Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Rule

let us desire nothing else,
let us want nothing else,
let nothing else please us and cause us delight
except our Creator, Redeemer and Savior,
the only true God,
Who is the fullness of good,
all good, every good, the true and supreme good,
Who alone is good, merciful, gentle, delightful, and sweet,
Who alone is holy,
just, true, holy and upright,
Who alone is kind, innocent, clean,
from Whom, through Whom and in Whom
is all pardon, all grace, all glory...
let nothing hinder us,
nothing separate us,
nothing come between us.
Wherever we are
in every place,
at every hour,
at every time of the day,
every day and continually,
let all of us truly and humbly believe,
hold in our heart and love,
honor, adore, serve,
praise and bless,
glorify and exalt,
magnify and give thanks
to the Most High and Supreme Eternal God...
without beginning and end,
is unchangeable, invisible,
indescribable, ineffable,
incomprehensible, unfathomable
blessed, praiseworthy,
glorious, exalted,
sublime, most high,
gentle, lovable, delightful,
and totally desirable above all else
for ever,


I'm not exactly sure if this is a past rule or a part of the current Rule of St. Francis. I should know but if I wait until I dig around and find the answer I won't finish this post until next week, that's how bad I am. Tuesday night at our SFO meeting Esparenza did a wonderful job with the ongoing formation and the above was part of it. Poor Francis. The first Rule was lost, and when some of the Brothers found out he'd gone into the mountains to write another, they, along with Brother Elias walked up the mountain to the cave where Francis was fasting, and with two other Brothers was trying to come up with another Rule. They thought that Francis would write a Rule that was so strict that they wouldn't be able to live by it. So sad. Not much different than today, really. We as Catholics are asked to do many things, but a lot of us pick and choose the parts of our spiritual life that only conform to our way of thinking, or we leave out the parts that seem too hard to uphold. Birth control. Gossip. Adultery. The list goes on and on. God does not ask us to live His life when it's convenient for us. He asks us for everything, and all the time, and though it's very hard to do that, to live that life in this secular world I don't think people try hard enough, and some people don't try at all. The spiritual life is, to me like a path laid out by God, with Saints and Jesus, His Mother, and the Holy Spirit, all right there along the way to help guide us. In the end we mostly ignore them, because we think we know better. Tomorrow I'll start. I think this is OK. We're able to justify almost any act or thought. But we're only fooling ourselves.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Everything for God

Upon reflection...
On a previous post I explained about the Facebook message and my cleaning of the toilets and how lives can go in different directions. It may have seemed as though I was whining about my lot in life but I really wasn't, but perhaps I was. I let a bit of 'the worlds thinking' to infiltrate mine, and my thoughts towards God. To stay completely on the path to God one has to forget about everything that goes on in the world, to die to the world, at least the things that influence our thinking. I have to put everything into God's perspective, no matter if it's attending a meeting, at Mass, eating, sleeping or cleaning toilets. Everything I just mentioned is a gift from God, He is in control! My life would be much better off if I just kept that in mind.

Oh God, my God,
when I seem to abandon you,
reach out to me, in Your own way,
to turn my soul from darker things
and bring me back into Your light...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Different Roads

"I am your message, Lord.

Throw me like a blazing torch

into the night, that all may see

and understand what it means

to be a disciple."

ST. Maria Skobstsova

Funny how things work.

This past Saturday evening, a night usually associated with going out t0 the movies, maybe a restaurant, etc, you know what I mean, I found myself cleaning toilets. Not a completely bad thing, it's just something I do every other weekend for a few hours to make a little extra money. No matter how much I ignore money, (I let H handle everything) no matter how I run the idea of money through my 'Eyes of St. Frances', money is still something I, and we all must deal with. Our family is fortunate. I have a job, we have a great family, home, cars, our health, what more can a man ask for in the material world? Last year when times did get a little tough at work, (55 hours a week to 40, ouch!) I was able to pick up some extra hours coming in on Saturday and doing the cleaning and vacuuming. Whatever. Well, last weekend I found myself doing the cleaning late, I didn't get home until 9:30pm, but when I took a break and I was checking Facebook (yeah, well, that's another story), someone 'found me' whom I hadn't seen or spoken to since high school, back in the 70's. He was much younger than me (still is!), just a little kid, then, I really knew his older brothers much better than him. His whole family was very musically inclined and they ended up in Vegas in different aspects of the entertainment business. He told me about his brothers and sisters and the different bands they've played with. I didn't reply, but it was nice to hear from him and to hear about his family, all old friends. Later, I couldn't help to, not really compare, but to just contemplate on how our roads have diverged, how at one time we all had the same ideas, the same dreams. A really good friend of mine, my best friend in high school, did end up out there with them, working in the 'business'. If only Steve could see me now! Washing out the sinks and cleaning out the toilets! On the outside the whole situation might seem sad, but I know better. I know what perhaps they don't know or have rejected; that when one puts God first in his life, everything changes. You can't put God first and live your old life, attached and controlled by the secular world. I've realized that since my life is in His hands I'm there cleaning for a reason, for God does nothing without a purpose.
We just usually never know what the purpose is.
Maybe He's using my Saturday evening work, my sacrifice, for His own means. Maybe He just wants me to contemplate Him as I work, which He knows I do. I don't know. I do know that when I think about my life and where it has gone, where its' going my heart burns with gladness for the grace which He has given me, the grace that has opened my eyes and my heart to Him, and to His Son and The Blessed Virgin who is with me every day, every moment. I can only live my life in the reflection of Our Lord Jesus, following in the footsteps of Francis, whose example of giving all of oneself to God is worthy to follow.

A torch thrown into the night...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


In today's First Reading (Acts 16:22-34) Paul and Silas are attacked by the crowd, then the magistrates had them stripped and beaten with rods. Then after 'inflicting many blows on them', they're thrown into prison, into the 'innermost cell with their feet secured to a stake'. It's all said in an almost matter of fact bit of writing, but one's imagination (at least mine) begins to work. Think about it. Paul and Silas are probably proclaiming he Good News everywhere they go, and some accept the word and some do not. Folks gang up on them and at the least start pushing them around, but more than likely things became worse. Knocked down and kicked, thrown punches out of nowhere to the side of the head, verbal abuse, we know how crowds get today, we've seen it on the news, and I'm sure it wasn't much different then. Then dragged off somewhere to be stripped and beaten with rods. I can really only picture this whole thing for a bit. It's a wonder Paul and Silas lived through it. More than likely some sort of permanent damage was done to their bodies somewhere. But not to their faith. After spending the night singing hymns of praise, after God provides an earthquake to blow open the doors and break their chains they then show love to their oppressor by telling him not to kill himself, they are still here. So many levels of Christs' spirit is moving here in this story. But the point I'm trying to make is that Paul and Silas were witnesses. Paul particularly never stopped witnessing, and I'm sure Silas didn't either. And as we witness in this story, the power of the Holy Spirit turns the jailer into a prisoner of Christ, as Paul converts him and his whole family. Like I said earlier, the matter of fact telling frees the imagination, lets us put ourselves back in time to then, as we feel the blows rain upon our backs as rod rips flesh.

And they never wavered.

Last weekend H and I attended the K of C Wives/Widows/Priests/Religious Appreciation Dinner at a local restaurant. As we had small talk with Knights and wives it became apparent that what H and I consider Catholic and spiritual had nothing in common with the two wives who were doing most of the talking with us. Now I'm not going to get into a 'who's holier than who' contest. I am no different than anyone, a sinner am I, probably worse than them, I'm sure. I'm not going to go into what was said, you've all heard the same things we heard, statements that come from good people, just luke-warm Catholics. My point is, the whole situation made me uncomfortable, to the point where I just didn't have the correct answers to refute what they were saying. And when I did have them I was lukewarm in my effort to challenge them, to change their minds or as St. Paul and Silas did to proclaim the Good News to them. I was not a very good witness. I had the opportunity and I failed miserably. I didn't have that fire burning in my heart when I needed it most. I don't want to be the kind of Catholic that does only well around like minded people. Even sinners love sinners. I'm hoping I can find at least a little bit of St. Paul in me. This is something I have to work at.

Holy Spirit, be with me when I need you most,
in times of trial and wickedness.
Flood my heart with the light from above
and free my lips to do His will.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

What do you want from me?

This past Friday, First Friday, brought us to the 5-6am time slot for the Nocturnal Adoration Society First Friday Adoration. Next month we'll have the 6-7am time and then we'll begin again at the 10-11pm and rotate through. This week gave me two hours of Adoration, my usual 5-6pm at our parish and the First Friday at All Saints. I needed them both. On Thursday I asked Our Lord if it would be OK if I did some writing during my time with Him, and of course He said fine (in not so many words). It took me twenty minutes to compose a small speech for our K of C Wives/Priests/Religious/Widows Appreciation Dinner we had Sat. night. One of our Friars always sits before the Blessed Sacrament to compose his Homily, so I figured if it was good for him, I should give it a try. The words just flowed from my mind to the paper. The rest of the time was spent in silence, the silence of Him with me. Most Hours are spent me pleading to Him for guidance, What do you want from me, Lord? or asking help with a personal problem or who knows what. This time, just breathtaking silence. I have a lot of questions right now inside of me concerning a direction I'm seeking, but I never asked about that. And after the second Adoration Hour early yesterday morning I know that He has heard my inner plea and will reveal His way for me in good time. I am not in charge, He is in charge. I must learn on a physical and mental level to give my everything over to God. Not only to give it over to Him but to believe and trust, totally. I know all this on an intellectual level but to let it all go is still a struggle for me. But although issues occur in my life that are disquieting, He is at work in me, molding me, it's almost like I can feel it. I think the more I give myself to Him the more He uses me, if only for me to see more clearly. And the things I've been given to see, I can't even begin to write about them, I'm still trying to figure it all out. Needless to say, I'm beginning to be pulled more and more closer to the Traditional Latin Mass and the world of reverence that spins around it. I'll just pray and listen, and see where this leads me.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Call (no, not that one)

Just got the call at lunch on my cell; a wake tonight for a brother Knight who flew from this earth yesterday. This means donning my suit (Still too tight. More gym time...), and leading the readings that the K of C does for fallen brothers. I'm the G.K. so I lead, which I feel is an honer. I don't even mind the third set of changed plans for this evening. To give someone the proper respect at a wake, to send them off on their Last Journey is always better than mowing the lawn.