Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Renew Firm Trust in the Lord




We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired in order to strengthen our own faith in God in a context that seems to push faith more and more toward the margins of life. I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord. I would like that we all, entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk every day, even in times of struggle. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. I thank You for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us! Let us thank God for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but He also expects that we love Him!    
  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Advice from the Doorkeeper




  

Father Solanus Casey offers some good advice - for the faithful, but most especially - for the Permanent Deacon....

"We should ever be grateful for and love the vocation to which God has called us. This applies to every vocation because, after all, what a privilege it is to serve God, even in the least capacity!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What-are-you-giving-up-for-Lent?

I saw this post at the Deacons Bench blog. It was too good for me NOT to grab it and post here.

I pray that you all have a prayerful Ash Wednesday and a very good Lent.


Monday afternoon, somebody sent me a message on Facebook that put the last 48 hours into perspective.


This year, he wrote, the winner of the “What-are-you-giving-up-for-Lent?” prize goes to the pope.


I don’t think anyone would disagree.

As I’ve watched this story unfold for the last two days, and read commentaries and analysis, it becomes more clear to me that what the Holy Father is doing is not only historic, not only courageous. It is also profoundly humble. And it is, in its way, a gift to all of us.

His predecessor showed the world how to die. Benedict is teaching us how to live.

Teaching was always his first love. It’s said that when Joseph Ratzinger taught college courses in Germany over 50 years ago, townspeople would crowd into the classrooms, just to listen. So often, as pope, he has taught not just with words—with his remarkable books, letters and encyclicals—but also by example. His love of beauty, of tradition, of reverence have reminded us of our history. He has been as much professor as Pope.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that once again, hours before the beginning of Lent, he has taught us by his example the real meaning of this season.

Maybe we think we know what Lent is about: fasting, alms-giving, prayer. And, of course, a sense of finality. We begin it all with these grey-black reminders on our brows. The ashes tell anyone who sees us: “We are sinners. We are human. We are dust.” Those ashes are the great equalizer. No matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter how much you make…you are dust.

No matter what awards you win or honors you achieve, however beautiful you may be…you are dust.

We are dust. Every one of us. These ashes proclaim that to the world—and declare that the great work of Lent has begun.


They are a mark of our humanity—and, significantly, our humility. Which is why what Pope Benedict did this week may be the ultimate lesson for Lent.

It is a lesson in letting go.

A man who has, arguably, the most important job in the world is letting it go. In our modern age, that is almost unthinkable.

We are used to climbing the ladder and enjoying the view. We’re taught to work for the best office in the building and the best seat at the table. We strive to get, to own, to possess, to control. We’re used to holding on.

We’re not used to letting go.

But Benedict is saying: “It’s okay. Let go.” Know when it is time to let someone else lead. Know when it’s time to follow. Let go.

To borrow a phrase from the recovery movement: let go…and let God.

How many of us have trouble with that? Over the next 40 days, we need to take a hard look at those things in our lives that we are holding onto.

This Lent, don’t give them up. Let them go.

We can’t all let go of powerful positions, as the pope is doing. But look at all the other things that define who we are, what we do. And look, in particular, at the choices that lead us to sin.

What are they? How about pride? Let it go. Let go of always feeling like you have all the answers. Let go of pettiness, jealousy, gossip. Let go of sarcasm. Let go of bitterness, hostility, anger. Let go of fear.

Let go of the temptation to just step around the guy on the sidewalk, or avoid the old woman down the hall, or spend that last five bucks on a cinnamon dolce crème frappuccino. Instead, spend what you have elsewhere. Spend time with someone who is lonely. Spend money on the poor. Spend your prayers on those who have no one to pray for them.

And let go of anything that gets in the way between you and God.

There is no better time than here and now. Remember: we are dust.

While our Lenten journey begins on a day of ashes, it doesn’t end there. It ends on a day of resurrection and salvation and radiant hope.

So, across these 40 days, look to that day. And during this time of hope and expectation and self-examination, look East, to Rome. Keep the Holy Father in your prayers. Pray for those who will choose his successor. Pray in a special way for all the church.

And pray that all of us can learn from Pope Benedict’s extraordinary example this Lent.

Let that be our lesson, and let him be our teacher. He is offering us the lesson of a lifetime.

This Lent, may we all have the courage, the faith, and the trust to know when to let go…and let God.



Monday, February 11, 2013

Our Dearest Holy Father will Retire - Some Words from Cardinal Timothy Dolan


Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued this statement moments after learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013:

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The Holy Father brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did. His resignation is but another sign of his great care for the Church. We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St. Peter.

Though 78 when he elected pope in 2005, he set out to meet his people – and they were of all faiths – all over the world. He visited the religiously threatened – Jews, Muslims and Christians in the war-torn Middle East, the desperately poor in Africa, and the world’s youth gathered to meet him in Australia, Germany, Spain and Brazil.

He delighted our beloved United States of America when he visited Washington and New York in 2008. As a favored statesman he greeted notables at the White House. As a spiritual leader he led the Catholic community in prayer at Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As a pastor feeling pain in a stirring, private meeting at the Vatican nunciature in Washington, he brought a listening heart to victims of sexual abuse by clerics.

Pope Benedict often cited the significance of eternal truths and he warned of a dictatorship of relativism. Some values, such as human life, stand out above all others, he taught again and again. It is a message for eternity.

He unified Catholics and reached out to schismatic groups in hopes of drawing them back to the church. More unites us than divides us, he said by word and deed. That message is for eternity.

He spoke for the world’s poor when he visited them and wrote of equality among nations in his peace messages and encyclicals. He pleaded for a more equitable share of world resources and for a respect for God’s creation in nature.

Those who met him, heard him speak and read his clear, profound writings found themselves moved and changed. In all he said and did he urged people everywhere to know and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

The occasion of his resignation stands as an important moment in our lives as citizens of the world. Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict. Our hope impels us to pray that the College of Cardinals under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit choose a worthy successor to meet the challenges present in today’s world.



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Grace and Peace


May we all grow in grace and peace, and not neglect the silence that is printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us. It is more than silence.- Thomas Merton



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Saint Agatha

 
Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am - you alone. I am your sheep; make me worthy to overcome the devil. - St. Agatha