Thursday, September 30, 2010

In God's Time

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly...

--Psalm 5:3

...but please hurry up!

We live in a world that demands instant results. We have immediate access to news, sports scores, entertainment, and information thanks to computers and the Internet. Actually, with the advent of "smart phones" we don't even need the computer anymore. We have microwave ovens and "fast food" when we get hungry and "EZ Pass" at toll booths.  So, when we actually have to wait for something, we tend to get anxious and impatient.

Today, when the Keurig machine at my work made a cup of coffee in under 60 seconds, I found that to be too slow...and got the idea for this post.  (Now I know where my kids get it. Sorry Sarah.) The same can be said when we offer prayers for a particular request. When we don't see immediate results we start to worry and maybe we question if our prayers are even being heard. I've written about God's will and God's plan and now want to focus on God's time.

God's time doesn't work with our 24/7 - me, me, me mentality. In fact, God is above and beyond our very concept of time itself. When we ask for something in prayer, we need to remember that we're not being ignored. Could it be that He wants us to learn something from the experience of waiting? Maybe patience or humility? The psalmist wrote that we should "wait expectantly" not impatiently. Just as St. Paul wrote in Romans 12:12, Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

God hears and answers all our prayers. Our faith tells us when we call on God, we should expect things to happen. But just as it is God's will and wisdom, it will also be in His time.

God love you!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who is Like God? The Feast of the Archangels.

The sea grew turbulent and the earth trembled when Michael the archangel came down from heaven.
-LOTH, Office of Readings.

This article highlights the true nature of the angels, not as whimsical characters portrayed in cartoons, but immensely powerful beings created by God to carry His message and assist us in our struggles. Scripture gives us no doubt to their awe inspiring appearence. Why else would they have say "Be not afraid" each time they apepar to someone? 

Holy Angels and Archangels, ora pro nobis!

External: Messengers of God

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Work of the Lord

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.

Mt. 11: 28-30

Many of us will take a break from our work tomorrow to celebrate Labor Day. Let's not forget to give thanks to God for our livelihoods and remember our brothers and sisters who are desperately looking for work in these difficult economic times. Maybe that will help us think twice about cursing at the alarm clock when Tuesday morning rolls around. Let us give thanks to the Lord of our work and continue to do the Work of the Lord.

Have a restful and blessed Labor Day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Road to Damascus

I've been having some writer's block as of late - a sort of disconnect from by brain to my hands. I'm struggling with the direction and message I want to portray from this blog. I feel that I have a calling to evangelize but not a clear mission. I've been doing a lot of praying for guidance and a sense of purpose so bear with me. I'm not a professional, just someone with a sincere desire to write about the Truth.

A friend recommended I pray to St. Paul to help clarify my mission. Actually, I'd like a "road to Damascus moment" where it all becomes clear....without the blindness of course.  Please pray that I hear and can answer the call - whatever that may be.

Glorious St. Paul, Most zealous Apostle, Martyr for the love of Christ, give us a deep faith, a steadfast hope, a burning love for our Lord; So that we can proclaim with you,“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Help us to become apostles, serving the Church with a pure heart, witnesses to her truth and beauty amidst the darkness of our days. With you we praise God our Father: “To Him be the glory, in the Church and in Christ, now and forever.” Amen

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Render (Back) Unto Ceasar?

External: City Wants Land Back From Fall River Diocese.

This is appalling in so many ways. It's always a tragedy when a parish closes. Now we have a municipality asking for it's land for free? I understand the city sold part of the parcel to the diocese 60 years ago but does that give them the right to demand they "donate" it back? 

This is alarming on so many different levels but the most notable is where once city official states "the church used it for about 50 years, and like other religious organizations, didn’t pay taxes on it. “They shouldn’t make a profit. They should give it back to the city free and clear.”  It would appear that the constitutional right to private property is rendered moot if you don't pay taxes on it.

There are many "private" business and organizations that have benefited from land deals with government bodies. There is never a call for them to give anything back. This looks more like a cash-strapped city taking advantage of a church with a bruised reputation. They fail to mention how many people the Diocese of Fall River have helped over the years and the services rendered by it's Catholic Social Services organization taking the burden off the city.

The current parish has the right to sell this land to whomever they wish and for a price dictated by the market. They are several vacant parcels of land in Fall River owned by the diocese. Please pray for our Bishop and Fr. Andrade as I fear this is only the beginning,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Look over the nations and see, and be utterly amazed! For a work is being done in your days that you would not have believed, were it told.
        Habakkuk 1: 5

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not My Will, But Yours Be Done, Part 2.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!
"For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?"  Romans 11: 33-34

It is certainly not I, although as mentioned before I usually give it my best shot. Still, the questions remains: How do we reconcile our situation with what God has planned for us? The truth is, we may only realize what His plan actually is years down the road or perhaps not even in this lifetime. But how does that bring us any solace? 

When Peter almost drowns while attempting to walk on water, Jesus chastises him by saying "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Mt. 14: 31) I can imagine Jesus saying the same thing to me - probably daily. I'm sure all of the Apostles heard the same thing at the end of their earthly lives. After the Resurrection, they probably had it all planned out. The Lord was back from the dead and would lead them into the Kingdom here on earth. But wait, He was leaving them again? This can't be; That's not how it was supposed to go down.

Our Lord's plan was beyond the understanding of even his closest followers.What unfolded was much more grand than any of them could imagine. It was no coincidence that at Pentecost, Jerusalem was filled with devout Jews from every nation. (Acts 2: 5)  There was a purpose in God choosing that exact moment. The Apostles spent three years with Jesus listening, learning, and witnessing many miracles. They had the benefit of first hand knowledge of all he said and did yet the day before the descent of the Spirit, they were cowering in the upper room, probably discussing whether they should all go their separate ways and find salvation elsewhere. Had they paid attention to anything? Do we?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Not My Will, But Yours Be Done, Part 1.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.   Is. 55: 8-9

Since the moment of the Fall in Genesis, man has always tried to question the ways of God. The funny thing, no matter how often we realize that this is a futile endeavour, we still try to figure it out on our own. Usually, this leads to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-guessing our own actions in response to what has happened and plenty of restless nights and groggy mornings.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul tells us that he came so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. (1 Cor. 2: 5)  Why then, (insert my own personal mea culpa) is it so hard to trust God in his eternal wisdom? I've been questioning some recent events and my own pride won't let me rest until I get an answer.

More on this later...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Church and Summer

Here in New England, summer is never long enough. I think by nature, we try to cram in as many activities and get-togethers as possible in these few precious weeks. The question is: Does this affect when and where we go to church? Do we attend at a different time or place? What do we do when we travel?

For my family, it's actually easier. With choir on hiatus until September, we can attend one Mass together on Sunday, usually 8:30. Then we get the whole rest of the day as "family time."

What do you do?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh Dear, I've Lost Jesus...

I'll never forget the CYO Mass I attended in college where Fr. Joe, the beloved little old Irish priest, misplaced the host under the patten and exclaimed that he "lost Jesus." The good news is that Jesus was never lost and our Mass continued once he realized what happened. 

Although an amusing story today, it illustrates a sad but common reality in how many we lose focus during the Mass and instead let the details and our own sense of "me" get in the way. Please don't get me wrong....I'm not doubting any one's sincerity and love for Christ when I write this...but I think we've lost sight of the center of the Holy Mass..Jesus.

We recently attended Mass at another parish while visiting it's town. (Said parish and town's name will remain nameless to protect the innocent....and the guilty.) I'll just say that this is a rather large, newer church whose builders spared no expense when it came to amenities but missed the boat when it came to a "space suitable for worship." Don't get me wrong - this church has potential but sadly a bit more catechises on the Mass is an order. The raised choir "stage" behind the altar, digital hymn boards, parade of EMHC's slathering the on hand sanitizer before communion, and the complete lack of anything resembling Jesus in the sanctuary, make it very difficult to concentrate on the suffering and death of Our Lord. If dear Fr. Joe had "lost Jesus" during this circus, no one would have noticed.

Beautiful music and immagry, vestments, incense, and "full participation" are a wonderful part of our faith. Our Lord deserves no less than the best we are able to do. We just have to understand that these things are supposed to enhance the Mass and not take away from and become the focus unto themselves. Fortunatly, this parish has a new pastor who I think will guide his flock to understand what is important. I'm looking forward to visiting this church in about a year or so.

Let's pray that our clergy and lay people develop a deeper understanding and love for the Mass and that we don't "lose Jesus" in the details.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Because Sometimes We Need a Little Help From Grandma

Today is the Feast of St. Anne & Joaquim, the parents of Mary. We have a shrine to St. Anne here in Fall River that was a place of many miracles and healings. As far back as I can remember, we attended the Feast Mass since it was a popular French-Canadian devotion in this area. My mother would usually take me and go with my aunts.

I took 2 of my children tonight, and although it's nowhere near as grand as when thousands came by the bus-load, we still followed the procession with the statue, venerated the relic, and lit candles. It makes me feel good to pass on this devotion to my children. I can only pray that more people will continue and keep it going into the next generation.

Remember O Saint Anne, thou whose name signifies grace and mercy, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help and sought thy intercession, was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, good and kind mother; before thee, I kneel sinful and sorrowing.O holy mother of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, despise not my petitions, but hear me and answer my prayer. Amen

Good St. Anne, pray for us.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Old Double Standard

Where's the outrage? Where's the media coverage? Where are the lawsuits? Where are the New York Times editorials?

Germany's First Female Lutheran Bishop Resigns Over Alleged Inaction On Abuse

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sound Familiar?

'Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  Rev. 3, 22

I'm attending a bible study on the Book of Revelation. I'll be honest...and a bit ashamed that I've never really read much it save for a few passages commonly heard at Mass. Did you know that this is the only book in the Bible where we are blessed by God not just for following its teachings but simply for reading it?

We focused on chapters 2 & 3 this week where we read Our Lord's commendation and condemnation of each of the seven churches. We know today that this is Jesus speaking to the Universal Church and the words are as relevent today as they were in 90 A.D.

The facilitator challenged us to re-read the chapters at home and compare them to our own parishes. Are we complacent like the church at Epheses and "lost the love we once had?" Are we "lukewarm" as they are in Laodicea and just go through the motions at Mass each week?

I'd like to take that once step further and examine "Domestic Church"of our own homes and families. How does the Lord see us in our lives? Would he see our love, faith, service, and endurance as in Thyatira? Is our family a model for others or are we like the church as Sardis and have the "reputation of being alive but...are dead?"

I'm looking forward to more of this study and I'll pass on what I can. Have a great weekend.

The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, as well as my new name.
Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  Rev. 3, 12-13

Change is Never Easy

When a Beloved Pastor is Reassigned

  With many reassignments happening this time of year, this article seemed fitting. This also hits close to home as my own parish of Holy Name is welcoming our new pastor this weekend. Change is never easy, espicially when the exiting priest did so much for the spiritual health of his flock and brought back so many to the sacraments in only 5 years. But, as the article states, Christian faith is not based on the personality and actions of any one person, no matter how holy and good he might be.
   A parish is more than a pastor, its ministries, its charisims, or its after-Mass coffee. It's our faith in Jesus Christ and the fact that everything does stem from and go to Him. Of course it is never easy, but Jesus never said that it would be.

   Please pray for my parish, the priests, and all of the parishes who are dealing with reassignments this summer.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Little Evidence Jesus Died on a Cross, Says Swedish Scholar

Little Evidence Jesus Died on a Cross, Says Swedish Scholar

This ranks up there with other such conspericy theories as "Who Really Framed Jesus" and "The DaVinci Code." Does it really matter if He were hung from a "T", "X", or a straight pole? Jesus probably didn't have light skin and blue eyes either, but I'm not about to throw away my Divine Mercy picture.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don’t come to church, we’ll come to you!

A great example of JPII's call for the New Evangelization. Thank you to Fr. Jay Finelli of the neighboring Diocese of Providence and founder of for such an informative site.

Don’t come to church, we’ll come to you!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fostering Vocations

My 7 year old daughter Sonja is always reading the Bible and about the lives of Saints. She's also been talking about becoming a nun when she grows up. Now I know that she's only 7 and any true calling from God should take time and prayerful discernment, but this made me think. What can we do as parents to support and encourage our children's "true" vocation, no matter what it is? We all have our hopes and dreams about what we would like our children to become but how do we make sure we don't impeed God's work?

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Weigel discards Time Magazine's spread against Catholic Church as 'nonsense' :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Weigel discards Time Magazine's spread against Catholic Church as 'nonsense' :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Advice to Graduates

Does anyone remember their high school or college graduation? The ceremony, the people, or the wise and unforgettable words of the commencement speaker? OK, I admit I have no idea what any of the speakers said when I graduated. Not that I wasn't paying attention, but for something to make a lasting impression on me, it really needs to be meaningful.

I played at our parish school graduation Mass on Monday. Instead of the usual "strive for excellence" and "follow your dreams" advice that is heard from most commencement speakers, the graduates received a great lesson for life. As our pastor pointed out, in Matthew's Gospel, Jesus gave them the best advice they could possibly get.

When he saw the crowds, 2 he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

Mt. 5, 1-12
As parents, what type of advice are we giving our children as they begin a new chapter in their lives? Are we giving them advice that they will soon forget or are we providing wisdom for their life here on earth and for our life to come? The choices they make in life are influenced by how they are formed. What good is it to gain the whole world but lose one's soul?
God bless all the 2010 graduates.