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Monday, January 25, 2016

The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul

"Therefore, brothers. Stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by word or by letter from us."
 2 Thessalonians 2:15

The story of Saul being knocked off his horse and blinded is one of my favorite ones from my childhood.  I think that is because I have related to Saul.  Thinking I was doing the right thing and running headlong into the fray.  Judge, Jury and Executioner.

Saul persecuted Our Lord in big ways before his conversion.  Binding up those he thought guilty, having them put to death or imprisoned.

Once Saul saw the light he was baptized and became one of the most important preachers of the Gospel.  He became Paul.  He preached anywhere and everywhere.  He was a prolific letter writer. He was martyred for his beliefs.

I too am guilty of being a persecutor of Our Lord.  No, I haven't had anyone arrested, thrown in prison or put to death.  But I have gossiped.  I have had unkind thoughts roll around in my head for days about someone, so much so that I have imprisoned them in my most unkind evaluation of them.

I have been uncharitable not only with my time, but with my treasure.  I have let my pride stand between me and others.  And is it not true then that it stands between me and my Lord?

There are actual persecutions going on now.  People are being threatened for their beliefs, they are being put to death for their beliefs.  I on the other hand have the freedom to worship when and how I want.  I have a Church and brothers and sisters in Christ at my disposal.  I have ready access to the Sacraments.  I have Freedom!

Lord, help me when I persecute
those around me, with my words,
my thoughts and my actions.

Remind me of the conversion of Saul.
Help me to be a better preacher of my beliefs,
by my words, but more importantly by my actions.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

They have no wine...

Mary can teach us kindness..."They have no wine" she told Jesus at Cana.  Let us, like her, be aware of the needs of the poor, be they spiritual or material, and let us, like her, give generously of the love and grace we are granted.  -Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

I have been a bit like that leaf floating down the river.  Not feeling like I have a direction.  Feeling a bit aimless.  Feeling dissatisfied.

I am not sure what I am dissatisfied with, but it is a vague cloud that hangs over me and makes me itchy.

If I look around I have so much to be thankful for in my life.  There are people, even in my own family, that are facing huge financial worries and health issues.  I have a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back, good friends, and most importantly I have my faith!

I am finding my way in this new phase of my life.  I am still enthusiastic about life and all the adventures that await me.  Our Lord has been revealing His mission for me in bits and pieces.  I like the big overview and then distill it down.  God works by handing out hints and teases me with my mission.  Why?  Because it is all about Trust, Abandonment, and Obedience.  The message is always the same.

God:  Trust me I have a plan.
Me: But have you thought about this or this?

God: Trust me I have a plan.  Have I ever let you down?
Me: No You have never let me down, BUT...

You get the picture.  Mary, as Father Charlie reminded me this morning, trusted her Son.  Today's Gospel has the only words attributed to Mary in the Bible.  "Do whatever He tells you."

Wise words indeed.  "Do whatever He tells you."

Lord, I may feel like that leaf floating down a river with no direction.
You have set my direction as I pass over each stone, branch or obstacle in my way.
You move me along in the shallows and the deep.  You let me linger in the stillness.
You move me rapidly when needed.

Lord, keep my heart and ear tuned to You.
Help me to take heed of Mary's words:
"Do whatever He tells you."

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Feast of the Epiphany

The star beckoned the three wise men out of their distant country and led them to recognize and adore the King of heaven and earth. The obedience of the star calls us to imitate its humble service: to be servants, as best we can, of the grace that invites all men to find Christ.
- St. Leo the Great

Our Lord calls all of us to recognize and adore Him.  How we choose to accomplish our mission is as different as each one of us.  All are called to serve.  It may be that we are called to a Consecrated Life, or one of marriage.  Perhaps, we are called to be in a Third Order or simply a Lay person sitting in a pew.  No matter our mission we all have been called.

The star still beckons us to seek Him.  Sometimes it beckons us to places that we do not want to go.  Often we are uncomfortable and yet we are called to follow that star.  I think that the star is such a strong symbol for me as I love to look up at the night sky and stand in wonder in all that God has made.

In that previous life on the boat when sailing at night the stars were guides to follow to a destination.  They were points of light punched in an ebony sky to remind me that I was not alone.  I may have been on a very small boat on the ocean, but I was not alone.  God set the stars out every night to keep me company as I listened to the snap of the sails and the whoosh of the water as it passed under the keel. It was there under the ceiling of "His Great Cathedral" that I heard Him speak to me.  He was a voice of comfort when the storms came.  He was and is a gentle reminder that I have been called.

Help me to listen.
Help me to hear with my whole being,
what it is that You ask of me.

May my response to following the star
be quick and steady.