Sep 25 2015

Do Unto All

Published by under Listen to the silence

The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic. This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature.

Such understanding and respect call for a higher degree of wisdom, one which accepts transcendence, self-transcendence, rejects the creation of an all-powerful elite, and recognizes that the full meaning of individual and collective life is found in selfless service to others and in the sage and respectful use of creation for the common good. To repeat the words of Paul VI, “the edifice of modern civilization has to be built on spiritual principles, for they are the only ones capable not only of supporting it, but of shedding light on it” (ibid.).

Pope Francis
To the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations
September 25, 2015

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Jun 03 2014

The Unexpected Path

Published by under In search of God

God sometimes asks us to follow an unexpected path with him. One that leaves our current path behind completely and starts anew.

It is difficult to leave behind life as we know it, and forge ahead to the unknown. We must deal with many emotions, including negative ones — fear, disappointment, loneliness, failure, pain. Still God calls to us and says it is time — whether gradual or sudden — he tells us our work on the current path is complete.

Unexpected path

I’ve been on this unexpected path for more than two years now. It is God’s design, as I never would have chosen this path knowingly. The catalyst and burden that set me on this path is a rare disease, for which until recently I had no name or treatment.

It is a miracle unto itself that I survived without treatment for so long. I lost almost everything in this battle – my health, my livelihood, my career, my lifestyle, my productiveness, my friends.

But as I was face down in the proverbial dirt, someone knelt next to me and lifted me up. “You are my beloved. Come and take this journey with me.” What I learned on this journey about life, love, myself and most of all God is overwhelmingly beautiful.

That is not to say this path is easy. It is more like clawing my way up a smooth wall of granite, one fingernail at a time. It is painful, lonely and alienating at times.

The one constant is God’s love and support, often times showing through some incredible people he put on my path. The ones who choose to be there and answer the call to do what God would do.

I cannot say that of everyone on my path. Others complicated it even more. God reminded me to pass them by, as I am on a path that they are not on. They have the opportunity to answer his call to compassion – whether or not they respond is up to them. I feel sorry for them, as they missed out on God’s call.

Still my focus is on those who do respond to God from the unexpected path. They reach out and walk along with me. They glow from following his example. They did not miss God as he walked by.

I am still on this path and will be for a long time to come. It will never leave me. Yet, I now know how to truly focus on love, for it will shine through the darkness.

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Mar 13 2014

Spread the Love

Published by under Listen to the silence

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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Nov 16 2013

Faith Costs

Published by under Listen to the silence

What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.

Flannery O’Connor
The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

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Oct 16 2013

Moments of Grace

Published by under Who needs theology

God gives us obvious moments of sanctifying grace in the sacraments.

But every day we have opportunities to accept grace or reject it – the choice is up to us based on how we respond to the moments of actual grace in our lives.

These moments are gifts from God, and often we do not recognize them – the opportunity to be kind; to go beyond what we would normally do or who we normally are, to help another person; to be compassionate to others whether we feel like it or not.

To live only in our bubble of personal comfort, is not enough. If we are not reaching out, we are not reflecting the grace we receive.

It is not enough to talk about these moments and what we should do. We must live them in our daily lives.

How often have we missed an opportunity to respond to one of God’s moments of grace?

Look for the next one. It is more important than our work, our social status and our daily routine.

It is an opportunity to extend the hand of God to others, and to show the true nature of faith.

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Mar 19 2013

New Beginnings

Published by under Listen to the silence

When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord; we are worldly.

Pope Francis
March 14, 2013

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May 08 2011

The Circle of Belief

Published by under Listen to the silence

I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe

St. Augustine

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Mar 29 2011

My Brother and Sister’s Keeper (Part 1)

Published by under Who needs theology

During Lent, we often chose to do penance by depriving ourselves of something that we love, but can live without. I recently received an Operation “Rice Bowl” from Catholic Relief Services. It gives a daily program that is great tool to learn how to use our sacrifices to benefit those in need, especially for families and children.

But how often do we confine this only to Lent? How can we sacrifice daily to help others? How can we be more mindful of our mission to walk with Jesus and be our brother and sister’s keeper?

Now, don’t rush out and don a sackcloth (whatever that is), move to a cave and eat bread and water for the rest of your days (unless you’re so inclined).

Sometimes the problems seem bigger than us. The suffering in the world today is bigger than us. We can’t solve the problems alone, or possibly even ever. But we can make a difference by taking responsibility for our part in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. We must break the barriers between ourselves and those in need. Find ways to help them in a way that preserves their dignity.

Think back to Matthew 27:24 when Pilot washes his hands of the situation surrounding the condemnation of Jesus.

How often do we wash our hands?

It’s simple to say a problem is too big – but it doesn’t mean we can wipe our hands of it and go on with life.

We are called to be God’s people, and that doesn’t mean only when it’s convenient. Jesus called us to be his brothers and sisters, and as a family to care for one another as he cared for us.

“This is the meaning of true love, to give until it hurts,” Mother Teresa said.

Who’s hurting today? Who needs what you have to give?

Not everyone is cut out for the sackcloth, but we are all able to do something. And to do more — prayers, donations, kind words, talents, time, compassion – all of these things make small miracles every day.

Will you wash your hands or offer it to your brother and sister today?

This is part one of an ongoing series on the themes of Catholic social teaching and how to integrate them into our daily lives. Please leave a comment with any insight you’ve gained from this post or thoughts you’d like to share.

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Dec 25 2010

A Christmas Gift

Published by under In search of God

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, it is good to remember that Christmas is more than one day a year. It was and is the start of something much more.

I want to share a special story about another Christmas birth this year. It was published earlier this month in the Arkansas Catholic.

Christmas blessings to all of you and your loved ones, and best wishes for the New Year!

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Dec 23 2010

Reason for the Season

Published by under Who needs theology

Advent is a season of preparation for one of the greatest gifts of all time – the birth of a child named Jesus, who would come to sacrifice himself for those he loved.

Many see Jesus as a prophet, but for Christians he is Emmanuel, God with us.

Jesus reached out to anyone in need and called us all to do the same – a conversion of our souls that made us keepers of one another, as sisters and brothers in him.

This is our call from Jesus, but this means we are called to action. It is a call that Jesus lived from birth to death, as we must do as well.

Is it a call we always heed?

Of course not, let’s be honest. As humans, we often fail. Our failure is not because of Jesus or God. But it is a part of our learning process.

How we respond to our failures is the true test of our call.

Take a few moments before the celebration of Christ’s birth to prepare yourself – not just in decorating the nativity scene, Christmas tree and presents for your family and friends – prepare your soul to meet Jesus.

Pope Benedict XVI reminded the world to do so during his papal audience Dec. 22. You can see what he said here.

Now deck the halls of your soul in preparation for the ultimate Christmas present ever! :)

“For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

John 3:16
(New Jerusalem Bible)

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