Thursday, April 4, 2013, 6:37 AM
"The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute of God himself;
And earthly power doth then show like God's
When mercy seasons justice."
Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 6:43 AM
"I did not come to be served but to serve (see Matthew 20:28), says the Lord. Those who are placed over others should glory in such an office only as much as they would were they assigned the task of washing the feet of the brothers. And the more they are upset about their office being taken from them than they would be over the loss of the office of [washing] feet, so much the more do they store up treasures to the peril of their souls (see John 12:6)" (Francis of Assisi, Admonition IV).
Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 5:23 PM
Read the Gospel according to Mark: (ch.1, vs 21-28):
As soon as the sabbath came [Jesus] went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.
In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit, and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’
Only Christ is so sovereign and has lived so deeply from his Father—and has the power of the Father in every gesture and word—that with a word he can dismiss the Evil One and get rid of him. Upon reading this passage from the gospel on the deliverance, or exorcism, at the synagogue on the Sabbath one is reminded that only Christ has authority like this. Notice that there’s no dialogue with the Evil One; he’s just told to “Be quiet; come out”, and that’s it. It’s over.
The people are left with astonishment and admiration at this teaching that has such power in it, such authority. The word of God is so much a part of Christ’s being, in his actions and in his speech, that, as he speaks, it’s effective.
Remember where St. Paul says, in the Letter to the Romans, that ‘Abraham put his faith in God, who gives life to the dead, and calls into being what does not exist’? What a beautiful description of the ‘word’ that God speaks. That ‘word’ gives life to the dead. That word brings into being what does not exist. That word is an effective word; it’s not just information. The word in Scripture is always for life—to conquer death, to give direction, to give a teaching, to show the way, to raise up, to change hearts. The word is alive. And it lands upon us with a purpose. Not just passing through! It wants to land within us, and stay there, and take root. It wants to affect our lives, and be effective in our lives.
Apart from this word, as the Scriptures teach us, apart from surrender to the word of God, there is only darkness and shadows. I was looking at the book of Deuteronomy, about the place and the role of the prophet in Israel (ch 18, vs15-20); what precedes that is a whole description of life in shadows: sorcery, witchcraft, killing of infants, diviners, calling up dead spirits. In other words, the life of sorcery, the life of the occult—in contrast to Israel, where the word is proclaimed by the prophet.
And so these are the contrasting ways of living. Really, there are only two: life and death. Life lived by the word, or life lived another way, which is shadows, and the occult, and darkness. That’s why it’s always a drama when the word is spoken. When Christ speaks, when the prophet speaks, it’s a drama, because life and death is being proposed; the choices are being made clearer.
I was also thinking about life in the Church, life in the Body of Christ, how we—Catholics, anyway—have almost taken for granted, it’s so much a part of our life, that when Christ speaks, it happens. When Christ says, through the priest, “I absolve you”, we are absolved of our sins. When Christ says, through the priest, “This is my body; this is my blood”, it is his body and it is his blood. We have this all the time; it’s so much a part of our life, we almost don’t think of it. And we almost—or maybe more than almost—take it for granted, at times, anyway. Christ spoke; yes, it happened.
So we have to be alert; the reality is that, at times, we may not listen to that word, we may not be receptive to that word. We have to be more than amazed at the deeds of God. What the Lord is seeking is change: renewal, re-creation, repentance. Have I let the word of God penetrate me? Is that how I live? Is that the center of my life? It’s always a good point for us to ask ourselves: Am I really living from God’s word?
This is just a little example from everyday living. Do you ever notice how, you know, you’ve got your ten minutes for the Bible every day? Quite a few people have that, ‘the ten minute special’ for the Bible, the word of God! And how hard it is to actually get in those ten minutes? How easy it is to find something else to look at? If it’s only the sky! How easy it is to think about something else—especially during that time? And how, as one starts to read the word, one thinks of something else that one would rather read? And in fact, might just read now, instead of that? Maybe even a holy book. But not this book. We have a resistance.
This gospel reading is also about the confrontation with evil, and the devil; the passage is an exorcism. This is a life and death struggle; this is about evil and its attempt to take over. We need to examine what the word is teaching us about confrontation with evil, in Christ. Going back to that first point: only Christ has this power. Only Christ can conquer evil, and evil spirits; only Christ.
The question we might ask ourselves is: Where am I responsible for letting in the Evil One? Where have I opened the door, to let him in? I asked the Lord where we open the door, at times; where our points of weakness are. He replied, ‘Here they are’.
First, we open the door and we have to be watchful when we do not forgive one another. When we choose not to forgive. When we choose to hold a grudge, or a resentment, or a judgement. The door opens—creeeak! It squeaks. It needs oiling. Creeeiiak!—the door opens. And the Evil One says, ‘A nest! A place to rest—for my restless being!’ An unforgiving soul, who let the sun set on his or her anger.
Now I’m not talking about the struggle to forgive; that’s all part of the normal everyday. I’m talking about choosing to hold a grudge. Plotting revenge, thinking of the comeback that I will make next. That’s the nest; that’s the invitation to the Evil One: ‘Here I am. Come on in.’
So we have to watch that one, because that opens the door, and I’m responsible for that part. I have to repent of that. Because what does that mean? That means I have not surrendered to the word: “Forgive, as you have been forgiven.” I’m not surrendered to that word. And therefore, as the Scriptures teach, if I’m not surrendered to that word, then I’m open to the darkness, which is the counter to that word.
The other point is this: Trust the Father. It seemed to me the Lord said to me that this one is even bigger than the other one. Maybe it’s more primary. Trust the Father. We don’t trust the Father. We choose another way.
I’m not talking about the struggle to believe in the Father’s love, the struggle in praying: ‘Please help me to trust you; I don’t know where you are.’ I’m not talking about that; that’s normal everyday struggle.
It’s the choice for something else. The pleasurable thought. The ‘escape’ reading. The fantasies. The pampering of one’s self; the taking care of myself, making sure everything’s okay for me—because my Father doesn’t take care of me. So, I take care of me! And that comes out in all kinds of ways, creative and un-creative.
And that opens the door to Satan: ‘Aahhh! You don’t trust the Father? I’ve got some thoughts to share with you about that, about how untrustworthy God really is. Did he really say you can’t eat of any of the fruits in the garden? That’s just like him, isn’t it? You’re deprived, if you trust the Father’.
We have to be vigilant about that door, and almost everybody struggles against it, in some form—right back to Adam and Eve. The choice is to trust, or not. To put our faith in God, or not. And especially this: to wait on God—or not. If I wait on him, and trust, the door to the Evil One is shut. Not that it’s easy to wait! That’s a struggle.
So these are the two points that came to me, where we need to be vigilant to the word of God that calls us to forgive one another, and to trust
Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 7:27 AM
Good morning !I had a little talk with my son in South Korea . North Korea is on everybody's mind and I was wondering what he thought . He said they want attack Seoul they are not that stupid .That they are known to make threats and what not and not much comes out of it . He said the South Koreans sees them as brothers . O well we will see how brotherly they are .
And on Easter day he went to church with his wife and two kids .Boy that's progress . Son is very Catholic and he has always had a world view . So Easter was celebrated in a Bible believing Protestant Church . Some may not see it as I do here and that is okay with me . Celebrating with his wife and kids is very good in my book .
We had a great day here . Mind you it didn't start off too good . I didn't go to church because I was sick . Son , daughter and one in-law spent the day with us . I had pepared food the day before and I was pretty happy about that . The Easter bunny was good to my daughter but not too good on my wallet . She was happy so I am happy .She's been suffering in more ways then one for years
I was speaking with a friend . Her daughter is bunking it in university . Her roomate from hell has a party of three on her bed . They complained to the administration and nothing came out of it . I just said that I thought it wasn't very cool to have people in on her bed . Her daughter said I told her but she doesn't get it . Imagine spending a year with this nit . I am so happy that all of mine are out of university .
Today we are having a bit of snow. Two days ago we had rain . The mountain of snow in front of the picture window is lower. Goodie ! My husband starts his plants for the garden on the window sill . I really love the fresh veggies he harvests in the fall . The green onions are also a favorite and that comes early .
Hoping to have a good day . Husband is going to the cottage. A thirty foot tree fell on the cottage . He didn't see any damage . Lots of snow and ice under the tree
You all have a good day
Monday, April 1, 2013, 10:20 PM
Acts 2:14, 22-33:
On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
“You who are children of Israel, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify Him.
But God raised Him up, releasing Him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for Him to be held by it.
For David says of Him:
I saw the Lord ever before me,
with Him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because You will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will You suffer Your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence.
My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was He abandoned to the netherworld
nor did His flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
He poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit
that He received from the Father, as you both see and hear.”
Monday, April 1, 2013, 10:12 PM
It is tempting, Lord, to choose the allure of evil over what we know is right. Help me to evaluate my life and to become closer to You by rejecting sin as we renew our Baptismal promises this Easter season. Amen.
Sunday, March 31, 2013, 6:50 AM
First Reading – Acts 10:34a, 37-43
34a Then, Peter, opening his mouth37 You know that the Word has been made known throughout all Judea. For beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached,38 Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, traveled around doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil. For God was with him.39 And we are witnesses of all that he did in the region of Judea and in Jerusalem, he whom they killed by hanging him on a tree.40 God raised him up on the third day and permitted him to be made manifest,41 not to all the people, but to the witnesses preordained by God, to those of us who ate and drank with him after he rose again from the dead.42 And he instructed us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the One who was appointed by God to be the judge of the living and of the dead.43 To him all the Prophets offer testimony that through his name all who believe in him receive the remission of sins.”
Sunday, March 31, 2013, 6:41 AM
Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!
~ The Easter Proclamation.
Friday, March 29, 2013, 1:43 PM
Becoming more fully human
...belonging is the place where we grow to maturity and discover what it means to be human and to act in a human way. It is a place we need in order to live and to act in society in justice, in truth, without seeking power, privileges, and honours for our own self-glory. It is the place where we learn to be humble but also audacious and to take initiatives in working with others. It is the place where our deepest self rises up into our consciousness and so we become more fully ourselves, more fully human.
- Jean Vanier, Becoming Human,
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 5:28 AM
March 28: Isaiah 61: 1-3A6A, 8B-9. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,