Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Send me a Rose

Be not afraid to tell Jesus that you love Him; even though it be without feeling, this is the way to oblige Him to help you, and carry you like a little child too feeble to walk.--St. Therese of Lisieux

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 Hound of Heaven

The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.---Bruce Cockburn, from his song, "The Trouble With Normal"

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

No matter what happens

 I like to stand with the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross in order to attach myself to it and unite myself to all that He did for us. But right now we must always find a place for ourselves in His adorable Heart and never leave it, no matter what happens.

St Margaret Mary Alacoque
The gifts we are given in and through His Church are magnificent. The lives of the Saints and their words are vehicles of grace God drives to our souls. We are not alone! We have this great cloud of witnesses ever around us and they know that with God all things are possible. None of us are ever beyond His grace and mercy. We too can and should stand at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Virgin and attach ourselves to all He did for us. St. Margaret Mary, pray for us to do this so that we will find ourselves in His adorable heart, and then, by grace, to never leave it, no matter what happens. Christ have mercy!
Mary at the foot of the cross

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

Pilgrimage Turkey, Greece summation:

When we landed in Istanbul, I knew we were in for something wonderful. For one thing, the journey from Minneapolis was long. We flew to Chicago, from Chicago to Munich, then Munich to Istanbul. We were tired and it was cold. Jeff Cavins told us the first talk he gave that a pilgrimage is not a vacation, it is a journey with a goal in mind. Our goal was immense over 12 days. We visited the Churches St. John wrote to in Revelation, then we followed in the never ending footsteps of St. Paul. These two men changed the world because they brought Jesus to Asia Minor. Asia Minor was the stepping stone that lead St. Paul to Macedonia, which is Greece, which was and still is the door to Europe and the west. To know that St. Paul traveled 6400 miles on foot in a very short time is mind boggling. He was truly driven by love.

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

Never Ashamed.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith...St. Paul, Romans 1: 16
"..not ashamed..", this is the challenge we face today in this culture loosing its way by the second. We should never be doomsday people as followers of Jesus, but we should be honest. It would be easy to get bent out of shape about the direction of our political leaders, our lack of virtue, our waining morals, and our lack of respect for human life, our economy. We can't freak out and go live in caves, we must do something. We must bring the power of God to our individual worlds we walk in. No matter how weak or inadequate we feel to do so. What did Paul say was the power of God? The Gospel. The good news of Jesus is still the most powerful thing on this earth or in heaven! It is the power of God for salvation! What is the good news? God is crazy- mad in love with every single last one of us, and He wants us to know this so that it changes us forever! The cross is our good news! The empty tomb is our good news! The life of our Lord is the good news! The way He forgives is our good news! The way, and the what, He taught the disciples is the good news! The way He ate with sinners is the good news! The way He cared for His mother on the cross is the good news! The way He appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus is the good news! Giving us His Body and Blood as our Spiritual Food and Drink for the journey is THE GOOD NEWS!  If we want to help God change the world, let's learn from St. Paul who was never ashamed to bring it.  Lord have mercy!
Oxford MS! 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nothing is Anything...

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.---

--Saint Bernadette of Lourdes
Lord, make this my prayer and hope as I traverse this life of temptation and distraction. I am weak, I need You every step of the way. I need You every moment, not just when I cry out. Even when I forget You , I especially need You! Give me grace and mercy today Lord, for this day alone. St. Bernadette, pray for us.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009


In Him we live and move and have our being. ---St. Paul

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

The Feast

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who comforts us in our afflictions so that we might comfort others..St. Paul to the Corinthians in his second letter, chapter 1.

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!

Athens, Greece


Sunday, March 22, 2009

It takes Grace

Forgetting what lies behind...-St. Paul

So easy to say, but how hard to accomplish! We all have memories, good and bad, that we just can't seem to shake. We live with regrets and frustrations of what might have been. We also hold on to past accomplishments as if they somehow make valid our lives. St. Paul didn't have time for any of this. He used to call himself a mad man whenever he had to remind people who he was. He would tell them all of the things he had done, all of his great and not so great moments, and then he would call it all garbage compared to following after Jesus. He didn't live in the past. He pressed on always. He covered 6400 miles, on foot, in his relatively short missionary life. He was always on the go for Jesus. He as always looking for a way to comfort, encourage, and when need be, admonish his children in the faith. I pray we can all follow after St. Paul as he follows after Christ. If we do,we will find ourselves rejoicing when it's the last thing we feel like doing. We will find ourselves being gentle and kind to those in our lives. We will find ourselves praying without ceasing, and we will be set apart for Jesus. This takes prayer, hope, and the will. But more than anything, it takes grace. I am in Thessaloniki tonight. We walked through Phillipi today. We saw the jail where St. Paul spent a night singing hymns. The steady rain didn't dampen our spirits at all. This is what Fr. Mike said tonight to end his homily, "Let's forget the good and the bad, and press on in Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus."  Lord have mercy!

Thessaloniki ,Greece

St. Paul's jail in Phillipi 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

All Things

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me--St. Paul from his letter to the Phillipians
I am sitting in an Internet cafe in Alexandroupolis, Greece. This place is buzzing with young Greeks playing video games and surfing the net. Some things are the same all over. The music in here sounds like techno pop. The atmosphere is electric with laughter, sounds of elation, and anguish, all because of video games. It is pouring down rain here by the Aegean Sea. Tomorrow we travel to Phillipi. It will be a place of ruins and memories, a place once electric with life and living. St. Paul spent time there, and he wrote to them in one of the most amazing letters in scripture. He wrote to them from a prison cell, remembering their faith and love, and still, he was doing all he could to encourage them to keep living their lives for Jesus. Suffering seemed to only make Paul more positive and determined. In the midst of knowing soon he would die, he wrote, "I can do all things..". "All things" had nothing to do with success as we know it or think of it in a materialistic way. It had nothing to do with personal dreams. It had to do with union with God through our Beloved Jesus and fighting the good fight. Where is this faith among us today? Is it here in this Internet cafe? Do these young Greeks know that Jesus loves them and that He will strengthen them to even die for Him if He called them to?, to live for Him in this time of attachment the shallow things?  Do we know this passion and confidence in the face of our sorrows, fears, and frustrations? We can, because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is still calling all of us to this confidence, let us hope against hope. Through Him, St. Paul will always remind us, that we can do all things.
Alexandroupolis Greece

Thursday, March 19, 2009


"Eighty and six years I have served him", how then can I blaspheme my King and Savior? Bring forth what thou will." ---St. Polycarp, 154  A.D.
We visited the church of St. Polycarp in Smyrna today. It was simply breathtaking! We celebrated Mass in this ancient place. Polycarp was the Bishop of Smyrna. He was a disciple of St. John and would often quote John in his letters. He was martyred along with 12 other companions in the faith. His life was for Jesus Christ, and for his presence to still be here in this Turkish city today is a testament of God's grace and love for all people. Smyrna is now called Izmir, the most modern city in this country. The city has grown uparound this holy place, and for some reason, the city has left it be. When we walked into the Basilica, we felt the presence of Jesus, and the grace flowed over us when we saw the Icons and paintings telling the story of our Lord. Here, in this country of 99% Muslims, Jesus Christ gave Himself to us today in the Eucharist. No matter where we go on this journey, the daily celebration of Mass reminds us of our true pilgrimage to our Father in Heaven. Praise His Name! Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Church and the grace you give us in the Sacraments.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mary's House

Do whatever He tells you.--Mary
Today was a day I will never forget. We drove up the hill from Ephesus to Mary's house on top of the mountain. It is a holy place. St. John came here to bring the gospel, and he brought Mary too. Jesus told him from the cross to take care of Mary, and he told Mary to take care of John, the beloved disciple. John represents all of us. I felt an incredible peace when I walked into her home today. Something so deep and full of love moved my soul. To stand in the place where the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, spent her last years on earth, how incredible! I am just a guy from Mississippi who has only know her for a few years, why me? I don't know, but when I see Jesus, I will especially thank Him for allowing me this grace. I brought a new sorrow to this place today too, and Mary took it from me. We prayed the Mass just outside the house where Pope John Paul 2, and Pope Benedict have also celebrated Mass. I sang a song during the Communion that I had written for Mary called "Thine Eyes of Mercy". I pray that all of us on this journey carry this moment with us always. I thought of Mary's words to the servants at the wedding of Cana when I sat down to write this tonight. These are the last recorded words of our Mother in scripture. How appropriate, how mysterious, how timeless. She is still telling all who will listen, "Do whatever He tells you." If we do, we just might see a miracle.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Amazing Grace!

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me" --St. Paul, Cor 15:10
St. Therese of Lisieux said, "Everything is grace." I bet she and Paul are very close in heaven. They both understood what we can also understand, our lives are about grace. We discover it new every day. When we willfully sin, we stray from grace. When we confess our sins He is faithful and just and forgives our sins, and grace floods over and through us again. I experienced an amazing grace this morning here in Turkey. We visited Laodicia, the last church that St. John wrote to in Revelation. Last night Jeff (Cavins) told me he was speaking from this passage and asked me if I had a song. I didn't, and it bothered me as to what to sing. I tossed in the bed till 11:00 and realized there was a song waiting for me to write down. I sang it today in the very ruins where St. John had directed his message.  It is called "Hot or Cold". It was a very surreal moment, a humbling moment. It was a moment of grace. St. Paul taught us about grace. He walked these hills and brought God's grace to everyone he met. We are all called to do the same. Even when we feel like failures and anything but graceful, we must beg for more grace. This relationship of grace with God is where we truly become who we are meant to be. This is where we learn to be hot or cold. This area is known for it's Hot Springs. I learned today that the hot springs here and the cold springs in Collosae, are both useful. Hot brings healing, and the cold ones bring refreshment. Both symbolized to the readers of St. John's day, and ours, the call upon us all as believers. We can bring healing and refreshment to this world through devotion to our Beloved Jesus. When we are lukewarm, we make God and the world sick. Same as the lukewarm springs here in Laodicia.  Amazing grace! Without it, we are going nowhere. With it, we can be a part of God's work, and know that our strength to do so is a result of grace itself.
Laodicia, Turkey

Monday, March 16, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

"With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him.--St. Paul, Romans 12:1
"With eyes wide open...", isn't Paul's heart always right in front of us? He was truly a poet for God, always looking for a way to say it better and clearer. When our eyes are wide open to His mercy, we can only respond with giving Him everything. The early Church was never taught to separate body and soul the way we do today. They were taught by the apostles and fathers that the body and soul are intricate to the work of God. The cross redeems who we are entire. The bodies are gonna change one day and be like His risen body! When we offer God our bodies as a living sacrifice, we are following Jesus. He did the same thing. Realize this, with eyes wide open, be smart in you worship, give your body/soul to Jesus today. Let everything you eat, drink, say or think be for the glory of God. It's all because of His mercy that we can.
Hieropolis, Turkey

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Calling the Faithful..

For us to live is Christ, and to die is gain.--St. Paul

As I write this the cries of a Muslem cleric are echoing over this strangely beautiful city. He is calling the faithful to pray. He sounds like he is pleading with the world to turn to Mecca. His inflections and chant send shivers up my spine. There is a loneliness to his moan that works its way into my own prayer this morning. I sense Jesus saying, "Where are your moans for me my beloved? Why do you not cry for my nearness like this man?" We treat Jesus with such mediocrity sometimes. We take Him for granted. We like our little safe Lord, and our little safe ideas about faith. From time to time we should sound like this man who is filling my hotel room with his wailing for prayer. Our God is intimate and He desires our nearness, and never forget, He is unpredictable! If you don't think He is, then look at a crucifix. Look at His invisibility. Listen to His holy silence when we so badly want Him to say something.. Lord, help me cry to you in my heart and more often with my mouth! Teach me how to kneel.


Saturday, March 14, 2009


For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers.--St. Paul to the Romans, chapter 1, verse 9.
St. Paul is why I am here in Turkey today. Pope Benedict has declared this the year of St. Paul, and I am traveling with a pilgrimage, leading the music for the Mass. What a world of wonders we live in! This is a strange and exotic place. It brings out the superlatives in one's thinking. When he was ministering here, St. Paul used words like, "always", "everywhere", "all things", "ceaselessly", etc. He was about telling the people of this land about the Beloved. And he didn't just tell his readers to pray without ceasing, but he did it himself. I can only imagine what it was like for him to travel to this frantic place of milling humans. I am sure though the cities themselves have changed, but I bet the atmosphere hasn't. I bet there were people walking around in Paul's day that could walk by me today in Istanbul and I wouldn't know the difference. As I walk through old town's cobble streets, I can almost hear St. Paul speaking. His words and life are still a guide and inspiration. He said to follow him as he followed Jesus. Were he with me today, he would still be about the one thing, bringing Jesus to anyone who would listen. St. Paul, pray for us that we will use your words more often in our lives following Jesus. "Always", "Everywhere", "Giving thanks", "Run with endurance", "Pressing on.", and that these words will become our way too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

More than...

In all things we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.--St. Paul
We must look closely at these words of this crazy Jew for Jesus, "more than.." We are not conquerors, we are more than conquerors! He was beaten often. He was jailed often. He was stoned. He was whipped more than once. He was shipwrecked. He was blinded. He was bitten by a snake. He was betrayed. He had an ailment God wouldn't heal. This does not sound like a conqueror. This sounds like a guy who found trouble wherever he went. But he says he was more than a conqueror, and he rejoiced in his sufferings. What a strange dude. If you knew someone like this what would you think of them? We see the same in Jesus Himself. His suffering and death did not look like victory, and still doesn't to the world today. Our sufferings, frustrations, and belief in our invisible silent God must seem strange not only to the world around us, but honestly, to ourselves at times too. But by grace and His mysterious help, we find like St. Paul, reason to hold on. We find that we too are more than conquerors. We may not be successful in the world's eyes, but that's ok, we are more than conquerors through Jesus. Rejoice!
Minneapolis MN

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Trick Question?

Do you believe that I can do this?--Jesus, from Matthew's gospel.
Jesus often asks us the most obvious questions. To the blind man he asked "What would you have me do for you?" Was this a trick question? Kinda, but not really. He is teaching us that we must truly consider what it is we want and truly need from God. It teaches us to be specific. But more, it shows us His desire is not first and foremost for our physical healing. For  Jesus, healing the man's sight was only a small part of what he needed, what He really desired to heal was the man's spiritual blindness. We are all Bartimaeus, crying for mercy. This is a good thing, this is where we will find sight. He is always wanting to give us what we need. He is the Great Physician, and even more, He is our Beloved Friend.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nothing else matters..

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, "If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink."--St. John's gospel, chapter 7 vs 37.
Feasts are important to God. This is vital to understand when reading this passage in John. We must read it with spiritual eyes. The end of the feast, the "great day", Jesus stands! To the early Church, these words brought great hope! Jesus will stand on the last day and He will proclaim., "come to me all who thirst!" He said it then, and He says it today. The key to this is, "If anyone". Are you and I this "anyone"? We must ask Him to make us thirstier. We must plead with Him to give us the grace to want Him more than we do. When we receive Him, we must do so in faith, and with thirsty souls. When we enter into the Mass, we are joining with those in Heaven who thirst no more for they are home. So ask Father to grow your thirst for our Beloved Jesus. Everything else is loss compared to this.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not about you..

Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get around to being the particular poet or particular monk they are intended to be by God.--Thomas Merton, from "New Seeds of Contemplation", chapter 14
This is huge to consider. And this has nothing to do with some new age idea of finding oneself. This is has to do with humility and integrity. Merton goes on to say that we are called through our own individual struggles and circumstances in life. This is the garden where God is growing us. Jesus came that we might have life, but what life? He doesn't want you to be anyone else. He made each of us to be His in a particular way. How incredible to consider! Where do we begin this? We begin on our knees before the blessed Sacrament. Ask Him to show you what He wants. Have no preconceptions. Don't just do this once or twice, do it often. And after you ask, stay there in silence for a bit before you go. The more you plead with Jesus to help you be who He wants you to be, the more you will not settle for anything else. Don't get in a big hurry either, this is about Him working in us, and His timing is perfect.( sometimes frustrating, but perfect) He is serious about your purpose in life. And as Fr. Barron says, "Your life is not about you; yes, it is your life, but it's not about you." If we ever understand and embrace this, we will begin to understand the freedom of detachment. We will be on the good road to being the particular person He made us to be, and this will not be boring.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bathed in Humility

I am a burden to myself. My joy when I should be weeping struggles with my
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


Go away from me, Lord, I'm a sinful man. --St. Peter, from Luke's gospel. chapter 5:8
I love Peter. He is so transparent, so true, so clumsy with his words, and so in love. It is not surprising that Jesus chose Peter as the one to build His Church upon. Peter is an everyman. We are all like Peter in some way. At times we feel we could take on the world for Jesus. We are afraid of nothing when we feel Him close! Then, when our Jesus seems a distant captive to our wanderings and our weak will, we betray Him. I will never understand why or how the Church of Jesus Christ ever became captive to the ideas of some human concept of perfection. Look at who Jesus built it on! Jesus told them that the weeds must grow with the wheat. The Church is holy, not perfect. It is set apart, and it is human. It is up and it is down, it is passionate for truth, and it is clumsy at times. But it is the vessel by which God chooses to give us Himself, warts and all. It brings beauty to the world, and sometimes it allows weeds to grow with the flowers. And so far, the gates of hell haven't overcome it. St. Peter, pray for us.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


We are all in the same boat; and we're all seasick.--G.K. Chesterton
As far as Chesterton is concerned, the relevant distinction is not between sinners and non-sinners, but rather between sinners who know it and those who don't.--Fr. Robert Barron, from "The Strangest Way"
And even though I know who loves me, I'm not that much less lost.--Bruce Cockburn, "Civilization and it's Discontents"
There is much to say for knowing who we are in this journey of faith. We must never think more highly of ourselves than we should. The subtle workings of pride will cast us further away from our Beloved Jesus than anything else. "When the light within us is darkness, how great is that darkness."--Jesus
G.K. Chesterton, convert to Catholicism

Friday, March 6, 2009

Just like you and me..

And He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and He was with wild beasts...St. Mark 1:12,13
Fully God, fully man. We must remind ourselves often of the "fully man" aspect of Jesus. The devil likes to tell us that Jesus had no choice in His human experience. Satan wants us to reason like this, " Well, I know He was fully man, but, He was also fully God, so He really doesn't know what it's like to feel like I feel." No devil, "fully man" does mean, exactly like us, ( apart from sin). He lived our fears. He lived our weakness. He lived our doubts. He felt everything we do, as a human being. He struggled against temptation. This fully God, fully man, is our Beloved savior. This is mystery we will never really grasp, but we can know that He is merciful as we stumble and fall often in our yearning to be near Him and to love Him. What great hope we have!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Only Love

Only love, only love can leave such a mark. But only love, only love, can heal such a scar.--Bono, from the song "Magnificent"
St. John of the Cross must be on Bono's reading list. He took this from Spain's most famous poet. To be wounded by the Beloved is to be wounded by love. His love is both the thing that wounds us and the thing that heals us. By His wounds we are healed. We have heard people use this verse to suggest that because Jesus was wounded we won't be. This is a very shallow interpretation. St. Paul makes it clear  existentially, as well as with his words, that to follow Jesus is to share in His suffering. And in this we make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. (Col. 1:24, His words not mine) When we suffer various trials, as St. Peter says we will, we can be confident that the wounds are for our sanctification. Our sanctification comes through Jesus' suffering, and because we are children and no longer slaves, we get to participate in all God is doing in us, through Christ, for His good pleasure. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


O good of my soul, where are You? Where have You hidden Yourself? Where can I find You again?--St. Padre Pio
These are words of great comfort. But why? Because we are not alone in sometimes feeling abandoned by God. If your heart does not pine for the nearness of God, this is a sign for you to pray and spend more time alone with Him. Then, after you find Him for a while, He will become like a wisp of smoke that blows under your door out into the night, leaving you staring at the ceiling. Just when you think everything is perfect with you and your God, He will leave you alone and you will know these words of St. Pio for yourself. Then, the great romance with your Beloved will begin to grow through pain and confusion you never imagined.  But then, after many tears and His mysterious ways, your heart and soul will begin to widen with hope and desire like never before. In this, we become more like the One we love. In this you will learn to love others. This romance with Jesus is wonderfully strange and incredibly frustrating.
In the Wilderness by Ron DiCianni

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


And the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness in order for Him to be tempted by the devil.--St. Matthew 4:1

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.




Monday, March 2, 2009

Surprised by Joy

Don't be surprised by pain. Be surprised by joy, be surprised by the little flower that shows its beauty in the midst of a barren desert; and be surprised by the immense healing power that keeps bursting forth like springs of fresh water from the depth of our pain.---Fr. Henri J.M Nouwen, from his book, "Finding my way Home"
"What wondrous love is this O my soul, O my soul?" --Hymn
We should not live this gift of life demanding anything. We should live this life with gratitude and humility. But we can't do this. We demand everything, from what we need to what we want. God is merciful. We even demand mercy! We must stop seeing Him this way. He is not our sugar daddy in the sky waiting for us to get it right so He can bless us. This is wrong thinking. This view of God will always lead us to despair. You and I can do everything right today, and we will still suffer. We will still face disappointment and frustration. We will still get sick. We will still die. Jesus did everything right, did He suffer? So what is the point? HOPE! We are a people of hope. And this hope is in a loving Lord Who only wants the best for our souls, even if it seems He is letting our souls fall apart at times. If you must have God and your spiritual life always figured out, you will always be filled with the blues. On the other hand, if you can widen your heart for love, trust, and mystery, and can teach your eyes to see the beauty in the midst of a horrifying cross, you will be surprised by joy.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


"The Lord is my portion." says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:24
The word "portion" is always associated with a meal. This is a foreshadowing of the Eucharist. He has become our portion in Jesus, the Lamb Who was slain. Remember this when you go to Mass, and let hope well up within you no matter you face.