Sunday, July 25, 2010

Know the Truth

We enjoyed mass this morning with about 1000 travelers in a beautiful church in Orlando. We always find it awesome to see the number of travelers that make church a priority while they are on vacation and follow God’s commandment of keeping Holy the Sabbath. We also enjoy seeing the beauty of one of God’s houses and the feeling of community even when we are so far from home.

I also know why I don’t write a week ahead like I tried to do this week. God’s message that He wants spread always seems to change with the message I hear at church.

We can believe many things. But we should know that what we believe is the Truth and not just what someone would like us to believe.

The Catholic Church has long felt the pressure of its belief’s: that only men can be priests, that homosexuality is wrong, that birth control and abortion are wrong, and that divorce is wrong. The “political incorrectness” and unpopularity of these Truths has made the Catholic Church a target for discredit and suffering because of Her beliefs.

So what does this have to do with today’s message? Because a newspaper here in Orlando reported untruths about the Catholic Church beliefs in an attempt to make what another church was doing seem more right. Many of the lies told to discredit Catholics are outright or half truths spread by ex-Catholics or non practicing Catholics wanting a way out of the Church teachings. They are looking for a way to “defame” the Church so that they, themselves, will seem as if the “politically correct” is the truth, or simply so that they can feel better about going against the teachings of the Church.

What is Truth? And what is told so that we will begin to believe it is true? As Father said this morning, even many Catholics do not know what the Catholic Church teaches and many have come to believe what is “reported.”

Unlike what the Orlando paper said-- the Catholic Church does NOT believe that we can Work our way to Heaven. This is a common misconception and something that is taught to other believers. It was misinterpreted in the Reformation because Luther wanted to be able to give assurance that everyone can get to heaven by “faith alone”.

Heaven is a gift from God. We are given this gift thru the GRACE of God because we have faith. And because we have faith (which also is a gift from God) we will show God’s grace in works of charity to our neighbors.

“When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matt 25: 34-40

The works given to us by Matthew are known in the Catholic Church as the “Corporal Works of Mercy”: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and comforting the sorrowing (to bury the dead). They are what we are called to do for the “least of our brothers.”

James 2:17-22 says, “So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works.” So faith and works are “interconnected;” both are necessary for receiving God’s gift of grace so that we can reach heaven.

Nowhere in the original Bible does it say that we will receive Heaven thru Faith ALONE. Just because we say we believe one day, does not mean that God is going to gift us with the Grace to enter heaven. Faith and works, living as God asks us to do is an ongoing process, not a one time commitment.

The “one time, ‘I believe’” statement is a “cop out” so that we can believe that no matter how we act and what we do and what we don’t do, we will feel better about ourselves and think that we can be assured of our place in heaven. This is what began the reformation—a desire to have assurance.

What the bible does say is this: “So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work. Do everything without grumbling or questioning.” Phil 2:12-14 St. Paul’s warning to the Philippians warns us “to work out your salvation in fear and trembling” for a reason.

No one other than God knows who will go to heaven. Our faith is our hope. Jesus’ death on the cross is God’s promise. Regardless, if we are Catholic, or of any other Christian denomination, the Hope of Heaven is given to us as a gift by God. When we make a LIFELONG faith commitment to honor God’s commandments, then it will follow that we will strive do the work He has charged us to do.

We must KNOW the TRUTH: that through the GIFT OF FAITH we may receive saving GRACE and THROUGH that faith and grace we will DO the good works Jesus calls us to do. We must never take our eye off of Jesus and become careless with our salvation just because we know the day, time and the place we received Jesus into our hearts, instead we must carry our cross daily, offering our sufferings to share in Christ’s suffering on the cross, and doing the works we are called to do, so that we become the humble servants he calls us to be.

Dear God: Humbly I pray for your gift of Grace. Thank you for the faith you have given me and the ability to see your blessings each day. Help me to honor you in everything I do, to follow your commandments with the open eyes of truth, and to share in the works of mercy as you have asked. Amen.

Seek to Know the truth!

Blessings, Charlotte & Stan

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meditated Our Father

“Our Father who art in Heaven hollowed be Thy name:

Lord you are the King of the Universe, may you be glorified by all your creation, holy, holy, holy Lord, Heaven and earth are full of your Glory, Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the Highest.

Thy Kingdom come:

May Peace, Love and Joy reign in our hearts, may your Kingdom of Justice, truth and integrity reign over the land.

Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven:

May we become your slaves of Love and accept your Will because your will is perfect. Not my will Lord, but yours be done.

Give us this day our daily bread:

Generous Father, grant us our daily physical and spiritual bread. Feed our bodies and feed our souls with the bread of life.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us:

We repent of our sins and ask you to forgive us, in your holy name we forgive those who have sinned against us, cleanse our hearts from all resentments.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

We acknowledge how weak we are Lord, please protect us from all evil. Amen.”

Hail Mary with Explanation

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee. (Greeting from Elizaebeth to Mary)
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death. (Mary intercedes for us as a Mother would to a Father.)

"Beginning with Mary's unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the holy Mother of God, centering it on the Person of Christ manifested in His mysteries. In countless hymns and antiphons expressing this prayer, two movements usually alternate with one another: the first "magnifies" the Lord for the "great things" He did for His lowly servant and through her for all human beings. The second entrusts the supplications and praises of the children of God to the Mother of Jesus, because she now knows the humanity which, in her, the Son of God espoused."

- from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 2675.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quiet Time? To Be More Mary than Martha

Quiet Time? Monday Morning 58
Women of Faith:

Are you so busy getting all of your jobs done that you don’t have time for “quiet?” For a time to listen to your heart and God’s whispers to your soul? Are you continuously worried about who needs to be where and what needs to be done next that you don’t have time to pray? To be silent? To just sit quietly and watch all that is happening around you?

Do you take time to play with your children? Talk to your husband? Call a friend on the phone just to chat? What about when you have company, are you too busy getting drinks and food to sit down and enjoy them?

I remember the first time I heard “you need to have a Mary heart in a Martha world.” My first thought was that Mary and Martha were both followers of Jesus, what was the difference. Obviously I had not really listened to the following story:

“Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." Lk 10:38-42Later, I actually bought the book, “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” by Joanna Weaver which gives many examples and circumstances where we tend to be like Martha instead of Mary, and ideas for becoming more like Mary.

The passage struck me then as it did Sunday morning, because I am so like Martha, yet my real desire is to be like Mary—to have the patience to sit quietly and pay attention to the beauty of God’s world and all that He has given us to comprehend.

I feel less guilty being continuously busy, whether it is a big project or a small one, whether it is all day at work, or having company at my house. And the sadness of it all is that I feel so much like Martha—actually envying those people who take the time to enjoy the beauty of God’s sunsets; or the friends who take week long vacations with their families—unattached to anything they have left behind. Or even the person who gets to take a Sunday nap, or just spend an evening relaxing with friends.

It always seems that whatever I do has a purpose, a reason; it is not carefree and unattached. I am unable to actually enjoy the moment because by the time I take time to “be quiet” the moment has passed.

And yet, I listen to Jesus’ words to Martha that says that those people who seem to me to be lazy and carefree, probably are better at taking their “quiet time” to spend with God, to pray, to listen, to watch, and will always find time to get the rest done—that they are taking time for the “best.” And yes, they always seem to accomplish what they actually need to accomplish, they usually are more content and satisfied with a lot less than me as I run around trying to do it all.

Dear God: Bless my quiet times. I am sorry for the times I have envied someone else’s quiet time; they are doing what you would want me to do. Thank you for the jobs that can be left for tomorrow. Thank you for employees who continue to work when I am out of the office, or those who serve me in any way to make my work load lighter. Help me to remember that it is more important to pray, than to get to work in the morning; that it is more important to take time to call a friend than to clean a closet; that it is more important to sit quietly than to watch a movie. Bless my prayer time and my quiet uninterrupted time with Stan. Help me to always put the “Mary” times first and to appreciate that I am given the opportunities to do so. Amen.

Hoping your Mary heart, can let the Martha in you rest.

PS Turn off the phone, the email, the TV and take some quiet time!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Women of Faith:

What Would Jesus Do? I knows it’s a “cliché.” But it’s truly a cliché to live by. And it is given to us in a variety of ways and times in different parts of the Bible.

Have you ever tried going thru your day with WWJD as your motto. Do you get up in the morning and make the decision to “smile” or do you start the day by yelling at your spouse or kids. Do you get up and decide to take time to pray or do you decide to skip your “Good morning to God” and go straight to getting the work day started? Or what about the end of the day, Do you decide to sit on the couch, go for a walk or take time to end the day with a prayer of thanks for all that was accomplished?

I like to use the motto whenever I have to choose between serving myself, or helping someone else; or when I am envious of someone else’s “free time,” while I am busy finishing work for someone else.

I think about WWJD when I want to complain about a family members bad habit, or irresponsible behavior. While I am irritated, I think “what would Jesus do” in that situation. And I also realize that I have my own bad habits that my family is equally as irritated by. I also think “WWJD” when a friend needs help and I’d rather read a book or watch a movie, instead of being a “serving” neighbor.
Jesus is always here for us, ready to help, ready to care, ready to offer comfort.

He treats us as he would want to be treated. Are we always ready to help, ready to care, ready to comfort our spouse, our children, our friends, even our enemies? The bible gives us this message several times, and twice in Sunday’s readings: first from Moses, and then by using the story of the Good Samaritan—who helped, at that time, someone who would have been considered his enemy.

“Moses said to the people: "If only you would heed the voice of the LORD, your God, and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this book of the law, then you return to the LORD, your God, with all your heart and all your soul.” Dt 30:10-14

(The story of the Good Samaritan) “”Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." …. "And who is my neighbor?" ……. He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Lk 10:25-37

Do we offer our friends, family or spouse a listening ear—even when we are in the middle of a project, or would rather be doing something for ourselves? Do we make time for Jesus during our work day, returning each gift we are given to Him in praise? Do we make time for Jesus by attending church regularly so that we “love God, with all our heart and soul?” Do we follow Jesus’ commandments given to Moses and to live as He did?

Do we treat our spouse as if He/She is Jesus? WWJD? Do we put their feelings ahead of our own as Jesus would, or do we ignore them as did the first two travelers, and take care of ourselves first? WWJD? Jesus didn’t save himself, instead he died to save us. What would we do if we had to make the same choice? Would we give up our lives for them? Would we do anything possible for them?

Like the Samaritan in today’s reading who helped the disabled priest, we are supposed to treat EVERYONE, not just our family and friends as Jesus woud. Do we put our own needs and feelings first, or do we put others first? WWJD?

Dear God: Praise be the miracle of Your son here on earth. Continue to remind me that Your purpose for me is to do as Jesus did. Thank you for giving me multiple opportunities to help others. Help me to always strive to live by the saying WWJD. Amen.

Live this week as Jesus would,


Monday, July 5, 2010

Step Up!

Women of Faith:

It’s kind of interesting how sometimes you have a discussion with someone, and within a few days the same subject comes up again and gives you have the feeling of “I never thought of it that way.”

And how when you do something, or see something you like, you start looking around to see what others are doing or wearing or being or using?

Well, I started the week by accidently reading someone else’s blog, checking out what others were “blogging about,” which led to a discussion about that blog. That blog said something to the affect, about how frustrated we can get when we see someone who does something they think is good for them, actually hurts those around them, or is against the principles Jesus teaches in the bible. How we would like to “beat them” over the head until they “got the whole picture.”

My discussion with Stan followed with how we wished the people we came into contact with daily, our clients, friends and extended and immediate family, would go “one step up” and understand or realize how they are affecting others they care about, or how their lives were straying from the path we think Jesus wants for us.

It also led us to reflect on our own shortcomings, and where we have been, and where we want to go. We reflected that we haven’t and don’t always “get the whole picture,” and that we are sure that we have been done things in the past that have hurt others and haven’t been done with Christ by our side. We also know that we have to be careful not to be judgmental, that God will work in his own time, and that it is His time, not ours; His control, not ours; His way, not ours.

We also reflected on the things that we have done, the people we have met, the books we have read and the places that we have gone, that have made us grow spiritually; retreats like TEC (Teens Encounter Christ), youth service trips, our CEW (Christ Encounter Weekends) and Marriage Encounter; people like Zig Ziglar and Peter Lowe who are motivational speakers who firmly have God as their “leader and base;” and our readings and listening to Christian and Catholic radio and TV--to Patrick Madrid, Scott Hahn, Father Corapi, Mother Angelica, and others who so eloquently teach our faith with a real life perspective.

On a broader basis our discussion continued about how we wish the politicians who make laws understood the Ten Commandments and the Declaration of Independence and why this country sought “freedom of religion.” (Not so that we could make rules that did away with God’s commandments, but so that we could better live under and with God’s commandments as our guide.)

We aslo wished everyone from our closest family and friends to politicians would “step up” and take the time to listen, read, and understand some of these same faith broadening opportunities.

As is so often the case, Father gave me a different perspective on my dreams and wishes for myself and those I meet as he reflected on this Sunday’s readings. Lk 10:1-9 “He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. … Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.' If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you…. 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'"
Father said, “The bible shouldn’t be used “to beat someone over the head with,” but rather to offer it to as many as possible as a means as a “step up” to a life with Jesus as our guide and to our ultimate heavenly goal.

And finally his reflection served to remind me that everyone is in a different “growing place.” A growing place, not based on AGE, but on spiritual maturity. That even for the most mature, there is still room to grow and share.

Some of us are infants, taking baby steps, and living on the trust and faith alone theory, believing as long as we trust, someone (God), will take care of us.

Some of us are in the “teenage” rebellion years—not listening to anyone about God, or life, but only trusting ourself and the “feel good” attitude; thinking we know it all; not yet having had an experience that makes us realize that we really need to search, seek, grow, and look for the truth of God’s teachings; not yet realizing that there are many that we should listen to and that we really “don’t know it all.”

Some of us are in the honeymoon stage, not seeing that we have any problems, thinking that if nothing is wrong, why should I seek more, or fix something not broken. We are oblivious to the idea that there is and could be more to God’s love.

Others of us are in “midlife crisis,” realizing there are major problems in our faith life, not liking what we see in ourselves, seeking answers to questions, and ready to look to and accept God’s wisdom as our answers—those ready to be harvested, the plenty.

And finally some are in “spiritual maturity,” understanding God’s wisdom, understanding the need to share it with others, and the need to bring others along in their journey—these are the laborers who are so few.

Dear God, Praise be your Words, Your message, Your availability in my life. Forgive me for the times I have been a “rebellious teenager” thinking I knew it all. Please give me the maturity to grow in faith, to be always open to Your words and Your truth. Help me to use the bible as a “Step Up,” both for myself and to share with others. Amen.

Hoping you will join me in “Stepping Up!”