Monday, June 25, 2012

Is There another way?

Women of Faith:

Have you ever been given advice or told something which you didn’t particularly want to hear, or had a difficult time believing? Have you ever asked: “Is there another way?”
Or have you simply gone your own way and ignored the advice you were given – thinking “I know better?”Did you fail to believe the advice, or fail to trust that another person was going to fulfill their side of the bargain?

When Zechariah exhibited a lack of trust and disbelief in what he was told he was struck “speechless” (an angel appeared and told him his wife Sarah was going to have a baby in her old age). In Sunday’s gospel (Lk 1: 57-66) his speech returned after the birth of John the Baptist, Sarah’s nine months of pregnancy; and when he finally trusted in God’s word: that “his name will be John.”
We are warned many times in the bible to repent, trust and follow God: “Although prophets were sent to them to convert them to the LORD, the people would not listen to their warnings.” Chronicles 2:24 17-25

And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer, "Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers and which I sent you by my servants the prophets," they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who had not believed in the LORD, their God. They rejected his statutes, the covenant which he had made with their fathers, and the warnings which he had given them, till, in his great anger against Israel, the LORD put them away out of his sight. Only the tribe of Judah was left. 2 Kgs 17:13-18
Will we lose our own soul, or in our humanness the blessing of someone we love, because we fail to trust, because we have become stiff-necked and rejected the warnings and advice that God gives us through those he sends to us as His messengers?

Will we lose our speech, our ability to communicate, or some other important aspect of our life because God takes away a blessing we have chosen to ignore? (Have we cried “wolf” too many times –and now our plea, and prayer, for help is ignored?)
Will we have to be like Zechariah and lose the blessings we have been given before we come to appreciate all that we have? (Our health, our spouse, our children, our family, or any of our earthly possessions which we take for granted.)

It is a difficult lesson to learn, because in our human nature we are continually looking for an easier way out of whatever situation we have gotten ourselves into. And in our lack of faith we choose to ignore many of our blessings, and the Godly advice we are being given, because sometimes our own attitude seems to change a blessing into a “tough cross to bear” and not until the blessing is lost do we realize it’s importance or it’s true worth.
"If they violate My statutes and keep not My commands I will punish their crime with a rod and their guilt with stripes. Yet in My mercy I will not take away from them, nor will I betray My faithfulness." Ps 89: 31-34

God is patient, but eventually we all must stand and answer for what we have or have not done. He will grant us mercy, but we must repent and convert to gain that mercy.

Look into your hearts and ask, "What am I doing (or not doing) now that I will have to face later? What must I do
or change now in my life to make sure that I have given my trust completely to God?
“Am I following his commandments—ENTIRELY—not just the parts that seem to apply, are convenient to apply, or that I want to have applied to my life?

And probably most importantly,” what wise counsel am I receiving and ignoring because I want a different and easier way?” (Do you have a difficult job, a difficult boss, a difficult spouse, parent or child? And what advice are you ignoring because “there must be another way?”)
Heavenly Father, You have given me everything I need to inherit Your kingdom. Please be patient with me as I struggle to trust and to believe that EVERYTHING in my life must be as you ask. Help me to TRUST entirely, SERVE entirely, and LOVE ALL who cross my path – not just those I want to love, not just those I want to serve, but to seek the FULL truth. Thank you for those persons in my life who gently, yet persistently, continue to remind me of all You have blessed me with. Amen.

There is only one “right” way—God’s way. It may not be the easiest way—but God never said it would be easy. There is no “other way” to heaven.
Blessings on your journey,


Monday, June 18, 2012

I Saw a Sermon

Women of Faith:
It is always difficult to go back to work after a few days off, but for me I hope today will be different because I “Saw a Sermon:” A sermon which showed me a new vision of peace and tranquility –trust and calm.

Sermons We See, by Edgar Guest
"I'd rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear;
And the best of all preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it
if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live."

And I would like to thank some of our “tour guides” of the past three weeks for this “Sermon I See:” Fr. Chris Ditomo, Fr. Patrick, Fr. Stephen and Brother Michael.
Their collective “sermon I saw” was perfect for our time spent away from the craziness of life. And what I saw was “calm” and “trust” led by “joy in each moment” and “peace in their place.”

While we didn’t really sit still while we were together – time seemed almost as if it had stopped. There was no sense of urgency, only a sense of calm waiting and an anticipation and trust of where God would next lead us on our journey.
These young, energetic, faith filled men have learned to follow this weekend’s parable of TRUST that God will work if we let Him.

‘Jesus said to the crowds: "This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come."’ Mk 4:26-34
Collectively they were a “Sermon I could see” – the trust they have given to God in both their opportunities and their challenges: to grow them, mold them, and to let them bear the fruit and spread truth on their journey thru life: to truly be servants of God.

Heavenly Father: You are Here, You are Present, You are blessing me with everything I need. Help me to Trust that you will take care of my needs. Help me to give you Control of my life. Guide my actions, which speak louder than words, to always be honorable to Your call. Let me always be a willing servant. Thank you for keeping us safe on our travels and for opening doors to “new vision.” Bless all of those you call to the vocation of religious service. Amen.
Will you allow God to live through you?

Will your actions this week be a “sermon someone will see?”


Monday, June 11, 2012

Exposing the Iceberg

Women of Faith:
“I believe in God.”” God loves me.” “I was saved on …..” “I have been saved because I took Christ as my savior.”

Have you said those words? How much do you know about what they mean to you and to others?
Have we become like the captains of the Titanic in our faith? Do we think we know what is ahead of us simply because we believe in a few words? Could it be that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg? Are we going to be shipwrecked because we didn’t take the time to seek and expose what lies below?

Stan and I have always believed in the saying, “you never stop learning until the day you die.” And we have pushed ourselves to continually learn in every aspect of our lives. We understand that without continuous learning we would soon live only to exist. Unfortunately that is what many Christians do in their faith journey—they merely believe that God exists in their life, and that belief is all they need to know about Him.

Several years ago we went to a NACFLM (National Assoc. of Catholic Family Life Ministers) conference. Instinctively we knew that there was something under the “tip of God’s iceberg” that we hadn’t yet been exposed to as we shared our marriage in coaching couples who were struggling in their own marriages.
While our faith heard God’s call to give hope to our friends, we were blessed with the wisdom to know that our practical knowledge of marriage and faith was hiding something much richer, and much deeper, than the surface cliché’s of cultural marriage—we knew we were only seeing the “tip of the iceberg.”

We could easily have become just like the captains of the Titanic—shipwrecked by not knowing what lay below the surface, shipwrecked because we did not choose to “expose the iceberg!”
The conference was an opportunity for us to have God’s design for marriage revealed to us through Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and in couples like Greg and Julie Alexander, who’s own “crash” into the iceberg had given them an opportunity with God to delve below the surface. (

We continue to expose God’s plan for marriage—in a very practical sense begun in those first verses of Genesis 1: 26-27 and Gen 2: 18-24, continued through every book of the Bible (Eph 4,5, & 6 is a concise summary) and ending in our marriage to God in Revelations.  What we knew before and what we continue to learn each day is that our knowledge of all of God is only the tip of His heavenly “iceberg.”
THE key to a much deeper, much richer plan for our faith journey is continual learning and continual Eucharistic presence with God—because through our study and exposure to His Eucharist we continue to have God’s design and call in our lives revealed to us.

We often recall the story of Peter when he attempted to walk on water: when his faith waivered, he began to sink. (Mt 14: 22-33)
I am no different. Unless I constantly look below the surface of my faith and trust in His presence in my life – I will sink—regardless of where I think I am at personally. It is up to God to give me the grace I need on my journey. I have to ask so He can give; and it is not something I deserve, it is a gift I receive.

And there is always MORE below the surface to learn and I am always in need of His food in the Eucharist for strength on the journey.
And just like those who sank with the Titanic, many so called Christians of today’s world will sink because they choose to “believe” in God only on the surface: fearful of change or content to see only the “tip of the iceberg.” We all want “easy” rather than what God tells us will be persecution because we choose to expose, and to live, and to profess His truth.

"Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough…." Lk 13:22-30
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." Mt 7: 1-14

It is easier to take the wide path than it is to take the narrow. It is up to us to “expose” God’s truth, but culturally it can be easier to “believe” or ignore, than it is to “expose” the truth.
It is easier to say “I have been saved” than it is to act as if I believe (Jm 2:26 faith without works is dead.”)

It is easier to say a private prayer than it is to regularly attend church and spend time with God.
It is easier to center our priorities on cultural entertainment (music and sports) or in trying to make ourselves happy through societies definition of “success and happiness” (money and stuff) than it is to give up our time and money for another’s well being.

We can choose to change course and act on what is exposed to us by complete submission and trust in him, or we can choose to be shipwrecked by what is below the tip of the iceberg. God gives us that choice!
Heavenly Father, Your Truth is infinite. Help me to expose You and Your truth in my life. Strengthen me with Your grace and the courage to act on Your will. May I always be ready to dig below the surface of human truth. And may my exposure to Your truth, help me to evangelize and speak Your will to others, without fear of the consequences of this world. I only look forward to seeing You revealed in heaven. Amen.

Have I done everything possible to expose the truth of God’s call in my own life? Do I live my life according to God, and do I expose what is revealed to me, by God, to others? Will I be able to stay afloat on God’s heavenly water? Or will I sink, and allow others to sink with me, because I didn’t seek and expose God’s treasures that lie below the surface?


Monday, June 4, 2012

Our Responsibility as Citizens

Women of Faith:

It seems fitting that I am sending this message late, since tomorrow, Tuesday, is Iowa’s primary election day and the readings for Tuesday just so happen to refer to our duty as citizens.
"Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." Mk 12:17

“Caesar” gets back his earthly “dues”—that which is given to us by working for earthly rewards.
Is God getting back that which He has given to us for our heavenly rewards?

This election is not about the economy – it is about protecting life and the freedom to promote Christian values. For without a life with God we have no need of anything else.
God gave us everything and promises us more than we can even imagine in return. To give God back what belongs to Him is to give ourselves back to Him.  It means asking ourselves: “What would God expect of me and what decisions would God want me to make as an earthly citizen?”

We have a responsibility to vote for those who uphold our Christian consciousness: To vote for life and for those who will protect life; and to vote against the evils of abortion and against those who institute laws which fail to protect God’s institution of marriage, freedom of religion and His creation of family and family life.
By making our choices as citizens, through the lens of His commandments for daily living, we are giving back to God what belongs to God!

What does God see when he looks at my decisions? What evils does he see in me by the choices I make? Am I truly obeying him, serving him by serving others, and loving others as him, as I am called to do? Are my choices a reflection of His choices?

“Beloved: Wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, and at peace. And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.

Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.”
2 Pt 3: 12-17

“God doesn’t ask us to think about Him, he asks us to think about what He thinks about us.” Fr. Parr

Think about that statement for a moment… What does God think about the choices we make? Is He controlling the decisions in our lives, or is the evil one controlling us? (And this applies to all decisions—not just today at the voting booth.)
Heavenly Father: You have given us all life. Help us here on earth, by the decisions we make, to protect life, freedom of religion and the pursuit of your promises in heaven. Bless all of those elected to public office and may each of them always protect life and the institution of marriage which was created to give new life. Amen.

I hope that each of you will take a close look at the moral values being protected or promoted by the people you choose at the polls.
May we all be blessed by the votes of “one” Christian conscious on Tuesday,