Tuesday, September 30, 2008

He said He would build.

Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ---St. Jerome, 4th Century
The scripture Jerome was talking about was the Old Testament. The New Testament was not put together as of the time he wrote these words. There were hundreds of letters floating around that had to be decided on as to whether they would be in the canon of books we call the New Testament. Christians lived for almost 400 years before they had a conclusive collection of what we take for granted each day. The letters that ended up being the New Testament were the ones most used for the readings in the Mass each Sunday. There were many that were not worthy of the Mass, and they were set aside. We must never forget that the teaching and traditions passed on by the Apostles is what our faith and doctrine is founded on, as Paul reminds us in his letter to the Thessalonians. The New Testament came from this, Glory to God! We also have such a hidden treasure in the writings of the early Church Fathers. We have such a beautiful, ancient, yet ever new living Tradition that binds us to the very ones who walked with our Lord and those who walked with them. We have gestures that mean so much. We have prayers, the sign of the cross, the Sacraments, the rosary, the Saints, Icons, the writings of the disciples of the Apostles, and the Holy New Testament. We still have the Church He said He would build.

Monday, September 29, 2008


For me, Life is Christ.---St. Paul
What is life for us? Until we answer this with brutal honesty, we may never advance on the narrow road. Is life our career, our family, our gifts, our religion, our education, our car, our opinion, our ideas, our dreams, our penance, our prayers, our faith, our money, our lack of money, etc...? Paul said he counted ALL things as dung compared to knowing Jesus. He had just named all of the things that he could hang his hat on if he wanted to. He had named his standing, his religion, his heritage, his knowledge, all good things. He called them dung compared to knowing Jesus. Jesus said that eternal life is to know the Father, and the One the Father has sent, Jesus Christ. This is life, and as long as we wake up in the morning this side of eternity, we are given the chance to know this life. It is a challenge. It is a struggle. Some days it is exciting. Some days it is boring. Some days we walk in confusion and doubt. Some days we walk in confidence and faith. But like Paul, may we desire to walk with Jesus, and have Paul's perspective on everything else in our lives.
Lord, give us grace to do this.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


No matter what we go through, it is not bigger than God's love for us. Nor is it something God has not already dealt with in other souls millions of times. The devil always tries to make us think that we are different. He tries to make us believe that we are alone in our pain, that even God wants nothing to do with this mess that is our lonely life. The liar! The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus went through every possible emotion, loneliness, and temptation to fear that we could possibly face. Gethsemane is one such moment. We must not be islands in our own minds. We must fight the culture of "Ipod, Imac, Iphone, I, I, I, I." Once again, we are being lured into a world of self and we like it. We must remember the Saints that have gone before us and are now cheering us on. We must call upon their prayers! How prideful and arrogant not to do so. They are with Jesus, they are worshipping the Father, and they care about us! It only makes sense that when someone has entered into the presence of the Ancient of Days and filled with He Himself, that they are immediately filled with His love and concern for those still struggling here below. WE are family in Christ.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Every now and then we have a moment of realization. We may be praying the rosary, reading the gospel, or just driving along listening to a song we've heard a hundred times. Suddenly, we understand that God loves us. In an instant, we see every moment of salvation history from Adam and Eve to the book of Revelation. We see clearly that God the Father is madly in love with us all! From David leaping and dancing before the Ark of the Covenant, to John the Baptist leaping in Elizabeth's womb when Mary arrives at their home, the simplicity of God's single desire to be with us and for us to be with Him forever moves us deeply. We taste sweet grace. There is nothing we can do but worship Him with our lips and lives, humbling ourselves, and in this sudden mysterious and beautiful thought, give Him our love and lives as best we can.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Making Disciples

 Jesus told the apostles to go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. It is so important that we not forget that our mission is to make disciples. But how can we make disciples if we do not become one ourselves? We read in the gospel of John that two of John the Baptist disciples followed Jesus. Jesus asked them what they wanted, they asked Him where He was staying. Notice, they did not answer His question, instead they asked Him a question. They did not say, we want truth, or direction, etc.. instead, they wanted to be with Jesus. They wanted to see where He lived and how He lived. This is the beginning of discipleship. The gospel goes on to show us what happens to someone who spends time with the Lord. Andrew was so excited about what He was seeing and learning that he ran to tell his brother, Peter,"We have found the Messiah!" There is such action and passion in these passages. This is what being with Jesus does to the soul. He gives our souls purpose, hope, and life. This is why we should go to Mass daily if possible, not just on Sunday. This is why we should go to confess our sins often and receive the forgiveness Jesus told the apostles to administer. This is why we should spend time daily before the blessed Sacrament, worshiping, praying for others, and seeking His special nearness. The more time we devote to being with Jesus in these special ways He gave us, the more we will be changed. Then we will not be able to keep from making disciples.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Since I gave up Hope

Sometimes we must will our faith, hope, and love. In fact, most times we must will our faith, hope, and love. We hear a lot about faith and love, but not that much about hope. St. Paul said a lot about hope. He said things like, "Without the resurrection, our hope is in vein." "Our hope is in the one Who made heaven and earth." Hope does not disappoint." "We have this hope, that He who began this good work in you will bring it to fruition." We have to work on having hope. One of the funniest quotes I ever heard about the human condition is from a movie with Robert Duvall. Someone asked him how he was doing, he said, "Better since I gave up hope." We have to learn to hope in what is true. If our hope is in riches, fame, health, dreams, or even happiness, we may find we agree with Duvall. But if our hope is in Father doing and finishing His work in us, we will not be disappointed. We may be confused, frustrated, at times angry, lonely, and bewildered, but If our eyes on fixed on Jesus, by grace we will make it through.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

God's not away on Business

I love the sound of my sweetheart's voice
She sings when she says she loves me
I love the sound her bare feet make
on the hardwood floor in the morning
Sometimes I wish we could stay here in the country
but the bills have grown higher than the weeds
and my heart's just not in it since the beginning of the spring,
when our good friends the horses had to leave
God's not away on business
But He's mysterious and silent as the morn
and even though these shipwrecks will happen
His help is somewhere hidden in the storm
I love the sound of crickets in June
They'd sing like an operatic choir
I love the sound of tires in the night
on the twisting lonely  334
Like sailors tossed upon a lonely foreign shore
we have to find a way to keep our hope
And the fear of the Lord will be our sanity and peace
And closer to His dear heart may we go
God's not away on business
But He's mysterious and silent as the morn
and even though these shipwrecks will happen
His hand is somewhere hidden in the storm
Oh my soul, why are you downcast within me
Hope in God, for He is thy help and strength!
Yocona, ms

Monday, September 22, 2008

Like a Madman

I am talking like a madman...St. Paul (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)
Pope Benedict 16 has named 2008 the year of St. Paul. In doing this, the Chair of Peter is guiding us to look deeply into this "madman" and his example of following Jesus. Paul was beaten many times. He was "full of anxiety" over his children in the faith. He was jailed often. He was shipwrecked 3 times! He drifted on the sea for 24 hours after one of the shipwrecks. He was bitten by a snake. He was in danger everywhere; "from rivers, from robbers, his own people,from Gentiles, in cities, in the wilderness, at sea." He couldn't sleep, he went hungry and suffered dehydration. Why are we supposed to remember this guy? His example doesn't work with our idea of prosperity often taught today in America. Christians aren't suppose to suffer if they are "spirit filled", or if they are doing God's will, are they? Was Paul "spirit-filled"? Many are teaching that if we have faith, we can do anything, have anything, be anything, buy anything, and while doing so, drive the nicest car, have the best house, and never get sick. Why wouldn't Jesus remove Paul's "thorn in his flesh?" In this the year of St. Paul, Pope Benedict is asking us to re-think the reality of what it means to follow Jesus. Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble, take heart!, I have overcome the world." St. Paul took these words to heart, and in the midst of his trials he said things like, "I rejoice in my sufferings.." and "I rejoice in my weakness..." " It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."  He was mad!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Diamond in your mind

Nothing under the sun happens without Your will.---St. Maria Faustina
Sometimes we will hold on to a ragged hope as we live this life. St. Faustina was suffering great physical and spiritual pain when she wrote these words. She also said, "My soul is shrouded in suffering. I am continually uniting myself to Him by an act of the will. He is my power and strength." Tom Waits wrote, "Always keep a diamond in your mind." The diamond in our minds is The Passion. We have been given so much in the suffering and victory of Jesus! We have been given His very perspective and His understanding. Jesus kept a diamond in His mind, the will of His Father, and the reward set before Him; our love! We must do the same when Satan tells us we are loosing the fight. The liar! We may loose a day here and there, but the fight belongs to Jesus, and He has already won! Speak the words outloud Faustina spoke to the Lord  whenever Diablo comes to take away the diamond in your mind, "Nothing under the sun happens without Your will."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The calling of Matthew

Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him; Follow me...
Because of the author and theologian, Fr. Robert Barron, the story of the calling of Matthew has become one of my favorite moments in the life of Jesus. Barron uses the classic painting by Caravaggio to show us what it means to be called by Jesus. Matthew is in the lap of luxury when this poor jobless Rabbi shows up and tells him to follow. In the painting we see the look of surprise and puzzlement on the face of Matthew. He points to himself as if to say, "me?" Peter, who represents the Church, stands in the shadow beside Jesus, amazed himself at the far reach of God's love, but mimics his Lord with his own finger, thus representing the far reaching call of the Church to all the world. The finger of Jesus will be familiar, Caravaggio painted the very finger of God that Michelangelo had given God the Father reaching out to Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Jesus is God, Matthew is us, we are all called to follow. Two great things happen, Matthew immediately follows, and then he throws a banquet for Jesus and all of his tax collector friends. Jesus says to all of us daily, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me."
[Caravaggio - art print, poster - Calling of St Matthew]

Friday, September 19, 2008

what You will

i'm not sure where to begin
guess i'll say it loud and clear
do with me what You will oh Lord,
i'm Yours while i'm down here

You can feed me to the lions
You can send me over seas
You can hold me like a baby
You can bring me to my knees

You can lead me to the desert
You can march me up a mountain
You can leave me in this small town,
just as long as You're my Fountain

do with me what You can
take all of who i am
and when i fight You like a fool
don't let go of my hand.

there was some kind of woman priest today
sitting at the coffee shop
she was like a ship without a sail,
like hands without a clock.
without the Truth we all will flounder
tossed from one lie to another
wanting for someone to tickle our ears
while our souls are torn asunder

we are strangers in this town,
or wherever we roam it's true
do with us what You will,
Beloved we belong to You

i heard there are Pirates back on the high seas
pillaging and stealing from everyone they meet
send me to the captain of this wayward band of thieves,
and i'll tell him of Your cross, Your forgiveness, and Your peace.

do with me what You will,
please,please,please Lord,
do with me what You will
what You will, what You will.

Oxford MS, coffee shop

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Laughing at the Mirror

We must to be able to laugh at ourselves. We must not take ourselves too serious. G.K. Chesterton said, "The reason Angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly." Proverbs says that laughter does the heart good. Some of the funniest experiences and takes on the daily struggle are recorded in the lives of the Saints. One day St. Teresa of Avila was crossing a stream and she fell, landing in the mud. She prayed to the Lord, "If this is the way You treat Your friends, no wonder You have so few." We must take our love for God and others very serious and walk in the fear of the Lord, but we must also realize we have miles to go in our journey to union with The Trinity. Fear of the Lord is not about some mean God up in the sky who is out to get me, but is a deep respect for God, His power, mercy, grace, and justice. He is Creator, we are creature. We must have a mind aware of the need for His guidance and help in every aspect of life. The happiest people are the ones who have this fear of God, are detached from the world, and don't take themselves so serious. They take love for God and neighbor deeply serious, while often laughing at what they see in the mirror.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


We are all beggars. We are all the sinner beating his chest, crying for mercy. And we are all loved by our Father, by the Son, and by the Holy Spirit. Paul said "we were not given a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind." This is a sound mind, to recognize our place as creatures and He Creator, to rely on Truth and not feelings, to walk by faith and not by sight. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus who came not to condemn us, but to save us. We have this hope, that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

God's Room

It is amazing how often we find ourselves alone in this world. Even when we are sitting in a room with someone, there is a loneliness. The silence within our daily struggle is also amazing. Even with so much noise, music, tv, we are haunted by this great silence. I call this loneliness and silence God's room. Jesus said to go away to a secret place and seek the Father Who is in secret. I think He meant not only a quiet physical location, but that room in the soul where only the Father abides. Nothing else can be in this room, and unless we are pursuing Him with all of our hearts, the silent lonely room will bother us. We must spend most of our time in God's room if the rest of our lives are to mean anything.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Lady of Sorrows

His mother stood beside the cross...John
Why is Mary so silent throughout scripture, yet, so well spoken by her actions of love? Why is she so important to our understanding of Jesus, our Lord and Savior? Today we remember her sorrow. Hers was a sorrow unlike any before or after, yet the closest to our own. Simeon said that a sword would pierce her heart. She was standing there when the soldier pierced her dead Son's helpless body. How helpless she must have felt. How deep must have been her angst. Even though she knew the words of Gabriel were true, "He will rule the nations.." Even though she knew He would suffer the cross, long before a single disciple was ever chosen. Even though she knew that He would rise on the third day. You see, this is how we feel every day in this valley of tears! Even though we know God is in control and that Jesus is with us, we still carry our crosses of confusion, frustration, fear, hopelessness, physical and mental pain. She showed us how to stay by His cross even when nothing in our present circumstance makes a bit of sense. She never left Jesus! She is our greatest example. We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!
Mary, our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Holy Cross

And when the Son of Man be lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself...Jesus
Today is the feast of the Cross in the Church. The day is for remembering the real and visceral horror that was the Roman execution. It is a day in the midst of Ordinary time to remind ourselves of the price our God paid for our love. The cross is our glory, as Paul said. While we are here in this veil of tears we will struggle on, and with God's merciful help we will have our cross to bear, and with it, we will learn to die to ourselves. And on this day we hold fast to the hope that if we die with Him we will also reign with Him.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


"The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock."----St. John Chrysostom 407 A.D.
This quote is from today's Liturgy of the Hours. It was written in the 5th century by the Catholic Bishop of Constantinople. The storms have always raged against God's children. They always will.  This man was persecuted for his attempts at reform. He wrote, "I have only contempt for the world's threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth." As I write this there is a hurricane ripping the state of Texas, but even more important, there is a hurricane always ripping the world of our spiritual lives. We can find no shelter from this storm except in our Lord and His Church. St. John wrote, "I hold to this promise and read His message; this is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!

Friday, September 12, 2008


"The thought of my homeless poverty is wormwood and gall; Remembering it over and over leaves my soul downcast within me."---Lamentations 3
This verse is followed by one of the most quoted verses in scripture, "But I will call this to mind. as my reason to have hope: The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, His mercies are not spent; They are renewed each morning, so great is His faithfulness." Without the agony of the 20 verses before he remembers his hope, the hope has no depth or meaning. We are all in and out of these agonies and dark nights from time to time. At least I know that I am. I find myself more than often crying out like this lamentor when "my soul is deprived of peace." Jesus said that if we follow Him we will have trouble in this life. Paul writes about that trouble in Romans 7 when he says things like, "wretched man that I am, who will free me from this body of sin and death?!" And sometimes our trouble comes from out of the blue and we feel as if God has abandoned us. Well, according to the fellow in Lamentations, that is when we need to remember. And isn't that what we do at Mass everyday? We obey Jesus' command to "do this in remembrance of Me." No matter what we are going through, He never stops giving Himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament. He knew what we go through in our struggle to follow Him.
Lord, help us remember!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another Dark NIght

Another Dark Night
Without the light from your eyes
There's only darkness in mine
I'm like a drunk walking the line
Without your light
Waking up all alone
Where brothers do each other wrong
Do you hear these sighs and moans
Without your light
Without your light
We all stumble
Without your help
We all fail
Without your strength
we all tumble
head over heels into another dark night
St. John of the Cross
Learned to let go of his loss
lying in a cold dark cell
Without your light
Every soul has its dungeon
where it's lonely, dark, and cold
Where we learn to let it go
Without your light
Without your light
We all stumble
Without your help
We all fail
Without your strength
we all tumble
head over heels into another dark night
Right now I can't do anything but weep
and stare at these crosses that I keep
In this darkness nothing means anything
So I close my eyes and whisper to the King
Mercy Lord, mercy Lord, mercy my sweet Lord...
Oxford MS

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

more steadfast...

"...not to be more sure of You Lord, but to be more steadfast in You."----St. Augustine
There is not one moment we live, move, or have our being that we are not dependant on God for everything. Whether we are flying high in April or shot down in May, we are needy. Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing." All of the Saints believed this. They sought Christ in every aspect of the daily grind. I have been reading Mother Teresa's letters in the new book, "Come Be My Light." She lived the "Dark Night of the Soul" from the day her ministry to the poor began until the day she passed on from this life. I have never read anything like this journal. Her Christianity looks nothing like the Christianity of our culture. She was truly a disciple of Jesus in spite of the heavy cross of loneliness she carried, and she did this with a smile so as never to discourage her sisters. Even her doubts made her more resolute in doing His will. She wanted to quench the thirst of Jesus on the cross, and she saw His thirst in the poor of Calcutta. She wanted all of them to know Jesus. She was a woman of great virtues. Humility, kindness, mercy, and the list goes on, but the virtue that she learned and practiced more than any other was surrender. She surrendered to Jesus and His will even when she doubted everything, felt alone, and lived in darkness. She learned to accept her darkness of soul and offered it up for those who did not know Jesus. "..not more sure of You Lord, more steadfast in You."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lovesick Souls

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled... Jesus
St. John of the Cross quoted one verse more than any other, "Narrow is the road that leads to eternal life and few are those who find it." Eternal life, according to Jesus, is to know Him and the One Who sent Him. The narrow road is where this "knowing" takes place. It's a hilly, winding, long, and treacherous road. What happens on this road? Prayer, the Sacraments, faith, works of mercy, various crosses, peace, joy, hope, love, trust, dying to self, giving everything away, abandonment, devotion to the Sacred Heart, waiting, helping others, humility, humility, humility, a deep abiding hunger. "Wide is the road that leads to destruction, and many are those who find it." The wide road? Sin, pride, ego-drama, chasing the almighty dollar at the expense of everyone around you, drunkenness, greed, bitterness, sloth, anger, relativism, idols, the worship of comfort, shallowness, and a sense of satisfaction with things. The example we have in the Saints of the Church teaches us about the narrow road and what it is that keeps us crawling, walking, and running on it. In these lives you find one driving characteristic, hunger. A hunger for a deeper knowing of and affection for the King. In every age, from the 2nd century with Justin Martyr to the 20th with Mother Teresa, these people were starving for more and more and more of Jesus! Our souls are lovesick for our Beloved alone, and everyone or anything else won't do! To be filled more and more with Him is our hope and eternal life, and for 2000 years, the narrow road has never grown even a little bit wider.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Mary

"Today this created world is raised to the dignity of a holy place for Him who made all things. The creature is newly prepared to be a divine dwelling place for Creator."---St. Andrew of Crete, bishop
Today, the Church celebrates the birth of Mary. Before I was Catholic I never even thought much about Mary. She was just a tool in the toolbox of God. I thought catholics worshipped her as if she were equal with Jesus. I was mistaken. Her birthday is the best day to explain why she is so honored by Catholics and the Orthodox Church. She is the vessel by which God becomes man and thus salvation, hope, grace, and love enters the world. She carried God within in her womb. She gives God His flesh and blood that He would in turn give for our salvation. She is the Mother of the Eucharist. Her birth is the fulfilment of the prophecy in Genesis 3: 9-20 where God says, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between her seed and yours." Her seed? Her birth made hell shudder! Satan knew the prophecy. The Church teaches that she is the Ark of the New Covenant, holy from conception, ever virgin, a pure vessel. Every generation will call her blessed. Why? Because she carried GOD in her womb. To honor Mary is to give glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. She was chosen to be the one to bring the second Person of the Trinity to us all. This is day of rejoicing! What will we give as a gift to our Mother?  

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Soul Surrender

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.. Jesus
The Hebrew language often used images to express meaning. The word "meek" was the image of a great and powerful Stallion guided and controlled with a simple bridle. Think of it, all of that strength, beauty, and speed held within the hands of the rider. All of that raw energy being harnessed for a purpose. This gives meekness a new take. So often the idea of being meek is of being weak. No. Was Jesus weak? He was the meekest soul that ever walked the earth. Fully God and fully Man, yet He fully surrendered to His Father's will. Paul says "He emptied Himself...", this is meekness. Being meek is a decision we make daily to surrender our lives to the Lord. To give him the reigns of our lives and let Him use our strengths, gifts, and talents to serve Him and our neighbor. Then the earth becomes our inheritance, because we are guided by the hands of the One Who created it. (another attitude of detachment and trust. Matthew 6:33) This is the meek soul, a soul totally surrendered to Jesus, our Beloved.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mourning into Dancing

"Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted"...Jesus
St. Leo the Great wrote that the "mourning for which He promises eternal consolation, dearly beloved, has nothing to do with ordinary worldly distress.." The tears of mourning Jesus was talking about are shed for sin. I should cry out in grief for your sin and mine. This is the real sadness in our lives. Proverbs 24:16 says that even a righteous man falls 7 times a day. In this verse is a great tension! The angst is in the righteous man. He hates his sin and hates that he sins. He mourns this "wretched man" to quote Paul in Romans 7. But our great hope is in the promise, "for they shall be comforted." When we learn to hate our sin and mourn it with true tears of repentance, penance, and sorrow, we shall know a comfort so great that our mourning will turn into dancing. Read St. Augustine's "Confessions" daily, keep it by your bedside.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The First Disciple

The devotion of Mary to Jesus inspires even the most tepid soul. No other human being was, is, or ever will be more faithful. She is our best example of how to follow, love, and suffer with Jesus. From Gabriel's announcement, to Elizabeth's proclamation, to Simeon's prophecy of her broken heart. From fleeing to Egypt, to finding the lost 12 year old Jesus in the temple, to the wedding at Cana. From the false accusers, to the scourging at the post, to the Via Dolorosa, to Calvary. From the resurrection, to being with the disciples in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, Mary's heart is a refuge for anyone who wants to follow Jesus till the end.
Mary, our mother, help us love Jesus the way you do.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

the happiness of God

There is a passage from Jeremiah that television preachers like to quote, "For I know well my plans for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope." Then they usually tie this in with "planting a seed of faith", which means sending them money. What they never quote are the verses before it, "Do not let yourself be deceived by the prophets and diviners who are among you; do not listen to those among you who dream dreams. For they prophesy lies to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord." There was a 70 year wait between these two passages. 70 years of prayer and obedience before the promise would be fulfilled. Jesus gave the people His guidance for a future full of hope,  "Happy are the poor in spirit..." Why did He say this? He could have said, 'Happy are those who are detached from wealth of any kind.' Poor in spirit is sweet detachment! If someone is poor in spirit, they are detached from having or not having God's material blessings. They don't worship money, power, health, spiritual or religious blessings. They could care less. Their need is for the happiness of God, not their own. Jesus showed us what this looked like in person. The true promise that leads to real happiness and a future full of hope is the cross we are commanded by Jesus to pick up daily and carry.  (And let's give our money to those who could use it.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Jesus Prayer

How do you feel this morning? Tired? Worried? Hopeful? Confident? Angry? Confused? All of these emotions come and go without fail. I do not trust my emotions, either sorrowful or certain. They change with the winds of the moment. We can experience all of these by lunch and there is one thing we can do in the face of these feelings, pray. Paul said to pray without ceasing. Years ago I asked God how to do this, He brought me to a book called, "The Way of a Pilgrim". The 19th century author is unknown, but he was seeking the same thing, how to pray without ceasing. The prayer he came upon that changed his life, and mine, is called the "Jesus Prayer". "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." At first I thought, this is vein repetition, but then as I journeyed with this man and learned this prayer, I realized it was not vein. The prayer has been a great help for me over the past 15 years. I pass this prayer on as a sure help in the tumult that is our emotions.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

the way and life

"Spread your sails, fasten the Cross as an ensign on your prow. The calm that you speak of is itself a tempest." -----St. Jerome
Can we meet suffering, failure, disappointment, and temptation with trust? It's hard to do this! And what about the days when it seems we don't need God, when everything is going well, when there seems to be no waves of heartache pounding on our shore? The bills are paid, the gas tank is full, we aced our test, sold the big account, we are healthy and fit, the sky is blue, and our relationships are going well, what then? If by grace we are digging into the mystery of deep union with our Beloved, we will hardly notice either circumstances of tempest or serene waters. When deep union with the Trinity is our passion, desire, hunger, and craving, even the calm seas are a distraction from what burns in our hearts. And if this is not how we live, but want to live, we must ask Jesus to put this way of seeing and living inside us! This is why praying the Rosary is so important, for it is simply meditating on the way and life of Jesus through the blessed and humble eyes of Mother Mary.

Monday, September 1, 2008

To Live

To live in God is to gain great appreciation for hardship and crosses, no matter how they come.