Tuesday, March 31, 2009
O the wonder of His crazy mad love for us! Over and over again we sin and kick against His mercy, and over and over again He forgives. His discipline is painful, but it is how we know we are His children. Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered, do we think we are better than Jesus? I want to learn to say "I love You Jesus.", even when He is confusing me and seems cruel with His relentless silence. I want to scream it when the loneliness and fear of this life are the only companions I seem to have. To love someone without feelings of love is love indeed. To love Jesus for Who He is, and not for what He does for me is my hope. St. Therese, please send me a rose.
Monday, March 30, 2009
The lie of the devil is always for one purpose, to take us further from union with God in Christ. He will try anything to make our daily toil seem pointless. But the daily hum of life can be a beautiful sound if it is offered up to our Beloved.. But, if the daily hum is only about the ego-drama, my story, it becomes a cacophony of me me me me, then life in its normalcy will get worse. This is the noisy gong and clanging cymbal St. Paul spoke about to the Corinthians in his first letter, chapter 13. When our lives are about the Theo-Drama, about God's story, then we learn to love when we don't feel like loving, we learn to give ourselves and our goods away, we learn to die to self, and we learn to live in a liberty and peace that baffles the world, and even our own minds. This does not happen overnight, at least it hasn't for me. I have a long way to go! But because of His grace and mercy, I want to keep going. When those days come that I have no desire to keep going, He will hound me until I cry for His nearness again. On His faithfulness I depend. Glory to His lovely Name!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
St Margaret Mary Alacoque
Saturday, March 28, 2009
God could put me here. He could put me there. He can use me. He cannot use me. It doesn't matter because I belong so totally to Him that He can do just what He wants to do with me. Lent is a time when we relive the passion of Christ. Let it not be just a time when our feelings are roused, but let it be a change that comes through cooperation with God's grace in real sacrifices of self. Sacrifice to be real, must cost; it must hurt; it must empty us of self. Let us go through the passion of Christ day by day.Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
Whenever I forget for one moment that God, through Jesus Christ, is working in me, I start to complain. I wine and moan about everything. "Why aren't my prayers being answered like I want them to be?!" "Why won't God heal me?!" "Why can't I find the job I really want?!" "Why aren't my dreams coming true?!" When we forget that God never slumbers or sleeps, and that as His children we are kept, we start looking for help in places that only bring us further from His grace. We turn to pleasures, drinking, sports, food, anything to bring us some kind of comfort. This is where a season like Lent can become our greatest friend and ally. It hurts to trust in God for Him to do what He wants to do in our lives. It is painful to hope against hope that He knows what He is doing when everything seems for naught. He cares for our soul's eternal destination more than anything else. And since He will not force us to spend forever with Him, He woos us like a heart broken Lover, imparting grace for us to give our everything to Him always and every day. Lent is a time to practice this dying of self so that when Lent ends, it will continue to be the way we love our Beloved.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Every day we experienced a new sense of how this world is an amazing place. Istanbul is one of the most unique cities in the world. It is the only city to border two continents. It holds a mere 17 million people, and I bet there are close to a million dogs living among the ruins and cities. These dogs looked healthy and happy. They people of Istanbul seem to take pride in their roaming dogs and care for them. Greece takes in one step further and vaccines, spays, and neuters their street dogs. The dogs seemed to appreciate the care. Some of them even turned down an offer of fresh bread, I guess they were tired of bread. The people of Turkey were incredible. Our two guides were two of the nicest guys I have ever met. They were young, intelligent, and humble. They treated everyone with kindness. I had never been on a guided tour before, and I was spoiled forever by D'Hahn. The weather was mostly beautiful, and chilly. The wind howls through the ruins wherever you go.
Ephesus was my favorite because it brought us to Mary's house. St. John had brought her with him on his journey, as Jesus told him to take care of her. The house there is so small and humble. It sits atop a mountain and the view is remarkable. The one word that describes it best is silence. There was a peace there that I did not feel anywhere else, maybe anywhere ever. We celebrated Mass where Pope John Paul 2, and Pope Benedict 16 had. This is a moment I will carry forever. There was a great pain mixed with the comfort I felt that day. Thank You Jesus!
I never really got tired of all of the ruins. The broken columns, alters, theatres, the dogs, and cats, it was always unique in every place. Sardis, Laodicia, Collosae, Sardis, Thyratira, Ephesus, Smyrna, Troy, Troas, and then on to Greece. Alexandroupolis was quaint little seaside city. I could have stayed there longer. The cafe's were wonderful. I never tasted Calamari like that. Phillipi was awesome. I have pics of the jail St. Paul was held in. Athens brought us to Mars Hill. Jeff Cavins was visibly moved by being there and getting to preach the gospel from the very spot St. Paul did. Many people stopped and listened. I kept thinking this must mot be far removed from what it might have been like with St. Paul. Corinth was the last place of St. Paul we visited. I will never be able to read the letters the same way again. Jeff brought it all to life and put everything in a context I had never heard. It was incredible! We then celebrated the very Eucharist that St. Paul had written about in his first letter. I had chill bumps, or, as Jeff calls them, "God Bumps".
I could write for days about the food both in Turkey and Greece. Lamb is the main meat, and it is wonderful. I can't describe the flavors. You have to ask for red pepper, and when I realized this, my food got even better! When we ate our first Greek salads I remember thinking, 'Why don't Greek Salads taste like this at home?' There were fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, feta, and delicious olive oil at every meal; and, the desserts were so delectable they would make you slap your momma! I think I gained a couple of kilos.
The ruins, from Sardis to the Acropolis made me think of one thing, mortality. These stones are the bones of souls who have passed on. I kept thinking about the people who built them, mostly slaves, and their work reminds us that we all are passing through. We are all, every moment, always on a pilgrimage. We are always heading toward eternity. I also thought a great deal of St. John and St. Paul' passion for telling everyone about God's love. They had their hope in Jesus and they didn't love this life more than the one they were journeying toward. I think the main thing I learned and carry with me is that our pilgrimage is very simple. By grace, we are walking toward life forever with Jesus, and He is calling us to bring as many with us as we can. This is what St. Paul and St. John lived for. When you travel with 85 wonderful people like I did, you realize that truth, humility, kindness, and care are really what this path we walk needs more than anything else. And this comes from pressing in to Jesus as we go. Glory to His lovely Name.
peace of Jesus,
Oxford MS, March 28, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Nothing is anything more to me; everything is nothing to me, but Jesus: neither things nor persons, neither ideas nor emotions, neither honor nor sufferings. Jesus is for me honor, delight, heart and soul.---
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I am about as tired as I can remember being, but I can't go to sleep. My body thinks it's 8:00 in the morning, but it is 1:00 here in Minneapolis. The pilgrimage ended today, or should I say, this particular one did. We are always on pilgrimage in one way or another. Our true destination is our Father's House. Jesus said He was going there to prepare a place for us. I can't even imagine what this might be, and this causes me more than ever to want to let Him do His work in me. I fail Him daily, but He never fails me. I forget Him often, but He always has me on His mind. St. Paul knew this and thus he wrote, "In Him we live, move, and have our being." This is exciting, even when we are so weary from this life and its mysterious struggles, we hope in Him to be our life, our action, and our very essence. I offer this weariness of body and soul up for you, so that it will not be wasted. Let us always remember that we are always on pilgrimage. Glory to God!
St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Today we visited Corinth. Incredible! We celebrated Mass where the early Church that St. Paul founded celebrated Mass. Jeff spoke from 1 Corinthians and I will never be able to read this letter the same again. St. Paul told this young parish that he was their father in the faith. They were his children, and they were living in one of the most sinful cities in the world. His love and concern for their sanctification is palpable. He starts his letter preaching the cross, he ends it with the resurrection. In between is the battle between good and evil, and the way to truly worship God. The apex of the letter is the Eucharist. In a city where there was so much wrong worship, St. Paul taught them how to approach the only True sacrifice that matters. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, the way to worship in our world of idols is still the same as in Corinth, the Feast of His Body and Blood. Hallelujah!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
sorrows when I should be rejoicing. I know not where victory lies. Woe is
me! Lord, have mercy on me!---St. Augustine
My man Augustine, as candid as they come. He confessed his life, joys and
blues alike, in order to bring hope to his flock. We should follow his lead.
We must stop playing our spiritual games with God and one another. The more
we speak to our Lord and our brother with honesty and transparency, the more
we will learn to put falsities behind us. When we do this, by grace, and in
love, we will grow leaps and bounds closer to the Heart of our Beloved. We
will start seeing ourselves for who we are. Love, bathed in humility, will
be our highest goal, and liberty will be our reward. Jesus said it clearly,
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set your free."
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Why was Jesus led by the Spirit? This is the same Holy Spirit Who had just affirmed Him at His baptism. How is it that the Spirit of God leads Jesus to be tempted by Satan? This seems harsh and extreme. Why did Jesus have to be tempted? All of this was for us. He knew that in order for us to be able to say with confidence that He truly understands, He had to taste the dryness we all face in our desert. Lent is about the desert. The wilderness is a place with wild beast. It is an arid place, where prayer is dry. It is a place of fear and strange silence. God is silent. Satan must have loved those 40 days. He probably took his time and tried to catch Jesus in a weak moment of hunger and weariness. Sound familiar? Isn't this what he does to us? He knows our weakness, he screams it in our ears whenever he thinks it will slow us down. St. Paul said he "runs the race." The devil wants to slow our pace. He wants our souls, and sometimes, when the Spirit leads us into a desert, it seems like God is giving our very souls to the devil. Jesus must have felt this. He must have felt the attachment to his friends and family being stripped away. Do we ever feel this? He was detached from His comfort food and His fish that He liked to cook. And listen to the way He quotes scripture to the devil, He speaks of God the way we do, as if He felt the loneliness of faith. When we are in a desert, God is trying to teach us to find our peace and happiness deep within, where only He abides.