Monday, February 25, 2013


Friends of Faith:

Converted, transformed, and transfigured—changed!
“Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” Lk 9: 28-29

Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers and sisters, and observe those who thus conduct themselves according to the model you have in us. For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their “shame.”Their minds are occupied with earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord.”
Phil 3:17-4:1
This is what Christ asks of us: To be imitators of him, to be transfigured, to become dazzling white. What a goal, what an image Christ gives us of the glory that awaits us.

And as this passage tells us, in his tears, St. Paul sees our destruction. He is able to see those who conduct themselves shamefully as enemies of Christ.
Sometimes I feel very much as if my heart will break just as Christ’s must be while he watches our world disintegrate in immorality and in the shameful actions around us.

Sometimes I shed tears for myself as I realize that I too have fallen in sin and have failed to live out an opportunity he has given to me to be his imitator.
And just as I feel those tears, I turn around and am given the opportunity to reach out to Him for His mercy and to be forgiven through the reception of freely given grace in the sacrament of reconciliation.

And in the past two weekends, I was also given the opportunity to witness the metamorphosis, the change, the conversion, from the unnoticed caterpillar to the beauty of the glorious butterfly in others as they were converted by their participation in powerful Christian Experience Weekends (CEW).
The stories of conversion, the transformation and the movement of the Spirit through these weekends is a gratifying, hope-filled witness to what real life Christian transfiguration is today.

The weekends, by the witnesses within them, make me stand up and notice that Christ does reveal himself when we have our eyes open, when we are ready to notice, when we are ready to take action, so that good will triumph over evil if we are willing to let him enter our lives.
CEW and reconciliation are both present day revelations and reminders of all that Christ promised us with his death on the cross.

Heavenly Father, You are the law, You are our citizenship. We are created in your image and in your likeness. Help me to live up to that image. Help me to open my heart to be receptive to Your Spirit. Help me to notice all of the greatness you have placed around me. Thank you for the revelations of those you have transformed who witness to me and who give me hope. Help me to not be discouraged by the evils of this world, but to always seek hope in Your name. Amen.

Our citizenship is truly in heaven. May we stand firm in the Lord, because His law is true law.
This week be transfigured by the image of Christ and become an imitator of Christ.


Monday, February 18, 2013


Friends of Faith:

It is so easy in today’s world to fall into a trap set by the devil. It seems no matter where we turn there is an excess: fast food, un-inhibitive drink, easy money, “stuff” and lustful sex: instant gratification.
And by our human nature we all want to stop our suffering, “keep up with the Jones’,” and receive every need without too much effort on our part and without responsibility or consequence for our actions. We take little responsibility for what ails us, and we tend to blame others, and even God, for what we lack.

In yesterday’s gospel Christ was tempted 3 times while he walked in the dessert. The devil tempted him to use his power to stop his suffering.
Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. Lk 4: 1-13

So too, are we asked to use our “power,” (our pride)to rely on ourselves, to fall into the traps of the world, to take the easy way out, rather than depending on God to take care of us in our times of need.
We don’t accept suffering well, and we think there must be some way to “work” ourselves out of whatever ailment that befalls us.

That is what temptation is: reliance on “our power” instead of God’s. Reliance on money and government programs to take care of us; trusting only in ourselves instead of praying to God for his blessings; and accepting our sufferings as His way of teaching us His power and as a way to more closely see His caring love for us.
Heavenly Father: Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble. No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent ,for to his angels he has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. Ps 91: 14-15 Amen.

Ponder this then today: What evil is tempting you today? What temptations are you falling to? Is your trust in God and in His people, or is your trust in a “manufactured” earthly power (the government) to take care of you? Is “pride” the obstacle that blinds you from recognizing God in your sufferings?
May we all be blessed with the strength and courage to follow God and His heavenly powers as we walk in this earthly dessert of life,


Monday, February 11, 2013

Going Deeper

Friends of Faith:

Over the years I have made hasty decisions based on first impression judgments, decisions which I wished I could take back or judgments that were “overturned” by further investigation.
I am often too impatient to listen for opposing views—views which often have merit or experiences beyond my own.

Sometime it takes a leap of faith to be open to study and/or search for the reason or the truth behind a message or an action revealed to me.
It takes even more faith to search within myself for my own faults. Because when I find those faults then I will have to change long held beliefs—beliefs that may be creating conflict in close relationships (with a family member or friend) or beliefs that go against societal norms—making me an outcast.

Have you ever believed something about someone, and then found out that their background or experiences “gave reason” for their action or views?
Have you ever had that “sinking feeling” that maybe you were wrong, that you were in over your head, or that you have “put your foot” into your mouth without a background to prove your position?

Have you ever tried for a long time to make something different, hoping and praying that someone or something would come to your aid and then when it did, have not wanted to do what you were being asked to do?
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. Lk 5: 3-6

The apostles were fishermen by trade, they had much experience. Yet Christ came along and asked them to go deeper, to try a new way, to change their opinions, to have the faith to believe in Him, to follow Him and to do as He asked.
They resisted just as most of us would have. They reminded Christ that they had already worked long and hard, that they were experienced. They thought they “knew it all.”

And yet, when they gave in, when they went deeper, when they took that “leap of faith” they were rewarded with a “catch” so great it tore their nets.
God often asks us to go deeper, to search for His truth. He tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn 14:6

Sometimes we aren’t ready to hear His truth and sometimes we choose to ignore His truth because it seems too difficult or it is inconsistent with “what everyone else is doing.”
I have prayed patiently and impatiently for change and then realized that what I was praying for was “my solution” instead of God’s solution. And God’s solution is often not what I think it will be—because the problem is not usually someone else’s, but my own attitude towards someone else.

It is much more difficult to become the solution, to go deep within me and change my attitude, than it is to pray to change someone else’s.
Heavenly Father, YOU ARE the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. Forgive me for when I make hasty judgments or pray for my wants instead of your plans for me. Help me to have a heart open and willing to search deeper into your teachings. Help me to have a heart of compassion for your “chosen children.” Thank you for giving me the opportunity to receive Your grace in the sacraments, especially at Mass in the sacrifice of the Eucharist. And thank you for the “full net” of gifts I have received by going deeper in faith: a Holy marriage, a loving spouse, and faithful friends and family. Amen.

I am learning to pray not for “my way” but “God’s way, God’s truth, God’s life” for me.
I am learning to “trust” that the people God puts in my life are truly the gifts of life.

Sometimes I go deeper in faith by studying so I can become a messenger of faith; sometimes I go deeper in faith by being a student of my friends and families faith; and sometimes I am blessed to simply witness the their depth of faith because they are able to conquer their challenges and sufferings thru His gifts of courage, wisdom, and perseverance.

As I learn the truth, I see the truth (the way); and as I see the way, I am entrusted with the life, liberty and true freedom given to us by God’s grace in joy and peace.
May your search for truth grow deeper, as God is forever, and ever, deeply more.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Love and Trust Near

Women of Faith:

Be bold, be humble. Speak the truth about love.

Why is it that we are so ready to believe something created by humans, yet are so fearful of speaking and believing the truth created by God?

Were you disgusted or did you believe what you saw depicted as love, and as “normal,” in the multi-million dollar ads on TV during the Super Bowl? Will you be as ready to stand up and advertise real love and real truth?

“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” Lk 4: 24

(CNA/EWTN News) ‘Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday asked Christians to proclaim God’s love with “boldness, humility and coherence” like Jesus.
“Let us ask the Lord to give each of us a spirit of courage and wisdom, so that in our words and actions, we may proclaim the saving truth of God’s love with boldness, humility and coherence,” said Pope Benedict.
“Jesus did not come to seek the consent of men, but to give testimony to the truth. The true prophet does not obey anyone other than God and places himself at the service of truth, ready to pay in person.”
He noted that “it is true that Jesus is the prophet of love, but love has its own truth. Love and truth are “two names for the same reality” and “two names of God.”
“Love does not boast, it is not puffed up with pride, it is not disrespectful, it does not seek its own interests and does not get angry. It does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice over wrongdoings but rejoices with the truth,” he said. (1 Cor 13: 4-6)
The Pope said that to believe in God is to “give up prejudices and accept the concrete face in which he has revealed himself, the man Jesus of Nazareth. This way also leads to recognize him and serve him in others.”
He talked about the Sunday reading in which Jesus reads a passage of the Old Testament at a synagogue. Jesus said that “no prophet is accepted in his own country” and named two miracles performed by the prophets Elijah and Elisha.
Pope Benedict said Jesus’ words “showed that sometimes there is more faith outside of Israel.”
“At that point the reaction was unanimous as all rose to hunt him down and to try to throw him off a cliff, but he calmly passes through the angry people and leaves,” said Pope Benedict.
“Why did Jesus want to cause this failure?” he asked.
“But this is precisely the point: Jesus did not come to seek the consent of men, but to give testimony to the truth.”’ (CNA/EWTN News)

It is often easier to hear the “prophets of afar.” It is often easier to listen to the social and cultural media ads by giving them greater authority, by allowing them to distance me from living my Christian beliefs and values, and by enticing me to believe that I can judge and live by my own standards. Instead I should be listening to, responding to and speaking about the message that Jesus brought to us through his life of sacrifice and death on the cross.

Instead of “hearing” those God has placed nearest to me to help guide me: my spouse and faith filled friends, instead, sometimes, it can seem easier to choose to throw Him (them) off the cliff and believe in the media, the culture, so that I can remain “socially” acceptable.

In faith, however, I know the nearness of the truth within myself—the natural and born again truth, thru Christian baptism in water and the Spirit, which He created within my heart and soul for all eternity.

Jesus is “that native place,” the voice of truth and love.  He is present to offer me hope.  

By trusting in the real truth, by accepting His forgiveness, and by responding to those around me in charity and love, with patience and kindness, then my eternal reward will be far greater than anything temporary offered to me here on earth.

Heavenly Father, I will sing of YOUR salvation. You are so very near. Help me to speak YOUR truth. Help me to sacrifice me, for You! Guide me to avoid the temptations of following that which is far from Your path by being more aware of Your love which is so near. Give me the faith to speak up for the far richer gifts of heavenly reward while denying and avoiding the temptations of the temporary richness of this world.  Amen.

Jesus doesn’t need our consent. He is VERY near and only needs us to follow.

Will you accept the love and truth that is Christ near you?

Be blessed by seeing AND accepting Christ,