What is God doing?

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So, it is times like this that the answer cannot be simply nothing.  No matter how cynical you may be about Christianity for all sorts of reasons that any good atheist could give you, you have to see that this God of Christianity is making himself present in our media right now.  Within the past few years, we have seen a Pope step down and a new one get elected.  The new Pope chose the name “Francis” and has been setting the world on fire with his off the cuff manner of speaking.  In the past few months, we have seen the release of a movie about Jesus, called the “Son of God”

Also, there was a controversial release of a movie about a prominent figure from the Bible, called “Noah”

In the last two weeks, there was the release of the movie, “God’s Not Dead”, which tells the story of a young man who has to argue his faith against his professor in college.

The last one is the latest release from this week, and possibly the most influential film on the non-believers.  The movie is called, “Heaven is for Real” and it is based on a book about a boy who told his parents about his experiences in Heaven when he had a near death experience at a very young age…

So, you put all of these movies together with the canonizations of two recent Popes that will happen on the octave of Easter, and I am left with the distinct impression that God is trying to say something to us right now.

To me, I believe the message is that God is preparing the world to hear the message of Divine Mercy Sunday…If you are wondering what that message is…Check here…

http://www.thedivinemercy.org/celebrate/greatgrace/dms.php

 

 

April Fool’s Day!

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Thanks be to God for this beautiful sunrise!

Thanks be to God for this beautiful sunrise!

So, today is the day that our culture celebrates stupidity. For me, that usually means that I fall victim to any number of pranks pulled by the closet tricksters that come out of the closet on this holy day of obligation for those who are entertained by such things. Truth be told, I am not above pulling a good prank on someone, but I refuse to believe that we need a day to remember to do this on. I thought about making the title of this post, “Why I am leaving the Catholic Church?” I realized quickly that I would have to let on to the joke fast, so that those that knew me would not lose hope because of my apparent lack of faith.

I would to offer an alternate view of April 1st. Let’s call it a day of hope. As we continue through this season of Lent, the time of our preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, we could take today as a reminder that the race of life is over too quickly on earth, so let’s look around at all that God created and see that it is very good and He is worthy of our praise.  Let us be hopeful that God is creating every thing new in us and for us in the New Jerusalem.

Sinners everywhere…even here!

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As I showed up at the prayer site for our 40 Day for Life campaign, here in Springfield, Oregon, I noticed that an old friend from the Ukrainian Catholic Church was there praying.  OK, he was actually taking a break on the bench at the bus stop as I pulled up, but who cares…I guess I do!  Anyway, I prayed the 7 Sorrows of Mary rosary and was starting to pray the Sorrowful mysteries of the rosary when a new friend, Dan showed up to pray with me.  I had only gotten to the Scourging at the Pillar when he interrupted me.  I realized quickly that he was not Catholic as he prayed a spontaneous prayer and used Lord God in his reference to the Creator as we prayed together.  I really like to pray, so his spontaneous prayer was awesome, and I guess I shouldn’t mind that he cut off my prayer that I was in the middle of…But I do!  Finally, Diane showed up to peacefully protest abortion in front of the Planned Parenthood with us, and she told me that I should not worry about offending an atheist who sometimes joins us to protest abortion and tells me he is not comfortable with my sign saying that we are praying.  Her aggressiveness is excusable because she has been upset for a while with her people that are often too liberal for her to worship with them…But it still bothers me that she tells me what I should do!

When I got back to my office, I read through the gospel reading from today’s Mass readings.  I realize that I need to forgive them all for what I perceived as a wrong that I saw in their service to the cause of ending abortion in our community.  The reason for my forgiveness for them is that I am hoping that God will have mercy on me for the judgemental way that I seem to have approached my service to the 40 Days for Life campaign to end abortion in our community today.

Truth is, I am extremely thankful for their service to pray with me today and it gives me hope to know that there are others in our community that are willing to stand up for the wrong that they see in our world.  Also, I need to remember to ask for forgiveness from Carol, who showed up at the end of my hour to join with us in prayer and I didn’t even introduce her to the group, because I couldn’t immediately think of her name when I first saw her.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…Amen!Image

What is God telling you to do right now?

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Daily reflections from USCCB website…

When I read the daily readings this morning in preparation for the communion service that I was supposed to lead, I heard the message of Jesus in the gospel reading for today saying that we should recognize the work that Doctors and Nurses do daily in healing the body with the work of their hands and their incredible minds.  It was that Jesus could have just healed the man’s eyes without even touching him, but he chose to put spittle and place his blessed hands on the man’s eyes.  He is revealing the nature of the work of people called to heal others, but reminding us that it is by his power that any healing actually occurs, or better said, by his will it is done.  We are reminded of this when he goes in the second time without spittle and just laid his hands on his eyes and they are healed.

In the first reading, we hear a call from the letter of Saint James, to do the work necessary to follow God’s will, and in the gospel reading we hear Jesus tell us to remember to rely on God’s will and not only on our own understanding or will.  I believe that these two things can be worked together in unison, and need to be for hospitals and medical facilities to do their most effective work in the healing ministry in which they have undertaken to follow.  Rather than draw any other conclusions about the work that hospitals and medical facilities should not be concerned with, I will let you draw that conclusion…God bless you!

More thoughts from the Kings and His Kingdom…

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After yesterday’s first reading that I heard proclaimed in Spanish during our Monday morning Spanish Mass here at Saint Alice, I was moved during Father Jaspers homily to ponder how when the priest at our Mass returns the Eucharist to the tabernacle, we can see that the same way that the Israelites in Jerusalem saw the building of the first temple.  It is God made present for us on earth, so that we can adore him and worship him, even though it may not be visible to those that don’t believe, there is no disputing the fact that we believe that God is present there.  We should be like the Israelites in Jerusalem during the time of completion of the first temple, how they rejoiced and praised God for agreeing to make a home among us, until he comes again, to bring us all home to him.

Today, as I prepared to come to work to deal with multiple issues that exist at our church, with the water and power, I thought about how much the three Kings of Israel taught us about our faith.  We must remember when we ask for something to guide us that is of this world, we are in danger of being ruled by it and our flesh, like the Israelites who asked for a King and ended up with King Saul, who ruled the people in a way that left some feeling left out, or at least subservient to the ruling class that was the family and friends of King Saul.  As for King David, we learned that when we neglect our duties as administrator and ruler of our family, we can be left with a big mess to clean up.  As for King Solomon, we learned that if we mess around with worship outside of the one true God, we end up with a jealous God, who shows us who is boss.

Through it all, we know that God’s favor rested with his people and their King, and he was willing to carry them through their faults until it was time to move on to the next phase of the salvation story.  Thankfully, we have the one true King, Jesus Christ, who has revealed to us the nature of a godly man who rules over his people by showing them how to love each other.  Also, we have the historical account of these early Kings of Israel to remind us how God will allow us to be ruled by things that we choose, but only in so far as they will eventually lead us back to him.  It is by his grace that we are saved, and our hope is that we will never lose sight of the path that he has prepared for us to lead us to salvation.

Thoughts on sonship…

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I have been thinking about King David lately, because of the fact that we have been hearing about him in the first readings at Mass lately.  Also, I have been thinking about how much being the chosen ones of God should give us a moment of pause.  Even more than just a moment of pause, it reminds me that as the chosen one, I need to be constantly reminding my children that they are going to have to follow God on their own and not rely on the fact that God is doing work in their Dad as a foundation for their faith.  If the son of King David, Absalom, tells us anything, it should be that it is incumbent on the son to continue to follow the Father in his humility and obedience to God’s will, or the end could be bad.  See the first reading from Today’s Mass for the context.  As for King Solomon, who succeeded King David on the throne, he followed to many of Dad’s bad habits and not enough of his virtues to guarantee the lineage of the Father staying on the throne, at least in the physical world and as far as earthly thrones are concerned.  My hope for my children, and all the Christian children in our world today, is that they will follow their Fathers in the faith, maybe not necessarily their own Fathers, if they are not faithful to God, so that God will continue to bless this world with his mercy and allow our world to convert, as God has shown us his mercy today.  My hope is that their faithfulness and use of their gifts to give glory to God in all things will give the world enough time to the greatest multitude of people the chance to accept the salvific message of the Gospel…For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on me and on the whole world…Amen!!!Image

Feast of Saint John Bosco…

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In honor of Saint John Bosco, who was a great teacher and example for young people, let’s share this video with as many people as possible.  Thanks to Christopher Stefanik for being a modern-day teacher and good example for all of us involved in educating young people in the faith.

Hopefully, more young people will think about the content of the programming on the TV and computer that they are consuming…Here is the first reading from the readings for Today’s Mass that prompted me to share this video again today…

FIRST READING          Phil 4:4-9
Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to share with me in the Word of God…Blessings on the rest of your day!

I hope it’s not too late…

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Today’s morning Mass was beautiful and amazing, for too many reasons to mention on my post, because it would take too much time to explain them all.  However, yesterday’s Mass was amazing for another reason, and it was what motivated this post.  Every once in a while, I get to really get into the readings before they are proclaimed at Mass.  Yesterday, the first reading really challenged me because of the tone that was so dark.  It ended with the Israelites being defeated by the Philistines, and the ark of the covenant being captured. It was the sense of despair that I felt creeping in to my heart as I read the first reading that prompted me to read the context of this reading.  It was 1 Samuel, chapter 4, and you can read it by clicking the hyperlink.  At the end of the chapter, we hear about Eli’s daughter-in-law who gave birth to a son, and named him Ichabod, because the ark of the covenant was no longer in Israel, and she said, “Gone is the glory from Israel”.   Our understanding of the name Ichabod is largely related to the Ichabod Crane character from Disney and “Sleepy Hollow” fame, but this version from the Bible has so much more to tell us.  The history and tradition of Phinehas’ son, Ichabod, is not very clear, but the history of what happened to the ark of the covenant next is very clear, and I believe, quite revealing.

If you read on in the book of Samuel about what the Philistines did with the ark and how the gods that they followed were placed in a place of submission to the God of the Israelites that was to be found in the ark, you will see that there was no doubt in these foreigner’s minds that the ark had power.  So much so, that they ended up returning it to the Israelites without a fight.

For me today, I learned that wherever the ark of the covenant was located, the people were tormented by disease and death, if they were not worthy of holding it.  I can’t help feeling like our nation today is tormented by the disease and death, because we are not worthy of holding the ark of the covenant.  In my eyes, the tabernacles that hold the Corpus Christi, are equivalent to the ark of the covenant, at least in terms of how we should look at them as a place that has been given to his chosen people as a container that we can glimpse God in.

Even for non-Catholics, it is important to show reverence for the tabernacle and the Body and Blood of Christ that we call the Eucharist, because as the Philistines showed us, lack of reverence for the one true God can lead to bad things.  Please take a moment and thank God for allowing our country to bow down and worship the one true God in communion with the millions of other believers in the world today.

Adoration...

Adoration…

Inside the church, at the grotto...

Inside the church, at the grotto…

The chief Shepherd

The chief Shepherd

communion

Thank you Jesus…I’m sorry Jesus…I love you Jesus!!!

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As I participated in the Mass this morning at Saint Pius X in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho again this morning, it was as if Father Roger was again speaking directly to me.  The title for today’s post and video are motivated by the Holy Name of Jesus that we celebrate today.   This is the second day that I have had the pleasure of participating in the liturgy with this great community of Christians. Father Roger made it clear yesterday that we should hear God asking us, “Who are you?”. If we are like Saint Basil and Saint Gregory that we celebrated yesterday, our hope should be that we would be called “Christians”. There is no greater gift than to be allowed to follow in the footsteps of Christ, as a Christian.
For me, I heard the call to be known by the name that I received from divine inspiration. The name is still John and I am still hearing the call to bring attention to the Mother of God, Mary, who is the Mother of John, by order of Jesus on the Cross, and Our Mother by adoption based on our Baptism as brother and sisters of the Lord. We celebrated the Eighth Day of the Nativity on Wednesday, where we also celebrated the fact that Mary is the Mother of God. I love the Greek word for Mother of God, Theotokos.  I believe that this should become a great celebration in the church, much the same way that Divine Mercy Sunday is becoming. For different reasons, of course, and mostly because we need “Our Mother” to lead us to Jesus, otherwise why would God have chosen to come into this world through her.
We are reminded of the fact that the other John, John the Baptist, in the gospel reading for today’s Mass, that the focus of devotion to Mary should be to bring us to a better understanding of who Jesus is. As John the Baptist calls Jesus, the Lamb of God, we are reminded just over a week after celebrating the birth of Our Saviour, that His name means that “He Saves!”. He came to share in our humanity, so that we could share in his divinity, through his saving grace that saves us all.
As Father Roger said this morning, even if you struggle with the actual date that we celebrate the birth of Our Lord, you cannot escape the reality that He was born into this world to change our reality into something that is radically different from those people who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Not for the purpose of changing just us, but for the purpose of changing the whole world. So, in order to continue the work that was begun by John the Baptist about 2000 years ago, I will say that you should find your way to a Catholic Church and seek out the Lamb of God, Jesus, who is waiting to forgive your sins.
If that is not possible for you right now, ask Jesus into your heart and get out your Bible and see what He says the next step is for you. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world…Amen!

My guardian angel is calling me by name…

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The Guardian Angel

The Guardian Angel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have looked for a validation for calling my guardian angel by name, and I was told that I should be more concerned about the name he knows me by, and not what I call when I pray.  The name that came to me was John, and at first I wanted to accept that this was my guardian angel’s name.  However, I was troubled by the fact that I felt like that was the name that I thought I would take, if I was ever to be blessed with joining a religious community that accepted me under a new name.  Still, I felt called to use that name until I read the gospel for yesterday’s Mass and heard in the naming of John by Zechariah that I am called to be like John the Baptist, a herald of the one who is to come.  Then today, I read in a post by an inmate in jail in prison in New York, that we are called to be like John the Evangelist, to “Behold our Mother!”, who is Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother.

After completing the Consecration to Mary last year and completing the retreat of “Consoling the Heart of Jesus“, with the direction of Father Michael Gaitley and the spiritual direction of some amazing Saints, I have known that God is calling me to so much more than just a head knowledge or even the interior conversion that I have felt so wonderfully happening to me since taking on these two wonderful gifts of “do-it yourself” retreats.  This past week, our Advent Mission was directed by Father Philip Scott and I was directly told that I must make my life a complete gift to God and he is waiting for me to start the mission that he has for me.

As the writer of the blog from prison, These Stone Walls,  related happened to his companion, when he knew that God was calling him to greatness, and changed his name to Max, after Saint Maximillian Kolbe, I feel like from today on, I would like to be called John.  I would love to be known as the herald as the one to come, and I definitely want to be able to identify myself as a child of the Blessed Mother Mary, who is interceding for me now, as I write this post.  You can take this for whatever it means to you, but I think it is important for my guardian angel to know that I have made the conscious decision to be called by the name that I was given from heaven to be called…

I, John, do solemnly pray…Angel of God, my guardian Imagedear, to whom God’s love commits me here…Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide…Amen!