Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fast

The best fast is on bread and water. Through fasting and prayer, one can stop wars, one can suspend the laws of nature. Charity cannot replace fasting. Those who are not able to fast can sometimes replace it with prayer, works of love, and confession; but everyone, except the sick, must fast. - BVM 7/21/82

The intersession of Our Mother and the gifts from Our God are amazing; I was reminded of that today. As I was sitting at my desk at work this morning (5:45, yikes!) with my coffee (yes, coffee), I heated up a small roll H had bought for today, a fast day for us. Before I ate it, in my prayer I asked God to help me get through this day without too many stumbles in my fasting, to keep me strong and not weak minded, to just keep an eye on me. I'm not good at fasting. H can get by with water and well, usually just that until supper, when the menu usually is pizza dough with a little grated cheese on it. Me, I sort of cheat with crackers, maybe a pretzel or two, and really, too much bread. But my mind never really feels right, I'm more concerned with what I don't have than the gifts I do have. So, for me, it's a constant uneasy go of it, even with much prayer.
At 8:00am we have a break for breakfast and that's when I do my morning reading from MEDJUGOREJE DAY BY DAY by Richard Beyer. And there, just for me (so I think!) was today's message from Our Blessed Mother. In my heart, I felt a joy, almost a jolt of sorts, as I read the words. This is my second time through this book, which I read every morning, and I've heard the BVM speak of fasting many times, but today she made Herself known to me in this sweet small way. "I'm with you, we'll get through this day together," is what I felt after reflection on the message. I need that today, more than I usually do. There have been issues with family members and close friends that have been weighing on H and myself this week or so and it seems that with every step forward in dealing with these arising's everyone takes two steps back. A quiet weekend lies ahead, and I hope a time for prayer and reflection.
My day is not over yet, and the end of the month work hysteria that accompanies it has arrived and 4:30 is looking better and better. Holy Hour from 6-7 tonight is a blessing in itself.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Conversion Reflection

What more can I add to the already fine posts I've read today about one of the greatest stories in the Bible, the conversion of Saul? Nothing, really, but I will say this; I can see a bit of Saul in me, not so much now, but from a long time ago and that period in my life lasted for most of it until now. Although I never had anyone dragged away in chains I still, in my way persecuted them, verbally mostly, but in those acts I'm sure I inflicted damage on untold peoples lives that I'll never know. Someday I'll have to spend a considerable amount of time in prayer about my actions and even as I write this more and more events of my past life percolate upward. The type of actions that are only burnt away in purgatory. ...what you have done to the least of my brothers... To say we are human is not enough, it is no excuse at all. It's only a way to avoid the narrow gate, the Way of Life. He said to me "Go deeper," and I asked him, what do you mean, Lord, what do you want me to do?

In this reflection at least one path has been made clear to me.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A regret...ending in joy!

As you all know, today is the March For Life in Washington D.C. I was supposed to be there this year but I'm not. I'm behind my desk at work. Up until a couple of weeks ago my name was still penciled in on the calender in the inspection room, 'keith' written in black erasable marker. But then the doubts set in, and the first couple of weeks after the holidays found my paychecks pretty thin due to shortened work weeks and a little extra spending. So I thought twice, even three times about going, and came to the conclusion that I should pass it up, 'Hay when the sunshine's' now that we're back on our usual work hours, and try to get us back in the black a bit and catch up on bills. In hindsight (the best vision!) I see now who turned me, who brought those doubts into my head; the master of lies himself, satan. I should have known, should have seen it coming, but I think he struck when I was weak, he knew to strike then because of my feelings of sorry for myself for my lot in life. I learned a lesson from all this, well, not really learned, it was always there, but sometimes the weight of worldly troubles gets the best of me, which it did in the weeks after Christmas (why then, it's a joyous time!) and the father of lies found a way in and spoke. We're told to be on guard all the time, constantly, because "satan is out there, prowling like a lion".

So now I sit behind my desk, and write to you. But not in tears.

Yesterday at Holy Hour, 5-6pm for me, after my stumbling bit of internal yakking to Him, and after the Rosary, and in the middle of a prayer or a plea, the words "Go deeper" silenced me. Out of nowhere, He spoke. And in me, like with the spirit in David, a rush. And then the words "Do not be lukewarm". I was stunned. Stunned then, and still am now. He will hear your plea. He heard my agony over letting slip by the chance to March for Life, to be in solidarity with my brothers and sisters to protest the horrors of abortion. He heard my cries and in His way gave me comfort, and guidance. Go deeper. Do not be lukewarm. St. Teresa of Avila says that when God speaks to you your soul will know, and you will never forget, the words will stay fresh forever. Since hearing those words yesterday, in reflection and prayer I believe He opened another door, and He's standing there, one arm holding it open, His other arm beckoning to me, calling me, "This way!". I know now to never listen to those doubts, be on guard at all times, stand firm in our faith. I hope I'm up to the challenge, but only God has that answer. Where He wants me to go I have no idea where that will lead me.

But I'm here to follow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti (a reflection)

This last week or so has not been the smoothest or easiest of times. With the destruction of Haiti on CNN almost constantly, and I've watched my share, I find the sorrows there make me, on top of all the other emotions that surface, very uneasy. I do not doubt God, and I never will, I'm just saying that when something like this happens, so close to home, where your loved ones have gone to on mission and spent time, where you know people who know people there very closely, where you know people who have spent the last ten years of their lives returning, returning, and returning again to build schools, housing, fish farms, plant fruit tree groves, to see most of this crushed in a matter of 30 seconds, for me, after the prayers, the novenas and the rosaries, I'm only left to reflect on the mystery. The whys we'll never know, not in this lifetime...

I can go no further, with words, with this thread.

I did finally come to the realization (I don't know what took me so long, in hindsight I feel pretty stupid,) that the our Knights of Columbus, Council 1395, should do our part in the relief efforts. So this Saturday I'm going to set up a little card table, a can and some posters and signs and sit near the entrance to our small local grocery store, The Food Center. The owner isn't a Knight but a very nice guy whom I'll occasionally see praying the Rosary during Holy Hour on Thursdays. At last nights Officers Meeting we decided to also offer a table during our Pancake Breakfasts for people to donate. Since none of us can get there to help it's the least we can do.

Even as I write this, a 6.1 earthquake has shaken Haiti.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Well, it's Saturday morning, 6:52, and I'm at work. Wow! Not something I usually do, because normally our shop doesn't work on Sat., occasionally one or two guys, but that's it. Today, though, most of us are here, 15 or so of us, "haying when the sun shines", as thy say. When I'm home on a Sat. morning by now H and I have had lots of coffee, said our different morning prayers, and had a nice breakfast. Then on our way to morning Mass whoever is the passenger reads our Morning Prayer from the Christian Prayer book aloud. It's about a 25 min. ride to St. Martha's in Enfield, and that's just about enough time. It's something we do in order to get everything in on a weekend. The point I'm trying to make is that all week I've been mulling over in my mind about our comfort zones, how most of us hate to get pushed out of them, how at times we'll do or say unusual things just to stay in them. I'm just as bad as the next person, for sure. Being here at work today, I'm out of my c.z. for sure. And I have to admit, I'm only here for the money. So sad, really, because there is a big difference between getting out of your c.z. for a worthy cause then for money. I guess that these are the everyday crosses that God give us to bear, and to bear with a smile.
And then there's getting shoved out of your comfort zone because of an earthquake. Watching the whole sanitized version of the disaster unfold on CNN, no matter how hard I try to plumb my soul for an ounce of despair that a Haitian must feel right now, I cannot find it. Maybe in a way I'm becoming numb to it all, here, thousands of miles away. My comfort zone for something like this is too great, their ordeal is something far from me, and I can only watch and pray. To offer up those small prayers that I say all day to Jesus, to Francis, to The Blessed Virgin Mother, to God Himself, offer them up for the Haitian people and to ask God to hear their plea, to bring comfort to the suffering. I know that my comfort zone is here with my always, a heavy chain holds me fast to it. Our Lord asks us to break the chains that bind us, and so far I don't think I've done any of that. The deeper I go in prayer the more challenges the Lord puts before me, as it should be. Help me Lord to stay on this path, this path to You, that I may give myself completely to you in order to help others. Remind me again and again Lord, like you did this week in Adoration, how every time I looked up to You I heard You say: Come, follow Me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Just a quick post for now asking for prayers of any kind for the Haitians around the world and in Haiti itself. The old cliche' 'unless you've been there' still holds true for Haiti. The poor state of living has just been made a thousand times worse. Helen has been twice, in the area approx. 10 miles west of the epicenter. She knows lay and religious there, and no word from them yet. Like I said, prayers are needed...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Todays Gospel Reading

Luke 4:14-22

Today's gospel reading is one of my favorites; but this only occurred to me this morning as I read it. Just imagine yourself being there, sitting in the synagogue. 'He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.' And then he reads those famous lines-

The Spirit of the Lord is
upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings
to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim
liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year
acceptable to the Lord.

He rolls up the scroll, and then sits down.

And then those electrifying words; "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."

Just imagine being there to see and hear this astonishing series of events. How did it happen that He was given that reading to read? A wide mix of emotions must have swept through the room after Our Lords' pronouncement. ..."fulfilled in your hearing." How would I have reacted? What kind of a person would I have been back then? Now, upon hearing this reading a cheer goes up in our hearts - Yes! Hooray! - but back then? I don't know. Mad? Unbelief? Or would my heart have been moved, as it is moved now by the smallest phrase, a simple psalm line or an ancient song?

I'll never know, but I can dream...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A thought on humility..

Let me say this; God does shower us with Graces. When He wants and with no reward to or for us, He just does. That's all I can say, because no matter how much I think about it, pray about it or try to talk about it no sense can be made of it (to me, that is.) I'm just trying to accept it, which is hard for me. My mindset is too tightly wound at times, preventing me from seeing those Graces. In these weeks after the Birth of Our Lord I've been made more aware of Him in my lowly life, and it truly is amazing. Probably because of Christmas and the realization of how vulnerable the child was, and the humbleness of the Holy Family that Our Lord decided to turn my head just a little, just enough to say Look! This is humbleness. This is humility. During my formation period in the S.F.O. I thought I had a good idea about those traits of character that were the bedrock of Christ on Earth. Only now I realize not as clearly as I thought. I liked the idea of humility and humbleness but never really knew how to achieve it.

He may have given me a ray of hope.

Tonight is our K of C Dinner Meeting, and I'm actually going into this meeting with positive ideas instead of dread. Positive ideas given to me in a kernel of truth by The Lord.