The Detachment of Attachment … Sunday, September 8

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home

“Follow me.”

The Gospel of the Lord … Luke 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
~
     You can’t really be attached to Jesus and be attached to any one or any thing else, can you? To be attached to Him requires the ultimate in detachment from all else. No person, regardless how much we love them or are loved by them, no home or country, and it doesn’t matter how dear they are to us, no social position, and impressive or powerful does not count, no possession, despite its value, can mean more to us than Him if we’re really going to follow Jesus. And that’s because really following Jesus requires the realization that the One who created all things, including those just mentioned along with all others, is more important, more fine, and more lovable, more worthy of ALL our love, than any created thing ever could be. All of that? All of that means giving up every thing else for the One Who is worth more and more worthy than all else combined. And every word in this paragraph falls infinite light years short of doing justice to the reasoning behind following Jesus. That’s because there’s more than reason to it, and the other aspect, which is heart and love, is in this instance impossible to put into words. Poets try and fail. Matters of the heart are understood only within the heart and words only confuse the issue.
     I think most folks realize that to honestly follow Jesus, as a true Christian, they have to put Him first. What’s sad is how we often maneuver around this truth. Maneuvering requires rationalizations, justifications, and excuses. These are salves that we often use to cover up the pain of an aching conscience. If a conscience aches? Unless we’re victims of scrupulosity any pain of conscience doesn’t require salve such as this. It begs for soul-searching and repentance.
     Years ago I was talking with a man when the subject of “church” came up. Now, he didn’t attend any form of religious services but he said that if he ever did he would go to fill-in-the-blank and no place else because that’s where his grandmother had always gone. He was content with his religious convictions. But he was putting his grandmother first, and Jesus either second or third depending on how attached he was to fill-in-the-blank. He didn’t see this. It’s hard to see the truth, the Truth that is Christ, when grandma and fill-in-the-blank are standing between us and Him. And it isn’t because grandma and fill-in-the-blank stepped between the person and Jesus. It’s because the person made a choice as to where they would stand, and they stood so as to put something between them and God.
     We know where Jesus stands. He spent 33 years, Calvary, and nearly 2,000 years of Eucharistic presence explaining His stand to us. He asks us to follow Him. How can we follow if something between us and Him obscures our view of the Way? And if something obscures our view we might like to ask ourselves why it is that we don’t change our position. Because where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be.
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“Controversy.” Can you say that with your mouth closed? … Sunday, August 18

The God mostly pray in touch the legs in heart...

Controversy. For some it is a world-view, for others a lifestyle.

The Gospel of the LordLuke 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

~

Jesus is controversial, and you can’t follow Him, successfully, without accepting this as one of the crosses that goes along with discipleship. It was that way with Jesus walking the earth 2,000 years ago, it’s that way now with Him residing in the Tabernacle. Every point of Christ‘s Faith, Christianity, has been, is, and will be contested. Why?

Why do people argue and debate things? Some do it out of honest misunderstanding, others out of pure spite without regard for the truth, many out of a desire to have their own way regardless of the facts (there is, you’ll recall, a Flat Earth Society). There are lots of reasons. None of them are, ultimately, sound, or good for the people involved with the half-truths. A half-truth? It might get a person halfway to Heaven. I’m pretty certain that going there halfway will, bluntly, be a hell of a way to go.

There will be arguments, debates, divisions, and all the hurt feelings and ill-will that go with these. Jesus is controversial and fallen human nature is perverse. My own conversion is a case in point. My family, my grandfather in particular, was adamantly anti-Catholic. I converted after Granddad‘s death. One of my aunts, who was one of his daughters, made the comment, “I can’t understand how you could join something that Daddy was so much against.” Well, the obvious answer is that he won’t be the one to stand before God at my death and give account for my life. I’m the one, the only one, responsible for that. Granddad couldn’t go to Heaven, Purgatory, or hell for me. He can’t keep me out of any of those places either. If I’d explained these things I can almost guarantee that the next sentence I’d have heard would have been prefaced with the word “but”. Controversy. Even when there is no reason for it.

So what’s my point? Oh, its simple. Jesus is controversial. Your life will be too as you follow Him. Expect it and be ready for it. What to do when confronted with controversy? There are any number of possibilities, but many instances one of the things that works best is to just not take part. Letting the other person stew in their own juices does two things. Number one, it gives them a reason to think. (I remember someone coming up to me one day, I was talking with another guy, and the one who walked up said, “I’m a fill-in-the-blank. I guess you don’t approve of that.” He obviously said this because he knew I was Catholic. I just looked at him and kept on talking. So he said, “You just blew me off.” And it was the other guy that looked at him and let him know that in this situation? Mine had been an appropriate Christian response.) Number two, it gives us an opportunity to be Christ-like. When confronted with a useless controversy (and some obviously aren’t useless, like the right to life or religious freedom, and do require a definite response and there’s no good way around this) turning the other cheek works wonders. And its best accomplished with the mouth closed.

 

Worried? … Monday, July 29

Worried!

“Oh, great. Now what?”Worried!

A Rosary Meditation … The First Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation. “When she heard him she was troubled at his word … ” Luke 1:29. In this scripture Mary has just been told by the angel Gabriel that she will have a baby. Something like that ought to be good news. Of course, given Mary’s vow of perpetual virginity, we can understand her being troubled. But, setting that fact aside for just a moment, think about it. How many times have we received good news and been worried about it because we either misunderstood or didn’t have all the facts? It’s easy to do, being human and all. But why do we so easily jump to a negative conclusion? Granted we aren’t all natural worriers, but enough of us are, at least part of the time, to make this sort of thing familiar to most if not all of us. So why do we do it? Have we been conditioned by the media to expect the worst? (Yes.) Is it simply a matter of  negative attitude? (Maybe.) Do we subconsciously think we deserve only the short end of the stick? (Possibly.) Maybe a little bit of all these things and several more. Personally I think that the bottom line can be summed up, given all the possibilities and probabilities, in one word. Training. From childhood on we are all more or less trained to expect the worst. And just how often does the worst happen? Well, how many times have I ( and trust me, I was trained by my grandmother who would’ve, had worry been an Olympic event, brought home the gold Olympiad after Olympiad ) thought to myself, “Oh, great, now … “, fill in the blank after that. But Mother Mary, just a little while after having been troubled at the news she had received from Gabriel, gives us the antidote to worry and a troubled mind. “And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” Luke 1:38a. It’s OK to worry a little, God knows we’re human so we may as well admit it too. The point being: After the initial reaction of trouble or worry its time to leave it in His hands and rest in that.

Today …

St. Martha

St. Martha

St. Martha. She might easily be considered the patroness of worriers. Many of us find it easy to identify with Martha in the story Luke tells. Martha welcomes Jesus and His disciples into her home and immediately goes to work to serve them. Hospitality is paramount in the Middle East and Martha believed in its importance. Imagine her frustration when her sister Mary ignores the rule of hospitality and Martha’s work, and all the attendant worries, in order to sit and listen to Jesus. Instead of speaking to her sister, she asks Jesus to intervene. And that’s not a bad place to go with our frustrations and worries.  Jesus’ response is not unkind, which gives us an idea of His affection for her. He observes that Martha is worried about many things that distract her from really being present to Him. He reminds her that there is only one thing that is truly important — being with and listening to Him. And that is what Mary has done. In Martha we see ourselves — worried and distracted by all we have to do in the world and the world itself while forgetting to spend time with Jesus. It is, however, comforting to note that Jesus loved her, despite her worrying, just the same.

Jesus says … “And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit?” Matthew 6:27. So why worry about it?

Ever learn how to juggle? … Sunday, July 21

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, c. 1597

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary.

The Gospel of the Lord … Luke 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.  Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”  The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Sometimes, getting caught up in the “necessaries” in life, we get flustered and lose track of what’s most important, don’t we? Sometimes all those “necessaries” get to be so important for us that we even think we know what the other guys vocation should be. But then there’s the other side of the coin. Sometimes we know what it is that’s primary and stick with it regardless what others think. Sometimes we’re Martha, sometimes we’re Mary. All of the time we’re human. God knows what that’s like. He works through people, He’s familiar with our foibles. He must like working through people despite our being short-sighted. After all, He became one. (Person, that is.)

I amaze myself at times. I say “I” because I try not to watch other people to close, I figure that’s God’s job and my not knowing the heart of another I’m not to good at it anyway. Besides, me watching me is entertainment enough. I can go from being Martha to Mary and back again in a heart beat. Maybe you can sympathize. One moment I’m fixated on Christ, the next moment my focus is on “doing” to the point that I lose track of why I’m doing what I’m doing. And when that dawns on me? I’m back with Christ, watching Him and knowing that all my doings are because of Him, for love of Him.

Balance. I talk about it a lot because it’s so important to me personally. Maybe you know what that’s like. Martha and Mary are a good example of balance, even though Martha got a little aggravated. There is a time for work and a time for contemplation. I think the real trick is to carry contemplation with us as we work, knowing that we work for love of Jesus, and also to engage in contemplation as a Divine sort of work for the same reason. I don’t need to be Mary and I don’t need to be Martha. I need to be both. And that’s a balancing act. Well, it is for me anyway. It’s a little like learning how to juggle. At first? Lots of stuff is probably going to get dropped during practice. Which thought, about juggling, reminds me …

(Note: You’ve heard of Christmas in July? It’s just one more way for stores to make a sale. In this instance humor me as I take advantage of Christmas in July to make a point. 😉 )

A long while back I heard a story about a monk who was a bit of a klutz. He wasn’t good at chanting, he often dropped things in the kitchen (being all thumbs), he didn’t read well, and his memory? Wait a minute. Where was I? Oh, yes. His memory wasn’t the best. All in all he was the last in line as far as the monks of that monastery went. But he kept plugging away.

The Christmas season came around and as a spiritual exercise the abbot told each monk to do something, whatever they were good at, as best they could during the season, as a gift for the Christ Child. A Christmas gift for the Ultimate Christmas Gift. The monks who sang tried to improve their singing and sang with all their heart. The monks who were cleaning cleaned everything til it shined. When a monk ran an errand he did so with speed and resolve, more so than usual. Everyone did what ever they did the best they possibly could. But Brother Klutz? He forgot to put salt in the soup. On an errand, as he ran, he tripped and tore his habit. And he sang, as always, off-key. But in his heart there was a sincere desire to offer up a gift to Baby Jesus, just one perfect gift. It was all he wanted, it was all he focused on.

One night, about the time of Christmas Eve, the abbot was leaving his personal chapel late in the evening. He had gone there for a time of private prayer. As he was leaving, and on his way to his cell, he heard a noise coming from the oratory. It was the slightest of sounds, but at that late an hour it piqued his curiosity and so he went to the entrance, quietly looking around the corner of the door.

At the far end of the room there was a very beautiful statue of Our Lady holding the Baby Jesus. And there, in front of the statue, was our Brother Klutz. He was juggling three balls, and doing a very fine job at it too. Everyone has a talent to offer up to God as a gift and of all things this was the one thing that he could do well. Of course something like this wasn’t the sort of thing that came up in the course of monastic life so no one ever knew he could. And as the abbot watched he saw the statue come to life, and the Lady smiled while the Baby clapped His hands in delight.

Mary and Martha. A juggling act. Trying to balance our lives, giving God the gift of our best in all realms. Service to and contemplation of the Divine. No one is really a klutz and we’re all, at different times, a Martha and a Mary. What matters more than putting salt in the soup or praying quietly in a corner is the pure intent of the heart of the juggler.

Juggler

Aggravation … Sunday, June 30

The Gospel of the Lord … Luke 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him.  On the way they entered a Samaritan village  to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”  Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”  But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”  But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.  But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”  To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

~

Have you ever noticed how aggravated we get when things don’t go our way? Of course you have, we all have. I even get aggravated with myself for being aggravated. Everybody knows about aggravation. Like the people here in the Samaritan village. They were aggravated because Jesus wasn’t going to stay with them, He was going to Jerusalem instead. And Jesus’ followers, who were aggravated at the Samaritans for being inhospitable. Maybe the ones offering to follow Jesus, or the ones He invited, the ones who had business to take care of first or didn’t want to hear about the downside of being a disciple, these folks were probably aggravated too.

The Lord is my Good Shepherd

Do you think the Good Shepherd ever got (gets) aggravated at the sheep that keep wandering off?

It’s easy to feel aggravated, especially when dealing with others who just don’t seem to understand. It’s easy to feel that way towards self when we act the way we do sometimes even when we know better. And I suppose its easy enough for us to collect favorite aggravations. I know I’ve got a couple. Like when someone asks, “Was Jesus really God?” And I hear the reply, “Yes, He was.” Was? Isn’t He still God? Did something change? Shouldn’t the correct response be, “Yes, Jesus IS God,”? Or when I hear a Catholic talking about “other” denominations, like we’re just one amongst many. I’ve got news. Jesus founded His Church, just one Church. Men founded denominations, plural, later. But then I think that I know what they MEAN regardless how they phrase it, because if you asked the first person if Jesus is God NOW they’d say yes, and if you asked the other person, “Do you mean they’re all alike and that one is as good as another?”, they’d say no and explain the difference. I hope. So now I’m back to being aggravated with myself for being picky.

Do you think Jesus ever got aggravated? Maybe He was aggravated with the Samaritans for not understanding His mission, or with His followers for not understanding the nature of His mission. Perhaps He felt aggravated with those He called for putting off the answer or for making excuses or just plain not listening. Which brings us to the real point, doesn’t it? Its one thing for us to get aggravated with ourselves or others, it’s another to work towards living our lives in such a way as to not be an aggravation for Him.

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Henry Ellis.

Judge fruit with care, and toss it once it’s past the date on the package … Sunday, June 16

Description unavailable

Are you keeping rotten fruit? WHY?!

Luke 7:36-50

       A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher, ” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred day’s wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
      Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
      I can understand the reaction of the Pharisee. Sadly, I think most people, happily not all people, tend to have similar reactions. Of course Jesus said that by their fruits we would know “them”. In this instance to look at this woman’s past would be to see some pretty rotten fruit. But that view would miss the real point, which point is here and now. In the here and now the fruit is penance, heartfelt and with tears. In seeing rotten fruit, and being judgmental is a fruit of the most putrid kind, I suppose we all need to be on guard lest WE become one of “them”.
      Jesus, seeing beyond what we might think of as obvious, saw the heart and forgave her sins. And here was yet another thorn in the side of the self-righteous. Can a MAN forgive sins? Only God can forgive sin! This backwards way of looking at the subject is still considered an unassailable truth by some. When a priest forgives sin they say the same thing the Pharisee said. They forget that Jesus, being God, can share His authority with others and did. And does. “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” John 20:23. When the priest, that MAN with the collar, forgives sins? It’s only because God has given him the power and authority to do so. Which means it’s God doing the forgiving THROUGH him, using him as an instrument of His Love.
      So we have three people here, don’t we? The judgmental, the penitent, the one who forgives. It occurs to me that there is one other person that should be here and isn’t, and that’s sad. Sometimes judgmental folks see themselves for what they are, sinners, and become, like the woman here, penitents. Sometimes sinful people, again like the lady here, see themselves and repent. But these people who make that Godly turn around in their lives? Sometimes they become yet another class of people. The ones that, having honestly repented, look back over their lives and beat themselves up over it. Not that they doubt God’s forgiveness, they don’t. And it’s not necessarily that they don’t forgive themselves, although that may of course be the case. It’s just that they can’t get past the memories and the regret. And this is a sad way to live because it takes us out of the now, which time ought to be spent praising God for His goodness and working for Him in His will. Looking back can trip us up as we move forward. Looking back can make us miss our apostolate of the “now”. And all of our debt that has been forgiven, regardless the size of it, the memory of it becomes as heavy as the original debt.
      We can judge fruit. We can judge our own fruit. But you know, when it goes past the expiration date, aka honest repentance and true forgiveness, its OK to toss it into the trash. Don’t believe me? Try carrying a banana around with you, in your pocket, for six months.
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Poverty or Riches, the choice is ours … Sunday, June 2

3rd quarter of 16th century

Riches in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Reading, Luke 9:11b-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, “Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.” They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.” Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
     2,000 years later, have we run out yet? Or are we still collecting wicker baskets full of leftovers? There is no lack in Christ. There will never be a “running out”. And there is no reason to fear or fret about this. Christians are never poor, regardless their earthly poverty. Earth, the world, isn’t where our treasures are. “But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal.” Matthew 6:20. And we do this in many ways, the greatest of which is receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion.
     The world is finite. If we look to it for our riches we’re sure to suffer want, to live in poverty. Look around. Most of the world, the greatest portion of it, already lives in poverty. Even in nations blessed by abundance there are people living in cardboard boxes and going to sleep hungry every night. That’s the way the world is. If we look to the world for our sustenance that’s how we’ll live.
     Today we celebrate the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Infinite and knows no poverty. If we look to Him for our sustenance we are guaranteed riches. No government, no constitution, no contract, no man-made law, no human promise can ever give us what He can. Knowing this, where should we look in time of need? The answer is Jesus. God. The test is: Where do we look in time of plenty? Are we content to follow after the world just because everything’s OK now? Or do we look ahead to the end of a finite world and realize that being a “street person” in Heaven is better than being rich and powerful here and now? Because no matter how long the earth lasts it IS finite on a personal level. No one gets out of this alive. At least not without Jesus.
     “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34.
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The only Jesus someone might ever see … Tuesday, April 30

Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc (Czech Republic...

Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc (Czech Republic) – one of reliefs in the inner chapel depicting the Crucifixion of Jesus.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ ” Luke 23:34. Jesus had sympathy even for the ones who were killing Him. Most people, hanging there, dying on a cross, hurled curses at their tormenters. Jesus’ reaction was altogether different. And people noticed. The Good Thief noticed and converted. The Roman Centurion noticed and proclaimed, “Truly, this was the son of God.”  We’re not told of any others but the chances are good that these weren’t the only two. His words, His prayers, were something so very different that they would be hard to miss. People were watching Him there on the cross as He died. He’s not here to watch any more, is He? So who do people watch now? They can’t watch Him die so they, “they” being the world and the people of it, do the next best thing. They watch His followers live. Just as the example Jesus set on the cross had a profound effect on many of those watching (the Church received her first canonized saint, St. Dismas, out of the deal) so our example in daily living has an effect on those around us. Do they see us dying to the world, like Jesus on the cross, or do they see us living for it? Given our daily actions how many saints, like Dismas, will be the result of our example?

Today …

St. Joseph Cottolengo

St. Joseph Cottolengo

St. Joseph Cottolengo

Joseph was born at Bra, near Turin, Italy. He was ordained and engaged in pastoral work. When a woman he attended died from lack of medical facilities for the poor in Turin, he opened a small home for the sick poor. When it began to expand, he organized the volunteers who had been manning it into the Brothers of St. Vincent and the Daughters of St. Vincent (Vincentian Sisters). When cholera broke out in 1831, the hospital was closed, but he moved it just outside the city at Valdocco and continued ministering to the stricken. The hospital grew and he expanded his activities to helping the aged, the deaf, blind, crippled, insane, and wayward girls until his Piccola Casa became a great medical institution. To minister to these unfortunates, he founded the Daughters of Compassion, the Daughters of the Good Shepherd, the Hermits of the Holy Rosary, and the Priests of the Holy Trinity. Weakened by typhoid he had contracted, he died at Chieri, Italy, and was canonized in 1934. Now here is a good example. I wonder Who HE was watching, to have gathered such heart as to set this example? Who are we watching? Watching the right One will no doubt improve our example.

Remember … You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.

Who is the disciple Jesus gave His mother to? … Friday, April 12

Crucifixion?

(Photo credit: nikoretro)

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. “And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” John 19:27. Up until the crucifixion Mary had been the responsibility of Jesus. Now, at the end of His earthly life, its time to make continuing provision for His mother. She will stay behind, at least for now. And Jesus gives her to who? “The disciple.” We know this disciple to be the disciple Jesus loved, nameless here. Why nameless? Because we know also that its John. Why not say John? Maybe to leave a blank that you and I HAVE to fill in. We know, no, let’s make it personal … You know, I know, that Jesus loves us. He proved it and He proves it over and over. The only name that anyone can use to fill in this blank is their own. So now, who does Jesus give His mother to? Who is it that takes her into their own home, as their own mother, to keep and care for? If He trusts us so much that He would give us His mother to be ours, if she willingly comes with us to our door, and if we follow Him, what must our attitude be towards this trust and this gift? In one of His parables Jesus spoke of a ruler who went into a far country to take care of business. Before he left he gave each of his servants an amount of money to care for while he was gone. Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:12-28. How much more precious than gold is His, and our, mother? What do we do with such a wonderful gift? Treasure and tend it, or bury it? Remember that we bury corpses. Remember also where He was when He gave us this gift. It obviously means a great deal to Him. We show Him by our living how much it means to us.

Today …

St. Zeno of Verona

St. Zeno of Verona

St. Zeno of Verona. Bishop of Verona, Italy, theological writer. A native of Africa, he was named bishop in 362 and proved an ardent opponent of Arianism. He also promoted discipline among the clergy and in liturgical life, built a cathedral, and founded a convent. Zeno wrote extensively on the virgin birth of Christ and other theological matters. He was the subject of numerous legends. Hard worker, lots going on, lots to do. Zeno probably didn’t have much free time. Many of us don’t. I wonder if he made time for his mother? Being a saint I suppose he did. Do we?

And just how many mothers do we have? …

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
~ George Cooper ~

Published in: on April 12, 2013 at 5:07 am  Comments Off on Who is the disciple Jesus gave His mother to? … Friday, April 12  
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Go home or go where? We get to choose … Sunday, March 10

Return of the prodigal son

Return of the prodigal son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In today’s Gospel reading, Luke 15:1-3 & 11-32, Jesus tells the story about the Prodigal Son. This parable is, to say the least, multifaceted. There’s the young son, the father, the other son, the person the wayward son goes to work for feeding pigs, there’s the feast, the far-a-way country, there’s the squandering of an inheritance, there’s the lack of respect shown the father by the prodigal, there’s the great love of the father, there are the swine … I could keep going but the primary thing here, at least for me, is really none of these. And all of these. The real emphasis here, for me, is that this parable is personal. It pertains, with all its ins and outs and details, to me. I think that taking this parable personally is the only real way to understand it. And that doesn’t just pertain to me. It’s the way it is for everyone. Or it should be.

There isn’t a single one of us who hasn’t gone astray, squandered an inheritance, and been disrespectful towards God. It’s just another way, a personal way, of defining sin. What a person does with that definition depends on us and whether or not we decide to return to the Father or stay with the pigs.

Returning to the Father requires that I swallow my pride. Without Him I’m starving. I have nothing of my own to swallow BUT my pride. Oh, I may “feast” on the husks I feed the pigs if I want, I can try to live off things worthless and unclean, but regardless how much of this I partake of I’ll still be starving. Living as a citizen of the world is like that. It doesn’t really have anything to offer. Nothing filling, nothing of honest worth. Returning to the Father means repentance. Swallowing pride is part of that. Another part is to understand my own unworthiness and to beg to be allowed to return. I say “beg” because I’m only a creature and God is under no obligation. At least no obligation He hasn’t placed upon Himself. I have no right to demand anything. I can only plead. I’ve squandered my inheritance via sin and frankly don’t have a leg to stand on. Happily it isn’t about MY ability to stand, it’s about His infinite willingness to love. He IS love personified. And, after having swallowed my pride, after I’ve returned and repented, its time I showed my appreciation and my love for my Father by trying to be obedient and a good child from then on.

Of course I have more than one choice. I can, if I decide to, remain with the pigs. I can wallow in the mire, I can kid myself into believing everything’s OK and that I’m even well off in this condition. And I have companionship. I mean just look at all those swine. And I belong. If I want to. I have free will, choices. I can belong if I want to. It’s up to me.

Where do we want to belong? With the Family we were meant to be a part of? Or in a foreign land with no real friends or family but with plenty of husks and more than enough swine? One way to find out what I really want, which of the two I honestly desire, might be to make a little experiment. First, go to Mass. Go early, set before the Tabernacle and THINK about it all. PRAY too. Second, go some place else. Maybe go to a bar, low-end. A “gun control” bar.  One that checks for firearms at the door and if you don’t have one they’ll issue you one. Trust me, I know these places. Go to see a vulgar movie. One of those that would make you’re grandmother shield her eyes. Watch the people at the bar and in the theater. Watch yourself too, and gauge your honest comfort level. Not to be judgmental because everyone at both these places, and lots of other places, have the very same choices I have. Now I need to be honest with myself. Which do I want to make mine?

If I decide on the foreign country rather than home I need to be content. It’s all I’ll ever have. If I choose to return to the Father’s house, to go home and be with family, I need to be thankful and faithful. And if I DO go home to Father there is one more thing I need to do. Really. I need to let the folks at the bar and the theater know I’ve gone back home and I need to be sure and tell them that the door is always open, in this life, and that we’d all be glad, Father would be happy, to see them walking up to the house. Its their place too.