Leave me, Lord, for I, too, am a sinful man…

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Saint Peter's Basilica

Saint Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: Søren Hugger Møller)

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”  Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”  (Luke 5:8,10b)

Observation:  The miracles that God has done in my life are no less miraculous than the catching of the fish that was done in Peter’s life, so my reaction should be just as humble and contrite.  The truth is, that I am not worthy to be shown such great kindness and love that God has shown me by allowing me to continue in the ministry for as long as he has. I hope that I can truly hear his words to Peter repeated to me today, when he tells him that he should not be afraid, because from now on, he will be catching men.

Personification:  Self-ControlIn displaying the fruit of self-control, I hope to give up my will and only do the will of God in my life.  I think I have said this many times before, but it bears repeating, I can only control myself by surrendering to the God who has something greater planned for me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be the man who you want me to be and not the sinner you know I am capable of being on my own.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

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What are your people expecting of you?

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Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Saint Peter and Saint Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, “Now I know for certain that [the] Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”  (Acts 12:11)

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But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.  (2 Timothy 4:17-18)

Observation:  So, on the day when we remember that Saint Peter and Saint Paul died for their faith, I am hearing in the first and second reading, a reminder that what God has planned for my life should not be what my people are expecting.  He will certainly send down his angels to protect me and rescue me from evil, but the goal is not the rescue, it is to finish the race well.

Personification:  Faithfulness  In order to finish the race well,  I am hopeful that I can display the fruit of faithfulness to my God and His church.  I should remember the rest of the readings as well.  For in the gospel, Peter is given the keys to the kingdom, the authority to loose and bind the things of this world.  My hope is that I can get back to confession today and remember to go back to this fountain of God’s grace more often, regardless of whether I would consider my conduct good or bad.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be faithful to you and your church in my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Saint Peter’s 7 steps to love…

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Statue of st. Peter

Statue of st. Peter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift: Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.  

Reading:  Beloved: May grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.  (2 Peter 1:2-7)

Observation:  I had picked the last three verses of this reading to journal on yesterday morning, but didn’t have the time to sit down and share my thoughts until now.  After hearing Father Francis’ homily from The Newman Center Mass yesterday evening, I am encouraged to share with more zeal than ever the good news as it is being revealed to me.  Truth is, I don’t care if no one else is listening that I think needs to hear this message, I know God is using it to talk to the one that needs to hear it.  Anyway, the steps I mentioned in my title, are not so much steps but parts of love…It just didn’t sound as good as parts, so I left the title I picked yesterday.  If you read the words that are attributed to Saint Peter in this letter, he says that love is composed of these things; Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Self-Control, Endurance, Devotion and Mutual Affection.  This is a much different version of love than the one I was raised with and the worldly love is the one I spent most of my life selling to get what I wanted from people.

Personification:  Kindness  This fruit of kindness was not listed in Saint Peter’s parts of love, but for me to be able to display God’s love, I must remember to act with kindness towards those that I love first and everyone else I come in contact with as well.  The grace that I get from God will allow me to focus on displaying this kindness, because it is not something that comes naturally to me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to show the uncommon kindness that you showed me by dying for my sins, even though I am unworthy of your grace, I know you will supply the grace necessary to love others with the love that you showed me for calling me to follow you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

Obey the truth and you will learn to love…

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English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, stained glass, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a [pure] heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God,* for:

“All flesh is like grass,

and all its glory like the flower of the field;

the grass withers,

and the flower wilts;

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.  (1 Peter 1:22-25)

Observation:  When the Holy Spirit is moving in your heart and compelling you to do certain things that seem out of character for you, that is an opportunity to be obedient to the truth and begin to learn how to react out of love to all situations.  This is what I heard from the first reading today, and I hope I can remember that the word of God is the thing that lasts and not my emotion.

Personification:  Love  It only makes sense to focus on the fruit of love, since obedience is teaching me how to love.  It is funny how our understanding of love in this world is so foreign to the next world’s love.  God’s love is not interested in reciprocation, if we could all learn to love each other this way, we would be on our way to understanding the kind of love that Saint Peter is talking about here.

Prayer:  Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen

Sobriety leads to holiness…Did Saint Peter say that? Indirectly, I think he did…He may not have meant what you were thinking…

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English: Saint Peter Church, Ecatepec de Morel...

English: Saint Peter Church, Ecatepec de Morelos, Estado de México, México : Statue of Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  Beloved:
Concerning the salvation of your souls
the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours
searched and investigated it
investigating the time and circumstances
that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated
when it testified in advance
to the sufferings destined for Christ
and the glories to follow them.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you
with regard to the things that have now been announced to you
by those who preached the Good News to you
through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,
things into which angels longed to look.

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly,
and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Like obedient children,
do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance
but, as he who called you is holy,
be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,
for it is written, Be holy because I am holy.  (1 Peter 1:10-16)

Observation:  I thought I took the gift that I chose from the Gospel reading for today’s Mass but it actually came from the Responsorial Psalm.  However, my journal today is on the First Reading.  I tried to narrow it down to one or two verses, but the fact that Saint Peter started out in this letter talking about the prophets foretelling of the glory to come through Jesus, but they were not serving themselves, but those of us who have knowledge of him because of their fidelity to the truth that came to them and now comes to us, from the Holy Spirit.  If we reflect on this at all, it should cause us to pause and realize how awesome it is, that the plan of salvation up to this point, was leading to us.  As the reading says, it should be cause for us to act soberly and increase our knowledge of how this plan of salvation is playing out in our lives, and that with the grace of God, will lead us to holiness.

Personification:  Generosity  Since our second reading last Sunday was from the letter to the Ephesians that mentioned the fruits of the holy Spirit, Father Jaspers focused his homily on how he has struggled with displaying some of the fruits at times, at least he thought he had.  I would hope that the fruit of generosity is something I am displaying by sharing my feelings on the Word of God every day.  I hope that someone gets something out of it, and God is using me and my ability to put myself out there to bring greater glory to Him.

Prayer:  Lord, use me up as you see fit, so that my life can be about nothing but bringing you the glory that belongs to only you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen

In response to circumcision, Peter says, “No need to bother!” (My own translation)

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30pxPope John Paul II's coat of arms]] 30pxHer...

30pxPope John Paul II’s coat of arms]] 30pxHerb Jana Pawła II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading;  After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us.  (Acts 15:7-8)

Observation:  I am hearing that the response of the early to the question about circumcision, was that it was not necessary to follow Jesus, and for the church today…Peter would say, “It is not necessary for everyone to fit the perfect mold of what we would call a repentant sinner to be saved.”  I feel like too often we only see the completely reformed sinner as worthy of coming to the church, and the truth is that we should be opening the doors to everyone who recognizes a need for God to take an active role in their life.  If I look back on my conversion story, that is still ongoing, of course, I realize that I would never be accepted by a church that operates with the standards that I have in my mind, and I am taking Peter’s words today to heart.

Personification:  Joy   It is with great joy that we should see the call to repentance for the world.  I see the picture of Blessed Pope John Paul II in my mind, when he said, “Open wide the doors!”  and it warms my heart to know that we are still being asked to follow through with this ideal for evangelization in the church today.

Prayer:  Lord, let my life be a mirror of the Gospel truth that you have graced me with the ability to accept in my heart and let the light that you filled me with shine for the world to see.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

What do you call him?

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Church of the Primacy of St. Peter on the Sea ...

Church of the Primacy of St. Peter

Gift: Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Messiah of God.”*  (Luke 9:20)

Observation:  I started to journal on this verse over three days ago.  I put it off because I was going to lunch with the group of guys that meet on Fridays to talk about how the Word of God is working in their lives.  The lunch was pretty much the same, except I brought David with me.  However, I knew Jesus was there with us at lunch, but I did not call on him.  I think we prayed, but I cannot remember the prayer.  The point is, if I really know him as Messiah or Savior, shouldn’t I call on him as the one who saves more often?

Personification: Faithfulness  In order to display the fruit of faithfulness in my life, I must not only be seeking him, but willing to call him what he should be to me.  To display faithfulness, I must be willing to give up my selfishness and give God the glory for saving me by sending his Son, Jesus the Christ.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen!