainbow

When the dove brought Noah an olive branch everyone on the Ark rejoiced that the flood was over. When the Dove descended upon Jesus at His baptism, John rejoiced because he knew the flood of sin was over, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!". The first dove was a type, representing the Holy Spirit Who would bring about through the Sacraments, given by Jesus, the end of the flood of sin. The remnants of the flood are still around us everyday. We still step in mud puddles, but the Truth that Jesus is the Lamb of God Who takes away our sin is our eternal hope, the cross is our rainbow.

Life is Captured

Simple acts of mercy are worthy of our God. Little acts of love for the stranger, the family member, the enemy are worthy of our God. The sun rises on everyone, as the rain falls on all. Life is about moments, and moments without God in the mind and heart and will are wasted moments. We have very little time here, compared to eternity, we have a very short time. We are given this time to love. Our will to love is where we find the Son praying to the Father in Gethsemane. Jesus said to the Father, "Thy Will... not mine". All of life is captured in these words, and the moments of life are redeemed by these words and the actions that follow. Jesus said "Thy Will be done..." and then He carried a cross up a hill. Our faith without works is dead.

This is Real

If we walk through our days in humility, and with a deep desire for union with Jesus, we will stumble through various trials . Hardship can produce a depth of peace and joy not of this world. St. Therese of Lesioux, the Little Flower, learned to embrace her suffering because it was the one thing that she felt associated her most with her Bridegroom. She wrote in her autobiography, The Story of A Soul, "Everything is grace.". Her joy at the hour of her death amazed her fellow Carmelite sisters. This is real. No matter who you are, or what you go through, hidden anxiety, chronic infirmities, cancer, headaches, failed plans, persecution, etc.., these are the various trials St. Peter told the early Christians to rejoice in because of the endurance they produce. In humility, we must will ourselves to keep the cross of Jesus ever before our eyes, especially when they are filled with tears.