Saturday, November 28, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving: Its Sacred Meaning

How great, O God, is Your love for each of us
And how deep and wide is Your mercy.
Pleased with each of Your children, O God, You pour out Your love for us from the cross, in every Eucharist, in the daily Scriptures and in the each event of our lives.
leased with each of Your children, O God, You take up a dwelling place in our hearts.
Yielding to the demands for reconciliation of humankind to Your Father, Jesus, You surrender to the Father’s will even to death on the cross. 

Thank you, Lord, for your mercy toward everyone in the world, toward each of my family members, all of my fellow religious, all in the church, rich and poor alike, all who believe and all who don’t.
Halleluiah to You, O God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier,
And glory, honor and praise to Your holy Name!
Never let us forget to say “Thanks, God, for Your eternal Presence in the world, in our personal, familial, and civic lives.
Kindness flows from You into our lives every moment of every day.  Thank you as You wait for us to acknowledge Your goodness at work within our lives.
Salvation is guaranteed by You, O Jesus, who died on the cross for us. This guarantee goes to all who believe and repent, no matter how deeply we may have fallen into sin, getting trapped by Satan’s lies. Thank you!
Give thanks for a God who loves us to the point of dying on the cross to procure our salvation. Thank you, Lord.
Instead of condemnation, Jesus, You come to save us from evil, from Satan’s snares.
Vividly enduring a torturous death, Jesus, You humbly offer Your life as a sign of God’s unquestionable love for us.
In this torturous handling by ruthless executioners, Jesus, You  prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” You pray this over and over again when any one of us is hurting another person or oneself.
Never doubt God’s love.  If it were necessary to die again (and it isn’t), Jesus, You would do so to procure our deliverance. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Give thanks: at every Eucharist, You, O Lord, give thanks to the Father for His love for us and His plan for our salvation!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Praying One's Experiences

"Thank you, Lord, for all of the circumstances of my life: the challenges, the circumstances, the graces, the disappointments, the good and the "bad" times, life's sad moments and happy moments."

As I deal with the effects of a serious brain injury, I found myself offering God the following:

  • My declining energy
  • My frustration when my energy wanes
  • My not being able to follow/create a disciplined approach to the day because of my energy's inconsistent strength
  • My feeling powerless and out of control of how the day unfolds because of my energy's decline
The symbols I created of these realities was the chalice offered at Mass: each chalice was given the following label:
  • My injured brain
  • My healing brain--just as I believe in the sun when it is not shining, so, too, do I believe in God's healing power at work in my brain when I do not feel it or experience the effects of the healing
  • The effects of an injured brain
  • My attitudes--negative and positive--toward my injured brain and the effects of such
I then reminded myself that God is at work in the silence of my brain:  healing it and molding my mind into thinking as God thinks,  I am reminded in Jesus Calling, Nov. 20,  to [s]hift my] focus from [my] performance to [God's] radiant Presence [and that the] Light of [God's] Love shines on [me] continually, regardless of [my] feelings or behavior." 

May you also believe in the radiance of God's Presence shining on you always, no matter what and shift your focus to this reality and away from your accomplishments!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Power of Faith and Trust

In today's readings, Daniel 1: 1-6, 8-20 and Luke 21: 1-4, we are introduced to people in the Old and New Testament who placed all their hope in the Lord, their God and Savior.  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael,  and Azariah choose to obey their God rather than defile themselves and abandon their faith.  Rather than eating the food and drink from the king's table, they are given vegetables only at their request. The other men also being trained for high positions in the king's court are served from the table of the king . At the close the the three-year training period, Daniel and his companions are found to be healthier than the others. Also, "[i]n any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom."

In the Gospel, the widow puts two small coins in the church treasury, giving her entire livelihood to the Lord, trusting God's Providence to care for her and meet her daily needs.  Others give only of their surplus! In this reading, the Lord challenged me regarding my willingness to give of my poverty, whether that be financial or otherwise--my time, my energy, my generosity, my giftedness.

Last night I retired with an bombardment of negative thoughts concerning some challenges I face. Obviously, my sleep was disturbed, my trust shaken.  The strength of my faith was tried and did not, in any way match the disciples of the Lord portrayed in today's liturgical readings.  I opened my Office Book and began Morning Praise.The following words "jumped off" the page and penetrated my heart:

"Why are you sad, O my soul?
Why groan within me?
Hope in the Lord; praise God still,  
My Savior and my God!"

The depression, the anxiety, the sadness was dissipated and I was at peace again, renewing my trust in the Lord, my Savior and my God!God

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Goodness, the Greatness and the Power of God

O, how great is the Lord, our God.  Every day the radiance of God’s face shines upon us, molding our minds, cleansing our hearts and re-creating us into the person God designed us to be (See Sarah Young’s  Jesus Calling, November 10th meditation).  All praise, all glory and honor to our God.  As Creator and Redeemer,  God is also re-creating all of creation according to His original design. These concepts may be difficult for us to grasp, as all around us we see death and corruption, violence and destruction of earth’s beauty and persons stripped of their dignity by those who rape the body, kill the innocent already in the womb, and who torture the mind, and vilify others in a variety of abusive ways.

In today’s responsorial psalm, Psalm 9,  David reminds us that our enemies will be “turned back, overthrown and destroyed.” Over and over again , God has, in the past, “rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; their name (the name of the wicked) …[God] blotted out forever and ever. The nations (those committed to idolatry—God substitutes--and those blaspheming God by violence perpetrated in the name of religion) are [will be] sunk in the pit they have made; in the snare they set, their foot is [will be] caught” (Psalm 9).

And as we prayed in the response to the psalm, we “will rejoice” in the our salvation.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Firm in our faith

I return to this ministry after an extended medical leave resulting from having  a "brain bleed" in four areas of the brain.  God spared my life for many reasons and one of those reasons, I believe, is to continue sharing faith with all of you.

In today's first reading, Maccabees 2: 15-29, we encounter Mattathias, a Jew who does not give in to the pressures to worship idols, that is, to obey the king's decree to abandon the faith of his ancestors. He risked his life by confronting "the officers of the king in charge of enforcing the apostasy [and who] came to the city of Modein to organize the sacrifices" to foreign gods.

Every day, like Mattathias,  we are given opportunities to stand firm in the faith of our ancestors. We may be challenged to profess Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior by not lying, cheating, gossiping about our neighbors, berating those who we do not understand, refusing to respond to the cry for help of those fleeing persecution and the violence in their homelands and so on.

Another way to look at this faith challenge is to realize that we might be asked, at any given time, to do for others what we would want others to do for us or to take the time to listen to someone we may prefer to avoid, or, in fact, to go out into "the desert," as Mattathias and those determined to "live according to righteousness and religious custom" did.  It is in that "desert," alone with God, that we are more likely to hear God speaking to our hearts, strengthening us to choose righteousness and reject Satan's temptations to fit it with whoever and whatever is inviting us to "worship idols" or to choose false gods.