Do we worry about our children?

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It was during the Office of Readings this morning that I realized that my children are messed up, because I am.  Let me explain…I read these words in the first reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah:

See the name of the Lord coming from afar in burning wrath, with lowering clouds!
His lips are filled with fury, his tongue is like a consuming fire;
His breath, like a flood in a ravine that reaches suddenly to the neck,
Will winnow the nations with a destructive winnowing,
and with repeated winnowings will he battle against them [and a bridle on the jaws of the peoples to send them astray].

(and finally)

Return, O children of Israel, to him whom you have utterly deserted. On that day each one of you shall spurn his sinful idols of silver and gold, which he made with his hands.
Assyria shall fall by a sword not wielded by man, no mortal sword shall devour him;

He shall flee before the sword, and his young men shall be impressed as laborers.
He shall rush past his crag in panic, and his princes shall flee in terror from his standard,
Says the Lord who has a fire in Zion and a furnace in Jerusalem.

AssyrianIt is the fact that we have created idols in our past lives that we need to spurn.  We need to allow the Lord to kill those remnants of “Assyrian” worldliness in our hearts and our pride and ambition to gain worldly wealth and happiness that does not last.  Otherwise, we do not have to wonder why our children are being led to the cliff of despair and anxiety over the future.  It is a promise that we hear from the prophet Isaiah that we cannot hold on to those things that lead us to struggle or we can count on our kids being put to work in the service of evil, and being led into hell.

However, we know that the fire that the prophet was talking about in Zion is the same fire that he will light in our hearts, and the furnace in Jerusalem could be burning in us, which will bring the warmth of God’s love to our children and to the world.

No Mary, No Jesus…Know Mary, know Jesus!

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This is a quote that I heard on the radio this morning from Tim Staples.  He explained that it is often attributed to the Blessed Mother Teresa, but she did not in fact ever say it.  Blessed_Mother_Teresa

However, he says, “She should have.”  As I sat in the chapel waiting to participate in the Mass, I realized that Mary was right in front of me.  At least the statue of her was directly in front of me.  I thought about going up to the statue before I started the first reading today, but quickly realized that everyone who was attending Mass with us today in the chapel would not understand what I was doing.  I just felt so grateful to Mary for saying yes, and reminding me that I can say yes too. keep calm I feel so grateful to Mary for being the first disciple of Jesus by accepting the gift of grace that came to her in the form of a message from an angel, so that I can accept the message that comes to me from my guardian angel that says, “Be not afraid.”  Mary is the ultimate form of human example of following Jesus, and I hope that through her I can see Jesus as my Savior and Redeemer, and as my Brother.

As I waited to receive the precious blood during the reception of

Behold Your Mother!

Behold Your Mother!

Communion at Mass, I realized that I was standing next to the statue of my Mother Mary.  I felt peace knowing the John the Apostle stood next to her too as he waited to receive the message from Jesus to behold his mother.  Finally, it was the reception of his mercy that I received when I drank the wine that was really transformed into Jesus for me.  I went back to my chair and dropped to my knees to say, “Thank you Jesus…I’m sorry Jesus…I love you Jesus!”  I know that it would not be possible to say this and feel this close to Jesus without my Mother first showing me how to say yes to his grace and mercy.  So, thank you Mary…I’m sorry Mary…I love you Mary!

Four things to do this Advent season…

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1.  Make an Advent wreath or buy one to put on your dinner table or in your living room.

2.  Send Christmas Cards, real ones with images of the baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph on them…Write real sentiments in them!  (ie. God loves you and I do too!)

3.  Make reparations of a past hurt relationship, at least take the first step of seeking to repair your end.  (We can’t always count on the other party being ready to heal.)

4.  Have fun!

Of course, I think the fourth one is the most important.  I got this list from an Advent talk we had this Tuesday night at our church.  The speaker was Deacon Owen Cummings, and it was great to get to spend some time focusing on the real “truth” of Christmas and what we are doing to prepare for the coming of Christ!

I pray that everyone who reads this will get the chance to stop the hustle and bustle that is the last 20 days of shopping before Christmas long enough to focus on what we are really waiting for…Come, Lord Jesus!

Mary or Jezebel…Which one am I?

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I guess I should point out that I know that those names are both female, and I am a male, so there may be some confusion among those that know me when they read the title of my post. However, I have been contemplating this question for a couple of days. It has mostly in reference to people of the opposite sex, and for that matter, my thoughts have been centered on one woman and that is my wife. I know I should not go down the road of trying to discern other people’s intentions and I really need to let go of my judgmental tendencies. I’m talking about my attitude toward my wife and all women, for that matter. It is for that reason that this post will focus on myself, and I will leave it to others who may read it to discern if they are acting like Mary or Jezebel. For a more complete treatment of who Mary and Jezebel were in the bible, there is a great article here: http://www.neverthirsty.org/pp/corner/read/r00051.html
However, there is one question that I just can’t shake. How can I be consecrated to Jesus through Mary, when act like Jezebel. Mary is a model for chastity, purity and obedience. I am a model for licentiousness, impurity and impatience. Let me explain:
In my life, I have been given a wife and four amazing children, but I spend so much time focused on fulfilling the mission of evangelization for the church, I have neglected my primary vocation as husband and father. Jezebel was the wife of Ahab, and was known for her lack of self-control and worship of many gods. It is for the same things that I could be known for, at least my confessor would know me for them. Anyway, it is my hope that with Mary, the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven and Earth as a guide, I can learn to be a better example to my kids and a worthy partner to my wife. It is only in surrendering my will, that I will ever know His perfect will for my life.

Mary, Queen of peace and model of perfect chastity, pray for us!

The prophet John says…(part II)

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https://twitter.com/CatholicNewsSvc/status/527094769370288128

As I read the quote from Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as Edith Stein, I realized that her words to Pope Pius XI are relevant to our current situation here in America, as much as they were in 1933 Germany.

We face an oppression by our government that is asking us to participate in the legalized killing of babies through contraception which is an interruption of conception by a cutting off of the natural process of protection that a womb gives to a newly formed child, all the way to partial birth abortion which is infanticide. We are being asked to fund this through a mandated health care system that looks like a system that cares for the poor, but in actuality it targets the weak with the modern form of genocide called abortion. We need Pope Francis to come to America like Blessed Mother Teresa did, and condemn this governments actions in support of Margaret Sanger’s brain child of racial cleansing, called Planned Parenthood.

We can do better than killing a whole generation of ethnic children, or we can follow in the footsteps of past oppressive regimes, and end up lamenting the years of full scale genocide of God’s people. We are all chosen to be God’s children, and it is time that we started standing up for the most vulnerable children, the ones in the womb.

That’s real mature!

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Remembering back to my high school days, we used to say that all the time.  “That’s real mature!”  It was our response to something that we considered quite infantile or below us.  The truth is, we didn’t know what real maturity even looked like, and left to my own devices or “vices” I don’t think I would have ever learned what maturity looks like.  I was just going to re-post a link to something I read this morning, but instead of doing that I am going to share on this post the things that most spoke to my heart this morning.

Anyway, it was the discussion about the fact that in emotional maturity, the heart ascends before the intellect, or better said, it is the heart that is always leading the intellect.  Allison, the author of the post I read, says, “In this modern age where much emphasis is given to reason and intellectual pursuit, even in many Catholic circles, this teaching is very important to understand. God communicates with us in our hearts, making spiritual maturity not only an endeavor of the intellect–knowing right and wrong, but one of the heart–developing a “listening ear” so to speak, and responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Read more: http://spiritualdirection.com/2014/10/22/emotional-and-spiritual-maturity-whats-difference-part-i-of-ii#ixzz3GtncOjdm

To me, this is very important because I often think, as a man, that I may be spending too much time on the affairs of the heart and it might help to focus more on those things that I can figure out through reason and my brain.  However, it helps me to know that by focusing on the heart, I can be sure that the reason that is necessary to support the emotional stability will be supplied by my being focused on studying the right things.

As for the spiritual maturity, Allison writes, “Just as we understand emotional maturity as the ability to experience warmth and affection and to guide our emotions effectively by reason, spiritual maturity can then be understood as growth in a loving and warm relationship with Christ and the effective guidance of both our reason and our emotions by virtue.

Read more: http://spiritualdirection.com/2014/10/22/emotional-and-spiritual-maturity-whats-difference-part-i-of-ii#ixzz3GtptfnlN

Therefore, our need to consecrate ourselves to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will only continue to provide the opportunities to grow in virtue that supports our faith.  I think tomorrow, I will be led to speak more about the importance of receiving the Body of Christ, or the heart of Jesus in the Eucharist, that leads us to displaying the virtue instead of the “vices”!

Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death…Amen!