Monday, August 27, 2012

Living the W Challenge

Women of Faith:
Old lessons die hard and this one goes back to my journalism days.

Just as I was challenged then to let the five W’s guide my writing, now I am challenged to let the five W’s guide my LIFE!

Who do I live for? The obvious answer is God. But as a Christian do I make the “obvious” visible to those around me?
Do I remember that without God I would not even have life? God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female* he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Gen 1: 27-28

What do I live for? Again the “obvious” answer for a Christian: eternal life in heaven. But again do I live the rest of the W’s with this purpose leading me?
 Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father." As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jn 6:60-69

When will I live? There is never a better time than NOW! And this answer is every day, always and forever.
Where do I live? Am I remembering to ask God into every corner of life? EVERYWHERE!!

Why do I live for God? Because I am a member of his body. Eph 5:30 And to who else would I turn?
Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." Jn 6: 60-69

And just as each journalism story is completed by a substantive question, so does that same substantive question complete my life story—HOW!  
HOW do I live my life? It is my choice as to how I complete my own story.

So be imitators of God* as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us. Eph 5: 1-2 (See all of Eph 4,5,6 for more practical answers.)
Joshua addressed all the people:"If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve…. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Jos 24: 1-2a

Do I believe in my purpose? And do I live as I believe?
Is my Christian role to “imitate in service” being guided by the WHO and WHAT and lived by the HOW, WHEN and WHERE and WHY? Or have I returned to my “former life” because I have lost sight of the W’s?

Heavenly Father, You are love and Your Love is what gives us life. Please guide each of us to eternal life, with Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition thru your Spirit. Help me to serve You by serving Your people—the true gifts of life—everyone, everywhere, now! Thank you for giving me hope by Your death on the cross which promised eternal life for all who seek You. Today I especially ask your prayers on Andy’s new journey in discernment and study at Loras Seminary, so that he will come to know your call—the who, what, when, where, why and how of his life. Amen.
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW will I live this week. It is my choice if my answers will be Through Him, In Him and For Him,


Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting an education

Women of Faith:
As our children head back to school we need to take a serious look at: 1) what will they learn? and 2) why do we send them to school—why do we think education is necessary?

Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding." Prv 9: 6
Education is VERY important. We don’t want our children to be foolish. They need to UNDERSTAND the world in which they live.

Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. Eph 5:15-17
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord. Eph 6:4

The prayer over parents at their children’s baptism further instructs and reminds: Parents, you will be the first teachers of your child.”
So, as parents, do we pay attention to what our children (and we) learn or do we just “expect” that everything they (and we) are taught is right? Are we training, instructing, and learning in the Lord and making sure the exposure we, and they, have to God’s teachings is a priority in education?

I think that most “career” educators, regardless of their religious or moral beliefs, would agree that teaching a child with active parent involvement is a much easier task, than to teach those who expect the teacher to do it all.
So, are we all, the educator, the parent and the child learning WWJD? Or are we all learning what society wants us to know and teach?

The “public” has separated church from state—this includes many aspects of law, including education. I believe the intention of our Founding Father’s guidance was that God would be “let in”—not “put out.”
How am I learning and teaching Character Counts—trust, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship—through God’s eyes, or through completely secular eyes? Am I, as a first teacher, teaching the difference?

In God’s eyes Character Counts should teach us how to serve each other, how to care about each other, and how to give to others.
God designed LIFE and He designed marriage between one-man and one-woman who can and will continue to bring life to this world. He didn’t teach “equality or fairness” as society wants us to believe.

So there is a need for all of us as Christians to reinsert God into education and to help each other understand that the law of society which says abortion is “legal” and that “marriage” is “equal treatment between living partners” is going against a GREATER law—God’s law.
Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. Eph 5: 6-7

And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Eph 5 18-20
It is our responsibility as parents to be our children’s first teachers: to not “expect” that anyone else is necessarily training and instructing them in the Lord.

Heavenly Father, you are the greatest teacher. Please bless all teachers and those who instruct them with the wisdom that You are not to be PUT OUT, but that we are to LET you into our lives. Bless us with the understanding and the wisdom to put YOU back INTO our children’s lives and education. Thank you for all teachers who teach that God’s morals are the Characters that Count. Amen.
May all students and teachers (that would be EVERYONE of us) be filled with God’s wisdom and understanding!

Blessings through Him, in the Spirit,

Monday, August 13, 2012

"I do it myself"

Friends of Faith:
I’m feeling a little alone this morning as I find myself, for the first time in about four weeks, alone in my own house, with none of our children and no precious grandchildren (ages 2 & 4) saying “I do it myself.”
And yet I see God written all over the last four weeks, the last four years, the last forty years plus –in the realization that I didn’t do any of this by myself—God was in complete control—giving me gifts beyond measure—a husband, children and grandchildren, continuing another circle of life.

He gave us life and marriage and life again--“In the beginning God created… (all living creatures)...then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being….The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him…..The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a helper suited to the man. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman. When he brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.*Gn2:7, 18, 20-24

And for the third week in a row we heard that not only did He give us life at creation, but He gives us life through the body and blood of the Eucharist: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Jn 6:51

I am not to “do it FOR myself” I am to “do it for God.” I was created to be a “helper.”

I am not to “choose” whether I will give life—He has given me the gift of life.

And just as we have to have patience with a two year old who wants to do it herself we are to have patience with God who does it Himself—IF we let him.

For with God all things are possible.” Mt 19:26

God is in control: of our life and our every blessing here on earth—family, food, shelter and health, and ultimately our spiritual well-being, our eternal health and life in heaven.

Heavenly Father, You are the Maker, the Creator, the Life of us all. Help me to appreciate and never take for granted all of the living gifts you have given me. Thank you for physical health, for the spiritual food of Your word, and for the heavenly food given to us by Your institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Praise be your life giving rain and sunshine which provides food for our earthly bodies. Amen.

So while we have gotten very good at “doing it ourselves” have we forgotten that God’s purpose for us was to be “helpmates” for each other?

And has teaching “I do it myself” become “it’s all about me”—selfishness?

Or should it be an opportunity to teach patience, dependence on each other, reliance on God, appreciation of life and thanksgiving for our many gifts, especially the gift of life itself.

Will we teach just as strongly: “I do it for God?”

What can I really do myself? I can choose God’s truth. I can choose life. And I can choose to be a helpmate to all of his human creation.

This week “do it for God and with God”—not by yourself or for yourself,


Monday, August 6, 2012

My favorite things

Women of Faith:
We all have “favorites” we wouldn’t be without because we think those favorites are the best, taste the best or make us better people just because we believe in them.

We believe in brands and breeds sometimes without reason or true understanding of why we believe what we believe. Beliefs we have because we have been influenced or convinced by someone that one “brand” is better than another—some of my favorites: Ford vehicles, the Chicago Cubs, Amana appliances, black lab puppies, Kohl’s and Heinz ketchup.

Brothers and sisters: I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth. Eph 4:17-24

Our favorites should be real, change us, improve us and give us a new way of life.

But all vehicles, even Ford’s, wear out; all teams lose sometimes, even the Cubs; all appliances have both good and not so good features; puppies grow up; stores make new policies and as far as I know most ketchup is made out of basically the same ingredients.

But God, and the Catholic, universal, Church that he designed, entrusted to Peter (Rock) never wear out. He always forgives my faults and His features are designed to make me better. And God, thru the Church and the Bible, have remained constant and true regardless of what has happened in this world for the last 2000 years.

Do I consider Him and raise Him and promote Him to the same level as my favorite things?

"Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.. So they said to Him, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." So they said to him, "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? …. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." … Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." Jn 6: 24-36

Heavenly Father, “Amen, amen, I say to you. You are the true bread from heaven. You give life to the world.” (Jn 6) May You become the favorite to all those who are unsure of what to believe. Help me to believe in my heart and to live my life in a way that will convince others that you should be a favorite of theirs too. Thank you for the signs that you so subtly give to encourage those who believe. Amen.

Does my life promote God as my favorite?

This week convince someone that God is the most important part, the FAVORITE part of your life!